All posts by Miss

Blossom or Burn?

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When Mrs. Parham first taught us about the Emancipation Proclamation I was immediately fascinated. How can you “grant” freedom? Wasn’t I born with it? The more we learned about the Civil War the more I thought it odd that poor people would so willing to agree to be exploited by rich people. Why die on their behalf? I dreamt vividly that night. I was looking down on the original Proclamation and in small letters I saw something odd — an expiration date. I jokingly told my mother about that years later, she winced but we brushed it off as nothing more than a silly dream.

I would read many more books about many other wars in the years to come. Many from the perspective of a young woman. What does a country in catastrophe look like to a young girl? A young adult? I’ve always had a vivid imagination but some of the images were too vivid. I saw myself fighting to get to Denmark, waiting quietly underneath floorboards on my way North, running through the streets to avoid shrapnel, sitting in basements waiting for the bombs to stop. We have an entire catalogue of human experiences that show us what’s coming next. We all think somehow we’re more evolved, smarter, intuitively conditioned with more sense, special. But are we? History may be linear but human relationships are not. We keep repeating the same offenses ; vying to return to a time that never existed as we thought it did to avoid the time we’re approaching. The time has come to be realistic.

Humans have an unnatural ability to deny the truth. To avoid processing panic or fear we tell ourselves that everything is ok. That may work in certain situations but it will not here. You have to decide if self or community preservation is your highest priority. Self? Move. Community. Stay and risk the possibility of death. I’m not hyperbolizing. How many cycles of history have we seen mirror our own? It starts with a spark and we slowly fan the flames.

Every radical regime happens incrementally. It takes many years, decades really, for those seemingly “overnight” power shifts. For neighbors to start reporting one another to the police. For friends to get round up into camps. For all of us to lose our humanity. It takes time. So what part of that cycle do you think we’re in now? Stop thinking that the chapters of our history are not etched in blood. Some of us will have to provide that ink, others the story. Can you make peace with being either one?  I’m an optimist and agree our immediate future is bright, just not in the way we hope. The match is already lit. We may burn now but our children and our children’s children have the chance to blossom in freshly turned soil. Are you ready to be burned? Are you ready to die for what you believe in?

How We Let Fucbois Exist

 

definition of fucboi

Fucbois are essentially emotional vampires that feed off of our naivete and nethers. I said it. We let these mofos into our homes and bodies and receive a couple orgasms in exchange. For some of y’all in the throws of their influence, that’s enough. But for those of us who’ve woken up from the spell their dick magic can cast, it’s time we get real about how these mofos remain ever present and relevant.

1. We’re not clear about our boundaries

We accommodate their needs beyond measure. He says no labels and we hear “…for now.” He only seems interested up until the point he ejaculates and we confuse that for interest in us. He texts all the time but seems indifferent to communicating beyond emojiis. His dick holds more knowledge about you than his brain. When we wise up to his bullshit we make him the villain but…it’s not 100% his fault. Honey, he’s definitely an asshole but an asshole you allowed in your life. You weren’t clear about your boundaries or you caved on them. It happens to the best of us but it’s like blood in the water to a shark.

Also, we’ve been conditioned to believe that men make demands, women make requests. One needs to be approved, the other submitted to. I’m here to tell you on tonight, ALLELU! In my best deaconess voice, that that right there? That’s coooooooomplete buuuuuuuuuuuullshit ( there were runs you just couldn’t hear ‘em). You don’t need permission to write the rules for your life. If he leaves, SO WHAT? Honey you will never lack for mofos trying to get into your butter and grits. Add your charisma, grace, and smarts? There will ALWAYS be someone else just around the riverbend. Fucbois depend on you believing that you can’t and won’t do better. You can.

2. We’re not honest with ourselves

Do you know how many times I’ve convinced myself that a guy was good for me when my brain was like, “ABORT. YOU IN DANGER GIRL!” Enough times to write a blog post about it. We convince ourselves that it’s totally cool to move into something without labels knowing full well that we want the labels and they want the context without working for said labels. We want to be claimed, we want to be picked. Let’s get real about it. It makes a lot of us feel good or worthy (and you don’t need a dude to feel that way but that’s another post). We struggle with worthiness and fucbois can smell it on us. So they dangle the carrot (it’s way too easy to make a joke) and we stay stuck in a cycle of giving and giving and giving and giving some more. It’s no lucrative and it’s damn sure not healthy. Fucbois are so good at what they do before long you’ll start treating yourself like you’re the enemy. Save yourself the trouble and don’t fall for their bullshit charms. But what if you already have? What to do then?

DISENGAGE.

This is why I said avoid them to begin with because this is not easy. There are going to be moments when your hormones hijack your brain and you send a “wyd” text because you have needs and before long the cycle starts up again. To avoid this you must take swift and drastic measures while you are sane and not horny. Delete him. Block him. Get a new phone. Fake your death and move to Fiji. Whatever you need to do, do it. Your hormones may be temporarily annoyed but at least you won’t be bothered with his bullshit anymore.
So how do you break the cycle? What do you do to avoid fucbois? What’s your experience been like with them? You know I want to know! Until later loves…

MM-Sincerely

Life Sentence : Life After Sexual Trauma

Life Sentence Life After Sexual Trauma headerI usually try to limit my exposure to things about sexual trauma and assault because it just makes me relive my own. But trying to avoid rape culture is like trying to avoid the wind– it’s impossible. Articles, even when they are trying to be empathetic to the survivor, generally frame everything around the aggressor. Their narrative is the narrative because they haven’t been shamed into silence. Funny how that works.

I tried to avoid reading too much about the Stanford case. It didn’t stray far from the usual:  man rapes woman, woman is revictimized in court, he might get convicted but probably not justly, we forget about it until another case comes up by the end of the year, rinse, and repeat.  But when I saw that she wrote something in HER words I knew I had to read it. It was hard not to cry, hard not to want to go and hold her and tell her she was not alone, hard to reconcile the flood of emotions about my own experience but it was worth reading. It made me realize that in most of our conversations about rape, it’s on the act itself. We talk about the 20 minutes, but what about the 20 years after it? What about the life sentences we are resigned to? Where is our justice?

I was sexually assaulted by another student in elementary school. I was ten. I didn’t tell anyone until I was 21. I remember sitting my dad down to tell him first. I waited for him to yell at me, that’s how scared I was, but he just listened. He asked me what I needed. I needed the nightmares and flashbacks to stop. I needed the cramps I’d get after a flashback in my thighs and lower abdomen to go away .  I needed my desire to end it to stop. I needed to want to live. I needed to heal.

I’ve made great strides but even still there’s a lot to unpack in the fifteen years since it happened. It changed everything.

  • The way I automatically distrust men until they prove otherwise. Even my own father was put under the same scrutiny. I don’t just look at a man and see a man, I see someone who could do me harm.
  • The anxiety I have not just about being seen but about people seeing the shame of victimhood. It’s not the fear of others’ knowing I was molested, it’s the fear of the look of pity they’ll give me when they do. That look has killed parts of me, knocked the wind right out of my lungs, and made curl up in bed for days.
  • The constant blame I carried for not wondering why at 10 years-old I didn’t realize he was grooming me, didn’t tell someone I felt uncomfortable, and wasn’t strong enough to defend myself.
  • The hate I feel for him because I even had to struggle with the mental acrobatics of believing any of it was my fault.
  • The fear I have of being in a functional relationship because at some point I’ll have to sit him down and tell him why I’m not ready, why it doesn’t just hurt it terrifies me, why I cried, why I need the lights on so I can clearly see his face, why I need him to tell me what he’s doing so I can mentally prepare for it. The fear that he’ll leave when he realizes he was to work to show me he won’t hurt me like I expect him to.
  • The quiet rage that sits just below the surface, waiting to erupt because I will never forget him , his face, or his hands, while he probably doesn’t even remember my name. He was an indelible experience I never elected to have.
  • The resentment of living with undeserved shame. Knowing that you did nothing wrong but knowing that no matter my age, disposition, or honesty, as a woman someone will always see me at fault.
  • The sadness I feel when I still flinch at hugs from loved ones not because I don’t love them but because sometimes being touched literally hurts.
  • The uncontrollable emotion I feel when suddenly my amazing day is interrupted by the memory of what happened to me. My mind doesn’t just relive it, my entire body does as well.
  • The exhaustion that comes from trying to just get to the end of the day while forcing smiles, conversations, and tasks all while knowing NONE of it can make you who you were the moment before it happened.
  • The downward spiral you can take at any point in time when depression, anxiety, and flashbacks overwhelm you.
  • The fatigue of fighting all of them while clawing your way back to the light.
  • The isolation of suffering silently so you don’t disrupt the lives of the people you care about most.
  • The desperation to cling to anything that can take you away: church, alcohol, sex, drugs, cutting, anything for those few seconds that you are not constantly bombarded with the mental image of you being helpless.
  • The times I feel the urge to run out into the street and scream because it’s just too much. Because I just want the scared little girl inside of me to feel safe and the 25-year-old woman to believe that can ever be an option again.
  • The constant terror I carry that it might happen again.

It isn’t something I get to forget so it’s not something I will ever be silent about again. I know not everyone is at the place or will ever be at the place where they can speak about their own sexual trauma. Many of our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers never did. They never thought they had the option to but we do. We don’t just have to survive trauma, we can live again. You WILL live again.

I’m always here if you need to talk lovelies.

Life Sentence Sincerely Miss

Sabotage Rehab: Unlearning Self-Doubt

Sabotage Rehab

Sabotage’s Sweet Relief

I remember the first day I decided to fail. I just stopped. The anxiety and pressure that nearly sent me spiraling into a panic attack just…went away. I didn’t have to be stretched and find new muscles. I didn’t have to develop or be embarrassed. I could just be. It was comforting at first. But then I began to get restless. Not growing is dying. It’s slow asphyxiation. It’s creative immolation disguised as comfort. I felt like I was being left behind because I was. But the comfort of doing something where I never could possibly make a mistake was too inviting. That’s sabotage’s allure. You feel safe if you never step outside of the small box you lock yourself in. Sabotage is comfort and fear whispering in your ear. It is the enemy of effort. Sabotage is something we learn as children and carry as adults. But with some effort, anything can be unlearned.

Your Anti 

How did I get there? I listened to my anti. My anti-me, hates myself. My anti-me will always tell me that I look worthless. That I’m ugly. My anti-me will remind me that no one wants me. My anti-me will tell me that I need give up and die.

We all have one unfortunately. It usually takes on the voices of the people who were most critical of us at some point in our lives. These can be parents, church figures, teachers, bullies, you name it. We start confusing their voices for our own and start believing the shit that they tell us. An unchecked anti is deadly. It means you very often feel inadequate, incapable, and unchangeable. You begin to sink into a pit of your own self-doubt.

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

As a preacher’s kid I became obsessed with perfection at a very early age. If I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t anything. I had to be on because it wasn’t just my reputation at stake. I hid in that. Eventually though, I would have to be my own person. How can you go through the growing pains of developing as a person when you’re too afraid to even make a mistake? Anxiety interpreted criticism as a death wish. I was paralyzed by my fear to succeed and crippled by my ability to constantly feel the need to sabotage everything. I could hide in that too. When you’re not known, people won’t bother you, and they definitely won’t criticize you.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck there are two mindsets. A growth mindset is that of a person who knows failure is just a learning opportunity. A fixed mindset is when they believe you have a fixed amount of talent and that’s it. Nothing can be acquired or learned. That’s me. Or at least it has been. I’ve made talent the ultimate metric when it means very little in reality.

When I first came to college I was used to being the big fish in a small pond. But my school was huge and I started to feel average. I never felt less capable in my life an often times I would give up before ever beginning. When you’re praised to often, it can feel like pressure. I didn’t have a working knowledge of what failure actually meant. I just knew how to keep up airs and play the part. I pretended until the pretending got exhausting. I would have panic attacks in parking lots, two minutes into my walk to class, late at night in my room. I thought that is was a sign that I couldn’t be better, I just was what I was. If my mind was fertile soil I had just added poison to it. I started to believe that there was nothing more that I could be, not without ridicule, not with criticism. I would rather go on silently, isolated from others than try, fail, and learn. I completely quit on myself.

Are You Addicted?

Have you ever “gotten sick” before an event that could help you in order to not be seen? Ever not entered a contest because you didn’t believe you could win? Procrastinate so badly on something for fear of producing something terrible? Been there, living it. In fact, last month I waited until the very last minute to apply to a venture challenge contest. I mean that too. I submitted it at 11:59 pm. It got accepted. Then I found out about the challenges we had a month to submit. So much of the terminology went far over my head. I felt uneasy, inadequate, and embarrassed in the company of my competitors. I had no fucking clue what I was doing. My brain went straight to panic. I told myself that my idea was silly. I told myself that I just didn’t have what it took this year. Let’s try next year (which means never again). My insecurities kicked into hyper-drive. I looked at what my other competitors were doing. I felt stupid,  foolish even. I started at the last possible minute because I needed an excuse for not finishing…because I couldn’t live with the idea that I wasn’t enough or didn’t have what it takes.

Then the deadline got extended.

I had to turn it in now. So again I waited til the last minute, hoping I could bank on not finishing as an excuse for not trying. But no, I got it in exactly at midnight. Damnit. Then came the announcement of the finalists. I was in. The joy came first. I hadn’t given my best effort but still exceeded their expectations. It made me feel good. Then the sinking realization came to mind. I couldn’t just give up. I had told people. I had to go in front of an audience. I needed to actually prepare. Wtf. WTF? WTF?!

For years I’ve allowed that saboteur to raid my brain and spirit. I even had a professor tell me that he couldn’t understand how someone so talented could be so afraid of themselves. “Don’t let this immobilize you.” I always hear him say that right before something does. I’ve convinced myself that I’m ok with living in this tension of knowing what I can be and being unhappy with who I am now but I know better. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

So What Now? 

How do you reconcile yourself? How do you usurp the narrative in your brain with a new one? It’s not easy. It took 15 years for these ideas to get cemented in my brain. It’s going to take some time to chisel them out. I try to remind myself everyday that I’m making steps. Even the smallest one counts for something. Here are the two  things that have helped me the most:

Journaling

I’m sure you hear it all the time but trust me it works. It’s a mind dump. All the little unconscious things I tried to hide come to light. All the small moments of my day that I thought meant nothing start to mean a lot more. I’m able to express myself fully without fear of judgment and look at my life objectively at the same time. It gets my emotions out in a healthy way and let’s me let go of them.  I really like writing at the end of the day. It helps me sleep so much better. Seriously grab one. This is the one I use. 

Meditation

If you know anything about me, you know my ass is loud as hell. GIRL. I’m always talking, always thinking, and if you think it’s exhausting to hear me, it’s worse to have a constant flood of words come out ALL.THE.TIME. Meditating is not fun for me. I fidget. My mind flies to one thing and then the next. It’s difficult.  I never realized just how much. But each day I try to get in just five minutes of listening to my breath. If a thought comes up (and it does), I let it go. I just focus on my breathing. The days where I can do this are usually the most productive and calm days of the month. When I don’t…eh.

These are stupid simple steps that are feasible for anyone. Life change doesn’t require a $200 purchase of a book or course (although I’m sure one day I might be asking y’all to check mine out lol), it ends and begins with you. You don’t have to be held hostage to your shadow. You control it, not the other way around.

So how do you handle your saboteurs? Leave your comment and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Quarter-Turn: Why You Need A Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter Life Crisis Image

By The Light of the Moon

I love September. Maybe because I’m a self-involved narcissist, maybe because I love seeing nature shake itself in preparation for something new, maybe because it’s not so damn hot. There’s something about September that feels like home. This year was met with more apprehension. It was the year of the quarter-turn. The year I turned 25. The year when mortality becomes realer, expectations higher, pressure harsher, and our dreams even harder to believe.

I was standing outside, staring up into the sky. It was dark. I’m sure I looked crazy, squinting to find a break in the tangle of branches but I needed to see it. I was on the phone with a boy, a boy I knew I had no future with but one I’d grown to like anyways. It’s never occurred to me how odd that is to know things will end but pursue them anyways. That must either make me special in a sentimental sense or an absolute idiot. A sentimental idiot. I like it.

We were talking about it. The thing in the sky that I was waiting to see. A cosmic event that only happened once in a lifetime. I was still trying to find the perfect spot, a cinematic sort of framing. All I needed was a score but it was too late. The moon slipped away. It was completely dark. To some it may have been unsettling, to me it was comfortable. I had struggled with PTSD, with anxiety, and depression. I had become well acquainted with darkness, with living without light. I knew full well what it felt like to sit at the bottom of an emotional hole and wonder how the hell I was going to get out of it. I wasn’t waiting on the shadows, I was waiting on the light.


She couldn’t speak. If she could I’m not sure what she would say. She didn’t look scared, just tired. So unbelievable tired. Her whole body worked just to be able to take in one breath and then it rattled again when that breath left her. She was ready to die.

I don’t know why I told my grandma to hold on for one more day. It’s not like we were close. She was a role model in the worst way. She reminded me of everything I could be and never wanted to become. Her blood poured into mine so how different could we be? I think loving her was a way for me to tend to my own wounds. Where hers had festered, mine would heal. I was grateful for her, terrified of becoming her, disgusted by her actions, protective of her pain, and wanted her miles from me but never out of arm’s reach. I loved her and I hated her. She was my past and a warning sign of what my future could become. I don’t think I wanted her to die but I needed her to find her peace in whatever form it took. I knew that if she could find hers then I could find mine.

I sat there in the cold room, my mother on the other side of the bed and thought about how we twist life and death. Life is the unassuming and empirical one. It’s the embodiment of chaos. All of us together, spinning on a small rock in the middle of stars, worrying about taxes, and destinies, and love. It made things small and monumental at the same time.

I held her cold weathered hands and tried to imagine me in her place. What memories would give me comfort? What past actions would give me comfort? What was she thinking of that could possibly give her that?

I realized then that all the reasons I had built up in my head to deter me from what I wanted were silly. In the light of death they were so meaningless. I didn’t want to wait until death to find peace or anything for that matter. I wanted something different. I needed something better.


Embrace the Suck 

“So what are you waiting for?”

I was half paying attention to him. I felt like the question applied a lot more to my life at the moment. I would make lists out of lists. I would plan to plan to plan but not execute. I was stalling, but why? What was I waiting for?

But I knew why I was outside and why I was stalling in life had the same answer.

“I need to see the moon move itself out of an imposed shadow.” 

I needed to know that if a rock in the sky can do it, so the fuck could I.

Quarter-life crises are talked about as some terrifying, negative thing. It’s a terrifying, good thing. It’s a necessary thing. You don’t just know exactly who you are and what you want to do with your life from the jump. You find it or it finds you. You struggle to get to it, to fight for it, to make it happen. You struggle to understand the kinds of people you want in your life. You struggle to lay the groundwork for the career you want to pursue. Your whole life is about struggling, celebrating getting through struggles, and being thrown into another one. You should have a crisis…and there’s no better time to start. Have a complete breakdown. Get a new job everyday or stay at one for ten years. Be nomadic or settle down. Get lost and then find yourself the only way that you can.

You can’t avoid crisis in life. Turn on the news and it’s happening to someone new everyday. It’s only a matter of time before it’s your turn and there’s no use in hiding from it. You can’t avoid it. You can’t delay it. People that you love will die, someone you care about will betray you, money will be nonexistent, friendships will shrivel up and die, relationships will end, natural disasters will level your home, kids will disappoint you, accidents will happen, health will fail, and life will still go on. I don’t say that as a pessimist but as a relentless optimistic. Bad shit is going to keep on happening to you so you might as well get in the habit of learning how to deal with it now. Go full on, crotch out, head held high, and attack that son of a betch. Embrace the fact that you have no damn clue what you’re doing. Let your fear of missing out encourage new activities and hobbies. Question why you believe the things you do and test them. Detach yourself from results and expectations.

Embrace the suck. Why? Because you’re going to be here again one day. You’ll probably have a mid-life crisis. A pregnancy crisis. A relationship crisis. A daily crisis. Crisis just means an unexpected shitstorm of change. It’s a lot but if you’ve made it this far you’ve already been through changes…so you can do it again. Life is chaos. A shitstorm of changes that we navigate everyday and yet, flowers grow, love prevails, children are born, homes are built, companies flourish, dreams come true, and like I said before, life still goes on (I told y’all I was relentless).

So don’t curtail it, don’t be ashamed of it, don’t pretend it’s not happening. Use it. Find a way to get something out of this. Squeeze the fuck out of those lemons and make lemonade so good Bey will want to feature it on the deluxe edition. Think of it as raw materials. Yeah you were given something shitty but it doesn’t have to stay shitty. Make something beautiful out of it.

It’s here, it’s happening, so what are you going to do about it?