I’m Not the Strong Friend, I’m the Broken One

Like all tragic stories I was a child looking for love in all the right places. My only issue was that those places had already been broken. In order to survive I learned to live without love. Unfortunately, now as an adult I’m realizing I can’t thrive without it. I wish I was the kind of friend that said I love you sober. I wish I was the kind of sister that didn’t show emotion solely through talking shit. I wish intimacy didn’t make me cringe. I wish I knew how to love.

I used to think I just didn’t want love. Now I think I just don’t know how to love. So this is a tale of a girl lost outside of love. A girl who isn’t sure she even wants to find it. It’s a tale of a girl who drank too much while listening to Hozier and ended up down the rabbit hole of self reflection. Maybe I’ll delete this in the morning. Maybe I keep it up but never read it so I never have to come to terms with who I am. Anyways, here’s me…

It’s weird to remember an innocence you can no longer touch. To feel just on the brink of a purity you can barely remember. How did I get here? I guess the way most others do. By trying to find love over and over again until the desire for love is completely drained out of you. Funny enough, that never stops one from desiring to be love. It just hampers your ability to return it.

It doesn’t happen all at once. Hell it’s not even one kind of thing that crushes you. It’s a multitude of things happenings at just the right time, in just the right alignment to shift your reality completely.

It happens as a kid, and it’s always the little things that turn into big things over time. I don’t even think anyone noticed. Well that’s not true. One year I returned to a summer program in a small town in South Carolina and someone there said that I’d changed. She looked at me as if there was some new piece of me that she didn’t recognize. If I’m being honest I didn’t know me anymore then either.

I was losing my connection to this world. I was becoming untethered to the emotional aspect of what it means to be a person. As a child I was being crushed under the weight of love never fulfilled. It’s not that there weren’t folks that didn’t love me. Looking at my life I had family and friends all around me. The issue was that everyone’s love had been tainted by circumstance. I don’t think anyone who ever told me they loved me really knew what it meant to love someone. My grandparents were the only people I can remember that made me truly feel love that was uncorrupted. However they lived a state away and love was withered away with every mile of the car ride back home. Numbness helped me to survive but it kills the imagination.

It’s crazy how once you start to detach to protect yourself you begin to detach from yourself. I used to be a phenomenal writer. Writing was my outlet. I was even published as a kid. But as time went on life got chaotic and the motivation and the ability to write just kind of left me. I don’t know if I just couldn’t connect well enough anymore to put words to paper or the stuff I was writing was just too hard to read.

Maybe after writing this I’ll get some of the me I once lost back. My guess is probably not, but something led me here. So shoutout to Moscow Mules and songs about obsessively loving a woman. Maybe I’ll become my own muse again.

My trauma has kept me alive on more than one occasion, and my trauma has also kept me from living. How do you reconnect with a love lost?

My Abortion Story

My abortion story began just a couple months after “beating teen pregnancy”. I was twenty year old with what some would consider a good job in a growing career. Many asked why did I need an abortion? I wasn’t a minor. I wasn’t wealthy but I made decent money. I had family support. My answer because I want one. I wasn’t ready to have a child. To answer the question from conservatives I  didn’t want to get ready either. Why saddle a child with the feeling of being a burden if neither of us has to experience this? I was just a twenty something with no idea what I was doing or who I wanted to be.

There wasn’t any emotional baggage from my decision. I was fortunate enough to have a pro-choice support system. This doesn’t mean I was oblivious to abortion stigma. I live in the Bible Belt after all. I knew this wasn’t something I could openly talk about and when I arrived to the clinic I was confronted with that stigma head on. There were people crowded around the parking lot entrance with graphic signs and yelling. They either wanted to change my mind or were condemning me to hell. Out of sheer curiosity I stopped, and a pastor gave me this tiny silicon fetus. I guess he wanted me to identify with what he considered a life inside me. All I identified with was the fact that people who did not look like me, who appeared to have more access to financial and societal resources than I did who, and who did not care about what happens to be me after this moment found themselves my judges. They weren’t in touch with my plight, yet they felt they could take away my rights.

Once inside, sitting in the waiting room, you get to see who how many people abortion effects. You hear stories of others just trying to do the best for them. You also see how hard it is to get an abortion. I’m a government employee and my insurance wouldn’t cover abortion because of the Hyde Amendment. So I had to pay $600 out of pocket. This wasn’t something that I just had laying around. I had to scrape that together. How was someone who barely pulled together $600 supposed to have the resources to support a child?

I had another abortion 5 years later. This was after having my first child. I was even further along in my career, and I had even more resources. The question of why was asked of me again. My answer was still because I wanted one. After having a child, I knew I didn’t want another one. I had more than enough resources for us to have a good life but any more would be a strain. Also, labor was a traumatic experience for me, and it’s not something I want to go through again. This time I knew more of what to expect.  I decided to live stream my day at the clinic and for the following week I updated my followers on how I was doing and what I was experiencing. What surprised me was the sheer lack of education on abortion. I was bombarded with questions. People just didn’t know what abortion really was. Whether this was from stigma, misinformation, ignorance or a combination of all three. I tried my best to answer all the questions, but I was livid that this information wasn’t easily accessible to people. Even if it was they didn’t know where to look. For a procedure so globally controversial a lot of people didn’t know what was really going on. This included both supports and opponents.

Abortion is legal but it didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel supported. The crowd yelling at me as I entered and exited the clinic had a clear view of my face and my license plate. How is that safe? I didn’t have insurance coverage because of a governmental policy. My providers had to tell me information that implied guilt on my part because of another political policy. I still see people I know and love shame those who have abortion not knowing I’m one of them. No one educates you on what to expect when having an abortion. Where is the support? No one should have to experience this. Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is my right.

Bezos Up in Space

This post was inspired by the above poem by Gil Scott-Herron, “Whitey’s on the Moon

It is hard to get excited about privatized space travel with the current state of wealth inequality in the United States. When the middle class eats everybody eats. When the wealthy eats it seems like everybody starves. The richest families in the U.S. have experienced greater gains in wealth than other families in recent decades, a trend that reinforces the growing concentration of financial resources at the top.

The poor are getting poorer while the rich is getting richer. According to Forbes, U.S. billionaires have gotten about $1.2 trillion richer during the pandemic. This truth is even more insidious when you look into what demographics are facing the harshest impacts.

In 1994, a group of Black women came together to create the Reproductive Justice framework. Repro Justice combines the principles of reproductive rights and social justice. At the time Black women felt they were being left out of the conversation and that a lot of their needs weren’t being discussed. Unfortunately, many of their previous concerns are still valid today. Progress is being made but it is slow coming.

RJ acknowledges the ways in which intersecting factors, such as race and social class, limit the freedom of marginalized women to make informed choices about pregnancy by imposing oppressive circumstances or restricting access to services, including but not limited to abortion, Plan B pills, and affordable care and education. RJ focuses on practical access to abortion rather than abortion rights, asserting that the legal right to abortion is meaningless for women who cannot access it due to the cost, the distance to the nearest provider, or other such obstacles.

While a lot of progress has been made there is still a lot of work to do. Recently reproductive rights orgs have been called out for the same forms of racism experienced in their work places as experienced in others throughout the country. (Weird don’t you think for social justice organizations…? Well not if you’re Black or have been paying attention)

“I do think it’s worse in reproductive rights, because it is insidious. The movement prides itself on working on issues affecting the most marginalized in society — women, trans and nonbinary folks, and people of color,” one woman who used to work at a major public relations firm that works with reproductive rights organizations told Buzzfeed News. “And yet, in their own workplaces, they don’t value those people.”

(2020) Buzz feed New Article

In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women. Black women’s unintended pregnancy rates are the highest of all. These higher unintended pregnancy rates reflect the particular difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively over long periods of time. Moreover, these realities must be seen in a larger context in which significant racial and ethnic disparities persist for a wide range of health outcomes, from diabetes to heart disease to breast and cervical cancer to sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

When it comes to access for reproductive care Black people are being left behind. The United States is a country built on the backs of Black people, and benefits daily from our intellectual genius, cultural influence and economic power, yet neither the promises of the founders nor the promise of reproductive autonomy enshrined in Roe v. Wade included us.

Black women live in states considered hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights. We are less likely to have health insurance, and more likely to be denied coverage for abortion when we do. Black women also often struggleto afford the birth control that best meets our needs.

To make matters worse, Black women in the U.S. are dying in childbirth and from pregnancy-relatedcomplications at many times the rate of white women. An epidemic that has been long acknowledged by Black people and recently covered in mainstream news.

Racism is a fundamental determinant of health status because it contributes to social inequalities (e.g., poverty) that shape health behaviors, access to healthcare, and interactions with medical professionals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African American women experience a high burden of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.

African American women also report experiences of racial discrimination when seeking family planning services, and are more likely than white women to be advised to restrict childbearing. Likewise, black women of low socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely than white women of low SES to be recommended by their healthcare provider for intrauterine contraception.

Black women have a history and current prevalence of sexual violence, experimentation, and healthcare disenfranchisement. This supports the intergenerational transmission of poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes among African American women in the United States.

There are so many RJ issues that plague Black communities and yet so few resources dedicated to our communities. The CDC reports that African American women experience a high burden of STIs and were also two to three times as likely as white women to have pelvic inflammatory disease. Black infants are more likely to be born prematurely and have lower birth weights. Black women also have increased risk for pregnancy-related hypertension and chronic hypertension.

These are just a few issues that the Black community has to survive. Meanwhile I’m supposed to be thrilled that Jeff Bezos didn’t even make it to the moon. 

We’re all down here struggling to survive, to pay bills, to manage out health and Bezos is in orbit. Recently, a 23 year old Amazon worker named Patty Hernandez pled with her managers to give her a break, which was denied, and she ended up having a miscarriage. 

According to her interview with Vice, in the weeks before her miscarriage, Hernandez pled “repeatedly with her manager and the warehouse’s human resources for lighter duty, and submitted a doctor’s note to Amazon’s human resources requesting pregnancy accommodations.” The note from Hernandez’s doctor requested that she do “no lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying more than 20 pounds, and no walking or standing for more than 50 percent of her shift.”

“Heavy lifting, standing for long periods of time, or bending a lot during pregnancy could increase your chances of miscarriage, preterm birth, or injury during pregnancy.”

-Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Her manager wasn’t very accommodating either. He frequently questioned her extended bathroom breaks, general breaks, and slower movements. Jeff Bezos has enough wealth to get himself into orbit but can’t create a policy to ensure his employees don’t take on undue stress and labour to go into miscarriage. A billionaires wealth is stolen. He can amass so from because he takes directly from the labor of his employees. Patty Hernandez worked her body to the ground because Bezos wanted to go to space.

Black people dying giving birth but Bezos up in space

A pregnant lady can’t get a break but Bezos up in space

HIV is rising again but Bezos up in space

Her rape won’t even get the police to open a case but Bezos up in space

Fibroids sure are getting large but Bezos up in space

Health insurance is bigger than I can charge but Bezos up in space

Racism never went away but Bezos up in space

Hypertension is on my case but Bezos up in space

They’re arguing about Roe v Wade again but Bezos up in Space

Ignored by those who pretend to care but Bezos up in Space

I pay my taxes and they still do me wrong but Bezos up in Space

He was up there for 11 minutes, that boy, Bezos was up in Space

Every 11 seconds a woman dies while giving birth but hey Bezos went to space…….

My Culture is NOT Consent

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde

When we allow eurocentrism to assign hyper-sexuality to our cultures we allow our cultures to be defined by those who do not seek to understand us. Who gave whiteness the authority to decide for me that I can not be multifaceted? My blackness is the embodiment of all forms of the human existence. My culture is a reflection of the human experience. Yes, it can be sexual, at times, but is it not limited by it’s expression of sexuality and therefore neither am I. You do not get to deem my culture primal, hyper-sexual, and promiscuous. Attitudes create behaviors. Nothing lives forever in the mind. If you believe that Black people are inherently driven by lust then it will become easy for you to objectify us. Once we have become objects people believe that they can do with us as they please.

According to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), on average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. For adult women, recent data from the CDC report lifetime prevalence of rape as about 1 in 5 for African Americans or 22% compared to whites at 18.8%, and 1 in 7 for Hispanics at 14.6%.

Sexual stereotypes have shaped how people formulate beliefs and interactions regarding Black sexuality. These scripts often informed by socio-historical context and sexualized images from pop culture lead people to view Blackness as one dimensional. When WAP was released conservatives the world over sprinted to their screens to dish out how Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion were the problem with today’s generation, and it didn’t just come from outside of the culture. Black folks joined the bandwagon and dumped all of the consequences of racial stratification and colonialism on the rhythmic cheeks of these women.

Tag yourself. I’m either “delusional” or “sexually hyper for everyone”. Lmao probably both

This isn’t a new phenomenon. The dehumanization of Black people has a long, sordid history here in the States. With the creation of the “Jezebel”, the racialized characterization of Black women as promiscuous, came harmful attitudes towards Black survivors of abuse. During slavery this narrative was used to excuse the sexual violence perpetrated against Black women because we were seen as inherently sexual. This still rings true today. The same can be said for Black men just in a different regards. Men are less likely to report instances of sexual abuse; however, this does not mean they aren’t experiencing it. When you think something is here for your sexual gratification (even though they’re people not objects) you become entitled. People push sexual limits with Black people they wouldn’t dare push with our white counterparts. We are people NOT play things. The over-sexualization of Black men also leads to the assumption of guilt. If a Black man is accused of sexual misconduct, assault, and/or violence he comes from the perspective of guilty until proven innocent. Think about Emmett Till, The Exonerated Five, Pervis Payne, Ronnie Long, and the list goes on and on and on and fucking on.

It’s not always punitive after the fact either. In 2015, convicted murderer Dylann Roof fatally shot nine parishioners at a South Carolina church because blacks were “raping our women.”

In an already sex negative culture that seeks to demonize the eroticism of Blackness being openly sexual is the greatest sin. You’re attacked on all sides. God forbid something happen to you and they will use your sexual history as a means to justify the abuse. If I’m upside down throwing ass in a handstand (which I currently don’t have the upper body strength to do but here’s to goals) that doesn’t grant anyone the right to touch me inappropriately. Consent isn’t a given. It comes after a request for permission.

Explicit lyrics, twerking, whining/wining, seductive clothing, naturally voluptuous bodies, etc doesn’t translate into asking for it. Open attitudes about sex don’t translate into asking for it. We can’t help being God’s favorite lol. The ass always does what it needs to do. It is always giving what was supposed to be gave. Stop calling us fast for what was divinely bestowed upon us. It is more our responsibility to get the abusers up out of here than constantly change ourselves to protect us from people who wish to do us harm regardless. The goal post is always moving, so I just decided to stop playing the game. I won’t limit aspects of myself so that I can be more palatable to those who either can’t or are too afraid to shake what they mama’s gave them.

Abuse happens because someone chooses to be abusive. Not because I worship at the House of Lil Kim. Quite frankly, I’m fed up with having to defend my choices of embracing to my sexuality. I’m over trying to convince people who are intent on misunderstanding my culture that it doesn’t make us objects. They don’t want understanding. They want excuses for their bad behavior. My body is not up for grabs. My culture is NOT consent.

Tia Freeman
Tia Freeman

Sex Blogger and reproductive justice advocate. Centering the Black, erotic experience.

Holla Heathens….

Boredom Doesn’t Always Translate to BDSM

I’ve got the “New New” tips and tricks for sexual reinvigoration.

Okay, so y’all’s sex sucks? Haha, fine maybe sucks is too strong of a word, but you’re here for a reason right? You want to find out what more can be done to keep things hot in (or out of…) the bedroom. I get it relationships are tough; and people in long-term relationships may find it especially difficult to keep those sparks flying. So what do you do when the bedroom is getting a little boring? Truthfully there are a shit ton of options out there. You just have to figure out what works best for y’all. Before you jump straight into the deep end of BDSM there may be a couple options that you’re missing.

First things first, sexual issues aren’t always solely sexual. You could have problems in the bedroom because of other underlying issues in the relationship. If you’re not dealing with the real then the sex won’t be an easy fix. A lot of times we use sex like we’re putting a band aid over a bullet hole. Make sure you’re communicating and listening to your partner(s) about any issues or negative feelings y’all are having. Contrary to popular belief we aren’t entitled to sex from our partners. Sometimes people are just going through shit and they need support in non-sexual ways too. Be there for them in whatever way they need.

And other times you can turn your partner on from very mundane tasks. Like imagine coming home to a clean house and food already made….. I’m dropping drawls out the gate lol. If you partner has been stressing over money problems and you pull up with a job then the pussy might be ready to fall off the bone. Compliment your partner when they’re meeting your needs, doing a great job, or just because. Show them that they’re appreciated. Maybe your partner is tired of always being the one to initiate sex. Find a way to take charge that still makes you feel comfortable. Not having to be in charge all the time might just do the trick.

Stella Got her groove back GIF

Sometimes the problem is simply the sex, itself. After a while a bitch just runs out of new, fun shit to do. Like really how many different ways are there to get your groove on? But often it just takes a little imagination. Don’t worry though you don’t have to go all 50 Shades of Grey to find out how Stella Got Her Groove Back. BDSM can be intimidating for people looking from the outside in. Hell even if you’re fully knowledgeable on BDSM it may not be your cup of tea. That’s 100% okay. Don’t ever let someone try to manipulate you out of your boundaries. You don’t have to be a part of that lifestyle to still be a blast in bed. But I digress. Here’s a list of a few things you can try out to bring the sexy back.

Sexy Dance GIF by Janet Jackson - Find & Share on GIPHY
Yeah I said “Bring the sexy back” but FUCK Justin Timberlake. This is a Janet Jackson stan account. She deserved better.
  • Role Playing
    • Be your own sneaky links. Get a hotel and pretend to be having an affair
    • Go out to a bar and watch your partner flirt with someone else or pretend you don’t know each other and flirt as if you’re meeting for the first time
    • Have a favorite show/movie together? Dress up like your favorite characters or the hero and villain and duke it out
    • One of you prepping for a new job? Dress up like a cheerleader and get them hype
    • Role play is really whatever your make it. Go all out. You know what they say go hard or go home, right? 😉
  • Try Sensory Deprivation/Sensory Play
    • Use blindfolds, handcuffs, ball gags, feather dusters, etc
    • Dabble in temperature play (Putting a glass dildo in the freezer, using body-safe sex wax, warming massage oils, cooling/heating lubes, etc)
  • Play Hide and Go Get It
    • I recommend playing in the comfort and safety of your own home (Especially as beginners)
    • If you choose to get freaky in this wild wide world remember that public indecency is a crime in most countries. Even if you don’t get turned into the police having a stranger catch you in a risky positions can be not only awkward but also very dangerous.
    • Either option you choose you can leave clues if you want (notes, articles of clothing, rose petals, etc)
  • Make the whole day a part of your foreplay. Go on a bunch of sensual dates to build up the anticipation for what’s to come.
    • Buy some sex tech (remote controlled underwear, butt plugs, etc). Teledildonics is really trending in the sex world.
    • You can also go out and not wear underwear while wearing something with easy accessibility over it. You can even get handsy under the table or in a dark movie theatre.
  • It could even be as simple as switching which room you have sex in. Christen the whole damn house if you have to! Get busy at the office (But don’t get fired). Use that damn balcony.
  • Have you ever given mutual masturbation a try? There are two forms of mutual masturbation…
    • Masturbating each other. Meaning you can’t touch yourself but you can touch each other.
    • Or watch each other touch themselves.
    • You can even do this virtually! Fuck Zoom Fatigue. Put that dick in front of the webcam baby.
  • Have sex in front of a mirror. Watching yourself (or your partner) can be extremely intoxicating.
  • Sex furniture is also a thing. First, things like sex swings or queening chairs are hella fun to play with. Second, some positions are uncomfortable on the body. Also different angles hit different spots. Missionary with something as basic as a pillow under your back can absolutely change the game.
  • Participate in an amateur night at your local strip club. If you don’t want to get naked personally then attend a strip joint with your boo. Now don’t be stingy. The performers are there helping you get the lust back the least you can do is tip well.
  • Watch porn together. You could even subscribe to a more personalized service via OnlyFans or some other camming site so the performer can do things specifically for you.
  • Go to a sex club or attend a virtual sex party. Yes, they’re both very real; and no this is not white people shit. Black folks do attend as well.
  • You probably already thought of this put send each other erotic content.
    • Photos
    • Videos
    • Sexts/Emails
    • Leave each other letters or sexy post it notes to find
  • Meet up over lunch to get your back broken like a glow stick. Then you have to go back to work having flashbacks which may keep you in the mood for another rendezvous later.
  • Read or listen to erotic stories together. Y’all remember them damn Zane books! Make them your bed time stories. Or listen to your erotica from erotic poets, storytellers, or audio apps.
  • Introduce any sex toys that turn you on. Believe me there are a lot out there.
  • Want to do something more intimate. Bathe each other. There is something really sensual about taking your time running soap and water over every inch of your partner’s body.

I think that should be enough to get you started. Hopefully any one of these will be helpful to you and your partner(s). Feel free to create your own things or do some more research and find out what everyone else is doing out there. Also talk to your partners maybe they know of something but don’t know how to bring it up.

Now go forth and get your back broke like a KitKat.

Via IG User: @reinemontclair
Via IG User: @reinemontclair
Tia Freeman
Tia Freeman

Sex blogger and reproductive justice advocate. Centering the Black erotic experience.

Holla Heathens…