Friday, July 28

Little Women vs. Big Boys

Hey, look.... I enjoy a hearty debate. I enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor. But there is a line where those debates become arguments of fact vs. feelings and that humor is offensive and harmful. And I'm so over folks being obtuse about not knowing where that line is and WHY it exists.

So often we as black people have bought into this white, straight, rich male patriarchy that we forget it's: a- not FOR us and b- set up for us to fail. So when we take on certain debates or jokes from this angle it bothers me fiercely. How can their be two sides to topics like: knowingly transmitting diseases, pedophilia and toxic masculinity and what do you find so funny about them?

Arrah is Problematic
Yes , we knew R. Kelly was a pedophile but does that mean if he got away with it once he should continue to do so? At what point are we not going to have to envision OUR daughters, mothers, sisters in these predicaments to give a damn about strangers who are.

I just saw a meme that said: "B****es wasn't complaining about R. Kelly when them old ass dope boys was picking them up from school!" and men with DAUGHTERS were laughing at this. You are holding a 15-18 year old accountable for the actions of an adult man AND finding humor in the pedophilic experiences of "b****es" you know. So terrible grammar aside, you are also referring to the women standing up against this mess- WOMEN YOU KNOW- as b****es.

We gotta unlearn the foolishness
The day of the dope boy was a completely different era. However, most of us are now realizing that much of what we were taught by society then as it pertains to male-female relationships was inaccurate, inappropriate or just plain WRONG! Where is the man's responsibility in going to a SCHOOL to pick up a CHILD!? "She's fast!" because she is attracted to an older man. So what does that make an older man attracted to a CHILD!? Slow, I guess.... but y'all don't hear me.

People who don't want to address the issue usually try to deflect it, so they bring up Hugh Hefner. THIS AIN'T ABOUT HIM. Why are we comparing the two? You're saying that if we aren't "rescuing" the women at the Playboy Mansion who have not reported abuse then we shouldn't care about the Black women whom R. Kelly has manipulated and emotionally and physically abused?

When are we going to stop debating things that SHOULD be undebatable? When are we going to stop finding humor in the constant persecution of the Black GIRL!? When are we going to hold our MEN accountable for their actions? There is the myth of the blameless black man that basically believes that ANYTHING that happens negatively to a black man is a result of the system, the mama, or the chick who set him up. It does not acknowledge his part in something that is CLEARLY poor decision-making.

SN: Anyone that does not see the issue in Rick Ross' statement about not signing a woman to his label because he would need to have sex with her first....... I don't know if we can be friends. Like FAHRREAL!

Let's be good to and for each other, my people. Based on the direction of this administration... we ALL we got!

Friday, July 21

#DontDoThis- Unsolicited Health Advice

Hey, hi, yes, hello!
(Note: I'm considering changing the title of this blog to #DontDoThis cuz I say it DAILY)

I have been losing & gaining weight for years. And each time I get "advice" from someone that I ain't ask nothing. STOP THIS! I don't need your tips, testimonials, hints, or help. If I didn't ask you, I don't need to know.

I am capable of researching. I am capable of asking for help when I feel I need it. I am capable of losing weight when I am good and gosh darn ready. I don't always STICK to it because of who I am as a person (HA!) but you don't KNOW ME like I do. So please, locate your seat.

This is why I hate going to the gym!

I feel constantly scrutinized as a plus sized woman in the gym. Especially by dudes... As If I shouldn't be there. I have had more men "give me advice" than a lil bit. Sir, mind your task! I talk to ONE person & one person ONLY at the gym and SHE has given me the help I need. You, sir, can go THAT way.

I overheard a convo between two trainers at the gym and when I tell you I was DISGUSTED! They were casually laughing at people saying they want their bodies to look like theirs but weren't doing the work. DUDE, You WORK in the gym! You be on the treadmill when I get on the elliptical and you STILL on the treadmill 30 minutes later when I go to the weights and STILL on there sometimes when I leave. There's a 30 minute time limit... sooo how can anyone spend that much time? You don't know people's lives so you cannot and SHOULD not be laughing at someone that wants to look and feel better.

(let me just add how much I cannot stand male personal trainers. I have only had ONE I liked. He knew how to motivate me without making me not care anymore. Most of them motivational techniques they learn at the  Body Shamers R Us Personal Training School don't work on me & has gotten more than one cussed SLAM out!)

I've made several lifestyle changes!

I used to be able to hit the gym for a  few weeks and the pounds fall off. Not anymore, There are many OTHER things that this near-40 body requires. I don't know them all.... give me a break! I am cutting out things, adding things, doubling up on things. I've tried south beach, atkins, paleo, primal vegetarian and vegan. Good food is part of who I am and I HATE being the girl at the table asking "How is that prepared?" or "Can you substitute this for that?" So I am seeking my balance. Seek yours and BE BLESSED!

I am SO glad that you are able to carry all your meals and snacks around all day. I am SUPER happy that you can eat 3 twigs and a spoonful of dirt & meditate AND levitate. I am GREATLY impressed that you have the will power to go to Dunkin Donuts just to SMELL donuts every morning and be satisfied. GOOD FOR YOOOOOU! *sarcastic smile* But that ain't what works for me.


You don't know my life!
If these sounds like excuses, they ARE! and I know this, I don't need nobody pointing that out. So, ha!
I work 3 sedentary jobs. Two of which are mentally exhausting and require me to drive from place to place in the evenings. I was going to say more here, but my point is... Worry about yourself, ok? I got this... eventually.... so hush.

In conclusion to all those unsolicited health advisors out there: Unless someone ASKS you, let them LIVE! If you are not close enough to them to know them WELL, LET THEM LIVE!

Friday, July 14

Can You Hear Me Now?

One of the main things I have discovered in my newly framed womanist adventures is that some men just do NOT listen. Some of them it is willfully ignoring a woman's perspective and others it is just a demand to have THEIR opinion heard. I have witnessed exchanges the last few days on Twitter and on podcasts that have convinced me that dudes just do not LISTEN when a woman is talking about her lived experience with men.


I often have men inbox me on Tha Book and tell me my posts have given them a new perspective on some issues. And of t hat, I am proud.... of myself and them. Growth is a beautiful thing. But then thee are those that must constantly reduce anything said to an argument about women do it too thing. Not realizing this is the same thing that they hate about having a debate about race relations with a person refusing to acknowledge their white privilege.

Why do I have to flip women/men convos into black/white convos for you to realize that you are exercising your male "privilege" to derail and disregard my feelings?

HEARING someone means that you recognize that someone is talking and may have a general idea what they are saying. LISTENING is more active. It's processing what is being said and not simply waiting your turn to talk.

Not believing a woman's lived experience is equivalent to white people not believing black people have it THAT bad with the cops. Remember that...

Shout out to the men in my life who GET it... The men who hear me out... and the ones who laugh on the sidelines at those who don't get it as they are DRAGGED in the post replies by my lady friends. lol

Friday, July 7

Get the FUNK Up Out My Face!

This past weekend I was in a bar because the DJ is MY DJ... ALL HAIL, DJ SOYO!

I met some of my lady-friends out for music but no drinks because I wanted to be sober. At least one of them was a sheet and a half to the wind. She was engaged in some sort of playful tussle with a guy whose face I had seen there before. I stood by and observed and lightly chuckled. At some point, I moved to the corner because I was just there for the music!

The guy walks up to me in the corner minding my business and makes what I can only assume was supposed to be sexy eye contact. He smiled at me, I smiled back and then he comes over and kinda chucked me under the chin. Y'ALL KNOW I WAS HEATED!

I leaned back and looked at him like he had 12 heads. His smile faded. I said, "You don't put your hands on a stranger's face. I don't know you like that!" He had the nerve to be offended that I was offended. Sir, a- I don't know you; 2- I don't know where your hands have been. I don't understand how he thought it was ok to put his hands on my face! No words were exchanged, I didn't know his name, all I did was smile. That was not an invitation to touch.

Of course there are those that will say he didn't mean anything by it. That is the sort of thinking that has led to him thinking it was ok to touch a stranger's FACE. There is a level of familiarity with touching someone that I need men to understand. It's bad enough that you are putting your hands on a stranger but touching my face is way too intimate and doing so without permission with what may have been unwashed hands is downright disrespectful.

He hung around for a while and would make eye contact which I met with a Maxine Waters level "Chile, please!" expression.

He asked me, "You don't like me very much, do you?" I said to him, "I don't even know you. But since you want to put your hands all in people's face at least introduce yourself." He told me his name, I ain't care. He realized his je ne sais quois was doing nothing for me and he moved himself to the other end of the bar to another group of women that were less combative or challenging, I guess.

My mother (LAWD she is going to be embarrassed) used to tell my young male relatives, "Get your penis hands out of my face!" Dude is lucky I said it in a nicer way. But, seriously.... don't touch my face, stranger!

Sidenote: I am a church youth leader.... but all my posts not finna be about Jesus... FYI & BTW! Amen! Be blessed!

Monday, July 3

My Name is VICTORY!

It is DONE!

School has been kicking my CAN this year. I had TWO internships, a full time job, and at one point I was taking 4 classes as well. I wrote over 20 papers this year. 17 of which happened in 10 weeks! Through it all I maintained some sort of social life and even managed to entertain me a fella. It got REAL hectic for a while.... so much so that my THERAPIST was like how are you doing all of this? My answer: THE LORDT!

But I am here to say everything is completed and I am now a licensed counselor. Yes, a therapist! ME! Ain't that something!!?!?

I had a great team of supporters. They encouraged me, cracked the whip on me and gave me refuge when I just could NOT anymore. I definitely had a strong village!

In the few weeks after school: I lost a father-figure, traveled to England & Iceland, took a national exam, got bad news about a family member and still CARRIED ON!

After passing the exam, I interviewed for 4 positions and was offered all four! I took 2. One ended up not being a good fit. I went into the office in the humblest way possible and was basically told that in-home therapy life was not for everyone. The administration of the agency was my issue, but I did not say that. I thanked them for the opportunity and pressed on. I have been working as a therapist PT for about 2 months now. It has been INCREDIBLE already.

With that being said, I am back to blogging.... I hope! I have some things I want to get off my chest particularly with the misogynistic misanthropes running this whole shebang of a nation (see what I did there?) Soooo, while I will not be discussing my clients. I WILL be discussing EVERYTHING in between. EVERY Friday..... that is my promise... to me & to you!

"Bri Cooley", MA, MS, NCC, LGPC