Thank You, Therapy

I was 18 years old when I realized that I needed to address my mental health.

Freshman year of college kicked my entire ass and honestly, I wanted to die.

Honestly, I tried to die. But, that Spring of 2013 I finally said to myself that I needed to do something about this.

I remember leaving my dorm room and venturing off to the health center, whose walls I had been in numerous times between that first and second semester of freshman year, but this time was different.

I wanted to conquer myself.

But things didn’t quite work out that way.

I walked into the counseling center where I had to fill out paperwork, then they had me sit down with someone who did what is called an intake interview, where she asked me a series of questions about my background, my family’s background, and ultimately what brought me there.

I answered her questions as honestly as I could, but then was cut off. This white girl, who I later found out was a graduate student in the counseling program, looked me square in my eyes and said, “Well, it doesn’t LOOK like anything is wrong with you.”

I got quiet and I remember my stomach twisting in knots.

At 18/19 years old, I didn’t have the language to describe that I was processing trauma and that regardless of how strong I looked on the outside, I was hurting bad on the inside.

That’s the problem. We assume that black folks, especially black women don’t hurt. They assume we don’t suffer from trauma or pain. They assume we can endure so much and not break.

But there I was, in that office, trying my hardest not to break. When she said that, I couldn’t help but think to myself “Well damn, maybe I am making this shit up in my head…..”

Needless to say, I left that office. I never went back.

And I just thugged it out with my mental health for the rest of the school year, then the summer, then the fall and winter, and then for about 3 or 4 more years until 2017.

Those years saw a lot of pain.

More trauma.

More self-sabotage.

I’ve never been diagnosed, but maaannnnnnn those depressive episodes I experienced often took a huge toll on me mentally and emotionally.

A couple of emotional breakdowns and rounds of self-sabotaging destructive behavior later, I figured I needed to try counseling again.

This time though, I wanted to try spiritual counseling with the pastor I had at the time. Every week for a couple months, we would discuss my issues and he advised me on how to approach things from a spiritual standpoint.

In our sessions, I learned a lot about building an authentic relationship with God and how to turn to prayer more often rather than unhealthy coping mechanisms. It was during this period that I started keeping prayer journals and casting my cares on the Lord (1st Peter 5:7)

I’m not sure when I stopped going to spiritual counseling, but I do think the decision to stop was a mutual one.

Everything was fine for a while, but towards the end of 2016, I had another emotional breakdown.

The irony in this is that I am known as someone who keeps a smile on her face and is somewhat known as the life of the party. People typically come to me for encouragement, so it was mind boggling that I had sunk so low.

But I did. And once again, I had to figure out how to pick myself up again.

During that time, Solange released A Seat At The Table and those mornings and nights when I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t eat, wasn’t sleeping well, damn for sure wasn’t cleaning my room it was that album that pushed me to keep going and do something about this.

But, I didn’t do anything. At least not right away.

Senior year of college rolled around and I anxious as hell about life post grad. However, it wasn’t just the future I was stressed about, I was also exhausted by the toxic relationships I engaged in, my self-destructive behavior, and struggled hard with loving and accepting myself fully.

By then I had figured out that I wanted and needed a Black female therapist in my life and if I had to walk my ass back into my school’s counseling center then that was what I was gone have to do.

Now most people, (self included) tend to stay away from places where they had a negative experience. But my school’s counseling center was convenient, affordable, and plus the white girl who judged me freshman year no longer worked there, so it was a win.

Things had changed. First of all, the assessment they had me take was online now and I now had the option of picking the race/ethnicity of the therapist I wanted to see. Talk about autonomy and control!

A couple days later, I was back in therapy and went every week up until I graduated.

I learned so much about myself during those 5 months AND it was refreshing to connect with a Black, female, therapist.

I learned that the key to peace is acceptance.

I learned what boundaries were and how to set and maintain them.

I learned the importance of being present.

After I graduated, things took a toll on me mentally.

Post grad blues, working jobs I hated, a pregnancy followed by an abortion, more self-sabotaging and self-destructive behavior. I didn’t take the time to stop and process anything. All of those different things going on affected me greatly. But always the one to never stop smiling, not many knew what I was going through at the time.

The unfortunate part was, I knew I needed therapy but what stopped me was that I couldn’t afford it. The health insurance offered by my job at the time was public aid health insurance and I wasn’t sure if I could get a black therapist again and didn’t wanna risk it. In hindsight, doing some research would’ve saved me from a lot of suffering.

Instead of going back to therapy, I self-helped as best as I could with:

  • Books on self-development
  • Wine
  • God
  • Podcasts, such as Therapy 4 Black Girls
  • Astrology
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Partying
  • Writing

For a while, it worked. I learned how to name and regulate my emotions.

I learned why I acted the way I did in certain situations.

I learned healthier coping mechanisms for those anxious and depressive moments.

I got comfortable talking to myself + trusted friends.

I still would’ve rather been talking to a therapist, but getting in debt behind my mental health wasn’t something I wanted to do. And that fear, along with the stigma of seeking mental health services is what stops a LOT of us from going.

2019 came around, and everything was fine at first.

But then May came and I knew I had to stop putting it off and go talk to somebody. I was watching myself slip back into self-destructive behavior, my attachment style to certain people was getting out of hand, I was self-sabotaging and bending boundaries, and to put all that simply, I was sick of my own shit.

So, I took to Instagram and found a therapist and had my first session on May 15th and have been going as consistently as possible every 2-3 weeks.

Life since May has been a damn roller coaster, and if you read Exploring Celibacy then you know why.

Therapy is helpful when you do the work. And you gotta be committed. And you gotta be disciplined cuz this shit is not fun, not easy, and is exhausting. But, I am thankful for therapy. Being in control of my mental health both intrigues me and makes me feel liberated.

Thank you, therapy for teaching me that my mental wellness is important.

Thank you, therapy for teaching me that I truly do deserve peace and should not have to fight for it.

Thank you, therapy for giving me safe spaces to process trauma and cry about it.

Thank you, therapy for letting me know that there is strength in vulnerability.

Thank you, therapy for showing me that I have the power to create a new normal.

Thank you, therapy for showing me that mental health is not cookie cutter or black and white.

Thank you, therapy for helping me forgive myself.

Thank you, therapy for helping me strengthen my self-love.

Thank you, therapy for helping me become secure in my decision making and to trust myself.

Thank you, therapy for giving me the tools to have those difficult ass conversations I’ve had to have with people all year long.

Thank you, therapy for teaching me the importance of boundaries and how to respect others’ boundaries as well.

Thank you, therapy, for helping me gain clarity on what I want in a partner, out of a job, out of my life.

Thank you, therapy for making me feel empowered enough to write, tweet, text, talk, and Facebook about my experiences with you. Those messages I get often about how I inspired someone to take control of their mental health never get old.

Thank you, therapy for making me no longer ashamed of what I’ve been through.

Needless to say, therapy is awesome to me.

I think everyone should go at some point in their lives, even if you think nothing is “wrong” with you.

If you’re thinking about getting some therapy in your life, here is your confirmation that you should go.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of, and even though processing trauma can be exhausting AF, you can take a nap afterwards.

Take care of yourselves, loves.

Love,

Kia


Let’s chat!

  1. Have you ever been in therapy? What was/is your experience like?
  2. If you haven’t been to therapy yet, what is stopping you?
  3. If you’re currently in therapy or have been in the past, what are some things you’ve learned about yourself.
  4. Why do you think there is so much shame associated with seeking help with our mental health?
  5. What can this world do to make mental health services more affordable and accessible to all?
  6. Have you experienced any negativity from friends or family for seeking help about your mental health?
  7. Leave a message for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
Advertisements

Forgive You, Forgive You Not

I had this dream once.

A person who really hurt me sat me down, grabbed my hand, looked me deep in my eyes and apologized for everything they put me through over the years.

They profusely apologized, asking for verbal confirmation that I forgave them. In the dream, I didn’t say a word. I just stared into this person’s brown eyes and processed what they said.

And then, I woke up.


As much as I know bitterness is unbecoming, forgiveness is really hard for me. Especially when I love you. Especially when I trust you.

And yet, people fall short all the time and hurt us– whether it’s intentionally or not and then what? We are the ones left to pick up the pieces.

Picking up the pieces wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t feel confused about it all the time.

Why haven’t they came up with a word yet for when you’re in the in-between? In between holding a grudge and letting it go?

The space between the bitter taste of the past and the unknown of the future? The paranoia of the present. Will our souls ever be truly settled after betrayal?

Forgive You:

Does this mean I reconcile with you?

Does this mean I have to act distant towards you?

Does this mean it won’t ever happen again?

Why am I debating this shit anyway?

Maybe forgiveness would be easier if the dream I described at the beginning of this came true.


Forgive You Not

I’m comfortable here.

Bitterness is a defense mechanism for my vulnerability.

Sometimes, we all want something to hold over someone’s head…. especially if they ain’t verbally told us sorry.

But…

If I don’t forgive you, who am I really hurting here? The answer is me.


The bottom line is this:

Forgiveness is an act of fearlessness.

Sometimes you’re not going to get an apology.

And that’s okay.

Life will go on. They will go on. And you too, will go on.

Forgiveness does not mean you have to reconcile.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you heal in the same environment you got sick in.

Let me say that again: FORGIVENESS DOESN’T MEAN YOU HEAL IN THE SAME ENVIRONMENT YOU GOT SICK IN. (I’m yelling because I am talking to myself)

With that being said, if you struggle with forgiveness like me, just understand that it is something that you will choose to do……

or not.


Let’s chat!

  1. What’s hard for you about forgiveness?
  2. Have you ever been in the in-between before?
  3. If you hold grudges, what makes you do so?
  4. Are you afraid to forgive because you’re afraid that you’ll be taken advantage of again?

Exploring Celibacy

I have been having sex since I was 14 years old. As you read this, please understand two things about that: 1. That is not something I am flexing about. 2. That is something I no longer live in shame about either.

It is just a fact. And like most facts, mine come with a story. The story goes like this: It was never my idea to begin having sex so early. But, I had a boyfriend at the time who was older than me. He wanted to have sex. I wanted to please him.

The rest was history.


I’ve been trying to find the words to describe what the last 11 years have been like for me. Outside of therapy, I never took the time to process the years of recurring trauma and how it impacted me. I guess you can say that I am unpacking it here with you. If you’re still reading this, then I should be transparent and let you know that the last 11 years has left me with I’ve experienced:

  • Countless heartbreaks.
  • A couple trips to the clinic because chlamydia is real, and not being safe sexually is real too.
  • 2 pregnancies followed by 2 abortions 2 years apart.
  • Being treated like a sex object.
  • Being summed up by my sexual ability.
  • My discernment just not being used.

Still reading? Alright, let’s keep going.


Back in May of this year, I started therapy again. What brought me back in there was a combination of things, namely the emotionally draining interactions I was having with men and how I was worried that I would break. If you know me, you know that I am an advocate for mental health and I know myself well enough to know when things ain’t right. May was a crazy ass month in itself, but I knew something was going to happen. And lo and behold, I missed a period and I was pregnant for the second time.

Then it was like a domino effect of inconvenient shit happening, a lot of poor decisions on my behalf.

After deciding to terminate this pregnancy as well, I found myself back in my therapist’s office, processing things. The beginning of the summer was difficult on ALL levels, but a source of my unhappiness was definitely my choices in men. While I won’t place all blame on them, always remember that you have the power to choose.

And I kept choosing wrong. I noticed a pattern. While every guy I’ve been with was NOT emotionally draining or toxic, I particularly found myself attached to the guys who were emotionally unavailable. Or the guys who only liked fucking me, but never wanted to BE with me. It was crazy, because how could me, Ms. #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge be so…. adamant in not loving myself? In choosing wrong? For a while, I felt fraudulent as fuck, because:

I was choosing chaos over the peace that I rightfully deserved.

It was as if self-sabotage was my middle name. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I needed a reset. I wanted to reset my mind, my body, and most importantly my spirit. Because whether it was self-inflicted or not, how sane would you be if you kept experiencing recurring trauma?


It was per my therapist’s recommendation that I “be still” and not date. At first I was resistant to it, because I ALWAYS had someone to talk to. Go out on dates with. Have different forms of intimacy with. And yes, have sex with. So when she recommended it, at first I was like

Like girl what do you even mean?! For 11 years, damn near my WHOLE identity was wrapped up into who I was dating, and now I gotta be by myself?????? I stared at her for what seemed like an eternity, and agreed.

It was me who decided to take it a step further and be celibate.

While the words celibate and abstinence are used interchangeably, my definition of celibacy is when you intentionally decide not to engage in sexual acts with other people.

A special note to add is that celibacy is NOT when you simply don’t have someone to have sex with. Celibacy is more deliberate and intentional. Not a lil dry spell.


The interesting thing about all of this is that I’m not even a person who has a “high” sex drive (whatever that means to you), but I can seriously go for months at a time without it. In fact the longest I’ve been without sex was this one time for 9 months in high school.

In fact, a lot of guys I’ve been sexual with always complained that I never wanted to have sex as frequently as they would like. There’s reasons behind that.

What’s interesting to me, is that many religious people would say that me enduring all this shit is probably my “punishment” for engaging in sex so early. I’m not sure about all that, but I will say that I’ve learned from every decision I’ve ever made.

Anyway, another reason I am choosing to intentionally pursue celibacy is because I wanna snatch my power back. As I said earlier, I ain’t NEVER not had someone. I may not be big on sex but I am big on intimacy and companionship. And while I’ll always be big on intimacy and companionship, I am curious to know who I am and learn what I can accomplish when the focus is 100% on me.

Ask yourself, who are you when you remove distractions and pour energy into yourself? Get to know that person. Get to know them well.


Many are curious about how I am able to survive, and with 2 months in, I can say so far so good. This is partly due to me:

  • Not having a high sex drive in the first place
  • Intentionally setting boundaries, cutting off, or simply blocking ALL the guys I was dealing with. When it ain’t no prospects, it makes things a lot easier, lol. And at this point, if you got a crush on me… just keep it to yourself lol.

I’ve even become vocal with guys I meet at social functions who seem interested in getting to know me further: I am single and celibate and I won’t be changing that any time soon. That usually keeps them away lol. But I don’t mind.

The part that has been hard for me thus far, is definitely the lack of companionship and intimacy. I’ve had a lot of lonely days and nights (which I’m sure I’ll have more of) but this piece of mind is wayyyyy better than the bullshit I USED to be on.


I look at celibacy in a positive way. It’s not that I can’t get laid. The problem is, I nor majority of the men I chose to lay with valued me…like ALL of me.

While the decisions that led me to be celibate for at minimum of a year was dramatic, I do believe that things had to happen in the way that they did for me to get it. I also knew I had some areas in my life where I wanted to have more discipline. When I put my mind to it, I can be pretty impulsive and I knew I had to control my impulses in order to clear my mind.

Keep in mind, I don’t think sex is bad, it’s just that for me, sex was a distraction. Sex was a crutch. I was using sex as a tool to get some niggas to like me. Sex gotta go. At least for right now.

I think denying yourself of that instant gratification you get from busting a nut clears up a lot of things for you emotionally and mentally.

Now that I am intentionally taking a year long hiatus, I am amazed at the things I’ve accomplished and the clarity I’ve gained in these short 8 weeks. I’m excited about my growth a year from now.


What’s funny is that ever since I’ve declared my celibacy, things instantly started changing around me. First off, I never knew there were so many rules surrounding celibacy. Just because I am celibate doesn’t mean that:

  • I don’t think about sex, because I definitely still do. In fact, I had a flashback the other day that made me wanna — nevermind!
  • My celibacy exploration is me trying to convince YOU to be celibate too. Have enough sex for the both of us if you can, we ain’t all gotta be dry out here like me lol I just hope that you are being safe, intentional, and laying with someone who cares about you.
  • I’m not gone masturbate when and if I please, because I am. I personally believe that bringing myself to orgasm is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done AND it stops me from making terrible decisions, which is the reason why I’m here in the first place lol.

In true Kia fashion, I like to go on journeys in my own special way.


Understand this: just because I am single and celibate now does not that I don’t want that romantic love, because I definitely do. But this time around it HAS to be healthy. I want a love where I don’t have endure suffering first, and those desires start with me. Searching for those things through sex ain’t it and hopping from person to person ain’t it either it. Remember ya’ll, I don’t think sex is bad I am just in a space where I have to be more discerning and careful with it. Plus, piece of mind and clarity are better, right?

As much time and energy I’ve spent these last 11 years pleasing others, it’s time to pour that into me. And while I don’t expect this journey to be easy, I do know that it will be worth it.

Send me some good luck and good vibes as I try this thang out!

Love,

Kia


Here’s some questions I posed to my Instagram followers a couple days ago. Feel free to answer in the comments below:

  • Have you ever been celibate?
  • If you are currently celibate, what influenced you to do it?
  • What’s the longest you’ve been without sex?
  • If you’ve never been celibate, what’s stopping you?
  • Do you think there is a difference between being celibate and just not having someone to have sex with?
  • What have you learned about yourself in your time of celibacy?
  • What advice would you give someone who is currently practicing or thinking about practicing celibacy?

Lessons For Our Daughters

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of facilitating a session for 7th grade girls while my coworker was out of town. Something I really enjoy about working with young people — and black girls in particular is that I see a lot of myself in them. Thought processes, mannerisms, and of course boy drama entertains the hell out of me.

As I was facilitating the session, questions about my personal life came up and I didn’t mind answering.

“Miss Kia are you married?”

“No.”

“Do you got a boyfriend?”

“No”

“Kids?”

“No.”

“Well danggggg. You must be lonely! You ain’t got no man, nothing”

We laughed. They didn’t mean it in a disrespectful way. Hell, when I was about 12 or 13, I felt the same way.

I asked, “Why I gotta be lonely just because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband?”

They didn’t really have an answer. I didn’t expect them to.

It’s something interesting about what we teach girls about finding fulfillment in other people, particularly boys. It starts young. And then those girls grow up into women who think they “need” to have a man or kids just so they won’t be lonely.

So when you don’t have those things, what exactly does society paint you as?

I pondered on that for weeks. But instead of questioning my own self-worth, I decided to think about what type of messages are we communicating to our daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins, etc. ?

What lessons should we teach to the generations after us, so that they can make better decisions (and mistakes) than we did?

LESSON #1 – YOU DON’T “NEED” A RELATIONSHIP TO BE WHOLE

I remember when I was about 12, and I got in trouble by my mama because I wrote in my diary about how I wanted a boyfriend sooooo badly lol. Like, I’m not sure who’s son rejected me or wasn’t paying attention to me but baby, I just felt as if my life wasn’t complete if I didn’t have a boyfriend lol. My mama sat me down and explained that I didn’t need to have a boyfriend to validate me. And THAT, that is a message I wanna yell from the mountaintops to the ears of every little girl that I know who grows up under the male gaze. Meaningful connections with others are important, but you don’t have to spend your whole life pining away for it. And you’re not a weirdo if you don’t yet desire (or never desire) those things either.

LESSON #2 – BENCHMARKS ONLY EXIST IN YOUR MIND

“By 25 I should have ______”

“I wanna be married by ______”

Benchmarks. As a 25 year-old, I’m not sure why having all your shit together by this age is stressed to us by society, but I am learning that putting benchmarks on WHEN you should accomplish your accomplishments is bullshit.

This is not to be confused with goal setting, because making realistic, obtainable goals is important of course BUT life does happen. When we push the narrative on girls that they need to have this and that by the time they are a certain age, they’ll likely work their whole lives trying to obtain it, but what happens if she doesn’t? What will society say about her then? What is she going to say about herself? Let’s make sure we tell our daughters to worry only about the things that she can control and whatever is meant for her will happen in its own perfect timing.

LESSON #3 – DEFINE YOURSELF FOR YOURSELF

So many big and little girls don’t know who they are yet. They haven’t went through the process of destroying themselves and later building themselves back up over and over again. When we are in that state of unknowing, we rely on outside forces to tell us WHO we are, HOW we should act, dress, think, etc. Young girls such as the 7th graders I mentioned earlier in the post are quite impressionable. If I stress nothing else in this post, I want us to teach our girls that being an individual is key. Like Audre Lorde said, we have to define ourselves for ourselves and I think the best way to promote that to our daughters is by modeling that behavior of individuality. Let them know that it’s okay for them to be different. Let them know that it is okay for them to stand out from the crowd. Let them know that society will try and force them to conform but they should always push back and stand firm in their own beliefs, fuck who doesn’t agree.


  1. When you were younger, in what ways did society pressure you to conform to certain standards or beliefs?
  2. Why do you think girls are trained on how to be partners for men but boys aren’t trained to be partners for women?
  3. What do you think when you see a highly successful woman who is unmarried, single, with no children? What does society say about her?
  4. What lessons would you want your daughter or other young girls in your life to know?

A Love Letter To My Ego

 

c84249ca-201d-413b-b4eb-40f022015d13

I think I’m in a toxic relationship with my ego.

The crazy part about it though, unlike most toxic things in my life, I can’t just get rid of her. She’s apart of me, just like I am apart of her. For every bad decision she has empowered me to make, she has also served as my protector away from the fuck shit. She reminds me not to settle and she makes me want to hold my head high, regardless of circumstances stacked against me.

Even with her good qualities, I’d be foolish to ignore that our relationship can get quite unhealthy at times.

Usually, I battle between letting her run the show (re: my life) completely, or I suppress her too much. That’s when the questions pop up: When should I starve her? When should I feed her?

So, I researched. I reflected deeply about who I am and who I want to be. This is necessary, because in order to know who she is, I must first know who I am.

Without further ado, here is my love letter to my ego.

Dear Ego,

Society teaches us to be ashamed of you, but lately I have wanted to do nothing but embrace you. Oftentimes we clashed because I thought we were so different. I thought that I was growing too much to have an ego, that I was above all egocentric things.

Truth is, I’m not.

I’ll admit though, I do get frustrated with you. I’ve allowed you to get me mixed up in some wild things girl. I’ve allowed you to make me unteachable at times. Too stubborn to ask for help. I’ve let you convince me that we needed to be stroked — by people who didn’t have our best interest at heart, all because we were chasing for thrill and attention that we didn’t even need. You’re sensitive. When your feelings get hurt, I allow you to make some of the most asinine decisions I’ve ever seen. I use the phrase “I allowed” because contrary to your belief, it is ME who controls you and NOT the other way around. That being said, moving forward I must do a better job at controlling you because we’re 25 now. Our childish and petty side shouldn’t be exposed to nobody. We want a healthy emotional state and we don’t wanna fuck up no bags (re: money and opportunities) just because we haven’t tapped into self control. We also don’t want to repeat the same unhealthy patterns as we seek to develop and maintain relationships with people. You’re not a demon. You’re more like the annoying younger sibling that I love so much but still have to let you know when you’re overstepping your boundaries.

On the contrary, I love you because you have allowed me to finally recognize you, thus making me more self aware. You remind me daily that I’m the shit. You encourage me to never settle. You help me to have unwavering faith in what I believe in. You let me know that I can talk my shit AND I can back it up. Ironically, you ever hold me accountable at times, especially when I want to step out of character and do something stupid. You help me not focus so much on pleasing others and help me discern which guys are right for me and which ones aren’t. This side of you is like the grown up version of me. You aren’t meek. You don’t dim your light for anyone. You manage to stay humble when necessary but trust me… when I let you out to play, you aren’t scared to tell people who you are and exactly what you are about. What I love most about this side of you is that you aren’t easy to impress.

As I gain more wisdom, I know exactly what I must do to balance you out. I no longer desire to be controlled by you or hide you. I know when to feed you and when to starve you. Because of you, you have taught me exactly when to shut up and when to speak out. Like code-switching for the psyche, we have learned exactly who and what we can reveal ourselves to, a necessary survival tactic if you’re gonna make it in this world.

That being said, I love you ego. You are balanced. And thank you for being apart of me.

Love,

Kia

Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your ego? How do you manage it?

When do you know when to feed your ego and when do you know when to starve it?

What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever allowed your ego to make you do?

Surviving Misogyny

The past two weeks have been rough for 2019. With only 16 days in, we have learned:

  • Pretty much all our faves have been trash/are trash
  • People STILL ain’t listening to nor giving a fuck about black girls and women
  • People would rather advocate for a rapist cuz he makes great music… and the WHOLE city of Chicago knew it

+

Regardless of his proven history, it is grown ass women out here still willing to buss it open for this man because… he’s still sexy to them????

Whew chile. We are truly living in some dark and ghetto times.

+

Y’all President has shut the government down due to a wall he can’t get built.

More or less tho, this post isn’t about Rapist Kelly. In fact, I never watched the documentary. I don’t need to and I don’t want to. However, I will say this:

Furthermore:

• Just because you’ve been abused, doesn’t give you the right to abuse others.

• I can’t be friends with those who have no empathy for the sexually abused. So many people are deleted off my social media and I could not be happier. 

• While yes, the outrage should have been in place 30 years ago, it simply wasn’t. Or maybe it was but again… y’all do NOT give a fuck about black women anyway cus anytime we try and speak up, y’all try to silence us! So it’s like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

• This shit isn’t an attack on Black men. Everybody should be held accountable regardless of race. Just say y’all wanna be white men and get away with everything… even if it’s sexual abuse. 🙃

• I was told that there were women in that doc who know of Rapist Kelly’s history, saw that child porn, etc but still consented to go with him… while they are indeed BIRDS, they still did NOT deserve what happened to them. Hopefully moving forward they will have better discernment but yeah. That nigga is bat shit crazy.

• Also… for you people who keep bringing up age differences between say.. your own parents etc please understand that there was likely no manipulation taking place AND they were able to CONSENT. Not coerced, preyed on, manipulated, kidnapped etc BUT enthusiastically consented.

• Finally, to you niggas who keep bringing up girls who got picked up in high school by grown niggas or who were messing around with security guards… you make a moot point because a) Girls wouldn’t be getting into cars with grown niggas if the niggas wouldn’t of been pulling up in the first place. And b) Can’t mess with a security guard if he wasn’t trying to mess with you in the first place. Adults should always be held accountable, so stop trying to dissolve people of it.

Anyways, I say all this to say: Fuck Rapist Kelly. *cues Boondocks episode*

Again though, this isn’t about him. I just got one question: how are we gonna survive misogyny? Cuz truthfully y’all, misogyny and patriarchy have done a number on us all. It’s something we ALL have to unlearn.

Misogyny is the reason why we believe 50 men calling one girl a hoe but if 50 women say that she has been assaulted by that man, we question it or say she’s lying.

Misogyny is the reason why it was deemed acceptable for young boys as young as 9, 10, 11 years old getting sucked and fucked on by grown ass women as if that’s not sexual abuse too.

Misogyny is the reason why girls have strict dress codes in school, and get penalized for showing something as simple as a shoulder.

Misogyny is the reason why we only allow boys and men to show anger and rage because to show any other emotion makes him a bitch.

Misogyny is the reason why women are deemed the weaker between the sexes, and we know that ain’t true.

Misogyny is the reason why niggas feel entitled to our time, space, numbers, bodies, etc and if we DON’T give it to them, then we gotta fear if they’ll react violently 🙃.

Misogyny is the reason why women get pressured into taking back their emotionally and maybe even physically abusive partners back, but if she cheats you gotta drop her like a bad habit..

Misogyny is the reason why trans women are getting killed at alarming rates.

Misogyny is the reason y’all don’t respect sex workers of any kind.

Misogyny is the reason why politicians can debate when and how we can get pregnant, get access to birth control, and how much we get paid.

Misogyny is the reason why Rapist Kelly and other people like him were allowed to roam free for so long.

Y’all get the gist now, or should I keep going?

While that’s not an exhaustive list, bitch I am exhausted. But imagine how exhausting it is trying to survive all this shit on a day to day.

Then it’s like… with all this news coming out about your faves and people just refusing to be silent anymore, it leaves me to question: Where do we go from here? How do we start the process of unlearning? Is there exactly one answer? Do we just cancel people left and right but leave our own internal misogyny unchecked?

Feminism ain’t always the answer (because #WhiteWomen and their shenanigans will literally throw the rest of us under a bus.) but I will say this:

I think people hate feminism or simply women feeling empowered enough to speak up about things that they once kept buried and locked away because it puts a mirror on them.

It forces themselves to be held accountable.

To ask and answer those hard questions: Am I creepy?

Have I done some creep shit?

Have my guys done some creep shit and I sat back and said/did nothing?

And you know what G? Most of us have.

Like Chance said in his interview with Jameliah Lemieux, regardless of your proximity to black women, we tend to dismiss the trauma and pain of our day to day interactions with misogyny.

Unfortunately, some of us have had to parade our own trauma just for niggas to not only humanize women, but to fucking get it.

It sucks. Truly. Because we should respect women just off GP but unfortunately, that’s not how this world is set up… until we started speaking up.

Demanding respect.

Amplifying our voices and educating not only ourselves, but those that are willing to learn too.

And unlearning our own internalized misogyny, because that’s the hardest part.

Unlearning is not an overnight process, nor is it easy. You basically gotta ask yourself the hard questions and analyze what messages about certain people were communicated to you and then based off those messages, how did you interact with those certain groups of people?

Truth be told we are all socialized in some type of way. Are your thoughts truly your own or are you simply a product of your environment?

As of late, I have vowed to stop arguing on the internet with people about sensitive topics because tone is everything and Chile… you just can’t talk to people who ain’t willing to listen or learn. Plus, healing is more effective when it’s done off the internet in my opinion.

So what I’ve personally done is I started having conversations with my male friends and while we don’t always agree, I WILL say that they leave conversations with me with a new perspective and I’m hoping a willingness to just do better.

So where do we go from here?

⁃ Create a space (preferably offline) with a community of folks who really want to learn and do better..

Even if it’s just 1 person that’s a start.

Never stop speaking up.

I commend everybody I’ve seen over the past couple weeks use their platforms to amplify the voices of survivors. People try to silence black women ALL THE TIME but per usual, we ain’t going.

Nip shit in the bud as soon as it happens.

You don’t have to live in fear anymore. There’s no reason why celebrities and non-celebrities are allowed to roam this earth so freely after knowing about the atrocities committed against women and children. We gotta do better and it starts by being non-complacent.

Go volunteer somewhere.

I came across this list of places in Chicago that provide services and help those who have experienced sexual assault. If you’re not in Chicago, well…. Google IS your friend. Use it and take action.

Surviving misogyny isn’t easy and I’m ready to live in a world without it. But we can’t do that until we unlearn, heal, and create a better tomorrow.

Are you up for the challenge? Is that something you want to commit yourself to?

Or do you wanna stay complacent, because misogyny is so deeply embedded in us that we really can’t imagine/ don’t want to have a world without it?

Thanks for reading my story.

Love,

Kia

Welcome To Chapter 7

Photos by Tye Moores | @photyegraphy | @photyegrapher

January 1st brought in a new year and also 7 whole years of me being a blogger.

I’m in awe. I feel like a proud mama watching her baby grow up because in a sense… my blog IS my baby.

The best thing about being a blogger for so long is that I have grown up with it. I have been in full control of how I want it to look, I have refined my brand over and over again, I have grown to accept myself and all the things that make me a woman, a blogger, and everything in between.

To commemorate such a momentous milestone in my life, I literally sat and thought about doing a photoshoot — alter ego style. I chose this alter ego style photoshoot because over the years, I’ve always struggled with how open do I want myself to be to my friends, family, my readers, fans of the blog?

As transparent as I am with my writing, the struggle of deciding how open I want to be has always been a bit of a crucifix. I always felt like I had to choose between being a business woman, keeping my ratchet side tucked away, not really being emotional on here, etc.

Then suddenly, it’s like something spoke to me….

It was like “Kia… it’s okay to show the different sides of you, that make you, YOU.”

So then I had a bit of an existential crisis, spent a few weeks really pondering well…. who am I? It took a minute but I think this photoshoot conveys the perfect message I am trying to get across. I fully embrace who I am and what I’m about and I have solidified my many roles that have developed within me because of this blog.

Yes, I am a professional blogger but I am also a person who loves to have fun, who is emotional, who is an educator, a podcast host, a free spirit, a twerker — I am all these things and then some. And I love it!

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the pics from my shoot, shot by the amazingly talented Tye Moores a Chicago based photographer and brand manager. I love her work and have admired it from afar all throughout 2017-2018 and was ecstatic when the opportunity presented itself for us to work together. I literally wrote her name down in my journal for people I would like to work with and boom, it was manifested. Anyway, you can connect with Tye + see more of her work on her Instagram @Photyegrapher or her Twitter @TicTacTye

On to the pics!

Fom Kween K to Kia Smith Writes

Do yall remember when I first started blogging, and I went by Kween K? Remember Kween K interviews? While I don’t go by Kween K anymore, Kween K still lives within me. I love this shot because Tye really captured the essence of who I was and who I am and who I am becoming. Kween K walked so Kia Smith Writes could fly. I am forever grateful for developing her as a character, getting what I needed from her, and being mature enough to let her go when I matured and changed the direction of my brand.

Sometimes when I get stuck, I feel like Kween K guides me and reminds me of what I should do and what I am capable of.
Twerk Queen to Journalist Queen

These two sets of pictures are hilarious to me, because if you know me, you know that I LOVEEEEEE to throw ass! I’m not necessarily a party girl but given my affiliations with the best DJ’s and party/event curators in Chicago, when I pop out, it’s bound to be great time lol. I love twerking, can’t dance outside of doing that, but I enjoy myself nonetheless.

On the other hand, I am also your very unorthodox journalist. Ever since I got my introduction to it in 2009 through True Star Magazine, I have always believed that a journalist should have two things: Ideas out the ass and a notebook to write them all down in. I love storytelling and being authentic with people while telling them what they NEED to know.

Fun fact, I almost fell trying to take the picture on the left lol… Need to work on my balance more.
Speak up, stay grounded.

I didn’t promote it on my blog at all last year but the picture on the left represents my podcast that I launched called Beyond The Blog Podcast, recorded and engineered by longtime friend of me and my day 1 supporter DJ Hustlenomics. You can find the some of the episodes on Soundcloud. To be completely transparent, I am debating if I want to bring it back this year.

The picture on the right represents my spiritual side and tapping into different methods and practices I use to stay grounded. My best friend Arthur gifted me my first bundle of sage which is what I am burning in the picture. Over the past few months, I have developed the habit of burning my sage whenever my energy is low and I need to clear my mind from any type of negativity. I also use it when I am reciting affirmations and setting my intentions. Staying mindful of simply how the Universe works and navigating my reactions to it has been a great catalyst in my growth and I can’t wait to grow even more in this area spiritually.

Tye really snapped on my pics!
Kia Taught You Well.

This picture pays homage to the role I play in education. Growing up, I never imagined that I would be working with children, but over the last couple of years I have been immersed as a non-traditional educator. Aside from my blog, nothing has grown me up and shown me patience more than teaching kids. Kids have this uncanny ability to put a mirror on you and force you to confront some of your deepest biases and challenge you to be a better person to set a better example. While I do not plan to stay in the field of education for long, I am excited to see where the journey will further take me.

Welcome To Chapter 7!

7 years, 7 personalities.

Although I am 7 years in, I still feel like I am just getting started. This blog has ascended me to heights I never imagined I would touch. I have gained relationships and sat at tables I never thought I would. I have received countless support and messages from people who have been touched by my words and have started their own blogs and publication. That’s humbling and leaves my heart full everytime. Every share, every like, every subscriber, I appreciate you all more than words can express.

7 is the number of completion, but y’all know me….. I am FAR from finished!

Thank you all so much for rocking with me over these last 7 years and stay tuned.. I got a bunch of cool shit in store.

Love,

Kia

Yall Can Keep The Struggle Love

Copy of Copy of Instagram Post – Untitled Design

Let me start this off by saying, I do not believe love is a fairytale, absent of difficult moments. 

I do believe that many of us have not been exposed to healthy and fruitful versions of love, only survival. 

I do believe that many of us don’t actually know what a healthy relationship looks like, because how can we be shown something that our predecessors have never known themselves? 

So cycles are repeated. It’s like the more you struggle with someone you love, the bigger your imaginary badge of honor. 

Why is that?

Why is emotional abuse, gas lighting, putting someone else’s needs above our own, and just toxic bullshit perpetuated as badges of honor? It’s like a game of seeing how long we can stay with each other and put each other through until either one of us finally settles down and acts right. 

In fact, it is a game, and one that I am frankly tired of. 

Y’all can keep the struggle love. 

When partnering with someone, it won’t be absent of struggle. In any partnership, there will be compromises that have to be made and adjustments for the betterment of the relationship. 

But a lot of shit that gets promoted is just unnecessary and simply NOT normal. 

For example, look at this bullshit here. 

“You know how much shit he put her thru?” makes my skin crawl. Not to mention the whole high speed chase thing. This isn’t normal. High speed chases with your baby daddy shouldn’t be joked about or congratulated. You’re not going out sad for leaving someone who doesn’t treat you right. What’s sad is someone thinking that behavior is humorous and that someone’s child will grow up thinking that not only is that behavior normal but they’ll possibly grow up emulating it too. 

Y’all can keep the struggle love. It literally doesn’t appeal to me. For some it might (and I literally think it’s because you haven’t been shown anything different) but really, if struggle love is all that you are used to then at some point you must re-evaluate. 

Do you really want to be stressed out all the time?

Do you really want to jump through hoops just to prove your worthiness to someone?

Do you really want to endure any type of emotional, mental or even physical abuse just to say you have someone?

Do you want to be someone who is constantly embarrassed by the actions of your partner, just to say you have someone? 

Love is a gamble and while it won’t always feel like sunshine and rainbows, but it also shouldn’t be mentally or emotionally draining either. 

Y’all can keep the struggle love.

Life is short. Do you want to put yourself in an early grave by loving someone?

Y’all can keep the struggle love.

I gotta act mentally unstable just to prove my worthiness to you?

Y’all want someone to be your peace but you can’t even keep the peace?????

I’m good luv, enjoy!

Y’all can keep the struggle love. 

There’s no set definition of what a healthy relationship is but I will say that I agree with what this tweeter said: 

None of the things she said contributes to the toxic ideation of struggle love. Of course you can provide those things to yourself, but if you choose to be partnered with someone then choose peace, safety, emotional and mental security too. 

To conclude, let me reiterate this: Love is not a fairytale, absent of difficult moments. But it surely isn’t one full of struggle, constantly disrupting your peace either.

If you have a partner or find yourself being someone who chooses struggle love, do yourself a favor: Keep it! 


What do you think a healthy relationship consists of?

Why do you think how much pain someone endures in a relationship is treated like a badge of honor?

How do we teach people not to idolize struggle love? 

Staying Thankful, Even When Shit Goes Left

Staying thankful,even when shit goes leftI remember when I wanted to be grown… I really wish I could go back in time and smack myself! I used to think that being grown was all about coming and going as you please, nobody telling you what to do, and fun all the time.

What a joke. This whole paying bills, working multiple jobs, having money but no time or time but no money, and paying off debt aspect of being grown? Yeah. That shit is for the birds.

And I’m overly over it. I wrote in my journal a couple weeks ago about how I was tired of just simply surviving. I would like to thrive. I wanna know how it feels to be free from some financial burdens (far fetched I know) and LIVE. Sometimes I think we as people get caught up in the mundane routine of life coupled with the stagnation of just trying to keep our heads above water that we forget to just live.

We also forget to stay thankful. To stay grateful. Because that sure as hell has been some shit I’ve been struggling with: staying grateful, even when shit is not going my way.

I mean I prayed for this.

I prayed for these jobs.

I prayed for these opportunities.

I prayed for this autonomy and financial freedom.

But I’m still not happy. What’s wrong with me? Is it wintertime blues or what, because though sis is strong… sis is tired. And overworked. And stressed the fuck out.

But yet and still, my optimistic inner voice is telling me to remain thankful. Not because “it could be much worse” like most people say, but because….. well to be honest I’ve been struggling with the “why”. I don’t know why I should stay thankful, I just know that I should.Without focusing too much on the why, I did come up with a couple how to’s. I’ve been trying to stay consistent with the practices and even practicing these things in small doses should give me some small wins right?

Here’s what I came up with:

Cry now, Boss Up Later

It’s important to allow yourself moments of sadness, because this grind is anything but glamorous. I don’t give a fuck what you see on social media, this shit is NOT easy. I used to pride myself on being so strong, smiling through the pain, and other things to convince myself I wasn’t falling apart but fuck all that now! I’m human. You are too. If I wanna cry and complain about something, I will. Then I’ll dry my tears and get back to work. But first, let me have a meltdown lol.

Remember That Everything Is A Stepping Stone

My mama tells me all the time, “you are not a rooted tree.” This means that any time I am dissatisfied and want to change something in my life, I can do it. Nothing is holding me back, only myself. I am free to spread my wings wherever. Even when in an undesirable position or a position that isn’t the right fit, I just look at everything as a stepping stone. I’m taking things one day at a time, building connections, learning what I’m supposed to learn and then moving on.

Creating And Celebrating Small Wins

I would be lying my ass off if I said that everything was all bad. Sometimes I think we focus so much on what isn’t going our way, what doesn’t feel right, and all the bad shit that happens that we miss out on our small wins. We refuse to create those small wins and we self-sabotage ourselves with our negative way of thinking. We ignore the signals our mind and bodies give us to rest, reset and just slow down because we are so focused on the bad. But even darkness light eventually will peek out right? I had to start creating and celebrating my small wins– which looks like a number of things depending on the day. It can be something as simple as showering as soon as I get home from work, cooking enough for two days, sleeping without my phone next to me, etc. Celebrate and create your small wins because regardless of what happens, no one can take away your power to do that.


To conclude, I’ll say this:

I was questioning on Twitter one day if adulting ever gets any easier? Does it ever let up? Will I ever not be sick and tired of being sick and tired?

The answer from many of my older peers was no. It doesn’t get easier but you do learn how to manage better.

And I guess that’s the space I’m in. Extracting the lessons and learning new tactics to manage myself + my affairs better.

Growth in all situations is something that I am most thankful for… even when shit goes left.

The Spooky Side of Self-Love

The Spooky Side of

Self-Love. It is a badge of honor to have a lot of this. It is said to be the greatest type of love to have, that when you love yourself— I mean ALL of yourself, your confidence level is on 1,000. You’re always aware of what you be doing. You set and maintain boundaries, you cut off any dead weight or toxic person that brings more pain than peace. And all of these things are true, because in the name of self-love, we deserve to reach our best selves daily. In spite of flaws. In spite of the messages we have internalized about ourselves. In spite of the fuck shit we do to ourselves.

As an unofficial self-love coach, I want y’all to understand this one thing about me: I still struggle with this shit too. I still struggle with not only acknowledging my flaws but holding myself accountable about them too. I struggle with the ways I treat my mind, body, and spirit when I don’t FEEL like loving myself, cuz that’s a real thing.

Truth be told, I think self-love has a deep and scary side to it, it’s not all shits and giggles at all. You simultaneously need to know how to thrive in both the light and the darkness to be your best self.

In self-love, we speak a lot on letting go of toxic people and things, but what if I told you that YOU are the toxic person that you need to let go? Then what?

What if I told you that YOU are the reason for your self sabotage?

What if I told you that you’re the one that’s actually addicted to chaos and it’s not the other way around?

What if I told you that when you ignore the signs your mind, body, and spirit is telling you, you’re the reason for your own self destruction?

What if I told you that the reason why we don’t really wanna dive into the dark side of self love is because not only is the shit scary, it’s lonely too?

And nobody likes to be lonely. Nobody likes to be misunderstood. As individualistic as we are, we still want to feel connected to our friends and family. No one likes to be SEEN as an other, I don’t care what anyone says.

Other spooky sides of self-love include:

Falling Apart To Get Back Together

The metamorphosis process is painful. It has literally felt like my heart was breaking or my literally skin was shedding. It hurts seeing the old you go. Cuz now you have to get to know this “new” person (who isn’t REALLY new, they were always inside of you, they just had to be manifested and nurtured) and the new person you are may seem a bit unfamiliar to you. It’s like you are constantly reintroducing yourself to your family, friends, coworkers, etc. Each time you discover something new about yourself you then have to either build upon who you already are or completely start over.

Accountability

I think this is the scariest part for ME. It’s like you get to the point where you can name all your problems and you’re super self aware but then what? Accountability is spooky AF because it actually forces you to do shit. We want all our problems to solve themselves but we know we can’t truly grow if we don’t put that work in.

Sometimes We Don’t Want To Put The Work In

Speaking of work, we know that doing the work of self-love is… exhausting to say the least. Sometimes I don’t wanna be self-aware. Sometimes I wanna give in to my toxic desires. Sometimes I wanna ignore my intuition. Its a lot of work to love yourself, no matter how worth it, it is.

 

Moral of the story, yeah self-love is spooky… but like Will Smith once said, everything we want is on the other side of fear.


Questions that need answers

  1. What areas do you struggle in when it comes to self-love?
  2. Is it okay to desire certain things from certain people yet NOT act on them?
  3. What scares you the most when it comes to self-love?
  4. How are you pushing past that fear anyway?