Oh, White People

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If you can’t muster the courage to be an ally– at least be very mindful of what you do say!

Oh, white people it’s going to touch you

How much longer do you think you can ignore it?

You love your favorite basketball player, but the racism—you didn’t sign up for it

But it only starts with Lebron

It doesn’t end there…it goes on

It’s your boss, your neighbor—even your best friend becomes hate crime victim

While you sit idly by, still pretending there is no racism

I mean, what year is it?

You are above it

You voted Obama as president

You deserve the right to be passive and silent

 

I am just so curious

I need to know how long does it take to notice the elephant in the room has already had babies

And is raising an entire dysfunctional family

I am not asking you to fight for me

Just wake up and acknowledge that yo, you fucked up, B

Every nigger joke that you let slide—hell, every nigga lyric you rapped

Every all lives matter post you hashtagged

You don’t get it, and now you missed it

The revolution has already begun, son

And you have chosen Switzerland

Because of that we can’t be friends

I don’t have the luxury of ignoring social unrest

My mental is distressed

My brothers and sisters are dying

Please don’t say you don’t know why, because in the back of our minds we want to say fuck you

And your whole crew, too

We were brought here for your labor, allowed to stay for your entertainment

Cultural confinement

It feels like living in a zoo

And it’s cute when we have our rallies and marches as long as it doesn’t bother you

You are not neutral

You are lazy and apathetic

You are pathetic

And it ain’t right but I almost have more respect for the so-called “alt-right”, at least they had the balls to choose a side

You hide

Behind Facebook reposts and thumbs up on Kiana’s status

You don’t know what it’s like to live like this

It’s going to touch you

Better yet, hit you like a ton of bricks

And it will be too late to ameliorate this shit

“Black people should just stop committing crimes” is a phrase that echoes from your privileged lips

Tell me, who deserves to die from selling loose cigarettes?

Or for wearing a hoodie while carrying a Skittles packet?

Or from routine traffic stops

Just stop

And take this moment to tell yourself the truth

You don’t care as much as you say you do

OR

Maybe you fear the work involved and the loss of friends

Just remember, when you choose no side the evil party wins

 

It’s going to touch you

Creep into your soul; haunt your dreams at night

You Netflix and chillin while the rest of us are at war and we fight

I hope your grandchildren ask you your thoughts on fundamental civil rights

I hope they want to know where you were during the real emancipation

And I hope you give in and tell them something real

That you checked out because you just couldn’t deal

A “Fuck Trump” bumper sticker is as far as you could go

You didn’t know your voice could have a powerful impact

That you could do your part to pick up the slack and help bring decent humanity back

America is bullshit right now, for us it was never great

Your silence is not a worthy component to conquer all this hate

So sorry to wake you up out of your comfortable slumber

But are you grabbing a bucket or is this ship going under?

There is no fence to straddle

There is no grey, just black and white

Just wrong and right

…you gotta choose

Because my friend, it’s going to touch you

 

I have said it once and I am saying it again; I do not like talking about this stuff on the blog. The subject of race, politics, religion etc. is a minefield! As a practitioner and teacher of empathy I acknowledge that it is difficult to communicate with people in such a way that they not only come to an understanding of your personal plight, but also make the effort to change their way of thinking. Furthermore, addressing a group of people who consider themselves peaceful, non-combative and believe they are genuinely good people, free of bias and prejudice could perhaps even have me labeled as a bully. But it’s my blog, so here we are…

I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I live in Prince George’s County Maryland—one of the most prominent and prosperous black counties in the nation—and I have always worked in either DC or Northern Virginia. For those who don’t know, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC is known as the DMV and is home to a unique culture in and of itself. We are a melting pot of different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds on top of including the nation’s capital where all the dirty politicians dwell. Because of our culture of political correctness I never understood the different levels of racism, prejudice and bias until well into my twenties.

As a teen in high school I didn’t understand why none of my white guy crushes liked me. When I entered into the workforce at 19 I didn’t understand why white people were so taken aback by how articulate I am, and I didn’t really understand that white people were capable of appearing woke as fuck, but more than likely went home to their white lives and immediately stopped giving a fuck. In the DMV area we are the nucleous. News stories have a deep impact here and if you are not talking about Kaepernick, insert-protest-march-here or Trump’s latest tweet then you are not a part of the conversation. Washingtonian white people are a part of the conversation because it is their business and in their best interests to be so. However, it took me longer than I’d care to admit to realize that being in the know is not the same as giving a fuck.

For me, the worst kind white people are those who immerse themselves in black culture and claim to not see color but do not consider themselves allies nor do they want to acknowledge that the need for allies exist. I sat in silence during the election season as I listened to my Republican friends say things like, “Ugh, I don’t know who to vote for– both Clinton and Trump are so awful!” It felt like a stab in the back to my face—if that makes sense. I thought to myself, “So you are ok siding with racism and misogyny because your loyalty is to your political party and not decency and humanity? Duly noted.” I didn’t purge as many friends as I probably should have, but I peeped the bullshit and I am aware.

I am aware of the white people in my life who remain silent or eerily neutral when the topic of racism comes up. I am aware of the white people in my life who are uber liberal arguing you down about feminist rights, pontificating about LGBTQ rights and debating you about the top ten hip hop albums of all time. But, I peep when those same people are passive, evasive and vague during group conversations about race relations as if they are too afraid or unwilling to say, “That is racist. That is unjust. That is not ok.” Period. I liken it to a silent gaslighting where I literally begin to feel like as if I’m crazy and I ask myself “Am I playing the black card? Was that shooting indeed a racist act of violence or am I overreacting?”

The kind of white person that quietly wonders to themselves why all lives don’t matter and loves black people but wishes we would chill and stop getting shot is fast becoming my least favorite kind of person. Maybe I am getting old, but I just can’t fuck with the duplicity like I used to. As tensions rise in our country, I am starting to treat silence as acquiescence. As much as I hate covering these kinds of topics I do it because it’s my life—and my life and my reality are not up for debate or opinion.

If you can acknowledge that fake news and sensationalism exists, then why can’t you admit that racism still does? Obama voted in as president does not magically erase the disturbing history of a country that was built on the backs of African slaves. Ignoring the existence of racism is a dangerous game—a weak one. It takes strength to dare to step out of your own delusion, admit that injustice exists and to check your own privilege and prejudices as well as those of your peers. It takes strength to make the decision to stand up to bigotry and hate when the safest move for your physical and mental health might very well be to try to remain neutral. The decision is not going to be easy, but you must decide.

If only people of color had the luxury of making such decisions.

 

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Why We Hate Tasha

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I am late to the game—as I am with most things—so it’s not shocking at all, that I’ve only now splurged for the HBO add-on to my Hulu account to watch Insecure. It’s always been a show I’ve meant to watch, but close friends of mine are barely getting a text back from me so there’s no way I have time to sit and binge watch a show that already has 1 complete season and a couple of episodes under its belt. But alas, a bout with depression and an overwhelming desire to disconnect from the world took over me and I could skip insert-event -here, and catch up on every single episode.

Here’s a terrible synopsis: Issa made the mistake of cheating on her boyfriend of 5 years (after her needs were not being met for at least two of those years) at a time when her boyfriend was just on the cusp of getting his life together. He sat on her couch jobless, yet supportive of her endeavors BUT still not attentive or aware of how the responsibility of carrying the whole household while being careful not to emasculate him in any way was taking its toll on her. Yes, he turned down the hot girl (Tasha) who hit on him and asked him for a date.

However, I think it’s important to note that he also beamed at this woman’s compliments and, no doubt, somewhere in the back of his mind added value to this woman because she encouraged him. This woman is a stranger who finds it easy to see him as genuinely nice guy and hardworking man NOT as the uncommunicative, unemployed neglecter who has taken too long to commit to his girlfriend who has swallowed her feelings about the relationship for years to prevent irrevocable damage to his ego.

Upon discovering Issa’s affair, her boyfriend becomes angry, they break up, and he immediately starts fucking Tasha. Tasha, played by Dominique Perry who is now reportedly receiving real-live death threats over a totally fictitious story line for a television show! Come one people (-_-) I was triggered by almost EVERY topic covered in each episode of Insecure thus far, however I am aware that it’s not actually real.

But…I get it.

I mean, don’t we hate that girl? The girl who seemingly gets to benefit from all our hard work we put in standing by a man when he’s trying to build something and make some sense of his life…? So, we let him go through his depression, hang out on the couch, never take us on dates and complain about his finances because you know that one-day things will get better. You know this because he tells you and you believe it in your heart because people are generally good and getting cheated on, lied to and dogged out is for your 20s. Your 30s is when you meet someone real and you decide to enter into a partnership and take the time to build something. You don’t waste time in your 30s because everyone is too old for the game-playing. Yet, I have friends in their 40s that I see dealing with fuckery and it never ceases to boggle my mind. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my thoughts I have concluded that men prey on women with high self-esteem, drain them of their resources to make themselves stronger, then feed that strength and consistency into another source that looks more like the kind of woman they wanted anyway.

And that woman (Tasha in this case) is just accepting the hand me downs of a broken man who still doesn’t quite have his shit together. In a perfect world, black men would take their asses to counseling to maybe delve into the real answers to the question: why do you need your woman to be weak in order for you to feel strong? Why do you need a woman to endure with you and deal with your excessive gas lighting and bullshit before you can finally label her as “the one”? Why do you get to walk around damaged as fuck, destroying strong women in your wake, then pretend to the new bitch like all of your exes were just crazy and it was never your fault that things fell apart in the first place?

Why is it that a woman can bend over backwards to meet your needs and deep down you know you don’t really fuck with her like that but instead of breaking it off you break her with your inconsistency? You start treating her like she is not doing enough for you by not validating her needs and by slowly tapering off your love and affection, replacing it with half answers and no-shows until she wants to rip her hair out in frustration. You cruelly do a slow withdrawal of your love until she is playing scenarios over and over in her mind and wondering how things got to be so awful and pondering what exactly it was that she did to deserve to be treated this way. So, when the relationship finally comes crashing down she is definitely left feeling insecure (ahh, see what I did there) and as if she will never be enough for anyone.

Meanwhile, he is considered blameless in this scenario AND if his lack of affection and desire to meet her needs results in her cheating on him then he is twice the victor because he gets to play victim. She ain’t shit because she cheated. But really, he ain’t shit because he wasted her time. But men aren’t expected to forgive cheating—no one is expected to forgive and endure a cheater (or a neglector, or gas lighter or asshole or abuser) like a black woman is expected to. That’s exactly the mentality that is meant to keep us weak.

Fuck Tasha. Fuck him. And fuck all of you weak ass niggas that don’t put the proper effort into a relationship and then want to act like victims after you pushed the one woman who was trying to hold you down over the edge. Frankly, I am tired of having my loyalty tested and my needs and desires up for debate or option.

When is it time for black men to do better? Enough is enough.

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Good Vibes Only

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You look tired,” they say. Or, they are the first person to fix any hair out of place or tag sticking out of a clothing item. When you establish a boundary, they are quick to violate it then flip the script on you for being moody and unreasonable. They are a gas lighting, soul draining, vibe killing group of people and I don’t understand why their reputations are so protected and defended. To most people, these types are well-meaning and any feeling of disrespect on your end is a YOU problem. Me? Well, I just miss the days when I felt as if I were meeting and cultivating true friendships– not doling out the allotted attention that everyone seems to desperately feed on these days.

Respect the Introvert

Don’t get me wrong, I am a performer so I understand the whole “look at me, I need attention” factor. However, in friendships people are supposed to understand you a little bit more. Friends are people who actively choose to be in your life so they are responsible for maintaining a deeper level of respect. Because you care about your friends you don’t take your afraid of heights bff on a roller coaster or to climb the statue of liberty– just as you don’t try to seek unnecessary attention out of friends who are not interested in being your audience members.

Por ejemplo: I tell my work friends that I am not a morning person and I like my space. I am happy to do work and to answer work questions but I do not want anyone crowding into my cubicle asking about my weekend, attempting to pressure me into going to get coffee or chastising me for not eating the donuts that Harold brought in for everyone to share. When my five-year-old has a meltdown that derails my morning routine and I have to listen to the car radio on high volume–in hours of traffic–to drown out the sound of my squeaky brakes, I don’t want to TALK about it! I just want the time to switch gears from mom/road rage driver to co-worker/executive assistant. That’s right, I am an assistant so it is literally my job to pretend to care and fix problems all day. I am fine doing just that without feeling obligated to provide work banter/entertainment and dramatic reactions to the same work gossip we talk about all the time. I don’t want to do it anymore!

I have to find the energy to be the kind of person that engages on that level. Yes, it comes from weed (ha!) but mainly it comes from just being alone and staring at the wall or picking my nose or whatever. After separating from my husband (nearly ten years ago) all of the silence and alone time without him taught me that I don’t get bored easily and I enjoy my own company. If I am sitting alone or busy working on a project it makes me cringe when someone who knows me as a personal friend walks by and says “Aww, are you ok? I know you have a lot of work.” insert fake sympathetic face here. Before I really knew myself this kind of comment triggered my insecurities and I would find myself working extra hard to appear carefree and social—because these people are harmless and they only care about my wellbeing, right?

Generally Good People

…wrong! I had this conversation with my best friend not too long ago and we definitely had a difference of opinion on the topic. At the risk of sounding like a surly individual, I am of the belief that people are not “generally good’. Aside from it being biblical, I have seen it in action which is why we have phrases like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Many of us would like to think that we are “good people” but most of us are selfish assholes. For me, the beauty of it all is that despite every single one of us being totally fucked up (consciously or unconsciously) we still want to be around each other. Human beings continually make the effort to see past another person’s ugly to get to all the beautiful stuff we like.

The ugly side of vibe killers is that they are selfish people—they want what they want when they want it and they don’t care how it affects the larger group. Sometimes it can be for the attention, controlling the topic of conversation, throwing shade at someone to make themselves feel better or doing the most out of a basic need/desire to be liked. The thing is, not everyone has to like you! (Personally, I think that realization is the key to self-actualization). If you are a high frequency/high maintenance person wanting to dwell in low frequency/low maintenance spaces the solution is simple: lower your frequency, homie. Simplify!

[I feel it’s important to admit here, that introversion has an ugly side and can also be rooted in selfishness. You can’t always expect others to adapt to your need to be left alone. If you made the decision to be out and about at the kind of event that calls for social interaction, the least you can do is not be an incorrigible asshole. Most are willing to make a comfortable space for quiet people and accommodations for shyness, but no one wants to tolerate meanness chalked up to “oh, he/she is just introverted”. That’s a copout!]

Who’s the Real Asshole?

Everyone! Ok, I am only kidding but in my opinion, the best way not to be an asshole is to realize that not everyone operates on the same frequency. I may sound like some kind of hippie astronomer but it’s simply a term I use to point out the fact that we all operate on different energy levels. Some have energy levels that function at a 10 (off the charts/life of the party/in your face) all of the time, while others function at about a 2 (why are people talking to me?/I could go for a nap/I would much rather be Netflixin’ and chillin, right now). If you are like me you can keep your level at about a 4 and pick it up to a 10 on special occasions or if the social setting calls for it. As a performer, I am ok boosting things up on stage then immediately dropping down to a 1 upon leaving the stage. As it turns out, this can make you seem like a murderer so I had to teach myself to keep my energy at an 8 until I am able to leave the event altogether. Whiskey the stage poet is probably a 15—she is ridiculous—while Naomi, (especially as I get older) is more like a 3 or 4.

5.29.17 ETC - Some PeopleAs I have gone through the trial and error of trying to surround myself with good vibes I realized the simplicity of discovering your own frequency and choosing people that operate on those same levels. I am at my happiest engaged in witty back and forth banter, some kind of controlled or natural substance on deck and I am generally ok with long comfortable silences. I have since tried to gravitate toward other humans who enjoy the same things. This all sounds like a no-brainer but every day each of us meets people that we connect with and want to continue to build upon that connection. However, if you’re like me you get four hangouts in and realize that the person is a moody and unpredictable arsonist that kicks puppies in their spare time and has a raging cocaine habit.

I am a person with no discernment whatsoever, so I’ve had to teach myself to recognize the kind of person least likely to drain my energy. I pay attention to how people rate on my totally made up frequency chart, how people react to drama and gossip (which everybody likes to some extent, I get that) and how they regard me when I am not being my over-the-top stage persona.

The Power of Suggestion

I will add this last thought: the power of suggestion is real. As a creative that has to rely on networking and mixing with so many diverse personality types, it is not always practical for me to pick and choose people with similar vibes to hang out with exclusively. I often find myself thrown into social situations with people I would not normally choose to spend time with. I have had to learn to always speak affirmations in my head to constantly counteract negative speech and energy. There are plenty of well-meaning people on this Earth, but some just aren’t and are more likely to use their words to cast self-doubt inside of you and to feed on your insecurities.

“Wow, you look tired. Are you having a bad day?” they say–knowing that I have been experiencing a rough time and am actively working to overcome it.

“No, I actually feel GREAT!” I respond. Because I do– or at least I can if I meditate on that positivity. I struggle with mental health issues, so during my lowest points that kind of suggestive speech has had the power to damage me in the past. It’s the difference between being around those who want you to succeed and genuinely like you, versus those who benefit and/or are comfortable seeing you down. Negative speech isn’t always a result of malicious intent, it seems to all relate back to selfishness. When I am low, I am more likely to engage in gossip and to be sarcastic and cynical–sometimes that version of me is just more fun to certain types of people. I know of some who try to bring that out of me just for shits and giggles. However, when that person leaves it’s not fun for me to have to sit in that negativity. Lately, I have done my best to seek out mentally strong people who don’t let me dwell in those dark spaces.

Just the other day I was supposed to attend an event with a friend. I was flaking out on him because I’d had a rough day I called out of work and cried on my couch all day. I was on a downward spiral so intense that I didn’t even know how I was going to participate in my own open mic event that I had invested money and promotion into for months. I told him straight up that it was going to take me awhile to get into the head space to be social and make it out to events. His response was, “Take your time…but get there.”

I thought about that for a long time. Apparently, there are people that not only speak positivity into your life but also do not make time or room to enable your bullshit. There was no doubt in him that I could get there and his response let me know that there was empathy but also a desire to see me rise to the occasion. Surrounding myself with people who are of this mindset reinforces my self-esteem.  High self-esteem makes me better equipped to protect my vibes when I am thrown into an environment of people who feed on negativity.

5.29.17 ETC - Strict BudgetLowkey, I feel as if this whole post is pretty stupid because most people know this stuff already! For me, this has been a journey and I have only recently been able to enjoy a lifestyle of positive self-worth because I realized that the kind of people you allow to take up space in your personal life can disrupt your inner peace. The more I take care of my introvert, form bonds with mentally strong people and reject negative speech, the stronger it makes me. Eventually, I hope to project good vibes wherever I go. If it comes from within me then I will never have to truly worry about someone “killing my vibe” because I will always be good with me.

In the meantime, I invite anyone reading this to remember to be purposeful in everything that you do. All of us should be mindful of the things we say to each other, the impressions we make and the reality that not everyone will like and appreciate all that you are. It is ok to let that shit go. While it is difficult to cultivate a peaceful vibe that fits all personality types, I definitely think there is a way to bring your own secure and positive vibes to the table and those that choose to eat, will.

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Survival Mode

I didn’t take a shower this morning. I did the calculations in my head and knew I wouldn’t have enough time. The 5 year old was up all night, although she thinks she slept. I was awake listening to her coughing and wheezing, alternating from sitting at her bedside to lying in my bed praying to get at least a few hours of sleep. I knew the morning was going to be a nightmare with me getting everyone ready to the soundtrack of her whining. Nails on a chalkboard…

So, she’s whining and I’m trying not to yell because everyone thinks a yelling single mom is angry because she’s heartbroken and alone– really we’re just so exhausted all the time. I made the decision not to shower because my mid-day workout includes a shower so everything would be fine. Then my mother called with the news that my sister had been rushed back to the hospital.

And that’s fine. Life still has to happen even if I want to ball up in a corner and cry and be scared. I saw her just yesterday and in the back of my mind I was thinking she didn’t look as well as I’d seen her before. But who wants to be scared and face those kind of thoughts? So we chatted and I left because life goes on. I hung up with my mom and shuffled the kids out of the door because life had to continue. I could take them to school and leave work early to pick them up. That’s fine. Everything is fine.

We rush downstairs into the freezing sleet, I ignore the hole in the five year olds tights because there was nothing I could really do about it at that point. I unlock the door and as they climb into the car I notice my back tire wet and sagging onto black pavement. It was completely flat.

I am amazing at survival mode. Something comes over me and I’m making decisions and getting shit done under pressure. I thrive in survival mode: I.am.supermom! I don’t know what happened this time. I told the kids to go back into our apartment. I sat on the couch, emailed my boss then stared into space. I took a shower.

I really wanted to cry but I feel like the tears are suspended and I would have to put in effort to release them. I’m just so angry that survival mode let me so down. I should be with my car insurance company figuring this shit out, but I’m on my couch writing this out hoping it will somehow release the tension in my body and let me get shit done. Life goes on! This is fine! Why can’t I move?

Fuck you, survival mode. You have let me down.

The Kids Won’t Eat My Pot Roast but Beyonce’s Pregnant

I didn’t make a vegetable to go with dinner tonight. I get home too late to really make anything decent, so hamburgers with a box of cheesy noodles just had to do. It was bedtime before they finished their last bites. I’m very tired.

But Beyonce says that having children gives you purpose. Perhaps I would feel that more if I had nannies to help me balance out my life. I’d have a car to bring them to me when I got off work. We would snuggle up and chill together when they got home because Chef would have already cooked and homework would be done. I would tuck them in and later that evening zip off to events. I’d have it all…

Perhaps my purpose is constant fatigue. Or maybe worrying that my sole purpose in life is single motherhood and doubt. 

I made a pot roast that the 5 year old wouldn’t eat. Three hours of traffic every day makes me irritable. I don’t remember what it feels like to not be exhausted. Beyonce is having twins.

Why Joe’s New Song “So I Can Have You Back” is An Old Guy Fuckboy Anthem

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I don’t know what’s happening to me, surely I’m getting old! I was in my car listening to the radio station that my mom used to listen to when I was young—grooving to some Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind and Fire because this is the kind of music that moves my heart these days. In the middle of all this, the latest song by Joe (you know—I won’t stop having sex with you until I hear your mama scream, Joe) comes on and it sounds like it might be this beautiful R&B ballad that was about to knock my socks off. Well, I suppose it would have if I had not listened to the lyrics (-_-)

So I Can Have You Back in my opinion, is the old guy fuckboy anthem of 2017. Perhaps it’s not nice of me to describe Joe as “old” but what I mean is that as you get older the more complicated love becomes. R&B songs are no longer about “let’s dance at this club and let me love you” but more like, “Can I come over and have sex with you when you put your kids to bed? Also, please hold me after because I am still traumatized by my past failed relationships.” Hence the lyrics to the song:

Pictures and pictures of the smile I remember

This just can’t all be true

I hope he makes the biggest mistake

The unforgivable that makes your heart break

I hope you tell him “sorry is just not enough”

And it goes from good to bad, so I can have you back

Joe is a fuckboy. Joe is getting older and lonelier by the second, so naturally he starts looking through old pictures and makes the decision that he is suddenly in love with an ex-girlfriend. I assume he had years to build and grow with this woman but for whatever reason it didn’t work out. C’est la vie, welcome to the real world, that’s how the cookie crumbles…so on and so forth. Let it go, and let her go—sounds like she’s moved on and quite possibly, is even happy without you. Meanwhile, here you are JOE, sending negative vibes and bad juju onto her relationship all for the sake of your second chance. Sighhhhhhh, we’ve all dealt with this dude. Post a decent selfie and he’s there! He’s always there, stalking your social media for signs of distress OR attempting to re-enter your life because he misses your friendship. Dude, we were never friends.

I always make the mistake of thinking that there is an age limit cut off for fuckboys. Obviously, that’s a naïve thought process and it is entirely possible for a young fuckboy (18-32) to blossom into a strapping fuckman (33-50+). For example, a friend of mine in her late 30s decided to take a chance on a man about 15 years older than her. He was awesome! Old enough to be established in his career and willing to wine, dine and sweet talk. The only problem is that he wasn’t wining, dining and sweet talking with his long-term girlfriend who ended up calling my friend, identifying herself and explaining the situation that the seat on his face was taken (and had been for years). As it would seem, the guy was attempting to line up hoes in different area codes because he had the money and liked to travel. Nice! There are plenty of old guy fuckboy songs for that particular scenario—most of them apologies for cheating tunes.

You know what I would enjoy? Some old school “I love you so I’m not going to fuck this up ,” kind of songs. Maybe a, “Some bitch tried to throw herself at me but I rejected her because I love you,” song. Or EVEN, “We had a healthy adult relationship that had to end. I wish you the best and I will not text “I miss you” in the middle of the night six months from now or inbox any of your social media,’ song. (These are all working titles, of course)

R&B for millennials is worse. Bryson Tiller’s Sorry Not Sorry hook is:

Girl if you don’t get the fuck from me

I know you thought we had somethin’ special

But you don’t mean nothin’ to me

Girl I’m sorry, you not the one for me

Well, damn.

Love is rough out on these streets! I suppose we should all just be grateful that fuckboys– young and old– may now be easier to identify by their taste in music.

For funny renditions of R&B classics remade for this day and age, click here. I got a kick out of it, I hope you will too!

The Stages of Grief/Window Seat

I thought watching black man take his last breaths on TV screen
Was becoming too much for me
But then there’s something about this new thing
Pale open palmed hands raised in hatred and bigotry
The media really doesn’t give a fuck about me
I suppose neither does reality    ~Whiskey

 Sometime about six years ago I remember watching Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video and crying my eyes out. It wasn’t that the video moved me to tears, but the commentary of the other YouTube users. In my eyes, her body was nothing short of absolutely beautiful and similar to the body I saw of myself whenever I took a look in the mirror. According to white America—and the ridiculous shit show that is the YouTube comment section— she was disgusting.

Witnessing racists react to Erykah Badu’s body in that music video was one of those small things that stuck with me for a long time and drudged up a lot of feelings from my past. In high school, I hung with the white kids, attended local rock festivals and crushed on lanky, pale boys with bright blue eyes. The me now would hardly recognize that girl—pining over boys who would never accept me much less develop a romantic interest. I was developing into a woman—a BLACK woman—with big hips and ass and thick bones. As naïve as I was about a lot of things, I always seemed to be highly aware that none of these boys would ever want me.  I carried with me the general belief that white people thought of the black body as disgusting. Of black people as disgusting.

The concept of white people’s secret condescension for us and our culture is a belief I held tough to for years. It was only maybe ten years ago—after entering the workforce and integrating with more diverse groups of people– that I began to think otherwise. White men are MEN, and most men just like and are attracted to women. White women are just WOMEN, and just because their hair is straighter and skin lighter doesn’t mean that they look down on me because I am not the same. I would ride the metro and look around at all the white people and tell myself to relax. We are all just people.

Fast forward today and that relaxation is nowhere to be found. I simply can’t do it– I feel just really sad…and tense when I look around at a sea of white faces. My black skin is an identifier but there’s no way for me to know the difference between friend or foe. Strange to say, but I think I am overall ok with blatant adversaries, it’s those who exist in the grey who make me weary. My empathy is spent, I can’t seem to muster any for the Trump supporters who feel so victimized and wounded. I feel displaced, severely disillusioned and betrayed without knowing whether those are even rational emotions to feel.

I’m not sure where I’m supposed to go from here. I haven’t seemed to complete the full spectrum of the stages of grief. I am in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger and depression.

No hopeful wrap up or conclusion. This post is just an update on my state of mind…

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Shit Together in 2017

In spite of the whopping necrology list of celebrities gone too soon this year, the shit show of a presidential election and a constant state of empty pockets— I managed to eek out a pretty decent experience from 2016.

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Unfortunately, there is no real way to speak positively about a year that’s kicked so many people’s asses in a way that doesn’t make you seem like a douchebag. SO, instead of writing some big, long end of the year wrap up I’m just going to list a few lessons that helped me grow and get out of my own head this year. I’m not sure if this will help anyone else, but I feel good about writing it all out and using it as a guide to get me through 2017.

Read with a grain of salt, comment about your favorite and I am open to additions!

Tips for Not Falling Apart Any Year—Let Alone 2016, 2017 and Beyond…

  • Always stay in touch with reality and accept truth.

Social media kicked my ass this year! I find Facebook and Instagram addicting and fun and time consuming but most of all it is a huge buzz kill for me and my self-esteem. Toward the end of the year I even made the decision to shut down my personal Facebook account and operate solely from my Whiskey Girl page. I did so because I was having a hard time staying in touch with reality. People seem so different from the person they choose to portray on computer screen and I waste a lot of time feeling down and comparing myself to people who are essentially not even real.

Furthermore, truth is truth and that is inescapable. I support the idea of believing in your own hype but it’s also important to keep a grip on reality. Self-delusion leads to entitlement and something about paying my last $5 on an open mic I can barely afford the gas money to get to reminds me of what’s real. I am not a rock star writer with thousands of followers and a publisher. Should I be? Well—yeah, but I’m not and that’s not only real to me, but it’s also ok.

  • Forgive yourself.

I wrote two chapbooks this year that dealt with a lot of past pain, confusion and frustration. It was a cathartic experience that helped me realize that on some level I was using pain as my claim to fame. I couldn’t stop writing about it because I couldn’t seem to let it go– I was harboring all sorts of guilt because for some reason I thought I was smarter than what I had allowed to happen to me. All of my life people have assumed that I am smart, so I went along with it thinking that intelligence somehow made me above making poor decisions in life and love. I carried so much bitterness because I was just mad at myself for being stupid enough to fall for weak game, weak dick and the lies and treachery of weak people.

At some point it finally hit me that it’s easy to forgive people for their wrongdoings but much harder to forgive yourself and let that shit go. People suck– it’s not unheard of to be duped and devastated by some loser on a mission to destroy the feelings of others to make up for their own insecurities. I got caught in the crossfire because I made very stupid but also very normal mistakes. I finally decided to forgive myself and let that shit go.

  • Completely avoid drama!

Seriously, run. Getting into the business of others or any kind of dramatic excitement as part of your day that makes your heart beat a little faster and your adrenaline rush is a thrilling feeling. Until it’s clean up time and you find yourself losing friends, clearing up messes and fighting to protect your reputation all the time. It is an exhausting process. The older I get the less energy I have to chase that high– that’s what drugs are for.

  • Steer clear of negative energy.

How granola of me, but however zen you are or aren’t most of us know when someone comes with a suitcase load of bad vibes. There are a few people I love dearly but I steer clear of them because their negativity brings me down. I fight depression enough on my own, I don’t need to surround myself with anyone that will add to it, whether it is their intention or not. At 32 I don’t spend a lot of time telling people about themselves or over explaining my actions– if I don’t vibe with you then I’m not fucking with you. Period.

 

  • Jump all the way out there!

I’ve embarrassed myself a tiny bit this year, applying for jobs I had passion for but perhaps

shower

I don’t mind jumping all the way out there– still won’t catch me naked in the gym!

not experience. I’ve sent my Electronic Press Kit to a few places that probably had a good laugh before deleting my email but at least I tried…

 

 

  • Treat rejection as “not now” instead of NO

…and I received plenty of “no’s” that I refuse to take personally. I  can’t accomplish all of the grandiose things that I would like to right this second but I still plan to in the future. The “No” only stands in my way for right now.

  • Pay it Forward (Always!)

Self-explanatory…

  • Double Down on privacy

This year my private life, especially my romantic life hit a few rough patches. In recent years I decided to be more private about certain aspects of my life and I have doubled down on that action because I learned something about myself. While I think it’s normal and common to seek the advice of others I ultimately choose to make decisions based on my own desires and thought processes. I no longer feel the need to have someone else shine light on the dark spaces in my life to help me come to a conclusion about how I should personally feel or react to it. The happy and complicated and grey area things in my life I choose to hold closely to my chest. There is something special about keeping a few things to yourself in a world that promotes just the opposite.

  • Remain unbothered.

By everything. As an overthinker I am bothered by too much, but I do my best to never let it show and to stay focused and busy!

  • Staying busy is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.

I just need purpose and a goal to strive toward and I’m golden…

 

Adult

I’m really hoping that these are some things I can use in the future to help me elevate to the next level. I am grateful to have been able to accomplish Big Things in 2016– next year I can only work harder to take things to the next level. Who is coming with me?

 

 

Click here  for a picture gallery of some 2016 highlights! See you next year– good vibes always!

~Whiskey

 

 

I Ain’t Afraid of No Trump

batman-meme

I don’t want to write about this. I resent writing about this. The goal was to live my merry life in a box of words related to mental health issues and the struggle of being a single mom in the 21st Century. Now I have to devote my time to this shit and I am not happy about it. That being said, let me just get right to it.

I spent part of election night eating $3 tacos with a friend, paying half attention to a large television monitor displaying the election results. I knew Hillary Clinton was not about to be the next President of the United States. I wasn’t shocked by the results, I wasn’t devastated, I was not hysterical or in tears about it. I know America, so I took my ass to sleep and was completely unphased waking up to learn that our shiny new President-elect is dear old Donald. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. What I felt deep in my soul was not disappointment or fear…to be honest, at the time I felt nothing. In my mind, I resolved to not speak to anyone at work about my thoughts on the election results. I work in Arlington, VA with the liberal yuppies who love to vote Dem but also love to treat me and racial and social injustice as if they don’t exist. The word “excuse me” doesn’t exist, nor does the common courtesy or general acknowledgment of me as a person. The yuppies laugh at the poignant race jokes on South Park and the Daily Show but that’s where it begins and ends.

Walls Closing In

It’s difficult to be black right now (or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ community, etc.—but because I am black I will speak to the black experience). I woke up the day after election day and I took notice of the silent white people on my social media timelines as much as I did the loud and outraged. I am on high alert but I am also doubting myself—have I become more paranoid? The more I watch videos of police brutality and observe reactions that range from apathy to “Black people should stop breaking the law…”, and listen to my Republican co-workers laugh at Donald Trump’s antics I feel it stockpiling on top of the regular ass racism and micro aggressions I deal with on a daily basis. I am a black girl, so I’ve had to sit and patiently explain my hair to white people, and at least once a week I am smiling uncomfortably as someone references the county I live in as the hood. NOT because it is the hood, but because black people live there. I remember years ago hanging out with some white friends at a venue that is known to be pretty multi-cultural and at one point, after leaving, my friend turns to me and says, “Oh I’m glad we left, I thought we were going to get beat up.” WHY? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BLACK PEOPLE DO? NEVERMIND THE POINTLESS VICTORY RIOTS AT WHITE UNIVERSITIES WHEN THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM WINS A GAME—BUT IT’S BLACK PEOPLE WHO GET INTO GROUPS AND DECIDE TO JUST RANDOMLY BEAT UP WHITE PEOPLE.?WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK?

Those incidents tend to embed themselves in our memories. I am dealing with anger. Anger that I have to stuff down every.single.day so that I don’t explode this aggression that stems from years and years of dealing with white bullshit. No more apologies—it. is. bullshit to pretend you don’t see or are not aware of the DIFFERENCE living life as a person of color versus being white. It’s 2016—EVOLVE already! I have a friend that moved to the DMV area from Wyoming years ago. I remember explaining braids and weaves to her, why she couldn’t call my dread locs as worms and why it was just plain insulting for the American public to demand that Presidential hopeful Barack Obama display his long birth certificate. That was years ago. Recently, she has expressed interest in talking to me about the Black Lives Matter movement and has stated plainly that Trump is awful and she does not side with him. EVOLVE. If you have lived in a multi-cultural area all your life and are still in your thirties asking to touch people’s hair you are stupid and wrong and ignorant.

I don’t have time to be as patient as I have always been. I am becoming exasperated by ignorance and I refuse to enable it. Once you start spouting things like “Oh, but he was criminal,” in reference to the brutal murder of a black man by police I am done with you. Once you start spouting things like “All Lives Matter” I. AM. DONE. Because guess what? We know that your life matters! That’s why you are all over the television screen, in the history books and in religion. If you are white you are the shit—you are winning, and for just one second black people thought we could win, too. Now Trump is President. I don’t have time to explain to you your privilege, I am busy working on my mental health and controlling this anger. I am busy preparing for war. I don’t have time to be afraid!

It’s Not Fear, It’s Dread

white-againJust as the term homophobia is the greatest misnomer of all time, so is the concept or the thought that black people are somehow fearful of Trump. I will speak for myself here when I say that it’s not fear, it’s dread and disappointment. I am disappointed in white people because as much as our culture is appropriated I was optimistic that it somehow came from a good place and would lead to acceptance. I feel duped! How stupid am I? I have been patiently explaining the plight of the black person, practicing empathy and ke keeing it up with white people who marched their asses to the polls to vote Trump then lied about it to my face. It’s one thing to keep quiet about who you vote for (it is your right as a citizen) but to lie means that you know it’s a betrayal. It feels like sleeping with the enemy. Anyone with half a brain can see that Trump is not about racism per se—he is definitely about himself. But in his quest to rise to power he has incited the hatred and anger lying dormant (or even openly) in the white supremacists and used that to fuel his campaign. You don’t have to be a political pundit to know that “Make America Great Again” is a slogan for white people. IT WAS NEVER GREAT FOR ANYONE NOT WHITE! (Hell, it wasn’t even that great for poor white people but whatever makes you feel good at the end of the day.) White people came here and started killing niggas and taking land off the bat, built an entire country on the concept and as soon as the country tries to progress out of it the ignorant and the hateful rise from the sewer and proclaim what they have truly been thinking all along. This means that the progression of black people was an illusion. We let white people into the gates of our culture and it was a Trojan horse this whole time.

 

Our movement of #BlackGirlMagic #BlackLivesMatter #Melanin– all those things have been interrupted by the truth. I am not afraid of Trump I am dreading the next four years and beyond. I have had a handle on my anger for quite some time now. I am a pro, I can handle a micro aggression or two, a racist troll on my social media timeline but I am not my ancestors! I don’t know if I can be harassed on the street by a racist spouting Trump’s tagline and be able hold my tongue or place my hands behind my back without swinging. I don’t know that I can go back to a time where black people addressed everyone as “sir” and “ma’am” and avoided eye contact lest they be accosted or beaten in the street like an animal. The only thing I fear is death because I realize my anger might lead to it by the hands of some idiot that would cry for Harambe the gorilla but justify a black man’s brutal murder all in the same week. Don’t come to me to teach you how to Dougie if you don’t care how l live my life every day. No one is so afraid of your skin that they are shooting first and asking names later. Until you sit down and try to understand that I have no patience for you and your lack of humanity.

etc-iaant

Make yourself the victim so you won’t be seen as the enemy…

 

Let the Unfollowers UNFOLLOW

…because I’m not sugar coating my art anymore. I have conquered divorce and heartbreak; I am working out single motherhood and overcoming body issues. I’m DOING THAT—it is child’s play to me now. There are larger things that are starting to occupy my thoughts and keep me awake in the late night hours. As a writer, I cannot connect with you about women’s issues, about self-confidence and depression if I am not alive to make the connection. I have no desire to be a political artist (I barely even like labeling myself as an artist) but Nina Simone is 100% correct. “An artist’s duty…is to reflect the times.”

I am grateful for the white tears shed after the election results. I absolutely believe we have allies now—people who understand injustice and inequality and genuinely want to make things better. Now stop crying and assume your position. Make the decision to be an ally in word and deed and DECIDE who you are going to be when violence erupts and you have the choice to watch a lynching in the making or prevent it from happening. Understand that there’s no time for semantics and playing the victim. If you are not a racist don’t waste time pontificating about how you have black friends and you don’t see color, just support and stand up.  Let’s not be ignorant. Racism has been a volcano in this country for years—ignoring  the tremors does not mean an eruption is not about to happen.

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Random Thoughts of A Single Mom

​I don’t embarrass easily. I think it has something to do with being a complete nerd in high school. No one really paid attention to me unless it was for negative reasons– I felt like being myself every day was embarrassing enough in and of itself. So now, if and when I trip or fall I just laugh and keep it moving because that’s life. Everyone falls or miscalculates their period or farts during sex, what can you really do about it?
I wasn’t particularly embarrassed this morning, I was humiliated. I can’t bring myself to take my girl’s fathers to court for child support because there is stigma in that. I look like I’m trying to cash in on the system and they hate me for forever altering their financial lives. But, honestly, (and I only feel comfortable saying this here pseudo anonymously) I am waiting for them to man the fuck up and help me! I am waiting for them to recognize that I am stressed and I can’t do this alone. I suppose I can, I’ll just have to say goodbye to a long and healthy life. I can’t sleep over the sound  my heart beating too quickly and loudly worrying about bills and hectic schedule.
I spent my last $12 on gas to drive 4 hours back and forth to drop my youngest daughter off to her aunts to stay the weekend while I worked. Part of the reasoning for working this weekend is that my job will pay for all of my meals which will help me stretch my groceries a bit. I’m writing this on the metro now praying to be able to get to my destination because I had $3 to put on my fare card instead of the $6 I thought I had left in my account.  I texted, begging for a few bucks but I know no one was going to respond and I think the humiliation of having to ask has depleted my good cheer for today. I’m very tired.
I am unable to understand why the onus is on me to hold everything down, and why no one asks “are you and the kids OK?” I’m OK, sometimes. I am happy pursuing outside goals and activities but I am contemplating giving that up. I wonder if every time I appear at an a open mic or a show if they are thinking that I am living it up in luxury? I wonder if writing chapbooks and hosting events is just a dream I can’t afford? Is it the fate of all single mothers to place our individual identities on hold until kids turn 18 and leave the house? Am I not Whiskey or Naomi, am I Mommy only and I am doing too much?
I don’t know why I am writing this. Maybe to show that not all single mothers are gold diggers out for baby daddy revenge. Or maybe I’m just thinking out loud, plotting a better way for me to live so I will never have to deal with the humiliation of begging grown ups to be responsible. I need to push myself more, I don’t want to live like this.