My Parents screwed me up a little bit.

I’ve always disagreed with my parents. They were young, inexperienced adults who never quite broke into the professional careers they wanted. My mom settled as a nurse and my dad, a tech engineer. They made good, honest money, took care of their kids and gave us life long values that have helped us become decent American citizens. For that I’m grateful, but at the same time I’ve always yearned for more.

I was a mildly chatty kid who turned into a mildly chatty adult. Why am I chatty? Because when I was young, my opinion was seen as a disrespectful shot at authority. Discipline softened my angles on issues, which I can’t fully say distorted things – but I do struggle with perspective. My ability to observe and develop a sturdy amount of patience was built during my rough teen years. But what I notice as an adult is the capacity to maneuver through complicated conversations, answer tough questions and resolve complex issues is all developed through verbalizing strong thoughts. As an aspiring journalist, thought and voice is the meat and potatoes to any work.

Growing up in a black, traditional, very christian household deafened my ear to hear, critically think and develop solid feedback as one fluid process. It’s something that I had to work on, and I still do. The oldest of 5, my role was quite clear: follow and don’t talk back. I was a child who understood the silent rule of “no opinions.” I’m not blaming religion, but I see many times that children sharing thoughts is often misinterpreted as inappropriate boldness or for my people fluent in ebonics, plain old “fresh.”

Your child is thinking and creating! Let them say what they have to say! Obviously, I’m not supporting youngins to curse, spew hate or just be outright rude because of their “opinions,” but it’s necessary for growth. I can only thank God for my rebellious spirit that I haven’t lost it looking back on some of the times I was silenced because of actual adequate reasoning I had. But I always fought.

As we watch the inauguration of our new leader, My family delves into conversations that often get heated. Stuck in a certain mindset, it’s still hard to get them to see things but they’re inching. Though I see my parents glaze with disappointment on some of my takes on issues, I know how important my thoughts diversify against theirs. We need that in the world.

So to my mom and dad, I love you, respect you, adore you guys presence but, NO, I don’t agree…

Apples or Oranges…

Most women are seen as an apple, a moderately sour one that is lightly browned to a foresty hue. An unassuming introvert that has a spicy personality if you just get to know her. She’s exciting, but not overbearing. The perfect woman, desirable to men- admirable to women. Super sweet, caring, but nibbles the soft edges of your perception of her. She’s persistent, reliable, but emanates a confidence of self- while still building it. That is 2017’s it girl- an that is not me.

Entering the threshold of a new year has given me some ambition to find myself-my growing self that is blossoming into a woman. Spending years exploring who I want to be only stunted the real adventure of finding who I am. And I feel that many woman struggle with this. So let me tell you why I am the most annoying orange.

Let me start off with the fact that I don’t have bangs-  I develop a butthurt jealousy anytime I see a girl with one because I’m forever stuck sporting a linebacker forehead. Partially because my hair takes about a millenium to grow an inch. I like flimsy dresses, but it usually doesn’t cover my thighs well so I subscribe to dark colors and wear strangling skinny jeans. I speak my mind like an unapologetic sailor.  I challenge men ALOT and sometimes it’s effective. I love to be the center of attention and make people laugh. Stroke my ego please- I won’t retreat back into a sweet muddle of modesty. Let me not like you without feeling bad. I really don’t like you and that’s okay.I might just get insecure at times, but I’m vocal and overbearing.  At the same time I’m true and working- my sourness can only last in your tongue so long before it becomes a  sweet dew.

So hoorah to the apples in my life- and I welcome the budding oranges.

The Efforts of a “Bad Bitch”

See I’m in a moral pickle here. I’ve noticed that I take more time tending to my physical aesthetic. Watching hair videos on the daily, glancing at brief makeup hacks and checking out my booty in the mirror is the side effects I once deemed to the culture zombies better known as American millenials. But now I soak in the swampy hypocrisy of my once confident, forthright statements- while I rub coconut oil on my edges for optimum baby hair slayage.

The amount of sugar- induced hipsters sipping on overpriced lattes, briefing themselves on Kylies’s new Instagram pic is reaching an epidemic level; so it’s only logical that this savagely materialistic way of life claws onto my rebelling soul like a desperate blondie to snakeskin uggs. The odds are set against me to be an aware and active public servant for my country. I can’t even remember the last time I sat to watch the news- yet I could probably quote a line or two from Love & Hip Hop. All praises to the divine Cardi B- infesting my life with a fake hood mentality; I think I finally know how to appropriate “Dub” in a sentence with it sounding quintessentially New York- I mean “Yawk.” Drop the ‘r’ my guy.

To be or not to be a Bad Bitch is the question…

Did I put aluminum foil in my teeth as a kid? Of course I did, who didn’t do that? I mean I still do it now, with a thick wad of brown lipstick to show a brief Lauryn Hill-esque inclination that I’m not all surface beauty. Or in my case was I ever? I can’t say that I’ve been fully consumed by the great pop culture monster. I throw my figuratively greasy hands lathered by overwhelming fumes of Bath&Body lotions onto the now shrimpy tree of knowledge. Maybe I can bridge the fiery gap between, like Beyonce did when she proved she could crossover not only to Hip-Hop but Country as well.

And I haven’t even mentioned my internal conflict with the moniker. I’ve never been keen to call anyone a ‘bitch,’ even if I was called one. So how come, a sudden flow of chart topping, high life, celebrity moments encourage me to even use the word? No one can fully cure the delusive power of VH1 without totally dismantling their identity and essence as a person. And I am not doing that today because that causes me to critically think about my actions.

So am I a Bad Bitch? *sips sugar loaded tea* Maybe…

Am I too bored or too happy?

I feel like I’m doing great right now. But am I really?

Everything I fantasized about when I was an eager writer in the cultural jail cell called High School is slowly coming to fruition. I’m writing at a steady newspaper, passing my classes and I have a sweet boo thang that I can send weird texts to. I should be happy right? I mean there’s nothing more I could ask for right now…

But I’m still on that incline- I’m a young, aspiring author, creative writer and journalist. I’m stable, but now it’s time to find well paying jobs. Time to travel and find the serendipity in wanderlust. Time to make major mistakes- something my introvertitis is allergic to. I’m so comfortable right now that it’s scary and slightly deafening. What should I do?

To Act, or Not to Act On Social Media — L.M. Sacasas

A few days ago, The Atlantic posted a video showing an audience of two-hundred or so reacting fervently, some with Nazi salutes, when Richard Spencer came on stage and proclaimed, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” Spencer is a leading figure in a movement with white-nationalist elements, which he successfully branded as the “alt-right.” This […]

via To Act, or Not to Act On Social Media — L.M. Sacasas

Retail made me uh…Feminist.

I have two jobs. I work at a shoe store and a gas station. My jobs are relatively simple, and that is to stock inventory and give good customer service. A job I initially found stressful, due to my early realized introvertitis. I spent most of my life avoiding people and now I have to engage them with some iffy marketing strategy…

But this changed me. The caste-like system in high-school had taught me that silence is my best asset, but in the real world a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. So learning to communicate properly and effectively helped me network and maintain relationships. In a way, my job is an experimental playground for me to learn myself. I educated myself on my confidence, how to capitalize on my awareness- it is extremely beneficial. With that said, I’ve noticed how much more stressful it is to communicate with men. Something as simple as suggesting an accessory is an intimidating act. Why? Because of the endless reservations I, a woman, more so a woman of color is concerned about regarding the mutual respect I’ll get in return.

I’m often rejected by men who I engage whilst explaining a sale that most likely they’ll benefit from. Many of them, “know what they want” so they wasp me away like a fly. And because I expected this most times, I developed a certain dread anytime a man was present. The hyper masculinity I assumed for every male customer, turned me into this submissive silent woman. The familiar kind I was in high- school, that left me emotionally trapped. The effect, the exploitation of masculinity had on me in a shoe store, I imagined could get quite severe if on a macro scale.

This revelation taught me a few things:

1. I can be as good as I want myself to be.

2. Assumptions are dangerous- don’t let one event, or even 100 events contribute a vast judgement on one person. A couple rude men, crippled my services to the rest. That wasn’t fair for me to do that.Gender is not the enemy, bad character is.

3. There is nothing wrong with masculinity. The problem comes when it is exploited. This can happen with femininity as well.

4. I am a feminist. Like the popular Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I believe in the equality of the sexes. The way I felt because of a man’s presence, I’m sure is shared. And vice versa that men feel this way with women. Yes, to be a feminist, also means I’m interested in women’s rights and interests.Considering our world history, women are still searching for their harmonious place in society. I’m on that road myself, and devoting myself to building my identity only strengthens my convictions.

Those Evil Powers of Elusive.

I recently leased my apartment. It was a great challenge I had to conquer, as a matter of fact it was agonizing because it forced me to start striving for what I want. With that said, my roommate who already started moving in to her own place, desired for me to move in with her. Expressing the need to be on my own, I told her that I leased the apartment that was formerly ours and gave her a deadline to have her things out.

With a supposed understanding that we were on good terms and coming from a stressful all- nighter, I came home to a trashed apartment. My clothes scattered the floor next to partially melted frozen food. The heat and electricity turned off. The stove and fridge were gone and my pretty bedroom lights slashed. It was such a disaster, I thought I could only be dreaming.

This was hate.

Though I called the landlord, and ended up receiving help from family, friends and neighbors- I felt an overwhelming sense of defeat. I wasn’t defeated because she destroyed my things, but more by the realization that being on my own threatened her.

She did everything to destroy my newly renovated identity and that’s what racism does. Did she act in racism? Most likely not, but much like racism; she couldn’t tolerate the shift in power. And the extremely sad part about it, is that though she had and was getting so much more than I, the bit I had was too much for her to accept.

With the chaos involving our president- elect and the issues it entails, I urge every person to understand that people fear change. Racism, Sexism and Homophobia, are the sects to the fear people have of change. My roommate, a young white woman- the same age as I was angered by change. So let’s not make change elusive like fear.