BLACK WOMEN YOUTUBERS YOU SLEPT ON (not picture here) - Amanda Seales, Jouelzy, and Kim from For Harriet
Culture, Dating, Important People, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation, Podcasts, Sex, Sprituality

3 Black Women Culture YouTubers You May Have Slept On [JEWELS]

(I had to put this out NOW because it is so good! 😭)

#Yourewelcome

#FOMO. We all deal with it sometimes, when we feel bad about hearing about the latest song 3 months later when everyone has already been boppin’. Imagine the insult and injury added to being a writer; in this world, everything is old by yesterday.

So I forgive you for not knowing about these YouTubers, who have been pushing the envelope of intelligent, well-researched and uniquely opinionated content that I’m coming to rely on for my sole (soul) sources of social commentary and even news.

But I’m creating a new ling. #MIMO. Mad I missed out, and I’m guilty, but you don’t have to be. Just don’t sleep.

These women be droppin’ jewels.

They’re relatable, they curse, and they’re not afraid of ass & titties, i.e. unabashed feminity and sexuality. They identify as BLACK, and I love that even more. Some are PhD’s, feminists, and some are just students of life. I don’t agree with every sentiment and opinion, but I’ll be highlighting the ones that I do.

Here’s 5 Black Culture and Social Commentary YouTubers You May Have Slept On.

Amanda Seales

Channel: Smart Funny & Black Entertainment

The most commercially successful of this queenly sodality, and my current bae’s biggest celebrity crush, you may know Amanda Seales from all the many ways she’s made her indelible mark in entertainment: Her early YouTube series, her stint in the group Floetry, her one woman show, her books, her Netflix stand up comedy special, or her casting on Issa Rae’s produced and directed Show Insecure.

But I’m not writing about her first because she’s the most famous. I’m writing about her  first because she’s had the fortunate tenure of having her outspoken, hilarous and often cynical take on politics, history, entertainment, feminism and women’s issues, college and Millenial life and more, in more ways than YouTube. It’s not her primary outlet, so her ways of reaching people are and have always been very dynamic. She is a maverick, a rebel, a Tasha of All Trades, so I think it will be easy to find a way to start to get to know her.

In this featured video from Amanda Seales channel: Her and Issa Rae team up for a lively conversation on Side Effects of Being the Boss.  This conversation is so special because Amanda has a really candid conversation with one of the THE MOST influential Black woman of this generation. She is the voice of the generation that I still want to be. I love the comraderie and the love between these two, and the very specific, relatable, enviable, and sobering conversation they have about creative work, burnout, or simply not ALLOWING yourself to take a break. Could that be because as Black Creatives, we are afraid of losing the commercial success we’ve gained? 

 

You have to manage your life different. That’s what “bossing up” means. It’s not just about being a better boss to your employees, it’s about being a better boss to yourself.

-Amanda Seales

Jouelzy

Channel: Jouelzy

I’m mad about this one. I had the opportunity to really get into Jouelzy years ago, back in 2016, around the time she went to Ghana and was talking about that. For some reason, I jsut didn’t get into her, and so this is a serious case #MIMO, (Mad I Missed Out) because not only does she give great cultural context and opinion on the various cities she’s lived in and how Black they are (which is an important aspect of Black living that many major outlets tend to ignore when speaking about the culture of a city) but she also in an aspiring PhD and is very transparent that process.

Jouelzy is transparent about everything, from her relationships, to her non existing one with her father, to her income on YouTube, and her feelings on race, the YouTube community, politics and more.

She even has a book club that is not free, where she breaks down books by prominent (although not so well known) Black feminist and other Black female authors. Jouelzy really stands for Black women. She has maximized her platform and hosts original series like PopSnark, Live Reviews of shows like Insecure, and popular YouTube influencer content like #GRWM’s (Get Ready With Me) and although she has stated her own wig line.

In this featured video from Jouelzy, she breaks down a ton of pros and cons about living in one of the most up and coming cities for young black professionals, Charlotte, NY. Her stream of conciousness style makes it hard to nail down every topic but that’s what I love about her, it hooks you in and takes you for a ride you don’t want to get off of. 

Kimberly Nicole Foster

Channel: For Harriet

Kim is another one whose opinions were so strong, clearly articulated, yet so different from mine, (I first started watching her around the time of the 2nd season of She’s Gotta Have it on Netflix) that I was just turned off. But because bae kept mentioning her, I had to give her another chance.

After all, she’s an intelligent self proclaimed black feminist (black feminisim is different from mainstream feminism and has different target groups and goals) with a PhD level vocabulary. It literally feeds me listen to Black women like this, wether I agree with them or not.

She sits on her floor in front of that gorgeous vintage budoir looking green velvet chair and has managed to turn her blog (which I DID check for when I started blogging back in 2012) into a thriving channel. She hosts live conversations and mainly does pop culture commentary but it intersects with news and culture commentary. Her channel even has a membership. And she doesn’t only watch and talk about Black content. She’s well rounded with a very sharp, almost incisive point of view. But you don’t have to agree. Just watch.

In this featured video from Kim, she talks about one of her most noted and memorable theories, that beauty is a bad investment for women. It definitely deserves a rewatch. As a love a culture blog I feel this deserves a deep dive all on it’s own. 

 

I hope you enjoyed this nourishing and tasty guide to the 3 Black Culture YouTubers you truly should have known by now. So get whatver vittles you need to relax, and dig in to their meaty conversations and stream of conciousness’ about the most important things happening for Black Millenials and more, today. These are just the conversations I needed! Hope you benefit. 

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

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Culture, Dating, Important People, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation, Podcasts, Sex, Sprituality

4 WOC Podcasts You Need to Follow for Spiritual & Self Development [JEWELS]

You’re welcome.

I’m giving them to you like I found them.

I’ve sifted through the ocean of podcasts out there to find the ones that are related to health, wellness, sexuality, and embracing and owning your female core.

These women be droppin’ jewels.

They’re relatable, they curse, and they’re not afraid of ass & titties, i.e. unabashed feminity and sexuality. They identify as BLACK, and I love that even more. Some are life coaches, some are just motivating. I don’t agree with every sentiment and opinion, but I’ll be highlighting some that I do.

Here’s 5 WOC Podcasts You Need to Follow for Spiritual & Self Development. 

Lauren of Inspe Blog, Bella Luna Wellness, and WokeBae

Podcast: Not Your Mama’s Podcast

I love Lauren’s energy. I’ve listened to a LOT of podcasts and meditations and I have to say her WokeBae album is just what I needed because she doesn’t sound like the typical Valley Girl accented white girl that even some of the Black girls sound like, and she definitely brought the fierce feminine inner woke voice you need to get through you a long day working on your business, a presentation, or a difficult conversation with bae, or yourself.

She also serves in the form of her blog that has fun shareable quick lists of self love tips, Bella Luna Wellness that provides health and wellness services for women, like vaginal and anal steams (anal steams are new for me!) and Not Your Mama’s Podcast that she has done for a few years with my next feature, Stefanie.

With all her brands, she has a multitude of ways you can interact with her. Follow her on IG and do this writing exercise on her blog right now because it’s free and it’s a tool I’m personally using to create the magically fucking delicious life I deserve.

She also has a newer podcast called LaLaLand’s Podcast. I’m listening to “Episode Won” right now where she talks about her personal business journey in the wellness space.

Stefanie of BLCNY – Better Life Choices New York

Podcast: I SAID NO!

She goes by Coach Stefanie, and she’s one half of the Not Your Mama’s Podcast podcast, and I love her accent. Maybe I just miss New York, but I could listen to her voice all day. It’s thick, robust, even curvy. I think the sexiest women have the deeper more sultry voices. Because I do. So that’s my reasoning.

She runs the nonprofit emotional architect firm Better Life Choices New York  where one of her specialties is supporting people in recognizing, creating and maintaining their personal boundaries. She expounds on this in her podcast I SAID NO – (#ISNPOD). I listened to the Forrest Gump episode. I really like it because she adds in segments related to nostalgia, and reserves a special section for the men. We love men over here.

Follow Stefanie, do your research on all the thigns she does, and continue on for 3 more fabulous women who are providing some yummable content for your corona quarantine self improvement and spiritual development needs. I know you’re busy, but you have time for this.

Latoya Newton AKA Toya D – Analog Girl

Podcast: Analog Girl Podcast

Toya D is a health and wellness podcaster whose sole media presence centers on her journey with anxiety, imposter syndrome, mental health and wellness. I love this because these are topics I want to explore more on this blog, especially related to ADHD.

I listened to her podcast with Stefanie (see? rabbit hole) and it was awesome how transarent she was about not being picked over a lighter skinned girl in high school, how she feels that affects her to this day, and her reason for being bald. This was an awesome episode to see who two Black women in the wellness space who are also creative entrepreneurs support each other’s work.

Christal Clear – Christal Clear

Podcast: Christal Clear

I disovered her by checking out the likes section of one of the other podders on this list. (I’m basically giving you a journey of my personal rabbit hole.) I like her because she’s one of those people who probably isn’t trying to be funny, but her tone has an underlying hint of sarcasm in everything says. Yet her content is very introspective, and you get the feeling that she’s just mustering up all the confidence she has to keep her promises to herself, which is something she addresses in her last show of the year, Reached My Goal. She really knows how to get you think within in a quiet kind of way. This is a podcast to listen to if you don’t want to feel alone with the voices in your head.

 Jade Woods – All About the Vibes

Podcast – All About the Vibes

This is my girl! I hit her up on IG just to let her know I was doing this post. She never responded. But give her time! The reason I like this show is because it’s REAL. Some people come off as personalities, or just really good at talking AT you, and I admit, I’m one of those who can get very “presentational.” But I like her stream of conciousness style that wasn’t too pretentious or comical. It just was, and she’s into the EDM scene and other music communities in LA (I found out about her from VoyageLA), so that was interesting to hear things that I’m not into yet. I really enjoy being exposed to new things.

The fear is the most negative thing about this whole shit.

-Jade Woods, All About the Vibes Podcast, “The Rona” Episode

I’m so wet right now.

I hope you enjoyed this nourishing and tasty guide to the 4 podcasts by women of color that you should be following right now. I know it’s hard to listen and work at the same time, but get some tea, some wine, or some water and get ready to dive deeper into yourself and your fellow urban goddess tribe.

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Pursuing happiness in your mid 30's while having ADHD
ADHD, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation

The Pursuit of Happyness


Pursuing happiness in your mid 30's while having ADHD

Pursuing happiness in your mid 30’s while having ADHD. Photo by Filipe de Rodrigues, modified by me

(Yeah, I know, there’s no “Y” in Happiness.)

But there is a “Why.”

Like, “Why am I here?” Sometimes I feel so sure, and clear, about my life’s purpose, and other times, I just feel…lost.

Wrote a song about it, one that no one’s heard.

That seems to be a recurrent theme: Writing, creating, blogging, vlogging, all these amazing ideas that no one’s seen or heard.

I’m trying though, I promise, I really am. I’ve studied every marketing course, it seems. I mean the idea of applying it all, even trying to keep up with the constant stream of ideas I have, is overwhelming. It’s a common trait of ADHD. I’ve got about 49 folders to keep track of it all. I’m constantly taking notes. It just…doesn’t seem to be adding up to anything right now.

I’m usually the most positive person I know.

I mean as a Capricorn, I have enjoyed long periods of time of being mean, cynical, sarcastic, and just a straight-up bitch. (Being a Capricorn means it was fun for me).

But I’ve been working on myself in recent years. (I want to be happy). I’ve really applied the principals of The Law of Attraction, adding value, and just overall thinking positively.

But…I’ve let fear defeat me several times. Even today. Still crying about it. Here’s why…

I’ve been needing some steady streams of income for a while. To be fully transparent, I’m 35, have been living with my parents for a total of about 3-4 years, (with stints in Charlotte and New York in between) and my period is currently 15 days late.

Probably due to stress.

I learned from my previous therapist to go ahead and plan for the year. So I made getting full-time employment that I love, with good pay, my first-quarter goal. Today is March 31st. I haven’t had much luck with the job search – ok, I applied to a few jobs and my resume didn’t feel like it was working, and I’ve had a few interviews for one role with a nonprofit. I didn’t want to feel like a fool come April. Plus, I’d rewritten my own resume so many times…

So, I hired someone. I hired a career coach with the money that I made from a client, and she wrote me two SEO friendly resumes that really spoke to my skills, and a new LinkedIn profile.  I’m currently keeping a spreadsheet of the 60 or so jobs she recommends applying for each week. (I’m hitting like 2 or 3 applications a day, the goal is 10). But I overthink the details of the cover letter (it’s what makes me a good copywriter) and sometimes get distracted by other things, so it can take me an hour, even two to get through one application.

And for these applications to simply disappear into the abyss, with no response, just feels…disconcerting at best, defeating to say the least. I had escaped that for a while by starting my business. But it wasn’t as successful as I initially envisioned.

The professionally-written resume should help with that feeling, but for now, it’s 11:36PM, and I’m writing a blog post about how bad I feel.

Now, my personal belief system tells me not to dwell on what makes me feel bad. And as I write this I feel better. But from around 11:00PM, I just needed to dwell…

…On all the work it took for me to work job after job after job where I was unappreciated, underutilized as a creative mind, just simply, discarded…

And let’s not forget underpaid…

Since I was 15 years old.

15!

So I don’t feel bad about not taking a job I hate now. I paid my dues. (A term I despise and would never make anyone else do just because I thought I had to.) But…

…35.

You know I still have people asking me “What do you want to do with your life?”

I DON’T KNOW! MAYBE ALL THE THINGS I TRIED TO DO BUT FAILED AT! Maybe all the things I’m naturally good at, but there just doesn’t seem to be a place, for me at least, to get paid a living wage? There’s no blueprint for being a creative. There’s no blueprint for this shit.

And even when I did have jobs, I found myself wanting to be free from them. I’ve always had a really interesting relationship with work. I think I’ve always undersold my abilities and the impact I can make on people.

I know my priorities haven’t always been in the right place.

I have virtually no income, no savings, no 401k. No emergency plan, and no back stash of toilet paper. I know many Millenials can relate. I have probably wasted money on stupid things, but I have nothing to show for it (except pictures). I just know that many people have relied on me when they’re feeling just as down as I’m feeling right now. And right now, this blog is my soundboard. I hope you feel me.

I’m usually hopeful for the future. I still am. I just needed this. I needed this good cry. I needed this moment to ask “Why?” Why does my pursuit of happiness, and the self-actualization that lies therein, seem to be so elusive for me right now? How long will this struggle last?

I’m signing out. I wanna get this out before midnight, so I can say that I did something productive today.

If you’ve ever felt lost, disenfranchised, or wondered how long it will take before you start being appreciated for what you bring to the world..and getting PAID for it…(or if you simply just want a place of your own…) This is for you. Things’ll look up.

Love,

Star

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Friendship, Life, Mental Health, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sprituality

What all Millenials need to hear about rejection

millenials_ _You are right where you're supposed to be_ love, the Universe

Perusing social media as an empath means feeling and filtering the many emotions of fellow Millenials. I hear so many of us expressing the same sentiments about rejection. We are losing friends and feeling rejected by lovers, we’re rejecting what was expected of us in life, and we’re rejecting the lives that we’ve built before truly knowing ourselves.

This post is a stream-of-consciousness of a few words of wisdom that will focus on rejection regarding friendships and life paths.

I feel like so many of us need to hear:
“You are right where you’re supposed to be.”
If a friend no longer needs you – let them go.
Take the subtle hints – no means no.
Maybe means no.
Ambivalence means no.
Why would you want anyone in your life who isn’t an emphatic yes?
Even Jesus spit out the lukewarm water.
If you accept that, it is a reflection of your self-esteem and self-worth. It’s not a judgment, just a fact.

Don’t waste your time asking yourself repeatedly, “Was I the one in the wrong?” Am I not good enough?” The answer is not important. What’s important is that you always maintain your relationship with yourself and God, The Universe, and your higher self.

I know it’s not easy. For some, this blog post will be useless, and for some it will be a gentle reminder.
If you don’t know how to start a relationship with yourself or God, what I have found is that a simple willingness to have one is all it takes. There are no special rituals, questions, mantras, or actions you need to take.
If God and the Universe are loving, why would they make it impossible to be happy without them, and then turn around and make it difficult and complicated?

I’ve learned, through my spiritual journey, to reject all teachings that make it complicated to find God. God is within and is experienced as Love.

Now back to friendships. I’ve had many friends desert me in life and I didn’t understand it then, but I respect it now.
It was time for them to move on from me, and if I’d been only a bit more self-aware…I’d have heard the message loud and clear – and fell back.
They didn’t owe me an explanation. Only respect. I didn’t really need them, only God, and everyone has access to God. So they never really hurt me.
Hindsight is everything.

Remember: rejection is redirection, protection, and preparation – for someone else to come and fill that void in your life.

Rejection comes in many forms. You may be rejecting a certain paradigm.
If you don’t love your life anymore – step out on faith, follow and trust your gut. It may get harder before it gets better.
And this is what nobody wants to talk about or hear:

Many people die on the path – but that doesn’t make it any less meaningful or any more avoidable.

Yes, you may get rich in any area of your life – or die trying.
But you don’t stop trying.
Or if you do, that’s OK too. Just try to drink in every moment.
Love,
Star
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Dating, Friendship, Life, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sex

Timeless, Title-less Love (My Story of Having Relationships with No Titles) Pt. 1

gift-habeshaw-fVMMyFl4YqM-unsplashNote: This was written about six years ago from the date of publication. And I think I published it 3 years ago but took it down. It’s a good piece and the updates are ironic… I might even have to do a part 2 for this one! 

 

I have not written in a while. I moved from the state I was living in after 12 years with not many clothes in tow, and apparently I developed a relationship thereafter, and also started a new business. I’ve started school, got a little p/t job, took a leave from that job, reconnected with a few old friends, traveled, started driving, and released the need to call it anything but happiness and bliss.

 

That’s right. I have a new epiphany about naming things. While listening to Michael Jackson’s new album I realized that my most recent relationship transition reflects this song:

 

 

A place with love and happiness, a place that you don’t want to leave, and it has no name.

 

My current partner told me today that he wanted to be friends.

 

And I realized that it’s what I want to. He told me he loves me, and I still love him, so I thought, really this is the best of all worlds.

 

See, I should have learned this from my last relationship, but I guess I’m putting the nail in the coffin for this lesson:

Titles don’t get you Love. Only Love can get you that.

 

Somehow, in That One Moment,  every obligation towards him and all expectations of how the relationship was supposed to be was dropped. I was imprisoning myself with thoughts that I could never be the woman he wanted me to be in all the ways he wanted me to be.

 

I compared myself with other women in and out of his life, and I even started to care about his whereabouts a whole lot more than I ever like to care about anyone’s. You may call it crazy, but I call it a fucking miracle that I was able to release those negative thoughts, for the most part, in an instant, with the words: “Let’s just be friends.”

 

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this with a love in my life. It happened with my first boyfriend, who was ironically named Mychal Jackson!

 

(Lol omg I totally just realized the synchronicity, Thank You Universe.)

 

We were cool for so long, telepathically connected, and very much in love, however, there were certain things as a middle schooler that I just could not give this high schooler.  And then I had an attitude, the pressure was building, I met a girl he was cheating on me with at the skating rink, (literally bumped into her in line and we plotted to confront him once we got inside, lol) Finally, I broke up with him.

 

Then we became friends. And our relationship became sweeter and more solid than ever before.

 

Then, in a more previous adult relationship, I was building with a man who told me that he couldn’t even put a title on what we were. He said something to the effect that what we had was undefinable. I was stuck on wanting to know “what are we” at that point, and I learned from that relationship that you can eventually be the “girlfriend” and still get shitted on.

 

Then I had other boyfriends and I was more unhappy in the relationship than out of them. Same person, same city, different “relationship status.” I learned to stop asking for the title and to ask God for the person who would bring the Love that I too was so ready to share.

 

From that point, I never cared about having a title between the person and I, although I still dealt with ownership, jealousy, and insecurities that reared their ugly head with a fervency that I had never known existed within me before. (Let the shadow work begin.)

 

Now, I have new goals that are evolving every day. Instead of wanting to be some man’s “piece” I focus on the type of woman I want to be. Sometimes I get sidetracked, but I am learning to correct the mistake of believing that someone else, even a loving man whom I adore, is responsible for my happiness 24/7 or even for a minute.

 

My current situation has taught me that I still have work to do in this area, but that is one thing I admire about myself: I never give up on the work of continually discovering who I am. Nothing makes me waver from that.

 

I do believe the new/old adage is true: “Relationships don’t end, they just transition.”

 

And I feel a sweetness in the surrender, in following his lead, in trusting the Universe’s path of least resistance. I feel certain in trusting that this was my answer to my prayer of what to do (which was really just to trust and let go). I feel secure in the feeling of me standing by my principles to do all of the above.

 

I feel good in the release of the pressure of feeling like certain things had to be done by him, and by me, rather than just enjoying each other’s company, attention, and love for each other. And being okay with him being an autonomous person who wants to do what he wants, because I want the same freedom from him. (We often give our friends way more freedom than we do our partners. Somehow, our partners are more like our prisoners than a true person who we trust to do what’s best for their own growth.) It feels so good to know that without the prospect of being “in a relationship” that I am not afraid to lose his love, which I was so afraid of when we were “more than friends.”

It feels really good to know that I’ll always have Love. And that’s real. Timeless, Title-less Love.

Note: Stay tuned for Part 2, 2019 version! I got updates on ALL OF THIS!

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ADHD, and Relationships, Dating, Friendship, Life, Mental Health

ADHD and Emotional Dysregulation – What Doctors Say and How It Really Feels [w/VIDEO]

Whether you know it or not, ADHD affects our emotions in major ways.

 

 

I did a YouTube video about how I was still in shock from the diagnosis of ADHD. When I first got diagnosed, I subsequently did research and started learning so much more about ADHD than I ever had before. I want to break down a bit more about how ADHD affects our emotions.

 

Keep in mind, how this looks for me will look different for different people at different times. (I remember that phrase used to give me so much anxiety. I just wanted an answer, some direction, and I wanted it now! Now I understand just how different we all are, even if we share many of the same challenges).

 

 

What doctors say about how ADHD affects our emotions:

 

 

According to ADDitude magazine, a website catering to people who have and interact with people with ADD (now more commonly referred to as ADHD):

Challenges with emotions start in the brain itself. Sometimes the working memory impairments of ADHD allow a momentary emotion to become too strong, flooding the brain with one intense emotion. At other times, the person with ADHD seems insensitive or unaware of the emotions of others.

This statement was reviewed by ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.

 

 

The publication names feelings like extreme sensitivity to disapproval, social anxiety and giving in to avoidance and denial (two of my favorite emotional dishes served together!) as results of the phenomenon that happens in the brain that is called emotional dysregulation.

 

(I want to stress that this happens in the brain and isn’t a conscious choice). They also mention how all of these emotional reactions can make it really hard to FOCUS AND GET STARTED ON WORK, or anything productive.

 

As I read and research, in my head I’m like, “I feel all of that doctors”. You can read the article for more details on how they say our emotions are affected by ADHD. But now I want to share how it feels to me.

 

I think it’s important to look at things from a wider point of view and to understand what’s already been written about ADHD, but to also really tune into how YOU experience whatever challenges and issues you’re going through.

 

 

What I say about ADHD affects my emotions:

 

 

Although there have been times where I feel that getting up and moving around can help me with overwhelming emotions,  I find that the emotional aspect of ADHD is a continual challenge for me.

 

In one instance that I can remember physical activity working, I had a boyfriend who yelled at me during an argument, and I just allowed myself to get extremely consumed with how upset he was at me. I worked off that feeling of powerlessness and anger by sweeping up the hair at the salon I worked at. I remember thinking “Work IS a savior.”

 

I felt like I was on the verge of doing something irrational, erratic and self-destructive because I didn’t feel HEARD, so I used physical work to distract me. (And not feeling heard is a theme I see coming up for me a LOT. I guess it’s one of my triggers.)

 

My new digital lifestyle makes it more challenging to do what works to shake off bad feelings faster – being physical.

 

 

Chalk it up to having such a free schedule and less structure. As a writer, and freelancer, most of my days and about 40%  – 60% of my time is spent being stuck (did I say stuck? I mean melded, by choice) to a computer or phone. Juggling multiple loving relationships with friends and semi-romantic partners means a lot of texting and social media.

 

In an attempt to get more done and be less distracted and consumed, I often take social media breaks from a few or all platforms for a while. But that still leaves texting. And when I get into passionate discussions, whether personal or about culture or other issues, I find myself getting really riled up and most recently have been looking at how I jump to conclusions that someone is saying something that they actually aren’t. Instead of asking what they mean, I rapidly respond in raging texts, and it has happened over and over again.

 

 

I get fixated on a phrase or word…mostly by text. And I get so stuck on what I think is being said that I don’t remind myself to first ask myself  “would this person who has proven through time, words and actions that they love me say what I think they’re saying?” I also stay seated and forget to get up, move around, and help calm and distract myself from that negative fixation with movement.

 

 

I had no idea that feeling like little things were “life and death” and that I had to respond to them RIGHT NOW was an aspect of ADHD.

 

 

I used to think of this as a testing behavior associated with what I think is my insecure anxious attachment style. And it might be. Through intense research (and experience, my Lord) I’ve found out that ADHD often travels with its buddies anxiety, bipolar, and more.

 

But now, I realize that even though I have learned to slow way way down and I have gotten so much better at my reactions, my brain still sees rejection and insult in so much of what others say.  I see it in women, colleagues, and associates as well. It gives me a pain in my chest. I just don’t let myself react to it the same way that I do with my partners. And what is most amazing is that I had no idea that this wasn’t what most people were thinking and feeling. When I express this feeling to others, they don’t express that they feel the same – unless they have anxiety!

 

Having emotionally intelligent partners helps me cope when my emotions get out of control.

 

.

If I didn’t have emotionally sensitive men in my life – who knew how to tell me that what I was doing was hurting them, and the patience to hear me first make excuses, then later apologize, and then even later start to change the behavior  – they would not have the emotional intelligence to help me process my feelings. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but they have patience.

 

Having a creative outlet is essential to coping with the intense emotions of ADHD too.

 

Writing helps. And blogging, actually publishing my writing, helps me feel that all those emotions that don’t feel so good aren’t being felt for nothing. I put them in my art.

 

 

It was really important for me to learn about how emotional dysregulation or emotional hypersensitivity is tied to ADHD. It really helped me make sense of my overwhelming feelings and helped me stop blaming myself so I can focus on managing my reactions to my emotions.

 

Issa journey!

 

Stay up, Happy Dreamers. Love y’all.

Check out the video I did on ADHD and emotional dysregulation:

 

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My Journey to an ADHD diagnosis
ADHD, Life, Mental Health

My Journey to an ADHD Diagnosis

 

Hello, Happy Dreamers.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Been a while since I’ve felt like being transparent enough to do so. For a while, I knew I had something to say, I just didn’t know if anyone was listening.

Today, I decided that I couldn’t hold back any longer.

My Journey to a Diagnosis was long

Throughout my life I knew that I was different. I was struggling with something. I had the best ideas, but I never followed through with many of them. Even when I did, it seemed like I couldn’t see some of my most important projects through. I was great with deadlines, so journalism suited me. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t find a high enough paying job so I always had to juggle several side gigs while writing. I always had this nagging feeling that if only I could focus, I could be as successful as I knew I wanted to be.

My diagnosis was devastating, but it gave me clarity

On August 12th, I became aware of some devastating news. While getting up from the table after a goodbye lunch with my therapist of the past 2 years (I was supposed to be moving to New York to take an Assistant Managing Editor position with an indie newspaper I used to write for back in the day), she dropped a bomb on me – “By the way, you have all the traits of ADHD,” she said.

ADHD Y’all….Issa lot! 

I began to take stock of my life after this shocking revelation. I realized through self-examination I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Throughout my time in New York City, from ages 17 to 28 (some of those golden years are when I first started this blog back in 2012), I had fits and bouts of rage, moments where I felt like I couldn’t control my anger, my words, my sexual inclinations. It wasn’t surprising to me to find out that some of the challenges of having ADHD are to have substance abuse issues, anger, impulsivity issues, and hypersexuality.

Being a Black Woman with ADHD in America is even more difficult because we don’t share our stories so there’s less support

Now, there are several issues to unpack being a Black woman in America with ADHD. You could be a Black woman and have what they call a neurotypical brain and still have issues navigating jobs, the economy, your living situation, relationships, sexuality, and all other areas of life. That just comes with living in a society where white supremacy exists (but we are destroying it day by day by promoting wellness over wokeness – I’m so proud of us). But adding ADHD or any other mental challenge to being in an intersectional group is definitely more difficult. I wanna share what those stories are for me.

My journey to learning I have ADHD in a timeline

In the video, I talk about my timeline leading up to my diagnosis of ADHD. But to be clear:

2002 – Moved to NYC, began classes at Marymount Manhattan College

2003 – Came home, family ran out of money!

2003 – Moved back to NYC and moved in with a roommate who was a former classmate. He tried to hit me, so I moved out that night after only staying for 6 months.

2003 – Moved into the Harlem projects on 145th and 8th. I was working at The Body Shop.

2004 – Moved out to rent a room in Brooklyn and since then lived in subsequent Brooklyn rooms and apartments. I was working at a real estate company, and then a hair salon.

2005 – My sister moved to town and was working on her book.

2006 – We got an apartment together on Broadway in Bushwick. I was still working at the salon 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. It was one of the best work experiences I had that worked well with my ADHD (that I didn’t know I had yet.) It was fast-paced at times, detailed, had lots of interaction with people and a reasonable schedule. (9-7pm)

2007 – I left that job and worked at a French salon. It was a valuable experience. I had a boss who allowed me to do a lot different things, not just reception. I washed hair, promoted etc. It was also the first year me and my sister put on our first party, so that was first event.

2008  – I worked at a couple of restaurants and then I became a flight attendant. That changed my realm of vision for what was possible for me. After that I knew I wanted to travel eventually.

2010 – Left North American Airlines and moved into nonprofit at Public Allies. I LOVED my time with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation – Youth Arts Academy. It was a community organization ran by 5 black women and I felt so seen, heard, and covered and accepted. I loved working with the children and the parents. This job worked well my brain. There was a lot of action, movement, freedom, creativity, and more. I didn’t enjoy every task but I grew a lot. I moved from full time to part-time and began classes at Swedish Institute of Massage and picked up another part-time job at a salon

2013 – I had to leave that job to move to South Carolina. At that point, my fibroid was too big and my periods were painful and heavy. As I stated in the video, I had to quit school and everything. It was devastating. I didn’t even realize that moving home was an option. But my Dad told me, “come home.”

In December of that year, I enrolled at SUNY Empire State College.

2014 – I was in school and tried to start a company remotely with my current ambiguous relationship bae. ADHD definitely played a role. There were several times he got frustrated with me because he felt I wasn’t being productive enough. I had a job at Trader Joe’s and school, and although I know that was a challenge in itself, there were things that I wanted to do and focus on, but couldn’t seem too. It was frustrating and my inter critic was at an all-time high during that time. It didn’t help that I was dating a Capricorn (dating is a loose term).

2015 – We moved in together! I know it seems like a jump. But we had similar goals. We lived in Charlotte. I began working at a sex toy boutique downtown. I thrived there, but it paid less than $10/hour. I wanted to move up and get paid more. A job at a call center opened up and I only lasted 4 months. It was extremely challenging and now, reflecting on this situation knowing that I was dealing with fibroids and ADHD, man. No wonder it was a whirlwind, along with his problems he was dealing with. If only we’d had the education, understanding and resources, we probably could have made it together as a couple.

2016 – We lasted 2 years but we moved out. I moved back to South Carolina and had my surgery in October.

2017 – After taking at least 6 months to recover and working on my degree, researching a bunch of new career options, mainly in social work and education, I began a job at a homeless teen shelter. I speak about how overwhelming it became on the video.

2018 – I quit and began subbing in the schools, deciding that I wanted to be in education to work more closely with the kids. In January, I began subbing in my city. In February I graduated and then applied for New York City Teaching Fellows. No offense to the program – I learned a lot about the special needs of students in Title 1 schools, but it didn’t prepare me for the teaching job I would later acquire.  I was in the program from May and taught from September to November of 2018. During this time, I began working on my coaching/counseling skills by reading Tarot. By the end of the year, I’d had a very eye-opening experience that caused me to end that practice. I still know I wanted to

2019 – Shit. Here I am. In August of this year, I learned I have ADHD. My life is starting to make a hell of lot more sense now.

The video says so many things that became clear to me right before and after being diagnosed with ADHD – it changed my identity – and I think it’s for the better.

 

Stay True, Happy Dreamers.  I love you.

 

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Dating, Friendship, Life, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sex, Sprituality

Celibacy, Jealousy, and The Most Important Relationship of All

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Sometimes I feel like I want a “relationship,” sometimes I don’t.

The truth is, I don’t ever want to be in relationship and yet, I am always IN relationship. (I left out the “s” on purpose. Relationship is a state of mind, a state of being.) The question is how I choose to show up.

As I’ve been thinking about becoming celibate, there’s the question of intimacy and sexuality.

I want to feel close to someone at various times. Who wouldn’t want connection? Who wouldn’t want to feel fun and abandon in one’s body? The question is, what will I choose to attach that idea of intimacy to in my mind? What meaning will I give it? Am I able to feel the fullness of sexuality and sensuality and intimacy in my life as a woman and refrain of actual sex?

I have realized that whatever I put as a condition for someone else is what I hold myself to.

I also think about my bouts with jealousy and possession that I’ve been prone in the past. When I imprison someone with jealousy and expectations, that has to come through me first in order to get to them. I’m no longer willing to subject myself to that first, mainly because it sucks for me.

I’m selfish like that.
If I choose to be exclusive with someone and I’m also celibate, by default they must be celibate too.

Am I willing to subject someone to that?  Are there men out there willing to share that journey with me? Do I want or need them to?

I care more about what I want now, more than ever. And it feels damn good.
I’m already entangled in relationships of various styles, connections of various levels. None really have strings attached as I learn to “manage my expectations.” It’s a fun ride letting go.

I’m probably deceiving myself when I say “I don’t know if I want a relationship.”

What I’m really saying is “I  don’t know if I’m willing to take someone with me on this very self-centered journey of self-love and development. I don’t want to own you because I’m not going to let you own me. I’m quite good right now.”

When I decide to commit to someone, they’ll have to take a second seat to who I’m already dating…the woman I am.
That’s the most important relationship of all.


					
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Life, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sprituality

When a Friend is “Over You”

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Be your own best friend.

Over the years, the most important thing I’ve come to know about friendship is this: friendships ebb and flow.

When you lose touch with a friend, don’t be discouraged.
Recently I was talking to this guy who I met online. He’s about 60 years old. He’s poly (meaning polyamorous, meaning he has many loves – I hope to continue exploring this later). He’s generally a cool guy so far. Physically, I wouldn’t say he does it for me,  but his conversation is interesting as hell and we’re just friends.
We talked about this very idea of people entering and exiting one’s life.
He said, “Anyone who’s ever been in my life, even if it’s a woman who has broken up with  me or someone who he never thought I would see again, they come back around.”
You may be going through something like this. A friend of yours might be over it: not returning phone calls, not even liking your very positive hilarious posts on Facebook. (How dare they?) But, if the connection is real and strong and meant to last then it will come back around in some form, even if it’s not the way you had envisioned.
I used to chase people and I learned not to do that.
It doesn’t mean I don’t still send a random text to people I was once very emotionally tethered to, but I have had to learn to manage my expectations. The moment when it’s JUST BEGINNING TO WANE is the hardest. It’s like a breakup but with friends, no one ever tells you. They just slowly fade away until they disappear. And even more devastating is when the break is abrupt – cold turkey.
It probably takes an even stronger, braver person as a friend to TELL YOU WHY they stopped talking to you. Most won’t.
So be patient and breathe through the pain. Try to open up communication if you can, but if the person is just non-responsive…know that it’s about THEM. Even if it IS about you…it’s about THEM feeling some type of way about you. Still about them.
You’re living your life…Doing the best you can, right? So are they…But this is the hardest pill to swallow: that someone you adore can be “over you.”
Also, when the people come back around it may not be the way it once was, some people won’t allow themselves to go back down that road with the same person again after being hurt once…and that is exactly what has happened with me and old friends. Now, we speak on Facebook at the most…maybe the phone. But I know I can’t get as deep as I once did. There’s just this unspoken barrier within myself that even now I feel comfy enough expressing if I had to. And the reason is because I’ve had years to process the trauma of the loss of a friend who is very much alive. This process can take YEARS. But you move on.
I know it’s all love between me and those people (I assume and that’s good enough for me). But in terms of where we ONCE were…nope. I’m not going back.
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Dating, Friendship, Life, Personal Liberation, Relationships, Sex

I’ve been friend zoned – And I like it

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Hard to believe, but I’ve been FRIEND ZONED! I just wrote about the friend zone and setting boundaries in relationships in my last post.

I’ve been talking about this for a while in this space, the blurred lines that can sometimes occur between friends when there’s an attraction. It’s often a thin tightrope to walk.

Lately, I’ve been thinking that if I were giving relationship advice, I would advise women to never tell a man from jump that they’re not going to be intimate with him if they have an initial attraction to him, unless there was a reason that you need to say it out loud and make it a point – that is, if he asks. Some things just don’t need to be said, and part of your power as a woman is living in that mystery that men find so alluring. Not because they find it alluring, but because it’s a part of your power.

Also, if there’s an initial attraction there, you might just change your mind, and you might want to exercise that option years later because friendships are built to last.

I’ve been intimate with a few of my really good male friends. Sometimes it was because of one night of overflowing passion that finally reached a breaking point, and others it’s because we tried to have a relationship and for some reason, decided against it.

Because the friendship was solid for years, I didn’t have to worry about losing someone or the energy becoming awkward indefinitely because we had sex. We were beyond silly games, and we respected each other enough to where we could talk about our needs.

I’m grateful for these relationships. They are stronger than ever before, now that I make it an intentional practice of nurturing long lasting friendships. Maybe I’ll write about that next week.

Maybe I’ll write about that next week. But THIS week tho! I’ll tell you how it all started. I’m pretty open on my Facebook page. I am rebranding, quite subtly, but I’m really only trying to reinforce positivity and love on my page. People take notice.

One person in particular did, and since I knew a few of the people he dated, I figured he was cool since he hasn’t been excommunicated from the community.

Mostly, I just follow my intuition on these matters.

I’m an Aquarius moon, so it’s natural for me to have friends from all over the world, from all walks of life.

He commented on some of my posts and we sparked up a conversation. Soon we were talking on the phone, and at this point, I still didn’t know exactly what he wanted from me. I knew this man was older, and he seemed to talk about money more than was tasteful. But what intrigued me was that he was taking a class to improve his business skills, while having already ran a profitable business for 4 years. I researched it and it seemed legit. Anyway, I wasn’t going to invest in his business or anything, which is now being dissolved I believe – but I’m very careful where I put my energy these days, any relationship I form is, in fact, and investment.

Our first conversation on one evening lasted hours, which didn’t say much because I can talk for hours with no problem. He did most of the talking anyway. I enjoyed listening. This is a skill I wanted to cultivate more skillfully for my own self-development. It’s been working. It’s funny how the Universe responds to your intentions – I’ve been meeting some serious big talkers lately. Refreshing.

So, he eventually invited me to a party, but I got robbed! Larceny was performed (funny way to put it) on my vehicle that week, so I didn’t go. Plus, I was tired. I didn’t feel like the drive, and I wasn’t quite sure about this one yet. I was sure that I wasn’t really attracted to him in the way of romance, but in my new practice of keeping silent until there’s a reason to speak up, I didn’t feel the need to mention it. I did ask what he expected, and he said he just wanted to chill. Being so forthright when speaking about how he dealt frankly with other women, I didn’t feel he’d feel the need to lie to me.

We didn’t speak for a while, then one day he texted me saying, “I want to speak to you about something.”

“Sure,” I texted back.He called me and said, “Listen, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed our conversations, and I’d really like to keep you in my life – as a friend.”

He called me moments later and said, “Listen, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed our conversations, and I’d really like to keep you in my life – as a friend.”

Well that gave me pause.

“And that requires a conversation?” I asked skeptically, with a bit of an attitude even.

“Well, actually… ”

And this is where it gets interesting

“…In this class I’ve been taking, they said one of the biggest mistakes you can make in a relationship is to not express your intentions from the beginning. If you don’t, how can both parties’ expectations be aligned?”

This was definitely new for me. I didn’t think I could apply this piece of advice of telling him what  I wanted, until after I knew I actually wanted a romantic partnership with a man. Then slowly, but surely, (that’s the goal) I begin to give him more and more responsibility and see how he handles it. Only then can he be a viable partner in my life.

NOTE: Becuase I hate when bloggers are making it seem like they’re totally following all of their own rules and perfect at everything, I want to say that this was only what I learned AFTER screwing so many relationships up. I mean by putting ALL of the responsibility for my happiness on the other person, by actually getting UPSET that they had other things to do besides be with me (now, I actually LOVE busy, PRODUCTIVE men) and exploding into angry, emotional outbursts and pouring out my heart to them that I have abandonment issues that they’ve triggered by not calling me back. So yes, I HAVE MADE THESE MISTAKES and here you’ll see me LEARNING from them. That is all.

Now, back to me literally being friend zoned – this was happening and I didn’t even catch it – but I liked it!

Not only did it take the pressure off of me of wondering what this new man who wanted to be in life expected of the times we would hang out and enjoy each other’s company, but he was straight up about it. It was a verbal contract. There was no mystery – there didn’t need to be – we’re just friends.

And friendship is a beautiful thing. I’ll never devalue it again.

I didn’t feel slighted. I didn’t feel less attracted to him OR less attractive. I felt relieved and empowered.

Sooner or later I won’t care at all what men want from me, or other people in general. I’ll show up with what I’m ready to give and leave it at that.

But I’m still navigating approaching all of my relationships in a new way.

I take full responsibility for my feelings, and you take responsibility for yours. It IS a process.

And in the meantime, some clear boundaries don’t hurt. In fact, they actually help.

What should you take away from this? Maybe I’ll revise what I said earlier: establish what you want from the relationship as early as you know it – but don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision before you’re ready.

The friend zone is a pretty comfortable place. Kick your feet up, and make yourself at home.

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