I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Dark Season

Supermom

August has barely even ended and I am already wrapped up and completely done with summer. My final pedicure was 2 weeks ago (no gel) and my final stage performance on August 25th ended with me browsing online for comfy fall sweaters. The kids have their school clothes, and—after one last trip for additional school supplies this weekend—I am battening down the hatches and lying in wait.

It is Dark Season, my friends. As a parent who compartmentalizes A LOT I find this time of year stressful af and I have never identified with the commercials showing parents dancing gleefully down the aisles of office supply stores celebrating back to school season. There are so many moving pieces to my life that my head starts pre-spinning in mid-August, fretting about the stress of my commute, time management, shorter days with less sun and juggling parenting and school obligations vs. work and Whiskey Girl obligations. I am a walking, talking ball of stress and emotions at least until spring—and that’s a long time to be absolutely out of your mind while pretending to be a functioning adult.

This year, it’s looking as if Dark Season is being combined with my worst nightmare: actual success. Together, the two are a recipe for a mental health disaster! I have had more invitations to speak on mental health, to perform and to host and produce events than I have ever dreamed would come to fruition. I am over the moon excited that my little brand has gained some traction but I am also riddled with anxiety that I may not be able to juggle this lifestyle. I can’t sacrifice sleep because without sleep I am a murderer. I can’t sacrifice any more time with my daughters because I want to be a real cook dinner, help with homework, embarrass-you-while-bra-shopping kind of mom. Lastly, I absolutely cannot sacrifice my full-time job for obvious reasons like health insurance and not starving to death. [Side note: I have eliminated dating but that’s not really adding any time back into my schedule since dating nowadays is mainly “wyd” texts from dudes sent well after 10pm].

Last night, after the kids went to bed, I found that I couldn’t open a jar of salsa so I sat on my couch and cried for half an hour. Today, I used a knife to pry the jar open and performed an epic victory dance that probably lasted about 30 seconds longer than it should have. Clearly, I need to brace myself for the peaks and the valleys, because the fear is that if this is the first week of school I may end up in a mental institution by December. My challenge to myself this year is to do a better job of leveling my emotions so that I can experience more balance instead of the constant rise and fall of a terrifying roller coaster.

Although I am a single parent I still recognize that I am a privileged parent. I have hella family support, I have hella flexibility with my 9-5 job and I am starting to gain support for my creative endeavors. I am a person motivated by the good deeds of others and the concept of paying it forward, so in this case NOT having a nervous breakdown is definitely a way to show that I am worth the investment! I feel as if I owe it to my parents, my job and mental health sufferers/fellow advocates alike to keep my shit together for as long as I feel led to spread myself across these various projects. Most importantly, I feel that if I successfully juggle this lifestyle I will be able to show my daughters a realistic example of what it looks like when you follow your dreams.

 At the end of the day, I want my daughters to know that on the road to finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose, some days you may cry over unopened salsa.

 

**Stay tuned for Dark Season updates throughout the fall and winter season**

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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*

The Loneliness Chronicles: Part 1

13 MIR Poetry Gallery

Break ups are rough. I really tried to avoid ever having to go through one again so I fought like hell for my last relationship before calling it quits. Since its ending I’ve struggled with how I should catalog, observe and overthink about all of my emotions  aimlessly floating around. I am very much a writer that needs to bleed and share as part of my healing process but I want to be sure I am as respectful as possible addressing break-up-related topics because 1. I eventually want someone to have sex with me again and 2. At one point I REALLY loved that man and have respect for all he’s taught me and the greatness of our time together. I loved him. There are parts of me that still miss him and often, I feel lonely without him.

My inner circle of friends–who are surprisingly rational and pragmatic in spite of the fact that they’re my friends–have prepared me to brace myself for the inevitable loneliness that comes after a break-up and can last well into single life. I am not bothered by the concept of loneliness because it’s a natural ass human emotion and I’ve seen people navigate/have had to navigate through these feelings before. I know beautiful, smart, successful women who still experience that dull ache that sneaks up on them in hidden moments. The problem is that loneliness is sometimes associated with emptiness when I don’t think the two are as closely related as we tend to think. I like being alone, I understand that I am a complete and whole ass  person so when I feel lonely I don’t think it has anything to do with being incomplete or empty—I think we just freakin’ need people sometimes! We crave connection.

So…Just Love Yourself, Right?

Self-love is a wonderful thing. It is a long overdue concept, beautiful in its simplicity and practicality yet so easy to neglect. I am glad that it’s the latest buzzword on everyone’s lips and that we are all taking a moment to reflect and think about what it means to truly love ourselves. As with any good thing, it comes with a sprinkle of bad—which is, we can forget the purpose of self-love in the first place. Loving yourself and becoming firm in who you are—protecting your vibe and your spirit—is a practice that helps us to love others better, it’s not just for us. None of us are an island. I mean, good for you if you are the “cut a bitch off in a heartbeat” type of person but you are probably also lonely and acting too tough to admit it. A certain part of me wants to be driven by my anger and heartbreak but I realized from my last two nervous breakdowns break ups that I have to do shit differently if I plan to survive the after effects of emotional devastation and relationship separation. The remedy to surviving is OF COURSE self-love because that means you don’t need anyone else to define who you are. You are a free standing, infinite and self-sustaining resource for your own happiness. However, being whole and complete does not mean you won’t experience loneliness, so try not to beat yourself up about it.

The key to self-actualization is not avoiding experiencing or having to sit in negative emotions. For my personal journey I find that I am at my best when I accept reality and avoid dwelling on negativity. But sometimes shit sucks and I have to acknowledge unhappiness or unpleasantness and I have to feel it through until it’s over. I notice that I have prolonged my depression in the past by running from it or pretending it wasn’t real. It’s like a few weeks ago when I was cleaning the house and sliced my finger open on a piece of broken glass. I didn’t want to go to the hospital, I had shit to do! I didn’t feel like it and I could have probably survived just fine without the drive to drop the kids off at my parent’s house and the additional drive to the hospital. However, I had to grow up and make the trip to get stitches and a stupid tetanus shot even though I wanted to avoid it. The laziness in me didn’t feel like diagnosing a basic ass problem and going to get the shit fixed.

Navigating Loneliness in a Fake Ass World

The stigma of loneliness is the kicker! I held onto my last relationship for about 6 months passed the expiration date because I was afraid of who I was supposed to be when I became single again. I like to be raunchy and ridiculous, crack sex jokes and just be loose and carefree. I worried that I would have to change those things and be more careful about how I present myself because I didn’t want to come off desperate or lonely. I worried that people would be able to sense a lonely vibe from me and judge me because of it. These are all anxieties on top of fretting about how I was going to battle loneliness after severing ties with someone whose title and presence in my life validated me. I was not really pressed to be anyone’s girlfriend until I became one and it was like a sigh of relief. “I belong to someone. Someone, besides me, thinks I’m dope!”

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Yeah, none of that shit matters. 1. I was unhappy in my relationship because we were super incompatible so I was battling with loneliness anyway 2. I realize now that loneliness is not really a battle or anything to fight against. It’s one of those shameful emotions associated with weakness so no one wants to admit that they experience it. I always find it ridiculous when we try to shame normal emotions as if they are bad character traits. There is nothing wrong with me, I just want some TLC sometimes!

TLC doesn’t have to come in the form of a large penis and deep voice [at least I chant this to myself daily!] but it can be a quick chat with a friend, a smile exchange with a stranger, or even hugging a pet! Loneliness comes in waves—there are some big ones that can knock you the fuck out. You gotta sit in those, journal about it, think on those feelings while keeping your mind’s eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. That takes hella practice and it is still an excruciating process that may not even pan out in the end. The relief is that sometimes the waves are small. Sometimes, it’s just a splash of water, not enough to drown you but you will need to take a second to regroup and dry off after.

Loneliness is real. While you don’t have to be as TMI as I am being about it, no one should feel they have to deny the emotion or beat themselves up about feeling that way. Reading hateful comments on random social media posts make me feel lonely, watching the chaos and destruction of the world unfold on the news makes me feel lonely. I associate the emotion with disconnection and I’m now fixated on dedicated to exploring what activities and/or thoughts bring me back to earth and reconnect me with humanity and myself. I am navigating this bullshit, I am not thrilled about it but all aspects of life are not thrilling. I just need to embrace my reality and learn to validate my own emotions while releasing myself of the stigma society attaches to them.

And that’s real…

11 MIR Poetry Gallery

*For more micro-poetry follow me on Instagram @whiskey_grrl*

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)

 

Why We Hate Tasha

Screenshot_2017-08-07-13-40-16-1

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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This is a Subpost

I am a 33 year old woman, I like to think I know a few things. For instance, I know that a lot of things in this life are temporary and that life itself is not fair. I know that love is not a fairytale, it is actually pretty rare and there doesn’t have to be a bunch of pomp and circumstance surrounding it for it to be great. However, I still stumble over the fact that two people can go through the trouble of finding each other and falling in love while somehow still being unable to work things out to be together. 

Apparently, all the wonderful things about a person can be trumped by just one bad trait or circumstance or belief. All the wonderful things about a person can somehow not be enough if they aren’t able to give you the one thing you really need to feed you soul. All the wonderful things about a person can rip your soul to shreds when it comes to making the tough decisions about your future, goals and expectations.

All those wonderful things will have me up at night for a very long time contemplating the magnitude of what I have sacrificed…

this is over

If you are no longer faithful, please let me go

because I am lonely and I’d rather be lonely alone

without expectation of physical touch that you choose to outsource

while I am too disconnected to realize that we have run our course

this is over

and so is my willingness to tolerate neglect

and to believe that somehow you were offering me your best

you were never ALIVE

you were soulless carcass

you…were heartbeat’s rest

stillness and calm before a storm that never came

rainbow, shooting star, cool summer rain

lucky penny, four leaf clover

but this…is over

as well as my desire to live out my days while sober

I need drugs to help cure this persistent ache

only so much one soul can take

if I can’t die, I at least deserve the option of not having to be awake

without you 

I’m not sure how that life even goes, I have been you

you are everything and all that I know

the more I need you, the more it seems to just push you away

and I weigh the bad times against all the good and I stay

knowing we will never quite love each other the right way

this should be over

but you are so lost in familiarity

whereas I am madly in love with you completely in awe that you’ve chosen me

insecure within your security

driven by jealousy and abandonment issues, I love yous turned into I miss you’s

and I got scared

and we both lost our grip on each other

I fear i may have nagged you into the arms of another

or maybe you just realized that I was not worth the maintenance

lost the will to fake it and checked out of relationship in broad daylight

we tend to exist in twilight, you and I

and I am not quite yet ready to go dark

let’s go back to the people I know that we are

let’s start over

seriously, can we start this thing over?

I already taste the agony from missing you advance

you haven’t even left yet

and I am never sure if I actually want you to go

I just want my brain and heart to finally reach a consensus

there is no future in this

baked cookies and blended families are a complicated fantasy

that pushes the boundaries of intimacy you are willing to show me

your damaged love will not grow me

just as my unconditional love will not change you

the smart decision is to be through

after we have traveled around and around; dark places took us under

we will never reach the level no man can put asunder

and no matter how much I wish it, I will never be your heart’s rightful owner

you will never turn it over

we are only getting older

this

is over

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

joe_photo

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

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

Pictures and pictures of the smile I remember

This just can’t all be true

I hope he makes the biggest mistake

The unforgivable that makes your heart break

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girl if you don’t get the fuck from me

I know you thought we had somethin’ special

But you don’t mean nothin’ to me

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

Well, damn.

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

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

Loving A Soldier in A Time of War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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