Receptionist – Inhuman

I’ve been a receptionist for about 6 months. I work at a charter school in Harlem. I accepted this job because I didn’t have any other offers. Every day I regret that decision. Every two weeks I’m grateful for my check. Satisfied, no, but always grateful.

Before I took this job I was watching the Office and seeing Pam, the receptionist in the show, grow into a wife, mother, sales woman, and Office Manager. Right now, I can’t see me growing in this company. Here is what I’ve learned about being a receptionist at a charter school in Harlem.

1. This is a thankless job. I would never be a teacher for personal reasons. My mom was a teacher and was more involved with her students than with me. I was a bad kid in the classroom and I think that karma would come back to me. Teachers work too many hours and don’t make enough money. Also, kids today are horrible and so are their parents. Each day I sit here and people speak at me like they’re speaking to the walls of the office. Things I don’t hear – HELLO, HI, HOW ARE YOU, PLEASE, THANK YOU. Things I do hear – UMM…, HAVE YOU SEEN…, CAN I GET…, THERE’S NO CUPS? 1. My name is not UMM, it’s Lauren. 2. I couldn’t tell you if I’ve seen that person because after 6 months, no one takes the time to introduce themselves so I have no idea who you’re even looking for. 3. Yes, you CAN get anything you would like, just not from me if you haven’t acknowledged me as a person with a simple greeting. Finally, there is a water fountain in my office that never – AS I WAS WRITING THIS SOMEONE WALKED UP TO THE DESK & SAID CAN YOU STAPLE THIS FOR ME LIKE B***H I’M NOT A F*****G SUPPLY CABINET OR A STAPLER – has cups because everyone in the entire building comes into this office to get a cup and take one sip of water. Usually someone even leaves a cup full of water on my desk. I know the water cooler is a nice place to waste time at work. But, bring your own cup! Or, address me with some respect – Hi, I’ve never seen you before, I work here with this department doing this and my name is such & such, and you are? SMH! I will never get used to being unseen as a person when I deal with so many people!

2. People don’t speak when they enter an office anymore. I was taught when you enter the room, you need to greet those who are already in the room. At this organization, you only speak to people who have seniority. You always walk into the office and straight past reception. You always pretend like you’re better than or above reception. It’s like – don’t f*ck with the help. Excuse me, I’m technically not the help. My job is to answer the phone and direct the caller to the proper channel. My job is to sort and deliver the mail. My job is to make sure the phone is always answered and the mail is delivered. I don’t HAVE to answer any of your questions or get you anything that you are looking for because it’s not my job. So, the fact that people walk into the office and don’t address me as a person, hello Lauren how are you can I get a sick leave form, it takes everything in me for me not to ignore you.

3. This article is mainly about me feeling unseen as a person. People treat me like google. Spitting words in my face and expecting results. But, I’m not google – I’m a human, a person, someone who is here to do a job. What happened to respect? What happened to basic human decency? What happened to empathy? Treat people the way you want to be treated.

When I express how I feel I’m usually met with – well, you work in Harlem, what do you expect? I guess I just can’t relate to that statement. Even though I work in Harlem, certainly all of the employees are not from Harlem or live in Harlem. Furthermore, my family is from Harlem. We still have something called respect. Being in or from Harlem is not an excuse to abandon pleasantries. Am I asking for too much for people to acknowledge me? Well, if it was my job to pass out plastic cups, I would say YES, I’m asking for too much. But, it’s absolutely not my job to do that. So the fact that my interactions with people are usually about cups that have nothing to do with me is aggravating. Mind you, the people who do not need cups enter the office and say nothing at all to acknowledge me but will still say something like – Who ordered this food? What’s going on in the gym? When is movie night? Where is my check? How do I clock in? – without a simple, ‘Hey’ to preface the question really gets under my skin. It makes me feel like I wasted 4 years at college. Or like I’m invisible for 6 hours of life.

Often, I think about Pam and the Office and how her life is so much different than mine even though we have the same job title. I know, it’s a scripted Television show but I thought art imitated life. What can I do to make my experience better? Well, I’ve started confronting people.

Q: Can I get a laptop?

A: Hi, how are you today?

Q: Do you know where suchandsuch is?

A: Do you even know my name?

Q: Umm can I

A: Umm? My name is Lauren, how can I help you?

This works for the men, who are the most abrasive. It doesn’t work that well with the women. They are much more passive and see it as an affront. However, it’s not my fault they don’t have basic manners. I shouldn’t have to teach you to say please and thank you and I shouldn’t have to help you if you can’t say please and thank you. It’s that simple.

It’s 2020 and I don’t want to be a receptionist. I’m not cut out for this work with these people. I keep seeing people say to create your destiny and get what you want. I want to be an Editorial Assistant. I have applied to so many jobs with so many companies only to be denied or rejected. How can I force myself into a job or company? I don’t know. I can’t even get a job at AMC Theaters, Staples, Burlington Coat Factory, Sprint, or Stop & Shop. I’ve applied to Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and few others only to be rejected or never hear back. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communications and Writing. I love to read, I love to give feedback, I love to bring fresh new ideas and insight to a text. How can I do that? I’m not sure. So here is my start at writing what comes to mind. I’m heavily influenced by William Faulkner and how, as a white male, he was able to ramble on in stories and be lauded as a great writer. As a black female, my rambling may not be received the same but I’m still going to put it out there.

Elle

LaG and the D: A Success Story

I never wanted to go to college because I didn’t like the competitive application process and was scared I would be rejected. I’ve always been insecure about my talents since I started High School. I’m from a musical family, my grandmother, my parents, and my sister are all musicians but when I auditioned for the high school my mom and my sister attended for voice (Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts or LaG), they rejected me. Since then, I never gave my all at an audition. I never entered competitions. I was discouraged. I put so much work into that specific audition, & I considered it my best one, only to be told I wasn’t good enough.

My attitude became: you can’t fail if you don’t try.

During High School, while all my friends were getting A’s, I was getting B’s. When it came to college talk I told my friends I would just join the armed forces so I could go to college for free. The truth was I didn’t want to compete with the students at The Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School when it came to Higher Education. If I came from a family of musicians and couldn’t get into a music school, I thought my chances were slim getting into a regular college based on my academics.  One of the school guidance counselors asked me why she never saw me in the office getting help with my college applications and I told her point blank: I’m not good enough for college, I’ll just join the army or something. She seemed shocked because although I didn’t get into LaG, I got into a school called the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music. While we were having this conversation, I was a section leader in Women’s Choir, an alto saxophonist in Concert Band, a student in Advanced Placement English, Advanced Placement US History, as well as a member of Yearbook Committee and the Prom Committee.

She told me I was selling myself short & I needed to let go of my failures in the past. She explained that even though I didn’t get into LaGuardia, that didn’t mean I would be rejected from everything else I wanted in life. She told me that I was one of the brightest students at my high school and I would regret it if I didn’t give myself a chance.

Realistically, my mom wouldn’t allow me to join the armed forces anyway, and at the last possible moment to apply to schools, I did. I was accepted into 7 of the 8 schools I applied to. One of those schools was Penn State Hazleton. Everyone wanted me to attend but out of fear that I would flunk out of such a prestigious school I declined their offer. I realize now my failed audition all those years ago really did some damage.

Then, in the summer of 2013, I had a Film Arts professor who detested my writing and made me question if my Communications minor was worth it. We were writing film reviews and because he did not agree with my opinion of certain films, he gave me low grades. That professor changed my ‘you can’t fail if you don’t try’ attitude. I wanted to try. I wanted him to give me high grade because the quality of my writing was good even though he disagreed with the content. In my last semester, spring 2014, he became the only thing between me and my degree. I realized I wasn’t just there because I got accepted or because my mother wouldn’t let me join the armed forces. I was there because I had a love of literature, writing, and a new found interest in Communications. I worked so hard with this professor, going so far as to meet with him before and after classes whenever I could, only to get a D. While I really wanted at least a C, I cried tears of joy that it wasn’t an F. I had succeeded and reached my goal of fulfilling my communications minor even though the professor and I did not see eye to eye. I would have never thought a D would be part of my success story but, even though I didn’t get an A, I was able to complete the course and earn my degree. I also learned that degree is not only an accomplishment for me, but an accomplishment for my family. I am not the first in my family to attend college but, out of my five older cousins who attempted school before me, I am the only one who graduated.

Until that moment, until that D, I always felt like a failure because I wasn’t a great musician like the rest of my family. It seems I was never meant to be a musician. While I’m still trying to discover or create who or what I’m supposed to be, my degree gives me a confidence I lost when I was rejected all those years ago. I’m no longer scared to take chances and explore opportunities. My years in college made me realize that I have drive, ambition, and passion and I needed to focus more on what I can do and less on what people think I can’t do. Just because one path didn’t work out does not mean that no path will work out. I did not even realize I had succeeded until I reflected on when I failed. I’m proud to say that I attribute my success to the realization that just because I did not reach one goal doesn’t mean I should never have goals. I attribute my success to the passion and drive that I discovered I had when I finally started to try to reach new goals I set. Most of all, I attribute my success to my failures, because they led to my greatest accomplishment in life so far: My Bachelor of Arts.

Elle

#OurPresident & accurate caricature of this Nasty Nation.

I’m a native of a nasty nation whose president is a pure reflection of how nasty we really are.

In the grand scheme of things, if this were a baseball game, we’ve been out since we got in.

Strike 1: We slaughtered the Natives.

Strike 2: We went to Africa, bought & brought people back on a boat like cargo (not even like animals, like cargo!) & just to be nice, I’ll include the Civil War (a war between humans (demons) who want to control other humans(slaves) like property & humans who want to be treated like humans) as part of this strike. If each tragedy had it’s own strike (internment camps during WW2, ‘domestic’ terrorism, Salem witch trials, lynching, & did you know Kenneth Boss, who killed unarmed 23 year old Amadou Diallo was promoted to sergeant? Soon Zimmerman will be spokesperson for Neighborhood watch…), I would be using a different analogy.

Strike 3: Segregation.The 3rd strike has to be separate but equal. So, after these humans who were your property raised your children, cooked your food, cleaned your house, picked your cotton, tobacco, some other third thing, took your rape, bore your children (after being raped), & finally said they want to live like humans, YOU decide that they can live among you but now they must be separated? They must be kept a part from you when you eat, party, go to the movies, grocery store, church, you name it, you need a separate one for whites? Slavery wasn’t enough. The war wasn’t enough. Your thirst for dominance can never be quenched.

Now, what makes America a Nasty Nation? The fact that we continue to celebrate every 4th of July. The fact that we honor the armed forces who carry out the tradition of killing & brutalization in other countries. The fact that people say Freedom isn’t free as if natives asked to be slaughtered & Africans asked to be enslaved(also, you’re paid to be in the armed forces). The fact that our president vows to make America great again and no one has told him America was never great for everyone. The fact that we have the Statue of Liberty but men are paid more than women & we no longer want Mexican or Muslim immigrants. The fact that saying grab her by the pussy and having 2 baby mothers and an un-american born wife do not automatically disqualify you from being president (if you love America so much, why not marry an American? is all I’m saying, I have no problem with an English as a second language 1st Lady but for her to sit by & watch Green Card holders be detained is horrific.) The fact that most people don’t know that the Democratic party was PRO slavery and the Republican party were abolitionist and somewhere along the way things changed. The fact that when slaves were freed they did not receive a free trip back to Africa or counseling or anything to get their post-slavery life started. The fact that Native Americans live on reservations. The fact that my grandmother was alive during segregation and her mother was alive during all that blatant racism. The fact that people will disagree with me even though facts don’t change based on how you feel.

To be clear, I started school in 1997 when I was 4 and I finished in 2014 when I was 21; ignorance is not my thing. I still have a lot to learn but with all the hatred in this country, I don’t want to keep digging.

What I intended to post was: As a Black child, I’m gonna keep it a buck. I’m gonna keep it real. Y’all gonna teach me that humans from my land bought and enslaved humans from Africa and didn’t free them until they revolted. Then y’all segregated them until they went to court. Now, you want me to believe that another country has evil people? I’ll believe it when I see the slave ships come to port…The thing is America is the terrorist. They terrorized my ancestors and before I leave a country my ancestors helped build, I will reveal the straight evilness they keep trying to cover up with 4th of July (The day Whites were free from England & said Whites owned people aka Slaves) and MLK day (a civil rights activist whose family won $100 in a civil case against the USA for his murder).

Dammit, some people have so much power it’s sickening. They benefit from the oppression of my ancestors and so many others, it’s disgusting. They hate for no reason. Do you know what it feels like to feel hate from your own country for no reason? Do you know what it feels like to be a native of such a nasty nation?

Still don’t think Donald Trump is the living representation of America? Well, that’s because you’re an American who hates Trump, but you probably also celebrate the 4th of July, what’s your deal? You may hate to admit it but, after the 8 years of nice & charismatic America, we’re now faced with the real nitty gritty America. Remember the Great Gatsby & the American Dream. Well, Trump is the Greatest Gatsby of them all, living the dream with his name on buildings all across the country & now living in the White House but most of all believing in his green light: money. However, there are very few Nick’s in this story. We see who Trump really is, and we feel powerless against him.

I am not a registered voter. I just pay taxes. I don’t participate in any other way because the entire system is corrupt. You cannot fix a system that you continue to uphold by participation. Four year will pass and the Electoral College will still be here. I don’t waste my time at the polls because my vote has no effect on who occupies the White House. I think people vote to feel like good citizens. But, being an American , you’re born bad. I’m positive the only reason I was born here is because my family didn’t have enough money to get the hell out. & if they did have the money, I wouldn’t be here writing this post about how the president finally represents America in it’s true light.

Elle

Fiction

I’m Twenty-Five now. Older than I’ve ever been. Somehow I still feel like I’m eighteen. Or twenty. Except now I’m not a virgin and I’m single. And I’m in debt. When am I going to grow? When am I going to get a life? When am I going to start my life? Right now I live with my mom and her boyfriend and John – the tenant who lives in my old room. I hate it here. When I was in High School I would come home to my dad in this same apartment. My mom divorced him so he moved out. He helped me paint my room, which is now occupied by John – the tenant. When I decided to move back home, I asked if I could have my old room back. It has plush pink carpet, princess pink walls, and a Disney black ceiling which looks like a night sky with no stars. My mom said no. So I moved into my sister’s old room. The closet still filled with her clothes. Her full size bed still there with her sheets. Her knickknacks still on her dresser. The dresser still filled with her clothes. Even her computer was still there. It was hard to remember why I moved back at all, but sitting in my sister’s computer chair was her wedding dress. I moved back to be closer to her and her new husband. If they have a baby I want to be around. I know they have a lot of friends but I’m her only sister and i’d be that baby’s only aunt. Only aunt by blood anyway.

They had a huge wedding. Ten bridesmaids and ten groomsmen. Plus maid of honor and best man. There were even junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen. The wedding was wonderful and the reception was amazing as well. I went around the room taking photos with everyone. I didn’t have a date so it didn’t make sense for me to sit down and look lonely the entire night. It made me miss being home. I missed so many gatherings and parties and I felt it in that moment. I’m impulsive. I didn’t like my job at that time. So I went back to Albany and went to my job and told them I quit in an email. Then I packed my bags and moved back to my moms house. I thought it would be great to be back home. Everything was different. I thought wrong. I told everyone I moved home to be closer to my family. In reality, none of my family had time for me. They had lives and schedules that they couldn’t pencil me into. I would see them once a week on Sunday and that was it. They didn’t pick me up from work or take me to work, my friend and her mom did that.

My mom asked my boyfriend to take me to work my first day and I didn’t like that at all. I would come home to a sink full of dishes and a stove covered with pots and pans. The fridge and freezer were jam packed with things. Some stuff was old and expired. Freezer burnt and stuff like that. The cabinets were also filled with things. Even if I went food shopping, there was no place for me to put my groceries. Even if I wanted to cook, which I did, I would have to clean my entire kitchen just to get started. I refused to do that. My mother never cooked for me. So I spent most of my money on fast food and I gained back all the weight I lost for the wedding. My home situation was horrible. So I tried to stay out all night. It was working for a while. My friend would pick me up from work and we would get high and then we would go eat. It was expensive. I was drowning in debt. I just tried not to think about it.

Then, the sex started. Or maybe resumed is how I should put it.

At my sister’s wedding I made out with one of the groomsmen. He was my friend’s brother. In the past I tried to hook him up with my (now former) faux friend. She was a forensic psychology major and he was in school to be come a pharmacist. I figured they could talk about medical stuff and fall in love. Every time I invited him to an event, he never showed. I would have get together’s and see if he could come meet her since he was cute in my opinion. Since they were both in medical school I thought they would have a lot in common. By the time our friendship ended, they never met. At the wedding he was completely drunk. I was sober but in need of a drink. At the reception I was floating around and we didn’t really speak most of the night because he embarrassed me. Very loudly in the Bridal Party suite he said something about making love to him. I think I asked him to hand me a plate and he said only, “only if you make love to me.” Then I looked at him. Like really looked at him. There could be a number of reasons he was saying that to me. I thought it was because he liked my mom and because he couldn’t get with her he would settle for me. I thought it was a wedding ans usually people hook up at weddings. I thought maybe I looked really good in my dress. But, I knew he was just drunk. So I avoided him most of the night and we took a few pictures together and he was in the background of my pictures. The pictures are amusing. He’s a ladies man. A flirt. He appeared to be trying his luck with everyone. Or just being his natural charismatic self. I could sleep with him. Or he wanted to sleep with me. I liked that. No matter what the reason was.

That night I had about three drinks and I felt sober. We made out and I decided we would split a cab. At that point, while we were waiting for said cab, I started to feel the drinks. We sat down near the door where the cab would pull up. My mom was sitting there so she could say goodnight to the guests that were leaving. He had his arm around me and I felt the need to remind him, ” I’m not my mother.” I thought it was important that he knew I knew he had a crush on my mother. Or he wanted to sleep with her. Something like that. When the cab came, my mother was adamant that I would not be leaving with him. We’re just sharing a can I assured her. How else was I going to get home? I’ll drive you home she said. “The last thing I need is a grandchild from the wrong daughter.” So I kissed him goodnight in his uber and complained the whole night that I wanted to take a cab home with him.

Since that night, I can’t say I thought about him much. The next day I sent him pictures he was in and he sent my mom, my sister, and I a very nice photo he had taken of us. I didn’t even tell him I moved back home. So, one Sunday I showed up to church and he was there. I figured he would be. We were both on the program for Youth Sunday. I was doing Youth Recognition and he was doing the alter call prayer. I was running late so I threw on the first thing that I could find. I got there just in time to recognize the youth. I ended up sitting next to him in the front pew for the rest of the service. He was watching the World Cup on his iPhone. He had a huge phone. No idea if it was an iPhone plus or a galaxy note. But it was totally distracting. Then he kept reaching out and touching me. Again, a distraction. What exactly did he want now? He asked me if I moved back home and I told him to ask my sister. After the service I went to work. Then I got a text from him. It was something weird. He aske dhow it was going and I said great, now that he was  texting me. He said he couldn’t tell if I was kidding or not. I was happy he sent me a text. This was all very interesting. Could someone like him be attracted to someone like me? I was about to find out. After some texting and a debate with my friend, I decided he didn’t want anything from me but sex. So if that’s what he wanted, I would give it to him.

He said he would bring me lunch and something about a Snickers. I told him if he brought me something for my hangover I would tell him where I work. His first recommendation was Vitamin D which was hilarious to me. This guy, who I only knew because we went to the same church, was propositioning me for sex. There were a lot of things but the main thing was: wrong! It feels good to do bad. At least in this situation. He was giving me attention. He was barely giving me attention. It was a little exciting. I don’t really give my number out so I don’t get a lot of action. He already had my number. If he didn’t, I wouldn’t have given it to him. He wanted me to think he was thirty-seven. If he was, which he wasn’t, it would have been, he would have been, the oldest guy i’d ever been with. He was really twenty-something. Late twenty-something. He was doing some kind of internship in Queens, he had a car but he was taking the train there. Such a long commute. Of course we had opposite schedules. He worked in the morning and I worked at night. By the time I got off he was ‘tired’ or, he wasn’t ready fro action. He would pick a day and then by the time I got off work, he would cancel. Then we decided we would get it on before I went to work. I guess that day he went in late or something. I was super excited for us to meet up. There was a lot of anticipation. He would pick a time and then cancel on me. We were trying to decide if we would do it at his house or my house or his car. I even googled places to have sex. I had an awesome list of things we could try.

I don’t think we did any of them. I remember I was nervous so I decided to smoke a little to calm my nerves. Then I just laid in bed, listening to Big Sean, naked, waiting for him to call me or text me and tell me he was at my building. When he finally called he was looking for parking. I helped him by looking out the window and telling him where I saw a space. “How do you know where I am?” he asked. I can see you out the window I replied. That freaked him out. When I saw him parking I put on this long tight black dress and my flip flops and went downstairs to meet him. This felt like a very bog deal to me. All the anticipation. When I got off the elevator he was walking into the lobby. He paused when he saw me. I turned around to catch the elevator that I just stepped out of. He was wearing sperrys with no socks, khaki shorts, and a yellow and blue stripped polo with sleeves. One of those, are you hot or cold, outfits.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the ride up to my floor. I was just extremely nervous. This was a kinda dream about to come true. We went to my room and we sat on the bed, our backs were against the wall, my feet were dangling over the side. I do remember him asking me if I was ok. Yes. I was just nervous so I smoked to calm my nerves but now I’m even more nervous. He was surprised I smoked and he said that made me cooler in his opinion. I had some music playing from a playlist. It was my sexy song playlist. So I asked him if he wanted to play a song. He picked Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up but the remix with Nicki Minaj & Quavo. It was my 1st time hearing it. His too. We started making out and it was glorious to me. He was moaning Very expressive. He got undressed. He asked me why I wore such a long dress. Because I’m naked underneath. The real reason was my ex gave me this dress so I wear it when I do things with other guys. So when I took the dress off I was completely nude. So he took his clothes off too.

10.25.2019

I don’t know where I should begin. It’s hard to start at the beginning when so many things happened at once. I haven’t had a boyfriend since March 2017. I had a bad break-up and we couldn’t stay broken up. The last time I spoke to him was in June of 2018 when he told me he cheated on me for the entire relationship. This was a couple of months after he called me to bail him out of jail when he got arrested for trying to open a fraudulent bank account. After he invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him. After we had been f*cking every time I was in town. After he celebrated my birthday with me and my friends and family. After we agreed to be friends with benefits once we broke up. When we broke up I was furious. I had just gotten back from Mexico and I asked him to come see me before I went back to Albany. He said he was going to his dad’s house and I could meet him there. I declined. We have had this argument in the past. It was a long distance relationship. I would travel to the Bronx most weekends to spend time with him. He would travel to Albany when he could. When I was in the Bronx to visit family, he would make plans with his friends and say he could not see me. But his friends lived in the Bronx and he could see them whenever he wanted. I lived in Albany and he couldn’t see me whenever he wanted. So when i was in the Bronx, he was supposed to make me a priority.I wasn’t about to explain this same concept about his dad always being in the Bronx and me needing to be priority since I was going back to Albany soon. So we broke up. Through a text message. He still didn’t come see me. So at 3am I got a big bag, I called an Uber, and I went to his house. Once he opened the door, I took the PS4 i bought him, I took the 2 coats I gave him, I took the controllers and video games I bought him, I took the shot glass I bought him from the Bahamas, I took everything I could remember I bought for him over the course of our relationship except a matching sweater I bought for him and the mattress he was sleeping on that I bought for him. He didn’t care really. He only asked why I was causing drama. His mother opened the door because she was up cleaning and getting ready for work. She asked me to explain what had happened and she was shocked to say the least. Why would you go to your dad’s house if Lauren was here? You can go there any time? His only response was “I fucked up” and I was at least glad he admitted that. It doesn’t take much to please me. I just want things to be fair. He could have everything he bought me because it wasn’t much. So the next night I went over there and we f*cked and decided we wouldn’t get back together. This was our third and final break up. As time went on we remained friends and continued to f*ck. It got to the point where if I saw him and he just tried to chill I would get my stuff and leave. I wasn’t interested in an emotional connection with him but I also wasn’t interested in collecting multiple sexual partners. This seemed like a fair trade off.  Until my sister got engaged a few months later in September. & everyone kept saying, I was next, & I felt deep in my stomach that no one would ever want to marry me. I started giving out my number to any one who asked by February and I got on Tinder by March. A month before my sister got married he told me he cheated on me throughout the relationship. After that I finally left him alone. I dated two guys from Tinder and ended up moving back to the Bronx once my sister got married. I thought I would meet more people, and I did. The problem was they just wanted to have sex with me. & don’t get me wrong, I wanted to have sex too but, I also wanted a relationship or at least a constant companion I could sleep with. I ended up sleeping with my friend’s brother who promptly never texted me back. Then my co-worker who got fired and also never texted me back. Then I thought I found a friend who wouldn’t want to sleep with me because he had a kid and lived with the mother of his child but we really just seduced each other and, unlike the others he won’t stop texting me but he got married so we can’t f*ck anymore. Then a guy who lived in my building who again, never texted me back, but would try to strike up a conversation every time he saw me around the neighborhood. That all happened from July 2018 to February 2019. February is also when I lost my job & became so depressed I cut all contact with everyone. I started therapy but it was too hard for me. My therapist didn’t want to know the details of my life and was too obtuse in his analysis of what would help me. His main theme was nothing is happening to me that isn’t common to man. Yes, i get it, I’m just like everyone else. I kept it up though. I needed it. I was so lonely, by choice, and depressed, not by choice. I needed a voice of reason. Who wouldn’t judge me. But I felt like he didn’t judge me because he didn’t know the details of what I was doing. March i got a retail job. April I found out someone I was in an emotional relationship with married someone else and began to drink heavily every night. May my mom & I got into an argument and stopped speaking & I signed up for an AMC Stubs and started seeing 3 movies a week – bringing alcohol into the theater and travelling home drunk and alone around 1am. June I got an Office job and I stopped my therapy and kept getting wasted every night. July, August, September is a blur of movies and being too drunk to remember and crying all the time. Then one night in September I got so drunk I threw up (in my bed & on the bathroom floor) and I defecated somewhere in my bathroom and it took me two whole days to figure out I wasn’t smelling vomit and I had shit somewhere that wasn’t the toilet. That night I decided I was done drinking as a solution to my depression. Yes, i was inexplicably sad but drinking was not making anything better. At all.

Now I’m at a point where my depression is lifting. Yes, I hate my job but no I don’t think my life is meaningless. I have a purpose even though I don’t know what it is. I’m giving myself away and i’m losing my value. From 2017 to 2019 I went from 2 partners to 9 partners. Each one of them I thought I could have a relationship with and maybe marry them. I thought wrong. Sex doesn’t make a relationship. And men don’t owe me anything just because I was horny and slept with them. These men were not in love with me. And they did not deserve my physical love. I thought it would make me feel powerful to have a lot of partners. But for me I’ve learned sex means nothing without respect. And I feel it is disrespectful to give myself to someone who can’t text me back.

poem

Will the Black Mothers please stand up ?

It seems,

to me anyway

that black men are making babies yes but black women?

Ok

Will the 1st Black president’s mother please stand up?

Drake

J. Cole

Halle Berry

Mariah Carey

Alicia Keys

Jordin Sparks

Shemar Moore

Mya

 

Will Colin Kapernick’s mother please stand up?

Will Tiny’s mother please stand up?

Jesse Williams

 

I’ve never been in love. I’ve said I love you before. Love as in I’d rather do things with you than do them alone. Love as in I only want to make out with you. Love as in I trust you to take my virginity. Love as in you make me laugh and I make you laugh so let’s experience everything together. Real love is much more than that. Real love…real romantic love is something more. Something deeper.

Really, how would I know if I’ve never experienced the emotion?

I want to get married. I never knew that was what I wanted. Wait. I don’t want to die alone. If I have to get married to share my bed with someone every time I come home from work that’s what I want to do. I want someone to care whether I killed myself or not. I want someone to think about me when they’re at work, when they’re taking a shit, when they’re eating lunch, when they’re living their life. No one has room for me in their minds. I’m an after thought. After they think about the people they love they think about me. I want to get married so I have a family or someone who is supposed to care about me. I went out to eat with my dad once and he causally said he didn’t have a family as part of something he was saying. As if me, his daughter, did not constitute having a family since he is divorced from my mom. Does my dad love me? Well, I thought you were supposed to automatically love your family no matter what and if I’m not his family then I just don’t know if he loves me. We’ve never gone an entire year without talking but we’ve gone months at a time with no contact. I think I could die and he wouldn’t know for months. Is that love?

I have mommy issues. You know how you stop watching a TV show because a character gets on your nerves? Or when you can’t enjoy a movie because the star keeps making decisions you would never make yourself? Or when you’re getting to know someone and you realize you don’t like that person you’re getting to know? What I’m trying to say is, I don’t like my mom. She cares too much about money. She cares too much about what things appear to be instead of what they actually are. She cares about herself too much. I’m almost the exact opposite. I care too much about what’s true in the world, no matter what it appears to be. Money is the least of my concerns. I feel deeply for people even though I can’t always express it to them (because when people know they take advantage from my experience). My mother thinks love is money. Or that she somehow loves me more because she made more money than my father. Unfortunately, her words diminish any power money holds in relation to love – she’s used words like disgusting, self-destructive, horrible to describe the kind of person she thinks I am. No amount of money can erase that from my mind. Also, can’t you go to jail if you don’t feed your kid and keep a roof over their head? My mom wants a participation trophy for not neglecting my sister and I. For sure my sister and I would be in a shelter if my dad were left to raise us alone. But, I’ve seen The Pursuit of Happyness. Though he did not have money he loved his son. What my mom fails to realize is her quest for money led to emotional neglect. Yes I never went hungry but I never heard an I love you. Yes I had clothes but I was also asked why would anyone want to be around you? Once when I was in middle school, where my mom was the music teacher, I was in her chorus and – she told me to shut up and I refused – so she slapped me until I shut up which was about 3 slaps in front of the entire chorus. Money can’t buy love and I’m not sure tough love is really love at all.

Again, how would I know if I’ve never experienced the emotion?

Someone I thought I was going to fall in love with got married. He was a family friend that I go to know one summer. Then, on New Years Eve, we decided we would get more intimate than long conversations in his car and texting all day and night. Or, I decided we should have sex since we could turn each other on with just our words. We kissed one night when he was talking to me but all I could think about was how I was so happy to be there with him. Do you want to make out? I asked him. What? Are you serious? He questioned back. This is a question I’ve asked many times. When I had a boyfriend I’d simply look at him and say let’s make out. As someone who took a vow to remain chaste until marriage I was skilled in the art of making out. I loved to kiss & swirl my tongue around in boys’ mouths since an 8th grader kissed me the summer before I started 7th grade. I thought kisses meant someone loved you. In Disney movies it does. In real life it doesn’t. It usually means lust. All of 8th grade I made out in the staircase with a boy who used to tease me about my crush on another 8th grader. He also made out with another girl in the staircase. What I’m trying to say is, when I asked him if he wanted to make out, I thought he would say no. Since he said yes to that, I wanted to know what else he would say yes to. He never said no to anything. Then he went on a vacation and I found out from my sister that he got married.

When I say, I thought I was going to fall in love – I mean it. I thought I was going to discover what it meant to be in love with someone for real since I knew what not being in love felt like. He made me feel safe. Wanted. Valued. Beautiful. Powerful. Smart. Amazing. In short, he made me feel like I have never felt before. Like we belonged together. As if I was a puzzle missing a piece and he was that piece to my puzzle. Of course I only felt like that because I was living in a dreamland. Thinking I would end up with someone I’ve always had a crush on. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking I only felt this way because my sister got married. I thought so many foolish things because of how I felt. People always say you can’t help how you feel. I always thought that was bullshit. Or maybe I enjoyed it because in the back of my mind I knew it was wrong. Or that no one would approve. Or that I deserved to have someone give me attention even if it was a secret. Most men who gave me attention only did it to get me in bed. It’s so tiring to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t really want to have a conversation. Also, I’ve never been on a date where someone paid for my meal or my movie. But they still want to have sex with me. I risk 9 months of pregnancy or a lifetime of living with an abortion sleeping with you & I can’t even get a free meal in return? Somehow money never factored into our relationship which also made me think it had something to do with love. Sex & money is all I ever gave to guys and that’s really all they wanted. I wanted sex but I also wanted love. I just didn’t know how to find it. & I thought I was finding it with him.

Not long after we got it on, I went into a deep depression when I lost my job. I never actually saw him but we did talk a lot. I tried to kill myself three times and each time I failed. So I decided I would join the Navy and maybe die in the line of duty. He was very supportive of me during these really depressing times. He’s like the only person who text’s me. When I say I thought I was going to fall in love with him and he was going to fall in love with me I meant we would feel the same way about each other. Like we can’t live without each other. Like our lives are enhanced by the other. Like your presence can make everything okay. So, during my depression, since I wasn’t working I didn’t want to hang out. We didn’t text for a couple of days and then he was married. This sent me into a deeper depression where I started to cry all the time and drink a 6-pack of beer each night. How could someone who understood me so well not be made to be my husband? How could another woman marry this man when he had such deep emotions for me?

I don’t know what I’m saying except I think he should have married me. So I kept drinking and going to the movies and crying and the entire time I missed him. I love him so much. I want to be there for him. I want to be with him. I want him to give us a chance to be together. I want him for myself. I can’t have him. And everything I write turns out to be about him. Everything I feel turns out to be about him. I want us to go back to how we were the 1st summer I met him. I want to start over but – marriage is legally binding.

The relationship he presented to me was – I live with someone I had a kid with because she wanted a kid by 30 and I wanted a kid as well. We have a complicated relationship. She knows that I smoke but she doesn’t know that I smoke with you. He said her name all the time. So comfortable. Easily. Naturally. Like we were all old friends and I knew her too. In reality I didn’t know her at all. But she was the mother of his child. Still, once they got married, it was clear to me she used the baby to pressure him into marriage. He loves his baby and he doesn’t want to pay child support. He told me he almost left her ass. In this, & every case, almost doesn’t count. I think of writing stories about this.

I think of writing a story about leaving the mother of your child to make a blossoming friendship with great sex work as a real relationship. Writing about almost leaving your family and deciding to stay and get married. Write about hiding who gets hurt by a marriage. Writing about…love? I don’t think so. Writing about feeling invisible. Writing about why the mother of his child has no idea I exist.

Side chick. As the words escape his mouth they sting. I can’t stop the tears from forming and rolling down my eyes so I cover my face in a blanket. I’m sorry but, it’s the truth. I feel extremely small. I feel stupid. I feel stupid, small, & insignificant. I’m the side chick because I make him happy? Or am I the side chick because he’s unhappy? How can I describe what just happened other than a huge mistake? No, I wouldn’t have sex with a married man. Yes, I’ll text him back no matter when he texts me. No, I don’t think he deletes our texts when we finish talking. Yes, we’ve had sex before. No, I don’t think his wife would be happy to read what we’re saying. Yes, I do think he’ll leave his wife for me. No, I don’t really believe he’ll leave his wife for me. I’m sorry that I want him to leave his wife for me. That’s the issue. I don’t want to be his wife. I just don’t want him to have a wife. No, I’m not his best friend. Yes, I want someone to tell me that I’m not wrong he is. Okay, I get it, we’re both wrong. No, I don’t want you to talk to him. Please, don’t tell him I told you. No, we’re not in a relationship. Yes, I’ve tried to ignore him. No, I don’t think his wife knows I exist. Yes, I like him. No, I’m not defending him. Yes, I spoke to him today. No, I didn’t come here for him. Yes, I’m crying. No, I’m not a side chick. No. No. No. No!

How did I get here?

I have to get out of this situation. I just don’t want to. I want to make this work. I want to move past any inappropriate feelings. I want the stars to align. I want God to be a part of this union. This union of friendship. I don’t want to be some emotional side chick. I don’t want to be the other woman. I want to be the friend they can count on. I want to form a relationship with his wife. I want to support his child. I want us to be like family again. I want. I don’t want. I’m confused. Is he really who I think he is or not? Am I really my best self when I interact with him? Do we love each other in the wrong way? Can I ever make this right. Is this my fault? Am I hurting his family? Why can’t I stop thinking about him? When will I get over this? How can I get over this?

It started out with writing. Texting, and writing, and TV Shows, & beer. I had to respond if he texted me. I had to! I was depressed. His marriage made me an emotional wreck. I don’t think I’ll ever get married. Somewhere in my mind I thought that we would be together. That he would marry me. Even though I don’t want to be married, the fact that he married someone else made me feel alone. So alone. Because how did I know the next person I opened up to wasn’t going to marry someone else? I was too vulnerable with him. I trusted him too much. I thought we were going to fall in love. I felt a twinge of happiness when I heard from him. I felt content when I saw him. I felt comfortable and safe with him. I was at ease and relaxed with him. But, nothing can blossom in the dark. Nothing good anyway.

The texting never stopped. The smoking became more frequent and late. The talking became sexier and sexier. A secret relationship was forming rapidly and part of me thought if it got too intimate he would stop it. Part of me thought I needed this to gain my confidence back. Part of me thought he would do something, anything, to be with me. That part of me was delusional. I tried to get him to admit how he felt about me. Why do you keep texting me? Why? What do you want? Is it a crime for him to want to talk to me? Well, yes, considering the nature of the conversation. Considering where our conversations go. Considering where you take the conversation. Considering you live with a woman and the baby you made with her. Where do I factor into the equation? What about how I feel?

When Monte got married I realized he didn’t give a fuck about my feelings. I realize he was just like every other person. He was just like me. Except, I was single. Would I marry someone so I don’t have to pay child support? No. But I’m a woman. I hear most people don’t marry for love anyway. Monte getting married scared me so much because, again, if I wasn’t going to marry Monte, who the fuck did I have a chance with? I thought he was going to leave her. I thought they were together because of the baby. My thinking was filled with delusions. He was texting me when she wasn’t around. He was smoking with me but she didn’t know that. He was trying to get to know me and I let him. I guess the question isn’t why. It’s, why not?

I know I’m only 26 but I feel so old. I feel so lost. I feel like my life is never going to work out. I feel. I feel. I feel. In this situation, I thought because he was like a brother to me that things would never be this fucked up. I brought this on myself. I was naive. Don’t be naive. What else could he want from you except sex? It’s not that we can’t be friends because he’s married and I can’t have sex with him, even though that’s enough of a reason. It’s that I want to have sex with him, he wants to talk to me, & he’s married to someone else. I am the side chick. The emotional side chick. The available, gullible girl who thinks I can maintain an innocent relationship with someone who I love. Not in love with him, obviously, but I love him. He is my brother. He was a part of my childhood. He was in my sister’s wedding. He has love for me. But we are not in love with each other.

But really, how would I know if I’ve never experienced the emotion?

“She’s dead. A suicide.”

I’ve been dealing with depression my entire life. The earliest I remember is one day sitting outside on the terrace in my apartment and praying to God for the strength to die. I have always hated my life. I’ve always hated myself. I look at myself in the mirror and it brings tears to my eyes.

Why am I here?

 

Nineteen, Twenty.

One night I walked into my building and someone came in right behind me. I held the door open for him and pressed the up button to wait for the elevator. He waited there with me. When the elevator arrived I got on and pushed 19. He got on and pushed 20. At this point, I looked at him. Who was this guy I just let into my building? What a coincidence that he’s going to the floor right above mine – that never happened. He was about my height, he was slim, and he had locs. Those are the kind of guys I like. He was definitely my type. Especially the hair. I love to run my fingers through some locs. I kinda smiled at him and then fumbled with my keys wondering why this felt like the longest elevator ride I’d ever taken to my floor. When the elevator announced I had finally arrived at the 19th floor, I promptly got off and went on my merry way. There’s a cutie in my building, I thought to myself.

I saw him a few more times and the scenario was almost always the same. He would come into the building right after me or he would be there before me, we would wait for the elevator, I would push 19 and he would push 20, but maybe once I said, “good night,” as I got off the elevator instead of just looking at him and all his cuteness. I never introduced myself or said hi or anything. I mostly just peeked at him and if he looked at me I smiled and looked away. My hair was probably styled different each time he saw me or should I say each time I saw him. I don’t think he would recognize me as the girl from 19. I don’t think he even noticed which floor I was going to.

Blondie

Real Blonde

One night I was sitting outside of my building with my friend in her mom’s car listening to DJ Self’s topic time and getting ready to get high as a kite. Possibly higher. I was officially 26 and I was sporting a new image – straight inches of strawberry blonde hair flowing all over my shoulders and down my back. It was different than my usual look. My hair is black now but I used to have blonde curly hair and it was a fabulous time in my life. I figured I would give blonde hair another try except straight and see what would happen.

Blondish

Fake Blonde

What happened was the guy, about my height, slim, with locs, walked by the car and looked at me. Well, he was looking towards the car. It was freezing outside and he was strolling along with his hands in his pocket trying to stay warm. He was looking towards us like he recognized us. “I think that’s the cute guy with the locs who lives on 20. He’s so cute, right?” I said. At that point my friend rolled down my window and said, “Hey! Do you know her?” “No,” he said. “Come here,” she said. He turned around and headed straight to the car to my open window.

“If you don’t know us, why are you looking over here?” She asked him. I laughed. I didn’t know him but I thought I did. He had a hood on and I couldn’t be sure this was the guy with the locs. It looked like him. He had on the same jacket. Along with creep and weirdo, I also have an amazing memory. It was freezing outside so we told him to get in the car. He told me his name was Brandon. He was 26. He lived with his Aunt and his brother. He had two dogs. He moved here from Georgia a couple of years ago. Among other things I asked him if he lived on 20 and he said yes. We exchanged numbers then he got out of the car.

20190208_133714

Me on our first ‘date’

The next day, or the day after, he wanted to meet me on my floor. He didn’t want me to come to his apartment because his aunt is nosy. He came to my floor and we went in the staircase and we smoked together. It was like 2 am so I had on my pajamas. He kept trying to touch me but I’m ticklish and he could see it from how I was reacting. Finally I had to say, “stop grabbing me, I’m ticklish,” and he said something about me squirting & how he could make me wet the bed. I never knew the two were related but I was slowly realizing that I’m not a kid to be talking about sex in the staircase. Did he think I was gonna fuck him in this staircase? No matter what he thought, that wasn’t gonna happen. “I wanna go home,” I said. I was getting paranoid like the weed was laced or he thought I did stuff like this all the time or I would give in to his advances in a fucking staircase if I stayed there. I’m 26 in a fucking staircase with another 26 year old who lives in my building one floor above me. This was more of a scenario for high school kids.

One night I came home and I was tipsy and lonely and Brandon invited me to chill in his car with him. I didn’t like the idea that he wouldn’t show me his apartment. I always invite people over when my mom’s not home. If he couldn’t invite me over when his aunt wasn’t home I just assumed he was hiding something. I got to the point where I was still obsessed over this other guy who was in a ‘complicated’ relationship but trying to get over it. The same guy who didn’t understand why I would rather he wouldn’t text me. So I took Brandon up on his offer thinking maybe he was in a ‘complicated’ relationship too but I had no way of really knowing.  Even if I asked, most people aren’t very honest, how would I know if he was telling the truth or not? 

It was freezing outside but I figured I was just going to his car so I didn’t need to be bundled up. I put on a crop top and some leggings with my boots and threw on a jacket. I found his car, which kinda pissed me off because we live in the same fucking building and I wasn’t understanding why he couldn’t meet me in the lobby and walk me to the car so I wasn’t wandering around like an idiot. I still got in. We talked for a while. He mostly told me things about himself and I listened. Then he kept insisting that I lay down and get comfortable. We were in the middle seat of his mini-van. My mom used to have the same exact mini-van except it was green instead of purple and we had black to sliver tints, not just plain black. It felt strange to be getting intimate in a mini-van. Mini-vans are for people with kids like soccer moms. There was even a stick figure family on the back window. His explanation for such a car was his mom left it to him. He had no explanation for laying me down, removing my leggings, removing my panties, performing cunnilingus, and licking my asshole. That was the first time anyone’s tongue went there on my body and by there I mean my ass. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it. I also can’t say that I did.  I was too busy thinking should a tongue really return to my you-know-what after it licks my asshole? So I didn’t orgasm or anything and I asked him if he wanted to have sex. All the licking he did was like a warm up even with all the thinking. I mean it still felt nice no matter what hygiene questions my mind had. Turns out it was a warm up to sexual frustration as he didn’t have any condoms. I wasn’t even expecting his tongue to go down under unless I would’ve brought my own condoms. I thought we were gonna make out. Turns out he doesn’t like to kiss. Too bad as I’m an excellent kisser and I love to kiss. 

 

Anyway, when we got out the car and were headed into the building I went towards the front door. My building has a front door and a back door. I didn’t notice he was headed towards the back door until I heard him repeating something calling out to me. “Babe,” he said, “Babe. Babe. Babe.” I turned around and I saw him headed towards the other door. “Come this way,” he said. “What did you call me?” I asked even though I knew. “What?” he said, “you don’t like that?” “No, I don’t.” Maybe I was giving him a hard time. I wasn’t being my carefree self. I was being my most frigid self. An, I don’t trust anyone, self. I can’t deny, the places he decided to put his tongue made me trust him less. Then when he called me babe I thought maybe he forgot my name and I trusted him even less. Obviously it reminded me of the first night we were texting and someone else sent me a text that said “babe” by accident. I don’t know what made him call me that but I’m just glad it was at the end of the night and not the beginning.

screenshot_20190209-085243_messages-1

One Question No Answer

When I asked him if he had a girlfriend he didn’t answer right away.  “Wait what? You think if I had a girlfriend I would be talking to you[?]”  Eventually I reminded him, “you still didn’t answer my question.” “What question?” he asked. “Do you have a girlfriend?” “No. I don’t have a girlfriend.” he finally said. He never actually asked me to go anywhere with him or do anything with him. He barely ever text me and he called me randomly. I have horrible reception so we never really had conversations. I wasn’t in a position to be in a relationship anyway. If he would have gotten to know me better, I think he would’ve realized that on his own. I only realized that after the way things went down between us. I don’t trust anyone, I don’t know what I want, and I have a high sex drive – I don’t think I’m fit to be in a relationship with anyone right now. What’s a relationship without trust?

It’s hard to say what Brandon actually wanted from me. If he just wanted sex, he was taking forever to get around to it. He would text me at random hours but usually after midnight. If I was awake I would text him back but he never really had plans for us. I think maybe he thought we could have sex at my house while my mom was sleep. That was a definite no. He would text me in the afternoon around 12 or 1 but when I responded he wouldn’t reply until hours later. What the fuck? Even my guy in his ‘complicated’ relationship would communicate with me in a timely manner. I hated the idea of him being so close to me physically but so distant emotionally. So now I just see him around. I ran into him on the elevator once on my way to smoke. He was obviously high. He smelled like it and he looked like it. He looked so good. Always. I was on 19, going to 27 to smoke with my friend & he was getting off the elevator thinking it was 20. He smiled when he recognized me and stepped back into the elevator. When we got to his floor he said “be good,” while he was getting off. He always said that & it reminded me of the True Blood theme song, “I wanna do bad things with you.” Whenever he said “be good,” I obviously just thought of all the ways I could be bad.

 

Brandon met me at a time when I was transitioning. I was messing around with my friend who was in a ‘complicated’ relationship and trying to justify it and get over it at the same time. I actually met Brandon the same night he sent me a text he was trying to send his ‘girlfriend’ and it didn’t seem complicated to me at all. I was getting high constantly before I went to work and as soon as I got out of work. I was half moved in to my old home with my mom and half living out of my storage filed with stuff from my old apartment in Albany. There are three bedrooms in my apartment and I was staying in my sister’s old room that had a bed in it already. My mom was renting my old room out to a tenant. I had my mattress in storage because I planned to move back into my old room once my mom moved out. So my mom moved out. The tenant moved into my mom’s room. Now it was time for me to move into my old room, but I needed someone to help me get my big ass mattress out of storage.

So one night when my mom was finally moved all the way out but before I had my bed in my old room, Brandon came to the apartment. I showed him my room: pink walls, dark blue ceiling like a night with no clouds, and plush pink carpet. I’ve never had sex in my childhood room. I left home when I was 17 & a virgin and came back when I was 25 and a novice. I thought it would be great to have sex right on that plush pink carpet. Brandon didn’t think so. So I grabbed a cushion from my sofa and we did it on top of that. Not even close to any fantasy of mine but it felt like a dream. I was actually kinda satisfied when we finished. That’s the first and last time I think I’ll be having sex for a while.

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Valentine’s Day

What I wanted to actually happen between Brandon and I was for him to drive me somewhere in his car and maybe teach me how to drive. For him to call me and ask to spend time together. For him to invite me upstairs when his ‘aunt’ wasn’t home. For him to come see me in my apartment. For us to watch movies, make out, cuddle, play video games. We just small talked via text and phone calls with bad reception. I wanted us to date and form a relationship like normal people. We weren’t on the same page. I never expressed any of this to him. He never asked me out so I never bothered to tell him. The sex on the sofa cushion ruined any chance of that happening. I was embarrassed after the fact. He asked me if I was really 26 and I have no idea why. Was I immature or too mature to be 26? Was he really 26? Hmm. I realized I had rushed things because I felt like it was now or never. After the sex he tried to give me something. Earlier I told him my mom said I couldn’t have weed in the house. He brought me some bud with papers and a grinder. I didn’t take it but I thought it was so thoughtful and sweet of him to bring me anything at all. I wanted to have wild sex with him in my actual bed but I just didn’t have it when he happened to be in my room. I took what I could get from him when I could get it. That was my mistake. I’m not fucking anyone else unless we actually date. This was a learning experience for sure. I wonder what could have been but I remember what actually was and I’ll never do anything like that again.

He saw me while I was moving my mattress out of storage and I thought we would definitely get it on for the second time that night. I have a king size bed and 2 twin box spring. I had to ask a guy from my church to help me because I don’t drive or have a car and no one else would help me. I wasn’t gonna ask Brandon, he never fucking texted me back. So it was a Thursday night and we we’re bringing everything through the back door because it was easiest that way. Not only did Brandon NOT help, he asked me who the guy was that was helping me and when I answered him he said I ‘didn’t have to lie.’ Why would I lie? I mean if he would’ve helped me move my bed, I would have had him in it as soon as I put the sheets on. But I realize now that he just didn’t like me or anything I had to offer, even sex on a pillow-top king size bed. So I told him when we see each other we don’t have to speak and he never responded to me so I figured he agreed.

Once I was in Stop & Shop near my house. I was looking for mayo and couldn’t find it but I saw a guy with a Stop & Shop shirt bent over a box & figured he could help speed the process up. I went over to him and said, “excuse me, can you tell me where the mayo is?

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Drunk Text That Got No Reply

Like which aisle?” The guy gets up and turns around and it’s Brandon. I was embarrassed so I was like, “oh, forget it.” He still tried to help me, which I thought was weird. He basically took forever to text me back like I wasn’t worth a prompt response. He also didn’t want to spend time with me which I took as an insult since I had an apartment to myself. I wished I never gave him my number. More importantly, I wish I never let him be the first person I fucked in my pink palace. After I ran into him I texted him and he didn’t respond. I drunk dialed him but he didn’t pick up. But every time we see each other he says something to me. I just nod or wave or something else non-verbal. I think he’s just being polite but I have no idea why he bothers.

The other day I was walking towards my building and I see this lady walking towards me and a little boy, maybe 1 or 2 years old, walking behind her. She crosses in front of me like she’s going to cross the street or get into a car, but at first I think she’s coming right towards me and it startles me because I was looking at the kid and not really paying attention. I kinda move to the side and I wonder why she’s not holding the kids hand or anything since she’s going towards the street. Then I see a guy struggling with a scooter and I figure oh okay maybe he’s with them and he’s watching the boy to make sure he doesn’t run into the street. “Hi,” he says to me. I’m focused on the scooter because it looks kinda big for the kid as the guy is kinda struggling to carry it. I look up and it’s Brandon holding the scooter. I just smile and wave. I wonder if that’s his family. His kid. His girlfriend. Probably. That would explain the 4 am texts and phone calls at random hours. I loved to hear him talk though. One day I was outside walking to my friends mom’s car and someone yelled my name so I looked and it was him. I was shocked. Why could he talk to me but he couldn’t text me consistently? I liked to hear him talk. I liked his voice. I just could not stand to wait hours for a text. It made me feel like I wasn’t important. He wouldn’t like it if I kept him waiting for hours.

 

I keep running into him and he keeps speaking. I never speak, only gesture. When I realized it was him who said hi, even though he was struggling with that scooter or whatever, I imagined having him in my bed, sitting on his face like he suggested one time, and seeing if he could really make me squirt seeing as he thought that was something he could make me do since I’m ticklish. Maybe one day I’ll run into him on an elevator again and I’ll press 19 and he’ll press 20 and we’ll be alone but, instead of me standing there like an idiot, I’ll get real close to him, corner him maybe, whisper something in his ear, and see what he does. I still think he’s so attractive so I’ll probably never have the courage to do anything but wave. I’m okay with that. Sometimes I wonder if Brandon is even his real name or if that really was his kid and why he never told me where he worked so I could avoid it and if the sex was really bad and he just didn’t want to hurt my feelings or why he didn’t help me move my mattress and why he never ever responds to my texts or phone calls. I may never have the answer to any of my questions for or about him because I’ll probably never ask. I’m okay with that too.

Elle

LP

One day, years ago, I got off the 5 train at Gun Hill Road. The 28 bus stop near the train station usually gets crowded so I would walk down Gun Hill & wait at the Young Avenue stop. There’s a big Presbyterian church across the street from that stop. That day as I approached the bus stop I saw someone I knew. He was hanging out in front of a stoop with some guys or a guy, I can’t remember. “Hey,” I said, completely embarrassed because I wasn’t expecting to see him. “Hey,” he said. I waited there facing away from him & towards the church across the street thinking unholy thoughts about this guy behind me. Where was the angel on my shoulder to tame these wild thoughts? My bus came, I got on, and that was that. That was one of the only times I ever ran into him unexpectedly. I only expected to see him on Sundays, if that. Fast forward, too many years to remember, I asked him something & it brought him right to me & the front of my building. I trusted him enough with a secret that not many people knew – I was a stoner. Then something happened that I didn’t expect. He wanted to have a conversation with me. He offered to smoke with me.

On my quest for bud in the city, he came to mind. Could he help me secure some weed in my neighborhood? I don’t drive & I didn’t have any connects. When I used to live in the Bronx I didn’t have a ‘drug problem’. Now I averaged an eighth a week and only got clean to secure a job. Smoking is such a lifestyle & I knew plenty of people about that life. But no one in NYC knew that was my lifestyle. So I turned to him in my moment of desperation and he came through. I was super nervous & planned to just give him the money & run but he asked me if I wanted to smoke so I said yes, of course. I’m terrible at rolling up and I hate to smoke alone and I liked him. It was an unexpected trifecta. The stars aligned in the day time. While we smoked I talked about how my life was and he mentioned how my mom would kill him if she found us. We were sitting in his car in front of my building. After that he began to text me for no reason at all. I continued to text him and ask if he could bring me bud.

He didn’t really know I was an insecure little brat whose life wasn’t going her way. Not yet. No one noticed that except my dad. He said “I thought you had it all together but, where’s your confidence?” It’s gone. Confidence for what? Here I was, living with my mom & her creepy boyfriend, completely in debt, working a job a monkey could do, hopelessly uninspired, & kind of lonely. I may look like I have it all together but that’s because no one’s really looking. I rarely speak about myself. If you ask the right questions you’ll know the real me. I love when people know the real me and they love me. I’ve met two women like that in my life & I pray to God I never lose contact with them. In my darkest moments they have been there for me in ways I never imagined they could be. Then here comes this guy who asks the right questions and…And? And I don’t know how to explain it other than I thought he liked me. He was so interested in me for a person who had a life more brilliant than mine. A day job, a stage name, a kid. I mean an adorable little baby. A family. That was my main mistake. Thinking he was interested in me or he liked me when he was just bored.

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At one point I felt like he was living a double life. Entertaining me when his real life got dull. Forgetting what he said to me as soon as the day was done. Like a show with no continuity, what happened last episode doesn’t apply in this episode. Unless I’ve had too much to drink, I usually remember everything & I don’t take the words I say or text lightly. I’ve never lived a ‘double life’ but I feel like I’ve lived multiple lives. Never simultaneously though, I live one life at a time. Right about now I’d say I’m trying to end my 6th life and start my 7th. It’s a longer process here in NYC than it was in Albany. Sometimes I choose when one life ends and a new one begins. Sometimes I don’t, like now. When I don’t choose it, it’s always harder to transition. I thought this would be my last life that I would grow old in but it simply isn’t. You know the saying, what’s done in the dark always comes to light? I thought this would be the life where everything would come to light. It just isn’t.

My relationship with him began to grow. He said our car sessions were like therapy. I started to call him Guru. We talked about everything and it always led to sex. He asked me out once, I think, but I turned him down. I couldn’t figure out what he wanted from me. My friend said it best, its like Fences. I make him feel good. At first he said I was like his annoying litter sister and then I was his chocolate bunny. My Chocolate Bunny. “gm my chocolate bunny.” I told him it reminded me of Easter. Each time he called me that I said, “don’t call me that.” I liked it though. Maybe he just gave me a nickname because I gave him one. I only called him Guru ironically. I figured he was trying to f**k me but trying to make it seem like he was giving me advice on how to f**k other people. I have trust issues.

He wondered if his flirting would break down a wall. It did. “What would be the reaction then?” he questioned. I think this is it. At first I told him I wanted to look different & I showed him exactly how I wanted to look. I halfway went through with it but I just felt like I needed my own look. Plus, what was the point if someone I was attracted to was attracted to me just the way I was? Another mistake was thinking he was attracted to me just because he said nice things about my appearance. I felt like he was always gushing over me, how awkward & cool I was, how pretty I was, whatever. Once when I wore sweat pants and a hoodie he said he was turned on by me. That night I remember trying to look my worst.

Once he picked me up from work when I asked. A couple of times he picked me up from the train station on my way home from work. He would if he was in the area. At the gym or his grandmother’s house. Once he was taking care of her so he came to me and we stayed out all night into the morning. Almost every time we got together we stayed out for hours or talked for hours, unless he had to go to work. Once he even smoked with me before he went to work. That was our shortest session and it was cool. I don’t think he remembers.

He always initiated contact with me. At least once a week. I think he used to text me every day. One time he said he was in my neighborhood & thought of me. He would text me and say I was in his dream or he had a dream about me. Another time he asked me how was the weed (it was actually trash that time). “You miss me?” he asked one day. Whenever I thought about him he would text me. I never missed him until it was too late. I asked him to stop texting me every damn day. I felt guilty with that much attention. I didn’t deserve it because I wanted it. I wanted so much from him. He just couldn’t understand that. I don’t know how he could have. I never explained it to him because I couldn’t explain it to myself.

He said he was always honest with me during our car sessions but I don’t think he was. Besides my trust issues, towards the end he said casually, “I like to lie.” Towards the end I asked him to stop texting me when he was bored. I don’t know for sure if that’s what he was really doing. Once he texted me when he was at some studio. I sent him some songs I recorded in my apartment. I wasn’t bored the entire time in my living room studio. Was he really bored in a professional one? In any case, I never texted him when I was bored. I would text him when I found a picture of him around my house or when I wanted to sext or when I had a question for him. He wouldn’t text me back. I started to feel like a woman scorned after he sent me a text that wasn’t meant for me. I felt like he was getting everything he wanted from me but I wasn’t getting everything I wanted from him. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” But I never let him know that. I kept changing my mind about how I felt so I barely let myself know. I would tell myself I didn’t even want anything from him so what was I upset about? I felt it was my duty to keep things light for some reason. I felt like I owed him something so much because he gave me attention no one else would. Feelings are so complicated I usually avoid them in the moment and write about them later. Now I feel everything, every day, & attempt to put it into words.

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One night I was eating and drinking and celebrating with my family when someone mentioned he got married. I was devastated. I was shocked. I was devastatingly shocked. Who knew I cared so much about his marital status?  I repeated the words in my head like a mantra, a chant, a sick dark prayer. He got married he got married he got married. When I got home I began to hyperventilate and cry. To be fair, I was drunk and to be honest, I cry when I’m confused. My dearest friend let me cry on the phone with her and she comforted me from miles away. “I can’t believe he got married. What the f**k. What the f**k!” I called my one friend who had spent time with both of us. “F**k him,” she said. “I can’t.” I said, “that’s the problem. I can’t believe he got married! What the f**k!” She took me to a movie that was supposed to be about a funeral but it started out being about a wedding and I just couldn’t bear it. I was so delirious I cried for about a week every time I thought about it. I took myself to the movies & he sent me a text. I rode around on the bus and he sent me a text. And I kept responding to every text he sent me.

Congratulations! That’s what I said when he confirmed he got married. I asked if he proposed to her because my friend asked me and I realized I didn’t know because I didn’t ask. Who cares? You see, in a way, he proposed to me too. He proposed we smoke together that very first time he brought me my bud. After he got married (he actually texted me the day after and never mentioned it) I asked him if he wanted to smoke with me and he said of course. When was he going to tell me he got married? My guess is never. Why didn’t he just tell me? I can’t figure it out because I know he wasn’t gonna f**k me while he was married so maybe he just wanted to tell me face to face. That probably would’ve worked best as I would’ve just acted like everything was normal and asked him all the questions I wanted until he kicked me out his car. And he calls himself my friend. He called what we had a friendship. After I found out he got married he said he didn’t take advantage of me & he didn’t have a goal with me. I don’t know what prompted him to say that; I already knew that. He’s not a man with a plan. A man with a plan would never sleep with me and not tell me he’s getting married. He’s just a guy that goes with the flow. And I can be like a lazy river. What a match.

I first met Guru when I was a little girl. My first memories of us together are of him, my sister, & I in the hallway outside of my family’s penthouse apartment in Harlem. The penthouse of our building was 14 and it was 1 of many apartments on that floor. I was young, in pre-k or kindergarten, but from what I remember my mom would pick us up and bring us back to the apartment. She would send us upstairs while she looked for parking maybe but my dad would always be sleep. With earplugs. So we would ring the doorbell. Then we would bang on the door with our fists. Then we would turn around and stomp on the door with our feet. Then my mom would come upstairs and let us in. I think maybe sometimes she left her keys at home which is why we spent so much time in the hallway. I can’t be sure what was going on. But he was there. I would say he was my first brother but I’ve never had a brother so I don’t know what that relationship is really like. But, like all of my ‘brothers’ he liked my sister. He was 5 years older than me & 2 years older than my sister. I don’t know the origin of our families relationship but his mom would come & pick him up after a while, when we finally got into the apartment, & his grandmother went to our church in the Bronx where my dad was the Minister of Music. I’m not sure if my dad knew his mom first or if our mothers were friends but some kind of way he was in my mother’s care & around my sister & I. Maybe my parents were his babysitters because we lived in Harlem & so did he. He was cute. He played basketball. He could sing. He was older. I just liked him.

Once he was with me & my mom for some reason & she left us in the car after she parked. He was sitting in the passenger side and I was in the backseat behind him I think. I was in 3rd or 4th grade I think. Annoying as ever I asked if I could tell him a joke. “Why was 6 afraid of 7?” “Why?” “Because 7 ate (8) 9!” “What?” He said, “sixty-nine? That’s so nasty. I’m telling your mom!” “What? Nooo! 789 not sixty-nine!” I don’t remember how old I was. When I think about it, I laugh. When I told him, he didn’t remember. Now, sixty-nine is something I’d bring up but, we never got around to it.

During our sessions we would talk about how compatible our signs were. While I was at work he would text me and ask what color panties I had on. One night, we had a normal conversation and I got turned on. That night there was an energy between us which I’ve never felt before with anyone. But I’m young and dumb. My body on fire was probably a result of finally being with someone I had a crush on. I’ve never been able to talk to a crush. I’m like an idiot. So I mostly settle for cute guys who like me. Now I was still an idiot but he still kept inviting me to smoke. I liked him so much I overlooked everything like the obvious – he lived with the mother of his child.

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On my birthday my friend asked me, “so…what happens when they have another kid?” I was at a loss for words and I felt strange because I couldn’t answer the question. That never crossed my mind. So I told her, “I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think anything would change, he already has a kid…” But I realized what she meant. Were they f**king? I had no clue because I didn’t think it was any of my business and obvi I just didn’t want to know.  She went on to say I should stop whatever I was doing because, “they live together, they have a child together, what do you think is going on girl? They’re happy & in love.” I could only reply with, “he said it’s complicated,” and as I said it, I felt idiotic and a gut feeling that the father of my child would be f**king someone in his backseat one night who wasn’t me. When I kinda told him about this exchange he said, “I don’t have to explain myself or my situation.”

Soon after that I told him we shouldn’t hump anymore. It felt like the right thing to do in terms of karma but the wrong thing to do in terms of my life at the moment. He made me feel good about myself. He made me feel good. So when I heard he got married and confirmed it was true I knew that things would change even more between us. Unless I was gonna hang out with him & his wife I don’t see how we could stay ‘friends’. He said I made him harder than he’d ever been. That I make him smile. That he likes when he’s around my energy. That my fellatio was great. That he was curious about me. In a text he said, “you match my sexual drive I think or maybe even more.” I meant to ask him what he meant by more. Now it doesn’t matter. I listened to everything but when he said, “just don’t sleep with [me] guru is gonna teach way more than you know #sprung.” So here I am. Definitely not sprung. Just confused.

My main confusion being, how can someone who I was planning to f**k in their new car come back from vacation married and completely unf**kable?

Obviously him getting married has not a damn thing to do with me. It’s just I was still waiting to live out some fantasies with him. I think it was delayed by me feeling weird about how we were communicating or him getting into a car accident. “Don’t tell anyone but I got into a car accident,” he said. Who the f**k would I tell? His backseat was destroyed. It is so crazy how things happen – it’s fantastic he doesn’t have to ride around with his wife in a car he was f**king me in.  Which reminds me. I would make him playlists on Tidal. He didn’t like the first one. Too much singing. I kept making them & sending them but he didn’t listen to them. I started to realize either he didn’t have time or he just didn’t want to. Once he said he would listen to one on his way to work. I enjoyed making the playlists so even though he didn’t like them or listen to them I would play them when we were together. So when he told me his new car was gonna be white I sent him a song that said, “mayonnaise colored Benz / I push miracle whips.” I don’t think he ever listened to the song. I’ve never been in his new car and I doubt I ever will be. The accident destroyed our sex space. The replacement is white like a wedding dress. What could we possibly talk about now? I just want to know everything about his relationship that I never asked before. But like he said, “I don’t have to explain myself or my situation.” So we really don’t have anything to talk about.

I always thought it didn’t matter if a girl f**ked a million men, she’s only wrong if she’s f**king someone else’s man. I am dead serious when I say, if he’s not married he’s single. I never saw him as someone else’s man so I never really felt like I was doing anything wrong. Obviously how I saw things was different than how he saw things and  different than reality. I saw him as a dad of course but he never really wanted to talk about that with me. He would say things like, if he had met me or if he had known me and I always reminded him that, he did know me and he had met me before he had a son. The worst text he ever sent me said, “Lauren, if I would’ve met you before all this kid stuff you would’ve been mine.” It’s the worst because it made me feel something for him. It made me feel like there was an us or something. Like I could find a way for him to be with me even though he had a family already. I think that’s where my shock & general sadness from his marriage comes from. He said so many words to me but I don’t think they meant anything to him. I failed to make a plan for us to be together so now he has a wife and I knew him before he met her too.

The biggest secret I ever kept from him is my guilt over vows I made at my purity ceremony when I was 16. It makes me feel like I’m supposed to at least try to have a relationship with every guy I hook up with. The second guy I ever slept with, my first baby daddy, the sex just wasn’t good, except the one time we did it in his car, but I could never say it to his face and always answered when he called me. One guy was just so vain but I always responded to him simply because we f**ked. It just helps to ease my guilt for having sex without being married. That & prayer. But with you…with him, I had great conversation and sex so I never really felt guilty. Maybe if I didn’t like having sex in cars I would’ve felt like what I was doing was wrong.

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Later he made things simple. I asked him why he kept texting me and he ended up telling me he didn’t want anything from me. But he did want something from me even if he didn’t want to admit it. He wanted to smoke with me. To talk to me & text me. To flirt with me & feel me up. To call me chocolate bunny. I asked him once if he wanted to make out with me & he said yes. On NYE I asked him if he wanted to get busy in his backseat & he picked me up within 30 minutes. Maybe he didn’t want anything because I gave him everything. Like someone who answers a question before you even ask. But he got married and the first time I saw him after that I couldn’t look him in the eye or hold a conversation with him. So he decided he wasn’t going to text me any more and that was that. 

I think we were great companions. It’s just that I’m so shallow & he’s so deep. I know I’m selfish. I wanted that deepness so much for myself. I wanted so much from him and if I would’ve asked I wonder what he would’ve given me. I cherish what he gave me but I want to let it go. One night he said someone was going to fall in love with me. When I brought it up after he said he didn’t remember. I’m sure he doesn’t remember anything at this point. Like how he would let his hair out and I would run my fingers through his locs. Or when I kissed him on the shoulder while he was rolling up one night. Or how I would get strawberry frosted donuts with sprinkles. Or when he told me he was going to Cali (or did he say Vegas?) in March. The rain always reminds me of us and it’s been pouring lately. This just feels so excessive because we didn’t even have sex that many times but the fact that we had sex and we’ll never do it again – never wake up to a text from him, never go to sleep after smoking with him, never have an honest comfortable conversation with him or any of that so unexpectedly- just seems so tragic to me. By writing this and getting it out, I hope I can’t remember too.

I prayed that the Lord would reveal to me the best way to deal with whatever was going on between us. So aroused by a guy ‘working’ on his complicated relationship with the woman he had a baby with. It was never my intention to tempt him but the fact that I did drove me crazy. I didn’t think someone like him would ever be interested in someone like me. Let alone spend hours texting and talking with me. One night he brought out a side of him I never saw, his alter ego I called it. Even consumed with lust, I would never change like he did that night. Weirdly, how he was that night was how I expected him to be that first day when I wanted to give him the money and run. It was like he had something else he needed to do so he would just do me first & get it over with. Why can’t people just be who they are all the time? I mean I have mood swings, not personality shifts. But he changed like a chameleon. I should’ve expected that from a Gemini. For the entire night he was like a stranger. I would never do that to him. Or, maybe I did the first time I laid eyes on him as a newlywed. Anyway, that night I decided we were more different than we were alike. Maybe that’s why he liked to spend time with me. Who knows?

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The answer to my prayer was him getting married. I’m just someone he f**ked & had a cool time with & that’s it (his words). He didn’t want anything from me that he couldn’t get from someone, anyone else. He doesn’t regret anything because he didn’t learn anything or lose anything. He got a new car & a spouse so he gained a lot, even if it was by accident or whatever the case is.  Sometimes I regret everything because I feel like I didn’t learn anything and I feel like this is going to happen to me again and I feel like I lost something. I feel like I should’ve said no I don’t want to smoke when he asked me that very first time or any time after that. I feel like I should’ve never responded to his texts. Have you ever heard everything happens for a reason? “Sometimes that reason is because you’re stupid and make bad decisions.” I feel like I’m stupid & this was a story of some bad decisions. But feelings are complicated and they’re not always accurate. In spite of my feelings, I learned that you can’t lose something you’ve never even had. But, you can mourn over what you feel you lost…and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

 

Elle

The Real 10 Year Challenge

The 10 year challenge couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. I don’t like trends. I’m not a follower. I planned to post pictures from my 16th Birthday & take pictures for my 26th birthday wearing the same clothes and talk about 16 and what I think 26 will be like. In light of the “10 year challenge”, if I did that it would APPEAR I was doing the most for some challenge, no matter my intent, because Social Media is about APPEARANCES – it can’t even capture real life on LIVE. So, I posted my lil layout on Instagram for people to scroll past & see I still look 16 in the face. Now I’m posting on my lil blog because it’s way too long for a Facebook post. Here is me trying desperately to turn the 10 year challenge back into my original idea without hopping on the trend.

10 years ago I celebrated my 16th Birthday by inviting my friends to a sleepover in NYC (the hotel slips my mind) followed by a tour of my city (with a photographer in tow), ending with a family & friends dinner at Benihana. I’ve been trying to find the photos from the sleepover & the professional photos but I haven’t yet. I just have the one I posted with the link to this blog.

The other side of that selfie included my Mom, Godmommy, & Aunt Pat along with my different groups of ‘friends’ : my best friend Ariale, my SLD clique, my real friends Esnita, Amanda, & Alexis, & my friend from church Brittney.

What transpired when I brought my friends together? We had a good time. It wasn’t great because it was freezing and we were walking around taking pictures but everyone got along which made it a success.

What happened after was your basic Mean Girls story. I found out that at MY sleepover my clique was discussing MY crush and it had nothing to do with ME! Shortly after, he was taken off the market by the very girl who branded the clique ( on some ‘keep your enemies close’ vibe I guess. Hindsight is 20/20!).   I told everyone who would listen how we met him at the same time & how I started to like him & how I  talked to her about everything from what I should write him on AIM to how I should dress to make him realize he liked me too – White, tight, V-neck shirts…because who doesn’t like boobs? (Now, I’m looking for someone who likes me for me & not my body.)

One day, my crush walked up to me & said: Lauren, I feel like you hate me. He might have said Lauren, why do you hate me? At that moment I knew we would never date each other. He viewed me as his girlfriends friend who didn’t like him. Who hated him. I was actually his friend who wanted to be more than friends but was too scared to admit it. The only thing I wanted from guys I liked was to go to the movies & make out and we never got to do that. To this day I would take him to the movies & make out if he asked me to. I doubt that it will happen now but I don’t know the future…

So my friend dated the guy she knew I liked and he cheated on her but she stayed with him & we became friends again when she explained she got cheated on & I explained I had a boyfriend. That is the only reason I believe in karma. That is the only reason we began to talk and hang out again.

Throughout their relationship, which lasted because she would not let him go, she would tell me stories that usually began with: OMG, you guys are so alike, he just sent me this text, picture, etc & it’s just like that thing you sent me! Since I had agreed to forgive & forget, I couldn’t respond with: OMG, I know, that’s why I had a crush on him and think I should be his girlfriend & not you!

Was her boyfriend my one that got away?

Yes – We met him at the same time. When I told her I liked him she had a boyfriend of her own. She led me to believe she was helping me turn my crush into my boyfriend – I did not know how to let guys know I liked them & could only be mean to them. I thought I needed her help! She was actually helping herself which is how they ended up together.

No – he never liked me. If he did he would have dated me instead of her. To this day he has never tried to get in touch with me. He’s the one that never was.

This incident has always made me question what kind of friend I am that someone would betray my trust in this way. So about 2 years ago I officially stopped talking and hanging out with her. Besides the fact she ‘stole my crush’ she was actually a bad friend for the most part. She asked me and I helped her look for 1br apartments & when she asked me to help her move she was moving into a 3br with another friend. The main thing was she was a hater & made it seem like I was too sensitive. She said I couldn’t dress. Her sister told me I only looked cute because I was skinny but my outfits were actually bad. Me being skinny was always a topic that started with eww you’re so skinny. She always introduced me as her best friend & each time I wanted to say: why are you calling me that? At a certain point I felt like Cady & Regina and strangely enough, I was Cady!

I don’t want to tell this story anymore but I can’t forget it even 10 years later. Am I the same person at 16 that I am now? No. I’m also not a completely different person. I’m 16 year old me with 10 years of experience. I’m 26 year old me & I’m ready to start making new memories with the family & friends I have now.

The real 10 year challenge is the struggle to hold on to my old self because I think it is the real me & being my current self who has learned from mistakes & won’t keep making the same one(s) over & over again. It’s hard to grow but I’m up for the challenge this year, next year, 5 years, 10 years, as long as the Lord allows me to live.

If you read this, thank you!

Elle