Me Too

“Me Too.”

This status as been seen all over Facebook for the last couple of days from women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. I posted it myself even though it is a triggering sight to see. But for as long has I can remember I have been triggered.

In person. Online. At work. At school. On the way home. In my home.

Sexual assault and harassment has never been OK but it has always been normal for me. Being born and raised in NYC, getting “Hollered at” is embedded in our culture. Young women are groomed early on to look for ways to prevent and deal with being sexually harassed. As a defense mechanism, friends and I turned to humor by trying to reverse the roles as teenagers. We would sit on a stoop and yell out “Yo shorty in the _______” to the boys that would walk by or ride pass on their bikes. They were always shocked but never offended because it was cool. But imagine having to go through this every day. I live in the suburbs now so driving has shielded me from uncomfortable situations. But for an urban woman who may have to walk a lot, avoiding certain times, blocks, groups of people, clothing and wearing earphones are all things we have to do just to be left alone. What is worse than that?

Saying NO.

I tend to laugh at my a pain because no one, other than women seem to care. Just last week I found sick humor in this meme with a friend.

 

In hindsight, this isn’t funny. The meme actually shows just how serious this issue is for women. Why is walking pass a group of men considered a dare?

Because some of them have no respect or self-control.

One Summer, when I was 14, I was walking down Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn with my friend after work. As we passed a few guys by the corner store, my friend was “hollered at” pretty rudely. She ignored this behavior but “the calls” were so distracting that I made contact with one of the guys. To which he said: ” I know you heard me if your friend did”. As a consequence, the guy proceeded to wet us down with a “Super Soaker” water gun and his friends laughed. Then my friend and I had to ride the train home wet all because we chose not to entertain this behavior. This was only one of the many violations I have experienced in my life. One that will stick with me forever.

Being shot by a water gun was extreme. In my opinion, more extreme than being called an “ugly bitch” or saying “That’s why your friend looks better than you anyway”. These are ever day responses when things don’t go a sexual offender’s way.  It honestly seems like no response (other than the one they want) is ever enough. Even making a conscious effort to tip-toe around a delicate male ego works because being pretend gay or spoken for is just as bad as being uninterested. These men want to “be your friend” anyway.

A H.S. friend of mine, Tabitha made an interesting statement on my status today:

On the other hand I will say that this whole thing is kind of triggering me. I wish we didn’t have to re-label ourselves for people to understand the scale of the issue (that, really tho, if we don’t know the scale of the issue by now I’m like…???) and I wish we didn’t have to create direct relations with the issue in order to to activate humanity in people. We talk about how many women have been assaulted but not how many men assault. I’d really much rather continuing the call out of the offenders and holding them accountable.”

This same friend had an incident just recently with a man taking pictures of her on the subway. Instead of coming to her defense, she was advised by another man to “just move”. Somehow in our society it is always our fault. Thee disgusting situations are seen as something women have control over when it’s simply and issue of self-control on the offenders behalf.

Shortly after, an old friend inboxed me to remind me of the time I asked him to stay by my side so that our co-worker would leave me alone. It was my first permanent job out of college so I wasn’t trying to make this a “thing”.  I can’t remember exactly what this man use to say to me but I vividly remember being uncomfortable. His name still gives me the creeps. He always hovered over my cubical in the morning…and we were far from friends. But the fact that I had to be reminded of this experience goes to show you how often this happens to me. I normally just block it out until the next incident.

Although I was quiet my work encounter, I have been vocal everywhere else. However there is still little accountability when the offenders are people we know and trusted. Our society has a habit of turning a blind eye. Not me. I speak up and have sacrificed many relationships in doing so. I will gladly be the enemy when it comes to protecting my peace.

Now as a mother of a young boy, I am working on getting him to understand personal space, how to deal with rejection from his peers and certainly how to treat young girls. I refuse to have my son grow up to be the reason another woman says “Me too”.

And no… there will be NO SLEEPOVERS allowed. Me and mine will see you tomorrow.

There are just too many of y’all are walking around with issues that have been excused and unaddressed.

Click HERE to see how this all started. 

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I have a friend who sends me jobs. Out of every 7 jobs, I would only follow-up on maybe one. Mostly because they were low-paying or far commutes… But being sent jobs was a constant reminder of my failed career. I have been through two layoffs (one 9 months pregnant) and several dead-end temp jobs – all while applying to hundreds of jobs with no call backs. That did something to me. It changed me. I simply had one too many rejection letters to believe in myself anymore.

So I put a lot more time into blogging. But as an influencer, you are on social media a lot. It can be fun but to an already bruised ego, I was watching all of my friends celebrate their promotions as I sat at home, feeling like a college reject with 50k of debt that her husband pays for. So eventually I stopped looking for work as a defense mechanism. I told everyone I was committed to being a Stay At Home Mom but truthfully I was just tired. Tired of the rejection, tired of answering “how is the job search going?” and tired of unsolicited advice. But that didn’t stop people from telling me how “lucky” I was to be home with my “baby”. If that wasn’t enough, my husband got all the praise in the world for “taking care” of me… as if I was a burden. As if wasn’t taking care of my son. As if I never took care of us. As if I didn’t sacrifice for my family and my husband’s demanding career. Don’t get me wrong, my son brings me joy but just being his mom was never enough. I know I said it was, but it wasn’t. It is a thankless and exhausting job without pay. And can’t even put it on my resume… a resume that desperately needs an update.

You hear me talking a lot about finding balance, self care, doing yoga and getting away. Unfortunately none of my practices ever had a lasting effect on me. Unlike the average mom, my self care requires much more than a pedicure and a few inspirational memes. I have been suffering with anxiety and depression for some time now. I remember in 2015 crying became normal for me… so normal that I would cry in public at the drop of a dime. I knew it was bad when my husband stopped asking me what was wrong. 

I never had an answer anyway.
People often assume that I am this overly confident person but I am fighting self-doubt every. single. day. I hesitate on doing the simplest of things. I have this fear of failing and wasting my time which has made me extremely fragile. So no matter how many people tell me that I am talented, it doesn’t add up. I don’t have much to show for it. I can’t get hired for it and I can barely make money from it. I know that words are powerful but so are thoughts. So even if I never said this out loud, this is what is in my head. As a result, I find myself taking one step forward and two steps back. When your anxiety physically stops you and your depression mentally stops you… you can’t make muchprogress.

For instance… I was given a lead on a job two weeks ago. I took days to even print the application that was sent to me. My mind told me this was going to be a waste of time. As I began to fill out the form, I remembered how many times I have done THIS before and gotten NOTHING out of it. By the time I made it to the employment history section, I couldn’t relive my unsuccessful past. My chest was getting tight and I started to draw blanks. So I put the pen down and threw the application away.

Today was the deadline.

Safe to say I won’t be getting that job either. The funny thing is I didn’t even want the job. I just need work but I don’t even know what I should be doing anymore. I lost myself.

Everyone tells me that entrepreneurship is my calling but I didn’t even have the guts to apply for one job. How could I have the guts to be an entrepreneur?

To be continued…

What’s next?

It has been a while so let me bring you all up to speed:

Transitioning from SAHM to WHAM.

As most of you know, my son started Kindergarten this year. So while I have preparing for our transition, I have been riddled with thoughts of “what’s next”. Do I go back to a 9-5 or do I explore one of my passions as an entrepreneur? Although it has only been three weeks, I expected to have more time to figure this out by now. LOL Where does the day go? I have been booked with doctor appointments and events. And before I know it, it’s time to pick Noah up from school. But if you have a job for me don’t be afraid to send it my way. I need all the options right now.

 

Transitioning from home school to public school.

Noah is still adjusting to being around so many other kids and with less freedom than he had at home. But that’s what Kindergarten is for…working on the social skills and structure. While I was given praise on how much of a good job I have done teaching him, I am concerned he might be bored with some of the material. Actually the teacher told me that’s what he said.

 

Getting back into my health and fitness.

I started this year off really strong but my whole family was in a bad accident that set me back. I began physical therapy and became unmotivated with my level of mobility. Coupled with life… started eating everything just to feel better. So I gained more than a little bit of weight. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. It is super important for me to look and feel good for my birthday in November. In the interim, I have been working on my mental health. As a naturally anxious person, I can get easily overwhelmed. I have been doing whatever it takes to place myself in position of personal development and growth.

 

The future of this blog.ย 

Although things have been slow around here, I haven’t given up. Consistency with writing is something I need to work on but the things above have taken a priority in my life. I have always blogged leisurely so I tend to struggle with planning and monetizing my content. But I simply can’t afford NOT do that anymore. The funny thing is when you think you have a hot post, no one reads it. But then you put out something you know is average and everyone loves it! And I know most bloggers can agree. So what do you love to see/read most?

 

Tell me some of the things you like about this blog or what you would like to see. I could really use the feedback! Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

Why Every Woman Needs a “Girls Trip”

Early in the year, my friend invited me to be her guest for a wedding in St. Lucia. This was my first trip out of the country since 2010 and the first trip away from both my husband and my son for more than two days. I was nervous but I knew I needed it. I would often have my little getaways but would return still not feeling myself. It wasn’t until I flew thousands of miles away from my responsibilities that I could relax. I am every bit of a woman but when I am with my closest friends, it’s all about being a girl! There is a level of comfort women have when they get around their friends and the Girls Trip movie definitely reminded me of that. You can drink what you want, do what you want, wear what you want, be childish and get up when you feel like. Most adults don’t get that luxury everyday… and simply having the option to do so is what makes it so fun! In June, BlogHer held an advanced screening for the Girls Trip movie. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the event but I was able to use my fandango voucher included in the BlogHer 17 swag bag.

Girls Trip Movie
Clockwise: Ryan (Regina Hall), Dina (Tiffany Haddish), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), Sasha (Queen Latifah)
Before I even saw the movie, I took the official personality quiz and got Ryan “The Boss” of the group. She is the narrator and essentially the main character of the movie. Ryan “has it all” or at least appears to. I think the quiz was correct in the sense that many people view my life that way. But unlike Ryan, my image is not well thought out or protected. There is no front with me. And even when I try to keep it real… no one believes me. LOL

Speaking of “keeping it real”… My friend told me I actually reminded her of Dina. I knew Dina would be the “Wild One”, but I had NO IDEA just how wild she would be. Tiffany Haddish carried that movie from beginning to end. Her comedy was ridiculous, embarrassing but HILARIOUS. The humor is not for everyone but I can guarantee that it will be back-to-back! I laughed so much I would miss the next joke. The antics of her character was exactly what made Girls Trip RATED R. Although I was dying with laughter I was kind of offended that someone would think that I was that crazy. Because I’m not. HOWEVER I am a bit of a defensive, daring and comedic (with or without a couple of drinks). So I guess that is Dina me all the way.

I also see myself as Sasha, the blogger who has had a few bumps in the road but is finding her voice and career path. Although I am a fun friend, I know when its time to turn down and go home. I have been the voice of reason and designated driver several times as Lisa would be. Speaking of… I was so shocked that Jada’s played that role. I expected her to have a serious role but her character, Lisa is so uptight. It worked for the movie and Jada’s certainly had the “tight face” to match. Our girl really needs to lay off the cosmetic work. I can’t be the only one who noticed that, right? Anyhoo, the different personalities gives the right dynamic for a good trip…good times…good stories and most importantly…good friends.

St. Lucia Pitons
JJ Speedboat Tour to The Pitons in St. Lucia
I hate to sound clichรฉ but I found myself on my girls tip – much like the ladies did in the movie. For that reason I will be looking for a girls trip at least once a year (if I can) just to keep me grounded. ๐Ÿ˜› The Girls Trip movie was just the laugh I needed and it the message at the end was timely.

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them.

Only my closest friends knew that I entered this year feeling really down about where I was in life. I felt stuck. After St. Luicia, I gave myself permission to be who I am. The change was so strong that several people told me even my smile was different. I suddenly had the confidence to go on several leaps of faith since then. One of those leaps was attending BlogHer 17 (ironic right?). Change can be scary but it is necessary and crucial to our growth. So if you get a chance to go on your own girls trip, you might just evolve into the woman you were meant to be as well.

Now GO SEE THAT MOVIE if you haven’t and leave the kids at home.

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