Summer Losers: Part 1

summer losers COVER

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

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

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

YALL NOT DOING THIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hey beautiful ain't working

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

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

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

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

Me:

What

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

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

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

But more on that later…part 2 coming soon!

Bitches single comment

triple response to yall bitches

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.

Coffee with Whiskey Recap: Finding Gratitude

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I am on several journeys…

  -to live more authentically

-to live life more abundantly and as depression free as possible

-to learn discipline by taking control of my compulsive habits

-to find balance between chasing my dreams and active motherhood

-to practice gratitude

That last one nearly flew out the window altogether this morning when I woke up to discover my car not in the neighborhood parking spot where I left it. Lately I have been meditating on what I am grateful for in an effort to combat my negative thinking. If I don’t reel in my negative thoughts they have the tendency to spiral out into full blown mental distress, so taking a moment to think about what IS going right in my life has been helping me to curve my thoughts. However, once I realized my car had been towed I knew I was in for a stressful day. My morning alone consisted of several calls to the bank to release funds from a check, several cab rides (to the bank, home, bank, towing place) and countless deep breaths of me just trying not to snap. Focusing on the positive was not helping me, I had to dig down into the nasty stuff.

 I was feeling resentful. I resent that small setbacks have the power to mentally derail me. I resent that sometimes I don’t get to take the mental health breaks that I need to recharge. I resent that when I have to cancel an event or obligation I have to reveal to others that I am not doing as well as I’d like to be doing or as well as I sometimes portray. I resent that I have to decide whether to let the kids know when things are going wrong or whether I should hide it from them and continue to pretend everything is ok. I want to be transparent with them but I also don’t want them to worry that I don’t have a grip on my responsibilities as their parent. These were the thoughts crowding my mind and causing anxiety– yet somehow, by naming my thoughts and the feelings of resentment behind them I began to feel a little better.

 I realize I was only doing half the work. Practicing gratitude is not the sunshine and rainbows of thinking only happy thoughts to push away the negative thoughts. The first step is to name the negative emotions, feel the negative emotions then to counter them with thoughts of gratitude. At least, this was the epiphany for me this morning and a formula I have found that is vital to my healing, coping and growth process. I have to feel and completely expel emotions by identifying them first, acknowledging why I feel the way I do and then thinking of positive aspects of my life I am grateful and thankful for that put me in a position to recover more quickly from potential depressive episodes.

 Writing/Journaling Prompt

 What’s eating you? Write about your different moods you have felt over the last few months. Is there anything weighing on your mind or subconscious? Are you in any physical pain? Is there a negative recurring thought that you have yet to address? If so, what do you suspect are the possible triggers? (Are you burned out? Stressed? Fearful of happiness? Etc)

 What’s feeding you? Write about what’s made you smile over the last few months. Is there a consistent need in your life that is currently being fulfilled? How are you better off than you were the previous few months? Make a list of what you are grateful for. (This can be a living list that you add to throughout the day or over a period of time. There is no pressure to come up with a lengthy list right away!)

 Tip: Definitely stay away from comparison to others. Gratitude has to do with personal progress, people, situations and things that you are grateful for in your own life whether considered a huge deal to other people or something small and seemingly insignificant that still warms your heart. You are free to take pleasure and find accomplishment in even the little things!

 Bonus: I am also on a journey of practicing self-compassion. I am aware that I am functionally depressed to some degree and keeping up the façade of wellness takes its toll on me. The best way for me to go a little easy on myself is by realizing that I am not alone in this battle. Click here, to read an amazing blog post about high functioning depression and I challenge you to go a little easy on yourself. You are not alone. Life can be difficult– it is totally ok to admit as much while putting in the work that it takes to be ok. The road to wellness may be difficult but I am determined to believe that it is well worth it.

 I apologize I couldn’t make the workshop today, but I will plan to see you Saturday, March 23!

 Good Vibes Always

~Whiskey

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

 

Coffee with Whiskey Recap

Every 2nd and 4th Saturdays I have the honor of hanging out at my good friend’s art space sharing poetry and chatting about mental health and expressive journaling. If you are in the Washington, DC area I encourage you to join us anytime!

Last session, we had a meaningful discussion about the difficulty of letting go of the expectations of others. This can be especially tough when many of us are conditioned to seek the approval of our family members and close friends even when it doesn’t line up with our personal aspirations or our own authenticity.

It’s important to remember that true love and acceptance is unconditional. Learning to set boundaries and to release yourself of the pressure others may put upon you is a strenuous journey that may lead to the loss of relationships along the way. I assure you, the price of your own personal freedom is well worth the hardship you may experience once you make the decision to embark on this path.

Sounds easier said than done, right? Well, meditate on this!

Writing/Journaling Prompt

Write about a day in your life, 5 years from now, that reflects your idea of true freedom.

Are you working the same job? Do you have the same friends? What truly makes you feel happy and at peace?

(Tip: try to stay away from fantasy and paint a realistic picture–these should look like achievable goals for your future.)

Happy writing! I hope to see you February 9 for our next session💚

Good Vibes Always

~Whiskey

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.

Whiskey’s Guide to Navigating Casual Sex

IMG_4723

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: Black Panther

I wanted to do something nice for the girls this weekend. I wanted us to go see Black Panther and I wanted to paint their little faces– but I don’t have white paint. So it was going to be black dots– which would be fine because they are low maintenance and they don’t really care about that sort of thing.

I had it planned, I would order the tickets online, we would watch a movie together and when they went to bed I’d tell them that tomorrow we are all going to see Black Panther.

So I tried to order the tickets and the transaction wouldn’t go through. I tried again with updated information and received an email from my bank. Apparently, I didn’t have enough funds in my account to purchase our tickets. That’s not right– because my funds are low but they exist and I know there is enough for this! This, I needed– this, I had planned for…

My bank had counted each error as an actual transaction and taken the money out of my account, placed it back, then took it out again. I sat on the phone on hold with the movie theater for about an hour. I vaguely noticed the chatter of the kids slowly died down. They eventually retired to their room, I still had the phone to my ear feeling frustrated and entirely defeated. Nothing is simple. Ever.

I got off the phone realizing that Black Panther was not going to happen for us this weekend. My money is all crazy and it will likely be awhile before the bank releases it back onto my account. I was disappointed and just sick of living this kind of life. What is the balance? Do you live poorly and save, do you make the most of your money, try to stretch, save and enjoy it? Do you martyr yourself and spend it all on the children? I don’t know the rules. I’m barely even in the game.

“Ok babies, what movie do you want to watch?” I call out to them. Silence. Walking through the foyer I notice the light in their bedroom. Peaking inside I see that and both are fast asleep with the radio on. I walked back into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried. Is this what motherhood is? Running on a treadmill with the best of intentions and never going anywhere at all?

I don’t know how to juggle any of this. I don’t know what I am doing and I’m just so worried I’m going to screw them up in the process of figuring it all out.

Come Back Whole

Tell me - MIRI’m sitting here trying to ignore the sound of notifications dinging on my phone. It is nonstop. It.is. maddening! I am home from work for my third day in a row attempting to fully recover from the flu before diving back into the several days worth of work piling up in my email inbox. The stress of thinking about work is hindering my recovery just a little. I’m annoyed and exhausted thinking about it and to be honest I’m just not quite ready to engage. “Worry about your health, first,” they say. But what they really mean is “Restore yourself enough to be what I need you to be…”

The expectations of others always seem to be pounding away at my door. It is the reason I contemplated getting dressed this morning and heading into work. I was almost willing to do anything to silence those stupid email notifications on my phone. Technically, I feel ok. I mean, I’m just milking this, right? I should be over this flu by now. But who is anyone to dictate what my body or my mind needs to go through in order to properly heal? Lying on my couch dying of the flu really caused me to question: when was the last time I allowed myself to properly heal from something?

The end of a friendship, relationships, minor disappointments and disillusionments take their toll on us every day. Sometimes I truly wonder if we are actual savages, cutting off friendships and posting about it on our social medias with little care or remorse. Or, have we just hardened ourselves to rejection and disappointment playing this stupid game of pretend where we act as if the “weaker” emotions within us don’t exist? I don’t know about everyone else but my mental health is too fragile to avoid fully processing through my emotions. My soul craves connections with other like-minded human beings! Each time I trust enough to let someone into my world and they trash the place with their bad energy and ill intentions it breaks my heart a little.

This year, I want to be more careful with my heart and soul. I want to journal more to stay in touch with my true emotions and not what others project onto me. I want to lean less on the advice of others and try to view my sensitivities as positive attributes and not weaknesses. It’s ok to be wounded, and it’s ok elevate the wound, saturate it in healing oils, pray over it, rehabilitate slowly and thoroughly until it is whole again. There is beauty, love, laughter and many wonderful things in this world but there is also something to be said for acknowledging the darkness. Not everyone cares about your wellbeing—many of us are inherently selfish and we just need you to be ok for us. WE want to laugh with you again, monopolize your time and rely on you to make us feel good about ourselves. WE need you to entertain us and to provide us with that good feeling and on some level we don’t care about the internal process it takes for you to get there. I recommend that you ignore US, and do whatever you need to do to come back whole.

Practicing What I Preach

I don’t consider this advice, I consider this a few tips for myself that I would like to put into practice.

  • Ignore Work Emails  I’ve designated today—a Sunday–as a writing day. I’m here on my couch writing away and receiving emails about work assignments for tomorrow. I will read the email TOMORROW. I work 5 days a week from 9am – 5pm which means I only get two days a week to keep and cherish for myself. It’s completely unfair of any co-worker to infringe upon that time, so it’s up to me to set the boundaries. I monitor emails for emergencies but not for to-do lists that don’t go into effect until the very next day. IMG_20180211_163242

My work is ok, it’s enjoyable enough but it’s not what I want to occupy my thoughts and time while I’m not in the office or on the clock. The immediacy of technology puts pressure on us to be more available than we are. Even Instagram changed their settings to show when other people are online—a feature I quickly disabled. I don’t need to watch my unanswered direct messages and feel bothered that Such-and-Such has not responded to me but just posted a meme and has been active on Instagram for the last half hour. Such-and-Such is a person that deserves to use their time as they very damn well please. I myself have learned to become more forgiving and realistic about response times because I enjoy the same courtesy in return. I will respond to messages when I am in the right mindset to do so.

  • Go Where the Love Is       …be it the arms of a lover, the presence of a good friend or a favorite coffee shop. I am teaching myself the art of chasing after good vibes. I take notice of who I am around and what I am doing that provides me with a good feeling and I recreate the environment when I am hurting or my soul is in search of some healing. We absorb soft rejections and experience psychological triggers more often than we are likely aware. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeking comfort and restoration in familiar places and with familiar people. Furthermore, healing is a personal journey and it’s totally up to me to…

 

  • Communicate Within My Comfort Zone My friends don’t have to know why I am seeking their comfort and quality time. No one has to know of my personal struggles—I’ve had to heal from dropping an entire jug of milk onto the kitchen floor before! Sometimes, there are small events that can trigger chaos within my psyche. Confiding and confessing to friends is always an option but it’s not a requirement. Healing is for me alone and cultivating healthy relationships is restorative by default. Being near someone who has a calming effect or being in the right environment can be enough in some situations. You don’t have to create a spectacle or engage in “bitching about that thing that happened” — you can just BE!

 

  • Trust My Personal Process Everyone heals differently! Maybe that woman broke up with her man 3 weeks ago and is already back in the dating pool but what is for her is not for me. After being with me for 33 years, I have learned that sex is not something I take lightly and it does take quite awhile for me to move on from being sexually bound to someone. After putting in time to learn a person so intimately, the thought of reaching that level with someone else is daunting. Rushing to sleep with someone new after a break up will NEVER be my go-to move because I know that it would slow up and even damage my healing process. When pain and tragedy hits, it can be an opportune time to evaluate what it means to “get over” something, what it means to “restore” and to set realistic expectations on whether you even expect or wish to return to being the same person or a different version of yourself.

For me, keeping busy is a coping mechanism that deters me from properly handling my emotions. It has taken me years of trial and error to differentiate between unhealthy things I do just to appear over something versus what I really need to do to activate healing. Healing doesn’t always look like the easy way—sometimes it looks like reliving painful memories, journaling them down and reading over again until control and sanity is regained. Healing is a reality that we live in that includes the acknowledgment that there is a hurting or unpleasantness to heal from. Much like self-love, it’s not just about bubble baths and treating yourself to nice dinners.

  • Come Back Whole The expectations of others often cause me to act out of the desire to avoid disappointing people. Disappointment is inevitable and sometimes cutting myself some slack is necessary when it comes to prioritizing my own health and wellbeing. I absolutely hate taking breaks from the performance arts scene. I love to be booked and busy, I love performing and using my words to connect with an audience but I don’t love to be immersed in a scene that involves hidden politics and constant self-promotion. The pressure I feel to keep an audience engaged and to constantly present myself as an interesting person whose writing you just HAVE to read takes its toll and sometimes makes me hate being a creative.

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This year, I am on a quest for freedom. I want the freedom to write and express however I wish to and the freedom to focus on who I actually am outside of my art and my perceived persona. I have decided to cut down on my performance schedule this year because I want to spend more time with my children and adulting in my life outside of the creative arts. I’ve spent a ton of time and money investing into my art and working so hard, I now just want to make sure that I am doing what I truly enjoy. I don’t feel the need to take every gig offered to me or to continue to appear at places where I don’t feel particularly welcome or happy to be. I am taking the time to focus on what makes my life fulfilling and to do those things almost exclusively.

There are incidents that have happened years ago in my life that I have finally admitted to myself that I have never fully recovered from. Lately I’ve found myself being constantly triggered because I never allowed myself to go through the full experience. After a hurtful event occurs, there is an entire process that I’ve been skipping because I don’t want to feel the pain of it and I don’t want to put in the work it takes to restore myself back to good. The time for quick fixes are now over…

I don’t want to return to a version of myself that is tolerable and acceptable to others. I want to return to the truest version of myself, I want to be the most of myself. I no longer want life experiences to chip away at my being until there are parts of me missing that I will never be able to restore. I want to do the work—and when I decide to come back–within my own time– I want to come back whole.

rip

*If you enjoy my writing, please visit www.whiskeyandpoetry.com for more*

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)