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.

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

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…

“Still I Rise”

“Still I Rise”

So here it goes, I will be that “angry Black womxn” you speak of and continue to hold my chin up *Kanye Shrug.

Recently, I have found myself trying to repair the feelings of my privileged counterparts. I have been confronted by white fragility & white guilt, which they are currently winning. I owe you nothing and deserve space to express how I feel.

As I continue to follow those who inspire me I am reminded that I am here and I matter.

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I sorta kinda censored my twitter more than usual and that says something. However, mental exhaustion is real and I needed to unplug.

First and foremost, if you do not like what I have to say that is okay. I believe in the power of dialogue and have experience having multiple conversations surrounding equity issues with diverse others and white people. I am here to share my knowledge, thoughts, and work through the toxicity of whiteness. You may feel uncomfortable and there are so many factors I consciously and unconsciously consider when taking a step out of the door as a Black womxn.  You have the ability to just walk outside. **I am in no way comparing my experience to my LGBTQ+ family as I recognize the effort in “coming out” every day and dealing with heterosexism.

On a daily basis, I and many others are striving to rise above messages that try to tell us that we are less than. As I continue to figure out what it means to be a Black womxn and the ways I can be ME authentically I am going to continue to disrupt and fight for the space underrepresented populations deserve.

For this reason, I will continue to cause trouble.

“Sometimes we have to take the risk of fulfilling the fantasies other people have of us” Sarah Ahmed

Please feel free to comment and engage with me =)

You can find me on twitter and Instagram as well @TheeKWard

Say Yes: Tinder and Fetishization

Say Yes: Tinder and Fetishization

I decided 2K17 is my “year of yes.”

Recently, I re-downloaded tinder (my swipe left game is strong on this app) and re-downloaded Soul Swipe as well. I downloaded these apps with zero intentions to date. I am in a process of healing and trying to do more for myself.

I am chillin’ in a “if it happens it happens” state.

I was super liked on tinder and decided to find out who it was. It happened to be a white male, which rendered zero surprise because that app is full of white males out here in rural Amerikkka. I was planning to swipe left again until I noticed something.

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. a traditionally Black fraternity. I found this interesting because the last couple of people I tried to pursue were Alphas **laughing on the inside. I also have friends who are Alphas and I find them to be respectable men. I decided to like him because the curious part of me had questions.

Not necessarily because he is a white male in a traditionally Black fraternity because he is definitely not the first…

Before I continue I do not date white men. If you have read the article by Tanzila Ahmed, “Why I Don’t Date White Men” she states, “it’s like being with the colonizer. or an oppressor. I can’t do that.” Putting the political part of this conversation aside hanging out with someone I just met through a dating app is unheard of for me. Yall have watched catfish right? lol I am not going to be the one. More importantly, as a womxn it is a safety thing for me too. Unfortunate to mention and that is the reality.

Later in the night I told him I was not going to come and thought about my pledge to say “yes to more things. Just trying to live a little more that’s all. I extensively looked this guy up on the internet. When I looked up his job the location came up as St. Louis and I was like wait, he is in KC so how is his job 4 hours away. MY HEART DROPPED
the worst possible situations were running through my head.

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Fast forward I found him on linkedin *handclap, facebook  *handclap, school he graduated from *handclap, and his bio on his employers website *handclap!!

I DO NOT PLAY THESE GAMES.

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When I was confident enough that the person on the other side of the phone was who he said he was I decided to go, and as soon as I got there I sent a text message to my best friend Fanny that stated “If you do not hear from me I am here *inserts location” she responded and said, “WHY ARE YOU BEING SKETCHY!”

Rewind, I entertained the idea after this conversation

Him: Bruh I’m new to town and I need new people to kick it with. We share political preoccupations so that’s a good start.

**I started laughing because he called me “bruh” and I am thinking, “here we freaking go…”

Why do white people feel the need to address Black people using vernacular specific to Black people. I mean in an in-group type of way…

Me: … What political preoccupations do we share?

Him: Fighting for equality and celebrating the natural beauty of all women. Not beauty in the “appealing to the male gaze” sense of the word-real beauty. The beauty of humanity that should be recognized regardless of provincial standards of what it means to be attractive.

**Some context: My profile said “Feminist AF and Black women are magic”

Moving along, when I got there he explained a Facebook conversation he was having with someone about feminism and mental illness. I enjoy intellectual conversations but the “I am really here right now when I could be in bed sleep” kept replaying in my head but I listened. I stayed for a bit and bounced.

The next day Fanny asked me what I was doing, I told her, and this was her response

Fanny: My mouth is open that you went out with a white guy lol

Here is the thing. I am trying to have more of an open mind. I told him I would not have liked him on Tinder if he was not an Alpha and I let him know that I do not interact with white men what so ever. Let’s not bring my white friends into this.

The last time I hung out with white men I was degraded and made to feel like a piece of meat. I was soooooo uncomfortable and never talk about that experience.

My relationships are more than just a preference. Politics come into play as well as my ability to be able to talk about my experiences without having to teach and explain that they are valid.

Someone once said to me, “I do not date white men because they will always find some way to call you nigger.” #Deep

I cannot remember for the life of me who mentioned that. My intention with this new relationship is to share knowledge. If he is interested in Black womxn it is important that he hears my voice. No I do not have the responsibility to teach nor do I speak for all Black womxn.

At the same time I often see the fetishization and oversexualization of Black womxn, latinx womxn, and Black men. I will also add the fetishization of bi-racial children based on physical features without thinking of the responsibilities and weight that holds.

I do not speak for all of these people and reflect on the multiple factors people of color (POC), Queer people of color (QPOC), non-binary, trans*, trans* people of color, etcetera need to consider when deciding to pursue a relationship. No they are not entitled to you or your “exotic” trophy.

News in the age of Social Media: #MissingDCGirls

News in the age of Social Media: #MissingDCGirls

Recently, there was a young woman who posted a concerning Snapchat, which caused the picture to go viral. Thankfully, the young woman was found (shoutout to #BlackTwitter) but I looked on the internet to find the young woman’s name and did not find any news coverage. You should be skeptical about this. Different news outlets continue to dictate who is a priority while controlling societies psyche to believe “alternative facts” LIES! about underrepresented populations. Thus, forcing us to be our own media outlet.

Here we are a week later with the hashtag, #MissingDCGirls. There are multiple young Black girls/women going missing with no care from those sworn to protect them. The recent showing of “Get Out” Jordan Peele highlights the unsettling feeling of being unwanted. Likewise, the appropriation of Black culture and being wanted too much, hence the scene of the auction. Have you heard of the saying, “wanting to be Black before it is time to be black”? Below is a prime example. Rachel Dolezal

Social media has provided a platform to help those across the nation raise awareness of the injustice happening around us. Unfortunately, social media is needing to be used time and time again while groups like #BlackLivesMatter strive for justice. Whether you are near what is happening or miles away it affects you. We cannot deny social media’s usefulness. Because of facebook and Twitter, thousands are able to get the word out about the girls/women missing in DC and across the United States and push for action to be taken.

The inattention to Black and Brown bodies going missing brings to light the overwhelming focus on White girls/women to be found. Where are the amber alerts for them? and why are we still talking about JonBenet Ramsey?

At the end of the day, we need TS Mothaf***$@ A

**This photo is not intended to make light of what is happening and we should all have a deep concern for what is going on. Will #AllLivesMatter and those who attended the Women’s March show up?

TSA

Twitter: @Theekward

 

PWI and Racial America

I was interviewing a student for the program that I work for and I was not expecting to pause and have a conversation about this student’s experience. We talk about building rapport, getting to know a student, and allowing them to open up on their terms.

Having just met, asking the following question was on their terms. How do you cope? the student asked. I thought “How do I cope with being Black in America, with being Black in a predominantly white office, with Being a Black Woman…”

Before I thought in depth about their question I said, “I rant to my friends.” I may have ranted to Snapchat a couple times too. Providing more clarity I told the student that I am at a point where I try to speak up when I experience microaggressions, I reach out to those who are close to me who understand my experiences, and I do not get comfortable. Although, this is my first year in this position I try not to hold back.”Sometimes you experience something and think, am I trippin’? am I being too sensitive? and that is one of the issues with microaggressions.” I told the student that what they deal with unfortunately does not change if they were in my position or in a position higher than mine. I said, “I am not saying this to discourage you and I want to keep it 100.”

I struggled as I told them to create their experience and if they decide to transfer then I support that decision as well. I struggled because “you are not going to destroy the imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy by creating your own version of it” (bell hooks). So what do you do?

Those who are privileged do not understand the preparation it takes to take a step outside of wherever you live (maybe even inside your “home”) and face society. Especially given our current political climate. Before I move passed this do you understand that people are afraid to step out of their homes? that people’s families are being torn a part? and that people are getting killed and the criminal is serving  zero time? Yes, the police. They, the privileged, do not understand that it takes strength to figure out how to face each day without using a colorful choice of words to refrain from being labeled.

I cannot speak from a lense outside of PWI’s but they are notorious as you know (or may not know because you are the epitome of privilege) for not supporting their students with underrepresented identities. Yes, there are specific offices (are you following me here) that do great work across the United States to support underrepresented populations and Universities as a whole (still following me?) need to do better. “Add and stir” is a method multiple Universities keep investing in without changing the hegemonic systems that create inequity.

I ask if you are following me because often there is not University buy in. I am talking about buy in beyond mentioning it in the mission and pointing everyone’s brother, sister, aunties girlfriends’ cousin to that one office. You know, the one called “Office of Diversity Affairs” or “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Catch my drift?

As faculty and staff (including all the “higher ups”) have a responsibility to the campus climate. No, I cannot sit in an office working with underrepresented students and not seek out opportunities to learn more about them, what identities they hold, and their experiences on and off campus.

This effort starts with the person you look at in the mirror and do not get comfortable.

#Disrupt #NoAssimilation

“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community” (bell hooks).