What Jay-Z’s 4:44 Taught me About Black Love

What Jay-Z’s 4:44 Taught me About Black Love

I’ve always been a girl who loved words, so it was no surprise to me that I became a Jay Z fan. My brothers and cousins were OBSESSED with his music when I was little. Listening to it on my own, there was something about the way he told a story of being a drug dealer in Marcy Projects to becoming one of the wealthiest Hip Hop moguls EVER that intrigued me.

Again, I have a thing about words; it’s the way words are put together. I’m all about the voice, the tone, the impact, the depth, the emotion, the passion behind the words.

A few days ago, Jay-Z shut the music industry down with the release of his album, 4:44. Now, for most people, Jay’s greatness isn’t anything new. From top to bottom, 4:44 is a literary masterpiece, filled with gems and knowledge about Black supremacy, Black Wealth, sexual liberation (his mother Gloria Carter came out as a lesbian), Black Unity, and so many other things.

Perhaps the most enlightening track on the album (in my opinion) is the very raw, very personal title track. In it he spits mad bars about his relationship with his wife Beyonce. He admits to a shit load of emotional abuse and pain. I think it’s fitting, him releasing this track after Bey dropped Lemonade last year. Jay addresses almost every controversial issue in their marriage and overall relationship.

Needless to say, Black women were NOT here for Jay Z’s year’s too late apology. And Black men well, half of them missed the most important message Hov was dropping, and many felt like it gave them a pass to cheat. I recently saw a post on Tumblr about Jay Z and Beyonce’s relationship based on 4:44. Jay Z has presumably been the only man Beyonce has ever loved and been with intimately since she was about 18; she’ll be 36 in September, Jay Z will be 48 in December. In the song he asked her to “go steady” back in 2002 when she was about 21, which means he had to be at least 32 at the time.

They got married in 2008; he was 39 and she 27. Their daughter Blue was born in 2012; she was about to be 31 and he would turn 42 at the end of the year.

They’ve been married for 9 years, but together practically Beyonce’s entire adult life.

She has been hurt and mistreated by the very man who constantly rapped about having “the hottest chic in the game wearing my chain,” He has been hurting the very woman so many young girls idolize and aspire to be. He is one half of ‘relationship goals’. They are considered a power couple, a symbol of Black love.

Beyonce and Jay Z’s relationship is all of us; their relationship says something about the way we as Black people view, idealize, and understand love and relationships.

We may sit and scrutinize Jay Z and Beyonce for, whatever reason, but we have all been them at some point. If we haven’t been them, we have experienced them through the eyes of someone else.

4:44 and Lemonade go hand-in-hand with one another, exposing a HUGE problem in the Black community.

When I sat and listened to 4:44, I slowly realized that although we idealize and worship Black love, it’s problematic as fuck.

Again, at some point we have all had a Jay Z in our lives. He is no different than the same Black men we cry ‘ain’t shit’ on an everyday basis. Still, though, we criticize Jay Z; but how many of us have had a Jay Z who, in his own way, gave us a 4:44 and we forgave him? How many of us have had a father that was once a Jay Z and he changed by the grace of god and we love him and have somehow found a way to repair that relationship?

Okay, so maybe Jay Z wasn’t your father, but he could’ve been your granddad, your favorite Uncle, your cousin, your brother…

We as Black women want to be, and to an extent are forced to be, strong, powerful, independent women. We cry the mantra of ‘Black men ain’t shit’, and we write and we post and we say all of these things about how so and so is stupid and deserves better. We cry about how ‘couldn’t be me’ and what we would do if we were in that situation but yet…

We still hold down these very same men, the same ones we bash and claim ain’t shit. We hold them down with each #BlackLivesMatter post, with our protests, with our fight against police brutality.

Yes, Jay Z made that track for Beyonce, as a public apology of sorts, but it’s deeper than that.

4:44 is a reflection of just how warped, distorted, and messed up Black Love really is.

Even our fictional images of Black love are distorted; Cliff Huxtable is a man we all grew up idealizing, but in reality, the man who gave us Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) is inadvertently a sexual predator. However, we cling to the idealization and idolization of Cliff by protecting Bill. Because Bill is Cliff and Cliff is an example of Black Love. In fact, the Huxtable’s are the epitome of Black love. They were our Barack and Michelle before Barack and Michelle so if we convict Bill, we taint the idea of what Black Love truly is.

We see it with other fictional characters too, the way we idealize them, overlooking how problematic their love was; Martin and Gina, Whitley and DeWayne, Florida and James Evans, Ghost and Tasha, Cookie and Luscious.

We idealize and glorify problematic relationships within other celebrity couples as well; look at TI and Tiny. TI basically called his marriage to Tiny “a distraction”, after she held him down (even going to jail for him) taking in his 3 children from previous relationships, as well as giving birth to 4 of his children  (they had a sillborn daughter in the early 2000’s). Our relationship and love for Black men is to painfully intertwined with our identity that we can sometimes be blinded by the problems and pain they cause us.

And yet, while some of us acknowledge the problems and the pain Black men cause us, we do NOT hold them accountable. We blame White supremacy, we blame society, hell, we blame each other, because do we or do we not raise Black men?

As I sit here and write this, I am reminded of the Jay Z’s in my own life, and oh how I love them, how I idealized them and worshipped them. It took Jay Z penning a powerful, emotionally raw, almost too little too late track for me to realize that the cycle of ‘Black love’ is powerful, painful, and deeply problematic.

One of the most powerful things I’ve heard said in response to Jay Z and Beyonce’s relationship is that he ‘groomed Beyonce’ to take what can easily be considered as mental and emotional abuse.

Abuse, that’s a powerful word and a serious accusation to bring up against one of the world’s biggest power couples, or any man in general. We tend to believe that abuse is only abuse if you’ve got a black eye, or you’re in an ER, or in a casket. We as Black people overlook abuse all of the time. But abuse doesn’t always leave a scar that can be seen with the physical eye. No, sometimes abuse comes in the form of habits, of things that we allow ourselves to put up with, things we do, the people we love. Abuse can be pattern forming and if you don’t look past the surface, it can be something we pass on to our children, and their children, creating a never ending cycle of hurt and pain.

We create generational curses by ignoring the non visible scars of abuse.

So, what can we learn from Jay Z’s public apology to Beyonce?

It’s simple; we as Black women must learn to love ourselves FIRST. I’m not saying that we don’t, but we have to reevaluate the way we perceive ourselves. For the most part, who we are is shaped by society and Black men. We unknowingly and sometimes knowingly participate in patriarchy and misogynior. We do NOT hold Black men accountable because we fail to see their privilege. We spend so much time talking about White Privilege that we forget that Black men have privilege too, male privilege.

It’s why we raise our daughters to be good little innocent virgins and to keep a low sexual body count, but scream ‘boys will be boys’ to our sons and will take care of any grandbaby they bring us. We teach our young Black daughters to be strong and fierce and loud and independent, but teach our sons that crying is a sign of weakness or that they’re gay. We refuse to discuss mental health and refuse to participate in family and individual therapy, but wonder why our sons and daughters hate us? We use sex as a weapon and a tool for love, but get mad and refuse to let our baby daddy’s see their children when they don’t want us. Instead of letting our children find out the kind of man their father is, we bash him in front of them, creating a strain in a relationship that is not ours to taint. We create a cycle of bitter, angry, children, under the guise of ‘I’m just protecting them’, when in reality, we are vicariously protecting ourselves from being hurt again.

In order to stop the next generation from repeating the vicious and painful cycle of Black Love, we must reevaluate what we know about love. We must be willing to be open to new ideas, new concepts. We must learn to be loyal to ourselves FIRST, not Black men. Malcolm X said that the Black woman is the most disrespected creature on the planet, and this is so true.

We spend so much time looking out and protecting other people, but who looks out for us Black women?

We have to destroy the seeds of bitter and angry that reside in our hearts. I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to create a culture and environment of love and positivity around your young ones. Stop selling them this shit about “what happens in my house, stays in my house”, be careful who you surround yourself and your babies with. I must add that while Black Love is problematic as fuck it still has the potential to be a beautiful thing. I also have to add that there are good Black men in the world; you just have to look harder for them. Also, you have to realize that you will NEVER find a perfect man; you find a man whom you can help be a better person and vice versa. You want a man that compliments your weaknesses as you compliment his.

We have gotten so far away from it but, looking to and being connected to a higher source of power is important. You must learn that your body is connected with your mind, and your mind is connected with your spirit and or emotions. Those three must be in perfect alignment, which can only come through self discovery and seeking a power outside of your own. If you can love your creator and the universe, self love will come easily and will allow you to have agape love, which will allow you to make connections with people on a deeper level than just physical.

Black Love is twisted and complex, and painful, but not unfixable.

Jay Z’s public apology to Beyonce started a conversation and can be used as the tools to fixing Black Love.

Let’s keep the conversation going y’all!

Xx

 

What Does ‘Woke’ Really Mean?

What Does ‘Woke’ Really Mean?

One word that I am tired of hearing in the Black community is the word ‘woke’.

I used to love that word, because it meant being on a level that no one else was on. It was a symbol, a status if you will, of true Blackness; I used to think that by being ‘woke’ it somehow validated my Blackness. I used to think that being ‘woke’ gave me the Black card that I’d so desperately been searching for; I felt validated by being ‘woke’. Now, I laugh at the concept of wokeness, because nowadays any ole negro can go on Google and find some (mis)information and claim to be ‘woke’. And even that wokeness can come into question when it doesn’t fit a certain standard of wokeness by a group of Black people I didn’t know owned the rights on how to be woke.

‘You ain’t woke if you married to a White person’

‘If your girlfriend don’t have big lips, nappy hair, a wide set nose and she ain’t dark as Gabrielle Union, you ain’t woke’

‘If you believe in ‘White Jesus’ or organized religion, you ain’t woke’

‘If you a Muslim, you ain’t woke’

The list goes on and on.

I have learned that wokeness is a social construct created in order to further keep us entrapped in a war within our community. You see, while we’re sitting around worried about ‘is you woke or nah’, we’re really just sleep with our eyes open.  Because wokeness and consciousness go far beyond the Black definition; to be woke is a spiritual mindset, a state of being if you will. Even on a spiritual level you can only reach a certain level of consciousness, because to obtain full consciousness is to ascribe to a level of spiritual perfection, which is impossible so long as you reside in human flesh.

Wokeness is a powerful thing and it extends beyond the Black community. Everybody in the damn world been trying to be woke since the beginning of time.

To be woke seeks to answer three of life’s biggest questions:

Why are we here?

What happens when you die?

And my personal favorite,

Why do bad things happen to good people?

It’s why we fight and search so hard to prove God’s existence.  It’s why we fight amongst each other; it’s why wars are started and how greed is created. Basically, wokeness is merely a quest for knowledge. But in the Black community, wokeness is a symbol of validation. Everybody and they mama tryna be woke. When it comes to being woke, we jump through ridiculous hoops to prove a word that holds no true value-we study quantum physics, we deny organized religion, we embrace our African roots, we change our names, we go natural, we become militant, we hate White people…but why?

Because we have learned how to market our Blackness and wish to do as our oppressors and place it (being Black) into this neat, tiny little box that’s perfect and orderly. Blackness is anything BUT orderly. So instead of embracing that, we fight over who’s woke and who’s sleep. And while we’re doing this, the enemy (who is not necessarily White Supremacy or White people) is laughing while applauding us at the same time. We are essentially destroying ourselves, though we have the tools to freedom within our grasp. We bypass knowledge everyday; we know more about New World Order and The Illuminati than we do financial freedom. We trust more in conspiracy theories than we do in each other. The only way we can get free is if we ALL free. Still, though, the Willie Lynch letter is in full effect; we’ve become so engrained in the belief that “I got mine, you better get yours,” that we are FAILING ourselves, our community, and our ancestors every day.

Every other race can come together to fight for what they want; why can’t we?

Now, I am all about placing blame where blame is due socially, economically, and politically, but we as a community need to sit down and have a serious conversation. I studied Sociology in college, and I’ve done my research about the plight of the Black American. I know all about the generational trauma that exists within the Black community. I am all about fighting for the right to not let others diminish that pain by telling us to “get over it” or by rewriting our history. I am all for fighting for the rights of my people and our freedom-mentally, spiritually, economically, socially, and politically…

But I cannot stay silent about the problems that I see within my community.

I can no longer fight for justice while refusing to acknowledge our culpability in what we as a community have become any longer.

Dear Black people, I love y’all I love us, but we gotta get past the symptom stage of our problems and address the root issue. No, it’s not all “The White man” or “The System”. While I believe, based on research and my understanding of how the system works, that those who brought us here in chains 398 years ago are at least, 65 percent responsible for how we as a people turned out, I CANNOT hold them fully culpable any longer.

In the 1960’s, YES, in the 1970’s, 80’s and even some of the 90’s, YES, they were largely and at times, solely responsible for the destruction of perhaps one of the most beautiful, intriguing races of people in the world. Today, in 2017, I cannot and will not hold them fully responsible any longer.

Why?

Two words: Technology. Education.

We have access to vast knowledge, but yet, we choose not to take it and use it to our full advantage. We know the most important thing for the Black community is economic freedom, yet we STILL refuse to bank black. We STILL would rather spend two BILLION dollars on Air Jordan’s than investing two BILLION in stocks, small start up tech companies, or  real estate. We would rather buy a benz to ‘stunt on our haters’ before buying a house, even though that house can be inherited by our children, and their children, setting up wealth for GENERATIONS (fun fact: wealth isn’t always money, it’s moreso assets).

We cry, fight, protest, and complain about how ‘the system’ and ‘the White man’ is unjustly killing and or imprisoning our young Black men, but we refuse to vote. We’re quick to say “Voting is pointless, the system is rigged against us anyways,” So if you know the system is rigged, why complain? That’s like complaining that the sky is blue and water is wet. You can’t change either, so why complain about them? If you know the system is rigged and it’s never going to change, why are we shouting ‘Black Lives Matter’ why do we march, why do we protest and riot? There are AMAZING Black senators, congressmen, congresswomen, and other political pundits who fight EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY for your rights, but we don’t bother to watch the news, we don’t bother to pick up a newspaper, we won’t watch their podcasts, we won’t subscribe to their YouTube channel, we won’t follow them on social media…but yet we know ALL about what’s happening in the lives of the cast of Love and Hip Hop.

But again, the second a cop kills an unarmed Black man, we’re marching, we’re looking to the NAACP or some other powerful Black figurehead, wanting THEM to fix the problem, but then when the cycle continues, we blame them. We blamed President Obama for doing more for the Latinos and the LGBT community than he did for Blacks. What we FAIL to realize is that those communities MADE OBAMA FIGHT FOR THEM. For most of his presidency, Barack Obama was ambivalent about same sex marriage; he didn’t publicly endorse it until around 2012. The LGBT community was constantly in his face, constantly calling their local senators, calling their elected officials, suing the shit out of people, writing him letters, tweeting him on Twitter, getting funding and endorsements from other companies and organizations, telling and sharing their stories. The same thing with the Latino community; they did the footwork; they put President Obama’s hands to the fire. For Black people, Obama was just a status, a symbol of ‘look mama we made it’. We simply expected him to do for us without us doing any of the work ourselves, because he was one of ‘us’.

We’ve become lazy in the days since Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X, Medgar Evers, and Hugey P Newton. Albert Einstein once said “to do the same thing over and over but expecting different results is insanity” Black people have been insane for years; we want change but continue to allow the same people to remain in power for years and years, collecting coin after coin (people in congress make almost $200,000 a year) but continue to hope for change and when no change comes, we blame the system, which we refuse to engage in, which we refuse to dismantle, which we refuse to fix.

For me, it’s like this: either fix the system or shut the hell up, plain and simple.

Black unemployment is usually higher than the national average, but instead of raising our children to go and get STEM jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), we would rather teach them to play football, pushing them into dreams of becoming pro athletes or to get them into the NCAA, for whom they make MILLIONS of dollars and yet…you as a parent can’t get time off from your job to watch your baby play. Better yet, your child makes the NCAA MILLIONS of dollars but they have to come home to the projects during breaks for school. Let’s not even begin to talk about how quickly Black athletes who do go pro end up getting injured, spend most of their career being traded or riding the bench, or go broke in less than ten years due to poor financial advisement by White financial investors, oh, and because they don’t read the contracts they sign because most of them read far below their grade levels.

I know I sound like I’m ‘bashing’ Black people but I’m not, I promise I’m not. I’m simply pointing out problems I see within our community.

If we want to do better, to actually be better, we have to be willing to have some tough conversations. We love to say ‘we’re not our ancestors’, no the hell we are not, because unlike them, we rest on our laurels, we look for change to just come, floating out of the sky. We’ve become comfortable with the luxuries and the trappings of freedom. Sadly, we don’t even realize that everything that our ancestors were beaten, raped, killed, and marched for, was slowly dismantled by harsh policies and legislation. The fight for freedom didn’t end in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act, it only begun.

It is 2017 and we are still marching.

Let me say that again:

IT IS TWO THOUSAND FUCKING SEVENTEEN AND WE ARE STILL OUT HERE IN THESE DAMN STREETS MARCHING.

This makes ZERO sense to me; we were given the tools to success by our ancestors, they LITERALLY passed us the blueprint to freedom. They gave us EVERYTHING: a foundation of faith and belief in something bigger than ourselves, the education on our history and our culture (HBCUs Black History Month, Juneteenth), the way to gain economic wealth (why we ain’t got a Black Wall Street again?), the talent to attract money (hello Michael, Whitney, Prince, Beyonce) the knowledge (Garvey, DuBois, Douglass) the strength and courage (Tubman, Turner, Truth), the power to lead like warriors, but with enough elegance to terrify and intrigue the White man(Zulu, Kente, King, X, Newton, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Tupac, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama, Colin Kapernick, Jesse Williams), hell we’re a TRILLION dollar spending entity so we ain’t broke. We’ve had it all right here in front of us for the last 52 years and we’ve had our fists closed up like some damn fools. We are setting the next generation up to fail, BIG TIME.

So the time is now to stop asking ‘is you woke or nah’ and just wake the hell up, forreal.

I love my Blackness and yours…even if we too damn stupid to see it.

A Letter to My Future Daughters

A Letter to My Future Daughters

To my darling daughters,

Somedays, I have just one, other days, there are two of you. Most times when I think about having children, I envision two daughters because I wouldn’t want you to grow up being the only girl. My oldest, I’d name you Adisyn and you, my sweet baby girl, I’d name you Eden. I’ve always wanted to be a mom; sometimes, I have two perfect little kiddos, sometimes three, sometimes four, maybe even five kids. I’ll admit, five seems like too many at times, but I then I think five is a good number because that’s how many kids my parents have between the two of them. It’d be crazy, but I feel like I’d enjoy the chaos of having a husband, 5 kids, 2 or 3 dogs, a couple fish and a turtle. I’d love it if you were all by the same man, and I hope that happens. But right now, you’re not born, nowhere near being conceived. So until then, I’m writing this letter to you, my sweet, beautiful, smart little brown girls because I have so much to say to you.

I’m writing this because though I have yet to see your faces, I am already in love with you. You see, I’ve wanted to be a mom since I was about eight. It’s always been on my big check list of life goals. It’s funny that I want little girls when I’m perhaps the most un-girly person there is. Well, I take that back; I’m girly, but I’m also way more comfortable in a pair of sweatpants, a tank top, my hair pulled up into a bun with a comfy sweater or cardigan and some Nike flip flops. There are, however, things I love about being a woman-the high heel shoes, wearing makeup, purses (sometimes), how amazing I look in a dress or a fitted skirt, buying cute bras and panties, getting my hair done (when I’m not the one doing it), drinking wine, taking luxurious showers and bubble baths, good smelling body wash and perfumes, lipstick, pedicures…There are a lot of good things about being a girl, but the thing I think I like the most is being a mom. Sure, it’s not always easy, and you could fuck it up at any time, but the idea that you get to create this tiny little life and raise it from birth to death like you’re God, is pretty cool if you ask me.

Motherhood is hard as hell, but the rewards are beautiful. It’s probably the second most important thing I want to do in life, besides saving the world from crazy ass people of course, and well, pleasing God to the fullest extent of my being.  But again, motherhood is tricky, and it is NOT something you take lightly. You see, there are a million ways to be a mom, though most prefer to carry their children in their womb. I’d like to do that, if my body permits it but, if I can’t, I’ll still love you-whether I give birth to you, or you’re carried inside the womb of another, if you’re made in a test tube, if I adopt you, or if you happen to be a package deal that comes along with the man I marry. No matter what girls, you’re mine.

Speaking of your father…I don’t know who he is or where he is right now but, I can only hope that he is a kind, smart, loving, funny, and an all around good man. I know this guy who I think would be a great dad but, I doubt if he becomes your father. Though if he does, I really hope you get his cute freckles.

As for me? Well, girls, your mommy is quite an interesting lady. Right now I’m 26 years old; I’ve just graduated college but I’m about to go back to school and get another degree. I currently work as a nanny, so I’m getting in lots of practice for when you’re born. When I grow up (because age does not a grown-up make) I want to inspire people. I want to create laws and policies that help make people’s lives better. I want to be a college professor, I want to write books, and educate people, because a mind is a TERRIBLE thing to waste. My life was…it was okay growing up, but I’ve been through some things. I’m a little bit broken and damaged, but I’ve been working on putting myself back together again. Because everything I do, I do it with you and any other siblings you might have in mind. Now, if I could have, I would’ve had you sooner, but God knew I wasn’t ready for children just yet so he put you on hold, just for me. In fact, I’d love to have at least one of you right now, if I were more financially secure and I had a guy who’d I felt was worth having kids with.

There are so many things I want to tell you, so many things I have yet to teach you, but for right now, this letter is full of promises, of hopes and dreams that I have for you, my sweet, beautiful little girls. I want to be the best mom I can be to you both. If I could make life easy for you, if I could make life perfect, I’d do it, no questions asked. Sadly, you have to live your own lives and make your own mistakes, and I have to trust that I will have raised you right so that when you do fall down, you can get back up.

The world we live in is a mean and cruel one. You will face hatred and mistreatment for the color of your skin, because you were born a woman, sometimes because you believe in God. Boys will tell you they love you and won’t mean it. Friends will lie to you, people you love very much will die and you won’t understand why. Some days, I think of all of those things that you might have to face, and I would rather not have you, to protect you from all of that. However, as much as I’d rather not bring you into a world like that, I can’t imagine a world without you in it.

This letter is to give you hope, to give you advice, to make you laugh and smile, to show you that the world is your oyster, that despite all of the shitty things you may face at some point, life is beautiful and good.

Your names are pretty special; I’ve been making lists of little girl names for years, trying to find the perfect ones for you. One thing I knew as I got older was that I didn’t want to give you typical names, ones that have been over used (especially in our family)-Bailey, Chloe, Jasmine, Londyn, Paris, Alexis, Kamryn, Katilyn, McKenzie, Madisyn, Taylor, etc. My mom named me Davia (that’s day-vee-yah); I like it sometimes, but it’s too hard to pronounce and the meaning is something I’ve never quite lived up to. When I thought about your names, I wanted them to be simple, special, and something you could be proud of.

Adisyn, I initially had no intention of naming you that. You were supposed to be named after two very important people, my godmom Lena and my favorite singer Aaliyah; Alena was what I called you for a long time. I loved my godmom so much, but she died when I was about 7; Aaliyah was my favorite singer when I was growing up (she still is). Somehow, the name Adisyn just sort of came to me in the last year or so. Your first name is interesting; I named you after one of my favorite television characters, Addison Montgomery. I changed the spelling because I didn’t the way it was spelled and felt like it wouldn’t suit you. Addison Montgomery was a character on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. She was a doctor, but, not just any kind of doctor. She was a world class surgeon with like 10 different specialties. She was strong, funny, odd, complex, flawed, confident, all of the things I wished I was. To most people, she was a beautiful woman with a perfect life, but on the inside, she struggled to find her place in the world. In the end, she found it; she got her guy and her kid.

As for your middle name, that’s always been a given; you have my mother’s first name as your middle name, so wear it with pride, because my mother, your grandmother, is an amazing, phenomenal woman. I could go on and on about how she is literally made of magic (all Black women are), but her, she’s a special kind of magic. She has a direct hook up to Jesus, so always be on your best behavior around her!

And to my darling Eden, your name is just as special. The name Eden comes from the bible, it’s a place where the first man and woman are said to have existed. It means delight; for me, it also represents the beginning, biblically speaking. The Garden of Eden is a beautiful place where man and woman were meant to peacefully coexist and live life with no sickness, no diseases, no famine, poverty, etc. Eden is the place where we as Christians want to get back to. To me, Eden is a state of being, a mindset, a place of serenity. That concept in itself is powerful enough. I’m still deciding on a middle name for you; it’ll come to me soon enough, don’t you worry.

I think about the day I’ll be able to hold either one or both of you in my arms. I think about how soft and tiny and little you’ll be when you’re first born. I can’t wait for that day, because there’s just something about holding your baby for the first time after they’ve spent nine months kicking the crap out of your ribs, forcing you to have to pee all of the time that you cannot explain. I can’t wait to kiss your chubby little cheeks and tell you how much I love you. Because you my darling girls, are so special to me, you really are. I promise that your childhood will be magical and special and as wonderful as I can make it. My parents were unable to protect me from some aspects of grown-up life, but I promise to shield you as best as possible. You are children, so I don’t want you to worry about anything but being children.

One of my mother’s biggest flaws was that she didn’t really let me be me; I promise to let you do that. Of course, every mom’s dream is to see if their child is anything like them. I’ll admit, I’d love it if at least one of you were like me but I promise to let you be you. I intend to be a parent who lets you grow into whoever God wants you to be. So if you want to be a girly girl or a complete tomboy, I’m here to let you do that. Of course, there will be boundaries, but I want your growth to be personal and something that isn’t tainted by certain rules and social norms. Speaking of social norms, I don’t plan on raising you with them. Social norms are these silly things that were created by people to group everyone into neat little boxes. They’re things like ‘boys wear blue’ and ‘girls can’t play football’. If you want to do that, by all means, do it. You are free to like what you want, to wear silly clothes (unless it’s school or church), you’re free to play with dolls or a ball. I want you to be happy, that’s my ultimate goal.

Now, we will have rules and I expect you to follow them. My rules aren’t hard or overbearing, they’re simple things that I think will help you grow up to be wonderful, wonderful young women. My number one rule is to be true to yourself, FIRST. My next rule is to do the very best you can in anything that you do. Be kind to all people, respect others, don’t fight each other or your siblings, be brave, be strong, be proud of who you are. There are other rules but, those are the most important ones for right now. Everything else I will try and guide you into, that’s my job, to guide you through life. I’m not supposed to force or push anything on you, because the more I try and force something on you, the more you’ll resist.

One more thing…you’re Black. I know that seems silly to say but, I feel the need to point this out to you because being Black is part of your identity. It’s what makes you so special. Girls, you will more than likely grow up in a world where Black people in America (that’s where we live) aren’t treated very nicely. Depending on how light or how brown your skin is, people will treat you a certain way. But I want you to rise above that. Yes, you are Black and yes, life will be harder because you are Black, but don’t let the limitations of this country define who you turn out to be. I want you to know, to realize, to engrain into your soul just how beautiful your Black is. I want you to love everything about being Black-your hair, whether it’s curly or super kinky (some people call it nappy), whether you have big lips, a big wide nose, whether you’re as a light as cream in coffee, or as Black as the moon, you are perfect. You are magic, you are God’s most beautiful creation, and don’t you ever forget that.

Speaking of God, because I’ve brought him up a couple of times in this letter, yes, he’s real. I plan to raise you believing that. Now, what you choose to subscribe to when you grow up and when you have kids of your own is totally up to you, but my job as your mom is to give you that solid foundation, to teach you about a God who is loving, and kind, and wants you to love him and to love others. I feel like explaining God and Jesus right now will be complicated, but just know that there is someone, somewhere out there in the universe who put the stars in the sky, who allows the sun to shine, who decided you were so special that he sent you all the way down from heaven to be my little girls. That’s who I want to be your first love, God, not me, not your dad, not some silly little boy, but God, your true creator. You see, if you love him first, then you learn how to love yourself and finally those around you. If you can learn how to love God, really and truthfully love God first, then I’ve done my job as a mom.

Now, we get to the hard stuff: boys.

Girls, I want you to know that you are special; I’ve said this a million times already but you need to hear it. You are special, and you are loved, you are so, so loved by me, by your father, by our parents, and everyone else around you. I need you to get that first; you are loved, no matter what happens, always carry that with you in your heart. I need you to know that because as women, you are the essence of life. Life literally begins with you and through you. Someday, when you’re older, you’ll go through this weird thing called puberty, where your body starts to change from that of a little girl into a grown woman. And with those changes come lots of responsibilities. As your bodies begin to change, I want you to celebrate that, to embrace the newfound womanhood you will grow into.

The one thing I wish I had growing up was someone there to tell me that the strange changes happening to my body were amazing and powerful and wonderful. Instead, I lived with insecurities about myself, and I was left to fend for myself in terms of sexual encounters. These sexual encounters shaped how I saw myself, how I viewed men, and love in general. Perhaps the most important lesson I need you to understand is that your body, it belongs to you. Never, ever, ever, ever, allow anybody-man or woman, to touch you or take from your body. I want us to have such a good relationship that if, in the unfortunate event that something should happen to you, I would hope that you don’t feel afraid to tell me. Keep in mind that no, ALWAYS means no.

We could talk about boys and losing your virginity but, I’ll table that for another day. The only thing I’ll say is again, learn to love yourself, FIRST. Boys can wait, sex can wait, learn to love the hell out of Adisyn and Eden.

I could write to you all day, give you little anecdotes for how to get through certain things, but I’d rather wait to tell you all of those things as I watch you grow up.

So I’ll close my letter with one last affirmation of how much I love you, of how special you are to me, of how I would willingly give my life for you. The love I have for children who have yet to come into existence is one that amazes me every day. Each breath I take, each risk, each time I defy the odds, each time I refuse to do what is considered normal, I do it with you in mind. I live for you, so that my sins, the sins and the mistakes of my parents, and their parents, and their parents before them and so on, do not continue with you.

So I wait, patiently, anxiously, like a child waiting on Christmas morning, for the day that I learn that your existence has finally come to be, for the day I learn that you are girls, to the day that I spend grueling hours in labor, to the moment you take your first breath until your last, I will love you.

Always,

Your mother

Walk Away (Remember Me)

I never thought I’d be doing this,

This thing called casual sex but

Here I am

Doing it over, and over, and over again-with you.

Constantly wondering why the hell you were so special.

I swore I’d never do this, just fuck a guy with no relationship, no future but here I am

Fucking you over, and over and over.

Listening and watching you say how much you want a wife and

Apparently that’s not me.

Yet I’m still here,

Still stupidly hoping that you’ll pick me

That you’ll choose me

That maybe I’m not being stupid after all

Of course I know I’m being stupid

I look at myself every damn day and think about how stupid I am

For allowing you to be the first person that I do this with

The first guy that I had sex with and there was no relationship or commitment involved

I never wanted it to be like this

Never wanted to be sharing myself with some random guy

But see, you’re not just a random guy

You’re sweet and wonderful and God, any girl would kill to have a man like you

But I don’t think you know you or what the hell you want

I’d like to know, what do you want from me?

You say you want friendship but really

Is that really what you want?

Because nothing we’ve done is exactly friendly

It’s sinful to say the least

But it’s one damn good sin that’s for sure

I feel so stupid

That’s all I can keep saying

But when I’m with you, I don’t feel stupid

Just confused as hell

Because we both know what this is

Just kidding ourselves that it’s something more

Calling it friendship

When it’s a fuck-ship

A situationship

A ship that I wanna get the fuck off of but

I’m stuck like chuck and I really like to fuck-you.

I think it’s because you’re the first boy I really opened up to

The first boy I actually decided to give a chance

And my heart, my stupid foolish heart

Went and betrayed me and it fell for you

I fell for you

I know that me saying this will probably make you feel weird but I do

I really, really like you.

But you don’t like me, at least I don’t think you do.

You see, I said I wouldn’t come forward with my feelings because I didn’t wanna seem clingy

And I didn’t wanna frighten you like the last time we had this conversation

So I told myself this was cool, and it is, sometimes

But then nights come where I just wanna feel your arms around me and

Those creeping thoughts of my future come in and,

You’re there, you’re always there.

I told myself that the first time I drove to see you that I shouldn’t get attached

That I wouldn’t get attached

That I could totally handle this

And I thought could but I lied to myself because

I was in this, whatever the hell it was

And instead of admitting defeat

I sat and surrendered to the inevitable

The end which I knew was soon to come

One day, you’d bore of me

One day, you’d grow tired of me

One day, some other pretty girl with a ‘dope mind’ would come along and entice you

She’d charm you with her good looks, her wonderful personality

And I, I’d just be a passing thought

Because there’s no way in hell you can stay friends with the girl you constantly fucked.

I’d never admit it to you personally but,

When it finally ended, it hurt like fuck.

But you know what?

I thanked God!

I literally-in the midst of my crying-thanked God

And, I even prayed for you

Because I don’t wanna hate you

Because hating you will only stop me from finding the man God has for me.

Being bitter won’t stop anything but me pursuing my dreams

Being bitter won’t change what happened

That I acted stupidly, that I’d hoped that you would want something more

None of that will change the fact that this is over

It’s so, so over

Nope, not over like last time because God, that great guy, he gave me just what I needed

This time YOU ended things

You might not think you did but you totally did

And what a blessing it was when you ended it!

I thought this was going to be some long, drawn out thing but

You ended things with just a few simple words:

‘Let’s just be friends’

You have NO idea how FREEING that message was

I’ll admit, I cried a bit because it stung

Because you were the first one I’d allowed to cross the threshold

Of my bruised and damaged heart

You were the first one that I was like ‘fuck it’

And dived head first into…whatever the fuck this was.

Like I said I have ZERO regrets

I might have written a poem last time saying ‘fuck you’ but

I immediately took that shit back

Because I didn’t mean to say ‘fuck you’ but I was mad

And writing that poem was the best I had at the time

So this time, I won’t say fuck you

Instead, I’ll say thank you.

I tried walking away

But I came back because I said that I ‘didn’t wanna lose your friendship’

Because deep down I really do value that

I value you.

You see, you weren’t just some boy I liked

But you were a man with an amazing personality

A man who’s going places

A man that can change the world

And I liked that.

I was attracted to that.

You see, I saw parts of myself

Pieces of my own pain within you

I saw the darkness that lies there

Those deep thoughts you have when you’re by yourself

The struggles you’ve faced while chasing your dream

I’ve been there and I’ve done that

I saw that and that, that was what attracted me to you.

Not your game, not your looks but something deeper

I must admit when I first laid eyes on you

It was because you were cute

Now that I’m this so called ‘grown-woman’

I realize that I was attracted to the grown man in you

I liked the fact that I didn’t have to feel bad that I didn’t have it all together

Neither did you and it made me feel okay

You didn’t judge me

And when shared my deepest truth with you, you seemed to respect it

You seemed to respect me

Sometimes though, I wish I hadn’t been willing to fuck so easily but

The timing just felt right and I have no, absolutely no regrets about that

I just wish my heart hadn’t been so willing

I wish my heart had been a little bit smarter when it chose the first guy to break it

I wish it had been some fuck boy but

This heartbreak taught me a lesson

For the first time in my life, I knew what it was like

To feel wanted by a man

Not just because of my body

To be seen as more than just a pair of thighs, tits, and ass

Based on all that, I can’t call you a fuck boy

Because how can I be mad at the boy I let fuck?

Could I have been more cautious? Sure

But that’s what happens when you get sideswiped by love

I feel in love with the idea of you

I fell in love with the fact that you approached me first

I fell in love with the idea that you were honest

That you wanted to know me and fuck me

I just wish I knew which was more important.

You’ve said knowing me was more important but I’m not so sure

Still for me though,

I just wish that I knew which part I enjoyed more

Knowing you or fucking you

The latter is good but I wish that I got to know you more

Because at the least with the former I wouldn’t feel so insecure

I keep wondering what it is you saw in me

But I dare not ask

Because I’m not sure if I’d like the answer

Did I tell you that I was prewarned about you?

I was always scared of the boys who dressed like thugs

When I really should’ve been afraid of good looking men in suits

Still though, this situationship has taught me a lot of things

It’s taught me that it’s okay to fall in love with the wrong people

That sex is totally freeing, when it’s with the right person of course

That this love thing isn’t as bad as I thought

No, I wasn’t in love with you, at least I don’t think I was

I felt like if this had lasted any longer, I would’ve gotten there

And that was the scary part

To know that I could’ve fallen in love with you had this lasted any longer

Now though, the thought is terrifying

Because I wasn’t ready for love and neither are you

You might think you are but dude, you are so not ready

Because if you were, you’d have realized what you had in front of you and not fucked it up

This is a precautionary tale

To warn young girls of the dangers of love

You see, my guard wasn’t completely down when I met you

But it was down enough for visions of a life with you in it go get into my head

Ironically, I was scared of that, of wanting a future with you

I created a million reasons in my head why we wouldn’t work out

Isn’t it sad?

That in the end, I was right

I guess my discernment was blinded by my infatuation with you

I liked you so much that I was afraid of liking you too much

Because I knew that my heart would be broken

And it was

How the hell did we get here?

Can we just go back to almost four-and-a-half months ago when you first slid into my DMs?

If I could go back

I’d totally seek out your true intentions

Because I never figured out what you really wanted from me

Was I just a pretty face?

I mean, you did say that you’d been watching me for a while so…

But no, I won’t go back, won’t try and figure things out

It’s good to make a clean break

I know you said friends but

We both know that this is too damn awkward to remain friends, at least, for me it is

I’ve already deleted your texts

Pretty soon I’ll delete your number

I’m not sure if I’ll unfollow you on social media though

Maybe one day I will just ,not  right now

If you ever read this

Please don’t take this the wrong way

I’m not doing this to bash you

Or to hurt you

But this, this is for me

This is how I heal

How I vent

And as for my last one worded text well

I didn’t know what the hell to say

Your response was cut and dry so

I felt no need to say my piece

Because what the hell could I say?

That I was scared and didn’t know what the hell I was doing

I didn’t know what the hell we were doing

I told you the night before this ended that I didn’t do feelings

I wish you had listened instead of brushing it off and shaking your head

Telling me that I was being ‘extra’ as always

I wish you’d seen the writings on the wall

Because I left plenty of clues

Maybe you did see them and just decided to be like ‘fuck it’, ion know

Do you know how many guys I’ve turned down since we started this little, whatever it was?

I was loyal to you but, your heart and your feelings weren’t exactly loyal to me

And that kinda hurts

I feel like I got played…

But still

God is good

He will get me through this and you

I wish you no harm

I can only pray that you get your shit together

That next time, you don’t lead girls on

You may not think you did but

You lead me on

If you wanna fuck a girl

Just say so next time

Don’t try and butter her up with fancy words

At least, not the ones who’ve been hurt

Not the ones who are vulnerable

Not the ones who are ready to open their hearts to love

Because I was all of that

I was hurt, vulnerable and ready to open my heart up to love

And you used that

Took advantage of that

And I kinda hate you for that

But still

I’m glad my first heart break was you

Because at least love didn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth

Well it did but, it’s like taking that nasty cherry flavored medicine

It only tastes bad for a second but then the water washes away the taste

You left a bitter taste but I’ve drank my water and it doesn’t taste so bad

Now it’s time for the healing to start…

 

 

A Precautionary Tale (Poem)

I’ve never been that girl who gets a guy’s attention.

I’m cute but, not cute enough; big ass, thick thighs, great boobs small waist but…not enough.

Smart, outgoing, ambitious but, still a little too rough.

Too bold is what they told me

Too much mouth so it made me cold.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I’d never get a man.

And I was okay with that cause niggas ain’t shit anyways.

Even thought of dating a White dude but nope, he just HAD to be Black

Because there’s something about that Black love that just…

So while I knew that I was pretty I’d understood that I’d never quite be enough.

Sure, enough to holla at but to wife up? Not so much.

It didn’t bother me though because I played niggas too

Gave em fake numbers, kicked em to the curb if I got bored, never thinking of the consequences.

I could always spot bullshit, fuckery, and a nigga who wanted to get into my panties from a mile away and then…

I.met.him.

He was the epitome of what I wanted in a man but, I never thought anything would happen between us

So I kept my distance, wrote this one little poem back in high school, kept my infatuation and fascination to myself…

And then one day, he did notice me.

But it was too good to be true, right? Because girls like me, we NEVER, EVER get the guy we want

But then I did, or so I thought.

I went into it thinkin ‘nah, this can’t be real’

But then it was…until it wasn’t anymore.

You see, I had always been a good girl, was prided on how smart I was, on how I’d never ended up like all the other girls.

When in reality, I wanted to be those girls

Cause those girls got the guys, the cute babies, the life I thought that I should be living because hey

I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I wasn’t having premarital sex (yet)

I was more than just good looks so why couldn’t I get a man?

Oh, right cause I was fat, didn’t go out much, and kept to myself.

Okay cool.

But then this one guy, this really great guy comes along and…

He chooses me, wants to talk to me, wants to get to know me.

Well shit.

At first like I said I didn’t believe it because I wasn’t his type.

So why the fuck was he tryna holla at me?

Could it be that he…really did like me too?

I let myself fall into the trap, fell into the guise of the well-tailored suits and intellectual words

I fell for his love of Jesus, his respect for the community and me well…

He wasn’t feeling me but still, he chose me so that had to count for something, right?

Looking back I knew this would end badly because I was (and still am) convinced that NO ONE will ever want me, not enough to wife me up so I let him in.

Gave him pieces of myself I can never get back and while I don’t regret that I do regret him.

He told me sweet empty nothings, called me cute names and I, so wrapped up in the idea of him, let him.

Everything I did I did willingly and I admit that but, I still ended up cuting him way too much slack

Now he really is a great guy don’t get me wrong but, he just doesn’t know what the fuck he wants…

Except that he wanted to fuck me.

And I let him because this was the guy, the one who matched everything on my stupid little list (but did he?)

Good looking…check

Loves Jesus…check

Funny…check

Honest…eh, maybe?

Ambitious, most definitely

Can wear the hell out of a suit, yes lawd!

And that all looks good on paper right but,

Did he want me?

Did he really, truly want me?

We played this game for weeks, us going back and forth, doing all kinds of inappropriate things and

When I laid down with him I knew; this was different.

He didn’t pressure me, didn’t disrespect me but if all that I said was true then why did I give myself ‘the talk’

‘Dee, if he doesn’t call you back, don’t get mad’

‘If this doesn’t go anywhere, don’t get mad’

‘No matter the outcome, this is all your fault because you led him on’

But did I really?

I mean yeah I did but, he knew, oh buddy did he know

He knew how the fuck I felt and what the fuck I wanted

But still, he chose me so that must mean something right?

No, that didn’t mean shit

Because even though he chose me, he still used me

He was a willing participant and so was I

But you wanna know what wasn’t?

My heart

My fucking feelings

And it’s not like he didn’t know

Because oh boy DID he know

So why did he choose me?

That’s the question I’m left grappling with

As I sit here and type this

My feelings gutted

Everything I didn’t wanna feel I do

You ain’t shit

You’re not that special

I don’t wish you well

In fact fuck you

Why?

Why did you come after me?

If all you wanted was some pussy, I’m sure there was some girl who’d be willing to give it to you with no emotional attachment involved.

But no, I was the girl you used under the false pretense of

“Let’s just be friends”

Knowing good and goddamn well that wasn’t the case

Cause all we did was fuck, that’s it

But we kept saying ‘friends’ because we

Or rather I

Was blinded by the d

I thought I was smarter

Thought I would be better

But no

I’m not any of those things

What I am is stupid as fuck

I should’ve cut you off a long time ago

Should’ve chopped my feelings off at the knees

Because now my heart and feelings are gutted like a fish and you

You get to walk away scot free

Lucky son of a bitch

I should say your name but I won’t

Because you’re not good enough for me to utter your name

Yes I’m writing this and even though I should totally put you on blast

Warn every girl of how nice you are and how they’ll instantly fall for you

While you fuck them and string them along, claiming to want friendship despite what happens but

I still care about you

It’s stupid but I do

Because I let myself think you’d be different

Nah dawg, you just another nigga, just better dressed with a lil more finesse than most

So to the girl you date, he’s a really great guy, you’ll love the hell out of him, I know I almost did

But to you, my only piece of advice: be careful with the next girl’s heart

If you don’t want her don’t fuck her

Because the next girl might not be as kind as me and write a poem about you

The next girl might really try and fuck you up

Can we be friends?

Right now, hell fuck no

My wounds are too fresh

So right now fuck you

No, straight up, FUCK YOU

Nah, I don’t wish you well

Not in this moment but I will one day

And even as I write this I blame myself

I let my guard down and I’ve NEVER been a girl who takes a chance on love

No, what we had wasn’t love, don’t panic bitch

But I did like you

I liked you enough to fuck you three times

I liked you enough to annoy the hell out of my friends to talk about you and yet

Did your friends know about me?

I wonder, but I doubt it

I was special enough to fuck

But not special enough to hang out in public with

You’re a busy man, yeah I know

But I would’ve appreciated those 20 minutes we fucked if they were spent chilling

You claim I have a dope mind but right now I feel dumb

Because why the fuck would you even come after me when you knew how I felt and you knew what I wanted

I feel so dumb

Because even sitting here typing up this poem I find excuses for you

‘Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything’

‘Maybe I shouldn’t have told people we were talking’

‘Maybe I should text you again’

‘You didn’t mean what you said’

‘I just pissed you off’

But dammit, what about me?

You can’t say let’s be cool after you’ve fucked over my feelings

No fuck that and fuck you

I can’t be mad at you, I shouldn’t be but I am

I thought you’d be different

And you are

You’re just a special kinda different

A really great dude

And I really do wish you well

You just aint shit to me right now

Maybe one day I’ll be able to support you to be your friend…

Nah we can’t do that friend shit because we fucked and my feelings are involved

And truth be told they probably always will be

There’s only one other dude who got this close to my heart

So consider yourself lucky

But the damage you’ve done is really gonna set me back

Because like I said, I was never ‘that girl’

And now I know I never will be

I was so afraid to give you a chance

So scared to lose you

Because I know dudes aren’t checking for me

So I settled for you but

You didn’t wanna settle for me

Because you can do so much better

And I’m sure you will

So go ahead and do what guys do best

Walk away squeaky clean

While I’m left here cleaning up your shit

Because you’ll just do the same thing again

And my feelings?

Well, they’ll be blamed on me

In fact, I’m quite sure that at this point I’m nothing more than a passing thought to you

And I’m cool with that

But I send a fair warning to the next girl he messes with

Do not be persuaded by the good looks, the bomb suits, the kind words, and the dope ass sex

Cause underneath it all is a boy who doesn’t know what he wants

A guy who’s willing to fuck over other people’s feelings in the process

And me well, I’ll do what I do best

Move the hell on

I honestly have no regrets

Still a big fuck you but at the same time

Thank you

You taught me a lot of things

To never settle

That I am the SHIT and you were LUCKY AS FUCK to have me

That I’m a good woman

That I have a right to want things

That no, what I wanted wasn’t too much

That falling off the precipice of love is okay

I thought the fall would be harder but

I landed on my feet surprisingly

So thanks for that lesson

You’ll always hold a special place in my heart

Even if you ain’t shit

I loved you, or at least a version of you

The one I was blinded by

I loved you yes, but I loved the idea of you more

Of who you were

Of you who could be

You gave me a great gift by moving on

Now I can get ready for the real man to come along

One who will love me

And cherish me

Who’s gonna appreciate the shit outta me

Because I am awesome

And strong

And amazing

And a whole bunch more shit you’ll never get to discover

You had your chance now you blew it

So big ups to you!

You just did my future husband a favor.

Later.

Can You Be A Christian and Struggle With Depression?

Odyssey Photo I haven’t posted much on my blog, because well, real life has gotten in the way. But this week, I need to vent out my pain. As a writer, I must first be truthful to myself. This week, I am in one of the lowest places in my life, and I don’t know what to do about it.

This week, depression and anxiety are really kicking my ass. This week I’m struggling with how to deal with these feelings from a Christian perspective.

What do you do when your faith has grown so small that you can’t see your way out of the situation you’re in? What do you do when you’re a Christian, but you struggle with depression and anxiety?

That’s where I am this week, this week, I am struggling, trying to find my way through this maze of emotions I deal with on an everyday basis. Depression and anxiety aren’t something that get talked about much at church. In fact, it’s almost taboo to address issues of mental health. We tend to put a scripture on it or we tell people to ‘bind it up in Jesus name’ and to, ‘speak to your situation’. But what happens when you do that, and you continue to do that but it doesn’t seem to get better? What do you do if you’re going to church and serving and praying and reading your bible daily, and paying your tithes but you’re still stuck in the same situation? Why do people tell  you to ‘keep praying’ or ‘just believe harder’?

If you’re like me and grew up in a Black Baptist Church, depression wasn’t a part of the weekly sermon. In fact, it wasn’t talked about much at all. If I can be even more honest, Black families don’t talk about mental health, period. You learn to suck it up and keep it moving. You don’t have time to cry if you’re Black, you don’t have time to lose your mind because there’s someone out there depending on you. Oh, and don’t be a young person and say ‘I’m struggling’; the first thing an older person will say to you is ‘what are you struggling with?’, ‘You don’t have kids, you don’t have any bills’. But yes older people, we struggle too, believe it or not, a struggle is not just associated with having kids and having to pay bills.

Sometimes I find myself asking, ‘Who can I talk to?’ sure people will say ‘you can talk to me’, But can I really? Can I really pour out what’s in my heart with no judgment, without you trying to heap your problems onto me? Can I come to you in confidence without fear of it getting out or without you wanting something in return? In most cases, the answer is no, especially if you’re that person that everyone looks to for advice. But you should be able to go to your pastor/priest, right? Nope, sometimes even they can’t help. Sometimes, it’s impossible to talk to your pastor because he or she is too busy or you’re constantly hit with ‘You just need to keep praying about it’ Even worse they’ll ask ‘are you paying your tithes?’ or something stupid like that. Because sure, not paying tithes is really the cause of my depression. *side eye*

What do you do when the people you look to for spiritual guidance are nowhere to be found?

Do you keep trying, do you keep praying? The Christian answer is yes because God will see you through it. But how are you supposed to keep going when the waves of depression and fear are like a raging storm, and no matter how much you call Jesus, you can’t seem to see your way out of it? In fact, is there something wrong with you if you’re a Christian and you have anxiety or deal with depression? Where does it come from? Surely as a Christian if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do, you have no reason to be sad, lonely, or depressed, right? I mean, you serve a great and mighty God who made the heaven and the earth, you wake up every morning with new grace and mercy, Jesus died on the cross for your sins so, why are you sad again? Shouldn’t you just be ‘happy with Jesus alone’? Sure, the idea of just needing Jesus and nothing and no one else is comforting, but real life doesn’t work like that.

You cannot get through life without having someone to lean on, someone to confide in. Unfortunately, in religious communities, you are forced to carry your pain in secret. You must put on your mask of happiness when you walk into the house of worship, and you leave just the same. Sure, healing and deliverance can take place in the church; I don’t deny that one bit. However, the church has become so commercial in its pick up lines for why you should join and the even bigger commercialism that’s being put on tithing and giving an offering. As much as I love Jesus, some days, I can see why people are atheists or agnostic. The concept of a God who judges you to eternal damnation if you don’t abide by a book of rules that are badly misinterpreted by human beings to fit their own personal agenda can be a bit disheartening.

Sometimes, when you’re in a low place, you just wanna stand in the middle of the room and scream out ‘can anybody see me?’ ‘Does anybody see that I’m hurting?’ Sometimes, you just want to see if people really care as much as they say they do.

Depression and Anxiety are like rain clouds; it doesn’t come every day, but you know that rain is always somewhere around the corner. Sometimes, the rain can be a drizzle and then it’s back to sunshiny skies. Other days, the clouds loom for a while, taking away the sunshine and then things are back to normal. The worst days are the days where the rain comes and it brings with it darkness and thunder and lightning and floods.

The days where the rain can’t seem to end and you’re stuck with this stifling feelins are the worst. However, while you may feel like you’re going to be in your storm forever, the rain eventually ceases; the clouds go away. The sun comes back out to shine again and sometimes it will stay for a while. You cherish those days of sunshine and cloudless skies, but you also learn to be more prepared for the rain. But sometimes, though, the rain can hit you unexpectedly, and you’re stuck in the middle of a torrential downpour with no rain gear.

That’s how depression and anxiety work, it’s a constant process of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys. This week is my week of low, right now, looking at things in the natural sense, I want to give up and quit. Sure, in the back of my mind I know that things are gonna work out because they always do. However, right now, in this moment, I don’t see it. Sure my parents have been a wonderful support system, pushing me, encouraging me to keep fighting and I will, but it’s just hard today.

The irony in this situation is that despite all of the bullshit I’m facing, I have hope. Isn’t that funny? On most days, I dare not hope or dream for better, because I’ve grown so used to life kicking me in the teeth, but yet I still hope. I often times call myself faithless or seriously lacking in faith, but just sitting here writing this blog I’ve learned, maybe my faith isn’t as small as I think it is…

Welcome (Spoken Word Piece)

Writing is a form of catharsis; it is a form of healing and expression. Writing  is my happy place. On paper, I can say everything that I can’t express verbally. Through my hands on the keyboard, I am able to bring my thoughts, my feelings, my expressions to life. Through my words I am somewhat allowed to play God. I determine the laughs, the tears, the anger, the sadness; each word that I type invokes an emotion that I provide. Through these words I allow the light that is within me to shine, to heal others.  My words are a truth serum, sprinkling you with a bit of wokeness that cannot be found in any other place. It is through this sacred space that I tell my truths; my truths are often times ugly, painful and hard to swallow. My truths allow room for the real me, and the real me is a flawed, messed up human being. She is not poised or elegant or often times articulate. The person behind the words is a woman who has been hurt, who has seen more than her fair share of pain. I am a cynic, I do not believe that the world is a bright and shiny place; I have little hope in humanity. My words sting with a crassness and a bluntness that is unashamed and unapologetic. I am the glass half empty, I am the unhopeful optimist. My words are painted with an unexplained intelligence and shards of pessimism. Basically, if you’re looking for a blog about lots of happy things, this isn’t the blog for you. Yes, I do write things about hope, but more often than not, I write about things that don’t necessarily have a happily ever after type ending. I write about harsh truths spoken from a place deep within, a place that resonates with cries and pains that only a woman who has walked the same path from darkness to light as I have. In the midst of the raincloud of words that I speak, lay a silver lining of faith and hope that I had to learn  the hard way. In these beautiful and bitter words I type, lies the antidote of how to bounce back after you’ve been to hell and back. I must forward you, I curse in my writings, I say unpopular things; I am the epitome of an angry Black Woman. My words are like poison, they spew out like venom at oppression, stupidity and ignorance and downright bullshit. I am not a lady; I have never professed to be one. I am the woman with the issue of blood, searching for answers, for an absolute truth. I am the other Mary, the one with the tainted reputation, who searches for Christ’s redemptive and unfailing love. I am everything people wish that I wasn’t, but what is inside me cannot lay untold.

So with this well-informed introduction, I say…

Welcome.