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

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

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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?

What “Hunger” by Roxane Gay Meant for MY Body

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Left: May 2018. Right: August 2018

“I have been living in this unruly body for more than twenty years. I have tried to make peace with this body. I have tried to love or at least tolerate this body in a world that displays nothing but contempt for it. I have tried to move on from the trauma that compelled me to create this body. I have tried to love and be loved. I have been silent about my story in a world where people assume they know the why of my body, or any fat body. And now, I am choosing to no longer be silent. I am tracing the story of my body from when I was a carefree young girl who could trust trust her body and who felt safe in her body, to the moment when that safety was destroyed, to the aftermath that continues even as I try to undo so much of what was done to me” – “Hunger” by Roxane Gay 

It’s appropriate for me to first start this by saying how amazing this book was. Roxane paints a clear picture of her own story, her journey, and her body. I knew the minute I read the inner flap of the book, I was going to love it since I grew up a “big” girl all of my life. While our stories are very different, I’m inspired by Dr. Gay. I admire Dr. Gay. Because it goes without saying…it is hard…living in a world where “thick” is adored but still has a size limit…where every mannequin in department stores instantly paints a picture of beauty….and it often seems that big=disgusting. We label big women…we toss them away…we ignore them…and we don’t allow them take up space. As if not facing reality that everyone’s body is NOT meant to be the same is enough…we neglect big women. We go straight to their BMI…ignoring their stories. I am a big woman. This is my story.

I am and have been bigger than most…all of my life. I remember growing up, it was just a luxury really-eating. Everything was so readily available to me, I liked sweets, and my family loved feeding me. I didn’t necessarily feel “bad” about being a big girl. It was the world though that changed that. It was barely fitting in the desks in school and being so nervous that students were looking at me or laughing at me. It was the frequent conversations my aunt when bring up when she would visit about me doing more walking…or her micromanaging my eating. It was the things I “wanted” to wear in department stores that were never “big girl” friendly. This is what my hunger did to me, physically.

Mentally, being a big girl set me in this trap of then…just wanting to be pretty. I knew I was a black girl. I was a DARK, black girl. I was a dark, black, BIG girl. The combination of the three, to me…I think internally, they all meant all odds were against me…and that I had to put in extra work to be seen. So, mentally? Being a big girl wasn’t “pretty” for me. So, I had to compensate. I remember, starting in high school, I would wear so much make-up. I envied…everything about me. But with make-up on, I truly felt like my own woman….and most importantly, I could mask my insecurities while secretly envying the girls who were “naturally” pretty. So, while everyone was always saying “You’re so pretty” or “You have a beautiful smile” or “You’re so confident”…I never believed any of those things. Mentally…all I thought I was…was big…never pretty.

My emotions…This is MY WHY of my body and how my insecurities get the best of me, my emotions lead me to eat, and well ya know….with a pear shape, one can only imagine what countless Krispy Kreme doughnuts can do to a body. I’ll give you one word. Men. The picture on the left up there? That was after more than just doughnuts. That was after numerous Cookout Trays, Wendy’s, and any type of candy you can imagine. I was….lonely. I remembered looking at this picture the day before I left for Africa and I laid on the floor…and cried. Because, this was the second time I allowed my body…and emotional eating…to get the best of me…and at the expense of who? A man.

I pinpointed the word this week to define my last relationship, situationship, friendship, disastership…whatever we should’ve called it. Emotional abuse. You know, we often hear the word abuse…and think straight to the physical. And while I recognize that is life-threatening, being abused emotionally…is tormenting. It’s the mind games…it’s the lies, cheating, and deceit. It’s the feelings..that you’re going crazy. This was me. And my only mechanism to cope…was my body-both eating and sexually. And that picture on the left….I can’t even believe that “me”. Because I compromised myself….for the sake of making someone else happy…for the sake of keeping someone who didn’t want to be kept…and because I thought I could do the “changing”…and that…he loved me. I compromised myself and my body….trying to figure out why I was so…unhappy. Let me say this…right here and right now…emotional abuse is not cute, nor is it healthy. The “crazy” girlfriend dynamic. That should NEVER be. Love shouldn’t be crazy.

I wish I could say my previous relationship was the first disaster for my body. But, it wasn’t. If anything, it’s been a wake up call of the price that I set for something that is so priceless. And I read Dr. Gay’s book and also realized that. I’ve spent so much time…boxing my “big” self into where I thought I should be for the sake of being liked, for the sake of having a prince charming, and for the sake of being “pretty”. But, in actuality, I am and have always been ALL of those things…plus more. Looking back on my life, looking back on my summer, and looking at that picture of my body on the right…there’s only one thing that I want to be-happy.

And not the temporary happy…or the conditional happy. I’m talking about the effervescent, joyous, full of life at all times, HAPPY. And I don’t need another being to be that. If I die today or tomorrow, I want to die knowing that my LIFE was beautiful…not that I was pretty. I want to die knowing I meant something. And call me crazy…but I choose that over pretty. I choose that over prince charming. I choose loving my body in every single stage that’s in, so that I always love me.

After all…the first time I lost weight. I got down to 190 pounds and I still looked in the mirror and HATED me…even after everyone said I looked so “good” and so “skinny”. That was before my last relationship. But, there I was. Still unhappy and even then at that time, still trying to put a man in a place where only I should’ve been.

I don’t know if I’d ever write a book about the story of my body. But, for now…this will do. I’m a big girl…who is just another victim of this picture the world creates and a hostage, sometimes if I must admit, to my own insecurities. My “safety” in my own body? It was destroyed the minute I made the decision to put my happiness in the hands of other people instead of healing and working on my own wounds. And now? Well, I couldn’t agree with Roxane even more…I’m just trying to undo so much of what was done to me.

 

Purpose for the Purposeless

Well, I did it. I walked out of this conference that I should be more than grateful to be at. But, amongst all the faces that seemed so enthusiastic about social work…and medical care…and making sure women breastfeed…There I sat, just thinking….”I’m really just one step away from ‘Magic City'” The truth? It is so easy for everyone to look at my life and say, “She’s so gifted”, “She’s talented”, “She’s so beautiful”, “She’s confident”….or the kicker-“She makes it look so easy.” In actuality, it is so hard for me to be ALL of these things. Sometimes, I’m not beautiful. I’m big…and I’m average. Sometimes, I’m not gifted…I’m simply going through the motion of things.

I started graduate school at Emory, really excited about a lot of things-a new degree, a new city, a new start. But, Emory…in the midst of my 20s has yielded nothing but confusion and turmoil.

Purpose. What do you do when you have no clue what it is? What do you do when you have no clue where to go? What do you do when you’re up against battling so many…identities? Moreover, what do you do when you don’t know whether to stop…or keep chasing a childhood dream?

“The race is not awarded to the swift nor the strong…but to them that endure to the end”~ Ecclesiastes 9:11

My grandmother is a firm believer in my journey being…different. A believer that in order to get to MY destination-a stop where I’ll change the world-I’ll fall more…I’ll strugle more….I’ll be hurt more than anyone else. But, I’ll end in victory…I’ll end in inspiring…and an amazing story. Now, my grandmother (Nana) is a wise woman. I believe every bit of this. I do…I just don’t know how to stomach a life like this. I tell her all the time…ya know…anybody can read Dialosophy…or like my pictures on IG…and think I’m funny on Snapchat..but what about when my mind is literally driving me crazy? And the only thing that helps…is writing. To that, my grandmother would say…”No one is supposed to know. It’s YOUR struggle.”

So, I was in this conference facing a common struggle-feeling purposeless. I find myself asking a very familiar question-What am I doing? This year has been of complete…obscurity. Struggling to find what I want to do-Is it writing? Is it medical school? Struggling to come to grips with dating, my sexuality-can I be free? Why did I want to wait to get married? Struggling…to understand me-why am I feeling what I am feeling?

But, nonetheless…I can’t help but to hold on to optimism…hold on to…happy. Hold on to hope…that I’ll be found in my wilderness. Hold on to truth that there is purpose…for the purposeless.

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Featured: Asia Massey. Instagram: _asiaa_nicolee
  1. Purpose for the Black Girl: Queen, your only purpose is that you are capable of amazing things. The world will never understand the things you must face intentionally. Your drive to win is not just for you…it’s for a whole community…for the people who never made it past middle school…the lives lost as victims to the streets. You feel like your purpose, black girl, is to be everything. But, you’re not. You are not everything. You are…a human being. And you deserve someone that’ll take “wins” for you, too. Black girl, I see you going through all that highlight…but underneath, you’re still and already beautiful. Black girl, you’re so smart….I don’t believe you’re meant to do just ONE thing. So, black girl, go to medical school, pursue photography, become that nurse, write those books, own that business on the side…Live your dreams, black girl…Baby, live your dreams.

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    Featured: Joi Roberson. Instagram: joiiser
  2. Purpose for the Big Girl: Big girl, your purpose is to love your body…right here and RIGHT now for what it is…not for what you think it should be. Big girl, you are to move your hips in your body-con or one piece…not caring about the wide eyes or whispers you get. It is your body…it’s NOT everyBODIES. Big girl, look at your smile. That’s the best curve you’ll EVER have. So, don’t stress how much you’ve gained…r the body you think you should have. Appreciate exactly where you are, reflect where you want to be…and make a plan if you don’t like what you see. Work for whatever results you want, big girl, and know they’ll come slowly…but surely. In the mean tie, wear what you want, big girl….do what makes you happy. Big girl, you were made to make a manifest for big girls everywhere. Delight in your OWN glory.

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    Featured: Adia R. Louden (me), Hannah Hart (Indiana University), Jenna Washington (Brown University) Instagram: adiarlouden, haveahart_hc, rosegoldenratio
  3. Purpose for the graduate student: Here it is again…another day you may not know what you’re doing. Grad student, I know you may question what the hell you’re gonna do with this degree. But, your purpose is not to stress…your purpose is just to…wait and see. I know that can be hard..because I see you…worrying about jobs…worrying about money. But, there’s so much more than that, grad student. There’s so much more to fulfill you within other people and in a community. Grad student, they’re people that look up to you. If you make it, so do they. So, make it. YOU WILL MAKE IT. So, grad student…your only purpose is to keep going.

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    Featured: Curtis Patterson. Instagram: ayooocurt
  4. Purpose for the 20-something: So, you just turned 20-something again? And I’m sure you thought this year would be way better than the last. But, it turned to be shit…again….and you’re just as lost as before. 20-something, you’re not ever gonna have it together, so why are you worried. 20-something, I understand…you want everything to go your way. When you want to get married, when you want to have kids, what career you have…but 20-something, you don’t have control. Let’s face it….life does. 20-something, I see you…working by day, rolling a couple blunts by night…trying to escape your own fears…trying to make life a little less lonely….Be careful 20-something…don’t find yourself constantly running. But by all means, do what you gotta do to ease your heart break, 20-something. Take those shots. Go on that date. You’ll find your way, surely. But, 20-something, don’t rush…just wait and see.

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    Featured: Indiya Simpson. Instagram: naturallynicole_
  5. Purpose for the singles: Singles, do you ever find yourself using the word “alone” instead of single. Stop it. Because your purpose is not to weep in the midst of being “lonely”….Your purpose is to use this time to HAVE FUN and be the best that you can be. I’m sure it’s not promising, looking at your peers having kids and getting married. But, that’s THEIR happy…it’s not your happy (yet). You’ll get Mrs. Right. You’ll get Prince Charming. And it’ll be amazing. So, be single…figure out what you like…what you don’t like…and just do you. Be you. And it’ll be fine. Just hold on.

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    Featured: Jamaica Miller, Claflin University Class of 2018 Instagram: crucial_beauty
  6. Purpose for college grad: Congratulations. You made it…and you’re about to enter a world full of opportunities. For some of you, it may be exciting. For some of you, it could be scary. Whatever you’re feeling, decide today…that no matter what…you’re gonna keep trying. Because you will be tested. And some nights…you will spend crying. You will have to call home….and you will find ways to finesse extra money. Rent will be due…and you will wish for a time machine for a blast to the past…maybe for just one night…to be in the safe haven of a free dorm with the people who made it safe for four years…to be drunkenly leaving a party, praying everyone survives the ride back to campus WITHOUT throwing up….to be mixing illegal drinks for the freshmen who’s NOWHERE near 21. At times, you’ll miss it all. But, don’t give up. Don’t live too much in it. Because fun still exists. Memories still happen with everything. College grad, promise to keep trying.

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    Featured: Dante Hibbitt and Ebony Boykin (Columbia High School, Class of 2013) Instagram: imjustmeeb
  7. Purpose for the high school grad: This is simple, high school grad. And I know you may be nervous about what major to choose…CHOOSE WHAT YOU LOVE. A job will come. Choose what you love to do. Go to class…and have fun. That’s your purpose, high school grad. Ravioli, ravioli…here is your formuoli. This is it. Choose what you love. No matter what, go to class. And have fun. You’re in for a wild ride, high school grad. You’ll meet people and make memories you’ll NEVER forget. You’ll pass a class when you were for sure failing. You’ll fall down…but luckily for you, high school grad, there will be a bunch of people around to pick you up. So, you made it across one stage, high school grad. Don’t rush the time it takes to walk across another. Enjoy the wave…and ride it every late night and early morning. Make it last forever!!!

 

Purposeless. Are any of us ever “purposeless”? Nah. There’s a purpose in a storm…purpose in the wilderness. Purpose in…not being together. Even the best artists can turn a mess into a masterpiece. Purpose. You have it. I have it, too.

 

Remember…every mountain needs someone to climb it. Every ocean needs someone to dive in. Every dream needs someone to wish it. Every adventure needs someone to live it. So, what’chu waiting on? Who you waiting for? If you don’t take a chance, you’ll never know what’s in store.

 

 

Ode to Side Piece

 

Side piece…oh side piece…where art thou, my side piece?

Let’s talk about something. Something along the lines of being a side piece…a side piece tryna’ become a nine piece….a side piece that becomes for everybody. That side piece was me. That side piece is me.

I remember my first relationship. I was just so excited that someone actually thought I was pretty. I looked at myself as just a big girl. I never saw someone “being with me.” So, I got my confidence up to shoot my shot. I got my confidence up to see if someone who I thought was just so fine…would want to be with me. Confidently putting my number in his phone, it seemed like three years instantly became history. That’s right. You read it right-three years. Three years of broken promises. Three years…and still no ring (LOL). Three years..I allowed myself to be nothing…but a side piece.

And there it goes. We want to keep it real with our women. We want to empower our women…yet we still wanna shame our side chicks by simply saying “Know you’re worthy.” Everyone wants to say they know their worth, but no one wants to share their “unworthy” story. This is real life, real situations, and real things. Am I yelling to “Go out and be a side chick?” Am I saying being a side chick is a good thing? Are we right, as side pieces, to stoop so low to think we HAVE to stay in the side piece position? Are we pathetic for believing someone when they say they love us? Are side chicks not queens? The answer is “No” to all of these. Some of us just want to have fun. Some of us think we have the right person at the wrong timing. And some of us…some of us are just trying to figure out everything. I am/was a proud side piece…because maybe….just maybe…being a side piece taught me a WHOLE lot of me.

Here are the side chick keys:

  1. Silence. As the side chick I was, it’s like….there was NEVER any talking. I saw “my man” kissing another girl in the curtains at my high school talent show. And oh, “It’s okay.” That’s what I told myself when he told me he was so high off of weed. He said he didn’t know what he was doing. I was young. I was dumb. But if you think it gets better…think again.

 See, things like this happen often being the side chick. Not knowing when to say things…not knowing how to say things…and always questioning, “Can I really say this if we’re not together?” Silence. Being a side chick showed me not only how much I silence myself in fucked-up-relation-situationships, but it also showed me how much I silence myself as a woman overall in society. I like…making people happy. And I think…at some point…if people REALLY knew what was on my mind…they’d look at me like I’m crazy. I’d be the fool…for standing up for me. I’d be looked at as mean. Silence. It was better for me to be silent that to ruin this “good,kind,smart girl” thing I had going. So, essentially…I stayed in my lane. I let my first relationship…dictate to me who I was…for the sake of feeling pretty…and for the sake of having somebody.

2. Insecurity.

After a whole year of “breaking up to make up”…a whole year of antics to “prove” to my Mr. Know-It-All that I was something…a whole year of flinging myself at other guys to make my Boo Thang jealous….it was time for college. And within the first month, it didn’t take long to meet a stranger…that completely swept me off my feet. This time…when I was called pretty…it wasn’t…manipulating, It brought me peace. It made me…a main piece. But, I played side piece so long…I didn’t know how to be the main piece (that relationship is another post and another story).

I’ll never forget when my ex called me thunder thighs once. Living behind my weight for so long, that sort of hurt me. But, of course, I laughed, and I didn’t say anything. In my eyes…I had to dress it up and make it real for ’em. In order to really become his main piece, I had to “fuck it up one time.” So he KNEW I was pretty. Then, this man comes along…and he tells me how he didn’t understand why I felt so un-pretty…why I wore so much make-up…ALL THE TIME (he’s the reason I stopped). He told me I was beautiful…he listened to me and my dreams….he constantly told me to live without any worries. He cared about me. He uprooted my insecurity…and put me on a pedestal. I graduated from being a side piece. I became a Queen.

3. Queen.

Of course being the side chick made me learn I was a queen. When begin playing #2 when the person who says they love gets a WHOLE girlfriend…you’ll slowly but surely come to know you deserve to be #1. I didn’t realize this until someone showed me. That’s the thing about being the side chick…you can scream and scream “Know you’re worthy” all day. A side chick will only elevate herself when one of two things happen: 1) she reaches a breaking point or 2) she’s figured out who she is, what she wants, what she’ll stand for, and she’s completely ready. So, my “Should’ve-Been-Husband” made me his #1. But, what did I do? I got so ahead of myself. I became very…demanding. I began doing a lot of…overthinking. Every time I saw him with a girl that was a friend, I drove myself crazy. But, these were things I had seen. These are the games I was accustomed to playing. I ruined a good thing. This “new” love. This “make you better, make you feel glow, make you want to do better” kind of love was so…different for me. So, I was back to square one-with nothing. I think my constant struggle is having success in every other area of my life, but relationships have ALWAYS been far from “amazing”. I just find myself…wanting something. So, I went back to who and what I knew how to do-being #2.

4. Dreams.

I live a lot in my head…and I ALWAYS get caught in writing and thinking of this dream-where I’m this successful doctor, with this successful husband, six or seven kids, a dog, and a stable family. I think what traps me into some of my “side chickery”…is men can be quite talented in fading reality and selling these dreams. Of course, I take full responsibility for overthinking. But, it’s me….I’m always dreaming. And there I was with somebody who wanted to rap and go into the military. But, nowhere….NOWHERE did that fit into my dreams. They were his. He showed me potential…and I just wanted to see him live it all at the expense of me.

5. Potential.

Let’s get this straight. There are levels to being a side piece. We immediately put this negative image around being a side piece. We immediately shame women for it. As if we don’t hear constant lyrics about men being okay with being “boyfriend #2”, a “boo thang”, or the constant references about calling when your real man not around. Let’s get to it. For the vast majority, everyone has either been a side piece or made somebody one. You’ve had a guy you really liked, but entertained someone else until it “became” something. You had a girl you “chilled” with when your girlfriend was away for a while (and you never told her either). We often equate being or making the side piece bad. But in actuality….you know how it goes-Boys will boys and girls just wanna have fun. Every side piece has potential though. Which is why I have problem with the following statement…”Know your worth”. I get it. I say it. I do my best to TRY to live by it. But, damn, when I’m shamelessly and intentionally “getting to know” a new, young grasshopper…I don’t want to hear that. Secondly, how am I to “know my worth”…when the person telling me is doing the same thing? As women, we are so quick to say this…so quick to slut shame the side piece…but just with anything in life-there are levels to everything. I was a sad side piece, gleaming with hope. I was a proud main piece, a born again woman, beaming with confidence. I became a main piece that wanted to have her cake and eat it too. In my efforts to avoid love, I made a few prospects side pieces and ended up being the one doing the same thing that my heart breaker did to me. Potential. Every side piece has potential. Potential to become a main piece. Potential to get dumped. Potential to get married. Potential…to be happy. Plenty of side chicks get married. Plenty of those who get married…go on to be fine…and happy. We’ve got to empower the side piece and stop making the term so…problematic. Believe it or not, some side pieces are actually…TRYING. Life tosses us in unfortunate situations, people we don’t anticipate falling in love with, and lessons that only WE can learn individually. Instead of saying “Fix your crown”…and making a side piece feel less than the queen she is…can we start leaning in first by saying “Sis, how do you feel? Why do you love him/her? Are you happy? What are your intentions? Are you growing? Are you free?” Most importantly…like Killmonger said, sis…IS THIS YOUR KING?

In all phases of my side chickery…the worst side chick role was being a side chick that just desperately wants to get married and falling for potential. Once again, everybody has potential. Every ho’ could possibly be a housewife. And every dog can be a husband. BUT….YOU aren’t the one to do that changing sis. I’m not either, and I’m still learning. We side chicks mess up when we think like this…Thinking like superwoman. But listen to J. Cole sis…DON’T SAVE HIM. HE DON’T WANNA BE SAVED. As much as some women may be okay with being the “side action”….some men may simply not want to settle down. STOP TRYING TO SAVE HIM. Believe me when I say, this part is a struggle.

6. Hope

Wherever you are…whoever you are….if you’ve been a side piece tryna’ become a nine piece…you know this struggle. You know those questions that wrack your brain- Should I stay or should I go? We lean onto hope-hope that the person we love will change…hope that maybe, just maybe..it’s a real thing. As much as it hurts to say this…as much as I still have to go through this myself…sometimes you will never know. Sometimes, you just won’t…maybe, until you let it go. There’s this big world around us…and people evolve every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Who’s to say you knight in shining armor now won’t come back around one day? He “might”. But, only the universe knows and until then….we have to constantly face this decision- Should I stay or should I go?

My struggle? Perhaps the struggle of every side piece. It’s like what Bow Wow said…Every time I try to leave…something keeps pulling me back…telling me I ’em in my life. Well, for this…sis, I can’t help you. I’m still trying to learn for me. I’m just a piece…trying to put my own pieces together. But, if you’re reading this…here’s the optimism in me- I am you. And you are me. There is hope…and we’ll figure it out one day. If you’re single, enjoy it…you have no worries. You can have TONS of side pieces. If you’re happily taken..well don’t risk keeping your significant other happy for one moment of glory. And if you’re a side piece having fun…I see you too, boo. I’ve done that and somewhat succeeded. I’ve done it and had to break hearts, too. So, be careful. You could be walking a thin line with somebody’s emotions…between love and hate….exchanging soul ties…and allowing someone too infiltrate you. Be careful, but do what makes you happy. If you’re a side chick aspiring to marry…you’ll get there beautiful. This is a season. So, what are you going to do? What is he doing for you? Do you think you should leave? Can you still be friends? Should you cut him off? These are questions that constantly arise for me…so I know these must be questions for you. No matter what…no matter what “side chickery” you’re in…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

7. Accountability.

While being a side chick afforded me to learn all of these things thus far, I also had to take a look at ME. What was MY ROLE in the side chick? Did I want to be? Was I happy? Was this a pattern for me? At every point in my “side chickery”, I’ve done reflecting. I learned: the type of guys I fall for, what that says about me, the type of husband I want, my sexuality, and the big one-my impulsive patterns. I enter my “side chickery” out of boredom and/or being lonely. You know…some days, it’s fine…I’m focused on my career, ambition, and family. My triggers? Living in the past, boredom, lust, revenge, resentment, and validation. Where am I CURRENTLY in this side chickery? Well…lost…as any side chick should be.Some days I’m free. Some days I’m single. Some days I’m excited, thinking about being married. And some days, I just want a best friend to cuddle me. Most days? Most days…I’m simply okay with just me. I’m okay with just being a chick who KNOWS she is worthy, but still trying to figure out what she wants and what that means.

 

From one side chick to another, we all wanna be free. And we all wanna be happy.

 

Be free. Be happy.

 

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DISCLAIMER: If you’re a side piece aspiring to be married…this piece is in no way, shape, or form advocating for you to STAY a side piece.

Forgive…It’s OK to Not Forget!: Lessons from Lent

IMG_2017When I told my gay best friend what I was doing for Lent, his reaction was priceless…”Dia, you’re not even Catholic!” While true, growing up with my VERY God-fearing, Christian, grandmother…it was just a “thing” for us. While we didn’t “give up” something every year, she always took the time to recognize the season and made it clear to me, the importance. So, why do I NOW “do” Lent? Well, no, I’m not Catholic…and I very much so identify with being a Christian. But, my reasoning for Lent has become less about sacrifice…and more about discovering something God has for me…or NEEDS for me. So, what’s up? It’s Good Friday…and these past (roughly) 40 days…have been TORTURING.

Initially, Lent started…I was out of this “situationship”. I was pissed. I was heartbroken. I was scared. I was lonely. I felt stupid. I felt like I wasted time. I felt like I played myself. I was…angry. And amongst all these things, I finally picked up this book that was collecting dust on my desk, The Wait:A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love  by Meagan Good and Devon Franklin. I’ve had this book for months. But, let’s just say…when enough was enough…I guess I finally knew it was time.

I read this book and I was sold out! I said, “Great. For Lent. No sex!” My girl, Meagan, sold me! In order to get my life together, I had to stop a habit that I recently started. My friend brought me clarity when he said, “How dare you give WIFE DUTIES to a friend?”. And my girls? They were there there through every group text message, every SnapChat, every tear, and every time I was on this emotional roller coaster and kept asking, “Do I just block him?”, “How can we stay friends?” or the kicker…”I thought he was the one for me.” So, Lent? Lent was no sex.

And this was all good. It was a long 44 days and 42 sexless nights. I think my mentality was that…as long as I wasn’t having sex…I was going to be okay. I would get over everything. I could FORGET everything…and I could just move on? But, was it that easy? OF COURSE NOT. There were many nights crying..many phone calls with my friends I spent fronting/bashing…many fits of resentment…and most importantly…MANY MANY MANY times, watching Girls Trip. Let me say right here: “Girls Trip” got ya girl through EVERY DAY. Ryan Pierce got me through EVERY day. I started saying affirmations. I started LISTENING to affirmations. I started to see myself in Ryan. I started to learn that…”I am strong. I am powerful. I am beautiful…and if I will it…I CAN HAVE IT ALL.”

This was my life for a two weeks-solitude, “Girls Trip”, working out and crying. I was trying to just forget the past eight months existed and rushed to “get back to being me.” Then, it hit me. And this is where I will go ahead and say…BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PRAY FOR (because I prayed and said “Lent was about forgiveness and healing.”). But, it hit me. And as obvious as it should be…I realized…I had to forgive. I realized in this very moment, I had to forgive him…and I had to forgive everybody. Most importantly, I realized why this “situationship” meant so much to me…why it carried so much for me. It reminded me of my very first boyfriend- “the one” that I loved and the one that broke me. And while quite comical now, like “Dia, how was he the one’? It was HIGH SCHOOL!” But, when it lasted as long as it did…I was so…invested in someone…who was never invested in me.

Forgiveness. The moment I realized what I was harboring….I realized it didn’t just start or stop here. I had to do a LOT of forgiving. My best friend-the one who just left me high and dry…and forgot me. My dad-the very first man who left me. My granddad-the man who gave me everything I wanted and would give everything I’d need…but neglected to remind me that he loved me..and that I was worthy. My mother-the woman who I  (deep down) internalized as the woman who just up and left me. Every boy I ever gave my heart to-for never giving their heart to me. And then…the hearts I broke-because the people who wanted to love me…Well, I didn’t know what the type of “loving me for ME” love was. So, it was unfamiliar to me. I was chasing the “kind” of man I saw in my dreams…I never stopped to think of the hearts I, myself, left behind me. So, I put this right here and right now…Please, forgive me.

Forget. I think before all this…forgiveness to me was all about, “Okay Adia..this happened…you can’t do anything about it. Let’s just forget it.” And that’s easy. Because surrounded by a culture where all we hear is “Fuck your feelings.”, I found myself…constantly just trying to scoot by these things. I found myself adopting a “Play or GET PLAYED” line of thinking. Essentially, and in short, I was always running. I would “spend time with myself” for a while and then jump right back to “talking” to somebody new, opening my vulnerability, and finding things (be it people, groups, money, achievements,;etc.) to validate me. I was just…forgetting. I was forgetting everything..and I was forgetting me.

But are we really supposed to “forget” everything? Are we really supposed to forget the very features of the picture that makes a masterpiece? I started reflecting on each “bad” situation and each person I was playing victim to saying “broke” me…and I started thinking about the GOOD things. Examples? My mom, being the young, selfish 21-year old she was…leaving me was the BEST thing she could have done for me. My grandmother…she needed me. The relationship we have…is more than just “family”. I make her happy. She keeps me happy. She’s been through a lot. The best gift my mother could have ever gave me…was my grandmother…because she needed me. The best thing my mother could have done was KEEP me..not when she at once faced a decision to get rid of me. My father? I wrecked my brain many nights during this season. I remember like two or three years ago, my mom, dropped his name on me. Occasionally, ever since, I’ve been looking him up on Facebook. I learned I have three sisters out there somewhere. I thought…maybe I write a letter..maybe he’ll write me…wanna see me. Maybe we can finally be a family. After days of this, I realized…the more damage than good that could happen with this. Like, what if his wife doesn’t know? His kids don’t know? I could ruin his family. And nah, that wasn’t me. So, I just started praying.

Forgive. It’s OK not to forget. I thought the only way for me to get through Lent…for me to get over that this relationship didn’t work… was through forgetting and resenting. Well, God had something for me. And when this was revealed to me…I literally looked up and was like, “What the hell? God…how am I supposed to be kind to someone who damn sure wasn’t kind to me when he played me?” And before I get to what I learned…I had to stop. And I had to accept my accountability. I think it’s important…in every situation (ESPECIALLY in situationships/relationships) to analyze your role in it. The reality of it all…I played me. The truth was before my eyes all along…but I didn’t want to believe it. I thought I was in control. I thought I could change…everything.

So, I feel like God was like, “Okay Dia…let me holla at you. You have to show your offenders kindness and compassion…if I am to forgive you. You have to forgive them if you want me to heal you. You have to think of my love for them…JUST like my love for you. They are not perfect…and neither are you. stop and think about YOU. What if I didn’t forgive you.” I learned.and even questioned…what if…just what if…God uses US, the light, the inspiring, the awesome people that we are…to help and even heal the very people who hurt us. I unpacked all this. It was hard. It IS hard. But, I realized…I do a pretty damn good job of crying wolf, playing victim, and dwelling on “This is what they did to me.” But, I never take into account, “Dia, girl…let me holla at you…THIS is what YOU did to them. You lied. You manipulated. You used them. You lied to them. Do you want me to keep going?”

Healing. Healing is about looking in the mirror and being able to look at what you’re facing. In order for me to “learn” forgiveness, I also had to ask for healing. I had to look at…where and why I was hurting. And it, by far, has been the BEST thing that has happened to me. Now, this is not a process that is ending. I’ve also learned that forgiveness and healing is ALWAYS, ALWAYS ongoing. These past 40 days have afforded me to learn so many, many, many revelations about me- about how I internalize love and money (ie. gifts), love and lust, self-love, insecurity, and the big one? As I’ve reflected over the years…while I am a woman and I’ll always have “one of them days”, I am FINALLY at a point in my life, where I am COMFORTABLE in my body…right here and right now. I learned that in a previous season of my life…I lost a lot of weight…for the WRONG reasons…and I was never honest with those around me. On the inside, it was never about “loving me” or being “healthy”. I was trying to “level up” and show my first boyfriend what he was missing. And while that may be okay to be ONE of the reasons, it definitely should NOT have been my primary.

I learned that these relationships..these people who I always “think” I’m going to marry. Truth is…they always start from this certain lust for me. A lust I am dealing with. A lust I’ve been surpressing. A lust I’ve been forgetting. A lust…I have to set a part from knowing if someone “loves” me. My reality? There is a large desire within me…a craving. And I’m currently wanting to understand myself, this desire, it’s wants, and it’s needs. But, this I do know for sure. I can’t be tamed..and regardless of if I grow to be this woman who’s 40, single, and successful…or this successful doctor/writer/speaker with this bomb husband and big family…I can’t be boxed in. I’m AFRAID of being boxed. I NEED to be free. If I am to be “married”, I need to be understood.

Healing. Lent opened my wounds again. I had apologize to a few people when I’ve been wrong, and learn…that hey, I’m learning. And this…is what life is about.

Forgive…It’s OK not to Forget! Because believe it or not? You needed that person to leave. You needed her to leave you for your best friend. You needed that friend to betray you. You and your homeboy needed to always argue. You needed to find out she was only using you. You needed you father to leave you. Forgive…but don’t forget. Forgive…but don’t forget. Forgive…and keep on lovin’. Because this is YOU. This is ME….and we’re beautiful.

And we’re still learning. This was Lent for me. And this a process that is still going. I thank those who I’ve opened up to and have shared in these moments with me. I thank those who have said “Dia, what’s going on? You are where you’re supposed to be.” when I’ve called crying that I’m lost and failing. I thank my family…because for the longest I think I’ve felt like I had to put on this facade so I could fit into ya know “being a woman” and “being classy”. But, I unapologetically switch it up sometimes…I love loud music…and I laugh loud most of the time…and you guys love and accept me.

They say home is where the heart is…Thank you all…for reading this…for supporting “Dialosophy”…for supporting me…for being my home.