You Don’t Know a Thing About Me

People love to tell me that I'm the most honest person they know and that they love how vocal I am about the things that matter - right up until it hits a little too close for comfort.

People love to tell me that I’m the most honest person they know and that they love how vocal I am about the things that matter – right up until it hits a little too close for comfort.

I’m dedicating this one to my half-brother who was half-raised by a father who isn’t even half a man.

I was eight years old when my mother gave birth to the spawn of the devil. Eight years old when they made me and my sister watch the birth. Made us watch that giant head rip our mother in places an eight year old and a five year old should not have to see. But it was important to him, ROC – Satan, as he’s more commonly known. He needed us to see his spawn enter the world and break any will my mother had left to resist him. He needed us to know just how little we mattered in the scheme of things.

Only my sister can correct me if I’m remembering this wrong but he watched a basketball game from the head of the bed as we were made to sit at the foot and told to watch his miracle happen OR ELSE. It was supposed to be a lesson in what happens to slutty girls like us – branded whores before they’ve ever even kissed a boy, before they’ve even reached double digits in age or experienced puberty. If you let a boy put his penis inside of you, then you too will be ripped to shreds and held hostage by the seed of the monster sitting comfortably in a hospital chair as he roars orders at tiny, frightened beings who just want to be anywhere but there.

Since I am eight years older than my half-brother, DXC, I don’t hold it against him that he seemingly can’t remember any of the abuse that my sister and I suffered at the cruel hands of his father who isn’t even half a man. He certainly doesn’t recall the circumstances of his birth.

He wouldn’t remember his father beating me with a leather belt across my back for bringing home Bs on my report card at the end of the fourth grade. He can’t be expected to recall how I was grounded that entire summer for my “substandard” performance. So it’s only teasingly that I used to tell him he was lucky to get a truck as a C-average student when I got grounded and beaten for two Bs. But it wasn’t really luck at all. It was favoritism – nepotism, I think is the word.

DXC is ROC’s actual child. My sister and I were forced upon ROC when he couldn’t even be bothered to raise his own two children from a previous marriage. So, naturally, he took every opportunity to let us know just how in the way we really were. I don’t expect DXC to remember any of that. He was just a child.

He was barely three when ROC broke that wooden broom handle and then the wooden mop handle over my back. But his “trustworthy because they shared ROC’s last name” half-sister was there to witness it. It was a family affair. My mother, my sister, little half-brother and his half-sister, and ROC were all gathered round.

There I was the main attraction, the girl who refused to cry. I didn’t cry when he hit me with the leather belt, so he made me bring out the broom. He broke that on me and still not a tear. So I was forced to get the mop; he broke that too but I still refused to cry. I was very Kunta Kinte that way. The more he beat me, the more defiant I became. So this went on until his arm grew tired, as he tells the story.

I just remember thinking, if they want a show, I’ll give them a show. My fragile body may be broken but my soul is unconquerable. He must have forgotten that he’d made me memorize “Invictus” by threat of force. So really what was he expecting? He expected me to be as dumb as he is and not understand that he was the trying-to-pass-for-white negro lording over my brown ass for master’s benefit. But unfortunately for him, by this time I’d read Malcolm X’s autobiography, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and The Bible in their intirety. So I was way too hip to the game for that sucker.

I don’t expect my half-brother to half-remember any of that. But he was plenty old enough to remember when our only shared sister was molested. She couldn’t have been older than thirteen and made the grave mistake of growing boobs. In a family that harbors and coddles abusers and losers, maturing into womanhood at any age is a terrible idea. So when the predator that raped his own daughter happened to my little sister, I was pissed!

I was pissed at my mom for letting her go around that child raper. I was pissed at my aunt for staying married to that asshole and telling my sister she “must have misunderstood what happened.” But I was stab-you-while-you’re-sleeping pissed at ROC for telling my sister she got what she deserved for being such a dirty slut. He also told her she should stop lying about what happened because “everyone knows the truth” and she must have made it all up for the attention.

Cuz that’s what black girls do, you know. We get hysterical for no reason and suddenly some grown-ass man slipping his tongue in our mouth, grabbing our newly formed breasts, and telling us how long he’s waited for that moment gets confused with actual incestual molestation. Silly brown uterus-carriers! There we go thinking we’re actually human or even worthy of being considered women. Hardy har har!

For that particular abuse my half-brother would have been eight. He might not remember a whole lot about being eight (because he smokes a lot of pot, like his mother, and drinks a lot of alcohol) but one should probably remember his sister that he was raised with being molested and the very F’d up way his shitty father responded to it.

Not only did I have to convince my sister that the man who claimed to be her father, ROC, was just a step-daddy and couldn’t possibly speak for everyone with his awful views, but I had to pay (out of my college fund that I’d worked 40+ hour weeks to earn while going to school full time and still earning straight As) for the gas and lawyer fees for my mom and little sister to go back to Louisiana to prosecute that molesting child fucker because ROC refused to give a single penny. You’d think an eight year old could remember some of that!

But hey, he was young and wrapped up in his own shit. Like picking out which private school to attend, choosing the best theme parks for Summer vacay, and enduring the grueling challenge of picking which sport my mother would attend all the games for when she couldn’t even be bothered to participate in the extracurricular activities of her first two children. But hey, who’s bitter?

This chick. This one right fucking here. So when that fucking prick of a shitty half-brother of mine told me that his fucked up, child abusing, self righteous, self absorbed , selfish fucking father raised me with “love and compassion,” I wanted to push him in front of a moving vehicle. Instead, I pushed his drunk, screaming self out of my face and asked him not to be an asshole like his fucked up father. His response was to tell me that until I can stop being an ungrateful bitch to his father, then I’m not welcome in his life.

Uh, dude, I’m the result of an abusive childhood. You really think abandoning me is going to hurt me?! Half-brother, if you cared to recall, that’s the story of my life. Ain’t nothing new there. See you on the other side of Hell, dude.

So that’s how come I’m minus a brother for speaking my truth and why I give zero fucks in the end. It’s a great story that you’ll never care enough to read, bro! Thank you to the rest of you for reading part one of the multi-part story of assholes I used to know.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

I hope you did. I missed you.

I hope you did. I missed you.

 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve published anything. I know. If you’re reading this, thank you for sticking around. I took some time away because people wore me thin. I got a lot of what-about-me responses to my words and it drained me. I write what I’ve lived and what I know to be true. If that elicits feelings in you, deal with them in your own time and space. I cannot carry your baggage. My back is not that strong. My response to your tears will be to hand you a tissue and continue speaking truth.

So let’s clear up a few questions before we continue this journey together.

“Why don’t you care about the feels I’m feeling?” you’ll demand. Let’s start from the beginning.

My mother was nineteen when I was born so I cut her a lot of slack. She and my father couldn’t make it work. For whatever reason, they decided I’d be better off without him in my life. I never could understand that one but I’m too old to dwell on it at this point. I wasn’t that old when she married my stepdad (RC) who made it his life’s mission to make me “tough.”
Tough to him apparently meant dead inside. RC beat me with his fists. He beat me with a leather belt. He beat me with the wooden handle of a broom and mop. RC beat me with his AKA paddle and cane. But don’t worry. My mother was there through it all. She choked me, my mother. She punched me too, my mother. She stood on my back and beat me with an extension cord, my mother. So the point is, my family dynamics were never such that I learned to trust anyone enough to grow too attached to them. So your feelings genuinely don’t make sense to me. I’m all I’ve ever known so if you don’t feel and know what I do, then I don’t know how to help you get there. I can’t fix what’s broken in you because I’m working really hard every day to fix what they tried to break inside of me. Sorry? I’m always working to make me better than I currently am.
“I have a penis. Why don’t you worship me?” you’ll demand. I can answer that with the same response to the shouts of, “Why don’t you worship my white womanhood? Why don’t you appreciate my fake ass offer of solidarity?”
I came to a crossroads in college when I discovered I loved women as much as I loved men. And I was in bed with a lovely girl when a penis-carrier (RWH) walked in on us. I was at West Point, remember, and living under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. So he took what should have been a beautiful moment for me and used it to coerce me into performing sexual acts for his pleasure with no regard for my person. You read that correctly, RWH raped me and I was forced into silence. When I turned to white women expecting solidarity, I got blamed and shamed and treated like shit. RWH, who raped me, is dating a classmate of mine (JB). Neither of them (RWH and JB) give a single fuck about the damage they do because what really matters is keeping up appearances. It only matters that people think they’re good not they’re actually trying to be good. That whole experience led me to the joint conclusions that penises aren’t really that special and white women only want solidarity that suits their agendas. I don’t hate penises or white women but I’m sufficiently wary of both. You’ve got an uphill climb to reach my heart.
It’s been done but I have no interest in making it  easy.
“I’m a good person. You should kiss my ass. Where’s your appreciation for my mediocrity?” you’ll demand. Oh, honey, have a seat.
I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by people who declare themselves good and then show their true colors. [I plan to expound on this and show examples in later blogs.] I’ve learned not to buy into the bullshit. We all think we’re good people. Ted Bundy genuinely believed himself a decent human being. I’m pretty good at recognizing and praising awesomeness. If you were as wonderful as you believe yourself to be, you wouldn’t have to shout it at me. I’d have picked up on it already on my own. I search for the good in people. I’d totally kiss your ass if you did anything remotely worthy. And I’m a really good kisser too.
“Tell me what I’ve missed while you were away,” you’ll demand. Not that I owe anyone anything but I do want to brag.
I started dating seriously about a year ago. I tried my hand with a handsome man (S) and a handsome woman (K) and neither of them suited me (nor I them, I reckon). My very best friend at West Point recommended I try Match.com and that’s where I linked up with another queer girl in SC (M). I am so very happy with M. She’s smart, funny, attentive, hard charging, ridiculously sexy, and just a really wonderful soul. My kids adore her. [They’re doing well, in case you were wondering. They’ve all recently progressed to the next grade in school with outstanding grades and happy, carefree hearts.] M and I haven’t Uhauled yet but I think we’re pretty committed to each other’s happiness and to loving each other, so I’m quite content with that.
“Do people really ask these things?” you’ll wonder. And the answer is yes.
Of course, I can only retell it, the way I hear it in my head once it’s been said. I’ve accepted the fact that people think I’m their personal Oprah and therefore obligate me to give a fuck about their shit. I get it. So I don’t like it but I’ve stopped fighting it. It’s my lot in life. So okay. Bring it on. I’m not your brown messiah but I’ll do what I can.
Welcome back to this weird, little blog of mine. Let’s see where we can take this thing, huh?
Shit’s about to get really real. This one deserves a second picture.
And she has no chill.

And she has no chill.

Better Know A Brown Girl – The Lead Up

Why does it always have to be about race? You tell me. I sure wish it wasn't.

Why does it always have to be about race? You tell me. I sure wish it wasn’t.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my experiences this year and where they’ve brought me as I enter into the next year.

On race: If you think my fear, anger, and outrage are *for* the dead blacks murdered by the cops, you’ve missed the point. They’re dead. They’ve found an escape from this hell. 

I fear *for* those of us forced to live under the oppression that leads to and subsequently justifies our murders. I am angry *for* the parents forced to bury their children, forced to continue pleading and begging for white people to recognize our humanity and stop perpetrating illogical, fear-based slaughter. I am outraged *for* the simple fact that there is no way to win in this rigged game except to be born white, which none of us can control; and that there are those who think the onus is on me to educate them on my humanity and convince them of my right to basic human decency.

I am and will remain passionately determined. This is not a phase. You cannot silence me or wait me out. If you are not *for* my right to exist without undue fear, then you are not *for* me. Reverse racism does not exist. Unchecked privilege will not be met with anything other than disdain. I am a well-rounded, well-read human being entitled to the expression of a full range of emotions. I will never smile and dance to make you feel comfortable with my skin or my presence. I will never shrink to make you feel bigger or better. These things are not negotiable or open for debate.

At anytime, you are free to walk away. But you are not free to belittle, chastise, or disrespect me in my own space and expect me to respond with some sort of fairy tale kindness you’ve been mislead to believe you’re entitled to from brown people. I am not some lesser being that needs you to reach down and pull me up. You do me no favors by declaring me a “friend” unless you’re willing to actually act as one. Do not call me a friend if you do not see us as equals. If you believe yourself better than me, you’re delusional and patronizing. Making me one of your tokens does not excuse you from responsibility or consequences. I am not an excuse to justify your racist thoughts, actions, or convictions. I am not here to validate your privileged existence. I am here to live my own life as best I can and make life a little better for those who come after me.

If there is anything you should know by now, it’s that I don’t need anyone else’s approval or permission to be unashamedly me. Love me, hate me, or somewhere between the two and I’m going to be just fine. If I’ve managed to make it this far without you, I can probably continue on just as well once you’re gone. I keep a small, tight-knit circle by design. I know who I can trust and who loves me. Everyone else is a surplus – happily gained but easily jettisoned.

I tell you all that to tell you this. I’m preparing a Q&A segment on race for 2015. I’ve been asked a lot of race-related questions that my friends – yes, mainly my white friends – wanted answered. I’ve put some time and thought and effort into answering them to the best of my ability. I’m always open to answering questions and welcome any you may have. I know I’ve previously declared that I’m not interested in being your token black friend and that hasn’t changed. But I’ll be your really outspoken, loving, passionate, loudly opinionated brown friend. I’ll have the difficult conversations with you because I believe in our ability to change the world for the better. (PS – A similar segment on queer life is in the works as well. And I’m contemplating a launch on another blog site if I can overcome my usual flakiness. It’s going to be a good year, y’all.)

I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive

I've seen all the kids in the soda pop ads and none of them look like me.

I’ve seen all the kids in the soda pop ads and none of them look like me.

Interesting fact: every 28 hours a black person is killed in America by police, security guards, or vigilantes. Every 28 hours someone who looks like me is shot down dead without the benefit of a trial, grand jury, or the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Why?

One need only listen to the reasons given as justification of the murder to answer that question. “He was no angel. He was a thug. He should have known his place. He shouldn’t have been in that location. He shouldn’t have been wearing those clothes. He was holding a toy gun, what did he expect? Why was she knocking at someone’s door at that hour? How was anyone to know she wasn’t a threat?”

We are always ready with an excuse to justify the murder of yet another black person because we have collectively agreed – decisively or by non-action – that black people are less than human. By virtue of birth, blacks – regardless of socio-economic status – are at a deficit in human capital. Then American society charges its black citizenry to be “model citizens,” “saints” even, in order to earn their basic humanity; and if we cannot live up to this ever-changing and impossible standard then our penance is death. This rule applies to all those born outside the white, heterosexual, male norm though the severity of the punishment varies by targeted group.

A 2014 FBI study on active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013, reveals that 160 such incidents occurred during this period. (The FBI admits its tracking is flawed and this number is low.) The overwhelming majority of these crimes were committed by white males armed with rifles and shotguns in places of commerce. Yet white males are allowed to walk unimpeded through pedestrian areas and stores carrying assault rifles and never be considered a threat. They are assumed well-intentioned and within their right to exist regardless of the fear for life this imposes on others.

Juxtapose that image with the image of an unarmed black male. This citizen is automatically assumed a threat. He carries no assault rifle. The only fear he imposes on others is that assigned to him based solely on the color of his skin. His very blackness is a threat considered legitimate enough to justify his killing. Just existing is reason enough to end your existence. And it happens every 28 hours.

The case that shatters my heart at the moment is that of 12 year old, Tamir Rice. I refuse to engage in debate on whether he was a “good” kid because it’s simply not relevant. It is NEVER relevant! He was a kid. He was a kid with a toy gun. He was a kid with a toy gun and brown skin. And now he’s a dead kid. Another black life lost.

My oldest son turns seven in a few months. He owns a Red Ryder BB gun. He got it for Christmas just like in the movie. But this isn’t a movie and my child isn’t as white as the one on the screen. Right now he’s adorable and people walk up to us to tell me so. But there will come a day when his voice deepens, his body becomes muscular, and his height reaches the point where cute transforms into assumed threat. The brown boy who doesn’t realize he’s a legitimate target may not fully grasp that showing off his really cool Red Ryder BB gun to his friends is reason enough to execute him.

So while his white friends can choose to exercise their second amendment right to walk the street with assault rifles, I will live in constant fear of allowing my child to walk down the street while brown. And that makes me sad, frustrated, and angry. It leaves me feeling hopeless to protect my child from the yoke of racism that society has placed on him. And it leaves me wondering when my children will ever be granted full citizenship in the country whose military I serve? When will the Constitution I swore to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic apply equally to my children? And it leaves me wondering when others will care?

Then there are people who call themselves my friends whose only commentary on the situation at hand is to tell me to follow an arbitrary list of behaviors and reactions that they have decided are appropriate so that they may feel comfortable around me. To those people I say this is not a matter to be taken lightly. My life and the lives of my children are at stake. I have every right to feel however that makes me feel and to express those feelings without your judgment or criticism.

So no, I won’t be quiet. I won’t accept that this is just the way things are. And I won’t for even a moment prioritize your comfort over the lives of my children. The truth of the matter is, if the fact that every 28 hours someone who looks like me is killed in the United States doesn’t make you sad enough to accept a little discomfort and/or angry enough to spur you to act toward changing that statistic, then our friendship is disturbingly one-sided. I’m a vocal advocate for women’s rights, LGBT rights, veteran rights, religious rights – put simply I believe in the right of every human being to safely exist as they are. So if you can find the time to chastise me but not the time to be concerned for my right to exist, then perhaps your finger should be wagging at the face in the mirror.

Nobody’s Girl

I apologize, Journey, but I'm afraid I've stopped believing.

I apologize, Journey, but I’m afraid I’ve stopped believing.

I’m not sure I believe in romantic love anymore. Love is not as I think it should be. Whatever it actually is isn’t something I can put much faith in the way I used to.

I have always believed love to be kind, caring, loyal, faithful, supportive, honest, genuine, and true. What I’ve come to know, however, is that what everyone calls love is most just a sham. It’s a word they throw around to convince themselves and others of lies.

I wish I were projecting here. I wish it was just me being jaded. But the more I see of what other people call love, the less inspired I am to believe and the more wide with disbelief my eyes become.

Most people make an effort to make their relationship look good from the outside but just below the surface lies a whole other story. The funny thing is I’m starting to think most people want their charade to be found out. They want to know that someone sees the truth. They’re just too afraid to let anyone because of the fear of judgment. But if you hang around quietly for a while, people stop fearing you and start being themselves.

I am the queen of non-judgment. I say to each its own and I mean it. That seems to be why this dirty hippie gets to see so much raw truth. I have to tell you that it’s bumming me the hell out, man. I don’t want people to start lying to me. That’d be a fate worse than death. I just want to know someone who’s actually what they project themselves to be. Nobody has to be perfect – in fact, be as f**ked up as you want – just be consistent and honest.

Here’s the thing that chaps me about relationships: nobody who’s in one is happy but they try to make everyone who isn’t in one think they’re supposed to be. You’re not happy but you’re trying to tell me I should join you in that unhappiness? What the what what? I thought you care for me. Why would you want that for me? Why do you want that for you?

One or both parties in a relationship has a growing list of expanding lists: 1) things about the other person that piss me off; 2) things the other person could do better for us; 3) things about us that aren’t as good as I have to pretend; 4) things about me that I’ve been forced to change or give up for us that are silently making me bitter; 5) things I can’t say because it’ll hurt the other person’s feelings even though it’s killing me not to say it; 6) things that I miss since becoming a couple but have to pretend are no big deal; 7) lies that I repeat to make staying bearable… and it goes on.

One or both parties in a relationship are in some stage of unfaithfulness: 1) sexually cheating, 2) emotionally cheating, 3) mentally cheating, 4) trying to cheat but too lame to pull it off, or 5) wishing they could cheat and not get caught. Why the hell do we do this to ourselves?

Who duped us into this cycle? When did we buy into the lie that we have to be coupled or actively pursuing a coupling? How do I get off of this carnival ride of horrors?

There’s nothing wrong with being alone. It’s awesome. It’s quiet. And if it’s too quiet (which has never happened, even once) I can go make some noise with anyone I choose.

Why sit around being miserable with some poor bastard who’s also miserable with you just because you’re both too afraid of uncoupling? And this is something I should want for myself?? Just what kind of fool do you think I am?

I choose an alternative of my own design wherein I learn to be happy by myself, quiet with myself, and content within myself. People can come and go as they will because I’m so whole and complete within me that I can enjoy what they offer while it lasts and live without it once it’s gone. That’s what I’m interested in pursuing. That’s what tickles my fancy. That’s the life for me.

Closure Comes Unexpectedly

That don't haunt me no more... I ain't scared of anything or anyone anymore. - Mike McClure

That don’t haunt me no more… I ain’t scared of anything or anyone anymore. – Mike McClure

I read a blog post on #MissREVOlutionaries about a #reddit user (or group) advocating for raping women to train us in proper social behavior. Reddit Rapist wrote that men are actually quite brave to enforce society’s standards by disciplining women – physically and through rape. At first I was really freaked out. I was scared. I thought, “How is it possible that someone like this not only exists but feels secure enough in his beliefs and self-righteousness to broadcast it publicly – albeit from the anonymity of the internet?!”

Then I shouted at my screen, “Is this guy f’n psychotic?!” And the longer I sat with it, the less frightened I became and the more assured I was that yes this guy is f’n psychotic. I read the whole thing again and this time I heard the words in the voice of my rapist. And it all made sense. This reddit user and my rapist have two things in common: 1) they’re both sociopaths; and 2) somewhere tonight some woman is singing their praises. Their pathology allows for self-delusion on a larger scale than you and I can reasonably comprehend. They’re so convinced of their self-righteousness that they don’t feel the least bit bad or guilty for the hurt they inflict and in fact believe they’re doing you a favor, saving you from a great evil. And rest assured there’s a woman standing by his side just as delusional and sure that he rescued her.

So thank you, sociopathic reddit user, for revealing your true self. You’ve no idea how you’ve helped me deal with being raped by a sick bastard just like you. And even more than that, thank you for showing me how to win against sick fucks like you. If your goal is to break sluts like me and force us to conform to patriarchal social norms through fear, intimidation, and violence then the only way to make sure you don’t win is to be just as slutty as I was before you happened to me – maybe even more so.

I think we even agree on what a slut is – independent, headstrong, consensual sex enjoying, educated, authority-questioning, self-confident, self-reliant, self-assured female who believes she has the right to her own autonomy. I can dig it. I’m all of the above – especially the part of about liking consensual sex. The fear you hoped to instill in me won’t change any of that because I see you for the pathetic coward that you really are. And eventually everyone else will too. You can only fool a fool for so long, kid. Time is running out for you and your kind. The writing’s on the wall. You’re scared and you’re desperate and you’re losing more ground with each passing day. I’ll just be over here slutting it up all in your face. And you’ll never rape my love of self out of me.

It’s Not All About You

Love yourself enough to be in the light who you are in the dark. - Randessa

Love yourself enough to be in the light who you are in the dark. – Randessa

 

If I slice open the scarred tissue of my heart and bleed for you, it’s not because I expect you to be able to heal the wound. I’ve survived it before, I know how to heal myself. But if your response to the outpouring of my blood is to tell me that what caused the scars is in my head or not that bad or just not possible, please know that at the moment your callous words leave your lips we can no longer be friends. You instantly declare yourself to be someone I only thought I knew.

 

I’ve had enough of carrying other people’s baggage. I have more than enough of my own. You are entitled to feel however you feel about what happened to me, but I’m not obligated to care in the least. This is my life – my one and only life and I’m going to live it. Each day I am given will be used to better myself, grown, learn, seek, explore, and enjoy. I’m not interested in your opinions of my life because you’ve never spent a single day walking around in my skin. You’ll never have to live with the consequences of the actions you’re so desperate to force on me.

 

No. I won’t change my story or change my mind to make you or anyone else feel more comfortable. I won’t stop telling the truth so you can perpetuate lies. I won’t stop writing and sharing my thoughts with anyone willing to read them because I believe in the power of a story. I believe that if I tell it just right I can save someone else the trouble of having to live it. I believe that someday my words will mean something to someone. You won’t stop me because I don’t do this for you. I do this for me and the others like me.

 

For those who were abused as children and duped into believing that abuse is love. For those who were raped and made to believe that it was their fault. For those who find themselves caught in the cycle of abuse and are starting to think that this is their normal. For the addicts, freaks, weirdos, loners, introverts, deep thinkers, ponderers, dreamers, uber nerds and geeks who are sick to death of pretending the world is filled with sunshine and daisies. These are my people: the ones who are learning to bend to keep from breaking under the weight of the world. And it is for them and for me that I write these words.