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
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.
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.
Should we treat ourselves like we treat our favorite food?
And here’s why:
So I’m sitting at home in my underwear munching on chocolate covered almonds after a very odd date. I don’t even know if I can call it a date…it was more like, an encounter. So I met this loser on OKCupid and he was all let’s go out, let’s go out, blah blah blah. Day of (today) he’s like, we’ll grab something to eat around me. So I park the car a few blocks away from his location and go to meet him there. We meet and I say, where are we headed? He says, let’s walk.
So we proceed to walk….a silent(ish), awkward(ish) walk…in the direction of my car. “Oh we’re not going to get coffee or something?” I ask. “Yeah, yeah” he says as we get closer to my car. He then “gets a call” where he tells the individual on the other line that he will be “home soon.” So I say “Alright” and he says “have a nice day!” And he heads on off.
This man met up with me. To drop me off. At my car.
Now as I sat in my vehicle sucking on my vape all I could think was, what the fuck was that?! So I start going down a list of all the possible things that could be wrong with me that he could have witnessed in that fifteen minute encounter to have warranted such an abrupt end.
Then it hits me: I (and you-we) should treat ourselves the way we treat our favorite food.
So one of my favorite foods are these yummy chocolate covered almonds I just devoured. Let’s say you offer these almonds to a friend: you want to share this delightful treat with someone else. This person says “I don’t like em” naturally your reaction is surprise: “what that’s crazy, these are the best!” You insist. “Nah, not a fan.” Your friend replies. So, you leave it at that. “Your loss” you shrug and continue to eat that yummy snack.
Now, let’s say you’re like me and always think you’re right. You’re gunna argue with this person “hey man, chocolate covered almonds are the best and here’s all the reasons why. What makes you not like them?!” you ask. “They’re too chocolatey or they’re too almondy or I don’t like sweets” your buddy responds. And with that, you shrug your shoulders and keep it moving. (We’re gunna call your friend Bob)
Your love for chocolate covered almonds didn’t decrease because Bob said he didn’t like them. You didn’t suddenly hate how chocolatey the almonds were because bitch ass Bob had a problem with them. You like how chocolatey it is. It’s not “too chocolatey ” it’s just right. And you didn’t try to make the almonds less chocolatey to get Bob to like them. You didn’t get them to be less sweet or less almondy you just counted it to Bob’s loss.
And you know what else you didn’t do? You didn’t stop offering it to those you wanted to try it just because Bob didn’t like it.
So why do we do it to ourselves?
Why is it that when we find out someone doesn’t like our hair suddenly we feel weird about our hair?
Why is it that if someone comments on our body suddenly we are considering altering our bodies?
Why is it that when one person rejects us we decide , you know what, I’m not even gonna bother any more.
Why the hell do we keep trying to feed the Bobs of the world our fucking nuts?!
We need to treat ourselves like we treat our favorite food. Have conviction in the things that make us awesome. Believe that we are awesome and stay believing it no matter what anyone else thinks.
Because just like our favorite food we will find that person that says omg I love chocolate covered almonds.
Follow us on instagram!