Friday, December 15

When Somebody Loves You Back

I'm finna be transparent as a MUGG!

I want love like an old school love song! Not just any love song, but  THIS LOVE SONG RIGHT HERE:

I have heard over and over again to find someone that loves you more. That thing is a recipe for failure. I have been the overlover and the overloved and it was never a good time! What must it be like "to be loved and be loved in return"? Equally-yoked? I have never experienced a 50-50 love. Does that even exist?

This world will make you feel like it doesn't! Little to no reciprocity seems to be the order of the day. Now, don't get me wrong, I love because I want to. I love because it's what I do! But overloving is bad for the heart, mind, body and soul.  Why am I working so hard for you and you are so indifferent? I'm old and I'm TIRED! Being overloved ended up making me feel guilty. Why wasn't I feeling this the way he was? I'm old and I'm TIRED! 40 may be the new 20, but I have had 20 extra years of being loved wrong (or at least in ways that did not satisfy me).

I have had great relationships and I have met amazing men, not one of them feels like the one that got away. Though there are several of them that would very likely say that they regret letting me go, if they were honest with themselves. But they aren't because many of them had issues with truly being honest with themselves.

I want someone to love me the way my friends love me and the way I love my friends. Flaws and all, no matter what, we not going anywhere! I have had conversations with my friends that would surely have broken up lesser friendships! But the way we love each other and trust one another and know that when we speak to one another it is out of love, we are able to accept what is being said to us and grow from it.

I want a love like that! This world has made people so fickle and inconsistent. It's made people unstable and apathetic. It's made people so disposable to one another. No one wants to give their all anymore because nobody wants their feelings hurt, or their business to end up as a FB post. No one wants to love anymore because nobody wants their heart toyed with, or to be subtweeted (subliminal tweets/posts that they know are directed to them) in the middle of the night. No one wants to be honest anymore because nobody wants to look like a sucker, or end up the subject of a viral screenshot.

I am honest, I am real, I am a giver, I am a sharer. I have walls up cuz I'm no dummy, but I am not afraid of love! BRING! IT! ON!

Friday, December 8

Changing Faces or Facing Changes

Life is going to move on around us whether we want it to or not. How you deal with it makes all the difference. Will you merely survive the change or will you thrive because of it?

I have gone through a few changes in the last year and I count them all joy! They were necessary to create in me a spirit of  "Yes, I can!" Some of these things I never imagined having to deal with and others were welcomed breaks from my norm. But all of them were a lesson.

The James Baldwin quote above has stuck with me for years. It used to be my email signature back in the hotmail days! But it is more relevant now than ever because I have come to realize that I have been changing faces for years! Not always, but often. 

If you are being put in a position to do something that you already know goes against who you are at your core, but you do it anyway because it will make things easier, then you're changing faces.

If you are in a "relationship" where your needs are evolving and the other person is satisfied with the way things are, but you refuse to settle for their love anymore so you walk away, then you are facing changes.

If you are being led in your spirit to take on a task you do not think you are capable of and you put the task off until you  think it is the right time, then you are changing faces.

If you know you have a testimony with details that may cause people to look at you funny but you know that it will set someone else free so you share it anyway, then you are facing changes.

If you force yourself to laugh in situations where you want to cry... changing faces.
If you let the tears flow in situations where you would force yourself to laugh... facing changes.

Embrace change, it is inevitable. But you don't have to move in the same direction. Changing faces is often a put-on. Changing faces is often a front and the inauthenticity of it will start to wear on you so quickly! Changing faces often won't let your spirit rest easy. Changing faces often feels like worry, regret, and a need to prove to everyone else  that we are ok. Changing faces is often reactive. It's a compromise of values because the group says so. It's a way to survive.

Facing change may mean you need to change direction from your peoples. Facing change may mean you need to have that conversation you have been dreading. Facing change may mean you need to seek a new path. Facing change is proactive. It's making a move before the tide sweeps you away. It's a connection to your spirit that you trust to move you in the best direction. It's a means of THRIVING and not merely surviving. 

Ask yourself are you changing faces or facing changes? Are you thriving or surviving?

Friday, December 1

Keeping it (Your) Light

Trigger Warning.... this is about assault, again.... *sigh*

This world will try to beat you down as a Black person. This world will try to tear you down as a woman. This world will try to destroy you as a Black woman.

Every single day there is a post or story or comment that reminds me, as a Black woman, that people do not care about me. There has been a constant onslaught of victim-blaming, cognitive dissonance and downright misogyny all through my timeline. It has begun to impact my female friends' well-being to the point of them having to log-off. With all of these sexual crimes being outed, there is a daily occurrence of trauma or trigger for some it seems.

So how do you keep your light? Honey, I don't know...
Bette Midler was able to ramble off her sexual assault at the hands of Geraldo Rivera as if it were no big deal! She laughed about it and moved on. This was assumedly because this was what she felt she needed to do to survive in show biz. 

I just casually confronted someone that has assaulted me on numerous occasions by aggressively hugging me and forcibly kissing me on the mouth and face. He stated that he did not realize he was making me uncomfortable despite me cringing each time he has hugged me because he always goes too far. He was on the internet boasting about how he has never made anyone uncomfortable or raped or assaulted any woman. I could have let him live, but instead I chose to bring to his attention that that was definitely not the case on a whim. I am not looking to press charges or anything like that, but I had to remove the burden of our interactions from my own shoulders and place it where it belonged. I had to lighten my load.

Talk to someone about what happened to you.
Make jokes.
Press charges.

Think of healthy ways to relieve yourself of the burden that the patriarchy has forced you to carry while the man who assaulted/ harassed you lives his life freely or even toots his own assault-free horn all over the internet. 

Whatever you do, please, don't allow them to dim you! Protect your light!

Friday, November 17

(Un)Safe in His Arms

Trigger warning: Assault is discussed, though not  in detail....

As a woman, I already keep my head on swivel in public. Even when I appear to be way into my phone or deep into my music, I am aware of who is around me and my music is never too loud that I can't hear people talking to or about me. Why? Because men are dangerous. #Notallmen.... I know! I have been in 2 physical altercations in my adult life. Both of them were with men. Men in the club. One was a man that grabbed my butt and I grabbed his wrist TIGHTLY and would not let go. He tried to deny he touched me despite the fact I grabbed his hand as it was grabbing my butt. He attempted to further get violent with me and a male friend stepped between us.One was a man I denied a dance. He shoved me in the back and I turned around and shoved him in the chest. My lady friends came and got between us and told him he needed to go! 

I was assaulted by a boy in high school because he thought I was giving him mixed signals. This boy was my boyfriend. My boyfriend who knew I was younger than him and a virgin. My boyfriend who had shown no signs of aggression until that afternoon when he pushed me to the ground as I sat on the stairs in the school lobby. I had blocked it out for YEARS until I was triggered about 3 years ago and it all came flooding back to me.

In short, I rarely feel 100% safe around men, even men I know. With all that is coming out in the news about men in high positions doing terrible things to men and women that trusted them, more women are being triggered and realizing how unsafe they really are almost everywhere they go. 

Last week or so, the Black Twittersphere was all the way live with news that someone well known amongst them was a serial assaulter. Some people were shocked and others, not-so-much. The most disappointing thing about the revelation is that he appeared to have cultivated an inner-circle of well-respected men and women to give the appearance of being "safe". This was all by design it seems, based on the accounts of many victims of his.

This reminded me of one day when some of my lady friends were sitting around talking with a guy we knew and telling stories of guys we met that were out of pocket. The guy was AMAZED and asked us where we met "these dudes". My response was: "Standing next to you!" He didn't quite understand the concept. I explained to him women who trust a man will often trust the men with whom he associates. The assumption being this man we trust would not associate with someone who acts in this way. But now, I know that is not the case. Sometimes it is due to the offending party fostering a whole other identity with one group and committing his offenses just outside of that group. This often results in the fostered friendship circle saying: "He's never acted like that around me!" Sometimes it's because the offending party HAS done it around a friend and gone unchecked because your friend didn't "really know him like that" to say anything to him.

So what is a woman to do? TRUST. YOUR. GUT! If something does not feel right when you are around someone, go with that no matter what your friends say. I am always the person on the outside with the "uh-uh" face as everyone else is hugging certain people. Then weeks, months, years later people are like that guy is a mess and I'm just thinking: I KNEW IT! Remember earlier I said some folks were not surprised by the accusations? Those are mostly folks that trusted that discernment. 

You have to own your peace, y'all. This world is not going to give it to you. You have to trust in whomever or whatever you believe to keep you aware and safe. You have to trust yourself to know when something in the milk ain't clean. You have to be ok with being on the outs with folk. But also, you have to be gentle with yourself when you may not get it right and find out that someone you thought was safe or were told was safe is not.

Friday, November 3

Still In Recovery

Sometimes even after the doctor gives us the okay and we go back to our daily lives we think we are better, but something happens to remind us that we are still in recovery.

I went to homecoming this past weekend. Up until that point I was only wearing skirts, dresses or leggings. I wore jeans all weekend. These jeans hit me RIGHT at my incisions. My incisions got irritated and I ended up sore. I thought I had set myself back, but my surgeon assured me this was to be expected. He told me to limit my activity. AGAIN! UUUUUGH!

I had been feeling so much better that I forgot I was recovering. I had gotten to a place in my healing where I thought I was okay. But I was reminded that I was not completely healed. I needed more time. This perceived setback made me feel so WEAK! I was doing so well. I was doing better. Now I am here at square 2. 

Recovery takes time. Recovery has stages. Recovery requires diligence. Recovery sometimes ebbs and flows. There are times when I feel nothing. And there are times when I have a dull aching reminder that I am still healing. These are not setbacks, they are reminders. 

Be more gentle with yourself and give yourself time to heal. When you get those reminders remember to take it slower, be more intentional in your recovery.... give yourself time to heal.

Monday, October 23

Healing When You're Hurting

So look, I've been recovering from an appendectomy. I need y'all to understand this. Something I never thought would impact me was bothering me so much, I had to have it removed immediately and spent a significant amount of time healing from it.  If you have been reading over the last month or so, you will know that this is a micro of the macro that has been my life recently. 

Here's what had happened: Friday, I thought I had gas. Saturday, I went to a football game, had a fish plate, attended an after party, party hopped with my sorors,  and went to dinner with a friend... with gas and a small pain in my side. Sunday, I woke up with a sharper pain and realized my high pain tolerance may have caused me to miss an important message my body was giving me. I posted about it on FB because that's just who I am as a person. Then, I commenced to tidying up my house and deciding my next course of action. The pain got my attention and my BFF came to my rescue. He took me to urgent care and they sent me to the emergency room after finding an issue with my bloodwork. I had only ONE symptom of appendicitis, so I wasn't certain what was causing the white blood count issue. After hours in the emergency waiting room, I finally get sent to the back. The emergency nurse was soooooooo annoying. She told me I should have come to the ER instead of going to urgent care. First of all, I thought it was bad gas, lady! I  just turned my head and closed my eyes because I felt that ringing in my ears that I get when I'm ready to blackout and curse someone out. My BFF came to the rescue (again) and gave her a half-hearted, "Ok, thanks." Then, as she is jamming a needle into my tiny veins for a 3rd time she sees me flinching and tearing up and asks me "What's wrong, you don't like IVs?" Y'ALL! I wanted to say, "Of course I do! Who doesn't!?!?" Instead, I closed my eyes and looked away, again. Who asks something like that? I know I said I have a high tolerance for pain, but something about the smooth insides of my precious forearms and my delicate, little veins meeting a long sharp needle that hurts more than almost anything. Mind you, this was the third try.

So long story short, I go to get the CT scan and it's appendicitis! I have surgery at 11 PM on Sunday and don't see my house again until 11 days later. In spite of bruising, infiltrated IVs causing me Popeye arm, and bad reactions to pain medications, I had an overall good experience in the hospital. My nurses and doc outside of the Emergency department were great. My people showed up for me in the best of ways. I got through it and 2 weeks later, I'm back at work a little sore, but much better.

The healing process was troubling because I do not like to ask for help. But what I learned is that when you are hurting and you let the right people know, they will show up for you in the ways you request. They asked me what I needed, I stated it and my friends provided. Some going above and beyond what I even asked of them. 

The lesson here is this: My body was telling me I was hurting, I ignored it until it was undeniable because I ain't no sucka, I'm tough, I'm resilient, I'm a soldier, I'm stubborn! This led to unexpected extraction of something that was of no use to me, but causing me pain nonetheless. In the process of healing from this, my friends reached out and I told them what I needed. They provided in the form of gifts, food, necessities and sometimes just company. I made my needs known, I got more than I even thought I needed and it made the healing much easier. I was forced to chill out and be outside of my comfort zone. Days later, I'm back to my routine still a little sore but definitely no longer in pain. 

So ask yourself: What is my body telling me? What do I need to have examined and extracted? Who can I call on to help me heal? Am I willing to rest and heal as long as it takes? 

Take care of yourself, stay in tune, call on your people, take your time healing!

Words from my problematic boo, John Mayer.

Friday, October 6

The Ending of a Thing

You learn a lot in endings, especially the end of friendships and relationships. I can admit that I have not acted with grace when things have ended in the past. But I can also admit that others have not either. Neither one of those things hurt me any less than the other. To know that someone you care about could cause you so much pain is just as jarring as causing pain to someone else.

But what people say in those moments of hurt and how they act thereafter speaks volumes. I can think of a time when I was literally crying on the floor begging someone not to go and they coolly walked away. I can also think of a time when I calmly stated my piece and the person chose the nuclear option. Sometimes a sincere and detailed apology can go a long way. Other times a cleansing conversation once you cool off helps put both people at ease. Then there are those times when the earth should definitely be scorched, the bridge burned, the door welded shut! Knowing when to employ those options is a true sign of emotional maturity.

There was an IG meme that I wanted to use here that said something like you learn a lot about a person by the way things end, or something of that nature. I cannot find it though. But I have found this to be true in how many things have ended friendships, relationships, partnerships, etc. When people are honest with themselves and each other, the ending of a thing can be so peaceful. But when one or both people are being dishonest... WHEW! That's when things get ill. Things occur like transferral of energy which is probably one of the most hurtful things you can do to someone (outside of physical harm) and it usually only makes the transferer feel better temporarily.

Hurt people hurt people. We've all been hurt, but hurting others won't help you heal. Healing is internal and it starts with truth. At the end of a thing, are you being true to and with yourself or are you solely seeking to harm someone else? I am all about being honest with self, first. My mother raised me to think what I could have done differently when conflict arises and that is how I approach most anything including endings. I try to do some serious soul-searching and set my boundaries beforehand. I don't always get it exactly right, but I try to do what's best. I am not always successful and it doesn't always go well, but I can sincerely say that the ending of a thing is me trying my best...

I thought that last statement was going to be the last statement, but I sought out a Word and came upon this. take from it what you will. Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 says:
8 the end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. 9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.  

Note: Excuse me if this seems disjointed but I am currently going through the process myself, but I hoped that by sharing this now, I could help others who I know are doing the same.