An Open Letter to My Middle School Nurse

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Dear Ms. E,

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a sunny day during 6th and I went to the nurses office for something trivial, perhaps an ice pack or a bandage. I had on a deep orange Aeropostale shirt with navy blue trim with cute little monkey’s on it; it had been my favorite shirt. The nurse proceeded to ask me if I was wearing a bra, why wasn’t I wearing a bra and if I had any looser shirts. With a huge smile on her face she told me this one was rather tight, I was a growing girl and needed to wear more appropriate clothing including wearing a bra every day. I wore a 36C at the time. She said she’d bring me some shirts and as promise the next day I was called to her office where I was greeted with a yellow ShopRite bag filled with t-shirts. Most of them were tie dye, from a camp that if my memory serves me correctly her child had gone to. I took the shirts home but never wore them because I couldn’t explain to my mother why the nurse gave me a bag of shirts.

In June of my 7th grade year I visited the nurse yet again for something minor when she asked me to step on the scale. It read 196lbs. As I stood there she went into the filing cabinet to pull out my chart and read aloud that just a few months ago in October I had weighed 122lbs asking “What happened?” The nurse told me she’d call my mother to ask her about my weight gain and sent me back to class; again I felt as though I had done something terribly wrong.

My body was never a problem until it was made into a problem by several external factors – one of the biggest being that school nurse. That school nurse Ms. E, was you. You were the person to give me those t-shirts because mine was too tight, you let me know that wearing a bra was necessity even though most of my grade did not and that my weight gain was such a problem it warranted a call home with even telling me why.

You introduced me to my first real sense of  public shame around my body that has lasted years well into adulthood. My large breasts were inevitably going to come to my attention but did it have to come as a problem? You may have thought you were helping but you weren’t; you only laid the foundation of embarrassment and pain around my body image. My “tight” shirt was my favorite shirt, it was a shirt with monkeys, it was a shirt that celebrated my innocence, the last years of my childhood. It was a shirt ended up in the trash can, along with my carefree image of myself. It was replaced by boring over sized t-shirts and a sense that I was a problem that needed to be hid.

What you did was for the comfort of the other students (or maybe even adult, perhaps even yourself). The sexualization of girls is a huge problem and I hate to break it to you but thats what you did to me. Sexualizalization is defined as “to make sexual” or “endow with a sexual character or cast”. If this wasn’t done, I would’ve just been a 12 year old with breast that were a bit larger than her peers but no – it was more than that. I will never know exactly why my shirt was “too tight” or why I should’ve worn a bra. Maybe your sexualization of my body made it become something of a distraction or source of discomfort. I really don’t know. Maybe that phone call to my mother about my weight gain came from a place of “concern” but my advice is talk to a student next time you act out of concern . Ask me about my eating, my exercise, my emotions, my life – talk to me before you perform an action that made me feel like I had done something wrong.

The years have gone by and I’ve become rather successful given my history during middle school. I’ve graduated from college with my B.A., will further my education by obtaining my M.A. , maybe even a doctoral degree and do some really amazing things. I cannot successfully help anyone before I help myself and in order to effectively do that I must clear up some things in my past. I forgive you for hurting me then, for sending the message that my body was a problem to be solved and for guiding me down the path of a poor body image. You are forgiven and I hope that any other young girls that you may have done similar to find it in their hearts and realize it to be beneficial to their healing that they forgive you as well.

something light

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here’s a different type of blog from me! a few random pictures = )

 

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this is fantastic right? i have a tattoo of a leaf on my wrist as well as a tattoo of a tree (without leaves – story!) on my back so all i need is this in my apartment and my life will be complete!

 

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does anyone know the person who is behind these photos?! every few months i find another one that was apart of what seems to be a collection. i REALLY connect with these. if i had to capture who i was in one photo, it would be one of those. 

 

 

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awesome wedding cake. the rose colors can be changed as well. thinking about using this for my wedding to my wife who doesnt even exist yet.

 

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because who doesnt love some banksy?

 

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epic.

 

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my favorite word <3

 

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no words needed  for this <3

 

 

why i hate the word lesbian even though i am one

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ah the adventures of being a woman who likes women. this month is actually 14 years since i’ve come out in all areas of my life and its been quite a ride.

i’ve never felt ashamed of being gay but what i have had an issue with is the word “lesbian”. i think it would be helpful to start with my coming out story.

i knew i was attracted to girls since i was about 5 years old. of course i didnt have the vocabulary to match the feelings but i had crushes on female teachers and female characters on tv shows. i wasnt allowed to watch tv during my childhood but as a reward for good behavior in school i’d get to watch barney and man did look forward to that because i was smitten for kathy.

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she was my “first crush” (and the first sign that i would later in life have a preference for white women). as i got older, i didn’t quite realize what i felt was different from what the “norm” was but somehow i knew enough to keep it to myself. during 5th grade i broke my ankle and spent a lot of time in the library after school waiting to be picked up since i couldnt walk home. i was a huge reader as a kid so i took this opportunity to attempt to read virtually everything in the library and connected through some book my feelings to the word “gay”. (i never read from the childrens room). in the matter of a month i had read every book the library had on lgbt issues, EVERY book. this resulted in me having a pretty clear understanding of what the word “lesbian” and “gay” meant when i began to identify myself as such during the final months of 5th grade. so here i am, 11 years old and saying proudly in school that i’m a lesbian. 6th grade starts and during the first few months of school a parent-teacher meeting gets called. i didnt think much of it because i was in trouble a lot in school and the particular teacher who suggested it hated me and i hated her. during this meeting, ms. martinez proceeds to tell my mother that i am going around “telling all of the students i am a lesbian and it is disrupting their learning”.

what?
that was the first time the word lesbian was attached to an incredible amount of shame. i knew i wasnt  disrupting learning – if anything, the straight students having boyfriends/girfriends, having oral sex in school and crying all day from the drama of breakups/makeups was their own sexuality disrupting their own learning. single me saying i was a lesbian was the least of their issues. yet – i was punished for that.

my mother was beyond heated. BEYOND. that was when i learned just how anti-gay and homophobic my mother was. a few months later she checked my backpack and found a note i wrote to a teacher telling her i was really sad because i had no one who could understand how i felt being a lesbian. my mother says to my at 7am with a look of horror and disgust on her face that i will never forget in my life – “lesbian? i dont want any f****s in my house” and told me to go. obviously being 12 (at this point) the only place i had to go was to school, so i did.

as middle school carried on, i remained the only kid out and though at the time i thought i was okay with that, in retrospect, it was painful and has contributed to this massive amount of defensiveness i walk around with. in a school of almost 800 students, everyone knew me and everyone knew i was “a lesbian” so anything thoughts and ideas they had about homosexuality- it was directed to me. i was never teased because i had to build a tough and aggressive vibe quickly so no one would crack jokes and everyone would stay on my good side while still not understanding it. teachers would discourage me from saying anything gay related and my mother well, she made it clear that it wasnt going down in her house.

years went on, a lot happened, multiple school changes, multiple moves, first girlfriends and  first heartbreaks. as i got older i started to realize the word “lesbian” was perceived to be a very sexual word. people heard “lesbian” and its like i just said sex. i’d say yea im a lesbian and the conversation would get completely sexual. i didnt have a problem talking about sex but it disturbed me a great deal that they’d automatically assumed i was all about eating a girl out  and we would go straight to debating my virginity (that argument happens til this day). no one asked about love or relationships, feelings or attractions, emotions or anything…..lesbian meant sex.
i felt like in the eyes of others i was this hyper sexual being who didnt love or have heartbreaks – i just had sex.

i dont think sex is “bad” and know its healthy but i was taught early that that type of sex (lesbian sex) is a bad thing. sex is okay and normal as long as its straight sex otherwise – its something thats exotic OR needs to be kept in “the bedroom”.  
you’d think as a teenager i didnt care about such things but remember – i came out at 11 so my sexuality and sexual identity started its growth process a bit early. i had to process a lot of feelings by myself so by the time i was 17/18 i was extremely sure of myself sexually. i knew what i wanted, what i didnt want, i had experienced pretty strong feelings in the love dept as well as the heartbreak dept. unlike most straight people my age, i had to have a face to face with my sexual identity every single day that i couldnt talk about crushes without awkward silences or couldnt dare speak of a girl at home. i developed a huge sense of shame around being called a lesbian during my senior year of high school. i had enough of the sexual association it seemed to have with both kids and adults (you’d be suprised the comments adults made as well). thats when i waged war with the word lesbian and told everyone to never call me that – to call me a gay girl. the word itself has never done anything to me, its the shame and pain that has been produced with the word by others that did something to me but i couldnt separate it at the time. i was still trying to make sense of the increased deep feelings i was having for girls as does every kid turning into an adult as well as dealing with the rest of my life.

now i can start to process the naming of myself but the word “lesbian” still sounds like “sex” to me. i still feel embarrassed when the word is used by others. it still is a painful word to me and a word full of shame. the word queer also got popular as i was growing up but i never really identified with it. for me, it just sounds like something else i have to explain to my straight family and friends. i know i really dont own anyone an explaination but i think that for the sake of my heart and the beatings its taken from those closest to me – i’ve learned to keep it as simple as possible and say “im gay”.
the funny things is when i think of the word gay, i think of white gay men. when i want to know about another woman, i think “i wonder if she likes girls” (not is she gay or is she a lesbian) which is a really elementary way of saying it but it calls attention to how i had to learn to ask these questions: at a young age and with myself. 

my straight friends havent completely turned my gayness into a sex show. every now and again, they find a bit of discomfort in me talking about women sexually though but overall they dont equate lesbian with sex. i always felt like straight women could talk about men in whatever capacity they’d like and get as detailed as they wanted but if i talked about a woman in the same sense, there would be a a wave of discomfort in the air. this would come from my friends too early in some of my friendships until i pointed it out to them. how come as a straight woman you could say that he has an amazing body, wonders how large his penis is (i’ve learned penis size means A LOT to straight women) and all the things you’d do to him if you guys were alone but when all i said was “shes sexy as hell”, thats an issue. eventually they understood and recognized their discomfort stemmed from some homophobia they swore didnt exist.

in the mean time, it made for tense conversations because i had no intentions of “filtering” myself for their comfort when i’d always have to listen to stories of small dicks that were the root of break ups or large dicks being the reason they’d keep in contact with ex-boyfriends. i personally dont mind listening to that but if i do, you will hear how i feel about this….

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maybe one day i’ll have a change a heart and get comfortable with calling myself a lesbian. maybe it’ll be the day one of my family members or friends actually say it themselves and begin to make amends for the way they’ve used it to cause the shame produced around it. all of my family knows that i’m gay but its not talked about in the sense of asking do i have a girlfriend or anything that gets asked to my straight cousins. its like my straight cousins love lives (or lack of) is acknowledged and mine is just dodged  my mother well…she has “accepted she has a daughter who is gay” but she hasnt accepted me. to her, they me and me being gay are two different things and she doesnt have to “deal” with me being gay for now. i asked her very randomly and boldly one day about what she will do when im actually in a relationship and she said its not something she is looking forward to and wants to think about but it is what it is. she has made progress, especially coming from a country where homosexuality is a punishable crime. does her  “progress” make it any less painful? nope. i’m getting older and thinking more and more about marriage, my dream wedding and settling down with someone. i’m just like the next 25 year old swearing i need to be married by 30 and on a search for my soul mate. it would be cool for someone in my family (or my mother) to acknowledge this fact but the reality is…..no one has yet to even say my name and the word “lesbian” in the same sentence. if they cant do that – can they talk about me marrying one? buying a house with one? starting a life with one?

you see how much is attached to a name? people never used the word in conversation to hurt me but it still happened. now think of the words that are meant to hurt. 
a name is never just a name. theres a story and history to it,  feelings behind it and a future to it. the lack of a name, usage of a name or denial of a name can mean so much.
so when you call someone something or dont call someone something, think twice about it. think about the context you use it in, what you mean behind it or what you associate it with. 
my experience with the word lesbian runs so deep and this post is just the half of it. a word is never “just a word”  and each time its used it either supports an experience or takes away from one. it adds to pain or takes away from it. it can heal or it can kill – literally. 
we seem to think words mean nothing or “how much power you give them” but the power is already in the word! the word already holds the power as it leave a mouth or fingers and by the time it gets to your brain or heart, it has already made its impact whatever that may be.

so. yea – thats my issue with the word “lesbian”.

on this topic of rape….dont.

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since its something i feel passionate about and something i think doesnt have any wiggle room, this is probably going to be a relatively short entry for the topic. 

rape. 
i feel like its really simple: 
there is no excuse for sexually assaulting a person – you just don’t do it.

im finding it hard to articulate what i want to get across because there is just so MUCH but damn…its so simple!

at a young age little girls are taught to be ashamed of their bodies. boys are taught that the body of a girl is a prize that somehow they automatically have the right to since they are boys. i think we talk more to boys about the bodies of girls than we talk to girls about their own bodies. (this is another issue though – sighs)
as girls grow, any development that happens we are quick to bring to their attention as something sexual and “cover it”. if she doesnt cover it up – the slut shaming begins. 
Im not advocating for 12yr olds to walk around semi-nude BUT….if your going to preach to your 12yr old about what she’s wearing – be honest with yourself about why your preaching and approach that end as well. 
talk to your sons about sex, verbal harassment, about sexual harassment, about RAPE. 
dont shame your daughter AND put the responsibility of keeping herself safe on her – talk to your sons about what they have the potential to do and are the overwhelming majority of ones doing it!!

okay – so your a punk parent who cant even say the word sex in front of your kid OR your a parent who can talk about sex but not listen so your kids dont say shit to you. got it. i’m talking to a wall in that case. – lets move on.

we have adult men and women now. 
i’ve heard a lot of reasons a woman was “asking for it” and “its a shame and all but you know, when you do certain things you put yourself at risk”. 

excuse me?

“put yourself at risk?”  – how about (all together now) DONT RAPE. 

i dont care if she was:

  • drunk
  • high
  • was unable to say no – we are all grown-ups and can read resistant body language
  • was wearing something “revealing” (i cannot believe people STILL use this!)
  • out late
  • flirted
  • had a reputation for being sexually active
  • any other bullshit justification people think of  - sorry (not really) i cant think of them

when someone has experienced rape, you think they want to hear about how they were “asking for it”? maybe its the patriarchy  sexism, discomfort of sex and discomfort of women that is swirling around but – it needs to come to a halt. its getting really old and A LOT of people are suffering. this same ideology of shaming and blaming has a lot of women in silence and keeping abuse and rape to themselves. 

i dont want to get scholarly on everyone and get down and dirty with the facts and thought patterns that feed into all of this because if your apart of the problem, it probably wont phase you. plus i said i’d keep it simple right? 

no one should feel ANYTHING but love and support after being violated in any way. they did NOTHING wrong and should be treated accordingly. 

rape is never justified. you just dont do it. 

no songs today…just links…it may be helpful to someone out there. 

rape, abuse and incest national networkhttp://www.rainn.org/  1-800-656-HOPE
national domestic violence hotlinehttp://www.thehotline.org/ 1-800-799-SAFE
girls health gov- http://www.girlshealth.gov/safety/saferelationships/daterape.cfm
national suicide prevention hotlinehttp://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 
1-800-273-8255
national child abuse hotline - http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home
1-800-422-4453

 

 

 

sitting at a red light

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last week i had a really long talk with an old professor and she basically said its better that people dont go to graduate school straight after undergrad for our field. she said its best to gain experience then apply because when you graduate, you’ll have a degree and experience vs a degree with no experience. i felt better – so much better that i started looking for jobs that i qualify for.

then today as i was driving i remembered something i had forgotten or forced myself to forget anyway. a LONG time ago i had this thought to get my phd and i had this thought for several reasons. the first and biggest reason was because there “were” things i wanted to do and at the time, only people with a doctorate degree could attempt them. the second was to prove it to myself. the third was because well – why not?

i was driving this morning and had some type of thing come over me….i started talking to myself (dont act like you dont) about things i wanted to do in the next 5 years and thought to myself that a phd wouldnt be a bad idea. i thought well, i have no kids and no plans for having them, i could take out loans and i’ll deal with paying them back later. so freedom and pay later (i know, eh). why not?!

i’ll tell ya my hesitancy.
college was a journey for me. intellectually it was awesome, if i liked something my attention was there. academically, it was a challenge. i think i touched on this in an earlier blog but my 7 years in college were some rough ass years! stuff just kept happening and it distracted me hardcore. i didnt think i’d even see the day i would graduate. nevertheless, i always had these huge dreams. i mean – a professor could tell me im not doing great in their class but that didnt phase me because in my mind – not only did was i battling other issues but i had very specific plans on how to save the world and a grade in a class wasnt in the blueprint. little did i know – the hell it did!

so blah blah blah i grew. i learned a few semesters too late and life got stable a few semesters too later – gpa matters if you want your superhero cape. got it. now what?
gain experience. right. okay i was on board that train until driving this morning…..

i started remembering all of the projects i’d like to start, institutions i’d like to work with, a non-profit i wanted to start – hell, at some point in my career i wanted to open up a school! (i made the uniform, blueprint and curriculum when i was in the 10th grade!). now i’m sitting with a lot of thoughts – largely being, i need certain degrees to do what i want in this world. i need it to be qualified and to be respected in those circles.

am i being held hostage to my academic past? i’d argue so. this morning when i had my little moment in utopia i started thinking what would that be like to apply to phd programs. i know its a ton of reading and a ton of writing but its also a ton of stuff im capable. a support system, proper sleep, greys anatomy and my higher power and im almost certain its possible. BUT – if im having an issue getting into a masters program, how the hell am i getting into a phd program?yea yea yea – im young. apply later. my beef with that is that i dont want to get stuck. i dont want to get comfortable with the first 9-5 i come across and i dont want to have to stay there out of necessity because i built a life around it. i dont want my dreams to die off because some institutions said i wasnt worthy enough of their education. i dont want to fall into that trap and cycle that SO many adults fall into. i want to be like the people who follow their passion. if they can, i can as well!

i made up my mind about a year ago that i would always get what i want and do what i want to do. that seems really selfish right? i know. it probably is if your thinking im applying it situations that only benefit me at the end. heres the deal and it can be summed up very neatly: i have dreams that wake me up from my sleep in the morning. i think myself awake and think myself to sleep. ideas and solutions run nonstop through my mind. i have SO many questions about everything and want to learn so much. i’ve been through too much in my life, have lost too much and have almost lost myself on multiple occasions. at THIS point – its all about getting what i want, doing what i want to do and pursuing my bliss. what i want to get, what i want to do and what makes me happy is to learn damn near everything my brain could physically take in, understand suffering, build connections, support and promote better communication, spread love and live a life that is not only a great one for me but helping to contribute to the well being of everyone around me.

BUT

a degree is needed to do all of that. see how im back to square one? im EXTREMELY grateful for the one i’m about to receive. i dont take it for granted AT all or do i minimize the significance of having a bachelors. there are a lot of people without that.
this whole thing runs much deeper than what i can explain via blog – but my experiences in my own educational journey mixed with my desires in life mixed with my knowledge of the basics of how the educational system runs in the u.s. — it all adds up to something very frustrating.


the part even MORE frustrating? im so stubborn that the facts dont matter. factually i know certain degree programs have certain requirements, i’ve read through phd admissions pages, ive read through job descriptions, requirements and program proposals. in my head, i WILL do it even if thus far some things says the opposite. in my head – where theres willingness, theres a way. where theres a desire to learn and grow and change, its possible. i may resist some criticism or argue some things but…even that can change! i’ve come WAY too far in life to settle for anything less than what i want (even if that means looking at myself because im in the way of what i want).

i’ve learned though that in academics. you make your bed and you lay in it for life.
(i mean – can we talk about academia period? i know im not perfect but uhhhh….sermon next sunday)

im not too sure how all of my goals are going to be met being that i need degrees, grants and a network to help me but – that shit is happening. believe that. with or without a masters and/or phd. too many people to help, and too much to learn. when my dreams and passions die out, that’s when i’ll start accepting no’s as an answer.
until then, i’ll keep driving to school talking to myself about my plans for the next 5 years.

okay – song.
im picking biggie because i like him, i like the message of the song and because the year it came out was the same year my teacher at the time said some really mean things to me.
im adding jay-z for the reasons….minus the teacher thing.

middle school cultural blues (but really just mirroring a bigger issue)

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middle school was tough for me. not just because of the other 475893 reasons middle school is tough for most kids but i was dealing with a lot of things. i came out in the 5th grade and had to toughen up fast for the repercussions of telling everyone your a lesbian at 11yrs old. of course i didnt know it back then but looking back, my eating disorder was getting ready to launch and there were a few other issues i was grappling with – solo.in the midst of a lot of chaos with various issues including the above, i remember being in complete tears one day because i didnt know “what i was”. wait, pause…helpful to know that the middle school i went to at that time was about 70% white (culturally jewish), 30% black/hispanic/asian/etc…and within that, about half of the 30% were children of newly arrived immigrants or recently granted citizenship after being in the united states forever. okay so, press playso im in tears this day and i remember thinking that the black kids didnt like me because they always said i was too “white” and they often made fun of “the foreigners”.  the white kids didnt really care much about me but they never missed the opportunity to ask me questions about black people as if i was some type of googleblacks. the caribbean kids straight up TOLD me that i wasnt “real” enough to be in their crew. okay – these are 5-8th graders right but back that, that was my reality. they flat out told me i wasnt a genuine immigrant. that left me in a place socially of trying to figure out exactly where i fit in. do i leave a piece of me out to have acceptance in one group or another? i know a lot of biracial and multiracial children go through this but at the time, i was a black kid trying to figure how to juggle two cultural identities (and arguably an invisible third)  that apparently opposed each other

 

its experiences like that which make me sometimes wonder how that juggling and inner debate has shaped the way i see the world.
my mother is from guyana – a country in the northern part of south america. my grandmother was also born in guyana (i think) but her entire family is from and lives in barbados.  as for my mothers many sisters and brothers – they all moved to various parts of europe and the americas as they got older. some stayed in guyana and a few went back to barbados. thats the mothers side.  my father was born in the united states – and to make the LONGEST story in the world short,  this summer im going to do some research on his fathers side because its unknown.  for the readers sake – he is african-american. born in north carolina.  thats the fathers side. okay my mother comes to the the united states from england (this is important to know – the politics of immigration to the united states is a doozy) and somehow they met. things didnt quite go as planned and that was the end of that but i came out of the deal. i grew up with my mother  until my granny joined us when i was 5.  so pause – i need you all to really be with me to get where im going with this. my american father is not in the scene, only my freshly arrived granny (who told me the second day american kids were rude) and my semi-freshly arrived newly single mother with a caribbean and british accent.  NOW.  is this day in middle school starting to make sense?

elementary school was the first time someone brought it to my attention that “i” wasnt an american (never mind the fact i was born a few blocks away from the school). they said my mother did my hair like all the foreigners did and that got around the 2nd grade fast. most of those kids had parents who had just migrated. no one said anything to them though – it was like even at that young of an age there was a ranking of how genuine your identity is and they sensed i was a “halfsie” (as i started calling myself at one point).  kids teased me A LOT for that and for the shape of my eyes which they also attributed to being a “foreigner”.  so i did a lot of explaining and justifying and sadly, was embarrassed at such a young age that my mother wasnt from the u.s.

at home, i dont remember any specific mention of culture which was another problem in and of itself. that lack of discussion of culture caused me to feel isolated to an extent in conversations with groups of west indian peers once i did get older.  i grew up with scattered stories of my mothers experiences of at work and horrible things workers would say about her and all immigrants (she worked in a major corporation – ignorance has no boundaries), i grew up with my granny acting like we didnt have indoor plumbing and insisting i take baths with a giant bucket of water….like i could tell you some stuff that you’ll be like whatttttttt  -  but culturally , thats what the deal was. i didnt think it was weird that my granny made me drink these crazy ass concoctions right before the school year started or think that curry was something horrible and stink….not until an outside source pointed that out to me when they told me “thats how immigrants smell.” my family did talk a lot of shit about black americans….that they did. thats something that combined with growing up in white communities, thwarted the hell out of my sense of self and who i was racially.

from family it was: black people have been here for years and look at what the hell they’re doing. they have all of this and blah blah blah. from black kids and society period: foreigners come over here and take up all of our resources. why dont they just do it the legal way and they think they’re better than everyone else. my family didnt understand the history of  black people in america  and why as a group we are still where we are in the united states (remnants of slavery, jim crow, crack era throwing off everything, mass incarceration, discrimination and inequalities  etc)- so theres that.  the rest of the world didnt understand no one was/is trying to take “resources” and people try to to do it the legal way. plus….its the criminalization of immigration thats…..wait  - this isnt school. when my mother  worked as a home health aid taking care of an old white man who cursed her out everyday, im almost certain those cant be the same resources everyone is scared that people are trying to “take”.

sometimes i felt like and still feel like in the black american vs. black immigrant thing that can happen that neither side sees or is taking the time out to see where the other is coming from (no pun intended), to learn the histories or hear the stories. 

naturally i hit a point where i was like ehhhh i understand you all do this guyanese thing but thats only half of who i am. thats when i began to call myself a “halfsie” and tell people i was “half african-american half guyanese”.  i began to realize in debates at school i’d have to pick a side only the find out neither side wanted me because i possessed some of  the other side. (ex. middle school). as an adult, i know my experiences growing up in my house is probably why i have a soft spot for immigration issues. i know what its like to be in a category that everyone thinks is some other type of being with some ulterior motive – but i also know how it feels to be the “everyone”. unlike my mother, granny, aunts and uncles – my cousins and i are american/european born, never have to provide any paper, have no accent and the only experiences of our own growing up WITH our family members. my mother on the other hand had the experience of coming here and everything she went through. she will always feel like the outsider even if she has a paper saying as of this date, you arent – legally anyway.

i still grapple with some aspects and attitudes within my mothers culture especially the way homosexuality is viewed  - you could imagine that did NOT go over too well. my granny used to tell my mother she should’ve sent me “home”, i wouldve turned out differently hahaha. (when i was 2 or 3 my mother considered sending me to live with her sister for a few years – again, cultural thing).  im no longer embarrassed about having a mother who migrated to the united states nor do i feel tworn.  i like being a hybrid of cultures. i appreciate how i grew up because i feel it gave me a very unique perspective, one that kids with both parents being of the same culture (no matter what it is) dont get. i did go to guyana once and look forward to going back or even to the family reunion in barbados in the summer.

that invisible third cultural identity? ahhh…..i’ll leave that for another time. i will say – the day i learned what internalized oppression was, was the day that third identity began packing its bags.

song time! 
im picking these two songs because when i think of any family (maternal) cookout, these songs are the first that comes to mind for a playlist.

 

place witty title about eating disorder awareness here

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i used to be a big blogger, this may be my 2nd or 3rd go around of a ton of posts actually. i stopped for a while but got back into the swing of it for a class. i felt like writing something tonight but wasnt too sure what. could i write about a 9yr old being called a cunt? maybe. could i write about how my life changed after subscribing to pandora one? perhaps. i’ll write about something close to me…closer than the first two i mean.

its national eating disorder awareness week!

ah yes.

need i say more?

if you can relate, i probably don’t….but will. i can go in a LOT of different directions with this. there are those of us who suffer from an eating disorder and dont even know it. some of us suffer, know and continue to live in a personal hell without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. others have gotten various types of help and consider themselves “cured”. then there are those who are fully aware they suffer from the active addiction, some go in and out of recovery and some have years behind them.
there are the anorexics, bulimics, under eaters, over eaters, binge eaters, compulsive eaters, restrictors , chew and spitters, orthorexics, the list goes on.  sometimes those who can identify with one or more of those branch off with other things like compulsive over exercising  body dysmorphia …you get it. theres a LOT to be aware of during this national eating disorder awareness week.
i remember the first friend that i ever told that i had an eating disorder and was in a 12 step program looked at me like i had just told her i flew to mars that morning. she said “well you sure hide it well. i didnt think big people could starve themselves and still be big”. (to clarify, i never told her i starve myself – a popular generalization of those with ED’s). that stung me to the core but not as much as when the next few friends said the same thing. it turned into me having to constantly explain myself, defend my addiction and disease and eventually shut down around it. i’ve spent a large portion of my life defending other things about mself – wasnt going to add this to the list.  i’d only talk about it with people in recovery. though that strategy works perfectly for a lot of people i know in the rooms, sometimes it isnt helpful for me. besides, isnt the point to to give to others what we’ve been given so freely? okay okay okay i know – “be the message”. i struggled with that for a LONG time because we had a few friends knowing i was in recovery but judging the program off of my actions but not understanding i wasnt really working the program. i’ve learned to not care what they think and quite frankly – not care what anyone thinks of me having an eating disorder. my attention is to the person still sick and suffering with no knowledge that help is out there, that there is an entire community out there that will welcome them with open arms. i’ve given people the benefit of the doubt that they’ll come to terms with the fact that yes, even overweight people can be bulimic the same way an underweight person can binge eat.

for me, this week of awareness isnt going to be about convincing any friends nor family (pshh, we wont even touch that) that it wasnt a case of me being “really greedy” growing up, trying to convince them that my addiction to food is as serious as heroine or crack to a drug addict or telling my friend for the millionth time she doesnt have to ask if its “ok” to eat in front of me. this week of awareness will be about being proud of who i am and all that comes with me, including this disease. its a killer (literally) but has introduced me to recovery and recovery has brought a new universe to my doorstep. even if its just a quote from pintrest, a vague/subliminal tweet or facebook post, a direct link to a website, i encourage you all to join me in bringing awareness to the civilian world because among those civilians are people hoping and wishing for a pause in the madness. your quote, picture or link could potentially pull someone a bit higher out of a pit of despair.

til this day for the life of me, i cannot remember what lead me to a 12 step program for food addictions and eating disorders 2 1/2 years ago….but i tell you what – im ETERNALLY grateful for whatever/whomever it was. it saved my life.

so to leave you all with a few words…..if your struggling, dont give up 5 mins before the miracle happens. keep coming back, it works if you work it. ONE DAY AT A TIME and be gentle because beating yourself wont get yourself anywhere except a quick and fast slip, fall then relapse and for today, we all should choose sobriety/abstinence in whatever form that takes. you are not your disease.

p.s.- if your in nyc/nj tonight, feb 26th, the empire state building will be lit in honor of the above.

p.p.s- day count: 53 

empire state