How Many of Us Are Lost?

“Everything you desire is on the other side of suffering.” Those words echoed to me from a YouTube video this morning. “You have to be willing to go through the pain to get to the other side.

These words fluttered through my mind as I went into my day. They danced across my memory as I cashiered at my job. They drummed through my thought process as I asked to be dismissed from my station. They beckoned me while I put on my coat to leave the building.

” Everything you desire is on the other side of suffering. ” ‘What’s for dinner?’ I found myself walking through Downtown Brooklyn. I had 22.00 to my name, a MetroCard, and one single thought. I decided to get hot wings. Now 13.00 left to my name. “Everything you want lives on the other side of suffering.” That is when it hit me. I feel lost and I don’t know what to do with myself. Which is why I keep repeating the same habits.

Every time I buy that lottery ticket. Every time I text him because I don’t want to be alone. Every time I eat something in order to feel better. Every time I login, swipe left, swipe right, or scroll it’s to combat misdirection.

And how many of us are lost? How many of us don’t know what to do? Instead we choose what we’ve been taught to do. Eat this, watch that, call her.

Yet, “everything I desire is on the other side of suffering.” Being lost is insufferable. So… When does the suffering cease? In a world of “positivity” it begins by being honest about where you are. Right smack dab in the middle of “trying to figure it out.” Take my hand and bring your flashlight. We can find ourselves together.

“Everything you want is on the other side of suffering.” And you don’t have to do it alone.

As always do what brings you joy. And thanks for stopping by.

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Black Women Are the Mules of the Earth

I am a Black woman and I am enraged. Can you tell? No. That’s because Black women are the mules of the earth. According to the dictionary a mule is considered a beast of burden. And that’s exactly what Black women are.

Black women are the mules of the earth.

What’s worse is that we are given no space, no right, and no room to express our anger. What happens to Black women who choose to use our voices? Well? Say our names. And I am tired. There is no freedom in silence and no comfort in authenticity.

As a Black fat woman,

Everyday of my life has been a battle. I am the big Black woman in the room. Many times I have met this aggression with timidity. I am no longer available for that.

Today at work the smallest Hispanic woman (with a big attitude) attempted to belittle me because I wouldn’t answer a question fast enough. What’s worse is that while she chose to embarrass me in front of coworkers I pulled her to the side to spare her feelings. Our confrontation concluded with me apologizing to her for being “reactive.”

Which brings me to my second and third points. Black women are too forgiving, and women of color in general hate each other. It’s because we have been taught to hate our selves.

There needs to be more dialogue about it so that we can heal! Instead, we are being told to take responsibility for our pain, our shame, our anger. How?

How can pain be released before it is felt? So we trudge on projecting our fear and our rage at targets who don’t deserve it (our men, our children, ourselves) while we kiss the asses of those who do (fragile white men).

This is a PSA Black women. We need to fix this. I am not suggesting that any woman “rage against the machine.” Though we must stop raging at ourselves!

So what “inspired” this post? The very thing that I don’t want to be. Bitter. Feeling this anger is making me bitter because it’s unexpressed. I don’t want to be bitter anymore.

I don’t want to look up in 20 years and I am still bitter. So, I am ‘reclaiming my time’ now. I am ‘reclaiming myself’ now. It starts with being honest about where I’m at.

Which brings me back to my original statement. I am a Black woman and I am enraged. If it continues to go unexpressed it could kill me.

Which leads me to my final thought. This “mule” is committed to choosing herself. It won’t be easy. It will be messy, and I won’t be bitter. Here’s to showing up for one’s self.

As always do what brings you joy, and thanks for stopping by.

My Friends Are In Love and I Will Be Soon

My friends are in love, and I will be soon. This is not a whimsical notion. It is a fact. It is a fact because everything changes and everything grows. Now, if you had asked me this a week ago, I would have said no.

A week ago this blog post would have been entitled, My friends are in love and I’m in limbo. Two days ago it was, my friends are in love and I’m in the pussy wagon (catchy right).

Now here it stands. My friends are in love and I will be soon, because as it goes my love life has nothing to do with my friends!

My life, my path, my experience HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY FRIENDS!

My friends are just here to help me along the journey, and I bless them.

Because if I continue to compare my life to theirs it will kill me.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness major depression is one of the most common mental disorders among adults.

Which leads me to believe that while most of us pretend to have it all together, inside we are holding it together at the seams.

At least I was

With what seemed like random occurrence, I fell into a slump.

It was as if the more my friends raved about moving in, falling in love, and being happy the more I judged myself.

Why wasn’t I in a relationship and in love?

Well folks, if you are in a similar situation here’s the answer.

I am single because… I am not in a relationship.

That’s right it’s that simple. It is not that I am bad or wrong or unattractive.

I am enough. I am whole. I love me. And soon very soon someone else will too.

Here are some practical choices I have made to ensure that I will be ready when love presents.

  1. I logged out of social media.
  2. I committed to 30 days of gratitude
  3. I am going to drinking at least 50 oz of water a day
  4. I plan to exercise 3 days a week
  5. I am going to eat more vegetables
  6. I am planning a morning and evening routine
  7. I plan to reward myself for who and I am and where I’m at right now
  8. I am going to eat fewer bags of potato chip
  9. I am going to to censor what I watch, say, and who I engage with
  10. I have stopped sharing myself with people who don’t have my best interest.

I logged out of social media.

As I have heard, energy grows where energy goes. I am going to love and focus on myself and I believe those behaviors will attract love into my life. Even if said love manifests a fuckton more love for myself.

As always get out there, play, and stay in environments that bring you joy. I know I plan to.

Thanks for stopping by, and let’s talk again soon.

The World Needs You To Be Great…

I’ve always liked the tone of my life to be sweet and slow. Even in youth my favorite passtime was listening to the quiet storm on the radio. I wanted to be in love, and I wanted it unabashedly. I didnt know it at the time, but there were going to be many full moons before I discovered the most important requirement for loving; it began with loving myself.

It also didn’t help that my nearest role models for what positive influence looked like were my mother, her three male brothers, a semi-distant father, and a brother that was still developing as a man.

My brother (bless his heart) was too young to know independence and mature love. My father was busy stewing on his grievances towards my mother. My uncles were like the three amigos just trying to figure out what love was, and mom was our sole support.

My uncles were cheaters, liars, comics, boozers, and within the web of human frailties they were all doing the best they could. Consciously, I knew that I was loved. In retrospect I knew that each of them, including my mother, didn’t really know how to love.

As with most traumas, I did what a traumatized person does best. I tried to be a “good” girl. I tried not to need to much. I tried not be too vocal. I tried to live in mediocrity because no one was demanding more of me.

Most importantly, I tried to stop wanting the tone of my life to be sweet and slow. I tried to stop wanting love.

Thankfully, I never quite hit the mark.

I didn’t hit the mark because I was the mark. I was a moving target for other peoples trauma. Hurt people hurt people they say and I got hurt often in my family environment. My favorite uncle was the second eldest of the brothers. He was my uncle who would play uno cards with me and offer me beer. In one instant he was fun and light hearted. In the next he’d hit me.

He once pinned me up against a wall with his elbow because I was homesick. He was the first man that I stifled my voice to feel safe around.

My mother was no exception. She was my favorite person in the world. Still, she had a temper. She hit me once for eating a box of cereal in three days. I would later discover that it wasn’t about the cereal. It was about her relationship with my sister’s father. Again, hurt people hurt people.

After years of toxicity and hurt, I recreated relationships that mirrored my childhood. Even more jarring is the fact that I’m still trying to be a “good” girl. I still try not to need too much and to not take up too much space. I still have been living in mediocrity. The difference is that now I’m tired.

Recently, I’d come home late at night, feel lonely, and wonder what was wrong with me. After a few weeks of feeling this way I decided to make some changes. I’ve challenged beliefs about myself and my body by cutting my hair. I’ve started to end toxic relationships. I’ve begun to focus more on people who I love and feel loved by. And I’ve been spending more time doing the things that I love to do.

I’ve begun to refocus on me. and I’ve stopped waiting for someone to validate me. I’m becoming my own rescue.

See the thing is that many times I wait around for someone to teach me how to live and show me who to be. What I’ve learned is that no one is going to give me permission to be great. Self-love has become my redemptive decision.

If you’re reading this and you’re like me. You’re a “good girl”Ā  waiting for someone to give you permission to be great. My advice is to go to the mirror and to give it to yourself. Tell yourself all the things you need to hear, because the world needs you to be great.

I’d like to think that I am back to love and wanting it unabashedly, but I don’t need my life to be sweet and slow. That was a fantasy. What I want is different.

I want to help other women and to support young girls in becoming powerful women.

Also, there’s one last thing I’d like to add. Yes, hurt people hurt people, and healed people heal people too.

Thanks for stopping by. Lets talk again soon. šŸ’—

I Dare You to Say All Lives Matter.

Today I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across this status: “All Lives Matter.” It was a young woman’s response to her take on the Black Lives Matter movement. Though we were friends online I must admit I didn’t know much about her. I knew that she was White and I assumed it probably contributed to her opinion. It wasn’t until I scrolled through her post’s responses that I also learned about herĀ privilege. AllĀ of the people who responded were also young and White. The post had about fifty responses at the time that I read through it. People were going back and forth about why the Black Lives Matter movement either was or was not important. The person whom I was the most familiar with said things like Black people also had the highest crime rate. He told one person to get off their high horse for supporting the movement. One comment that stuck out the most was: “It’s funny you’re all a bunch of privileged hipsters arguing about a movement that doesn’t affect you at all.”

By the end of scrolling through the comments I was shaking. I noticed that not one person of color had been a part of the discussion. In the moment I felt uncomfortable. I felt angry. I also felt afraid. The fear steamed from a deep seeded belief that in my Blackness I could never be as controversial as that without ostracizing at least a handful of White friends. I felt angry because as a Black person, the fight to own my Blackness, and to matter didn’t come without an assumption that I’m trying to discredit every other person or race. Finally the discomfort came from a realization that as person who also has a stand on such matters I’d have to take it. I’m finally seeing that in the art of conflict trying to be neutral is dangerous. The truth is in a war somebody always has to surrender.

The thing is at least for me,Ā things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Saying Black Lives Matter doesn’t negate the importance of other lives who aren’t Black. Still I personally would like to disassociate from Black Lives Matter shaming. It goes without saying that the world needs peace throughout, and it’s okay to assert that a specific culture matters too. My name is Brittaney. I have a Black life and it matters. Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.

Heavy (A Poem By Me)

Heavy

It’s been said that in writing your state of being shouldn’t be revealed but described. That’s why I’ve decided Ā to expose every detail of this hell. No jail for prison would be more inviting than watching one more person be killed. When the war is in your front yard your back and your heart. When you don’t know how to operate within a system that was constructed to see you deconstruct. When you’ve done everything “right.” From not kissing that boy because kissing made babies. To getting good grades at school while steadily being on the road to a college education just so those around you would pat you on your head and say well done. Only to look up and find yourself still running in circles but the only other option which hurts you is to sit politely in a corner waiting for the world to say it’s your turn while knowing that well behaved women never make history. Man it burns to yearn for a reparation that cannot repair anything. Can your solace Ā bring my grandmother back? She left my mother to face a world that did not understand her only to make her feel that she was wrong for dreaming of more. I implore someone to tell me. For I too have a dream or had. See how can you reap life when it has not been sewed into you? How do you win when there was no one to teach you how to beat the odds? How do you stay alive since we’re all just trying to avoid dying? My mother said you’re a millennial and I’m a survivor. Well I’d like to see before we part that our hearts see what it’s like to be actualized. To be validated. To be valuable. No longer does the woman have to be the mule of the earth. I want to know my worth! For now can you see what’s coursing through me. The dread the prevents my sleep. The deaths that should bring me to my knees but instead keep me on my feet for fear that if I don’t stand I will fall for anything. Is it now clear? Does the description seem petty or is now obvious that my heart is heavy?

Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.

The Thing You Must Do.

This morning I awoke to an email from a Navy seaman friend of mine who I haven’t spoken to in months. It was awesome to hear from her. Before entering the Navy she and I had been writing buddies. We actually shared a blog (monalisasmiles) on blogspot. She is one of the most inspirational writers I know. Her email to me was profound, but what stuck out the most were these words: “You Must Write. The laughter, the ugly, and the beautiful.”

In the moment I agreed. I was ready to share every truth nestled within me. Of course they’re my personal truths but no one can expose my inner truths better than me. Then an unexpected thing happened. I began to think of all the “reasons” I’m not worthy enough to share my writing. I’m not popular. I’m not skinny. I’m not rich. It really unsettled me. So much so that when the time came for my head to hit the pillow, I couldn’t sleep. Then it hit me. I realized the truth. I must write but I also must be willing to do so much more.

The thing is at least for me, I don’t have to measure my life by how many likes I get on Facebook. I’ve wondered away from the purpose in being. It’s not to be loved or hated but to be fully alive. I have a voice. I have a story. I have an opportunity to share. I live with the tools I need to be a part of affecting this earth. So hi I’m Brittaney. I’m queer, I’m Black, I’m fat, and I am a woman. I present many qualities that have been misrepresented in the world. By God’s grace I am still here. For this reason I can’t shut up. It’s not just writing! It’s speaking up, taking up space, striving, living intentionally, and the list goes on… these are the things that I must do. No one else can do it for me. Thanks for stopping by and let’s talk again soon.

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