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?

I AM NOT ROOTING FOR YOU

Does the above meme look familiar? This week, I saw it quite a few times in different variations. It reads, “Just because we didn’t work out, doesn’t mean I stopped rooting for you.”

That is so inspiring. Do you feel like that? I don’t. If someone hurt me or broke my heart, FUCK THEM.

And yes, I’ve said those words before. I was lying. When I said them to a person that hurt me, I lied to their face. I was trying to be the bigger person. Bitches.

My mom had a dream to take us to paradise and make Florida home

An old picture of mom in one of those ridiculous Florida shirts.

Sometimes I dream I’m back in Florida. Nothing really happens. I’m usually just driving over the Gandy Bridge to St. Pete or walking around Ybor or pulling up on Siesta Key or riding my bike in South Tampa. Lately, I’ve started to think those dreams aren’t just about Florida. Maybe they’re my mom’s way of talking to me.

When somebody dies, you’re probably going to hear about it on Facebook first, so make sure you’re connected to the people you care about

dougandI-web

The night when Doug and I first met. Kindred from the start.

Many years ago, way back when I first met my homeboy Doug, we mentioned becoming Facebook friends. The conversation went something like this:

Doug: “Aight, cool. Send me a request.”
Me: Staring at him like he’d lost his mind. “Nah, you send me a request! I don’t send people friend requests!”
Doug: Staring back at me as if I’d lost my mind first. “I don’t either!”
Me: “Well I guess we aint gone be friends!”

That’s what I liked about Doug. His ego was as big as mine.

Now she’s just somebody that I used to know

LesbianBreakup2

My girlfriend and I broke up some time ago, though I’m more inclined to say I was dumped. It happened in true Millennial fashion. We got into an argument. I expressed myself and shared my doubts, suggesting maybe we should break up. From there, she clammed up and stopped taking my calls or answering my texts. Then she deleted me off Snapchat. Today, we no longer speak and I doubt I’ll ever see her again. In her defense, it probably sucks to hear your girlfriend say she maybe wants out. In my defense, I said “maybe,” and expressing a doubt should never end a relationship. A relationship should end because two people converse and decide to end it. Nothing was decided together! She’s just gone! So yes, I was dumped. Pure foolishness.

The problem with these dang student loans …

Photo: Navient.com homepage

Photo: Navient.com homepage

I’m back to paying Sallie Mae (the loan shark currently known as Navient). After a year of fighting for lower payments, I’ve finally gotten my payment slightly below $200, though I was hoping to get it below $150. However, given that six months after I graduated they wanted almost $700 and all of these years later, the lowest I’d gotten my payment do was about $360, I decided to accept this defeat with a whimper. So yeah, I paid them, then spent my long weekend on the couch. Sallie has taken my summer. BITCH!

If you’re under age 26, I think I’m just too old to date you

DoggiePee

I believe there will come a time, for most people, when they’ll realize they’re too old to date anyone under age 26. That moment happened for me earlier this week.

I accidentally crashed an ex’s birthday celebration. We briefly dated a few years back and have remained friends. There’s about a six year age difference between us, but she’s so together and mature, it’s easy to forget. There have been moments when it was glaringly obvious though. This was one of them.

Middle Finger Up to the Fat Shamers!

#everyBODYisflawless from gabifresh on Vimeo.

This video is too cute! It features plus-size fashion models GABIFRESH, Nadia Aboulhosn, and Tess Munster. Shout-out to the fat people that love themselves, because Lord knows we’ve got a whole segment of the population that wants us to hate ourselves. I tell ya, fat shaming is not cool!

UPDATE: You should support the documentary below. It’s about plus-size models and looks really awesome!

The Pain In Not Knowing: Establishing Paternity Matters!

RonanFarrowToday, for the briefest of moments, I actually felt BAD for Woody Allen, because his situation reminds me of my own father.

Before I continue, I have to explain that I AM NO WOODY ALLEN FAN. He brings to mind men like R. Kelly and other incredibly powerful men in the entertainment lexicon who are constantly surrounded by alleged (or in the case of monsters like Roman Polanski, proven) rumors of child sexual abuse, yet continue on with relatively unscathed, successful careers. Clearly, American society tips the scales in favor of talent over predatory behavior towards children, which is heartbreaking. Annie Hall just wasn’t THAT damn good.

Women Are Hurting and I Was Part of the Problem

Stuff-Your-Bra-Step-3

“You have small breasts.”

That’s what I said to this woman, the first time she took her shirt off in front of me. She paused, looking wounded. I, on the other hand, just reached for her breasts. For me, it was simply a statement. Something I thought and said out loud. Clearly, I should have kept that statement in my head, but I’ve a bad habit of speaking before I think. And it was obvious that this young lady didn’t care for my opinion. She pulled away from me. “I’ve heard that before and I hate it.” She said, annoyance plain in her voice. “I plan to get breast implants.”

I’m 30 Years Old Today

Birthday2014-WebReady

When I first arrive at work in the morning, I always take the stairs from the 2nd floor to the 4th floor. I want to say it’s about 40 stairs. When I get to the top, I always want to fall back down them. It’s the worst moment of the day. I am reminded that I am fat and out of shape. And for about another good minute, I’m incapable of combating the negative thoughts in my head because I’m too busy trying to control my breathing to control my thinking.

I Tell Ya, When It Rains, It Pours

UHaulMovingCar

When I was laid off from my job in September 2013, I knew I had to move fast. I didn’t have a savings and the Florida job market was terrible. I took what was left of my severance check (after taxes took it’s 33%), purchased a U-Haul, begged my landlord for forgiveness and headed to Atlanta a month later. Just like that, I went from having my own place and independence to living with family members and counting my pennies. And they were, literally, pennies. My severance check was gone almost instantly and Florida unemployment only offered me $275 a week, which was not always so easy to attain. It felt as if, overnight, my whole world fell apart. I was humbled. Broke, begging for money, just barely making my bills…humbled. At that time, I thought to myself, “God, I hear you. It’s time to be better than I was.” I really felt like it couldn’t get any worse. Then my mom died.

I Know My Goddaughter Wasn’t Born Homophobic, But She Sure Sounds Like It!

I really loved this video. It gave me up hope for young children today. And it especially made me smile, as I had a troubling experience with my goddaughter this weekend. For a moment, I was left questioning if maybe I shouldn’t be in her life.

This past weekend, somehow or another while talking to my 9 year old goddaughter, we ended up on the topic of marriage. She spent a great deal of time informing me that, not only was she going to plan my wedding, but she was also going to be my flower girl, bridesmaid and maid of honor. I imagine she’ll be the only one in the wedding.

I’ve Been Laid Off My Job, I’m Scared and It’s the Best Thing That’s Happened To Me

ShaqueaLaidOff

After 4 years, 10 months and 16 days, I was laid off from my job. The next day, my former co-workers promptly took me out drinking. As you can see above, it seemed like more of a glorious day than a depressing one. But as I sat at the table gazing out at everyone in a haze of depression, coupled with relief and colored by inebriation, a realization was beginning to form. While I didn’t actually realize it at that time, I was at the very beginning of what I would later come to refer to as my “Layoff Cycle.”