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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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.

 

 

 

The 4 Types of People Who Show Up When A Family Member is Sick.

My grandma (whom I call mommy) came to FL for a visit and ended up getting sick and spending almost two weeks in the hospital. Now she’s at my home and my family is trying to figure out how to get her back up north to her home. Needless to say I’m stressed but mostly over the people who show up when a family member is sick.

There are 4 basic types of people who show up when a loved one is really sick. Most of them are good and mean well but at least one of them sucks tremendously.

The know it all – Probably saved and sanctified. Probably hoping to gain something from sick family member. Oftentimes money. Keeps saying “Whatever they (sick family member) want to do is what we’re going to do.” Regardless to whether whatever sick family member is saying is actually what’s best for them. Will frequently remind everyone why they’re in charge – oldest, only daughter, lives closest, etc- even though they’ve shown that they’re only on the scene to be seen and have had ample opportunity to step up to the plate and provide care in the past, though they’ve never stepped up before and are barely stepping up now except to be the loudest person in the room.

The caregiver– Been taking care of sick family member since day one. Genuinely wants what’s best for sick family member. Probably overwhelmed. Probably has a ton of other responsibilities who need them as much if not more as sick family member.  Either doesn’t work or has a super stressful ass job that they have to tend to in addition to taking care of everything else.

The knows a lot but won’t speak up– Probably has some sort of medical background. Probably has a good support system and is well balanced.  Tremendously helpful but rarely speaks. More action less talking is their motto. Probably has no children or older children and a supportive spouse. Probably the best candidate to be the caregiver or to assist the caregiver but won’t because they don’t want to deal with the family drama. Unknown.jpeg

The wants to help but doesn’t know how or The does what they can– Probably lives in a different state than sick family member. Tremendously helpful when they’re able to be near. Frequently checks in or follows up with sick family member and caregiver. Expresses what they think is best in a safe way but supports whatever decision is made. Probably has younger children and is either single or the primary breadwinner of their household. Frequently says “Well that sounds like the best thing for sick family member but I’ll do whatever you all need me to do.”

I’m probably missing some items/people here but *shrugs* my grandma is in my house and she’s declined dramatically so… I’m likely not thinking straight, also Know it All should go and fuck themselves because life would be better for all involved if they did. (That was nicer than what I really wanted to say.)

The System is Against You, But It Ain’t

My little brother is in jail. Not the baby because he has been playing Jail Monopoly since he was fourteen and I shouldn’t say that I wrote him off but *shrugs* I kinda did. This brother though, I just knew that he was going to make it. He was/is this close -> <- to making it  and I’ve done something that I don’t do; recommended him for a job with a friend who has pretty much guaranteed him a career with benefits including paying for him to get a trade where he would/could be set for life. Which he would be starting the second he graduates from high school in May.

I normally don’t do that because honestly, my brothers be tripping. Anger/inconsistency/Laziness/ etc etc. Things too often associated with the job habits of dudes from the hood. Even though my mom took us out of the hood a long ass time ago. But, Not this brother. This one is goofy. Drives you crazy with talking way too damn much, knowing everything in typical teenage fashion, and being a follower. I’ve told my mom in the past that she should send him somewhere. He could make it if he went somewhere far away from bad influences. Especially my other brothers who do things with him that he can’t handle. He might occasionally act like he’s from Newark but this child is straight up Drake in Degrassi corny. Hell he was born in Woodbine NJ. As small town country as one can get.

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Of course, she didn’t. What mom really wants to send her child far away? Especially when he’s a follower who could get into all sorts of things without proper supervision. So this weekend to my utter shock this lame has landed himself in jail with multiple charges of breaking and entering. Except this loser really didn’t do any of those things. This idiot is only guilty of the last two charges, pawning other people’s shit and lying on a pawn form.

His “friends” did the crime and ol lame o is more than likely going to do the time. Even if he doesn’t go to jail he’s probably not hire-able for that nice job, probably won’t be able to go to college, which was his other option, probably now on the same track as the rest of my brothers. I know that that whole sentence is a slippery slope BUT it is also what happens in my experience. Now, I could talk about how if he were a white kid and we had money these charges would go away pretty easily. He’s getting ready to graduate from high school for christ’s sake. He’s a teenage idiot doing stupid teenage things. BUT again in my experience this isn’t what is destined to happen for him. No one really cares about messing up the rest of teens from the hood’s lives.

I’m feeling all of the emotions right now- anger, grief, frustration, sadness, and mostly annoyance. Because while the system IS setup in a way where brown boys are more likely to do prison time for petty crimes, my loser of a brother has no real reason to even be in this situation.

Why wasn’t he at home doing his homework or something? Were there no football games happening at his school for him to go and be cute at while drinking Gatorade, eating cheese fries, and macking on girls his age?

He didn’t need to pawn other people’s crap. My parents provide very handsomely for this idiot including letting him drive my mom’s shiny black pathfinder as if it’s his own. He has a nice house with two parents with a fully stocked fridge and all of the electronics that one would want. He has multiple adult siblings who want to see him thrive so they give him money for suede shoes for his prom, homecoming and anything else he could want AND if he could just go to work with my dad and not get on his last damn nerve he could have a job that pays too well for a barely trained worker. But ALAS B-Rad would rather hang with the wrong people and do the wrong things so now my mom is yet again crying over another idiotic ass black boy guilty of doing things that he shouldn’t do for no other reason than

1: He’s lame.

2: He wants to.

3: He thinks that the system is against him and he has nothing to lose and I want to tell him that yes it is, but also No it ain’t.

 

 

I Can’t Do It All: Just venting

Today was an interesting day. So interesting that my car is still (prayerfully) parked in a parking space in Downtown Tampa. I only minimally freaked out, after I couldn’t find my keys. For a back story, I went to a coffee shop in downtown Tampa to work and kill time in between meetings. After leaving and going to my car I realized that my keys were not in my purse. No big deal. I walk back into the coffee shop thinking that I must’ve simply left them on the table. Nope. No such luck. Not on the table. Not by the cash register. Not in my bag which I emptied out in a corner very calmly. Not anywhere on the street. Possibly in the pocket of the homeless guy who asks for change everyday only for me to tell him my stock excuse “I never have cash.”Anyways long story short, my keys weren’t anywhere to be found, Ashley showed up out of some weird stroke of luck, and the vehicle that we’ve been having outfitted for my new business just so happened to be ready for pickup. So I took her car and she ubered over to pick the other one up.

But, back to the weird day or more appropriately, the day that I started saying that I can’t do it all. Without my car which contains all of my work data I could only work on following up on things that I needed to and getting a much needed filling.

Protip: when you decide that you want to be a real live girl and get your nails done with acrylic, you are signing up for upkeep. With what time? IDK either you will 1: Pull it out of your butt. OR 2: Use the new time you’ve been given since you can’t hold onto your car keys like a proper adult. 

After the filling I went to the grocery store to try my new favorite thing that my family hates: Buy precooked food to doctor up at home. Once home with food doctored up and placed in the oven DJ informed me that he didn’t have time to watch the food because he had to take a shower. In my head I saw a very clear image of Homer Simpson choking Bart

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Honestly I’m too busy and too tired to entertain certain things. My idiotic teenager making stupid comments about time and food that he is going to eat? Nah. Not a battle I wanted to win today.

Of course, he ate before AB and I could get into the kitchen and of course, he didn’t like the chicken.  Since I let he and AB in on my little Greenwise Publix Precooked food doctoring up secret they’ve complained about the taste of the food. Neither of them realize that for months at least once a week they’ve been eating this food with zero complaints. Nor do they realize just how fucking hard it is to write, sell books, run the shops, do all of my admin work, build a new business, run the house, cook, spend hours a week working for my BNI chapter, and and and. But when I finally said the thing that I have been thinking for months, that I can’t do it all and still cook, AB tells me that she doesn’t want me to totally stop cooking. She likes my cooking and can’t I at least do it once a week. To which I do not respond with the first thing that pops in to my head which is, How Sway?

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The Thing I’m Obsessed With.

Friday was the Book Release Party for my new Poetry Book Brownish Green Female  Sheep. It was my first book release so I have nothing to compare it to but to me it was the most amazing Book Release ever. The venue, Ybor City Barbering Company Barbershop and Bar, was beyond perfect. The atmosphere was ELECTRIC. My best friend since 7th grade snuck in the night before which made the night even more special and I was surrounded by friends, family, and associates, the majority of whom all bought the book!!

I was on cloud nine the entire time. Electric from my frazzled nerves and the endless supply of Mimosas the fabulous bartender kept sending my way. My wife, in true AB fashion ensured that the guests were having a great time, my best friend managed me and the book purchases, Sheree L. Greer my mentor/dear dear friend/cohost along with the ridiculously talented Samira Obied hosted the show in epic fashion. So when I tell you that it was the dope show, I mean that in all caps. DOPE SHOW!

I don’t know that I would’ve asked for anything more… Except while taking pictures with my family one of my brothers said to me, “you’re fat you need to work out.” To which I replied “I work out at least twice a week”. To which another sibling replied “you need to work out more than that.” I’m not going to go into anything about how I don’t need their help to lose weight, how I’m struggling with candida, or how neither of them is an authority on weight loss. I’m just not.

For some background, I’m the oldest child and my siblings don’t really know about my eating disorder. They don’t even really know me like that. So I’m not even mad at them  for saying what they said. They don’t know how I hate my body most days. How I work out with my trainer and feel super happy with my progress until I stand in front of the mirror naked. They hadn’t read the book so while they knew that the book was about love, they don’t know that the longest poem in the book is dedicated to Anna. One of my most secret friends. Or she was, I haven’t seen her in years, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about her daily.

They don’t know. They couldn’t know. So I don’t fault them for taking one of the best days of my life and dampening it a little by talking about my weight, they’re humans, and one thing that humans are good at is offering criticisms and critiques as if we would die without doing so. But, If I had one wish, it would be that  we as a society  stopped commenting on things like weight. We have no idea what the other person is truly struggling with.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food obsession you can speak with someone in your local community or at Eating Disorder Hope.

To read Anna You can purchase Brownish Green Female Sheep from my publisher Vital Narrative Press or from Amazon.

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My right hand is itching. According to my grandma that means that I’m going to get some unexpected money. I’m all about that life.

Last night  I gave the Mohegan Sun 6 x more money than I’d budgeted. I’d do it all over again to sit next to my grandma, listen to her throw shade, and laugh at the world. Operation come to CT at least every other month is shaping up to be the best money and time I’ve ever spent.

I’ve worked most of the time that I’ve been in CT. At my grandma’s dining room table while watching her shows and laughing at her antics. As difficult as it is being an entrepreneur, being in charge of my time is worth all of the stress and early mornings.

Yesterday was my publisher’s monthly conference call. I leave those calls knowing that I chose the right publishing house and grateful that they chose me.

The next book that I publish I’m hiring a social media manager. I know that I am in my own way as far as promoting my book is concerned. The nerves that come with the creation of each post are worse than the ones I felt when I used to slam in competitions.

Decisions are made by those who show up.

Every time I’m around a bunch of children I remember that one is enough. I have no idea how people have more than one. I give people with a bunch of kids all of the kudos. And wine subscriptions. I’m sure they need wine more than they need diapers.

2017 is shaping up to be the best year of my life. #ClaimingIt
My book is being released on January 27th. That’s legit less than two weeks away. You can preorder it here: Vital Narrative Press

Since I Can’t Kick and Scream.

As an adult laying on the ground kicking and screaming is frowned upon and heavens forbid you hit or kick an actual person. 

The following things are either illegal or frowned upon so even if you really wanted to you can not:

Kick your spouse.

Even though they seem to relish in only noticing the things that they think you haven’t done while negating to thank you for the 2,653,712.5 things that you have actually done. Not even if you just wanted it to be a play kick. 

Punch your child. 

Even though they are famous for always asking you for things at the last possible minute. “Sign my report card.” As you pull up to the school. “I need money for the trip.” As you prepare to drive off after dropping them off in the school parking lot. “Can I stay at Host?” As you are in the car on the way to pick them up. Not even one of those fake punches where you grab your hand back at the second to last moment.

Choke your employee

 Not even when they have screwed everything up and broken promises that they made to you in exchange for things that they have now already gotten leaving you practically high and drive. Even though that Homer Simpson choke looks so appetizing in this moment.

Yell obscenities at the check out clerk of the grocery store.

Even though you asked her to put the items in paper bags. I mean yeah, leaving the reusable bags at home was your fault but how flipping hard is it to put things in paper when you responded to her paper or plastic question with “Paper please”?

You can’t even push the vendor who screws  you weekly.

Even though their claim to fame seems to be seeing how well than can screw up your day by delivering your parts way later than promised and then lacking any empathy for the fact that you now have to call the customer and tell them that the part is coming hours later than originally promised-onto the ground and kick him below the belt. Not even if you really really really want to. 

You can’t do any of those things. Even though commiting acts of violence sometimes sounds so amazing.

But twice a week my personal trainer comes to my house and for an hour I get to kick, punch, squat, throw, pull, push, and scream obscenities. All while burning massive amounts of calories and melting my fat away.

Thank you Universe and Nick. You’ve saved so many imaginary lives.


Disclaimer: I would never harm another person unless it was in self defense. Especially my family. They’re my world. They drive me absolutely bonkers but I wouldn’t trade them for all of the tea in China. 

It’s Not That Bad

Yesterday at school some kid told DJ that Trump was supposed to win because white people are the backbone of this country. They’re in middle school. This is the nar that they’re parents are teaching them.

After our workout last night a car rolled through our neighborhood and screamed out “white people”.

I have many friends who are saying it’s not that bad or that nothing is going to happen. I’m sure that these same thoughts were thought during every horrible incident in history. I pray that these instances were flukes. I do not believe they were. 

I read the article that lists what Trump plans to do in his first 100 days. As I thought it would be, it is horrible for our country. For the environment. For our world. 

This is the world we live in. 

Unpacking

I’ve just returned from a writer’s retreat with one of my favorite writers in the world. We  worked on our respective projects in a townhouse in Orlando. 2.5 days of uninterruptedness focused solely on doing the work, on writing.

For me a part of writing is the unpacking of things. The novel that I’m currently working on is set in a fictionalized version of the town where my father is from in Southern NJ.

In the beginning of the story I’m nostalgic. I miss the Custard Ranch and Lake Nummy. I want to take my family there. At the Climax of the story I realize that I have all of these reasons why I never go to the family reunion, how I’m always too busy or “want to remember them how they were when they were alive” for funerals, and I realize that I haven’t really been back to my father’s town since the night that I was raped, in my aunt’s home, in my cousin’s bed. How that night pretty much changed everything. How my father’s reaction was the first time anyone broke my heart and how it taught me that no matter who says that they will always have my back, I can always only depend on me.

How after that night I haven’t spoken to my cousin since:
1: she didn’t believe me
2: she was naked in her bed so why did her man come and destroy me.

I realize that these thoughts too are rape culture.

I realize that that night in my father’s town was my introduction to rape culture and how it was the final lesson on why as a woman child I needed to learn to disappear.

I watch this election cycle and witness rape apologists question why Drump’s rape victim waited until she was an adult when the allegation happened when she was thirteen and I want to yell at them that the reason she waited all of this time doesn’t matter. Hell I told and not much happened to him. A person can have cuts and bruises on her vagina and people will still figure out a way to make the incident that person’s fault.

See the Stanford Victim.
See the women in the Holtzclaw case.
Witness the questions.

What were you wearing?
What were you drinking?
Did you laugh with him?
Like Nate Parker’s victim had the two of you been intimate in the past?
Why were you at the party, the club, his house, your aunt’s house.
Why were you doing whatever you were doing that made it possible for him/her/them to do what they did?
 The burden of the proof for alleged rape is on the complainant and anything that they say or do or don’t do or wear will be used against them in a court of law. 

Anything that they say or do or don’t do will be judged on the internet by a jury of the world. Their name and address may be leaked on Fox News.

After that night It would be many years before I would wear a bikini. I never drank in excess, especially if I wasn’t around a shit ton of people who could protect me. I didn’t experiment with drugs. Always walked to my car with one key sticking out of my fist. Took self defense classes. I was leary of all men and most women. I wouldn’t dress provocatively for many years- remember when I was in that jeans and t-shirt phase for a long ass time? That and so many things came out of that night.

A night when I went to sleep a teenager wearing a long nightgown and awoke to someone already inside of me. A temptress with perky breasts and no panties on. A night that taught me that the police don’t have the rape victim’s back in the ways portrayed on Law and Order. A night that would eventually lead to the first heartbreak of my life when my father didn’t believe me. Where I lost one of my best friends. Isn’t that a Facebook meme? How a cousin is your first best friend?

Writing is supposed to be cathartic but I didn’t enter the writing of this story hoping to get any relief from the events of my past. I’m a Landmark Grad. I’m over that. Or so I thought.  I went in to the writing of this story hoping to write a story about a girl who gets raped and portray the way the adults act in a manner that shows adults how they should respond to girls who are victimized in their lives.

I hoped to raise awareness.

I hoped to show other girls that they aren’t alone. To inspire them to tell someone. If that person doesn’t respond appropriately, to tell someone else. (I find that teachers are great people to tell. They will tell some shit and back you all the way up.)

I hoped so many things  that authors hope when they write novels centered on true events, mostly about lessons, and I still do. But now, I also hope to get the courage to go to my father’s hometown. To take my family to buy chicken tenders and french fries from the Custard Ranch with honey mustard. To convince AB to swim in the lake even though it is not the clear blue water that she prefers to swim in. To introduce DJ to cousins whose entire adult lives I’ve missed. To take back the power from my rapist. Because he did rape me. And  I did wake up with him already on top of me. Already inside of me. And I deserve to get back every single thing that he took on that day.