” you should write something on loneliness…”

I’ve always had this idea that loneliness and happiness cannot live in the same house.

I told myself, this time I will try to be comfortable with the idea of not being in love, and not being in a relationship. I told myself I would take this time to heal, and to grow, and to learn how to love myself even in the absence of a lover. That time came and went before I even truly had it. I met someone…an amazing person actually, and started building an intimate relationship with them. I told myself there must be some divine timing or universal synchronicity  to this – I told myself too eagerly, to let it happen.  I listened to that voice. I listened to my comfort zone. I allowed this person to stay in a my life when I didn’t need them, when I  needed me more. But I continued to live in this lie, because the truth- the truth is scary to me. The truth is uncomfortable. The truth is that I am terrified of being alone, and I am terrified of being left, and unwanted. This pattern isn’t new; It is consistent in my life, and I’ve always defended it to the graveeee, of why  *this* person was absolutely necessary.

Some childhood trauma is definitely the root, and I am aware of that, and have been aware of that for more time that I would like to admit to. I am aware that I never want anyone to leave me because then, it proves my unworthiness that I feel. The root of this is my father leaving me, and then my mother. The two relationships that I feel are most important, have been disappointing and hurtful to say the least, and I’ve carried that experience with me through all my relationships. Loneliness seems more detrimental to me now, than ever before. Loneliness feels like loss, emptiness, and vulnerability. Of course there are days when I feel like I can grow from this, and I can be strong and powerful in this moment of uncomfortability and uncertainty; I could say that, I could post on my Instagram about how “nothing ever grows from your comfort zone”, and I swear I could be this voice of only positivity, and “good vibes”, but I would be lying to myself. I would be contributing to this movement that can only project positivity and happiness (that is often falsified, forced and exaggerated). I don’t always want to be a light, or *correction*, I can’t always be a light. Loneliness is draining and dangerous. Loneliness has caused me – too often – to set fire to myself, thinking… anything would be better than being numb.

I say that loneliness has been much more challenging for me now than ever, because it is very easy to see how past lovers are doing. It is very easy to see how they’ve moved on without you. It is very easy to see them “happy”, in pictures that are too easily accessible. And although we may think, “well, they aren’t really that happy”- whether they be past lovers or strangers, the question still exists, ” well maybe they are and if they are, how come I’m not?”, and the thoughts never end. Everyone just seems so happy, emphasis on *seems*, and it easily allows for feelings of loneliness and exclusion. Loneliness feels a lot like rejection and failure to me. If I’m not “dating” or “talking” to someone, then I must be unworthy and undesirable. I know that that is not true, but there’s a voice of fear that screams louder than the truth sometimes. Because of this “fear”-this fear of being unwanted , I make sure to never be alone. I’ve often been single, but never alone. Loneliness would be a depth too deep for me to feel safe in. I struggle in wondering if how I feel is at all normal because normalcy is just “happiness” now, and in order to be accepted, in any social capacity, you should be happy or at least pretend to be. Even if today I can’t be a light, even if today I am filled with so much sadness I feel like I could suffocate, maybe there is someone out there that just needed someone like me, to write this, to let them know, they are not alone.

I’m not saying that I am anti-light or anti-growth, what I’m saying is I’ve never witnessed any light without darkness, and I’ve never witnessed any growth that didn’t start beneath the ground. I crave the authenticity of people, I crave the good and the bad, and this world has taken truth and silenced it, and it deemed it as unattractive.There is this obsession with creating a picture perfect life on social media and it is draining people of the best thing that God has given us -which is the ability to connect and relate and feel as human beings. 

So heres to some truth, I’m fucking lonely and bored as shit.

Is there a space for ‘T’?

What triggered me to write a blog on trans-relations initially, was a conversation I had overheard between two nurses where I work. So basically, one day I was at work minding my business as usual, and then I hear a conversation ensue about a transgender patient. I don’t want to give details about the person who made the forthcoming comments, because I’m sure people at work view my blog. Why is his identity necessary for the narrative? Well, he is a person in charge of overseeing staff/nurses- and he is also a gay (cis-gendered) man. So lets get right to it.

There is a trans woman who is being seen for depression, and he begins to say to his colleague ” I don’t understand the whole new transgender thing, like you’re either gay or straight…everyone wants to be transgender now”. He continues on to say, ” I’m not calling him a ‘her’, whatever he was born with is who he is” and he repeats it again, “I’m not going to call him a ‘her'”.

In that moment, I got very emotional. I couldn’t believe that a health professional had just said that. A person who’s job and career focus is to be non-bias and care for people.There were so many things that were wrong. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were trans, and I realized I’ll never know. This person came to a hospital for help, and they’re not even safe here. But what I did know was that the people who speak and use the analogy ‘LGBT’, are rarely speaking for the ‘T’ in the community. “LGBT” has just become a standard analogy of false inclusiveness in politics and in social relations. It is clear to me, as a bisexual woman that trans-relations are often overlooked within the community, and extremely ignored, rejected, and ridiculed.

I want to define what it means to be transgender, as I know that not everyone is familiar or well versed in this area. Being trans is described as your gender identity differing from your anatomical make-up. Your gender identity is your internal sense of feeling like a man or a woman (some fall into a gray category that is defined as gender binary). For a transgender person, your gender identity does not match the sex you were born with.

This morning I awoke to see the hash tag #transrightsarehumanrights and I was nervous to find out what ensued for that to become a trending topic. The President of the United States, Donald Trump tweeted out these tweets :

t-1t-2t-3

Trump has said that he will not accept Transgender individuals to serve at all in the US military, his defense being: it would cause ‘excessive medical costs’ and ‘disruption’ . There is so much ambiguity in ‘disruption’, but if I am talking about Donald Trump then I must know that the vagueness in that statement is just a ploy to spew hatred, trans phobia, and bigotry. Trans people are not a disruption. This ban is dehumanizing, and I think what people will miss from this, is that this is opening the door for more ‘legal’ discriminatory practices. If the POTUS can ban trans individuals from the military than this will undoubtedly become more systemic than it already is. He is promoting a comfort in being trans phobic; He’s creating a ‘space’ and a ‘culture’ that is of hate. America is supposed to be a place that ensures freedom, and the ‘American Dream’.

I seen someone tweet that it wasn’t a big deal, and “who wants to go into the military anyway?”. Many LGBT people seek the military as a career path because of discrimination in their regular work place. To put this into perspective, the Department of Defense is the largest single employer of trans people in the U.S. In terms of the health of the trans individuals, the cost that he is saying would be too much, is actually extremely small in proportion to what the Department of Defense spends on healthcare a year. For example in 2014 the DOD spent 49.3 billion in general health care and it is estimated that at MOST it would cost them 8 million for trans-related health services.  The action made by Trump is the epitome of what is means to regress, and it is a major set back for the United States and the trans community. Everyone should be angered by this decision, everyone and anyone who fights for equality. 

” Complacency is a far more dangerous attitude than outrage” – Naomi Littlebear

 

 

 

On love


I am only 23 years old.

I am aware that my ideas of what love is will change over the course of my life.

” I have experienced love in a array of ways..”

As I began that sentence, I thought of the ways that love has been abusive, draining, and unhealthy. And an afterthought spoke to that idea. No abuse, no hurt, no shame is love, or apart of love. I must redefine love. I must redefine what it means to love, and to be loved. I think that everyone seeks out love in different ways, in different capacities, and for different reasons. I am an experienced lover. I am no stranger to being in love with people. I think my longing for love, and my desire for love comes from a different origin and source than most people. I find that people will seek love to fill a void in their lives, or to feel like they have reached all the pinnacles of success. But I love, because I have an intrinsic need to do so. It feels impossible for me to live without loving. I feel a unrelenting disconnect between me and individuals whose lives seem more purposeful through their careers and their financial successes. I do know however the importance of those milestones and their viable connection to love – I just find that my purpose derives from love. Everything I do must be derived from love and connected to it. My career could not exist or be fulfilling without love and vice versa.

I once dated a man who was an investor. We dated for six months before I realized his sense of purpose derived from money. He was completely disconnected from anything that was affiliated with love. He had no sense of who he was outside of his career, the only thing he could talk about when talking about himself was his career and his affluence. When I think of myself and I think of who I am and what I am, I initially think of my career goals and aspirations but it is not all encompassing. I think too, despite what your career is, it can always be a reflection of love. He could have been an investor, and uplifted marginalized communities, or just utilized his other talents that were an expression of love. But his disconnect showed itself in the way he would spend thousands on sections in clubs, hundreds on a one nights dinner, and thousands on clothing. His lifestyle was appealing, definitely. I thought maybe, the finer things in life was something I wanted. I felt motivated being around him, in the sense that maybe if I work harder I can obtain these luxuries as well, and live in such a way that is desirable by many. But it didn’t take long before I realized none of that was important to me. In that time though, I learned so much about economics, the importance of asset allocation, the stock market, IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, bond investing, etc. Love was important to me. Love in the sense of being in the world, but not of the world. That lifestyle may have been enough to make some girls stick around, but I couldn’t stand it. Every time I was around him at restaurants and clubs, I felt like I needed to leave myself in order to have a good time. I made sure my fork and knife were on the right sides of the plate, and that my napkin was across my lap, and my posture was just right. It was so outside of myself. No matter how much money I have in this lifetime, I don’t want to be around people who treat the waitress with minimal respect and the Uber driver with disdain. I do want nice things though, I’ve never denied that. I would love expensive bags, but it doesn’t fuel my soul. I think that’s what it is. No club section or first class flight, is going to fuel my soul, and bring me closer to myself. People may think well duh, that’s not what it is suppose to do, well then what is it suppose to do? Why spend money on things that don’t open your mind or your spirit. I would rather sit front row of an Opera and allow myself to be bewildered by the talents and skill of individuals who work their entire lives for their moment on stage. I would rather buy the original painting from an artist who has worked endless hours to complete masterpiece after masterpiece, just to be met by hyper-consumerism.

At this age of 23, I am still trying to make sure I stay as close to me as possible, whoever she is. I am still trying to find what I want out of love, and out of myself. I am finding the importance and truth in the expression “if you don’t love yourself, no one will”. I have taken that quote and dwelled on it for months after my last relationship. I was with a woman for 3 years. In those 3 years I practiced self-destructive behavior like it was a sport. I don’t think anyone even knew I was with her because I hid her, in an attempt to hide my sexuality, and also to hide the fact that she was not my only lover. In hindsight, I was never faithful to her. In love, I think ‘faithful’ is a word that needs redefining and strengthening in its usage. Every time I stepped out on myself, I stepped out on her. She was never really given a fair opportunity at a *genuine* relationship with me, because I didn’t like who I was. From saying that I say this, love requires more than love. Love requires you to love yourself. If you do not love yourself and you are in love, it cannot last and it won’t last. Love requires that you know yourself, wholly. Love requires that you let go of fear. Love requires vulnerability. Love I believe is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a good relationship, but it is not the foundation. A relationship built on love alone will suffer. Love is the staple that is put onto trust, forgiveness,faith, and commitment, not the other way around.

Bitterness does not have to follow the ending of a relationship. That is a choice. No matter how a relationship ended, what is in your heart should not be threatened by what is in their heart. I’ve been left before without a reason or a conversation, and in that it left me so angry and so hurt. I kept telling myself that I was ‘right”, but being ‘right’ wont make you happy.  I It also doesn’t have to end in friendship, you have to know what and who is good for your space. For example, the investor guy I dated was a great guy, but I do not want him in my space, even as a friend. That’s my choice. That’s my power. And the involvement ended with that understanding. When a relationship ends it doesn’t need to be written off as a ‘failure’, as long as the two people in the relationship learned what they needed to learn, the relationship was a success. I’ve found that my most terrible relationship, was actually the most successful, in that it taught me things that I would have not learned otherwise. Every relationship I was in, I can look back and understand, why it had to happen and why it happened at that time .Whatever relationships that are in your life, that you feel you need to rid yourself of, just do it. We all do need to be selfish sometimes, but we need to do so in good character. We need to do so when being selfish is the difference between growth and hindrance .
So now being single, I’m not looking for anything, more than anything I’m looking for myself. I may seem really introspective and aware of what I want, and do want, but I have no clue as to what I need. One thing I try to hold with me when I go out is ,I always trying to think less of what I think about the person, but more of how they make me feel. Too often I go out, and I compare that person to another person, I think of what they bring to the table, and they’re never really given a fair chance. But if I channel into myself, and I let go of expectations and fears, only then am I truly allowing myself to just be opened. Usually my mind is closed after someone says the wrong thing, literally it can take one thing, and you will never hear from me again. I was once on a date and this guy had a lisp, and I guess I didn’t notice over the phone, oh my God, I wanted to run for the hills. He was actually a great guy but my mind was not opened to be with someone who had a lisp. I literally never spoke to him again. That was a learning experience for me, that I can be really really shallow. I think it’s important that we are able to recognize where we ourselves fall short, and where there is room for improvement within ourselves. We are so quick to find the faults in others, as if we are perfect beings- and a quick way to check yourself is “if there were a perfect person, how likely is it that they would want me?”.
What I know now though in summation, is that love can only get as close to you as you are to love. As long as you are in your heart and not in your mind , as long as you always show up as your best self, whoever that is, the universe will bring that back to you. And I believe that holds true in all parts of your life- your career, your family, your relationship, everything.

Women’s March NYC


Yesterday I was on my way to the women’s march in NYC to advocate equality, excercise my first amendment right, and to be around women who shared the same beliefs as I. I was with my friend Ana who was very avid and excited to go to the women’s march, but we were stuck in non-moving traffic. I told her that I don’t feel like a “feminist” per se. I still feel undecided on the label “intersectional-feminist” as I feel it has been falsely used as a way to pretend to be “woke”without really doing the work. I am very comfortable however, with the term womanist. Womanism is a term coined by Alice Walker to make the distinguishment between white feminism and black feminism- and described it as the difference between purple and lavender. Part of me felt that maybe I was thinking negatively, and what I was feeling was counterproductive and divisive to the entire movement. But part of me still felt that people didn’t understand what it means to be intersectional, and they just use this buzzword as a means to be “politically correct”, but their activism is not actually intersectional, and their lack of education/awareness confirms that. It was hard to explain how I felt to Ana, because I couldn’t really sort of my thoughts.

When I finally arrived to the women’s march, I saw a lot of anti-trump signs which was to be expected following the inauguration. There were signs that read “this pu**y grabs back”, and “impeach the cheet-o”. At first glance, I was like “yeah!”, all for it, you guys are cool, but something still felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was so uncomfortable about it, like here I am with all these powerful amazing women who are using their voice to protest injustice and inequality.There were points where I stopped chanting and just stared into space trying to understand why I felt a little out of place. Then I seen a woman with one of those temporary gold tattoos on her face that pictured a uterus. And in my mind I’m like why do I keep seeing these uterus illustrations and signs, like oh that’s what makes a woman? 

I’m all for being positive, so I’m talking to myself in my head like “this is great, wtf is your problem Lakota?”. Then I seen these two little girls standing together, chanting, one was black the other was white. I was just like ” Oh my gosh! this is amazing” and the mom was standing there with her cardboard sign that so boldly said “BLACK LIVES MATTER”. In that moment I was so hopeful and filled with joy for our future.
But then that’s when it hit me. I knew she understood that it was more than a movement about “grabbing pu**ys”, and “nasty women”. I felt like among the sea of all these women they didn’t understand. They didn’t understand that a poster of a uterus is transphobic, and non-inclusive and counterproductive to feminism, and also not to mention women who are born without a uterus or had to undergo surgery to have it removed. I also felt like the anti-trump signs were giving him way too much energy. Then I seen multiple signs saying “ I’m with her” as a respect paid to Hillary Clinton, and as black woman I wasn’t enthusiastic about having a woman who has agreed on policies that would encourage mass incarceration that jailed black men disproportionately as a result of racism. And I never felt ecstatic about electing a woman, just because she was a woman- whilst simultaneously ignoring her support for racist policies. As a womanist, my first concern, and first thought when it comes to feminism is not Donald Trump and his comments, it just isn’t. My thoughts are with Sandra Bland, my thoughts are with socio-economic racial and sexist inequality, and the creation of platforms that will create hypervisibility for women of color.  It just doesn’t work like that for me, my blackness, my sexual orientation, economics, and education all play into my feminism- and even outside of myself, I see the issues that disabled women face, and women who are immigrants, trans-women, and women who are not upper or middle class. I felt heavily that something was wrong here- where were these “intersectional” feminists at for black lives matter protests? We are here standing in solidarity with them, but they are not here for us. I felt like the “bond” that I was supposed to feel there, felt pressured and falsified. I felt deeply that these women did not understand or care to understand issues that do not directly affect them – especially if they are white, middle-class, able-bodied, and cis-gendered. Overall I just felt like trivial issues were spotlighted, while there are women who are really suffering and weren’t just offended by the speech of an unfortunately ignorant president. It’s just that when I think of women’s empowerment, I don’t think of it as a reaction to what a man has to say about us. Feminism, and the work towards equality of the sexes has to have transparent priorities. If there are women who cannot use the public restroom because they are not cis-gendered, I think that holds more weight than wanting to free a nipple. And I think if a woman can be killed by law enforcement because she is a black woman and there is no justice is served- then that also holds more weight than being upset that men view body hair as a masculine feature and now suddenly I should rock a bush under my arm. I  hate that we don’t fight the same fight because I do feel that it is divisive- but I feel strongly that black women have been fighting for our lives, without the support of most white women, and their fight is generally trivial and economic-based without priority. Also, I kept seeing on the news how it was a peaceful protest and there were no arrests, and it felt like shade to the black lives matter protests. That also didn’t sit well with me. The difference was clear- the mode of policing was much different because of privilege. I also felt like these women don’t have anything to be genuinely enraged about. Immigrants, Muslim women, disabled women, Black women, women of color, women in the LGBTQ community, are all at risk significantly greater than women of the majority. They are endanger of having their civil rights and liberties taken from them under the new presidency. Not only are they at risk, they are outrightly being threatened just for who they are. I just cannot stand comfortably next to a woman in the march who has on a pink wig with a sign that says “this pu**y grabs back”, and take her seriously, when there are women who are genuinely suffering and being killed. For us, racism and sexism work collectively together, and they are not separate issues.I think in order for women to be able to  come together- and actually stand in true solidarity, more white women need to practice intersectional feminism, and unite with women whose lives are vastly different from their own. They would have to actually care about injustices, and discriminations that happen outside of themselves. 

Overall, I enjoyed the women’s march by appreciating those who were intersectional, and just being hopeful for the future- and that hopefully in this age of information, people who have the resources will do the work to educate themselves, and we can genuinely come together.

Being Black at Work

Placeholder ImageMy co-worker is talking about furniture in her house, and I am half paying attention, as usual because nothing she says- nothing they say is ever relatable. She says “Danielle came over and picked up some of my hutches”, – I opened my eyes, attentive because I never heard the word, and words have always been important to me.

“Hutches?” and my curiosity killed my indifference.

I said ” What are hutches?”, she laughed,and said “Really? You don’t know what hutches are?”

I said “Nooo, I don’t, what are they?”, I was smiling, leaned in and interested now..

Her eyebrows pushed down, and she says to my disappointment,

” You black girls don’t have hutches ?”

I paused. Wondering, is this real? Did she really just say that shit? And it reminded me how micro aggressions and racism work without ever having to be elicited.And it reminded me something about white women.

They are rarely your allies. They generalize you from your attitude, to your knowledge about living room furniture. I soon realized, she never was speaking to “me”. She was speaking to every black woman, meaning, I was a representation of every black woman to her, like we are all the same, like I am not an individual.

They love when there is one of you in the room, never more than one, more than one is too many. They just want to ask you questions about anything, just to confirm or fulfill their wonders about black women. It wasn’t about hutches. It was about me finally not knowing something , something as trivial as that. It was about her feeling superior to me . I don’t know if she was envious of my political or social knowledge that seemed to always impress my colleagues or the fact that I was a third her age working the same position as she, but something made her uncomfortable about my black skin being so God damn comfortable. She could not make the distinction between the individual (me) sitting in front of her, and the entire demographic of black women- just on the subject of knowing what a hutch was. This was what she was searching for though, overall – to find something that I didn’t know. This was what she was waiting for – a moment worth mocking. A moment that would be conclusive to her idea that black women don’t have shit, and they don’t know shit. She tried to stretch that moment out as long as she could, repeatedly asking me if I was serious, and joining in other co-workers to exaggerate a feeling of disbelief in my unknowing of what a hutch was.
Stationary in my thought flow, I allowed her to continue and tell me what a hutch was. I never said anything to her about the comment she made. I hated myself for not saying anything to her, but I couldn’t find the words in time or maybe I knew that if I did say something, if I did tell someone about her inappropriate comment, they wouldn’t see me, they would see the generalizations made of all black women, that we are angry or that we are always pulling the race card, or that it is not that serious- And it’s hard sometimes, to make the decision on what is worth fighting about and what is not,even when we know it is wrong. I am invisible to a world of people capable of seeing. I am invisible to a world that chooses that their imagination is a far better security to their cognitive dissonance then the truth is. And the world sometimes, the white world, the world that controls whether I still have my job tomorrow, – I know that they do not see me, in the same way that she does not see me.