#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge—Week 12 (2021)

Black women are some of the most incredible human beings on the face of the planet. We are. We are the Dora Milaje!

That Sisterhood, both mythic and ancient, bought by blood and time—we are amazing. That word Sis is ours! It is that recognition of each other, the divinity in each other—it is activated by the word Sis. 

That power cannot be wielded by unbelievers! It cannot be transferred by those who cannot see Black as divine. White women cannot have this space, accessing our love and power because she feels she can. This is ours! This space is ours! This love, this security, this inevitable protection in this space.

A Black woman is more that what she appears to be! And will always be! It is up to the Black women of this Sisterhood to approve the worthy of access to that word, that space, to those whose melanin quotient doesn’t match our own!

We own this space. 

We will not apologize. 

Your whiteness is not a guarantee for approval, access, and acceptance! We own us now. We are of our own purchase. We are Queens again, your fury our thrones.

For The ‘POSE’!

I am already crying.

I NEED ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN ON THIS SHOW THIS SEASON!

I stopped my entire life to watch the Season 3 premiere of POSE on FX! I made sure my kids were in bed, that I had snacks, because I was prepared to have my emotions snatched from me.

It was then that I remembered that this was the last season. Then I remembered that there are transwomen being my murdered left and right—including my dear YouTube sister, Jahaira Balenciaga just this month!

I am looking forward to what Ryan Murphy and company do this season, because so far (we have now jumped from 1991 to 1995):

Blanca got a bae

Papi and Angel are still together

Ricky and Pray together still

Cubby died (Whew, Jesus!)

Pray back to drinking

Lulu got Angel back on that sh#t!

Blanca going to nursing school!

Electra is still shady as hell!

Whew! And that is just the first two episodes! What being a fan is this show has broadened my scope as it relates to empathy. To love and even what it means to be and ally, accomplice or an advocate. You cannot love POSE and not support Black transwomen.

I said what I said.

I know this is about to be so good, I know I am going to cry so hard, and I know I’ll be cussing at the television in two languages again—BUT! That is the power of great writing. That is the power of great story telling. That is the power of representation.

Let’s hope the Emmys get it RIGHT this time. Indiya Moore and Mj Rodriguez deserve EVERYTHING!

30 DAYS OF JAYE: Say The Quiet Out Loud

I want nights

That are quiet,

And still

Loud as thunder,

I want storms in

Oceans of sheets

And limbs pulling

Me further from

What I know into

All I want.

I want the quiet parts

Said out loud

And kisses made only

For me,

And all my inner light

Being bother magic

And woman lit

By you.

I want the now

and the present presence

Of what it means to be

Lost and still be found.

From sky above

And Earth beneath

I want to dream

Of setting future

Suns…

Again.

-JBHarris

A Year Ago This Month: Reflections From A Pandemic

This picture is one of the few taken before the onset of the pandemic in the US in early 2020 (this was taken in October 2019). What an odd moratorium–but here we are.

One year ago this week, I was married. I was a mom. I was a healthcare worker in-between jobs, and I was a recent college graduate! I had planned on leaving healthcare and transitioning into education. I planned on pursuing my Masters in English (a possible MFA), and was even recommended by one of my mentors, Dr. Kimberly Welch, to pursue the Doctoral program.

I mean, Dr. Jennifer Harris, sounds formidable, doesn’t it?

And then COVID-19 abducted that future. The fight that would end my marriage completely was brewing, I felt it. There was no where to go, I hated being home, and ‘sheltering in place’ with someone that you have no desire to be with is a different type of Hell. While sheltering in place, I had to confirm my plan to leave the husband who claimed to love me, but had hurt me so badly that I would have rather slept outside than in his bed! I learned just what activities he was up to! All while trying to keep peace for the sake of my children.

What kicked it off? Me doing exactly what I’m doing right now: writing. I was at my computer, and he asked me why I wasn’t talking to him. I told him I wasn’t bothering him, and I was minding my business. Why did I say that? And off it went. We argued. We screamed. And he asked me if I even wanted to be his wife anymore.

I, leaning against the wall, completely bereft said, “No.”

And the month of April was an exercise patience, being stealth, and having to do what you have to do with the world burning around you! I found a new job. I started a new job, full-time, with benefits. I found an apartment, looked at it and my mother got my deposit for it. I lied to the man that is now my ex constantly so he would leave me alone.

I still cooked. I still was gracious! I washed clothes and mopped floors. I still was a mom. I answered questions of children, I muddled my way through the beginnings of this quagmire of virtual learning. I mean, I even remember making Easter dinner last year, and all his favorites. Kill ’em with kindness, right? WWJD, right?

And Saturday, April 25, 2020? He packed his things, and the last thing he asked me, “Can I have my keys?” And I haven’t seen him since. And I am relieved! Relieved! I was able to breathe for the first time in two years! In that relief, I had to mourn what was.

There would be no more 2-parent household. There would be no more grad school, no TA-ing for my mentor. My plans for my MFA were permanently on hold. I couldn’t leave healthcare–I needed the money to sustain myself and kids! I was back to being a single parent, after almost 7 years. I was no longer going to be a married woman. I had to do the dirty work of putting my life back together…while falling apart. Whatever ancestral faith imparted to me, and I forged, I tapped into. I tapped into. The days immediately following his leaving, I barely remember! I had a house to pack. I had to get to work! I had to get back from work!

After being employed for a month, I even remember the day–May 15, 2020–I called off work. A huge issue in health care anyway! I literally felt my body and mind say, “I cannot go on. I cannot do anymore! Whatever you are demanding me to do, I cannot do!” I called my best friend, Tawanna, and told her what happened. She told me to take care of myself–and I did. I remember calling the Nursing Office, and robotically telling them–with proper 2-hour notice!–that I could not make it in. “I have an emergency with my children.” That was all I could muster. I thanked the woman that answered the phone, and I resumed laying down in the dark room with half of my possessions packed up in various rooms. I remember I laid in bed, tears breaking free from the prison of my own strength. I cried. Not loud, but I cried. I have been tired. I have even been exhausted! I have never been the level of tired where my entire being rebelled and shut down.

My children were with my mother and sister, so I could get back and forth to work (this was a lot of ride-sharing, and paying people gas money). A lot of groceries being delivered, and dealing with coming home to my lights being off (because he turned them off! They were in his name!), and him telling the landlord that we (myself and children) were gone! Imagine their surprise when I appeared out of the house after hearing noise in the backyard!

I had to pack a house, raise kids, and move my entire life to get back to where I had to get to. I decided that me was more important than the we! I had to mourn what was dead, and even what I helped to kill! With all that swirled around me, I didn’t die. I didn’t succumb! I didn’t quit! God truly kept me–He truly did!

From those early days of confusion, trying to get masks, and washing clothes every time I went outside–to being an a 2-bedroom apartment that catches the morning and evening light, where I see trees every morning. A pandemic didn’t kill me. A bad relationship couldn’t stop me. An abusive ex couldn’t, didn’t silence me. What this pandemic has taught me is I am stronger that what I thought, and had to become more resourceful that I ever thought.

Now, in this new ‘normal’, I pay my own rent. I am still employed, being an great mom–who keeps masks in her car. I am 2 months away from 40, and looking to buy a house. Is this a happily ever after? No. This is the next chapter being written. For that, I am grateful.

In The Matter Of Derrick Jaxn

These are my first and final thoughts on this Jaxn Dilemma. Follow your girl on TikTok (@whatjayesaid).

Thank you to Rebecca Quarles for this meme. The internet is undefeated!

I stumbled on Derrick Jaxn in the rabbit hole that is YouTube. I like how personable he was, and the fact that I thought he was handsome surely helped. I liked his approach to relationships, his advice made sense, and I even used it from time to time! I mean, I was solidly, #TeamJaxn. I followed him on social media (Twitter, YouTube) and even used his advice from time to time! I mean, I even shared his advice to some people (i.e. women) I knew!

Then, I started looking a little closer.

There was a live that I saw with him on it (it might have been on YouTube), at least two to three years ago, and he mentioned a baby. A new baby. When I heard that, I turned the live off. I had this question: “If you have all this wit, wisdom and knowledge, how do you have a Baby Mama and not a wife, sir?!” It was from there, that I quit listening to him. I want all of us as Black folk to win, and I left all that where it is.

And from there? Life is on fire this week! On fire! Completely!

Turns out Mr. Jaxn has been cheating on this woman, his wife, who is the mother of his daughter–the Baby Mama!–for a minute! Like?! What part of the game is this? According to the Facebook Live event they did as a couple earlier this week (which his wife, Da’Naia, said was her idea!) left me staring! And I mean, staring!

Derrick Jaxn: Relationship guru confess to cheating on im wife - BBC News  Pidgin
Chile, there is no way I would have come on camera about this. No God.

With the interest of full transparency, I have been the woman that has been cheated on. I have also been the wife that cheated. I own both of those identities! I can tell you that there is no greater pain than realizing the person you are building your life with has cheated on you–emotionally or physically. Also, there is nothing like believing the person that you re building your life with cannot be what you need–neither can they meet (or see) those needs you have expressed!

It hurts either way.

Yet, the thing that I find more glaring comes from this deep sense of a boundary being violated! According to his wife, DaNaia, said she had dealt with this a year before! A year! She went on to say that she left him–took the baby and bounced! Da’Naia said she told her husband, Social Media Sociologist and Relationship Guru, Derrick Jaxn that she wouldn’t come back to him until he decided what it was he wanted! Now, I can commend this! No one needs to be in any situation where they are hurt, exploited or abused. No one! Derrick and Da’Naia have said they have worked through these issues of cheating–which only came to light after one of the women that Derrick was involved with came forward. Why she chose to do this? Who can say.

But there was something in me that was so angry watching this Facebook Live event. Da’Naia is a woman that has leaned on her faith to get through this–and I commend her. I have done the same thing in times of extreme distress! But, as a woman that has been through more than a few mishaps, and situationships–I know hurt when I see it! With her dealing with this situation with her husband, the father of her child before, I cannot imagine what it took for her to sit on camera to be aired out again!

It could not be me! I cannot be me! I would have put out a statement and have that be it. With all the money and clout that her husband has, you couldn’t find someone to write a statement and just keep it moving? It is so hard for me to believe that she volunteered to do this Live, or that it was her idea! Especially, after this was posted on her own Instagram:

I’ll spare you the rest of the sorted details (and I apologize for the quality screenshot), but this here? This is what made me think that there is more here than either of them are saying! In this post, Da’Naia, says that she studied the flicks that Derrick made of these women on his phone! She studied the women’s bodies, down to the ‘secretions’! I’m sorry, what?! Sis–no! This is not God’s best for you! No! Even to find out that they have been on and off for twelve years before they got married?! Sis! What is this about!

Luvvie Ajayi Jones said that this is the problem with the church–it weaponizes the gospel! This is horrendous! As a woman of faith, I am appalled, confused and sad. The same gospel that freed me and strengthened me–looks to be the same gospel being used to imprison her! Women are always expected to stay by husbands whom have done horrible things! Yet, you don’t see many men that do the same for their wives as publicly! I understand that love covers a multitude of sins–I get that, and am grateful for it. However, when is enough enough? When do we make the differentiation between gospel and gaslighting?

Derrick cheated on his wife, Da’Naia.

Da’Naia forgave her husband, Derrick, that cheated on her.

Who are we to judge that? What I will say is, people will only do what they are allowed to do. I cannot imagine what it is to be aired out twice like this! In front of the world! Again! Derrick and Da’Naia also have books they are selling–about relationships as well. How convenient? I cannot imagine what she is going through, because this does not seem to be over soon. Even now there are still women coming forward–with screenshots! Chile…how long Da’Naia? How long? God has more for you than to be this embarrassed…on a regular basis.

If they can really come back from infidelity (not everyone can!), I wish them God’s best. If they cannot, if it becomes too much, then she knows what she needs to do next. God indeed be her strength.

Week 4: “Is Love A Myth?”

Is love a myth? No.

In the space that I am in now, I know two things.

First, Sex is not medicine.

Second, I value intimacy over sex.

Love like I want, and like I have read about, it is something that is special. It is rare. So incredibly rare. I realize that I am precious and valuable, and have no need to reveal that specialness to anyone else. Not right now, anyway. Love is not a myth, it is a power source. You an build with it, take it with you, and it is deep enough to last longer than social media. That is what I want, and what I am looking for. I am looking for something that I am aware that few people will find, or know how to hang on to.

Love is often said, and not shown enough. At this point in my life, I understand that what loving someone means, versus being in love with someone means. If I tell you “I love you” that means that I support you, care for you, and want the best for you whether it benefits me or not. From those three components, I am promising that I will do all in my power to care for you, and being your soft place in the world. Love is a door, window and a mirror. Never a wall. Love, real love, will always make windows and walls–that is it’s nature!

Love is not a myth. It is always waiting. And right now, I’m waiting on it. For the first time, I’m waiting on it to find me–rather than running after it.

Good thing come to those who wait, right? I’m about to find out. What do I have to lose? I refuse to lose myself again.