Comfort

I need to learn to worry about my own comfort. Regardless of who I date, or who I am around, I tend to change myself to make my partner or friends comfortable. I need to stop doing that.

I am bisexual. I hid that for years because I didn’t want to make anyone else feel awkward. I am not really religious though I do believe in God. I also love collecting crystals and burning sage around my house. I hid that from anyone I dated because I didn’t want people to feel weird about it because they didn’t understand it. I have wanted my hair super short for years but didn’t cut it because my ex preferred me with hair or a weave. I wanted a nose ring but didn’t do it because my (ex) girlfriend didn’t like them. I have collected posters from going to Magfest three years in a row but didn’t put them up because I didn’t know how my partner would feel about anime/comic/gaming posters on the wall. I held off on the Sailor Moon tattoo I wanted because I didn’t know how to explain to other people why I would want permanent ink from an anime.

I spent a lot of time doing what I thought would make other people comfortable. I did not take the time to notice that no one really went out of their way to make me feel comfortable with all the odd things I liked. So I stopped giving a damn about other people’s comfort. My crystals and incense are out and on display in my living room. My posters are on my wall. My hair is as short as I want. My nose is now pierced. My sailor moon thigh sleeve has been started.

It’s my turn now. I don’t have to change for you, you have to accept me for who I am. Simple as that.

 

Starting from the bottom

People have this idea that they should just be at the top of any and everything they do, from the moment they start doing it. 

Stepping into the job market? Well, I want a six figure job with no training, in the most saturated field.

Starting college? I’m supposed to get into every Ivy League school I apply to with my 2.1 GPA.

Starting a blog? My first post should get 10,000 likes as soon as I post it. 

Starting a podcast? I should already be number one on iTunes with this first show.

Starting a vlog channel? I should already be a YouTube partner.

Starting a gaming stream? I should have 15,000 subscribers and companies beating down my door by the end of my first stream.

Starting a business? I should have $100,000 in revenue in the first month.

Starting a band? We should sell out Madison Square Garden for our first show.

What ever happened to “starting from the bottom”?

We have become a generation of instant gratification. Things are just supposed to happen.  There should be no work involved. Success is supposed to be instant. Right here, right now. 

How’s that working out? 

Life rarely works that way. Success takes effort. It takes work. It takes time. Typically it’s not going to happen overnight. What you want to accomplish will take time, dedication, and consistency. Consistency is the one thing people seem to gloss over. You can’t just put forth all your effort into one try and then walk away when you realize it’s going to continue to take work. 

Apply for the top notch job you want. Understand, however, that there is probably someone more qualified than you for the position. Step your game up and work to become the candidate they are looking for.

You’re not going to get your degree overnight. Having one good semester is not going to carry you for the whole two to four years. Your GPA is cumulative, that one 4.0 semester has gotten dragged down by your three 2.5 semesters. Work to bring your GPA back to where you want it EACH SEMESTER. 

Know that not one single person may read your first blog post. That’s ok. Continue to post anyway. Be consistent on when you plan to post. Look into how to boost your page views. Advertise your blog to social media. Build your base

Pick a topic you know you can talk about for your podcast and then post on a consistent basis. You will never get your podcast to be popular if you sporadically post or go long amounts of time between posts. If Thursday is your podcast day then be ready to podcast every Thursday!

Record your first vlog and understand that only one or two people may see it. Look at your vlogs and determine what you like and what you may want to work on. AND THEN ACTUALLY WORK ON IT. Continue to evolve and grow. Don’t look at your followers, your base isn’t there yet. Good content will slowly bring people in. 

Stream like no one is watching. In the beginning, there is probably no one actually watching. That’s ok. Do it anyway. Let your social media know when you’re going live. You’re bound to reach a few people. A good stream can bring them back, along with a few of their friends. It’s a start.

Go ahead and start that business. Be ready to be your own biggest supporter. Understand that a Facebook post talking about your business is not a feasible way to truly advertise your business. The world exists outside of Facebook and a lot of us don’t even have a Facebook page. Be prepared to get business cards. Be prepared to make flyers if that’s the route you want to go. Understand that getting your business out there is going to take time and yes, money. 

You all are talented? Great. Make music. Push that music. Play those tiny venues. Play the small summer concert series in the park. Have ways to direct people to your SoundCloud or YouTube page. Work for your fan base.

Work for it. That’s it. Be consistent in what you do and work for what you want. Success isn’t instant. It’s ok to not be a superstar in the beginning. You’re a superstar in the making. 

Surroundings

Your surroundings influence you more than you realize. The places you go, the people you choose to keep around you, it plays a part in your story. 

For a very long time I was going to the wrong places with the wrong people. For a while I can honestly say I was an alcoholic. I was a true alcoholic. I went out with the sole purpose of getting as drunk as I possibly could. I went to the same clubs with the same “friends”, making the same dumb decisions every weekend. I have been to work drunk. I have driven home sh*t faced. At that time I saw nothing wrong with it because the people I was around were just like me. They were drinking to get away from their emotions just like I was. It was normal. I was in school but didn’t really have a plan for my future. I was there because I was supposed to be. That was the only reason I went to college originally. Before my mother died she made it clear that she wanted me to continue my education, so I did just that. In school and just as lose as I wanted to be. I didn’t have anyone around me to help me focus. Add in an unhealthy and abusive relationship and that was life. 

I remember the moment I knew I was done with how I was living. I was about to graduate with my Associates in Science and my dad told me I could move to Virginia and live with him. As soon as he said it o started planning. I felt no connection to where I was. I didn’t feel sentimental. I didn’t even feel like I was going to miss anyone if I left. I simply made plans and drove six hours from South Carolina to Virginia. Done. 

That was the best decision I have made to date. Granted, I’ve made some dumb ass decisions while up here too, but I’m surrounded by people now that will call me on my sh*t. I have a small group of friends that keep me sane, keep me moving forward, keep me focused on doing what’s best for me. Instead of helping me self destruct my surroundings now help me grow. 

Change your surroundings, change your life. 

Dear weird black child (BEDA 29)

Dear weird black child,

There is nothing wrong with you. Do NOT let your blackness be defined by someone else. You do not belong in the box that other people, including OUR people, want to put you in to. There is nothing wrong with who you are. I have been there. I was that weird black kid and I turned into a weird black woman. I am proud of that.

I didn’t dress like everyone else. I wasn’t, and I am still not, label conscious. I didn’t really listen to rap music. I was super into anime (still into it now). I read manga. I was an undercover gamer. I was that weird black kid. I was made fun of. I was told that I “talk white”. I was told I wasn’t “black enough”. I was told I was weird. It took time but I embraced it. I am who I am and that is good enough for me.

You are who you are. Your blackness is in no way related to the things you enjoy. It’s ok for you to be more excited about the Looney Tunes Vans than the Yeezy season 2’s. It’s fine that you would rather watch soccer than basketball. Go ahead and participate in cosplay, you look GREAT! Sing along completely incorrectly to that Korean pop song, I’m in my car singing along too. You don’t know any of the rappers out right now? That’s ok, neither do I. You’re standing in line for a new game? Have fun and play hard! You know more about anime than reality television, you’re not alone (in fact most of the people I know don’t watch reality shows). There is absolutely nothing wrong you. There is nothing lacking about your “blackness”. You are who you are and you have no reason to be ashamed. Do not let others change how you feel about you. Be weird. Be true to who you are. You are not obligated to meet anyone else’s ideas of “how to be black”. There is no manual. There are no “blackness guidelines”. Your black does not have to match anyone else’s black. You are who you are meant to be.

One very lesbian year later (BEDA 21)

Today marks my girlfriend and I’s one year anniversary. It marks me being “out” as bisexual to friends and family. It also marks one year that some of my family has been in denial.

It’s still a phase depending on who you talk to. 

Seriously.

My mom (step mom technically, if my mom were alive she would have met my girlfriend already) still considers me an “eligible bachelorette”. As far as she is concerned, I just need to meet the right guy.  No, really. She does everything in her power to maintain the illusion that I am still straight. Example? Thanksgiving. I was telling her about Crys making me watch a scary movie that messed me up. Her response “who is Crys, your roommate?” My face: 


Mind you, this was not my first time mentioning her and yet…
Needless to say, the denial rubs me the wrong way. It has made me unintentionally distant. The denial of my sexuality feels like a denial of an important part of me. My dad seems to be sort of nonchalant about it. He doesn’t talk about it, but doesn’t deny it if I talk about it. 

I get it. I went through a bad break up with a guy and started dating a girl a few months afterward. I can see why people thought it was a phase at that time. As time progressed I thought people would see how serious we are about each other. It’s not like I just picked some random woman and decided to try her out. I had known my girlfriend for eight years prior to she and I getting into a relationship. We were friends. I simply decided to finally give her a chance after her eight years of persistence. 

Good decision on my part.

She drives me nuts sometimes. We argue something terrible but we also love something wonderful. She doesn’t call me “pretty”, she calls me “beautiful” all the time. Prior to her, it was a word I rarely heard from my partner. Oh, I was “pretty”, I was “cute”, I was even “sexy”, but rarely did they ever call me beautiful. She has forced me to learn how to communicate (still a work in progress because I’m an ass sometimes). She knows how to make me smile, one of these days I’m going to catch her random songs and dances on camera. She makes me happy. That’s good enough for me. 

So, one very lesbian year later, I am still adjusting to life and love. I’m still learning and growing on my own and with her. I’m still happy. 

I’m cool with that.

Self care

I have to regularly practice self care. Whether this be going walking by the river, solo dates, reading, writing, watching anime, anything that calms me. 

I have suffered from depression since the time of my mothers passing. I am going on 18 years of dealing with her loss. I’m much better now but it still rears its ugly head. When it does, it hits HARD. Depression is not the same as being sad. People will have you believe it is but those people have not experienced what real depression feels like.  The feelings of worthlessness, of emptiness, the lack of interest in life itself. You find yourself at the bottom of a pit, in the dark, alone. For a while, I stayed at the bottom of this pit, an emotional wreck. No one noticed. See, I am really good at pretending to be just fine. In fact I’m an expert at it. Smile, laugh, all while I was contemplating suicide. 

Then I saw a therapist. I tried the meds but I went from feeling like sh*t to not feeling anything at all and I didn’t like that, so I stopped. I started getting myself out of the house. I learned about blogging. I bought several journals. I began to write my feelings out. I learned how to sense when that pit fall was coming and things I can do to avoid it.  I won’t say I have avoided the pit every time but I now know how to build a ladder and get myself out. I have depression, depression no longer has me.

Then came the panicky-ness. I don’t think I can call it a full blown panic attack, maybe anxiety? I have no idea where it came from or why but it’s been popping up lately. My heart rate will suddenly increase, I’ll feel uneasy, like I’m missing something incredibly important, I’ll feel on edge like something is about to go wrong or something terrible is about to happen. The worse part? I have no idea what sets it off. I’ve woken up from my sleep panicking. I have to talk myself down. Part of me feels like the world and the things happening right now are getting to me. I tend to feel deeply. Someone else being hurt, hurts me. Their tears are mine. My emotions run deep, even though I present a stoic facade.

This is why I have to practice self care. I have to take time to do things to make myself comfortable. I have to do things that make me happy. I try and decompress I guess. The world will break you down, this is my way to combat that. I stay away from the news, tune out the politics, ignore as much stupidity as possible. Whatever it takes to take that weight off of my shoulders. I have learned that taking care of myself is not selfish. 

You should practice self care, too. Life is difficult. The ups and downs can damage you. Step away. Do that thing that you’ve been wanting to do. Go that place you’ve wanted to go. Read that book you’ve been thinking of reading. Take care of you. You deserve a moment to drop the weight of the world, even temporarily. You can’t build others up when you’re broken down. You deserve this. You need this. You’ll feel better, I promise. Take care of you

Forgiveness

I was taught to forgive. “Forgive and forget” they say. “Forgiveness helps you heal” they tell you. Nah, fuck that. Forgiveness is NOT for everyone and at NO POINT will I let anyone make me feel guilty. Sometimes I need to feel the anger. I need to acknowledge the pain. I have been lied to, cheated on, used, abused, hurt, abandoned… I have every right to FEEL!

People love to try and force the belief that forgiveness is the proper thing to do, the right thing to do, the only thing to do. Not always, not for everyone. For me, acknowledging that I was wronged feels like the right thing to do. Allowing myself to feel anger feels like the right thing to do. Accepting that you do not care how you have made me feel and I am allowed to hate you for that feels like the right thing to do. You may think I am allowing negativity to run me. I’m not. I am embracing my emotions, all of them. Negative emotions are still emotions and they should be allowed to happen as needed. It is a part of healthy self-care.

I almost feel like sometimes people rely on forgiveness because it is easier than accountability. It is easier to say “I forgive you” than to call someone out on their constant bullshit. Maybe people think it hurts less. We tell families that have had members killed to forgive the murderer.  We tell rape victims to forgive their attackers. We tell minorities to forgive people when they make racist statements. We tell women to forgive men when they make sexist comments. We tell wives and husbands to forgive their partners infidelity. We tell children to forgive their parents for mercilessly beating them. We tell gays to forgive Christians for constantly telling us we are going to hell. Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. NO! How about instead, we tell people to stop being assholes? How about we hold people accountable for their choices? How about we not make the victim feel worse by trying to guilt them into forgiveness? How about letting people deal with things in their own way? How about we acknowledge that forgiveness has a limit and it’s not a cure-all?

I  mean, how am I responsible for forgiving you but you are not responsible for changing your behavior or even apologizing for it? I should forgive you while you continue to do wrong ? You can miss me with all of that. I don’t hold grudges, there is no point. However, I feel no need to forgive you because you do not deserve it. I can move forward while also wishing you get four flat tires at the same time. I can take that anger and grief and use it as motivation to grow. Am I doing this to prove something to you? Don’t flatter yourself. I am doing this to help my self advance emotionally, that’s all. If you are looking for forgiveness, go to church… I have none for you.