It was once believed that to have someone was better than having no one. Because, who wants to live and die alone?
This is a society that prizes partnership and being with someone, and truth be told, we do need people. I personally don’t think that life is meant to be spent alone.
When the desire to not to live or die alone is powered by fear, that’s when it becomes a problem.
That’s when you start accepting just any-old-body into your life, because for some reason you believe that having someone in your life is better than having no one– and not just for romance but all types of relationships– friends and family members too.
Fear of being alone creates a lack of boundary setting.
Fear of being alone creates the inability to do things by yourself.
Fear of being alone can cause you to settle.
Fear of being alone can prevent you from developing self-awareness.
To keep it real with you, nobody really LIKES to be by themselves but its necessary at times.
If you fear being alone, how you gone find out what you do and don’t want?
If you fear being alone, how can you develop discernment?
If you fear being alone, how can you decide what type of people you want in and out your life?
You cannot be dependent on other people to help you figure out who you are. You can only learn that by being alone.
We all have fears, but being by yourself shouldn’t be one of them.
Are you afraid of being by yourself?
If yes, what scares you the most about it?
If no, what makes you comfortable in your loneliness?
Do you think there is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely?
We all have vices, especially when we want to escape ourselves.
One thing for sure and two things for sure, you can’t run away from yourself forever. When the realities of our life get too tough, we turn to different methods to cope — most likely drugs, alcohol, or even sex. How we abuse those things is called escapism, which refers to purposely finding things to distract you from the unpleasant realities of whatever you’re facing.
Keep in mind: I don’t think alcohol is bad.
I don’t think sex is bad.
I don’t think drugs are bad. (Well, I don’t think weed is bad. All that other stuff ya’ll do, I’m not sure about that pal lol)
But, the way we indulge in these things matter. It is not inherently bad or good, but more of a fact of what is the WHY behind all of this? Why do we choose unhealthy coping mechanisms? Isn’t there better options out here to help us deal with our shit?
The short answer is yes, but because I don’t speak for everyone on this earth, it varies on who you ask.
The reason(s) behind why we choose unhealthy coping mechanisms varies, too.
Some of us may be trying to heal from a traumatic event that’s happened in our past.
Some of us may be really thrilled by engaging in risky behavior.
But all of us are seeking to fill a void.
You know that the mechanisms you use to cope are becoming unhealthy when they no longer help you feel that void.
When even the drugs enhance how shitty you feel.
When the bitter taste of alcohol won’t even make you forget what happen.
When you internally scream whenever you sexually enter someone or when they enter you.
The adrenaline rush of chasing whatever made us temporarily feel better is what makes us keep coming back to the unhealthy coping mechanisms. The cycle continues over and over and it’s not just through drugs, alcohol, or sex. Unhealthy coping mechanisms can also be seeking social media attention, dealing with toxic people, and even overeating.
I say all this to say: I’m not here to judge you, because we all have vices.
Eventually, drugs and alcohol and sex and whatever we use to cope won’t be enough to distract you from the pain you’re feeling. At some point you have to stop escaping and actually focus on actually healing.
I know it’s not easy. But you must gain the strength to try anyway.
“Why can’t you see yourself that way that God sees you?” was a question once asked of me that still haunts me to this day.
To the outside world and online, I am seen as confident and well put together, courageously smashing her goals and always ambitious AF. Behind closed doors and in the depths of my mind, I struggle with a lot of crippling self-doubt.
I mean we all do, don’t we?
The answer is yes, but at what point does self-doubt become a problem?
Even better question: Why do we doubt ourselves in the first place?
Furthermore, what is self-doubt?
According to Collins Dictionary, self-doubt is the lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Well damn. What a way to make me feel shitty.
I’m not sure where self-doubt comes from nor how we develop that lack of confidence. Some may point to childhood, and say that if you had parents or other close acquaintances around you that criticized you quite often, then its likely that you would struggle with self-esteem.
But me personally, I wasn’t overly criticized by either of my parents. I was always praised for my performance academically or otherwise. But I know many of you reading this may have not been so lucky.
I really only received criticism from classmates and grew to hate the attention I received for being “so smart” because while I was not boastful about it, people still had something to say to me. So it was like a catch 22– at home I received support and reassurance but at school I was being teased, isolated, etc. On top of being an only child, it was hard for me to consistently believe in myself.
Like, I know I’m highly intelligent and gifted in a lot of areas, but when it comes to putting myself out there and letting people know, I get anxious about it.
What if they think I’m cocky?
What if they think I’m annoying?
What if they think my work is not all that cool?
Are these people laughing at me?
What if I’m not that great?
Am I really acting like a know-it-all?
What if I can’t pull this off?
And the questions continue.
Self-Doubt shows up in a number of ways, such as:
Never finishing what you start
Not being able to praise yourself for even the smallest things
Low confidence, so you look to others for constant reassurance
Automatically thinking you can’t do something
Actually being afraid that you are good at something because you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining it.
Imma stop right here. Because you know how we play ourselves.
I don’t think there’s a way to completely eradicate self-doubt because I don’t believe that there is a person on this earth who 100% believes in themselves and all their abilities…. unless you’re K*nye W*st of course.
Anyway…. I do think there are ways to control frequent feelings of self-doubt. Here’s a few methods that I try:
Alright so boom, there’s nothing wrong with seeking reassurance from others. There is something wrong when you seek it from people who don’t give a damn about you or if you do it too often. Who you have around you is important. The only cool thing about being an adult is that you have the power to choose who can be in your life. If you came from an overly critical family that did not speak life into you, choose friends who empower and uplift you. My group(s) of friends are honest with me and extremely supportive and encouraging. My wins are their wins and vice versa. We aren’t meant to do life alone and life is already tough enough, find a tribe of people who believe in you even when you struggle to believe in yourself.
As a writer and even as just a regular person, how you talk to and affirm yourself is important. To help control my self-doubt, I write down positive things about myself starting with “I am” even if it has not happened yet or I don’t always feel that way. Once I write them down, I keep them in places where I can see them such as the door of my bathroom, on my phone as reminders and the names of alarms and in my journals. By seeing these positive words every single day, my mindset begins to shift and I start to believe it. Once I start to believe, it becomes easier for me to kick self-doubt to the curb.
For example, self-doubt will be like: “Girl you are not even qualified for that opportunity, I don’t even know why you try.”
My affirmations counters that by saying: “I am confident in all my abilities. Why wouldn’t I try?
Start writing positives things about yourself, and see what difference it makes.
Let Fear Be a Motivator
Okay so, a large part of why we doubt ourselves is because of fear. This can be fear of rejection or fear of responsibility that comes with being good. Either way it goes, we have to learn how to let fear motivate us instead of hinder us.
Secret about me: 70% of the things I do or want to do, I be scared shitless. But what’s even more scary is staying stagnant and not being happy. So even though I’m scared, my impulsive side kicks in and I just do it anyway. Ya’ll know how the saying goes, it’s better to try some shit and fail than not try at all.
With that being said, I wanna stress a few things to you:
Overcoming self-doubt is indeed a journey but it is not impossible.
Sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it!” and do it anyway
There’s never a room you don’t belong in. Imposter syndrome can kick rocks too.
If you’re worried about not measuring up to others, please remember that you’re in competition with no one but yourself. Strive daily to be better than you were the day before.
Don’t listen to people who never accomplished shit. It’s a reason they’re projecting their insecurities on to you, and it has zero to do with you.
“You make me wanna come thru, quarter after 2/just to put it down on you” ~ Summer Walker and Usher, Come Thru
The song was on repeat as I waited on his call, letting me know he was outside…. ready to enter into my home, enter into my bed, and into me.
“I shoulda known better…..” Summer sang through my speakers as I walked down my stairs to open the door for him. As he walked towards my door, my body felt tingly from head to toe…. let’s say it’s a feeling you get right before you know you’re about to make a bad decision.
Considering all that I’ve endured with this person, it was sick that I allowed him into my home again….. but I was a slave to self-sabotage. Whenever I felt like life got a lil too easy and and peaceful, I regressed back into my familiar, yet self-destructive patterns.
What are these patterns you may ask? Simple:
Fuckin’ with people I ain’t supposed to be fuckin’ with
Not staying disciplined to certain routines
Staying committed to detrimental routines
Purposely placing myself in tempting situations to satisfy my need for thrill
Not going after certain opportunities out of fear
Not walking away from certain people/things/situations that no longer serve me
Procrastinating on important things
The list goes on. This is self-sabotage.
Self-Sabotage is like opening Pandora’s Box…Once you start succumbing to certain habits, it’s hard to break them… and I be feeling like a reformed crackhead every time.
And truth be told, the addiction never really goes away… you just learn how to manage it.
But what happens when you can’t manage it anymore? When you don’t wanna manage it anymore? What happens to you when you keep repeating the cycle? Then what?
I’ll tell you what.
You and self-sabotage gone be staring at each other like:
And then you’ll question yourself, like damn…. why DO I keep doing this dumb ass shit? Ask yourself, am I engaging in this behavior because….
I feel like I don’t deserve better?
I actually fear a peaceful life because I am accustomed to dysfunction?
Do I actually have low self-esteem?
Is this behavior powered by another emotion that I’ve yet to address yet?
At this point of the story, I’m supposed to tell you how you should stop engaging in self-sabotaging behavior and work towards being your best self.
But honestly, I’m in the same boat as ya’ll…. or maybe not. Maybe you’re reading this and judging me. But I will say that over the last 5 months of consistent therapy, the only answer I have in regards to self–sabotage is that awareness is key. Now the step after recognizing?
Well, that’s up for you to decide. We gotta look in the mirror first.
Get out your own way. Stop self-sabotaging.
In what ways do you often self-sabotage?
Why do you think you engage in that type of behavior?
What do you think the next step is once you acknowledge your behavior?
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.
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:
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.
Have you ever been in therapy? What was/is your experience like?
If you haven’t been to therapy yet, what is stopping you?
If you’re currently in therapy or have been in the past, what are some things you’ve learned about yourself.
Why do you think there is so much shame associated with seeking help with our mental health?
What can this world do to make mental health services more affordable and accessible to all?
Have you experienced any negativity from friends or family for seeking help about your mental health?
Leave a message for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
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:
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!
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?
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?”
“Do you got a boyfriend?”
“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.
When you were younger, in what ways did society pressure you to conform to certain standards or beliefs?
Why do you think girls are trained on how to be partners for men but boys aren’t trained to be partners for women?
What do you think when you see a highly successful woman who is unmarried, single, with no children? What does society say about her?
What lessons would you want your daughter or other young girls in your life to know?
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.
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.
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?
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:
• 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?
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.
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?