- Is being a statistic.
I think all my life this has been a fight of mine. When I was younger, it was about not being uneducated, or being a baby mama, unwed mother or teen mother. That fear (or that of my mother) had me scared to to many things, including embracing self and what may come along with it. As I got older, it was a shift in being a statistic. Now I wanted to be one in the realm of having a degree, having a passport, traveling, not being a burden or unworthy… yet still not being an unwed mother, baby mama, ratchet, etc. And as I continue to grow older, I’m back to the not wanting to be a statistic. The one where black women are the least married cause over educated, that we are bitter and angry, that we are petty, or that we are unwanted. Those haunt me more that I like to admit, and for those who know me… know those shadows creep closer to the surface than I often let on.
- Is being told an “independent woman” is a negative thing.
In the last 6 months I had someone come at me for being an “independent woman.” He made comments saying that because I was an independent women, especially a proud black one, I didn’t listen to anybody, especially no man. I chuckled, stayed quiet… then thought of his daughters. Because the reality is… I don’t exactly have a choice but to be an independent black woman. I live far from my family, I have a dog to care for, and my mother (nor anyone else for that matter) doesn’t pay my bills. What else am I supposed to be? And if it means living rent free and someone paying for my lifestyle, sign me up hella quick! Although, if I didn’t work, I’d be a leecher and gold digger… yet I’m teased for handling my business which no one else will. I’m lost. I moved out my mom’s house at 17… not sure was ever an option for me to go back. And that’s all okay. And how does me paying my bills, cooking and cleaning, feed into my ability (or inability) to follow. Seriously? Men are complaining women don’t do this. Yet I do, but now can’t deal with men. Huh? Can I tell you how much I’d like to follow? I work in positions of leadership… man I’d love to go home and not have to think. Just tell me where to go. Does me maintaining a job and part of an household really go against that ability to follow? Like really? Damn.
- Is always being blamed.
Hotep men tell me that it’s my fault as a black woman the number of fatherless black children, single parent households, and even the rise of homosexuality in our community. I’m also tired of being blamed for the state of black men, and the shift in feminine and masculine energy. Everyone forgets osmosis… and that only when there is room, do things shift for balance. Also, it seems like speaking up for what’s right, calling out BS, and holding people accountable has become a negative thing that I’m now punished for. I have also been told to lower my expectations, because my fault I have requirements. Ouch.
- Is maintaining self esteem.
Especially when society tells you you are the most UNdesirable. When pro-black men tell you the demise of our people is your fault. hard to keep your head up when you love those men unconditionally. And when you’re constantly reminded not good enough, or just good enough for a backup plan… my God the weight. Hell, a nation won’t even march for you (unless Sandra Bland, although countless others most can’t recall), but you are at the front line for every black man,but constantly reminded unwanted or unworthy. We all carry the pain. Black men die, their women (mothers, aunts, daughters) still carry the pain. Do all parties effected, yes… but it’s not a lone struggle where we are stoic. Can’t imagine how it feels to be a mother to bury a child. Homies miss a dude and wear shirts, but now a father is gone, vows are uncompleted, and a literal part of one is missing. We carry it too. But it’s not enough. Cause we’re told that everything but what we are is more desirable, down to features. Don’t get me wrong, I know black men who LOVE (romantically) black women, nor do I think love has a color. But when I’m in groups of women who will ONLY date and marry black men, to then be in a room where not ONE black man has a black love interest… something isn’t balanced, and all the above is telling me it’s my fault.
- Is having to defend my self, yet not be typical.
Why can’t I be angry? Why can’t I be sad? Disappointed? Why do I have to take a blow, suck it up, and then reply with a calm head? And why is that still not enough? I can’t even be emotional, even when not cursing or being belligerent! I can’t stand up for being played, without becoming the bad guy. I can’t speak out against rape and rape culture, without becoming some angry black feminist. I have to accept being places in boxes, by people who think they know me, cause it’s easier than letting me be fluid and myself. And I’m not allowed to speak up, or I become that black women so often complained about. Fuck matching underwear and stretch marks… can someone really see how much weight that is? … And still have to maintain household, jobs and healthy relationships. Can black women do good and be honorable? Can I support fellow women and not be cast aside and reminded not worth a phone call? Oh and not worth the word given, yet mine I will be accounted for. Can I not blame myself for speaking up against wrong doing, and not be the one crying as if I fucked up again by doing the right thing? Stupid me, right? Speak up + do the right thing = typical angry, black chick. No wonder I’m single.
- Is I ain’t a woman.
When other women speak out, they’re feisty not angry. When other women take care of their men, they’re supportive not coddlers. When other women are emotional, they’re feminine not manipulative. When other women speak out about injustice, they’re leaders, not castraters. When other women are insecure, they’re sweet not weak. It’s like we do the same thing, but the connotation of our actions is ALWAYS negative.It’s hard being a black woman in these streets. It’s forever a balancing game, on a type-rope no else is made to walk on. I would love to claim the idea of being bitter… but honestly I’m kinda sad (insecure and awkward… Issa Rae), and also just getting cathartic release. Because I’ll still walk that type-rope. I’ll still smile and support. I’ll still speak up for injustice. I still won’t settle for being someone’s back up plan. I’ll still handle my business… cause I have to. I literally have no other choice in this world if I want to be successful in only be my own definition. Cause reality is I am what I am and that’s all I can be, but it scared me cause I am starting to under stand Lil Kim’s plight more than I used too… and she started off fly. Just imagine.
My Battle with Touch, if not the Hampton Hug…
So I’ve finished reading the book, “Five Love Languages (Singles Edition)” where upon reading you discover how you love, receive love, and what type of love one needs to work on. I’ve discovered a few things on is journey. First, I was well loved as a child. Although I sometimes question now, my mom (and family) gave me every form of love. I was complimented, given gifts, had quality time spent with me, people would do things and look out for me, and I was hugged or touched often. Second I learned my love languages. I realized, that quality time is my love language. I like just being with people. I had a coworker in the DR, where we rarely spoke, just would sit quietly and work in the same room. I can’t tell you how much those days meant to me. I learned that words hurt me immensely, so that’s my second love language. I remember hurtful things, which means my first/ main dialog of love is affirming words. My third language is of actions. Reciprocate. Don’t wait for me. I hate confrontation, so just doing helps me to not sit and steam and do, ultimately feeling used and fueling resentment. And while I don’t mind giving, I don’t require gifts. Any act of kindness or thought makes me feel special. My roommate’s daughter wanting to say “good morning” to me, makes me feel special… No money needed.
And thirdly, I found, although I already knew, I have issues with touch. And while it’s interesting because I grew up with touch, as I became an adult the nature of touch changed as did my views with it. Touch used to be about pure pleasure with no selfish/ self serving meaning. We touch babies or puppies for tactile reasons, and we enjoy making them feel loved. But as I got older touch became either sexually driven or power driven. I was touched as a means to control or manipulate, to pacify or to get off. I love to touch. That’s one reason why I love Hampton University. Because I go, and get hugs and know of love and no strings attached… Since ultimately, those strings attached caused me to detach. But don’t think my dog isn’t cuddled or petted or loved. Even my roommates daughter likes to cuddle and hug, especially since I have big “mamas”. LoL. And I give to them freely. But when my breast become sexualized without my permission, or my body is touched to satisfy the “need” of the other only with no consent from me, I feel lessened. I feel taken advantage of. Don’t pat my back to shut me up. Don’t squeeze my knee to make a point. I am very touchy if people pay attention, even freely… But get inside my walls first.
In the last years of my life, I’ve been in places over crowded or of different cultures where things like personal space didn’t come up. So another touch issue developed with Stranger Danger and strange folks in my individual bubble. Then things like my locks or natural hair got me petted like a fucking animal. So now I’m ducking and dodging for the “don’t touch my hair!” movement. Then unwanted touches of Red Zoned/ No No Areas, or people patting you to shut you up so they can be heard during your issues… And they piled up. But I love touching. I pass you by, I touch. We’re in the same room I’m sitting as close as possible, I touch. You need a hug, I touch. You need a shoulder to cry on, I touch. I love holding hands and I love spooning (although I prefer to be the small spoon). I had a homie in college after my father died, where we’d watch movies and I’d lay on his back. That’s it. I just wanted to be close to someone. Those times are priceless. Just don’t force it on me. I feel violated and dirty.
I’ve also experienced hugs as a manner in which to deliver criticism. In the same moment I’m given a hug to show love or that I was missed, it usually was followed by some form of criticism. So hugs have become the figurative bell to my Pavlov’s dogs. It’s happened so much, that even when a hug doesn’t proceed criticism, I wince in readiness. I put up blockers going in, when the average person drops them. If every time someone touches, there has to be some fault on my part, I’d rather not. And as it’s been uncovered earlier, my second love dialect is words of affirmation. Meaning the opposite hits harder, sounds louder and harsher, and resides longer. I’m sensitive. So be it. So here I feel I’m being attacked, with every hug, knee squeeze, pat on back, etc. If not intimate, I struggle. But I’m working on it (even if it is by force).
I want to love so bad. Not for what’s reciprocated, but to just give and give in abundance; an out pour. And while I know it can be taken advantage of, which it usually is, I rarely have regrets and actually little heart ache. It perplexes me, while I’m grateful for it. I mean it’s such a Catch-22 trying to find that balance. The book says no sex till marriage, “Think Like a Man” says 90 days. You’re told not to treat a man like your husband, but men complain when women can’t (don’t/won’t) cook and do other domestic tasks. I’m supposed to keep my body and be called a prude, or try to make myself desirable and end up being a THOT.
I know I’m a hard cookie to crack though. Both mentally and… physically(?) especially these days. I get bored when not mentally challenged, and that in turn fuels frustration of homies wanting to touch when they haven’t earned access. And as I read, I feel someone one is thinking “high sididdy,” too much work, not worth it… And that’s okay. I know there are kings out there. I can wait. Not like I have any other choice. I also know I love hard, and hell, like and crush hard… not romanticized, but forever ready for and to love. So, so be it. Tears fall, no phone calls, I’ll get along without you. Learning to hug everyone after you. *Kanye shrug*
I’m just saying.
All I can literally do is laugh. I’ve been here a month, dated two guys about 3 weeks, and been told off by another.
So let’s be honest, I definitely downloaded Tinder. How else do you meet people when the few people you do know in the city have children? I am also on Meet-up, but still not really comfortable about being in the streets at night.
1st, the principal. Cool dude, liked who he was as a person. He liked to tell me he was handsome… okay. He gave me a lot of compliments, but in retrospect, I’m beginning to think was given just to be returned. We were going out, he was quite the gentleman, then nothing. It happened on a Tuesday. We were supposed to plan a get up, he fell sleep. Ehh… okay. Next day, I had an interview then went to the DMV for a couple hours. Let’s say I came home hungry, tired and cranky. I told him the first and the third… never heard from him again. Oh, cause I took a nap and I guess took too long to reply, or he thought I was being petty. I’m also pretty sure he wanted more from me… but it was only a few weeks. Seriously? Am I really supposed to be making house calls, tonging dudes down, and giving up the goodies? Naw, that ain’t me… well, unless sheer lust, then it’s a let go, and I’m past those. Alas.
2nd, Ohio Loco. He’s not even from Ohio, just his number (he had a stalker), and he made sure he let me know. This dude is crazy, angry, and deranged. Says future goal was to work for self, although no clue doing what, and as he told his mother, he was not interested in night school, or applying for grants or scholarships just in case, in the end, has to pay them back after I informed him otherwise. We had to change the subject cause discussion was pissing him off. Same interview day, he hits me up 5x in an hour, after I asked for him to wait till I got home. When we spoke and I mentioned, he flipped on me, cursing loudly, so I hung up. He calls back to hang up on me because I was too reserved and wouldn’t talk about my sexual behaviors during a hypothetical Netflix night scenario… right. He then texts and says we aren’t going to work (duh!). A few hours later, this dude texts me, apologizing and says he blacked out at gym, and needed to speak to me to feel better. Naw homie, swerve. He texts and calls twice a day, until the fourth day (I’ve responded to none) he texts me stating, and I quote, “ugly ass bitch lose some weight and grow some hair.” To that I responded. “LoL.”
3rd, The Local. This dude was hella cool. We would walk my dog and talk for hours. He was… fluffy, not my type, so no rush… cool dude, who knows? He had other plans. Movie night… didn’t end well, now who the fuck knows? I know I don’t hide my feelings very well and they’re written all over my face. That’s how I lose homies, because I can’t fix my face. I had a lonely dog walk the next day. Dammit man!
And that’s where this starts. From the aforementioned guys, to dudes who call themselves world travelers whose favorite spot in WHOLE WORLD is Vegas, and never responded to non- US location. I’ve been argued down by the tired “whose best rapper outta Pac and Biggie?” and intellectual dudes who can’t carry a convo.
I need better… but hell, it’s been a month. I’m cool Ice Cold. I’m cool.
Saturday, August 16th, 2014. My birthday was the following Monday, it was first week of work but couple days before students, entonces… we go out. So, we’re in a club called, Onno’s, in the Zonal Colonial of Santo Domingo, DR. We have new chicks in the crew, and some anchors… Turns out, not everyone can hold their Brugal.
I’m a tom-girl, I am. If I have to carry something to the club for phone, money, keys and lipstick… it’s a SMALL clutch. The ladies I’m with are carrying what looks like fancy diaper bags. We land a chair, and I put my clutch under all the adult diaper bags, and we partied. But low and behold, our newly acquired amigas are starting to get hit by the rum. Back and forth in bags, one and off with shoes. We end the night with the club lights coming on, and glistening with sweat. But low and behold, my clutch is gone; along with my house keys, my phone, my money and ATM cards. My dog is home, and I can’t feed him… I’ve officially started to panic.
Now remember, this is near my birthday, so I’m an adult. In between the tears, I cancelled my cards, emailed my bosses saying was robbed and couldn’t get in my house, informed my mom, and during my friends did some local scouting to see if can find. No luck. So, I headed to a friends house, and continued on my path of adulthood. I log on her computer, and began to change passwords.. cause you know how SmartPhones are connected to everything, passwords included. But while I’m there is dawns on me… I always have the “Find my Phone” option on. And I know, you know, what’s next. I log in. And guess what? I find my phone. It’s in the Barrio Chino (China Town).
At 5am, with this small glimmer of hope, my 120 lbs, blond, athletic, white (female) friend is like, “let’s go!” She puts on some running shorts, running shoes, grabs her roommate’s car keys, her mace and grabs a kitchen knife (like a steak knife). We are getting my phone back.
I log my account in on my friend’s phone, and we commence to follow the GPS. First, we thought it was in the park. So, in between park benches with drunks, dope heads and the homeless, we were searching for my phone or at least a card (since not really usable), or any hint of my clutch. No luck. Then.. ping! We see the dot move. We’re close, but no cigar. Therefore, we continued searching, heads down, following the dot. Well, thank God for the white girl! Cause two policemen rolled up on their moto- conchos (motor bike but not quite motorcycles) as we were beginning to tread down a sketchy ally. They begin to assist.
They ask us… well, her, what we were doing, in a sketchy ally, in China Town, at 5 o’clock the morning. And she told them that my phone, was literally behind the next gate, and we were ready… with our pepper spray and kitchen knife. And as our location and my phone’s dots become aligned, there comes a Haitian with a machete… he is clearly not pleased about being approached by two random females and the police. Thus, the questioning begins. [These have been translated from Spanish]
“Were you at Onno’s tonight?”
“Did you pick up a bag or see a yellow phone?”
“It’s my yellow phone. *tears start* My house keys were in that bag. I have a dog at home. Can I have it back?”
“I only have the phone.”
“Can I please have it?”
“What are you going to give me?”
“It’s my phone! And we just said my bag was stolen with all my money and I can’t even get into my house for more, cause my keys are gone too!” *tears are streaming*
~~ police step in~~
They decide to help the crying morena (brown girl) and her cute blankita (blond girl), friend in shorts. They pulled him aside and strike up a deal. The Haitian man, with his machete… goes back into the alley, and returns with a full, small, black, trash bag. As he opens the trash bag, and sets off looking for my phone, we realize he is searching through a bag of money. WTF?! And our eye contact confirmed we were both thinking, “what kind of deal did he strike up with the police, when they are literally watching him, WITH HIS MACHETE, dig through a small garbage bag full of cash, in a sketchy, dark alley in China Town at 5am?”
Eventually, I got my phone back. And after logging in with the screen password, and showing them all pictures of me and my awesome pug, the man with the machete, switched to just having the bag of cash, and disappears up the block. Thus we are alone with the police… and since their job is done, they take the opportunity to flirt and hit on the blankita, with the running shorts, the kitchen knife, and key-chain can of mace.
Dudes… It’s like 5:30 in the morning and the sun is beginning to peek over the horizon. Therefore, we smile and say thank you, and walk briskly back to the car. We wave good bye to the drunk, and nod hello to a morning runner… and we head “home.” We retire the kitchen knife to it’s drawer, the mace to the proper key-chain, and our bodies to the respective beds. Never found my keys (thank goodness my school had, like, 3 sets of extras), but IDK, recovering my phone was a great defeat. I mean, bank cards are easily replaced, my school had copies of keys, but pictures and numbers and notes aren’t really replaceable… In lieu of that, now everything is automatically backed – up to cloud, and the “find my phone:” feature is forever turned on. On every device.
My time at Hampton Univ. was hard. I didn’t fit in, wasn’t cute enough, wasn’t thin enough, etc. But the reality is, I’m not sure who, where, or what I’d be if I hadn’t gone to an HBCU… All my heroes, teachers, friends, looked like me, and it allowed me to no longer question me.
This week a video went viral of members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity singing a racist chant about excluding “niggers” from their fraternity and hanging them from trees at the University of Oklahoma. The video sparked the closure of the SAE chapter on the school’s campus, protests on and off campus, and the expulsion of several students involved in the video. It also sparked a resurgence in the ever-raging debate on the pros and cons of Black students attending HBCUs and PWIs via the Twitter hashtags #SAEHatesMe and #HBCULovesMe.
For months, I’ve intended to write a blog post about my experience at Howard University but never got around to it. But given the interest in the HBCU/PWI debate, and because high school seniors are currently in the process of deciding which college to go to, I decided that now is the perfect time to add my two cents to the…
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Underrated. Hands down. No hesitation. No confusion.
I think I’m overrated. Seriously. I think people see me in ways, in which I do emulate, but forget that I’m still human, still light, still spirit… all which are malleable. Even trees give way to storms, houses crumble, Towers fall… and some are even reinforced with steel.
My path has not been an easy one. I’m far from home, no family, friends have moved out, away, shifted… Normal parts of life, I know. Doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve lost countless family and friends in the last two years. These include my uncle, the patriarch of my mother’s family, and my grandmother, the matriarch of my father’s family. My uncle is the one who escorted and gave me away at my cotillion, my grandmother is one of the reasons that during my 11 hour layover in ATL I can visit my sister, maybe niece and nephew… These people have altered, changed and bettered my life. And yet, I’m treated like because I don’t talk about them always, their loss wasn’t/ isn’t detrimental.
Ask me how many people have asked if I’m okay. A hand’s worth? Including my mother… Just because I’ve decided to leave the histrionics at home, doesn’t mean I’m without histrionics. Just because I’ve sobbed in my pillow, doesn’t mean my head isn’t pounding and eyes aren’t aching in the morning. Just because I’ve decided to wash my face in the bathroom, doesn’t mean tears and snot weren’t running down it. I thought is was being mature… now it seems to be a double edged sword, a catch- 22.
Just because I live far from home, doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. Just because I live away from my family, doesn’t mean I don’t crave them. Just because I don’t consistently talk about my family, doesn’t mean they’re aren’t on my mind. Sometimes it hurts harder to learn EVERYTHING second hand from a status, because never present. Maybe I don’t want to talk about them. I miss them immensely. Every child birth, every loss, every birthday, ever hospital trip… I learn from a Facebook status. I’ve been sick literally since August. Even if not fever, something else. I haven’t had a day when I’ve felt, physically, 100. Spiritually, I’m set. Emotionally, most days I’m good and that counts bounce backs. Physically… I’m tired of being sick. LoL. And people think that that’s just okay? That I think that’s okay?
Fuck them. Fuck you if you’re reading and think that. I’m not ice. I have a heart. I have more hours than I can count, alone with a puppy, in a three bedroom- empty apartment, where I can be reminded of being alone. There are many a lonely days, and the more heavier recognition that I have no one to call, and those I would are unavailable locally or in a different country. Screw being overrated! Because in being overrated, it seems people forget human; with emotions, pains, loneliness… Just because I choose to not broadcast, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
And truthfully, at 31, I decided I was tired of complaining (this is a vent, lol). I tired of letting the ever lingering shadows and negativity cast darkness over my sun… my light. I chose to choose peace. I want to smile. I don’t want to always talk about it. If I was asked when it happened, different. Five days later, I don’t want to dwell. I want to absorb, find the lesson, change and grow. In that order. But change isn’t always easy. Growth not always painless.
Why am I not allowed to be weak or have weak moments? Why don’t others treat and support me the way I do them? Why do I have to be the forgiving and understanding one ALWAYS? While I understand my choice to be the above, it’s a two way street. Being overrated often means, people don’t meet you half way, not acknowledging that journey may be a hard one to do the whole way alone.
Sometimes that darkness creeps in. Period. And we know that one dot of black paint, has now turned the white to gray. Give me a break sometimes. Let me be human. Understand that sometimes a little black drips in the white… while knowing I always have more white paint to start fresh with. Stop asking everyone else about my gray an not me. I am the one who needs the support. Also, question why, if normally you are aware of my color spectrum, why you no longer are. No man is an island. No change does not have a rippling effect. Why do I have to withstand everyone else’s waves, while they get out the water for mine? Because, I feel at times… I’m overrated.
It takes a lot of work to find peace in multiple aspects of normal life which is always chaotic.
And I must admit… to step out and reflect, being overrated is a compliment. That requires faith not only in the person, but in their abilities. People believe that the other is capable of great things, sometimes outside of their true limits. They have trust knowing that person to stand and be able to withstand.
Maybe I’m not overrated. Maybe people see in me a strength I don’t see in myself. Maybe people see the peace that I focus and strive for. But I would also like those people to be reminded, it takes only one proverbial straw to break the camel’s back. Let me give. Doesn’t mean I’m breaking or can’t be re-patched up. But help me. Don’t point fingers. Don’t ask my neighbors. Don’t ask and gossip with strangers. Don’t belittle me. Don’t hold up a one – sided mirror. Help a nigga out. LoL. I always bounce back. I’m very flexible… doesn’t mean that a new position doesn’t cause pain.
Honestly, sometimes I want to be underrated, so I can surprise people with my awesomeness or to just have an easier time. Lowered expectation, constant check ins and offered support… But as I read that admittance, it’s wanting that is just weakness and laziness. And that’s not my story nor do I want it to be. Because to be honest, I ask for help when I need it… but damn it would be nice, if just offered. I love myself, but a little more wouldn’t hurt. Just sayin.
I say a good 70% of these things… and the other 30% I never heard of. LoL. What’s sad, is I don’t even live in the US or what US television and still moving up like the Jefferson’s.
In 2012, I did a blog called “Sh*t Upwardly Mobile Black People Say”… it was around the time of “Sh*t Black Girls Say”, but before “Sh*t Bougie Black Folks Say” (if only I had a camera).
I realized people that I know say all the same stuff and wrote about it. After a full year, I realize that this list is incomplete… and may need to be updated every year. Then I got lazy and realized maybe every two years. “Wrote a blog bout it. Like to hear it, here it goes”
Here is part two:
“I’m so over…”
Nothing makes upwardly mobile Black people happier than telling someone that they have outgrown a situation, a person, a TV show, etc. It’s like saying “This is here…and I am so beyond this”… actually, “I’m beyond” is the cousin of “I’m so over”. If you were really over it…
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