Sometimes, I Get Lonely: Tales of a Often Displaced, Quirky, Afrocentric, and Highly Sensitive Black Girl

“You know,” I was telling a friend one day, “I love that my life is full of adventure, I’m full of passion, and am trying to dedicate my life to serving others, but sometimes, it gets lonely.”

And it does. Not everyday or even most days, and then there are times that it stretches for weeks, and then for months, you’re fulfilled and content.

I have moved to three different cities in the past 5 years. I’m chasing my dreams. I’m doing my best to make my life about service to others. I work in a field that although emotionally taxing, is also so incredibly emotionally rewarding. I don’t know if I’d consider myself a flat out “boss” yet, but I’m certainly a boss in training. I’m capable of hard things, and have done hard things. But this journey is often lonely for so many reasons. I’m going to attempt to explain how an often physically displaced, very quirky, somewhat Afrocentric, and most definitely Highly Sensitive (HSP), Black girl, feels loneliness on the worst days.

9 a.m. You come into your mostly white, but progressive office, everyday, smile on your face, colorful outfit, and feeling perky, despite or in spite of reading about another brown or black person killed, ridiculed, shamed, scared, or written off, and ready to joke and connect (#blackjoy). You live alone. You get in your head a lot. You are an introvert, most of the time, but an outgoing one, and you crave genuine, authentic connection. People seem to laugh, but you also get the feeling that they are somewhat tolerating you. They have work to do, and you’re a bit over the top. It’s probably nothing, and most certainly nothing to take personally, but you have known connection even at the worst jobs, and so your spirits are a little crushed.

9:30 a.m. You read about another incident. You wonder why no one cares to comment on the offenses of black and brown bodies, particularly women bodies. You wonder why no one asks if you are ok, how are you seeing this, do you ever get scared? You know that isn’t normal, so you share. It is your personal duty you feel to share and bring others to awareness. You’re disappointed in lackluster responses. But you know that it matters, and you have to make it matter, because you need to feel as though you  matter. You cry a little on the inside, but pour yourself into some work, framing your work in a way that can help make them matter. And you’re reminded painfully, like all good work likely, it isn’t done all altruistically, it is done to prove that you deserve to be here. You bring value. And others can see that. You’re not sure if you’re achieving any of these goals. You wish you could process with someone. You’re not sure if you can any time soon. You feel a little more alone, as you do what you have always done, been the brown/black body that shares injustices against other brown/black bodies.

12 p.m. Lunch! If you didn’t bring your lunch, maybe you can go with someone else. It’s lighthearted, it’s fun; you’re that weird girl who enjoys eating lunch with others at work and gabbing. Once you know them of course. Otherwise, it is awkward and you evade it. But once you’re over the fear everyone will hate you and your own awkwardness, you really enjoy it. If not, you realize that most people in this big lonely city, eat lunch on weekdays alone or at their desk.

2 p.m. You are sent the funniest meme about black culture, or something very upsetting about oppression. You want to share with others and they laugh or cry too. Wait, they won’t get it. You keep it to yourself. Or you share and are met with blank stares and little giggles.

2:15 Someone shares a meme or joke or song  or actor that you literally have never heard of. Everyone laughs or gets excited. You feel very out of the loop and a bit ostracized, as everyone stares at you like, “You’ve NEVER heard of that? Like how? Where have you been living???” “Well, in African American neighborhoods and in low income areas for most of my child hood, with parents who primarily exposed me to Black culture, and now in Harlem, where I can go into a bar and they only play Black music, sooooo…” is what you want to say. But you don’t, so others feels comfortable. Sometimes you say, “well, I’m Black” and people nervously laugh. Which you hate making people uncomfortable as you also feel uncomfortable, so you try to save that for when you passionately debating why we don’t know enough for marginalized communities. You also don’t want to make a joke of a very sacred identity of yours with people who may not fully appreciate it.

5:00 pm: Time to go home. You love the safety of those exposed brick walls and laminate wooden floors. And then those are those days, when you wish you were going home to a human. Someone who can talk to you and rub your feet. Go out to dinner or have dinner with. Have minor fights over who did the dishes. Laugh. Try online dating they say. And you do, and it fails. Or you do other things to date. And people tell you to keep trying, but does everyone ever think about how dating is profoundly different for the Black woman? Especially the Black womanist or feminist. Darling. It is. You decide between going out to dinner and happy hour or going home. Going out means conversation in this big, lonely island and chatting with bartenders, drunk girls at the bars, cute guys, or married men and women, having a tiny break before heading into their family role. It also represents the transient and temporary moments of false connections. You could go home and watch tv, read and escape, cook a great meal, and then go to bed super early, because who could you talk to? Meet ups are also an option. Exhausting but sometimes worth it for those moments of laughter.

7:00 p.m. Ignore all phone calls from friends and family. You have zero energy to be ok and supportive for everyone else. You’re tired, emotionally. Everyone seems to want a piece of the “you” pie. That pie has been eaten up or gone bad. Feel incredibly guilty and awful for doing it. Do it anyway.

9:30 Bedtime. You reflect, maybe ruminate on each moment that day. You read about more hurt and pain the world. You feel calm for a moment. You reflect on what you are grateful for. You swipe and pin. You fall asleep and if you’re lucky, dream of fantastic days ahead; if you’re not so lucky your nightmares of health scares, rejection, exes, trauma, and failure creep in.

This is what it sometimes feels like to be displaced – a wanderer, adventure seeker, always wanting more and looking for meaning with a willingness to follow it wherever it is, in any city or land (almost), quirky – a little offbeat, generally positive, and zesty, Afrocentric – caring deeply about my people, wanting justice and equity for all, feeling a sense of deep connection to those around the world, highly sensitive – taking on the emotions of others, unable to sometimes filter my feelings from others, taking things personally, and hypersensitive to those around me. Don’t pity me. Trust me, this isn’t my every day state of being. My posts can be dark at times, but overall, I love my life and am happy. But this is the vulnerable part of me, reaching out to my sisters and brothers who have ever felt that it is a tough job to balance these roles.

 

Photo by Eloise Ambursley on Unsplash

Random Thoughts: 90s Hip Hop/R&B

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So I’m in the process of making an Early 90s Hip Hop/R&B playlist  because I did a Late 90s one so it was only necessary.  Upon creating this playlist, my only criteria was that it will include music from around 1990 to around 1995.

But there’s one problem.

When I create a playlist, I try to include music that just generally flows together, no matter what order the songs are played in and I’ve noticed that the R&B sound drastically changes around 1993/94.

Maybe ‘drastically’ is an exaggeration, but the shift in musical influence has definitely changed.  I’m not a music professional at all, so I have no real reason to why this is the case and my knowledge only branches out to  just my biased musical tastes.

I just thought it was really cool how when we say 90s Hip Hop/R&B, we’re most likely referring to years 1993 to ~2001 (maybe up until 2003/04, when Crunk started becoming a thing) and just noticing that musical trend kind of blew my mind.

I know, people probably already realized this, but I don’t care.  lol

This time period gave us 50% of the music that most of us are nostalgic about and that’s why I wanted to create the playlist. Now that I’ve ran into this dilemma, I don’t even know if I can pair music from 1990 to 92 with music from 93 to 95. It just doesn’t even seem to mix well because the sound changed so much (But I’m probably going to do it anyway, lol).

DISCUSS!!!!

Artist Spotlight: THEY. – “Nü Religion: HYENA”

Today, I bring to you one of the best kind of low-radar artists in the game right now.  A duo based out of LA tends to take a different take on Hip Hop.  With a bunch of R&B, Pop, and even some Rock, this album is definitely something you want to hear if you are into different genres.  Each track brings it’s own uniqueness and energy that WILL make you bob your head. It’s inevitable.

You might know these guys from an NFL game pass commercial where their song “U-RITE” is featured, but trust me, I’ve been on these guys WAY before then.

My favorite tracks:
Africa
Deep End
Motley Crew (!!!)
Truth Be Told
What You Want
Bad Habits
Say When
U-RITE

Spotify
Apple Music

Confessions of a Therapist

I work with adolescents in a psychiatric hospital. 

99% of my day I work harder than my clients. 

Sometimes I make appropriate connections. 

I’m an okay therapist. 

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. 

A lot of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. 

I  am 100% certain  I care too much (if that’s an actual thing) and that this will cause me to leave this field in a fit of emotion and heartbreak one day. 

I cry a lot with my job. For my clients. 

I’ve spent the majority of my day crying. 

At my current job I have felt as if I have failed one kid so far. 

I currently feel like I am failing another. 

It doesn’t get easier. 

Telling me to reframe that is not helpful. 

For this population, I firmly believe that the best way to encourage change is to foster meaningful, healthy connection and just being available when they need you. 

That’s hard to do. 

I was spit on today and called a bitch. 

Of all the things that I am frustrated with today, those two things aren’t even on the list. 

Sometimes caring is not enough. 

Being an Extroverted Introvert

I feel that I’m a textbook extroverted introvert. I do love being around people, but all in all, it is draining.  Earlier in my social life (like around my college years), I was probably very extroverted, but over time things have changed.  I used to get energy from going out and being around people, but now my body just gets drained from doing this; Physically, emotionally, and most importantly mentally.  Since this happens, more often than not, I tend to shut down and shut the world out and not be seen for a good amount of time.  A lot of people don’t understand because they’ve only seen me when I’m out having fun and partying (I.E. only following my Instagram life) and not when I’m home in my comfy clothes doing nothing but watching TV and playing video games.

But when I do go out, I do have fun, indeed.  Most of the time, I have more fun than expected, and that’s normal.  However, I do tend to have anxiety that slightly fuels my introvertism (made up word), so there’s always these thoughts of “do these people really like me?”, “am I being annoying?”, “are they just inviting me because they think I’m sad?” that always plays in my head; and even though I went out and had fun that last time, I might stay in because maybe those thoughts played in my mind a little more and I just decide to stay home in my happy place, instead of just enjoying the moment for what it is.  My anxiety is probably another Blog post for another day, so I won’t get too deep in there.  But yeah, these thoughts tend to drive me to shut down, even after I’m already out having fun, and if I have a way to bow out of a situation gracefully, I usually take advantage and leave early.

I’ve had a lot of success balancing my introverted self, with my extroverted tendencies, but recently it’s been kind of hard. Ever since my birthday, I feel like I’ve constantly been on the run on the weekends when I’m used to just laying around.  I’ve been socially draining myself to no end, and I think I have like one more week where I have to find some energy to make it before I can chill out.  And yes, I will have fun this week, because I’ll be around people I love, but I might not be up for anything spontaneous or lengthy.  That’s kind of how this whole thing works.  I know most people won’t get it, and it sounds like I’m rambling, I’m sure, but I’m trying. lol

This post is not the end all, be all explanation of extroverted introverts.  Every EI person is different, and socializes different but I feel this gives a general understanding on how a good bit of us deal with social life.   So if some of your seemingly extroverted friends decide that they can’t deal with people and don’t want to go out or just want to stay in with no explanation, don’t get mad, but in turn understand that maybe they are drained and can’t hang for that moment.  A lot of times, I get the “but I just saw you out with so and so last night”.  Well then perfect, they should understand that last night my energy was drained and today is a recharge day.

This post is more of a personal response on how people have addressed me when my introverted side has popped up after being extroverted.  Plenty of times I’ve been accused of the general silliness of “Not liking people” just because I’m drained.  Don’t be that person, because you never know how someone who is an EI could be affected by it.

/rant

A Message to the Vocal and Silent “Me Toos” Out There

*trigger warning. This poem is about sexual assault. Please seek out help if needed. Please contact RAINN at 800.656.HOPE (4673) if you’ve been a victim of sexual assault. If you are experiencing a crisis, you may also contact 1-800-273-8255 or chat with them on their website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/*

Dear “Me Too,”
Whether you said it out loud and proud
To show the world your survivor status and
Validate your suffering,
Like a tattoo carefully selected
As your own personal memorial of hope.
Whether it was with hesitation,
Softly wondering if your perpetrator
May be hiding behind a profile,
Much more likely than hiding behind a bush,
But your soul needed the community,
The space,
To say
To have recognized
Your “Me Too.”

Whether you wrote it angrily,
Fires burning in your fingertips.
Angry for missed opportunities,
Angry for missed connections,
Angry for violations against what was never theirs to take;
“Nos” that were laughed at,
Blood that was shed at someone else’s hands
For you to clean –
Alone.
Things stolen from you,
In the middle of a good time or night out,
In the safety of your home,
Before you wear old enough to even understand,
The value of what was stolen
Was more precious and more far-reaching than
You could ever know.
When you only knew how to trust;
And repetitive breaches of that innocent trust,
Left you full of dirty and confusing shame.

Whether you wrote it softly,
Like a dull pencil,
Lightly tracing past hurts,
Or etching them into a computer screen
A faded memory;
That you choose not to make any bolder
Than a simple “me too.”

Whether you choose not to proclaim it all –
Unsure if your pain is real,
Still trying to find the strength to justify,
That you too were a victim;
That you were innocent
And instead are carrying the weight
Of the heavy shovel,
Digging yourself out of the infinite
Pile of mud and filth
Composed your misplaced and decaying
Self-loathing and shame.
Or that perhaps you kept silent,
Because those who have transgressed against you,
Still hold some shackles
To your existence,
Shackles of
Threats,
Fear
Anxiety
Violence –
And so to boldly, quietly, softly, or for others
Say “me too” could put you further at risk,
But you feel deeply connected
Inter-webbed
Bound
And so profoundly linked
To the women who are able to say “me too,”
That you continue to browse,
To feel the “me too” radiating from others,
That you can silently claim as your own.

To all of you “me too’s”–
I say to you, “me too.”
I say to us, “thank you”
Thank you for existing,
Even when existing feels like 100 small needles
Pricking your skin,
Never ending,
Always there.

Thank you for our courage
Our cracks,
That we sometimes see as brokenness,
That really showcase
Our humanity and ability to withstand pressure,
And still be works of beautiful art
In spite of, or perhaps because of our pain;
Our vulnerability,
For every silent, loud, quiet, introspective, outward cry of
“Me Too”
Is a testament to our ability
To try one more time for
Connection
Love
Trust
Healing.
Our tired, yet persistent
Voyages to contribute to a world,
That was so cruel to us,
But believe in magic,
Even on days
When we aren’t sure “magic” and “healing” are code for anything
More than a false promise to attempt a satiety
For something that was never meant to be a hunger.

Thank you.
Thank you for being in this world.
My hand outstretches to yours,
With no promises of complete restoration,
But with a promise of connection.
“Me Too.”

Wednesday Weekly: Straight Outta the UK

WW7

So I like to pride myself on listening to artists of the R&B, Hip Hop and Pop influence from many different parts of the world.  Some of my favorites come from the UK. So today’s playlist is dedicated to some of my favorite artists who originate from there.

I like to try and introduce new music to the masses so I hope you enjoy this one.  Most of the songs are R&B influenced with a few Pop/Dance tracks and like 1 or two Hip Hop tracks, just to give you an idea.  Just give it a chance and I hope you enjoy!

Spotify

Sorry to my Apple Music peeps, but this is going to be a Spotify exclusive unless I get a lot of feedback from the Apple Music users.

P.S. – I know my UK flag playlist art isn’t technically right, so if it offends anyone, let me know, but I tried my best in Microsoft paint. lol