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.

Just Go: A quick “guide” on dating yourself

I enjoy being alone. I enjoy having my own space and the ability to be messy, sometimes. I sleep diagonally on my queen sized bed, fit for a queen, and switch from one pillow to the other at night. I am thinking I need to update to Rihanna status and get a California King bed, in due time. I enjoy the freedom that comes from being alone. I do know that I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time inside. Likewise, I am not sure how much is too much. I like wasting away my days on my couch watching movies and tv shows. By waste I mean with cleaning, showering, eating, using the bathroom, reading, laundry, writing, etc somewhere between being on the couch all day and sleeping. Being alone I am not void of my thoughts. Now, let me repeat, being alone I am not void of my thoughts. I allow myself time to process because I do not always get the time to do so during busy days.

I date myself too.

Right now you may be thinking, “she’s miserable” because I am now at the point of dating myself. I should probably tell you that I buy myself flowers too! Yes, I do think you should learn to be alone, be okay with hanging out with yourself, and be okay with taking yourself out on dates. If you are curious I do not go on dates with men. I do not go on dates with men because I currently have not had the opportunity. I am not lonely by any means but that does not mean that I do not feel lonely at times. Sure, I would love to have someone to talk to besides myself and have someone to share a meal with, but who doesn’t? if you are out there slide in my inbox, what is your secret? Slide in my inbox if you think I am cute too *wink *wink

Rihanna Wink

So where has this gotten me…

I am sure of myself

I am more comfortable in the Kimberlee Ward that you see today. I know until I am no longer here physically and roaming in another realm that I will be discovering myself. I am more confident in being weird and will most likely agree now without getting offended when you point out the obvious.

If my friend doesn’t follow through on that movie I invited them to, their loss!

My friend can miss out on the fun but I do not have to. Your friend can miss out on the fun but you do not have to. If someone sees me sitting alone in the theater, who cares? I am there to have a good time and enjoy doing something I love. I am not worried about what someone assumes about me because I am alone. This same concept applies when eating out too.

Tuning in

I am more aware of when I am not doing okay and can admit it. Remember the processing I was telling you about? well, I have recognized more times in this past year when I needed to let my pride go than ever before. Pride is a killer so let that Sh*t go! You will be better for it, I promise and I do not promise a lot. It is challenging to admit when you are wrong or when you could have done better. Being able to call that out allows you to grow. I am more physically, mentally, and emotionally aware of when I am not doing well too.

Prep for the future

One thing that is important to me and my relationships is that they are interdependent. When I have a partner I want to have the ability to be myself and be “us.” I want to have my own things and then have what we share. I do not want to be attached in a way that can be detrimental to the relationship. I know I have the tendency to get attached in that way and the onus is not solely on me as the issue of attachment in my case is relative. I like and love hard. A good friend of mine, Bria, said it perfectly, she said: “what I notice about you is that you go 0-100 for someone.” I do just that so maybe it was not necessarily an attachment but lack of appreciation for my efforts and thus I look at myself saying, “what did I do wrong.” Really it was a 90-10 relationship aka situationship that I should have gotten out before it started lol. However, my love language is quality time and I am also an introvert that could kick you out in a heartbeat, it’s complicated!

Go to that movie, go to that country, go to that restaurant, go and do whatever it is that you want to do and do it alone. I recognize this is easier said than done in some cases, but it provides a profound understanding and look into your life. If you want to be alone in your place for a couple more months before moving in with your partner to mentally prepare yourself then do so. My best friend said she would move in with me and the first thing I told her was that I was messy but really I do not know how to live with anyone right now. Me being quiet might be mistaken for having an attitude and I do not know if I am ready for that yet. Although, we are alike in that way so I do not think that would be a problem.

P.S. “guide” is in quotation marks in the title because there is no right way to begin being comfortable with being alone and comfortable with going out and doing things alone. I am talking about more than going to the grocery store and running errands.

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

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
Add me on snapchat: @Tormentadesol13

SAHEcation: Orlando, Florida Edition

The other day I was enjoying the nice humid 91degree weather with a 40% chance of rain in Orlando, Florida. Palm trees, lake, and a strange bird was in my view that I have yet to identify. Nothing says vacay like 14 dollars and 57 cents left in your bank account. Why was May such a rough month financially? I guess I can say goodbye to my budget that went to sh*t. So I may or may not have been lucky to be there, but I am thankful. Because my recent need to get away for my mental health I have found my vacation fund depleted. For another round of, “where did my money go?” I will blame it on the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere and it was challenging to find rides to my various destinations this week and next week that I have found myself “ripped off.”

Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah.

Is there another version of “I got hoes in different area codes” that I could apply to my friends? Wait, they are not my hoes we just come from many places across the United Sates hence my desire to use area codes. Shoutout to Ludacris because that is essentially my life.

I enjoy traveling which is why it is a line item under “Savings” in my budget. I had the opportunity to see a friend who I have not had the chance to sit next to in over a year. His car got towed in the process, haha, talk about Hello! he is not mad so I feel like I can freely tell you all about this experience and laugh about it.

Grad school has provided me with more than an education. It has provided me with a great group of friends doing amazing work. I almost cried when I arrived when everyone got up to hug me and offered me a smile while shouting my name. I had a rough week and I want them to know I appreciated that moment more than I can express with words.

I know traveling provides you with a certain social capital that not everyone has the privilege of obtaining. At any rate, Florida is in the books, Colorado is next, and then Washington. Two new states in two weeks =)

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind” Seneca

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @TheeKWard

It’s Lit: Professionalism microscope with a dash of sin

I do not know about you, but I like to have 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 drinks, before I know it I could be drinking a whole bottle of wine or tequila *wink. I am only kidding on the bottle of tequila, but whatever floats your boat as long as you are safe and within your limit.

I am 25 going on 26 and I am currently walking on a thin tightrope. Tightropes seem to be thin anyway, but I will leave the “thin” just for your wondrous imagination. I have moved into the full-time professional world and if you ask me, what is professionalism anyway? In many aspects, it tries to put you in a box and as you walk towards the box you hear a faint voice in the distance saying “assimilation… conformity” Who wants that? not to mention the classism among other things that come into play when talking about professionalism.

Moving into the professional world as someone who is young you may feel the watchful eye behind your back. Yes, we should all be great examples and we all want to live too and or just have a drink when we want to have a drink. Just because people do not see everything I do that does not mean I am better than the next person. I can be described as someone who has “no chill” and yes I am very much an introvert and rule follower. What is life without breaking some rules? just a life without breaking rules and therefore you do not get the opportunity to see how much they bend.

Breaking rules do not necessarily mean breaking the law or doing anything that could potentially get you arrested. That last sentence alone could have me go on a rant about the justice system, but not the time or place. Sometimes you have to break the rules to get to where you want to be or break your own rules so you can live beyond your comfort zone.

By saying I occasionally get drunk, have been high before, not a virgin, known to curse up a storm or whatever else you feel may be “unholy” or “taboo” is letting you know that I have indulged in things that some see as sin or unprofessional.

But again, what is professionalism anyway…