” I want everyone to stop and look at me when I’m with you.” It was with this one statement that every ounce of attraction I had spent a year of my life developing for this idiot left me completely. You want me to get the attention of everyone that I walk by? Why? Now don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of other red flags in this year long conversation. Red flags I can work with because, well, I find it very important to give people a comfortable environment to live their truth. I just need that same environment created for me. But back to my friend “John”. John is a few years younger than me, from a different country than me, has a different educational background (meaning none), lives in a different city, and practices a different religion than me. All the makings of a great conversation if you enjoy disagreement and enlightenment as I do. However, in this late night conversation, John uttered those words to me. It doesn’t matter that I have 3 post high school degrees (one of which I just completed), leadership certifications, manage PTSD, and went through a divorce all at the same time. No after all of that, John wants me to be a head turner. Now physical health is very important. I try to practice daily mind, body, and soul health. However, being a head turner has never been on my list of goals in my life. My father and mother never told me one time that I was beautiful growing up, and I never understood this until my father explained it to me after my 2nd degree. He said, ” You are very beautiful, but I never told you because I wanted you to be smart. I didn’t want you to rely on your looks for anything or use it to have someone take care of you.” I do believe my father could have accomplished the same goal a different way, but this post isn’t about parenting…In that snapchat message with John last night, I felt like he made an attempt to reduce my life’s current and future accomplishments and progress to being beautiful. For WHO? for everyone else? for you? The thing is, I want my significant other to know me completely and still think my soul is beautiful (because I do have some ugly ways about me as we all do). If you appreciate my outside as well, then great for you. I absolutely love the way I look, and I’m not in competition with other women to be the prettiest. My goal is not to grab every man’s attention when I walk by them. So with all of our differences, the end of John and me came down to something skin deep.
From a safe vantage point of The Other Side Of The Planet, I am beginning to take some time to process what I have been through. “Always Forward” has gotten me through the immediate aftermath of my marriage apocalypse, but the intention was never to ignore the past forever. In order to truly move forward, I need to face my fears and look back, to learn what I can from the wreckage.
When I do look back, the thing that stands out most is simply awe that I have survived.
I’ve had a lot of people telling me I’m “strong” or “brave” over the last few months since I shared my story. The truth is I don’t feel either of these things most moments of most days. But I am still alive. And so, in the hopes that my survival strategies might be of help to someone else, here is…
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It’s the middle of February, the 14th to be exact, and I feel so….loving. (I know, cliche). But really, I love myself so much today ( and that may be even more cliche considering I am physically, but not quite legally, single on Valentine’s Day).But this isn’t about that day.
It’s Black History Month, but I’m black everyday. It’s love day, but I’m loved everyday, so I digress….today I feel DANGEROUS.
No, today I realized I AM dangerous. And why the emphasis on am? Because in the midst of my bitter divorce, I was told by one of my ex In laws that I was a dangerous woman. I’ve pondered about that statement for a while. Surely I’m not dangerous. How could I be standing at 4 feet 11 inches tall? However, just today, in this moment, I realized I am a dangerous woman. (***cues Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman)
My existence poses a threat to any form of male chauvinism, sexism, racism, or classism that anyone I come in contact with may possess. And I want to be sure to not say that with any form of boastfulness, but it is true. With the power of God working through me, I’ve managed to overcome many obstacles and stereotypes placed in front of me and on my life.
I also see why my husband failed in our marriage (a careful, intentional choice of words there). My husband is a narcissistic wife beater. And every single time I challenged his stance on something, I was met with verbal, mental, and sometimes physical abuse. When you confront those types of people, you are a threat to the fictitious world they’ve created for themselves. And after all the abuse I was subjected to, I am now the dangerous woman?
Well okay, thank you
So through my recovery, restoration, and healing, I discovered just how threatening I was. I now feel obligated to challenge any man or person who attempts to oppress me. If you see a situation is not right, you MUST change it.
I’m quite dangerous.
I feel like I’ve spent my whole life striving for a normal. I always had some goal I was reaching, and when I reached them, there was something else that needed to be done in order for me to be happy and feel complete. First it was graduating high school, then going to college, then actually graduating college, then it was getting the job I wanted, then it was marrying the man I wanted, then have a baby, then continue education, then change the world. And I have to say, I was rocking at it up until the time period between marriage and the baby. I lost the baby, my husband became abusive, and now I sit here continuing my education alone. I spent a long time not really knowing where my life would go once I finished school. This life wasn’t a part of my plan. So I’m sitting here… trying to thrive at multiple things simultaneously while not crashing. I’m coordinating different programs at work, completing my Master’s program assignments, going through a divorce, appealing the attorney general’s office for crime victim’s benefits, and poorly managing my post traumatic stress disorder …ALL AT ONCE. I am only able to do it through God’s strength, but it still feels so tiring. I’m tired. I just want to get back to my place of orientation, but I know that will never be, or at least it feels that way. I’m waiting for my life to get back to normal, to coast, be simple. But I feel like that won’t ever happen anymore. I can never be the unaffected me again, can I? Do I just need to give it more time? I’m just trying to figure out how this person serves God and serves others. I just try my best.
How could she say this? Well, what about #blacklivesmatter ? Hasn’t she heard of Beyonce? Oprah? …Black lives DO matter and I am a proud, active member of the #beyhive; However, those women are the exception to the rule. Whenever I see YET ANOTHER BlacklivesMatter protest, I can’t help but notice that most of the marching and protesting is on the behalf of black men. And I’m not saying that there are no protests about black women at all, but that the media attention for the men compared to the women is very disproportionate. Add the men of blacklivesmatter, the LGBTQ movement, Donald Trump and every issue associated with him, ISIS and all that jazz, and there you have a recipe for forgotten Black women. And I hate to even talk about white and black so much, I mean really we are all Americans, but this is what America made it to be. Black women are the most loyal group of people in the country. Just look at the disaggregated data from the election last year. Black women were Hillary Clinton’s most reliable group of voters with 94% voting in her favor.Sadly, I do not feel that same loyalty from this country, or even black men. It seems the plight of the black woman is completely ignored. And what is the plight of black women you may ask? Well, I would’t dare limit that answer to my personal opinions, because the journey of any woman varies from person to person. But I will tell you mine:
- To be assertive at work without being labeled aggressive or harsh (my boss literally sat me down last year to tell me to use more “nice words” in my emails)
- To do my daily tasks without the expectation of smiling and looking pretty so the men at work have something nice to look yet. (Yes I’ve been asked, “Why don’t you smile?” Uh..because I don’t have to!)
- To be viewed as beautiful and not just beautiful for a dark girl ( black men, you gots ta do better with this one)
- To be able to send emails to the staff instead of being required to forward them to my white male boss first so he can pretend the same message is from him and send it to the staff because THE STAFF NEEDS TO WARM UP TO ME (Yes, this happened too)
- To have my assertiveness defended as “just her style” like my white male coworkers instead of being told I’m too straight forward
- Shall I continue…?
***I say all of this with the knowledge that any opinion or theory is limited to the perspective in which one takes while forming it***
So I haven’t been speaking to one of my co-workers for about a month because of a condescending email he sent to me. We finally spoke today and he apologized, but also told me I had an emotional reaction. How is a non-reaction an emotional reaction? He then went on to say a non-emotional reaction would have been to say okay and it won’t happen again to his email. I absolutely detest when someone projects their expectations of what should happen onto me. I believe in everyone having room to be themselves no matter what. However, the basis of our entire existence on this earth together comes down to human interaction. People should be more responsible in determining how the expression of themselves affects others, which is also called consideration. Basically, our freedom isn’t really freedom because it is limited by the freedoms of the people we interact with. Therefore, I removed myself from interaction with him so he could be free to be himself without infringing on my ability to be myself. And that’s being emotional I guess? Uh, how about no.So this leads me to ask, is there really a best way to handle work conflict as a woman? I can’t help but think that if I were a man, he would’t have dared to tell me I reacted emotionally. There’s also the reality that it takes two people to actively not speak to each other, so therefore he wasn’t speaking to me either. If I would have responded to his email telling him what I thought, I believe it would have been perceived as emotional as well. I always feel a certain “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” about these situations.
From Maya Angelou to Tina Fey, StyleCaster collected 30 smart statements on recovering from failure, applicable to members of all genders.
As the new year approached, I reflected on my 2016. Scrolling down my social media timelines, I saw so many posts about how 2016 sucked, and I can even somewhat identify with that sentiment. However, 2016 was necessary for me. I grew so much as a woman, educator, leader, and spiritual being. How could I ever say that it sucked? At the beginning of the year, I was still very much involved in an abusive marriage with a narcissistic sociopath. I was still allowing myself to be a part of the cycle. In the undoing of all the oppression forced upon me in the relationship, I discovered so many wonderful things about the world, myself, and God. I’ve always gone to church; however, this experience forced me to draw near to God in a whole new way. I hope to use this blog to share those experiences, old and new. I feel the same way about 2016 as I do about the movie The Passion of the Christ: It was necessary, but I wouldn’t ever watch it again. Here’s to 2017! #newyear #2017