If You Must Be Creative With Our Stories How About You Be Creative

So it happened, I woke up opened my book and began to read as I do almost every single day. Reading is what I do. I consider myself more than anything to be a connoisseur of books. Sometime during the trips of my eyes from left to right across the page of my current read I got that feeling. The one I get where I know that I won’t be able to continue reading the book without doing a little research.

I tell myself not to. To at least wait until I’ve completed the book and have a true opinion about the story before I go internet diving for clues. But I don’t. 7.5 minutes later I’m looking into the face of a white appearing woman or man, standing next to their white appearing spouse, with their white appearing children in their suburban or gentrified ass white appearing neighborhood.

I know as you read those words you’re probably coming to conclusions so I should say here, I am not angry. If I am anything I’m bored.

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I’m not angry that a white appearing person has written yet another bestselling YA novel about yet another African American teenager. Nor, that they have taken liberties with this teenagers life and given them the crackhead parent, the absent parent, the problems in school, the job that they HAVE to work in order to contribute to their family because of the crackhead or absent parent.

But, as I continue to do research on this person: looking up their parents, researching their childhoods, the cities they were born in, thinking maybe just maybe their best friend was black, looking for stories in which they describe where they got the idea for this story, looking for anything to help me feel better about the fact that yet another of our stories is being told by other people while we’re still not given the equal opportunities to tell our own; I do get a little annoyed.

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See, as a writer I know that we have the creative license to write whatever we want about whatever we want however we want and that we don’t just have to tell the stories that we know. But, as I look at how stereotypes are developed and perpetuated and have been perpetuated for years and years I can’t help but wonder why a person who took ALL of the creative license with a story would continue to write these lazy stereotype ladden stories.

When I read a story about these issues that do in fact exist for some black people written by a black person I know that most likely they have experienced these issues or that the issues are at the very least in their orbit. But, when these stories are written by white appearing people I can’t help but question why if they felt the need to write about black people, why they didn’t use their creative license to write about magical black girls or as Danez Smif requests black boys playing with dinosaurs in the hood. 

Social Media airways, news and media outlets for once in our history are being flooded with Magical Black Girls and Black Boy Joy and  Black Super Heroes and yet television, movies, and books are still full of the same stereotypical stories about food stamp dependent, thugged out, drug abusing black people.

There will always be these stories to be told like their will always be a new movie about slavery. So, I’m not asking white people to not write stories about black people. I’m asking them to give us the whole stories. Like they do for white people. I’ve yet to read a story about a white crackhead teenager without being informed that she was a jock who broke her leg, had surgery, was placed on oxycodone, and became addicted. They’re humanized. So can we be humanized in these stereotypical redundant ass stories? I’m just asking  if you must be creative with our stories then how about you be creative or at the very least, tell the whole story.

 

This Is How You Lose Readers

In the wake of the #MeToo movement it seems like on a weekly basis we are being informed that another beloved person is a predator. Some have had rumors about their behaviors floating around for years like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, who although they’ve only recently had to answer for their crimes,  knowledge of their abusive ways have been widely known for many many years.

Unlike them, others like Kevin Spacey, have rocked the world and shocked their fans. Today, I log on to the internet and I see that there are some internet drama surrounding Junot Díaz. Firstly, I wasn’t going to read up on it I’m literally in the middle of rereading The Brief  Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Secondly, Junot Díaz is one of the first writers who made me; a dark skinned black woman, feel both seen and beautiful.

But, like with most train wrecks no matter how much you want to avert your gaze you have to look. It’s almost as if you have no control over the way your neck moves. So with that same trepidation I typed *Junot Díaz Sex Scandal* into my search bar and was rewarded (this is not a reward) with the following article: Junot Diaz Sex Scandal.

I refuse to look into this any further and I’m officially throwing Oscar Wao out of the window. I know that there are questions about whether we continue to throw people away for bad behavior or not, but unlike people who question those sorts of things *insert fierce side eye* I have an iron clad no predator clause on my entertainment intake calendar. All that I can do now is seriously pray that Stephen King has kept his paws to himself. And no I’m not googling it. I don’t want to know until I have to.

 

What Is Us Gon Do?

The fact that things can royally suck and you just have to deal with them is mind boggling. Like Spectrum sucks. They literally lose your payments, interrupt your service then ask you to drive to a location to show them proof that you paid and even when your services DO work they don’t work as they’re supposed to. Like you literally have no wifi in half your house, but, *WIFI is an imperfect science and isn’t guaranteed to work throughout your whole home. *
Anything could interrupt the flow including the owning of small land animals and the drinking of La Croix sparkling waters. 
But, your ass is stuck dealing with them because Frontier also sucks royally and those are your two choices. Period.
So you can have no internet with which to do work or you can have sucky service with which to do your work and those are LITERALLY your options.
And we accept that. We accept sucky ass government officials who have no one’s best interests at heart.
We accept sucky ass companies who sell your data and manipulate your lives.
We accept it all.
And that my friends is mind boggling as fuck.
What is us gon do?
Me, I’m going to pack my shit, take my dogs to the dog park, and work from there because I’m already working from home of off my phones internet hotspot. Which, don’t let me get started on that because I’m always over my data because my wifi doesn’t work in the back of my house. Image-1.jpg

Black Girls Don’t Have Eating Disorders.

I’ve just finished working out with my trainer, in front of my house, something I do twice a week. For almost two years twice a week we meet here, underneath my carport where we do a mixture of kickboxing and cardio. I realize that this is some privileged shit. That I’m even more privileged and once more during the week on Sundays I meet him at a gym for bootcamp. Oftentimes I’m the only person at bootcamp so I get another private personal training session. But I don’t feel privileged.

I feel scared. Nervous. Stressed. I’m stressed about my body. A stress that I’ve been dealing with for more than twenty years. An obsession that if I’m not careful could kill me. I have an eating disorder. One diagnosed by my psychiatrist after my divorce when I casually mentioned that I was at least eating more often. To which she wanted to know:

Do you not eat often?

How long have you been doing that?

Do you binge?

Purge?

How often do you weigh yourself?

How many diets have you been on in the last year?

What do you eat in a typical day?

How often do you exercise?

Twice a day? For how long? And ordered: Let’s keep a food journal.

Of course, I didn’t. I didn’t need a food journal. I didn’t have an eating problem. I had an “I just lost my spouse problem.” So I quit going to her. She obviously didn’t know how to do her job. Besides, Black girls don’t have eating disorders.

On the one hand I’m a nurse and I know that anyone of any gender, race, and socioeconomic class can suffer from an eating disorder but on the other hand, I’m black. We don’t DO eating disorders. That’s some white people shit. Some middle class shit. Which, as I think about who taught me how to eat every other day, how to eat whatever I wanted and throw it back up later, how to stick a toothbrush down my throat until I learned to vomit on demand, how to over exercise and under eat- a group of black girls on a cheerleading squad, black girls definitely do DO eating disorders.

But It’s under control. I have not weighed myself in over a year. I eat daily. I haven’t purged in years. I’m cured Or so I tell myself. But I’m obsessed. I spend hours a week in front of the mirror looking at my body. Assessing the weight distribution. Is that muscle? Is my belly fat? Are my boobs getting smaller or bigger. I obsess about food. Eat secret meals that I buy with cash so my wife is unaware of what all I’ve eaten then throw the bags in the front trash can where she never looks or at gas stations on the way home. Then I obsess about what I’ve eaten for days. For months. And I know that this too, this obsession with my body composition, with every calorie that I’ve put into it, is in fact an eating disorder. I wonder, how long it’ll take until I convince myself to abstain from food or even worst to purge.

I feel lonely in this journey. I’m not super skinny so I don’t fit in with those girls and the thick girls, well I’m not quite thick enough. So I don’t pipe up when they discuss how difficult it is to find good bras, or how happy they are about their weight loss, about their inch loss. On more than one occasion, on more than one thread I’ve received the message. The shut yo skinny thick ass up you can’t sit with us message. So I suffer in silence. Drive my wife crazy with questions, Do you see it? Do I look skinnier? Is all of my hard work obvious? I fret that I’ll drive her crazy. That eventually she will leave me, for someone with a higher self esteem. For someone who loves their body. For someone skinnier.

I’ve looked up the stats on eating disorders in black women and not surprisingly there are none. Exact statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color are unavailable. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “Due to our historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, relatively little research has been conducted utilizing participants from racial and ethnic minority groups.” Even though sociologists recognize that black women suffer from eating disorders they don’t have enough data because for a very long time, even for scientists, black girls don’t have eating disorders. At least until now.

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Around March 18 2016

 

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Around October 15 2017

For the record my trainer is amazing and I can see the difference in pictures from before I started working out with him up until now but I can’t see the difference. (Only someone with an eating disorder will understand that last part.)

What’s Happening In My Neck Of The Woods

Ok, So firstly, there’s a whole ass serial killer running around my neighborhood shooting unsuspecting people dead.NO LIE. And Obviously since it’s happening in the black part of my neighborhood (which most of my neighbors won’t admit is the black part of my neighborhood) there are rumors that the person is a black man. Light skinned. 6 feet something inches tall. AND if the serial killer IS this man then he deserves to be put all the way up under the jail. Once for killing people for no good god damned reason. Twice for all of the black people who are now being terrorized, harassed, and arrested by SWAT, the FBI, Tampa Police Department and every other law force that’s been running around here for weeks.

S/N ALLLLLLL OF THESE PEOPLE BEEN RUNNING AROUND HERE FOR WEEKS AND SOMEONE IS STILL ABLE TO KILL RANDOM ASS PEOPLE IN BROAD NIGHT/DAYLIGHT. – File this under reasons why I know we don’t need military gear on police officers. 

I can’t even talk about this serial killer anymore without getting really upset so hopefully Santa’s ass will be able to find him. My friend Nicole thinks that Santa is the dude for the job since the police are failing miserably. I mean, he does know when you’ve been bad or good so…

I love being an entrepreneur and running my businesses but honestly there are days when I want to punch people that I work with SQUARE in the jaw. Like So:

Like today when I called an employee and was all like “Hey, I don’t have your timesheet. And he responds” Oh, I wasn’t here yesterday. So I’ll pass it on.” And I wanted to respond “NO bxtch. It’s your time. Turn it the eff in.” But I instead just said “No. I need you to send it to me ASAP.” In a professional voice. I would really like to punch him. Unfortunately for me, punching people is frowned upon in most circles.

My best friend sister and I almost exclusively communicate on a video app where I record a video and then she responds with another video. These videos- sometimes long and rambling, sometimes short and ranting are usually the highlight of my day. We live sixty six billion miles away from each other but it doesn’t feel that way. #ThanksCommunicationApps

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My sister Basimah and I when she snuck in to town for my Book Release.

Also, DJ thinks the videos are weird. “Why don’t you all just call each other.” I just smh and roll my eyes. Children can be so judgey.

Speaking of DJ, He’s a member of his school’s Model United Nations Team and hasdecided that he’s going to be on the fundraising committee. He’s raising money to help the team get to Washington DC and I’m super proud of all of the texts, phone calls, and emails he’s sent out attempting to raise funds for his team. My family and friends who’ve been on the receiving end of the give me money calls may not be so happy but ehhhh. *shrugs*

I’m participating in NANOWRIMO but since my life doesn’t always allow for typing on a computer every day for writing stuff, I’ve been mostly writing in my journal and on my phones notes app. I can’t tell you where I am on the word count but I have been writing everyday and for me that’s more than enough

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OH, and I got another rejection letter to a fellowship I applied for. YAY ME.images.jpeg

Lastly, my dogs are still out of their minds. I’ve just realized that almost every corner of my house has been nibbled on by these two love bugs. Good thing I plan on living here forever, even with the serial killer. * Le Sigh*

 

Nanowrimo 2017-Day 1

I just completed my Nanowrimo Day 1 goal. Actually I EXCEEDED it by a whole 227 words and yes I’m patting myself on the back because I know there will likely be days where I barely hit one thousand words in a day so: YASSSSS to small wins.

 

We were (AB and I) invited to a housewarming party. She reminded me slightly before 4pm about the 6pm invite and originally I was going to do a 1K1Hr at 6pm. Normally I would have taken a whole nap before going out but this time I took a 20 minute rest and sat down to write.

I used Dr Wicked’s Write or Die and didn’t really have any issues getting the words out once I sat down and turned off my WiFi. 

N-T-Ways I’m in the car now headed to the party so I’m signing off but if you’re a writer and are writing today my wish for you is that the words flow like water through your finger tips onto the page. 

XO Peeps #GetErDone 
S/N: I know my nails are off brand but I had to do them myself until I could get in to see Daisy on Friday. (Mind ya business)

Ain’t No More Shame Bih.

Yesterday my brother called. The one I’m closest with. Who is directly underneath me in birth order. The one I probably speak to the least. He makes mistakes frequently which end up with him paying prolonged visits behind bars.

We talk about a lot of things. Or he mostly talks and I mostly listen. To his excuses. To how proud he is of me. To how he’s especially proud since I dropped out of school and blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention that I dropped out of traditional high school because of bullies and because I was a teenager and everything that happens to teenagers is the end of the world. So I left traditional high school, went directly to Job Corps and before I would have completed traditional high school; graduated with my GED and CNA.

He doesn’t mention that after that I kept moving up. Went back to school. Got my nursing degree. That in between there I had a baby and got married. That I’ve never lived with my mother after the age of eighteen. That I’ve pulled myself along to who I am now without the help of social services.

He doesn’t know how difficult being a business owner is. That managing a home, and a family, and dogs, and a writing career are the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I just don’t quit.

He doesn’t think about how we came from the same home, in the same city, with the same mom and dad. That the city and circumstances that he blames for his downfall are the same ones that I credit for my toughness. My tenacity. My ability to code shift. My ability to barter and negotiate. To think outside the box. To always try to be two steps ahead of danger. To be myself. To discern whether someone is genuine or not within the first few words. To do so many nuanced things that I use to run my business and my life daily.

After we hung up, I realized that his call, which was totally about him was actually ALL about me. Somewhere deep inside of me I’ve been carrying these things around in shame. The GED, the baby at 18, the divorce. Even the roughened edges which help me get through most days. My annoyance that he was throwing my life in my face as if it were such a bad thing, was actually annoyance at myself for whatever lingering shame I carry from my upbringing and subsequent bad decisions.

It made me realize how I’m often annoyed that people occasionally treat me as less than and how that annoyance has nothing to do with those people and everything to do with me. His call, – which lowkey annoyed me at first since it was late and I was busy working in bed- was just what I needed to grow pass some of my hidden shame. Like I told him on the phone, the Universe always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

 

Also, God is from Brick City and the best roses grow from concrete.

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On Sundays I Hate My Dog

On Sundays I hate my dog. Like for real hate him. Like I would low-key let my 2 year old sister/cousin/niece play with him without adult supervision for 5 whole minutes as repayment for the abuse he invokes on us every Sunday.

See, On Sundays Otto thinks that he decides when to tell us to get the fuck up. And yes that’s how he says it “HUMANS, Time to GET THE FUCK UP.” And I know that that’s what he’s saying because he hops around the bed like a baby kangaroo until one of us -read AB – gets up and takes him outside. I couldn’t even tell you what time he does this except to say that it is well before 7 am. See if it happens around 7 am I’ll just cut my losses and get up. 7’s an ok time to sleep in til on the weekend. But he does his little hoppy routine, AB takes him out, and then she comes back into the room to go back to sleep.

The fact that she can go back to sleep is the reason I feel no guilt about allowing her to be the one to get up first. I don’t even blame Otto for doing his hoppy routine as he has to use the bathroom and lacks opposable thumbs to open the door for himself, but I DID buy him a whole piece of real ass grass in a box that he ignores the fuck out of, for this exact reason. BUT that first trip outside was just a warm up. He lays down until AB goes back to sleep then HE STARTS THE DAMN HOPPY ASS ROUTINE ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!

I’m barely asleep at this point anyway since he halfway woke me up with his first routine, so at this point I usually just open one eye look down at him hopping around like a manic ass kangaroo and remind him that “It’s fucking SUNDAY.” My only semi-day off and that he’s a cute little devil. Also that God or whomever he believes in made him cute for this exact reason and that cuteness only gets you so far.

Of course he doesn’t care about any of what I’m saying. He feels no guilt. In fact, since my eye is open he triples his former hoppy ass routine and starts to bark (as much as his little ass baby puppy voice can bark) and reminds me that I wanted him and to get the fuck up so he that can go outside to play.

Finally I drag myself out of bed and move sluggishly towards the back door so that I can let him out. After I open the door I go back in and sit on the kitchen steps to monitor his playtime (he needs supervision since he likes to eat things that could kill or maim him) there is no furniture in the yard currently because of raggedy ass hurricanes. SO now I sit on the hard ass, cold ass tile floor while Otto runs around like Speedy Gonzales and stares at squirrels. I sit there until he’s had his run of eating grass and rearranging DJ’s stick pile and comes back into the house to look at me like “Ok human you may make your coffee or whatever I’m done. For NOW.”

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I do as I’m told and make myself some coffee so that I won’t kill my family in anger then climb back into bed where I am completely done with any hope of sleep. I guess staring at squirrels and eating grass are worth waking me up out of my sleep. Though, Now that I’m fully awake he climbs back into his bed and he GOES BACK TO SLEEP! His mission, to remind me why I don’t really wanna have a baby in real life, is complete. And I both appreciate this and HATE his cute little puppy face. IMG_7071.JPG

 

It’s My Birthday Bxtch!!!!!

3 years ago, and I know this because the lovely Drea did the research, I created this blog. 5 years after the Blogging boom. 8 years after my friends told me that I should pen my thoughts for the whole world to know. Obviously it took me so long because I don’t even like people that much and because I’m a procrastinating ass asshole. Also because telling the internet what I think and trying to run a business doesn’t really go together for reasons I’ll discuss below.

Here’s my disclaimer. I say things that may make you uncomfortable. If so, stop reading and don’t read anymore of my blogs but DO NOT WALK UP TO ME NEXT WEEK AND REFERENCE THIS BLOG POST. If you have thoughts post them in the comments or better yet share this shit on your Facebook post, tag me in it and tell me how you really feel. BUT don’t walk up to me in a networking meeting and ask me why I wrote what I wrote. Cause mostly:

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In honor of Authentically Adrien’s Birthday here are 30 random ass things that are on my mind. I’m going to be very transparent and vulnerable with you. You’re welcome.

1. I have word finding problems. It stresses me out beyond belief. Unless I’m writing and sometimes even while I’m writing I will give you a sentence because the one word that would suffice instead escapes me. I worry that these are the early signs of Alzheimer’s. AB and I have been together long enough for her to start unknowingly supplying me with the appropriate word. Me-  Because I don’t support what he was saying. Her- You disagree? Me- Yes.

2. Kendrick Lamar goes so HARD. #ThankMeLater

3. I haven’t been able to write since we elected Ya’ll president. (He’s NOT my president.)

4. These last few years have been REALLY difficult. Lots of ups. LOTS of downs. Today while buying groceries I overheard the salesclerk talking about how she wanted to get off of work early so that she can get her hair done for her date tonight and for more than 5 minutes I wanted “I wanna get off of work early so I can get my hair done for my date problems.” Even though I know we all have problems and I know I’m blessed. As fuck.

5. I cuss a lot. I know that makes people uncomfortable. More and more I don’t give a fuck.

6. Pockets on dresses is a gift from Gawd.

7. Look What You Made Me Do Is Trash.

8. I’m a parent and I low-key wanna have another child but mostly I don’t care for other people’s children. Some people’s children should literally be on the front of the condom box or the featured speaker for a sex ed class.

9. People don’t watch their children. That freaks me out. If we’re together and you have children chances are my pulse is on a hundred cause you’re not paying attention and doing CPR on children is my least favorite thing to do.

10. Actually hiring men who think they’re better than me who will quickly treat me like I’m invisible aka shit white men do is my least favorite thing to do.

11. Broccoli is my new anthem.

12. My grandma (I call her ma) has multiple myeloma. I’m in mourning. Last year she was walking this year she requires extensive assistance.

13. I think Iyanla Vanzant is full of shit. Needless to say she can’t fix my life.

14. IF ONE MORE PERSON TELLS ME TO APPLY FOR FOODSTAMPS IMMA SNAP. Irma didn’t effect me on that level and she probably didn’t effect you on that level either. That money is coming from somewhere. STOP. tenor-1.gif

15. The 90s were the best:

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16. I love ebonics and AAVE. Finally I’m allowing myself to love things that were created FUBU.

17. Every time DJ hears me singing Bodak Yellow he questions why I’m doing such a thing. As if 33 is old. As if the hood didn’t make me.

18. “You eat your own people while declaring a ban on cannibalism.” – Didi Delgado get to know her and #ThankMeLater.

19. I miss happy Adrien.

20.  I miss enthusiastic optimistic Adrien.

21. I’m taking The Landmark Communication Seminar soon. I know I need it in my life. I’m not looking forward to them selling me shit. EVERYBODY sells you shit. Get over it.

22. Why we selling shit, order a detail or an oil change from Unique Otto and #ThankMeLater

23. I’m really pondering changing the focus of the Blog to Business, Books, and The Boy. But I also wanna talk about what I wanna talk about when I wanna talk about it. *shrugs* First world problems.

24. “I’m prepared to die in the moment.”- Rihanna

25. The longer ya’ll president is in office the more terrified I become of white men. Being in rooms with large amounts of them is becoming immensely uncomfortable. Like, which one of these dudes in my networking meeting wants me dead or which one of these dudes in my networking meeting thinks I need to go back to Africa. Though the correct thought is how many of these dudes and not, which one.

26. My niece just told me: I’m lovely, kind, pretty, and encouraging.

27. Ashley say’s I’m beautiful.

28. Brittany says I’m hi-Fucking-larious.

I low-key needed all of those opinions. ALSO: Angela Bassett is fione. As fuck. #YoureWelcomeFullSizeRender

29. Make sure you brush you teeth at the bottom. Look in the mirror when you’re done. If there’s plaque present make a dental appointment and floss. #ThankMeLater actually #ThankABLater

30. Minding your business, not being racist, and staying hydrated are all free.

 

Cheers to 3 more years of me telling ya’ll my business on the internet and ya’ll letting me. I love ya’ll. All ya’ll.

 

 

 

For Colored Women Who Are Sick and Tired When Being Sick And Tired Is Not Enough.

For Colored Women Who Are Sick and Tired When Being Sick And Tired Is Not Enough. I see you sis. I know you’re past done. That you want a rain check from any and everything, I get that for colored women rain checks from any and everything are hard to come by. I feel you. I know you wanna lay on the floor and sob into a puddle. I wanna sob too. Actually as I type this the thought of bawling seems much like a necessity. I know that you think when it comes to yourself you don’t have the luxury of giving in to such temptation. I know that you believe that when it comes to yourself nothing is a necessity. It is though. And crying is a healing thing. SO do it. Sit down. Lay down. Bawl, cry, howl, be still. SAY FUCKING NO for once. Breathe. Let the kids soothe themselves. Let someone else figure dinner out or hell go ahead and order in. Luxuriate in the thought of quitting. Then don’t. I see you sis. I wanna quit too. But I can’t. I won’t. As Beyonce says, “Imma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” And as much as you want to, you shouldn’t either. Go ahead and take the time to bawl. At least for tonight. Cause, tomorrow we got work to do.