My Close Encounter With a Transgender Woman

Transgenders and their civil rights has been an unfamiliar issue for myself, a blissfully ignorant Christian heterosexual. I believe in their rights as humans but I’ve never taken the time to reflect on what it’s like being transgender in 21st Century America, or familiarize myself with the political issues and freedom’s they desire. So when I found myself in a two stall restroom, next to a transgender woman with the pivotal debate of transgender vs. Restrooms staring me in the face; you can only imagine how taken aback I was.

Not only was I taken aback, but I was scared of being in such a vulnerable setting with what used to be a man; a major concern for the Transgender vs. Restroom debate. Rape, theft and general assault crossed my mind and has been voiced by the many Americans opposed to restroom integration. But, women are capable of equally as horrendous crimes including rape so the sexist assumption that a law-abiding transgender is in the restroom to do anything other than pee, isn’t really valid.

Furthermore, my myopic decision that she is still a man, regardless of her self-identification, is also not withstanding: if someone decides to identify with male or female, Christian or Muslim faith, Pepsi or Coke, I do not have the omnipotence to supersede that.

Deciding to be transgender is not as simple as deciding Pepsi or Coke, though. It is a fight for happiness.

As humans, we are on a constant pursuit of happiness which will help us discover our truth, and ultimately achieve self-love. If we’re lucky enough to be like the masses, this pursuit goes uninterrupted. If you are not a part of the conforming masses, like transgenders aren’t, your pursuit will be ridiculed by people who want to superimpose their opinions instead of learning from opposition.

 

An opposition we will never be comfortable with so long as we use it as the root of discrimination. To eliminate that discomfort, though, does not mean eliminating or discriminating against whatever it is causing it: we can’t eliminate transgenders, gays or other minority groups. We can however, change the way we think and learn to accept even when we don’t agree. The more we do that, and understand human is human is human is human, and we all have the same essential need and desire to be happy; we can open our hearts to general acceptance and love. A love so ferocious, despite sexual orientation, religion, skin color, or other issues that have historically unconnected us, it still remains.

So, as a bible abiding heterosexual, my encounter with a transgender initially freaked me out but innaugrauted my learning and research of LGBT civil rights. As a result, I am not opposed nor ashamed to admit my acceptance of transgender restroom integration.

To the woman in the restroom: I am so happy you had to pee at the same time as me.

 

 

 

TTYL Barack Obama

Me and goodbye’s don’t get along.

In fact, when I was a kid my dad had to travel for work three to five days out of the week and no matter how frequent, I’d melt into an emotional puddle every time I had to say goodbye . And by emotional puddle, I mean Kim K, shamelessly unglued, couldn’t catch my breath or snot fast enough crying.  Thankfully, I grew out of those fits but can’t help be reminded of that same sadness as I bid a similar farewell to our nations Patriarch: President Barack Obama.

I don’t want to scare these innocent, hard-working folks here with me at Starbucks, so I won’t cry like I used to. But Damn.

President Obama’s election was the first time I could exercise the political power I’d learned my female and minority ancestors fought for. He was my weeping grandmother as she watched the election results in awe, each tear a respective representation of the years she's  personally endured racism, yet maintained hope. His election was my first time feeling like a complete, contributing, and normal American.  He was pride. He was power. He was history.

So, as an official farewell to the man who saved me a ton of money on birth control, I bring to you a compilation. Unfortunately, it’s not a compilation of him doing  a bunch of random cool shit like I really creepily wanted to make, but of dope ass women telling us what Obama meant to them personally:

My position at Planned Parenthood is funded through a grant under the ACA, which of course would not have been possible without Obama. I have been able to remain on my parent's health insurance, access affordable birth control, and people that I love were able to legally marry!! I'm going to miss the entire Obama family so much! - Gabby Glenn

Same sex marriage, making the issue of maximum sentences for minor drug offenses more of a discussed topic, commuting sentences and beginning the trend of decriminalizing some drug offenses that are non-violent. But most important for me personally was the ACA; birth control, no co-pay for preventative doctor's visits and staying on my parents insurance are three big ones for me. -Akilah Patterson

Obama's presidency to me meant, exactly what his campaign ran on, hope. There was hope for a nation that built their country on the backs of slaves. Those very same slaves could be afforded any and every opportunity so long as they worked for it. He provided the hope that we were making progress as a nation even if it was slow and steady. & with everything he faced during his campaign it just goes to show that when you walk in your purpose your path will be cleared to achieve it. - Soley 

Unfortunately, I didn't get much into his presidency until I realized who was running for this current election. Obama had so much class and it was interesting and refreshing watching his response to "scandals". It was almost as if he never lost the sight of being a father first. So many things that a president has to deal with and he also made sure Michelle never felt out of place. Both of them as a couple shined during his presidency and that's aspiring. It's hard to really know what's behind the behind the White House doors but he seemed to always stay honest, level headed, and practiced the utmost humility. -Savannah 

Obamas presidency showed me you could be authentically black in every space. And his level of vulnerability he showed Michelle every chance he could was admirable. I will miss them as our leaders. -Lolo

His presidency symbolized growth as a people & possibilities.....With hard work dedication and resilience you can achieve your dreams. I also felt as though Obama truly did what he felt was right for all people...showing us equality through out his term by various actions. I will truly miss him. -Robyn 

Obama was the most positive representation for not only how a man should respect a woman and his wife, but for how the government should view, discuss and treat women under the eyes of the law. And as a black woman, I hope my future husband looks up to him as a guide - because that's where my bar is set.  -Morgan 

President Obama changed my life because I am an African immigrant and he introduced the deferred action act, that allowed me to have a social security number. Before Obama I never had the right to get a license, go to college, or get a job although I'm here legally.  -Fatima 

Personally I love that Obama was the first President to be an advocate for the LGBTQ community. Without him normalizing sexual identity and expression I do not believe gay marriage would be legal and I don't believe it would be a topic of cultural discussion. This also opened the doors for transgender rights and public restrooms. He was a catalyst for a ton of cultural and social growth in America and I'm sad he's leaving.  -Gregor 

Hs presidency gave me a really strong sense of pride in being able to say that the man holding the highest seat in the country was someone who not only looked like me but held that title so eloquently. Like no one could even successfully slap a negative stereotype on his or auntie Michelle's name.    -A'zya 

When Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008, I was in the 8th grade and had little understanding of the historical impact his presidency would have. Obviously, I knew he was the first black president and that it was a big deal. However, it wasn't until I grew older that I realized exactly how prodigious his legacy would be. He has held the highest office known to man with such admirable poise, while battling not only the challenges of the job itself-- but also the forces of racism in America that desperately sought to destroy him. For me, Barack Obama is a symbol of resilience and the black experience in America.  -Liz Brazile 

Obama's presdidency for me finally felt like the beginning to an end of a lot of the negative things that had come to define our country. It felt like finally a step in the right direction for many women's issues that were seemingly ignored by previous administrations. It also was a huge moment to have such a present First Lady. She was a role model that showed you can have a successful marriage, while still being a successful, independent individual. -Aysha

Personally as a woman, Obama's presidency meant overall growth. During his campaign I had all the doubt in the world that he would win because in America we live in a nation where white supremacists have taken over the way black people not only live but think. We automatically assume that we can't have anything until someone tells us otherwise. During his term, I gained the confidence to fight through what society expects of me. I was able to grow from an African American girl afraid  of college And afraid of the real world to an African American woman ready to concur what is thrown at me.  -Ronea

Share what Obama meant to you in the comments below!

And in lieu of my own creepy self-made compilation, here's a more appropriate compilation of him doing cool shit.

My Close Encounter With a Transgender Woman

Last week was a long ass week. I’ll spare you the details, but by the end, I NEEDED a release and found one at an Atlanta Comedy Club. As I finished my ?th drink, and listened to “Titties in the Building” by The 85 South Show, I realized I had to pee and so obliged my bladder. Upon entering the restroom I was greeted by a transgender woman who although was polite, startled the fuck out of me: Not because I live under a rock and have never met a transgender, but because I had never encountered one in such close proximity as the women’s restroom. As you probably know transgender as it relates to ANYTHING is largely controversial, but especially in regards to restrooms. Which restroom do transgenders use? The one correlating with their sex at birth? Or the sex they now identify with?  How will women feel being in a restroom with someone who was once a man? How will men feel comfortable whipping out their ding a ling in front of someone who used to be female? All of this controversy has only ever been something I’ve dealt with from afar, nothing I’ve had to experience personally or soul search for. But honey let me tell you when I locked myself into that bathroom stall, I soul searched, peed and soul searched some more for what seemed like 30 mins. By the time I emerged from the restroom, I had arrived upon several epiphanous realizations:

I initially thought: 1) that’s a transgender woman 2) she used to be a man 3) men should not be in the restroom with naked women and 4) men are dangerous. TBH I felt as though I was naked in the bathroom with a man: rape, assault, theft, etc. crossed my mind. Then I realized my point was null and void: a woman is capable of those things too, including rape (read this story if you don’t believe me). Not only that but the assumption that this transgender woman was in the bathroom to assault me, is just as ugly as assuming a black child in a hoodie is a criminal. She was there to use the bathroom and check her makeup: nothing more nothing less.

After getting over the initial self-induced anxiety, I realized the panic stemmed from my small minded split-second decision that she is still a man, regardless of what sex she identifies with. And again, I felt wrong. Who the hell am I, or anyone else, to make that decision for another able-minded adult? If they decide to identify with male or female, Christian or Muslim faith, Pepsi or Coke, it’s not my business or my decision.

Deciding to be transgender is not as simple as deciding Pepsi or Coke, though.

Humans feel entitled to happiness, it’s natural. As a result, we are constantly pursuing happiness to find out who we truly are, to conquer our fears, to self-accept and self-love. So why should it be any different for someone who is transgender? Someone who was once imprisoned and found zero solace in their own skin. Someone who’s felt alone and judged by everyone: including family. They too are human, just born into a sex that feels completely wrong for them. Kind of like a pair of jeans two sizes too small: they can put up with it, but at the expense of their comfort, self-acceptance and happiness.

Finally, for those who have found the courage to come out as Transgender, small minded strangers (me in this situation) are the least of their worries. By the time the world knows they are transgender, they’ve conquered fears not even the most successful of cisgenders I know have. They’ve found the nerve to face themselves, their doubts and their fears. They’ve also faced their families, their friends, and sometimes their significant other with their decision. Could you imagine that angst? Telling your mother you’ve not felt comfortable the way you were born since you were born? I’m too scared to tell my mom my actual credit card debt, so yeah, can’t even imagine telling her that.

All of this to say: To solve a problem, we must first acknowledge it as a problem. Discriminating against, or alienating a group of people for chasing their happiness, is a problem. Controlling which restroom they use is a problem.  I admittedly walked into a women’s restroom unaware of my ignorance to the transgender culture but walked out realizing my intolerance. I’m still not completely accepting and will not lie as though this was a completely mind-altering experience.

It did, however, inaugurate my need to learn more, which brings me to my very last point: We will always be uncomfortable with what we are not used to, that is the essence of discomfort. To eliminate that discomfort, though, does not mean eliminating whatever it is causing it: we can’t eliminate transgenders, gays or minorities. But, we can change the way we think and seek to learn, expand and accept even when we don’t agree. The more we do that, and understand human is human is human is human, and we all have the same essential need and desire to be happy; we can open our hearts to general acceptance and love. A love so ferocious, despite sexual orientation, religion, skin color, or other issues that have historically unconnected us, it still remains.

To the woman in the restroom: I am so happy you had to pee at the same time as me.

Thank God For Donald Trump

Yes, you read the title right: Thank God for Donald Trump.  But before you screenshot me and text your BFF saying “Lauren has lost her fucking mind”, hear me out: How shitty does it feel when you meet someone, get really comfortable with them, only to realize they aren’t who you expected: that they pee on the toilet seat or don’t know how to tighten the lids on anything? Pretty shitty right?

Well in this election America is the symbolic “someone” we thought was amazing but really pees on the toilet seat. Until now —or until we realized the pee on the toilet seat— we’ve been unknowingly nestled in a false sense of contentment from recent political strides. Interpreting changes such as the legalization of Gay marriage and a slight decrease in the still high pay discrepancy between men and women, as the be all and end all to change.

As reality would have it, though, we still have super-strides to make as a country. We still have over 59 million people who feel morally secure in voting for a president that grabs women by the pussy. We still have the KKK breathing and growing, and transgender’s being discriminated from basic necessities such as housing.

It is my belief, though, that if we don’t understand the aforementioned issues or simply acknowledge them as problems, we aren’t able to discern solutions.

So I reassert: Thank God for Donald Trump. Without Trump's election we’d be deluded into thinking peace-for-all is right around the corner. We'd not have that burning sensation, starvation or sickness as we watch the election outcome, to unite, grow and do better beyond just race, sex and status as a people; to start a new wave of revolutionary change.

Today is most certainly a day of mourning for people everywhere, including myself —and I wish I could do more than write this post— like give you a hug, or cuddle with you, or even tell you with a clear mind “everything is okay”. Since I can’t, let me leave you with this just as passionately as I would leave you with an embrace:

“If we are to have peace on earth… our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation...” -MLK

… and in this case, our 45th Presidential elect.

We can do this.

Help: 25 Questions I Need Answered Before 25

It's that time of year again where I am without fail, thunderstruck by a trillion different emotions. I’m not talking about the overwhelmingly confusing holiday decor in every retail store, which has Halloween lanterns right next to the Christmas trees and just before the Thanksgiving centerpieces (Dear Kroger, how the hell am I supposed to enjoy one holiday, when your stores celebrate all of them @ once?). Or the fact that cuffing season has not-so-coincidentally fallen during the peak of dry season. I am referring to the day that is my birthday: October 30, 2016. Don't get me wrong, it's cool to be alive another year, but birthdays have never been that big a deal. Why are we celebrating a child who did nothing to get here, and not the super-hero of a woman who carried an entirely separate, developing human for ten whole months?

Not only that, but birthdays are yearly reminders that we aren’t as cool as we predicted we’d be a year ago and have instead arrived at another year of old age, greater responsibilities, and saggier titties.

So yeah, safe to say, birthdays and I are like Brennan Huff and Dale Doback: we get along because we have to. And this year, I feel as though Brennan is placing his balls on my drum once again, with the coming of my 25thbirthday.

Twenty Five years, 9125 days on this earth, and still I will be in debt, single, and hiding in my favorite bathroom stall to avoid the misery otherwise known as my job. 219,000 hours 13,140,000 minutes of life, and I’m still drinking directly from the juice jug which is scientific proof that I still need some help. So, I come to you; below are 25 questions I need answered before turning 25:

- When does acne actually go away?

- Are 25-year-olds supposed to be sexually free and fuck whoever? Or be conservative with the cookie?

- What is a love life?

- Was I supposed to receive the "Older Men Are Weird Too" memo via call, txt, or email?

- Boobs aren't an automatic grown woman thing to have huh (asks the woman with A cup breasts)?

- Thank God for birth control #amiright?

- Speaking of BC, it is 2016... why hasn't a magical scientist discovered the one birth control that doesn't cause acne or weight gain?

- Can I still ask my mom for money?

- When should I switch from Jack n' Coke to a glass of White Zinfandel on a date?

- When will I care enough to wear makeup every day?

- Sugar Daddy or boyfriend?

- Do cute ass 19-year-old girls (est. 1997) with professional makeup skills, a billion Instagram followers, perfect brows and laid edges freak you tf out too?

- When did going out and getting shit-faced two nights in a row become a death wish?

- How did the same little boys that were dirt grimy and 14, 5 years ago, become so fine, and legal?

- How many squats before I look like Serena?

- Is this new zodiac sign real orrr?

- NO MORE YOUNG DRIVER SURCHARGE FEES FOR RENTAL CARS !!!!!!!!!! Where should my first fee-less road trip be?

- Michelle Obama for president?

- If I like lemonade, have been cheated on, and like my negro's nose with Jackson Five nostrils, am I too Beyoncé?

- Am I the only person not pregnant or engaged?

- Why are the Kardashian's famous? Seriously?

- What's Morgan Freeman's secret to immortality?

- What was brow life like before Anastasia Brow?

- When is Ikea furniture unacceptable?

- Am I feminist or someone a woman who naturally cares about her fellow women rights?

- What is feminism?

Help in the comments below...

Polyamorous Hasn't Been Glamorous

After one final blow with a situationship of two years, I had gotten fed up. My heart was obliterated by November of 2014, and  I was ready to take some much-needed time for self-love and rebuilding; I obviously wasn't looking to start anything new. But on December 31st, 2014 I initiated a Twitter DM that would change that. I met my Puerto Rican Papi (For the sake of privacy that's what we'll call him) at a Sunday Funday event through a friend of his. After meeting him I was immediately intrigued; He was tall, slim, outgoing and racially ambiguous which offered him a sort of mysteriousness, and after chatting with him briefly, I learned he had a passion for cooking, just like me. I was only hoping to know him from afar, so we exchanged Twitter & IG names.

 After some necessary extensive social media research, coupled with food related posts, I became even more interested. BUT, I was still dealing with the impeding failure of my last situationship, so I didn't make moves to pursue him... yet. 

Bringing it back to December 31st: after a few brief exchanges on IG & Twitter, I finally decided to make a move. We messaged a couple of times before I gave him my number which he used the very next day with a text that read "Hey mamita!". His playfulness made me smile. We went on to converse, trading bits of information about ourselves, until he dropped two bombs on me:

Polyamory

Okay. The first one... ehhh not so concerning, I believe that people come from all walks of life and choose their paths for a reason, so I'm cool with that. But the second one? I've never met anyone who was polyamorous. So I did some quick research on the subject. 

Polyamory (n): The philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.

Wow. Instead of being put off, I saw this as an opportunity to learn something new about love. And considering I had just ended a relationship that left me in shambles, how bad could that be? Besides, I wasn't looking for love anyway. 

Time went by and he made sure to be consistent. He'd text me almost every day just to see how my day was and I made a habit of visiting him after class. Well on one of those visits, he pitched a proposition. He wanted to enter a relationship with rules and we'd only discuss those in depth if I accepted. So after thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I agreed to the invitation.

Here were the term’s and conditions of our “relationship”

  1. It was in fact possible that at any given moment he could/would enter into a new relationship with anyone he pleases, however their world would never cross paths or interfere with mine.
  2. I would see him only once a week in an attempt to respect my personal time. And rules would be changed or added as needed.

I didn't have any rules for him at the time, since I couldn't think of anything so we just rolled with it.

The first of those rules he broke very early on, but we worked through it and after about 6 months in, I realized I loved him. I’ve loved him now for 1 year and 9 months, and I can say my relationship with my polyamorous Puerto Rican Papi was one of the best choices I've ever made.

What's great about my relationship is that it gave me a new level of insight and perspective on how people are able to love in their own unique way. It's by far the most fulfilling relationships I've ever had but I struggled a lot early on with ridding myself of the idea that he could be my future, because as a person who’s monogamous, I couldn’t fathom not being enough for him. I cried a lot and misunderstood a lot about our relationship in the beginning, because there was nothing I could do to change him, and I eventually realized that I shouldn’t want to. I had to teach myself love could exist in the moment of right now without the need for long-term attachment.

He's one of the most gentle and passionate creatures I know, and on the flip side he's very stubborn and selfish. He has taught me many things about life, finances, and about myself as a woman. He is strong and patient, and logical. He's a lot of great things that I admire and lack within myself, which is why is our relationship works so well. Most importantly he's not perfect. He has at times broken rules that I established, and unintentionally done hurtful things. So I said all that to say this, he's no different from any other regular guy that I could be in a monogamous relationship with, because he also has his fair share of flaws and weaknesses. But the difference is made up with communication.

Some questions that I often get asked:

Am I Polyamorous?

Yes, a few times I attempted to engage in having a second partner but all were are short-lived because I have a hard time creating a separate space to accommodate for the emotions of multiple people. When I did find myself having the desire to be with someone, it was only because I was not fully satisfied with Puerto Rican Papi or I was angry with whatever situation that was happening; And in my eyes that was the equivalent to cheating. You shouldn't seek others because you are not happy, you should only seek other partners when you have a true desire to know them and can give them what they need without neglect or mistreatment. So I have not yet successfully dated anyone else other than my main significant other.

Has he engaged in relationship with any new partners?

Yes. A few times that I know of for sure, probably more.

How did I cope?

Each time, not well at all L-O-L. The situations were all complicated and unique in their own way. All of which surfaced in ways of him being dishonest or simply being selfish. I eventually requested a new rule: He had to tell me before he engaged with someone else sexually I would have the right to choose if I wanted to continue our relationship on that level.

Has he hurt you?

I thought, with the way he lived his life, he'd always keep us safe and be honest. But he eventually broke my one rule. So yes, I've been hurt, the same type of way as with monogamy. I've cried many tears, and I've also been jealous, but it takes a strong will to keep working through it. I can never fault him for certain things that I agreed to in the beginning, because he was who he was before I met him and I repeat, I have no desire to change who he is.

Am I in love with him today?

No, I believe that to love someone and to be in love are two separate choices. I think a person’s ability to separate the two is very important. I love him and accept him for all that he is and for now, that will suffice, making the choice to fall in love with someone you know you can’t have a future with is just silly to me.

Is he in love with me?

No, I also think he, like myself, has no desire to fall in love. He gives love in a way that only he knows how. But when my love cup is running low, he never let’s it get  empty, and that makes all the difference.

So what's the point in being with someone if you don't see a future?

A question that I get asked often. The best answer that I can give is simply, I love this man.  I believe that happiness is subjective, and for me currently my happiness and direction are not dependent on what we may have later in life. It's about living in the moment of right now. And to love someone unconditionally means to accept them and love them to the best of your ability regardless of the circumstances, because that is what I want in return. For now I am satisfied and I am enjoying my relationship for what it is, just two people helping and loving each other. I do have a mental expiration date in mind, and that's only because I know that I want a baby and get married.

So when it's time, I’ll be ready to willingly detach myself from him and hopefully our friendship will remain. People are not things we possess in life, and I think that’s one of the hardest lessons we learn through love. A person can leave at any given moment and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you love them you shouldn’t want to stop them from being happy anyway, even if it’s not with you.  


Polyamory in a nutshell is difficult and requires just as much commitment, if not more, than the standard monogamous relationship between two people. It requires complete honesty, and the ability to be fluid and most of all, to openly communicate. If you cannot do any one of those things, then I would say polyamory is not for you. If you have jealousy or trust issues, polyamory is not for you either. It can be extremely draining if you are an emotional person. However, a polyamorous relationship gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore attractions within others, while maintaining what you have with your main partner. It can mean physical connections or just emotional, or neither. And it can be done without the feeling of guilt. 

The dynamics of polyamorous love are very different but can be genuine with the right person. As taboo as it is, you can be 100% happy and satisfied so long as sound judgment and transparency are a standard. If you are considering being polyamorous yourself or being with someone who is, just know that trust is everything. Most of all be true to yourself about what you really want out of a relationship, and do what works best for you.

Ladies, would you try a polyamorous relationship ?

 

Follow Akeia on Twitter at @_akeia. Feature image property of KittyClique.

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Didn't Go to NYFW? No Biggie.

I wasn’t 3 feet from stampeding supermodels, I don’t have any cool snaps with the NY geo filter, and I can’t “technically” use NYFW in any of my insta posts (I did anyway, call the Insta-police). TBH: NY just doesn’t fit in my current budget.

What I do have though is internet. And thanks to sites like Man Repeller, and Vogue Runway, I was able to stalk and plan for my otherwise outdated Summer/Spring '17 closet. So if you too were one of us unlucky fashionista’s who missed NYFW (and the epic Yeezy season 4 fail) get your panties outta bunch: below are the top trends that took over the cat walk. When you’re done, head here to see your NYFW inspired Clique Picks. Bon Voyage.

 

Off the shoulder

J Crew, Proenza Schouler, Vera Wang

Yellow

yellow

Logo's

Fubu, Hood by Air

See-Through

see-through

Deconstructed Shirts

Monte

Statement Accessories

Anna Sui, Nicholas K

ALL IMAGES FROM VOGUE RUNWAY

To My Beautiful Black Man

To My Beautiful Black Man, Too many of you are falling… similar to the tears falling down my face, as I watch CNN report the Baton Rouge homicide of Alton Sterling, seconds after the Minnesota murder of Philando Castile. I am restrained with emotions and overwhelmed with the reality that, although we sit in integrated offices, use integrated bathrooms, and are surprisingly allowed to look white men in their face, we are still drowning in systematic racism that justifies cold-blooded murder.

Our brothers, our fathers, our son’s, our husband’s, our friend’s

you

 

 are being snatched off this earth by public servants people who have taken a vow to protect and serve, but have instead become drunk with power, taking life in the blink of an eye. 

I, the black woman, am not ok with your demise or absence. Who else will I depend on to comprehend the sexism and racism I endure daily? Who will teach my beautiful black son the fundamental do’s and don’ts? Who will equip the weaker black men with the strength and will withal to get it right? Furthermore, who will stand on the front lines and question their bull shit the next time they kill one of us in what feels like a modern-day genocide?

There is no black without you. There is no me without you.

Which is why I, the black woman, am replete with frustration and anger. I realize your astounding potential, and also realize those trying to exterminate it. But enough is enough.

Behind every strong man is a strong woman, yes. But behind every strong black man, is now a force; I will not stand by and literally watch as you take your last breath on the same networks that slander your name.  So here is my vow to you:

Ieshia Evans

I, the black woman, vow to stop rejecting you the same way society has brainwashed you into rejecting me.  Black man vs. black woman is a senseless battle, perfect for keeping us in angst and divide.  I will not displace my bad experiences on you and devalue your word or integrity. I will not succumb to hearsay that says one black man is a black man is a black man is a black man; no. I know very well that you all are different, and love you for it. I will not stand around as others disrespect you with stereotypes they’ve learned from movies, rap videos, and bull shit statistics; I will instead stop them, and politely remind them of why you are distinguishable and respectable.

I, the black woman, vow to enforce realistic standards upon you; careful not to add to the long list of difficult expectations society places on you at birth. Yes, you need a source of legal income… no, you don't have to be a millionaire by 20. I will not perpetuate the “Keeping Up with the Joneses’” complex either. Your inability to obtain what your neighbor has does not translate into socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

I, the black woman, lastly but most importantly vow to be as strong as I expect you to be. A weak woman can offer nothing to a strong man. I will vote, stand on the front lines, and demand actionable changes from decision makers. I will teach the ignorant of all races including our own, about our history, our progress, and our demands. I won’t cower when they show me a bloody image of you, or lose hope when they show me your mug shot.

To my beautiful black man: while you may understandably feel confused, alone, and mistreated, know that I, the black woman, am doing my part.

There is no black without you. There is no me without you.

-The Black Woman-

 

 

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Sugaring Method: The Time Lauren Removed Her Own Pubic Hairs

After looking at my bank statement and realizing I spend $50 a month on brazilian waxing, which is $600 a year for another woman to be in my private areas; I realized I needed a more affordable method of hair removal.

Other hair removal options…

Shaving is cheap, but I do not have the time to shave every three days, and the result is never as smooth as a wax. Laser and Electrolysis are both expensive and take multiple treatments. Nair or similar products are a no-go simply because I don’t feel comfortable applying chemicals strong enough to melt hair, on my nether regions. So that leaves one more option: sugaring.

Sugaring is similar to wax in the way it is applied and removed, however, it’s composition and pain level, are supposedly different. Wax includes Rosin, Triethylene Glycol Ester of Rosin, Beeswax (Cera Alba), and a bunch of other chemicals that sound like Charlie Brown's teacher. While Sugaring is made up of only Sugar, lemon juice, and water.

Sugaring vs Waxing

Sugaring is applied like wax but in the opposite direction of the hair and removed in the same direction of hair (waxing is done vice versa). Because the formula is water soluble and gentler, it is said to give less of a sting than the wax salons use.

I was initially skeptical on if I could actually rip my own pubic hair out and avoid literally combusting into flames from the pain: but I did. Keep reading if you want to know how the hell I BARELY pulled this off...

Application:

Supplies

-2 cups white sugar

-¼ cup lemon juice (or anything acidic like lime juice)

-¼ cup water

-Baby powder so the formula only sticks to hair instead of skin

-Cloth strips

-rubber gloves

-mirror

-double shot of dark liquor

Making the Sugar Formula…

To make the concoction I mixed the sugar, water, and lime juice together in a heavy saucepan and stirred (often) on medium heat, until it was boiling. Once it reaches the boiling point, lower the temperature so that it is simmering. It’ll still be boiling, just make sure you keep stirring so the sugar doesn’t caramelize and stick to the bottom.

sugaring

Simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the mixture is a dark amber color (slightly darker than the above image). Immediately remove from heat and let cool down for 10 minutes before placing in an air tight container. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE, AS IT WILL BE EXTREMELY HOT.

Let cool down to room temperature before using, not semi-room temperature either, your skin in your private areas are a lot more sensitive then your hands, so be careful.  (ask me how I know this…)

Now for the hard part….

I took my two shots, sanitized my va-jay-jay, applied the baby powder (not too much, as it will prevent the mixture from sticking to the hairs) and put on gloves to prepare for battle. I laid in front of a huge mirror that gave me a pretty good view of places I’d never seen before, said a quick prayer and started.

I grabbed some of the sugar concoction, rolled it into a ball and pressed it into the skin in the same direction of the hair. Next, I smoothed the cloth strip down and yanked in the direction it grows.

***(Ok I lied…. I ATTEMPTED to yank in the direction it grows… but I didn’t wait long enough for the mixture to cool down and solidify so I made a mess, had to shower and restart)***

An hour later, exasperated from the entire process, I had successfully removed all the hair.

Self Sugaring compared to waxing…

Let me first address the pain, If you aren’t used to getting waxes, this will not be any less painful than a wax. If you are familiar with waxing, it hurts a tiny bit less, but let's be honest; there aren’t too many painless ways to rip hair out of your private areas. Every time you sugar, though, just like wax, the pain will lessen and become more tolerable.

The results are surprisingly the same, I'm just as smooth as a  $50 hard-wax from Lisa. Other comparisons include:

Sugaring:   Cheaper, More Natural, lncy Bit Less Painless

Waxing:  Cleaner, Faster, A lot more comfortable

Would I do it again?

Insanely enough, yes I would. Aside from the pain, there’s a strange pride about being able to take care of your own lady parts without the help of another. But I’d definitely keep the following tips in mind:

-Don’t pull your hand straight up, be sure to move across in the direction you’re pulling instead. That’s how I got a big ugly bruise on my crotch (subsided in a day)

-Take a deep breath and exhale when you yank the strip away

-Work in small sections, do not try to conquer your entire vagina in one swipe, you will combust

-WAIT FOR THE SOLUTION TO GET THICK ENOUGH (again, do not use this too soon, the mixture should be malleable like play-doe)

-Do this alone when no one’s home, there is nothing cute about being sprawled in front of the mirror covered with wax and sweat

-Be sure to the hold the skin taught with your free hand to ensure clean removal

-Save the most difficult parts for last

-Clean-up any mess soon after as it the sugar will attract ants

-Use a mirror you can either sit in front of or squat over to get a full view

Watch the video below if you are ever brave enough to try this on your own. 

Video that will help you ( NSFW) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXR-jxO0ZDk