TW: Sexual Assault and Violence

For the past several hours I have been debating about how I was going to organize this piece… because it is much different from what I am normally writing about. Usually I am focused on myself and what I am dealing with, but this time it’s about me as well as everybody else. It’s about my brothers and sisters, my friends, the family I have consciously chosen. It’s about a few issues that reach every corner of the Earth and all too often are not handled with the care they deserve.

**I have yet to explicitly state where I live or attend school but for the sake of telling this story fully and completely, the institutions involved will not remain nameless. There are enough people being paid to protect them, and more people protecting them for free.. I will not be one of them.

On Thursday, August 24th, 2017, a group of students (myself included) from Spelman College and Morehouse College met on Clark Atlanta University’s campus (the promenade) to discuss the recent assaults against women that have taken place on Morehouse’s campus as well as the culture that contributes to allowing these assaults to continue happening with little to no repercussions. Granted, the subject alone brings in a lot of emotion. We did get loud and some would consider our demeanor to have been “rowdy”. However, at no point did we as students escalate the situation to a point where it was necessary to be treated the way we were.

Clark Atlanta University’s campus police asked us to leave “since [we] can’t act right” and everyone began to get up and collect whatever they may have brought with them so we could all leave as a group. At some point two officers turned into three or four and a student from Spelman College, Joi Stewart, was being singled out and the campus police felt the need to try to take her away from the group. A student from Morehouse College, Jauan Durbin, tried to explain to them that he was going to take her home and everything would be fine but they needed to let us walk away peacefully. Instead of allowing us to leave, like they instructed us to, they proceeded to chase both Joi and Jauan; drawing batons, mace and tasers out on them. One of the officers was blocking the way back to Spelman with his mace, telling the crowd to “walk up on [him] again”. Another officer ended up chasing a student across the grass. The other two officers were manhandling, assaulting, threatening and speaking highly aggressively toward Joi and Jauan. Both students were eventually let go, but not before the officers caused Jauan to have a concussion and Joi to have a dislocated shoulder.

No one was charged with a crime but several students heard conversation between the officers about taking Joi to jail, simply because she was exercising her right to freedom of speech.

The irony of the situation is in the fact that CAU’s black campus police assaulted black students at a black school and the two students who sustained the most injury are both survivors of sexual violence themselves.

They were able to quickly respond to a call about us being loud and “rowdy” but when someone is truly in danger these people are nowhere to be found. Students have gotten robbed at gunpoint and sexually violated on the very promenade we were asked to leave from and in those instances no one is responding quickly enough to protect the victim.

So just in case you missed it… This is the result of campus officials as well as our “brothers and sisters” allowing violence against women and queer people.

I want to be very clear on the fact that this situation is not isolated. Somebody somewhere is being assaulted and/or abused by someone who is supposed to love, support, and protect them right now.

I cannot speak for the emotions of my peers but I am willing to bet the way I felt in the moment and how I feel now can be applied to everyone who bore witness to the assault… I cannot even begin to imagine how the students who were assaulted felt.

Seeing an assault in person, involving people you know and love, is so much different from simply watching a video on twitter. Feeling completely helpless because you know this is wrong but you can’t pull your friends away from the officers without making everything 10x worse is devastating. Nothing can replicate the fear that runs through you when you know how these things end and it only takes one false move for a bad situation to become the worst possible situation. I am thanking God/the universe/my ancestors that no one’s life was taken and that the physical injuries sustained did not put anyone in critical condition.

I want to give a shoutout to everyone who was there to engage and make progress, not to just take up space or be nosy once the situation escalated. You know who you are. I also want to especially thank my Spelman sister and my Morehouse brother for being the soldiers. You both looked death in the face and made it out alive. I am inspired by your courage and the love for our community you displayed by being willing to be an example, even if you did not know you were making that choice.

For me, the silver lining in all of this is that I now remember what I’m fighting for. I know why it is necessary for me to stand in my truth and never back down. I know why I need to wake up everyday and be intentional about healing myself so I can help others heal. I know why I need to be in a position to impact the masses…. because this system they have built up could kill me, physically or even emotionally, at any time.

I pray that you all are impacted as well. What are we here for if we’re not protecting and supporting each other?

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Sweet Home Atlanta…

Sweet Home Atlanta,

Oh how I have missed you.

I have been back in the city and back on my beloved campus for a full week now. To simply say “I missed it here” does not carry enough weight. This area is one of the closest things I know to home. I feel a little weird about calling it home sometimes, because home for me is actually a person, but campus is a very close second.

I moved into my dorm room last Sunday and this year my mom, aunt, uncle, sister, and cousin all stayed to help me organize and decorate which was really fun. Last year the heat was a bit much for them so they didn’t stay but with them staying this time a memory was created that I otherwise would not have gotten to experience. Honestly, I was a little weary about all of those people staying in such a small space but the energy in my life shifted dramatically the day before I moved in and it turned out to be a great time. On that note, I want to say that I love my room. Some people feel like their dorm is a jail cell or a closet but I think my room is perfect for me. It feels like a space where I can be myself and do the work I need to do in peace and that’s all I wanted.

We started classes this past Wednesday and the first three days went exceptionally well. I’ve begun to form the habit of getting organized, keeping a planner, updating my calendar, and making sure I’m writing things down instead of relying on my memory to carry me through. I feel a lot more prepared for success than I did last year. I learned first hand that a person’s mental state can greatly impact their academic performance, no matter how smart they are. My grades suffered because I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I needed to be but this year I’m starting off on the right foot and hopefully I will have a better experience and pull the 3.8-4.0 I know I am capable of.

I have a lot of goals for this year because last year wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. I feel like I grew a lot over the summer (my therapist thinks so too, shoutout to her) and I want my work ethic and accomplishments this year to reflect who I truly am. There aren’t many people who know me in the way that they’re under the impression they know me in (i hope that makes sense) and I really really want to know people instead of just being familiar with their name/face and vice versa. SO anyway yeah here are some of my goals….

  1. Stay on top of all assignments. Last year I was really bad about relying on my memory and I’m only human… things slip my mind.
  2. Join organizations. I want to be more involved on campus and I feel like this will also help with gaining friends.
  3. Volunteer more. I volunteered last year but I had way more time on my hands than I used for volunteering and giving back.
  4. Go on adventures. There are soooo many things I want to do but I spent the majority of last year cooped up in my room so I need to get out more.
  5. Unplug from time to time. I pretty much live on my phone so I’ve decided Sunday’s will be exclusively devoted to me catering to myself… reading, writing, exfoliating, eating fruit, all the things I enjoy.
  6. Remain true to myself. I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other people and it gets me really down but I honestly am a great person and I don’t need to try to be anything other than exactly who I am because everything I’m destined to be is already within me.

On my last day of work I ran into my 1st grade teacher.. I will never forget her, she was so great. She looked at me and could not believe I was entering my sophomore year of college. We held up the line going down memory lane and me updating her on my life and she was so happy for me. After she put all of the bags in her car she came back in to tell me “One day you’re gonna be something really awesome”. That encounter was so genuine and pure and just what I needed to set the tone for this school year.

I’m working towards being whatever that really awesome thing is… The trick is remembering that I already know the path to stepping into that role, I just can’t see it when I’m looking to others for answers.

An Open Letter to My Love

I bet you were not expecting this from me because we just discussed a few hours ago how I’m not the romantic type. I don’t think about sending flowers or buying chocolates, mostly because I never really cared for them myself. I actually think chocolate tastes like medicine and flowers don’t smell good, they just smell like outside, lol. But you like that kind of stuff so maybe I’ll jump out of my skin and surprise us both one of these days.

I really hope you remember this because it was literally last week.. I will clown you so just pretend you do if you don’t (: But you wanted to play a game soooo bad so we played one of those “how well do you know your partner” games via FaceTime and we both got every question right except maybe 2, and those were things we didn’t discuss so naturally we didn’t know the answer. The little grading scale at the bottom said we probably had a very intense relationship. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult but I cannot deny that “intense” is a pretty accurate word to describe how we are. We are two very passionate people.. What could our union possibly be other than intense???

I want you to know that despite the baggage we both brought into this, unbeknownst to either of us before we were in too deep, this is probably one of the most right and most natural things I have ever done. Getting to know you was and still is so organic… As much as you try to hide your personal life from the world, you were comfortable enough with me to share the good and the bad and I don’t think I will ever be able to express to you how much it means to me that someone as amazing and kind as you instinctively wanted to be close to me. Like wow, I must be a pretty dope person, right? Well, you are too.

We’re young and absolutely anything could happen between now and the end of time but I will never stop saying you were meant for me. We’re so different, yet so alike. All of my favorites are your favorites. We’re both picky eaters.. We’re both goofy.. We both feel so many things intensely… We both like Dr. Pimple Popper (LOL).. We both have dreams of giving back and helping advance humanity in one way or another.. I could go on forever. You’re my twin flame, despite us coming from very different walks of life.

I know sometimes you doubt yourself but I wish you could see you the way I see you. You’re capable of so many things… You’re going to move mountains. Our first interaction ever in life was about the whole poem thing and I was telling you how proud I was of you, and to keep your head up (who knew months later we’d meet again under different circumstances and I would get to call you mine).. I’ve been proud of you since before I knew you personally, because you have a genuine spirit and you have a voice. You have no problem making everyone else around you uncomfortable when it comes to speaking the truth and I’ll always love that fire in you… that drive to grow as an individual while pushing your entire community to grow with you. They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, so always take care of you first… but somehow you manage to put the world before yourself and continue to be as upbeat and loving as ever.

I saw a tweet earlier today that said “relationships aren’t always 50/50.. Sometimes they’re gonna go through something and you gotta pick up that 80/20”. Forgive me if I have placed you in a position where you’re putting in 80 more often than you’re putting in 50. My already shaken up world started to fall apart shortly after we decided to give this a try but I pray that I have gotten to a place where you’re as confident as I am that I can put in 80 more often, too. It’s a team effort and if I haven’t made myself clear over the course of these months, there is nothing you aren’t worthy of.

I am going to wrap this up because I have a feeling you’re going to wake up and ask me why I haven’t called you yet but in summary, my love for you goes beyond this relationship. We are best friends and if ever we decided that we aren’t meant for a romantic partnership, that would be ok. We both have grown so much mentally and spiritually… and I’m not sure it would have happened if we didn’t take this step. Pretty sure it was all divine alignment ❤

Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for teaching me that it is ok to be vulnerable more than I’m angry. Thank you for not walking away when it would’ve been easier to do that instead of stick it out. We have about a million more days to conquer but together it’s more than doable.

In Absolute Loving Memory…

My institution has lost two beautiful souls within the past seven days… Seven. Days.

One who I did not know personally, and the other who I did. However, that is not what’s important here. What is important is that those of us who were graced with the opportunity to share a space with one or both of them remembers them at their best, takes the lesson that can be found through their passing, and honors their legacy every day from now until it is our turn to transition to the other side.

Those of us who met neither of them but attend the institution, or even are completely removed from the situation, please send your love and prayers to the families and close friends of our fallen angels.

Now, I want to take a moment to highlight something important here for anyone who maybe isn’t taking this as deeply to heart as the rest of us or has that “I didn’t know them so I don’t feel a thing” type of attitude… A loss for anyone is a loss for everyone, especially when we are apart of a community. Communities share everything, including pain and hardships. We go through it together or we won’t get through it at all.

I don’t have much else to say because to be quite honest, I’m just heartbroken right now. I can’t wrap my head around what is going on in this world but what I do know is that we need to get right… Mentally, physically and spiritually. It’s very easy for us to pass everything off as a joke and pretend like it won’t ever be us… But one day it will be. When it is, what do you want to be remembered by?

To my sisters,

You are loved, you are appreciated, and you will be missed dearly. I ask that you cover our beloved institution, watch over and guide your loved ones. Your spirit is flying high, and forever more no one and no thing can bring you down.

“The Hood is rooting for you..”

When people ask me to introduce myself, it’s a little hard for me because I don’t know where I’m from. I mean, I know where I was born and I know all of the places I’ve lived but I don’t have that typical “born and raised in ___” experience. I’ve lived in 4 different states, on two different sides of the country, and attended 8 or 9 different schools from Kindergarten through my senior year.

However, through it all there’s one small town in Georgia that I always seem to end up back in, where I attended 4 of those 8 or 9 schools… I probably know this place better than any other place I’ve ever been. The issue is, I feel like a stranger here.

Have you ever gone somewhere that you’ve been time and time again but there’s that one time you go, and something is different… Someone, something, some entity or energy is missing… That’s how I feel here.

I’ve spent my entire summer in a town where everyone knows me and I have some recollection of them and yet I could not feel more out of place than I do.

People recognize me at work almost every day… old classmates, someone’s mom or sister, a random person that I’ve never met before but they’re someone’s uncle’s brother’s friend.. I legitimately had a man stand at the register and ask me who my people are, just to find out that he’s my distant cousin.

How could being surrounded by such familiarity make me feel this way? Isn’t coming back to your “roots” supposed to make people feel better?

Well, for me it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me uncomfortable enough to grow and take the necessary steps to ensure that the next time I come back here for an extended period of time, I’m coming back to make it better instead of simply noticing everything that is wrong. You don’t always realize how limited of an experience you have had or are having until you’re given the opportunity to venture out at an age and time where exploring other places and meeting people from different walks of life truly impacts you.

On the other hand, it has also made me realize that no matter how alone I feel, there is going to be someone in a small town who is wishing the absolute best for me.

A woman came in one day and I recognized her but I didn’t know her name. She told me who she was, asked me how school had went, told me to tell my mother she said hello, and before walking out stated “the hood is rooting for you”.

That was such an important moment for me for a few reasons… one because I have been saying since before I even set foot on campus that the hood loves my school (said it in class one day and the professor laughed but everybody else knew exactly what I meant). Secondly, because that means that despite me being one of the only black people out of this area doing what I’m doing, people are paying attention and taking pride in my achievements. And finally, because when I told my mom what happened she said “you being your father’s child carries a lot of weight around here. People wish you well just for being his kid”.

Anybody who knows me would know that my father meant and still means the world to me. Honoring his memory and making him proud are two things that I think about nearly on a daily basis. The work is for me, but it’s for him too. All him and my mom ever wanted was to see me where I am now and it feels good to be here and to know that I’m going even further than my wildest dreams and theirs.

To the hood within this small town, and every other hood I’ve set foot in,

Keep rooting for me, I’ll keep making you proud.

When Growth Reaches Max Discomfort

Since my post before this was about my new job, I figured I’d keep it going and share the experience I had at work yesterday. It was a major milestone for me in my emotional development and although the average person would not be proud of what happened, I am because I know that if I wasn’t being intentional with my presence in the moment, it wouldn’t have happened. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have even had a nightmare about this happening because it simply wasn’t possible.

I cried at work.

 

It wasn’t like crocodile tears either… It was an audible cry. It was an “I am so overwhelmed, there is a significant amount of negative energy being thrown at me, and this is the only thing I have the strength to do right now” type of cry.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am not a crier by any stretch of the imagination. I can probably count on both hands the amount of times I have allowed myself to cry over losing someone very important to me so if that tells you anything… I just don’t cry. I used to think that crying was a sign of weakness and I never ever wanted anyone to see me shed a tear, let alone just sit there and sob.

The past week, give or take a few days, has been rough to say the least. It feels like virtually every aspect of my life that I thought was completely stable is being shaken to the core. I am trying to remind myself that things must be broken down before they can be rebuilt on a better foundation, that this is a test of my strength/perseverance/faith, that this is the darkness before the dawn. It’s just a lot easier said than done.

BUT, there is something to be said about how far I have come for recognizing that I should be proud of that moment. I am proud of that moment. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to sit in your unpleasant feelings when it is often times so much easier to sweep them under the rug. I have had a great deal of practice suppressing my emotions throughout the years, so much so to the point that it was almost a subconscious reaction to cut off all feeling outside of happiness and anger.

I didn’t recognize myself in that break room and maybe that’s the best thing I could’ve felt this summer.

Timing + Circumstance = Absolutely Everything

Today marks the beginning of the eighth week since I’ve been home from school. For five of the previous seven weeks, I was doing a whole lot of nothing from the outside looking in. Most days I felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing too. The average day consisted of scrolling through my instagram feed, playing games on my phone, watching Netflix, talking to my love, and thinking about all of the things I knew I needed to do but wasn’t doing.

I was/am doing a good amount of work on myself during impromptu me time which actually takes a lot out of you, but obviously you’d have to interact with me a lot to notice the subtle changes.

I came home with the intent to be working all summer long. I ended up spending 1/3 of the summer not even being able to find a job let alone going to work. This might be the point where you’re saying “What? Businesses love hiring college students for seasonal jobs. So many places were hiring, you just weren’t looking..” and to an extent you’d be right. There WERE many places hiring that I never even applied to but I had guidelines that needed to be met based on the dynamic of this household. So I waited.

First I wanted to work through the local temp agency. For those of you that don’t know, a temp agency basically finds full-time jobs for you (typically warehouse jobs) and sends you to work for a company that they have a contract with. They pay more than retailers or fast food so it’s decent if you’re physically able to do the job. I did it over winter break and although it was tiring, the money came through and that’s the only reason I was there.

Then I decided I could either work retail again or go back into food service because there are quite a few local one stop shop type stores around here and plenty of fast food, so that’d be easier on all parties involved. I applied to both.

I did get hired at a pizza place before I started working where I’m working now but I lasted all of 2 days. I’m not typically a quitter, I’ve actually never walked off of a job like I did that one before. However, the timing was wrong and the environment was not something I was willing to deal with. Rude customers? Medium-sized problem. Unprofessional bosses & unsanitary work space? Big problem. In that moment I was not equipped to handle what that position was throwing at me off bat without being taken far out of my zone. Frankly, nothing is more important than my sanity/mental health.

So now I have a different job and my coworkers are 1000x more tolerable and I feel like I can actually talk to them. They don’t know anything about me other than I’m a college student (the store manager knows my dad passed) BUT the point is that the vibe in the store is much more welcoming among the people that work there and I feel like I can do my job and move on without hating every moment of it. I am also in a much better place mentally than I was 3-4 weeks ago so even though customers come in acting a fool much more than I can appreciate, it doesn’t bother me too much after they exit the store. Timing matters.

I was originally going to title this “You Don’t Always Have to See it Through” because when it looks like someone has quit something they chose to start, they’re labeled a quitter. “Quitting” has an extremely negative connotation and is frowned upon pretty much everywhere. Nobody wants someone on their team who isn’t going to see it through… But, it’s so important to see the other side of that. A lot of times, people have no idea what a place or situation is actually like until they’re waist deep. We’re all different people battling things within ourselves that maybe no one else knows. Everybody has a different breaking point and everybody is willing to withstand different things in order to reach their end goal. I was not willing to compromise the progress I was making for a paycheck. I didn’t have to see it through. You don’t either. Have faith that things will fall into place as they should, and they will. It may not be within the time frame that you originally mapped out but part of the fun in life is the repeated surprised of how the puzzle seems to complete itself even when at first glance there’s a giant gaping hole in the center.

The Anniversary

A Bond Unbroken.

This was Kim’s birthday, 2015. They came home around 3am and everyone except Eron was drunk. He told me he loved me and I was his favorite child (duh, I was). This is the night we danced… I was embarrassed to dance with him and Anna said “just do it. When he’s gone, these are the moments you’ll remember.” A year, 4 months, and 8 days later, her words would prove to be true.

Have you ever heard anyone say that something was “heavy on their heart”? Have you ever said that yourself? For me, the answer is yes to both. I used to hear people say that and not really know what they meant. I used to say that simply to get my point across but not completely understand the weight of the words I was speaking. I learned what it meant to have something be heavy on your heart in my second semester of my first year of college.

You see, the thing about grief is that there is no manual. People know that there are stages, and they know that at one point or another you’ll experience them all, sometimes you’ll experience different stages multiple times. They know that the first year, across the board, is always the hardest. What they can’t predict is when in the first year that grief will hit you.

I learned that for something to be “heavy on the heart” is not just a figure of speech. That is a very real (and very scary) phenomenon. Having emotion simmer inside of you until it comes to a boiling point is virtually indescribable (but I’ll try). It’s almost like having multiple textbooks stacked on top of your chest, to the point where your breathing is constricted. Everyday tasks that usually don’t bother you, like bending down to pick something up, leave you winded. Any type of physical activity, including walking upstairs, pulls at your muscles and induces sharp pains.

I thought I was dying.. I had an EKG and chest scan ran on me to figure out what was going on. Big surprise: nothing was physically wrong with me. This was my body’s way of letting me know it was beyond time to grieve, and do so intentionally. Our mind is a powerful resource. While something being “heavy on the heart”, in my experience, is not real in the sense of locating a tangible source, it is as real as it gets in the sense of manifestations.

I’ve been dreading this day for an entire year. Who knew it was going to come so soon…

A year ago today I lost my father to a motorcycle accident.

When I say that to people, I’m almost certain they get this very grotesque and dramatic image in their minds. The average person is going to hear motorcycle accident and assume that the scene was in complete disarray like something off of an action movie. Well, accidents like those DO happen in real life. My dad witnessed a few himself. However, his wasn’t like that. I wasn’t there, but based on the police report and the scene, it was nothing like the dramatized accidents we see on TV. His accident was something he should have been able to get up and walk away from with minor injuries, if any. But he didn’t. He’s never going to walk in the flesh again…

I remember that day more clearly and accurately than I remember yesterday. It’s true what they say about the bad/traumatic things standing out in your mind more than the good things. I can’t imagine that there will be a day when I don’t remember. It was the day my life changed forever.

I won’t go into all of the details of the chain of events here.. That’s not what this is for. But I will say that I knew before I was told just like I’m convinced he knew it was coming before it happened.

Instead, I’m going to post here what I said at his funeral because to this day, honoring his memory is what matters most.

“For the last few days I’ve been thinking about what I should say… I guess I just never thought this would happen. In my mind, my dad was Superman and he’d live forever. But, he’d always say that when it was his time, it was his time. I’m trying to find comfort in his belief and I hope you all will do the same.

Life with my dad was an adventure. He always had something in mind for us to do. We were that family who’d drive an hour away to eat pizza then turn around and come right back home. We watched movies together, laughed together, danced at 4am together (one of my fondest memories), and had conversations together.

About 2 years ago (3, now) he showed me a poem he had written. The poem was about him having 9 lives and the way he used each one. He didn’t live any of them perfectly, but the point is he lived.

He was an amazing man, one of my best friends, and I’m so grateful that I got to bond with him. I’ll wear his smile everywhere I go.”

Daddy, some days it’s a lot harder than others but I didn’t lie. I’m still smiling. I’m still carrying on.

Wiping My Social Media Clean

Well… It’s 12:17am on a Wednesday morning (technically speaking) and I’m deleting all of my old tweets.

I’ve been on a Twitter hiatus for a little over a month now. I decided before I even left school that I needed to take a break from it because it consumed my life in a very unhealthy way. Don’t get me wrong, Twitter has introduced me to a number of people and concepts I probably wouldn’t have otherwise known but at this stage in my life, I don’t need it and I barely want it.

The reasoning behind this is quite simple: my growth game is strong. I am not the same girl that left college mid-May, completely unsure of what the summer would hold. I am coming in to so many realizations, living such a present life, taking my healing process so seriously and doing just that in the most graceful manner I can possibly muster at this time. Due to those factors, I no longer want to be represented in the way that up until now, my Twitter has represented me.

I’ve heard before that I have a Twitter personality and then I have my actual personality. I finally know what they were talking about.

I decided that I would search my Twitter handle with particular words following it, just to see what my tweets were looking like, because to be completely transparent, I said so much on Twitter that I cannot even begin to imagine what all is out there. That Twitter page has been active for at least 4 years, possibly longer. Needless to say, I was not pleased with what I saw. I have undergone so many changes in such a short period of time that I do not recognize the person that was saying those things.

The most unfortunate part of change is that, as Katy Perry said in her session with Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh, people tend to want you to be a sort of time capsule. Whether in a good or bad way, people have this unrealistic expectation that we are who we’ve always been. We are held accountable for things we said when we were in middle or high school even after we’ve begun or even graduated from college and while that is fair on one hand, on the other it completely disregards the fact that we are learning, growing and changing every single day. I am no longer the person who believed those things to be true, so why am I being crucified for it?

All of that being said, it was high passed time to do a clean sweep. 34K tweets of pure foolery, anger, sadness, inappropriate jokes and confessions: GONE.

I don’t feel like I’m running from the past or that I’m trying to hide anything.. Everyone (or most people) know that once something is on the Internet, it’s there forever and absolutely can be found with the proper tools even if it has been deleted. I’m simply removing all of that from the forefront of my profile. I don’t feel the need to be portraying myself as anything other than who I am anymore. Old habits die hard but just like in a break up, the first step to moving forward is getting rid of any and everything that represents what once was.

Why don’t I delete everything old from my other social media accounts? Well, because they’re different. Instagram is full of old pictures, some I don’t have on my phone or in my google photos anymore. I think it’s nice to be able to scroll down and see the evolution of my face, my photo taking abilities, my captions, and even the comments people make or have made. Snapchat deletes everything by itself (amen!!). Twitter served the same purpose that this blog is serving but in a much less productive way.

Moral of the story is: The more I grow the more I realize that how I display myself and my values to the world is important… My name is important (as is what’s attached to it).

A Father’s Day Without A Father

Today is my first ever Father’s Day without my Father.

I don’t mean “my dad is on vacation so we didn’t get to spend the day together”. I mean “my dad is no longer alive so today, and every other Father’s Day to come will be spent alone”… that’s a hard pill to swallow.

I’m not the first person on Earth to lose a parent and experience a holiday that is supposed to be dedicated to them without them but this is my first time and needless to say, it was not a fun day nor did I feel at ease at any point.

The thing is, when you have a living parent to celebrate, whether they are right next to you or not, it is a completely different experience than them being gone. It’s kinda like making plans with your significant other for Valentine’s Day, buying gifts, and then they break up with you the day before. Obviously it’s not quite the same, but that’s the only level of sadness/anger/bitterness/heartbreak I feel confident about relating it to.

It was almost like an inherent sadness. I didn’t have to consciously consider the fact that today was Father’s Day in order to be sad about it. I tossed and turned all night, despite having taken my melatonin, and I woke up at 7am in physical pain, feeling miserable, and having the overwhelming urge to cry for no apparent reason. It didn’t occur to me why I was in such a funk out of the blue, following almost an entire week of good days, until my girlfriend texted me some encouraging words about how I could conquer the day. Then I knew… I had begun my first ever Father’s Day without my father, five short days before the anniversary of his passing, and I was openly grieving for the first time in months. I can only imagine how the anniversary itself is going to go.

I was told that it would probably be best to stay off of social media today, and of course I didn’t. Each picture of a person with their father gave me the sensation of a papercut: quick, but painful. I can’t censor the world, but it would be nice if I could. It’s really hard seeing other people be happy with their dad’s when I can no longer be happy in the flesh with mine. It’s something people will never be sensitive to until they’re experiencing it.. I for sure wasn’t until I was put in this position. I mean, I wouldn’t wish what I’m dealing with on anyone. This isn’t something that I hope anyone else ever feels or has to be sensitive to due to their experiences, but it’s hard to not be angry or bitter or sad or feel like something has been taken from you.

I believe I was working last Father’s Day.. and all my dad wanted was some wings and to be able to watch his sports game in peace. I can’t remember if he got his wings, if he was able to watch his game, or if I even spent time with him that day. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve made making that memory last a priority.