The Stolen Pieces of Me: Piece #1

img_20160704_153301I was 21; a college student, working, stills a little shy, and very naive. I’d just lost my virginity about 6 months prior, 20 days after my 21st birthday, to a guy I trusted who only saw me as a challenge.  “It’s a rare thing for a man to break virginity these days”, he said to me.  He was so gentle. So loving.  He made me feel so safe.  He was so tall; 6’4, with a bald head, the most beautiful tone of deep, brown skin.  He was my first and it was awful.  He kissed me and shushed me and wiped away my tears.  He was perfectly imperfect for the job but I wish it had been someone else in hindsight.  We broke up months later because I couldn’t swallow his lies.  Perhaps if I would have stayed, my life would have taken a different path.

We partied in Atlanta for New Year 2004.  I rubbed elbows all night with intellects from New York, Downtown Atlanta afro punk wearing expensive hobo chic, and fashion designers from Paris who gave me their business cards because they liked what I was wearing.  I nursed one glass of champagne the entire night because I don’t drink like that.  I felt so grown up and sophisticated.  Another party that same night in an expensive industrial loft…  I had my first one night stand the second day of the year. Not on purpose, but because the entire time he was inside of me he was begging me to move in with him to the city, bragging about his money, and how we could live together in his luxury loft apartment.  I stared up at the high ceilings, the dark recessed lighting, and looked out of the window where I could see the downtown building lights through his white sheers.  His expensive mattress under me, I could have gotten used to, but somehow it all seemed way too much in such a little time.  I decided I would not see him again while he was still inside of me planning our lives together.

The fourth day of the year I was at another party, in another city.  This one in a small house filled with broke college kids wearing mostly jeans, t-shirts, and jogging sets; many of whom I didn’t really know.  I only knew the two college kids living there.  There was alcohol, food, video games, lots of weed…  Very different than anything I was used to in my small, Alabama town.  My innocence, I imagine, was practically oozing off of me.  I remember one of the guys asking my friend was I his little sister.  I did look younger than everyone else…besides the fact that I was the only one not drinking or smoking.  When you are in college, you have this false sense of safety.  You think everyone is just a kid like you; trying to keep up your GPA and make $20 last a whole month.  My friends took the party outside as everyone was starting to go home.  We cleaned up a bit and I made my bed on the futon, stripped down to my t-shirt and underwear, took an Ambien, and fell to sleep.

Some time shortly after, I looked up and this guy said something to me.  I don’t know what he said.  I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep.  Next thing I know I felt my arm being yanked so hard that it flipped me off of my stomach onto my back.  My eyes flew open but I was quite out of it because of the sleeping medication.  It was completely dark and I could not see anything.  He crashed down on top of me and at the same time ripped my underwear from my body.  I froze.  I could not move.  I think my spirit left my body.  He was so strong and so heavy on top of me.  He ripped my underwear so hard that they completely tattered and only the waist band remained intact around my hips.  He ripped my shirt off in the same way, only leaving the collar which he wound around my neck.  He was speaking but I have no idea what he was saying.  I was lost in the pain.  It was like he was ripping me apart down below.  Any little movement or sound I tried to make was met with a tightening of the shirt around my throat as he pounded into me forever.  He finally finished and climbed off of me.  He was still talking and this time I heard him.  He said, “All of this blood”.  He ran out of the house…I think.  I don’t know.  I blacked out.  My friend found me sitting on the futon with the shirt hanging from my neck and the bloody, torn underwear around my waist.  I felt her touch me and I just lost it.  To this day, I don’t know his name, what he looked like…nothing.  He was just a guy my other friend took classes with.  I refused to go to the police.  I was so ashamed.  He never returned back to school.  My friend checked.  They wanted to find him and beat him up because I wouldn’t go to the police.  I just wanted to forget….and a little piece of me wanted to die.  It took me 12 years to tell my mom.

The Stolen Pieces of Me: Piece #2

img_20160704_153301He asked me to marry him.  I said yes.  But it never happened.  I didn’t tell my mom.  I didn’t tell anyone.  My mom talked on the phone with him a few times but she didnt know how serious we were.  I loved him though.  Like really loved him.  He was thick and muscular.  He made me feel so safe and loved.  I had already picked out my ring and it was being perfected. But he made a mistake and I almost passed out on the courtroom floor when the judge said he wouldn’t be coming home with me.  I packed up my apartment without him but with a guy whom I thought was my friend.  I was preparing to move into the house that J and I were going to move into together.  Now I had to move in all alone.

My cousin, my neighbor, and “my friend” helped me load and unload my U-haul.  I only had two days off but I tried to unpack and set up as much as I could.  “My friend” volunteered to come over and help me unpack.  He drove trucks during the week and was only home on weekends.  I was already depressed about J being locked up and he had told me to move on with my life without him.  “My friend” had allowed me to cry on his shoulder about it.  I was still in love even though the relationship was over.  I assume now that “my friend” only stuck by me so close because he was waiting for me to change my mind.  I had already told him I wasn’t interested in moving on so fast and told him we couldn’t hang out anymore until he understood that.  He claimed he did and up until that night, I thought it would be cool.

More about “my friend”; he was much older than me.  I was in my mid 20s when he was in his mid 40s.  He had a daughter that was only a few years younger than me.  He wasn’t my type physically but he was a nice guy. The darker, the better for me and he was quite light skinned. However, I am nice to anyone who is nice to me.  Up until this point he was respectful of my relationship and seemed to understand when he tried pushing the friendship further when J got locked up.  He bragged a lot about how much money he had, his house, and his cars all the time.  It was a turn off.  His brother was much more successful than him and didn’t brag about his possessions at all.

I used to work the 4pm to 12am shift at my job.  I would make it home at about 1:30 am.  Take a bath, feed my cats, and if I wasn’t too tired, catch up on TV shows I missed.  Sometimes I wouldn’t go to bed till about 6am.  “My friend” would call me during these times because he knew I would be awake most nights.  He drove mostly at night so when he came home on the weekends, he would still be up late too.  By that weekend, I still had a lot of boxes to be unpacked.  My mattresses were still on the floor because I hadn’t put my beds together yet.

As I was getting ready to get off work that Saturday around 10pm because I worked the 2pm to 10 pm shift.  He called and said he would come over and help me unpack and take the boxes away to the dumpster.  I said sure.  I went home, fed my cats, took a shower, threw on some shorts and a t-shirt, and tied my hair up so I could finally get finished unpacking.  He showed up with Waffle House.  We ate and got to work.  We completely finished the kitchen and bathroom, and he hooked up my washer and dryer.  Tired, we collapsed on my mattress, which was still on the floor.  We went to sleep.  I think it was around 3:30 or so.  I woke up in the darkness with him on top of me.  I tried pushing him off me yelling, “What are you doing!?”  As I am pushing him he was starting to cum and wouldn’t stop pounding into me.  As I pushed him out of me, cum splattered on my thighs and stomach.  I hopped up from the mattress, tripping over my shorts and underwear, trying to turn on the light.  I turned on the light and he just stood there with this scared look on his face putting his clothes back on.  I was so mad that I just yelled at him to get out and never speak to me again.  He called and texted me for weeks but I wouldn’t respond to him.  Eventually he stopped and I never heard from him again.  This was in 2008.

The Stolen Pieces of Me: Piece #3

img_20160704_153301I left the city in 2009 because my autoimmune disorder had gotten worst.  I moved back home.  Right before I left, I met a really good guy but we ended up losing touch with each other.  I dated a few more people and ended up getting in a serious relationship that eventually ended.  I got pregnant and lost it after 2 months.  In 2011, I tried dating again.  I met a few guys but nobody I really wanted to be with.  I met this one guy, I will call DK.  DK lived in a small city about 30 minutes from me.  He had won a lawsuit against his old job when he got injured.  He didn’t work but had bought a house and he and his brother were living there.  I could tell he wasn’t used to having money.  There is a way about people like that.  By the time he met me, I think he had been used to getting what he wanted from women by flashing his money and buying things.  I wasn’t impressed by that.  But we connected on our love for horror movies.  Some movie place was going out of business.  Not sure if it was Movie Gallery or Blockbuster but he got a haul on all the movies I wanted to see.  That inspired my first and last trip to his house.

I made the trip to his house that evening.  I met his brother for the first time.  He seemed wholly uninterested in meeting me or speaking to me.  He just kind of looked me up and down, turned and went to his room.  I figured it was because how I was dressed.  I love dresses and skirts.  I rarely ever wear pants.  Plus I am really girly.  I was wearing a paisley skater skirt.  I got it from Old Navy.  I remember it because it was my favorite skirt.  It was cute enough to wear out but long enough that I could still wear it to church if I paired it with a dressy blouse.  But that night I wore it with a baby pink tank top and ballet flats.  I remember being barefoot because my shoe got stuck in the mud in the yard and DK had to lift me out.  I was shocked he could lift me like that.  I regretted wearing those shoes and that outfit because it began raining hard just as I made it into the city.  The temperature dropped drastically.  It was raining so hard I could barely see.  It rained like that all night and the next morning.  I was freezing, wet, and shoeless when I made it into his house.  I must have been quite a sight for his brother.  DK gave me one of his t-shirts to put on.  We lay across his bed watching scary movies for hours.  It was getting late and the rain still hadn’t let up so DK insisted that I stay until morning.  When we got tired of watching movies, we climbed under the covers to sleep.

I guess the intimate setting of the darkness, rain, and I wearing only a long t-shirt and underwear made him began caressing my thigh under the covers.  My back was to him.  It felt kind of nice so I didn’t stop him.  I was drifting off to sleep and any time his hand moved too close to my inner thigh, I would move and he would move his hand back down.  He stopped and moved behind me to cuddle with me.  I let him.  I went home the next morning.

We continued taking on the phone.  He kept trying to get me to let him come to my place or get me to come back over to his.  He eventually asked me why I didn’t want to come over or let him come over.  I told him that I felt like he wanted it to lead to sex.  Frankly, his constant conversation about his money was annoying.  I told him as much and he got mad.  We began arguing and he burst out during the argument with, “I already fucked you.  I just want to fuck you again.”  I replied, “What?  Stop lying. I never had sex with you!”  “He said, “When you came to my house, I was holding you.  You went to sleep.  I started rubbing on your legs again.  When I tried to touch you between your legs you moaned.  I stopped at first because I thought you were telling me to stop in your sleep but you kept moaning so I did it again.  You didn’t move.  I turned you over on your back and you opened you legs.  I put on a condom and we had sex.  I didn’t realize you were still sleep until I asked you why you weren’t moving with me.  At that point I just kept going…”

I was shocked.  How could I not have woken up?  Why was I moaning? I remember that when I left his house I was irritated down there for about 3 days and I had to buy some Benadryl.  I figured I had a weird reaction to some soap or washing detergent but it dawned on me that he was telling the truth at that point.  He said he had used a condom.  I am allergic to latex and that is where the irritation came from after I left his house.  He had no idea I was allergic to it because we had never had that conversation before.  I became upset and hung up the phone.  He would call me sometimes but only to brag about other women. I think he was trying to make me jealous? I didn’t trust him anymore after that.  I never called him.  He always called me and eventually he called less and less until he stopped all together.

The Stolen Pieces of Me: Piece #4

img_20160704_153301Up until today, I thought I had only been raped once.  I didn’t know that it was considered rape when a guy you are friends with or dating has sex with you when you are sleeping.  I guess because there was no real violence or pain like the first time, it wasn’t really rape.  It was today when I realized I have been raped 4 times, the last time I am still struggling with calling it rape since I was sleeping with him before this happened and didn’t tell him that I was not interested in sleeping with him anymore for good yet… even though it had been at least 3 or 4 months since it last happened.  He and I used to date between 2013 and the last part of 2014 off and on.  We had a horrible breakup between that time and I didn’t speak to him for about 4 months.  I began speaking to him a bit.  He came over to do some computer work for me and we ended up sleeping together.  I think he took that as a sign that we were getting back together but it wasn’t for me.  I didn’t want to be back with him.

He was there for me a lot when I was sick.  He met me the same day I got out of the hospital.  We were still dating when I had surgery in 2013 but we broke up shortly after when he became super insecure and I found out he cheated on me.  We slept together a few times towards the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 around the time I met my now husband.  I told him that I was getting serious with him and we couldn’t sleep together anymore.  He asked could we sleep together one more time.  We did.  My now husband was in Germany working so I came back home to Alabama from Atlanta.  I had gotten sick in ATL and was in the hospital.  I came home but before I came home my now husband and I kind of backed off from each other for about a month because of the distance and I told him about it while I was still in Atlanta.  We got back on good terms but I never told my ex that.  He saw my car in the yard and called me. I told him I had been home a week or so and I was sick.  He said he would come over to help me when I was sick.  I said no at first but I actually needed his help.  When he asked again, I said yes.  He came over, cooked, and cleaned for me.  He left for a few days then he came back to help again.  He stayed in my extra bedroom for a few days helping me.

I was on a lot of medication.  I was sleeping most of the time he was here.  He would wake me up to eat and take my medication.  Sometimes he would get in bed with me and rub my back but he never tried anything…so I thought.

My husband and I didn’t have sex until after we got engaged.  When we got engaged, I told my ex him about it.  He seemed genuinely happy for me.  He asked me could we have sex again before I got married.  I told him no and that we wouldn’t be able to be friends if he insisted on saying things like that.  He told me he would stop.  He texted me a few times to check on me and ask could he come chill at my house.  I told him no.

About two months before the wedding, he texted me in the middle of the night saying, “I can’t take it anymore! I need to come over right now!”

I thought something was really wrong and I text back, “What’s wrong?!”

He said, “I really need to come over.  Can I just come over right now?”

“It’s after midnight.  I really need to know what is wrong before I say yes.  I am not trying to get in the middle of something crazy.”

He texted back, “I’m sorry.  I just need to be inside of you one more time. Just one last time!”

I cursed him out.  How dare he send me messages like that making me think something was actually wrong when he just because he wanted to have sex!

About a week later he texted me saying he wanted to apologize.  I said ok.  He called and I answered.  He apologized and I told him I would only forgive him if he promised not to do that again.  He promised.  I told him we could no longer be friends.

He replied, “I understand. And sorry for fucking you when I came over to help you too.”  I said, “What! When?”  He said that it didn’t matter, mumbled good bye and hung up.  I was so shocked but it was nothing I could do at this point.

Ever since Piece #1 was taken from me, I was afraid to go to sleep around men I didn’t know when I should have been afraid around men I knew too.  This could have easily turned out bad.  I could have gotten a disease or gotten pregnant.  It made me wonder if there are other women out here like me.  Am I just the type of person that sleeps really hard or are these men sleeping with other women while they are sleeping too?  I just never knew it was rape.  I think I put myself in those positions just being trusting and naïve just because I knew these guys.  Now that I know that this is serious, and not just something that made me mad or shocked, I am feeling very uncomfortable.  Men are scary.  Just a few months ago a man followed me home from the gas station trying to talk to me.  I had to lie and say my husband was home and was inside waiting for me when he was actually out of the country on business.  It shook me.  He knows where I live.  What if he comes back?  What if he is watching my apartment to see if my husband is home so that he can get me alone?  I live in a very small town.  It wouldn’t be very hard to catch me alone.  I’ve been up all night running this through my head.  It’s 2am now.  Now that I am married, is it over?  I don’t want any more pieces stolen from me…

Afterdark Dirty

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Hey baby shut the muthafucking door

Shit about to get dirty like a floor

Unzip ya pants, take ya dick out

Stop playing baby put it in my mouth

Shit gonna get real up in this place

Suck out the nut, let drip down my face

Keep it nasty, keep it dirty, keep it nice

Drop the pussy on the dick and squeeze tight

Ride it slow them speed up the tempo

Smack my ass and play with my nipples

Big girls don’t play with the dick

Can’t handle it? Go and get a stick

Hey baby I can give you what you need

Get off the top, and get on my knees

I love it when you thumbing my ass

Got me screaming like I’m in a plane crash

One bed, two freaks, three nuts down

All these gushy, squishy sounds

Sweat dripping all down ya sack

Pull out! Pull out! And nut on back!

Real Black, Fake Black

realfake

I used to be ashamed of my upbringing when I first began conversing with my sistas and brothas in the conscious movement.  I would remain quiet when they would speak of struggles and hardships that I never had to experience; tales of missing fathers, police sirens, gunshots, and poverty.  My heart bled for them in silence.  My tears ran freely. Thoughts of their childhood being cut often before their age reached double digits. I mourned the unburied dead that was their innocence.

I guess they though my silent anguish was for my own tragedy, one worst than they could ever imagine.  They were curious and began to ask me to share my own stories but would recoil when I told them my tears were not for me but for them.  I grew up sheltered and protected by a loving mother and father.  My extended family and my community was even more love and protection.  I was a sheltered, church girl, the youngest in my family, maybe even a little spoiled.  My childhood was wonderful.  Growing up surrounded by lush forest, green pastures, and huge front and back yards where I would play with my pets, siblings, cousins, and friends on hot summer days.  Swing sets, pools, dolls, bikes, summer vacation flights to northern and east coast cities, road trips, shopping sprees, Christmas list fulfilled….I didn’t want for anything.  But I felt ashamed.

I felt ashamed as my blackness diminished in their eyes, ashamed of my parent’s success, ashamed of the very peace that we were fighting for so that all little black boys and girls could feel as safe and protected as I did…

My mom worked her way up from assistant secretary to director, the highest position in her field, before she retired.  She also owned her own catering business for a while.  My father drew blueprints and designed houses, even internationally when I was very young, then came back home to work in the non-profit sector writing grants that enabled people to buy and keep land, and build and buy their own homes before he passed away when I was 18.  They achieved this while living less than 30 minutes away from schools that still had two proms, while sending their children to segregated schools, and a high black population ruled by white power in the Black Belt of Alabama.  But they made me feel ashamed.

I was 19 and didn’t know who Marcus Garvey was, never heard of Black Wall Street, or Seneca Village.  They gave me the same book of lies called history books that every other child in America received.  I spent my free time reading R.L. Stine and The Babysitter’s club because I didn’t know about the great African American literary period called the Harlem Renaissance until I was almost 18.  I believed at that time that respectability would make the world accept me even while I did lunch with white friends who couldn’t take me to their houses because their parents didn’t allow it; even while they plan parties and cookouts that I couldn’t attend because their families would be there.   I learned quickly in my historically white university that no matter how smart, articulate, or well-dressed and groomed I was, I could still be subjected to the same treatment that people who didn’t posses those traits do.

I started to wake up and be “conscious”.  I started to realize that my sun kissed darkness meant something more than just an organ that protected my internal structures.  I studied melanin, I returned to natural, started working with youth organizations, listening to neo-soul music,  reading about Kemet, learning about American-born black religions and creeds, pre-slavery Africa, hidden truths…  I kept my head in those books and websites. When I looked up, I was different.  I saw the world differently.  The lies, the deceit, the pure evilness of society.  People I knew didn’t understand.  I sought out these other people who seem like they had learned some of these secrets too only to have them shun me and question my blackness because of my lack of “struggle”.

What people need to understand is that everyone have different roles.  We need all different types of people in this fight.  We need people who march the streets with signs and chants, we need street soldiers to protect us, we need that college grad to help change laws and become advocates in the institutions that keep racism alive, we need speakers and writers to use their words to spread knowledge and change hearts.  No one is invalid or useless in the conscious movement.  We are all valuable and important no matter what our experiences include and no matter where we are on the journey to freedom and truth.