She says.

She says that she has the best wife in the world and I won’t call her a liar. She’s speaking from her own experience. Her wife is graceful and difficult and thoughtful. She’s beautiful and funny in a snarky depressed writer kind of way. She’s supportive and she’s great but she’s not better than my wife. Nope.

My wife is the best wife. She’s funny and smart and driven. She’s supportive and encouraging and most of all she tries. She does things that are out of her comfort zone just to see me smile. That makes her the best wife.

Randomness 11.30.16

November 2016 is the girl you dated for two weeks who stole your Billy Blanks DVDs and iPhone cords. It needs to go and never come back again.

I hate when people consume things that are not for them and then complain about it when they get it. I’m so not here for all of the ignorant homophobic cisgendered people breaking the Beauty of Moonlight down with their “innocent” Facebook questions and tweets. Like it’s not for you. If you don’t like ketchup on your grits don’t eat the shit. I don’t enjoy men so I just don’t go get me one. I also don’t write think pieces questioning aspects of heterosexual relationships. It’s not my cup of tea so I let the people who drink it deal with its nuances. 

Question: When did you know you were straight?

I don’t share myself often because most people can’t be trusted. It’s not very enlightened of me but *shrugs* it also is what it is.
If we all act like The Blonde Toupee doesn’t exist will he go away? Let’s try. Ok? Ok.

My favorite body is the one I have first thing in the morning. Right after peeing, when my nonexistent abs can be seen if I stand on one leg and squint my head to the left in a smoky bathroom mirror.

Is it weird that I’ve thought of my trainer every time I sat on the toilet today? My hamstrings hurt so good. 

Lots of people talk about how their mate is their best friend. I love my wife and we are friends but she is not my best friend. My best friend and I send inappropriate memes via text message all day. AB is definitely not here for that.

I’m uber grateful that DJ chose Track. Tonight my cousin has a basketball game directly after DJ’s track meet. The noise inside of this gymnasium is unbearable. 

Coach Miller is still too fine *waves* Hey Coach Miller! 

I say things are interesting when I don’t care for them. Today was an interesting day. It didn’t do anything to me… not really. I just didn’t like it. 

Today We Mourn, Tomorrow We Fight.

I’m supposed to trust in the Universe. Supposed to believe in God and trust in his name and all that Jazz. I’m supposed to suck up the fact that my Country has elected the Devil Incarnate to represent us. To not act fearful of the fact that the man who preyed upon, amplified, and gave a platform to the worst parts of the human condition is set to continue that trajectory for at least the next four years. To think that things are going to get better. To trust the same Republican senators who have blocked so many good things in congress just because they could, will now act in the best interests of this same country.

Supposed to continue to pretend that I trust most of my white friends and associates. To stand up in rooms with people who voted against all of the parts of my beings  and believe that they have my businesses best interests at heart. To make believe that DJ’s teachers aren’t a part of the school to prison pipeline. Expected to stand and make pledges to a flag that has never/was never intended to cloak people who look like me and mine.

I should continue to toe the line when it comes to discussing race and injustice, especially on social media. To believe that Amerikka is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

To think that:

  • BLM
  • Standing Rock
  • The Environment
  • The Economy
  • Women’s Rights
  • LGBTQIA Rights

are at the top of anyone’s lists of protection.

I’m supposed to act like I’m not in Mourning. But I am. I SO FUCKING AM. I am distraught. As distraught as I would be if I lost someone close to me. I mean technically I have. Today before I took a Facebook break  I deleted a whole bunch of people who were so called friends who made the choice to vote for a Demagogue whose platform directly effected me when he talked about how horrible the Blacks were, when he talked about taking away LGBT rights, when he hung out with and was endorsed by the KKK,  when he said that women who get abortions should be punished, when he said that he would make Stop and Frisk legal for the entire country, when he talked about not allowing Muslims in the country, when he discusses building that God-Forsaken illogical ass wall, when he And the list goes on.

If I were Jewish I would be sitting Shiva but since I am not I plan to eat a bunch of shit that I shouldn’t, drink my fill of very good wine, sit with my friends and family to give and receive love, move slowly, side eye white people, and cry; Until my mourning is done. And then I plan to fight for every right that I am at the risk of losing.

 

OH: AND HE WILL NEVER BE MY PRESIDENT.

*Disclaimer, I know that not all white people voted for him, some of my best friends are white.*

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.

10 Random Things 10.12.16

1. I’ve been feeling really guilty lately. For being alive, for being depressed, for complaining about this hole in my roof while being lucky enough to have a roof over my head. And friends who come over and tarp it without you asking them to.

2. Darian is 5’6″ tall, when I found out I was really excited. He’s growing. He’s taller than both of his moms and the same height as his dad. Then I realized that he’s 5’6″ and in this country he could be mistaken for a man. A black man. So he went from being officially the same height as his dad to officially public enemy number one in a matter of moments. All in my head. Where I keep the things I dare not say. 

3. I really really really fucking want this fellowship. Like stupid dumb crazy want. AB says that since I’ve applied I need to move on and work on the other writing things that I need to be working on and to give those things my focus. Which I have. But I’m also internally fretting over whether I will get it or not. 

4. I wish that I were closer to my siblings. Sometimes being in my self appointed isolation gets old. 

5. Candida is the devil.

6. My grandma is lying to me about her cancer. She keeps saying that everything is wonderful while she is losing weight and showing other signs of deconditioning. I love her dearly for those lies.

7. I allowed myself to start wanting things. I now feel like I am in a perpetual state of wantingness. (I am aware that I just made that word up.)

8. I’m tired of being so aware of my blackness. It’s 2016. The promise was that we would be so much further by now. They lied.

9. I really want some ice cream. See number 5. Life.

10. I’m reading Small Great Things by Jodie Picoult. So far it is amazeballs. I hope she doesn’t fuck this up. 

Love, peace, and hair grease. 

Same Stuff Different Day

I’m still nursing. People come in and sit around fidgeting while they wait for their issues to be diagnosed. Sometimes, when appropriate I make them laugh. I relate to them. I let them know that this isn’t anything that any of us really want to deal with.

In my head, as all nurses do, I diagnose them: rheumatoid arthritis, liver problems, diabetes. I don’t say anything even when they begin to share their ailments because we all take the vow not to diagnose people. No matter how much training we have we aren’t skilled enough to diagnose people.

It’s the same. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a mechanic. I don’t tell them that I think that their brakes are bad or that what they’re describing sounds like their power steering pump is going out.

I use my training to  let trained people do what they are trained to do and when they give me the go ahead I break the bad news. I sit next to people or I stand behind the counter, depending on what the customer needs. I try to break it to them easily, gently. No one wants to hear that their compressor, the heart of the ac system isn’t working. No one wants to hear that because they didn’t come in for their regularly scheduled check ups a simple thing has gotten out of control and they now need a new rotor, transmission, engine.

I’m still nursing. I left nursing but I am still nursing. Still taking care of people.

There’s Enough Activism For All of Us Stop Throwing SHade

unnamed.jpgI’m very aware of the things that I say out of my mouth, through my pen, or by virtue of my keyboard. I’m mindful of the pictures, books, images, audio- the everything that I both put into  or out of my body. Which is why you will be hard pressed to see me share horrible videos or images. I never need to see the body of a dead person in order to empathize with their families. I don’t need to watch the video of someone being murdered in order to feel like the value that we as a society places on humans is far too little. I don’t believe that police nor civilians deserve to die. And I don’t spend my time sharing any of this on the internet.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions I wonder if people notice my silence. If they assume that I feel one way or the other. If they judge me because I’m not posting my outrage on the internet.

Sometimes, on very rare occasions I wonder if my absence is noted at the town halls or on the picket lines. If people judge me because I very rarely attend these types of things.

And then I wake up and remember that while some people are social media warriors and spreading knowledge on the internet my feet are actually on the ground. I have been doing things like putting on our Back to School Bash and Girl Talk in The Park for years. I have donated numerous times to  way too many causes to name. Food, money, clothes, utilizing my network, etc etc etc. Most of the time without so much as a share from those same social media warriors. AND I don’t judge them. I understand that there is enough activism for all of us.

Whether you choose to be an internet activist or get your feet on the ground in your own town your work matters. We are all doing the work.This world/ our community needs the work of multiple people supporting multiple causes in multiple ways. Each of these causes is important and each of these people, no matter which way they choose to support them is important. The separation that is currently happening over who is the bigger activist and whose activism is better is utterly ludicrous and I for one wish that we would support each other as easily as we shade or look down on each other.I mean seriously don’t we all have BIGGER things to do?

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On Taking A Break

Lately I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed with the state of the world. I’ve always been really sensitive about what’s going on in my community and in the world. Like most little girls I planned to change the world by solving some major human problem when I grew up. Fast forward to now and I can honestly say that I am doing the work. On a daily basis I am making strides to help solve issues in my community.

The work of an activist of any kind can often be emotionally tolling. Many activists suffer from burn out, nervous breakdowns, and even suicide. So it’s very important to take time out to relax, treat yourself and get your mind focused. Which I’ve been trying to do since Girl Talk in The Park was completed. The event was a success but very challenging and heavy to pull off.

Except, my social media accounts don’t really allow for mental breaks. I’m constantly bombarded with the ills of the world, America in particular.

I don’t watch the news because it is inundated with the negative aspects of what humans do to each other. For many years this has been my stance and my salvation. Besides most of the news stations don’t really share the news. When’s the last time you heard a real report about global warming?

All of the stations seem to share the same things that humans seem to love, Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Police Brutality. Throw in racism, children being arrested for being children, and any new technology that’s on the horizon and you’ve got yourself a piece guaranteed to bring in the ratings.

For me, That’s what my social media accounts have begun to look like, click bait. High interest topics designed to elicit a reaction. And honestly I’m cool with it. I strongly believe that people should share what they want to share on their accounts. However, It doesn’t work for me. I don’t always want to read about the horrors of the world. In fact I would much rather go back to the days when people filled their pages with pictures of their new babies and their latest vacations. Anything to get me away from the many many social media activists. People who sit behind their computers and thoughtlessly share pictures and videos of people being horrible to each other. Who share news articles about politicians being straight out racists without talking a quick jaunt over to snopes to verify that tmz- anything is a bootleg version of The Onion. All the while being noticeably missing from doing the actual footwork in their community. I.E. Tampa peeps what have you done about the widening of 275?

I’m not judging… just asking

So I’m taking a break. I won’t be back on my personal Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter Accounts until May 1st and prior to that I’m going to go on a massive unfollowing spree. More than likely if you share fight videos or old news about something the KKK did ten years ago claiming it happened last week,  we’ll still be friends but I just won’t have your shares clogging up my news feed.

I’m also going to take the time to work on my novel, take lots of naps, work on my house, spend REAL and PRESENT time with my family, go to the beach, and read sooooo many books. If you have my number I hope that you’ll reach out to me and connect with me in the real live world.

In the mean time I wish you peace, love, and loads of laughter.

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Adrien

A Return to Arms aka An Inside View of Intersections and How All Black Lives Matter

I rated this book:  * * * * *

A Return to Arms is the story of Toya a black lesbian activist trying to navigate her way through both life and the passages of the Black Lives Matter movement. Her life is a daily struggle of a young person trying to convince the rest of America that Black Lives Matter while attempting to convince the Organization, Rise Up of which she is an active member, that ALL Black Lives Matter. That women, queer people, children, men, single, straight, asexual, all of the intersections of Black Lives must Matter.

As Toya navigates her way through the rising tension and societal that arises after the killing of an unarmed teen by a police officer and the subsequent unrest she deals with the uncertainty of her relationship with another activist who believes that the cause must come before anything else, even her love life.

I hate spoilers so I hope you can get the gyst of the story from what I’ve written above but in two sentences: A Return To Arms is a love story, Love of self, love of community. And a story about the measures so many under represented activists go through to demand equality both in their communities and in the world.

I’m a Sheree L Greer stan. I LOVE everything she writes. I’m sharing that with full disclosure mostly because during a conversation with Sheree about why I don’t really like to review books by people I love, I worry that that love will interfere with me giving an honest unbiased review and she advised me to do the review as authentically as I could, “You call yourself Authentically Adrien be authentic.” Or something like that. Anyways,  This book is phenomenal. It is her best work. It is the work that I sit back and wait patiently to be dissected by  major blogs. It is the book that should land her on the New York Times Bestsellers List. (If it doesn’t you hating)

From the opening paragraph through the last sentence THE LAST SENTENCE I was hooked. I followed Toya’s story like my life depended on it possibly because I am Toya, Black, Queer, Woman, Activist. But also because Toya is so well written. I read somewhere once that an author’s job is to make you feel something and OH did we Feel something. We felt ALL the things. Including the music. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the words to the soundtrack of this book but I could feel the rhythm in the center of my back. I could sense the tempo under my palms as I inhaled this novel from tense movement to sexual moment to heartbreaking earth shattering moment.

I lived through these characters. I understood every single one of them and I even empathized for the characters that I hated. Sheree’s writing makes sure that you understand and relate to both antagonists and protagonists alike. It took me to the different settings and left me with vivid guttural images of the protest scenes. If you have never been to a rally you can officially make that claim after you read this book and I hope that it will help you to understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement if you don’t already.

Be prepared to have some interesting dialogue after you read this book and if you know Sheree personally and you text her in the middle of the night to say things like “Seriously? I hate that dude.” or “OH MY GOD.” Let her know that you didn’t get the idea to do so from me.

 

Purchase A Return to Arms Here.

Read more by/about Sheree L Greer Here.

I received this book to review in exchange for an advanced copy of the book. (Ya’ll know I like books!)

I Hate People

I hate people. I’m not supposed to say that. I’m not living in the world of the ordinary and so I suppose I am supposed to love everyone… but for real, authentically; and that’s who I proclaim to be, I FUCKING hate people.

WHY:

People are selfish

People are inconsistent

People only show up for you when they can gain something from you

People are people

But as I reflect on this I realize that we create these relationships with people. We teach them how to treat us, we let them know what they can expect from us, we accept their bullshit and we keep going back for more. We are addicted to whatever good feelings they give us so no matter what they put us through we keep playing their game.

So what then? It is statistically improbable that you can live an amazing life all alone and never depend on another person for anything. Name one person whose life you admire. Now look up their support system. Not one of those people is able to live that life without a significant amount of encouragement and support. We as people need people to survive.

Ok so now what Adrien, You’re going back and forth you hate people but you need them. What are you even talking about?

I’m talking about loving people as they are and making the necessary changes you need to survive. You can love your mother and be free of whatever pisses you off about her. Tell her what that is and get over it. The same goes for your best friend. Your aunt. Your mailman. Whoever. Have a conversation where you let them know what the issue is. Let them know that you’re not blaming them, you’re just informing them of what doesn’t work for you. From there move on. Strengthen your relationship or if that relationship no longer serves you let it go. There’s nothing wrong with ending a friendship that is no longer working for any of the people involved. Hell, Beyonce just fired her whole damn management team.

Oh yeah, And this is my When I get rich “You wasn’t with me when I was shooting in the gym.” Post

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The Face You Make When You Say Something Crazy On The Internet