An Open Letter to My Unruly Body

Dear Body,

I looked at my mother, and she’s so small now…I shriveled up, looking at myself, thinking “Why can’t that be you?” I think “love/hate” is an understatement of what I actually go through with you. Everyone tells me, “I’d kill for a body like yours”…but I still have moments where I dread you. Does that just make me human?

I told myself I needed to step back before my friends come this weekend. And they all look good. So, I wanted to shower you in love so I could wash away this insecurity, so I wouldn’t be envious of them..forgetting that you matter, too.

My dearest body…I admire your smile. It’s perhaps the prettiest thing about you. But, why do I still struggle to accept the rest of you? One month I celebrate your curves and can’t imagine a life without thighs. A week later…I’m researching what I need to do to melt my stomach away. So, tell me, where I am trying to fit?

Is it in the spaces where I either only see white skin or black skin and small bodies? Or is it in a culture of 400+ likes meaning “beauty”? Where am I trying to fit? Is it in these plus size outfits on Pinterest on models that aren’t MY Plus Size? Is it the clothes that were once familiar when a 12 was almost my size?

I do commend you body. While you may be confused now, at least you’re not demanding me now to be skinny for the sake of a man. Now, you just want to love me…and and you want me to love you. I guess I’m trying to figure out…how to. Where…do I fit?

It can’t possibly be in these shuttle bus seats that I try to suck my hips in, to try to make everyone ELSE comfortable around me. Dear body, why do I do that? Why do I go straight to the handicap bathroom as if that’s the only stall for me? Why don’t I ever sit in the middle of class to be front and center…yet inside want all the attention? For once, my body, I’m ready for you to talk to me…because I’m ready to listen.

And that’s why I wrote this….because you are unruly. But, I don’t know. Is there really another way. Because even at a size 12…you still weren’t happy. You still were…running. You still….thought you were ugly. You still….wanted your world to end. You still…couldn’t sleep. You still…were drowning. So, where do you fit?

You fit everywhere. Right here and right now…in the very places you’re trying to hide. See, deep inside…you’re smiling just as big as you are on the outside. You’re just afraid to let it show, because it may be the world that has a problem with this body. But, that’s not your issue to solve. The world hated you the minute your blackness was bestowed upon you, inevitably. You might as well give the world something else to talk about. So, you fit…everywhere you go…for everyone to smile, laugh, and cry…and do whatever else when you meet. Because dear body, your small ears don’t compare to your big dreams. And your skinny fingers don’t measure up to your huge heart. And those hips? Oh body, those hips. Those hips have twirled…and jumped…and danced in other countries you once dreamed of going to. Oh body… you may be unruly to me. But, perhaps you’re not unruly at all….This body…is a dream. This body…is strong. This body…is happy.

And unruly body? I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I once got so low on you, I invaded our privacy. I’m sorry….I gave you away for free. Please, my body, forgive me. And I hope that somewhere in this relationship…you correct me when I’m doing you wrong. Like when I get too happy and digest too many calories in a weekend…tell me to detox. Like when I go to the gym and head straight to the bike…tell me to get to running. Like when…I’m in the world around all these other different bodies…these other pretty bodies…tell me…mine matters, too.

I want to love you….And I don’t want or feel the need to be skinny to do that. I want to take care of you-clean you up, shave even when I hate it, drink water and lots of tea, workout at least four time a week. I want this for us…and I don’t want to give a damn that you’re unruly.Because you’re me. And me…she’s pretty fucking amazing.

I’m sorry body…if it took me long to realize that. So, pretty please, when I start to feel like I’m nothing…Body, reming me…

I’m fucking perfect. ♡

Love,

Dia

 

Watch “F**kin’ Perfect” by P!nk here

Advertisements

“Don’t Save ‘Em”:The Problem with the Black Superwoman Syndrome (feat. Jermaine Cole)

c0a0c7297473fab465d95ba14da7b4eb

I went to a session, and someone noted that people were saying that maybe Kanye wouldn’t be Kanye if he had the support of a black woman. But, when did that become the black woman’s job? When did it become my 9 to 5 to drown for the very beings that wouldn’t swim for me? That won’t give to me…that won’t heal for me…that go through extraordinary lengths…to shame, victimize, and silence me.

Don’t save ’em.

Let’s not get confused. I’d never draw a divisive line between me and my black men. I love women. I made this blog for women. But, I love men, too. I had amazing men show me what a father should be. I have a brother that calls me just to tell me I’m pretty. And I had a couple men that even…broke me. Because I tried to save them. But, who’s gonna save us? Who’s ever…gonna save me?

Don’t save ’em.

My first boyfriend was a Crip…he stayed wearing blue. But, I dated him because he actually thought I was pretty…and he had potential. He told me he wanted to be a Psychologist. So, I ignored his constant slip-ups because he had a dream. And my own ignorance wasn’t his fault. But, his desire for my “understanding” was. His desire for my unwavering “forgiveness” was. His ability to make me feel like…nothing…was. He quoted “Boy Meets World” always to me, saying “You are you. I am I. And if in the end, we end up together, it’s beautiful”…and that became my dream.

Don’t save ’em, they don’t wanna be saved.

See, the problem with the Black Superwoman Syndrome is not a mystery. Historically…we had to hold it down..had to work, had to accept abuse, had to watch our husband’s get beat…but we had to remain respectful…we had to hold it together…we couldn’t ever fold…had to remain happy. Had to work, had to provide…had to “save” our families. Time never healed our wounds. Black women still carry this “S”…still risking our own happiness for family…to please everybody…to make good money…to stay married. I made a vow…as I finally decided to go to counseling…this would not be me…because I can’t save everybody.

Don’t save ’em. 

It’s hard to not go to the rescue when you’re such a good counselor. It’s hard to not take off when you’re such a good service rendered. You heard me correctly. I realized, unfortunately, to some people…that’s all we’ll ever be. Friends. Family. And even people you haven’t seen in years. They’ll call you…and not even ask how you’re doing. They’ll ask for money. They’ll slide in your DM’s just because they’re lonely. And the problem with the Black Superwoman Syndrome is if you’re not careful…you’ll think you have to be kind, you have to respond, you have to help…But, you don’t. You were never required to be loyal to anyone who was never worth your loyalty. And that’s hard, I know, trust me. Because when you have so much energy to put out, you’re eager to give to everybody. But, baby who’s going to pour into you? Who’s gonna pour into me? So, I ask…is your glass half-full… or half empty?

Don’t save ’em.

My best friend who I thought would never leave…up and left me. And I think through this, I learned that some things are just not meant to be. Because the day she left…I found myself constantly blaming ME. I tried and tried to save our friendship that was hanging on by a thread. I tried to pull her closer and shut out the drama that existed between us…but the more I tried to CPR..the more I realized…our relationship was dead.

Don’t save her. She don’t wanna be saved. 

My second boyfriend was heavenly…a match made in heaven. At least it should’ve been…because who’s going to give up the man that treated them like an absolute Queen? Who’s gonna trade in the life full of glows, highs, and being happy? He even had me saving money. But, it was too late. His love scared me…because I know now…I was used to misery. I was used to…being the one doing the “saving”. I was never the one vulnerable. I was always the one playing God…doing the fixing. I was used to being abused emotionally, mistaking that love. Superwoman…was me. So, when he opened his heart and tried to give me a wedding ring…I had to leave.

Don’t save me. I don’t wanna be saved. 

It absolutely sucks to have a big heart…because you don’t know when too much…is TOO MUCH. You don’t question anything. You just give the one thing you want back..badly. So in that way, life has sucked a lot for me. But, those were my choices…to be on  the front line to stop friends from walking out on life and calling it quits, listening to everyone’s problems, supporting everyone’s dreams, helping every child I could to succeed, thinking I could change a hoe to a husband…this was all me. And I can’t quite say it’s all been stupidity…ready to kill for people who wouldn’t lift a finger for me. Trying to be kind…trying to be “godly”. Do you know what that will do to you? Do you know what it feels like? It’s depression. It’s anxiety. It’s emotional eating. It’s gastroesophogeal reflux disease. It’s running around, without eating, and nearly fainting. It’s going…to bed at night and crying…not feeling good enough even after people profess they’d be nothing without you. But, what about you sis? Who’s going to save you?

Don’t save em. They don’t wanna be saved. 

I hope you read this and let this sink deep. Because this was me….This is my big heart…and that’s a part of my soul. That’s the creator at work and the whole universe within me. And I accept that. I love that about me. But, here’s what happened…and here’s how this Superwoman reached peace. It’s simple.

I was drowning, but I came up for air…and I saved ME.

Read more about the Black Superwoman Syndrome here.

Remember My Name

This is written in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

Directions: Click PLAY and play this song as you read.

DEIDRA
Deidra Thompson, 33

“Her fears were correct as her next door neighbor, Deidra Thompson, 33, had been murdered. Relatives of Thompson’s boyfriend, Frank Walters, called authorities after they said Walters showed up in Screven County and confessed to murder and more. Deputies rushed to the house. They found Thompson’s body and evidence of other crimes in addition to murder. They believe that’s where Walters sexually assaulted a juvenile who lived there after the murder. They think he then kidnapped the child, stole and used a credit card of Thompson’s, took the juvenile to his family in Screven County. He was arrested in woods nearby.” (WTOC 2012)

Dear Deidra,

 I wish you could hear this, but your soul is locked away. And somehow, after what happened to you…I hope you have peace now, girl. It’s crazy…I remember being the very one scoffing at hearing “I got flowers today”. But, the joke’s on me when my mother told me she once got hers. And now here I am…confined to spreadsheets of firearm deaths. And somehow, Deidra, you drew to me. Because I can’t stomach what happened to you…and my heart races thinking about your daughter. I tried to forget you, but you haunt me in my sleep…forcing me to remember your story…Forcing me…to remember your name. I slept one night, remembering your horror, but I did not remember your name. And you don’t deserve to be treated with such insensitivity. As various scenarios of your last breaths played in my head, I had to find you. I had to…remember your name. So, here I am….writing. Writing these words for you. It won’t ever be enough for your death. It won’t be enough for your daughter’s trauma. It won’t be enough for your perpetrator. But, I hope it’s enough to make amends. I hope it’s enough for your baby girl’s peace. I hope it’s enough…to always remember your name. I cry for you without even knowing you, Deidra. But, I will ALWAYS…remember your name.

 

Love Always,

 Adia.

 Women are a lot of things- nurturers, homemakers, superwomen…and even fighters. Yet, we brush them off, we laugh, and instead we ask “Why did you stay?” We give much dismay to the victims, forgetting that they’re victims….just to later on be forced to remember their names. See, I’ve read too many stories about this “domestic violence” to remain silent. And the problem is that it never really happens…domestically. No, it happens in the car outside her mother’s house after a woman has fled, running…down the street…. or your casual sidewalk where her body is then dumped beneath the trees. These are the stories domestic violence paints…. however, it is not the only story. And for this, Deidra is me….and I am her. Because just like the devil, this violence wears many faces. And if you aren’t careful…it can all look so…tempting. Do not be confused. This violence takes root not only in the physical…but also verbally, economically, and most of all…emotionally. So, don’t dare be ignorant. Because the truth is…every woman endures at least one of these forms of domestic abuse, inevitably. Let’s not forget though….it’s 1 in 4 women that must endure this pain, physically. So, that’s mommy. Cousin. Your best friend….or the girl in your class that’s always smiling. It’s the woman coming to church to “feel alive”, but inside….she’s dying. Will you remember their name?

 

Deidra is she. She is me. And I am her…and I will never forget her name. We did not have the same pain. We do not share the same story. But, she’s a woman, too…and for that, Deidra is me.…So, I will write for her. I will work hard. I will dream…for her. Because I don’t ever want to forget her. I don’t ever want to forget her story. I don’t want to remain oblivious in a world…where women are dying. Most of all, I don’t want to sit…and do nothing. We shamefully live in a world where we’re toy soldiers…and somehow, we’re always the ones falling. I don’t want to keep falling. I don’t want to remember more names. And I don’t want to read more stories.

 

Fairness. Equality. Respect. Love. Peace. That’s what we need…or else we’ll keep suiting up for war…. retrieving 911 dispatch for more dead bodies.  Parenting. Love. A new “masculinity”. Frederick Douglass said it himself, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” I don’t know if they’re enough temporary protective orders in the world to repair what’s already broken. But, I’d like to think…men deserve help, too. Will you remember their names?

 

Deidra Thompson. Frank Walters. Tennille Grant. Silvia Flores. Claudine Hargrove. Jessica Criff. Amber Wilson. Tamicka Armstrong. Stephen Clayton. Samantha Keithley. Ernest Winslow. Mariah Carey. Robyn Fenty. Christopher Brown. Ray Rice.  Janay Palmer. Tiatiane Spitzner. Fantasia Barrino. Lionel Richie. Tina Turner. Ike Turner. Evelyn Chambers. Halle Berry. Robin Givens. Mike Tyson.

 

Shanann Watts. Bella Watts. Celeste Watts. Will you remember their pain? Will you remember their name?

Single, Not “Alone”: What Happened Once I Shifted My Perspective

I told myself I was going to write this post for weeks now. But, here I am. And I don’t want you to read this and think, “Adia has it all together” or “She’s so inspiring” …and all the other stuff I get from readers. Most importantly, this is not a guidebook. I am not your therapist. This is in no way, shape, or form…a map to guide you from point A to point B through your healing. This is none of that. This is, however, evidence…that perspective means…EVERYTHING. How YOU see your life..how you SPEAK can either build you up…or be your downfall. So, let’s get to it.

Abandonment issues. Can anyone tell me what that means? The fear often stems from childhood…maybe from a traumatic event, maybe from not getting enough emotional care. But, for whatever reason…abandonment can arise in relationships, causing unwarranted anxiety…and more fear. This….was me. And it was more than just me. I mean, I sat on my counselor’s couch earlier this year…and it hit me as I was pouring my heart out, that my intimate relationships only grew from “abandonment” seeds. I was talking about how my mother left, how my father never wanted me, how my best friend just ghosted me…and there I was in a relationship…staying in a bad relationship…because I didn’t want him to “leave” me. I started my life in Atlanta, and it seemed as though…I had no one. In my eyes, that was my reality. My girls were miles away, my family could only do but so much, and I…was alone. That is what I called it-alone. I didn’t use the word single…ever. I used the word “alone”…all.the.time. Then, my counselor challenged me. I’ll never forget that day…before I poured it all out…that’s when he asked-“Do you recognize how often you say the world ‘alone’? I looked at him dumbfounded. I’m sitting asking about how to either leave my relationship or make it work..and there he was asking me about my vocabulary. He asked me again, “Do you recognize how often you say the word ‘alone’? You don’t use the word single. You say you’re alone. Why?”. That’s when it happened. I had to shift everything about what I thought about singleness and turn into something else.

So, that was it. It wasn’t the “best” way to handle ending a relationship. But, I fell off the grid. No break-up via phone call. No break-up via text. No, “I need space”. No, “It’s me, not you” (even though it should’ve been “It’s you, not me”). No…”I need to do this for me.” No…anything. I left. I boarded my plane to Africa, thinking about how low I allowed myself to stoop…about the mistakes I had made. I boarded my plane, crying. But, nonetheless, I boarded my plane knowing I wasn’t returning as the same woman that left. And that meant everything.

I spent my whole summer….reflecting. I reflected on the definition of single and what that means FOR ME. I reflected on my reasoning for getting into my previous relationship…and the one before that…and the one before that…and the one before that. I reflected on why I never spent adequate time just being single…and enjoying it….and living. I thought about each and every wrong turn I have made over these years…at the expense of simply being “with” somebody. If it wasn’t the crappy relationship to begin with, it was breaking the one guy’s heart who actually wanted to marry me…It was running from him and not wanting to be alone to compartmentalize what I’d done to him and just jumping right into it with another body…then it was saying “I’m not looking for a relationship” and leaving that “situationship”…and jumping right.into.another.one. It was always me…running.

Through all this reflecting,  I became more comfortable with saying “single”. And that’s when my skies opened up. I recognized my own strength, my own voice, my own capabilities, my own…freedom. I recognized…well recognize..that in all these “relationships”, I was ALWAYS better off single. I was ALWAYS the best version of myself, single. I was always fine…with just me.

I became free…and I began doing everything. But, this time around. I’m doing things…and smiling, doing things and laughing at my damn self…doing things….completely happy. I’ve done more, HAPPILY, in the matter of just of couple of months than I managed to do in the past year after placing myself with the wrong person.

Now, I’m human. So, now’s a good time to confess to my humanity. I said this isn’t a road map or your therapy. But, I’d be doing you and myself an injustice if I don’t admit that…I still reminisce. I still miss “moments”. I still miss being “held” and/or “longed for”. These moments of “reminiscing” come in waves. Once again, we’re human. and healing? It doesn’t happen overnight. But, you keep trying. You don’t numb the pain. When I find myself reminiscing, I allow the pain back in. I let it creep in…how I used to feel…how my previous relationships made me feel…and I remind myself…I will always be worth more than that.

Single. I am single. I was never alone. I am not alone. And you aren’t either. Shift your perspective. I challenge you to shift your perspective today…and you remember you are justified in HOWEVER you feel at this moment. FEELING…is important. But, remember, those “feelings” are only temporary. You are a ball of wonderful, magical, marvelous, and incredible power. The moment you make the decision to own that…no one will take that away from you. Your singleness is not a time of…isolation…or depression. Your singleness is a time to celebrate, girl…your strength…your femininity, you SEXY-NESS…your power. Your singleness is your time to do everything YOU want to do…and how YOU want to do it. Have fun…read books…go to the movies….laugh after falling…cry while watching TV…and fall in love with all of your little quirks…or the odd mole on your thigh. These are all of the things…that my singleness in this short time so far has afforded me. And as I pray…to learn about myself…As I pray for my future “partner” (emphasis on partner. I said “partner”, not spouse, or boyfriend), my singleness becomes more and more purposeful…and exciting.

I wake up each day, proud to be..independent. Proud to have my own money…and not having to relay on any to “take care of me”. Proud to be free. Proud to recognize…that I’m not ready or mature enough to be with anyone else…Proud to recognize, however, that I deserve someone that WANTS to be with me. Proud to be…me. And I still wake up some days…I look in the mirror..and some times, it’s still a struggle to see “me” for ME. But…it only takes a SHIFT to know…I am perfect…as the IMPERFECT me.

 

You are perfect…as the IMPERFECT you. SHIFT today.