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.

Hazy

We were nose to nose. Both of us breathing heavily. My skin felt as though it had been set ablaze. I inhaled. His cologne was intoxicating. He brushed a thumb across my bottom lip and gazed into my eyes intensely. I felt light-headed. I hadn’t even noticed him follow me into the bathroom.
Tasha was infamous for throwing the best parties. She was “close” with all of the popular club owners and they never had any objections when she asked to use their venues for her own personal gatherings at barely any price. At least not a price many self-respecting women would be willing to pay. But then again, who is anyone to say that Tasha had no self-respect. 
“No, Ramon! I said I wanted 50 bottles of your best champagne. Not 50 bottles of the cheap shit that nouveau riche, hip-hop artists waste by pouring on an underage hoodrat’s ass! Get me what I asked for!”
She tossed her cellular phone down on the couch and put her hands on her hips, looking flustered. She was such a drama queen. 
“I swear its like talking to a brick wall when I have to plan anything with that man.”
I continued to stare at my canvas. My blank canvas. Lately, inspiration had been hard to come by. I had hit a month long roadblock. Maybe if I sat in front of the canvas long enough, something would just happen. 
“You’re coming tonight right?”
“No. I have to paint.” I didn’t look away from the canvas.
“Paint like you’re doing now?”
I glared over my shoulder and sent imaginary knives straight for her.
“I’m just saying,” she responded when she noticed my death stare. 
“You’re always saying something. How about you shut up for once?”
I heard Tasha make a hissing noise at me as her heels clicked against my hardwood floor towards the kitchen. I went back to my canvas and back to trying to will something to happen. It was a failed attempt. I was beginning to get a headache. Closing my eyes and rubbing my temples, I got up from my stool and walked into the kitchen. Maybe I should eat something I thought. There I found Tasha picking at a bowl of grapes on the counter. 
“I’m coming to your stupid party.”
“Good. Now get dressed. We’re going shopping because I know that not a thing you own will do for this event.”

New Career, Who Dis?

You know the saying, “life comes at you fast?” Well, since completing my undergraduate studies, life has been moving at light-speed. No more than 2 hours after crossing that stage in the middle of my alma mater’s football stadium on May 18, 2013, everybody asked, “So will/when are you going back?” and “What’s next?” And at that moment, and for the two summer months that were to come, my only response was, “I don’t know. Can’t I just take a moment to breathe and enjoy myself for a little?” I mean I’d just spent 5 hellish years in Baltimore, Maryland aka The Devil’s Asshole, USA. I was exhausted. I didn’t even want to think about being in school for another two years. So, with that, I packed my shit, left Baltimore and headed home to New York for a post grad summer. It was fun, but it was over sooner than I would’ve liked it to be. And with it’s end, came the inevitable return of the “what now?” Only this time, I was the one asking myself that question.

It has been two years since I’ve completed my undergraduate matriculation and those two years have had their share of ups and downs in all aspects of my life. But the professional and financial sides are the parts of my life that I always stress myself out about most. After the summer of 2013 came to a close, I began grappling with the idea of what I would be doing with myself career wise. I’d earned my BA in English with a concentration in creative writing and the only thing it’s gotten me is 92K worth of student loan debt. I had no idea how to put this expensive ass accomplishment to good use.

I love writing. I love reading. I love words. But after coming home, I remembered that hobbies don’t pay the bills. At least not for me. At least not yet. I’d have to get “a real job.” Along with my reality check, where my student loan debt served as the gratuity that nobody ordered, came a doggy bag filled with post grad style depression. Yum. I felt like a bum. I wasn’t working anymore since my summer gig ended when the summer did, I was broke and my mother was reminding me every day that I’d be getting my first letter from Sallie Mae soon. At that point any job would do. And I got one. You guys remember, right? Nordstrom? Yeah. Retail proved to be a hell almost as bad as living in Baltimore. Sure, the money was decent, but I was miserable and I didn’t go to school to sell old bitches hosiery. But, as all of you also know, I was fired within a month. It was hidden blessing, really.   Right after being let go from that slave ship, I stumbled upon what I’d later realize was my calling.

You guys already know this too, so this is just a recap, but I started working part-time at an afterschool program as a tutor about a month after Nordstrom dumped me. The hours were trash and the money barely covered my financial responsibilities, but I’d had it in my mind that some income was better than no income at all and that I’d just do what I had to do for the time being until I worked out a plan to get a better job that better suited my needs. At this point I was still lost on where the fuck I saw myself 10 years from now. I needed money. That’s all I knew or even cared about. The depression hadn’t subsided. I was still crying every week and had convinced myself that I’d racked up all this debt for nothing. And without noticing, I was started to accept that about myself. The jobs I was applying for to replace the one I had at that moment were still bullshit jobs that surely didn’t put my degree to use. I was being lazy, a character trait that I’ve owned my entire life. Only I didn’t look at it that way until recently. But while I was searching for new employment opportunities, I was unknowingly learning that I loved working with kids. I loved helping them learn. And while having a conversation with a friend of mine about my day at work with a child I’d been working with, he pointed something out to me.

“Sounds like this is something you’re meant to do,” he told me.

Bing! It did sound that way, didn’t it? The way these kids mattered to me wasn’t something I actually paid attention to but it was pretty clear that I cared deeply for them and that I found joy in helping them succeed academically. People always asked me if I wanted to be a teacher once they learned I had an English degree, but I’d always responded indifferently because I was focused on being an author. But look! Unbeknownst to be, I’d found something new to be passionate about. So it was then that I decided that I’d pursue it.

I won’t lie and say that from that moment on I got right to work on becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, it took some shit going wrong for me to get my shit right. The school I worked at offered me a full time position a few months after my conversation with my friend happened and I began getting comfortable in my mediocrity. There was talk of my moving up at the school but it wouldn’t have been much of an accomplishment looking back at it now. However, God makes you uncomfortable when He wants you to grow. And so after two years of employment at that school, they fired me this August off some bullshit. And let me tell you, unemployment is uncomfortable as hell. But thanks to another friend (my mother thinks we should send him a thank you card. She’s sweet.), I was given an opportunity to get into my career.

It’s been two weeks at my new school and I’m in love with it. After my first visit, I knew that it was where I wanted to be. And after I received my official offer to join their team, I committed myself to working at this shit. It’s A LOT of work. I missed the month’s worth of training workshops that my colleagues had attended in August, so I’m playing catch up. Not to mention, I have to wake up at 4:00 AM Mon-Fri to get to work. But I learned that when you find something you want badly enough, you will put in the work and step out of your comfort zone in order to get it done.  Plus, receiving a salary pay with benefits as well as a getting a little help paying for classes to earn my M.A in Education (I enroll August 2016) isn’t a bad motivation factor. I’ve been leading reading and writing lessons in a classroom full of kids and I’m having a blast doing so! I’m helping children learn to love something that I already love. I finally know what it feels like to enjoy going to work.

I always seem to find myself starting over in some way when my summers come to a close. As the weather shifts so does something in my life. Funny how that works. But this time, when I was left asking myself, “what now?” I had an answer. I’m happy to say that I know what to do now and that I’m just anxious start working at it.

Delicious

A shiver ran down my spine and my nipples stiffened. Closing my eyes and inhaling, I felt his kiss against my lower back, my inner thighs. Leaning in to kiss him, I breathed in my aroma as it lingered on his face. I licked what remained of my sweetness from his lips and he fed me his finger tips. I raised my hips, opened myself up, and wrapped my legs around his waist while I sighed his name as if i was begging. I pleaded for him to never stop. I wanted us to melt into one another. I was full but craved more. I was insatiable. How did I deny myself of this for so long? And now that I’d finally had a taste, how could I ever curb my appetite again?  

Hands, legs, and lips everywhere. My body hummed with pleasure when he gazed at me as if I was a feast and he had been fasting for weeks. I trembled and gushed to the sounds of him enjoying me. Loving him is delicious.

Quick Little Gems Dealing With Men

As seen here via NerdAtTheCoolTable.com

Everyone thinks that (s)he is an expert on the opposite sex, even those that claim to know nothing at all.

When I was asked to weigh in on this topic, I was iffy. The last thing I want is to come off as a misinformed airhead, spewing ridiculous advice about dealing with the male populous. I mean, I only know what I know from personal experience and that goes for many. But, it’s also important to remember that everyone has different experiences. And so, I decided to approach this list as best I could by picking the brains of a couple of men that I consider to be less shitty than others. Pairing what they had to say with a little if my own logic and brilliant wit (^_^), I’ve come up with 3 quick gems to remember when dealing with men. 
1. MEN AREN’T MIND READERS
This came up a lot. I thought of it as my first potential gem before even asking my guy friends’ opinions. After having heard the same thing over and over, I knew that this was worth mentioning. 

Listen, girls. Men can’t read minds. And unless you’re the real life Jean Grey, you don’t have that ability either. So why do some women expect for some men to “just know?” We like to think that certain things are common knowledge. And while that can be true in some cases, it’s very possible for someone to “just NOT know.” And that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong though. Being an all around decent human being to those you supposedly care about shouldn’t be rocket science. However, when it comes down to specifics on how you want to be treated, sometimes you you do have to spell it out. Tedious, I know. But it’s a very privileged way of thinking if you believe that every man you meet will know exactly what you want, exactly how you want it and exactly when, where and why. If you like the guy, and want him to stick around, there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to school him once or twice on what it is you want/need exactly. If he’s a good boy, he’ll learn quick. Just remember that closed mouths don’t get fed. SPEAK UP, HOE! This way, he can’t ever use “I didn’t know” as a valid excuse if you catch him slipping. 
2. MEN HAVE FEELINGS
I’m a feminist. Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Suck your teeth. Imagine that I’m some ugly, hairy troll that “only wants equality when it’s convenient.” But before you stop reading, hear me out on why this gem and my feminism go together like Donald Trump and stupidity. Men are human beings, right? So are women. And women have feelings and emotions, correct? So why wouldn’t men? A patriarchal society has engrained into us this distorted concept that women are the only gender allowed to have feelings. To be crybabies, even! Whereas men are supposed to be made of stone. Wrong! Men do indeed have feelings, whether they want to admit it or not. They are made up of a lot of the same mushy, fleshy, pink matter that women are.  

This notion that guys are supposed to be über macho 24/7 is hogwash. “Grr! I’m a man and I can grow facial hair on command! Grr! I eat a bowl of broken beer bottle glass for breakfast every morning!” Spare me. Just as a guy can hurt your feelings, you can hurt his if he cares enough. That doesn’t make him a bitch. That makes him human. Hypermasculinity is damaging to our men. Especially our black men. Young boys grow up being told that crying is for punks and being emotional makes you less masculine. Ladies, don’t advocate for this fucked up mentality. Be aware, supportive and understanding that your man feels pain, sadness, frustration, happiness and love just as you do. Worry less about him being emotional and more about his emotional MATURITY. Or you could, like, fuck a bolder if you’re that concerned about somebody being hard. Your call. 
3. EVEN AFTER YOU BECOME “WE”, YOUR MAN IS STILL HIM!
I hear couples say the whole “in a relationship, ‘me’ becomes ‘we’” line often. I’ve always interpreted it to mean that you shouldn’t be selfish and you should consider your partner more in the choices you make that affect your relationship. But some people take “we” to extremes. You are both still individuals. Your guy is still his own person. Let him maintain his individuality and personal life. What makes him who he is is what attracted you to him in the first place, so why change it? Give him room to be himself. If he’s comfortable with whom he is, you have to be comfortable with him too. Otherwise, what’s the point? Embrace his uniqueness. Let him have his hobbies. Be supportive of his talents. Maybe take interest in his interests and learn something new. Do not stifle who he is because it makes you uncomfortable. That’s not fetch. 
In my experience, some men are trash while some are good as gold. And while we don’t always know which is which, I hope these gems help you maintain healthy connections with the men in your lives, whether they be romantic or platonic. Oh and as a bonus gem, always say no to fuckboys. Always. 🙂

Switch 

I can go from hot to cold in an instant. I have an emotional switch that I flip on and off at will. More recently I’ve been trying to figure out of its a blessing or a curse to have such an ability.  I’m still on the fence. Sorta. 

I’m an emotional person. When I feel, I FEEL.  However, sometimes I’d rather not feel. I’d rather be apathetic. It saves me a lot of trouble when dealing with people and certain situations. More specifically, situations of the romantic kind.  
And it’s because of this switch that I have my finger on, always ready to forcefully flick, that I think I’m misunderstood in my reaction to things or lack there of. There have been times where people close to me have said that I don’t know how it feels to be in a situation where a person you love is basically a shit head but you just can’t help but love that person. Well to that, I say, “ERRONEOUS!” 
Let’s clarify. Its not that I’ve never been there. On the contrary, I was there up until a year ago. In the beginning of that situation, I was guarded. I had always worn my heart on my sleeve and it had always ended up being torn.  But he was persistent and I saw his potential (what a load of crap that shit was). I stopped fighting and flipped the switch to “On”. From that moment on, that man took me through so many emotions I felt like I was crazy. 
Things that were unforgivable I was overlooking. Things that I have called any other woman foolish for enduring, I was letting happen to me. I started to feel ways about myself that weren’t healthy. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. And for almost 3 years, I lived that way.  I’d gotten all the good advice in the world. I had all the support from my friends. I was putting on a great act for the world that I had everything under control. But I didn’t. It was as if my switch was stuck. It was like that man had cut the wiring all together and I was stuck on stupid.
Then one day, I stopped. Don’t ask me what did it exactly because I can’t recall. But whatever happened, my switch flipped and I was turned “off.”  And I stayed that way. I gained control once again and I have no plans on losing it again. 
It’s safer this way. I feel secure in knowing that I’m not too invested in someone/thing to the point that I lose myself again. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m drowning in my emotions again. Literally feeling like I cant breathe. It’s horrible. As soon as I feel overwhelmed, I exercise my ability to turn it off and turn away. 
Some people may think that it’s not exactly a good thing to be so ready to abandon your feelings. If you’re always ready to run, how do you experience how wonderful love is as a whole?  I’ve wondered that myself. I’m just not at a place where I’m willing to find out if the juice is worth the squeeze. Does that stop me from really loving someone the way I once did?  Of course it does but that’s the point. You could say that it may not happen again and that may be true but I don’t want to trust in the “maybe” ever again. That kinda sucks since there isn’t such a thing as a “sure thing” in life no matter what Miguel might’ve sang once upon a time. 
That all consuming, crazy, irrational love?  No thanks.  I’m fine with going from “I love you” to “NOPE” real quick (real fuckin quick, boy) right now.  

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.