Loving A Soldier in A Time of War


I had felt this pain before, I was no stranger to it. Except this time, I was more angry than hurt and sad. Here I was being stood up and utterly disrespected, mostly likely cheated on as well– I felt like a fool.

Because of work schedules, JW and I only have snippets of time together, usually meeting up late nights after I have a poetry event and he finishes his shift at his second job. It’s not an ideal situation, especially since my kids are with me full time outside of an occasional sleepover at their grandparent’s house, but we do our best to make it work. This night, we were able to link up and plan to meet at his house at 2am with the understanding that he would arrive a few minutes after me. A few minutes turned into several… into an hour. I was stuck. At the time staying with my parents temporarily and unable to enter into their household that late at night/early in the morning, I knew I was going to have to sleep in my car because this inconsiderate asshole had decided to stand me up!

Or had he? My mind raced back to a few weeks ago. He called me on my cellphone and put me on speaker as he was being pulled over by a police officer. “I’m going to jail,” he kept saying, but I feared much worse than that. It is never a good time to be a dark skinned male of 6 feet 4 inches. He was a threat without even trying, which I know because being in public with him is a bizarre experience. People have no sense of space; they seem to be always touching him. One time he was even challenged to a fight by some random drunk man who happened to be white—I don’t know if it was racially based. I do know that he was born with a target on his back, matching the target my two brothers and my father had on their backs.

In high school I wrote a poem in my journal called “No Peace in This House” because I knew there would never be any peace as long as my brothers were outside in the world. They were far from perfect young men, but the court dates and trumped up charges for smoking a little marijuana with friends never seemed to add up as punishment befitting their petty crimes. After hearing my brother tell the story of an officer harassing his friends and exclaiming, “Looks like that’s assaulting a police officer to me,” after brushing past a tree branch, I knew I could never trust law enforcement again. Fast forward years later, the stories pile up higher and higher and every black man has at least one. JW has several. JW with his long limbs, easy smile and soft voice is not a tender boyfriend and loving man to the world—he is a threat.

I felt a thud in my chest weeks and weeks after he and I had first had the conversation about his desire to never marry. It devastated my soul and I knew that this was an absolute in our relationship. I would never be MRS. JW and the decision to let go of that possibility was a huge thing for me to do. It was an emotional process. That night in the car as I sat and waited in fear and uncertainty I felt that same thud in my chest. Waiting here like this, heart beat accelerated and anxious about the unknown was an absolute in our relationship. As long as he is free to roam about this country he will be at risk of injury or death at the hands of the authorities or the afraid.

Is there any wonder why so much strength lies in the black woman? We are tasked with the challenge of turning our anxiety into a ball of fearlessness, optimism and emotional support for our men (family, significant others, close friends) every single day.

He eventually came home. I climbed into the passenger seat and said nothing as he looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought I was going down.” To be honest, I was scared shitless that he was, too.

What is it like to love a civilian? What is it like to have the privilege of loving someone without the added fear that you will lose them to the war…?


Great Expectations

I sent a group text the other day to my family telling them the great news that FINALLY I was a published author. I live in reality, I know that I am self-published and it’s not exactly the same hoopla that comes with picking up an agent and being funded by a large publishing company, but still, yay me! My siblings were congratulatory, my parents remained silent. It was the first stone—felt like I swallowed it and could feel it travel down my esophagus and weigh down on my belly.

I saw them later that day, and I know my mother is the type to have cupcakes, say congratulations and ask questions—but when I got to their house it was business as usual. My parents are not villains. I had to pull my eldest daughter out of her former school, I can’t afford before and after care by myself so she now lives with them during the weekdays attending their neighborhood school as well as my four-year old daughter. My parents are not villains. They give me groceries when I am poor and encourage me to go to mental health counseling and provide me with plenty of scripture as advice.

My parents are not villains—they just don’t like the person that I have become. This divorced, formerly broken, independent and kind of whacky woman is not anyone they want to hug or congratulate or give a slap on the back. She is a little broken and way too open. She is not Christian enough; and I know that it bothers them that they can’t quite tell whether I’m going to heaven or hell. Well I don’t really know either, and I had to come to a place and take a moment to stop fretting about it. I’ve had to force myself to slow down and learn to be happy and accepting and to take life one day at a time. And as for this day, I am proud of myself because I never thought I would be here. If you had asked me where I would be at this time 5 years ago I would have said, “Lying in the fetal position on the floor of a psych ward contemplating where my life went so wrong.” I have exceeded my own expectations and I am going to bask in the glory of this moment even if it kills me to smile and I have to do it through faltering lips.

In spite of the men that didn’t value me enough to treat me with respect and dignity…

In spite of what I used to lay awake at night telling myself…

In spite of how the “Christians” may view me and my life choices…

In spite of rejection from the people I desire support from the most…




I am here. And I will continue to shut out the voices of the doubters and unbelievers in order to do the thing that makes me happy. I just want to write.

Click here, to find out more and/or purchase my new chapbook Trigger: A Downward Spiral.

Fraud: The Photo Shoot Aftershock

Apparently, my little ass cheeks are causing quite the controversy. I write this post cheekily (pun intended) because I don’t know what the hell else to do. Something I was compelled to do artistically has caused a bit of a stir– which is to be expected, I suppose– and I was not prepared for the backlash. So, I’m a whore now? Ok, cool. Buuuut, someone felt the need to share and point this post out to my Dad. Say it with me guys, Awkwaaaaard!

I don’t share this post to blast the person who did it—but to put myself on blast and display. This 29 year old woman spent the entire night bawling her little eyes out and seriously contemplating taking down the previous post. It’s not that I am ashamed of the picture (the final pic of the photo shoot spread)– it’s the fact that someone felt the need to point it out to my FATHER! My honest thought process is that you would see the same amount of skin on me if I had a wedgie at the beach, but I don’t go with my dad or my family to the beach. We are pretty damned modest around each other and I didn’t want him to see it because he’s my dad and he’s not going to read what I’m saying and try to feel me or connect with my soul, he’s going to say, “Crap, I messed up—my daughter’s a whore!” I think the rule of Dads is that if your daughter’s ass is on the internet you’ve failed as a father. I respect that, rules is rules :-/

I’m kind of laughing about this now because this is how I handle all obstacles in life. Underneath it all I understand the implications of what’s taking place. I have considered taking the picture down, but I can’t let go of what it represents. It will remain, and the art of it and the accompanying post will speak for itself. For those that called me courageous, please take it back. I am a wimp and I care way too much about what others think of me. As a result of the negative feedback, I almost immediately crawled back into that box that I am expected to live in and returned to my “good girl” status. Enduring the consequences of this post is not going to be easy but I will try to fight through it. Sorry to disappoint those who thought they knew me, but just know: even if I’ve gone completely crazy—I’m happy here.


An Unlikely Husband

There is the saying “Careful what you ask for because you might receive it,” and it sounds like the stupidest threat.  Of course I want to receive it, it’s wtf I asked for! However, I do understand the sentiment behind it. In reviewing my virtual list of things I want from a companion, I came to the realization that most of my needs are actually being met.

As a divorced woman I can’t pretend that I don’t miss being married. Relationships can end badly but there are always good times to reflect back on even if it’s just the feel of never having to worry about being alone. I know what it feels like to be married so everyday I am very aware of what I am missing. On some level I do admit to being a liar in the dating game. Of course ultimately I just want to chill with someone and see where things go in sort of a loosey goosey carefree way—but I also want someone to help carry my groceries, to take out my trash, ask me about my day, and talk to about which bills to pay and whose turn it is to go to the grocery store. Functioning solo and always having to “hold it down” is fucking exhausting! Dating makes things harder because you slowly open yourself up to another person who initially just cares about you and doesn’t really give a damn about your children or your commute or your annoying boss. I met a guy recently and I remember feeling so relieved that he was a father. I smiled as I looked at pictures of his little son on his cell phone, but I didn’t even bother to show pictures of my girls because for men that’s cute—for women, not so much.

I have an overall feeling of tiredness in my body—and I’m seriously just going take a break from dating for a couple of weeks. Making eye contact and putting yourself out there to a practical stranger is more trouble than it’s worth to me these days. When I come home from a long day at work there is dinner on the stove, and my 7 year old is usually at the coffee table doing homework while my 2 year old plays nearby. The trash is taken out and sometimes the kitchen is even clean. If I need to run to the grocery store I have someone to consult with, and I can do so without having to pack the kids up and take them with me. Finally, I have some stability at home.– though it’s from an unlikely source.

A few months ago, my brother decided to move out of the house he shared with his roommate. It seemed kind of a hasty and ill-planned decision, so to make sure he didn’t have to move into some sleazy hotel somewhere I volunteered for him to stay with me until he figured out where he wanted to move. It goes without saying but it’s looking like he’ll be staying with me for the long haul. It is probably one of the best and healthiest rash decisions I’ve ever made in my life. We share finances, he cooks, he helps me take care of the children  and even watches the baby during the day—which saves me so much money on daycare. In the rare moments I am not in my introverted shell, we talk about our days and current events and the children and sometimes I get to veg out on the couch and drink beers with his friends and watch the game on Sundays.

Do I wish to have romantic companionship from the opposite sex? Well, of course but there doesn’t have to be a big rush about it. I think this arrangement makes my dating life so much easier because there’s no subconscious pressure coming from me to have whoever I’m involved with to fill a certain role. In the beginning stages the truth of the matter is: no one cares about you. Sometimes people just want what they want, then as relationships grow and progress that’s when they start caring about the other person as human being and not the “weird-eyed chick with the big ass”.  I am also fortunate that I have male friends who are invested in me as a person and love my children enough to ask about them and actually care enough to look at pictures while murmuring about just how cute they are.

The look on a man’s face after he finds out you have two children with different fathers is just plain taxing on my little heart and pride. Also, I like to deal with being totally up-front and honest with people and most are not on that same page. I’m going to take some time and spend it with the men who love me and accept me for who I am—and maybe in a few weeks or so I will resurface with some fun dating stories and experiences. As for now, I’m done.