The Journey So Far: ‘SUPERNATURAL’ & All Dark Literature Everywhere

When I heard the boys (Misha, Jensen and Jared) on Facebook announcing the badass ride of Supernatural was ending this season, I was shocked. Now, I know all good things must come to and end. I get that. The magic that is Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble had to end one day. However, as a girl that grew up on horror/dark literature, in some form or another, I am sad.

Dude, I remember when the pilot aired! It was 2014, and I was 22, not even 23 yet. I remember that I thought the show would be awesome. I was dating a dude that would become my first husband, yet in love with someone else (No, look at the Able Unshakeable on The Ideal Firestarter for more of that saga). However, I had a raging crush on the treat that is Jensen. Oh, shug, Jensen and I go waaaay back!

Season 11 promo

While he was on Days of Our Lives as Eric Roman Brady (whew, Lawd!) he was the first man I had seen without a shirt. I was 15. I followed him through Days, Smallville, and those awkward haircuts and clothes on Dawson’s Creek. Bruh. I was a fan. And there was no way that I was going to miss him on this show! I had resigned that I was going to love it, because if he was in it?! I was going to be good–that was a foregone conclusion!

But there was something about this creepy little show on theCW. Keep in mind, I like horror as a genre. I don’t really like or do gory stories. I like how stylish the promos looked. And Jensen was in it? Oh, yes please. From the pilot, Season 1, Episode one. I was hooked. And I’m a car girl at heart? Yes! That 1967 Chevy Impala was everything. I told my then boyfriend/now ex-husband, that I wanted that car as wedding present. As a side note:  Jensen made me forget all about the Able Unshakeable. But that’s a story for a later date.

From demons and rock salt, to being vessels for Lucifer and the Archangel Michael,  to time travel, Sam and Dean Winchester have been a part of pop culture for almost twenty years! Get into that! To have them gone? That’s bizarre! I used to watch this show with a friend of mine, and the day I watched Route 666, I called her at work. When she picked up, I screamed this in her phone: “Dean likes chocolate!”

“What?!”

“Sis, Dean likes chocolate!”

Yes, Dean had a Black girlfriend. Dean knows about this Black Girl Magic. If you been watching you know and knew that! But let’s keep it moving. Could seasons be infuriating, yes. Did it sometimes feel like you were playing an RPG and getting sucked into the side quests all the time? Did I get mad and stop watching for a while? Yes. Bruh, I was such a fan that I didn’t work on nights it aired!

But, I loved the writing. I love the depth. I loved the stories. I loved the world that Eric Kripke made and maintained. I looked forward to the show because sometimes I had to look up what they were fighting or the lore they were using. I loved the show. It made you think. It made you root for them. I cried when I found out that it was Mary who was the hunter, not John. I lamented for Sam that went through so much after he lost Jessica. I was made that Dean was a total slut for a while (did you not see Seasons 3 and 4!).

But it was always the story. Always the story. Once this show is gone, then what? I know there is AHS, and that is amazing. But this show? This one? With the diversity of music, people (where Black folk just ain’t props! And Sterling K. Brown was on in Season 2, never forget!). I mean, it was good! I remember fretting when the rumors started that show might be cancelled after 3 seasons! No lie, I loved when I was this underground show that not everyone watched. I loved that it was a secret of sorts.

They have changed so much!

Now, having to say good-bye to my boys? That’s tough. But, as ever the fangirl, I’m going to watch Season 15 to the end. I have to see how it all ends. It is rumor to air in October which is kinda tradition; it normally airs before Halloween. But, this one hurts the dark leaning, lusting fan girl in me. There is still nothing sexier than Dean Winchester wielding a firearm. Don’t debate me. This is never up for discussion.

Get ready, loves! You know the rules by now. Driver picks the music; passenger shuts his cakehole.

Note: Thank you, Carver Edlund for sharing Sam and Dean with is. Yes, he made the cameo as Chuck the Prophet.

My Heartbeat Bill, Part 3

*NSFW:  These screenshots were taken on Saturday, May 11, 2019. These were taken from my personal Facebook page. I have known this person for some time. While I am not shocked at her comments, I am distressed at the lack of compassion shown by her. For those that need support, my inbox is open:  theladyofharris@icloud.com   -JBHarris

 

I kept the secret of me having an abortion for over a decade.

I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my mother or best friend. I didn’t tell anyone else I had dated. I told my OB/GYN  because it pertained to my health. My first husband was so nosy, that he sat in with me on these Well-Woman Exams when we were together. So, I had to tell him.

As of this year, the child Dominic and I had would have been 18. My tribe, at age 37, would have been three. When I got pregnant to term with my oldest daughter,  was 26. With my youngest daughter I was 27. My kids are now almost 12 and 10. The woman that made this post cannot image the vitriol that is rolling off this page. The palpable hatred and condemnation I felt reading this was one of the reason why I thought God didn’t love me and may never love me again. It is this vapid, dissociative empathy that I believe causes people to turn from God. In so doing, they are sent out to fight the world–and their demons–alone.

Alone. 

Again, if you have never been faced with an impossible, fucked up decision like this, you cannot weigh in on these types of impossible fucked up decisions. I understand this is social media and this is the price you pay for free speech. I get she has a right to be passionate about her beliefs and faith. I get that. I became pro-choice after my abortion. I could no longer wag my finger in the face of someone else that was in the same situation I was in. That doesn’t make me any better than the next girl that had a horrible decision to make.

I believe that the people that feel as she does aren’t pro-life:  they are pro-birth. Forgetting that children need food, clean water and shelter. In some circumstances even if the woman were to have the child, church’s laity or their leadership will shame this woman AND the child! Furthermore, if you have never had a child die of a disease like Tay-Sachs (where the child will die before age 5), you cannot possibly weigh in on genetic testing which may rule out your predisposition to pass on this disease.

Moreover, when I was pregnant with my youngest? They thought she had the genetic markers for Trisomy 21:  Down’s Syndrome. I did a amniocentesis to make sure if she did or not have it. The clinic I was at sent a genetic counselor in, and told me that if I wanted to not keep the baby, I didn’t have to. I was about 4-5 months along.

I chose to keep that child–whom is now 10. And she didn’t have Down’s Syndrome.

As I said before:  everyone has dirt on them. But you don’t get to bury someone else with it. As a person of faith that makes you a hypocrite and a Pharisee! You have to take the beam outta your eye FIRST.

I meant what I said in response to this post. That was  about the only thing I could do!  I meant that I am glad people’s hearts are being revealed with the passing of this bill. I am glad that she said what she did:  I see her heart. With that vision, that let me know the love of Christ that is supposed to be evident in her–clearly didn’t make it to this post.  Does that mean I don’t believe she doesn’t love God? No. I’m saying you can’t see God anywhere in this.

My Mama says it like this:  “Be careful what you say to people, because you never know who you might need.”

As I read it, I debated making a part three to this series. I debated to truly respond to this. It’s her page, she’s an adult. She can say what she likes, how she likes. This post wasn’t aimed at anyone. But, in the interest of being forthright, I had to respond to it. Here and there.

I really had to.

It has become far too easy in this nation to shame women. It is easy to let toxic masculinity influence legislation over the female form. Just like this bill does. I believe that real, healthy patriarchy encourages and protects women. Real masculinity isn’t intimidated by femininity.  It values women. Toxic masculinity and patriarchy seek to rule over women to the point the have no personhood or power.

Why is it okay that the right to have a child, should be determined by people whom have no biological capability to push one out?

If legislation like this is okay, then why is it that men–whom have the biological component to determine conception and sex of child–how are they not charged in a ‘commission’ of this type of crime?

This is where her rant falls short–it has no backing or bottom. If pre-martial sex/adultery is wrong–let it be wrong for women and men. I am tired of the brunt of decisions like this expected to be carried by women. For another woman, to say this? And stand on it? I mean–what can you do with that?

I give her the love of Christ, and keep moving. I don’t verbally spar with the unequipped. Lunacy doesn’t have ears. Again, we all got dirt. But, I refuse to bury someone with it. Otherwise, the world is a cemetery.

[images from author’s photo gallery]

My Heartbeat Bill, Part 2

*NSFW:  This piece was written in response to the passing of what is commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill in the state of Georgia. This is/was my real life experience and account. If you find yourself in need of support in regards to a similar circumstance, you are free to email me at theladyofharris@icloud.com. No woman should be shamed by her decisions.

-JBHarris

Image result for broken heart

 

I went to get an abortion on a bus.

 

I was told  to eat something before the procedure so I wouldn’t get or be sick. I took an apple with me that morning, when I really wanted a banana. I thought eating a banana that morning would tip my mother off that I was pregnant. But, days before, she told me to have a seat at the table and get a piece of paper.

My mother is a 40-year nurse. The first part of her career was in Labor and Delivery. She knew I was pregnant, I think. I think she wanted me to just tell her. I had asked her i there was a way the body could have it’s hormones so outta whack that you get sick. “Have a seat, okay?” My mother never said, “Okay.”  She told me the only way that could happen is illness or pregnancy. I wrote that word and my ears burnt. It was the want of not disappointing her that pushed me to remain silent. It was the disappoint I knew would come from my family that made me stay silent. It was the condemnation I thought I would get that thought it be best to be silent.

I was the Golden Girl, you see. Pretty, smart and going to do so much. So much potential. I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant before I had a career or a husband. Yet, that happened. It was judgement and my own condemnation that kept me quiet. And for years after. I walked to the bus stop in the same hoodie I went to Dr. Ferris’s office in. I took the #41 Lee bus to the #70 Grand bus to the clinic. I had my purse and the money for my abortion inside it. I was told to bring the money in either check or money order. No cash.

I ate my apple on the way to the bus stop, as if I was preparing or a dark-op mission. No emotion. The only thought was, “Go and get it done. Go and get it done.” I had already cried. I kept crying. I cried the night before. I held my Bible, and I cried. I told God I was sorry. I asked Him to forgive me. To help me. I told God this:

“If you don’t allow me to have another child, I understand.”

I walked to the bus, feeling knowing, that this was the first and last time I would let this happen to me. I thought that if I never got pregnant again, I wouldn’t be mad. I couldn’t. I thought God forgave me, and I was prepared to never be a mother–to never be a mother. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be a Mama then. I was murdering a child–an innocent. And I was prepared to give up the ability to have a baby, because I was letting this child die.

I walked from the bus stop on Grand and Forest Park. I remember how hungry I was. But, I was on a mission. I had to get this abortion. Nothing was going to stop me. The clinic had a talk wrought iron fence about 8 feet tall. At the gate, there was someone standing there. It was an older White woman in a dress, with a hat holding a sign that read:  THEY KILL BABIES HERE. I don’t remember her facial expression, but I remember she didn’t move towards me. And it was quiet. It was a group of people on the parking lot, but no one bothered me. I was lucky. I had seen enough documentaries, national news and Law & Order to know abortion clinics do get bombed. That providers are, can be killed. I knew that girls in my situation could be hurt, even killed. Yet, I went in.

The security officers greeted me, asking for my ID and appointment time. I gave them my ID and walked through a metal detector. Dominic said he would come with me, but I didn’t believe him. But I called him, and told him I was okay. I wanted him to be there. I didn’t want to be alone. I was still so sad that I used birthday money to do this.

I was there all day. All day.

I remember being herded into this sitting room with all these other desperate-looking women. I saw mothers with their heads wrapped up. I saw best friends being supportive. I saw an interracial couple–I fixated on them. I wanted Dominic’s arm to wrap around me like this blond young man did for his girlfriend.

I had to get height and weight. I had to pee in a cup, again putting a white cup in the mystic microwave to make sure I was pregnant. What was the most disturbing part was the ultrasound. There was this brunette White girl in a white Planned Parenthood t-shirt that escorted me to this room with stirrups. I remember they had to do a vaginal ultrasound to see how far along I was. She asked if I wanted to see the ultrasound. I turned my head, “No.” I heard the heartbeat, tried to block it out. The mission was to get the heartbeat out of me. I had to keep the mission, like all warriors. I couldn’t let my heart betray the mission.

I remember waiting, and being herded from room to room, with more ugly upholstered furniture. I was cold. I was quiet, I spoke to no one. I was, tried to be grave quiet. I was finally funneled into this room with like 6 other girls. The medical assistant was a Black girl in red scrubs that told us how to prepare for our procedure. She gave us all a gown, a pad with a big Kotex pad attached on the side and a medicine cup with 2 pills in it. One pill was to dilate the cervix. The other was a pain pill. I think it was a Percocet. While I was getting dressed, I noticed the room was filled with girls that looked like me. All Black. All pretty. All pregnant. All soon not to be pregnant.  One girl that sat on the couch in a gown was so pretty. She had a short cut, classes and had her legs crossed on the couch. She said this was her second abortion.

Second. 

I couldn’t imagine  doing this more than once. When I asked, I said it was my first abortion.

First. 

Saying that word made me feel sick. I wanted to hurry up and do this and leave. I waiting in the room, cold and half naked, and alone. When my name was called, I was lead to this small white room with a blue exam table. I was told to lay down and relax. There was a woman that stood next to me as the doctor came in. The older White man balding and white hair with glasses. He sat between my legs with the stool provided. I was told it would feel like ‘a deep pinch’. She held my hand, this angelic looking woman with glasses. I held my breath and she held my hand. I looked at her hand as she held it. I felt something cold and metal enter me, and then pull something out.

I was told the procedure would ‘evacuate the uterus.’ My baby was sucked out of me and was no more a part of me. The doctor said I did good, and I was done. He left and shut the door. The angel that held my hand asked how I felt. “Fine.” I said, being relieved and cheery. I sat up on the table, trying to swing my legs off to stand. I almost fell.

I was lead to a recovery room to rest for a few minutes before I was allowed to get dressed. I laid there, on this hard blue cushioned chair and thought. The same nurse came and got me to let me know I could leave. I could get dressed. I was herded with another girl into this living room area to discharge with aftercare and medication.

I had no insurance. I walked to this window, and was given a brown paper bag with an antibiotic in it with pain medicine. “For the next two weeks, showers no baths.” She sat at this small desk below the this open window. “Take one of these pills everyday until they are gone.” I watched her fill out my paperwork. “You need to come back in 3 weeks for a follow up appointment.” I had no intention on ever coming back. I smiled and took my bag and left.

I left. I wrapped my hoodie around my waist. I went home.

I didn’t see Dominic for a week. He said that he tried to come see me, but security wouldn’t let him in. Knowing what I know of him now, he’s an utter liar. He may not have even come there, let alone called to check on me. I remember I had sex with him during the time I was supposed to be abstaining, and taking these antibiotics. I wanted to feel wanted. I wanted to feel like he loved me. And my body? I think Winter Santiaga from Coldest Winter Ever said it best, ‘it felt like dropping a pebble in the ocean.’

I stayed with Dominic a year and more after that. He said that he owed me a baby. He told me that he loved me. We tried to move past it, to forget it. But I couldn’t. I cried in his arms one night, just wailing. I realized what I had done–what he convinced me would be best. After everything I had done, endured with him, I expected him to marry me. I wanted to be his wife. He promised me it would be better. That he would make it up to me. The thing about that? I refused to be caught up in this again. I got on birth control–and stayed on it.

Every month I got my shot (this contraception shot called Lunell). Spermicide every time.

When we broke up a year later, I hated myself. I did. I was so sad. I had given up so much to be his girl. But this? My baby? Our, no, my baby?! Ah, nall. It wasn’t until I met the Able Unshakeable did I know just how broken I was. And how empty I became, and how unloved I was.

Don’t judge a woman that had an impossible situation, with an impossible choice, with impossible outcomes. Before you condemn her, or send her to Hell, think about if that was you or someone you knew.

Everyone got dirt, don’t be so quick to bury somebody else.

 

[image from bbo.co.uk]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Heartbeat Bill, Part 1

*NSFW:  This piece is autobiographic, and written in response to the passing of  what is  commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill in the state of Georgia. Unless you are a woman faced with this decision, do not be so quick to dismiss those of us–yes, us–whom have had to walk this decision out. Telling no one.  All names are used. No punches pulled.

-JBHarris

 

Image result for broken heart

 

I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant.

I was about 6 months from my 20th birthday. The young man I had been seeing knew before I did. So he said. I remember how tired I felt. I remember how hungry I was. Like all the time. I remember I got the reminder in the mail about my Well-Woman Exam. I scheduled it, praying that I would not be pregnant.

Dr. Ferris’s office in Clayton, Missouri was sterile. It was like the front room of my grandmother’s house. It was a place that you weren’t meant to be comfortable. I filled out the intake form and waited for my name to be called. When the cheery voice from the oak door, I put my hands in my grey sweatshirt and followed the White girl with blonde hair to the empty room.

This nameless girl in the pretty scrubs took my weight and asked me how I was. She asked what brought me in. “Well- woman exam.” I answered the harang of questions that followed.

“Are you sleeping okay?”

Yes.

“Any chronic pain?”

No.

“Are you sexually active?”

Yes.

“Are you pregnant?”

I paused, mouth dry. Blonde ponytail looked at me. I scrunched my face and made the could be/maybe/a little bit sign with my fingers. As if she were a magician, she Blonde ponytail produced this specimen cup with a white lid. “Okay, go ahead and pee in this for me. Leave it in the metal window in the restroom.” She walked me to the bathroom, I followed her in my white Tweety bird shirt, jeans and sneakers. Blonde ponytail said to return to the exam room when I was done.

I went into the maroon colored stall, deft at peeing in this cup and putting it in the designated area behind this small metal door. It was like a mystic pee microwave. It was life-changing, would be life-changing.

I walked back to my room, sat on the edge of the examination table. I remember looking of my denim clad thighs, wishing my was empty. Hoping it was empty. I closed my eyes, tried to imagine telling my mother that I was pregnant. Pregnant, unmarried, with no bank account or driver’s license. I was pregnant by a man that she didn’t even like, or want me with. I thought about having to tell this man, that I believed loved me, that I was carrying his child.

Dr. Ferris came into the room, her tone devoid of any warmth. I remember her being this petite, brunette White woman with a white lab coat longer than she was tall. She looked more like an angry math teacher than a OB/GYN. I remember she spoke to me. I think I spoke back to her in the same curt tone. She had her back to me, fiddling with and on the small white counter about the size of a microwave cart.  I was looking t my thighs again, swinging my feet as I did when I was a smaller girl. Kicking the air to try and find footing in a stressful situation.

“I have the result of your pregnancy test.” she didn’t turn around. “It’s positive.” My heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe. The way she said it? The tone was if I was about to be put in time out! The well-woman exam was a blur. I remember her doing my breast exam. I remember how tender my breasts where. I remember telling her that I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how to tell my mother.

I thought about the conversation I had with the father of my child. He had a son, and was barely taking care of him. We talked about keeping the baby. I wondered if I could really do that. Could I really be someone’s mother at 19? She left the room after the exam and told me to get dressed and follow her to her office. No warmth, all the charm of a prison guard.

With my protective hoodie on, I sat in her office. She sat in this Alice In Wonderland sized mahogany chair. She told me my due date would be sometime in January 2001. “I’m not going to tell you what your options are. You already know.” Dr. Ferris said. I didn’t want to cry in this office with this small version of the Red Queen. I willed the tears back, and my throat was hot and dry. “I don’t know how I’m going to tell my mom.” I told her. She wished me luck, and I left as quick as I had come.

The father of my child was the 20-year-old named Dominic. I called him from the phone in the waiting area. I told him I was at the doctor’s office and that I was pregnant. I remember him saying, “Okay. So what do you want to do?” I told him as clinically as I could, “We do what we planned.” I couldn’t mouth, or say, the word abortion. I couldn’t believe I had even considered it. The fact is, it was him that suggested it! I said to him that I wanted to keep the baby. My faith told me that abortion was murder; premartial sex was wrong. Due to my inability to not be unnaked around him, I got pregnant. He told me if we were to give the baby up for adoption this exact quote:  “We would just have to go back and find it anyway.”

That devastated me. I cried for days. Days. I was sick. My head hurt constantly. And there was no support from Dominic. None. The money to pay for this abortion came from birthday money an ex-boyfriend sent me. I had gotten home that afternoon on the bus, and relieved the house was quiet. At the time, there was a Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue here in St. Louis. I looked up the number in the phone book, and called. I got some information from the operator that was more cheery than Dr. Ferris would ever be.

She asked if I was pregnant. I told her I was. She asked me how far along I was. “I don’t know.” I told her that I had just found out. “If you want a proceedure, from 6-12 weeks is $320.” I closed my eyes, still listening. “From 12-20 weeks, its $520.” I told her I didn’t think I was 12 weeks. “I think I’m 6 weeks.” I said softly. She told me she could schedule something within the next 2-3 weeks. I remember it was a Tuesday that we settled on. “Come early before the protestors get here.” Protestors? The thought hadn’t entered my mind that there would be anti-abortion activists there! It didn’t dawn on me that I could be hurt, the facility bombed or any other dangerous thing to cause harm to me if/when I went! “Okay.” She repeated my appointment time. And I hung up the phone, feeling nothing–and everything.

 

[image from bbc.co.uk]

He Never Was A ‘Tiger’

 

Image result for tiger woods medal of freedom

I remember when Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods really became a household name. I remember during my high school years just how cool it was to know there was dude that was Black, golfing! GOLFING! And was like, GOOD at it!

I remember the Masters Wins. I remember the ESPN interviews. I remember when he didn’t call himself Black, but Cablasian. I remember when ‘Fuzzy’ Zeller said he hoped he didn’t bring fried chicken and collard greens to the Master’s Dinner.

Catch that.

I remember how my Dad would make off-hand comments about Tiger, and him not wanting to admit that he was Black. I remember how that irked him. I remember how he never really would say that he was Black. I remember that troubled me, but I couldn’t identify how. It was as if Tiger thought he could transcend race because he played a game better than a bunch of old White men that lust after their exotic maids.

As much that is said about Jackie Robinson, you must give him this. No matter where Jack went, according to accounts and his widow Rachel (now in her 90’s), he was Black. And unapologetic. He was Black in Cairo, Georgia. In California at UCLA. In the Negro Leagues as a Kansas City Monarch. He was Black in Montreal in the MLB minor league for the Brooklyn. He was Black as #42 (2B) in Ebbets Field. He never had the gumption, or the option, to deny any part of him that was Black. Or Black and male. His college education, speaking ability, military record, speed in cleats didn’t diminish the fact he was Black.

So, why did Tiger think this wouldn’t happen with him? How did game change–for him? What really made him think these stodgy, old White men would change–for him? We know that some White athletes disassociate themselves from the plight of their non-White teammates:  see Tom ‘Eptiome Of Mediocre White Male aside from my former brother-in-law Rob Bilbruck’ Brady. He is on record, with a MAGA hat in his locker said this (taken from The Intelligencer in December 2015):

“I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time. It’s actually not something that I really even enjoy. It’s way off my radar.”

Now, to be fair, I have linked the article for you to see the entire exchange. But, I find it interesting that he wouldn’t go to visit President Obama after a Super Bowl win. However, got mad at his predominately Black teammates when they didn’t want to visit the White House to see Orange Thanos.  Then, he wanted to invoke the responsibility of his teammates to go.

Herein lies the disconnect.

My problem with Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods, whom is the son of a Black man, is you do not get to disconnect your Blackness from your social awareness. Your Blackness is your social awareness! I can take–nay, expect!–stupid, vapid comments from athletes who are better suited to be QB’s on the latest version of Madden! I can handle that, because his privilege is an insulator–impervious to logic.

The fact that Tiger Woods, went to the White House to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from a man that  is misogynist, clearly xenophobic, and a sympathizer to a/the white supremacist cause?

That let me know that he has no longer decided to rent a room in the Sunken Place. He bought property! Funny thing, though.  This same award that was given to heroes and artists, is now given to him. I can only see as a a noose he can wear and show off to people. Sometimes, it be your own people, man.

I said what I said.

[images from fox8.com and nymag.com]

Ode To The Girls With The Big Purses

Image result for large purses

 

I have carried a purse for 27 years. Small purses. Clutches. Different colors. Some borrowed, some traded. Some I saved for because I just had to have it! But, you have to understand something. My mother was always Old Hollywood Glam.

Make-up.r

Hair.

Shoes.

Bag.

My mother was snatched before I really knew what that word would be. She carried a purse, so I wanted to carry one. When I got my first one at 10, this tortoise patterned  crossbody Cherokee bag? That was IT! I would go around looking for stuff to put in my purse. MY purse.

It was simple stuff at first for little girls:  mirror, lip balm, pen, candy and some money (my father insisted that as a young lady, I always needed to have some money on me). But as I grew up, I looked at small bags with suspicion! Like, I need stuff!

My best friend, Marissa, and I are of the age now where to carry a purse is to have lives in your bag. I am oft quoted saying, “I am suspicious of women that carry small bags.” Which Marissa often responds, while smoking, “Right! Like women need stuff! Where is your stuff?!”

Image result for large purses

Indeed, where is your stuff!

Call it a transference:  from a teddy to a tote. There are things that I carry on a day to day basis that I couldn’t be without, But, that anxiety, as it were came when I was a girl. When I would get picked up with my Dad from school, my siblings and I wouldn’t get home until late! I started carrying snacks to keep from being hungry; my snacks in my purse. I started carrying a pen or pencil with me so I could do my homework while waiting on my Dad to finish a meeting. I started carrying a book with me when I didn’t have homework. With my allowance, I would look for a bigger bag to keep my stuff. I needed a hairbrush. Gum. A calculator. Emergency Always pads. Having these things with me made me feel more prepared, more in control of my day!

In high school, during my Sophomore year, these plastic/pleather totes were popular. Every girl had one–probably because every girl’s mom shopped at JCPenney. with this tote, I had all the stuff I needed with me. No matter what was going on, I had something for it!

Now as a mother, wife and writer, totes are my go to. Not for security anymore, but for practicality! I need a bag that can keep with calendars, keys and kids! I need to know if I through something in this bag, that it’s there! I need to know can a bag I carry handle all I have to do on a day-to-day basis! Like, can it carry 2 cell phones; a tablet; makeup bag with brushes; pencil bag and random papers? That’s on light days!

Image result for large purses

So, to the girls that grew up watching their mother’s carry purses, and now have found their own sense of style and self, allow me to say this.

As a woman, the world will make you take on what you don’t need. It will try and strip you of the things you do.

Women need stuff. 

I need to be able to build everyday. I hustle on a day to day basis. Every woman I know in my immediate circle carries something with her everyday that reminds her of the business, brand or vision she is chasing.

My totes in my closets, strewn on the floor of my bedroom, remind me of the things I carry. Why I carry it, and when I need to clean it all out. As I move through the world, I need stuff. I need to be able to have access to stuff! No ambitious woman that I know carries a small bag everyday!

Their balls don’t fit.

 

[images from iOffer, AliExpress, wells.blogs.nytimes.com]

“Blackness Is Ongoing.”-The Power Of This Will By Undoing

I am in this space of radical love and self-acceptance. In my devouring of the fire of Feminista Jones; the medicine at the shoulder, knee, yea, hands of Toni Morrison; I came across the sister oracle, Morgan Jerkins.

This book had been on my radar for over a year. It had been in my literature orbit, and hidden among other Amazon needs. However, now, this time, I bought it.

What I got in the about 8-hours of the author herself, was a dual realization of my power as a Black woman. And the invisible chains that held, pulled and sought to destroy me.

I found myself nodding when she talked about the paradox of being a smart, quiet, Black girl. I teared up remembering my middle school self: smart as hell, awkward, with parents that prized grades over social status. The struggle with sexuality as a Black woman versus the idea (even appearance) of being fast. I was mad as fuck with her as she relayed her frustration with college acceptance; the loss of her father and hiding in the depths of academic success. I clasped my hands, as if she could feel them, when she talked about her faith. I even teared up at her *manifesto in Chapter 9.

The power of this book is it’s willingness to confront the joys and struggles of being a Black woman. She rips off the Band-Aids with laser precision and pulls no punches.

While reading it, I found Morgan on Twitter. I tweeted her about how the book effected me. How I wished I had something like this 25 years ago when I was a girl and trying navigate woman spaces I was thrust into. I had to examine myself and alla my stuff as the choreopoem goes.

In, with, that examination, came a strange empowerment. The further acceptance of my Blackness. Of forgiving women in my family whom did only what they knew to do in order to keep me safe and tame. I no longer felt that my experiences were alien.

This book was a reminder of self, my entire self. Of allowing my daughters a freedom I never tasted. I was reminded my soft heart and quiet nature were never a detriment, but a tool. I was reminded just as Phylicia Rashad said:

“Your whole self is such a treasure.”

I had forgotten that. Like any good writer, Morgan made me remember. For that, I am thankful.

Thank you, Morgan Jerkins.

*The manifesto in Chapter 9 is one of the boldest, most vulnerable things I have read pertaining to loving yourself as a Black woman. I am glad I have this book on Audible so I can go back and reference it on blue days. The days where my magic, my swag or my sway feel less than. Where I feel less than. Where I am low, in need a level of refilling God-deep. One of the joys of being a writer is you get to see and feel deeply. With that depth, the refilling, too, must be just as deep.