Month: March 2014
This is the story of a young woman that was raped. A young woman that had an appetite for life, love, happiness and freedom. Now, I must warn you. This is not set in a dark alley, feeling the hair stand up on the back of her neck and she begins running only to be caught and raped savagely. No. She didn’t get the Law & Order: SVU rape. But let’s start at the beginning of her story, shall we?
She was in college. She was approaching her 21st birthday and enjoying the best years of a young person’s life. She was vibrant, friendly and trusting. She was well-known and well-liked. She joined a sorority and was having a blast. During it all she met this cute fraternity boy. Charming, he was. He was just as friendly as she and just seemed to have a great personality.
When she caught cute boy’s attention she felt all giddy. You know, the middle-school-he-wrote-me-a-letter kind of giddy. She had a class with this cute boy and one night she went to his house to study. And study they did. She even spent the night. When he tried to make a move on her she stopped him and he obliged. He even apologized for his forward approach. The next morning, she went home.
They continued to be just friends. Telling jokes. Laughing. Just having a good time. One day, he called and asked if she wanted to come study. Seeing how the last time proved to be okay, she decided to go without hesitation. Only this time, he was in the area and he picked her up.
Everything was completely the same. They studied. Watched t.v. and went to sleep. Only this time when she awoke, he was inside of her. Without her permission, he decided to take what he wanted. Not really understanding how this was happening, she tried to figure out how to get it to stop. She told him to stop. He told her that she didn’t mean it. He didn’t believe her when she said she did. When she tried to push him off he held her arms. The fighting and the protests only made him go harder. She saw this and felt powerless. She felt defeated. So, she stopped fighting. She decided to lie there, limp, as she drifted off to a place in her mind where she could feel safe.
“Oh, now you are making feel bad, like you don’t want it. You don’t want it?” he said.
“No,” she said with all the strength she could muster.
And with that, he stopped. It seemed that seeing her give up, no longer putting up a fight took away his joy. He told her he would take her home. She got into the car. She sat as close to the door as she possibly could with her hand on the handle ready to jump out if she needed to… wanted to.
“Why are you so quiet? You look upset.” he said.
She had no words for him. When they pulled up to her apartment what felt like hours later she got out of the car, went inside and climbed into her bed. She finally felt safe. And she cried. She called one person. This person she knew would not ask questions nor would he judge.
“Hello,” he said, sounding sleepy. It was still early. As he heard the sobs, he perked up and asked what’s wrong.
“I was…raped,” she said as she broke down.
“Aww, Boogie,” he said in almost a whisper. And he let her cry.
“I gotta take a shower,” she said and she promised to call him later before getting off the phone. She didn’t know what she was going to do. Her college campus was small. If she went to the police the news would be everywhere before she got back to her apartment. Did she want to face that? He was a well-liked guy. Handsome and charismatic. Would they believe he was capable? Her past wasn’t squeaky clean. She had had her fun with a few guys on campus. Would they believe her? She did go over there willingly. Is that still rape? If she went to court would they smear her name? Would she become a mockery on campus? In her family? With her friends?
Her family. Could she look into the face of her father as he looked down with hurt in his eyes for his baby girl? Could she lay in the arms of her mother as she struggled with not being there for her daughter? Could she send her brothers to prison? They would find him and kill him. She was sure of it.
Could she handle all of that? Was she strong enough? The answer was no. After she stepped out of the shower she dealt with her feelings the only way she knew how. She pulled out her pen and paper and began to write:
And with the stroke of a pen, she felt a small bit of release. She had made her decision. She wouldn’t go to the police. She couldn’t handle the stares. She couldn’t handle the pressure or the accusatory stares. She couldn’t be the one who made waves on campus. She just wanted to go back to her normal life with her normal friends and move on as if it never happened.
And that’s what I did. I moved forward. I never told my family. They will find out here with the rest of you. I hope they understand and realize that I did what was best for me (and them) at the time.
While reading this some of you passed judgment on me and my naivety. Some may not even believe me. Others may blame me. Let me be the one to say that you are the reason victims stay silent. You are the ones that are giving power to these predators.
They say 1 out of 5 women face some type of sexual abuse in their lifetime. Most never report it. They have heard the stories of disbelief and families being torn apart. They have heard the stories of being re-victimized in court and being shamed in the public eye. They do not feel it is worth it. I was strong enough to make it through it. But everyone is not me. Victims deserve the right to feel safe and until they do they will remain silent. You will continue to silence their cries and screams for help with your judgment and insensitive ways.
Being raped robs the body of its soul. It shatters it into pieces. Until we get rid of the stigma that comes along with sexual assault we will continue to step on the pieces of souls these victims have left behind.
I never thought I’d tell. I never thought my lips would part and speak my pain. But, now I realize it is necessary. If this right here can help create a safe environment for victims to speak their truths…
First step: speak mine.
On my last post, I’m the reason I may never get married, a friend of mine left a comment that said, ” I enjoy reading your entries and getting your unapologetic perspective on life!” One word in that stood out to me: unapologetic. I sat and thought to myself, “Am I unapologetically me? Have I finally arrived to that place where I can just be me? And be it without any explanation?”
When I look back over my short 28 years of life, I realize that I have almost been living as two completely different people. In the faces of others I am confident and strong. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am more than a dreamer. I am a goal reacher and a risk taker. My abilities always seem to surpass what was thought to be my max potential. I have the brightest smile and the loudest laugh. I am happy.
Then there is this lonely girl. This girl that looks into the mirror and sees her flaws and all. She keeps most people at a distance out of fear that if they get too close they will see her and then go in the other direction because they are not pleased with what they see. There is this girl that swims in her insecurities: not pretty enough, smart enough, tall enough, skinny enough, girly enough, talented enough… Just not enough.
So, how is it that I am arriving at this unapologetic place? It started when I had reached rock bottom. I was tired of being unhappy. I decided to work on myself. The first step was ridding myself of the people and things that were contributing to my unhappiness. Those people that didn’t think I was enough had to go. Believe it or not, there are people out there that prey on your insecurities. They find them and they thrive off of them. Keeping you at your lowest point gets them to their highest. I told myself that in order to get healthy I had to shed some weight. And that just happened to be people.
Next, I had to stop worrying about things of which I had no control and start focusing on the things I can control. I stopped worrying about what others thought of me. I began eating healthier and working out. Although my circumstances didn’t change, my outlook did. And that made all of the difference.
The other thing I did was I started going to counseling. Those things that I couldn’t seem to shake on my own needed special attention. I not only wanted to know why I felt this way, but I wanted to know how to feel better. I wanted to know how I could be better mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I needed to know why I kept running from relationships. I needed to figure out how to let deserving people in. I needed to figure out how to genuinely believe that I deserved to be happy. It was necessary for me to understand why I felt so undeserving of love.
I had pushed so many people away because I felt undeserving of them. Even worse, I kept holding on to undeserving people and remaining in toxic situations trying to prove that I was deserving. Let that sink in. It seemed I was comfortable with people that weren’t the best for me because I didn’t believe I was deserving of better. When I had better I was uncomfortable with it because I didn’t feel I deserved it. I could no longer live like that.
It is tough rediscovering yourself. Having to address my state of unhappiness and the contributors of it was equivalent to opening the closet to face the monsters that keep little children hiding under their covers until the sun comes back up. For weeks, I battled my monsters. I found myself emotionally exhausted. I was breaking down into tears at least 5 times a day. After all of the years that I had fed my soul junk, I was finally detoxing. And once all of the toxins were removed, I felt renewed.
One night, I opened the closet prepared to fight and my monsters were gone. I defeated them. And now here I stand happier than I have ever been. I am more content with who I am. And, yes, I am still a work in progress. For the first time I feel like one person. This person is confident and strong, but has weak moments. She is comfortable in her own skin, but recognizes she can improve her body and health. She is more than a dreamer. She is a goal reacher and a risk taker. She realizes that she might fail, but she isn’t afraid. Her abilities always seem to surpass what was thought to be her max potential. She has the brightest smile and the loudest laugh, though she still cries sometimes. She is flawed. She is happy.
I am happy. I embrace my flaws. My monsters show back up once in a while. But now, I face them and fight…and win. Now, the people in my life that I love get the best me. My son gets a better mommy. My mother gets a better daughter. My brothers get a better sister. My friends get a better friend. All because I am a better me.
Am I unapologetically me? Have I finally arrived to that place where I can just be me? And be it without any explanation? The answer to those questions is yes. I am unapologetically me because I accept me. I love me. And now, no one can take that from me.
I found this quite refreshing
A tall, Blonde, hazel eyed Arian Beauty walked into my Black-owned, professionally-hood barber shop today, greeted by a cascade of compliments, as each patron’s brown eyes followed her from the very moment she got out of her car.
She had successfully made it pass the dozen Brown Skinned Beauties standing outside of the barbershop, staring daggers at her.
There are always at least a dozen Black Women standing outside my barbershop, dressed in club attire, hair freshly done, make-up on point, high heel game vicious, wearing their best body suit or mini skirt.
These Women have careers, own businesses & are in grad school, pre law, & pre med, yet they commute at least once a week to stand in front of a barbershop, like it is a night club line, for at most an hour…
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Provide. Protect. Guide.
When I was in the 4th or 5th grade I had the biggest crush on this boy named Chris. I wrote in my spiral notebook “I love Chris” over and over and over again. My mother found it. She and my father lectured me about 2 hours (it seemed) about being a leader and focusing on school… you know, things that are important. I was raised to be self-sufficient. I was raised to have a mind of my own and to have the ability to discern what was right for me. Because of the way I was raised and because of the way I live my life I believe that I may remain single.
I have had conversations with plenty of men. They all pretty much say the same thing. Their job as men/husbands is to provide, protect and guide. They are bread winners in their homes. They protect their families from all harm. They use their innate leadership skills to guide their wife and family down the right path. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this thought process IF it’s for you. The older I get and the more I understand myself I realize that it’s not for me.
Before I get to me I just want to take a moment to reflect on history, bring it to the present and show you where things changed. Women, at one time, were property. We lived at our parents’ home until we were married. We would not go to college. And when we did begin going to college most used it as a way to find a husband and not to get an education to provide for ourselves. Those that did usually remained unmarried. So, never were we on our own. We left a house under the rule of our fathers only to transfer to a house under the rule of our husbands. They were the only ones working in the household. They provided for the home. They protected the home. I mean, we stayed home. They ‘guided’ us because we were not intelligent enough to guide ourselves. This is where the whole “provide, protect & guide” idea comes from. It comes from the idea that women cannot do these things ourselves because we are weak, docile and not as intelligent.
Fast forward to today. I left my parents’ home at 18 years old and went to college about 6 hours away. And I went alone. Although my parents still helped to provide and will always help guide I had to learn to protect and guide myself. They prepared me for that. At age 24 I gave birth to my son and became a single mother. I got my certification to teach and I began providing for my family. I began protecting my family and guiding my family.
At this point I have been doing what a man is ‘supposed’ to be doing for me for the last 10 years. And, somehow, I’m supposed to be able to turn that off when I meet him and let him do all of that so he can feel like a man. So he can be a man. I mean, if I don’t I am emasculating him…. or so I’ve heard. I cannot and will not revert back to the traditional ‘weak’ woman to make my husband feel like a man. I want to be in a household where we recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I want to be in a household where it doesn’t always come down to what he says but to what we say. I want to be in a household where we can BOTH provide, protect and guide. These are not jobs just for a man but for women, also. We have been doing these things for ourselves for a long time. I know I have. And it should not make my man feel like less of one if I just so happen to make more money than him… if I have a flat tire and change it before he gets to me… or if I solve a problem without him or if my idea is the one that works.
Then when you add being a black woman, that forces me to need to be able to do these things even more. No one is looking out for us except for us. We have been protecting, providing and guiding much longer than the white woman. But that is a whole other blog.
No. I’m not going to subscribe to the idea that I owe it to my man to make him feel like a man. I want him to be man enough to know and be comfortable with the fact that I have the ability to do these things myself… that I just might do these things myself. I cannot pretend that I’m okay with a man coming into my life and I am to submit to him. That I am to allow him to do what I know how to do myself. I guess what I am saying is that I am not in need of a man. He would have to be okay with that. I want to want him to the point where I need him. I don’t want to need him to the point where I cannot survive without him.
Do I want a man? Yes. But I’m not going to wait for him to come along before I am provided for, protected & guided in the right direction. I’m not going to dumb myself down or appear to be weaker just to make him feel smarter and stronger. Do I realize that this way of thinking might keep me single? I surely do. And guess what? I’m okay with that.