Facts and Opinions, Uncategorized

#BlueforSudan

Social media might be seen as a nuisance in some people’s eyes, and it certainly can be when it comes to how much Millennials and us Generation Z’ers consume, but the information that is readily at our fingertips would not be accesses without it. There are so many things that could have been hidden in this world. Recently, the Sudan Massacres have been trending. With all the other hashtags that have come and gone, the ones about Sudan have remained. Over the course of about a year, I’ve heard certain things coming out of Sudan here and there, but with more explanations coming to light, I can now say that I think I understand what’s going on more so.

The problems within Sudan started about thirty years ago. Former Sudanese dictator….I mean president Omar al-Bashir was elected into office. During this time of terror, the countries economic system was completely obliterated, leaving an extensive amount of turmoil. In December 2018, the civilians of Sudan decided to mobilize and try to bring an end to the destruction that has been brought by Omar Bashir’s rule. Soon after, their actions began; peacefully protesting. Many of Sudanese people would do what they could to make a statement. They wanted al-Bashir to step down from his position of power. Unfortunately, the peaceful protests that the Sudanese people demonstrated began to turn violent and deadly. Dozens of people were injured…as well as killed.

A few months ago, February 2019, Omar Bashir calls for a state of emergency. This banned all gatherings that were unauthorized. After this, all hell broke loose. It didn’t matter that people were exercising their voiced in a non-violent way, security forces met them that way. It was no holds barred; whatever method of force they wanted to use was permissible.

On the date of April 6th, 2019, the largest peaceful protest sit in took place. It was the largest sit in within Sudanese history, and it took place right in front of the headquarters of the armed forces. Once again, more people are injured and killed trying to make a change. They wanted him out of office. Five days later, multiple government officials, as well as Omar al-Bashir, are in criminal custody. The Sudanese Transitional Military Council, or TMC, has been created by General Awad Ibn Ouf. He was the former minister of defense. Until the elections are held, the TMC announced that the military would rule over Sudan. The next day Ibn Ouf is replaced with Abdelfattah Burhan. The next few days, the TMC decide to still pillage through Sudan as a stalling tactic. Since then, women and children have been raped and killed. People were separated from their families. On June 9th, a nationwide call of disobedience has been called by SPA (Sudanese Professional Association).

With countless other individuals, I have changed my social media avatars to a standard shade of blue to show my solidarity with Sudan. But is that all we can do? I understand that money may be a bit more scarce in some people’s households, so any form of awareness is appreciated. I wish that blue avatars would wipe away the atrocities that are taking place in Sudan. There are always ways to donate, but it can be trick to find credible and ethical places to give as much help as possibly needed. There truly are people out there who don’t care about others, and they’ll do anything, even scam people who want to make a difference. There was an Instagram that was just exposed for capitalizing off of the lives that have been lost in Sudan. It’s despicable.

Places such as Unicef, University of Khartoum, Mercy Corps, and other organizations are accepting donations and trying to help Sudan in their times of trouble. If you know of any more, please spread them to others and donate what you can to them. Bustle.com gives a whole list, but if any of those are corrupt, please let me know.

The smallest amount can make the difference, but just getting the message out and explaining what’s going on over there can also be a way to make a change. Don’t reblog and retweet just to jump on a bandwagon. I mean yes, spread the word, but actually empathize with the people that are going through this situation. I know that if you were going through this, you would take any methods of help that you could.

Bustle Article: https://www.bustle.com/p/7-organizations-supporting-people-in-sudan-that-you-can-donate-to-right-now-18013743

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Journaling, Uncategorized

Three Podcasts for the Black Girl’s Soul

The internet can be a marvelous and intriguing place. The endless opportunities to be connected to one another bring about the sharing of different experiences, stories, and information; enlightening ourselves about the world around us and the people inhabiting it. There are so many modes of sharing on the world-wide web; video, print, and audio. It gives people who crave to express creativity an outlet.
Through different avenues of media, I was able to educate myself on the perils that come with mental health neglect, as well as how many people in the African diaspora fall victim to not getting the help that they deserve. I’ve read psychology journals about black mental health and read novels about one’s journey to find themselves and better their thinking. I’ve scoured the internet and watched countless YouTube videos on young women and men sharing their experiences with mental health and professionals trying to give their expertise on how to heal deep wounds. However, I never really ventured into media that was solely audio.
I hadn’t started getting into podcasts until earlier this year. A friend of mine and I were having one of our weekly conversations about working through certain issues. Although she is around the same age as me, I see her as a mentor of some sort. Our emotions sync up like a menstrual cycle (sorry for the comparison). We will feel the exact same thing around the exact same time. Past trauma? If I’m thinking it, she’s thinking it as well. Ex-boyfriend trouble? There she is feeling the same pain. As we sat and sipped hot chocolate, she asked me how I was doing. With some people if I’m asked the same question, I’ll just lie and say, “oh yeah, I’m good.” With this girl, I am able to tell her how I’m really feeling, and nine times out of ten, she’s felt the same way at some point. I was pouring out my heart to her, talking about all the feelings that were trapped in my head waiting to exhale. She told me that I needed some peace of mind; that sometimes it was okay to sit down, breathe, and listen. She then mentioned these podcasts that she had started listening to earlier in the week that had really given her food for thought.
Therapy for Black Girls
This podcast is hosted by Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D. She’s a licensed psychologist and breakup coach. The fact that she is a black woman in the psychological field promotes representation in this community. There are black psychologists, and there are black women in the field. The first podcast I listened to of hers was on mindfulness. All of her topics are about a wide array of topics such as “slaying” your anxiety, setting boundaries, and healing intergenerational trauma. With each episode, I took out a pen and paper wrote down what really stood out to me. In the mindfulness episode, she was talking with Shawna Murray-Browne, a LCSWC, about her journey to mindfulness and how she teaches others about it as well. As a healing justice consultant and mind-body medicine practitioner, she is the best person to ask when trying to get some peace of mind. One thing that she said really resonated with me and my situation, and I’m pretty sure it would spark a nerve in anyone who listened. It was a powerful statement, yet so simple: focus on what you can change. Whew! That hit me like a ton of bricks. That made me re-evaluate the importance of my thoughts. She was saying how stress destroys the body and destroys are health, and I am pretty sure the thoughts that I was allowing to infiltrate my brain were slowly killing me. I need to listen to that one again, because the mind is a stubborn instrument. Another one that I enjoyed was her one on setting boundaries. Implementing the popular HBO show Insecure into her lesson caught my attention, and helped me envision a better mental picture because I love the show Insecure, and sometimes it’s hard to picture me in certain scenarios. Setting boundaries is something everyone could probably improve, including myself. Put yourself first is basically the point that she was making, as well as not going back on your word. Listening to this podcast has really put some of my problems into perspective. I have more power than I think. Healing starts with yourself. It starts with how you think. The mind is so powerful…I tend to forget that.
2. Inner Hoe Uprising
I love this podcast so much! It is so real, raw and unfiltered. Four black women talk about themselves, the news that they have seen, and their love lives. Sometimes it’s just a discussion amongst themselves, and other times they interview people who are experts in whatever topic that they’re talking about. This podcast is one of the most open podcasts I’ve heard. They are not shy when it comes to expressing sexuality. They do not shame anyone for the sexual practices that they enjoy (unless they are unethical). It gives four different perspectives about love and lust. They educate others on sex and sex workers, as well as reasons why we enjoy certain things that we do. This is the only podcast that I found on my own, and I am so glad I did. They say what people think, but are too bashful to speak out loud. As black women, I feel there are certain things that the community is taboo to talk about, and sex is definitely one of them. When women talk about sex in general, it is taken as a negative. The stereotype when it comes to sex and black people is that we are over-sexual, so talking about sex in the black community may seem taboo. Talking about sex, sexuality, and sexual behavior is normal and very healthy.
3. Shades of the Soul Meditation Series
After a poem, a quote, and daily mediation, I feel at peace and at ease. Her voice is therapy within itself. In Give thanks for the blessings, she almost made me cry with the words that she cast into the atmosphere. This podcast is perfect to do early in the morning as the sun just comes up (or whenever you decide to get out of bed). Faith Hunter’s demeanor is so calm and positive. In the most recent episode that I listened to, it detailed what I really needed to tackle in my daily life: my trauma is not my life. The unfortunate circumstances that I have gone through are not my sole defining factor. There is so much more to me. In this case, I was able to let my thoughts run wild and free. At first, some of them were scary and negative, but the more I listened to the podcast and meditated on her words, those thoughts slowly melted away. They were replaced with positive affirmations.
After listening to these podcasts for a few weeks, I came back together with my friend and discussed what I learned from them. Comparing notes and pinpointing lessons that we learned throughout the shows let me know that there is strength in numbers. Knowing that there are other people out there who have gone through what I’ve gone through, made it out alive, and are helping others get over their pain make me hopeful for the future. One day, I hope to be able to do the same

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Journaling, Uncategorized

Junior Year….

Warning: Slightly triggering, and incredibly long

In the middle of the road a few houses, my Dad hits the breaks with a vengeance, jolting him and everyone else in the car with him forward.

“Now you have to not only be truthful with me, but with yourself.” He had noticed me in his rear view mirror. I was holding my jaw, staring into the pattern of the passenger’s seat silently crying; but these tears were powerful. They came out of nowhere, like when you witness the first kiss at a wedding. They are unexpected, but significant. These tears had meaning. These tears represented fear. They represented embarrassment. They represented past mistakes I wish I hadn’t made. They represented many a struggle. But, I assured him that it was because of my butchered hair cut that I had no idea what to do with. It looked absolutely atrocious. I smoothed out the bandana on my head that would be my constant companion for the months to come and sat back calmly as the car was put back in drive and we headed on our way.

A few days prior I had a great decision to make: venture back to school and face my fears or stay at home and ponder what to do during the Fall semester. I am not going to lie to anyone: college is not easy. At all! Nowhere close to being that way. There’s a lot of stress, and pain, and confusion, and all those other things. Don’t get me started on the weight gain. Dominos was my best friend my second semester my freshman year, and so on. I was “this” close to owning a six pack I kid you not, but I became too reliable on my friend, and I sport a nice pouch instead. Anyways, (I go on tangents regularly) college is interesting to say the least. The things that I expected to happen in college did happen, you know? Making friends? Check. Losing some of them…..check. Parties? Probably more than I should have gone to. Heartbreaks? I don’t want to talk about it. Overall however, besides those setbacks, everything would be pretty okay. I would overcome these challenges and laugh at them as I stare each one in the face. Well, it was like that…up until my second semester my freshman year.

I had recently completed my first semester. My grades were fairly good. I had met new people and I was enjoying myself immensely. From the beginning of the second semester on, my whole life just changed. It wasn’t for the better; it was far from it. Now, I won’t say for the worst either. It just changed. Bare with me. I know things are getting a little lengthy.

It started with a party. I went to one like most college students do. I knew the workload was going to kick my ass later on in the year, one party wouldn’t hurt. I don’t want to get into detail, but I was the victim in a non consensual sexual act. I feel more comfortable saying it that way; sounds less menacing. I don’t like saying victim either, I don’t want to sound like I’m asking for sympathy. I still have trouble with the whole ordeal; processing it and understanding everything. I have forgiven the other person, for I still believe he knew he made a mistake and was remorseful. I’m not saying do this in every case, but it gives me serenity. After this point, I started my downward spiral. I really didn’t know it at the time. I remember coming home and laughing about the situation the night it happened, brushing off the severity. To be quite frank, I still don’t really take it seriously. I hear other people and their stories and how gruesome it may be, and I instantly think of how whiny I sound. But, no one should compare a circumstance; if it hurt you it hurt you. Point. Blank. Period.

I became a mess. I grew this sense of not caring about anything. I cared about nothing. I didn’t care about school. My grades were awful. I didn’t care about people’s perceptions of me. I didn’t care about myself. I just didn’t care. I hated everything about myself. As a child I was this way. I was very self conscious about many things. That was very debilitating, considering that I thought I had cured that part of me. It’s like building a house of cards, only to have a strong gust of wind knock them over as soon as you’re finished. I nitpicked over my body, my skin started to break out more, and my weight started to drop. I would go days without eating, always no more than three. Yes, I had a lot downfalls, but one of them was my morals. When I said I didn’t care, I literally mean I didn’t care. I’m being relatively honest. It’s embarrassing, but I did it so….can’t turn back now! I used to be a person who use to value my virginity. Before I go any further, I just want to state that I think women should do whatever the hell they want to do. Lose your virginity (I like the term sexual debut), keep it, doesn’t matter. Do what you want and always stay safe. I never really had an interest in having sex. I wanted to wait until marriage until I first had sex, or at least with someone that I had been with for a while. I envisioned my first time being romantic; champagne, satin sheets, and rose petals, that type of stuff. Well it was none of that. It was in a dark dorm room. The guy smelled like weed. There was no champagne. I think he had Gatorade though. I slept with more people than I ever thought I would sleep with in my lifetime. It’s not an astronomical number, but it still shocks me. I feel like I was trying to fill some void. I wanted to feel wanted, you know? I felt lost. I felt like being some guys “hit it and quit it” was the only thing I was worth at that time. It was a very dark time. A second “incident” would take place, but it would not involve intercourse, just me fighting the guy off for about seven minutes as he is prying my legs open, trying to get me to have sex with him. Like the first incident, I didn’t take it that seriously, but now I realize it was wrong of him. A third one came about a month or so later. I froze up that was the main thing. He genuinely did not know how uncomfortable I was, so I don’t put any blame on him for that. It was just an unfortunate event. I’ve made many mistakes during this time, and as well as getting hurt, I hurt people too. I would rather get hurt than hurt other people. I just feel guilty. I don’t feel like me anymore.

Fast forward a few months, I’m laying in a hospital with an IV in my arm. I had just attempted suicide, and failed as you can see. I’m not typing this from the grave. I had let a friend go because I thought I was hurting him. He became entangled in my drama, and I don’t want anyone’s pain to be caused by me. Should I have given more of a warning? Probably, but it was the right thing to do. That sent me over the edge. It was like every little thing I had done was wrong. I couldn’t take it. That was a few months ago. All that happened within a year.

I was struggling. Thinking about all of that and coming back to the place where all of that happened frightened me. It brought back all of those memories. It makes me fear what could happen. However, I can’t let that paralyze me. I can’t let fear cripple me. I refuse to let all of those setbacks effect my life and what I want to do with it. Of course I’m not going to just try and begin my healing cold turkey. No I go to therapy. I take time to myself. I don’t rush things. I know that things won’t change over night. I know that it will take a while to fully recover from thing that happened back then, and the things that I did because of them. I have to continue. I will learn many things a long the way. I will have hardships, I will be in pain. Somedays I’ll want to go back to my old ways. But I am going to keep moving forward. I could have told my Dad to turn the car around. We would have unpacked the car, unpacked my belongings, and sat in my bed imagining how this school year would have turned out. By the grace of God go I (I think that’s the scripture). I don’t know what will happen. I hope to be able to finish the rest of the semester, but I also know not to push myself too hard. I’m nervous to see how this year will go, but I have faith. That’s all I have for myself right now. I guess there really wasn’t much of a reason for this. Maybe it was a healing for me. I plan to detail more about what I learn throughout this year. I hope to continue on my journey through self love and acceptance.

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