Summer Losers: Part 1

summer losers COVER

Summertime! A collective warmth has spread over us all as the desire to shed layers of clothing and inhibitions run rampant. The cuffing season buddy from the colder months is left on read and we hit the streets with alcohol pumping through our veins and Lizzo on our playlists. As black women embrace sisterhood, self-love and shay butter I must say it’s shaping out to be an amazing summer for the ladies. Another summer prediction of mine—the men will lose.

Summer Dating Fail
Each summer my kids go off to Virginia Beach to live their best lives with family members and I find myself with extra free time on my hands. The thought of dating always starts out as a cute idea until three weeks later when I am looking at my message inbox like “How the hell did this happen?” Yes, casual sex can be fun but I suppose I don’t remember when it became the only available option. No one seems to want to meet up, be cute and flirty and go with the flow anymore. I am not speaking of the ambiguous “go with the flow” men toss out as an option when it really means they are trying to trap you into a situationship. I am speaking of going with the natural flow of fun hang outs with sexual tension in the air minus the useless “wyd” texts and dick pics. I understand how males feel about sex, like WE ALL GET IT! I just didn’t realize that sex became the only thing males think women are capable of offering. (And it’s a shame that things have shifted in this way during a time when I think women are at our most interesting and self-actualized!)

Planning a date with a male is like pulling teeth because he’s likely not going to plan

YALL NOT DOING THIS
anything. Personally, the story I always hear is that he prefers to hang out a few times before deciding whether a woman is worth it enough to take on a date. This is because we are known to use men for free food. HAHAHAHAHAHAA—first of all, food is #BAE and I’m not about to sit in your whack ass company at the local TGI Fridays just because it’s free. I have a job I can pay for my own meals so finessing one out of a nigga is not really my ultimate goal in life. Second of all, what usually follows the “I don’t pay for dates” conversation is the “I’d like to come over watch some movies and chill” proposition. Personally, I have no problem with this because I used to be a hardcore Come Over and Chill girl but you really have to peep when a woman is in that particular mindset. I would like to get into these Black Mirror episodes minus all the heavy petting and small talk because being alone is dope. I am more weary about inviting men into my vibe because usually they don’t have anything to bring to the table but a hard dick and maybe some alcohol.

A come over and chill date can perhaps start off well with some insightful conversation and a roll in the hay but too often has ended with a stream of empty “wyd”, “how was your day” texts and aggressive efforts to arrange to come over again. What you don’t know is that this time when he comes over he has zero conversation, zero personality, zero game and zero bottles of vodka—he has shown up with the bare minimum plan to get his rocks off and get the hell out of there. All of that is fine and good, but males miss out on the best pussy by not showing respect or interest in the woman attached to it. Casual sex is no strings, but we are not prostitutes or flesh lights! It would be nice to share a joke or two or establish basic comradery/familiarity before you attempt to keep filling our bodies with your mediocre penis. (And that’s me being a little mean because there is surprisingly a lot of great dick out there, however you lose points when it’s attached to your shitty personality).

Furthermore, males (and some women) still surprisingly stick to these antiquated viewpoints and lose respect for you if they feel you have allowed them sex too easily. I think this is bizarre and hypocritical for obvious reasons but on top of that I don’t understand why women have to do so much auditioning to prove to males that our self-worth is intact. With all due respect, fuck niggas opinions! I am writing this blog and the males who read it are likely to take immediate defense without attempting to understand the POV in its entirety. Also, some will likely start searching through my social media to prepare their “this bitch is ugly and bitter” defense. I probably would be bitter if masturbation and tv didn’t exist but I’m okay. Also, lack of “beauty” is a card that males tend to play without realizing that they are perpetuating the idea that if you are not attractive your opinion doesn’t matter and that would take a separate blog post to unpack how deeply problematic that is. And anyway, I write this blog post more as an empathetic person whose main desire in this world is to make meaningful connections with people. I share my personal opinions and experiences as a woman, writer, poet, mental health advocate, etc. and I receive plenty of DMs, comments, emails and conversations from women all over who feel similar. If you follow any meme account that is geared toward women, you will plainly see that women’s connection/intimacy with males is slipping into oblivion because there doesn’t seem to be any real effort on their end. The whole thing is silly to me because the effort it takes for males to be so boring in their whack ass game and lazy texts, they could actually just be themselves and probably drown in endless pussy because they are finally presenting something authentic.

We’d Rather Be Alone Without Your Bullshit
These millennial artists write lyrics chock full of dysfunction, but we’re smart enough to enjoy the melodies without adopting the mentalities. If you come with bullshit we don’t want no parts! This is because, black women are doing the work. We woke up! We don’t want to be depressed anymore, we don’t want any more toxic baby daddies and bottom bitch relationship positions. We have our careers and independence and now we are seeking the stable mental health to go along with it.

Black women are putting in the work—what does that mean? Great question! It means…

  • We are seeking mental health counseling
  • We are practicing self-love in word and in deed
  • We are breaking cycles of pain and learning to recognize and escape all forms of abuse
  • We are redefining “strength” by no longer associating it with the amount of pain we are able to endure
  • We are calling out toxic behavior

The main result of this movement is that women are learning not to attach our self-worth to the opinions and standards of males. The end result is less confusion and turmoil in a woman’s life because the standards of males are all over the place so it would be impossible for us to attempt to live up to them anyway. How can you strive to sleep around and collect bodies of women you can’t hold a conversation with then expect to settle down with a virginal, good woman that has the body of an Instagram model and attends church like a deaconess? (She also cooks, cleans, throws it back like a porn star and raises your perfect babies– what exactly are you doing in this scenario and how does this seem like anything but a punishment to any independent women?) Furthermore, respect from males seems to be tied to whether they deem a woman is a hoe or not and has nothing to do with personality, accomplishments, how a woman runs her own household, shows independence or flexes her entrepreneurial skills. We can no longer keep up with this invisible “dope chick” scale of standards males are using to determine who is wifey and who is only good for sex– so we’ve adapted by not caring the male opinion at all.

Another wonderful result of women putting in the work is that “pick me” bitches are starting to be outnumbered. We are moving into a sisterhood of support and standing up against toxic male behavior because we realize there is more to life than having a man and settling down. Some of us don’t even want to settle down, we want to travel and pursue our individualistic passions. Fuck your “come over and chill” there is an entire world out there! Hot Girl Summer has less to do with waiting for a nigga to think we are worth the trip to Ruth Chris (which there are nicer restaurants than this, do a fucking OpenTable search ONCE—find a restaurant you personally like instead of doing the same shit everyone else is doing!) and more to do with the liberation of not having to care about a male’s opinion one way or the other. You can own your own hotness minus the thirsty DMs and heart eyed emojis from niggas with empty intentions!

I am so sorry but you all did this to yourselves. As our respect and love for ourselves grew, we attempted to shout it to the rooftops—beefing up our selfie game on social media and believing in the mantras and affirmations to boost our own self-esteem. For every 5 positive posts of a woman loving herself there’s at least two toxic comments from some nigga trying to bring her down. Then we get called hoes for quoting City Girls without realizing that the lyric we quote the loudest is declaring that we no longer care about you. “Real ass bitch give a fuck about a nigga” is our shit because we feel it so hard– most of us can take or leave the rest. We are not for real off some City Girl stuff we got babies and jobs, just like you don’t cook drugs and are not a billionaire. Males are butthurt and defensive because they think we’re up to silly hoe shit trying to finesse money and meals when really, we’ve just wanted the bare minimum of effort and respect.

hey beautiful ain't working

We stopped explaining this because males don’t listen and because the response is never to simply try a little harder. The response is usually to degrade women even more and at the very worst try to attack our self-esteem by making vicious comments about our looks. In my opinion, males are the grinches who have attempted to snatch the fun and freedom out of summer by….

  • inserting the opinions of their male gaze about women’s bodies (hair, makeup, etc)
  • by refusing to develop the basic social skills to flirt and show baseline interest in women
  • and by using technology as a database to collect empty interactions instead of finding a few women you can actually be yourself with and enjoy their company thus enhancing the casual sex appearance for everyone involved and not unnecessarily wasting anyone’s time.

I personally choose to assume that males have become so uninteresting because they have overloaded their rosters and don’t have enough personality to spread around. I have to believe this because it is truly depressing to think that you all might actually be this boring.

*an actual text conversation I’ve had*
Me: What do you want from me?Him: To get to know you better
Me: Oh, cool so what do you want to know?
Him: Everything in due time *proceeds to send 4 consecutive “good morning, beautiful” texts with his picture attached for the next week

Me:

What

Summer dating is a bust, my ladies. Let’s pack up the rental and have a beach photoshoot by our damned selves because none of these niggas are about that life. Let them walk around pale asf this summer waiting on the right woman whose ass is big enough, skin light or dark enough, toes perfect enough—or whatever the standard is these days. I can tell you what the standard is not: being a multi-layered individual that has more to offer than a warm pussy, cool apartment and Netflix account.

But Wait, Is There More?
Men lose this summer because self-love wins. Fuckery gets blocked or ignored and we are no longer accepting “that’s wild” as an adequate response to what we have to say. We are people, not just pussies and if you want access to the precious it’s really not going to kill you to be an active listener over some ice cream, or walk in the park or *insert date activity that involves some kind of bare minimum planning on your part*.

I have much more to say on the topic, including a breakdown of the different types of male summer losers and even some cheap ass, free ass date ideas for the males who want to attempt at winning this summer. And seriously, I am super annoyed that I even have to write this because to be completely honest, most women don’t care about the money you have or your looks or status—we just want to be treated with respect and the baseline level of interest that most human beings are able to express to one another. If you are not interested in a woman enough to show her any real personality or true effort to get to know her as a fellow human being, then why are you so anxious to put your penis inside of her? When is it time for you to know YOUR worth, King?

But more on that later…part 2 coming soon!

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The Obligation to Love Your Oppressor

12 MIR Poetry Gallery
“You know, you really wooed me. You are really something else,” he said softly. It sounded so kind, almost even like a victory but I knew better. It was a sentencing, deep down I knew it was my punishment.
He then went on about his business, bedding women and taking names later. I went about mine, traveling down a slippery slope of depression that led to too many losses to count. I deserved to be punished, perhaps. We were not in a committed relationship and everyone knows that those situations are best worked out when the woman remains loyal to a man allowed to do whatever he wants. I could never be that loyal, it never seemed fair to me, So after I begged him through the ugliest of tears to allow me the label of being his girlfriend, he rejected me. I wandered into the arms of a married man and broke his shit up as badly as I had been broken.
The cycle of pain was a vortex that had me sucked all the way in. I always assumed I deserved all the heartache and pain coming to me because of karma.

Bubbling Over the Surface
I have been stuffing down pain and trauma experienced at the hands of males my whole life. Because it’s not trauma– how dramatic of me, it’s just the way things are. I have sat in several counseling sessions never mentioning molestation by another abused little boy because what little girl hasn’t been molested? I couldn’t play the child molestation card in life, I had to get over it. When it was time to give up my virginity there was no discussion session for me to explain that I was really scared and not ready. Sex is what you do to be accepted. Sex is something you do to gain love from a man. I had spent my high school years so lonely and unwanted I really just wanted to finally feel accepted.
We would make out and pet each other on my parent’s couch and when he left I burst into tears and I never knew why. Looking back on it, I wonder why he never asked me why I cried. We were young–19 and 20– but isn’t that old enough to care about the woman you are with? Did this intimacy we created with our bodies mean nothing to his heart? He never cared about my tears well into our marriage. Some nights I slept in the bath tub or on the bathroom floor devastated that we were falling apart and I couldn’t save us. I was the only one fighting for us and it was taking its toll and wearing me so thin. I still don’t know why I absorbed the weight of the entire marriage on my shoulders–maybe because women are the keepers of love. We fight for it and we are expected to make it work, regardless.
Nevertheless, I learned early that showing weakness is a drop of blood in shark-infested waters. To this day I hold back pain and tears because I know it causes a visceral reaction in men. “What the fuck are you crying for, that doesn’t solve anything,” they would say. I could never express the gravity of my abandonment issues, I could never level with a man about my depression or anxieties in any relationship because my traumas would always be diminished to dramatics and acting overly emotional. I was even called an emotional manipulator and I owned that title for quite some time. Clearly something was wrong with me. It was my issues causing these men to cheat or emotionally abandon me. I wasn’t good enough.
I swallowed my tears and toughened up accordingly. I came to the table with facts and a clear head and a basic desire to be treated with love and respect. I found myself being set on fire, gaslit into oblivion. No man ever said to me “I was wrong, and I’m sorry,” as the end result. I always found out about infidelities far too late in the game because I’m the woman and I am supposed to trust first, right? If he tells me he’s not cheating I need to respect it and stop bothering him like a crazy black woman. We are all crazy! If I make him mad enough with accusations then he would be justified in being unfaithful. If I notice inconsistencies I have no choice but to let it go. That is how you support a man– you pretend to believe his lies until you’re numb.
The past year of my life I have felt a shift. I can produce a detailed timeline of when and how he fell out of love with me over the course of a 3-year relationship. I watched it happen in silence. Sometimes I spoke up about it but those conversations only speed up the unraveling process. A man will take you from queen to peasant so gradually that you don’t even notice until you’re home alone on New Year’s Eve or performing on stage and returning to your chair alone as always. There is no one to cheer for you, to hold your hand or drive you home. You find yourself alone in your own relationship.
I stopped making excuses for these men. I just buried the pain away because I’m a mom and I have a career and so much going for me. I stuffed it down because I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with my issues of self worth. I casually dated a young guy a few years ago. He said to me, “I’ve taken other women out on real dates I just never have with you.” There was a flash in my mind of those wild days, men coming to my door with a bottle of whiskey and a smile. No dates. Just my empty search for affection and their desire to get their dicks wet. A few were fascinated by my quirkiness but it was never enough to keep them. It never made me worthy.
I stuffed it all down. He told me what I needed to know: there are women who are worth it and those who are not. I was not.

Trigger
These recent cases of women coming forward to accuse their oppressors is triggering me. I didn’t expect the amount of pain to come to the surface and rear its ugly head. I’m just so confused. We ride for men, we don’t snitch on them, right?
In exchange for them filling the voids of our emotionally absent fathers and boyfriends we allow them certain tendencies. What kind of weak bitch does that make me if I admit just how uncomfortable dick pics are? That’s no fun. It’s greedy to expect a man to care about who you are and what you’re about AND pay attention to all that ass. He’s going to choose that ass every time. His homeboys are there for shooting the shit about dreams and building camaraderie. It’s our job as women to take care of them in all the other ways.
I was taught through many examples to stand by my man regardless of my own happiness and fulfillment. Black culture teaches that turning on a black man is the worst thing a black woman can do. I once called the cops on my obnoxious neighbor and my mother reamed me out for possibly endangering his life. (He continued to intimidate and threaten me over the incident until I moved out. I remained silent about it because I knew my husband was not the type to defend me or involve himself in the situation. I simply had to pray that it never escalated beyond verbal bullying.
Black men are an endangered species and through the years have proven most dangerous to my psychological wellbeing. I don’t know how to reconcile those two facts.
Now that educated and independent women are on the rise we’ve been elevated to gods and expected to do even more. We should be honored to be side chicks. We need to protect our men and submit and cook and clean and ride for them. If he hits you, you can’t call the police. If he cheats on you, you have to become a detective and figure out what you did wrong. It’s your fault for not keeping him happy. Life and society has torn the black man down, we have to be a source of peace. My heart is in turmoil, I have been let down and lied to and made to feel so small and worthless and not good enough by the very group of people I am supposed to protect. While black women are protecting our men, who is protecting us?

Trauma Does Not Equal Drama
I resign, black man. I used to write passionate poems for you in an effort to remind me why I loved you. Maybe I really wrote those things in an effort to drown out the voices in my head crying out in pain.
I can’t allow another man to inflict damage upon me without taking responsibility for it. I can’t allow another man to introduce trauma into my life then accuse me of being dramatic when it’s time to work through our issues. I cannot play these games that men and women silently play but no one ever really talks about. It’s not a stabbing or a shanking it’s tiny little cuts that lead to small infections until it begins to spread. It’s all over my skin and I have never been able to properly heal.
If a nigga would show up just one time with a pack of band aids and some antiseptic maybe I would have it in me to try. But you keep throwing salt on the wounds created by you and the men who came before you and I can no longer expose myself to that kind of abuse. Gaslighting is abuse (I could write a book). Name calling is abuse. Abandonment, both physical and emotional is abuse.
I don’t have the energy or the desire to woo or impress a man anymore. Every time I have fought to assert my worth It has meant nothing. I have no desire to save or fight for a man any more after being hung out to dry and left completely alone and unprotected too many times to count.

I no longer feel the obligation to love you. I’m done.

Is Having A Man A Luxury?

Independent

As a woman, a black woman at that, I am first to admit that the quest to “have it all” is not an easy one. Juggling career goals, chasing my writing dreams and aspirations outside of the 9 – 5, involvement and engagement in the lives of my children, maintaining relationships with friends and family, carving out time for myself, and finding the time to affirm and cater to the man in my life is kind of like a never-ending whirlwind. At best it is an extremely fulfilling and hectic life; at worst it is enough to make me scream and pull out all of my hair. When the going gets tough—what on that list of things should go?

Last week’s episode of Being Mary Jane gave us a closer look into the life and times of Mary’s best friend and co-worker, Kara. Enter Kara: savvy career woman, part-time single mom trying to make time for her kids, navigate her strained relationship with her ex-husband and maintain a sexy affair with the generous and considerate man in her life. She flubs a school parent/teacher meeting, screws up her work schedule and has to stay late missing out on her date with New Boo who was kind enough to bring takeout dinner to her place of work, along with a shoulder to lean on. THIS is a good man. However, in the eventual reorganization of her life goals and priorities, at the end of the episode HE was the first to get rifted. I….do not get this.wpid-img_20140930_081126.jpg

All the ladies, independent—put your hands down, have a seat and listen. I suppose it is nice to tout things like, “I don’t need a man,” “I take care of myself” etc—I get it. But it’s also REALLY nice to lay on a warm, hairy chest (or no hair, whatever you like) and vent about your stupid co-workers while shedding tears of sheer exhaustion. It is wonderful to be down to your last two dollars and have someone hand you a twenty dollar bill and make your broke ass some dinner. Dare I even mention the joys of sexual healing? Moreso than that, does anything beat the comfort and security that comes along with sharing intimacy with a person who has seen you naked in body and in spirit? We have friends and family that we are close to, but it doesn’t get any closer than the person who leaves a wet spot on your sheets after lovemaking, who talks to you about deep life events while taking a massive shit and snores softly in your ear some mornings—the smell of their morning breath fresh on your nostrils. All these things are not a luxury to me…they are a gift.

I struggle so much. At peak schedule I try to do at least two poetry open mic events a week, I scrape in time with the kids—and honestly most of that time I spend curbing my irritation at the things they didn’t do, or the last minute homework or project or doctor’s appointment that is being thrown my way. The morning is a flurry of activity getting the kids ready, the painful commute to work, the pretending to be a nice person at the job for 9 hours, the hustle home—and somewhere in between there’s maintaining social media accounts to advertise the blog and actually writing and posting original content for the blog. By 10pm I am lying in bed fighting back tears because I know I need to take my out of shape ass to the gym. So I go. I am sweating on the elliptical, hating life and wishing for death –when I get the text that my man is finally home from his 12 hour workshift. I push a little harder on that last 15 minutes of cardio, I leave the gym with pep in my step and I drive 20 miles up the highway to get to him by 11pm at night. Just before I see his face I feel this tension in my forehead and I think to myself, “Why am I doing this? I can’t live like this—something has to give!” He opens the door smiling brightly, immediately makes me laugh and gathers me in a hug every time. Weight=lifted.

wpid-img_20140903_131531.jpg

Never under estimate the life that a loving relationship can breathe into your soul. I am barely sleeping trying to maintain it all but when I leave him I feel a hefty deposit has been made into my zeroed out bank account. Even if I just make it through his door and pass out on sheets that smell of him—it is enough to be that close to his comforting presence. The grind life, the busy life, the super single mom life is overrated to me. We are so willing these days to sacrifice interpersonal relationships when I truly believe that these are the only things we can actually take with us when we die. Companionship is awesome, and we allow ourselves to forget that because we are lonely and don’t want to admit our true desires or because we are so busy filling our time with being busy that we don’t have time to realize we might be missing something. In this day and age, having a man is not a necessity but I surely don’t see it as a luxury as it is sometimes perceived to be—especially to single moms. I love my children and somewhere along the way I learned that it’s ok to love myself and take care of my needs as well. Companionship–relationship adds to my life and who I am as a mother, writer, friend… person. We treat men as if they are expendable accessories then wonder why they have so much trouble committing to us. We want to parade them around on Instagram, have them buy us things and tell us we’re pretty then the moment life gets rough we try to drop them for fear of being abandoned in time of need or maybe because deep down we truly believe that they are a luxury that we don’t deserve to have in our lives.

If anyone has never told you: you do deserve to have a good man in your life if that’s what you truly want. You deserve to have help and affection and attention from someone who cares about you and your busy life. If you are willing to sacrifice sleep and time away for the sake of having it all, why not do the same for a person on your team whose goal is to help you along the way? Is a dependable, supportive, consistent and loving man in your life a luxury to be given up when the going of life gets tough? I think not…