I am in the middle of my ninth week of graduate school. You know, it was much easier telling people I was a graduate student than actually being one. Wait…so I actually have to do assignments? This isn’t just an aesthetic? This isn’t just something I can casually bring up at dinner parties to spark a conversation? Wow, who knew? Of course, I’m kidding, but as I would proudly explain to people that I would be attending the Counseling program at Northwestern University, I truly didn’t know what this chapter in my life would consist of. Juggling graduate school work and my research assistantship proved to be quite a bit. I tried to work six hours a day, and study equally as much. I started to run myself ragged; getting two to four hours a night and trying to function. My assistantship has recently ended, and I am currently trying to find a new one. I’ve applied to a couple research positions…haven’t heard anything from them. You need money, especially if you’re me; a black woman in her 20s who would like to move out of her parents house at least by the time she is 25. I have always had this obsession with living in a New York City high rise with a perfect view of the city skyline. My apartment would be spacious with artwork on the walls and plants to accompany the corners of my room. I am nowhere close to being at that point, and a part of me feels like a failure because I haven’t gotten there. You can find me when I’m taking my breaks from studying scrolling through Pinterest envisioning myself in the place of those in the pictures I’ve pinned. I don’t know who they are, or how they got to where they are now, but I have a tendency to romanticize their experiences. My semi-solution besides work smarter not harder is to romanticize my life from day to day…which can be hard when your life is not the most glamorous. I sometimes feel like I am the character of some coming-of-age drama. After struggling and enduring hardships during my undergraduate collegiate years, I, the awkward, quirky, slightly mentally ill black girl decides to actually apply herself in academia, and somehow she was accepted to grad school at a pretty good institution. Now, I am maneuvering the next chapter of my life, continuing to grow as a young woman while simultaneously feeling like I am still 16 and asking my parents if I can buy Starbucks. This is the fun part they say, working toward the goal, but quite frankly, it has been annoying me for the most part. I know that one day I will look back at this journey and reminisce about the level of uncertainty I had during this time. In a way, it is kind of exciting not knowing what comes next, but also anxiety inducing at the same time. Guess we’ll just have to see…
When I walk alone to the train at night, my mind begins to race. With each step that I take; one foot in front of the other, I think about the moments before my last breath. Will it be tonight? The days on the calendar bring about new opportunities and new experiences…but I fear what these new experiences entail. Some may call me dramatic, but for me this is a normal thought that my brain goes to…and it really shouldn’t be. As the sunlight hibernates and darkness saturates the almost evening sky, I become more cautious than I was before. Every figure begins to distort. The friendliest looking person could be a threat to my safety. When I walk alone to the train at night, I clutch my pepper spray inside my coat pocket. My pace begins to accelerate, and I begin to look behind me every few seconds; left and right. I take one earbud out of my ear so I can hear my surroundings, then I take the other one out because my paranoia gets the best of me. Still, even my senses don’t put me at ease. When I walk alone to the train at night, I think about the last goodbyes that I’ve said to my family. My Dad was working on his construction project in the basement, so he probably wouldn’t have been able to hear me. My Mom was asleep in the kitchen after finishing up dinner. My brother was upstairs, watching YouTube videos and playing video games…that would be the last memory that I would have of them. The last message that I sent to my friends would memorialize me. The videos and pictures saved of me in their phones would be the only way they could see me again, besides the images that they have stored in their memories.
I shouldn’t have to have these thoughts; so morbid and perturbed. The pathway to my destination should be smooth sailing. I shouldn’t have to think about my every move, because one slip up could cost me my life. I shouldn’t have to be on high alert all the time; analyzing every person that crosses my path. Sometimes I wonder if there were any times in my life where I was close…close to being harmed. Has anyone seen me walking down the street and thought that I was a good target? It makes my anxiety rise to an all time peak. What really goes on in the dark?
The Ruth George case really has me thinking. That beautiful young woman had a whole life ahead of her. She had a family that adored her, friends that cherished her, and all of that was taken away just because she didn’t want to converse with a man who was catcalling her. She went to UIC, my parents alma mater; a school that I was thinking of attending. I have walked past the very car park where her murder took place. I just don’t understand how you could kill someone over YOU’RE disrespect. She did not owe you her time, and certainly not her body. How could someone get that angry from rejection? You were so upset that it made you homicidal? How can someone be so evil? All she was doing was walking to her car. How many people have walked to their cars alone at night? That could’ve been anyone, unfortunately it happened to someone, and it happened to her.
The fear is so apparent it’s paralyzing. The prayers that have passed through my lips for my friends, fellow loved ones, and myself I’m afraid will fall flat. The world can be such a beautiful place, but it truly looks like turmoil and tragedy is prevailing. I don’t want it to win. Sex trafficking is real, and it happens all the time, and we are starting to realize how common this crime is. Be smart and be safe; always be aware of the things going on around you. Do what you need to do to protect yourself. Carry pepper spray or maybe even a little pocket knife. Make sure that the blade of the knife is within the law requirements. If tasers are legal in your area, I would keep that on me as well. In Chicago, tasers are illegal unless you have a license in the state. It has gotten to the point where more and more women are getting gun licenses, and I may become one of them. Guns scare me; they always have, but with what is going on, a firearm owner’s identification card doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. You should never stunt the lengths of your protection.
I don’t want to be another story on the news; The Chicago Tribune’s first page headliner. I don’t come home for hours, days, weeks, months…maybe I’m never found. I don’t want my family to go through the agony of putting on search parties, passing out flyers, losing half their minds wondering where I’ve gone, only for me to be somewhere with my throat slit inside of a dumpster in an alley way, or strangled in my car, or tossed to the side of the road like a used tissue; battered and bruised. Will they identify me by the red head wrap I wore, or the shoes on my feet that I bought a week before? How will you tell my story? I don’t want my family to have to plan my funeral because I didn’t acknowledge a guy for making an explicit comment about me and my body. I don’t want to be brutally attacked just because my “hello” becomes a response that corrupts your judgement. My kindness should not make me a target to be violated. My silence should not cause you to become irate.
I am in a healthy space
I am where I am supposed to be
I do not fear the future
I do not live by my past
I will keep going
I know I will be successful
I will achieve pure happiness
I will make my younger self proud
It’s never too late to change
I will change for the better
I am excited for what’s to come
I will heal in every way, shape, or form
Everything I need to heal is within me
I will grow positively
I will grow in self-love
You are not your faults or traumatic experiences
I am strong
I am amazing
I can be anything I want to be
I love myself
I love myself
I love myself
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
Hello everyone! So this is my first post on Self Care Saturday! Woooo! Self Care Saturday is pretty self explanatory…I give you different ways of self care on every Saturday of the month (or at least a Saturday of the month).
Today, I’m taking you into one of my favorite self care past time…journaling! Oh how I love journaling. There is nothing more therapeutic than writing in my opinion. I actually have three of them that I carry everywhere. Each one serves a different purpose.
- My yellow journal is for my day to day entries. I always date the page and write about what happened that day. I like to do this after I take my bath or shower and change into a clean pair of pajamas (or an overlarge t-shirt). I naturally have an overactive imagination, so when I am starting to get bored of my surroundings, I pull out my journal and write how I feel.
- My pink journal is for my dreams, goals, prayers, and manifestations. When I’m feeling low, I like to open up this bad boy and envision myself in a more positive situation. I like to write out little scenarios that I hope will happen. For instance, I wrote one about strolling through the Louvre in France wearing a flowy white dress with my curls in full bloom like flowers in spring. Man I was really in my feelings that day, I tell you. It just let’s your mind run free to a happy place.
- My black journal is for my short stories and poems. They don’t have to be a full fledged sonnet; sometimes they’re just little quips and ideas. When something pops into my head, I quickly jot it down. I can’t draw to save my life, but some of them have drawings and doodles on the pages, as well as little songs that I may create.
Now having three journals might be a little excessive, but for me it helps organize my thoughts. But when it’s your journal, you can do whatever you want with it. It can be as messy and cluttered as you want. It’s for you and your thoughts. I would say, when journaling…
- Sometimes choosing the journal is important. This is something that you’re going to be writing in, have it be enticing. You should want to write in it. I bought my journals at Walmart, but they are so cute. They are Pen + Gear Five Subject Notebooks. I love that they have little tabs to divide different sections of the journal.
- Write every day. Every day. Even if it’s just one sentence. I am sad. I am happy. Thank you God. Shoot, it can be one word if you want to. Just make sure you write something.
- It’s okay to restart. I have journals that haven’t been finished. Sometimes the things in that journal don’t give off the energy that you expect. It’s okay to switch journals and start anew!
- Be in tune with your feelings and emotions. Don’t hold back.
That concludes the first Self Care Saturday post! Hopefully, you find a journal and fill its pages with stories, hopes, and well wishes.
Childish Gambino is a star within his own right. I mean, it seems like there is nothing Donald Glover (that’s his real name….yes, they are the same person) can’t do. Starting off as a writer for the popular television sitcom 30 Rock, Glover has proven his capability as a writer time and time again. Search Glover on YouTube, and I’m sure that you’ll find a couple stand up specials of his. His comedic chops were a dominant reason as to why Glover rose to stardom. Even with his most recent project, the award winning FX show Atlanta, he is no amateur in front of the screen, nor behind it.
Another hat we can give Glover is musical artist. Childish Gambino is his alter ego, coming out when he is ready to indulge in his craft. The first song I heard from him was Heartbeat. I remember bobbing my head to the song in the car as my mom dropped me off at hell…I meant high school. I also remember being shocked at finding out that the guy who created the song was previously playing a former jock turned nerd on the NBC show Community. I was impressed at his versatility, and don’t get me wrong, I still am. Awaken, My Love! was the album that made everyone realize that Gambino was a force to be reckoned with. They are still playing Stay Woke on radio stations. If you didn’t know who Childish Gambino was, I’m pretty sure you have some idea now. The psychedelic, funk, Bootsty Collins-esc vibe was a delight to my senses. When we were hit with This Is America, I was stunned at the amazing visuals that Gambino’s video left us with. It was one of those videos where you had to watch it a few times to make sure that you caught everything, and even then! You still would miss something. The white horse symbolizing the coming of death, the violence towards the black man in the beginning, but the careful handling of the gun representing how we care more about gun rights then the rights of other human beings…and so many more symbols for us to digest. People knew that he was talented, but now, it was no longer an opinion, it could be considered a fact.
Most recently, Gambino released the music video for his song “Feels Like Summer” off of his Summer Pack EP. The song was easy going. The song was mellow. It felt like a song that you would listen to during the summer time. I can easily envision myself on my back porch back at home in Chicago as the sunsets; my friends and I laughing and reminiscing about the past and how much we’ve grown as individuals sipping lemonade and not having a care in the world. I kind of zoned out a little there, but the song is just a chill song for lack of a better word. I notice that with Childish Gambino, his music is good, but the visuals make it that much better. I feel like This Is America would not have gotten the point across without the music video, and I can say the same with Feels Like Summer. Gambino gives us a dual sensation with the senses; auditory and visual. With the Feels Like Summer video, we see some of our favorite music artists and public figures interacting with each other. I didn’t notice what was going on until I saw Chance at Birdman’s cookout. I saw the Migos, Trippie Redd, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, but the moment I mostly want to talk about starts at the second minute and the sixth second. Kanye West is seen crying his eyes out as he’s donning the infamous MAGA hat. Soon after, we see Michelle Obama embracing him in a hug as his tears begin to cease. I’m sure it was only supposed to be seen as a sweet sentiment, but something with that visual did not sit right with me.
Michelle Obama is the epitome of an inspiration. When her husband Barack Obama was President, she did not just sit on the sidelines. She was vocal, she was active, and she was just a straight up badass. I know that it’s just a little music video, but the only animation that you could give her was her consoling a man who called slavery a choice? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but hear me out. Why are black women always the ones who have to “save” black men? When Snoop Dogg said that Kanye West needed to be hugged by a black woman, I thought about it. Black women are the most ostracized demographic in America. Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to desire and respect it seems like. Black women are constantly ridiculed for their hair, the way they look, and so on and so forth. I know I’m kind of going off on a tangent here, but I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from.
Every race of man has degraded black women…including black men. I can count on my fingers and toes the times I’ve heard a black man ridicule black women on something that they possess. However, if a woman of another race does the same thing that a black woman has done (long acrylics, braids, etc…), it is seen as innovative, cool, and them stepping out of their comfort zone. Kanye West…I have no idea what happened to him. He used to be a vigilante for the kids on the South Side of Chicago. He used to talk about the issues that plagued the streets that he used to live on, now he kind of mentions it when he is selling a brand new pair of shoes. Mr. West has shown some disrespect towards black women in the past. In 2016, he came under fire when he requested only multiracial models for his Yeezy Season Four fashion show. It’s all fun and games to drag black women, but when you’re getting dragged a black woman is supposed to come in and save the day? It’s a black woman’s job to set you straight? No no no, that is not our sole purpose in life.
Childish Gambino has been accused a few times of being “woke” when necessary. Now, when it was revealed that Glover was dating a white woman and had two kids with her, people flew off the handle and started labeling him a “traitor” and a “coon.” I wouldn’t go that far. Mr. Glover can date and marry whoever he wants, but as a black woman myself, I can definitely understand the disappointment that some black women felt. Chrissie, a YouTube commentator made a video about Childish Gambino in May, detailing some of the reasons as to why Gambino may not be as “woke” as people think. I’ll be honest, before this, I thought Childish Gambino was one of the most unproblematic people on the planet. That’s probably an exaggeration, but I didn’t question any of his intentions. In her video, she plays a clip of one of his stand up specials. To sum up everything, he has sex with an Armenian woman (not half Armenian, half black, not a black woman from Armenia….a full blooded Armenian woman) and got extremely aroused when she called him the n word during climax (er not a). Hmmm…maybe the joke was a little over my head, because I didn’t laugh; not even chuckle. I don’t know about you, but I personally believe that non black people should not ever use the n word, not even if their life depended on it. On an episode of Atlanta, he has a dark skinned black woman verbally going at it with a white woman on the fact that she’s with a black man. “We’re good enough to fight for black men, but we’re not good enough to marry or date….” she says later on in the video. That struck a chord in me. Black men will fight with black women, but not for.
Stephon Clark was gunned down by police March 18, 2018. Black women were the main people protesting for him and against what happened to him. His death was senseless and uncalled for, and there are no ifs ands or buts about it, but Stephon Clark…would he have done the same thing for a black woman. Tweets were released of him clowning black women, saying that dark skinned black women bring “dark days.” He had a seething hatred for black women. Even when these tweets surfaced, black women still were up to bat for this man. The women on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media that repealed their support, were lambasted and shamed by mostly none other than black men.
Coming back to Childish Gambino and his video, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way when that image was shown. A few women on my Twitter feed felt the same way I did, reiterating the fact that black women are more than just a black man’s superhero. I’m not saying that black women can’t be, but there should be more of an equal response when black women are being attacked. Under the bus is not a good place to be thrown, and black women have been there more times than they should have been. Like I said previously, I’m sure the intentions were innocent, but when we acknowledge how these once acceptable ideologies can be seen as toxic, we have a chance to change the narrative for the future. Black women have their own struggles to deal with. If you have whatever you’re dealing with, and on top of that having to be the “savior” of someone else, that can cause tremendous pressure. Again, black women are HUMAN, and as well as deserving respect, they deserve a break.