#WonderTips, Didn't Cha Know?, Life's Little Adventures

Hotel Innward

Earlier today I was at work and saw a student sitting in the corner of the hallway almost hidden behind a white board that had been placed against the wall, eating her lunch. I observed that she was a bit overweight, but looked at her meal and noticed her eating a salad.

You ever feel like God just pulls you towards certain people sometimes?

“Aren’t you almost getting squished by that board?”

Her response was that she didn’t really have any friends and that was a comfortable place to eat.

At that point, the school officer came around and told her that she shouldn’t be eating in the hallway, so I told her to come sit in my office and eat (something that I never let students do).

I started talking to her and eventually found out that she’s a senior who just transferred into the school where I work due to bullying. She had been bullied because of her weight and for not wearing any makeup her 9th and 10th grade year so badly that she felt that she could not return to that particular school. She transferred to another school her junior year then eventually came to my school for her senior year.

Believe it or not, I saw so much of myself in her.

She said she liked being alone now and having her music. I loved being alone growing up with my sketches and my poetry.

Speaking to her made me think back on how we all have these little portions of ourselves that we only reveal at certain times.

It’s as if we are buildings and our personality, character traits, and ideas are all little rooms.

Hence, my new poem: Hotel Innward.

Hotel Innward

I met a mall full of Me’s today

A large shop full of Shelby’s

The hair shop held a high top hell storm of all the smiles

I had thrown about over the years

Freely casting sun rays upon broken fixtures of darkness

A vitamin shop of vagina monologues

A diet pill of body dysmorphia

A protein shake of unprotected women’s rights

Don’t forget your lifetime supply of lies and daily dose of a broken heart

I drifted slowly into the fragrance shop of memories

A quick whiff of the smell her makeup used to leave on her sweater, the stench in his shirts from his 5am hooping sessions, the fragrance of fufu encapsulated in the gifts of dashikis and head wraps, the sweet smell of organic oils dripping from his dreads

The summation and accumulation of life’s events, but

through scents

It was painful, but

it was beautiful

I broke free and found me

Standing in the doorway at a little boutique

The lights were off, the walls were dark, but

the store was full

It was full of clothes. Full of me.

I gathered a hand full of shirts to try on in

the unforgiving blackness, using nothing but the flashlight on my phone as a guide

Each shirt labeled with only one word

Slut

Bitch

Whore

Unworthy

Bitter

Nigger

Undesireable

Trash

Side Chick

UNLOVEABLE

I stood  there for hours in that shirt

In the darkness. In that store.

Feet planted in blocks of cement surrounded by more words of similar stance

The clothes were cheap, yet overpriced

The material was raggedy

The customer service sucked, but

that was my favorite store

I wore that shirt that deflected love as I continued to bounce around throughout the other  stores

Other eyes of myself looking upon me

Judging myself for allowing others to create these shirts, but

the I that is me, the one that is supposedly “free”,

put it on so willingly

I paid for these shirts with someone else’s label

Right then and there, as I rubbed my afro hair,

I decided it was better to leave the store naked and exposed

vs what they told me I should be

I am raw

I am a blank canvas

I am starting over

cyg7pkub

Stay blessed, my people.

 

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#WonderTips, Didn't Cha Know?

Tapping Out

When I was little, I remember we used to play this game called “Say Uncle”.

You and another person would play fight and when one person would get the other in a painful state of submission, the person being dominated would have to “Say Uncle” when they couldn’t take the pain anymore.

I remember always thinking how strange it was that, as children, we would play a game that starts off with just playing around, knowing that it would end in pain and with someone ultimately having to give up.

That’s how I feel about life sometimes.

You walk around laughing, smiling, and optimistic until something holds you into submission and makes you cry out “Uncle”.

A twist of an arm, the pinch of a leg, the bend of a finger.

All things the person does until you either give up or they get tired.

The question then arises…are you the person that does whatever it takes to end the pain or wait it out, knowing the pain will eventually end?

You see, here’s the thing  about the game: 9 times out of 10, if you’re playing Say Uncle, it was by choice; it’s with someone you trust, it’s with someone who won’t actually break your bones or rip your skin.

If you’re genuinely fearing for your safety at that time, you’re not playing a game, you’re being attacked.

But life…life is not out to get you. Life is not an attacker.

God did not give us life so that we have to walk around bruised and broken, calling it “playtime”.

Yes, we all have hard moments. Moments that hurt like hell, but just know that you can tap out and “Say Uncle” or you can stand your ground, knowing that you have a choice to still be here, and fight back.

In the end, you’ll feel better being able to say that you didn’t tap out. That life didn’t defeat you.

Life is not your attacker. It is not against you.

I remember when I first started having seizures last September and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was constantly in and out of the hospital and I was miserable. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t drive, I could hardly eat, and my hair was falling out.

I wanted to give up so badly but I stayed in the fight.

And so should you.

Whether it’s your health, your dreams/ goals, your relationship, or anything else that’s kicking your butt right now, stay in the fight.

It’s not to say that what you’re doing at this moment is the right thing, but don’t just give up on yourself. (Of course you should walk away from any unhealthy situation.)

You may have to adjust your arm a little or twist your ankle into a different position to make it hurt less, but by no means do you ever let yourself go.

Do what you need to protect yourself, but never walk away from YOU.

Life doesn’t have to make you “Say Uncle”.

Stay blessed, souls.

 

#WonderTips, Didn't Cha Know?

Jigaboos and Jezebels: On Being Young, Black, and Single…

If you truly know me then you know I have a guilty pleasure for reality tv. You name it, I probably watch it now or have seen it.

I like to live vicariously through the ratchets. *kanye shrug*

The other night I was watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta and, once again, I heard the punch line in an argument of “go find a husband” or “at least I have a husband”.

I DO NOT COMPREHEND THAT AS A VERBAL JAB.

Not to say that women who have a husband need the validation of a man because I do aspire to marry one day (meaning a day YEARS from now), but why the need to use your husband as leverage over someone else?

Who said that your relationship status makes you superior to me?

I constantly get asked by men, students, etc.,”How are you not married?”

Translation: How has no one chosen you to be their wife yet?

Once again, who said that I’m attempting to “get chose”? That also implies that women are incapable of making their own decisions when it comes to a relationship. It makes it seem as though we are merely pieces of fruit waiting to get picked or plucked and those of us who are not chosen go bad and expire.

Not all single people are unhappy or seeking out a significant other at the moment.

A relationship doesn’t define a person or make them better than someone else.

People look at single men and say, “He just must be enjoying his life and singlehood.” People look at a single woman and think you’re either a whore or something’s wrong with you since a man doesn’t want you.

*Checks mirror* *Plays with celibacy ring* Nope. None of the above.

(Then again a woman who explores her own sexuality doesn’t automatically make her a whore, but that’s a feminist rant for another day)

If I wanted to be in a relationship right now, I could easily do so. I have chosen to be single at the moment.

Why do we put this pressure on “the singles” to join in on the partnership world even though many are not ready?

Especially as a black woman. It is so often and so openly assumed that, as a black woman, I am seeking the large ring, the big house, and the million dollar bank account. I constantly get told that, based on my appearance, I look like I would be high maintenance, but once they get to know me that is not the case at all.

It has also been assumed that I “must have a bad attitude like black girls always do.”

Seriously…who comes up with this stuff?

A black woman does not equate one thing. We are many. We are all. “We lit”. 🙂

A single person is not someone who needs saving or to be set up unless they have requested that of you.

I am not sad. I am not lonely.

I am choosing to no longer settle for liars, cheaters, players, or insecure men. I’m choosing me in this moment.

I remember seeing this episode of Sex and the City where Carrie sarcastically poses the question, “They shoot single people don’t they?” As much as I laughed those years ago when I was in a relationship, now that is exactly how it feels to be single in my mid-twenties.

“How are you single?” BANG.

“At least I have a man.” BANG.

“You must still want to party.” BANG.

“I couldn’t imagine STILL being single.” BANG BANG.

and the ultimate “bae” posts all over social media. HEADSHOT.

Why is there this negative connotation with the word “single” for women, but so much excitement for a man?

I am young, single, educated, with a good job and no kids.

For a woman, I sound like I’m either selfish or ugly.

But, listen here….read that description again and tell me people wouldn’t flip twice over if that was a man and say “Oh that must be his choice”.

Hell, most of the men that read my blog are in their mid- to late-twenties and single with no kids.

Take heed to the things you say. Your own relationship status does not put another person in an “other” category.

Just live your life, people, and let others live theirs.

We are all on our own paths and journeys and we cannot expect the timing of our lives to be relevant to someone else’s.

Stay blessed.

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