My insecurities. My truth. My story.
Well, I did it. I walked out of this conference that I should be more than grateful to be at. But, amongst all the faces that seemed so enthusiastic about social work…and medical care…and making sure women breastfeed…There I sat, just thinking….”I’m really just one step away from ‘Magic City'” The truth? It is so easy for everyone to look at my life and say, “She’s so gifted”, “She’s talented”, “She’s so beautiful”, “She’s so confident”….or the kicker-“She makes it look so easy.” In actuality, it is SO hard for me to be ALL of these things. Sometimes, I’m not beautiful. I’m big…and I’m average. Sometimes, I’m not gifted…I’m simply going through the motion of things.
I started graduate school at Emory, really excited about a lot of things-a new degree, a new city, a new start. But, Emory…in the midst of my 20s has yielded nothing but confusion and turmoil.
Purpose. What do you do when you have no clue what it is? What do you do when you have no clue where to go? What do you do when you’re up against battling so many…identities? Moreover, what do you do when you don’t know whether to stop…or keep chasing a childhood dream?
“THE RACE IS NOT AWARDED TO THE SWIFT NOR THE STRONG…BUT TO THEM THAT ENDURE TO THE END”~ ECCLESIASTES 9:11
My grandmother is a firm believer in my journey being…different. A believer that in order to get to MY destination-a stop where I’ll change the world-I’ll fall more…I’ll struggle more….I’ll be hurt more than anyone else. But, I’ll end in victory…I’ll end in an inspiring…and amazing story. Now, my grandmother (Nana) is a wise woman. I believe every bit of this. I do…I just don’t know how to stomach a life like this. I tell her all the time…ya know…anybody can read Dialosophy…or like my pictures on IG…but what about when my mind is literally driving me crazy? And the only thing that helps…is writing? To that, my grandmother would say…”No one is supposed to know. It’s YOUR struggle.”
So, I was in this conference facing a common struggle-feeling purposeless. I find myself asking a very familiar question-What am I doing? This year has been complete…obscurity. Struggling to find what I want to do-Is it writing? Is it medical school? Struggling to come to grips with dating, my sexuality-can I be free? Should I "wait" to get married? Struggling…to understand me-why am I feeling what I am feeling?
But, nonetheless…I can’t help but to hold on to optimism…hold on to…happy. Hold on to hope…that I’ll be found in my wilderness. Hold on to truth that there is purpose…for the purposeless.
Purpose for the Black Girl: Queen, your only purpose is to know that you are capable of amazing things. The world will never understand the things you must face internally. Your drive to win is not just for you…it’s for a whole community…for the people who never made it past middle school…the lives lost as victims to the streets. You feel like your purpose, black girl, is to be everything. But, you’re not. You are not everything. You are…a human being. And you deserve someone that’ll take “wins” for you, too. Black girl, I see you going through all that highlight…but underneath, you’re still and already beautiful. Black girl, you’re so smart….I don’t believe you’re meant to do just ONE thing. So, black girl, go to medical school, pursue photography, become that nurse, write those books, own that business on the side…Live your dreams, black girl…Baby, live your dreams.
Purpose for the "Big Girl": Big girl, your purpose is to love your body…right here and RIGHT now for what it is…not for what you think it should be. Big girl, you are to move your hips in your body-con or one piece…not caring about the wide eyes or whispers you get. It is your body…it’s NOT everyBODIES. Big girl, look at your smile. That’s the best curve you’ll EVER have. So, don’t stress how much you’ve gained…or the body you think you should have. Appreciate exactly where you are, reflect where you want to be…and make a plan if you don’t like what you see. Work for whatever results you want, big girl, and know they’ll come slowly…but surely. In the mean time, wear what you want, big girl….do what makes you happy. Big girl, you were made to make a manifest for big girls everywhere. Delight in your OWN glory.
Purpose for the graduate student: Here it is again…another day you may not know what you’re doing. Grad student, I know you may question what the hell you’re gonna do with this degree. But, your purpose is not to stress…your purpose is just to…wait and see. I know that can be hard..because I see you…worrying about jobs…worrying about money. But, there’s so much more than that, grad student. There’s so much more to fulfill you within other people and in a community. Grad student, they’re people that look up to you. If you make it, so do they. So, make it. YOU WILL MAKE IT. Grad student…your only purpose is to keep going.
Purpose for the 20-something: So, you just turned 20-something again? And I’m sure you thought this year would be way better than the last. But, it turned to be shit…again….and you’re just as lost as before. 20-something, you’re not ever gonna have it together, so why are you worried? 20-something, I understand…you want everything to go your way- when you want to get married, when you want to have kids, what career you will have…but 20-something, you don’t have control. Let’s face it….life does. 20-something, I see you…working by day, rolling a couple blunts by night…trying to escape your own fears…trying to make life a little less lonely….Be careful 20-something…don’t find yourself constantly running. But by all means, do what you gotta do to ease your heart break, 20-something. Take those shots. Go on that date. You’ll find your way, surely. But, 20-something, don’t rush…just wait and see.
Purpose for the singles: Singles, do you ever find yourself using the word “alone” instead of single? Stop it. Because your purpose is not to weep in the midst of being “lonely”….Your purpose is to use this time to HAVE FUN, and be the best that you can be. I’m sure it’s not promising, looking at your peers having kids and getting married. But, that’s THEIR happy…it’s not your happy (yet). You’ll get Mrs. Right. You’ll get Prince Charming. And it’ll be amazing. So, be single…figure out what you like…what you don’t like…and just do you. Be you. And it’ll be fine. Just hold on.
Purpose for college grad: Congratulations. You made it…and you’re about to enter a world full of opportunities. For some of you, it may be exciting. For some of you, it could be scary. Whatever you’re feeling, decide today…that no matter what…you’re gonna keep trying. Because you will be tested. And some nights…you will spend crying. You will have to call home….and you will find ways to finesse extra money. Rent will be due…and you will wish for a time machine for a blast to the past…maybe for just one night…to be in the safe haven of a free dorm with the people who made it safe for four years…to be drunkenly leaving a party, praying everyone survives the ride back to campus WITHOUT throwing up….to be mixing illegal drinks for the freshmen who’s NOWHERE near 21. At times, you’ll miss it all. But, don’t give up. Don’t live too much in it. Because fun still exists. Memories still happen with everything. College grad, promise to keep trying.
Purpose for the high school grad: This is simple, high school grad. And I know you may be nervous about what major to choose…CHOOSE WHAT YOU LOVE. A job will come. Choose what you love to do. Go to class…and have fun. That’s your purpose, high school grad. Ravioli, ravioli…here is your formuoli. This is it. Choose what you love. No matter what, go to class. And have fun. You’re in for a wild ride, high school grad. You’ll meet people and make memories you’ll NEVER forget. You’ll pass a class when you were for sure failing. You’ll fall down…but luckily for you, high school grad, there will be a bunch of people around to pick you up. So, you made it across one stage, high school grad. Don’t rush the time it takes to walk across another. Enjoy the wave…and ride it every late night and early morning. Make it last forever!!!
Purposeless. Are any of us ever “purposeless”? Nah. There’s a purpose in a storm…purpose in the wilderness. Purpose in…not being together. Even the best artists can turn a mess into a masterpiece. Purpose. You have it. I have it, too.
REMEMBER…EVERY MOUNTAIN NEEDS SOMEONE TO CLIMB IT. EVERY OCEAN NEEDS SOMEONE TO DIVE IN. EVERY DREAM NEEDS SOMEONE TO WISH IT. EVERY ADVENTURE NEEDS SOMEONE TO LIVE IT. SO, WHAT’CHU WAITING ON? WHO YOU WAITING FOR? IF YOU DON’T TAKE A CHANCE, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHAT’S IN STORE.
Side piece...oh side piece...where art thou, my side piece?
Let's talk about something. Something along the lines of being a side piece...a side piece tryna' become a nine piece....a side piece that becomes for everybody. That side piece was me. That side piece is me.
I remember my first relationship. I was just so excited that someone actually thought I was pretty. I looked at myself as just a big girl. I never saw someone "being with me." So, I got my confidence up to shoot my shot. I got my confidence up to see if someone who I thought was just so fine...would want to be with me. Confidently putting my number in his phone, it seemed like three years instantly became history. That's right. You read it right-three years. Three years of broken promises. Three years...and still no ring (LOL). Three years...I allowed myself to be nothing...but a side piece.
And there it goes. We want to keep it real with our women. We want to empower our women...yet we still wanna shame our side chicks by simply saying "Know you're worthy." Everyone wants to say they know their worth, but no one wants to share their "unworthy" story. This is real life, real situations, and real things. Am I yelling to "Go out and be a side chick?" Am I saying being a side chick is a good thing? Are we right, as side pieces, to stoop so low to think we HAVE to stay in the side piece position? Are we pathetic for believing someone when they say they love us? Are side chicks not queens? The answer is "No" to all of these. Some of us just want to have fun. Some of us think we have the right person at the wrong timing. And some of us...well some of us are just trying to figure out everything. I am and I was a proud side piece...because maybe....just maybe...being a side piece taught me a WHOLE lot of me.
Here are the side chick keys:
1. Silence. As the side chick I was, it's like....there was NEVER any talking. I saw "my man" kissing another girl in the curtains at my high school talent show. And oh I brushed it off like, "It's okay." That's what I told myself when he told me he was so high off of weed that he said he didn't know what he was doing. I was young. I was dumb. But if you think it gets better...think again.
See, things like this happen often being the side chick. Not knowing when to say things...not knowing how to say things...and always questioning, "Can I really say this if we're not together?" Silence. Being a side chick showed me not only how much I silence myself in fucked-up-relation-situationships, but it also showed me how much I silence myself as a woman overall in society. I like...making people happy. And I think...at some point...if people REALLY knew what was on my mind...they'd look at me like I'm crazy. I'd be the fool...for standing up for me. I'd be looked at as mean. Silence. It was better for me to be silent that to ruin this "good,kind,smart girl" thing I had going. So, essentially...I stayed in my lane. I let my first relationship...dictate to me who I was...for the sake of feeling pretty...and for the sake of having somebody.
2. Insecurity. After a whole year of "breaking up to make up"...a whole year of antics to "prove" to my Mr. Know-It-All that I was something...a whole year of flinging myself at other guys to make my Boo Thang jealous....it was time for college. And within the first month, it didn't take long to meet a stranger...that completely swept me off my feet. This time...when I was called pretty...it wasn't...manipulating, It brought me peace. It made me...a main piece. But, I played side piece so long...I didn't know how to be the main piece (that relationship is another post and another story).
I'll never forget when my ex called me thunder thighs once. Living behind my weight for so long, of course that hurt me. But, of course, I laughed, and I didn't say anything. In my eyes...I had to dress it up and make it real for 'em. In order to become his main piece, I had to "fuck it up one time." So he KNEW I was pretty. Then, this new man comes along...and he tells me how he didn't understand why I felt so un-pretty...why I wore so much make-up...ALL THE TIME (he's the reason I stopped). He told me I was beautiful...he listened to me and my dreams....he constantly told me to live without any worries. He cared about me. He uprooted my insecurity...and put me on a pedestal. I graduated from being a side piece, and I became a Queen.
3. Queen. Of course being the side chick made me learn I was a queen. When begin playing #2 when the person who says they love gets a WHOLE girlfriend...you'll slowly but surely come to know you deserve to be #1. I didn't realize this until someone showed me. That's the thing about being the side chick...you can scream and scream "Know you're worthy" all day. A side chick will only elevate herself when one of two things happen: 1) she reaches a breaking point or 2) she's figured out who she is, what she wants, what she'll stand for, and she's completely ready. So, my "Should've-Been-Husband" made me his #1. But, what did I do? I got so ahead of myself. I became very...demanding. I began doing a lot of...overthinking. Every time I saw him with a girl that was a friend, I drove myself crazy. But, these were things I had seen. These are the games I was accustomed to playing. I ruined a good thing. This "new" love. This "make you better, make you feel glow, make you want to do better" kind of love was so...different for me. So, I was back to square one-with nothing. I think my constant struggle is having success in every other area of my life, but relationships have ALWAYS been far from "amazing". I just find myself...wanting something. So, I went back to who and what I knew how to do-being #2.
4. Dreams. I live a lot in my head...and I ALWAYS get caught in writing and thinking of this dream-where I'm this successful doctor, with this successful husband, six or seven kids, a dog, and a stable family. I think what traps me into some of my "side chickery"...is men can be quite talented in fading reality and selling these dreams. Of course, I take full responsibility for overthinking. But, it's me....I'm always dreaming. And there I was with somebody who wanted to rap and go into the military. But, nowhere....NOWHERE did that fit into my dreams. They were his. He showed me potential...and I just wanted to see him live it all at the expense of me.
5. Potential. Let's get this straight. There are levels to being a side piece. We immediately put this negative image around being a side piece. We immediately shame women for it. As if we don't hear constant lyrics about men being okay with being "boyfriend #2", a "boo thang", or the constant references about calling when your real man not around. Let's get to it. For the vast majority, everyone has either been a side piece or made somebody one. You've had a guy you really liked, but entertained someone else until it "became" something. You had a girl you "chilled" with when your girlfriend was away for a while (and you never told her either). We often equate being or making the side piece bad. But in actuality....you know how it goes-Boys will boys and girls? Well, we just wanna have fun, too. Every side piece has potential though. Which is why I have a problem with the following statement..."Know your worth". I get it. I say it. I do my best to TRY to live by it. But, damn, when I'm shamelessly, intentionally, and recklessly "getting to know" a new, young grasshopper...I don't want to hear that. Secondly, how am I to "know my worth"...when the person telling me is doing the same thing? As women, we are so quick to say this...so quick to slut shame the side piece...but just with anything in life-there are levels to everything. I was a sad side piece, gleaming with hope. I was a proud main piece, a born again woman, beaming with confidence. I became a main piece that wanted to have her cake and eat it too. In my efforts to avoid love, I made a few prospects side pieces and ended up being the one doing the same thing that my heart breaker did to me. Potential. Every side piece has potential. Potential to become a main piece. Potential to get dumped. Potential to get married. Potential...to be happy. Plenty of side chicks get married. Plenty of those who get married...go on to be fine...and happy. We've got to empower the side piece and stop making the term so...problematic. Life tosses us in unfortunate situations, people we don't anticipate falling in love with, and lessons that only WE can learn individually. Instead of saying "Fix your crown"...and making a side piece feel less than the queen she is...can we start leaning in first by saying "Sis, how do you feel? Why do you love him/her? Are you happy? What are your intentions? Are you growing? Are you free?" Most importantly...like Killmonger said, sis...IS THIS YOUR KING?
In all phases of my side chickery...the worst side chick role was being a side chick that just desperately wants to get married and falling for potential. Once again, everybody has potential. Every hoe could possibly be a housewife. And every dog could possible be a husband. BUT....YOU aren't the one to do that changing sis. I'm not either, and I'm still learning. We side chicks mess up when we think like this...Thinking like superwoman. But listen to J. Cole sis...DON'T SAVE HIM. HE DON'T WANNA BE SAVED. As much as some women may be okay with being the "side action"....some men may simply not want to settle down. STOP TRYING TO SAVE HIM. Believe me when I say, this part is a struggle.
6. Hope. Wherever you are...whoever you are....if you've been a side piece tryna' become a nine piece...you know this struggle. You know those questions that wrack your brain- Should I stay or should I go? We lean onto hope-hope that the person we love will change...hope that maybe, just maybe..it's a real thing. As much as it hurts to say this...as much as I still have to go through this myself...sometimes you will never know. Sometimes, you just won't...maybe, until you let it go. There's this big world around us...and people evolve every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Who's to say your knight in shining armor now won't come back around one day? He "might". But, only the universe knows and until then....we have to constantly face this decision- Should I stay or should I go?
My struggle? Perhaps the struggle of every side piece. It's like what Bow Wow said...Every time I try to leave...something keeps pulling me back...telling me I 'em in my life. Well, for this...sis, I can't help you. I'm still trying to learn for me. I'm just a piece...trying to put my own pieces together. But, if you're reading this...here's the optimism in me- I am you. And you are me. There is hope...and we'll figure it out one day. If you're single, enjoy it...you have no worries. You can have TONS of side pieces. If you're happily taken..well don't risk keeping your significant other happy for one moment of glory. And if you're a side piece having fun...I see you too, boo. I've done that and somewhat succeeded. I've done it and had to break hearts, too. So, be careful. You could be walking a thin line with somebody's emotions...between love and hate....exchanging soul ties...and allowing someone to infiltrate you. Be careful, but do what makes you happy. If you're a side chick aspiring to marry...you'll get there beautiful. This is a season. So, what are you going to do? What is he doing for you? Do you think you should leave? Can you still be friends? Should you cut him off? These are questions that constantly arise for me...so I know these must be questions for you. No matter what...no matter what "side chickery" you're in...YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
7. Accountability. While being a side chick afforded me to learn all of these things thus far, I also had to take a look at ME. What was MY ROLE in the side chick? Did I want to be? Was I happy? Was this a pattern for me? At every point in my "side chickery", I've done reflecting. I learned: the type of guys I fall for, what that says about me, the type of husband I want, my sexuality, and the big one-my impulsive patterns. I enter my "side chickery" out of boredom and/or being lonely. You know...some days, it's fine...I'm focused on my career, ambition, and family. My triggers? Living in the past, boredom, lust, revenge, resentment, and validation. Where am I CURRENTLY in this side chickery? Well...lost...as any side chick should be.Some days I'm free. Some days I'm single. Some days I'm excited, thinking about being married. And some days, I just want a best friend to cuddle me. Most days? Most days...I'm simply okay with just me. I'm okay with just being a chick who KNOWS she is worthy, but still trying to figure out what she wants and what that means.
From one side chick to another, we all wanna be free. And we all wanna be happy.
Be free. Be happy.
DISCLAIMER: If you're a side piece aspiring to be married...this piece is in no way, shape, or form advocating for you to STAY a side piece.