This is a detour from my normal posts, but I think it’s important that we have an open and honest conversation. I’m black. I’m a woman. I’ve made no secret of that. However, we can’t be afraid to talk about race.
I’ve been blessed to have friends of all nationalities and races. Let’s have a frank discussion about blackface. I’m entitling this BlackFace 101. I recently read an article about a white teen who dressed in blackface to ask a girl to prom. He believed he did nothing wrong.
If that is true, then his parents failed him. Why? Because as a parent, you have an obligation to teach not just tolerance, acceptance and empathy but history to your children. The school’s don’t do a good job of it anymore. They are literally omitting and changing history in the textbooks. You need to fill in the blanks. Just like I have to do.
Our job as parents require us to encourage and educate our children every step of the way. If you are a parent in 2017, why would you think it is okay for your child to dress up in blackface? If you knew it was wrong and you don’t think it’s a big deal, then stop asking for forgiveness for your child’s ignorance. You failed them. Plain and simple.
I’m black, but I have to teach Munch about all cultures. Not just our own. Not the watered down versions that the schools are teaching now. It is my responsibility to make sure that he knows and respects everyone’s culture. That’s what we seem to be lacking…respect for other cultures.
If you don’t teach your children this, then you are ill preparing them for the real world. We are a melting pot of many cultures and nationalities and ignorance isn’t bliss. I don’t care what anyone says. Preparation for the future is key.
If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Mahatma Gandhi
The history of blackface is not something that is ever appropriate. In short, white America’s conception of black entertainers were overly exaggerated. They were mocking us as the socially and racially inferior race. It was pure ignorance.
The fact of the matter is that if you choose to wear blackface after knowing it’s offensive history, you’re in essence telling me that you don’t give a crap about my feelings as a black woman. I’m supposed to take it as a joke. The thing is though…you can’t forget history. I can’t wipe off what happened to my ancestors like you can your painted blackface. It isn’t acceptable and if you do it, at least be man or woman enough to not ask for forgiveness over your ignorance.
So, we’ve all been there. Where? To the depths of hell swimming like a madman without a life jacket. Drowning. In pain. We didn’t understand how life took this rapid turn and we found ourselves in a perpetual state of hell.
It happens. It happened to me. It happens to everyone. You are not alone. You should know that …
See, that’s all we can ask. That God helps us through it. Our lives have been planned out. There will be good days and there will be bad days. We have to stay committed to knowing that our faith matters. We can’t falter in our faith when we fear the unknown.
Know that everything is working for your good. You are wonderfully and beautifully made to survive any test or trial that comes your way. Be encouraged.
I remember being on the floor crying out in pain asking God “Why has thou forsaken me?” Only to hear him whisper “I haven’t. Get up. It’s done.” Even when I feel like I can’t go on and take any more I try to whisper “Dear God, just give me the strength to endure.”
I’ve been at the end of my rope. There were times I didn’t know which way to turn or who could help me. I called on the One. The One who is always available. Who sees my tears and knows that His child is crying. He will see me through this troubled time. He will see you through your troubled times.
Don’t let the trouble you find yourself in define who you are. You are beautifully and wonderfully made in the Master’s image. So, you’ve made mistakes. Who hasn’t? The key is to know that there is always something bigger in store for you. Your greater is coming.
My friend and I were watching Selma last month and he said to me “See, they don’t make women like Coretta Scott King anymore. She stood by her husband when she knew he was being unfaithful. You present day women would leave your man in a heartbeat. You’re not built to last.” Yep, he actually said that BS. Really dude?
I had a WTH? look on my face as I tried to compose myself before responding. Believe it or not I can just respond and cut you with my words, but now that I’m 40 I’m trying to tame my tongue and think a full one minute before responding to foolishness.
But, I got myself together and said “Built to last? So, women should stand by a man who is unfaithful because we married him?” I almost choked on my water and then I couldn’t stop laughing because I realized that this man was serious.
I decided that my friend must be smoking some new and undetectable brand of crack for saying something so absolutely whack that I had to share it with all of you. I had to break down a few things to this man about what he thinks women should and shouldn’t put up with and dispel a few myths that he may be sharing among other men who may start believing this lie. Here are three of the myths that I came up with in response to his foolish belief.
Myth #1: Women Should Stand By an Unfaithful Partner
I’m saying partner instead of man because if you’re in a same sex relationship my advice would apply to you as well. You don’t have to stand by anyone who is being unfaithful to you. If YOU CHOOSE to stay in a relationship where you are being disrespected, it is your choice. But, not everyone is that strong. The thing about infidelity is that it cuts like a knife. I’ve been there. It hurts like hell. You want everyone in the situation to feel the same type of pain you have. No matter what, they don’t. Your pain is your pain. You own it. You have to nurture it. You have to heal from it.
I’m not suggesting you leave a marriage if they are unfaithful. This is a personal choice. However, there are a number of things that I would consider before staying in a marriage that was unfaithful: length of our marriage, the issues that we are having that made him seek someone outside of our marriage and can I truly forgive my partner. If I can’t forgive and not continuously bring it up then I need to leave the relationship. Your sanity will depend on it. But, there have been many couples who have stayed with an unfaithful partner and were able to fix their marriage. It’s your choice.
However, don’t think you weren’t built to last if you choose to leave. That is a myth. You just don’t want to continue being a relationship where your partner has broken your trust. It’s your choice.
Myth #2: Your Partner Expects You to Stay
This is a big myth. No one expects you to stay in a relationship where they’ve violated your trust unless they are smoking crack. If that is the case then you should definitely leave for their alleged drug use and not just because of their inability to stay faithful. Drug addiction is just as serious as infidelity. You make the choice to stay. No one can force you and if you want to work on your relationship, there is nothing wrong with that. Do what you want to do. But, a piece of advice….if your partner expects you to stay then there is a real problem. Either they will continue being unfaithful to you or they are a cold-hearted narcissist. Whatever it is you should run now. Trust me. Run!
Myth #3: You Are Not Built to Last
Yep, you are built to last. Whether you stay with an unfaithful partner or leave. You are fine. You are built to last. You’ve survived the pain of the betrayal and you will be okay. You don’t need medals advertising your pain. It’s okay to cry and go through it alone. You are a survivor. I believe that in Coretta’s case that she may have stayed not just because she loved her husband but in actuality for a self-serving purpose. Her husband was changing history. She knew this. His name would forever be emblazoned in history and hers too. She stayed because her purpose was his purpose. A shared purpose and therefore she prioritized. She chose to stay. Her choice. Individual choice. If you choose not to stay that doesn’t mean that you are less than someone else. You are still you.
Infidelity is a serious issue and I don’t want anyone to think that you have to stay in an unhealthy relationship with a cheater. If you forgive and stay that is your choice and no one is judging you for it. If you leave it is your choice as well but in either case understand that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and this pain that you’re in will heal and you will get better. I promise you.
I am so moved by this poet’s words that I had to share this. It touched my soul. As someone who is plus sized, grew up without her father, dealt with sexual abuse and all the manifestations of that trauma and life…food became my solace. It comforted me. It didn’t hurt me.
Some people may never understand the true pain of an emotional eater. We judge. We laugh. We act like they don’t exist. We was me when I used to hide behind big clothes to not be noticed. I tried to stop eating. To do fad diets. No results. I had to change me. I had to get to the root of the problem.
I did. I was camouflaging the pain. It is only then that I was able to understand what I was running from and how I could change. I have lost weight (45 pounds to be exact). It is a journey. It is something that I will never stop living. Each day is a gift and I understand it. I don’t use food as a crutch anymore. But, I will never forget.
Recently, I’ve been accepting the fact that I want more and that it is okay to want it. Because realistically, I tend to accept the BS that I’m given and try to justify the BS as legitimate because I am thinking about the other person and not trying to appear selfish. But is it really selfish?
That being said, I started to write a poem and ended up realizing that what I wanted to say was that I want and deserve more and that it’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m selfish or self-centered. It means I’m human and I love me more. More is real and more says you’re worth it.
Pen to paper and my feelings became a poem that I entitled “More”.
Many months of dating and sexing and no commitment came
I wanted more
You cringed at the thought that you would have to share your heart
I walked away
Knowing and believing that I deserved more than a fleeting kiss
With an occasional promise of something more
“Stay with me” you asked
“Let me please you baby” you begged
“Let’s not define the undefinable and exist where we are” you said
“Don’t worry about the others” you whispered
“Just focus on us” you urged
I focused on trying to change you
To make you into the man that would love only me
To show and prove that I was a down ass chick
Who would be your ride or die and
Never leave your side girl
Your homey/lover and your friend
I succumbed to the passion
And pushed more to the back of my mind
Because more didn’t matter
I was going to live in the present
Booty calls, occasional dates and pillow talk
That was something right?
It was better than more
But more kept pushing and fighting for freedom
More didn’t like the space it was being confined too
More wanted to run wild and yell
More wanted to hold hands in public
More wanted to go to your house of worship and praise
More wanted to meet your family and friends
More wanted to define the terms of our relationship
More wanted to update its Facebook status
More wanted to be unleashed
More broke out
I ran crying because I couldn’t put more back
I stood there shaking because more demanded
We have a talk
More told me that
I deserve more
I have to choose me
More said I have to leave
More said you can’t stay being the supporting actress
No more please. No more killing of our black babies and offering up excuses. I’m tired. As a mother to a black boy, this is my deepest fear. A fear that he will not be here on this Earth all the days of my life because of senseless violence. I mean Michael Brown and Ferguson is still fresh in my mind and now we hear about Tamir Rice? How could this happen?
A boy. A baby. Not even a teenager. A child. He is six years older than my son. He is a black boy. He is someone’s son. He is not going to go on his first date. He will not go to his prom. He will not graduate high school. He will not go to college. He will not get married. He will not be a father. He is dead.
How does this happen? Why are our children being used as target practice. No more. I can’t take it. I have a son. I don’t let him play with guns. I don’t let him play video games. I don’t allow him to play alone any where. I organize play dates and I organize outings. Why? Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that he will be used as target practice and there is nothing no one will be able to tell me.
I’m crying. Literally writing this piece with tears rolling down my face. I’m scared. Scared of looking into the eyes of my son and knowing that because he is a black boy that no matter what I do to prepare him to not be viewed as a threat, he may be killed senselessly by law enforcement. This is heartbreaking to me.
To make matters worse, how the heck can someone like former Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani even justify cops killing blacks by saying that “White police officers wouldn’t be in black neighborhoods, killing black men, if you weren’t killing each other.” Are you kidding me? Why would you even say that? To say that our tax dollars don’t buy us the right to have officers serve and protect without killing us or using the stop-and-frisk method because of the color of our skin is of true offense.
Understand this…I mourn all deaths due to senseless violence. But let’s get real, if my son was murdered by someone who is not a law enforcement official we would hopefully see some sort of justice. If it is law enforcement that murders him then the odds that something will happen are slim to none. He will still be dead and his murderer will be free.
My plea is simple: Please stop killing our children. Please stop murdering my brothers, fathers, cousins and uncles. Please stop protecting those that kill the innocent. Please prosecute those who kill our children. I will go home and be able to kiss my munch, listen to him tell me about his day at school, listen to him tell me how he can’t wait to go to his grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and listen to him tell me that he loves me tonight. I will get to put him asleep, kissing his forehead and sending prayers of thanks to God for another day with him. Tamir’s parents do not have that luxury. They will have to plan a funeral.
I’m fickle. I’m analytical. I’m not a great joke teller. I’m kind of nerdy. But, I’m divinely created and incredibly blessed. I have a wall up. I don’t let people in. I’m guarded. I’m annoying. I’m afraid of getting hurt. I’m human.
Recently, I’ve been going through a lot of emotional changes and my girlfriend asked me to do something. She asked me to write down what I want out of a partner and review my list to see if it’s reasonable. She said make revisions as you see fit, but keep it close and decide if the person you want to be with has those qualities. If not, thank them for the experience and keep it moving.
Simple huh? But, trying to date after being with someone so long has me feeling that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m too ___ much? I’m too something. I can’t seem to figure out what. So, I struggle to define the undefinable and to try and confine that which can not be confined in hopes that I can figure it out.
What happened? Life. God. Conscious. That little voice that confirms what you know you need to do. It came in the form of Pandora. I was listening to my station and Lyfe Jennings song “Statistics” came on. I smiled. Confirmation of what my girlfriend said earlier rang in my ear. I had never heard this song.
Here are the lyrics to the song:
Alright alright alright y’all settle down settle down settle down.
If you don’t know where you are this is STATISTICS 101
and I’m your teacher LYFE JENNINGS in the flesh baby.
Books out. Let’s go!
25% of all men are unstable
25% of all men can’t be faithful
30% of them don’t mean what they say
and 10% of the remaining 20 is gay
That leaves you a 10% chance of ever finding your mate
That means you better pay attention to these words that I say
I’m gonna teach you how expose the 90%
and show you what to do to keep the other 10.
Don’t be a booty call
If he don’t respect you girl he gon forget you girl
If he’s in a relationship
If he will cheat on her that means he will cheat on you
Tell him that you’re celibate
And if he wants some of your goodies he gon have to work for it
Be the person you wanna find
Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime
15% of all men got a complex
15% of all men don’t practice safe sex
20% of them come from homes without a father
and there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll marry a coward
Something to think about when you’re taking a shower
Something to swallow when you’re drinking bottled water
I’m gonna teach you how to expose the 90%
and show you what to do to keep the other 10
Be patient! He’s waiting!
You don’t gotta settle for that
Leave what is past alone!
Get you a backbone!
Stop being (sorry for) yourself!
Have you no checklist?
It’s gonna take patience
Time is still wastin’
Don’t be a booty call
If he don’t respect you girl he gon forget you girl
If he’s in a relationship
If he will cheat on her that means he will cheat on you
Tell him that you’re celibate
and if he wants some of your goodies he gon have to work for it.
Be the person you wanna find
Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime.
I loved it. What part? The last line “Be the person you wanna find. Don’t be a nickel out here lookin’ for a dime.” It reminded me that I needed to find like minded people and get to work on my checklist. My checklist won’t be a list of the impossible. I’m not looking for a Superman. I want someone who is the Man and knows it. A partner. A friend.
This song is for all the ladies out there. Make a list. Listen to the song and be patient. Great things come to those who wait (or so I’m told). Be authentically you and if it is meant to be it will be. No trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t settle for dysfunction.
So, I’m starting on my list today. No rush. Just laying out what I expect in a partner so that if I should ever meet someone who is a match, I will know it. I won’t run. I won’t stumble and I will accept it. Whatever it is. I’m going to know that I’m worth it and more importantly…he will know it too.
So, yesterday I had a hysterosonogram and biopsy to find out what’s been going on with me. At almost 40, things seem like they are beginning to breakdown. In an earlier post I explained how my doctor had recommended this procedure without talking to me. All on email. Ah, the joys of modern technology! Well, I agreed and let me tell you what happened.
I arrived at their swanky Silver Spring location and sat waiting about 20 minutes before I was taken to the back. This annoyed the heck out of me because I was told to arrive 15 minutes prior to my appointment. Why arrive early to have to wait and not be seen earlier? Physician politics I tell you. I’m sitting in the waiting room with three pregnant women who are looking at me as though I’m knocked up and not married. Nope, that’s not me! I’m just the curvy nerd reading the latest issue of Time.
After some BAK’s (Bad A** Kids) began running around the office and my “If you don’t sit your bad tail down I’m gonna whoop your momma’s butt look didn’t work” I began to flip my magazine in utter frustration. Thankfully, the young lady calls me to the back. She asked “Did they tell you to arrive with an empty bladder?” “Umm, nope. I received no instructions whatsoever!” She smiled, “Can you please empty your bladder in this bathroom and go into exam room #3?” “Sure. I just had a big gulp and my bladder is pretty full.” She looked mortified. I responded “Just kidding. See you in a minute.”
When I arrived in the sonogram room (aka exam room #3) I was told to disrobe below the waist, sit on the table and put the sheet around my lower half. No problem. I’m a pro at this. The nurse comes back in and begins her examination of my uterus, cervix and ovaries (including the follicles). Yep I could see it all on the flat screen in the corner of the room. (A lot had changed since I had my last sonogram). While it was uncomfortable it no way prepared me for the hysterosonogram and biopsy that happened next.
The infamous (okay I’m the only one calling him infamous) doctor walks in and says, “Hi Tikeetha, we talked extensively about the procedure I’m about to do. Are you ready?” I was in utter shock, “Umm, by extensively you mean you emailed me and I responded and we emailed back and forth? Doctor we never spoke. Email is not a conversation.” He said, “Oh, I do most of my correspondence by email now because every time I call a patient back they are never available and I’m always leaving a message.” I smiled and said, “A message telling me why you are recommending an invasive procedure is better than email. I’m not that old where I don’t answer my phone. You had me hating you and crafty snarky responses for my blog about how you treated me.” He said, “Please don’t bad mouth me to the world, I will put a note in your file to call you for invasive procedures. I’m sorry that you felt as though I ignored you. I didn’t mean it.”
I was relieved and opened my legs on the table and said, “Okay, now that we’ve got the apology out of the way, I’m ready.” He smiled and began to explain the procedure. The cold speculum dang near caused me to have a heart attack and then he put the tube in and pushed the fluid into my cervix and uterus to get a clear picture. I felt a painful clip and intense cramping. I was sitting there thinking I should have taken 2000 mg of Tylenol or a dose of crack to help with the intense pain. (Point of clarification: I don’t use drugs. Jokes only).
As I lay on that table wishing for a speedy death because I was in hell he was doing the biopsy saying that he wasn’t getting enough fluid. “Her uterus is too big” is what he told the nurse. I sat there in shock wondering what is too big? He told me to look up at the monitor and said, “Tikeetha, everything looks great. Your uterus is clear and beautiful. I don’t see any cause of concern. Get dressed and meet me in my office and we will discuss next steps.” “Okay” I mumbled as he removed the dang speculum and I felt even more cramping. He left the room and the nurse said, “Okay, get dressed and here’s a pad for the fluid that will drip all day and some spotting that may occur. Open the door when you’re ready and I will walk you to the doctor’s office.” “Okay” was all I could say.
I got off the table feeling like I was sucker punched. I got up and holding on to the table proceeded to get dressed and headed to the doctor’s office. I sat down and he said, “Everything looks good. Your uterus is big and clear. I will have the results of the biopsy in a few days, but I’m optimistic that everything will be fine.” I looked at him and said, “Doctor, you keep saying that my uterus is big, is this normal or abnormal? A genetic default or are you saying because I’m a plus size cutie that it’s normal that I have a big uterus?”
He looked at me and said, “Umm, no. Ahh, no. Well, it’s a big beautiful uterus!” WTH? He said, “Let me show you on these photos. You had a history of fibroids that were inside of your uterus. When fibroids grow they distort the uterine cavity. They were removed and the walls never contract back to size. But, your uterus is big, beautiful and healthy. It’s clear and they’re no fibroids so we have many options available. I will let you know the results of the biopsy when I get them. Is email okay?” “Yes, if you are not telling me bad news. Email will be fine. Other than that pick up the phone please!” He smiled and said, “I will.” I responded, “Okay, well thank you for explaining everything to me. I will keep on the current medication as suggested and contact you in a couple of months.”
As he was walking me out of the office he said, “Tikeetha, please don’t let me see any bad reviews on Yelp.” I laughed, “Sure, doc! I will make sure to bad mouth you on my blog, Twitter and Facebook page.” He turned redder than an apple. “Just kidding” I responded.
So, as I walked out of the office slowly holding my abdomen, I thought it pretty cool that I have a big beautiful uterus. Interesting and problematic sometimes being a woman, but I’m pretty good with the results. Women always have it rough and if you don’t believe it, just ask a doctor to perform a hysterosonogram on you and you will know it’s the truth.
I’m not worried about the results of the biopsy. I have faith. Faith in God, my doctors and the fact that I’m meant to annoy a few more people before I’m called home to glory. I had so much faith that I decided to treat myself to my rum brownies and cherry vanilla ice cream last night. Trust me, it helped with the pain.