The Affair With Struggle Love: Part 4-Heartbeat & Heartbreak

I don’t know what it is about love that makes us endure all types of unnecessary things. I guess it is true what Shakespeare said, “Love is but a madness.” From that, it seems that we as a society are obsessed with the Happily Every After!

We love when the dragons are slayed, the maiden rescued, and the insufferable, impossible plot seen through–no matter the cost. Yes, at any cost. Yet, what cost is that? And how much is it? How much of yourself must you give to get it?! The most glaring thing about Struggle Love is how much it costs you.

It will always cost you the intangible things–trust, hope, healthy love concepts.

Once that happens? Once you are the one whom is totally hurt? This is where you begin to count up what you have lost, Sadly, by this time–at this late in the game–the losses are insurmountable. Having lived this, having seen my friends go through this, I have noticed four things that are indicative of ‘being in too deep.’ What does this mean? It means your heart is telling your head what to do–and the costs are about to escalate.

Blinders. By virtue of its definition, Struggle Love doesn’t focus on microlevel problems. The cheat-forgive-repeat cycle doesn’t matter. The maltreatment doesn’t matter. The insecurities fostered in this relationship. The focus is always the macrolevel goals–stay together at all cost! The thing is–the person with the blinders on is ‘the glue.’ This is the person who is the most invested, with the most to lose. They are the one that keeps everything moving–even if it is in a circle.

Pretending. This is deeper than classic denial. At this point, you believe in what is not there–nor may never be there. You latch on to the Honeymoon phase or phases of the relationship–idealizing those phases–believing that if you just ignore everything else, this ideal will become the reality. Yet, this is not always so. It is on rare occasions between rarer couples that the desire for the ideal becomes the reality for both involved. The key here is both. Sometimes both is non-existent.

Resistant. These are the external forces exerted on portion of the relationship–so that it will end. This force comes from people who see the relationship is neither going to change nor improve. And this force is put upon ‘the glue’ because they have the most leverage! The glue is the strength and foundation of the relationship–once they realize the relationship is doomed, it is only a matter of time. The thing is–it takes a while for this to happen. And sometimes it never happens! At this point of being resistant, the power of pretending all is well is seductive! It is enticing! The happily ever after appears to be not just in vision, but in grasp! At this point, the glue will believe in what they hope is there–rather than what is facing them.

Desire. Oh, this is the ugliest part! With all that has been invested in this relationship, you want something for this time! For women, this is normally marriage. That ring-dress combo is what we as women believe will make it all worth it: we will have been chosen. Being chosen is to be seen. To be seen is to be acknowledged–which is a basic human need. Everyone wants to feel significant. We often make the mistake of believing if we just put up with bad behavior, all the frogs will become princes–because that is what the story says. But it is time that we write a new story. This one, this time, maybe the princess doesn’t have to kiss a frog.

Maybe in this story, the princess remembers she doesn’t need a prince to feel special. Maybe in this story, the princess sees the frog, and leaves him where she found him. Why? He can’t do anything for her but bring issues and problems.

Book Announcement!

Support Indie Authors! Click here to buy my book!

“…no woman has ever written enough.” -bell hooks

My day job is in healthcare.

My mother is a retired nurse.

I have been in this field, adjacent to this field, for my entire life. My mother was a nurse when AIDS hit, and it is her wisdom I have leaned on when time have gotten crazy in this particular pandemic. It is from that space experience and art that I wrote this book. This is the blurb from Amazon:

The COVID-19 Pandemic has laid siege to the world’s population beginning in late 2019. No professional community has been witness to this onslaught like the medical community! This community has been a guardian of sorts during this pandemic, trying to provide help, hope and normalcy in the midst of the administration of the 45th US President. This book of poetry, written by and essential worker in a hospital, shows the siege first hand–and the hope she still has, despite what she sees around her...”

I didn’t write this book to get famous. I didn’t write this book to see the record the downfall of the American heathcare system. I wrote this book, because writing has been my solace while this pandemic has raged. I hope that this book, and its 21 pieces, grant your some measure of hope and peace. Also, as a testament to the hope I have that we as nation–and a world–will get through this…and be better for it.

The Affair With Struggle Love: Part 3-Bleeding Love

TW:  Domestic violence, Intimate Partner Violence

Love you shouldn’t hurt.

Yet why does it seem the culture cannot seem to think of affection or affinity between two people unless there is toxic behavior attached to it. Which is mind-boggling! Yet, it’s idolized! We as a culture idolize pain. We look at what is being torn asunder in people’s lives and retweet it! We make it sport, gossip and all matter of impossible fodder to slop the hogs whom devour suffering! One of the most striking things as it relates to struggle love is the fiasco that is Emily and the manchild Fabolous!

This boy went over to her parent’s house tripping and clowning with her, hit his her in the mouth–knocking her teeth out (and he replaced them!)—and she is still with him! Pro-tip: crazy never improves, it only worsens. Yet, we gobble it up don’t we? We idolize the struggle to be chosen so much that to be in a healthy, non-violent, relationship is considered boring. Think about that. I believe the root of this feeling, this need to be chosen–desire to be chosen–is based in self-worth! That type of trauma is toxic! Yet, we champion it! Society loves the happily ever after at all costs! We romanticize the 50, 60 year relationships that last through fire, wind and water–but we forget the stories that go along with that! And not all of them are good!

The scary thing about those relationships is they are shrouded in myth! They are held up as this standard–an ideal. The goal being to stay together at all costs! Staying together at all costs. The thing about that kind of belief is toxic. Yet, as jaded as the world is–we run after the happily ever after! In the joy of being together, we forget that people are human. Are petty. Can be mean and unforgiving. Ruthless in revenge when they feel they have been wronged! Yet, we tell people (mostly women!) to stay. We tell them to stay because ‘God hates divorce.’ We will tell a woman that it will be okay: “It’ll all work out! Be patient!” For all the frogs that become princes, there are frogs that become demons! There is no amount of prayer, patience or persuasion that can make someone bent on hurting you–whom has shown they have no regard for you (and whom think they know your price!)–to not hurt you. But, there go the whispers of the happily ever after. Those whispers tell you, “It’ll get better.” “They didn’t mean it!” “Your parents/grandparents (whatever list of long married people) stayed together (whatever) years! They went through stuff and they made it!”

We idolize the struggle so much that abuse is explained away. We idolize, dream of wedding dresses, big houses and the desire to build something that is ours–that we endure to get. We endure for the end to come–even if it might kill us in the middle.

Red Table Talk: Part 2- Jada’s ‘Entanglements’

Facebook Renews Jada Pinkett Smith's 'Red Table Talk' Through 2022

I have been a fan of Jada Pinkett since she was Lena crushing on Dwayne Wayne on A Different World (SN: I so need A Different World to be on HULU!)! I always thought she was short and loud, and reminded me a little bit of my Aunt Linda–never a bad thing. I remember her being pregnant. I remember her marrying will–I mean she is besties with Tom Cruise at one time! Like she was the reason I wanted to keep my hair short! Her legacy and impact (for me) has always been bigger than her being Stony in Set It Off!

I know that she is the daughter of an addict. I know she and her father are either estranged and or never got along. The most infamous part of her public life has to be her relationship with Tupac Shakur, son of Afeni Shakur. If you want to make an insecure man mad, mention the connection between Jada and Tupac! Every time there needs to be a documentary about him, someone go gets Jada. I mean, the synergy she had with him–that is nothing but Twin Flame energy!

With following her career, and her journey in being a mother to her son and daughter, I thought this thing with August Alsina was a stunt. And I still do! So imagine how crazy I felt when this manchild produced all these receipts about their relationship! And yet with all this dirt thrown on her, I only have observations and a radical empathy. It is that radical empathy that made me hesitate in weighing in about this! I have been Jada. I have been Will! I have been August! And for that reason–radical empathy.

In that radical empathy, there is a dose of truth. Multiple doses. And if you are a woman past, 35–you already know where this is about to go! I am going to base this on what Jada said in this Red Table Talk–which was DEMONSTRABLY SHORTER than any other Red Table Talk. But I get it!

Women of a certain age don’t like to talk about the things they believe are embarrassing or painful!

I really believe 2 things about this situation: (1) August is mad and (2) this is a stunt at all cost.

But the semantics, Jada! The word play! That told me everything I needed to know. Will said, “We were on a break.” Jada said, “No we were over.”

RIGHT THERE.

And Will’s face was a mixture of “I can’t believe she did this” with a dash of “I have to relieve this again!” It is always most interesting to watch a man’s reaction to a woman’s indiscretions. Yet, that isn’t the buzzword is it? Ah, yes. Entanglements.

When speaking about this ‘indiscretion’ they couldn’t get the definition of what she had actually done. She called this an situation an ‘entanglement’. Will called it a ‘relationship.’ And he laughed when she called it an ‘entanglement.’

THAT’S TWO.

I know Will is hurt by this! But what I got from Jada looking at this was, “I was tired of feeling bad. I was tired of doing for everyone else. And no one looks out for me!” I get it. She was tired. She was angry. She was wanting to feel something else. This is the language of a woman that has tried to be some many things for so many people. It is the language I have said myself when admitting that the situation I found myself in demands more than what I have! I have BEEN Jada!

Yet. What I find more interesting other than semantics, is the reaction from Will! I mean when he said, “Really, Jada?!” I felt like I got a peek into the fight that happened when all this was revealed. It truly feels like there is more to the story than what we are seeing! But, as I watched I saw Jada in the space of “This is the truth, but this aint nunna y’all business!” Oh, Jada! You have been in the public eye for more than 20 years! You know that people will always have something to say–but we we see now is that there is some DEEP stuff going on.

Jada wanted something for herself, and is used to fixing people! It is deeper than this woman being ‘friends’ with her son’s friend! It is! I mean, think about this! She was in a relationship with a man/manchild that was SICK when she met him! That’s codependency at it’s finest! But in that space of being a support to this young man, she may have felt needed. Wanted, even!

As my mother says often, “You aren’t the first woman to be tricked!” And this is no different! She thought she would feel young again, more desired, ‘more like herself’ in the arms of someone else. I mean, I have been there! Conversely, she put the thing down, flipped and reversed it! I THINK when either she said, “I’m going back to my husband.” or “I don’t to see you anymore.” And Lil Aug couldn’t cope! It was a Stella Got Her Groove Back Moment. He wasn’t supposed to catch feelings!

Now look at him! Aired all this information, spilled all this tea, and people still don’t know who he is! And the corner conspiracy theories of the internet are saying she is still in love with Tupac (maybe, maybe not). That might be so. With that, Jada will have to reckon with that. And there is no Red Table Talk when you have to look at yourself in the mirror.

Red Table Talk: Part 1-Will’s Teary-Eyed Anger

Facebook Renews Jada Pinkett Smith's 'Red Table Talk' Through 2022

I have been a fan of Will Smith since he was the Fresh Prince, making all these hits with DJ Jazzy Jeff! I mean one of the first raps I learned (aside from It Takes Two) was Parents Just Don’t Understand. Yes, I am that old. So, I remember when he and Jada got married. I remember when she was pregnant–with both Jaden and Willow. I remember how happy they looked,and how thrilled Will seemed to be because he was no longer with mother of his oldest son, Trey.

Now far be it for me to tell how messed up someone else’s relationship is. I, myself, have had 2 failed marriages. So, it would seem that I would have no idea on how to be someone’s wife! When the details broke about August Alsania? I ignored it. Why? I figured it was a publicity stunt! I mean, who would brag about having a sexual relationship with Jada Pinkett–the WIFE of Will Smith?!

Like, who would have the audacity?!

Imagine my surprise when this man came out with pictures, text messages, and all matter of manhood in gray boxer briefs! Imagine my horror when all of Beyonce’s innanet, powered by Black Twitter made all the memes about Jada ‘lying’, and championing August’s shenanigans. But thing that made me break my silence about what is going on was Jada announcing that she would confront these slings and accusations–with WILL at the Red Table.

Chile, look.

Jada Pinkett and Will Smith's Bizarre Red Table Talk | Higher ...
This face–this face right here–told me this man is hurt on levels you cannot even name.

In this almost 13 minute segment on Red Table Talk, I watched both of them play with language. I saw the semantics. I saw the word play, and I saw the hurt on Will Smiths face. Now, it has been an ‘open secret’ and suspicion the Smiths were in an open relationship. Even Will eluded to this in this comment: “It good to know you can do what you want with no fear of losing your family.” Um, excuse me, sir?!

But the thing that got me in this interview (besides it not being an hour long show like she does with other people–we see you Jada!), was Will’s expressions. He laughed trying to play it off, as if he was ‘passed’ everything they were talking about! the striking thing to me was–his eyes. He looked like he had been crying! But y’know–the innanet and the world at large cannot handle (or conceive) that Black men emote! I do not care what anyone says–this man was hurt! And he was hurt by the person he chose to spend this life with!

What I have always thought was funny about men is how fragile they can be when their hearts are involved! Like, he told Jada, “I was done witcho (witcho=with your (for my non-AAVE speakers) ass!” And he also said, “I’m surprised that I’m even speaking to you!” I really believe the only secret between people whom are famous, and non-famous people is the fact that when we (non-famous people) mess up–the world doesn’t notice or care! I cannot imagine what it feels like for Will Smith, dealing with this–from a woman that he has been with 25 years!

His presence here added an element of fall out to this situation. While Jada was matter of fact, with this demeanor of “I just want to get through this”. Will seemed stuck on “I cannot believe that I have to relive this! I cannot believe I have to come through this again with the world watching!” The part of the twosome who said, “It’s bad boys for life” is dealing with a woman he felt he could not make happy! Y’all saw the show!

In being with someone that long, of course they have dirt and issues. Of course there are things we as a the thirsty, nosy, prying public want to know–but just AIN’T our business! But what Will’s face told me all I needed to know! I have been will. I’ve also been Jada! But with Will being this focus of this part, I saw his heart broken. I saw his emotions go through paces–because he wasn’t safe enough to say what he wanted. There is definitely more to this than we are seeing…

Yet, what I want to do is have us begin to normalize men–especially Black men–being vulnerable. Being emotional! Being able to say, “This is what hurt me, and I don’t want to hurt anymore!” Pain and trauma are inevitable in a world that seeks to devour people–but we never expect that from people we love; whom we think love us. Men experience struggle love too.

Healthy love is for everyone. I hope Will has it.

The Affair With Struggle Love: Part 2-How Did We Get Here?

*-not his real name

“So many people want a wedding but no one wants to be married.”

My parents, had my father lived, would have been together 45 years this year. By the time he died, they had been together about 20, 25 years. When I think of all the things they had experienced in that time, I am overcome. I cannot help but think how my mother managed to hold herself together in the midst of what she needed to do, on top of whatever my father and her got into. It is the backdrop of their love affair, that I try to find a map and a light to all of this here.

From my mother’s recollection, she and my father met in the late 1970’s, like 1975 or so. I was born in 1981, and 2 siblings followed. In their 20-some year relationship, I had seen my mother cry over fights they had. I saw her tend to us, her extended family, and work. Somehow in there, she completed her BSN.

I still really don’t know how–until I became a working mother trying to go to school. Yet, that is another matter…

What I saw, and what I know is–my father loved my mother. He loved her with all his might! He, and how my father loved my mother, gave me the blueprint on what to expect from a man that said he loved me:

I expected to be treated well. 

I expected to be valued. 

I expected to be cared for.

I also expected to be heard, not ruled!

I expected to be given the respect of a difference of opinion! I expected to be valued beyond by ability to cook, keep house or rattle sheets! I knew that when grown folk get together, it’s not always smooth–people are different! In relationships, we can have some similarities, yes. But we were not to be the same person. I knew relationships would have disagreements, arguments, slammed doors every now and then! I knew that there would be struggles to preserve us in the midst of the chaos in the world. But, I knew relationships weren’t supposed to be more chaotic than the world outside!

Yet, I knew this one thing: that if a man hit you, you were supposed to leave. I knew that abusive behavior and addictive behaviors were not to be tolerated. I knew those things were deal breakers. And from the template of my parents, I think I can pinpoint what it means to be in ‘struggle love’, and just how one gets to any point of accepting this.

I truly believe this idea of struggle love comes from the need to be loved. The desire to be chosen, seen to be something special. From that hunger, from that want to be loved, we (men and women) will accept anything! We say to this person–through our accepting/accommodating behavior–that the want of being chosen is more important than a real working relationship!

Let me tell you about me and mine. It was this this guy named *Darius. I met Darius when I was 19. I lost three years to this man, to this relationship. After being with this man, sleeping with this man, and having an abortion after this relationship–at 22, I was hurt. I was angry. But from this vantage point of age, I can deduce why I stayed. From that, I believe you can have some idea of how it start–and continues.

I wanted to be loved. I loved Darius. I stand 5’10” and he was 6’8″. No lie. And I felt so safe when he hugged me. In the words of Toni Morrison the sex ‘was as good as it could be from never knowing any other before.’ I loved how I felt when I was with him! I was his girl! I had someone that wanted me! He was there, there for me, and after the loss of my father 2 years before? It was a nice escape to just go and be with him…and be his. No matter what time of day (or night) it was.

I wanted to be special. I wanted to show Darius how good of a woman I was. He was a dedicated weed smoker, and I would put money into my working budget to buy weed for him. I helped him take care of his son–that he barely saw! He disappeared on me twice–leaving no phone number or address. He didn’t work, and his life was a constant source of stress! I wanted him to see that life with me would be easier! I wanted him to see that I could hold him down, lift him up and be that superwoman I knew I could be to him.

Being with him, being in his life, was more important that tending to anything that I wanted. I was going to be with him, because I wanted what he said we were going to do together. Regardless of what that meant. We would make it through anything, if I would just be there.

FULL STOP. This is where the cycle of “I’ll take anything, because he is my everything starts.” RIGHT. HERE

I dealt with him not working. I dealt with him not acknowledging how hurt I was being pregnant and sneaking off to an abortion clinic. I dealt with having to pay or everything. I dealt with it, because he told me I was his soulmate. I dealt with it, because he said he loved me. It was because he loved me, and I felt special when we were together was enough.

I wanted it all to be real. I was in love with him. I loved him as best I could. And I wanted to hang on to him! I had given him my time, my body, my familial relationships–and lost a child. By the time it was over, when I really knew it was over was him being more concerned about how he was going to feel–rather than me crying while I was at work. At work. Let that sink in. I had worked all day (from 6 AM!, and wouldn’t be off until 8PM!) and he said, “How can I go the rest of the day like this?” I cannot even my remember what I said in response to this. But it was over…and I cried in a locker room. Before I had to go back to work.

I fought to make him pay back my time, my tears and my love with becoming the man I wanted him to be. I stayed with him 3 years. I endured this for three years. Three and a half, really. But what I really wanted was validation. I wanted the same love I gave him–to be given back to me! And it wasn’t happening. I stayed with him, because I wanted a return on my investment. He was my investment! Of all I gave him…I left with nothing of the woman I was before.

Nothing.

This is the price of struggle love! It costs you everything! It will convince you that to work for something that should be given to you–freely. Struggle love will always COST you something. Love is never a debt–love pays! It pays completely! I paid for this love, and was left with debt and heartbreak. I was left thinking “What is wrong with me? Why didn’t he want me?” See how crazy that is? Struggle love will have you thinking that you–the person trying to hold something together–is the problem. If you would just do something else better, sexier or faster, it would be better. Struggle love is gaslighting!

The bad thing is, once you see this happening–once you know what it is–it is often too late to redeem what you invested.

Guard your hearts, dear ones. Guard them from the world that wants to break them–or the wolves that will eat them.

In Case Of Emergency…Break Glass.

“I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” -Audre Lorde

What does it look like  to make a woman less?

Is it to tell her what she is not

What she cannot become

What she is not allowed to access

What she is never allowed to think, dream or see?

What is it like to make a woman less?

Is it that her charm and her wit are disrespectful?

Defensive?

Dismissive?

Flippant?

That she is just too damn much?

What does it look like to make a woman less?

To say that her ambition is a deterrent?

That her desire is not on par with or even

Any kind of parallel keel to that is expected of her?

To be honored by those around her

What do you do to make a woman less?

To make her doubt her presence, her purpose?

To make her believe that her voice is noise

To allow her to remember that her hands are onlhy for service?

To give out

But never take

That her eyes should only shine from

The sacrifice it brings

That her tears

Whether streamed fluent

Or ocean prolific

Are those to be

Are waters to sampled and surfed

And taken

Enjoyed because she gave them and that should be enough

What do you to make a woman less?

Tell her she can never become

That she is bound

Only by what is told to her.

(c) Jennifer Bush-Harris, June 2020

The Affair With Struggle Love: Part 1-What Is “Struggle Love”?

“Every relationship has goes through ups and downs.” This is the lie we are told–especially as women!–that there are things we have to just go through in order to ‘have a relationship.’ This leads to the idea, and idolizing of this thing called ‘Struggle Love’. The best way to explain this is a relationship/potential relationship that is tumultuous, full of drama or potential abuse; the couple stays together because  they want to be together–and they believe that ‘every relationship goes through things.’ More often than not, these relationships have aspects of being domineering, full of gaslighting, and one of the participants of this relationship must continue to endure things that are painful for the sake of the relationship.

I have a friend of mine, whom makes sport of eviscerating those whom come for her with this type of insanity–and it is glorious! Case in point:  there was a man that was in her inbox who was trying to shoot his shot! Okay, nothing wrong with that (she calls these misadventures  Inbox Chronicles). But when he came to her on some ‘If you were my woman you would…” or “I wouldn’t put up with that if you were my…” My personal favorite, “You need to understand that you need to be patient with a man, y’all [I suppose this to mean women born after 1970] ain’t nothing like y’alls grandmas!” For the life of me, I have no idea what that is supposed to mean! None at all. 

I suppose I should be grateful that I don’t need my husband or father (and I have neither) to open a checking account, I can vote, have an abortion, and can go to a higher science class without my womanly assets being such a distraction. But to ask for this level of fairness in a relationship? The word egalitarian is a curse word. There is a this twisted appreciation for the women that endure. The ones that suffer in silence, give everything to everyone and has nothing left for herself! This expectation that –as a woman–you are supposed to take the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…and smile. Take the case of the relationship between Gucci Mane and his now wife, Keisha. He took this woman through the unimaginable! Just like Emily and Fabulous –he has literally hit this woman in her mouth! And she’s still with him! Why? The illusion of the happily ever after. This promise that says, “If I just put up with a little bit more, cry one more time, believe him one more time, then I’ll get my happily ever after.”

Struggle love always has outlandish requirements–these requirements are often met by the need of one person to be needed and wanted, doing all in their power to appease someone that is (clearly) abusive. Struggle love tells us that love is earned, not given. Struggle love tells us if we just hang on–all rewards will be ours. Even if  we die along the way. Struggle love is what most women have been taught! In this teaching it makes women the mules of the world–not deserving of someone unless they can ‘prove’ they love us; or we must suffer in order to be loved. Love–with God being love—gives it to all of us lavishly, so why do I have to prove I love someone else–by how much I will put up with, cry over, or forgive?

Don’t worry–I’ll wait.  

Cultural Conversations #4: School & Work

As problematic as T.I. is, he had the idea for a TV show on BET. The premise of the show is/was to find out which is better: classic education or street smarts. When I saw this, I wanted to start screaming. This is another form of classism and elitism. Why?

I’m glad you asked.

I have college educated parents. I have a mother that loved books, loves reading, learning and in a last life, she wanted to be a teacher. I had a father that made sure I could write my name and read by 5! I, myself, am dual-degreed and thinking about grad school. I am the mother of gifted children, whose gifts I speak to on a regular basis. Yet, some of the smartest people I have ever come across don’t even have high school educations. With this pandemic, I have remembered the things all the older people in my life have pour into me that has prepared me to survive! You have to understand that learning is eternal, intelligence is not quantified as one thing, and to have a degree does not make you better than someone else!

With that said, I come from a family that values education. Yet, even though I value education–I understand that ‘school ain’t for everyone.’ Yet, even with that, in that, those without that higher education shouldn’t make those with it a target! Don’t you know this a form of classism? You can’t keep telling yourself “Who do they think they are? Going to college don’t make them better than me!” Yes, you’re right! But you cannot knock those that want a college education, want those opportunities that it brings! Conversely, you cannot shame the people that want to go to trade schools, start their own businesses right out of high school with no desire for an MBA–with more sense than a board of folk with MBA’s!

It was my grandmother, with her 8th grade education, who showed me how to survive, garden and be observant of the world around me. It was my college educated father that told me the value of reading, being confident in my intelligence, and using my voice do what I know is supposed to be done! The thing is just like it was in the antebellum portion of history, so it is now!

Education is a tool of achievement and to others its been divisive!

If you get an education, and go around certain (read: white) people, it is seems that the expectations that follow Negro expectionalism apply! They (read: certain white people) don’t understand ‘why everyone doesn’t go to college?’ I would be here all day and until Jesus’s return talking about this!

Everyone should be able to go to college, yes. College should be affordable enough for everyone to go! Yet, there are some people that just don’t want to go! And that is okay. Just like you should be shamed for going to college, you shouldn’t be shamed for not going! We need to normalize the not going to college, as well as going to college! We have to take the stigma off education. There are people that enjoy working with their hands, or doing hair, or fixing cars! It is okay to let people pursue the things they desire–which, too, make them money!

Intelligence is not just ascribed to what’s in a book! It cannot be limited to what can be found in a book. And not all intelligence is associated with common sense! With that, stop telling people (read: Black folk) that to be educated is to try and be white! That is toxic and further emphasizes this divide between the decision vs. the availability to college right out of high school!

There are so many variables between education and achievements. This dovetails nicely into those who decide later in life to go to college, or send their grandchildren. It happens! We must be able to become more understanding of one another, even baring in mind what F. Scott Fitzgerald said when in The Great Gatsby: not everybody had has the same opportunities as anyone else!

We cannot be caught up in such a minor thing when we have white supremacy to dismantle! And we need everyone working together to do so–whether that be driving the car, giving lectures, fixing the meals that we eat after, writing books, opening businesses, mentoring who need it, and giving hair cuts after! We need everyone on deck just like the Avengers in Endgame!

Degreed or no degree–we are all in this together! On my watch, we aint leavin no one behind.

…And Just Like That, She Is Forty Minus One.

Happy Birthday to all my Birthday Twins! According to the Original Firestarter, My Mama, I was born Wednesday, June 24, 1981 at 10:37 am. If you desire to send all bday money, you send it to my CashApp: $JBHWrites. Thank you, dear ones!

39. I have made it to 39.

I am a mother, a daughter and a friend. This birthday feels different. It feels different, because it is different. I survived the onslaught of COVID-19, with my mental health and body intact! But this birthday is different.

I am getting extra tattoos. I am piercing my belly button again. I am embracing my sensual nature, and respecting (read: re-establishing) my boundaries. I am falling in love with me, and my own company all over again. Yet, I am doing it in a way I could only have done at this age. I am no longer keen on male company, and I am not dumbing down for it. I have found that I am a fan of a good wine, and Megan Thee Stallion.

I am writing more, and building a legacy for me and mine. I am appreciating my mother more, and her bed still has magic in it! And I do not know what I will do without her when the day comes I can no longer call her–or find her—on this side of the grass.

The previous 6 birthdays, I have been someone’s wife. I am no longer that. That wound is fresh, pulsing and I am still healing from that. It is a beautiful thing to be able to write in this time as well. If I couldn’t get all of this out of me, I would definitely be in a much sadder state.

In this birthday, the last of my 30’s, it feels different. I’m moving different. I’m looking at my life and raising my kids different. Everything is different! I went into 2020 with all these plans and expectations—and weights. I will not dwell on the demise of my second marriage, for 2 reasons.

1.) Ain’t no body got time for that. We are getting divorced. We are not friends. Nor do I purpose to be.

2.) Mr. Harris deserves to live his life without his ex-wife dragging him through the internet.

I’m much classier than this. I’m a lady (most days). Despite rumors to the contrary.

But the thing is this, I’m not terribly scared to turn 40. I’m not rushing it either! Trust me! I am thinking now about what I want the second half of my life to be. I am thinking about how I am going to be a better Mama. A better friend, and I am loving sleeping alone again! I am healing up, Oracles. I am enjoying time with my kids, and writing, and even have taken up gardening.

Yes, gardening.

I refuse to get a dog. And I hate cats, and the scary thing—in the next 5 years, I will have an 18-year-old child. And I have to get her ready for the world. I am absorbing all the time with her and her younger sister now.

What these first almost 7 months of this new decade have taught me is I am tougher than I ever thought. I deserve more than I ever put up with. I have learned when things are over, they are just over–and some men just can’t handle you; though they love the idea of you. What I have learned in this now 39 years of living is all wisdom is gotten at a cost: youth.

There is more I desire to do, that I must do–and I am excited. Besides, the adage is, “If she’s fine at 40, she’ll be fine forever!” And I plan on aging like Dihann Carroll!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!