Me too.

I want to preface this by saying that some of the content within this post may be triggering.

If at any point during this post you are not able to read more or you can resonate in some way with what I am saying, I am here for you. Last week, I was in Green Dot training, which was lovely because I got to get away from the office and wear whatever I wanted. Yay! for sweats and hoodies. Anywho, I decided to participate in order to become more knowledgeable about Green Dot and power-based personal violence and Green Dot focuses on dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Last week, the facilitators had us share why we were there and in what ways we were connected to the work they are doing. More importantly, how were we connected to the work that we wanted to do and are doing. We remained anonymous through this activity and at different points throughout the training the facilitators read what people wrote out loud. I sat there thinking, “will they read what I wrote? I hope they do not read what I wrote, I hope they do read what I wrote.” I had a mix of thoughts as I was juggling a past situation(s) in my head. When I think about one particular situation it feels as if it was yesterday, but more time has passed than I would like to admit without me truly talking about it and other situations along the same lines.

Was I sexually assaulted? I did not like what was happening, but I was not able to bring myself to say no and I did not say yes either. “It was not the worst situation I have heard of so does that really count?” I am battling with being in this gray area and that is the very reason why I sit here in front of this computer screen telling you today. One too many people have been affected by a harmful choice that was made. Maybe as you are reading, what you wanted to keep locked away is now at the forefront of your mind. Maybe you were in an uncomfortable situation that is within the gray area that you brush any thoughts and emotions around it aside like I have. Whatever the situation I am here to tell you, I believe you. I am here to tell you that I see you and support you. I am also here to tell you there are resources. 1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline), 1-800-656-4673 (National Sexual Assault Hotline), 1-800-273-8255 (Suicide Hotline).

“Why am I here? because I am still here.”

That is the first part of what I wrote down on a green piece of paper that day for the activity.

They Never Asked

Dear [Insert Name Here],
They took a part of you they did not ask for
Who did they think they were?
No, was foreign to them and if you did not have the ability to say no your body language that said “I am uncomfortable” somehow told them yes
They took a part of you they did not ask for but you are not broken
Your body is nothing less than a temple no matter how much they tried to strip you of your armor
It is not your fault
I repeat
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
They took a part of you they did not ask for and it may feel lonely but you are not alone
They took a part of me and I never gave them permission
Did you know you could feel lifeless while being alive?
Did you know you could scream without being heard?
I became an object
Fighting to erase their images it is a connection I could not wash off
As I write this tears start to fall and I stare blankly
A feeling all too familiar, emptiness
They took a part of me they did not ask for but I am still here
They took a part of me they did not ask for and I have yet to face what happened because… well because it is easier to keep walking around putting tape over the missing pieces
They took a part of me they did not ask for and they will never know what it is like to live with this internal battle

They took a part of me they did not ask for

       and

I know

that I am

worthy of

                                                love.

Does Fear Have a Name?

There is fear and I want to know more about it. Why do I have this fear? does this fear have a name? Is it even fear or am I truly in a place that continues to stifle my creativity. I am in the middle of nowhere and reside in a place where I do not feel motivated. How do I stay motivated when I am in a place that does not feel motivating. Is it fear that I am not good enough? I have been telling myself these exact words, “I am capable, I am confident, I am worthy and so much more.” I know that this “more” rummaging inside of me is out there. I am not sure what that looks like, but I am trying to take steps forward. I am not sure if my steps forward are steps forward but I am doing something. Maybe the steps forward are steps I just do not know they are yet. I know I have more control than I think I have. How much control is it? Am I getting in my own way?

#QuestionsThatNeedAnswers …only I can answer them for myself.

“She’s Good, Being Gone”

Heyyyyyy! I hope I was not too missed, but I hope I was missed a little. If I did not say so I would be lying and I would like to think what we have going on is deeper than that. Life is a blur since the last time I posted and not in the sense that I had a lot going on. Summer was boring and tough because I did not get an opportunity to escape from Maryville except for a job interview that I had back in early July. I did not get the job and I am sad I used my vacation hours on them. I have been away because I am working on another project, and then I said to myself, “uh you can do both.” I could potentially be back because my friend told me she misses my blogs as well.

I am now 26 years old and life could be better. I hope the universe understands that I have learned enough lessons and would like to start the next chapter of my life now, haha. 2017 is almost over and at the end of the day, I am happy that Sonic and I are going on 3 years. If you do not know who Sonic is you are missing out. Sonic is a little Toyota, Scion XD.

I do not expect life to be perfect but after all of the BS you kind of hope you could live in lala land with glitters and rainbows for a little while and maybe Charlie the unicorn just to bring you back to earth. I may have cried today and that is okay. I recently wrote something and put it up on Instagram that said: “pain taught her most of what she knows.” When I wrote that it hit me hard in a good way because it is true. I recognize pain as a friend and not something that is bad. Pain is telling you something and you should listen. Adopting this ideology about pain has deepened my reflection. Considering where I have been and the hell I currently am in it makes sense for my life. You do what you want, I am here to provide perspective.

I am wary of people who present themselves as good at every waking moment. I am not saying it is not good to be positive because it is. I strive to be as positive as I can be and recognize that when life is crap I sit in it. If I do not sit in it then it sits there and does not go away. I assume if I sat in literal crap some of it would be stuck to my butt so you catch my drift. Optimistic-realist is what I self-proclaim to be.

A recent mantra and affirmation I recite is “Where I am at now is not the end” because I refuse and believe more good/growth is to come.

P.S. I love Rihanna’s new makeup and was mainly excited about it because it dropped on my birthday =)

Follow me on Insta & Twitter: @TheeKWard

 

That one friend who moved far away

Can we talk about how making friends as an adult is hard? Making friends as an adult-introvert seems to be harder, but hard is hard. I have moved full-time into the professional world and majority of my friends have as well if they were not there already. I chose to go to graduate school to stall a little bit. I was still a professional and it is different when you are a full-time graduate student.

Friends! how many of us have them?
Most of you like me may have had undergrad/grad school give you plenty of opportunities to make friends. Depending on what your profession is and the location you may have the opportunity there as well. Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. On top of making friends, you have to deal with everything that goes into “transitioning” into your new position, home, and community. This transition looks different for everyone and after a few conversations, I recognize there are also similarities especially being a young black woman in the middle of nowhere.

Check on your friend who moved states
Instead of making a comment about how your friend should come back ask how they are doing. Now I know that a move is challenging for both parties in the relationship and the one who moved is experiencing challenges you may not know about or understand. I am particularly talking about those who moved and have no familiar faces (friends, family, romantic partner) around them and or many people around who look like them. I was always okay with moving until now. I did not know how much I needed a familiar face to be around, but they no longer live “down the street.”

Lonely, I’m so lonely, I have nobody to call my own **Akon Voice
Am I dating myself a bit with that one? If so you might want to re-read the Whodini lyrics, but you can slide because that was before my time.

The whole process gets lonely. You start to wish for that ride or die friend that would go and do anything with you or the friend who had no issue with you just pulling up to their house. Now I know we are all getting older and your friend may be in a place where they feel lonely and need that. I also know we are all busy yada yada blah blah blah. I and others need to stop using it as an excuse to not be good friends because the world is getting uglier and I have no shame in admitting I need my friends.

I have a friend here who I go and talk with frequently while at work but we have not put in the effort to hang out outside of work and one of my closest friends is married with 3 kids, my other close friend is a guy and you know how that can be. Because of what they have going on I cannot just say, “Hey you want to go to KC today?” or “you want to come over and watch a movie?” Transitioning into the professional world especially doing so in a new state is lonely. I am an introvert who is starting to get cabin fever in a small town with not much to do. If you know me you know how much I enjoy being by myself.

How is your love life?
My best friend asked me how my love life was going recently and the conversation went something like this…

BF: How is your love life?

Me: **Searching for my love life. lol it’s non-existent. Like literally. I know I say that sometimes and I flirt with ppl here and there but there truly is nobodyyyyy

searching

BF: Are you still on tinder lol

Me: I have it on my phone but I don’t go into it. I have soul swipe as well. I do not like going into tinder because it’s just a bunch of white guys.

BF: Lmao!!! that’s why I delete it!

Me: My hope is that when I move there will be more than just white guys. Most of them look like they are in the KKK. NOT TODAY SATAN. Soul Swipe is for the chocolate lol but there is a decent one here and there. I hate the fake flexing pics and just swipe to the left.

BF: What’s a fake flexing pic?!

Moral of the story is that there is no potential in sight or around me. Not having that I decided to take more time to reflect, heal, and appreciate my growth and I am still doing those things. I know that I have wanted to date and I truly feel like I am ready for the first time in my life. One year in the middle of nowhere can have some benefits.

“I got new rules, I count em” Dua Lipa

The one friend around the corner
Do not forget your friend who is not that far away because they need a friend too. I try to check on my friend Brenna, but I do not do so as often as I could. I am using Brenna as an example because she knows what I am talking about. We have had conversations around the challenge of making adult friends and being strong women who have pushed ourselves to be where we are now. She is in a profession where the only (well not only but mainly) thing in sight is a white man and I am in an office where I am the only young professional.

Check on your people. I know I could do a better job of this. If they moved away, appreciate their determination to experience something new. Aside from my close friends and a few family members I had no attachment to Colorado, no home. I lived in Colorado most of my life and at times I want to go back but every time something says “no, not right now” and maybe that “not now” means never. Moving has been lonely and particularly challenging when you put in more effort to see people than they do to see you. I still appreciate yall when you do check up on me, but lets be real you know what my place looks like because of snapchat. Before you go getting mad now that I have called you out, I know.

Go ahead and send that, “how you doing text?” and for some who may be thinking to send that, “hey big head” text, do not because us women do not have time for your games. #NEXT

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Do you ever think about the worst case scenario? I think of it more often than I should. If it does not end up being the worst case scenario that does provide some relief. It is the worrier inside of me, which is not necessarily a good thing. For a period of time, I did not have health insurance. I would tell you a secret, but I do not want it to come back and haunt me. Having no insurance means I have formed a bad habit and that is not listening to my body when it is trying to tell me what’s up.

I just came from the dentist and I finally explained everything that I was worried about instead of going for my routine cleaning and bouncing. I let them know I have been dealing with some pain in my jaw for awhile. When it first manifested the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t do anything let alone want to and would lay there with a heating pad against my neck. Because I felt the pain so intensely in my neck I assumed it was just my neck and started going to physical therapy. By this time I was on Medicaid because I would not even think about going to physical therapy having no insurance. I wouldn’t have been at the doctor’s office, to be frank.

Moving along two bottles of muscle relaxers later and a tube of something I cannot remember or pronounce I am sure and I am here. The pain subsided and it still shows up every day, but not as intense. Eventually, the pain came back full force shortly after I moved to Maryville. I decided to go to the doctors and made sure to think about everything I was going to say and not leave until I got an answer that made sense.

Rewind, before I decided to drop in and go I asked around first. I am in a small town, majority white people, and doctors are known for not treating their underrepresented patients fairly (some I should say). I ended up getting an answer that made more sense than what the previous doctor had told me and now I needed to find a dentist. Afraid to be treated unfairly I prolonged getting treatment (serious problem). Fast forward to today I went and got my answers.

Long story short its stress. It made sense considering when it first manifested I was depressed and trying to crawl towards the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio SAHE finish line. At one point getting out of bed was an accomplishment for me.

The lesson is to listen to your body when you can. The problem is that too many of us are not able to afford the proper health care when stress manifests itself in our bodies so intensely. On top of the money, I have to spend because I am grinding/clenching my teeth way too much I am also seeing a therapist/acupuncturist. Now I know that someone does not have to see an acupuncturist, but I am thankful I am getting sort of a 2 for 1 deal.

Another issue is that the medical industry needs to pay more attention to who they hire as nurses, doctors, etcetera and talk about how they can be more inclusive. I will add that we need to advocate for more underrepresented students that want to go into this field instead of bringing them down. It is not easy and we can do better at providing resources and supporting them. I know the conversation is happening somewhere, but more conversations and action need to take place. We have to pay the most for healthcare in the United States yet we have the shitiest healthcare (excuse my language).

In all of this just listen to your body when it is talking to you. Take the day off if you are able, go to bed earlier, workout, read, write, take yourself out (I do this all the time #IDATEMYSELF).

Love your body and be kind to it too.

P.S. my worst case scenario was that I would have to get braces as an adult and braces are expensive or that they were going to have to do something crazy to my jaw. Nope, just stress and a much less expensive but still expensive dentist bill.

**I do not have any rights to the picture used for this post.

Night

Night

Standing in her fears
Dare she relish in her dreams
Conquering the world

#Haiku #Poetry #Ratri #Goddess #MondayNightHaiku

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @theekward

**I do not own any rights to the picture used in this post.

Unboxed

Unboxed

You think you know me?
Stereotypes tied with your unmalleable mind is no match for a queen
Guerra
Peliadora
Carrying the spirit of my ancestors
Walking rebelliously in solidarity with my kin
Decaying box with my name on it starving from my resistance
I have not fed it the assimilation it needs to survive

**I do not have any rights to the picture that was used.

Follow me on twitter and Instagram: @theeKWard
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