Category Archives: Uncategorized

Don’t Be “That Girl”

“You want to start watching wrestling just because a guy likes wrestling?”

My then best friend, Danielle, stared at me with confusion.  She actually enjoyed wrestling and watched it regularly.  She was into those sorts of things.  Wresting, other sports.  Any other time these things came up, she was usually the one talking, not me.  I had no interest in it.  But here I was asking her to teach me more about it.  And when she asked why I wanted to know, I don’t think she was prepared for the answer.

“Yeah.  Mr. Cox said he likes wrestling and I want something to talk to him about.” I replied plainly.

You see, my middle school was a typical catholic school. Uniforms, a couple nuns. However, the principal did the cishetero women and girls hitting puberty a ton of favors when it came to hiring substitute teachers.  For some reason, they were always attractive, seemingly straight men between the ages of 23 and 30.  In this case, Mr. Cox was the fresh meat in the hallways.  Needless to say, his name alone made for some inappropriate jokes at a lunch table surrounded by giggling, 7th grade girls.  My crush on Mr. Cox wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  It was not unusual for children my age to have crushes on their teachers.  He was never inappropriate with students.  Just nice.  And very very cute.  My logic at the time was when you liked a person, you found things to talk about with them.  He mentioned wrestling while talking to us casually after school and I figured I’d do my homework on it.  But to my poor young heart’s dismay, my efforts on seeming more interesting to this grown man were in vain.  He actually started dating a classmate’s older sister.  I googled him once while I was in high school.  He gained weight and lost his hair.

But Mr. Cox’s glow down isn’t the point of this.  Let’s return focus to my conversation with Danielle and my motives behind my new found interest in wrestling.  I don’t think I need to explain that my wanting to know more about wrestling was full of shit.  As stated before, I truly did not care for it.  But its what I thought would make me seem more desirable to this person that I desired.  I wish I could say that as I got older I realized just how stupid this thought process was.  Danielle was fortunate enough to be aware of how stupid it was way back then.  She even told me, “thats dumb” after I explained the reason behind my sudden interest.  But alas, I would continue to think this way for years to come.  Whenever a guy I liked would show interest in a specific kind of girl, if I didn’t fit that mold, I’d force it.  I’d change.  I’d try to be motherfuckin Mystique to get his attention.  I’d adopt ideals that I truly didn’t believe in just to be more likeable.  Today we call these types “pick me”s.  You know them.  You might be one.  The “cool” girls.  The girls the proclaim that they “act like guys” and are “different from other girls” because they like sports, cook, clean, suck dick for 198765 hours straight AND swallow, don’t need to have money spent on them, will pay another woman to fuck their man while they watch because it doesn’t bother them at all.  All the things “other” women won’t do because we’re difficult.

But I’m here to tell you that being THAT girl is TRASH.

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As an adult going through my pick me phase, the results always ended up in my acceptance of treatment that I did not deserve.  Always bare minimum bullshit.  Because at least I was picked, right?  Wrong.  Even if I got the attention I was craving, it was never for long and never healthy.  Being “different” had me in situations with men that I didn’t want or need to be in.  I mean, I was a side bitch for 4 years.  That nigga had two full relationships with two different women and me NOT being picked on the side.  Why did he “keep me around” though?  Because I was “different.”  Translation: You’re dumb enough to do, say and be whatever I need/want at the time that the women I’ve committed to have enough dignity to say no to.  And me, being insecure, unaccepting of my true self and afraid of reject, took what I could get just so that I wouldn’t be alone.

At some point though, I realized that being a pick me wasn’t doing me any favors.  Sure, I was getting dick but I wasn’t getting respect, love, or the kind of treatment I wanted and deserved. So why not just be myself?  If i’m going to be alone, I might as well be the type of person I actually fuck with since thats who I’ll be spending most of my time with.  I had to stop playing the role of a fool for the sake of being cool.  And it’s been working for me.  Has it been easy?  Hell no!  Some of the best dick I’ve encountered has been attached to the worst kind of men.  And there are times when I’m just plain lonely and want to feel wanted even if it is a lie.  But has it been worth it?  Yes.  Because more often than not, I feel better about myself now.  I’ve learned that there will be people that will accept me for my true self and I don’t need to go chasing after anyone.  I’ve learned to articulate what I want and do not want.  I’ve also learned to pause and reflect on whether or not what I thought I wanted is still what I want and if it’s not, I’ve learned to accept that it is ok to change my mind and walk away from situations that no longer feel positive for me or the other parties involved.  This goes for platonic and romantic relationships alike.

Learning to love yourself and being okay with just yourself won’t happen over night. But its a journey worth taking.  I’m in no way shaming anyone that does like to suck dick for a million hours straight and swallow.  If that is truly what makes you happy, then go for it!  But I encourage you to consider the reasons why you do or say things.  Is it truly for you?  If not, don’t do it or say it.  You’re enough just as you are.  You will be loved just as you are.  You can be happy just as you are.

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Don’t Call It A Comeback

[Insert “is this thing on?” joke here]

I find myself often asking for consistency in my relationships, both platonic and romantic. However, I see that I don’t do a good job at remaining consistent with myself. Ain’t that about a bitch?

Hello again. It’s been almost two years since you’ve heard from me. My apologies if you’ve missed me. I missed me too.

Its 7:09 AM EST. I officially started my winter break but as life would have it, my body hasn’t fully adjusted to the time off which allows me to sleep past 6 AM without much consequence. But this morning I decided to stop talking about getting back to writing and actually do it. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately: doing and not just talking. Let’s pause and rewind first.

At first I sat here and typed long paragraphs attempting to fill in the gaps between now and when I last posted but I deleted them. Why? It just didn’t feel necessary to do. What I will say, however, is that the 1 year and 6 months since my last post have has been filled with transitions, growth and a major loss. In June, one of the largest parts of me, my grandfather, passed away. I’ve learned since then that grief is a strange thing. I’ve traveled some, lost weight, made friends, lost friends, grown a ton professionally, struggled financially and a bit academically. I’ve made some selfish choices that I’m not ashamed of and felt were necessary and some that simply served as instant gratification but in the long run weren’t worth the outcomes. I’ve dated, had great sex, had trash sex. I’ve gotten high. I’ve gotten drunk. I’ve cried a lot. But most importantly, I’ve been DOING things. I’ve been GOING places. I’ve been LIVING. Finally.

I’ve learned that as fun as it is to say, “live your best life!” it’s not always easy for me to do. It can get messy. I question myself and my choices a lot because I’m so used to playing it safe. It’s part of the process I suppose. But I like who I am priming myself to be.

Which brings me back to the concept of consistency. It is a skill that I’m still mastering. However, I find that without practicing it, this woman I’m becoming will vanish.

Was this my best writing? No. But I stopped saying I was going to write, and I did it. We’ll shake the rust off as we go. So here’s to consistency and all the growth it shall bring. You will be seeing me more often. I promise.

Trying To Like My Mother

A few months back, my mother and I got into yet another disagreement.  It consisted of the usual talking points: She failed as a mother, her daughter is selfish, her daughter doesn’t subscribe to the same moral code as she does, etc.  Typical Haitian mother dramatics.  She told me that it upsets her that I don’t speak to her and that she doesn’t understand why.  She went on about how she wants to be able to communicate with me and still complained that she had failed as a mother because her daughter didn’t grow up to be exactly as she had planned.   While she talked, I sat on the edge of her bed growing angry.  It was time to give it to her straight.  Maybe then, I thought, she would leave me alone.  Maybe if I finally tell her exactly how I feel about her, she will get the point and just leave me alone.  And so I said it.  “You’re my mother and I love you.  But I don’t like you.  I don’t want to talk to you.  And since I’m such a disappointment, once I move out, you won’t hear from me ever again and you can still make things right with your son.  Hopefully he doesn’t disappoint you.”

Saying those words felt good.  I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t give me some pleasure seeing the look of hurt on her face after hearing what I really felt.  She had hurt me and I wanted to hurt her back.  I felt lighter.  And so I kept going.  I told her how her wishy-washy behavior is damaging and confusing. I told her that she needs to say what she means the first time and stop trying to be a “cool mom” when she will only regret it later after I’ve acted in accordance to what she has said.  I told her that she has to accept that I am not and never have been another version of her.  I told her that I am ME and will continue to be me.  I told her that in order to preserve my sanity, I’ve decided to be selfish in ways that she is not because I see how her selflessness has negatively affected her.  I told her everything.  “Well I’m sorry.  But you don’t know the truth about why I have done much of what I have to you.” she replied.   I looked at her confused.  She was saying there was a reason behind everything, so what is it?  But when I asked, she refused to speak of it.  “If you won’t tell me WHY you do these things, I won’t understand and we won’t get anywhere,” I explained.  Still she refused to tell me about whatever she had been hiding.  “So then nothing will be resolved and there is no need to continue with our conversation.” I concluded.  She tried to get me to accept her apology but I saw no need for it. She was not willing to help me understand and so I was unwilling to forgive her.   And then she finally opened up and told me everything.  My mother finally shared with me the secrets of her life that she vowed to never tell me out of fear that I would look at her differently.  It wasn’t easy for her and when she was done speaking she looked at me as if I had stripped her naked and left her raw and exposed.  She looked at me as if she hated me for making her bare her soul to her first born and only daughter after she had spent much of her life burying those experiences and secrets.  I hugged my mother and told her that I loved her.  I thanked her for finally trusting me enough to tell me what she promised herself and God that she would take to her grave.  I assured her that what she told me would not make me look at her differently.  However, since that day, I do see her differently.

My mother’s fear of her children knowing these things about her and looking at her differently is valid.  She’s afraid that her experiences would cause her children to see her negatively.  But it is quite the opposite.  Growing up I’d always seen my mother as tough and able to withstand anything.  Everyday I see the physical scars life and love have left on her.  They tell everyone that she is a survivor of tragedy.  She is a miracle.  My mother was not supposed to be alive today but she beat the odds.  But for some reason I never thought about the emotional scars.  The scars and still open wounds on her heart and soul.  Now I’ve seen them.  I’ve smelled the blood.  I’m beginning to understand.  And because I’m starting to understand, I’m trying harder.

Since the day my mother opened up to me, we have argued some.  To say that we’ve become the black version of the Gilmore girls would be a farce.  She still has a hard time understanding some things about me and I still think she is crazy.  There are still times when I’m angry and think to myself that I will move far away and never reach out to her.   There is still a lot of work to be done and truthfully, I’m unsure of just how much progress will be made.  The difference is that before, I had come to accept that she and I will never get along.  I had decided that I will never like my mother and maybe I just don’t want to like her.  But today, I no longer feel that way.  Today, I want to like her.  Today, I am trying to like my mother.

 

26 and Counting: A Birthday Post

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A fresh sew-in is always worthy of celebration.

26 years ago today, I made my grand entrance into this not-always-so grand world.  I must have always known that I’d feel indifferent about my birthday because I even slept through my actual birth. Yep. I was asleep the whole time. Or at least that’s what my mother told me.
As a kid, birthdays were great!  Cake, pizza, presents, all the attention I wanted.  March 3rd was all about me and how great I am.  What a time to be alive!  But after high school, I wanted to go back to my infant days and just sleep through March 3rd every year.  My birthdays went unnoticed, uncelebrated, overlooked, and pushed aside by people I thought cared about me. This caused my attitude about my birthday to turn a bit sour. I mean, nobody else cared, why should I?

Thankfully, towards the end of college, I welcomed people into my life that have shown that they care about me. Not just on birthdays but every day.  However, this year, while I’m not feeling like a Granny Smith Apple, I’m not bubbling with excitement either.

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How I should feel


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How I really feel

Yes, my friends are very correct about how this is one of my best years to date. I’m finally settling into my desired career at a great school that has a great staff and great students. I’m in a loving, supportive relationship. I’m going back to school in a few months to pursue a second degree. On paper, you could say that I’m in a good space in my adult life. These are all positives right?  I should be going into my 26th birthday joyful and enthusiastic. But I’m not and I think I finally know why.

I’ve been mulling over what the hell my birthday post would be about for bit. And since that conversation shown above, I’ve been extra focused on trying to put my finger on why I feel this way.  I’ve asked myself what my problem is over and over just to hear my inner self reply, “girl, who knows!”  Finally, I think I’ve got it.  And it only came to me a few moments ago while drafting up this piece and stumbling upon an over looked connection between Shonda Rhimes’s new book The Year of Yes and my current state of being.

You ready?  Ok. So, I’ve got all of these great things happening for me right?  Here’s what’s got me down though.  I’m simply not enjoying life. I’m not LIVING.  I’m not DOING anything.  I’m merely going through the motions and doing what I’ve convinced myself I have to do. I’m existing. I’m taking up space. That’s a pretty wack realization, right?  And while reading Rhimes’s book, while i was thoroughly entertained, I didn’t notice how much i related to what she was saying.  I just thought the woman was being a great writer.  But really, she was secretly exposing my own personal issues through wit, Beyonce references and jokes about red wine that are funny because they’re true.  I mean, that woman is GOOD!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy as hell to have found a better job in a field of work that I love.  The education system isn’t perfect and needs A LOT of work but I’m happy to make lasting impressions on the ones that have our future in their tiny, germy, peanut butter and jelly covered hands. Doubling my monthly income is pretty fucking sweet too, am I right?  And being in a relationship where I know I’m being loved and supported how I know I deserve to be loved and supported is wonderful. My guy is a gem. Going back to school and receiving financial help that won’t leave me in even more debt than undergrad did is a fucking win too. But what have I actually done in these past few years?  What has been memorable about my life?  I can’t think of anything.  Nothing.  Zilch.  Khleo Thomas in Holes.

Every day, Monday through Friday, I wake up at 4 AM to make my commute to work. Every day at 4:30 PM, I commute back home. I’m in bed and asleep by 9:00 PM so that I can do it all over again. My weekends consist of falling sleep early, writing lesson plans and loafing around in bed alone or with my boyfriend. Occasionally I go get my hair and nails done. And every blue moon I’ll go be social. But a majority of the time, I’m not doing shit. I am bored out of my fucking mind.

I don’t see anyone. I barely talk to anyone. I don’t do epic shit. I don’t travel internationally. Not even a domestic flight. I’m still living at home. I’m still poor (thank you student loans). I’m just here going to work and going to sleep. And while I usually wear my laziness as a badge of honor as a means to justify my selfishness, this feels like I’m wasting my youth.

So now that I know what my problem is, how do I fix it?  Do I just get up and go?  I have a feeling the answer is yes. Yes, book that flight. Yes, go to that restaurant. Yes, visit that museum. Even if you go alone, yes. Do that thing. Do all those things. Live, bitch!  Live!

But, I’m weirdly afraid to.

And so I don’t book that flight. I don’t go to that restaurant. I don’t visit any museums. I don’t do anything. I do nothing. I go to work and I go to sleep. I just exist. Take up space. Just like I did last year and the years before that.

But I don’t want that for myself anymore. I want to stop being afraid to live and stop making excuses as to why I can’t do something. I don’t want to go into 27 still existing. I want to have done more by the end of this year. I want to have grown more in ways that a larger paycheck, and a job can’t help me grow (although I am very supportive of those things growing all they want). I want real life experiences. I want to be like Shonda Rhimes. I want to start saying, “yes.”

So I’m making 26 my year of yes. I’m done merely existing and taking up space. I’m going to go out and do things, see things, eat things. I’m booking that domestic flight and saving for that international one (ya girl is still poor. Let’s not get crazy). I’m going to that museum or gallery. Alone or with company. I’m saying yes.  Yes to 26 and counting.

Now…

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Beastly

I opened my eyes and forced them shut again. Was I even alive? I had to be. Either that or I was in hell and being forced to relive a hangover for all eternity. The air in the room was thick with the smell of the alcohol that I was sweating out through my pores. I surveyed the room, now illuminated by sunlight. What time was it? I sat up, searching for my cellphone that was undoubtably lost in a sea of blanks. On the nightstand was an empty cognac bottle. That explained the wicked headache I had. I cursed myself. I finally found my phone and tapped it’s home button to awaken it.
But before noticing the time, I noticed the green bubble next to a name I was all too familiar with seeing on my screen when nights like last night happen.I’d gone there again. I’d done it again. I’d opened that cage within me that was dead-bolted shut whenever I was in my sober, less impulsive frame of mind. Funny how alcohol made me forget everything else but where I’d hidden the keys that unlocked this kennel and let loose beastly urges and rabid emotions that liked to sink their teeth into victims and lock their jaws. The last time I unleashed these beasts, there wasn’t a survivor in sight.

What did you do? No. Don’t open it. Delete. Delete. Delete. You were drunk. You still kind of are. What are you doing? You’ll be sorry. Stop!

Swipe

I scrolled up. I cursed myself again. It’s also funny how hard liquor can make me so soft.

“I miss you”

“You must be drunk”

“Why I gotta be all that?”

“You’re only nice to me when you’re drunk.”

“Man whatever”

“That was fast”

“You miss me?”

“Lol”

“Don’t play with me”

“Who’s playing?”

“Fuck you”

“See this is why I can’t fucking stand you”

“Blah blah”

“Leave me alone. Bye”

“When am I going to see you?”

“Never.”

“Keep playing with me.”

“I’m not doing this with you.”

“Listen man”

“Door plz”

Huh? Did I miss something? I checked my call log. 3 outgoing calls had gone unanswered but the fourth and last must have been received. The call lasted 15 minutes. That was just enough time for those monsters to prepare to feast.

I put the phone down. There was the sound of bare feet padding against the hardwood floor in the hallway, heading in the direction of my bedroom door. I caught myself holding my breath as I waited for the doorknob to turn. In she walked. Without a word she climbed back into bed with me. Securing herself in my arms she planted a kiss on my lips. The beast salivated. She looked at me as if she already knew that she was now in the lion’s den. And while we both hoped that this time would be different we knew she would not leave here in one piece. Without intending to, I’d once again sink my teeth in and treat her heart like a chew toy. She looked away and sighed, ready to be eaten alive.

Moms and Sex

I stared straight ahead.  Although I know I’m an excellent liar, like most good writers are (yeah, I’m tooting my own horn.  So what?), I didn’t want to risk giving myself away on this one in the slightest way.  DENY!  DENY!  DENY!  Thats my number one rule when my mother tries to talk to me about sex, and more specifically, if I am having any.

As my friends and faithful readers already know, my mother and I have a relationship thats more so on the estranged side.  We have moments when we tolerate, dare I even say enjoy, each other’s company.  Then there are times I’d rather live in Baltimore again than to spend another moment in her house or her presence.  Many times I try to keep our topics of conversation limited to whats for dinner and how much I owe her for my portion of the cell phone bill.  But every once in awhile, and more so recently, she’ll try to sneak in a topic that I’m not willing to dish on.  At least not with her.

“When he’s in your bed, does he ever try anything?”

“No.”

“Does he get aroused?”

“No.”

“You don’t find that strange?”

“No.”

“Does it happen when you’re at his house, in his bed?”

“No.”

“Will it ever happen?”

“I don’t know.”

Having my birth giver ask about my [boyfriend’s] arousal when we cuddle was not what I needed on Tuesday morning’s drive to the train station.  I prayed for silence and to be left alone to enjoy my green tea.

“You letting him come upstairs to my room is a huge step for you.  But I know your rules and nothing has happened or will in your house.” I explained hoping to kill the convo.

“I just want you to feel comfortable in your own home, thats all.  You’re a young lady now.”

Was this an invitation to have sex in my own bedroom, in my own bed, in my mother’s home?  HA!  I wasn’t falling for that shit!  There’d only been two times I opened up to my mother about my sex life.  On each occasion, it ended in disaster.

The first time was when I was 17 years old.  I’d lost my virginity a few months earlier and, to make a long story short, she tricked me into ‘fessing up to having done the deed.  In the end, I got a busted lip (she punched me in the mouth while wearing her diamond cluster ring), was forced to take a pregnancy test (I’d gained weight and she was dreaming about fish), was ignored for a week unless she was telling me that I was worthless now that I’d had sex, and finally subjected to a very awkward visit to her OB/GYN where she sat in the examination room while I was being probed and cried tears of relief when the doctor told her that it looked like nothing happened down there at all.  “God gave you a second chance!” she cried as she hugged me and I wanted to die.  Did I mention that was my first time ever going to the gyno?

The second time was when I was 21 years old.  I had a boyfriend at the time that she knew about and even met.  I’d gone to see him to exchange Christmas gifts and ultimately get broken up with and then have break up sex (which I thought was make up sex at the time until he refused to answer my calls for the next week.)  She told me she could smell the sex on me once I got into the car with her.  She had picked me up from the LIRR station and was visibly pissed.  I knew I should’ve walked home.  After that first visit to the gyno, she’d gotten it into her mind that I’d stopped touching dicks indefinitely and I never corrected her.  Who would after getting socked in the mouth and having to go see a therapist for a few months to talk about it?  Well, my second time losing my virginity didn’t go over nicely.  Once we arrived home I was instructed to take a shower and then had a douche thrown at me.  You read correctly.  My mother threw a douche at me and shouted “USE IT!”  I pissed her off even further by refusing to “use it” and taking it upon myself to show her information that douching is actually bad for your vagina.  “Oh because you know so much more than I do huh?!” Uh, yes?  More words were exchanged where she told me that I had only spread my legs because he bought me an iPad for Christmas, that I should be ashamed that I had sex with him while he still lived with his mother and that we had to “sneak around and wait for his mother to leave in order for us to have sex.” (ACTUALLY we were fucking before the iPad and we didn’t always wait for his mother to leave the house.)

Needless to say that these two major events , along with minor ones, have taught me that when my mom brings up sex, its in my best interest to play dumb.  I mean, this is a woman that told my friends and I that our body count shouldn’t exceed the number of fingers you have on one hand.  She freaked out when I was 15 and she found out I’d used a tampon.

“NOW A MAN WILL BE ABLE TO TELL YOU’VE BEEN OPENED UP!  HE WON’T THINK YOU’RE A VIRGIN!”

“But, tampons aren’t even the same size as a penis.”

“HOW WOULD YOU KNOW?!”

I’ve grown used to pretending with my mother that I’ve been a born again virgin since 2012.  If I get married, I’ll just tell her we sleep in separate rooms.  A baby?  It was a gift from that stork fellow.  Penis?  Whats that?  I’ve never seen one in my life!  Does she really think I’m going to open up to her about my sex life no matter how much older I get and how much she voluntarily opens up about her own.  Dish all you want, Mother.  I’m keeping my shit on lock down though.

Its not like I want to show her my gallery of dick pics I’ve collected (not saying that I have that sort of thing) or share with her that I’ve had my back blown out in the gazebo in Central Park after dark.  But being almost 25 and having to pretend that I’m not interested in the opposite sex out of fear of getting sent to a convent is unfortunate.  If I wasn’t who I am, can you imagine the damage her attitude about sex could have had on my own view of sex and how I went about it?  I’d either be completely afraid of it, ashamed of it, or participate in it stupidly and recklessly.  She nearly had a stroke when I let slip that I knew how to put a condom on properly. “Women aren’t supposed to know how to do that.” RED FLAG!

I can only hope that in the future, the child(ren) that the stork drops on my doorstep will know and understand that their mother isn’t the type to shame.  Got questions, I’ll do my best to answer them for you.  Just be smart and safe about sex.  And If the day comes where my daughter is still living at home with me as an adult and has male (or female if she’s into that) company in her bedroom, I’ll slide a rubber under her door and run a few errands for a couple of hours.

UPDATE:

Today, my mother and I finally had a conversation about how her attitude about sex has affected me. Her reasoning boiled down to her being emotional and simply not caring for my ex (she was right about him anyway).
And while she apologized, asked/advised me to move forward from that and still extended the open invite to get it on while she’s home and even offered me tips on how to stifle any noise (the words “I don’t know if you’re a screamer” were spoken and I was mortified) I’m going to continue to move with caution. Old habits die hard and I’m not sure her judgmental ways are six feet under just yet.
I am however, glad that our communication has improved slightly. Baby steps.

Fishy, Fishy (A ThrowBack Thursday Story)

I’ve always had a fascination with marine life and all things aquatic.  At one point in my brief stint as an ambitious child, I wanted to be a marine biologist until I realized that studying more biology than I was interested in would have to be involved.  PASS!  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy trips to the aquarium and watching ocean documentaries and Discovery Channel’s famed Shark Week (not to be confused with the other shark week that I speak of which causes my reproductive organs to feel as though they have erupted).   I know the difference between a scorpion fish and a lion fish.  I know that the Orca (commonly known as the killer whale) whale is closer to the dolphin family than the whale family.  I know that whales used to live on land and that Narwhals are said to be the creatures that the legend of the unicorn originated from.  I’ve touched sting rays and a horseshoe crabs as well as had a pet goldfish named Neptune that I would have full conversations with while alone in my dorm room (RIP, homie).  All this being said, I’d like to share with all of you a story about my childhood because, well, its funny and its my blog.

The year is 1997.  I’m rocking bubble barrettes in my twisted up hair, and jellies on my feet.  Yes, jellies.  You know the ones.   I’m 7 years old and have spent 5 of those years obsessing over The Little Mermaid.  One of my mom’s old beaus had gotten me the now Walt Disney animated classic on VHS as a birthday present for my 3rd birthday and I watched it every single day.  I even did a dance number in my baby jazz  dance class to “Under The Sea” where we were dressed in blue costumes to look like, well, little mermaids.  It was all very cute and very fun.

At 7, my mother knew her child and I’d over hear her describe me as “moody” and “sensitive” quite often.

“Mommy, what’s ‘moody’ mean?”

“You change your moods very often.  You’re a true Pisces.” she would say.

“What’s a Pisces?”

“Its a star sign.  People who are born in certain months have different star signs.  You’re born in March and you’re a Pisces, The Fish.”

I was a fish!  Mermaids were fish too!  I was a mermaid!!!!  I’d always believed that mermaids were real.  My grandma, like many other Haitian grandmothers do their grandchildren, had told me that her mother saw a mermaid combing her hair on a beach in Haiti a long time ago.  Grandma wouldn’t have dared to lie to her only granddaughter so I knew that mermaids existed.  Just like Santa and The Tooth Fairy.  The signs of my being a mer-person were all there.  I was a great swimmer (except that one time I almost drowned in Aruba on a family vacation), and I’d just learned how to open my eyes underwater for more that 5 seconds.  All that was missing was a set of gills and a tail.  For the rest of the summer, every time I went to the beach and the waves were too rough, I’d shout into the ocean for Ursula the sea witch to chill out.  Being a mermaid-land child was fun.  That is until my mother put me in a compromising situation.

One night at dinner, my mother put my plate in front of me.  I looked at it and saw the white rice I loved, some boiled broccoli and fish sticks.

“I can’t eat this!”

“Whats wrong with it?”

“Its fish sticks!”

“You like fish sticks.”

“Not anymore.  I can’t eat this, Mommy.”

“Why not?”

“I can’t eat MY people!”

I mean, what did she expect?  Did she think I was some sort of cannibal? If I’m a fish, I couldn’t eat other fish!  It was inhumane!  Sure, other fish in the ocean ate each other, but I was also part human and therefore had a conscience as well as other food options.  I never saw Ariel eat another fish.  I never saw Ariel eat anything.  I wasn’t going to be some sort of animal (even though I was a fish).

And so it began.  Anytime fish was being served or eaten around me, I’d judge those eating it harshly.  I’d give “how could you???” gasps and speeches about how anyone that loved me wouldn’t eat the “people” I called my own.  My mother got into the habit of telling people that her crazy, human born fish child did not and would not eat her own “people.”  Trips to Red Lobster would consist of me trying to telepathically communicate with the lobsters in the tank and wondering which of Sebastian’s cousins my Dad was ravaging across the table from me while I filled up on cheddar bay biscuits.  I didn’t eat seafood for about 5 years.

I’m not sure when I decided that snow crab legs and sushi were too good to continue to miss out on, but my belief that I was a mermaid in a past life still remains.  Besides, I saw Splash and the mermaid in that tore up an entire lobster so I figure its alright to indulge a little.  And while I still don’t eat shrimp (I can’t get jiggy with the texture), haven’t had a fish stick in years and I cried while watching the documentary Blackfish, I look back fondly on my first experience with standing up for something I believed in no matter how ridiculous it sounds now.  I’m not sure how many fish lives I might have saved by refusing those breaded sticks of mystery meat (is it really fish anyway?) but 7 year old Noëlle knows she made a difference.  I’m sure the people of Atlantica are grateful.

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