We don’t talk about Peri

There are a lot of things Black folks don’t talk about… Nana’s full mustache, Uncle James and Uncle Charlie are not just roommates, Cousin Tanya’s drug habit, that baby don’t look like Ray, and menopause. Your mother & grandmother either hid it, described it only as hot flashes, or they had complete hysterectomies and never experienced it. Whatever the case… we gotta talk about it. Specially peri menopause, cuz it’s that joker right there that is not for the weak.

So let’s get into it!

Peri menopause is the transition into menopause, which is the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is during this time estrogen levels rise and fall and cause a myriad of symptoms that basically feel like everything from your hair to your feet is on that bullshit! An internet search led me to a few lists of symptoms: irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, incontinence, bone fragility (1), more severe PMS, hair loss, weight gain, inflammation, headaches, back pain, forgetfulness, loss of libido, inability to concentrate (2), shortness of breath, heartburn, loss of appetite, depression/anxiety, vision issues, bloating, skin breakouts or dryness (3). And just personal one’s I’ve noticed… cold feet, spatial confusion, and tastebud changes. It typically starts in a woman’s 40s, but may start in her 30s, and can last anywhere from a few months to over a decade. (4) Not talking about peri is no bueno!

It makes no sense that women have to get surprised by this very normal and natural phenomenon. It’s not just hot flashes and your cycle ending… it is a whole fucking life change that women need to be prepared for, especially Black women. We know that Black women often face disparate treatment in healthcare settings because doctors don’t understand or have compassion for our unique health concerns, not enough medical research is done into the health realities of Black women, healthcare access is limited in poor and urban communities, and health education is lacking across the board for and regarding Black women’s bodies. When you add our reproductive health into the fold… we need to talk about Peri! She is a whole beast wrecking unnecessary havoc out here…

Our hormones are tied to damn near every physical process in our bodies. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency,

The endocrine system, made up of all the body’s different hormones, regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age, including the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, as well as the metabolism and blood sugar levels. The female ovaries, male testes, and pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are major constituents of the endocrine system. (5)

Women with hormonal ebbs and flows are a whole environmental concern lolol! Why? Cuz we are literally a whole emotional system out in these streets, suffering from physical changes that mimic everything from mental illness to going blind. She is not to be fucked with. She might bite you. She is savage af, and she is probably sleepy and hungry simultaneously. She can wake up completely happy,

and in a matter of moments cycle through every emotion from confusion (about people, places, things, everything),

irritation,

uncertainty,

disinterest and lack of desire… to do anything,

upset,

choosing violence,

choosing calm & scary violence, or

scaring her damn self.

But whatever it is, she need to be adequately prepared to face it. And ladies, we have been thrown into the pits of hormonal chaos without a life preserver all because we don’t talk about Peri.

So if this sounds like you, if you read this and feel seen, talk about Peri… ask your sista friends, talk to your doctor, find another doctor if the one you have doesn’t listen and tells you that you are imagining these very real symptoms, and peruse social media. Women aren’t being silent… we gon talk about Peri’s raggedy ass!

Check out @kari_wright on Tik Tok… life changing!

******************

(1) mayoclinic.com (2021) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/perimenopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20354666

(2) Cherney, K. (2020). Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/difference-perimenopause#symptoms-of-perimenopause-and-menopause.

(3) Sharkey, L. (2021). https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/i-have-weird-symptoms-with-perimenopause

(4) health.harvard.edu (2020). https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/perimenopause-rocky-road-to-menopause

(5). USEPA (2021). https://www.epa.gov/endocrine-disruption/what-endocrine-system

It’s Sh*t in the Pool

The dating pool that is… and the shit is fresh!

Yep, if you are single and in your 40s, it might be best to take up Cricut crafting, learn to backwards skate on your hardwoods, or maybe even pull out those old Billy Blanks VHS boys and tae bo your way to that 1980s flat stomach…but dating… CHILE.

So I know some awesome men, so I know they exist. The problem is I always date men I already know or know of… and that has not gone so great. So if you want something different, you do something different right… so let’s meet a man I don’t know already, I said to myself. I hadn’t thought that out well though, since I rarely go anywhere anymore. I mean I love him deeply, but the Amazon man is not my type. So my dearest boonapolis suggested a dating site… and I figured that would give me time to ready myself should God send my rich husband anytime soon… So ok.

Did I mention the pee and dead bodies …

These are real conversations…

This not joy. This is not the dude I could “sit and talk to…for hours.” This is not fair. Chitlin boy had on Cazals, a kangol, and a silver Jesus Piece. I cannot Krush Groove with you homeboy. I do not have the hook up. Ass man had an eye that was less sure of itself than Forest Whitaker’s joint. Then the Hi guy… yeah I’m not playing these reindeer games with your ass. Say something.

It’s definitely shit pebbles floating past you in the dating pool.

Then… THEN they using all these acronyms that really just mean “I like freak shit!” I am an ENM, seeking FWB, with NSA. I am D2F on a ONS, and I am EVWE! (in order of use: Ethically Non-Monogamous; Friends with Benefits; No Strings Attached; Down to f#{%; One Night Stand; and Extremely Very Well-Endowed). All the No’s in No Village! I mean this gives a whole new meaning to alphabet people. So many men are trying to practice polyamory with polyhater pockets. Sir, you need a lot of money to have a lot of women. You barely have enough for one, and I’m not eating beans and vienna sausages for dinner just to look across at you. I’ll have a filet on my plate… cuz that is what is on my plate now. Ain’t nobody downgrading for your raggedy ass.

Then others on the long ball side of fifty talking about they want more kids. Kids???? Is kids another name for Icy Hot? You want a woman to have children at 45 and up!?!? Can you retire her? Are you prepared to pay all the bills while she stays home the entire pregnancy until the child goes to a full day of school? You got college money saved? You got a ranch style house, cuz who chasing DeVante up the stairs? You know where they sell patience… cuz my good sis will need some after Madison does a 265 cartwheels in a row, saying, “Ma, Ma, Ma, look.” EACH TIME! Can you handle all that big daddy? If not, you better join Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The hell. A baby…

Point is… It’s shit in the dating pool… so be careful out here.

SBW

So I have worked at my current job for 18 years. I grew up in a Black family, where many of my relatives worked at government jobs with good salaries and pensions or in stable positions for years. When I graduated law school, I decided a career in government compliance best suited me because I had no desire to work 80 hours a week for only double the salary I could make at a job that offered me great benefits and the luxury of having time for other parts of my life. For a long while it was actually a great decision. As one of the only legally trained officers, the job came easy to me. I wrote legal decisions with ease, understood the law, and quickly became a go to for my knowledge. That translated into a promotion, that was in my wheelhouse. I developed a training program that was adopted nationwide. It was all good… until it wasn’t good.

So fast forward to last week. After having been turned down for positions numerous times that were given to much less qualified, experienced, and proven employees over the last few years, I took my last stab at a supervisory position. I currently am the go to trainer for my team; my supervisor and all the others as well, send their team members to me for help. I do the schedule. I am the team lead. I do everything but approve leave…. no one else, in the building, does that and still maintains their actual job. Hell the folks whose job that is don’t do that. I was gonna try one more time to get paid for ALL my labor, or get a lawyer. If you know any good civil tights lawyers…. Anyway…

So this position required no interview, but I am a boss in an interview so that was no concern, and was selected based on an interest letter (you’ve read my writing) and a resumé (I create resumés as a side hustle, ask about me). So, before I go on, I want to point this out. The Strong Black Woman stereotype is bullshit when used in the professional world to overlook Black women, to pile work on us, to ask us to train other people who they later hire over us, and to benefit their white male run, systematic racism mimicking offices to their benefit and our detriment. It is a form of racism and a macroaggression made up of hundreds of microaggressions… from denying us leave, WE HAVE EARNED, to care for our children, butting in our personal business like they are concerned when in fact it is just because they don’t respect our boundaries, and WORST when they use their Black overseers to mistreat us and say shit to us that they know would get them handled in the streets, hoops off and hair in a ponytail. I used to think they just didn’t like me… which is still true, but it’s much bigger and more pervasive than that. It’s bullshit. So keep that in your hat.

Anyway, I get a call from a Black female supervisor, who they like because she’s agreeable, and I ask too many questions, complain, call them out, and have grieved their bad behavior several times before. She says to me, “you know you are a rockstar, you have no backlog, you can do everything, you help everyone, the supervisors frequently send officers to you for help, I know I do, and you go above and beyond”… but we selected someone else, and we encourage you to apply for any opportunity, but I think you’ll understand when you see who we picked (loose quotation). She asked if I had questions, and I said no and got off the phone.

What the fuck? Get the lawyer on the phone…

So I know, like every other time, they picked some White girl who, like me, went to law school. They figure that is enough to overlook me. They figure I haven’t gone off yet, I still show up, I don’t run through the place wildin’ out, I haven’t brought Ray Ray, Pookie, or Man up there to threaten anyone, and I haven’t hired Geoffrey Fieger. They also figure, I am a fucking mule. I am Kizzie. I can carry a baby on my hip, a basket of cotton on my head, and knit a blanket with my free hand, while singing “Wade in the Water” in perfect pitch. I don’t matter. I was made to be overlooked, let them tell it. But they don’t know me. I stayed for the stable and easy paycheck, the eight hours max. I can do that work in my sleep. But I also have every receipt. EVERY. I have already planned my exit. But this time was different, maybe because of the three people who made the decision, they sent their token negro, to deliver that trash to me.

So, I had actually planned to spend the next part of my career counseling victims of workplace discrimination so their EEO and harassment suits would show the very real trauma and damage caused. But looks like I get to practice on myself first. I got your mule… and when it kicks them square in their ass, I hope Stephenetta is there to watch what happens to racist assholes who use race-based stereotypes in the workplace to overwork and overlook minority employees. They only like you cuz you a good nigger.

Sincerely, “Diss Nigger Here”:

Overseer:

After she said, I do…

…she became a stone cold idiot if she believes that simply because a woman is in the presence of her husband, she wants him or she is interested in bringing her wild, Jezebel energy into their presence. She is also fooled into believing that she is protecting something by keeping women away from her man… does he work, get gas, go grocery shopping, get an oil change, play basketball, go to the gym… it’s plenty of women there he can fornicate with at his will, if that is in fact his will. But mostly, she has embraced the patriarchal idea that women are so purposefully enticing to men that men can’t control themselves and just naturally want to hump them and the misogynist idea that women, particularly single women, got hoe tendencies and a hoe spirit.

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression… -James Baldwin

I think marriage is grand. I have been married. I am honest about marriage, from my perspective. Marriage does not make you smarter or more valuable or a better person just by virtue of being married. Now perhaps you do get smarter or better, great for you, and if you give all the glory to your marriage for that upgrade, then more power to you. But trust and believe, there are single women getting smarter and better every minute snd they are no more or less valuable. Being married does also not make you an expert in marriage. You are not the national marriage spokesperson. You are an expert on YOUR marriage. No one else’s marriage, relationship, or otherwise is your subject matter expertise. Relax.

So do you. But the minute you try to sacrifice or demean other women, particularly Black women, and I can hear you or read your words, I am going to express. Why? Because a) I can and b) I am fiercely protective of Black women. I won’t ever allow my station in life to allow me to believe I am better than my sisters. I may be doing better, and at that point I believe it’s my duty to share my success notes. That goes for success in relationships, finances, career, health, mental well-being, or if I got a bomb recipe. You cannot say you are interested in elevating people when you simultaneously live by and promote devaluing them.

The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. –Malcolm X

Beyond just the blatant divisive discourse, there is also this widely held notion that people who speak on marriage, who are not married, are out of order. That’s laughable. I have heard and read married women who think they can dictate what people in non-marital relationships call each other or how they structure their home. I constantly see people refer to women in long-term committed relationships as being doomed to the unnamed “special friend” label in a man’s death notice or being left financially unprotected. That has nothing to do with marital status and everything to do with a man respecting and protecting the woman he chose. That comes from some ideation that as a married woman you are automatically valued more because some man picked you to marry him. Newsflash… single women, divorced women, widows even likely have their fair share of choices in men and probably ain’t lacking in proposals either. But more importantly, you were once single yourself. What happened to your hoe spirit?

I’m willing to go the extra kilo-meter
Just to see my señorita get her pillow
On the side of my bed where no good ever stay
House and doctor was the games we used to play
But now it’s real Jazzy Belle
-Outkast

I personally don’t care WHAT you do in your house, but once you share that with the masses, especially if it’s full of negativity about other people, then be prepared for commentary. Nobody gives a damn what you do with that crusty foot negro you married, nobody wants him in real life but you, but no one has to be subjected to or accept your foolishness. If you buck, you give folks an opportunity to knuck.

So just keep all that stupid stuff you heard while getting your ears burnt by the pressing comb or from Mother Caldwell on the ursher board about the Jezebel spirit of Black women to yourself. Cuz if you think a woman’s mere presence is the reason your man will stray… you got a Not Smart spirit.

What is Justice… really

The concept of justice is both simple and wildly complex. Justice at it’s simplest is fairness, but it is also supposed to be some balance of righting a wrong by making the perpetrator of that wrongdoing face punishment or rehabilitation and an effort to make the victim whole. Hmmm…🧐

But there is often a very different standard of justice for male wrongdoers and female wrongdoers. Men who wrong women are very often, simply because they are men, given a pass on even some of the most heinous crimes. Think Bill Cosby or even R. Kelly. Even these Black men benefited from the extreme patriarchy of America, where men are applauded for as many sexual exploits as they can muster and women, the same women these men are having sex with, are slut shamed. Hatred of women is such an American truth, that drugging women to rape them and raping women too young to consent is forgiven snd pushed under the rug by other men and some women alike. Patriarchy is such a deeply ingrained American value, it is accepted by the people it harms most. But women, particularly Black women, are often demonized and set up to be burned at the stake if they make a mistake. A mistake. That is not justice, but it is lauded as such.

Look… in America, “race” is specifically about color. There is no Jewish box under race. So for many Americans, especially African Americans who are most affected by the racial strife and discrimination in this country, Jewish is an ethno-religious category. So the other day Whoopi Goldberg, on The View, made the comment that the Holocaust was not about “race” but about man’s inhumanity towards man. What she said was not antisemitic, be clear. What she said was just based on American views of race… the ones she knows well. Race as a means to discriminate and separate is a colonial American construct to justify the system of slavery.

Now, what I know about Nazi Germany is that Hitler was a horrible person with marred intelligence. He was a reader and he enjoyed recalling facts, but he believed that having and regurgitating that information was more important than understanding the information. That is a fatal flaw of many narcissists. His intelligence can only be properly determined in light of those facts about him. SO, Hitler determined that Jewish people were an inferior “race” to Germans. He also similarly labeled people of African descent living in Germany. The term race was simply being used to codify a categorization based on superiority and inferiority. That is how he saw the construct of race. That is a simplistic way to view it… but not a whole understanding of the concept as it was used to justify slavery and continue to justify the discrimination of Black people in America for centuries. In Europe, however, the larger countries of France, Britain, and Germany had long before created a hierarchy of superiority surrounding ethnicity. These were White people discriminating against other White people… a question of the purity of one’s whiteness. Not racism, according to it’s historical conceptualization, but nationalism and ethnocentrism. All equally horrible.

In reality, her comment was not incorrect. There is a difference between ones “race” (a socially constructed categorization based on one’s skin color or other physical traits), ethnicity, and nationality. Regardless of how Hitler used the term, what he was referring to was something wholly different, because recall, he was a student of information but not understanding. He wanted to annihilate Jewish people based on some idea of Germans being superior racially, meaning more purely White. He believed Aryan (WHAT even is that???) people were the most pure and should rule the world, and the dominance of Jews threatened that. According to annefrank.org, Hitler’s antisemitism was framed by his two mentors, Georg Ritter von Schönerer who was a German nationalist who believed Austrians, Hungarians, and Jewish people were culturally inferior and the wild anti-semite Karl Lueger who politicized Christianity in Vienna on the platform that Jewish dominance was a threat to Christians everywhere. His heroes based their anti-semite values in ethnicity and religion, and really, at the heart of it, was a strong desire to destroy Jewish financial and political success.

So Whoopi Goldberg, in light of that comment was suspended from The View. If you believe for one second that that was more about the content of her comment than the reaction of White and Jewish executives to the idea that a Black woman would even have such nuanced conversation and opinion about the Holocaust, and frame it as a White v. White atrocity… you are mistaken. As one of my great girlfriends said…

That is an exhausting and daunting BUT 200% CORRECT premise. But it also speaks to the issue of justice. Again, she wasn’t wrong. She was giving a different take on the reason behind the atrocity of the Holocaust. She wasn’t joking about it, making light of it, trying to offend, or misinterpreting history. Race is a specific concept in America and most if the world. The use of the word race by an idiot, to annihilate a group of people, doesn’t make that tragedy about race. But a bunch of White people took offense, and she was labeled wrong and justice had to be served. She had to pay for making what generally amounted to “a mistake”… and not a mistake in terms of it being untrue but in terms of evaluating, before she said it, whether it would greatly and unnecessarily offend. Because we know, we (Black folks, Black women particularly) are going to be held to the highest standard humanely possible in terms of our behavior, but we are expected to swallow simultaneously being continuously offended by EVERYBODY ELSE! It was a mistake of greater harm to herself than that done to anyone else, if we are going to keep it 100. She never negated the heinous inhumane treatment of Jewish people during the Holocaust… EVER!

But justice, real justice, looks to me like Whoopi being allowed to explain her rationale and not blindly punished like a schoolgirl especially when We can still hear whole full rapist’s songs on the radio and see their shows in syndication. Make that shit make sense. Whoopi Goldberg is a cultural treasure, even if folks don’t acknowledge her as a national treasure. She was Celie, “until you do right by me”; Sister Mary Clarence, Oda Mae Brown, “Molly, you in trouble girl”…. and in many instances, our voice. Plus, she was born Caryn… and well that just makes her special cuz she was a little Black girl probably called everything but “Karen” because it was spelled different. 🤷🏽‍♀️ But I wasn’t watching The View anyway… Megan McCain’s irritating ass ended that for me, but on the rare chance I do watch a clip, it’s to hear Whoopi wax poetic. She is a legendary philanthropist and supporter of women, Black people, Jewish people, and speaking out against inhumanity. She doesn’t deserve this shit. Period. This is not justice, it’s sexism and it’s racism. Be real clear!

“Justice is what love looks like when it speaks in public!” -Michael Eric Dyson

Heathcliff Cosby

I am about to watch this Showtime documentary on Bill Cosby. It’s paused. I just wanted to say a little something first.

People are not always who you think they are.

We sometimes elevate folks because we have a particular relationship to their image. Bill Cosby was the funny, loving, Dad, with the cool sweaters and the funny dance who promoted Black education at Black colleges and Black families. He gave us Fat Albert. He gave us the Cosby Show. He was so incredibly likable and funny and believable! So it makes complete and utter sense that we all thought of jello pudding pops when we thought of him.

Until…

Even after he was first alleged to be guilty of sexual assault, we were all like…nahhhhhhhhh. The woman that first came forth was not a ravishing beauty, a Hollywood star, she was a regular woman. So people thought, hmmmmm, not likely Bill Cosby had to drug and rape you. A horrible premise, but a premise nonetheless. But that was in 2005. Ten years later the allegations come in like a wrecking ball. Gloria Allred represented 33 women in civil suits against Cosby. Then felony rape charges were brought against him. Suddenly, America’s Dad turned into America’s Predator. Allegations from 1965 to 2008 permeated the news.

BUT… this was the same dude our parents heard talking about Spanish Fly, like it was his favorite thing, in the 60s… on a comedy record… and in the 80s… on Larry King. He wasn’t hiding this shit. And he was doing it before The Cosby Show, before Fat Albert… from jump!

People are not always who you think they are.

Now we know that Bill Cosby is a rapist, he has admitted it. Bill Cosby was not who we thought hd was because he was playing a part. The times when he was not playing a part, but fighting for Black actors, directors, stuntmen, families, education… isn’t negated, he still did those things, but that is not all he was. He was and is also a man who drugs and takes advantage of women. For those of us who got excited every Thursday waiting to see him be an educated, affluent, father to five kids, husband to a beautiful wife, and downright hilarious, we likely accepted that reality very hesitantly. It didn’t make sense to us… but this started in the 60s… the Playboy club, men openly cheating on their wives with no cultural or social fallout, women seen as only sex objects, drugs, and free love. By no means does that make sexual assault okay… it certainly sets the very unfortunate stage for it. Even for someone who was smart &educated.

People are not always who you think they are.

So be sure you are assessing people based on what you know to be true, what you see, what you hear… all of it. People tell you who you they are. Pay attention. Don’t let their image overtake their reality.

My Lips Hurt…

Patriarchy is a hard word.

So I just watched the Janet Jackson documentary. She is a national treasure, be clear! We all knew she had a few marriages and relationships over her lifetime… not atypical for any woman, but especially a beautiful, famous, talented, sweet soul like she is. So no secrets there. But then, Jermaine Dupree comes on the screen… and announced his relationship with THEE Janet Jackson ended because he cheated on her. Now be clear, beautiful women get cheated on all the time. Beyoncé, Halle Berry… I could list names until my fingers fell off. Point made though. But Jermaine Dupree cheated on Janet Jackson…

I’m now convinced it’s some chromosomal defect.

You hear it all the time. What’s wrong with so and so…she’s pretty, successful, nice…why she can’t keep a man, why is she not married, why is she single, blah blah blah. Folks wrote books about what rules women should follow, what women should stop doing to find a mate, what top ten things women need to do to get a man, how to think like a man but act like a woman to get a man. I mean the dude that wrote the latter book allegedly cheated in his wife of 16 years with his current wife. The dude who starred in the movie cheated on his current wife when she was pregnant. And not that women don’t cheat, do wrong, ruin relationships… we certainly do, but the point here is different. This is particularly about how women are made to be responsible for being single and divorced or in a series of failed relationships, when it is COMMON KNOWLEDGE that many men have a problem keeping their penis in their pants, and that is often the cause of her singleness and failed relationships.

Jermaine Dupree claimed the fact that other women wanted to date him because he was dating Janet Jackson is the reason he cheated in her… WHAT!?!? They just wanted to see if they could compete with Janet sir, they didn’t give a damn about you my guy. The story was not I smashed JD. The story was, I smashed JD while he was with Janet. I mean…

So I need everyone to stop playing. We need to stop acting like women are to blame for the bad behaviors of unready and unsteady men. These dudes don’t walk up to you and say… hey girl I’m gonna hurt you, but give me a chance. They promise you the same things men who honor their word do, except… they don’t. They don’t wear a Scarlet A cuz guys don’t wear those. It’s okay for a man to be a whole heaux then decide he’s ready for more, but a woman who has sowed an oat or two has not readied herself for marriage because she has turned a few trick pages. Men can collect notches in their bedposts, but women are supposed to be pure and untouched… but who they getting the notches with tho!?! Men can be grimy but women have to be pristine? I call bullshit, and patriarchy. And we can argue patriarchy is an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. Yet, so is racism and if that is worth fighting against whenever it rears its ugly head, the idea that men are somehow more valuable than women because they are men, should elicit the same upset. I am no less valuable than a man or a White person. Period.

Men should be held to the same high standard women are held to. Men should be called to task and demanded to be better, more honorable, faithful, honest, loyal, etc. just as women are. A mans choice and decision to be dishonest to his woman and to lie to her about his outside sexual activity is manipulation and coercion to get her continued consent. Women don’t ask for that. In general women may know something is off or wrong, but we aren’t mind readers and don’t see visions in crystal balls, so we typically have operated in a space of unknowing until we know. But it isn’t our responsibility to stop or start doing something to get a certain behavior from a man… doesn’t work that way. Men should be the ONLY person held responsible for his behavior. Its too many women with the same story over and over for this to be just a woman issue. Cuz the common denominator in all this shit is the bad behavior of men. Just be single until you can be good. Who is telling dudes that with the same frequency you telling women what to do or not do?!?

Anyway… we tired. I’m tired. Tired of dudes who are determined to wrong us no matter how right we are. Tired of men and especially women giving women advice on men all the time, but never telling bad behaving men to stop that shit. We are tired of having to keep telling ya’ll this shit. Tired of having to explain that this shit is patriarchy. Tired of raggedy men being let off the hook because they are men. Our lips hurt.

But Thank You, Jermaine “These are My Confessions” Dupree. My guy made shit real clear this fine evening. Salute!

And Just Like That…

I loved Sex and the City… mainly Carrie and Samantha and Carrie’s clothes. so I wanted to watch the new series because well… nostalgia. And the clothes. If Sarah Jessica Parker can do anything, which she can, she can put on some clothes. But anyway, I have been SHOCKED at how much Charlotte and Mirandas storylines catch my attention now. Charlotte, basically because of her kids and her friendship with Nicole Ari Parker’s character, and Miranda… wellllllll… she has just jumped on the LGBTQ train and took a whole round the world trip. Her son screws his girlfriend in the house. And Steve, he’s just the same ole Steve, dedicated to Miranda and trying to be what she needs. Thing is… she’s never known what she wanted.

Miranda is the poster child for settling.

So in the last few episodes (SPOILER… and I don’t care if you care cuz it has already aired), dhe has been having a relationship with Che, Carrie’s lesbian co-podcaster. Che is brash, open, brutally honest, and there is something she likes about Miranda. And Miranda is so smitten with her, she is willing to ruin and then in the latest episode, end, her marriage to Steve.

And that shit was heartbreaking.

“It’s always like this,” he said. “You don’t think that I’m enough, then I’m kind of enough and then I’m not enough again. I’m always there, you know, hanging in for us.”

Steve basically told her he wanted her to be happy, but that he had spent their relationship trying to be good enough for her and thought they had finally reached this place of understanding… where they were content coming home to each other, watching tv, and eating ice cream. While she was telling him it wasn’t enough, and that at 55 she decided she no longer was willing to settle for mediocre. He was heartbroken. You could see it in his face and hear it in his voice. She’s grinning like a 20 year old, and he’s like… hey we are old. Yikes.

But it was like watching the end result of two people settling. One or both either realize there is a fuller life available AND/OR one or both finally get settled into the situation they settled for. Steve should have always had a different partner, someone who was ok with his quirks, his easy going character, his want to settle down and have a family and share ice cream. Frankly, I don’t know who or what would have made her happy. She thinks it’s Che, but she hasn’t had any real honest communication with anyone. She is just being selfish, and even if she wants more, there is certainly a better way to handle that than sitting your husband down and asking for a divorce simply so you can explore a relationship with someone who is clearly not interested in the same thing a 55 year old woman with a teenage son and a limpy walk is looking for. But hey… do your thing.

Most importantly, the act of settling played in my head. I have done it. Never again though. It’s not worth it to have a mate that doesn’t fulfill you, and who isn’t interested in learning how to. That’s super whack AF! I think we should all hold true to our boundaries and standards… period. However, I also believe that when we have made a choice, we should take responsibility for our choices. Period. You spend 2, 10, 15, 25 years in a relationship where you are secretly wanting more, then take responsibility for your lack of honesty year one. If you are going to end that relationship, you owe it to the person you have led on, to be kind, give them time to process, and be compassionate. You don’t right bad behavior with compounded bad behavior.

Settling was your choice.

I mean do you think Carrie settled for these shoes….

And here’s the other glaring truth… the person you settled for is someone else’s gem! Just because you forced their fit, does mean they don’t fit perfectly in someone else’s forever. Maybe they didn’t feel like they were settling with you… they thought they were working hard on a relationship with someone they loved, but if you knew you were… you chose that life and to keep that fact from them. Don’t then be a dick about it when you finally decide to live your truth. But the best choice tho… No one needs you to settle for them. It’s a selfish act. Be an adult and own your truth… just like that!

Cheating 301

A few housekeeping items… this is not a Master P “Ghetto D” how to, it is a 300 level course, a much deeper look into the consequences, experience, and processing of cheating behaviors inside what was built as a monogamous relationship. We often hear statistics on infidelity, how it affects relationships in a real esoteric and trivial way. But this is a perspective first hand … I’m about you give you something you can feel. I think it is a betrayal that is much more devastating and impactful than most of us give it credit. It is also an unconsented taking of liberty with someone’s body and emotions that we need to start treating as such. Snapped is a show for a reason.

So this is a deep share, but deeply relevant… so very recently, my long term relationship ended because of cheating… months long, intentionally and horribly deceptive, disruptive and chaotic, cheating. It was a heartbreak and setback that I was not expecting and did not see coming. It was a relationship I protected from any and all outside influence and individuals, and put a great deal of my time and energy into. I felt like that was reciprocated until I learned about his disturbing behavior, that included giving this other person access to me. But more about that shortly. Point is, it was a messy and very peace disruptive experience that left me feeling devalued by a person too damaged to choose to honor who honored him.

There are many studies and surveys, and generally 40% of Americans admit to cheating on a spouse or partner. There are many reasons expressed for cheating, but I don’t think any of those reasons ultimately matter. In fact, much of the nomenclature and messaging around cheating, in an of itself is problematic.

“Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you.” -David Leviathan, The Lover’s Dictionary

It really is infidelity, and that is a much better word. The perpetrator much like an infidel, where the issue at hand is not religion, but not believing in the honesty and truthfulness of commitment.

Like most adults with integrity, I am (and was) very very clear about my standards and what it is I am committing to… I just don’t really have the time to engage in uncertainty. So, I make it very clear that if this is not a commitment to honoring honesty, faithfulness, security, kindness, support, and compassion then I am not interested. In other words, if you want to engage in fuckery, I am not your girl. I have no time for it, and I am vindictive and will probably try to ruin your life afterward. I don’t offer that as a positive trait, just an honest one, so you get a feel for the lay of the land here. I speak in clear terms. I am not interested in cheating, your friends or family invading the inner sanctum of our relationship, lies about anything, or being used. I am not running an inn for hobosexuals, any decision to cohabitate will be after careful planning, lots of communication, a clear and concise budget, and demonstration of a healthy, open, and honest relationship. I am not an ATM, do not ask me for money, period. If necessary parts of your body don’t work and you don’t already have a doctor involved who has given you therapy or pharmacology to fix that, come back when that has happened. I mean the basics. I don’t ask for much. I don’t have a laundry list, but I do have standards. I am like the bumper cars at the amusement park, you do have to be over a certain height, but it’s a pretty easy and fun ride if you meet the requirements. But folks just don’t want to do right.

“I know the way a nigga livin was whack
But you don’t get a nigga back like that!
Shit I’m a man with pride, you don’t do shit like that
You don’t just pick up and leave and leave me sick like that
You don’t throw away what we had, just like that
I was just fuckin them girls, I was gon’ get right back” –Song Cry,

That…. is that bullshit!

While so many people try to reduce the importance of the sexual part of infidelity, it is a salient feature. Even when people say, it meant nothing, the sacredness of intimacy means everything. Living outside of the bounds set without telling their partner, their sexual partner, is a betrayal that often leaves the other party unprotected from the outsider the infidel has invited into the relationship without mutual consent. You see, while it is important to remember that the issue is with the partner, and not the man or woman he or she was cheating with, if that man or woman was a willing side piece, their trash ass won’t hesitate to deliver you all the receipts, screenshots, and chaos they collected on their back. When that person has also been lied to, which is often the case, very often it is the unaware partner and not the infidel who receives the wrath of the third party. Sex is rarely void of emotion, so you add a lack of emotional maturity to a lack of integrity, very rarely will that not erupt into a mess. A mess the unsuspecting partner did not want or ask for, but has been attacked with.

Furthermore, when one is engaging sexually with someone other than their partner, they are taking away their partner’s ability to choose. If two people have agreed to have a monogamous relationship, the agreement is to have consenual sex with only one another. The minute either party wants to change that, if they are interested in having a willing partner, they should be offering them the option to participate or not. Perhaps they will… great. But if they don’t want to , they now have the floor to make whatever decision is best for them based on honesty. Otherwise, finding out your partner was sleeping with both you and another person, feels not only like a betrayal of emotion but a betrayal of body. An invasion of my sacred physical space with negative and dishonest energy. An invasion of my sacred emotional space with lies, betrayal, and another unwanted and uninvited person. An invasion of my mental space because I am left to process emotions that affect my thoughts about myself, my future, my worth, etc. It is so much more than cheating… it’s not looking at someone else’s paper during a test, or hiding a scrabble tile when your opponent isn’t looking, it is a deep betrayal that has harmful and negative physical, sexual, emotional, and mental manifestations that were not agreed to. Like David said above, Fuck you.

Infidelity causes a deep wound in the partner cheated upon, and often leads that person having to heal their heart and their mind from hurtful emotions and unhealthy thoughts. But hopefully they land on the fact that the choices other people make are their own. Every relationship has moments of downtime. Maybe you are both busy, or maybe just one of you. Perhaps work or school is taking up a lot of your time. Maybe you are having health concerns. Whatever the case, those moments are times that you and your partner should cleave to one another, and more importantly, if one of you is feeling in the myriad of ways that might lead one to even consider being unfaithful, it is an opportunity to have a difficult conversation that can strengthen your relationship. Integrity is a priceless human value, and even when it is hard, we should be interested in doing the right thing to honor our commitments. Our last intention should be to hurt someone we love and care about intentionally. But when folks are selfish, used to or even turned on by foolishness, and/or don’t value themselves… they won’t value and appreciate you.

Cheating is intentional, and it is wack AF. It involves the thoughts before the decision is made, every step toward that decision, the follow through, and then every lie one has to tell to try to keep their behavior away from their partner. Trust is like glass, if you just keep stepping on it, eventually it will break… maybe even the first time. No one, not even a spouse, should be expected to tolerate betrayal. Nobody wants to deal with someone’s inability to take responsibility for breaking trust. Nobody wants to deal with cycling emotions of apologies, shame, anger, irritation, and frustration from a cheater… are you even serious?!?! Nobody should have to wait for anyone else to be ready for commitment… if you show up for it, be ready for it. Otherwise stay away from intentional and purposeful people.

When we enter relationships and make agreements about how that relationship will be conducted, we owe it to our partner to honor that or if we change our mind, to inform then before we break our commitment. It really is not hard. It is always easier to do the right thing, always. Bullshit just breeds bullshit. I did nothing to deserve this bullshit. That I am clear about. My emotions are raw and my feelings are hurt, but I am also faithful that next time around, someone who is going to honor me completely will show his face. For right now, this ride is closed for construction. But all of you engaged in partnerships, marriages, whatever or however you construct your relationship, be intentional and purposeful and honor your partner. Don’t be a heaux, but if you must, be like Cody and only…

As for the unfaithful… you gotta live with the fact you did me wrong forever…

Finger on the Trigger

“Go figure
You were the trigger
You brought me to an obstructed view
When you knew the picture was bigger”-Jhene Aiko

Being triggered is reliving trauma. It is most certainly something that people who can only accept their own view as the proper and accepted view, and try to trash everyone else’s can easily cause, and in my opinion intend to cause. But being a trigger is dangerous… you shouldn’t put yourself in that position if you aren’t ready to cause a harm. And if whoever you are aiming at recognizes what you are doing, be prepared for that person to shoot. That’s Trigger 101. Fuck around…

The other day, I was minding my own business, debating about a topic …the notion that only a married man can lead/head a household… it was all was respectful and shit until the second coming of Sheherazad Ali chimed in, promoting her unique brand of shotepery (female hotep shit), and then attempted to belittle my opinions and characterize me. I’m cool until you disrespect me. I can debate all day without ever being nasty, but I was reminded that small minded folks don’t have that capability. That’s cool, do you. But don’t try to do me. Fuck around…

She wanted it. Came right out and asked for it. So I gave it to her. Oh, I hear quite well and I also know bullshit when I see it. To assume that your way is the only way, and then to insinuate that anyone who thinks alternatively is not only wrong but worthy of your disrespect is outrageous. So I gave this human the outrage she was asking for. I wasn’t triggered though, she didn’t cause me to relive a trauma. What she did do was try to insult my education. Your unscientific, random conversations, with people you sought out to prove your own anti-Black woman theories because you don’t like your own reality is not on par with my education. I don’t know what credentials you got… but let me slide mine across the table.

Also, be clear,I am smart. I have many plaques and I’m working on more… but be careful with me. Do not mistake these SAT words, wit, and great writing skills… this smart shit is not weak shit. There is more than one kind of trigger my nigga.

Seriously, the incident made me take inventory of who I engage with in social media. First, folks mistake their opinions for facts. Facts are not up for agreement or disagreement. What I do in my home is a fact, it can be proven by observation. It’s not AVAILAbLE for you to agree or disagree with. Second, folks are so one-sided they only subscribe to ideas and thoughts that mimic or match what they think or believe already, like opposing views are so detrimental to their beliefs they don’t even want to hear or consider them. That means your beliefs aren’t very securely held… that doesn’t make the opposing view wrong. Third, when people jump bad they wanna claim you are overreacting or being “triggered” when you react. No I’m pe. You should either assess who you are playing with or just assume they are a rabid dog looking to bite. What you should not do is be disrespectful… ever.

Instead of triggering me, what it did was highlight even more for me what values I hold dear. There a few things that I’m so passionate about that I will not agree to disagree… and that is primarily anything that centers White, heterosexual, Christian, maleness and disregards the very real experiences of others. Miss me with patriarchial, racist, sexist, anti-cultural, White fragility and supremacy, anti-educated Black women tropes. Things that value tradition, tend to devalue difference, and as such I’m very non-traditional. I’m also pro-Black woman, so propaganda that equates Black women’s education, independence, and high standards as “bondage” is dangerous and oppressive to me.

It is very nearly impossible to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.

James Baldwin

How can you claim to be educating folks when you don’t even value the very thing that open and honest education breeds… independence. Get outta here with that nonsense.

I’m not about to buy into is this hotep adjacent theory that educated Black women are aligned with patriarchy and colonialism by virtue of being educated. Any Black person with any understanding of this countries history is aware of the limitations purposely inherent in the education of Black people. We have to be especially careful and aware of what we are being fed because much of it could be poisonous. But that is inherently a factor highly educated Black people have to constantly consider. An uneducated person wouldn’t know that.

But any person, let alone any Black woman who believes that Black women’s independence is akin to slavery is dangerous. Any woman that believes the only way for a woman to have a valuable life is to be married is dangerous. The Bible states that a man who finds a wife finds a good thing… she’s a good thing already. It is important to me that Black women understand their inherent value, and don’t simply attach their value to carrying someone else’s last name. You can want to be married and be a fan of marriage without also believing you are trash alone.

Furthermore, tradition in America centers Whiteness and maleness… period. Messaging that only men, only married people (an institution that you can believe in, while still understanding it’s tradition in America places men in superior roles over women, heightens men’s social value, and protects White wealth), only White people, and only anything that excludes marginalized people is a source of deep trauma, particularly for Black women. We experience so many intersectional -isms, that those of us who are conscious about things that seek to oppress us, are unmoving in our beliefs against that tradition. That doesn’t mean we don’t value White people, married people, or men. Many of are or have been married to men, some of then White. But we reject the notion that only structures those people build are acceptable and proper. That is simply not true.

People want so badly to have their lives and beliefs justified… that they close off and try to censor any message that looks different. That’s not being smart, that… that is being triggered. That is reliving trauma. Read that again. Someone told you your opinion didn’t matter, your choices were bad, you picked the wrong fork in the road, and you believed it so much that you are force feeding yourself acceptance and assurance to the point of arrogance. You think being solid in your beliefs looks like being unaccepting of other’s. Anyone who comes along with a different point of view is gonna get your rebuttable or maybe even your disrespect. A rebuttable usually just gets a response. Disrespect though… fuck around and find out.

I encourage people to stand up for what they believe in, remain open to other points of view, and know what words mean before they go using them all willy nilly. It might be your view that is obstructed…