Walking Thirst Trap

First off, you should know that I have very recently begun attempting to get my life together. Meaning eating right and hopefully losing weight. Today was my first day adding in the dreaded excercise to the combination which makes what I’m about to talk about even more entertaining to me. 
So today, on my very first walk in a very long time, I learned one valuable thing. Apparently I am causing men all over the world, or at least within my vicinity, to commit iniquities in their heart and mind because I wear…yoga pants. 
Confused yet? So was I. So let me fill you in. 
I’m walking. Minding my own business. Feeling healthy AF because I’ve been eating right for like three weeks. Today was, for some reason, a bad mental/emotion day so instead of eating my feelings I said “self” and self said “yea” and I said “let’s try this excercising for mental sanity thing and see what happens.” So myself and I put on some comfy clothes, my old sketchers, found my head phones and turned on Beyoncé Radio to get this walking party started. 
While still minding my own business, the first signs of an issue appear. Black car slows down, with black man in it giving me “the look.” If you are a woman you know exactly what look I’m talking about. If you are a man you know what look I’m talking about and have probably given it to someone. Car stops, rolls down window, and because my music isn’t loud enough I can hear him trying to get my attention. Against my better judgment, because I’m trying to work on being open to the universe and not coming across as a bitch, I take my head phones out and stop. I make sure to stay far away from the car so as not to get snatched. 
Here is the conversation that ensued:
Guy: excuse me. Are you an American? 
Me: ummm yea (mind you that’s a pretty loaded question right now so my mind is already on 100) 
Guy: what’s your nationality?
Me: I’m mixed. Black and white (oh lord here we go) 
Guy: ok. Let me make a statement 
Me: *to myself* ahh hell. 
Guy: you know you cause men to commit iniquity when you do this right. 
Me: *to myself* what the absolute heck is he talking about 
My face must have looked confused because he said 
Guy: iniquities. You know. Sin 
Me: yes I know what you meant
Guy: ok. Do you read the Bible?
Me: yes
Guy: a little
Me: I said yes
Guy: *holding up his bible* see I study the word. And when women (not saying you) walk around and men see you, it causes us to think lustful thoughts and your yoga pants (not saying yours) are….
Me: let me stop you right there. I’m just trying to go for a walk. Bye. 

First of all…I can’t. 
Second of all… sir don’t come for me today! 
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this encounter but here are just a few thoughts I have about it 
1. This is rape culture at its finest. Rape culture disguised as religious concern. If you can’t handle a woman wearing yoga pants because it might cause you to have lustful/sinful thoughts. That sir is your problem not mine. 
2. This is why women are afraid to go out in public alone. This is not normal, healthy or safe. Who does that?!?! It didn’t help that he looked like that man who shot the old man on social media and went missing for a few days. 
3. Clearly I am doing something right. When I said today was a bad emotional/mental day it was. I was getting stuck in my head and upset about no one wanting me. But apparently I was wrong. Apprently I am a literal walking thirst trap causing men to fall for me with every footstep. 
4. I wonder did he stop the two Older Latino women, or the white woman I crossed paths with a little down the road or was this just an attack on black women and an inability to appreciate and respect without oppressing. 

So the walk continued and the way it ended was such a beautifully ironic contrast I can’t help but think the blog gods created this moment specifically for me to write about it. 
I get back to my street (after checking multiple times to make sure I wasn’t being followed). My neighbor, who is also a black male, comes out of his house. I wave and say hello. This conversation ensues:
Neighbor: what about me?
Me: any time you want to come go right ahead
Neighbor: well I don’t like to just pop up. I was waiting on my invite. 
Me: any time!! 
Me to myself: must have been the pants. 

Moral of the story: Sir in the car…you don’t want these problems. Neighbor, you don’t want these problems either! 

Growing up an “Oreo” in America

time-100-influential-photos-john-dominis-black-power-salute-61Now this is a story all about how my life was flipped turned upside-down….

Wait…..

I’ve always lived this life. Nothing has changed, and the new normal, has always been for me, in a sense, just like every other african american in america. This is nothing new! That’s the first thing that america should understand.

All my life I have been known as the “good boy”. The one who you shouldn’t be “scared of” because of the way I carried myself (i.e. my mf’n personality). I’ve been called “white boy” more times that I could count growing up and at that time, I only took it as a playful gesture. I was called “white boy” though because of my skin. I was really really light skinned. Already being taught the importance of appearance in society before I even knew how important it would be. My family and friends used to call me this all the time, so when strangers decided to as well as I grew up and went to different schools, I didn’t think much of it. I just went with it. They were just playing, right? Unbeknownst to me, I was being called that because of how I acted.

An Oreo: “To be African-American in appearance, but to have interests that align with those of Caucasian people.”

Which brings up the question of “What is acting black/white” anyway? This is probably another story for another day.

Anywho, growing up I had minimal influence from others. Elementary school, I had two good white friends, and one indian (south asian) friend and the rest of the people I hung out with were family. All black. I’ve always loved hip hop and r&b growing up and literally had more rhythm that I could deal with (still do, but I’m just tall and awkward now), but just because I didn’t act a certain way growing up, I wasn’t considered african american by my peers. Funny thing is, I probably still am not considered “black”. Obviously my skin color states otherwise, but nope, stick me in a class with the AP and Honors kids (which weren’t even predominately white either so…wtf) and don’t hang around with a certain group and BAM. You’re caucasian.

One of those white guys was my great friend. All the way up until high school. But once we got to high school, he said one thing to me that I will never ever forget. He says “you know that we aren’t going to be friends when we get to high school, right?”. Me, being the ignorant son of a bitch I was at the time was like what? Why? What’s going to happen?

All of a sudden….Immediate disconnect of conversation. I lost my best friend from years 2 to 8 just like that. It was because he didn’t want to be associated with a black guy. I know most of you are thinking, “how do you know that?”.  Well you just don’t throw away 6 years of constant friendship, you know?

Moving on…

I will ALWAYS be a black man. I can’t change that. No matter how proper I talk, and what crowd I hang around. I could be the most non threatening man in America, but I will still be seen as a BLACK MAN. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of non black people can’t seem to understand. You know me, sure. You understand my personality, and how I carry myself, sure. But when I’m in a situation where someone who doesn’t know me, the first thing they see is a big black aggressive male. Essentially, a threat.

I remember my mom giving me “the talk”. No, not the birds and the bees one, but about how I should “act in public”.  My dad was a cop and sheriff, so I already had a grasp of the bullshit happening even back then.  Luckily, I was more worried about embarrassing my mom (who was a teacher) and my dad that I didn’t really get into too much trouble. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I had to hear about my blackness being a problem; Even though I was called “white boy” on multiple occasions.

“But Malc, how could someone like you be seen as someone like these other guys out in america who are breaking the law and that shouldn’t have been causing trouble in the first place.”  “You’re seriously the nicest black guy I know and you wouldn’t hurt a fly”. (Yes, I have heard these quotes VERBATIM on multiple occasions). All of these quotes from well-intentioned  Caucasians, of course, but because you don’t have to deal with this on a regular basis, there is no way that you could could imagine.

Don’t believe me….Here’s a small example;

Many of you who know me already probably already know this story, but I was down in the “dirty” Myrtle for a random friends trip, and me and my friend were on our way back to our hotel. Mind you we’ve been drinking, as all of america in Myrtle Beach that night. Ocean Blvd was literally backed up with cars full of drunk kids. Even kids riding on the back of pickup truck yelling out obscenities and who knows what else. The point I’m getting across is, me and my boy were not the only ones out and about at this moment.

I bump into one of those trees that these cities always think is good idea to place in the middle of the sidewalk walking back to the hotel, and a police officer decides to stop us. Mind you, my friend probably looks like he’s about 11 at this time, so the officer lady probably thought she was stopping an underage drinker. Whatever, that’s not the problem I have at the moment.

So she stops us. Asks us where we were going, asks us how old we were, and we tell her. She doesn’t believe us and asks for ID. We show her, and boom, legal. This should be the end of the conversation right? No. She decided to roll over to the fact that my boy was too drunk and he was bumping into trees (which she was wrong, that was me) so we need to chill out before we go anywhere. We were about 3 blocks from the hotel at this point. I tell her that, and she’s like no, you need to call a taxi. Me, being the slightly drunk irrational person I am, asked her why we couldn’t walk (since we were literally 3 blocks away). Woman told us that she would arrest us and take us in for public intoxication if we didn’t call a taxi. Again, ALL of ocean blvd was probably two times more drunk than myself and my friend at this point. We look at nearby taxis….TWO HOUR wait. We tell her and then she calls her little cop friend. Idk what she said, but she was like “as long as you go back to your hotel, you can go back”. Like bitch, I didn’t break the law, I can go back regardless.

I know this story isn’t a “bad” as other stories you’ve probably heard from other people, but to be stopped and almost arrested, even after proving your age AND being coherent enough to have AND remember a conversation. There was no reason for us to be stopped when there were clearly other people more drunk than us around.

This is how the average black male lives their life. You might not believe it, but things like this happen more often than you realize, and THIS is what needs to change in america. This is why we say BLACK LIVES MATTER.  It’s unfortunate that we have to “censor” ourselves.  It’s unfortunate that I have to review EVERY. SINGLE. EMAIL. I send because I don’t want to sound like the angry black man even though I’m asking a simple question. It’s unfortunate that we have to actively ensure we aren’t being a threat for fear that we may be arrested, or fired, or even KILLED.

And you have people caring more about how they feel like people kneeling is disrpecting a flag when Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, and every other male or female who were taken from us, by someone who felt they were the Judge in each situation.  That could have been me, arrested because I’d rather walk and save money than call a lame ass myrtle beach taxi.

Jesus loves me this I know…because everyone and their mama keeps telling me so!! 

First off let’s get something straight. I known Jesus. I love him. He loves me. We have a special relationship like everyone else should. So please do not take this as some post confirming your suspicions that I’ve gone off the deep end and no longer love the lord and need you to be fasting and praying for me. Pray for me all you want. It is greatly appreciated. But my soul is safe okay. 
But like the bio says…I love Jesus. I just cuss a lot. What do you mean Ashley?!?! How could you cuss and love the lord?!? That’s impossible. NEWS FLASH.. nobodies perfect. Jesus didn’t come to save perfect people. Jesus hung out with sinners, prostitutes and all other manner of imperfect creation and that’s why we are best friends. If he was looking for a perfect woman, he would have left me to my own demise a long time ago.

But before I get to far off from what my original intention of this post was let me reign it back in. So. I know Jesus loves me. People, however, seem to think it is their mission in life to remind me of this. And not in a like hey just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you and praying for you (this does happen occasionally and for those people I am eternally grateful) way.  But it’s usually more of a Hey Ashley your Facebook status (and now blog post) really has me questioning where your soul is headed and since you are so caught up on your singleness let me remind you that Jesus still loves you. 

YES!!! That’s what people do. Almost anytime I write about being single, someone reminds me that Jesus loves me. Like I forgot. But here’s the thing. No one. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE reminded me of that when I was in relationship. For nine sweet glorious months, I was free from Jesus cliches and reminders and “wait for Jesus” pep talks. 

So Jesus only loves me when I’m single? Or I only need reminding when I’m single? Or is it that my willingness to openly talk about it makes you so uncomfortable that you are absolutely unable to control yourself from reminding me that Jesus loves me so I should shut up and stop seeking love from a man and stop being a heathen?!?! Which one?! I’ll wait! 

So a few things: 

I talk about being single a lot because…well I’m single. It really doesn’t bother me as much as it used to but it’s still entertaining to vent and rant about sometimes. If it makes you uncomfortable I suggest you not click on this blog ever again. 

Also, I don’t hate men. 

I love Jesus. I know he loves me. 
In conclusion: if you have ever responded to anything I have written with a reminder that Jesus loves me…thank you…continue to do so if you feel inclined but know that I will be giving some serious side eye as I read the comment. I know it comes from a place of love but I just want to make sure you know how it comes across. 

Also, continue to pray for your girl. Clearly I can use all the prayer I can get. And not just because I’m single!! 

When choosing you is painful but absolutely necessary

Word of advice. Don’t listen to Adele “Love in the Dark” if your life ain’t together. It’ll have you at work, typing notes, trying to sing with a sore throat almost in tears. Or maybe that’s just me. But hey here we are. 

So if you’ve made it this far and got here by clicking on the link on my Facebook page then you are probably already aware of my terrible luck at love. But if you wandered here after reading one of my dear friends’ posts linked on their page, let me fill you in. Long story short: I have terrible luck at love. Even longer story even shorter: recent break up, 9 months (my longest relationship at almost 30), and he walked out leaving me at at Salsaritas. If it wasn’t for their queso and pineapple salsa I would have probably never gone back. 

So. Again. Adele. “Love in the Dark.” Listen to it if you haven’t. Listen again if you have. Cry if you need to. Proceed with this post when done. 

Sometimes choosing yourself is the most painful thing you can do. It is often that way for me. As a hopeless romantic, I long for the day I fall in love (again) and we ride off into the moonlight to start our happily ever after. I often doubt it’s actually meant to be for me but that’s another post for another day. What I have learned about myself in the few relationships I have had is that I will give 110% as soon as I care about you even a little bit. I will bend over backwards and find ways to part the sea if it means making you happy. What I have learned about other people is that this is typically not reciprocated.

So after giving so much of myself for any amount of time, the moment always comes when I have to make the ultimate sacrifice and choose myself. And it always sucks. I always feel like I’m betraying someone even though I’ve just spent any number of days, weeks or months betraying myself. 

Most recently, I spent nine months, miserably loving a man who was convinced I was not as amazing as I was presenting to be. He was scared and so I suffered. I gave, and gave, and gave in hopes that he would believe that I was who I said I was. And yet, he still walked out. No amount of love on my part could have made him stay. That was his stuff. I often took responsibility for his stuff. I do that a lot. 

But as is usually the case, they come back. They always come back. And up until this point in my life I usually took them back. But please refer to my bio. I mean it when I said 29 years and 9 months was the exact age when I became too old for this shit. This shit being not being appreciated, love not being reciprocated and having to be lost before being taken serious. 

So I chose me. I chose me even though it hurt like hell to do so. I chose me even though I could hear the tears in his voice and knew how much it took for him to write the emails. I chose me over the flowers. I chose me over the words. I chose the me I was now over the me I was for nine months. I chose my best life, even if it is a single life, over a life of frustration, fear, and sadness just for love. I chose me as my heart broke for this relationship one last time. And even though there was a very loud voice in my head saying take him back, he means it, it’s really what you want…I still chose me. 

As the days pass so does the pain. The relief I felt was almost instant and my clients and coworkers noticed it even if they didn’t know what it was. Choosing me was painful but necessary and I vow to do it every time the opportunity arises moving forward. Call me selfish, or mean, or tell me I’ve built the biggest wall ever. Who knows. But the way it’s been going, no ones ever chosen me before so if no one else will…I will. 

Not going to lie though, still secretly holding out for the day that someone does choose me and oh will I choose them with all that is in me…we shall see. 
“You have given me something that I can’t live without. You mustn’t underestimate that when you are in doubt. But I don’t want to carry on like everything is fine. The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight. Please don’t fall apart. I can’t face your breaking heart. I’m trying to be brave. Stop asking me to stay.

I can’t love you in the dark. It feels like we’re oceans apart. There is so much space between us. Maybe we’re already defeated. Ah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah everything changed me. 

We’re not the only ones. I don’t regret a thing. Every word I’ve said. You know I’ll always mean. It is the world to me. That you are in my life. But I want to live and not just survive“- Adele

Pre First Date Thoughts

I just touched up my make up and am heading down 12 floors in an elevator, gonna stop to pass some time, maybe have a shot or something, to take the jitters off… Cause I’m currently less than an hour out from a first date.

Ok. Hold on. People who text and walk in NYC are the absolute worst, can’t walk…

Ok. I’m back in my favorite place to grab an after work caipirinha. Yum. I can feel the alcohol. He made this one well.

So yeah, pre date is kind of the worst. Angsty, nervous, butterflies, and scared as hell that this will be Tinder/Bumble/SoulSwipe/Match/insert other crappy ways to try to meet someone you connect with and can watch movies Sat night til you pass out and brunch with in the morning date #2019749 that goes nowhere (see Malcolm’s earlier post) for details. And so the pre date thoughts begin…

I look down at my toes and wonder why I didn’t paint them… well this was kinda a surprise, and he should know I’m a hot mess anyway.

Wondering if he is as good as he seems or is it bull like all 9374029 times?

Will this be fun? Will he take an interesting turn at the end of the night and be a baby, asshole, demanding, abusive, or weird?

Is this shade of lipstick nice?

What is cachaca anyway? I love this cocktail.

Is he the one?

Stop thinking about if he is the one. Everyone says so. Go with the flow. Be a dead fish in that way. Not ok to think nice guy is the one.

Does he look like his pics?

Hell, do I look like my pics?

Will we kiss? Ladies don’t kiss in the first date. Good thing I’m not a lady.

Is he the one?

STOP STOP STOP. Not allowed to think of people as potential mates. All the latest advice from every single and partnered person, magazine, article, self help book and auntie says so. This is why you fail!!

He wrote a book? Who TF writes a book?

This girl brought her date and her friends and had her dad meet her at this bar? Weird. But cool. My dad would do that.

Ok date. Probably, should take the train now. Damn trains. Better not be late.

This outfit makes me look curvy AF in a good way.

I hope he’s not a serial killer, despite the fact I’ve never met a serial killer on online dating.

He has nice shoulders and arms in his pics. The better to lift you with.Yassssss.

LeAnna, don’t be so lusty. Sheesh.

Malcolm would say be lusty.

Ashley would too.

I hope he calls me after.

Ahhh screw it… is he THE ONE?!?!

Time to go now and face the date!!!

Oh wait. His train is late. Better have another drink and think more thoughts!!

Dating is the worst….Kind of…

Here you are, just out and about, having the time of your life.  Not caring about anything in the world other than yourself, because why? You’re single…..AF!

In the times of the dating apps, where people are doing anything but; you often find yourself bored. Ok, let’s pick up the phone, open up an app, say a few one liners, call someone over and wam, bam, you’re done and you’ve spent no money. Perfect scenario, amirite? Especially if you don’t have to put any work into it either!?!? Bruh, come on. (Sidenote: I’m a top tier advocate for getting it in on a regular basis, just saying. We’re all human. As long as you’re safe, maintaining good sexual health practices!)

And then it happens….One of those “convenient hookups” starts feeling like something more.  You actually talk to them other than when you just need some, and go out in public with each other (which is probably the number 1 indicator this is a “thing”).  Then you start thinking, “Are we dating?”, “Is this serious?”, “Do they like me like that?”.  As soon as those thoughts cross your mind, you automatically open up to feelings and your heart starts to become vulnerable.  This freaks you out because you’ve been through this before and other times it never became anything because again, you just met on a hookup app. “Don’t catch feelings, they don’t feel the same way” constantly runs through your mind. Or maybe you do want to catch feelings. I mean, that’s the point in dating right? Unfortunately, it all becomes a mind game. Trying to figure out your partner’s next move.  “Are they really into you?” is still running through your mind even though you’ve been chilling for weeks.  Their actions say yes, their words say yes, but you still have that little bit of doubt running through your brain.

Luckily for you though, dating is pretty much the bomb at this point.  No effort to get some. Yall both like to eat, and go to the movies together. You got your ride or die. The bond is still new so you know yall on each other like rabbits (lol). You have engaging conversations, and text messages don’t take ten years to be responded to.  You feel wanted, and that’s all anyone needs, right?

And then it happens…

All this time you’ve spent, and then BOOM, they disappear. Who knows for what reason. It “just didn’t work out”, or it was “just a temporary thing”, or “well, I wasn’t really looking for anything serious”, and at this point, you’re back to square 1; Over it, completely.

And this is where the cycle begins again.  You promise yourself, you’ll be single for YEARS (Spoiler: You won’t), and you build those walls that were broken down “one. last. time.” So what do you do? Download the hookup app again.  What other place to go get your ego stroked after you’ve wasted your time dating?  It definitely helps.  Probably unhealthy though, but whatever….You’ve put up walls again.

So yeah, Dating IS the worst….

 

The Difficulties of Self Love: A Letter to My Current Self From my Future Self

Dear Current Self,

This is Future LeAnna. I see you girl. You’re struggling right now. I know that your body is changing faster than and in more ways you can imagine. Maybe it’s the medications you are on, maybe it’s the new city, maybe it’s your hormones, or growing older? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like your old tricks are working anymore – you workout regularly, you walk more than ever, you eat well most of the time, and nothing works. And when you do lose weight, your body shape is really different from super past LeAnna. You need to purge many clothes that don’t make you feel good and don’t fit, and you need to buy new clothes, and dammit, as much as you love to shop, this a been a slow, somber, and laborious process. And you’re really struggling with if this is ok, is it enough? Every picture and many mirrors point to “no,” at least you believe.

You’ve really come far on this whole self-love and body acceptance thing, but you’ve had a long time to come, and so no, this isn’t perfect or quick or near. Mixed messages are driving you fucking insane. You know the ones – love yourself, but then people lose weight and are happier and have “post pics” where they’re smiling and shit. And even though you’ve got your health and diabetes now under good control (like non diabetic numbers), you still have this fear that you’re somehow sloppy and unhealthy and others think that of you based on your size, and there’s a good type of “plus,” the one that everyone else is but you – you know curvy in the right places, proportionate and a fat ass, and I’m not sure why you take these so personally, but you do (don’t worry, you’ll figure this out and be more compassionate in the future. Remember you always figure it out).

I know that these past two weeks, every time you look in the mirror, you’ve struggled to see the beauty in your eyes, your crooked smile,  your balding hair (another post, another day, don’t come from me or I’ll come for you), your bushy brows (I meeeeean, why the hell did you wait so long to get them done though?), and your squishy belly (by the way this is genetic). You’ve questioned if is this why he decided he no longer wanted you in your life? You were sweet, you supported him during hard times, you were bomb in bed, and you were authentic. But maybe, just maybe, he couldn’t get past your curves, the cushion, the arms that are muscular (the doctor even commented on how muscular they were when she put that nexplanon in your arm), but still kinda squishy. Maybe my eyes weren’t the right shade of green or hazel or the dimples in my thigh too deep? Maybe my double digit dress size would have been more appeasing in a single digit? Who knows why they disappear? But it leaves you in anxiety, but just as Past Lee learned, you will continue to learn, that these doubts are symptoms of your trauma and other shit, and you’ll continue to grow compassion for that part of you, instead of blaming it for others failing to love and see you. I know right now, you’re rolling your eyes, and saying that Future Lee is full of BS. But you’ll come to accept that more too.

Current Lee, I want you to know that you’re beautiful. And that reading this right now fills your heart with quickening beats of anxiety and doubt, and oddly, guilt for reading this statement (you never think you deserve this).. But you are. People are not lying about how your smile, eyes, and freckles make you beautiful. And when they see your beauty, they really do mean you’re beautiful on the outside, and not because they know you or love your personality, but in light all of that, you are. People are not lying about your energy; it’s your gift – use it. Your size is fine. Your body is fine. Your shape is fine. It’s actually better than fine. Girl, you are fine. You are healthy. You do enough. You are flexible and can run. It’s enough. No one judges you running down the street and if they do, fuck them; you’re powerful girl.

You have never loved your body fully; even when you exercised for hours a day, skipping lunch, and was half your size, on the verge of an eating or exercise disorder, and even your father commented on your small size and lack of eating. This is a symptom of something bigger, and future Lee wants you to know, that you will overcome this. It gets better. You deserve love and light and wonderful things, and you will get these things – as soon as you stop standing in your own way. You’re making progress though, you are just having a bad couple of weeks, letting self-loathing have a go at your life. But Current Lee, I love you fiercely – past, current and future – even when you can’t feel it. You are the love of my life. You are my soulmate. I’m waiting on you, Current Lee. You just have to get your shit together and accept my unconditional love. I know you want it. And you deserve it.

You. Are. More. Than. Enough. Today.

With love until the end of time and then even more,

Future Lee