Connection (a poem)

You are the universe reminding me that everything I want does exist

But I don’t get to have it.

In another life, I have loved you with every part of my being

And the atoms of my soul remember that when you are near.

In this life,

I will appreciate this time for what it is

And not make it anything it isn’t.

We have known each other long before now

And I look forward to meeting you again.

Grief

Sometimes when I’m sitting

It comes like a wave

That overtakes you unexpectedly

Blue, strong, and powerful

Leaves you with no breath

Sharp intake of air.

The thoughts are overwhelming

And the thoughts like a high tide

Stay for a while

Seemingly controlled by an outside source,

Like the moon.

The moon used to know to stay away til night –

But lately she doesn’t always care

Popping up in the broad cloudiness

Of 4 pm afternoons

And bringing the high tide of the

Emotional sea with her.

I can’t control the moon.

But damn it,

I better learn to swim.

 

-A Poem About Grief in a Life Neither That Bad or That Good

What we’re not going to do in 2018-err, 2019 is…

So, my blogmates and I actually wrote this post almost a year ago but never submitted it, for whatever reason. Well, I (Malcolm) am going behind the backs of my blogmates and posting this now because some self-reflection and motivation will always be welcomed in life. Please don’t hate me! lol

We are venturing on four months into 2018 one month in 2019 and we all know that time flies when you’re having fun, spending time with friends, getting new jobs, traveling, eating good, dancing, and generally attempting to live your best life. The beginning of the year is always a fitting time to do a little self reflection and see how we are doing with our journeys of self-love, exploration, happiness, dating, work, life and generally all things involved in being a boss!

In our self-reflection in our group chat we recently found ourselves commenting on all the things we are NOT going to do because it’s 2018 2019. We have all reached and survived the dreaded 30 and we have all experienced some serious self improvement and growth over the past few months since we’ve had this blog (and long before it existed as well). So here goes…our list of all the shit we are not going to do or put up with in 2018 2019 (or any other year). If it’s not already clear, this is another collaborative post!

1. Men who don’t appreciate my worth the first time around. No going back to exes who realized they wanted that old thing back and how awesome I was, after they walked away. Bye Felicia! – AP

2. Deal with people who don’t understand that Black Lives Matter! – M

3. Fuckboys – M

4. People who make everything about themselves. I’m talking about something I’m excited about and you turn it into something about you. You’re getting called out. – AP

5. Unsolicited dating advice (see previous post)- AP

6. Greeks who are more interested in partying and dealing with pledges than actually attempting to give back to their community. -M

7. Faking orgasms. I have zero time for dealing with terrible sex so that I don’t hurt someone else’s feelings. -AP

8. People who aren’t interested in me romantically when I clearly want romance. -M

9. Compare skin tones with tanned, non-melanated individuals in society. -M

10. Dates that aren’t dates, but minimum effort disguised as booty calls. LR

11. Getting stood up on dates. LR

12. Dry skin and an useless or non existent skin care regimen. LR

13. Jobs that don’t challenge us to be the best versions of ourselves and don’t fulfill our calling and value statements. I need a job that I’m excited to go and fulfill my purpose. LR

14. Bad wigs or weaves. Too old not to look fly like a G6. Frontals and You Tube videos have come too far for that mess. LR

15. Allowing anyone to withdraw/overdraw from our emotional bank accounts without equally depositing back into it. I will be closing all of your lines of credit, bank accounts, and turning down unworthy applications – friends, family, associates, and co-workers, you have been warned. LR

16. Bad wine. I will send it back to the waiter and pour out the bottle. Too many low cost, delicious options for that, plus I get drunk way too fast these days to not enjoy my drinks. This goes for cheap liquor too. No headache or hangover country here. LR

17. People’s opinions of my life choices or being. Don’t like how often I move? Then don’t move. Don’t like my body? Cover your eyes. Don’t like my hair. Don’t wear your hair like mine. Don’t like my choices around religion, lifestyle, children etc.? Don’t try to be me. I really have zero time for that. LR

18. Mediocre and unloving sex. Goes hand in hand with Ashley’s orgasm thing. Life is far too short for bad sex with people I don’t care about. I am looking for the real stuff. LR

19. Putting myself down and not seeing and actively shining the glory of the light that is myself. I cannot fulfill my purpose, be happy, and get what I deserve if I don’t acknowledge that I deserve and am worthy of those things. And as in a past post, I am quite tired of being emotionally abusive towards myself.

20. Being labeled as an angry Black woman because uncomfortable truths make you well, uncomfortable and defensive. Also, being quiet and docile as to not make you uncomfortable. (A moment of silence for Auntie Maxine always coming through with the truth). LR

21. Settle for anything less than what I deserve. I am not here to be under or taken advantage of. -M

22. Let people guilt me into spending quality time with them. If I’m being anti social, let me be. I’ll catch up with you at some point. -M

23. Relationships that don’t allow me to be my genuine and authentic self. If I have to change or pretend to keep you happy. It ain’t happening. Whether that’s friends, romantic interests or otherwise. -AP

24. People who don’t let me know their true intentions from the jump. In any aspect. -M

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25. Body shaming.

26. Racism.

27. Sexism.

28. Misogyny.

29. Homophobia.

30. Transphobia.

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31. Allow what I perceive of myself as flaws determine my mood and affect the greatness that is me. -M

32. Listen to privileged members of society talk about how much they aren’t privileged. -M

As stated before, it’s 2019 and we don’t have time. What are some of the things that you all don’t have time for for the year. Feel free to share!

Happy New Year!

Like last year, I have gone back and forth about writing this but this year it’s for different reasons.

I actually feel kind of bad writing this years recap and it’s mainly because 2018 wasn’t all that awful for me. I keep seeing a bunch of post about how terrible 2018 was and how 2019 will be better and I wonder if I missed something. I also know that due to moments I had in 2018, I have been hyper aware of the fact that, while my life may be difficult in some ways, there will always be someone somewhere who looks at my life and wishes they had it or something similar. So I’ve spent 2018 trying my best to be positive and grateful for what I have. It’s been an interesting ride for sure.

Did I do everything I wanted? Nope. Did I accomplish all the things I set out to? Of course not. Do I still have time? Sure.

An incomplete list of things I did not do in 2018:

Save money

Move out of my parents house

Eliminate debt (the exact opposite actually)

Avoid my two year car accident curse

Lose weight

Exercise more

Do those last two for a prolonged period of time

Meet Luke Kuechly, have him instantly fall in love and become Mrs. Luke Kuechly, after a whirlwind romance.

The reality is, these are things that have been on my yearly to do list for many many years (including the last one). But overall, despite not achieving them, I had a good year. I would just really like to be able to say that without feeling bad about it.

So, in looking forward, a few areas I plan to focus on and improve in 2019

Financial: I am the first to admit that I am terrible with money. I have a decent job with good benefits. I make enough money to at the very least support myself outside of my parents home. I could probably manage to support myself and my daughter as well if I cut back drastically and we ate a lot of ramen. I don’t want to do that and I am blessed with parents who aren’t forcing me to do that either. I will not apologize for this and in 2019 I want to stop feeling bad about that. When I talk to people about moving out, and I start to feel bad about not having done it already, I realize it is typically people who do not have kids, who left home for college and never moved back. Our stories are different and that’s okay. Being a mother literally dictates every decision I make. And moving out would immediately cause me to be a single mother providing 100% of the financial and emotional support to my child. Until I feel like that is the absolute best thing for us to do…we will continue to stay put even if others don’t understand the decision (and even if my child doesn’t understand it either). Also in the financial realm, I have been working on decreasing credit card debt (Italy was not nice to my credit cards and I have since handed them over so I can’t use them). I even managed a credit free Christmas which I’m proud of. So, I will continue to make double payments to eliminate credit card debt which will all work together to increase my financial stability. Ta-da!

Relationships: I would like to be a better friend. I jokingly but seriously warn people who appear to be trying to create a new friendship with me, that I am a terrible friend. It’s true, but I would like to improve them. I want to stop being late to things I’ve planned with friends or just forgetting altogether. I want to check on people who I haven’t talked to in a while or who I can tell something might be up. I want to see people in person a little more often (if financially possible) and not just get updates on social media. I want to, however, do this in a way that is not emotionally and spiritually draining for me. Being a good friend is hard work. Being present for people and available and listening and offering advice or not offering advice depending on the moment and knowing the right things to say and trying to lighten the mood and just being here…it’s hard. I try really hard not to judge people when they aren’t able to do all of those things for me because I know it’s difficult when we all have our own stuff going on. I realize though, because I have this new found guilt of not having an extremely difficult life and things for the most part are going well, that I then feel like I should do better and be better at all of these things for all of these people. I want to do better but I also want to allow myself grace if I don’t. So, I want to be a better friend. I want to continue to grow other relationships including with family, friends and the boyfriend who I’m pretty sure I bullied into being my boyfriend but now he’s stuck. I don’t think he minds though!

Spirituality: I think this is one area that I have struggled with the most this year. A few years back I was in this great place spiritually and then allowed a relationship to derail that. I don’t have much to say about this one except some work here is definitely needed.

Health: Here’s the big one! I realized a month or two ago that I have never been physically healthy as an adult. That made me sad. What I mean by physically healthy is eating right, at a healthier weight, exercising regularly, not using food as a coping skill, able to walk up the stairs without dying, and overall just happy with myself and how I treat my body. I also realize I spend a lot of time wishing this would change but zero time actually doing anything to make things change. Prior to my birthday and the holidays I was getting things on track. A piece of chocolate cake and some snow basically derailed that. This year I want to obtain a healthy relationship with food and exercise that is not screwed up by a minor speed bump. I also want to look amazing in a bathing suit.

So I think that’s it. Pretty basic really. At the end of the day, I am not perfect, neither is my life, but I want to preserve and improve what I have created and I think the key to that for me is focusing on the positive and allowing grace for myself and others.

I hope whoever reads this is able to find and give happiness, grace and love in the new year!

2018 is over and I’m glad! JK

2018 has been one interesting year.  I decided to date, then I decided not to date, then I decided to date again, and now I’m not sure if I’m dating or not…*shrugs*.  I moved from one state to another 2 states away. I realized that making friends as an adult is hard for a slightly antisocial introverted person.  BUT, I’ve also shed some of my introverted ways as well…kind of.  However you put it, I must say that this year was pretty good.  I’ve had highs, and I’ve definitely had lows, but we’re going to end this thing on a good note, so I’m just going to get right into it. In no particular order, these are my favorite moments/things about 2018:

Concerts Concerts Concerts

I’ve decided to lump this one together.  Why?  Well, because I didn’t want three different concerts taking up my list.  DUH….

I was never a concert goer growing up.  I didn’t go to my first concert really until I was like, 25.  My first artist I ever saw live in concert was Bruno Mars, and ever since then, I’ve been in love with it.  Now, people may have considered me a big music guy, and I am, but I’m not that big on crowds, or I wasn’t.  I’ve grown to overcome that over the past years and now I even make friends (with the assistance of alcohol)  The concerts I’ve been to this year were Miguel (twice) w/ DVSN, Janelle Monae w/ St Beauty , Sam Smith, Tank and the Bangas w/ Big Freedia, Allen Stone, and Jessie J.  All of these shows were awesome. Janelle Monae, was BY FAR my favorite with Allen Stone and Sam Smith coming in at close second.  If you want to know why, just ask, I’d be more than glad to ramble on about her fierceness.  There’s nothing like seeing an artist in person, be it your favorite or not.  The sheer talent that these humans display is just utterly amazing.  If you find yourself close to any, check them out. You won’t be disappointed.  Here are a few videos of my favorite songs from my favorite concerts from this year.

Janelle Monae – Django Jane

Sam Smith – HIM

Allen Stone – Unaware

Moving from Charlotte to Washington, DC

Most definitely the BIGGEST decision I’ve ever made in life and from a professional standpoint, I feel like it was a great decision.  From a personal standpoint, I’m not sure yet.  My personal/social life hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been terrible either.  It’s kind of hard being an adult in a new city who’s trying to find their footing.  The friends I do have here that I’ve known from College though are great and I really appreciate them for all their help when I just want to talk, or go out to Happy Hour or whatever, but I’m still trying to find my own place…My own little circle, if you will.  Anywho, this post isn’t about that.  This move has really let me know that I shouldn’t be complacent or be satisfied with complacency and if there is an opportunity to better myself, that I should think of all the options and go out on a limb if I believe in myself. And that’s what I did.  I don’t think I’m ever looking back, although I do love Charlotte, it was pass time for me to leave, and I’m glad that the pieces fell in the right place for it to happen.  I’m loving DC btw for anyone who’s wondering

Bowling with Stonewall Sports (Charlotte)

So, thanks to a friend from a couple years back, he introduced me/forced me to play sports with Stonewall in Charlotte.  I started out playing winter volleyball (in a gym) and honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing. It got me out of the house during the week, and I was able to socialize a bit and make some good acquaintances. But then bowling season came around, and I’ve never loved being social as much as I did once I discovered that.  I think it’s just the non competitive demeanor of most players.  Everyone was there to have fun and you could also drink beer while doing it without looking like an alcoholic, lol.  It’s a very low key, social sport and that’s what I enjoyed most about it.  I’ve made some good friends playing, and I honestly miss those guys the most outside the circle of my close friends.  Stonewall Bowling will forever be ingrained into my mind as one of my favorite memories of 2018, and of Charlotte as a whole.

Friends

In addition to making new friends through Stonewall this year, I’ve also had friends who have always been there for me.  Obviously some of us don’t talk on a daily basis, but we can definitely chop it up as soon as one of us says hi and has something to talk about.  And sometimes we don’t even talk about anything, we just like to say hello and keep it moving.  I hate that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my most bestest best friend Lanita, but I know that she’s got my back any time I need it, and I have hers just as well. Also, shoutouts to my new best friend and former roomie Caroline.  I hope I didn’t drive her too crazy for that year she lived wit me.  She’s helped me with more than she will ever know over the last year and I’m forever grateful. Lastly, shoutouts to my BFFFFFF and blogmate Lee, for putting up with my mess and silliness and stupid emotions over the last forever.  Not sure I would be as sane as I am without ranting to you on a daily basis. I can’t say enough to embody the appreciation I have for all of my friends.  I love them all, and hope that they all prosper in their jobs, family lives, or whatever else they want to have success in for life.

Family

I will be the first to admit.  I don’t visit my family as often as I probably should but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.  They probably think differently though, lol.  Either way, the times that I did visit my family this year, it was for special reasons, and I enjoyed every moment of it.  I want to be there for them more than I have in the past so I want to make it my mission to visit more often, talk to them more often, and just be around/present more often.  Unfortunately, it may be harder since I live farther away now, but we will try.

 

Sora

I owe pretty much all of my sanity to my wonderful, but crazy dog Sora.  She was named after the girl in Digimon, but only after I found it on a pet name site.  despite having a pink coat, a purple harness, and no male genitals, people still think she’s a boy dog, and everyone in my apartment building either is in love with her, or is scared of her. lol.  Sora wouldn’t hurt a fly, but she is very energetic and doesn’t know how to turn if off.  The joy and excitement she has when she sees me get up every morning, and when I get home in the evenings, puts a smile on my face that I just can’t avoid.  I love her to death.  I have literally a MILLION pics of my loving pup on my phone and I’ll try not to share them all here, but OMG I don’t know how I would be without my lil sweetheart.  lol

Just look at this pup!

This Blog

Even though I haven’t written a lot here lately, most of my content comes from this year and I can’t thank you all enough for tuning into the craziness I call my mind.  Everyone who has given me feedback, I have taken it and hopefully applied all of your input to make this thing better for everyone.  I’ve been told by many people that they enjoy reading my posts and even had some who were inspired by them.  As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think of myself as that type of person, one who inspires, but I’m glad to hear that 1) you all are no different from me and 2) that we all go through life in different but similar ways and 3) that we all can provide some kind of inspiration or insight to help  each other out, even if you don’t feel like you can. Also, I love that my blogmates have been here to share in these experiences as well, and hopefully we can grow to even more followers in 2019. Here’s to our followers and to us for another wonderful year! Year 2 will be a blast!  We love you all!

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Emotional Abuse: A Hip Hop Love Story

Gather round boys and girls. I’m about to tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a fabulous princess from the Bronx. This princess was no ordinary princess. While all the other princesses were busy being prim and proper and not making a sound while they waited to be saved by their prince, this princess chose a different route. She was loud, and obnoxious, and proud, and she was even super proud of her sexuality and body to the shock of many of the so called ladies and gentleman of the land. This princess lived her best life and made a name for herself. She went from lowly peasant stripper to chart topping female rapper. All was seemingly well in her world…but not for long. As they tend to do, the wannabe princes of the land came from far and wide. Not to win her affection, but to jump on her band wagon and boost their own growing success. Maybe the princess saw an opportunity and took it. Maybe she was blinded by what looked like love. Who knows. Eventually the princess found one colorful prince with a tendency toward mumbling and she settled down. Emphasis on the settled. They hastily got married. They had a baby. All was seemingly well in the land according to social media and new chart topping songs. Unfortunately, however, the prince decided to prove himself to be a fuck boy. He cheated and probably did all sorts of other unmentionable things because 99% of the time even when princes have fabulous princesses who have mothered their children and helped them gain even higher levels of success, they still want everything insight including skanky peasants who can’t bring anything to the table. Luckily, our princess was smart and dropped the no good fuck boy prince and went on to live happily ever after pulling a total Taylor Swift and making millions off the break up…THE END!!

NOT!!!

So, that’s definitely where the story should end. Cardi B dumped Offset and he should have acknowledged his loss and kept it moving. An apology in the moment. Continued to support his daughter and hopefully they can manage some civil co-parenting for the next 18 years. Maybe, if he truly meant it, he could have privately asked for forgiveness and a second chance and proven he has changed (after actually changing) and then if she chose to get back with him more power to her. If not. No is no and sucks to be you!

But nope. As many emotionally abusive and manipulative boys like to do…Offset is currently attempting to bully Cardi into taking him back. Hijacking her show, going on stage with other people and getting the audience to chant for Cardi to take him back, and I’m sure other abusive/manipulative tactics that I am unaware of because keeping track of this story honestly makes me sick to my stomach!

I write this as someone who has been in similar situations multiple times, just obviously not on the same scale. I used to think there was something special about me that made men regret letting me go and begging my forgiveness and for me to take them back. And I did. Multiple times. But you know what…they NEVER and I mean NEVER changed. A few days or a week does not a changed man make. Hell in some situations even years did not mean they had changed. What they had done, however, is continue to perfect their emotionally abusive tactics.

Emotional abuse is exactly what we are witnessing take place between Offset and Cardi. I don’t use those words lightly. I’m saying exactly what I mean. This is not love. I repeat. THIS IS NOT LOVE. THIS IS ABUSE. And so many people (male and female) or so use to this being their only definition of love that they are encouraging Cardi to take this no good asshole back.

Treating someone like shit is not love

Cheating is not love (that means physical and emotional cheating)

Lying is not love

Sneaking around is not love

Breaking someone’s trust is not love

Emotional abuse is not love

Doing these things repeatedly and asking for forgiveness and making false promises that you will change and then not changing is not love

Making someone feel bad for choosing themselves when you have treated them like garbage for any amount of time is not love

Stalking someone at their job (exactly what Offset did) is not love

Getting your friends (fans) to harass someone for you is not love.

If you need a refresher on what love is go take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 as a starting place then work your way out from there. Religious or not, it’s a pretty good definition.

Now. I’m not saying Cardi is perfect. I’m sure she’s done her own mess. If Offset didn’t leave her when she did it, that’s on him. Just because he chose to stick around when she was not loving him correctly, does not mean she has to stick around when he does the same.

I write this out of a place of familiarity, sadness and fear having, as I said, experienced these same things in the past. I don’t use the word trauma lightly, but as time has gone on, I continue to realize how much my last relationship seriously impacted my mental, physical, spiritual and relational well being. Seeing Offset on stage trying to guilt trip Cardi into taking him back gave me flashbacks of the last time I ran into my ex. I couldn’t finish watching it. I’m impressed with how Cardi is handling the situation and asking her fans not to attack Offset. I’d be considering a restraining order at this point.

Anywho. I said all that to say this, if you are in a situation that is even remotely emotionally abusive. Get out. Run as fast and as far away as possible. Maybe they will change. Maybe they won’t. You are not required to stick around and see if they will. Despite what the internet may have you think about how a real woman should stick by her man while he is growing…a real man shouldn’t have to grow from an abusive jerk face into an actual man. You are not his mother. That is not your job. Know your worth. Double it. Add tax and then under absolutely no circumstances ever put yourself on sale for anyone ever again.

Also…this made me holler!

Why I’m afraid of love…

31. Single. BARELY dating. I ask myself at least weekly “what’s wrong with me?”.

I’m sure it’s a combination of being in a city where no one wants to settle down and me not wanting to waste my time, but something this week caught my eye. There has been this article going around the Facebooks recently that talks about each zodiacs reasoning for being scared of love. It makes some very strong assumptions about people (because that’s how zodiacs work). We all know that it is more coincidental than anything else, so you take it with a grain of salt. However, after reading about “myself” and why I am afraid of love, it makes some good, or at least interesting noteworthy points.

It starts… “LEO – Ruler of the fifth house of lovers, romance, and self-expression, you adore everything that has to do with love. It’s one of you favorite things, you love falling in love, you love talking about love, you love love. You fall in love easily…”

Now, I’m not saying that this is completely untrue, because I do enjoy the idea of love, but this makes me sound kind of obsessed. I think more than anything, having a companion right there for me day in and day out is what I adore about love, but not necessarily the idea of love itself. I don’t dream about love. I think about it sometimes, more because I would like to be loved, but I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed. So in a sense, this could be true, but I don’t necessarily fall in love easily due to an obsession.

The article goes on to say that I’m unable to stay in love because I’m scared of disappointment. I’m picky. I have high standards. It causes me to push people away. And you know what, this is true. I’m at the point in my life where I’m trying to not settle for the sake of just being in a relationship. I’m not sorry that the people who are hugely interested in me send me “wyd” texts 5 times a day. I’m not sorry that texting me every day to just to say hello isn’t enough. I want someone who actively wants to spend time with me (off the phone) to get to know me and that can at least help carry a conversation. Someone who’s about more than brunch. So yes, I’m picky and that may make it harder for me to find a mate, but I’m sure it will pay off in the end, rather than being with someone who solely just gives me attention.

You’re the most generous of the Zodiac, Leo, and you’re more comfortable with giving than you are with receiving, but you need someone just as giving as you are. You’re not as interested in gifts as you are with affection and emotional connection. You’re afraid of your emotional needs not being met and you know that will cause you to fall out of love just as easily as you fell into it.”

This is my love language, point blank. I couldn’t care less if we go on fancy dinner dates, or trips. I have to have a mutual emotional connection with you to love you. I crave this and affection. This is how I love and how I want to be loved. If I don’t feel that i can satisfy your needs in the love department and you can’t satisfy mine, there’s no chance of us being together.

The article goes on to say that I have a fear of people falling out of love with me. While this has happened before, I don’t necessarily have that fear. It may be because I don’t think I know what it feels like to be in love anymore. It’s been a long time and I’ve started to wonder if the love I experienced in the past was real. I started to wonder if it was enough. I think this is my problem, I don’t want my next relationship to feel like my last one, I want it to be better. So it takes me some time to feel this out.

The article tends to lay out some other points that don’t necessarily align with my personality. It makes Leos seem a little like control freaks. While this and being the “life of the party” or the “center of attention” themes are always mentioned with Leos, that’s not me. However, it does say that I rely on my independence a lot. This is true. I haven’t kept from trying to date because of it, but it is a thought that I have often about sharing my life with someone. Do I want to give up my independence to be in a relationship or be in love? I guess the better question is, who out there is worth me giving up my independence for…

I don’t know what this means for my future in love. I guess it’s good to be self aware of these things, so we’ll see. However, if you want, you guys can read up on your own love flaws here: https://thoughtcatalog.com/natalia-vela/2018/11/this-is-why-youre-afraid-of-love-based-on-your-zodiac-sign/