My Reduction Story

MY REDUCTION STORY

February 8th, 2021 was the day my life changed forever. Every little girl dreams about growing up and growing into their figure. Even as adults, women run to plastic surgeons offices to get a pair of bouncy double D’s. But not this gal.

I never really felt comfortable with my curvy figure to begin with. As a kid, I loved staying active. I would go fishing with my dad, play sports with friends, go swim in the backyard. But once I started developing at a young age I felt uncomfortable with myself. Even in the locker room, other girls would comment on the fact that I was wearing a bra in the 5th grade. Nobody would say anything bad, in fact they were envious! But being the center of attention for something I couldn’t control was very uncomfortable.

Part of this, was because I was diagnosed with something called “Precocious Puberty” when I was around six years old. Which meant my body was developing much quicker than necessary. Every month I would have to get a big ass needle shot into my thigh to slow my body’s development down. I’m sure most girls would have loved to come into their body and develop hips and thighs, but that was never me. I felt as though I was robbed of a certain aspect of life.

By time I got to middle school, I was around a C up. From what I can remember, I was one of the only girls who had grown out of a training bra at the age of f*cking 12! Sure as an adult a C up is great, but what is a 13 year old supposed to do with those? Also, this was before IG and TikTok, when teenagers still looked and acted like teenagers. My momma didn’t raise a little fast ass, so all my outfits made sure not to accentuate my figure.

The older I got, the larger my boobs continued to grow. For years I wore baggy t-shirts and sweatshirts, mostly because clothes weren’t made for shapely girls. As much as I wanted to wear cute little crop tops, tank tops, or strapless dresses, I just physically couldn’t. Fast forward to my twenties, the prime time of your life where you’re supposed to go out on the town and feel your hottest. Well, I honestly felt my worst. My breast had grown to be TRIPLE D’S! Obviously, I couldn’t work out as much as I used to without being in pain for months, I couldn’t dress in the cute outfits everyone else was wearing, I even avoided the beach because I haven’t been comfortable in a bikini since I was 4 years old.

For years I had wanted to get a breast reduction, but my parents thought it was purely for cosmetic reasons, when in reality I just wanted to me myself again and enjoy life. I would casually joke about how annoying my chest were, but would be told that it’s just our genetics so I’d have to deal with it. Then one day last summer, I finally told my mom that I was miserable feeling the way I did and that I KNOW for a fact that I would feel much better if I got a reduction. What helped drive my point forward, was that two of my close friends had gotten breast reductions too. And their lives almost immediately turned around for the better! New jobs, new boyfriends, new outfits, and an overall better outlook on life. To my surprise, my mom finally understood where I was coming from and told me to go for it. Now, I knew the one that would really need convincing was my dad. Because I know him so well, I did all the research and planning first, and waited to tell him a few weeks ahead of my surgery date. Of course, he tried to talk me out of it, but after decades of misery not even Oprah herself would be able to convince me not to do this.

Though I was excited to finally get this done, I was not excited to have to go under the knife. Based on my past experiences I mentioned earlier, I have never been a fan of the doctor because it always came with a negative connotation. Every time I’d go to the doctor I’d discover there was something wrong with me, or they’d tell me I was “overweight” so from then on I always assumed the worst. In addition to that, I feared that something would go wrong with my surgery, or that something would happen to me while I was under anesthesia. But luckily, my whole reduction experience was exceptionally smooth.

One thing that was important to me was finding a female doctor. I read way too many horror stories about male doctors not giving women the size they wanted. Just the other day actually Sharon Stone talked about how a male doctor gave her bigger breast than she asked for. I mean how fucking traumatic! So not only did she not like her results, she had to go under the knife AGAIN which is extremely risky. I find it ironic because though male doctors can do all the research they want, they’ll never understand what it feels like do be a woman. They might know what they like to see on a woman, but they’ll never be able to understand the emotional and physical aspects of having you like to see in the mirror. This was something I had to explain to my own dad too.

Through my insurance, I came across about THREE female doctors. But only name stuck out to me. Dr. Charlotta La Via was the only doctor I had a consultation with. As I said before, all my doctors appointments typically end with a negative outcome. I remember when I had my tumor, I had to go to three different doctors just to find out what it even was! So I assumed the same thing would happen here. I’m so glad I was wrong. I told Dr. La Via why I was there and what I wanted the outcome to be, a better overall feeling about myself and life in general. And she completely understood! She actually was the one who told me I was a DDD cup, all this time I thought I was still in the DD range. Looking back that makes so much more sense. I of course came in there with a baggy sweatshirt, so when I undressed and showed her the goods she was in awe! She told me I had such a nice figure and it was about time I went out there and showed it off. And I wholeheartedly agreed!

The next hurdle was the cost, there was some confusion with one of the women at the front desk with how much my insurance would cover. Because I was going from a DDD to B cup, the overall cost of the surgery was going to be $15k. That of which I only have in my dreams. Though my insurance gave me a rough estimate of around $2-3k, I was still fearful that I would have to blow my whole savings. Girl… the surgery only ended up costing $705 after insurance!!! Imagine if I wouldn’t have just gone for it?! I would have been pissed.

Another thing I don’t enjoy is sitting around doing “nothing”. So I was eager to get up and move as soon as I got home from surgery. Although a few days later I was like oh shit, THERE’S the pain! Luckily the recovery time went by pretty quickly. Six weeks sounds like a lot, but it’s really just to assure there aren’t any complications. I was fine to get up and move around on my own after about three weeks.

I also feel like the timing of it all was meant to be. I had been scheduled to start a new job March 2020, but unfortunately due to the pandemic those plans were put on hold. I assumed the company would eventually move on and find someone new. But when I reached out one last time, they said they were finally able to hire me within that next month, March 2021.

I’m such a strong believer in fate and that the stars align for a greater purpose, so I feel like it was my destiny to get this done at this specific point in time. We’re still in a pandemic, so life isn’t fully 100%, but I feel so much happier now that I can enjoy life again. I’m part of the itty bitty titty committee and I couldn’t be prouder. I haven’t been a B cup since I was in the fifth grade… I feel like little Tiffani again! I’m able to workout and not be in unnecessary pain, I wore a cute strapless dress to easter dinner, and while I’m still single, I’m much more confident going on dates now! If you’re considering getting a breast reduction I say GO FOR IT! You’ll regret all the time you spent considering not doing it.

On Our Grind, from 9-5!

on our grind, from 9-5!

I need to shout out my gal pals real quick because we are having a moment!!!! 2020 was a tough year, but it wasn’t ALL bad. It sucked having my new job be put on hold for SO long, but for some reason in the back of my mind I always knew it would work out. I guess it’s just that Sagittarius optimism! I also am glad I chose to revamp this blog Elite Urbanite to what it is today.

Initially, the main focus of Elite Urbanite was for me to go to exclusive events and restaurants around LA. But since all things of that nature are a bit unsafe for the time being, it has become more so about me and who I am. Which I’m actually happy about! I had been afraid to openly say what I have been going through for 26 years of my life, because for so long I was made to feel as though I was “crazy”. Of course, when things like festivals and award shows are safe to attend again I will be the first one in line, but I’m enjoying exploring myself and sharing who I really am deep down inside with friends and strangers alike!

I am the type of person who is very focused on my future. From as far back as I can remember, my mom has always asked us what we wanted to be when we “grew up”. I always knew I wanted to be involved in pop culture and entertainment in some sort of way, but never in a way that would compromise my identity. Hence, the reason I left my previous job. I’m all for hustling and being on my grind, but not to the point that it sacrifices my mental health and well being. So I went off of a whim and asked my friend if he knew anyone that was hiring. I sent in my resume and was called in that following day for an interview. There’s an old saying in the “biz” that it’s all about who you know. Yes my friend helped me get this interview, but I didn’t know these people personally like I did at my previous workplace. So needless to say I was pretty nervous, especially after I was brought in to interview three different times!!!! *cries in fetal position* but hey, they must’ve liked me because I got the job! Then covid hit and I was worried that something I was so excited about would be ripped out of my hands just as soon as I got a hold of it. Well, as I said before, they must’ve liked me because they have been waiting for me to join the team for nearly a year. I’m truly so grateful and I know working for them is going to be such a great change of pace!

My female friends are also f’n killin’ it! It’s always important to me who I keep in my “circle” some may call me picky, but I like to call it “careful”. Honestly this is a very small city, everyone knows one another and most people know everything about you before even meeting you! So in a place where reputation is so important, I like to keep mine squeaky clean. It’s taken me a bit of time to find some good friends out here. But honestly when you’re looking for quality over quantity, that’s bound to happen. I’m so proud to say that I have friends that either just finished, or attending grad school. Friends that are studying for the bar, one that even just passed it and is officially a lawyer. I even have friends who are absolute crushing it in the production field and working on some of the hottest and upcoming shows.

Even when it comes to relationships, my girls know their worth. They have no problem being blunt about how they expect to be treated. And I admire that so much. I have friends that are starting new relationships or furthering their current ones by getting engaged. Some, like myself are choosing to stay single and focus on ourselves until that person enters our lives.

That brings me to a recent friendship breakup I had. Honestly the friendship had been over for longer than she knew. We met in 2016, but by 2019 I had already been tired of going to clubs. While fun at times, I wanted to feel like more than just a hot piece of meat on a Saturday night in a sticky bar. Every single time we would go out, it was mass chaos and a lack of organization. It’s pretty frustrating to get a $80-100 (roundtrip) Uber to Santa Monica from Calabasas and back only to spend 30 minutes in a bar because she couldn’t get the plans together.

Like… that behavior is acceptable when we’re in college or our early twenties, but at 25-26 girl I have a job to go to and errands to take care of. You know, adult shit. Not only that, but the stress from my job put me in a place where the last place I wanted to be was on a long a* line for a stupid a* club with stupid a* men who only wanted me for the night. I eventually expressed this to said friend and said I would be glad to do more low key things like game nights, hikes, or farmers markets… never happened. I can’t seem to grasp why people cannot understand just how taxing my job was. I don’t like to put other peoples jobs down, but unfortunately I can’t have much sympathy for someone who has only worked part time jobs at her big age expecting me to make plans when I was working quite literally 24/7. I would be answering emails as I was brushing my teeth and driving into work, and doing the same as I was heading home. There were some days where I’d be in the midst of happy hour and would have to pause everything to answer an email. Even on Saturday mornings I would get emails from people who weren’t even my bosses! Now I know this comes with the territory, but going through that from week to week, there’s no way in f*ng h* I would want to go to the club. I want to SLEEP.

So when I started to realize that this person only saw me as a plus one to the club, I also realized that this friendship was over. Fast forward to 2020, as I mentioned before, me and my girls have been on our s* …OKAY! This particular friend mentioned she was going to apply to grad school, and to that I said that’s awesome! And her response was that we were finally becoming adults. We…? WE?! Now… just because I don’t post about my life 24/7 doesn’t mean I’m not grinding. I move in silence baby. Turns out, just like everything else in her life, that idea of grad school was just a figment of her delusions and when I would ask, she would make up some excuse as to why she hadn’t applied yet. I get grad school isn’t for everyone, I’m not going to grad school anytime soon. I hate school. But like… don’t just throw ideas out in the abyss.

I also found it a bit insensitive of her to not fully listen to my struggles and what I asked of her as a “friend”. Which really wasn’t much. Especially after I did SO much. I have a good friend who from the beginning has always said she doesn’t like partying, knowing that, I never forced her to go to any parties in college because I would never want her to be outside of her comfort zone. But we would do other things like go to coffee shops instead. The word “friendship” doesn’t automatically mean someone is obligated to do what you say. Sure I had fun going out to the bars (when we would ACTUALLY get in), but there’s really so much more to life than that. In my late twenties, my mindset is so different than it was in my early twenties, and hers hasn’t changed. The best friendships are the type that grow as you continue to grow as people.

Fast forward to last month, after coming down off of her cloud of delusion she finally realized I had unfollowed her on social media. Cause honestly I was a bit tired of her posting nonsensical TikToks and spreading eagle on her “influencer” page. She messaged me asking why I had done so (months ago) and I explained to her that I no longer felt this friendship was what it used to be. Long story short, she was more upset about the friendship ending rather than taking accountability for her incapability of being a good friend (a pattern I had actually observed for years). I assume she thought she would get some sort of apology out of me, but I was polite, kept the conversation short and dry, and said that I no longer wished to be friends (even though she tried to claim the idea as her own). She said she didn’t want people on her “team” that weren’t for her. I’m not really sure what and how I would need to be for someone who doesn’t even know what they want for themselves in life. Plus, I don’t wish to be part of the B-team anyway. We parted ways and that was that. Then a WEEK later, I get another text from this same girl bringing up the conversation again. Ok now girl, I was very mature and kind the first time… but now you done woke up the beast! Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. I basically told her that I’m not reading that long a* paragraph she had sent because this conversation and friendship were BOTH over. Girl use that extra time you have to think so ~deeply~ to take a look inward and see how you can improve YOUR life rather than projecting on others. This B even tried to tell me I should work on some therapy and coping mechanisms and gave me a podcast to listen to… now girl bye. The one who needs therapy is the person who sends pictures of used condoms and monistat and/or vagisil boxes on snapchat. Or the one f*n dudes on a mattress on the ground because he can’t afford a bed frame.

As you can see, this friendship was bound to end. And I’m totally fine with it. It was something I began to dread more than enjoy. I have so much that I want to do in different aspects of my life, and I’m so glad I finally found a likeminded crew of boss ladies with similar goals and morals.

How to Be a Boss

HOW TO BE A BOSS

From a young age, my mother would always encourage me to speak and walk with confidence. This was always something she had been adamant because her mother did the same for her, as did her mother before that. So naturally this is a characteristic that has been instilled in me for quite some time. They all taught me that I should have no fear when it comes to speaking up for things I both agree and disagree with.

 That being said, I’ve met a lot of bitches that think they’re bosses, and I’ve had a few bosses who were just bitches, but it takes a certain type of person to be a BOSS BITCH. Okurrrrr! As far back as I can remember, I’ve never had a problem voicing my opinion, even if it would get me in trouble at times. For instance, I recall my teacher addressing the class about the usage of the good ol “N” word in Huckleberry Finn. Looking back, I’m not even sure why this was up for discussion, but he asked if anyone was uncomfortable using “the word”. Of course none of my classmates had an issue with it, but best believe I did! So I let him know, and guess what? Nobody said it. End of discussion. My mom always told me that if somebody did or said something that I didn’t like, I better let them know. Now just to be clear, I wasn’t going around berating people, I only spoke up for myself in situations that pertained to me. Funny enough, my nickname has been “Cookie” (short for “Tough Cookie”) for as long as I can remember. This was simply because just never had time for people’s nonsense. But once I reached middle school, suddenly everyone had time for the nonsense. Whenever there would be drama or gossip involving my name, I’d confront the issue head on, just as I was taught. But I soon learned that some people are put off by people’s confidence, especially when it comes to women. For years I had learned to pride myself on my upfront and mature way of dealing with things, but others continued to tear me down because of it.

Of course, High School is even worse. I was never the type to start any drama, but somehow my name would be in the middle of stories I had never even been a part of. All of this spurred from the insecurity of others. When you reach this age, the goal of many girls is to make other girls feel “less than”. They eventually succeeded in their goal and destroyed any confidence I had left. To make matters even worse, I began to reach the age where I could start dating. Already lacking confidence from the constant and petty High School Drama, my confidence was misread as aggression by any boys I was interested in.

Even now at twenty-five years of age I still have issues with this. For some reason plenty of girls still think its cute to have cliques and be little mean girls. I mean damn, don’t you have priorities to focus on? Like a job? Career? Your own life? I don’t know these are just humble suggestions. We all struggle with insecurities, but I can’t imagine being a grown ass woman and being worried about what another grown ass woman is doing. When I started working, it was like the flood gates opened. I’m a hard worker, but I don’t have a stick up my ass. It’s called ~balance~ But a lot of people see me as a threat. It’s hard for me to look outside of myself and see what it is that threatens people, because I have been like this all of my life. I used to try to understand why people didn’t like me and what it was that I could do to change it, because I just wanted friends. But at this point in my life I have learned how to love myself and not give a single fuck what people think. However the more I do this, the smaller I see my circle get, and that’s OK. I rather have a small circle of real friends rather than a clique of fake ones.

At my previous job, I felt like I went in a time machine back to high school. For some reason people cared more about having friends and being liked than their own jobs. Weird, because I thought we were all there to get paid… This one girl in particular had so many issues with me when I was nothing but nice to her. Once I made it clear that I, did not fuck with this chick, THENNNN she wanted to play victim and act like I was always so mean to her. When in fact I wasn’t worried about her. One time I was going to get drinks with some co-workers, one in particular worked in her department. As he got up to leave, she kept pestering him on where he was going and why she wasn’t invited. Like what?! Cause you and are not friends, there’s no beef (at the time at least there wasn’t), but just because you’re friends with this person doesn’t automatically mean you need to be included in everything they’re in. He ain’t yo man sis!  Another co-worker of mine witnessed the whole thing. She was stunned, and immediately texted me. Because I heard about little things like this she would do or say behind my back, I chose not to invite her to a Halloween party of mine. Again no beef, we just clearly aren’t friends. We do however have mutual friends, and because her and her crew of mean girls are still stuck in high school they made people chose between hanging out with her and attending certain events, or hanging out with me. Needless to say nobody came to my party. However my close friends did, which is all I needed. Girls like this think they’re making boss decisions, but they’re actually just living a life of a miserable bitch.

The same goes for a few female bosses I’ve had. Women in leadership positions often get a bad rep. Men like to accuse women of thinking irrationally and emotionally when it comes to making important decisions. Unfortunately I have in fact had a few bosses that embody this stereotype. For some reason, when some women are put in positions of power they like to completely abuse it for their own benefit. One boss in particular owned a few locations of a popular massage therapy chain. She would never come into the location that I worked at, and would expect way too much from people. She was always pretty smug, and would never solve the customers issues or listen to their complaints. Which is like literally the job of a business owner. The place was always falling apart and running out of supplies, but some how that was never her problem. She was too cheap to buy things like a new washer and dryer, which would of course interfere with the flow of business. Once I left, I found out later that this woman was pocketing money! Even more recently I had two female bosses who I thought were people to look up to, until I actually started working for them. In order to be a leader, you need to be able to teach and properly delegate tasks without confusion. They had actually chosen me to be their new assistant, I was thrilled and expected to learn from the best. However I was pretty much just thrown to the fucking wolves. I had two weeks of training during the slowest time of the year, and after that I was expected to just know how to do things without previously being taught. Before working as an executive coordinator, I had been a receptionist at a few different places. So after a while that became second nature, this however was completely foreign. It was to the point that I felt as though if I asked questions, I would just be called stupid. I would always ask what I could do to help and if I could learn new things, but because their perception of me was that I was incapable they would just overwhelm themselves and blame ME for THEM being overwhelmed.

I tried to understand it from their perspective but I truly can’t. I get their two previous assistants had much more experience, but this is something they knew from the beginning. Also, the company was in a much better place than it was when I was working for them, so things were definitely a bit more comfortable. Whereas shit had hit the fan by time I got to the desk. So knowing this and knowing ME for my whole life, you’d think they’d take time to teach me and want to see me grow. But unfortunately I realized that people like this like to hinder others rather than accept their faults. Oddly enough, all the things they said I wasn’t capable of doing, I’m excelling at now and figured out on my own. I could guarantee whoever they find to replace me would not have an OUNCE of the charisma and talent I have shown through this very blog. I also heard more about the way they treated other people around the company which really turned me off. Going around and screaming at people who are actually trying to protect the company, or refusing to go on trips and meetings is childish, and NOT boss bitch behavior. Having conversations that eventually come to a compromise and making appropriate sacrifices is how you become a boss bitch. Not doing the work for everyone or covering for people who should be doing their job, or even coming for people who are actually doing their fucking job. Women like this like to rule with fear, rather than confidence.

I tried to be respectful and take it all in as a learning experience, but the only thing I’ve learned is how NOT to run a business. After trying to express my needs several times and rather than be heard I was told to “put my big girl panties on” I knew I just needed to get the fuck out of there… so I did! Also unrelated but the word “panties” makes me desert dry every single time. Gross.  Though my new job is currently on hold because the world is a hot ass burnt pastry puff of a mess, I’m excited to work somewhere that my voice can be heard and where I can actually be successful and where I won’t be working for women on a power trip, but people who want to actually make good television.

I always find myself between a rock and a hard place. I will never settle for something I’m uncomfortable with nor will I dim my light to make someone else’s light brighter, but it’s frustrating that my confidence is always seen as an issue. I know in terms of my career and the field I’m in, this is the way I’m supposed to be. Confident and charismatic. Because if I were to be some weak minded woman, I would constantly get stepped on. But there’s also a fine line. Going around and taking over everything and being rude is also pretty weak minded to me, because what does that really solve? If you’re not able to teach and delegate what are you really doing with your status? Its exhausting, but I still have faith things will be okay. I am proud to come from a line of independent boss bitches who worked hard and stayed true to themselves. Though I may lose “friends” or scare some guys off, I know in my heart that at the end of the day if I continue to speak my truth whatever blessings are for me will come my way.

Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone

Being stuck is played out. Nowadays there are too many different avenues and opportunities, and too few excuses as to why you should be stuck in your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean you should go out and go viral or start a singing career, but it does mean that if you don’t like certain aspects of your life there’s nothing stopping you from changing it. I know some people are perfectly fine not ever taking a leap of faith in life, but honestly how else are you supposed to grow? If you’ve always wanted to lose weight, dye your hair some crazy color, or even move to another part of the world… stop being comfortable and get uncomfortable. Instead of sitting and wondering what your life COULD be like, go out and try it out!

I’m sure many people can relate when I say the town I grew up in is NOT where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. It was a beautiful neighborhood, but the people made it feel like it might as well just be another shit hole. Despite their entitled attitudes, the level of comfort with their mundane lives never sat right with me. I can’t imagine knowing exactly how my life is going to play out from the moment I could speak. Most of their lives are all planned out by the time they are 10 years old. They’re going to attend private school, get into a great college, work for their parents company, and marry someone they’ve known their entire life. They end up growing up in the same town that their great great grandparents lived in, wanting nothing more but to spend their trust fund money. How fucking boring?! I could never imagine going through my entire life without any sort of struggles, yeah some days it sucks but it builds character. Which is why most of them are more boring than a mayonnaise sandwich.

When my family and I moved out here after I graduated high school, I couldn’t have been more excited to reinvent myself. I felt like Madonna in the 80’s, and the 90’s, and the 2000’s, and th- … okay I think you get the point here! I always knew I wanted to move to California, but I figured the only way it would happen was if I got a job opportunity out here. So when the opportunity arose, I accepted it and figured the rest out later. Once I made this decision, a sense of relief immediately came over my body. I would never have to wear a forced dress code again, and I would never have to worry what those people thought of me either because I was moving across the goddamn country! I was set to go to the University of Delaware in the fall of 2013, but I took a leap of faith and decided to stay with my family in California instead. Luckily it all turned out well. But if I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone, I never would have found out either.

I have grown so much since then too. I still have a lot to learn and many milestones to cover, but I love who I have become! My Birth of Venus tattoo actually symbolizes this, because it was as if I was reborn into a whole new woman. I feel like once I took a chance on myself and did what made me happy and not what everyone told me would make me happy, I started to figure out who I really was. If I would have stayed in my home town, I’d have no choice but to follow a path similar to those around me. Because where I grew up, there weren’t many opportunities to truly do what I wanted to do with my life. And truthfully, I would’ve been miserable. I’m sure I would have yearned for a different life and thinking what “could have been”. Who the fuck wants to live like that?

Even when starting this blog, I used to think that nobody wanted to hear what I had to say, nor did they care. Turns out, I was wrong! I’m pretty cynical when it comes to social media and people posting their opinions, because most of the opinions I see are pretty useless. I’m sure there’s someone out there that thinks that about my posts, but I don’t give a shit. Because it makes me feel good, as well as many others! But once again, if I would have sat around everyday thinking about it rather than doing it, I never would have known. Though it could be scary to try new things, especially if they’re a bit drastic, I promise you you’ll be happier once you finally step outsize of that cozy little space you call your comfort zone.

Being Selfish vs. Selfless

Being Selfish vs. Selfless

People today are extremely selfish. I feel as though society has forgotten about morals and the golden rule “treat others how you want to be treated”. The world we live in today, encourages people to only think about themselves. It’s always “me” first, then “you” later… or sometimes never. It’s never going to change if people aren’t corrected on it either. The ironic part, is that the most selfish people think that THEY are the victims! Whereas selfless people, like myself, are the ones who are truly suffering. Dealing with selfish people can be draining, especially when you communicate this with them, and they play the victim card… once again making the issue about them. I don’t know if it’s a generational characteristic, or somewhat of a survival mode tactic. But people need to realize when they’re being selFISH rather than selfLESS.

I’ve had plenty of friends and family come in and out of my life. One thing about me, I do NOT fuck with selfish people. I have no tolerance for it. If I notice these characteristics in a person, I will almost immediately call them out. And if they don’t like what they hear… that’s too bad. There is too much bullshit going on in the world to have to deal with someone ELSE’S problem. Especially if it’s someone who doesn’t add much value to my life.

For instance, I was friends with a girl who would constantly use her anxiety as a crutch. Now, I deal with issues of anxiety and bouts of depression myself so I will never discredit what someone else is going through. However it’s somewhat negligent and distasteful to constantly use anxiety to excuse your bad behavior. This girl would get wasted at gatherings and act like an asshole every time. Then when I would tell her about how she embarrassed herself the next day, she would blame it on her anxiety. Let’s break this down… if someone’s anxiety meds are truly the source of the issue (and they realize this), they should take the proper precautions to avoid these side effects. I don’t take medicine myself, but if running around screaming and acting like a cat is a side effect of mixing anxiety medications and ONE sip of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, you probably shouldn’t be drinking at all. This same girl would constantly drain the energy from the room, when the attention wasn’t on her. If the group was talking about a music group or a situation that she couldn’t relate to, she would sit there, fold her arms, and sigh until somebody paid attention. Nevertheless, I was still always there for her when she needed me, because I’m often willing to look past people’s flaws.

When she started her new position at work, I would always go to her desk to check how things were going. Our hours were pretty different, so being a good friend, I would always go visit her for about an hour because I knew she was struggling. I don’t know shit about editing, but if she wasn’t understanding I would even try to understand it myself, to see if I could help in anyway. However… once I started MY position, I didn’t get that same energy. I was completely inundated with work and information. Though I do have a general knowledge of how TV and entertainment works, coming from the receptionist desk and going to work as a development coordinator is no easy feat. There was a week that I was training a new guy and still trying to catch up on work and learn things myself. I also had the worst breakout in my entire life, while skin might be something trivial, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for decades now. So I was really having a pretty shitty week and wasn’t really in the mood to discuss the minor issues she had going on, causing me not to answer every text of hers. We ended up going to the same party that weekend, and before I could even get settled, she runs up to me to ask if I was mad at her. I explained to her that I wasn’t mad at all, I just had a hard week and needed some space. Throughout the evening, she did her sighs and pouts. So I got up and began to mingle with the other people at the party because I needed to have fun after a fucking dumpster fire of a week. A few days later, I found out that she went around telling people at the party that I was mad at her… when I ALREADY told her I wasn’t! I was furious, and a few days later I expressed how frustrated I was and how unfair I felt this friendship had become. Of course she played the victim, a few months later I had even attempted to reach out again. We had the same friends so it would’ve made everyones lives easier. But alas. People who are selfish are never able to realize their actions are harmful to others.

Sure we can all be a bit selfish, nobody is running around here like the fucking Von Trapp family. But when it comes to the point that you are losing people around you and draining people’s energy, you need to reflect on what caused people to do so. I was told recently that I have a “wall” up. But the reason I have said wall up, is because I gave that person too many chances to change their behavior, only for them to keep doing the same things over and over again. I realize I can’t necessarily change these people, but I can remove them from my life. Sometimes I do find myself isolated, because selfishness is so rampant among people. But I’d much rather have a small group of likeminded friends, than a bunch of draining energy sucking people around me.

Being The Awkward Black Girl

Being The Awkward Black Girl

For decades black women have been put into the same few categories; sassy, aggressive or ratchet. Not only are these stereotypes overtly offensive, they don’t even apply to the majority of us. A lot of us black girls are actually pretty quirky, and even a little bit awkward!

I’ve always had interested that were outside of the norm. I am OBSESSED with Star Wars. I’ve seen the original three films countless times, I have a Darth Vader tattoo, my apartment is riddled with all sorts of Star Wars memorabilia, and for my 25th birthday I went to Galaxy’s Edge and got so excited I nearly cried. Actually I got so excited just talking about Star Wars that I put it on while writing this post! I even deeply immersed myself in the worlds of both Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (we won’t talk about that ending though…) Some of the best memories I have from my childhood was spending hours (and thousands of dollars) at the comic book store with my dad and brother. I loved exploring the isles of the store, and learning about all the old comic book characters. I couldn’t wait to bring all my new toys home and spend hours reading and researching each character’s backstory. It felt like I was in my own little world. I am a self proclaimed nerd, and I’m proud of it! But once I got a bit older, I realized that this wasn’t really a common hobby for girls, but ESPECIALLY not for black girls.

Though I enjoyed seeing black characters like Raven Baxter and Penny Proud on TV, they didn’t exactly represent me deep down. Yes they were outspoken and confident individuals, which I can relate to. But I wasn’t interested in being a fashion designer like Raven, and I wasn’t boy crazy like Penny. Of course, I like fashion, music, and boys… but don’t a lot of other girls? Sadly, I eventually stopped going to the comic book store, and going to see super hero movies, because I felt like it wasn’t “cool” or “girly” to be interested in those types of things. I even stopped going on fishing trips and forced myself to start going to the mall, just because I was tired of not fitting in. I was tired of having to explain to people, especially boys, that I was interested in these things without being laughed off. It became exhausting! Like what the fuck, I shouldn’t have to prove what I like to ANYONE. But after a while you get tired of trying to convince people. Just because people “THINK” black women are supposed to be a certain way, doesn’t mean we ALL are. We constantly have to provide facts as to who “we” truly are. Hell yeah I like shaking some ass to City Girls, but that doesn’t mean I can’t quote Star Wars with my eyes closed. Can’t I be both?

Of course, there was a phase in my life where I would party every weekend. But after a while, it felt like I was forcing it. This wasn’t me. I like watching documentaries, going to museums, reading books, and spending hours on the internet learning random facts. Actually, at my job as a receptionist, I got in trouble not for being on my phone, but because when things weren’t busy I would sneak and read my book. I’m not anything like Nicki Minaj, even though some people might look at our characteristics and think differently.

Even when it comes to things like sports. I like to stay active, just like everyone else these days. But I mainly enjoy kickboxing and hiking. I never participated in any of the stereotypically black sports, like track and field. I actually played Lacrosse and Field Hockey, two of the whitest sports in the history of whiteness. And honestly, I wasn’t even good at it. Once I realized this, I figured hey, why not try cheerleading… another sport people assumed I would be good at just because I’m black. Yes, I do naturally have rhythm… not because I’m black, but because I grew up in a musical family. But once you throw a choreographed routine at me, I might as well have two left feet. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed myself, probably because I never took it that seriously. Sorry Coach Jess.

Even when it comes to dating, the stereotype of being a black woman always proceeds me. I am always met with comments about how intimidating I am. It’s confusing because I barely even know how to flirt, and I’m usually pretty shy the first time I meet people. Clearly, that’s just their perception of me taking over. I am confident within myself, and driven to pursue my dreams. However, I never really know what I’m supposed to do with my hands on a date. I’m even very easily flustered when someone flirts with me or just around guys in general. Actually just the other day, I was trying to leave a store and spent about five minutes trying to unlock the door, then the door knob was so hot I kept burning my hands. Eventually one of the guys came to help me, but needless to say I left pretty quickly and didn’t look back. Yikes. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to talk about on dates because my mind is racing a thousand miles per minute, and I’m usually trying to focus on dialing back the nerdy-ness. As a young 25 year old gal, I don’t even go out and hookup like most people my age, because that whole concept gives me the sweats. (But if you are an eligible bachelor and are reading this… I *DO* know what I’m doing though, okay?! Wink, wink.)

I feel like far too often black women are left out of the conversation when it comes to things like comics, cartoons, and just straight up being quirky or awkward. Luckily now we have shows like Issa Rae’s Insecure on HBO to relate to, but that’s literally the only show that came to mind. I often describe myself as quirky, because I feel like it describes me best. However, the word has been overused SO often by braindead basic bitches on Instagram, that it’s lost it’s true meaning. The TRUE definition of “quirky” is used to describe someone who is characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits in an interesting or appealing way. There’s really nothing appealing about a basic white girl on IG quoting The Office or F.R.I.E.N.D.S. a billion times. Everyone has seen those fucking shows, so it’s pretty unoriginal. And I’m not saying Star Wars defines my personality either. But I doubt those same girls would have any interest in going to Medieval Times (somewhere I’ve been DYING to go for YEARS, but nobody will go with me… sigh)

Some of my closest friends are “awkward black girls”… hence the reason we are friends! I have one friend that is heavily into fashion and clubbing, but she is also VERY into anime and Manga. And another friend of mine who is a photographer is such a chill hippy chick, but she’s also one of the biggest Harry Potter fans I know. And just like me, she struggles with dating. I wish us black girls didn’t have to try so hard to prove our interests. Unlike many people, we aren’t using it for any personal gain, such as fake friends or likes/follows, it’s just truly who we are! It’s infuriating that we always have to provide proof as to how and why we like certain things, it’s as if people are saying black girls “aren’t supposed” to be interested in these things. I hope in the future, people will stop trying to force black women into these boxes, and finally just accept that we’re not all sassy, aggressive, or ratchet… some of us are actually a little bit awkward!

Coping with Loss

COPING WITH LOSS

It’s not easy. Never has been, never will be. I will say I am blessed to still have a lot of people around me, but sadly they have all experienced loss in their own way. This year more than ever, the world has experienced such deep losses. The coronavirus has taken so many relatives from us in such a brutal way, and we’ve lost such massive heroes like Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman. It really never gets any easier, but in a way it brings us closer together.

I am extremely lucky to say I still have my mom, dad, and brother. Because not everyone can say that. I do however feel like I had to comprehend death at a very young age, which has always made me look at life a little differently. Though most memories from my childhood are a little foggy, I will never forget the moments before and after I experienced each of these great losses. In September 2001, I had just started a new school and was finally starting 1st grade. It was a pretty pivotal moment in my life! Then a few days later one of the most tragic moments in U.S. history occurred. It was a pretty normal day, I remember I was heading to lunch and then my teacher told me that my dad had come to pick me up from school. I was obviously pretty confused and didn’t want to leave my friends, but my dad insisted that I go get my backpack ASAP and we zoomed home. I still had no idea what was going on, until we got home and turned on the news. Being that I was only six, I couldn’t exactly comprehend what I was watching. Of course, my parents explained to me in the best way they could, as did my teachers the following day. Now that I’m 25, I cannot even imagine having to explain something so traumatic to a group of first graders. What made matters worse, is that because we were all living in New York, several dads would travel back and forth from NYC and unfortunately a lot of them lost their lives. The older I got, the more people I met that’s families were effected by this tragic day. Though decades have passed, I’ll never forget that day, especially as a New Yorker.

Though my family was not effected directly by 9/11, the years after that were pretty tumultuous. My aunt was unfortunately very sick. She was always such a bright spot in our family. I was pretty young when she passed, but I’ve always heard such great stories about her and how she always kept everyone on their toes and always had them laughing. Sometimes my dad even says I remind him of her in certain ways. Once again, even though I don’t remember many personal stories between us, I remember exactly what happened when she passed. We were all in my grandmother’s house gathered as a family, sadly we were all aware that these would be her final moments. I remember my dad bringing my brother up to say goodbye, he was a baby, so of course the memory wouldn’t stick with him. But I remember once she finally passed, my mom removed me from the house so I could remember her at her best. We went on a drive and talked about everything that happened, and how unfortunate it was for my cousins to lose their mother at such young ages. Because my dad had previously experienced a loss of his own parent, he knew exactly what they were going through, and has always made sure to keep a watchful eye on them.

I never got to meet my dad’s dad. But I definitely have seen how it has effected him. My mom and dad had just started dating around the time that my grandfather passed. My dad was finally finding success in his field and was happy to be in a good place in his life. Before my grandfather passed, he and my dad weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye. My dad was away for business, but for some reason, my dad felt it in his heart to go back home and apologize to his father and let him know he’ll always love him no matter what issues come up. And soon after that, he passed away. Though all losses are deeply tragic in their own way, I can’t even imagine the grief he would’ve felt had he not made up with him. So that has always stuck with me.

A few years after my aunt passed, my great grandpa and grandpa were both battling cancer. A battle that they both sadly lost within the same year. At this point I was a little older, probably around 8 or 9. So I fully understood what was happening, but I didn’t quite understand why. It didn’t seem fair. These were supposed to be the best times of my life, spending holidays with my big family and making memories to cherish for years to come. But most of my memories of them are visiting them in the hospital. One of my fondest memories of my grandpa was watching the movie Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck. Gosh, that movie was so horrible. But it’s always had a special place in my heart because it’s one of the few moments we got to share before he passed. I actually have not watched that movie since then, because I feel like it will diminish the memory I have with my grandpa. I was learning how to play the piano at that time and was still too shy to play in front of anyone. He would always say one day he’ll get to hear me play. I would tease him and say “nope!”, when in reality I was practicing to make sure whatever I played would be perfect. But sadly, I never got to play for him. And It breaks me up every time I think about it. Though most might now see me as impulsive, because of how long I waited to play one little stupid song on the piano for my grandpa I’ve told myself that if I’m going to do something, I’m not going to waste time and hesitate.

Earlier that same year I lost my great grandpa. From as far back as I can remember, he needed an Electrolarynx to speak. So that’s how I remember his voice in my head. But from all of the stories I heard, he always spoke with purpose and didn’t give a shit whether or not he hurt your feelings. He didn’t have time for tears, not in some sort of strict or stern way. But in the sense that life keeps moving on, so you better take the punches now or never. I’m sure he would be disgusted by Millennials LOL. He was such an important part of my grandma’s life, she was a daddy’s girl. That affection even poured onto my mom. He was tough on them, but they were still his princesses. To have lost both of them in the same year seems unfathomable and unfair. I still don’t understand why, but just like he taught us, we moved on and cherished the time we had with them and still remember them fondly. I can’t speak on what my mom, grandma, and great grandma felt after losing a grandfather, father, and husband. But I know for me, it was a pretty dark time. I kind of felt like there was no point in building relationships if they were just going to be snatched away from me. So I became pretty closed off. But now that I’m older, I understand that isn’t the best method. When you open yourself to make positive memories, you’re able to remember those people in a positive light. And though they may not be there in spirit, the things they left behind can always serve as a guiding light.

By time I got to High School, I experienced losses in other ways. But not in terms of loss of life. High school is hard enough as it is. Everyone is trying to figure themselves out. I remember one kid in particular who was a few years older than me. He was right on track with his life. He was a superstar track athlete and an exceptional scholar. On top of that, he was super nice! I didn’t know him as well as my peers but he and I would always tease one another in the halls. I never really cared about being popular in high school, but it always made me feel good to know that he saw who I was. He didn’t have any ulterior motives, he was just a genuinely nice guy. At the high school I went to, the senior class is allowed to drive off campus to get lunch. Besides all the proms, and graduations, being able to drive off campus was one of the pivotal parts of becoming a senior. At the time, I was in 10th grade, I had just gotten my permit and was learning how to drive. I was excited to be able to drive off campus in two years too. Sadly this very same thing, we all look forward to eventually became something we feared. Because one day this same kind student and his friends were coming back from lunch and got in a car accident which resulted in his death. Once again, it didn’t feel fair. Why would someone with so much potential’s life be cut so short? This was also the first time I experienced someones death that was actually close to my age. I didn’t even want to learn drive anymore. I kept thinking, what is stopping the universe from choosing me next? I remember my dad taking me on a drive, and he took me to the exact spot that the tragic event occurred, letting me know that I would be okay. It helped, but I never used that route after that. Though everyone (especially his family) was grieving, the community was able to come together for once. Our school offered therapy and planned several memorials so we can highlight just how great he was. His brother actually was in our class, and at the time one of his favorite football teams was the Philadelphia Eagles. Our class all worked together to reach out to his favorite player, and it worked! He sent his condolences to our classmate, and though this didn’t change the issue at hand, it definitely made him feel as though he had a community behind him that cared and that he wasn’t alone in his grief. While writing this, I didn’t even realize how much time had passed. This tragic situation occurred almost 10 years ago. Though I’m not personally close with the family, I think about them pretty often and hope that they are doing OK.

When my parents, brother and I moved to California, I was afraid to leave some of my extended family behind. We were so far away, so if something happened we wouldn’t be able to get to them fast enough. Before we left, my great grandma was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This is a pretty common condition, but it’s never easy to see a loved one go through it. She was always such a sassy little lady who loved to bake and dress up. It was really hard to see her lose herself and not be able to do all the things she loved. I always loved going to her house to watch old TV shows like Match Game or Gilligan’s Island. She’s also one of the main reasons I love pop culture! She always had tons of magazines in her house and knew all of the celebrity gossip, she was TMZ before TMZ! I am so grateful I got to spend time with her. I would always brag to everyone that I had a great grandma! I mean how cool is that? I got to be a part of four generations of strong, confident, and well-rounded women. Speaking of well-rounded, I have her to thank for my curvy figure! After my great grandpa passed, she continued to get up and go to work well into her seventies. And that always inspired me. Having a strong work ethic is important, but especially as a black woman. Because I experienced so much loss in my life, I knew in the back of my mind that when we went to visit to the nursing home before we moved, it would be my last time seeing her. Everyday I would pray for her hoping that maybe things would get better, but I also prepared myself so I can be strong for my mom. I’ll never forget the day she passed, it was an average quiet day. My mom, brother and I were all in our own rooms doing our own thing. Then I suddenly heard a scream. My brother and I immediately ran out of our rooms and ran downstairs. We’re a pretty low key family, so we knew something bad had to have happened. I came downstairs to find my mom hysterically crying and she told us the bad news. Obviously I was distraught to hear this, but I switched gears and held on to my mom as tight as I could and made sure was able to grieve while I handled the situation. We called my dad and he raced home. I decided to stay back in California and take care of the house and bring my brother to and from school. I grieved in my own time, but what was more important to me was making sure that everyone else was OK. I made sure I continued to be strong and supportive just like my great grandma and great grandpa taught us.

Most recently the two losses I experienced were my dog Chuck, and our family dog Kobe. I’m sure most people wouldn’t consider the loss of a pet as great as the loss of a relative. But their deaths still leave a hole in your heart. Chuck was my first dog, he was the first thing I could say was “mine”. To be honest, because I was so young when I first got him, I didn’t exactly appreciate him. But once we moved out here he was all I really had. I didn’t have any friends, sure I had my family, but it’s not the same. His original owner was actually going to give him away because they didn’t want to take care of him. I had to beg, but eventually my parents let me take him home. Chuck was always pretty sickly, so I was forced to take extra care with him. After his first hospital visit, I would go to the vet everyday for hours. I would feed him and play music for him until visiting hours were over. He was always in and out of the vet and eventually he was tired, and I totally understood. He was a fighter, that’s why I named him Chuck, just like Chuck Norris. I remember when I said my goodbyes, I couldn’t handle seeing him hooked up to all sorts of tubes and wrapped up in casts. But once he heard my voice, he used all his power to stand up and even tried to jump into my arms. I felt like this was his way of letting me know he appreciated all that I did for him, and that he would be OK. Again, it didn’t feel fair. Chuck was only eight, which is so young for a dog to be so sickly. But I realize Chuck taught me everything I know about how to love, which is why Ozzy is so spoiled. I give Ozzy an excessive amount of attention, because you truly never know how long you have with them. Kobe on the other hand was with us for a while. He passed away during the quarantine. He was nearly 20 years old and was clearly not living the best quality of life. My family decided to put him down because it would’ve been unfair to force him to live a miserable life. Though we loved him dearly, we wanted him to be at peace.

All of the losses I have experienced have been heavy on my mind because it feels like this year has been filled with TOO many. Though we can’t get these people back, we have no choice but to move forward with the lessons they taught us. It’s also important to cherish these people while they’re here because we truly don’t know how much time we have with them. Just like Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman, both of their lives were cut short in the primes of their lives. But they made the best of it while they were here. When doing research for a new tattoo, the concept of “Danse Macabre” came up. This phrase, an allegory from the Middle Ages, basically means that no matter our situation in life, death unites us all. And it’s true, you can be in the prime of your life and it could be cut short or loved one can be taken away. Though it might sound cliche, this is exactly why it’s important to live everyday like it’s your last. I’m sure I’ve given my parents a few frights, but I can’t afford to look back on my life and say I didn’t get to cherish each day.

Through Thick & Thin

Through Thick & Thin

Just like relationships, maintaining friendships takes a lot of work. Though friendships aren’t always supposed to be a walk in the park, they shouldn’t be over complicated either. As I reflect on my life thus far, I can say I’ve definitely been able to develop meaningful friendships out of tough situations that have occurred throughout my life. Too often we throw the word “friend” around, and those same people barely even qualify as an acquaintance. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect friends to fight every single battle for me, nor do I expect them to agree with everything I say. But I do think a friend is expected to be there during the ups and downs. Through thick & thin!

As women we tend to bicker, it’s in our nature. We might call our best friend a bitch one day, and be dancing on top of the bar with her the next day. Coyote Ugly Style! My grandma and her best friend have been thick as thieves for over fifty years! Can you imagine?! Sure they don’t always agree on everything (I mean who does?), but at the end of the day, they support and love each other no matter what. If my grandma told her friend that somebody was talking smack, best believe she would bust down the door coming to kick some ass and ask questions later. And I love that! If one silly little disagreement can end a friendship forever, then I don’t believe that friendship was meant to be. Even if some time and space is needed to start speaking again, a good friend will patch things up and move forward, because they know there’s nothing but love at the core.

My mom is extremely picky about who she is friends with. (Definitely where I got it from). My mom is very particular on who she calls her “friends” and who she lets into her personal life. She’s so private that she doesn’t even have social media, and has never had the desire to (sending her memes is so hard though ugh.) Recently she reconnected with someone who she had considered her best friend before I was even born. I never really knew why they had fallen out, I was pretty young when it happened. But I definitely noticed when she stopped coming around. They hadn’t spoken for over a decade, and then one day her friend reached out to my dad and uncle, ironically, through social media. Even though SO much time had passed, my mom always knew her friend was a genuine person. There was never any sort of competition or comparison, just support for one another. Because of this, my mom was more than willing to accept her back into her life. And she’s been a great addition to our lives! She always supports me and my brother’s achievements, she’s definitely one of our biggest hype women LOL. My mom doesn’t tell her to do that, and she doesn’t even have to. But she does it because she’s truly good friend to my mom and she knows how important her kids are to her.

Though I can now say I have a few good friends that I would drop everything for, the road to get here wasn’t easy. Recently when I was starting this blog, I reached out to some people on my friends list and asked if they would mind supporting/following me. I reached out to one particular friend I had gone to prom with, and even spent time with in NYC last time I was there. He definitely has changed A LOT since high school… for the worst. During high school, he struggled with fitting in and with his sexuality, and I would always be there to lend an ear when he needed to vent. Last time we saw each other he discussed some personal family drama he had been dealing with, so after learning this I would try my best to reach out and send his mom my well wishes. But when I realize someone isn’t giving me back the same love… I’m not going to continue doing so. Through the past seven years I have lived in California I have gone through a fucking LOT. One of those MANY things was having a goddamn tumor on the nerves of my face. (I’m tumor free now though, yay!) Did he reach out to me at all to send condolences? Nope! He would see my IG stories and posts everyday, so he can’t say he “didn’t know”. So recently when I reached out to ask for his support on my blog, he had the fucking audacity to say I was “sketch” and using him for followers. Yeah… I’m soooo jealous of your 1,000 followers. SIR… if you don’t get your clout chasing ass a dose of reality ASAP… puhLEASE! He even brought up the fact that he was still mad, (3-4 years later mind you), that I didn’t come meet him in Huntington Beach. My mommy and daddy don’t pay for me sweetie. Sure they help me out with certain things, but I pay my own monthly bills, I pay my own insurance, and whatever else. I have to get up early and go to work as well as save/manage my money properly. So NO, as I already had explained, I am not paying $300-400 on a round trip Uber nor am I driving back alone from Huntington Beach at 2am after a night of drinking in the middle of the week. It’s disgustingly selfish for someone to even get mad about something like that. I even offered to meet somewhere in between on my day off, but that wasn’t good enough. Sure people grow apart, but you’re not going to accuse me of some bullshit. CTRL + ALT + DELTE outta my life!

I hate talking about my middle/high school experience, because truthfully I’m so over those miserable ass WASPY people. But I definitely did learn several lessons both inside and outside of the classroom. When I was in middle school I was friends with a girl who was on the promiscuous side. I mean, no judgement we all express ourselves in different ways… if that makes you happy… pop that thang girl! However people would constantly talk about her to me or say distasteful things when she wasn’t in the room. To which of course I would speak out against, and even mention to her what was said. But once I started to have problems of my own, it felt like I didn’t have the same support. I was a chubby black girl with glasses and braces among a class of skinny little white girls. I constantly dealt with feelings of self hatred and insecurity. I didn’t expect her to solve these problems whatsoever, but sometimes I just needed to know someone was there to listen. She was not. It felt like I was constantly bothering her with my emotions, and that I was only there to clean up all the messes she would make once she’d flirt with whatever guy friend I had at the time (something I’m now realizing was done on purpose). I would always take her to concerts, we would even go backstage! This check met JAY-Z, RIHANNA, AND BEYONCE OKAY. After a while it seemed like it was something she expected, rather than appreciated. Eventually she left the school and our friendship faded. I actually haven’t heard from her in years, I have no clue what she’s doing with her life. To be honest, I have no problem welcoming people back into my life just as my mom recently did, but sometimes people are removed from your life for good reasons.

Once I got to High School, I found a new “best friend”. She was a bit of an underdog. People weren’t very nice to her, but I like to see the good in people so I gave her a chance. For the most part our friendship wasn’t too bad. But I do feel like there was a bit of a cultural gap. For instance, she would come to my house and sit on our kitchen island… black people don’t play that shit. And I feel like that’s something I’d always have to remind her. Like, girl black people don’t go to country clubs. And anytime I WOULD go, I would hear “omg is this your adopted daughter?” Ah yes, because that’s the only way I’d be allowed in this shit hole establishment right? Not to toot my own horn, but I have certainly been in better and more affluent places than a fucking local country club, but I digress. I honestly don’t think this girl was a racist, but she definitely was fucking ignorant. She would constantly make comments about black hair, black people, etc. One time I forgot why this topic even came up, but for some reason I believe she and another classmate were talking about the actress Gabrielle Union. I don’t remember what the rest of the conversation entailed, because the only thing that stood out to me was when her lips had the audacity to form this statement. She looked over, pointed to me and said “Oh yeah, she’s more of a mocha color… like Tiffani!” First of all, I am a fine ass caramel swirl let’s not play boo! Second of all… how ignorant must you be to describe a black person (the same black person who has checked you SEVERAL times about the way you speak about black people) as MOCHA. Not only did I grow tired of her ignorance, I also grew tired of the blatant envy her and her mother possessed towards my family and I. Eventually our friendship faded as well, and I completely understood why. But when I continued to ask her for her side of things, she would act as though nothing was wrong. So the blatant ignorance, constant competition, and lack of communication really was the nail in the coffin for that friendship. Good riddance.

One good thing about that friendship was that it helped me meet one of my closest friends. When I moved to California, I was afraid this particular friendship would eventually fade out just like the others. Of course we’re busy with our own lives and don’t necessarily talk everyday, but we still manage to support one another thousands of miles away. In addition to that, we’ve also grown together. We’ve matured through the years and figured out our own paths while still being there for one another. We started out as two goofy camp counselors in training, and ten years later she’s finished grad school and is living her dreams as a teacher in NYC, while I am living my dreams in Los Angeles and working on reality TV shows. Who would’ve thought?! Not us LOL!

My other close friend, I met because I knocked on her dorm room door and introduced myself. For some reason I knew we would be friends for a while after that initial meeting. We are completely opposite personalities. She is very laid back and relaxed, and I’m always ready to turn up and turn out. But somehow it just works! Actually just the other day she called me asking if she could use my wi-fi to download something for work. Now, if anybody else would’ve called me at 8am asking for help… I definitely would’ve lied and said I missed the text. LET’S BE REAL. But because I know she would do the same for me, I got my ass up, dropped everything and made sure I was able to help in any way I could. I don’t expect anything in return, because I already know if I texted her saying I needed help she’d reciprocate. But also because our personalities differ, I would NEVER expect her to do anything out of her comfort zone, and vice versa. For instance, I know she doesn’t like to party, so I would never beg her to be my plus one at the bar. COYOTE UGLY STYLE!!! (Yes, I watched it recently, please forgive me LOL). But because we share the same sense of creativity and excitement towards life, we’ve been able to maintain a meaningful friendship for five years so far!

Sure friendships fade over time, and that’s perfectly natural. Things like distance and overall life changes can really put a strain on things. But often times, we tend to outgrow people… typically for the best. For example, you and your friend might have the same party mindset during college, but once one friend decides it’s time to get serious that friendship is likely to dissolve. When you realize that certain “friends” are only there for the high points in your life and not the low points, that friendship is also likely to dissolve. And truthfully, they weren’t even your friend in the first place. Because a true friend will be there through your worst times, and try to help you through it. It’s not your friends job to heal you, but it is important that they recognize when you’re struggling. However, if they only seem to bond with you during your low points, they probably don’t want to see you come out of it. As they say misery loves company! It’s normal for people to come in and out of your life, but make sure you find a few friends that will be there through thick and thin. Because those are the ones that’ll stick around forever!

Being Black in the Workplace: The Fine Line Between Losing Your Dignity or Your Job

Being Black in the Workplace: The Fine Line Between Losing Your Dignity or Your Job

Most recently, people are being called out and held accountable for the racist comments they have made in the past. But that doesn’t mean people are necessarily going to stop, especially if they’re never called out for their actions. Sure we are living in the midst of a revolution, that doesn’t mean I forgot about the racist BS Dan* from music has said in the past. Or the things Carl* at the next desk over would say when he’d interject himself into conversations between me and my other black co workers. Being black in the workplace is already a struggle, we’re often juggling multiple titles and trying to break free from stereotypes. All while having to keep our cool when we hear our co-workers constantly spew micro-aggressions. On one hand, you don’t want to rock the boat and lose the opportunity you fought SO hard for. But on the other hand, they might catch you on the wrong day, and they’ll be sorry they ever even opened their mouths once you’re done reading them.

I’ve been dealing with micro-aggressions my entire life, at this point I can laugh the ignorance off. But there’s something different about when people in high places make racist comments… It feels as though they’re aware what they’re saying is fucked up, but they know nobody is ever going to call them out on it due to their position. I’ve worked at gyms and massage clinic’s and dealt with blatant and escalated racism. Honestly it was expected, pretty much anyone can walk into either location so you’re bound to encounter some people that are a unaware of social cues. But when you work somewhere like a notable production company, you’d think people are smart enough to watch what they say… not the case!

I worked at said production company for two years. I started as the receptionist and eventually moved upstairs to the executive floor. As receptionist, I would greet everyone in the morning and throughout the day, as most receptionists do. After a while you start to create a rapport with certain co-workers. One executive in particular would always bring up something hip-hop related anytime he would see me. Yeah, I listen to rap. I mean who doesn’t? Truthfully I listen to rock, house music, and jazz more than anything. It is so irritating when people think they have some sort of “in” with ALL black people. Just because you wear Supreme and have been to Kanye’s Sunday Service doesn’t mean you know ME. This same person even started to talk to me about smoking weed all the time. Not only is that just fucking weird to talk about with the receptionist, but also just because I’m black doesn’t mean I think smoking weed is cool. How about trying to ask me what types of things I as a person am interested in, instead assuming everyone in the black culture enjoys the same things. He even hit me with the “I grew up around a lot of black people…” and the best, “My best friend is black!” Whew, still makes my blood boil to this day. There’s several issues with this. CLEARLY nobody has called this man out! But also as the receptionist, I wasn’t going to be the one to do so. I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers or ruin an opportunity to move up in the future. Luckily, my co-worker finally had enough of this mans ludicrous behavior and called him out. They were restructuring our companies website and there was a call to add more diverse faces to the employee page. This WHITE man had the AUDACITY to say he represented more than enough diversity for the ENTIRE company. WILD!

Once I moved upstairs, the conversations got worse. Thank goodness I had another black women up there, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived as long as I did. It was fine for the first few months because I actually became close with the other assistant. But once they let her go, they immediately hired one of the most chaotic and ignorant human beings I’ve ever met in my entire twenty-five years of life. For starters, he was already given WAY too much praise before even proving his worth (something that came back to bite them all in the ass). Within his first full DAY of working at the office, he was already being included in meetings. I was livid because as someone who was kicking ass at her job, not ONCE was I ever invited into meetings. But because this overhyped white dude comes along, suddenly none of that matters. Turns out, not only was he an idiot, he had also been fired from his previous job and caused a scene so large that security had to escort him out of the building. It took him four months to learn how to answer the phone, which meant I always had to step up and do his job as well.

In addition to literally not contributing anything to the environment, he would constantly make racially insensitive remarks. Honestly, I have tried to block this man out of my memory, but there are several comments that will never go away. I recall him pitching a show idea to my co-worker, who is also white. This man, we’ll call him “Carl”, (although a more appropriate name would be “Cunt”) said that we should do a show that focused on “the help” of wealthy people around the world. However, he started his pitch by saying “Most people are racist and they don’t even realize it… for instance someone might say “look at that negro over there”.) Words cannot explain how badly I wanted to walk over to this mans desk and punch him in the face… but this wasn’t the end of it!

Like I said, he had a LOT of free time on his hands because he was never working, so he would read the news headlines. On this particular day, a video (which you can view for yourself below) of a woman at a CVS screaming the N-word and calling black people monkeys had surfaced on the internet. This man had the audacity to ask me “so how do you feel about all of this?” WHAT! WHAAAAT?! I was so dumbfounded by the ignorance of this question and all I could really say was “It sucks”.

Oh you thought I was done? Nope! My fellow black co-worker and I were having a private conversation about the fact that we’re often overlooked and that these executives immediately include their white assistants into the conversation without them even having to prove themselves like we do. Tell me WHY this dude then went to tell the assistant that the particular situation revolved around that “we didn’t like her”. Completely skewing the conversation to fit his own narrative, a conversation he wasn’t even a part of to begin with. Luckily my co-worker cursed him out and told him to keep her name out of her mouth. The final straw was when that same co-worker and I were having another PRIVATE conversation about black families and how much we praise our grannies. This motherf*cker had the gall to say “I wish I had a black grandma… sometimes my friends and I sit around and talk about how fun it would be to have a black grandma.” I already had enough of him and his ignorance LONG before he made this comment, but this was the final straw. Little did he know, I had been tracking every comment in my phone so I could finally go to HR and make them aware of his remarks.

He eventually got fired a few weeks later for an array of things, but I’m sure his slew of racist comments didn’t help his case either. It’s crazy that these people don’t see anything wrong with making comments like this. It’s even crazier that these are the same people who claim to be allies. Though there is no cure for ignorance, it’s important that we call these people out or else they will never learn. I can only speak on being black in the workplace, because that is my experience. This however goes for people of ALL races, religions, and sexualities. If we continue to apply pressure to these people, it’s possible that we can reframe their mindset so they can think before they speak… or they can at least learn to shut the hell up once in a while!

Managing Your Mind

Managing Your Mind

Well, this is probably one of the hardest topics I’ve had to write about. I struggled all day with whether or not I should even discuss this because as I’ve mentioned before I’m not exactly comfortable with being vulnerable. However, I’m hoping that the more open I am with my struggle with mental health, the easier it will be to manage.

For starters, everyday is a struggle with mental health issues. It doesn’t come in waves, it’s not a switch, it’s a cloud that lingers over me everyday. Some days I am able to distract myself from my thoughts, but they never go away contrary to what people think.

When I was working, sure I would have my low days, but it was fairly easy to keep my head up because I was around friends and grateful that I had some sort of purpose or agenda each day. Working is what motivates me. I got my first official job when I was 15, and before that I would ask my dad what I could do around his office to make money. I worked while going to school, and when I finished school I immediately started working a week after my last day of classes. I was eager to continue my path in my field when I was hired for my new job. Up until that fateful day in March that I was told the new company I was working for was forced into a hiring freeze until possibly August (yep, it’s still on hold…) I immediately broke down not only because I would now be jobless, but because I knew how terrifying it would be for me to be alone with my own thoughts in my apartment for that long.

I had already put my two weeks in at the previous job, and was in the final three days of my position. After receiving the news, I asked if I would be able to at least stay on and take less money, because I was going to be unemployed for the unforeseeable future. My boss kept being vague with her responses, and when continued to ask, she said they wouldn’t be able to keep me on because they are “already looking for someone else who knows how to use photoshop and graphics.” Really? In the midst of a FUCKING pandemic I’m SURE you’re interviewing people in between figuring how to keep the business afloat. Please miss me with that. Also – I DO know how to do these things, I was just never asked to do them (even after I would ask how I could help).

I cried for about 3 days straight, because honestly I had no idea what the hell to do. I have never been jobless or not had some sort of agenda, so what was I supposed to do now? I had three days left in the previous job, but I woke up and said fuck it and emailed the HR team to let them know that it would be my last day. I didn’t answer anyone’s messages, because I know the only reason they reached out was to get a response for my boss… NOT because they genuinely cared for my well being. I didn’t really feel the need to answer my bosses demeaning texts after they (who neglected to properly train me), told me about six months into my time there that I wasn’t doing “enough” but they had been afraid to correct my behavior. How the? What the? I can really go on and on about that, but I’m not going to stray from the point of this post. I’m sure many would think my decision to quit was impulsive, but I’m not really sure what type of reaction they expected from me after telling me I basically wasn’t good enough.

For years, I had been able to distract myself by keeping myself busy 24/7. Even if I was burnt out, it was better than having a low moment. I’d like to add that, yes… I know things could be worse, people are dying and losing businesses and homes. But struggling with depression and anxiety on top of being alone, in an apartment, isolated from the world and the busy life I had lived before is no easy feat.

The days after I was officially deemed ~unemployed~ are still a blur. It was a real “oh sh*t” moment. Sure once the unemployment came through I was making double than my previous salary. But as they say money, doesn’t necessarily bring you happiness. There are times that I think to myself, well maybe if I no longer existed this would all just go away. I mean that’s the easiest solution right? Some days I feel so defeated that I rather lay on my couch for a week and be hungry, than go out and get groceries.

Despite all the madness and sadness, something in me still allows me to be optimistic. Most people would consider being a hopeful person something positive. But I sometimes see it as a crutch. Sometimes even smallest instance of false hope is enough to send me into a downward spiral, because I truly like to see the best in people and situations. Month by month I would hype myself up and think, “OK… only a few more weeks and it’ll be all over, your life will be back to normal soon.” Our dumbass government had us under the impression that this all would be knocked out by March. But then came April… May… June… and so on. Each month concluding with disappointment and crushed dreams.

I see so many people making the best of this time by finding love or moving their relationship to the next level. People are getting engaged, even having babies, and it’s beautiful! Because I’m a hopeful person, I figure hey you know what maybe I should check out those apps again. Only to get played by dudes with superiority complexes. I’ve even had to block so many “ex’s” that felt NOW would be a good time to start talking again. Sure I’m lonely, but those people are ex’s for a damn reason. Truthfully it’s a bit frightening and extremely stressful that people still have time to play mind games at a time like this.

On top of this all, the Black Lives Matter movement suddenly blew up with the death of George Floyd. Part of me is relieved that people finally began to listen and understand what the statement really means, but it’s extremely painful to have to relive so many situations from my past. I could barely sleep thinking that I might wake up tomorrow and see my brother as a hashtag. Of course, this is a thought I constantly have in the back of my mind, but the thoughts were now so loud and inescapable. I LOVE that people are speaking out on how black women are constantly neglected and mistreated, but it hurts to keep replaying situations from my life over and over again. It’s like opening up old wounds. So while I want to keep fighting the good fight, it’s painful to relive these things every single day.

Every day I ask myself what my purpose really is supposed to be. If I did everything right up until this point, what was all that work really for? I’m still not sure what the answer to that is yet. But what I do know is that though these are bizarre times, I’m not the only one struggling. This lockdown is not easy for anyone. Truthfully, it’s long overdue that I sit with my thoughts and reflect on my past, rather than constantly try to suppress them. I’m constantly trying to restructure my negative thoughts to positive ones. I would constantly blame myself for certain things falling apart in my life. But this pandemic truly has taught me that I really have no control over these situations, especially not one of this magnitude. I have come to realize that some of the things and people in my life NEEDED to be removed. I needed a full reset to really re-evaluate my relationships and expectations of myself. I’ve kept a wall up for decades so avoid getting hurt, but since teaching myself to be vulnerable in the appropriate situations, I feel like my relationships have improved drastically. Even with this blog, I always thought to myself “nobody cares what I have to say”, turns out people do! My whole life I’ve felt like I was some sort of alien, because I looked at life through a different lens than a lot of the people around me. But honestly what I’m feeling is scary, but relatively normal for someone who actually wants to do better for themselves. I feel like even though some days are harder than others, once this is over I’ll truly be stronger than I was at the start of this.