Get Uncomfortable!

I was at work, during a very slow hour, scrolling on Facebook. I saw this event for protesting Atlas (group) that same day at 5pm. Lucky me, I was off at 5pm. My bf came to scoop me and we headed straight there. It didn’t matter how tired I was, who we knew going or how many people would be there. Our support was needed, so we showed up. At the protest, we walked through the streets of Harbor East to Choptank, Ouzo Bay, and one other restaurant that belongs to the Atlas Group. There were people enjoying meals as if nothing ever happened. Black couples who may or may not have been informed were also in attendance. We shouted “Black Lives Matter, all the time,” “Don’t pay another cent, Atlas must repent,” “Boycott Atlas” and other phrases that conveyed the overall message. As the organizers of the protest gathered to the front center of the crowd, they gave a list of demands. I won’t list them all, but they included dropping the dress code across the restaurants and recognizing their acts of discrimination.

During the protest, it was business as usual, customers were ordering food and drinks, but then they had a crowd around the patio seating informing them of the behavior of the restaurant. They saw signs that said “Black Lives Matter.” They saw signs that said “White Silence = White Violence.” Some people thought it was a joke, laughing while we demanded justice, fairness and equality. Others decided to leave and some quietly moved their plates to more comfortable seating inside. While we protested outside of Choptank, they continued to increase the volume of the music. Another way for them to silence our voices – it was cool tho, we just got louder. Get uncomfortable!

I wasn’t shocked to see people patronizing the businesses still, but I was shocked at the fact that even with the information presented, it seemed that they couldn’t wait for us to move on. No one wants to face these injustices. They just want to live their daily lives as normal and carefree as possible. You don’t think that’s what we all want? Everyone does not have to be on the front lines or protesting but damn, don’t contradict our movements. We need to unify in order to be the force for change in this unjust ass world.

Personally, I know that I don’t have all the answers and I still have loads of information to educate myself on. I have come to a place in my life where I can’t be comfortable with just going to school, getting my degree and living the “American Dream.” I can’t be comfortable with staying under the radar just to avoid conflict while I’m watching so many Black people being discriminated against in a White world. I can’t be comfortable knowing that not only was Breonna Taylor shot in the comfort of her own home, but none of the known parties involved were arrested and sentenced for their crimes. I can’t be comfortable seeing videos of the beautiful soul that was Elijah McClain and feeling that pain of him no longer being with us. I don’t need to know these people personally to take this shit personal. Going forward, my goal is to create an environment where people can be Black and be surrounded by Black to build unity and trust within us so that we may thrive in our own communities. My goal is not to swap places with our counterparts or oppress others the way we have been for generations.

We need to be prepared and we need to take action. I am a Black woman who does not wish to live in fear for the future that lies ahead. I am a Black woman who wants to be a part of the change. I have started with educating myself, finding ways that I can support and showing up when it counts. We all have our day to day battles and struggles, jobs, and grievances and that is absolutely okay. Unfortunately, we weren’t dealt the hand that allows us to decompress and analyze on an individual basis. We have to play an active role every single day in fighting these battles. It may be a single post, signing a petition or simply patronizing Black owned businesses specifically. I have never seen a better time than now to be more active in this fight.

My Kind of Weird

We all know the bittersweet feeling of hanging with your best friends for the weekend, then having to say goodbye before the week begins again. We all wished for secret tunnels that led to one another so that the fun could continue but that never happened. Well, living with your partner is kind of like that but way better because there are no rules.We can stay up all night and eat pizza for breakfast if we want. You also get to laugh endlessly with someone who understands you more than anyone else. In my personal experience, living with my partner is a journey of love, friendship, and balance.

In 2018, I found myself on Tinder, swiping right on this handsome, brown skin man with locs. I just ended a 6 year situation-ship and was ready to let it go. It was the type where sex was guaranteed, he was familiar and I hadn’t found anyone who could keep my interest. I wished that I would run into a fine stranger at the supermarket or the bar but that only seemed to happen in movies, so I gave online dating a try. With Tinder, it was easier to meet people, but I had to filter through the crazies. There was this one time I hung with a match who seemed pretty cool — until the liquor kicked in. Things were going well until he felt some chemistry that I had no idea existed. He kept leaning in for a kiss after every laugh like I signaled him then he had the audacity to tell me that he wanted me to give him the daughter he wanted so badly. Red flag! Sir, I don’t want your baby and I really want to go home now, but there was Henny to be finished. I’m ashamed to admit, but I entertained him until my lil’ honey bun came into the picture. Once I met my baby, it was a wrap.

My favorite Tinder match was this is anime-loving, nap enthusiast who is my kind of weird. I always find myself super awkward in social situations but with him, I could relax. The day we met in person, I was completely hungover and tired from work — yes I worked my 9-5 with a hangover. We went to the park and he pushed me on the swings. He felt up my butt a little, but I was into it. All I really wanted was fresh air, a shower, and water, but even feeling as gross as I felt, I stayed out as long as possible to be with him a little longer. Even with only knowing me a few weeks at the time, he made sure I had everything I needed and I never questioned his motives; mostly because I had my own. I didn’t bring a spennanight bag but thats surely what I did.

We would do dance tutorials from YouTube and have the most raw conversations. The chemistry between us was undeniable. From the time we met, we were open with each other about our interests, fears, and personal battles. Not only was I attracted to this man, but he was turning out to be an actual friend. We didn’t have a relationship where sex was the only intimacy we shared. Most of the time, we took naps that lasted until morning. I started staying the night more often and then those nights turned into me moving in.

One cold day in January, we went to my place to gather more essentials, even though my side of the dresser was bulging, when he suggested that I move in. We were dating for eleven months once I moved in with him; I was never home and it made sense financially. There was a roommate at the time, but things still worked out. We had family dinners, blasted Soca and Dancehall, and smoked…a lot. They introduced me to fetes, we got wasted at The Mt. Royal Tavern and finished off some nights dancing at the Crown. These were some of my most memorable nights. It was always a good time escaping reality, but in the morning, we always had to face it.

Individually, I’ve been working on my mental health and that in itself is a journey; what I didn’t expect was that this man would be willing to take this journey with me. One day on our way pick up our pizza order from a carryout, everything seemed normal, but I was feeling uneasy for some reason. Just a few moments after, I was sobbing uncontrollably with no explanation to give. He never made me feel embarrassed or that I had to hide my mood swings and anxiety. He grabbed napkins from the glove box to give me, gently kissed my face a bunch of times and asked what he could do. I’ve always had people around me who cared, but it’s different when someone sees the parts of you that you hide and wants to go even deeper. Not having to worry about shielding him from parts of myself allowed me to confront my issues. He persuaded me to see a therapist again and I’ve been going consistently for the last year and a half. He’s always rooting for me to win and knows that success for one of us is success for the both of us. Naturally though, we pick on each other whenever we get the chance — just to keep it interesting.

I fell in love with a man who is sensitive, protective, passionate, and unapologetically Black. Sometimes he wants to be my surprise sparing partner and other times he’s chasing one of our cats down the hallway. I never know what the next day will be but it’s always another opportunity for us to grow and learn new things about one another. I also fell in love with the person I’m growing to be. In this relationship, I believe our comfortability makes it easy to be able to tell each other anything. This is how we build and maintain trust with one another. One thing we really had to learn is that we can’t always succeed in making each other happy but it’s important to be there in the ways that we can. I’ll always have someone to tell me when I’m being dramatic, back me up when I need it and help me plot escapes to islands. Having a partner who is also my best friend was something I didn’t know I needed until I had it.