Tag Archives: Life

Miss After Dark: Nothing to Fear…

MM-MAD111115If you were trapped in a box and someone offered you the key, would you leave? The obvious answer is yes, right? But what if you were stuck at a job you hated, where your talents were wasting away but it put money on the table?  Would you leave? Probably not. Maybe just wait it out a bit longer, right? Do you know how many people have been trapped by their own complacency? Greatness requires movement. It can’t breathe without it.

My parent’s backyard is riddled with geckos. We have to open the door carefully just o they don’t fall in our hair. A few weeks ago, one of the poor bastards got stuck in the screen door. For two days I pleaded with this lizard to just move down and get out the way it came in. Of course the gecko didn’t understand what I was doing or why, it was just terrified. Too terrified to move, too terrified to find a way out. While I’m thinking this, beating the glass with my hand to help her, I get that eerie feeling of a life lesson crashing itself into an otherwise lovely day…

I’m just the same as this gecko. Uggggggh. 

I moved to my parents’ last December, convinced it would be a boon to my mind, my finances, and my career. It has not. I’m not ungrateful but I’ve allowed myself, just like that gangly insurance sales-reptile,  to get stuck and to STAY stuck. I have no one else to blame for that but myself.

I wrote an article for For Harriet and did nothing when it got 5,000+ likes on Facebook. I didn’t leverage it at all. I wrote, starred, and had friends shoot an awesome web series in January and did nothing with it. I can write my ass off  and yet this blog goes severely underpopulated for about 18 months. I can list example after example from this year alone but I don’t want to further depress myself.

I could blame laziness, lack of motivation, hell, even depression and anxiety but I know myself too well to take that route. After awhile even those don’t work as valid excuses anymore. I could call this a quarter life crisis but it’s not. When you have greatness in you, boiling just below the surface, and yet you do nothing to harness it, you die a little. When you’re a creative person who ceases to create, you die a little. When you are a writer who stops writing, you die each time a story is not let out of your brain.

I get and stay in my way because I am afraid. Being miserable and letting my potential and past achievements remain just that, has gotten comfortable. When fear reigns supreme in your life, no amount of of good possibilities will eclipse it. It’s not enough that I have an embarrassing amount of people who recognize something in me and call me out on it. You can have all the cheerleaders in the world but if you don’t get your ass on the court and PLAY, it means nothing. I’ve had people banging on the glass of my figurative screen door for years. I’ve had friends, mentors, and professionals tell me they don’t understand how I’m not where I need to be. I’ve done a lot of talking but not a lot of doing.

I lost my grandmother, nearly lost my dad, and my mind this year. I don’t want to die with potential. I don’t want to die with my greatness inside of me and not out in the world helping people. I don’t want to be remembered for nothing. I’m tired of being my own enemy.

It’s time to get off my ass, out of my feelings, to do the work I know I’m worthy of. 

So what’s holding you back? What’s something that you want to break free from? Sound off in the comments. Together I know we can make our dreams become our lives.

As always, do better, feel better, and be better!

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Girl in the Mirror: Battling Self-Loathing

Girl in the Mirror: Self-Loathing I traced the long pink trail down my arms with my finger. The welted skin etched it’s way down my arm. It was about an inch long. I thought it was a curse for being fat. I thought it was penance for imperfection. Never mind that I saw my tall, lanky friends with them. Mine was a mark, a brand that something was wrong with me.  I always wore sweaters after that.


We take the messages that we hear and we carry them on our backs and shoulders, in our purses, on our minds, and in our dreams. We let them permeate every aspect of ourselves and never question why we welcomed them in the first place. Why? Why have we been conditioned to believe that any and all critiques should be accepted? Why have we been raised to believe that how we know ourselves is not the truth at all, that it has no permanence compared to the words of a passing stranger? If our bodies are temples why are the words of those who don’t know us treated as sacrosanct before our own?

I’ve always had this eerie sense of self.  A comfortable understanding of who I was. Some call it being an old soul. Maybe it is. But the fact remained that growing up I never quite felt like this old soul had a place to rest. I was the odd kid who had too much against her. I was chubby, I was curly haired, I was too light for some and simultaneously too dark for others, I read too much, I spoke too much, the list goes on. I began to understand that I was too much and yet, still not enough. I figured that if I couldn’t get people’s acceptance I for damn sure could get their attention. I learned how to make people laugh and how to get them to notice me. Their attention replaced the affection I was actually looking for. But because I fed off the validation of others, I left myself vulnerable to their disdain.

Have you ever played those games that ask you what doesn’t fit or what is out of place? My whole life I felt like that was me.  I so wanted to fit. I wanted to blend. I hated sticking out. I so desperately wanted to be the blonde white girl who fit. Who just made sense in her environment. In fourth grade my skin started to change. My lips were covered in black, crusted over blisters for an entire summer. I could barely open my mouth. Doctors looked at me with wonder and people looked at me like a sideshow. Stares and reactions ran the spectrum from sympathetic to disgusted. I didn’t like going out. The cocktail of medications made me stick out more as I ballooned in weight and the pigment in my skin blanched. I stuck out. No matter where I went, I stuck out. As I got older and the condition all but vanished I still carried that anxiety of standing out. I always saw that little girl in the mirror and knew others saw her too. I criticized everything about myself and continued what my bullies had started. I became my own bully. In high school, there were plenty of kids entering into a period of sexual development but I felt stunted in my own growth. I still feel that way to this day. I always feel like I’m alone and behind. Alone and behind. Purposefully separated and abandoned. It’s a hard cycle to break when you’ve become accustomed to only making yourself accessible to yourself. I give people slivers and glimpses into who I am but I never let them see the core. I never let them see me. I find it difficult to connect to people. I have friends, dear friends, but even from them I hide. My family jokes about my inconsistent communication and I laugh around them.  They don’t know that I am that way because that little girl finds it difficult for anyone to find her life worth communicating about. She’s still battling her sense of inferiority. She’s still trying to unlearn hating herself.


Self- loathing isn’t something that we’re born with but something we’ll likely deal with for the majority of our lives. Hate exists in the spaces that we do because we allow it to. It breeds in those dark places that we are unwilling to confront and slowly starts to take over our minds. It captivates us in the worse way. We submit to something we’ve created. The irony is almost too much. How does it begin? Usually with a question. Most of our agony and torment happens to us within our childhoods. It’s the proverbial toolbox of pain. Unformed, unshaped, undeveloped, we aren’t usually confronted with the idea of self. We’re not worried about who we are but what’s around us. So when people insult us, we absorb it.

“You’re fat!”

Well I never considered it before.

“You’re fat!”

Hmmm…that person seems to think the same thing.

“You’re fat!”

Well they can’t all be wrong. Maybe I am…Am I fat?

The question begs for an answer and the answer is usually supplied with the insults that were already provided. The scenario works the same for any situation, being weird, being gay, being a nerd, being anything that’s deemed different. It doesn’t have to be true because it’s not the words themselves that hurt — it’s what they carry. We go on to carry them for the rest of our lives.

I wore fat and weird as reminders that I was less than. I crowded my mind with the opinions of others and it completely covered what I knew to be true. I was different, yes, but I was not inferior. It can take a long time to untangle those wires. I’m still trying to untangle mine.

When I get dressed it takes me about an hour to find an outfit I feel comfortable in. It’s not my criteria I’m using to judge said comfort. I hear my mother’s innocently-intended comment about my dark skinned knees and pull down my dress. I’m reminded of my chubby  thighs and reconsider lengths and hems of skirts. I worry that a cut may reveal too much of my chest. I search for a coordinated cardigan to cover the stretchmarks on by arms. I do all this for who exactly? I do it to put people at ease. I do it because that same little girl is trying to protect herself from being another target of another round of insults and taunts. I do it because deep down I still believe that others know what’s best for me better than myself.

This mentality obviously extends beyond the superficial. It can’t take root in anywhere but your mind so of course it affects other parts of your self-image. I’ve questioned my abilities more than a few times even when all I’ve received are compliments. I’ve been called brilliant, funny, a great writer, a good singer, and so on and so forth. For whatever reason my brain is only ever able to absorb the bad and completely disregard the good.

But there are also things you can’t blur the line on either. You very well may be fat, but that doesn’t make you worthless. You may be a nerd, but that doesn’t make you less than. You may be weird, but that doesn’t make you inferior. I’ve adopted the voices of my bullies for myself. I let that voice stop me from writing, from singing, from moving, from living really. I tell myself that this box is safe for me, to step outside of it would be suicide. To be unafraid would be suicide. I convince myself that I need this box and the voices that tell me stay within it. I convince myself that somehow not breathing is a better alternative to letting in the air. I convince myself that being miserable is the best option for me. It’s safe but it sure ain’t the best.

So how do you change it? If this way has become as insufferable as it’s become for me, how do you change your mind? It’s not easy and to be perfectly honest it’s not something I’m sure of yet. I just know that with every, “You’re going to wear that?!” I hear in my head, I counter with a “I sure the fuck am.” For every, “You’re worthless and your work is worthless,” I counter with a ”I am not and neither is my work.” For every, “you can’t” I tell myself that I can and I will.

So what about you loves? I know this is a heavy topic but a necessary one for all of us to talk about. How do you deal with self-loathing?

Remember, feel better, do better, and be better!

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Special thanks to Doyin for inspiring me with her Bustle article, “17 Women Discuss The Physical Traits They’ve Grown to Embrace.”  Follow her on twitter and check out her and Evelyn’s  amazing project Austin While Black

Your Breakup Survival Guide

MM-SurvivalGuideWARNING: This is not a post about how to get back together. This is a post about dealing with a breakup. I’m not going to torment you with some possibility that more than likely ain’t happenin’ boo. I’m here to give you the ass kicking I wish I got this time last year. It will be tough but necessary. You don’t deserve crumbs, scraps, or bullshit. You deserve and are worthy of love and happiness. This person is not the keeper at the gate. You are in control of your future. From this point on, your actions are yours and yours alone. Read on if you think you’re ready…

Disconnect: PUT DOWN THAT PHONE!  Cut off all communication with your ex. If a child is involved, put up proper boundaries to keep it as painless as possible.

How I learned this: I talked to my ex for weeks after the breakup. I found stupid excuses to get in touch and so did he. It made the eventual disconnect even harder. I was good at the beginning, I blocked his number and sent his texts to spam but I overestimated my resolve and broke down. You’ve become accustomed to this pattern in your life and no it no longer exists. In fact, you’ve become addicted. The “high” you get when he texts back or she nuzzles your neck is addictive and now you’ve got to quit cold turkey. You’re bound to slip up. That’s ok but don’t beat yourself up about it just make sure that you get back on track. If they couldn’t say what you needed them to say while you were together, they’re not going to find the words in the next days, months, or even years. It’s not fair to you or them to keep holding on when there’s nothing to hold onto. Let it go now not eventually.

Assess: Look at where you are now and determine where you want to be when this is over. Make a plan for how you’ll spend your time. How will you balance feeling out your emotions but not drowning in them? Or finding new activities but not using them as a means of avoidance? I know that’s not what you want to think about but if you don’t get out in front of the problem, you’ll just keep putting off…and causing yourself more trouble.

How I Learned This: I went through the motions. I didn’t plan on getting better, getting through it, getting anywhere and found myself in a nice old rut. I become increasingly impulsive and predictable. I hooked up when it wasn’t what I actually wanted or needed. I partied. I sat in my mourning too long. I felt powerless in a situation I had complete power in.

Support: Hold on to your support circle. If you were “that” person who completely ditched your friends for your ex, you’ve got some work cut out for you. Mend those abandoned bridges, not just because you need them but because you realize you shouldn’t have left them to begin with. It’s important to have people around you and not alienate yourself. Isolation is like adding fuel to the fire of depression. You want to be alone but you need to be around other people. Get out of your situation. Your ex isn’t in your life so why should they dictate how you spend your time? Go shopping, kayaking, antiquing, road-tripping, get out with your friends and refocus your attention on your life.  Make sure they are supportive but be respectful of their needs. Don’t use them as emotional dumps. A breakup isn’t an excuse to stop being a good friend.

How I Learned This: I got so into this guy I fell out of focus with my friends. Against character, I spent everyday with him. All my attention went to him so I didn’t make as much of an effort to connect with the people who mattered most to me. That’s not good and a sure sign of severe codependence in a relationship. There’s a difference between making people priorities and making them options.

Interact: Meet some new people! Head over to meetup.com and find a group that interests you. Take a skill based class and make new friends. Take up partner dancing. Paint a picture of a tree drunk. Do something creative, constructive, and fun! This can be with friends or on your own. Make new friends but most importantly make new, positive memories for yourself.

How I Learned This: I was a huge mope. I moped around the apartment. I moped in the car. I moped everywhere. I was annoyed with myself. I remembered all the things that I wanted to do with him and thought that (for whatever dumb reason) I could never do them now. *eye roll* I lost time and wasted precious opportunities to live my life. I used my sorrow as an excuse to stop enjoying myself. Don’t do that, it’s stupid.

Redirect: Love isn’t a switch you can just turn off. If you broke up on Tuesday, you’re probably going to love them on Wednesday, and the wednesday after that, and the wednesday after that, and the wednesday after that…That’s ok.  All of those feelings don’t have to be wasted. It’s not about destroying your feelings but redirecting them. Instead of spending time thinking about them, start to think of yourself. What are your needs? What did you learn? How can you grow from this? What do you want to do with your life?  Focus on loving yourself. Focus on being the partner you want and need. Give yourself some much needed TLC…just not the channel.

How I Learned This: I spent so much time thinking about what I would say if I saw him. How I would be super hot with a super hot date and make him feel like shit. The usual ultra mature revenge fantasy we all have. But what was I actually getting out of spending all my time dreaming of a moment’s pleasure? Nothing. I needed nourishing too and I should have just given it to myself.

Mourn + Celebrate: No timelines, no pressure. Give yourself the space you need to just be. If you need to cry, cry. If you need a kick in the ass, pick up the phone and call your friends. Don’t make yourself feel bad for where you aren’t yet. Don’t be an asshole and make other people or relationships a substitute. You need this time alone. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be self-destructive either. Find a way to approach, feel, express, and deal with the pain. You’ll be better for it.

How I learned this: the first few entries on this blog were basically my journal. Writing was such a relief for me. I felt like I could approach the things I needed to. Find that for yourself.

Reflect: Look at how far you come. One day you’ll wake up and the pain won’t be there anymore. No seriously. He won’t be the first thing you think about. The birds will start to chirp again. You’ll be invigorated by a project you’re working on. You’ll be focused on your career or passions. That person will go from being the center of your universe to living in a galaxy far, far away. I promise.
Now what have you learned my pretties? Have you done something similar to this? How did your most recent breakup fare? Sound off in the comments below and don’t forget: do better, feel better, be better!

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Psst! Here’s the pinnable version of this. Pass it on to any friends who might need it!

Thank You For Being A Friend: A Series on Adult Friends

MM-ThankYouForBeingAFriendSeriesCertain events have put a lot of things in perspective for me in the past five weeks. Over the last eight months I’ve spent more time talking about finding love and not nearly enough about my true loves—my friends.  This series is dedicated to adult friends, friendships, and the ups and downs that come with it.

Check back for these upcoming posts:

Time to Say Goodbye: When Friends Breakup

Toxic Trick: Identifying Rotten Friendships

Don’t Spend Time, Invest It

Make New Friends But Keep The Old 

Toxic Trick: Identifying Rotten Friendships

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  Toxic? Let’s Detoxify 

     Don’t act like you never saw that Apprentice clip or Vivica on The Real. I hate to use derogatory language toward any woman but let’s face it, we all know a toxic trick or two. How does one define a “trick” you might ask? It’s fairly easy.

     A trick is someone who will smile in your face and lie on your name behind your back. A trick will claim that they love you while trying to steal your joy. Require further illustration? Let me help you out. Years ago I was at a club with a few close friends. Nothing out of the blue. Summer heat, Rihanna’s blaring, drinks in hand, we’re all having a good time. In comes a guy a friend had been talking to. She breaks off to talk to him while the rest of us watch on. Now keep in mind this girl’s “best friend” is also present. She is the living example of a trick. She watches as our friend flirts with her guy and heads over to them. Before long she’s in between them and not soon after her tongue is down the guy’s throat. Being the bleeding heart I am, I walk over to my friend with my bestie ready to throw bows. She tells us it’s ok, that her friend was only helping her.

Dr. Who whaaaat reaction

Yeah you read that right. She was so sure that this person who displayed crappy behavior fairly regularly was looking out for her, because that’s what friends are supposed to do. But she wasn’t a friend, she was a trick. We found out later that her friend slept with her crush that night.

Princess Bride Shade

Identify A Trick

     So how can you avoid this? First you have to be able to spot a trick from a mile away. There are four easy steps to finding out if this person has the best intentions for you.

  1. She forms attachments too fast and has boundary problems

     After an hour of knowing her you know way more intimate details about her than you care to know. She seems to have a terrible sense of self-awareness and will attach to you quickly. Everything you do is great or funny. She may even refer to you as her bestie when you’re still acquaintances.

  1. She has no friends or extremely shitty ones

     I used to not judge people for being loners and I still don’t. A trick is not a loner, a trick is usually high on the fumes of her own self-delusion. Their friends will either be people who don’t reciprocate the sentiment or take extreme advantage of her. She continues the cycle by taking extreme advantage of them. See what I mean? Shitty. If she is without friends, that should send up another red flag. Other relationships are a window into what yours could potentially turn into. If they all look busted as hell or she mentions any variation of, “females are too dramatic, I prefer guy friends,” steer clear.

  1. Talks and never listens

     It is a well established fact that I talk a lot. I started a damn blog so I could talk even more! But I’m well aware that my friends always need a listening ear and good friends provide that. Tricks do not. The same woman who told you “females” are dramatic is more than likely a tornado-cum-shit storm of histrionics. She will tell you all about her terrible relationships, her shitty job, her crap roommate, her bad haircut, her dreadful day, her turbulent childhood, and her horrible family before you even sit down. She will tell you these things because it benefits her but unlike in healthy friendships, she will not stop or take the time to really listen to your bad shit. She’ll just keep going along, fishing for compliments and encouragement along the way until she gets her fill and then she’s out. She’ll either physically leave the conversation or check-out mentally. Everybody has their bad days so if this happens once or twice don’t pay too much mind to it. But if it’s been a year and she barely knows your last name? Drop that ass off at the curb.

  1. Talks Behind Your Back

     Everyone does it to some degree but if you are getting word from near strangers about atrocious statements being made about you and you’ve done nothing to warrant them? Dropkick a trick. Cut her loose before she drags you down an even more emotional draining rabbit hole.

  1. Her Middle Name Isn’t Taraji

     Does she celebrate your successes or does she try to downplay your triumphs? Does she support your efforts or does she try to persuade you to focus on hers first? Does she distract and talk you out of doing the things you want? When you’re winning, does she stand up and applaud? Real friends have your back. True friends will be as enthusiastic for your dreams as you are. Good friends support you. The only word for a person who doesn’t is an enemy. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

How To Confront

     But what about those of y’all who got the memo late and are already in toxic relationships with tricks? How do you confront the issue?

     If we were dealing with adults with some kind of emotional structure I would tell you to be honest, to be fair, and to be tactful. But we are not dealing with adults. Truth is to a trick what water is to the Wicked Witch of the West. “TTs” don’t understand the truth because they’ve yet to confront it in their own lives. They don’t mess with it and well…you’ve seen the havoc it’s wreaking. Your main priority is you. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your leg gets caught in a poisonous vine. It grows rapidly and at this precise moment is already to your knees. To your left there’s a machete and to your right some supergro fertilizer. Seems like an easy enough choice, right? Nope. In reality, toxic people are poison and yet so often we allow them to creep and grow until they’re sucking the life right out of us. You don’t have any more time to waste being miserable. Cut it off. Even though you may want to act up, don’t. Do not expend anymore emotional energy on this person. Be blunt, not brutal. Be assertive, not angry. But know this, a trick is essentially an emotional vampire. They feed off of your energy and will do anything to get more out of you. They may bring a whole new level of drama. They may beg. They may even start acting better. But what they do is no longer your concern, so let them go. Cold turkey. Do not give these people access to your life. They don’t deserve it and most importantly, they haven’t done anything to earn it. Put those boundaries up now and realize there will be resistance from both sides. It will seem a heck of a lot easier to fall back into the old status quo but stay the course. Good things don’t come easy and you deserve to have a toxin-free environment.

How to Prevent

     If you’ve ever found a mouse or roach in your home what was the first thing you did? You set a trap, you got some spray to keep their friends from joining them. What is TT Raid? Boundaries. Be upfront about your boundaries in all relationships. If people know they can push you, they will. Don’t give them that opportunity. Give new people an “observation” period before deciding to proceed into friendship. Don’t test them because that’s also another toxic behavior but watch how they react to things. How do they talk to you? Is their concern genuine? Do they have an agenda? Pay attention then make the judgment call. Last but not least, stay in your lane. In the words of the great poet, J.Cole, “don’t save her [if] she don’t want to be saved.” Bleeding hearts like me always want to help people but before you throw your hand out to lift someone up make sure the person grabbing onto you won’t be pulling you down.

What do you think? Have you experienced toxic tricks before? What’s your advice on how to handle them? Subscribe and leave a comment below!