I’ve Realized My Niece is Paying Attention to My Love Life

I recently saw a show on television. My niece came in on the end. At some point, a gay couple kissed. I didn’t think much of it when my niece turned to me inquiringly. She’s aware I’m gay and I’m always ready if she has questions. I was expecting her to call the kiss “gross” or something. Instead, she stared at me for a moment, appearing quite serious and thoughtful. Then she said, “Titi, I’ve never seen you kiss anybody.”
I paused, shocked, and realized she was right.The last time I was in a serious relationship, she was very young and doesn’t remember it. And since then, I’ve been very careful not to introduce anyone as anything other than a friend. If I’m not serious about it, there’s no reason to get her emotionally invested.
“Titi isn’t in love with anyone baby,” I said carefully. “But one day, Titi will get married and then I’ll kiss someone.”
“Okay,” she said. Moments later, she was ignoring me and playing on her tablet. That was the end of it for her, I’m sure, but days later, I’m still thinking about it. Leave it to the mouths of babes to send you into emotional reflection.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to how sharp my niece is. She doesn’t miss a thing. I’ve always tried to carry myself with integrity, and given how closely she’s watching, I’m relieved I’ve taken that approach. Lord knows the types of questions she’d hit me with if I wasn’t more careful.
Now, I’m not sure what’s on my mind more: That she’s noticing my love life, or the realization that my love life hasn’t been much of a priority to me. Before therapy, I was just dating and running the streets and not really investing in anyone or anything. Now, I’m making sure to work on my emotional health before diving into anything, but I can honestly say it hasn’t been “that serious.” Yes, I want to do better in the future, but I don’t know that I was thinking about the impact it would have on anyone other than myself.
I now understand that’s a mistake. When children are in your life, relationships really do matter. She’s watching and learning from me. And when I get someone around, it’ll be imperative that I show her a HEALTHY, LOVING interaction.
I need to be careful. Because she’s watching. And now, I’m watching myself.

Sometimes being a super aunt sucks, but I really love my niece.

My niece yelled my name in her sleep this morning. It was just a dream. She’s still sleep. Must be nice.
She’s been having behavior problems lately. Two parents in jail will do that to you. I’m trying to understand. I’m trying to fix it … but I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since she got here.
But I’m part of the problem. I’m not helping raise her right. If I’m going to sign on to help parent her, I need to do it right. Never mind that her parents don’t. I used a whole therapy session to map out a plan. I just pray it works.
She’s so cute in the Instagram pictures and Snapchat stories. I share what’s fun … but this is not always fun. It is emotionally draining. My life is upside down. Her life is worse. It’s not her fault. I know that.
But I’m still tired. Being a super aunt is tiresome. Everybody wants to give me a compliment. I just need a babysitter.
I hate that I’m awake, but I’m glad I had a moment of peace to write this. If I don’t get back in the room soon, she’ll wake up in a panic. When she wakes up and doesn’t see anyone, she thinks they’re gone. Really gone. Her abandonment issues are worse than mine. I never get a moment of peace.
I really love my niece. I know she loves me too. I also know she isn’t acting out because she’s mad at me. I know she’s just hurting. She’s only eight years old. She’s allowed to be mad. I’m 33 years old and in therapy every week because I’m STILL mad.
I get it. But that doesn’t mean I know how to fix it. But i’m trying. I really am.
She doesn’t live with me full-time. Right now, she bounces between me and her grandma. A little girl without a room of her own. It’s not fair. No wonder she’s so angry.
I’ve never been one to lie and keep secrets. That’s how children get raped. That’s how families never heal. That’s how people keep on destroying others. I’ve been there. Fuck there. So I’ll be honest: Being a super aunt is hard. Sometimes, it really sucks and I want to walk away.
But I really love my niece.
Thank you for reading. If this resonates, maybe you should tell someone your story. Or not. That’s you. But whether you hold it in or not, you’ll still go through it. Take care of yourself. Me venting takes care of me. If you’re not offering to babysit, just pray for me. And stop inviting me to shit. Babysitter. Remember?

Portland’s most “liberal” feature is how liberally white its population is!

Since the white supremacist (terrorist) killed those people on the train, quite a few articles and opinions (find my favorite here) have popped up about the events being surprising given that Portland, Oregon is a “solidly liberal state.”

Let me ask you this: How many black people are in Portland? Or better yet, how many black people are the state of Oregon?

Not many. On the 2015 census, the state of Oregon listed the black population at 2.1%. The total population for the state was 4,093,465. 2.1% of 4,093,465 comes out to slightly less than 86,000 people. For perspective, just think of famous college football stadiums. Some of them can hold Oregon’s entire black population, plus more!