Basic Math

Who Taught You How to Count?

Most people learn basic math by the time they are 8 years old. Unfortunately, those lessons do not follow them into adulthood. Nevertheless, we still have to explain what a “couple” is. 1+1=2. Not 3.

                       Basic Math

Where things ever okay? Did we ever come to a conclusion deciding our future together? I don’t think so. I mean where do you go after you’ve been betrayed? Lied to? Cheated on?

Do you sit and bathe in the disappointment and the hurt? Go and seek revenge? Do nothing? Forgive?

I’ll tell you what I did: I took a quick shower in the disappointment; washed my face of the hurt and sought revenge by waking up the next day. Forgiving him was finding strength in myself to move on.

See, we never needed to go back and find the solutions to our problems. You cheated, equated out the wrong answer and suddenly everything became resolved. The two of us could never be when you tried to carry the one and make it three. Basic math for yo ass.

By: Brittney Smith

Photo Cred: BasicxMathTwitter & Pinterest

 

Best Thing You Never Had

Okay, well maybe you did “have” me but you don’t no more.

It all started in high school — siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Junior year I crossed a boy in the hallways and then we sat next to each other in History class. I thought he talked too much; handsome, but quite a chatterbox. Then, one day after lunch, I see him holding hands with this girl. She was cute. Simple. However, the hunting lioness in me saw competition determined to best – the best thing you never had.

I Wanted to be His E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

He added me on Facebook first. Then we exchanged numbers. I initiated conversations through text him. I asked questions about his relationship and plans after graduation. School started at 7:30 am and I would wake up early ya’ll to get cute just to walk past his ass. How could I forget the time I found out where he worked that I drove there after school; wrong site. Eventually, I got him. He wasn’t mine but he was there.

Oh, College…

It wasn’t until I moved into a single room dorm that we had our first encounter. It was actually in a car on dim street and it was the first time THEY said MY name. Kudos to Brittney! We started to make time for love sessions in between classes (he went to a different school). We discussed our feelings with each other and how it was always the wrong time: he was with somebody; I was with somebody. Although we both tried it was never right until…

He Asked Me Out!!!

Perfect timing! He’s single! I’m single! Let’s mingle! We planned to meet at the mall for a movie after his shift. At this time it is crucial to point out he also worked in the said mall. I got dressed, snatched, beat — all dat. “Where are you going?” my mother asked. “On a date! Yes, with a man!” Oh, she was so happy for me. I checked my phone one last time before grabbing my coat and I had a message that read: “hey I got off work early so I went home. Let’s reschedule.” Fuck you mean you meant home??? Devastated I lied and told him I was out-of-town when I wasn’t leaving for another 4. How could he?

Call me Mrs.Lawry cause I’m Salty

At this time in my life, I was still very emotional. Sadness, disappointment, embarrassment, and anger flooded me. It also killed my ego. While undressing I began to analyze the situation: the movie starts at 11; mall closes at 10; he got off early at 9. Why not go home, shower and come back, right? How come we couldn’t catch any earlier viewing to accommodate? Was work really that stressful today? Was I not worth the ride back to the mall? I commanded myself not to cry. Instead, I finished packing, laid in my bed, packed a bowl and streamed Nurse Jackie on Netflix.

The Aftermath

We didn’t speak for a long time after that because I couldn’t bring myself to engage. I still have fucking questions! Through mutual friends we would be in the same room talking around each other; it was stupid. He will always be a dear friend of mine; we have memories but it’ll never be the same. We hung out solo a couple times but it’s awkward now. Just this morning he hit me up on Messenger to ask if I were now involved which I am _____. To this day it continues to bother me and I’m not gonna lie — I cried after we finished talking. You folded on a Royal Flush.

#SorrynotSorry.

Photo cred: giphy.com

 

PODCAST: Depression is Real

In order to overcome the demons of depression, one must first acknowledge that they indeed do exist.

I’m dealing with depression. To begin with, I signed yet another one of those “Promise to Be a Sheep” forms at my job. I shall have my collection laminated. This sinus cold is making me feel like I got run over by a Hummer.  Aww man, what else? Well, my bank account is a joke, my summer body never came, my Y-chromosome decided to become an X and my origins are in Africa.

Laying in my bed last night, staring at the ceiling, with tissue in my nostrils I realized something. I was receiving Facebook messages, text messages, phone calls from former suitors, current situations, and determined prospects.

Although it appeared that I had so many people seeking my attention and time with all things considered I always feel alone. It’s a big world out here and some days, yo, I just feel alone.

Black folks depressed. 

How do you expect to win the war with the pale man when you cower away from the battles within yourself? I don’t like the constant feeling of being sad. It is a detrimentally draining space.

I will be attending a wedding ceremony to someone very close to me. I am eager and anxious to take a slight break from this thing called life. You can’t run away or ignore your problems given that they’ll be there waiting for you when you get back — ready for battle.

Anti-Depression Task #1 – limit television.

There is something mentally unsettling and unnatural about “watching” tv. I’m addicted to reality tv and Netflix [binge watcher]. I own perhaps 100 books. In my living room, there are four cases overflowing with books being the anchor for a 40-inch television sitting on top. I haven’t read more than 20% of those damn books yet I watch television every day. Such a fraud.

I am ready to brawl and sacrifice for my mental stability, physical health, spiritual strength and emotional substance.

SheLived:1

Depression:0

Photo cred: blavity.com

For The Next Time a Black Man says, “You’re Too Strong”

You Are Not “Too” Strong 

He is “too” weak – mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Dare I say financially? Fuck it.

He’s just all around broke. Broken.

Still trying to make sense of all his scattered shards that all he’s collected is doubt and pity. For the feeble man, you will always be “too” strong.

“All you women…All you [BLACK] women!”

Oh boy, here it comes! The moment we have all been waiting for! Blame the very existence of Black women for your trials and tribulations. Stop comparing yourself to the pale man who steals, kills and destroys. You aren’t him and I ain’t her.

How dare you slander her, Black man?! She who has remained steadfast and diligent as she watched this strange white man steal her children, kill her husband and destroy her virtue? She earned the right to be strong.

You say you want a hardworking strong woman but you do not! A woman who cooks and cleans; fulfills your sexual desires and works outside the home. You insecurities won’t allow you to love her.

You, sir — don’t cook, clean, pay taxes nor feed my appetite and yet I’m still here.

Technically you’re still here because this Sistah ain’t going nowhere.

[That’s my name on the mailbox, brother]

Yet you feel you should be rewarded for taking out the trash?

How are you comfortable pointing out my flaws and stressing your likes whilst lying on my couch; drinking my Scotch, watching my Netflix!

No; I will not chill!

You got clothes in my closet, my keys in your pocket, his half of my bed — but, hold up! “Lemme hold $20”, the man said. You work hard at running your mouth and the streets then walk through my doors talmbout, “what you got to eat?”

When a black man condemns a Black woman he disgraces Yah resulting in complete failure and disasters. Keep playing this white man’s game and your black ass gon lose.

Sit down. Be Humble.

By: Brittney Smith
Photo Cred: fromawildflower.com

Black Women Issues

“Black Women Issues”

Black women

in

AmeriKKKa

are living a life

no one asks for

or

wants.

Black women’s 

issue

will have

me

on the brink

of suicide.

Will they miss me when I’m gone?

Perhaps say, “so long”?

College costs.

Can’t save

a dollar for my life.

Overfed.

Under-loved.

Taxed

with no Rep.

BLACK WOMAN

the #1 Vet.

Self-medicated.

THC.

Whiskey.

“When did you start drinking like this?”

a

BLACK WOMAN

dedicated to the life

a strong

BLACK WOMAN

often perceived

as an angry

BLACK WOMAN.

The eldest,

a daughter,

college-educated,

without a college degree.

Guns –

Sex –

Drugs –

Shall I

justify my thug?

Can I live?

Potential suitors

turned prisoners.

Dead end jobs

similar

to

slave labor.

THC & Whiskey are coping mechanisms.

Does it

make

sense now?

It doesn’t.

Allow me

to reintroduce

myself:

I am

a

BLACK WOMAN

with issues.

Can’t drink

enough

to stay

sleep.

Can’t smoke

enough

to stay

high.

Systematic

prepackaged

damage.

Fuck it —

unpack

the baggage…

Ready, set, Go!

By: Brittney Smith

Photo Cred: giphy.com & beatnik24.com

There’s No Such Thing as “Two Best Friends”

It’s Too Early For This Shit

It’s pretty self-explanatory but let me explain: Now that you all are aware of the significant other in my life, and I can openly discuss us, this morning he called and I immediately asked about yesterday because we didn’t get a chance to speak. He said that it was chill and he talked to his best friend. Excuse me, who? Last night, on a fairly empty stomach – I had drunk 10 ounces of 1800 and wasn’t sure I’d heard him correctly as his called did just wake me up.

“Say that again,” I replied.

“I said it was good and I talked to my best friend,” he repeated.

“Ooh! Just say it say for me one more time, please.”

He’s starting to catch on.

No Such Thing As “Two Best Friends”

At this point, he feels the draft of my shade.

“What are you trying to get at?” he asked.

“We didn’t talk yesterday soooo…who’s this best friend?”

“I can have more than one.”

Where is the emergency brake when you need it! No, you cannot! You can’t have multiple best friends because we can’t ALL be the best. Here this man is telling me that I’m just a member of a mediocre circle of friends who are all generally “good”. Completely unacceptable.

Let Me Tell You Why

“Is it a girl?” because at this point I just gotta know who the best is, you feel me?

“Yeah, she’s funny.”

Just like that; so blasé as if I had just asked if the sky was blue. Consequently, my Petty-O-Meter as been activated.

“If y’all getting along so great – why y’all not together?” Straight Savage.

“It’s not like that. We from the streets together”.

He should have been a gravedigger the way he’s burying himself. I certainly feel like my gangsta is now in question.

“I’m just saying – you don’t have any boys you can go hoop with it. Why she gotta be the best?”

Two Best Friends Leads to Jealousy

In this case, we have two issues. If you have a best friend and they introduce you to their other friend you automatically are on the defense. You speculate on their inside jokes. Do they sleepover at each other houses? Do they watch the Golden Girls together?  It’s a horrible and appalling feeling to know that YOUR bff is “bff-ing” with someone else.

Yet, when you are in a relationship and they exclaim that their best friend is of the opposite sex it’s a whole other playing field. It’s no longer a matter of which television shows they binge-watch together. Instead, you contemplate as to whether or not one day the appetite craves for something different. Do you talk to her about me? Does she know my secrets?

Maybe it’s just me but the thought that one day he could see in her what he sees in me what I see in him potentially has the power to ruin me. And it’s not just this girl but any girl. I’ve yet to meet her, of course, someday I will but for now, I have to trust him when he says,

“It’s not like that.”

Photo Cred: Giphy.com

1-800-HOTLINE

Who You Gonna Call?

There are all sorts of hotlines out there waiting to dialed. Hundreds of millions of people use some sort of hotline either every day or once in their lifetime.  Most people are familiar with the sex hotlines. You know, the ones that come on television after midnight; “call now for a sexy chat with Tiffany, she’s waiting for you” – yeah, those. Or to call for the 187th volume of ‘Body & Soul’s’ two-disc CD collection? Those commercials are the best jam sessions. Unlike those what about the hotline’s that aren’t televised?

Netflix features a documentary titled, Hotline (also available on Amazon Prime) that made me think about hotlines in a completely different light. Outside of the typical hotlines for music, physics or toys, there are those for real people going through real things.

“I Just Really Need Someone to Talk to”

A quick Google search of “hotlines for help” will bring forth thousands of results. Hotlines exist for suicide, depression, sexual assault, pregnancy and domestic violence. Which ones have you made bling?

Me? I distinctively remember calling a depression hotline back in 2013.

How Did You Get Here?

menthal_health_hotline

Honestly, first, I had to be honest with myself. I hesitated for about 15 minutes. Was I really that bad off that I needed to talk to a complete stranger about the hardships that I endured? I was. At that time I lived clear across the country with only a duffel bag full of clothes and a dream. My boyfriend (past and present) was just sentenced to prison and I had just graduated from trade school. With a dimly bright future and a new-found singleness, I wanted something more. So, I spent the fourth of July in Washington D.C. where I knew no one, had no money and the battery on my cell phone had just died.

I was living in Maryland the night I made the call. Sitting on the balcony of the apartment, staring at the night sky, with nothing but a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of wine, I dialed. At first, I hung up before it could even ring. I wasn’t sure if that was something I truly wanted to do. Finally, 5 minutes, 3 cigarettes and 2 glasses later I faced the music – or at least the sound of my own voice.

What Did You Talk About?

The voice on the other end of the phone was “comforting”. A white woman seemingly in her 40’s. I imagined her to be 30 pounds overweight with sandy-blonde hair, circular wire-rimmed glasses wearing a sweater. She wanted to know my life to which I told her that I hated it. I never once felt like I knew what I was doing or why. My brother got terminally sick at a very young age that placed him in a wheelchair and my mother was a single parent. That was my life – my story. I didn’t know who I was outside of those two factors and even more crucial was that I didn’t know who I wanted to be.

I sat on the other end of that phone call, staring up at the night sky, leaning over that balcony tipsy and sobbing. My personal failures, hope, and all-time aspirations were met by a person who only wanted to listen. I gave her everything I had and after 15 minutes I simply hung up. It was over when I wanted it to be over. I was never going to run into this woman in a grocery store or sit across from her at a doctor’s office. I could have, possibly, and yet, she would never truly know me nor I her.

Who Do You Talk To Now?

I’ve meant to dial QuitPlan for non-judgmental help to quit smoking – cigarettes, Mary Jane gets to stay. I haven’t done that yet.

I’m actually not really big on talking but mostly I talk to all of you. I write and let the words fall where they may. I was recently logged into Facebook where a notification said something about my “fans” wanting to hear more from me. And if I’m being honest again, or shall be, I don’t want fans. I desire readers. You can be a fan of #SheLived and who you think Brittney is and have never read a post. These days people concern themselves with pictures and 140-character statuses instead of full written articles. Fuck that. I prefer for you to have read everything I’ve ever written and decided that you just don’t like me as a person.

If you’re really willing to read – I’m willing to talk.

Photo Cred:suzou.net, sandiegopsychologicalcenter.com, Youtube.com

Me, Them and Y’all

And It Never Fails

Sexism and colorism while working in a professional kitchen emphasized the reality of me, them and y’all. Six to eight hours surrounded by those who neither looked like me or spoke the same language. At times could be emotionally draining and detrimental to my mental state. Frustration collided with incompetency more times than men lie. Sharing them with management met no prevail.

The First Sit-Down Taught Me:

I remember the first meeting I had with the higher-ups. My 30-day review had come up and it was time to discuss the job and my performance thus far. By now, they too had become aware of the tension in the kitchen. I expressed that as the only Black individual employed and the only woman in the back-house was a cause for complications. As passively aggressive pale men in their mid 30’s and 40’s they had answers for everything. They matched my statement by acknowledging the older women who prep in the mornings. I responded that they do not work in the blazing heat on the line nor during the dinner rush hours. Those women also don’t stand on the same field as me for they speak the language – Spanish.

julia-header

In the field is Team Spanish versus Team English. Them against me. I am a woman enclosed with knives, blood, fire and frail egos. Some of the Hispanic males speak English and all the pale men know some jargon. I, however, am solely devoted to one team. In the field, collectively, we play defense against the quantity of orders coming in. Often it is a trial attempting to communicate intricate and fairly complicated food orders with a language barrier. As a result, we are constantly on the offense with each other.  I can say I wouldn’t have been extremely particular of another woman’s nationality. Preferably an English speaker.

Everything You Are You Owe to A Woman

A woman, regardless of her race, could have able to tell me what to expect from who. Which of these guys throw curve balls? Who also plays for our team? Which ones have slippery fingers? Who thinks he’s goddamn Danny Zuko? As a woman I have must be stronger, louder, faster. A routine showdown with sexism. Given that my emotions cannot compel me yet firmly stand my ground.

The threat of a capable woman results in the labeling of the word “bitch”. The inconvenient truth of the matter is had my vagina been a dick there would be nothing to discuss, no matter what color it was. The pale men say it’s because of their strong Hispanic culture. Women are not recognized outside of being devoted mothers and caregivers. In other words, women are mundane broads. This truth is apparently not of too much interest to the pale men.

But To be a Black Woman…

Being the only Black African* on the scene often times causes me to second guess myself. I constantly am self-consciously considering my blackness: ‘Be aggressive but not ghetto. Speak loud and clear but don’t be too loud. Always show up on time. Is my natural hair presentable? Yo B, they don’t know you, you can’t go awf like that. The Chef and Sous Chef, along with the front of the house, are Caucasian. There are two mixed-race women, an African woman, and two unidentified men. To sum it up they enjoy bun-less black bean burgers, have unhealthy fascinations with cats and oddly placed geometric tattoos. The women dress like it is either 1972 or 1993. A clusterfuck of hipster, pale quagmires.

colorism-photo

I recently engaged in yet another tedious and dramatically stale clambake to attempt to release some pressure. In uniform fashion, the majority of my narrative was met with rebuttals. I walked back to the kitchen and filled orders but eventually, I had broken down. Again faced with the adversity of being a Black African and a woman; filled with so much anxiety, fury and defeat I skidded to the bathroom, sat on the floor and cried. I gave myself 3 minutes to plummet grief into my lap then dust that shit off. I stood in front of the mirror and reminded myself why I’m here. This isn’t my dream, I don’t want to someday run this place. Get this money.

The Greatest Gift & Curse of All

For all these reasons I will never forget the first time, I sat down to discuss the job. I casually pointed out that this particular job has its controversy because of the inescapable “double negatives” of being a Black Woman. They looked at each other, looked back at me and spoke passively transparent in agreement that, “I guess I, or we, never saw it that way“.

Funny how that seems to be the only thing I see – me, them and y’all.

Photo Cred: giphy.com, meetup.com

Don’t Hurt Yourself

Don’t Hurt Yourself

Yesterday, the person whom I have been “involved with” struck me – yes, struck –  for the first time. It had something to do with $10 and a bottle of whisky Satan’s Sauce. I was a woman with drive, dreams, and goals before he and I crossed paths. Now that I’m back to traveling alone I think I see a pot of gold glistening off the horizon that was once shadowed by fog, bitterness, and insecurity. I was always, at times, completely aware of the venom that he was inducing in me but it was all worth the orgasm. Don’t hurt yourself, B.

Time Waits For No Man

As I reflect on all the precious, non-refundable time spent with this person it’s schizo how I didn’t trust myself to end it. You see, I was in cahoots with another gentleman caller. At that time I had already mastered the Waltz and wanted to learn to Cha-Cha. We were terrible dance partners and assumed we would eventually nail the routine. Ironic how all I want to nail is his coffin; the only dance we will ever again jive to is “Russian Roulette”.

Only One Bullet is Required

At any rate I’m trying to figure out how to dance on my own – comfortably. The first step is getting back to the person I was before I met him. The version of me that was exercising, cooking at home and flowing spiritually. He was never a component in the equation that which is my future. I always knew that he wasn’t the one even way before he broke the damn door down. I’ll admit that I was willing to crash for the sake of debunking the mystery man who always carried a backpack.

Journey Back to Self

Never underestimate the power of loneliness. Every non-family member person I know has stumbled into my life and just stuck. All my life it’s just been me: no boyfriend, fiancé or baby daddy. All it takes is a decent looking fellow to tell you how decent you look. God forbid you to have low confidence and will tolerate anything to be seen. All any of us can hope to do is tell our personal truth but to be frank there are times where our truth is nothing more than our own: no one else cares because they have their own to tend to. My truth? Just know that you didn’t hurt me. You, sir, have hurt yourself.

You came for me – I returned to sender.

Photo Cred: giphy.com

 

 

 

Are You Waiting to be Great or Ordinary?

People are always waiting for something;

usually to be ordinary. I remember when I was a kid (which was like…last week) and, you know, I couldn’t wait until I turned 16. I would finally be allowed to call that boy my friend, get a cell phone and a job – not just volunteering. Then I couldn’t wait to be 17 because that’s when I would graduate from high school. Next it was 18 to officially be legal and, of course, 21 to buy that first drink. What are you waiting for now? There was nothing waiting for me except 25. I’ll be a quarter of a century – old. 25, however, should bring complete financial stability and independence.

Go Out & Chase Life

Once I hit 25 I will have already moved clear across the country, on my own, with nothing but $75 and a suitcase. I’ve rented a studio apartment, bought a car and had a few pregnancy scares. I grew to become confident about my physicality, more aware of my sexuality, deeper in my mentality and stronger with my spirituality. Yet, and still, there were moments when life completely left me behind, choking on dust.

When I touchdown on that 25 though – I’m done with that. The first half of my twenties was all about character building, finding a voice and liking how that voice sounded. Now I make no apologies whatsoever, okay? Also, at this stage of my existence – it’s game time.

Embrace YOU

I will have finally came into the woman who I was born to be. I’m will be happy. Why? Because I make it a point, now, in everything I do. When you try to live a regular life it’s sometimes hard to remember what the destination is. They tell you to go to school, work, pay taxes – pledge allegiance and then die. Talk about tunnel vision straight to the grave. 73 billion mofo’s on the planet and a good 72 of them find ordinary life to be “the norm”. Who do you think you are? The next Steve Jobs, Kobe or Beyoncé? Yeah, right. I know the secret though: it’s all about your daily actions. You gotta make time for it! Steve had to go through some thangs before it was all that; Kobe stayed shooting in the gym; Beyoncé…is Beyoncé.

 — BREAKING NEWS —
This Just In…

Ordinary life does not consist of things that benefit you. Ordinary life consists of things that benefit other people at the expense of you. I don’t want to be ordinary and, quite frankly, I never was. I always had questions that seemed to defy authority.  used to get called into the manager’s office and hear, ‘you think you can just walk in here doing and saying whatever you want’. You goddamn straight!

Am I supposed to care that you’re a manager? Nope! You are not about to slave me. You clock in and out just like the rest of us – salary or not.  I don’t have ill feelings towards “authority” the way I got issues with bullsh*t so don’t bring it my way. Cause ya girl ain’t ordinary. You take that lunacy over there to Tom or have that conversation with Mary but not Brittney. Hell, fire me. Capitalism reigns supreme and there is another job out there selling something to somebody. Better yet – I quit.

Don’t let life pass you by before it’s too late: you’re married – with kids, too many stretch marks and not enough wine glasses happiness. That’s what happens when you choose to be ordinary; bamboozled into indentured servitude. Nothing in this world will be given to you, especially if you black – especially if you a woman. You must take it and I’m finna [yes finna] take that shit.

Don’t believe me? Oh, honey — just watch.

Photo cred:livinglifecounseling.com

Every Once in a While

Where Do You Fit In?

From here on out I shall categorize people and things into either every day or every once in a while. Daily tasks and people have caliber. Those once in a while activities won’t be taken seriously, stressed or tripped over. If my mood doesn’t depend on it, whether I eat or my personal safety then why do I care?

So what does it for me on the daily? I work out, of course. You don’t lose 80 pounds by being a couch potato. I try to drink water every day but it’s a personal struggle. I’m not a person who likes to drink unless it involves some sort of fermentation or grape stomping. Umm, what else?

I typically try to make it a point to do my First 5. I’ll admit that I sorta slacked off this past week but I will continue to engage in it. Btw, First 5 is an app on my phone that gives daily lessons, or readings, from the Bible. See, I don’t go to church but I do believe in the Lord. I also believe that God lives within and not necessarily in a building with mosaic tiles and stained windows.

Does It Matter?

What do I every once in a while? In order to come up with an answer would require me to ponder over 2015 and I don’t want to do that. It’s the very first day of the calendar year and I’m not about to be stuck in the past. I guess I could say going out. I didn’t go out last night like I intended to but it’s a once in a while thing. Seriously – who goes out every single day? Strippers and Jehovah Witnesses.

About two weeks ago, I sat myself down and said that I would be a better friend. I constructed a “life plan” (as if anything in life EVER goes according to plan) and rated myself on certain areas. I gave my friendships a three. Why? Cause, B – you can’t be a person sulking saying, “no one ever calls or invites me out.” Well do you call people and/or invite them out? You don’t. I actually can’t call anyone. I don’t have a cell phone. *Blood Chilling Screams* what twenty year old doesn’t own a cell phone in 2016? That would be me. I got swindled into some foolery last summer and saddled with a monstrous bill from Sprint – go figure, right? Ever since they disconnected the phone I’ve been in a scandalous affair with a landline ever since. It’s actually quite marvelous.

What Are You Waiting For?

So why wait until the “new year” to get your sh*t together? It’s the everyday things and people who matter: my health, my family, my love. They saw my story unfold and are witnesses to the glow. Not this wishy-washy, pop up type sh*t. You don’t get to decide for the both of us when you would like to be present. You’re either going to be here every day or we cross paths when we cross paths. Every once in a while.

New Year View

Off To a Fresh Start

Each and every year, I reflect on my life in two ways: on my birthday and at the start of a new year. Birthday’s are crucial because you are a year older so surely a year wiser. This year I turned twenty-something and boy, was it different from last year. I was extremely self-conscious with down in the slums self-esteem and was just overall unhappy. New year’s are dramatic and electrifying. I lived on my own in an intimate studio apartment in the heart of downtown but I slaved at a corporation that I hated and had terrible money management skills.

Today, I’m writing this from the bothersome corner of my mom’s basement because I moved back home and my money management skills are still shitty. This past year I learned to humble myself internally. I became a minimalist and transitioned to a healthier, greener lifestyle. I went through a phase where I dyed my hair pink, purple, and teal during the summer.

Do You – Be You – Love YOU

I wasted a lot of time having cold feet on whether the world will find me interesting. That’s not confidence and I do not want to do that anymore. I had to invest and develop who and what I wanna be. 2015 did that for me and taught me the importance of standing firm on your foundation that you have.
Well, there is one day left and I am taking with me more self-awareness. How can I be more in tune with myself? Better myself? You know, it’s nobody’s responsibility to take care of you except you.

2016 is the year where I will officially soar in more ways than one. I shall be moving out for I am crazy determined to never return. Straight up deep-sea diving into my future believing in both myself and God.  I am leaving behind are all my past lovers. All of ’em, ya hear? Bygones must stay bygones.  If we can’t be friends without any advances or innuendos then keep it trekking. I’m not entertaining it. Dear God – if there be any ‘oops’ moments, let them be with new people – Amen.

That’s where I am now; blessed that I have been able to sustain SheLived for a year and a half. She’s determined to continue to grow and create something:

a better me – woman, writer, soul; who is bearing it all on the page.

The Games That Play Us

My heart and life are vacant but my bed never fails to be occupied;

he gets down, I turn to my side with his arms around me – a nice secure blanket woven out of lies.

Where is my pride, self-respect, and integrity?

Every day I remind myself that I a strong black woman and to stop letting these men get the best of me;

but these are cycles that have traveled down throughout my family tree

Endless stories I’ve heard of how men have mentally destroyed so many of my aunties

Listening passionately while they lecture that that’s not how love is supposed to be;

vowing as a child that this woman will never be me.

And yet…here I lay trying to break free

Stressed out and upset that I can’t find my King

Someone who can deliver mentally, emotionally, financially and physically. He can stimulate me, be intimate with me and show me new things.

Like damn – where is he?

Which path is right when you don’t even know where to start?

Can a sistah get a flashlight, a compass and a map where ‘X’ marks the spot?

Cause my eyes hurt from looking in the dark and my feet are tired of walking in the direction of a broken heart…

but how many frogs do I have to kiss before I become just another basic bitch?

How many heartbreaks is it gonna take for me to see that they can’t all be my prince?

Tired ass n*ggasthat serve game with a side of bullshit, cum quick, talk out the side of their necks and think with the head attached to they dick?

As I ease from under him I get into a position so that I can finally sleep with an optimistic heart and a peaceful mind cause see now I’ve realized that the only way I can see my husband is in my dreams because he damn sure ain’t laying next to me.

By: Brittney Smith

Photo cred: giphy.com