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.
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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.
Ok so I have this conspiracy and it may seem pretty wild but bare with me.
So there’s this movie called “The Joneses.” “The Joneses” is a 2009 film about this affluent family living in the Suburbs with all the latest everything. They have the latest designer clothes, the newest cars, the newest gadgets, and they’re so fucking cool. The husband is handsome, the wife is beautiful, and the kids are oh so precious. Only, the Joneses have a dark secret…they aren’t real.
The Joneses are not a real family: they are actors hired by advertisers to wear the latest clothes, have the newest cars, and play with the best gadgets. This “family” was hired to be cool. Why you ask? Well monkey see, monkey do. Because this put together perfect family has all the latest things, the neighbors and the lookey-loos are all “i want it too.” So now everyone is buying all of these cool products so that they can be or feel somewhat like a Jones.
Alright, great film. Now, my theory is that somewhere in the depths of Hollywood, someone decided to do this in real life. Enter here: The Kardashians. Now, I’m not doubting that the Kardashians are a real family: DNA wise I’m certain that Kylie was once headed to Kris’ mouth but God was like uh uh I have bigger plans for you sperm baby! I’m just saying that I think about two or so years before the infamous sex tape (or maybe even after) there was some back alley deal between the Kardashians, Ryan Secrest, and some advertisers where it was agreed that the Kardashians were going to be the real life Joneses. They were going to pander to whatever America wanted to see and live a scripted life that would keep them in the public limelight so that we could all throw our money at anything and everything they even look at.
Think about it, it makes sense. They started their careers on their little reality show that honestly should not have become this big. Paris Hilton, Flavor Flav, the Osbornes, there were so many washed up or seemingly unimportant people with reality shows at the time because it was a fad to sit back a watch the lives of the rich and not so famous. So what made Kim Kardashian a household name and Whitney Port a name that needs a link?
It’s a known fact that reality shows are scripted: Snookie did 5 retakes, The Bachelor is told who he should pick ahead of time, Jeff and Jordan’s marriage is a CBS PR stunt-yes definitely. But those shows always stay in the realm of reality tv. You most likely know who Tokyo Vanity is dating because you watched Love and HipHop or you love Tok. You can go your whole life without being aware of this information.
But you can’t help but keep up with the Kardashians. Whether you watch the show or not you know the Kardashians and you keep up with them. How can you not? Everything from The White House to Sears has some sort of connection to this Krazy family.
They’ve inserted themselves in hip hop, sports, clothing, makeup, pornography, everything. They cater to all audiences and there’s one of them for all of us.
And you know what? It works. It fucking works.
Their influence surpasses many others. According to Forbes, when Snapchat changed their layout at the beginning of the year, Kylie Jenner tweeted that Snapchat isn’t worth opening and with that ONE tweet Snapchat shares dropped to a low of 8 percent. I don’t know stocks but I know 8 percent ain’t shit.
And let’s not forget the waist trainer fad! Ladies: please do not lie! We all know you have a waist trainer deep in your closet that you purchased. And why did you purchase it? Because Kim and her sisters posted a full face make up pic of them with the hashtag at the gym! But have no fear as you are not the only sucker! When the Kardashians began rocking their waist trainers sales on the product skyrocketed. All they do is make money! With the rise of social media and e-commerce this seems like a very natural transition. I mean, why wouldn’t ad companies use this powerful family to build their brand?
But what came first? The powerful family or the brand? Why is this family everywhere? Why is America so obsessed with the Kardashians?
I like all my blog posts to have some sort of lesson or take away and the message of this one is to just beware. This is just a high theory so there may be no merit behind it but at the same time stop letting this family control what you’re into. We do not know them. A lot of work was put in to ensure that we feel like we know this family but we only know what they let us and you can’t actually trust their judgement. And this goes for any popular celebrity. Do your own research and open your mind to the things around you.
So I recently attended a wake for the brother of a coworker of mine. The deceased was a young man of the mere age of 24. He died in a hiking incident in which he fell off a cliff and to his death. Prior to the wake all I could think of was the negative: I mean shit-imagine hanging out with your friends doing something you’ve done your whole life and then just….not coming home.
But then again, isn’t that a good thing?
At the wake, I shook hands with his beautiful mother and I hugged my co worker, our chest as close as they could be as I tried to absorb just a modicum of his despair. “Take all the time you need,” I told me coworker. “I’ll be back to work on Monday.” He responded.
I was so taken aback I didn’t reply. Back on Monday? I thought. That’s not nearly enough time to wipe the snot out your nose. Apparently my coworker said he will be returning to work soon despite everyone’s plea that he take more time because “that’s what his brother would have wanted.” His brother had the opportunity to do what he loved all of the time and although that was the way he died, it was an ideal way, and my coworker loved our job and wanted to spend any moment he could at work because you never know how much time you have left.
And that’s the truth: as cliched as this seems, the one promise that this life has to offer to anyone or anything is death so it really is up to us to surround ourselves only in what makes us happy.
But also, that if it’s a double edged sword?
What if because we know we only have this one life we stop appreciating the average day to day and instead chase this concept of happiness to the point where we don’t even realize that we are doing the things that make us happy?
Two sides of the Happy Coin
I drove to the wake with one of my managers and in the car we discussed relationships. We both agreed that although at this particular moment in our lives we do NOT want a relationship with anyone, we are constantly looking for one. Why do we keep looking? Well because Rhonda in HR just got married and Boss Lady Barbara is engaged and Jamal from Accounting has been married 25 years and they are all so…”happy.” So, what if my manager and I think we are happy but we are not? What if we could be happier with a significant other? Right now at the ripe old age of 25 I am not in the mood to deal with someone else’s shit: I work hard at work because I’m ambitious, I work hard at home because there’s no other choice, and in my free time I like to stuff my face full of high sodium Lunchables and drink wine out of a bottle in my panties and a t-shirt. Although I’m sure having a little boo thing next to me while I wipe snot off my nose with the bottom of my shirt and weep to another episode of Ugly Betty would be nice but it’s not exactly what I truly want. That being said, I still have every Tinder meets Bagel while Cupid searches for Fish app that the world has to offer. My “fomo” as the kids call it keep me in a constant state of searching for happiness instead of simply enjoying what I have at the moment.
I think as humans we are too insatiable.
Nothing is never enough and believe you me it has served us well over the centuries. Could you imagine where we’d be if people where like, who needs horses we can just walk all the time to all destinations! Or if the people who make, I don’t know, roller coasters were all, safety belts? Psht! We good! It’s conflicting because in this sense and in many others the thing that makes us want to keep improving and discovering new ways to be happy is a great thing.
The Lesson, I Guess
I’m just saying we need to be able to understand that happiness comes in many forms and those forms look differently for all people and their multiple stages in life. Right now I am happy with my Netflix and Nachos but maybe tomorrow I will want a little shorty by my side. Right now, you may be satisfied taking the bus but tomorrow you will want a car. I’m not ashamed of my Lunchables and you shouldn’t be ashamed of the bus. My coworker’s brother loved to hike so while we can comfort ourselves in saying, he died doing what he loved, I don’t know if HE knew how much he loved it. Did he ever take the time to say, I’m so happy right now and just be alive? Or was he too busy searching for the next thing? We need to find the happy medium between improving our lives while enjoying exactly what makes us happy in the moment. We need to take a moment and just…be happy.
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