I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Tardy for the Party

Supermom

 I don’t remember ever wanting to be a mother. When I was a teenager I fantasized about being married and having a great career, but that picture never involved children. At 15, my first job was at the Roy Roger’s across the street from my school, I would have been horrified had someone asked me to babysit their snotty-nosed little kids! For as long as I could remember, I thought of children as loudmouthed little rude people whom I wanted absolutely nothing to do with.

Fast forward to me at 21 years old, freshly married, waiting in the doctor’s office for pregnancy test results with my heart beating loudly in my chest. My husband (now ex, of course) was grinning widely—elated by the idea that just weeks after getting married we would soon be bringing new life into the world.  I was heartbroken. We had literally just started our lives together, we were super active in our church, we had awesome friends and threw awesome parties, I had an awesome little figure I used to dress to the NINES in my awesome clothes. Now I was going to get fat and have to raise a child with barely any time to spend alone with my new husband. I was not happy.

When my daughter was born I was surprised by how instantly my figure bounced back and my maternal instincts kicked in (yes, in that order). I remember breastfeeding in my skinny jeans while my husband doted on me, thinking “Maybe this life isn’t so bad after all.” Then the storm came… I began to hate my marriage. I recognized that my husband was a great dad but not really that great of a husband. (This is the point in the story where I get really vague about the details that led to the ending of our marriage. There is a spattering of former mutual friends that likely read this blog and if the information got back to him I would look like the bad person so, I will skip the gruesome details).

We divorced. I fell apart. I still had to raise my then 3-year-old daughter and I didn’t really know how to do it on my own. I didn’t want to be a parent in the first place so how the fuck had I ended up raising a child alone?! In the beginning of our separation I had my daughter with me full time. After we figured out an alternating weekend tradeoff deal, I began to feel my freedom a little bit more. Or, so I thought. I spent my child-free weekends hanging out with friends laughing and laughing to cover up my loneliness. I constantly surrounded myself with people so that I would never have to feel alone. Until I was alone. 

The Great Depression

I was lonely. When my daughter was with her father and my friends too busy to provide a distraction, I spent my time binge eating, drinking, crying and contemplating suicide. The loneliness was unbearable. I was naïve at that time, I had no idea that life was capable of such darkness and sadness. I had thought that those painful chapters in my life were  over after the depression I suffered during my high school days. I knew I had to do something about it. I knew that I had to find love.

I needed a man’s love to pour into me. I needed a man to heal my broken heart and bring me to life again. I wish I could say that I rushed my healing process because I wanted to be well enough to become a better mother to my child but I wasn’t that emotionally woke back then. I was looking for balm to soothe my open wounds because at 25 I didn’t understand that healing is a whole ass journey and most times it is a lengthy one that can only be accomplished alone.

I sought love purposefully. I had a childhood friend I knew had always carried a torch for me, so I sought after him and prepared myself for a re-awakening. This was the man who would make up for all the pain that my husband had put me through. He would sweep into my life with right amount of affection and attention— he would appreciate all that I had to offer as a woman. I would slowly be made whole again… I had not taken into consideration that this man had lived an entire life since we’d last exchanged innocent, child-like flirtations. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could have my heart broken twice in a row. I just knew that the next man I came across would be a savior.

When I found out I was pregnant with his child I was living with my parents after having given up the house I was renting. I was panicked, scared and, as it turns out, still suffering from depression with an added touch of low self-worth. How silly was I? Involved in an uncommitted sexual relationship with someone who was vague about why they didn’t want to be with me while struggling with their own personal demons. I was a doormat. I was a ball of emotions held together by his attention and approval. My pregnancy hit us both like a nuclear bomb—there was no time to react or think, we both just exploded.

I checked myself into a mental institution the night I realized that I didn’t have the guts or the violence to properly kill myself. I didn’t have the violence in me to have an abortion, either. I knew deeply that I would be unable to survive it. I held that razor in my hand, sobbing in the bathtub of my parent’s bathroom, cursing myself out for not having the balls to do the damned thing already! I barely survived that night. I spent my entire pregnancy malnourished and depressed. I worried I wouldn’t be able to love my child because I was too sad. I was prescribed Zoloft but I never fulfilled it because I was too afraid of who that would make me. I didn’t think there was anything that I could do to shake the feeling that I was drowning.

I spent years underwater.

Zombie

I was not alive for the first 3 years of my youngest daughter’s life. I still look at her in awe of how she is such a bright and happy spirit considering how completely broken I was when I carried her. I loved her instantly, but I still hated myself so my love wasn’t enough to raise me out of my funk. I was a single mother with two children, two baby daddies and suicidal thoughts. I was a lonely ass target for men to sweep in and woo me with empty words as an entry pass into my body. Sex was the only time I felt alive, the rest of the time I was just pretending. I maybe mentioned this in a blog post before but I still think of how my little girls used to follow me around our apartment watching me with their large eyes. Finally I asked them why and my oldest responded, “We just want to see you.” I realized at that moment that I was a zombie. breakdown

I still couldn’t do much about it or figure a way to dig myself out of my infinite sadness. It was around this time that a friend’s comment about my mental health pushed me into the decision to start writing again. I started this blog as a way to tell my story and to experience a release. I felt an awakening whenever my finger hovered over the “Publish” button for each post. I was surprised by the positive feedback I received and the fact that anyone even read my posts at all! I began writing poetry in journals at that time and came up with the idea to read them at local open mics to try to get more people to read my blog. I never imagined I would receive the kind of response I did the first time I shared one of my poems on stage. I was nervous but I was also tingling with excitement and anticipation—for the first time in a long time, something that I was doing felt right!

 Awakening

For the first 2 years of my “career” I was selfish. My brother lived with me at the time and he was a homebody type so as soon as I put the kids to bed I was making my way to the next open mic. I learned something new about myself each time I hit the stage and I never felt more inspired to write. I was finally waking up, but it still didn’t make me a good mom. Well, actually I should practice some self-compassion here and say this: I ALWAYS had food on the table, a roof over our heads and a stable well-paying job to sustain us. I have always been the champion and poster child for functioning depression mainly because I didn’t want to be a completely shitty mother and because I cared a ton about how people would perceive me not having my shit together. (Low-key I still do not have my shit together. I have so much catching up to do from years of not properly taking care of my responsibilities—that’s a whole other blog post!)

The more I wrote, the more I expressed on the mic and connected to people who appreciated my point of view, the more I smiled. Instead of moving silently through our apartment or barking orders, I spent more time talking to the kids and getting to know their personalities. Who knew that I had spent years sharing a space with these cute little people who were funny and fun to talk to?

Motherhood has since changed so much for me over the past 3 years. In the beginning I worried about how I was going to pour love into little babies when I had no one to pour love into me. I was obsessed with my own loneliness—but once I began to write I was able to enjoy my alone time. Blogging and performing poetry started out as a release and ended up being a beacon of hope that has led to a complete change in my lifestyle and mindset. On top of that, hanging out in creative spaces with like-minded individuals helped me to realize that I was not alone. A great deal of us are suffering in life and artistic expression provides therapeutic healing.

Sometimes, in the middle of a dance party with my daughters or while gossiping about that day’s school events I marvel at how much I appreciate my life now that I find joy in motherhood. I had gotten used to living a life of striving for perfection but after I came to the realization that we are incapable, it relieved so much pressure! I wasted time anxious about screwing up motherhood, while I was screwing up motherhood by being anxious and depressed. I was focused on all of the wrong things. As it turns out, all I needed to do to be a good parent was to allow myself room to be imperfect and to actively pursue mental wellness. Writing, speaking, sharing my story and connecting to others helps me to stay mentally well.

DoItForYouI have wacky friends, I work too hard, I might be a little too honest and psycho-babbly toward my girls but it’s who I am. We all do the best we can with the resources that we are given so I’m sure I’m going to screw them up somehow—at least I am authentically myself. I now have a better understanding of my role not just as “caretaker” but as the person who will embed life philosophies into their little brains mainly by example. I’m tired because I work a ton but I am present. I am at Girl Scout meetings, nagging about clarinet lessons, organizing birthday parties, shopping, chatting, singing pop songs, doling out advice, embarrassing them in public and all the other bullet points to the job description of mother.

Showing Up Late

Have you ever showed up late to a really great party that seemed like it was doing just fine without you, but now that you have arrived everyone seems so offended by your tardiness that they ruin your good time? I have—it’s called motherhood. My least favorite thing about being a single mother is the stories people make up about my life because of their own perceptions. For starters, parenting is personal. There is no formula that every mother should follow and there is no official council that adjudicates how well or how poorly we are doing. The only measurement of success is that you do the best you can. Obviously, if you are prone to depression like me, then you have to find ways to do what’s best for your mental wellness so that you can be healthy enough to take care of your children. As I said, I still have pieces of my life I am mending back together because I allowed so much to fall apart when I wasn’t well.

It doesn’t help me to dwell on that fact. It doesn’t help me to scroll through my social medias and wish I were more like the supermoms who constantly post pics and updates of their children’s lives and seemed totally immersed in and fulfilled by the motherhood role. I have made a lifestyle choice that is frowned upon, why? Because single mothers are supposed to sacrifice and center their entire lives around their children? Nah, it’s just not me! To be completely honest, I think it is a stifling and super unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. Black women especially, we like being seen as strong and selfless but nobody wants to be depressed or stressed so we end up hiding that part of it from the world. My identity includes “mother” but is not the whole of me.

I just want to type it again: My identity includes “mother, but it is not the whole of me. I make sure my children understand this about me because I want it to be an example for how they live their lives. I think women have a tendency to bury themselves in motherhood because the process of finding out who you are outside of everyone else (after baby daddy dumps you, completely abandons the family or even dies!) can be daunting. Growth and self-discovery can be very painful, survival mode and coping mechanisms become our go-to moves. I don’t want to just survive I want to chase my dreams and individual goals while being a kick ass mom. As long as my children are happy there is really no need to care about how others perceive our lifestyle.

Party Schmarty

Lastly, I just want to share my biggest pet peeve of being a single mother: people seem to be so caught up on the terminology. As soon as you say it, here come the questions and inferences:

“Don’t you share custody with the fathers?”

“Do the fathers contribute financially?”

“Aren’t the children gone all summer?”

“Don’t you receive a ton of help from your parents?”

My close personal friends are aware of my reality, I do not understand why I am expected to explain this to strangers or people who perceive that women use the terminology to play on other’s sympathy. Do people want single mothers to suffer? Are we not single mom enough if we’re not working three jobs with government assistance as our only support system? I do have help. I do have family support. I save a buck or two by having the kids hang out at their grandparent’s house after school instead of paying daycare. I pack the kids up and have them stay with their aunts over the summer, I beg and bribe my siblings to watch the kids whenever I have gigs. They receive clothes and gifts and hugs and laughs and texts and birthday cards from a whole community of support.

The same community that can’t always be there. They are not there when I am lugging eight loads of laundry in and out of the car or when I’m three seconds away from a nervous breakdown while ironing uniforms for the next morning. Community is not there when I am in full blown, exhausted introvert mode smiling animatedly and engaging in deep conversation about My Little Pony. The Community does not make up for the absence of a father figure in our household. I feel hopeless and scared and exposed—if something were to happen to our family I would have very little to defend us. I put on a strong face and bear the emotional burden of raising those little girls while making sure my depression, wavering self-esteem and self-doubt never touches them. I am the main parent. I am the person who can do the most damage to their lives if I fuck this up.

I fucked up. I fucked up for years, but I am present now. I forgive myself for being late, I can’t dwell on it. My twelve-year-old is blossoming into a feisty little beauty, they are both hella smart, creative and fun. I’m just so happy to be at the party I don’t care what anyone else thinks or has to say about it! I am here now, and I am having a wonderful time. 

legacypoem

 

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Who TF Is Whiskey Girl?

2019 Behind the Scenes - we are magic

More behind the scenes in 2019! {Jacket: @vintagethrivals}

I’m tf is Whiskey Girl! I am firing up the blog again and I wanted to take a quick moment to reintroduce myself 🙂

I started this Embrace the Crazy blog almost six years ago with no idea how it would forever alter my life. About two years in (I’m old, I don’t really remember the exact timeline) I changed the name of the blog to WG’s Embrace the Crazy Blog without really giving an explanation.

At the time I decided to brand myself as Whiskey Girl (WG) spoken word artist, and I changed the blog name and my social medias to match accordingly. Everything I do—from stage performances, mental health advocacy, podcast to journaling workshops—falls within the realm of things that I am passionate about. However, I tend to compartmentalize my life so I’ve done a terrible job of representing all things Whiskey on this blog.

This year, I definitely want to add more content here and take the time to showcase a more well-rounded view of who I am not just as a writer, but as an artist/performer, mental health advocate and mother. 2019 will bring more poetry, more performance videos, more transparent blog posts—including the continuation of the “I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks” series—MORE, MORE, MORE!

The effort it takes to balance my lifestyle of full-time job, child-rearing and chasing my actual dreams takes a tremendous toll on me but I absolutely can’t have it any other way. I fight for this artistry—it makes me a better person and a better mother. For all of you who read this blog and support my writing and other endeavors: THANK YOU! You are needed and you are integral in helping me to accomplish fullness of life and my goals both large and small.

I’m a month behind but I am present and I am ready to work. 2019—let’s go!!!

Good Vibes Always 

~Whiskey Girl

The “Size Matters” Gauntlet

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I’m tired of talking about my body. It seems a very strange thing to declare because I am often perceived as transparent, but I just reached a point where I became tired of talking about my body. I think about my body often and I perform spoken word pieces about it. It is all done in an effort to relate to other women and make men aware of the depth of our insecurities but honestly, I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY BODY!

When a woman larger than a size six—maybe even a size ten in communities of color—talks about her body she is forced to make excuses. Women of a certain size have to jump on the defensive and spend a lifetime explaining their bodies and convincing others to find it acceptable. Women of a certain size have specific hashtags as a disclaimer to pictures of themselves indulging in regular ass every day activities. Selfie = #CuteintheFace, full body pic = #FluffyGirlsNeedLoveToo, bathing suit pic = #ThickThighsSaveLives. Well, here’s a personal message from myself and my thighs: we are not here to save you! I am not fluffy, I am not a ball of fat that should have to refer to myself as such, I am a person.

Several years ago I wrote I Hereby Submit My Resignation As Advocate for Plus_Sized Women and I meant every word of it. Since then I put it out of my mind and made a decision to care the least amount possible because in the grand scheme of things I don’t want to be the poster child for body positivity. Cheers to the amazing women fighting that fight, but it is not mine. I am not strong enough to be a contender in that fight. My weight is a result of all the big picture shit I would rather speak about. My weight is ovarian cysts, stress eating and depression, two babies, hardly any time to exercise and/or too much time sitting on my couch staring into space willing myself to LIVE. My weight is naked, staring into the floor length mirror forcing myself to look, it’s catching my breath when instructed by deep voice to take off all of my clothes. My weight is my body, it is me and it is personal. At a certain point on this very personal journey, I decided not to care and to stop oversharing about it all the damned time. I decided not to nitpick, talk down or degrade myself any more than society and wack ass shallow people already do.

Love Yourself

I watch social media, I know the popularity of Instagram models and memes shitting on women who fall outside of the “acceptably pretty spectrum”. I have been the recipient of comments about my body – it is bullshit perpetuated by weak ass men and most of the time I refuse to show that I am bothered. But please know, I.AM.BOTHERED! I am angry because I know the truth. There are men out there who have physical preferences in their mates and want nothing to do with a plus-sized woman, but eighty percent of you niggas do not care. Eighty percent of you punks care too much about the opinions of others and you like to make women feel bad because you know you bring nothing to our table. You are egotistical, cowardly and just one of the reasons I feel so unprotected and betrayed by you. The faces of these light-skinned women with “perfect” bodies and curly hair are not the faces of the women who have raised you and held it down for you. Miss me with the “black queen” nonsense if you are only praising a certain type of black woman because there’s something in your corny ass nature that makes you think you need to condescend to us to make yourself feel better.

What I am never going to do is allow myself to be treated as less than a person over size. I am not the middle school girlfriend sworn to secrecy because she’s not popular or pretty enough. As far as I’m concerned I am the trophy—I am too busy to text you, I am working, I am raising children and making moves while you’re touching yourself on mom’s couch and posting memes about plus-sized women you cowardly pieces of shit!

Miss me with the black don’t crack beauty standard. Miss me with the expectation that my booty must be big and my tummy small, I have shit to do and worrying about your sexual attraction to my body is not IT! If size is becoming an issue of public humiliation on social media then by all means let’s throw down the gauntlet. Please post the grey sweat pants picture so I can insert laugh emoji and comment about your small dick print. If size matters and we want to make a thing of it then all women should post every single dick pic they’ve ever received and let the chips fall where they may. Even still, why are we wasting our time with short, beardless men with no hairlines?

If size matters, miss me with the oh so creative “wyd” and “you up?” texts if your dick is the size of my daughter’s number 2 pencils she uses for school. If it matters, where is your gym membership or better yet, where are your balls? Where are they and why won’t you use them to stand up for your women instead of shitting on us because we go against the grain of what sheep wish to worship. Are we all truly this weak and shallow?

I’m tired. I’m exhausted from the knowledge that I may never reach my full potential because I don’t look like what people want me to look like. When I go the gym I am angry and rebellious because I don’t want to be there for them. I have to go because I am seeking healthier ways to deal with my mental anguish but I don’t want to give in to the ridiculousness that is the constant shaming of my body. I reject it, I hate it and it is a struggle every day not to hate myself. Let that be mine—let that be personal. Let me hate ME, I don’t need it to come from anywhere else. In my darkest moments I hate me the most—and it’s true for a lot of us. So…just leave us alone.

It is a very unique experience to live in a world where men are constantly in your face, your DMs and your phone telling you you’re beautiful, wanting every piece of you, touching you and tasting you then denouncing you in public for the very things they claim to love. It is very damaging to face abandon from men in relationships, to endure lies and deceit while wrestling with hating everything about myself. Rising from the ashes to be strong is not an easy feat when the fire is still a scalding simmer. The pressure on black women to be strong, to be knocked down and to rebulid, to avoid shitty men and their careless intentions, to wear our hair the right way to work or to dare feel sexy while avoiding being sexualized and degraded and talked down to or even, worshipped—it is all E X H A U S T I N G. Please, if you can’t build us up, just let us be.

And as for my FUPA—my “fat upper pussy area”—I don’t call it that. I call it Naomi. It is me, it is mine and I hate it in my darkest moments but I rise above hating pieces of myself. I have to love all of it no matter how difficult it is for me. If you have a problem with that you are a piece of shit and I will go out of my way to call you out as such. If my size matters, so does yours and you are a very small, limp-dicked and sorry individual for going out of your way to make yet another woman– who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders for you, and life in her womb—feel less than worthy because her body doesn’t match the measurements of your favorite porn star. Women are real. Women exist to be more than your objects of sexual desire and if this realization bothers you, the solution is to literally go fuck yourself.

DoItForYou

Whiskey’s Guide to Navigating Casual Sex

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It’s me Whiskey!

The official start of summer is nigh and you are scared. Maybe you contemplated celibacy but now that the sun is out and melanin is glistening and muscles are visible beneath those sleeveless jerseys, with long dreaded hair gleaming in the light of day and cascading down sweaty necks—ahem, sorry I digress. Bottom line is: niggas are hot right now and any plans you had for celibacy have gone by the wayside. You are ready to live your BEST. LIFE [aka get your hoe on].

Never fear, Whiskey Girl here to give you some random ass advice on navigating casual sex this summer. My biggest lesson for men has always been to stop playing around with the emotions of women who are looking for real love and solid relationships. I find it particularly irresponsible because there are plenty of women out here that would love a casual roll in hay with an attractive semi-stranger [*raises hand sheepishly*] Men are savages biologically called to bust their nuts far and wide among many nations, while women are sensitive beings biologically called to cling and form emotional attachments—at least I know that I am.

So, for all of you sensitive women like me who have fragile egos and tons of emotions, let me give you some tips to help you try to stay in the casual sex game this summer. May the odds be in your favor…

Dont ask for advice

Warning: I’m really not the best person to be giving advice

Manage Your Expectations

After a few failed relationships I can’t help but mourn the loss of companionship with people who meant something to me. However, at one point I considered dating good fun and only 53% percent completely stressful as I found myself wrapped up in fantasy what-ifs and my need to try to control the outcome of every single romantic encounter. Oh, me and this person seem to like each other so naturally it’s time to daydream about a long and happy future together! It is the typical hopeless romantic’s way of jumping the gun and expecting way too much out of a basic meet and greet. If you’re going to be casual then the first thing you have to do is free your mind of any and all expectations.

Maybe it sounds easier said than done but it’s really the only foolproof way to prevent disappointment. The minute you think to yourself that a casual encounter or situation could be something more than exactly what it is [great sex plus maybe a dope hangout] you are screwed—and not in the intended way.

If you are a woman who struggles with the need to feel validated by a lover’s attention or affection then casual sex is definitely not the move for you. Typically, men who are up for casually banging you no strings attached are not much into validating your need to feel pretty or managing your emotions in any way. A hard dick may very well be the only evidence you have to work with as proof that he’s mildly interested in you at all. Even then, chances are that his interest doesn’t travel far beyond a sexual nature.

I wouldn’t even say something as optimistic as “expect the unexpected”. Bitch, if you are going to do this then you need to expect absolutely nothing. Casual sex is primal, it is in the moment and ultimately it amounts to nothing—your expectations should match those parameters and stay within them.

Poets and Whores

Limit Social Media. Period

I am a sort of millennial so of course I use social media a TON, but for mental health reasons I try to regulate it to sharing my crappy poetry and to promote my upcoming performances only. Hot bitches run amok on my timeline and even as a person with fairly high self-esteem, I find myself extremely depressed by the fact that another woman’s sexy selfies [posted 17 different times CONSECUTIVELY] will beat out my blog posts /emo-poetry any day. Social media is invasive and designed to trigger an obsessive response by giving you way too much information about other people in the form of stupid captions and shallow images. Newsflash: Instagram wants you to know that he liked and commented on that bitch’s picture.

In a normal world you would not care, but in this stupid world we’ve created where dumb shit like social media likes mean something [or they really don’t] you find yourself bothered. You don’t need to be bothered! YOU should not have to worry your pretty little head about a thing.

Casual sex is supposed to be fun! Caring about what a nigga double taps while he’s taking a dump and scrolling his timeline is not as much fun. Keep your self-esteem high and your online presence low profile. Try not to see something so you never have to say anything. Sensitive women get caught up in the pitfalls of “but why did he comment heart eyed emojis underneath her twerk video?” every day, and if you want to play the game you have to be more than your triggers. Assumptions, overthinking and obsessing have no place in casual sex because it makes you a Buzz Killington. Social media is a major perpetuator of jealousy and envy and if you don’t believe me, take a break for a few weeks and see how your self-esteem shoots through the roof. Do yourself a favor and stay away from a nigga’s page and if you don’t follow him on any medias—that’s FANTASTIC— you are ahead of the game!

Possibility for jealous reactions aside, there is also just something that feels nice about limiting interactions with people. Yes, Instagram and Facebook have their many benefits but it also makes it impossible to get a person out of your mind when they are constantly popping up on your feed. Take some space and follow if you must but refrain from obsessing and/or assuming anything from an online persona that does nothing to showcase the actual layers of a person’s day, let alone who they really are as a person.

Spend More Time Alone Than with A Partner

And I don’t mean spending time alone touching yourself. I’ve done it and many of us do—we touch ourselves because we feel lonely or the need for some kind of release or stress relief. If you’ve gone a while without having sex and start up again with a casual partner then your sex drive is going to spike. You are probably going to want sex more often and that’s normal, but also, you are not in a relationship so you can’t really monopolize someone else’s time in that way. I think it makes sense to spend time alone and engaged in other fulfilling activities to get used to your own company and reflection in the mirror.

Dick is a nice bonusEngaging in casual sexual encounters can become hurtful for sensitive women when we use it as crutch for companionship or do so to seek validation. Casual sex partners are vacation. They do not require the same maintenance or time as potential relationships and you should look at it as a chance to be free. Just as he doesn’t have to validate your need to feel desired or rearrange his schedule for you, you don’t have to make him a sandwich or talk about his day afterward if you don’t want to. Are you enjoying the sex? –is pretty much a yes or no question that has the power to make or break this flimsy acquaintance. If the answer is “no”, then move it along and find someone who looks how you want them to look and makes you feel how you want to feel in the moment.

I will say, the moment you stop feeling freedom in your situation you need to get the hell out of there! The moment you find yourself obsessing and caring a bit too much about what he thinks and expecting treatment outside of the scope of your original intentions then you’ve already fucked up and you need to retreat ASAP! Even if just for a moment to regroup and get your head back in the game.

Don’t Fuck Your Friends

*sing to the tune of Don’t Bite Your Friends by the gang at Yo Gabba Gabba*

You Don’t Have to Juggle Multiple Partners

Body countIt’s casual, you are not in a committed relationship. But remember, it’s ok if you don’t want to juggle multiple sex partners too. Either way it’s really no one’s business but your own. If you are using protection then there’s no reason other sex partners should come up in conversation, anyway. Sex is intimate, it is possession and it is a very serious thing that we have turned into a lite version of itself but our bodies and our brains know what it really is no matter how we try to convince them otherwise. Men have a habit of wanting to possess you [your snatch, really] with no intention of actually wanting to be with you so avoid the “how many other people are you seeing?” conversation like the plague.

Whether you are seeing multiple or just the one person—never answer that question. Ever. You have no loyalty to this person, and at the same time have to understand that they have no loyalty to you either.

Communication is Key

I find that communication is easier in casual situations because there’s nothing for anyone to lose so I’m prone to being more direct. If you say or do something too honest or transparent that turns him off…ok, well on to the next! However, the difficult part about open communication and transparency is that you have to be open and honest with yourself. What is it that you want out of your casual sex relationship? Are you killing time until you feel ready to date for the purpose of a long term relationship? Are you open to more than just a sexual relationship? Are you having sex with a specific person in the hopes that maybe they will grow to like you and want something more? It’s ok to be honest with your intentions and to communicate those things with your sex partner. It is also ok for your thoughts and intentions to change over time—it’s just important to stay in touch with your emotions before and after each physical encounter. Take a moment to come down from the sexual high and evaluate how you feel.

Or, if you’re like me and just riding the wave until you figure out what you’re doing, then you can be honest about that, too. You don’t have to know or have a plan for where the path is going to lead, you just check in with yourself often to make sure that you are happy with the journey.

Or, Maybe Don’t Do This…

…if you find for any reason you are not happy or are engaging in empty sex out of loneliness or during a confusing time in your life. You don’t have to know the answers to everything, but your instincts and intuition can tell you right away if you are not about this life. Sex is treat! It’s hella fun and beautiful–one of my very favorite past times—but it’s also very private, personal and seriously intimate. It can be a mindfuck if you have an innate  reverence for other people’s spirits and bodies.

Personally, I am not even sure if I am about this life and I’m not really following this advice all that closely. Were I to play the casual sex game the way it were supposed to be played I would become fearful of who that would make me.

I want to feel things.

Honestly, I think we are all fucking up a little bit. We’ve ruined intimacy and the specialness of human touch and real conversation. We use sex as a cheap and instant way to pretend we feel alive and connected, but are we, really? Or are we just so hardened by life experiences that sex is the only time we feel comfortable being vulnerable with each other? Sex is the only action that speaks more softly than words—it’s value is next to nothing these days. Through all the nonsense I subject myself to, I  am keenly aware that my value is much more than the frivolous activities I often engage in as I’m sure that yours is too.

Let’s hope that at least one of us will rise above this kind of bullshit and not travel so far down the road of casual sexual encounters that we become a little lost in its nonsense. Have your fun now, but it doesn’t hurt to check in every once in awhile and ask yourself, “Am I still having fun?”

Freedom and self harm

 

*WG is a Washington, DC-based blogger, self-published author and spoken word artist. For more content please visit www.whiskeyandpoetry.com*

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: I Don’t Get No Respect!

Supermom

I am watching the 259 thousandth episode of My Little Pony with the kids and have come to the realization  that those little ponies are always so super happy because they rarely ever have to interact with dudes. Seriously, male ponies are prominently featured maybe every 5 episodes and appear– with no speaking parts– every other episode or so. That’s the life!

I want to live amongst women a la My Little Pony style or that awesome island where all the tall, hot chicks lived in Wonder Woman. Navigating the sometimes catty and overly communicative ways of women sounds most appealing right now because at the end of the day, at least I know they will respect me and the shit I have to go through every day just to make my life work [including some sort of enjoyment, which I’m beginning to believe men don’t want me to have]. I can barely even command an ounce of respect from the men whose children have permanently stretched my vagina and rendered my bladder completely useless for the rest of my life. Respect in exchange for a pussy the size of a tunnel and the responsibility of raising little souls to not be terrible members of society is not too much to ask, in my opinion [at the risk of sounding controversial -_-]

Dudes with baby mothers: most of us don’t want you anymore. We want you to do right by us not because we used to bump uglies and be in love, but because we are whole ass people whose emotions and wellbeing should be taken into consideration as WE ARE DIRECTLY IN CHARGE OF NOT FUCKING UP YOUR CHILD!

Below I have provided a few tips for how to show respect to the mother of your child:

Tip #1: Don’t be a lying, inconsistent asshole.

…well, that’ll do it for tips! Please note that this post is for shitty dads. How can you tell if you’re a shitty dad?

  1. You’re a shitty person [Guess what? It trickles into fatherhood, too. You have an entire lifetime to work on not being a piece of shit]
  2. You feel like a shitty dad and you try to cover it up by setting the bar extremely low and STILL manage to not meet expectations.
  3. When you look in the mirror you see a giant turd.

I hope this post has been helpful! For more from me, visit whiskeyandpoetry.com!

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.

No Room at the Table

Table Meme

If you had showed 23 year old me a glimpse into the day in the life of Whiskey Girl I would be in a state of disbelief. Although, I suppose ten years is plenty of time to have morphed into a totally different person. Ok…well, I won’t be as dramatic as all that but I will say that I never expected to be living out this version of myself. The early teenaged me would be quite proud—and slightly puzzled that I have two children when I vowed to never have kids and to focus solely on my career (as an advertising executive because I was obsessed with the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead). Anywho, the early 20’s me would be horrified. That version of me made the mistake of falling head over heels with a man and fantasized about a life of wifery on a daily basis. Who cares about education and life goals when you can cook, clean and cater to a man who barely even deserves it, right…?

We all know my story ends in divorce so let’s just hop right to it. That divorce was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to go through. I remember feeling so empty, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled throughout the whole mourning and separation process. Alas, I was a wife missing a husband to complete me and fulfill my purpose (barf!) Surely I needed a man in my life, in my household, in my presence just to be happy! Fast forward to the present annnnnnd—what I need a nigga for again?

 

Material World, Traditional Girl

I am aware that feminists don’t all the way like me because by today’s definition of the word I probably don’t really qualify as one. I like the part where I can sleep around and not be considered a hoe and attend marches but for the most part I’m a boring bitch who believes in the traditional gender roles. No one is angrier than I am when I have to carry groceries by my damned self, take out the trash or get an oil change. If I have a dude in my life why am I doing these things? I want to give great bjs and get my nails done while someone else worries about paying all the bills—but the way my single motherhood is set up; it ain’t happenin’! I am not hot enough (or motivated enough to hit the gym) for random men to be paying my bills so I’ve had to choose the life of a “for real” single mom. Like, work 9 to 5, pay all the bills and file my own damned taxes—there is no knight in shining Jordans for me.

Even when I lost my mind over some good dick and literally had a mental breakdown that culminated in job loss, I didn’t have time to dwell on unemployment and try to find a Sugar Daddy to help supplement the household bills. I ended up pulling money out of my 401k and taking a quick woosah before re-entering the workforce and finding a job to sustain myself and the kids.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m making $30K more than I made when I was fired and I haven’t asked my parents to borrow money in about two years now. (I HAVE asked my brother A LOT, but that’s neither here nor there). This is a story of triumph, my friends! I am holding it down, dropping kids off to school, helping with homework, doing hair, killing it at work, trying to kill it in the writing/poetry field—my life is FULL. My table is dope and I built the shit all by myself and provided all the food—I’m not sure what anyone else can bring to that table…

Dog passed out meme

Gotta offer more than just good sex these days! There are options out there, my dude

 

There’s the Rub…

So, here is where we have a dilemma: if I am already responsible for and happy with “holding it down” for myself and the kids then why would I be interested in adding a grown ass man to the mix who expects me to hold it down for him, as well? There was a time when I couldn’t wait to take care of a man and devote my life to his happiness. I wanted the bottom bitch fairytale where I helped a man come into his own greatness and as a reward he would never cheat on me and someday make me his wife. How lame is that? Especially since these days, men my age only seem to be offering pretty package relationships that look great on social media but lack any real substance outside of that. Can a bitch cuddle in your lap and shoot the shit about future dreams and past heartaches or nah? How are you going to support me? While I am doing this whole “submissive and supportive to my man” bit, are my emotions being taken care of/managed/supplemented? Are you emotionally supporting me, or just murmuring “For real, that’s crazy” every time I try to talk to you about what’s going on in my life?

I am not a doting housewife. I can’t absorb a partner’s emotional stress without being poured into and loved on in the way that feeds me, as well. If you aren’t giving me attention and affection then I could give a fuck about broiling your salmon or doing your laundry. Love is not enough of a motivator to have me catering to a man who is essentially bringing the same shit to the table that I am. When he walks in the door after a long day of work, I am walking in at the same time having worked the same amount of hours on top of a laundry list of household and Whiskey Girl things to handle before the day is over. My lifestyle is already overwhelming for my temperament and mental health, so the thought of adding another person to that list of responsibilities sounds downright stressful.

EVOLVE, MY NIGGAS

The success of black women is a topic of conversation these days, but men don’t seem to want to address what our evolution and our success means for them. Well, my niggas… I will tell you.

Emotional support is the new breadwinner. Gone are the days when you choose a woman and take care of all the bills while she stays home and runs the household like the CEO of your life. These days, women have full-time careers and are working just as hard as men—if not harder because of the multi-tasking and juggling that goes into childrearing (don’t get me started on entrepreneurialism!)— while bringing substantial money into the household to sustain it. To be the main person responsible for maintaining the household while making significant financial contributions is a bit much to ask. You don’t have the right to expect more of this woman, you don’t get to stress this woman or treat this woman as if she is not a real or enough or lazy because she doesn’t make a four-course meal for you every night like your Mama used to do for your Daddy. She is not that woman. She is a new breed of woman, and she doesn’t really need you in the same way that generations of men before you were needed.

I feel the hate and the weight of the world on a daily basis. I have to be a straight up thug almost every single day, so at the end of it I’m not really looking to cater to a man’s needs while forsaking my own desire for love and affection. I want us to come home and breathe life into each other. I want to take turns cooking meals and helping kids with homework and cleaning. I have no desire to be a super woman juggling it all and accepting a quick plowing at night as the only physical intimacy from my significant other. The days of phenomenal dick and half-assed conversation being enough are over—it’s time to step up the game, fellas!

F with yourself

I think black women have been more than generous with the excuses for why it makes sense for us to be the glue that holds the relationship together. The long term effects of the cruelty of slavery, history of family separation, generational curses, yes, yes, to all that—but also, no. For generations we are the ones who have been cheated on, abandoned, emotionally and physically abused by men who no doubt suffered from some very deep-sated mental health issues. We are known for our perseverance and strength in spite of these factors—if you are a man who desires to lead a black woman of such character it’s high time you started coming correct. Don’t nobody care about your degree or your air of self-importance because you’ve never gone to jail or gotten caught cheating. Accomplishing personal goals and being good to your significant other is shit you are supposed to do. In my opinion, the traditional role of the provider has been missing the emotional aspect for far too long. Nowadays, you’re bringing home the bacon to a table that already has a feast laid out on it—what else do you have to offer, my dude?

And to be honest, some of you aren’t even all that interesting. You treat us like we are a game to be played, or like a whiny inferior person whose “spoiled ass” you have to give in to just to shut her up. You show up to meet the friends and you pose for the selfie but you’re not really taking the time to know who we are as people. You express a mild interest in our daily activities but intimacy and connection never seem to be the ultimate goal. In my experience, many men don’t seem to bother making the effort to really connect on deeper levels beyond slow missionary sex and fun conversations about nothing. If you want a place at the table I would suggest you explore deeper. Barging into an independent woman’s life just to prove that you can get in is lame. If you fight your way in make sure you have a purpose there and please GOD don’t waste her time!

She built the table herself, yes, but there’s so much more to carpentry than furniture. Cater to her emotional needs; build the foundation that will sustain the table and any other beautiful thing this woman decides to create in all her strength and independence. I promise you, there is room for you—your presence, your admiration, your genuine love and your time. Those are all things I would welcome with no hesitation or questions asked.

Sext

This guy gets it!

But…Not All Men!

Of course it’s not ALL men—shut up! This is a blog post to offer you something to think about. If it doesn’t apply to you, that’s ok. And if you are a good dude that knows how to complement, respect and keep a woman happy, perhaps you should spread the knowledge to your friends instead of always commenting on how you’re a good dude to an audience who doesn’t benefit from the declaration.

Comments are welcome below. (Don’t be a dick, please)

 

Oh, White People

Screenshot_2017-07-31-18-13-56-1

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.

 

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

5.29.17 ETC - Good Vibes Color

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.

5.29.17 ETC - Good Vibes WG Tagline