Today while I was hot boxing, Lizzo’s new hit “Juice” came on the radio and I turned that shit the fuck up. I belted every song line, did a little dance, and felt the smile on my face grow bigger and bigger with ever lyric I spat. Now those that know me know I’ve been a Lizzo fan for a minute but there’s just something about her becoming main stream that has me jumping for joy.
I think it has to do with the fact that there aren’t many Lizzos in the world: fat, sexy, Black women just owning the fuck out of their bodies. She is just being herself and making bomb ass music that I can bop to. As a fat, Black and -dare I say- sexy woman, myself, I can dig some Beyoncé, Rihanna, Sza, or whomever else but when a Lizzo song comes on, it just feels like it’s for me. When Lizzo says “no I’m not a snack at all look baby I’m the whole damn meal” I feel that shit!!! When she belts the seductress lines of Lingerie, I’m taken back to those nights when I’m lying in bed in my Adore Me panty set smoking a bowl and snapping dirty pics to my suitors. And of course, you can always find me doing my hair toss, checking my nails, and looking GOOD AS HELL! (When I wear a wig that is).
Lizzo validates me in a way: I’m listening to music by someone who actually represents me and suddenly my entire body feels like it has space in the world.
And something about her becoming main stream amplifies that. It’s similar to the feeling I assume people will get when there are more ugly people on tv: (read the post before freaking out) it’s not just about me being comfortable being me but others are out there listening and dancing to this music too and realizing that people like me can exist and be sexy outside of the late night Lane Bryant commercials. Lizzo is a pioneer. (Tokyo Vanity too!!!)
Yes Adele and Megan Trainer are all about that bass but sometimes it feels like being a fat Black woman puts me at the bottom of the motherfucking barrel, so it’s nice to see a shift in the perceived paradigm. And that’s exactly how I feel.
What I Learned From Peeing the Dressing Room Floor:
My Painfully Embarrassing Story About Wasted Opportunity
A few months ago there was this party. It was a theme party with specific colors that everyone had to wear. To the mall! My friends and I declared. So off on an adventure we went. We went store to store in search of the perfect outfits and with every passing store, my bladder said “hey, let’s go!” And every time I’d say, “We can hold off a bit longer.” Seeing how it’s 2019 and malls are practically ghost towns, especially for chubsters like me, it’s no surprise that I didn’t find what I was looking for at the mall. So I disappointingly drove my friends home and headed to my own house where the bathroom awaited me.
That’s When It Happened
As I pulled up at the red light close to my house, I remembered there was a plus sized clothing store around the corner that was going to close in 30 minutes. I can make it! I told myself zooming through the red light and making a sharp u-turn to the store. As I shopped in the store I felt the weight of the water in my bladder grow. I can hold off a little longer, I convinced myself as I pulled on a sexy tight white dress and checked out my perfectly amplified ass in the small dressing room mirror. Suddenly, the slight pressure in my bladder became a heavy set man sitting on a water balloon. I gasped for air, crossing my legs as tight as I could and breathing like a pregnant woman.
Whoot whoot whoom. Whoot whoot whoom.
When I felt a bit of reprieve I began peeling the tight white dress off my body, now damp from my nervous sweating. As I attempted to wriggle the dressing room dress up and off me, my legs still hugging one another for dear life, I felt a warm tingle of dread crawl down my vag, through my panties, and onto my legs. Fuck, I murmured pulling harder at the too tight dress. Who the fuck did I think I was squeezing all this into a damn XL anyway?! I thought as I finally got the dress off and whipped up my own clothes but alas: it was too late. The flood came gushing out of me like the damn Niagara Falls, loudly hitting the linoleum floor and worse of all: leaving a stretch of urine in the air.
What This Tale of Woe Taught Me:
Since this embarrassing event, I do two things:
1. Never step foot in that damn store
2. When I see a fucking bathroom, I go!
The latter has has actually taught me some things about my goals.
The reason I didn’t use the Primark bathroom or any of the mall bathrooms or heck, even the bathroom of the plus size store when I got there is because I thought I was too good for those bathrooms. “I can wait” I told myself. No matter how powerful my urge to pee became I refused to use a bathroom that I didn’t consider up to my standards and look where that got me? Cleaning up my stinky urine off the floor of a dressing room with my favorite freaking jacket.
Turning our noses up at opportunities
Many of us has the mentality that certain opportunities aren’t actually opportunities because they are too small.
I’m not taking that modeling gig, they’re not paying me and it’s just for a portfolio.
I’m not performing at that venue! It only holds 20 people!
So we say no to all the little opportunities, turn our noses up at all the public bathrooms, not realizing we are wasting our talent; that our bladder is about the burst.
I understand the statement “know your worth” trust that’s a motto I tell myself quite regularly but at the same time you can’t squander your talent because nothing is good enough. Social media has a funny way of convincing people that no one struggles: no one ever had to take a pay cut or start small scale. It’s a lie. It’s a flex.
Know your worth means know where your headed: have a vision of your future. But you have to start somewhere to get there.
Not every bathroom will be your house bathroom-comfortable and familiar-and not every bathroom will be a hotel bathroom-fancy and beautiful. But please don’t pee the dressing room floor! Bring your best self to every single venue, modeling gig, or whatever and eventually you’ll be exactly where you want to be.
As for me? I’m headed to the bathroom.
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When I’m not drowning in a bottle of Arbor Mist or gorging on packets and packets of edible gummies, you can find me at the local public school where I mold the young minds of America. As with most American schools, my building is populated with many, many women so there are a lot of “I like your skirts” and “What lovely earrings” and my personal favorite: “Oo girl, them shoes!” I am a big fan of giving compliments because with every one a small positive vibration is sent to the receiver of the compliment and positive vibes are always the wave.
The issue with compliments isn’t in the giving, but the receiving.
Give a man a compliment and usually he’ll hit you with a smile and a simple thank you but with women it’s different. When it comes to compliments the majority of women I’ve encountered (myself included) have a hard time just…saying thank you. The two most common responses I’ve gotten have been what I call the throw back or the throw away.
Throwing It Back
“Wow Shannon! I love your dress!”
“Thanks Linda……I….that’s a really nice purse you’re carrying.”
Can I just say I hate the throw back? I despise it!
Throwing back compliments is when someone gives you the compliment and you feel the need to return the favor by complimenting them back. STOP DOING THAT! Whether it’s meant to or not, it comes off as insincere and in many cases offensive. I remember one time I was sick as shit and this Black chocolate lady goddess comes by and I’m like, “you’re so beautiful!” and she looks at me: crustables in my eyes, nose coated in snot, dress made linty by my grocery store brand tissues and she says: “I like your shoes.” This poor woman had to really search for a compliment and my dingy old flats wasn’t it. If this was an isolated incident that’d be one thing but fifty percent of the time, compliments are always thrown back! It’s as if we feel guilty for just receiving a compliment and as if simply saying “thank you” would make us seem arrogant or narcissistic. So we search for something –anything –to compliment the other person on just so we can relieve ourselves of that “weird” feeling compliments bring, not even realizing that “weird” feeling is something positive. A sprinkle of love if you will.
Throwing it Away
“Ooo, girl! Your earrings are killin it!”
“Haha, they’re really old.”
I used to be a victim of the throw away: taking something positive and twisting it to shit on myself. I didn’t even realize I was shitting on myself: I just didn’t think I deserved the compliment. “Nice nails!” “Yeah, but I need a refill.” “Great speech!” “I should’ve practiced more.” People were seeing something that I was unable to see because I was focusing on the negative and unwilling to hear the positive.
Like I said: compliments come with positive vibrations and when you respond with something negative you’re robbing yourself the chance at some really good vibes.
Compliments can feel awkward especially when you don’t think you’re looking nice or that you did a great job on a project but life is about perception and sometimes the person with the worst perception is YOU.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Just Saying: Thank You
That’s it: just thank you.
“Susan what a wonderful hair cut!”
“Thank you Linda!”
“Caroline girl! Your presentation was DOPE!”
That’s all. You deserve the compliment: don’t throw it back because you feel guilty and don’t throw it away because you don’t think you deserve it.
Take that small moment and just add it to your love bank or whatever.
How do you receive compliments? Drop a comment in the space below!
Happy May! Did you know May is International Masturbation month?!
Well me and my pussy sure do! We usually use this time to speak to each other, go on dates, and of course have some intimate, sensual fun. Now this post isn’t about me, myself and my vagina. But spending time with my vajayjay has taken me down memory lane and reminded me of some sexual experiences that have been demeaning but ultimately empowering.
The First Time a Boy Ate My Vag
I remember being 15: it was late at night outside my house behind the shed near the trees, leaves, and wild cat shit. The boy was an on again off again friends with benefits and he pulled down my leggings and spread apart my tightly shut legs and went to town. I remember being very happy…not necessarily because it was good but because it was an exciting and new experience.
Except he never did it again. We’d mess around and I was too shy to ask for it so I’d wait for him to volunteer and he never did. Fifteen turned into 17 and still nothing. So finally I asked.
“You just have a strong scent ,” he said.
I was mortified. I never bought it up again.
Years passed and with every sexual partner my oral-phobia grew. Legs were sealed tighter than Alcatraz as I batted away suitor after suitor from putting his head anywhere near my vagina in fear that he’d run off due to the “strong smell.”
Over the years I was taught the glorious expression of “if you’re eating a cheeseburger don’t expect it to smell like strawberries” and that really helped. I allowed willing participants entrance into my McDonald’s but never made it a requirement.
The Double Standard
I find this funny because while I was being taught to shut my legs and hate my smell, and to be grateful of whomever was gnawing at my kitty kat, I was also being taught that it was a requirement to suck and swallow.
Girls had to be waxed clean but guys can have the hairiest bushes of all.
“Folder pussy” was disgusting and shameful but dicks came in all shapes and sizes.
My pum pum juice has to taste like pineapple but sour penis milk is “normal.”
This juxtaposition is to highlight the double standard when it comes to loving our special places. Maybe we help set the standard. The world has always placed shame on a woman’s vagina. From the use of the word alone: vagina. I feel dirty just saying it and that’s because it was never normalized. We’re taught to never speak of it never look at it and God forbid we touch it. So it can take a women years to love the part of her that makes her the most unique.
This is detrimental for many reasons. How am I supposed to know what I like if I can never explore myself? Then once I know what I like I feel wrong expressing that to the other person. And of course there’s all the jokes made to make us more ashamed. The panty challenge, the “jokes” about tight vs loose pussy, the use of blue liquid to describe the period.
The world is designed to make us ashamed of our vaginas! And by making us ashamed of our vagina, it’s making us ashamed of our womanhood.
I say down with the patriarchy and up with the Pussys!
Let’s make big vagina energy a thing. I’m loving my smelly pussy for all that it is and it will no longer be a requirement to eat this vag before penetration, but you also better sniff my panties too.
What’s your vagina story? Comment in the space below!
So it’s motherfucking Spring bitches and as I do every Spring, I celebrated the occasion by pulling a Hotline Bling: wearing less and going out more.
One of these outings included a brunch with some friends over the weekend. While I was sipping on my Shirley Temple, one of my girlfriends told me how her boyfriend decided that he wanted to limit the amount of time they spent together. Of course, we all had the same reaction: dump him, leave him, kick his A-S-S to the C-U-R-B! (I don’t know why I’m acting like my friends are sassy Black women from the ’80s but I’m feeling that vibe right now). Anyway, as we attempted to yelled some sense into my friend, she simply shrank into herself and firmly whispered: “you don’t know what he’s been through.”
It was then that my heart sank. Because I understood what she was going through.
Back When I Watered His Garden
For about three years I was attached to a man who had been through hell and back. His mother died at a young age, his father wasn’t in his life, and he was in and out of jail. This man was the living definition of “a hard ass life.” This hard ass life made him almost emotionally impenetrable. But for some reason, I was able to see past his tough exterior and to his deep core. I saw through his pain and to his fear: I saw his love. He had a kind and beautiful soul.
Over the three years of our tumultuous “relationship” (relationship is in quotation marks because he refused to put a label on it) I helped him grow and take steps to break down the cement that encapsulated his warm heart. He went from calling once a month to once a week, from quick fucks to passionate love making, from telling me his day was “fine” to painting the most elaborate tales of his day. It was beautiful. I was so proud.
I watched him find his smile, thinking that that was enough for me.
So what if he never got me anything for my birthday? So what if he told me he’d never commit to me? So what is he refused to tell me he loved me, no matter how many times I cried those three words to him?
I was so obsessed with his growth and his progress and his gains that I forgot about me. Yes, this man lived a traumatic life that rendered him nearly incapable of loving and trusting another human being the way they deserved, but it was not my place to play the guinea pig. I am not a therapist. I was not getting paid for this. Yet I allowed myself to be sucked dry as I breathed life into this other human being.
Loving him almost cost me my life and I didn’t even realize it until it was almost too late.
But thank God I did. And as I sat at that brunch spot sipping on my Shirley Temple, I stared deep into the eyes of my friend and saw the same pain that lived in my own eyes for so long.
I think that some people in this world are empathizers: we look at someone and completely understand everything that they are going through and then feel like it’s our job to save them. Well I’m here to tell you it’s not your fucking job: unless you are a therapist getting paid mad bank, it is not your fucking job to save anyone.
Stop treating people or relationships like projects.
Stop watering someone else’s garden thinking that one day they will grow to water yours back.
Do you know what happens when you water a garden? They become pretty little flowers that give your sweaty, dirty ass allergies. That’s what happens. You’re left tired, aching, and with no one to support you.
Now this is not to say don’t ever help someone you love through a difficult time, not at all. This is to say don’t forget about YOU. Don’t forget that in any relationship there are two people growing together to become a we. Not two people working towards the growth of one person. That’s not fair and it’s not your job. Does someone with a severely fucked up past deserve love? Hell the fuck yes.
But so do you: and if they are not in a place to provide you with the love you deserve, then stop settling for anything less. Love yourself enough to let that person go.
SLIGHT DISCLAIMER: Now, it took me three years to hear that message so I honestly wouldn’t feel right ending this without saying this: YES you have to love yourself enough to let that person go, but also love yourself enough to forgive yourself if you aren’t quite there yet.
Leave a comment in the space below
You Are What You Eat
You are what you eat: this is a statement I heard a lot growing up. Eat a bunch of donuts and you will be slow and lethargic. Eat some celery and carrots, and you’ll have the ability to do magical things. Not really, but you’ll be more focused, remember shit with ease, and will be able to see better. Everyone always talks about the benefits of a physically palatable diet but no one ever talks about the benefits of a mental diet.
Defining A Mental Diet
A mental diet is defined by the editing what you expose your brain to. Eat a lot of shit and you feel like shit doesn’t just apply to food. If all you watch on television is ratchet reality television and all you read is Donald trump tweets and if all you listen to is American Top 40, this is the equivalent to eating nothing but fast food your whole life.
Time begins to addresses this concept slightly in their online article entitled “Social Media Is Making You Stupid.” The article states, “[Social networking] could be making you dumber by supplying answers and insights without requiring any actual thinking, so that your analytic powers begin to waste away like an unused muscle.” Not only are we not exercising our brains when we spend all of our time on social sites but on top of that, my theory is the more we indulge in entertainment and neglect other aspects of our brain, the more we stunt our mental and personal growth. If you aren’t eating your vegetables and instead gorge on nothing but Hot Cheetos and honey buns, don’t be surprised when you have greasy hair and a smelly vagina. It’s time to trim the fat…and the sugar
A Balanced Mental Diet
A balanced mental diet consist of all the parts of the food group.
You have your veggies: self help materials. Self help materials include anything that has you reflect on yourself and your growth as an individual. Self help books, psychiatry podcasts, motivational speeches, etc. these things, like your kales and your carrots, are essential to ingest on a regular basis. How can you grow as a person if you’re never reflecting upon yourself and opening your eyes to your flaws and ways in which you can improve upon them? (Personally, I suggest Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, it’s like the spinach of brain veggies…I’m a big fan of spinach).
Fruits: fruits are sweeter. They share many of the same benefits of veggies but our bodies like them better for some reason that a scientist would know. Your mental fruits are your self love materials. I make a distinguish between self help and self love because self help is to look at yourself from a critical lens and to dissect what makes you tick, hoping to fix it. Self love on the other hand is just living you for you. Yes you are growing as a person but you need to love yourself at every single stage in that process.
Good carbs: good carbs aren’t as great as the chips and the pastas but they’re still pretty tasty and they’re necessary to our development. This is where the politics come in. we have to understand our place in this world and in order to do that we have to understand the world. Brush up in your current events, understand what these politicians are up to and ways that you can use your voice to change the narrative in whatever level that may appear. Politics are carbs because yes it’s super important but too much of this shit and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Protein: learning new things. We have to take the time to add something new. Growing means exposing yourself to knew things in the world. Take a dance class, learn French, finally master trigonometry. Not only is it never too late to learn something new, it is mandatory. Life is short so expand your bubble!!
Sweets and Fats: And now we have our sweets. Go on and indulge in that Kardashian whatever. These are sweets and fats because these things do not nourish you. No matter how you look at it, you’ll never gain too much from anything on VH1 except the same sick satisfaction that a Snickers gives you.We always need that little pick me up. Go ahead and eat your Snickers but know when to stop.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to improve ourselves. Being the best possible version of yourself does not start and stop with your bank account or your physical appearance. It starts with our brains and our mentality. We can only accomplish what our minds are willing to allow us to push for and if our brains are stuck on stupid then we will be too. No one is perfect. I watch enough Netflix and Hulu to fill a whole twenty-four hour period without stopping but it’s a process. We try Keto, Paleo, and all the other diets to keep our bodies healthy, how about we try something for our minds?
Question for my readers:
I didn’t include religion because I’m still figuring all that shit out for myself but I acknowledge that it should be somewhere. Where do you think religion or spirituality would fit in the mental diet? I don’t think I get enough comments to be asking questions but 🤷🏿♀️ gotta shoot my shot!
The Role of Television and Visual Media in Our Society
I am a strong believer that television and other visual forms of media are as important as literature. They are a form of art that imitates reality. As with any art, not only does television imitate our reality but it always adds a learning component whether it’s moral, satirical, societal, or what have you. TV is the reason why I know to do “pizza shape, French fry shape” with my skis even though I’ve never been skiing. Television shows and movies are fundamental in our understanding of society and how to be functional members of said society.
This is the exact reason why it’s fucked up that there aren’t many ugly people given representation and when they are the majority of the time they are written to have mean, insignificant, pathetic, or sinister personalities.
Let’s Unravel This.
First off, please try not to be offended by the term “ugly” because it’s a term that our society came up with to define anyone who is not conventionally attractive. Can these people be attractive? Well as a fat person who definitely doesn’t fall into the category of conventionally attractive, I vigorously nod my head and say, yes of course! But there will always be the tiny part deep down inside that still doubts that. There are many factors that come into play to create the mini me full of doubt but visual media plays a big role.
With all of the lessons that TV and movies teach and the things that they normalize, in often cases it is not always media mirroring reality but reality mirroring media, with people becoming more empathetic to others based on what they see in the media. Brian’s Song brought along a new wave of individuals questioning their racism. Ellen opened up the door for homosexuality, pushing people to question their beliefs on the subject. The Fosters gave voice to the hearing impaired, reminding audiences that there needs to be space for these individuals.
Visual media teaches compassion and shows us how to treat people so when the main character isn’t ever visually unappealing it sends the wrong message. It tells us these people don’t matter.
In the Netflix original Stranger Things, everyone was so hellbent on finding that little boy who got lost. You had a whole town of folk searching in the dead of night for this adorable little boy but what about Barb? Barb, played by Shannon Purser, isn’t exactly what our society deems gorgeous. I’m not saying that she’s extremely unattractive (because she is far from that) but she is more likely to win “most likely to succeed” than “best hair.” And look what happened to Barb? She went missing in the same fucking town as that boy and no one said a little bo-peep! Not even her fucking parents looked for her, like huh?! If she were a size two with Estée Lauder skin then maybe people would give a shit!
Even when unconventional individuals play a role in these TV shows and movies they still check off some box. They may be fat but it’s in all the “right places” so they are “good fat.” They may be nerdy but they’re “cute nerdy.” So all of the lessons that surround characters of “all sizes” or looks is still fit with the asterisk of, as long as they are attractive.
The Role In Our Real Lives
The lack of representation does hinder the way we view people in real life. To this day I still see magazines about JonBenet Ramsey, that adorable girl that went missing in 1745 (hyberbole: it was 1996) but every year there’s an update in her mysterious story. Now don’t get me wrong, what happened to her is tragic and it’s good that we do not let her name die but like….why her? What about the countless others who have vanished without a trace? What makes this little girl immortal? And I’m telling you, it’s the media.
We love attractive people. We love them to the point where no one and nothing else matters and it’s harmful to our society. Even Ted Buddy got as far as he did because people found him sexy. In a different post I’ll definitely talk about my theory as to why we are so fixated on making attractive people the stars of everything but regardless of the reason it needs to stop. Art imitates life and life imitates art and people really be out here thinking that ugly people don’t matter. People really be out here only helping and being kind to individuals that they find attractive.
A life shouldn’t add value or decrease in value based off of visual appearance!!
It’s fucked up and it’s selfish and it’s something that was taught which means it’s something that can be untaught. Let’s unteach it.
So a few years ago when I was a junior in college, I attended Blackout. If you are unfamiliar with the festivities, Blackout is an event held at UMass Amherst where all the students of color from campuses all across the lands gather for a weekend of boozing, twerking, and just soaking in all of the Black that is lacking from their respective schools. So a couple of girlfriends and I got all decked out: heels, short skirts, skin lathered in cocoa butter and hair sealed with coconut oil and we went out. It was a great time. I was lit as fuck. I had just finished an entire special brownie and I was just at that stage where I could feel my eyes beginning to turn red and my grip on my current world grow shaky.
A couple of guys came over: “Hey miss, looking good,” one purred as he eyed us up and down. My friends and I ignored him and I continued on my ascend to the higher place. “Yo, why you do my mans dirty like that, where y’all from?” I hazily remember the other guy asking. Still no response. “Oh I know where y’all from, y’all from Boston. I should of smelled that shit right away. All y’all Boston bitches are the same…” one of them said before they trailed off.
To this day, that encounter has stayed with me. Boston bitches.
Being a Boston Bitch
Not only have I grown to accept that I am a Boston Bitch, but I also accept that I have no choice but to be one.
I’m a Boston Bitch because when I walk down the streets of Chinatown late at night I square my shoulders and wear my mean mug like an expensive bag.
I’m a Boston Bitch because I don’t speak Kreyol in Mattapan Square and I don’t speak English in South Bay.
I’m a Boston Bitch because my voice grows some base when I’m ordering food at any restaurant in Roxbury.
And I’m a Boston Bitch because these things and many more are on auto pilot, to the point where loser guys can cat call me on my way to high heaven and I won’t even notice.
What Does This Have to Do With Feminism?
Every single action that I and many women I know do is done not out of spite but out of our own protection from the dangers of men.
A walk down a dark street and a smile can mean rape, death, or both.
An acknowledged “hello beautiful” in shared language or even English could mean being stalked for five blocks until the cops are called.
A voice without base at certain restaurants is a voice that never gets heard.
A Boston Bitch is a woman who has mastered the art of survival.
There are a lot of definitions of “feminism” that float around, causing women (and men) to have to determine where they stand. Let me be perfectly clear: I am a feminist. I am a believer in the political, economic, personal, and social equality of all sexes.
I am a feminist because this world is filled with dangers and injustices both visible and “invisible” -to those that it does not effect-and because of this, a regular day in the life of a woman is to be a Boston Bitch or a Seattle Slut or a Harlem Hoe or a California Cunt.
It becomes second nature and even as second nature it still does not fully protect against the dangers that lurk. I’ve still had a man follow me for three blocks just to grab my ass and I’ve still had Uber drivers who refuse to bring me to my destination until I give them my phone number. According to an article by MarketWatch, “America is the tenth most dangerous place for women to live and ties with Syria as the third most dangerous place for women in regards to sexual violence.” Being a Boston Bitch is just baseline. We have to do more as a community to protect our women. On top of that, we need to change the way we teach our young boys to view and value women. I don’t know what kind of world we are living in but change needs to come and it needs to come soon. In the meantime, this is your favorite Boston Bitch signing off.
What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
My grandmother on my father’s side always dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower. She always dreamed leaving her Homeland of Haiti-just for a week or so to go straight to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. Raised under the strictest patriarchy rules, she was never allowed to travel without the presence of a man. Her first husband- the womanizer- never acknowledged what she wanted and her second husband-the wife beater-was too cruel to take her. When her second husband passed away and she decided she could go on her own “when the time was right,” she began getting these cloudy spots in her right eye. Merde. She murmured when those cloudy spots turned into blurred and impaired vision. She had developed glaucoma, and would never see anything clearly again, let alone the Eiffel Tower.
My father always dreamed of driving across America. Always the taciturn individual, this was the one subject that would make him quite talkative. His goal was retirement. Once he retired from his job he would go, just him and my mom. I was 15 when his eyes started getting cloudy. “Things are different here,” he’d tell his mother. “A couple of surgeries and I’ll be fine,” he assured her. When I turned 17, he stopped being able to drive at night and by the time I hit my freshman year of college, he could no longer drive at all.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up from a wonderful slumber and half of my left eye wouldn’t work. It was cloudy.
Barriers Between Us and Our Dreams
This isn’t a story of glaucoma. This is a story of dreams deferred.
Every day of our lives is a chance- an opportunity to work towards our goals and find a way to make our wildest dreams come true. And the only person that actually stands in our way is us.
We give people the power to stop us from following our dreams. We set limitations on our goals. Even my dick head grandfather did not hold a gun to my grandmother’s head and tell her she could not go to Paris. She allowed her inner voice to tell her not this year, every single year-even after he died. My father worked at the same company for 20 years, they would have given him a couple of weeks off to have his adventure if he asked, if he pushed for it.
Moving Out of Your Own Way
The point is, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we never do. Yet all we do is push things off until tomorrow and then blame everyone but ourselves when our lives don’t turn out the way we want it to. Shit, I’ve had a book written and ready to edit for years now yet I allowed my insecurities and fear of rejection to keep me from releasing it to the world. Isn’t that such a fucked up concept? That our own fears and insecurities can hold us back from living our lives?! Our best lives, as the kids say.
Stop pointing the blame at other people and other things and ask yourself: how am I standing in the way of my own success? How am I keeping myself from my dreams?
The thing about life is that it can take us anywhere. You can spend your whole life working out and eating right and still die at thirty from cancer or some random act of violence in the streets. Those are the type of things that are out of our control. When we decide to take a trip, publish a novel, see the world, ask someone out-those things are not. Stop waiting for a sign or for your body to look nicer or for your situation to change. Stop creating invisible barriers and live your fucking life. Do it now.
The Back Up
One of my old beaux came back into my life recently. The reason we stopped talking was because he never seemed serious. He would tell me how beautiful I was, we would exchange secrets and dreams late into the night, and of course, there was some intercourse. (It was mostly just head and finger bangs but still.) Anyway, every time I asked to make our situationship into something more, I always got answers like “I’m not ready” or “give me some time.” These answers were confusing because they weren’t a “yes” obviously but they also weren’t a no. They were a “let’s wait.” At the time, “let’s wait” sounded like a “I have to work on me before I can be a we” answer. I respected this at first and waited. But after a couple of years (yes I said years) I was tired of waiting so we broke it off.
When he came back into my life it was all “I miss yous” but still no real sense of commitment. And that’s when I realized: I was the backup.
The back up is often rooted in good intentions. It’s something that many of us do, actually. Especially if you grew up in a traditional household or have a traditional mindset that tricks you into believing the only way you are whole or the only happy ending you can have lies in marriage. The backup basically means you found the one…for a potential future you. The back up is a guy or girl with everything to offer. They have a good job, they are decently attractive, and they treat you RIGHT. The back up is the type of person you can bring home on holidays and finally silence your nosey ass aunt whose sole purpose on this universe is to spread your singleness about the lands and to note how “wide” you’ve gotten since her last visit.
Yes, the back up is the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with…except they don’t make your heart jump.
You like them enough, sure, but you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops. A light whisper maybe but the feelings are minuscule. And as fucked up as it may be you don’t want to let them go completely.
Why Are We Like This?
Growing up surrounded by traditional Caribbean parents as well as television programs and movies that pushed the traditional romantic ending down my throat I get it. That shit sticks with you. And no matter how independent and successful you may be, there will always be that little voice reminding you: you will never be whole without a significant other. This same little voice is the one that keeps you from letting go of that individual who’s perfect on paper but not warming your soul. It crawls into your ear and whispers all the what if’s. What if you don’t find someone else? What if this person is meant for the future you? What if someone else takes what could potentially be your happy ending?
Sure, you’re not ready for marriage now. You’re still twenty or thirty something: the world is still your oyster! But when you finally reach that place everyone always talks about, the place where you’ve done all the things you set out to do and tried all the foods and dicks you wanted to try, it’d be nice to have someone to tell all those things to and as they say, “settle down with.” And right now this person-your back up-seems like a great option.
The back up is a bullshit concept but it’s one rooted in our own creation. Yes that man may satisfy a future you but if he doesn’t satisfy you now girl let that man GO! Don’t hang someone on a proverbial shelf with the hope that you can use them later as not only does it hurt them but in the long run it hurts you too.
Instead of keeping people on reserve we need to instead attempt to unlearn this fucked up mentality that we need someone else to be whole.
Or that our happy ending will only come once we are married. You are your second half. You are whole as you are right now. Let’s internalize that instead.