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.

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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.

Good Vibes Only

5.29.17 ETC - Good Vibes Color

You look tired,” they say. Or, they are the first person to fix any hair out of place or tag sticking out of a clothing item. When you establish a boundary, they are quick to violate it then flip the script on you for being moody and unreasonable. They are a gas lighting, soul draining, vibe killing group of people and I don’t understand why their reputations are so protected and defended. To most people, these types are well-meaning and any feeling of disrespect on your end is a YOU problem. Me? Well, I just miss the days when I felt as if I were meeting and cultivating true friendships– not doling out the allotted attention that everyone seems to desperately feed on these days.

Respect the Introvert

Don’t get me wrong, I am a performer so I understand the whole “look at me, I need attention” factor. However, in friendships people are supposed to understand you a little bit more. Friends are people who actively choose to be in your life so they are responsible for maintaining a deeper level of respect. Because you care about your friends you don’t take your afraid of heights bff on a roller coaster or to climb the statue of liberty– just as you don’t try to seek unnecessary attention out of friends who are not interested in being your audience members.

Por ejemplo: I tell my work friends that I am not a morning person and I like my space. I am happy to do work and to answer work questions but I do not want anyone crowding into my cubicle asking about my weekend, attempting to pressure me into going to get coffee or chastising me for not eating the donuts that Harold brought in for everyone to share. When my five-year-old has a meltdown that derails my morning routine and I have to listen to the car radio on high volume–in hours of traffic–to drown out the sound of my squeaky brakes, I don’t want to TALK about it! I just want the time to switch gears from mom/road rage driver to co-worker/executive assistant. That’s right, I am an assistant so it is literally my job to pretend to care and fix problems all day. I am fine doing just that without feeling obligated to provide work banter/entertainment and dramatic reactions to the same work gossip we talk about all the time. I don’t want to do it anymore!

I have to find the energy to be the kind of person that engages on that level. Yes, it comes from weed (ha!) but mainly it comes from just being alone and staring at the wall or picking my nose or whatever. After separating from my husband (nearly ten years ago) all of the silence and alone time without him taught me that I don’t get bored easily and I enjoy my own company. If I am sitting alone or busy working on a project it makes me cringe when someone who knows me as a personal friend walks by and says “Aww, are you ok? I know you have a lot of work.” insert fake sympathetic face here. Before I really knew myself this kind of comment triggered my insecurities and I would find myself working extra hard to appear carefree and social—because these people are harmless and they only care about my wellbeing, right?

Generally Good People

…wrong! I had this conversation with my best friend not too long ago and we definitely had a difference of opinion on the topic. At the risk of sounding like a surly individual, I am of the belief that people are not “generally good’. Aside from it being biblical, I have seen it in action which is why we have phrases like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Many of us would like to think that we are “good people” but most of us are selfish assholes. For me, the beauty of it all is that despite every single one of us being totally fucked up (consciously or unconsciously) we still want to be around each other. Human beings continually make the effort to see past another person’s ugly to get to all the beautiful stuff we like.

The ugly side of vibe killers is that they are selfish people—they want what they want when they want it and they don’t care how it affects the larger group. Sometimes it can be for the attention, controlling the topic of conversation, throwing shade at someone to make themselves feel better or doing the most out of a basic need/desire to be liked. The thing is, not everyone has to like you! (Personally, I think that realization is the key to self-actualization). If you are a high frequency/high maintenance person wanting to dwell in low frequency/low maintenance spaces the solution is simple: lower your frequency, homie. Simplify!

[I feel it’s important to admit here, that introversion has an ugly side and can also be rooted in selfishness. You can’t always expect others to adapt to your need to be left alone. If you made the decision to be out and about at the kind of event that calls for social interaction, the least you can do is not be an incorrigible asshole. Most are willing to make a comfortable space for quiet people and accommodations for shyness, but no one wants to tolerate meanness chalked up to “oh, he/she is just introverted”. That’s a copout!]

Who’s the Real Asshole?

Everyone! Ok, I am only kidding but in my opinion, the best way not to be an asshole is to realize that not everyone operates on the same frequency. I may sound like some kind of hippie astronomer but it’s simply a term I use to point out the fact that we all operate on different energy levels. Some have energy levels that function at a 10 (off the charts/life of the party/in your face) all of the time, while others function at about a 2 (why are people talking to me?/I could go for a nap/I would much rather be Netflixin’ and chillin, right now). If you are like me you can keep your level at about a 4 and pick it up to a 10 on special occasions or if the social setting calls for it. As a performer, I am ok boosting things up on stage then immediately dropping down to a 1 upon leaving the stage. As it turns out, this can make you seem like a murderer so I had to teach myself to keep my energy at an 8 until I am able to leave the event altogether. Whiskey the stage poet is probably a 15—she is ridiculous—while Naomi, (especially as I get older) is more like a 3 or 4.

5.29.17 ETC - Some PeopleAs I have gone through the trial and error of trying to surround myself with good vibes I realized the simplicity of discovering your own frequency and choosing people that operate on those same levels. I am at my happiest engaged in witty back and forth banter, some kind of controlled or natural substance on deck and I am generally ok with long comfortable silences. I have since tried to gravitate toward other humans who enjoy the same things. This all sounds like a no-brainer but every day each of us meets people that we connect with and want to continue to build upon that connection. However, if you’re like me you get four hangouts in and realize that the person is a moody and unpredictable arsonist that kicks puppies in their spare time and has a raging cocaine habit.

I am a person with no discernment whatsoever, so I’ve had to teach myself to recognize the kind of person least likely to drain my energy. I pay attention to how people rate on my totally made up frequency chart, how people react to drama and gossip (which everybody likes to some extent, I get that) and how they regard me when I am not being my over-the-top stage persona.

The Power of Suggestion

I will add this last thought: the power of suggestion is real. As a creative that has to rely on networking and mixing with so many diverse personality types, it is not always practical for me to pick and choose people with similar vibes to hang out with exclusively. I often find myself thrown into social situations with people I would not normally choose to spend time with. I have had to learn to always speak affirmations in my head to constantly counteract negative speech and energy. There are plenty of well-meaning people on this Earth, but some just aren’t and are more likely to use their words to cast self-doubt inside of you and to feed on your insecurities.

“Wow, you look tired. Are you having a bad day?” they say–knowing that I have been experiencing a rough time and am actively working to overcome it.

“No, I actually feel GREAT!” I respond. Because I do– or at least I can if I meditate on that positivity. I struggle with mental health issues, so during my lowest points that kind of suggestive speech has had the power to damage me in the past. It’s the difference between being around those who want you to succeed and genuinely like you, versus those who benefit and/or are comfortable seeing you down. Negative speech isn’t always a result of malicious intent, it seems to all relate back to selfishness. When I am low, I am more likely to engage in gossip and to be sarcastic and cynical–sometimes that version of me is just more fun to certain types of people. I know of some who try to bring that out of me just for shits and giggles. However, when that person leaves it’s not fun for me to have to sit in that negativity. Lately, I have done my best to seek out mentally strong people who don’t let me dwell in those dark spaces.

Just the other day I was supposed to attend an event with a friend. I was flaking out on him because I’d had a rough day I called out of work and cried on my couch all day. I was on a downward spiral so intense that I didn’t even know how I was going to participate in my own open mic event that I had invested money and promotion into for months. I told him straight up that it was going to take me awhile to get into the head space to be social and make it out to events. His response was, “Take your time…but get there.”

I thought about that for a long time. Apparently, there are people that not only speak positivity into your life but also do not make time or room to enable your bullshit. There was no doubt in him that I could get there and his response let me know that there was empathy but also a desire to see me rise to the occasion. Surrounding myself with people who are of this mindset reinforces my self-esteem.  High self-esteem makes me better equipped to protect my vibes when I am thrown into an environment of people who feed on negativity.

5.29.17 ETC - Strict BudgetLowkey, I feel as if this whole post is pretty stupid because most people know this stuff already! For me, this has been a journey and I have only recently been able to enjoy a lifestyle of positive self-worth because I realized that the kind of people you allow to take up space in your personal life can disrupt your inner peace. The more I take care of my introvert, form bonds with mentally strong people and reject negative speech, the stronger it makes me. Eventually, I hope to project good vibes wherever I go. If it comes from within me then I will never have to truly worry about someone “killing my vibe” because I will always be good with me.

In the meantime, I invite anyone reading this to remember to be purposeful in everything that you do. All of us should be mindful of the things we say to each other, the impressions we make and the reality that not everyone will like and appreciate all that you are. It is ok to let that shit go. While it is difficult to cultivate a peaceful vibe that fits all personality types, I definitely think there is a way to bring your own secure and positive vibes to the table and those that choose to eat, will.

5.29.17 ETC - Good Vibes WG Tagline

Tips for Keeping Your Shit Together in 2017

In spite of the whopping necrology list of celebrities gone too soon this year, the shit show of a presidential election and a constant state of empty pockets— I managed to eek out a pretty decent experience from 2016.

rip

 

Unfortunately, there is no real way to speak positively about a year that’s kicked so many people’s asses in a way that doesn’t make you seem like a douchebag. SO, instead of writing some big, long end of the year wrap up I’m just going to list a few lessons that helped me grow and get out of my own head this year. I’m not sure if this will help anyone else, but I feel good about writing it all out and using it as a guide to get me through 2017.

Read with a grain of salt, comment about your favorite and I am open to additions!

Tips for Not Falling Apart Any Year—Let Alone 2016, 2017 and Beyond…

  • Always stay in touch with reality and accept truth.

Social media kicked my ass this year! I find Facebook and Instagram addicting and fun and time consuming but most of all it is a huge buzz kill for me and my self-esteem. Toward the end of the year I even made the decision to shut down my personal Facebook account and operate solely from my Whiskey Girl page. I did so because I was having a hard time staying in touch with reality. People seem so different from the person they choose to portray on computer screen and I waste a lot of time feeling down and comparing myself to people who are essentially not even real.

Furthermore, truth is truth and that is inescapable. I support the idea of believing in your own hype but it’s also important to keep a grip on reality. Self-delusion leads to entitlement and something about paying my last $5 on an open mic I can barely afford the gas money to get to reminds me of what’s real. I am not a rock star writer with thousands of followers and a publisher. Should I be? Well—yeah, but I’m not and that’s not only real to me, but it’s also ok.

  • Forgive yourself.

I wrote two chapbooks this year that dealt with a lot of past pain, confusion and frustration. It was a cathartic experience that helped me realize that on some level I was using pain as my claim to fame. I couldn’t stop writing about it because I couldn’t seem to let it go– I was harboring all sorts of guilt because for some reason I thought I was smarter than what I had allowed to happen to me. All of my life people have assumed that I am smart, so I went along with it thinking that intelligence somehow made me above making poor decisions in life and love. I carried so much bitterness because I was just mad at myself for being stupid enough to fall for weak game, weak dick and the lies and treachery of weak people.

At some point it finally hit me that it’s easy to forgive people for their wrongdoings but much harder to forgive yourself and let that shit go. People suck– it’s not unheard of to be duped and devastated by some loser on a mission to destroy the feelings of others to make up for their own insecurities. I got caught in the crossfire because I made very stupid but also very normal mistakes. I finally decided to forgive myself and let that shit go.

  • Completely avoid drama!

Seriously, run. Getting into the business of others or any kind of dramatic excitement as part of your day that makes your heart beat a little faster and your adrenaline rush is a thrilling feeling. Until it’s clean up time and you find yourself losing friends, clearing up messes and fighting to protect your reputation all the time. It is an exhausting process. The older I get the less energy I have to chase that high– that’s what drugs are for.

  • Steer clear of negative energy.

How granola of me, but however zen you are or aren’t most of us know when someone comes with a suitcase load of bad vibes. There are a few people I love dearly but I steer clear of them because their negativity brings me down. I fight depression enough on my own, I don’t need to surround myself with anyone that will add to it, whether it is their intention or not. At 32 I don’t spend a lot of time telling people about themselves or over explaining my actions– if I don’t vibe with you then I’m not fucking with you. Period.

 

  • Jump all the way out there!

I’ve embarrassed myself a tiny bit this year, applying for jobs I had passion for but perhaps

shower

I don’t mind jumping all the way out there– still won’t catch me naked in the gym!

not experience. I’ve sent my Electronic Press Kit to a few places that probably had a good laugh before deleting my email but at least I tried…

 

 

  • Treat rejection as “not now” instead of NO

…and I received plenty of “no’s” that I refuse to take personally. I  can’t accomplish all of the grandiose things that I would like to right this second but I still plan to in the future. The “No” only stands in my way for right now.

  • Pay it Forward (Always!)

Self-explanatory…

  • Double Down on privacy

This year my private life, especially my romantic life hit a few rough patches. In recent years I decided to be more private about certain aspects of my life and I have doubled down on that action because I learned something about myself. While I think it’s normal and common to seek the advice of others I ultimately choose to make decisions based on my own desires and thought processes. I no longer feel the need to have someone else shine light on the dark spaces in my life to help me come to a conclusion about how I should personally feel or react to it. The happy and complicated and grey area things in my life I choose to hold closely to my chest. There is something special about keeping a few things to yourself in a world that promotes just the opposite.

  • Remain unbothered.

By everything. As an overthinker I am bothered by too much, but I do my best to never let it show and to stay focused and busy!

  • Staying busy is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.

I just need purpose and a goal to strive toward and I’m golden…

 

Adult

I’m really hoping that these are some things I can use in the future to help me elevate to the next level. I am grateful to have been able to accomplish Big Things in 2016– next year I can only work harder to take things to the next level. Who is coming with me?

 

 

Click here  for a picture gallery of some 2016 highlights! See you next year– good vibes always!

~Whiskey

 

 

Loving A Soldier in A Time of War

2498721-soldiercrying

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…?

 

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Second Day of School

mom is superhero

I either feel as if I have it all together or as if I am desperately drowning in a sea of stress—there is no in between. Today was only the second day of school and I managed to botch things pretty badly.

I traded in my piece of shit cell phone for another piece of shit refurbished phone just the other day. Naturally, the phone has been giving me all sorts of problems, one of which is that apparently my alarm is not working. This morning I woke up suddenly in a panic with a foreboding feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sure enough, I had awakened at the time me and the kids were supposed to be piling into the car and heading off to school.

I screamed the kids awake, yelling at them to get dressed—as if any of it was their fault in the first place. I didn’t have the breakfast snacks for them to eat in the car, they didn’t have time to brush their teeth and I didn’t have time to wash my face or respond to the email my boss sent me the night before. In spite of all this, I was ready to shove us all out of the door when I notice that the button on my 9 year old’s uniform shorts was holding on for dear life. Her summer plans to “lay around and do nothing” came to fruition and the end result is that she is all tall, lanky limbs with just the tiniest bit of pudge in middle—just big enough to prevent shorts that fit just two months ago from fitting right now in the time that I need for them to fit the most! A replacement pair would be easy enough but because my life is complicated, all of the kid’s school clothes reside at my parent’s house across town. We were late enough but guess where we had to drive—ACROSS TOWN to go get a new pair of pants!

We stop by my parent’s house (after morning traffic, of freaking course!) and my mother doesn’t say much but I can feel the judgment. I know she thinks I’m running so far behind schedule because I was possibly out drinking the night before, worshiping Satan, or something else irresponsible that would distract me from being an actually good mother. Only I know that reality is: I fell asleep at 10pm, had all of my ducks in a fucking row but still screwed it up. As the 9 year old changed clothes and we grabbed granola bars to race off to the school I tried my hardest not to beat myself up about it. However, insert more judgment from the faculty as we did the walk of shame to the main office to pick up late passes, and I just couldn’t convince myself that I wasn’t a total failure. I walked back to my car thinking to myself: “Wow, and it’s only day 2.”

…I was 20 minutes late to the staff retreat at work. The last of those 20 minutes spent looking at threatening text messages from my new boss who was wondering why I dared to be so tardy for such an important work event. I sat in a meeting room for almost a full eight hours listening to content that had nothing to do with me, all the while mentally beating myself up for all the careless mistakes I made that morning. Even now, I am jotting this all down in a notebook as I sit in the Laundromat at 8:30pm with the kids who are in desperate need of a meal and a good night’s sleep.

Single mothers are supposed to be super heroes—meanwhile, I can’t even find my fucking cape…

*I originally wrote this post for Mytrendingstories.com, visit the website and search my username “Whiskey” to follow the I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks series and other original posts that will not appear on this blog.*

Poor Doesn’t Have to Mean Bored

Futurama Meme

I don’t know about you, but for ME my life seems to be the opposite of the song—the less money I come across the MORE problems I see! Along with these problems come the stress of budgeting and living paycheck to paycheck. I cannot emphasize enough on this blog the importance of taking care of your mental health and enjoying a refreshing break from the burdens of everyday life. Work life can be intense enough for some of us, so it then becomes vital that we set aside the time and the funds to play (which, contrary to popular believe, IS possible for those of us on a limited budget).

As a result of the boyfriend and me taking on the daunting task of paying off debt and repairing our credit while establishing savings (you know, so we can possibly be able to buy things and do stuff in the future) we have formed into one of those uber boring The People vs. OJ Simpson and chill couples. But alas, summertime and longer days are nigh and I simply refuse to live like this much longer–after all, the OJ Simpson thing is only a miniseries! Step one of finding affordable and fun things to do around town was surprisingly easy. However, Step two: convincing the boyfriend to join me in some of these activities is probably going to prove to be the most difficult!

See below for a few ideas:

Just Desserts

Dine and DashBy the time 2 or more people finish a feast of appetizer, dinner and dessert I find myself blinking at the final bill in disbelief and trying to rationalize skipping out on the tip (did the waitress actually bring those extra napkins in a timely manner?) Instead of cheating your poor server out of their hard earned tip money, why not enjoy the fun and ambience of going out to eat without the huge bill? Eat dinner at home then head out to your favorite restaurant for wine and dessert!

Volunteer

Other than just feeling so damned good about yourself for contributing to the world, there are perks that come with volunteering. If you love animals, volunteer at a pet shelter, vet or rescue facility. Love people? Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen—it will give you the chance to interact in a social atmosphere while doing a good deed. However, if you’re a quid pro quo kind of person, there is good news for you if you pay attention and do your research. Anyone can take advantage of local music or wine festivals, renaissance fairs or carnivals while in your town by contacting the organizers and offering your services for whatever they might need. You may have to shovel some animal poop, but who cares if you get free tickets to the show?

Join or Attend A Meetup Group

Meet Up AppI once downloaded the Meet up app to my phone and was immediately inundated with so many notifications of events I was overwhelmed! If you are a Star Wars lover or a person that loves to watch paint dry there is a group out there for you. Most of the events and activities are free and take place in libraries, bookstores or coffee shops where you have control over how much you want to spend—if you wish to spend anything at all. Hmm, a $4 cup of coffee with croissant and a group of divorcees passionately discussing the Twilight book series…sign me up!

Cheap Usuals

Play Tourist (Duh!)

I really have no excuse for not enjoying my surroundings more often; I live minutes from the most historical and fascinating city in the world: Washington, DC. Our zoo and most museums are absolutely free and there are plenty of spots along the National Mall to lay out a blanket, enjoy a picnic and people watch (if you don’t wish to be a part of the crowd). Living here all of my life has jaded me against the idea of playing tourist in some ways, but the fascination can be easily rekindled by asking someone new or unfamiliar with the city to come along so you can experience the city through their eyes.

Potluck Game Nights

I Hate PeopleFor the most part I hate people, but I go through small bouts where I wish to be social and even welcome people into my home. Parties can be exhausting and expensive but a simple evite with “bring your own damn dinner” instructions can quickly rid you of the hassle. You may even end up with all the leftover booze!

Fruit Picking

Another perk of living just outside of DC is that there are beautiful rural areas of Maryland and Virginia that are perfect for scenic drives. However, if you are more of a doer than a seer a lot of area farms allow you to pick their crops—a great idea for boisterous children that need ways to channel all of that random energy.

If you have access to the internet and public transportation or car then you should NEVER be bored. Furthermore, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, the possibilities for fun can be endless! We all like to go out to our favorite spots and splurge money that we really should be saving, but before you do, consider this list and dare to try something new!

 

Declaration of Independence

Hey Ladies

Agreed! …so, help us out brotha!

 

I am not a traditional feminist so I’m not really raising my hands to any independent woman anthems. More likely I can be found searching for the nearest dude to help me dig the snow from underneath my car but that is just who I choose to be.

However, as a single mom that doesn’t always have a dude around to help, I understand the importance and necessity of independence. In some cases, perhaps women are going out of their way to prove “what we can do”, in others, maybe we are just forced to do our own thing because men are so busy boo loving and bromancing each other to care what we are doing or help us out anyway.

If I could film a montage of my life, about 20% of it would be doors literally slamming in my face because the man who walked in just before me didn’t bother to hold it open, or a series of conversations being interrupted by bros who want to bro it out with each other and simply can’t wait for me to finish my sentence. Bros before hoes—we GET it! But what if it’s not a hoe? What about your little sister? What about your co-worker who is a nice girl that’s maybe a little naïve and could use some gentle advice? Or the old lady that needs help with groceries, OR, OR, OR— I could go on all day! These days, it seems like women are only potential pussy and THAT’S when a man is (sometimes) willing to take care of her needs.

This generation of men is not how it used to be, either. There used to be a special regard for not only your mom but women in general. Men used to offer seats, open doors and even stand when a woman walks into the room. Now I just kind of feel like a piece of meat more often than not. If I’m not looking pretty enough or showing enough cleavage my customer service experience is shot to hell. There are some ladies that know what I mean—yes, indeed I get dressed up to take my car to the shop otherwise I will be completely ignored and possibly ripped off.

Being a lady is not simply being granted respect because you are the owner of a shiny, precious vagina anymore—it involves being attractive and having something to offer to a man in exchange for a tire change, help with bags or a dinner out (although I do see the man’s pov when it comes to always paying for dates). I’d love to lean on men for the little things in life!  I would love to proudly stand by a man’s side as he accomplishes his dreams, I have no problem with that. It is not my intention to brag and have the “anything you can do I can do better” mentality but shit—since I’m forced to do it anyway I may as well own it. Do men really even care about women’s independence and capabilities across the board—or are they too busy loving on their homies and showing them love, affection and support to even be paying us attention? Fine, I’ll work hard and achieve my own damned dreams– I don’t have to be by your side. AND don’t even GET me started on how Bottom Bitch culture has possibly ruined the woman’s desire to be that chick to see a man’s dreams to fruition, anyway. What is the incentive for being soft and submissive and loyal and dependent? Giving up all of your own dreams, get none of the credit for the man’s success and get dumped for someone “prettier” with a phatter ass, lighter skin and longer hair that hasn’t loved them through their lowest points? I’m good on that, no thank you.

Maybe our declaration of independence is a cry for help—nay—a call to arms for men to get back to treating us the way generations before us were used to being treated. Make us a priority again– not just significant others but all women in general. I’ll make room for you by my side and together we can get this money and realize our dreams.

I’m just saying…

I’m Not Going to Cheat on You

-Because bad sex is a thing. It is a very bad thing that occurs way too often in life and I am not going to trade all of our bomb sex for what could be terrible, very bad, no good sex.

-Because I’m lazy and I don’t like to remember names.

-Because I’m lazy and I don’t like the idea of retelling stories twice.

-Because I’m an introvert and I have no interest in opening up to more than one person.

-Because I eat all of my food. Multiple dinner dates, mean multiple opportunities for me to stuff my face. I will become a house and lose both you AND the side dude and end up starring on the next episode of My 600 Pound Life. (However, on said episode I will be so adorable and vivacious people will love me! I will become a media sensation and my writing will FINALLY take off, propelling me into stardom and success and a life of glorious–oh,  sorry, I digress…)

-Because men have cheated on me before and I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain, betrayal and humiliation on anyone.

-Because I have cheated before and I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain, regret and humiliation on anyone.

-Because I love you. And in spite of what everyone says, for me, love IS enough.

The Truth About the Grind

…is that I don’t really want to lose out on sleep
Or laying with you, pausing movies to crack jokes and sip beers
Or sacrifice any moment that brings your soft lips to my ears
I want the chatter of four year old volume
Can’t network or promote my writing without swallowing anxiety and valium
I want to help with homework
…make my relationship work
Bedtime early, sleeping late
the energy to kiss you and make pancakes
I want an impossible world of you, combined families and fulfilled dreams
I fear daily
I get to have none of those things
Without sacrificing too much of the other