Thursday, August 2, 2018

Berlin Blunder

This summer has been a trip.

Here I am in Berlin. I'm sitting in my friends' apartment for which I am absolutely starry-eyed. The big windows are open. It's breezy and the weather is crisp and sunny. Crows are cawing and a great playlist is playing. The smell of bread cascades in with waves. I can almost feel the soft dough between my fingers and the thought that's at the forefront of my mind is something that's been a reoccurring thought throughout my young adulthood.

It started when I realized within myself this ability to be perpetually unsatisfied, and in turn, perpetually unhappy in a sense. I don't mean unhappy in the sense that you're a catastrophic grumpy-grump everyday, scowling at everyone that dares cross your path and I don't mean unsatisfied in the sense that the piece of cheesecake you just inhaled just didn't hit the spot like it did last time. It's ever so subtle, and so much more rupturing. It's the constant background drum of wanting more, of "yeah, this is great, but..." It's ennui. It's getting where you were going, settling in, and frothing at the mouth for that new place over there.

I've struggled with this mentality for a very long time. It was a personality trait I laughed off and labeled as wanderlust. Now, being here in Berlin, and seeing this attribute in others, I'm struck by how consuming this mentality is. This feeling sets in like a mist, a fog that cascades down over your psyche. It appears to me like we're giant mouths, violently gorging ourselves, and leaving these places or people or things in our wake still intact, but wasted, a bit more pale in comparison.
Once well into the rabbit hole, it's easy to recognize that people envy us, but we end up scratching our heads, because we personally are looking out to something else we've begun to covet. That haze is so thick, yet so clear, that we forget we're standing right where we wanted to be and we don't realize that we're taking it for granted. All we know is that we want to be somewhere else or have something else - that where we are right now is not enough.

When we get somewhere, is it that all the shininess starts crumbling and we realize it wasn't worth the salivation or do we become so numb, so unappreciative of it, that it loses its luster in our eyes? At any time, I think it could be both. I suppose this runs right into the thought of the grass being greener on the other side. Sometimes I think it very well may be, but I also think we should strive to strengthen our discernment and embrace more gratefulness for the life we presently hold in our hands and witness around us. Yes, I'm saying the exact same thing so many people before me have said.

The negative is so much easier to come by in this existence, isn't it? Why not seek out, or rather, just recognize the good, the special? Bad days, bad phases are guaranteed. Take two extra seconds to gaze at the sky - stars or no stars. Take two extra seconds to literally smell the roses that you may pass. Seek beauty in your surroundings - windows, doors, buildings, landscapes, food, nature, loved ones, strangers. It will change your life.

And yes, I'm aware it's much easier for me to be on this pulpit having just come back from an extended stay in fucking Germany, BUT in my defense, I have striven to exercise this mentality in my everyday life. Germany just further called me on my shit. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, - sit, stand, kneel - and look around you. Take in everything, all of your senses. Reflect on what brought you where you are and the positive pieces of your present position in life. Do you owe gratefulness to someone who has helped you? Did you kick ass and make something happen for yourself? Are you merely just in a pleasant place by happenstance? Revel in it. Meditate in it. Soak it in.

Placement really does change perception. It's funny to me that I found myself in Berlin, one of the greatest cities I've experienced, one of the places I've personally most coveted, and this realization hit me - not sitting at home in contemplation, or sitting at a local, favorite spot of mine basking in the glory of home.

I hope that you are able to experience your surroundings with a new perception. And, if you find truth in the urge that moves you forward, that the grass is greener on the other side, I hope you have the patience and the gratefulness to be present and humbled by the beauty.

Until next time - smell the damn roses!


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

White People Get On My Damn Nerves

including my damn self.
I'm about to piss a whole slew of people off.
As usual, I'm okay with that.

I started this entry before the Pepsi fiasco happened. I started it again when Serena was attacked about her pregnancy (queen had a baby by a white boy.) And again, I started this post when Shea Moisture decided to sell-out their main source of business and again when Dove lost their damn minds and once more, when the Victoria Secret models were taped singing along with Cardi B., but not knowing better than saying the n-word. I started it again when I read news stories flare back up detailing the actions of teachers taking it upon themselves to cut the braids of a little girl's hair or to braid the afro of a child and again, when I heard that some students are being disciplined for wearing certain hairstyles. I'm not going to even mention the individual unnecessary deaths mixed between all this shit, but actually I am: Jordan Edwards, Sandra Bland, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Samuel Dubose, Walter L. Scott, Freddie Gray, Akai Gurley, Alton B. Sterling, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Dontre Hamilton, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Tony Robinson, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, LaQuan McDonald, Jamar Clark, Charles Kinsey, Dejuan Guillory. These are only the people I have knowledge of, spanning from the year 2012 to now. 

-insert major fucking side eye here-

This post is starting up again because this shit should've already been completed 10x over. Leave it up to a white woman to put POCs on the back-burner. I am a self-aware hypocrite and the point is that I'm continually calling myself out and adjusting. However, that still doesn't make me better. I don't win the award for being the most woke white woman on the planet. I'm still white and inherently prejudiced (I'll explain that later) and I don't get a medal for recognizing the faults in my behavior and correcting them, for treating other humans the way other humans should be treated. Ya'll shouldn't expect a pat on the back either.

I'm going to call your attention to a few habitual occurrences that should be common sense and somehow aren't. I hope they open your eyes. Feel free to add more in the comments so that we can all learn something here. (This post is only going to scratch the surface of the surface of issues. I hope to write more posts in the future that target specific issues or perhaps provide more clarity on BLM. In the meantime, educate yourselves.)

Check it...before you wreck it - 

  • The n-word: If you are not black, this is not your word. You should never, under any circumstances, say it. I don't care if you're teaching, if you're singing, if you're pissed off, if you have a black best friend, a black boy/girlfriend, a black cousin. I don't care if you're quoting someone, if you're joking. I don't care if you're telling a story. I DON'T CARE what your sorry-ass excuse is. Get the shit out of your mouth. Skip the word in the song. Say "the n-word" when you need to tell a story or speak about it. Putting an "a" on the end of it doesn't make it more acceptable either and neither does this warped version where people switch the "g" with a "k." The fuck? We have not earned the right to utter this word off-the-cuff like it isn't directly tied to the deaths and opression of an entire race.

    You wanna know why black people get the "privilege" of saying it? It's been their word since the first day it came into existence. It was their word when it was regularly used and openly accepted as a (disgusting) slur, when it was okay to beat them for no other reason than being black, when they didn't have the right to vote, when they were raped, beaten, and sold by their masters, when they were revolutionizing the world with the Civil Rights Movement, and it's still their word today when the system continually fails them and murders them. It never should have been in a white person's mouth to begin with. We haven't magically won the right to say it now that people think black people are free.

  • Boundaries: And ya'll - stop touching their motherfucking bodies. Their hair does not suddenly become yours to put your groping hands all over because it looks as intricate, precious, and foreign to you as something you'd see in an art gallery or museum (do they need to put up ropes and a "don't touch" sign or something?), just like your face doesn't suddenly become mine by me thinking it's the most beautiful space to punch after I see you do this shit. It's actually theirs to punch...and I hope they do at least use some very strong-worded language toward you. Sorry white people's hair is boring (and not as bouncy) in comparison, but keep your hands to yourself. We all learned this rule in kindergarten.
    Also, an afro or kinky hair is not "unkempt." It is a natural state of a human's hair. Straightening it and putting it in plaits does not make it more groomed or acceptable. Alter your perception.

  • Language: Let's all recognize that I can say the word "homie" and not be called ghetto. I can listen to Tupac and NWA and Ludacris and Kevin Gates and Lil Kim and Missy Elliot and still be seen as innocent. BECAUSE I AM WHITE. Ya'll hear a black woman talk louder than a whisper and she's too ghetto. Ya'll hear a black man speak his language and he's a gangbanger. Ya'll see both of them bumping that bomb-as-fuck music and they're too "hood." They're just fucking people being people in their own culture, man. Lay off. You know what our sacred culture is? Shit beer. The American flag. Singing about trucks, and girls, and our dogs. Yeah, so much better. You're right.

  • Appearance: Any other woman besides a black woman wears braids and she's innovative, she's coveted. Ya'll wear hoop earrings and grease your baby hairs like you're doing something new. You're picking off parts of a culture that is not yours and then calling that culture ghetto when they do it or demonizing and reprimanding the children that exhibit this culture in school. And if you aren't personally doing it, you're praising the women that do. *ahem - Kardashian trash - ahem* Get on somewhere with that bullshit. Pay homage to where it came from at least.

    Are you more scared of an unknown black man with saggy pants and a du rag than you are an unknown white man dressed like a frat boy or politician? WHY? Ya'll know white men are responsible for some of the most heinous attacks in history? Ya'll know preppy (okay, maybe they aren't all preppy), white boys are responsible for a ridiculous amount of rapes and assaults compared to the black man? Redirect your prejudice. Do you think a black man in a suit is a better person than a black man in baggy jeans and a tee? Why? Because one fits your ideal of what success is? Is a white boy with saggy pants and a tee or a hoodie more acceptable and less threatening? Again - WHY? Don't be afraid to question your  reflex perceptions of people and adjust them. 

  • Inherent Prejudice: What I mean by this is - as a white woman raised in a white-centered system and white-powered world, I have prejudiced tendencies instilled in me that I have to constantly be aware of and constantly fight against. That black boy that speaks Ebonics so fluently it makes my head spin, could be the most brilliant man in the room. That black girl with strong opinions and the will to speak them loudly isn't just another dramatic black woman. It's not suspicious to see a black man get into a Mercedes. Every black woman with kids isn't on welfare and she very well may be married to her baby daddy. Even if all of these things aren't true, it's still okay. White is not the epitome of all someone should be. White is not a level other people should strive to reach. White does not mean we should be able to do things or act a certain way and then turn our noses up at another race that does them. And, white should not be a get out of jail free card, or rather, avoid jail card.

Closing Credits - 

Now, ya'll know I'm going to stay on this soapbox the rest of my damn life. The responsibilities of being a white woman in a white-favored world include calling out myself and others - actively calling out others. And if I'm slacking, call me the fuck out. I am not flawless. Likwise, I will be the white woman that is a thorn in your side, that reminds you of your privilege, privilege you did not earn. I will not be the quiet white person that turns a blind eye to the injustice because it makes my life more comfortable and easy. 
That's not to say I don't have a lot to learn. I still say things and think things that make me choke, stop dead in my tracks, and roll my eyes so hard I question if they'll come back down. I still get called out by other people and sometimes I want to reply "not me!", but I've got to come down off my white pedastal and become receptive to what I am being told. I've had to change my mindset.
Being called out is not an attack. It's a lesson. People are taking the time to educate us so that we can better learn to coexist. Why should we not be receptive to that? Maybe because we've gotten comfortable in our privilege and we wouldn't want to be treated differently. Unfortunately, this privilege never should have been there to begin with. We need to open our fists and let it go. Stop holding people down. Let others rise.
I haven't always been aware of the everyday racism against black people and how I play into it. It has taken time, willingness, an open mind, reflection, and understanding. It has taken time - when it shouldn't have - for me to recognize my own shortcomings and it has taken time - when it shouldn't have - for me to become active about those shortcomings.
I invite you to take your own time now and reflect on the actions that are immediate for you. Maybe you didn't realize that touching another person's hair was so unacceptable or wearing a certian hairstyle was insensitive. Now you do. Why is it that you didn't think twice before doing it? Just think about it.

The quietest bystanders are the most dangerous in the fight against racism. I'm inviting you to get off of the fence. Become an active ally. Let people know what they're saying and doing isn't okay and that you won't stand for it. Help when you see someone being mistreated.
David Dante Troutt said, "Tolerance used to mean inclusion, but now it means how much hatred we will accept as a means to an end." Let's set the definition straight.


P.S. I left the rough draft remains of my original post below for you to meander through (if your eyes haven't died of exhaustion already.) Enjoy.

First, have ya'll seen this monstrosity of a commercial that Pepsi rolled out with white-revered Kendall Jenner?
No? You're already failing by being unaware. You're forgiven. I noticed it too late too. That's the tip of the luxury iceberg. Go ahead and check it out, because we need to have a little sit down.

Ooooookay. Did you see an issue? No? Just seems like a pro-everything video with a catchy tune, you say? You're wrong. So wrong. However, this is a welcoming space with plenty of patience for education. True to feminist form, I'll tell you why this commercial is disgusting.

  1. I'm so over white people being depicted as the fucking savior. We are literally the reason for almost every cultural wipe-out.  We are not the good guy!
  2. The fact that Pepsi would even listen to someone pitch this and agree that Pepsi could be the cure-all for a protest involving all -isms, is just lunacy.
  3. This commercial makes a mockery of every person who has ever been affected in any way by police brutality throughout history. To name a few: Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Rosa Parks, The Freedom Riders, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rodney King. The list is literally fucking endless, because it's still happening and shows zero sign of stopping.
  4. This commercial shows the epitome of white feminism as Kendall pulls off her wig and literally shoves past a quizzical woman of color to save the fucking day for WOMEN OF COLOR...da fuq??!

(include discussion about people who are too "hypersensitive", but how the cycle has created them, include policy brutality statistics)

also, within one week of writing this, I have accumulated a zillion more reasons to be pissed off..
shea moisture
jordan edwards shooting
ahca reps
little girl's teacher cut/braided a little girl's afro
kendall jenner 10th year anniversary vogue india cover

Thursday, February 1, 2018

When Sweet is Actually Sinister

Welcome back, Heathren.
Every time I start a post, I plan to not be so personal this time, to shy away from washing my dirty laundry in public.
And, you know, life just doesn't seem to let me do that.
I have three or four other blog posts in my queue that aren't about me and my hot mess of a life, one about the Women's March/State of the Union, one about trans rights, one about BLM, that some of you might much rather read. I will get to them.
This may end up being just as important.
And, honestly, with the emotions streaming through me right now, I wouldn't be able to do any of those justice tonight.
This, though, this is burning me up in this very moment.

I originally planned this post while I was at work tonight. It was going to be funny, sarcastic, like I always hope to be. I was going to call it "Bitch Buffet", gently gliding my outstretched arm across the air like the title was up in lights on Broadway in New York City. My opener was going to be something like, "Are ya'll ready to nom on the smorgasbord of a bitch feast I'm about to serve you?!" Yes, I was proud of those. Unfortunately, this post has taken a more serious turn and I hope you stick around to let it sink in.

Some of you may have noticed a couple of comments that were left on my "New Year, Novel YOU" post yesterday and the day before. I have since deleted them, but I bet you checked - or at least thought about it - before finishing this sentence. Drama glutton. I will not quote them, but those comments are what I will be referring to along with the situation as a whole. Some of you may also remember my post "Celebratory Hater Post - It's Like a Party For My Blog!" and the comments that followed that. These all tie together. Let me point out that the latter of the two posts and its subsequent comments were posted over a year ago

Abigail, for christ's sake, give me some backstory.

Alright, jesus, I was getting to it. The individual that left the comments and that I have wrathfully responded to in the past is an old coworker of mine, an ex-friend that I confided in, associated with often, and shared flirtatious encounters with for a short period of time. This person also happens to be mentally unstable - it's documented. (This I did not find out until too late, because I'm a rockstar at recognizing bipolar sociopaths, obviously.) I finally decided to sever ties with this person and they decided to not only disregard that, but to continue harassing me and setting off a grenade in the middle of a sensitive time in my life.
After months of unwanted text messages, Facebook messages, DM's, and finally blog comments, I put my foot down and informed said individual that I knew who they were and that I would take legal action if they did not stop contacting me. Those comments are still intact.
At this point, this person seemingly disappeared until I was woken up a morning or two later at 4AM by an angry ex-girlfriend banging on my bedroom window and door who proceeded to yell out in my yard about the aforementioned person contacting them via Facebook. I have told you this to show that because the person no longer felt okay to target me directly, they targeted someone they thought was closest to me that they had access to. If alarms aren't going off now, you aren't paying attention.

Fast forward a year and some months and the cycle has started all over again. This person resurfaced after coming back from deployment. I know this because people I know like to sometimes keep tabs on other people I know. I'm glaring at all of you, because literally everyone alive does this shit. 
It started with a text message from an unknown number and a Facebook message from this person, one saying, "Good morning beautiful" and the other saying, "Hey beautiful" on the same day, a few hours apart. 
Four days later, my sister called me out of the blue to inform me that an old job of mine, one I have not been employed with in more than two years, had received a bouquet of flowers addressed to me. I, being the nosy little shit I am, was extremely curious and a little excited. I fucking love flowers. By the time I got to my old job, I realized who they were probably from and I checked my Facebook messages again. I had received another message earlier the same day. When I opened the flowers, the note said exactly what the Facebook message said and was signed by the same person. 
Less than two weeks later, I received another bouquet of flowers at one of my current jobs while I was off. This person should have no idea that I am employed at this company, by the way, because we were no longer talking when I got hired. Once again, the note read exactly the same as the first. 
About a week later, I received another text message from a different unknown number that said "Abigail?" I googled the area code and sure enough, it was the same area code of the state this person hails from. 
Two weeks later, I received another Facebook message from the same person.
Four days later, this person showed up at my other job, their old job, just before I was supposed to arrive for a shift. I was lucky enough to have been warned beforehand and I called out for the shift. Three days later, I missed a Facebook call from the same person.
The next day, I had a blog comment from this person. 
The two following days, I had one comment on each day that I ended up seeing today and deleting. 

This is the important shit.

I need to point out a few things.
  •  Everything in the last paragraph happened from December until now. Yes, ALL OF THAT was in the span of less than two months.
  • I didn't even detail all the bullshit from over a year ago. There's no way I'd have the time. They include unwanted lewd pictures via text message.
  • I have not responded to a single outreach since I told this person I would take legal action over a year ago.
  • Over a year ago, I did try responding to talk sense into them and it only escalated the situation.
  • I am lucky that I was smart enough not to allow this person to know where I live. Otherwise, this situation could be much more severe.
  • There was never any legitimate romantic relationship for this person to cling to and obsess over - we were not in a relationship and we did not date.
  • They got angry with me when I became single and did not want to pursue a relationship with them.
  • This person is not a victim.
  • This is not about me looking for attention. For me, this is embarrassing even though I have no control over someone else's actions. I would rather not blast this shit for everyone to see, but I'd also rather not be harassed and shedding light on these situations needs to happen more often so that someone will actually start fixing the system.

So, what did I do?

I called the police tonight and filed a report. Now, I know from real testimonies and my obsession with Law & Order SVU that I have no grounds - according to the law - to get a restraining order or anything of the sort. Our system doesn't like to get its hands dirty until someone is in literal danger of death. Sounds pretty fucking promising. Despite being intelligent and knowing that I would be left unsatisfied, I filed the report anyway, grasping for any possible option I had to end the very real, very threatening issue. I was asked a few preliminary questions to provide a succinct explanation for my call and then I was told that a police officer would be dispatched to my home to speak with me. It probably took less than an hour for Officer Francis of the Oklahoma City Police Department to arrive. 
Now, I'm not very comfortable with police officers to begin with - not because I don't respect them and recognize the service they selflessly provide - but because I am very aware that not all of them have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, I had to suck it up and invite a stranger into my home that I was very aware might just laugh at me, in hopes to get shit taken care of.
I invited him in and he stood in my doorway. I've literally never had a police officer in my home, let alone been in this situation, so I had no idea what the protocol was. I mentioned that I had cats in case he was allergic. Apparently he was, but he said it was fine. I offered for him to have a seat. He declined. We stood there, staring at each other, at which point I said something like, soooo how is this supposed to go, I've never been in this situation before. It was very awkward and he seemed completely uninterested in being there.
He then proceeded to tell me to just explain what was going on while he was hyper focused on my cat that decided he was interested in rubbing against the officer's crisp, spotless, black slacks. The officer literally stared at my cat, as I was talking, and at one point uncomfortably shuffled his feet away. During this time, I was describing the types of blog comments I had received and handed him my phone to read the most current ones that prompted the call. I then took my cats into the other room.
When I came back, Officer Francis had an unconcerned look on his face. He shrugged, chuckled, and explained to me that the situation I had described seemed harmless, that this person just wanted to "get back with me". We were never together, which I explained to the officer, repeatedly. (Apparently repeating things to people does not make them more clear. I will need to remember this.)
Me being the person that I am, I did not accept his answer. I commented that I realized this person had not abused me and that they had not yet posed a physical threat to me, but that this person's actions were unwarranted, unstable, obsessive, out-of-bounds, and threatening. He responded, shrugging and chuckling again, that there really wasn't anything he could do besides call this person and ask them to stop contacting me. He stated once more that this person is not a threat and that they just want to be with me.
I asked, "So even though this person repeatedly harasses me after I have repeatedly told them to stop and then comments on my blog and states that they won't stop until I give them another chance, they aren't a threat...even though they are literally threatening to keep bothering me?" Officer Francis shrugs and chuckles. Again. He then repeated that he would call this person if I wanted him to. I replied with, "Well, if that's the only thing you can actually do, why not."
The officer headed out to his car and on the way out asked if I knew the neighbors beside me. Surprised (and probably obviously perturbed), I said no, but that the police had been there a couple of times. Officer Francis commented that he had been there and arrested someone.
He then asked if I had seen "a black guy" around. I stated that I didn't keep tabs on my neighbors, so I didn't notice anyone besides the people I knew for a fact live there, a mother and a son. He asked more questions, repeated that he arrested that guy, that it pissed him off, and then proceeded to his vehicle.
Interesting, really. Fucking intriguing.
Officer Francis called the person and returned to tell me that this individual stated they did not know that I did not want them contacting me. (I am serious and I was just as mystified as you probably are. I guess a year of silence resets the whole thing? Jesus.) He also said that the individual sounded upset, but that they said they would leave me alone. Job well-fucking-done, Officer Francis. I feel safer already, considering the bullshit that just transpired. Officer Francis told me that this would be documented, to call again if I was bothered further, left my residence, and I am now more pissed off than before. 

I said all of that to say this:

"Sweetness", when uninvited, is still harassment and you do not have to put up with it. Officer Francis, along with the world at large, do not take complaints like mine seriously because the perpetrator's actions are viewed as romantic or nice or just persistent - "just" something. Excuses are made when you don't have bruises and broken bones to prove menace, and even then excuses are still made. 
This person that is harassing me is manipulative and mentally unstable. I have repeatedly informed them that they misunderstood the nature of our friendship and that I am not interested in pursuing any type of relationship with them, platonic or not. I have repeatedly asked, then told them, to stop contacting me. They are not romantic or sweet or just trying to be friends. They are stalking me. They are not respecting my right as a human being to tell them that they are not welcome in my life.
Flowers that you do not want, being sent to a job you no longer have, and then to a job you do have, are not sweet - THEY ARE FUCKING CREEPY AND THREATENING. They make you wonder when and if someone will show up when you are alone and attack you just because you have been ignoring them. They make you wonder if this person is going to show up at your place of work and assault you or follow you home. 
Nice words do not always carry a harmless connotation, especially when the person refuses to take responsibility for their actions and ends up lying to a police officer about the situation. These words and actions are NOT.FUCKING.NICE. They are fucking disturbing.

I refuse to be silent. This situation feeds directly into rape culture and victim blaming and I am not having it. This is where the most dangerous of experiences take seed and grow into situations that end in abuse and death. Police officers and individuals that are lukewarm in these situations are dangerous.
I will not allow someone to make me feel as if I am silly to think someone is a threat. The fact that this person and I have had prior relations does not make this kind of behavior acceptable. Absolutely nothing makes it acceptable. Even if I promised them we would be together forever and was knee deep in a love affair with them, this would not be acceptable the moment I told them to stop. This kind of bullshit should not be tolerated, let alone chuckled at, shrugged at, and treated as even less of an issue than a motherfucking cat or a previous arrest of a person of color next door. 
You know what should piss you off, Officer Francis? That a woman has been harassed for longer than a year and you can't do anything about it because she hasn't been physically attacked. I wonder if you'd chuckle and shrug at your wife if this was her experience.

To you, you piece of shit, because I know you're reading this. You will not win. I have fought bigger, scarier battles than you and won. I will take every course of action and annoy every person in the god damn court system if I have to, to prevent you from bothering me. I will not be intimidated by you and I will not stop contacting the police if you do not leave me alone. You are not a victim and you will not manipulate this situation to benefit yourself. I see you for who you really are. I will not shy away from dragging you out in the streets for everyone that loves me to feast on, if you do not desist. I don't care if I have to drag out my own skeletons to do it. I will make you a target like you have made me one, but I will not miss mine when I shoot. 

*Call to Arms - 
If you have been in the same situation as I have, do not sit silently. The only way change will come to pass is by not shying away from the fight. If you notice this kind of problem with someone else, please let them know you are there for them. Believe them. Support them. Listen to them. If you are the friend of the asshole that doesn't get the message, CALL THAT MOTHERFUCKER OUT. Don't turn a blind eye and think it has nothing to do with you. Every fight needs allies and I can assure you that you do not want the blood on your hands from staying silent or excusing behavior as the norm when it should not be the norm.
Our system is quite evidently broken. The fact that it has always been this way is not grounds to allow it to stay this way. Perhaps my situation is not as dire as physical abuse. I am aware of that. However, it is dire enough to be taken seriously and there should be a system in place to do so. At the very least, we as a society need to change our mindset regarding what is acceptable and what is not. Wrapping harassment and stalkery up in a pretty little bouquet of flowers and throwing around "I love you" does not make it something other than sinister harrassment and stalkery.
Once again, if you are in or have been in this situation, do not feel the need to stay silent and do not talk yourself into staying silent. Call perpetrators out. Light fires under their asses. Draw them out into the town square and put a spotlight on them. Cause a raucous. Do not make excuses for them. It is so incredibly easy to do so and others will do that enough for you, but there will be people like me that will believe you, that will stand next to you, and help you effect change. If you cannot speak up, if you must remain silent, I still see you. You are still valid. I will cause enough raucous for myself so that the right people will take notice and, in partnership with others, the status quo will begin to change.

The motherfucking time is motherfucking up.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year, Novel YOU

What is up?!
I feel like I'm finally on a roll with this shit again.
Time will tell.

Quick Abigail update before the point:
because I can't ever just focus on the point and be done with it

In case you're wondering, - of COURSE you are - I have taken a hiatus from the social media. Yes, the social media. Facebook (except to leave blog announcements and the response to random messages), IG, Snapchat - they've all gone to the shitter and I don't plan on unearthing them any time soon. This would be the reason why my feeds are ghosttowns and if someone has reached out to me, why I have not reached back. Now you know. It felt weird to make an announcement that I would be leaving as if it would really change the make-up of someone's day: Hear, ye! Hear, ye! Her majesty Abigail, the only person you care about on social media, is taking her leave. Your lives will all be drastically altered from this point forward.

Weird, right? I thought so too.

I felt like a crack addict my first few days, but now I only get the itch to check my phone 100 times a day instead of 300 (500?) only to remember I have nothing left to check (except for my now pristine e-mail inbox) because my social life is a gaping abyss I scream into with desperation. Just kidding. -Ahem- Moving on!
It has been oddly uplifting and relieving not to have a cellular device super-glued to my fingers and face waiting on the next like or comment, comparing my life to others'. I do also feel very out-of-the-loop and disconnected, which is a strange feeling when you grew up the same way and survived just fine without all the social media chaos. (God, I feel like a dinosaur. Kids these days (those poor, unfortunate souls) don't even know the bliss of which they have been deprived. Snooze, ya lose, suckaaaas.)

So, that's what's up with me and I hope no one has felt offended having not gotten a response from me. (Feel free to text me if you feel the need to see my face.)

-awkward subject-change elevator music inserted here-

Although I got rid of the social media before the New Year, this course of action has brought with it some considerations of resolutions. However, because I don't buy-in to the whole resolutions stocks, I am going to make a list of resolutions for those of you who would like to pick resolution apples from my New Year tree. And, instead of going along the tradition of actions to be done in the new year, I am going to mainly focus on things not to do. So pretty much, you get to be lazy af. 

Abigail's Handy-Dandy, Stop-Doing-It Resolutions Tree:
in no particular order

  • Don't give in to social media. 
    • For the most part, it's all hype and it's all staged. It is so easy to get wrapped up in comparing what people let you see and your own life. Smoke and mirrors, people, smoke and motherfucking mirrors. Embrace distancing yourself, if necessary. Those who are genuinely concerned about your absence will reach out.
  • Don't be intimidated by the future. 
    • Set your sights on a dream - (becoming a successful musician), a long-term goal (running a marathon), a short-term goal (eating a large pizza by yourself in one sitting) - and murder it. The hoops you may have to jump through will not be as painful as never reaching what you want most and settling into that newly attained desire will not be scary once you get there. Fire and fury is the rite of passage to freedom.
  • Don't be afraid to make a move: physically, professionally, intellectually, socially. 
    • Want to move out of the home you're in? Mulling over traveling? Tired of your job or want to move up in the ranks? Been meaning to complete your degree, start a new one, or just want to learn a new trade? Really tired of shit relationships you have or wanting to grow new ones? Get your ducks in a line and do it, Nike style.
  • Do not let others determine your worth.
    • Some people, maybe even those closest to you, will never get you (and some don't even care to try.) They will make you feel that the things you want, the things that make you happy, and who you are are either too much, too far out of reach for you, or just plain stupid. Throw a middle finger and a duece in their face and peace the fuck out. There's no sense in wasting another year on that bullshit.
  • Don't let someone belittle you.
    • Some people, even those closest to you, need to shrink you down so that you can't hold a mirror up to them. Do not let someone convince you to fit into a cookie-cutter of the person they think you should be because they want to avoid seeing their own mistakes so that they do not feel compelled to better themselves, or because they need to out-shine you. (Now, if you're just an asshole who's using this to continue being an asshole, this is not for you. You're just an asshole. Evaluate yourself and make changes...asshole.)
  • Do not allow someone to make you mistrust yourself.
    • Look at the signs. See beyond the problem. Configure the equation. Solve it. Do not look back.
  • Don't mourn those that do not value you.
    • Did the McDonald's employee forget your chicken nuggets? Kindly let 'em know and move on. Has your friend not really been a friend at all? Recognize it. Cut 'em loose and seek someone that will respect you equally. Did a love interest wound you beyond forgiveness? Accept it. Recognize the true person they are. Learn from it. Move forward remaining open to worthier possibilities.
  • Don't sacrifice your happiness for someone else's.
    • Seek to find mutual happiness. If this is not possible, book it out of there. Time is too precious to minimize your bliss for someone else.
  • Don't be too intimidated to stretch your comfort zone.
    • If you can't convince yourself to reach out of your comfort zone entirely, find a compromise. If you want to try a new place of worship and you're nervous, take a friend. If you're too scared to skydive, iFly. Do what you can with what you have to make progress.
  • Don't accept excuses instead of answers.
    • from yourself, your government, your colleagues, your significant others, your friends You aren't crazy, paranoid, or obsessive to want legitimate reasons. You deserve them.
  • Do not reduce yourself to let others shine.
    • You are worthy of your own recognition and someone else's accomplishments do not overshadow yours.
  • Do not be afraid to stick your neck out.
    • Determine what is worth the risk and commit to a person, to a movement, to a lifestyle.
  • Don't be afraid to be kind.
    • Some will take advantage while others' lives will be changed. Buy someone coffee, dinner. Offer someone a compliment without any strings attached.
  • Don't shy away from starting over.
    • What a privilege it is to have a do-over. Make the most of it.
  • Don't hesitate to walk away from toxic situations or toxic people.
    • All you need is to know that they are not good for you, you deserve better, and muster the strength to close the door and bolt it.

Some of you had a terrible 2017. Some of you had a fantastic year. Some, I'm sure, were just average. If your year wasn't so hot, you get another chance to beast the fuck out of this one. If your year was all you could hope for, hope for more this year. If your year wasn't really notable, do something to tip the scales. Either way, be good to yourself this year. Love yourself with patience and intention and fuck the people that get in the way of that. Feel free to pick from my New Year tree througout the year and take a big, juicy bite. It may start out bitter, but it'll sweeten right up in the end.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Mother, May I


It's been a century, but I'm back with some personal presents for you to judge just in time for this glorious-as-fuck holiday. 
Get your knapsacks ready.
(and now,  of course, we are passed that but keep your fucking knapsacks ready anyway, damn it!)

So, this shit is about my mother and her shit. And other people's mothers and their shit.

(duh) It's probably a good thing I don't go to family gatherings, so I don't have to hear their certain contempt for what I'm about to lay out for ya'll to feast on. 

This has been a blog idea for some time, but like all of my blog posts, I generally take action only when subject to a catalyst. What in heaven's name was the catalyst for the bludgeoning that is about to happen, you may ask? a text message, true to 21st century form, inspired by the train wreck of a holiday careening our way (that has now blazed past, carnage strewn everywhere). More on that later - the text message, not the carnage.

Let's just get right down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
I'm going to just lay out some feels and go from there.

Feels #1: Society guilts and shames you into loving/honoring your mother even when she's a piece of poop pie. A common thought process is, "value her because you only get one and time isn't promised" or "she brought you into this world, so be grateful."

Feels #2: Fuck that shit. That is the biggest cop out for mothers to be Mother Dearests, if you ask me.
which you are asking me..because you're here

Feels #3: Some mothers are just plain assholes. Some mothers are emotional sewage systems with the deepest drains known to man. Some mothers are selfish. Some mothers like to live in their own little fantasy and remain ignorant to the way their issues can be detrimental to their children. Some mothers are abusive: physically, mentally, emotionally. Some mothers pride themselves on having standards for which they hold their children accountable, but not themselves. Some mothers make hurtful choices, feel sorry for themselves, and guilt you into picking them back up even though you are the one that sustained the injuries. I could go on forever, so I'm just not going to for once.

Feels #4: Mothers should be: a confidant, a role model, a safe place, a friend, a mentor. They should have the ability to refrain from judgment, to love unconditionally, to educate, but also to be willing to learn, to be patient and understanding.

The goods. 

My mother is surely going to riot in the streets if she finds this, because I'm somewhat washing our dirty laundry in public. Shout-out to traditional Southern values that I am absolutely murdering! Who am I kidding? She will probably sit with great posture, dressed to a tee at her dinner table, silently sipping from her tea glass.
The text message that spurred this post was a guilt-tripping tactic in disguise as a lamentation about my sister and I not seeing our mother for Christmas. Keep in mind, I reached out to my mother at the beginning of the month to attempt to set plans and she had no definitive answer for me. What did I do? I planned my holiday without her. Cue alligator tears and guilt-trip booby trap.

Final feels.

Mothers are not due unfaltering devotion just because they spit you out of their vagina, birthed you through their abdomen/uterus via C-section, labored with you,  grew you in their womb, etc. This also applies to adoptive mothers. Mothers make a definitive choice to allow you to survive and to bring you into the world. Along with that choice comes specific and unending responsibilities that are due to every human, regardless of age, color, creed, sexual orientation, lifestyle, religion, disability, etc. Too, too often children are made to feel indebted to their mothers. They are made to feel that no matter what, they owe their mothers time, energy, love, affection regardless of the toll that it may take on their own health. I wonder if this theme is as big in the North as it is here in the South.
No one seems to be willing to call mothers out because of this expectation and requirement created by society. I have decided that I am at peace with sacrificing myself to this cause. I realize that I will be deemed cruel, ungrateful, and disrespectful along with an endless slew of slurs. That's okay. Do you.
My intent here is not to drag my mother through the streets with tar and feathers. I love her. She's my mother. She has sacrificed for me and helped me when asked. She has taught me. That does not mean that I have to accept the way she chooses to treat me or speak to me or the way she chooses to perceive our history and relationship. She has not bought my unfaltering devotion with her choice to have me and take care of me. She does not get to throw in my face the very requisites inherent to being a mother. I do not owe her for her choice to have a daughter. I am a fellow human being and deserve the same amount of respect and love that she demands.
so do you - from your mothers
I am here to publicly tell you that it is acceptable, it is sometimes necessary to sever ties with mothers, to call them out, to hold them accountable. You deserve it. You are valuable and important just as you are and if a mother can't get behind that, you are not indebted to her. Do not shy away from taking your health, your well-being into your hands and improving it just because society has their own idea of what mother-children relationships should be.
I hope if you are struggling and bargaining with yourself about this, you will find the strength to take action for yourself. You matter too. You do not need to feel guilty for protecting yourself or asking for equal treatment. It isn't easy. It is not a lazy Sunday full of snacks and newspaper cartoons.
But, you can be unapologetically  f r e e. You will be able to take a deep breath, release it, and breathing will get easier by the day. Take care of yourself despite who that may offend. You are the only you the world has and you are worth it. (even more than L'Oreal touts)


**Disclaimer for those that feel themselves caught in the desperate throes of being high and mighty: This is written from a daughter's perspective. I am not a mother. I do realize that motherhood is a feat that is unbeknownst to me and is probably one of the most complicated and difficult choices in life. Mothers are due an insurmountable amount of appreciation and love. They are valuable and they do have the right to make mistakes. I am aware that there are great mothers out there. However, I am coming from a life with a mother that regardless of the repeated mistakes, the repeated efforts to make her conscious and aware of those mistakes, chooses to remain ignorant and live a life of denial and self-righteousness. There are others that share my story. Just as I realize that I am not all-knowing when it comes to motherhood, please do me the courtesy of realizing that you are not all-knowing of my upbringing and cobweb-ridden relationship with my mother. The intent of this post is not to slaughter my mother in the streets, but to raise awareness that some mothers just aren't the best mothers, that it's okay to say that publicly, and that it is okay to find a better life for yourself through other relationships that love you unconditionally.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Praying by Way of Solidarity

Praying isn't something I do very often.
Let's be real - I never do it anymore.
My kind of prayer is reflection and unity.

This post is a little more personal than my usual fire and brimstone posts.
I'm not one to relish in my weaknesses and I'm especially not a fan of broadcasting them, but if there's a single person that can relate to this post, that can find some sort of validation from it, it makes revealing myself worthwhile.
We have to learn that it isn't about us. Our pain can be empowerment for someone else, and some of us that are able should offer ourselves up to this cause.
This is my attempt to do that.

I'm going to assume everyone has heard Kesha's "Praying" and I'm going to go out even further on that limb and assume we all know what that song is related to. For the sake of clarification, it's in response to the lawsuit against her former producer that sexually assaulted her - at least, that's the assumption in regards to the meaning of the song. This song was the first song she released since the lawsuit began in 2014 and it seems to be targeting me lately, which is the reason for this seemingly random post. If you haven't heard it:

The emotion in this song is so obvious it's almost tangible and most often, I think, the emotions this song spurs in others may be sadness or sympathy, maybe even inspiration or empowerment. This is where my post takes its turn:

This song makes me angry. Don't get me wrong - I love this song. It hurts every time I hear it and I still want to replay it. Let me explain my crazy to you. 

"Praying" exemplifies Kesha's ability to move beyond, to empathize with her assailant. It shows her generosity and her forgiveness even as she details her pain. This is fantastic. You fucking go, girl. 

I am not Kesha.
It has been years, more than triple the amount of years that Kesha has had since her attack(s), and I do not feel forgiveness. I do not feel empathy. I do not feel anything besides anger and hatred.

And you know what? I think that is perfectly okay. I go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning knowing if I were given the opportunity, I could end an individual's life and feel zero remorse. For someone who is against the death penalty, regardless of the crime, and doesn't support war, that's monumental to come to terms with. Maybe I'd wimp out. Maybe I'd lose my fury in the moment, but I have felt this way for over a decade, so maybe not.

I am in awe of the words in this song. While some of them completely resonate with me, she loses me at the softness - hoping her perpetrator finds peace, praying for him. WHAT? HOW? 
It. Does. Not. Compute.

I have moved past my shit in the most thorough way that I know how, without therapy. Plenty of people volunteer the idea that therapy makes everything better, and maybe, with immediate contribution and in a timely fashion it can. In my experience, that was not an option. I grappled and struggled with it silently and eventually, ever so slowly, I pushed myself past it - sometimes to the detriment of my relationships with others. And I am not interested in opening that can of worms years after the fact for the sake of saying therapy helped me forget all about it. For my survival and desire to thrive, not just exist, this is not possible. For the sake of a sliver of relief from the dark nature of this post, here are a few pieces of progress I am proud of:

+ On most occasions, I can sleep with my bedroom door open and the light off.
+ I can be active in my house and leave the front door unlocked for a short period of time to test myself.
+ I do not have to immediately leave a location, because a particular type of person has entered the vicinity and gives me a bad feeling.
+ I do not constantly fear running into a particular individual while just living everyday life.
+ I can sleep.
+ I can function day-to-day in the most seemingly normal way possible.

These are triumphs compared to who I was some years ago. It's hard to believe how difficult sleeping, or showering in a house, or having your back to a door or just separated from a wall can be when you have not experienced something that makes everything seem unsafe. It is a constant battle, and the battle is fucking exhausting. 

To live through that and feel the way Kesha's song describes, is unfathomable to me. To look back and remember who you were before and then to analyze the change in you, the downward spiral, and the unexpected stall and plateau that comes instead of complete reformation, is jolting. And to know how hard you had to fight to even reach that plateau is even more sobering. It's almost laughable to be proud of where you are, knowing who you were. But you are here. You are still here.

This is what keeps the anger fresh, brewing, ready to boil over when faced with a song like "Praying". To know that my whole life has been altered - the things I choose to do or not do, the places I feel comfortable going and not going, the way I perceive things, the way certain things/people make me feel - because of the unwarranted actions of someone else, is infuriating.

I'm happy with where I've gotten myself with this issue. It will never stop being a struggle, a haunting experience that makes my hair stand on end, something that's fresh on my mind when countless things happen including when I hear "Praying" blare through the speakers, even though others are able to say it's just another song. I don't think it's possible for that part of my life to be anything else beyond something I struggle with, especially not something I reflect on with forgiveness in mind.

I'm here to say that if you are where I am - if you're damn angry and intent on staying that way, if you haven't moved past it, if you have, but you still suffer, if you're where I am and want to progress even further - I see you. You are valid. You can survive first, and you can fucking thrive. Whatever you choose to do, however you choose to channel the bullshit you deal/dealt with, it is okay. And if that coping tool is harmful, I hope that you can move past that too, for yourself, but it does not make you any less whole, any less worthy. You are a warrior and I stand with you.


[To all you motherfuckers thinking I need Jesus to find my way out of the darkness or some shit, keep walking and don't spout your bullshit at me. I say that with all the love and sincerity in my heart.]

Monday, August 21, 2017

Who in the Hell Was That? Me. It Was Me.

Hiya, heathens. 
As luck would have it, I've had another major realization I'd like to document.
So, here we are (about a month after the realization and initiation of this post). Sit tight and get ready to open yourself up to another idea of yourself.

Please God, Abigail, tell us. We really want to know.

Alright, alriiiiiight. Calm your tits...or testicles?

One of the great things about my mind is that it never stops churning. I'm always evaluating, always questioning. I don't usually evaluate or question things that will help me in the current time setting (because what genius does that?), but I am very fond of reflection.
Recently, it has become ever so clear that I have been and will continue to be different forms of myself in relationships particularly.
-Bear with me. Don't "no fucking duh" me, yet.-

The sub point - finally.

Most of you have read my most recent entries that were full of the fire and fury of Hades. If you haven't, what are you doing with your life? Here and here. These posts detailed the infuriating and heartbreaking qualities of a person and the situation that recently ensued. 

I'm about to tell you a secret.

That shit was me four to five years ago. Now before you call me a hypocrite (though, I am) and get all high and mighty on me with your pitchforks, let me explain:

Although I may not have baited someone into dating me or promised them things that I did not intend to provide, I was a completely selfish asshole who was oblivious to the pain and unmet needs of someone closest to me. It was my way or the highway no matter the cost. And just like I allowed it to continue in my recent relationship, my partner from years ago allowed it to continue then. I'd also like to add that there was never a complaint from her. She was a god damn angel that let me revel in princessry and always gave me the benefit of the doubt. She was patient and hopeful that I would recognize my shortcomings in order to improve upon them. She enjoyed spoiling me and treating me like royalty. The problem presented itself when I stopped appreciating her and her constant efforts and did not offer the same in return. I bet you're shocked the relationship went straight into the ground.

Ya'll I about signed my soul over to Lucifer when I realized the correlation, because I was already a fucking demon, so why not? You know what stopped me? The grace of knowing that I didn't have to be that person, that I could be better, that someone deserved better out of me. I am not that person anymore and have not been since that relationship ended. One day, I woke up, got the little crusties out of my eyes, thawed my heart, and realized I had been a shit girlfriend and expected things that I did not offer in return. This started my steady process of morphing into who I would want my partner to be to me.

I am now happy to report that although I am no where near the perfect partner, I do resemble the sweet little angel that I did not appreciate near enough. Call it an overdue kick in the ass from Karma if you like. I do, but I am happy that I realized my piece-of-shit-ness on my own and not because of Karma. I was just a'waitin' on 'er and she sure as shit showed up.
Thank you for actually showing me what it felt like instead of trusting I knew the damage on my own, Karma. You're a real doll. I'm sure my ex appreciates your work. I would, because I'm subject to bouts of pettiness. Judge me.

Back to the point!

The Point.

We are all different forms of ourselves with different individuals. Some of us are stagnant, sure, but I do believe most of us evolve as we crash and burn through this life. You may be the worst form of yourself with someone just like they may be at different periods of their life with different partners. Maybe you're soft and affectionate with JoeBro, but you're callous and reserved with LizSis. Maybe you're also insecure and paranoid with JoeBro, yet confident and realize your self-worth with LizSis. It isn't usually all bad and if you aren't blind as a fucking bat to your own shortcomings (comme moi), there is hope.
We're all evolving, all searching for the best path. People do change. Do they change for people? Probably not a safe bet. Are you expected to wait it out until they realize it themselves and stop being an asshole? Absolutely not. Is it okay if you do? Knock yourself out. No judgment here. I just hope you're keeping your emotional/mental health in mind. No matter what, have heart that people do realize their issues and can choose to grow and become new people.
Sometimes this can be done during a relationship. That takes a lot of patience, understanding, maturity, and communication. None of which I had enough of 4-5 years ago (though I wouldn't tell you that then, of course). Some assholes like me need separation to evaluate themselves and realize they are actually part of the problem. Some people even need to witness their ex moving forward with someone else (whether that be from their best friend effectively stalking the ex and informing them, or personal stalkery..don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about!) or maybe they need to find their own, better match. Either way, a catalyst is imperative. However, it is always up to you to improve yourself, for yourself.

You can "no fucking duh" me now.