Facts and Opinions

Am I Next?: How many more will go through what Uyinene went through?

TRIGGER WARNING:

I’ve been logged out of social media for a little bit so I was a little out of the loop on some things that have happened recently. Going through the normal bar bathroom selfies, inspirational quotes, and random rants, one story made me furious. It made me grow angry with each word that I read. I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing stories like this. I’m tired of slowly being desensitized by these stories because they happen so often. I’m tired of being fearful for the people that I know. I’m tired of begging my friends to put their locations on so I can check and make sure they’re where they are supposed to be going. I’m tired of carrying around mace because I don’t know if some lunatic is going to randomly feel enticed to tackle me to the ground and assault me. I had thought of carrying around a taser, but they aren’t legal in Illinois. I do plan to carry a pocket knife with me at some point. I shouldn’t have to do that! No one should have to do that! I should be able to get to my destination safely with no interference. Anyways, I could get stuck on this topic for days, but I’m going to get on to the point of this article.

Uyinene Mrwetyana. Uyinene; a South African name meaning gift of God. Reading about her I got a chance to get a glimpse of her personality. She seemed intelligent, warm, and widely loved. Her skin was so radiant and that smile…her smile was captivating. She was just nineteen years old, making strides and efforts towards living her dream. She attended the University of Cape Town. She was a film student. Who knows, we could’ve seen one of her films on the big screen one day. Well, that won’t happen. We may never get to see her creativity in motion. We may never get to see her artistry. Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and killed by being hit in the head with a scale by 42 year old Luyanda Botha (allegedly) inside a post office. She went there to get a package, and the man told her to come back later. She was said to be missing August 30th. That’s when he brutally attacked her. I was scrolling through her Instagram and nearly cried. She was beautiful…my God she was so beautiful. The man’s trial is set for November 5th according to The South African. He seemed to have no remorse in regards to what he did. I really hope he rots in prison.

The hashtag #AmINextProtest has been trending. People carry signs through the streets of South Africa pleading with people to stop killing their peers and loved ones. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the nation Thursday, admitting that there is an uproar of sexual violence against women. He proposed numerous ideas to try and combat this issue. Will these proposals be enough though? Words are just words…they are nothing without action.

Women in South Africa are at risk for being attacked. According to Al Jazeera, a woman is murdered every three hours. Rape is just as rampant. In a 1994 journal by S. Armstrong, it goes into how rape is the assertion of male power. Under apartheid, rape of white women was the only rape that mattered; they found black women rape to just be apart of the struggle. In the journal, it also states that one out of four women have been sexually assaulted before the age of fourteen. These numbers are on the rise…more and more women are going through this treachery.

Will it be me? Will I be the next one to die? Will a situation like this be my fateful demise? Will it be my best friend’s? My Mother’s? My aunt’s? My future daughter’s? I couldn’t fathom sitting at home waiting for my baby girl to come home…only to have the police approach me, telling me that she’s been bludgeoned and raped to death. So many people are apart of the “sexual assault club” and frankly, I don’t want any new members. I think back to my experience, and I thank the Lord that I am still alive, because I didn’t have to be. I’m starting to lose faith in humanity. I’m thinking that there will never be change. And if there is, things will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Uyinene could’ve been me. It could’ve been anyone. So…who’s next?

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Self Care Saturday

The Easiest Earring DIY and Cleaning Up

It’s another Self Care Saturday! I haven’t really been taking the time that I need for myself. I’m currently in summer school, and I am studying my butt off so that I can come back to college on the right track. However, I thought that taking a little time for a simple craft would be much needed since I haven’t done it in a while. It was something relatively quick that I could do to take my mind off of class.

I love earrings. I feel practically naked without my earrings. That’s something that my Mother has always instilled in me; it doesn’t matter how bad you feel about yourself, always put some earring in your ears. My Mother has a wide array of jewelry in her jewelry boxes, and I hope to one day inherit it. However, as for now, I buy and create my own collection. Recently I had just purchased these dangling earrings (my favorite ones) that resemble faces. I got them off of Etsy, and I have been obsessed with them ever since I got them. I have always wanted to have an earring collection, and I have decided to create one now. At the moment, I think the eccentric looking earrings are just absolutely adorable. Another pair of earrings that I have purchased resemble little bags of fish; like the ones that you would buy at a county fair. That gave me the idea to create some earrings of my own.

This is the simplest more easy way to make earrings. You literally need two things; earring backs, earring hooks, and two sets of the same key chain. There you go…that’s it. That is literally all I used. Michael’s, the craft store, is a safe haven for me. When I walked in, everything was right there waiting for me to throw into my cart. I got a pack of lever clasps and a pack of kidney ear wire clasps. The key chains were inexpensive and no more than five dollars each. I bought two of three: golden pineapples, music notes, and gumball machines. All I had to do when I got home was take the earring clasps and loop them through the key chain, and voila…I had earrings.

After that, I took the time out of my day to de-tangle some of my jewelry. After packing up my things from college and going home, the earrings and necklaces seemed to have wrapped around each other. It took me a while to pick them out, but it was also therapeutic…almost like a puzzle. After that, I placed them in my earring holder. Each earring that I have tells a different story. Like the yarn tassel ones that I have, my friend has a little business and she made me those. I was no longer living in my old residence hall, I was in an apartment. I hadn’t seen her in awhile, and I was able to catch up and just laugh with her. Or the white hoops. My Mother gave me those. She’s had them since the eighties. I decided to wear them to a party, and one fell out of my ear. I ended up finding on a concrete step outside of my friend’s house, where the party was located. Or the dangling earrings with the doves hanging from this turquoise globe. I complimented a woman at my church on them, and immediately, she took them out of her ears and gave them to me. I of course sanitized them, and I put them on the next day. It was soothing to go down memory lane, as well as clean out something that was cluttering up my space.

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Journaling

June Manifestations + Change

Now that’s she’s back from the atmosphere with drops of Jupiter in her hair. She acts like summer and walks like rain, reminds me that there’s time to change. Since the return of  her stay on the moon, she listens like spring and she talks like June.

Drops of Jupiter by Train is probably one of my favorite songs. As a child when the song would come on in the car on my way to school, I would instantly become a bawling mess. I still to this day don’t know why, but the song has this connection with me. The song captivated me with the first few lyrics, pictured above. She listens like spring and she talks like June. I distinctly remember asking my Mother what that meant, and if I did that because I was born in June, which is in the spring. She had no clue, but I have given myself my own personal meaning of what that means.

Spring is rebirth; it is the start of new things. June is the last month of the season, the 21st being the first day of summer. When I think of speaking like June I think of speaking positively or speaking with purpose. No matter how hard times may get, there is always a sense of hope when you speak. The weather during the spring acts as nourishment towards crops (rain), but then it can also be a bit hectic and (thunderstorms). Some words can destroy infrastructures, removing the old so that the new may be built. Listening like spring is being attentive and open-minded; being adaptable and open to the future. Honestly, I’m probably just reading too much into it, something that I do constantly. It was probably something that sounded good at the time, so they slapped it to some music.

Spring is my favorite season, mainly because it is the season that I was born in, as well as what spring symbolizes. June is all for revitalization, and going into the fourth day of the month I can feel differences ever so slightly. It’s about making a change in one way or another. I just got some really great news a few days ago, so I am praying that this is the change that is taking place. What kind of change are you looking forward? What type of change is going to take place in your life? This is the time to start that project that you’ve always wanted to but have been putting off. Your ideas that you have been cultivating, put it into action! I know that I’ve been saying that I wanted to start sewing and pick up my viola again to practice and I certainly think that this is the time to do so. I have just enrolled in a summer psychology course, and I am hoping that this is going in alignment with the rest of the things that I want to accomplish. I already am eating healthier and engaging in the vegan lifestyle, and now I am trying to make a change in my education. The person that you want to be, it’s time to start doing things that that person would do.

Now is the time to clear out any things that you don’t need; mentally and physically. Sometimes, God or a higher power will remove these things for you. The people that are no longer a benefit or a positive place in your life…they need to go. The habits that hinder your growth…gotta go. It’s time to acknowledge the things that you would like to change for the better. You have the plan, so put it into action. If you don’t have the plan, that is the first step. Take it one step at a time. Have a plan, but don’t get discouraged if things don’t go the exact way you want them to. For example, curing world hunger…that might not be the first thing that you should start off with. Maybe apart of your change could be volunteering more and being apart of a difference in the community. It’s always good to dream big, but actions definitely need to be apart of the journey there. You’ll never get there if you stay stuck in old, toxic ways that serve no purpose. The time for change is now. The best version of yourself is emerging.

I will let go of any negativity that I am still holding on to

I will be successful and happy in my life

I will change myself for the better

I am closer and closer to being my best self

I am growing

I will be the best version of myself very soon

I will be the best version of myself very soon

I will be the best version of myself very soon

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Facts and Opinions

What My Anxiety Looks Like

*this post keeps deleting itself…and I have no idea why….but here it is!*

It was a whirlwind; a tornado of conflict. I was fine one minute…not the next. I was sitting in the front of my classroom trying to focus on a Sigmund Freud documentary in my Theories of Personality class. My heart was racing, my mind was wandering, and I was sweating from my palms. The room was shrinking as my breaths became more labored. I felt as if I sat in that chair any longer, I would have fell through the tile. I grabbed my bag, a cute tote bag that I collected during my trip to New York (a story that I will tell soon), dropped my phone on the floor, and fled what felt like a near death situation. I remember sobbing and wailing in the Psychology office, sniffling on the shirt of the woman who had been behind the desk. I felt pitiful. This lady probably thought that I was insane, but she was in the Psychology office, so I’m assuming that she was a little more equipped than someone from say the Biology department. I was shaking like I was struck with hypothermia. This was a side swipe; it hit me out of nowhere. What happened? What was that? That, my friends, was an anxiety attack, and the largest one that I had by far. I’ve heard people detail their episodes and they sounded like nightmares; something straight out of a horror film. Over the course of about a year and a half, my anxiety had skyrocketed. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m forcing myself to heal in a toxic environment, or because I’m piling too much on my plate…or a mixture of both.

Anxiety is commonly caused by external and environmental factors. In my case, an act of trauma on a college campus. An anxiety attack can spur anywhere at anytime. It’s also very common too. According to DoSomething.org, around ten percent of teenagers and forty percent of adults suffer from anxiety. I’m not good at math, so bare with me, but that’s more than three million cases. Anxiety is very much so treatable, but around two-thirds of the population There are so many different types of anxiety: GAD (generalized personality disorder, social anxiety, panic disorders, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), agoraphobia, specific phobias, and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Because I am not a licensed professional, here are some definitions of each one according to Beyond Blue (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/types-of-anxiety):

Generalized Personality Disorder:

A person feels anxious on most days, worrying about lots of different things, for a period of six months or more.

Social Anxiety:

A person has an intense fear of being criticised, embarrassed or humiliated, even in everyday situations, such as speaking publicly, eating in public, being assertive at work or making small talk.

Panic Disorders:

A person has panic attacks, which are intense, overwhelming and often uncontrollable feelings of anxiety combined with a range of physical symptoms. Someone having a panic attack may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and excessive perspiration. Sometimes, people experiencing a panic attack think they are having a heart attack or are about to die. If a person has recurrent panic attacks or persistently fears having one for more than a month, they’re said to have panic disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD;

This can happen after a person experiences a traumatic event (e.g. war, assault, accident, disaster). Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, upsetting dreams or flashbacks of the event, and avoidance of anything related to the event. PTSD is diagnosed when a person has symptoms for at least a month.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD:

A person has ongoing unwanted/intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may acknowledge these thoughts as silly, they often try to relieve their anxiety by carrying out certain behaviors or rituals. For example, a fear of germs and contamination can lead to constant washing of hands and clothes.

I will try my best to define agoraphobia and specific disorders. I use to think that agoraphobia was just being afraid of going outside, but it is a bit more intricate. Wide open spaces can trigger some type of anxiety. I would assume because you’re worried something may happen to you and you have no one to alert…but I am not a professional I wouldn’t know. Some people are startled by large crowds, or being in an enclosed space. Panic attacks and agoraphobia may go hand and hand, especially if a panic attack ensues in a public space. Specific phobias are phobias on one particular thing. For instance, my Mother is deathly afraid of snakes. Small snakes, big snakes, poisonous snakes, non-poisonous snakes…it doesn’t matter. I think it started when she was a child and saw a garden snake in her backyard. When my Grandmother was pregnant with her, a snake slithered across her foot, so I thought that was rather interesting that she developed this phobia. My friend will have a conniption fit if she sees any type of insect, even a ladybug. I remember I use to terrorize her when we were younger with cicadas that I found around my house when she came over. I didn’t think about the severity of it all, I was seven. Thankfully, cicadas don’t come back until I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’m pretty sure I have grown from that sense of immaturity. Sorry girl, I love you though. These phobias can be compartmentalized into different categories, some common ones are: situations, animals (like my Mother and my friend), natural disasters, injury, and miscellaneous like clowns or vomiting.

I think as a person, it is normal to worry, but over time, I can clearly see that it is becoming quite intrusive in my life. During the end of my freshman year and my sophomore year, my anxiety was through the roof. One thing that I was really nervous about was walking to the dining hall to get food. My dorm was literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from the dining hall, and I would not go because I was afraid of people seeing me outside. I lost a lot of weight around that time. Now, it has subsided a little bit, but there still is a surge of uncertainty when I leave my house. I can’t really pinpoint what I’m worried about, but I get those butterflies in my stomach that fly up through my throat.

To help calm these nerves down, I have tried carrying notebooks around with me (you can learn more about that with my Guide to Journaling post). I also take deep breaths, or I try to focus my thoughts on a particular scene that I made up in my head. I always like the one where I’m wandering around Paris around the Louvre. The sky is infused with purple, pink, and a hint of blue. I’m in nice clothing and I’m exploring the city, eating macaroons and living freely. See? That’s a nice image to picture in your head right? Sometimes that’s not all you can do though. Trust me, if we could dream about out our fantasies as a way to aid anxiety, people wouldn’t need to be prescribed medication. However, medication is a way to get a bit of solace. There are also natural remedies. I have heard that incense and scents like lavender help calm the body down. Some people carry around crystals (and I actually have a few which I may do a post on one day). The same friend that I terrorized with cicadas actually offered me some CBD oil that her mom had bought her. I plan on trying it out quite soon, so maybe I’ll do a review on it later.

Whatever way works. there is a way to ease anxiety. One way may not work for everyone. Anxiety can get better over time, and it can also get worse. It depends on the person. There is a way to heal of course, but it may take some time to find the right method. There is a way to manage it.

 

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Facts and Opinions

Back to the Basics

Hello to that one person who may be reading my blog. I really haven’t been on it too much. I guess there really is no explanation as to why. School could be one. School has been kicking my butt ever since kindergarten, but this last semester of my junior year of college is making me wonder why I didn’t drop out yet. It could be my wavering time management. I think honestly it has to do with laziness. But the summer is nigh, and I feel like I will have more energy, as well as more creativity throughout the warmer months. I plan to write more poetry, speak about more issues that are not only affecting me but others, and most importantly have fun with blogging. So expect to see more posts from me in the months to come!

Peace and blessings 🕊❤️

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Journaling

Month Number One: A slight rant and 400 years

January is coming close to an end. The first day ushered in this new sense of hope and discovery for all of us. 2018 was a year of realization. It was like a gnat; buzzing around our ears and crowding our personal space. The lessons of 2018 are going to be the foundation of my 2019, and so far I am still going strong. Could it be because of the new year and its new wave of energy, or has nothing really changed? Maybe this new feeling of purpose and confidence is some sort of placebo. Am I still the same person now that I was in 2018? Some of the voices in my head (true Gemini lol) tell me these things off and on, and I try not to succumb. If I really think about it, all of my manifestations for the first month of the year are slowly but surely coming into fruition, and I think that has a lot to do with myself, as well as the beginning of a new year.
I wanted to briefly talk about an article on The Root that I happened to come across while scrolling through the internet one day. The first person of African descent set foot on America’s soil in the year 1619. Ever since then, black people have had a treacherous experience here. We are seen as foreign objects that do not belong; the “other.” Our skin is discriminated against, as well as our hair, body types, and culture…but it’s always copied. Like I stated in a Facebook post a few days ago, we are the culture, we just never get the credit. I just thought that is was kind of interesting. This 400 years of slavery (even though slavery was abolished in 1865) may have brought some sort of curse. We might not be picking cotton in fields and being beaten with whips, but we are still slaves to systematic oppression as well as archaic ideologies of how black people should be. Jim Crow kind of still exists you know? It just manifests itself in various ways throughout the years. The 400 years trope comes from the bible. In Genesis 15:13, it says, “Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there (New International Version).” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? If you add 400 to 1619, what do you get? I know I’m not an aficionado in mathematics, but if my calculator is correct, you get 2019!
2019 is the 400th year. Has the curse been lifted? I can say as a minority in America that my experiences here have not been peachy keen. I mean, a bit of my self loathing as a child came from the fact that I did not resemble my Caucasian counterparts. Going to college in a town that is more than 90% white lets me know some days that I am not accepted in some communities. This, however, has only made me stronger as an individual and prouder of my blackness. People are so pressed that I exist, like…keep hating boo. 2018 had made me come face to face with myself. People will not always like me just by looking at me, and I can’t let that affect me. We as people can work together as a collective to strengthen our community, but we must first acknowledge the beauty and power in ourselves individually…and there’s an abundance of it. Do you know how important you are? How much you’ve endured? How much your ancestors have gone through? Your looks are envied by others. Your history is rich and full. Black people…that is all in you! It’s in me! And 2018 has made me aware that I am a blessing and I should think of myself as such. That might sound a little vain, but you are a blessing. You could be six feet deep in the ground. Every day that you live is a blessing.
I have a tendency to get rather preachy with these posts when I’m passionate. My main focus for this post is to say that we must break the curse that we held in ourselves, and that’s with changing our habits and thoughts. I need to plan out my thoughts; my mind goes a mile a minute. This month I have made an effort to better myself, and I will continue to do the same in February. I prayed and manifested for more experience in the career that I want to be in, and I was promoted to a higher position. I’ve had people from my past come and contact me, trying to slither their way back into my life…and I ignored their advances. My worth is much more important than a brief stint of attention. I’ve accepted the fact that I cannot change what has happened in the past, and can only move forward. I’ve accepted my face and the way it kind of hangs to the right. I’ve accepted my little round nose and full cheeks, as well my gap teeth (which I’m proud of). I’ve practiced self-care by keeping to myself when I need to. It’s okay to say no to hanging out. It’s good to spend time with myself and get to know myself even more. She loves overly feminine stuff. She likes perfume and getting her nails done and fashion. She loves to read and write and engage in her own little world. She’s introverted…but nowhere near antisocial. She is delicate, but durable.
I have taken steps toward keeping my peace. I’ve moved mountains this past month. I’ve spoken my truth and expressed my feelings thoroughly. I’ve come to terms with past mistakes that I have made, as well as acknowledge what I did to get into that situation in the first place. The groundwork has been laid, and I need to follow what I’ve laid. I’ve learned not to be as trusting as I have been in the past, and not tolerate the things that I have previously. I just feel chains falling and my head lifting. I just have a good feeling about 2019, even though we have had some major mishaps happen already (thank you Trump). I can only control myself, and I am trying my very best to not fall back and remain the way I used to be. I am slowly evolving, and I can see the progress.
In a few hours it will be February, which is the perfect month to talk about self-love. I want to tie self love in the black community, because I know that us as people are conditioned to think that our beauty is lesser than. I am beautiful. I am beautiful because I am black. I am beautiful because of my history, good and bad. I am beautiful because I am continuously growing and changing. I’m beautiful because I am finally realizing my worth. I am just beautiful….PERIOD!

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