360°

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It has been one hell of a year!

In many ways I would truly like the year of 2019 to go fuck itself. However, I’m aware that I shouldn’t make such negative declarations because of the many lessons that life has taught me this year. I have had this premonition for a while now that I still had a major transitional phase left in my life, and from what I know of life so far, I knew that it was going to be ugly. This year has been ugly.

I started off the year making great money with plans to pay off debt, travel and to FINALLY be able to 100% support my children’s expenses. I write about what it is to be a single mother managing her own mental health yet it is always with the caveat that I am privileged to receive a ton of help from my parents and other family. I am grateful for the support, but I also feel like a failure as a mother who requires so much assistance. It has been a long-term goal of mine to relieve my parents of aftercare and babysitting duties forever. I could taste the reality of the making that dream come true this year. I finally felt as if I had my life together! I even had a cleaning lady, was on my way to good credit and looking for houses to rent for the girls to have a larger space to grow.

Fast forward to today and I’m working out deals with the leasing office of my apartment building to avoid eviction and I’m pretty sure my car is going to be repossessed this weekend. I have exhausted all resources and I am, quite frankly, completely defeated and not sure I have it in me to be a phoenix rising from the ashes YET AGAIN.

April Showers

My 35th birthday was April 15th of this year. On April 2 I lost my job. A few days later I found out a friend of mine had passed away. A few days after that my car was rear ended on my way to a performance.

Back in the day, a series of unfortunate events used to be just what I needed to kick into high gear, motivating me to sacrifice and rebuild. This time around I knew I didn’t have it in me. I knew that I was going to have to take those upper-case L’s while allowing myself to slow down and face the failure and despair of it all. For the longest time I didn’t tell anyone I had lost my job because I felt completely ashamed and I didn’t want to deal with anyone else’s disappointment in me without first dealing with my own. I was also harboring a ton of fear and panic because my major worry was that I was no longer mentally equipped to juggle 9-5 office work. (At the time I did not realize that it felt pointless to me to work so hard toward goals that did not belong to me, and in my opinion, did nothing to edify the world. I later discovered that my true passion is to be employed in the nonprofit world).

Honestly, I buried away the stress of that job because the money I made was finally going to allow me to provide the life I only dreamed of being able to provide for my girls. I wanted them to trust that I could take care of them without anyone’s help. I wanted to be an example to them of a winning woman who could do things all on my own. By the time I resolved in my mind that I needed to figure out a way to manage my stress, quit my poetry and performance endeavors to concentrate on my career and building a life for us— it was already too late for me. When I am stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to shut down and I can’t think straight or make good decisions. These factors had already taken their toll in my work environment and it was too late to fix the mistakes I had made.

So, there I was: unemployed with an entire poetry tour booked and prepaid. There I was numb, unable to process the unexpected death of a friend. There I was just trying to stay afloat without swimming or treading water because managing my own depression already feels like drowning—if these waves were here to take me out, then so be it. The practical portion of my brain set up a plan to focus on full-time artistry, to maximize on the free time I had on my hands to write more, promote more, improve my marketing skills and use the money from my poetry performances to support myself in between finding a “real” job. My productivity lasted about a week before I began to panic.

And it’s strange because I started to live this double life. I was able to fake being ok (and even felt ok for the most part) for two months until my children went off to be with family for the summer. After that, I split my time between hanging out in my apartment binge eating and watching tv all day and on stages performing and hosting events. I didn’t want to “fake” good energy or feel like I was pretending at my performances so I came up with a routine that consisted of sitting in my depression all day, then an elaborate bathing, saging and self-compassion meditation ritual that I would complete before each show. I wanted to allow myself the room to still show up in my authenticity— a little weary and broken— but to also use performance to bleed out my anxiety on stage.

Delayed Flowers

I know that I didn’t act entirely responsibly during this time. I put off filing for unemployment because my brain didn’t want to go there. I wanted to triumph over the circumstances, but I wasn’t necessarily putting in the work to do so either. I couldn’t rise out of my depression, especially when anxiety and resentment came to sit alongside it. I resented how much I had to lean on others for help. I resented that I had to share my embarrassing story before asking others for help. I resented that I had to hustle more to sell books at gigs and to land more paying gigs when I just wanted to stay at home and sleep and write and cry. Whenever I allowed myself to think of my predicament and the future ahead my anxiety would build, and I would fall into a spiral of negative self-talk that would sink me into a deeper bout of depression.

At one point I had put off the thought of suicide so often that I had to allow myself a few hours to journal about the scenario because I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Pheonix

The Things I Tell Myself to Be OK

You are not a fuck up…

There are disastrous people on this planet who just can’t seem to get anything right. They blame others for their problems and seem to be in constant need of SOMEthing from SOMEone at any given moment. Their lives are one highlight reel of poor decision after poor decision while others stand back and observe the continuous loop of shit show that can be cringey to watch unfold. Some days I feel like I fall into this category or n’er-do-wells. I worry that my life will be a constant cycle of digging myself up out of the trenches only to fall back in again. What usually happens is that at a time when I need minimal help that can prevent a downward spiral, I end up trying to handle everything myself because I don’t like to put others in a position to judge my struggle.

In my first session with my recent therapist she said to me, “You don’t do well asking for help, do you?” and I thought to myself, ‘Of COURSE not!’ These days it seems to me that people go out of their way to make you feel like a loser if you need help. Or, without your knowledge, whatever deed was done by the Good Samaritan is kept on a scoreboard and if your actions don’t comply with what they expect of you in the future then you are forever villainized as needy and ungrateful. Which is yet another aspect of asking for help that I struggle with; gratitude. Most of us have a love language or some feeling we need to receive in return to help us feel as if we have made the right decision in helping someone in the first place. For me, I always thought the best way to show gratitude is to pay it forward but I’m finding that this concept doesn’t satisfy everyone. So, there is the anxiety of feeling like a total loser/fuck up for having to ask for help, on top of having to share my personal business with someone, plus trying to figure out the best way to display gratefulness. I have anxiety just thinking about it! I typically just opt to isolate myself and try to avoid the hassle of involving anyone else in my problems altogether.

I am working on it, along with working on self-compassion affirmations to remind myself that I am not fuck up for making mistakes and to not let anyone treat me as if I am. This practice is definitely easier said than done because in this world where everyone is so FUCKING perfect, most jump at the opportunity to judge someone facing a hard time—especially if you are a person who is (by society’s standards) supposed to have your shit together. Single black mothers are the most marginalized women in the world yet expected to be amongst the strongest. We are to sacrifice for our children, grind, hustle, lose sleep, earn degrees and smash our career goals to pave a better way and provide better for our children. I want to do that; however, I crave the outlet of creativity. Stage performance looks like self-indulgence and ego and selfishness, so I am not that mom. I know I am not that mom and I feel the shame of not being that kind of mom every day. Being different does not mean that I am a fuck up.

You have more control over your life than you think…

I say this to people all the time as much as I struggle to believe it myself. The worst thing about depression, for me, is feeling as if life is an unpredictable crashing wave that will drown me every time I think I’ve finally learned to swim. I become fatigued of feeling overwhelmed and powerless so I am constantly trying to find ways bounce back and stay afloat. This year has been especially difficult because I think my super black woman survival mode powers are temporarily broken. When it comes to fight or flight, I used to ALWAYS be the bitch to put up a fight but this time I allowed myself to run away. I was too weak to deal with the shame of being on unemployment yet AGAIN, on food stamps yet AGAIN, of harassing temp agencies for work yet AGAIN—so I made the very stupid decision to wallow in my own depression and hope for the best. I allotted myself time mourn and process the shame of my situation which ended up being the best decision for me, although on paper it looks like the worst possible thing I could have done.
When it became time to clean up my mess I did so without desperation and anxiety guiding my actions. I took time out to face the reality of my situation and to mentally prepare myself for the worst-case scenario which was: losing my apartment and vehicle and having to completely start over again. Once I was able wrap my head around those scenarios, I felt more powerful than ever because I knew that it would be difficult to rebuild again but also that it would not break me. I had given myself some time and some self-compassion both of which led me to feel as if I could mentally handle whatever life would throw my way.

It’s still ok to hope and dream…

I am working full-time again at a mental health based nonprofit organization. I am making about $12,000 less than what I used to make, which is a large hit to the lifestyle I had hoped to create for myself and my girls, however I am working to make sure this doesn’t deter my goals. I still want to be independent; I still want to rent a house and clean up my credit and all the other goals that seemed a lot more achievable when I was making more money. I can sometimes get caught up in the despair of a situation and say things to myself like, “Well, get used to living in a cramped apartment with your children because there is no way in hell you can afford anything more than this.”

I refuse to limit my dreams like that anymore. At this moment I am in rebuilding mode so I have no idea how I am going to accomplish those goals, but it would be silly of me to completely erase them as viable options. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I can remain determined and I can hold on to hope.

It’s ok to be the only one who cares…

I hate that I am the only one who cares about me sometimes. It feels lonely for the most part, but life doesn’t guarantee that others will care about your issues or about you to the extent that you want them to. I think in all of my romantic pursuits this has been my driving force; to find a partner that truly cares about my wellbeing and to have a partner to help problem-solve life with. Now I think I just accept the fact that it’s up to me to give a shit about ME. Sometimes others don’t have the capacity to care—which is legit, therefore it’s up to me to continuously rise out of the ashes to champion for myself. As I said, it’s an isolating feeling but it is definitely a better feeling than simply allowing myself to drown. If there is no lifeboat you just have to find the strength to save yourself by swimming to shore. This time around it was so so hard and honestly, I relied more on prayer and fate than anything. I barely had it in me to fight. I only knew that as long as I cared enough and had hope in my future and my children that somehow things would be ok.

Enjoy the sun…

On top of everything that has happened this year I have been struggling with releasing an emotionally oppressive past relationship, sexual assault, being separated from my kids (until I can financially rebuild) and other issues that I keep locked in my privacy vault that I am not comfortable sharing. There is a part of me that worries that happiness will never find me or that I will never be able to properly experience joy, but then I remind myself that feeling pain and sorrow so deeply means that I am also capable of experiencing deep joy.

I refuse to allow a dark cloud to hover over any joyous or peaceful moments in my life. I refuse to believe that there is always another shoe to drop, tough lesson to be learned or fight to be had. Sometimes in life, we simply reap what we sow and have to deal with the consequences of our own bad decisions. It is important for me to remember that bad decisions do not make me a bad person. I also do my best to sow goodness and kindness into this world—so when it’s time for me to reap those things I should allow myself to feast on the harvest.

Little Girl

In 2019 I finally acknowledge that I have been showing up a little girl in many aspects of my life. Six years ago when I started this journey—this blog and the Whiskey Girl brand—I didn’t know where it would lead me and only a few years ago I realized that this was my path to healing. Healing would be lovely if it were a one and done kind of thing but I can attest to the fact that there are levels to this shit! I have been so resistant to pain, rejection, heartache and abandonment that I allowed that little girl inside of me to take over and wreak havoc in my life. In 2019 I realize that it is time to let her go. It is time to clean up and handle my life as a woman. What I didn’t realize about healing my inner little girl is that I would go through a mourning process letting her go. I feel guilty for letting her down, for not showing up woman for her— and I feel sorrow that she didn’t get to experience the happiness I wanted for her. However, I can’t let her rule me any more and the best thing that I can do for her, to honor her and my children and my future is to finally overcome my patterns of darkness and make the conscious effort to enjoy the sun…

360°

A sign of growth is usually categorized as a 180°, meaning you have completely changed, done an about face and are no longer engaging in the same actions you were before. From the outside looking in, this year seems to have been a 360° for me. I travelled on a path in the past six years that has led me right back to where I was: rebuilding after major mental health and employment setbacks. I am even back working at the very same job I had two years ago when I just knew that I was on this upward trajectory of success and more money. I returned to my old job a little different than I was before; I am rebuilding a little differently than I have before. I am more grounded in my identity; I am less afraid of the unpredictable happenings of life. I am less controlling, I am wiser, I am freer. It has taken me years to get back to this place and when I made the decision to accept the offer to return to a career I had left years ago I did it because I realize it doesn’t matter how others view my progress. To others my life may look like a giant step in the wrong direction, but in my heart I know that I have returned to a place that is more suited for me except I am wiser this time around and determined not to take anything for granted this time. I will take a 360° over a broken circle any day.

I am complete.

enjoy the sun

Coffee with Whiskey Recap: Tips for Processing Rejection

There are a ton of bad bitches on the internet who give great advice about processing romantic rejection and focusing on being THAT BITCH. I find wisdom in their mindsets and it helps me to cope whenever I find that rejection feels so deeply personal to me. I enjoy the humor in it and their callous disregard and disinterest in men provides the kind of “tough love” example that I need to snap me out of my emotional intensity.

However, even after absorbing myself in their blogs, YouTube videos, books and other content, I usually come to the same conclusion in the end: I’m not going to dial back my intensity; I’m just going to become more selective about access. As I learn more about myself I am also examining the things I like about me that I don’t want to change–my sensitivity is one of those things. I don’t want to become tougher and change my mindset on how I love and open up to others but instead I wish to become more protective of my own emotions. For me, a major part of this journey is to learn healthy ways to process rejection in a way that doesn’t make me believe that there is something wrong with ME.

If you are like me, perhaps hyper sensitive, introspective and reluctant to trust others with your emotions in the first place, I have written this for you. It can be difficult to deal with negative feelings or the realization that just because you have taken a giant romantic leap with your heart it does not mean the situation will turn out the way you wanted it to. In this day and age there is pressure to be so bad a bitch that these things don’t effect you but I wanted to write this for sensitive women to let them know that it’s ok to be disappointed and hurt and let down. Its ok to feel your emotions and it doesn’t mean you are giving the rejector any power over you, it just means you are willing to give yourself the power to FEEL your feelings (which personally, makes me more excited/prepared to date and/or face unexpected rejection in the future).

I should also mention that as a performer it is in my best interests to learn how to experience and heal from rejection because it is not always guaranteed that when I perform or audition for shows that I will be well received. This is a toughness I need to build within for so many reasons!

Below are a few tips that help me:

Dealing with Romantic Rejection

1. Severing ties with the person who has rejected me. In this day and age we like our ambiguous relationships and to stay on each other’s radar via social media. If it’s a trigger for you and leaves you jealous and pining or stalking: don’t do it. It doesn’t matter how it looks to the other person if you need to unfollow UNFOLLOW.

2. Processing the pain and shame of the situation as soon as possible. I try to take time to name the reasons why I feel so rejected and to also pinpoint other intense feelings that may have been triggered from the situation. I allow myself a timeline of how long I can dwell, commiserate with friends, journal then wrap it up and start to move on. My timeline is typically based on what I feel is reasonable depending on how meaningful the person was to me and I am ok to extend my “mourning period” if necessary because as I always say: self-compassion is a thing. (I just also have to be mindful of when I am dwelling in hurt feelings for too long!)

3. Acknowledgement that closure is a personal journey and that adult relationships are complicated. Sometimes we don’t get straight answers especially when we incorporate God and timing/seasons,etc. It’s not up to the other person to explain much to me or to provide closure. It’s up to me to accept the new reality and to nurse my ego back to health.

4. Remembering Madonna’s quote: “Power is being told you are not loved and not being destroyed by it.”

I was very moved by this quote years ago and never knew why but the older I get the more it resonates with me. In spite of having two children and a robust network of creative acquaintances I lead a pretty solitary life and I’m very picky about those I let into my world. Once I let someone in I’ve done so because I believe they can handle what it is to get to know the real me–if I am then rejected by someone who has seen who I truly am it sometimes hurts a million times more to me. It helps me to remember that not everyone who sees me will love or understand me, and my power is to not allow other’s acceptance or rejection of me to hold so much weight over my life.

I adore bad bitches on the internet with their “fuck that nigga!” advice, but I take it all with a grain of salt because the softness is missing for me. In my mind it is perfectly ok to allow myself to feel and mourn the end of a connection. It’s ok for me to be human and process negative feelings without villainizing men (or whoever has hurt or rejected me).

Healing lies in the willingness to be open and upfront with myself about my emotions even if it makes me appear weak.

Journaling tip: think of ways you can apply these tools to help you handle all types of rejection. Do you have your own tips and tricks to help you to process disappointment and rejection?

Parking Tickets

PARKING TICKETS (1)

My father refers to parking and traffic tickets as the “stupid tax” and he’s not wrong. Yes, it enforces the law but it’s also a great way for local governments to bring in some extra revenue. I live in the Washington, DC area which is a confusing place to drive, so as I have been racking up amazing performance and hosting opportunities around the area, I have also been racking up traffic tickets.

It’s really stupid, but I can actually explain. Let me walk you through the process…

Wait, I Can Explain!

I drive somewhere to a gig or to meet up with a friend. My mood is already anxious as I am trying to navigate (I have a very poor sense of direction) as well as curate my own mood by listening to soothing music or breathing deeply the entire ride. (Sometimes it takes a lot to maintain my good cheer! I don’t know when I became this person and I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest). Anyhoo, I likely misinterpret a parking area or I don’t notice that I’m going over the speed limit in a monitored area because I also daydream a ton so I don’t notice at the moment if I am breaking the law.

Weeks later I open the mail to a special envelope from the good ole Motor Vehicle Administration. My heart accelerates by a smidge and I feel a tiredness in my bones. Money is needed for the 12-year old’s field trip, we have to stop by the Target to replace the 7-year old’s broken headphones, I have to prep for a work meeting, I need to follow up on several emails, I have clothes to wash, I have dinner to cook…a nightmare to-do list that never fucking ends! Now here I am with this envelope of more responsibility that I am unequipped to handle because I’m lazy and prone to dropping the ball. Untrue.

Actually, I am struggling to function through my own depression.

I always say that the hardest part of living with depression is pretending to be ok all the time. One of the main reasons I am so transparent about my struggle is because I want the space to not be ok—I want people to know. Ok is for other people, sometimes it’s not for me. I think of everything I have to do and I find myself becoming overwhelmed. If I don’t take care of business people will notice and judge me for not being the perfect mom or even the perfect ADULT.

So, I end up in bed all weekend obsessing about all the things I need to do. Even if I have a productive weekend, I still haven’t put a dent in the laundry, or the blog post or washing the girls’ hair. The knowledge makes me want to bang my head against the wall and cry—which I do for the first few days of the next week. The chores I didn’t do over the weekend add to the list from the week before and swim around in my thoughts, increasing the anxiety and chaos that already reside there.

Any thought of taking care of parking tickets falls by the wayside.

Clean Up, Clean Up—Everybody Everywhere…

That is until I’m at the MVA for a full day each fall using my entire paycheck to set up payment plans to lift violation flags to renew my vehicle registration. I also have medical bills, student loans and miscellaneous bills that float around in the atmosphere unpaid. Since my separation from my ex-husband almost 10 years ago, I have left many “adulting” things floating around in the atmosphere unresolved. In recent years I’ve decided to start taking the slow steps to rebuild.

I told a friend of mine who totaled his car in a suicide attempt that, unfortunately, it is up to us to save ourselves. We find ourselves alone in our dark moments and it can lead us to make decisions or fall into a state of indecision that has negative repercussions on our future. Once the fog of depression clears (for those of us who survive it) we are sometimes left in even more chaos than we were trying to escape in the first place. The idea of picking up the pieces can seem daunting. I am still in the clean up phase of my own mess so I can’t provide a concrete solution but I can offer some ideas and suggestions.

Don’t be afraid to utilize your resources.

Recently I have been working on being more candid with my inner circle about my life struggles. I am practicing the simple art of reaching out when I am feeling low. Ultimately, I have to do the work of settling accounts, cleaning my house etc, but I have found myself pleasantly surprised by how friends have been able to step in and ease some of the pressure. Non-judgmental friends can be a wonderful sounding board to help you brainstorm solutions or connect you with other people who can provide additional help in the form of knowledge or valuable services. (Speaking of which—anyone good at taxes? Asking for a friend!)

Unfuck yourself!

When I think of my running mental to-do list, I feel FUCKED. There are one million things I need to accomplish just to keep my household running. I have now also made a list of other items that are less time sensitive but still necessary business that I need to handle.

Don’t be afraid to write it down! How are you fucked? List everything, the big and the little things, then close the list and walk away from it for a few days. Come back to the list and start brainstorming ideas and/or coming up with a plan for how to resolve the open-ended issues in your life. You may find that some of the issues causing anxiety are quick fixes or are simply a matter of research and the right resources.

Bonus: if you need the emotional release you can also jot down your personal feelings associated with each task and the specifics of why you find it stressful or why you’ve been putting it off.

Take your time.

I don’t know if you can tell but I like writing lists 😊. My problem is that when I am confronted with a list it is accompanied by an accelerated heartbeat and the feeling that IMUSTACCOMPLISHEVERYTHINGONTHISLISTRIGHTTHEFUCKNOW! That feeling is my own personal anxiety bullshit that I need to overcome. If your credit is bad, paying a past due bill is not going to increase your score overnight. If you need to clean out your cluttered house for peace of mind, you can start the project in phases instead of feeling as if it needs to be done all at once. Society runs on a sense of urgency but that culture does not have to be a part of your personal mindset. Yes, life is short, but you also have time—it’s a great paradox. Take advantage!

Practice preventative maintenance.

therapy

Overcoming bad habits that I’ve picked up during my low moments has been a journey. It is not an easy thing to teach yourself how to be mentally strong but the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Mental health professionals and counselors are not a sign of weakness but of accountability and sometimes, getting ahead of an issue before it becomes a full-blown problem. In addition, a simple thing to do would be to consciously work to break past behavioral patterns. Now, if I get a ticket in the mail I’m more inclined to set aside 5 minutes to pay it right then, or be sure to budget it into my next paycheck before the fee doubles and I end up feeling double-fucked. (Of course, the best solution to get ahead of these things would be to pay more attention and work harder to be a traffic law abiding citizen!)

Fuck the haters!

No one understands the life you live but you. The best thing I’ve ever done for myself was to stop caring about the opinions and expectations of others. I didn’t sell any cookies for my first year Girl Scout this year because I was going through a rough time during the last half of last year and struggling to balance work, parenting and my own mental health issues. Most of my guilty feelings about it stem from being the only mother in troop who didn’t sell cookies but honestly, I’m not all that upset about it and neither is my daughter. Next year we are going to kick ass with sales because we know what to expect and I can mentally prepare for it. The entire point of enrolling in Girl Scouts was because she wanted to participate in the activities and hang out with her friends. That mission was accomplished and then some—the cookies can wait.

I am a huge fan of assessing situations and figuring out what can be done to relieve some anxiety so that my problems seem less daunting and goals more attainable. Sometimes it can look like riding the bunny slopes of life but if that’s what I need before I can climb big mountains, that’s totally fine. Those who are gliding down huge slopes should really be focused on their own business instead of paying attention to what I’m doing anyway. The secret is…most of the time the are!

In Conclusion

If you are mentally strong, this post likely does not apply to you. I do, however hope you read anyway because there are likely people in your circle who seem very happy and well put together but may be well skilled at hiding their depression from others. If someone were to reach out for help or a listening ear it is my hope that more people will learn to practice compassion and judgment-free listening. I think it’s silly how the world falls apart with shock at celebrity suicide deaths and murmur things like, “Wow, you really just never know.” Correct, you never know what demons others face on their personal journeys but you can choose to be a light. Empathy and love are a scarcity in this world and I just want to do my part to provide the other side of the story to promote understanding above all else.

I also want to stress two final points.

  1. Struggling to keep your shit together is not only a symptom of those who are on the low to high functioning spectrum of depression. A sudden slump in productivity and overall dreading of every day “adulting” can also be a sign of burnout or a part of a larger issue (i.e. the side effect of co-dependency which can find you so wrapped up in caretaking for someone else that you forget or can’t find the will to take care of yourself).
  2. I am not a psychologist, counselor or trained professional. I read a ton of books and I research to find ways to make the journey a little easier on myself as I navigate life as a person who “thrives” with mental health issues. I share thoughts and reflections on my journey because I want people to stop projecting their own perfectionism and mental competencies onto others. We are living in a tumultuous time in this world and the good people who spread love, who are vulnerable, empathetic and sensitive are in need of a little extra support and strength.

start over

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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

 

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)