Failed Attempts

“If you’re going to do it, then you cut up and down. Not across the wrist.” I still have a small scar going diagonally on my wrist. The others have faded. 

Even if I did it, it wouldn’t matter. She’s literally given me the instructions on how to get the job done. And she’s still the same callous person throughout the whole ordeal. I finally realized that if I went through with it, then she would win. She didn’t want to see me happy or succeed. And me being gone would fulfill her wishes. 

The air in the household was saturated with hate, jealousy, secrets and abuse. It seemed easier to live with it, rather than ask for help. At least I knew what was coming day to day. If I told, then it would be out in the open and I wouldn’t know what to expect. “Whatever goes on in this house, stays in this house.” A line I won’t ever forget. 

If you put manipulative, abusive and deceitful behavior on display, then of course you think it’s ok. So why would I ask for help from people like that? Your practice of the inappropriate behavior is condoning it at the same time.

Being around 7 years old, I was made to feel that the molestation was my fault. Since I was made to feel guilty, I didn’t want to tell for fear of getting in trouble. Not being believed never crossed my mind. When I was a young teen, the violation recommenced. 

I was told that I dressed too provocatively. I was told that it didn’t matter because it wasn’t truly blood. I was told that other people do it all the time. I was told that I would be in the wrong if it came to light. I was told that since I was a virgin, it didn’t really matter. 

When I was in college, it happened again. Unbeknownst to my attacker, I knew the behavior of silence and blocking things out. So it happened and nothing came of it.

I never thought I was wrong. I assumed it was just something that happened in life from time to time. I knew it wasn’t OK, but I didn’t understand the severity of it until I spoke it out loud to two guys that I dated years later. Seeing the anger in their face and their desire for retaliation scared me. I made them promise to never speak of it or do anything about it. I didn’t want to be responsible for someone getting hurt or going to jail because of me. 

I attempted suicide 3 times. Twice by cutting my wrists and a third by ingestion. Did I think it was a cry for help? No. Was I unsure about following through? No. Was I disappointed when I realized I was still here? Yes.

I wanted to succeed simply because I was over it. I was sick of keeping secrets and not being in control of my mind or body. I was sick of playing the role of who everyone around me wanted me to be. I was sick of covering for others. I was sick of being a scapegoat and a victim.

Once I was in my late teens, I gained the control I wanted over my life and I never had those thoughts again. I was able to actually live. I was safe. If I didn’t like someone in my life, I’d simply remove them and forget about them. I’m a master at blocking things out and this helped me a lot. It may not be the best tactic, but it has worked well enough for me. I keep my circle very small. It’s less room for disappointment and hurt. 

If you or someone you know are being abused or molested, I’m reassuring you that it’s not your fault. No lie can change the truth. Blocking out the situation won’t change it. Enabling the behavior by staying quiet or not helping isn’t right either. Violating someone is not OK under any circumstances.

If you’re reading this and you’ve entertained suicidal thoughts, please stop. I know it’s not easy. Find something to look forward to day by day or week by week. Make those hard choices that will help you regain control over your life. Seek help. Do whatever you can to stay here. You were given life for a reason. Do not intentionally cut it short.

How have these Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts shaped me today? I don’t trust easily. It’s hard for me to give. If someone has hurt me, I have to remove them immediately and I won’t look back. I’m much stronger than I used to be mentally, but there is always work to be done. 

As an adult, I’m an “all or nothing” type of person. For example, I don’t like affection but I enjoy sex. It’s like if you’re going to touch me, then fuck me. Otherwise, don’t touch me at all.  I like everything in black and white. No blurred lines, no exceptions. It’s the blurred lines that can make things dangerous. 

When there is something I do enjoy, I secretly become obsessed with it. I sometimes feel guilty for being happy. I’m not sure how to fully explain why. 

I want to tell my daughter about all of my experiences through life, regardless of they are good or bad. I’d like her to know that she can trust me and tell me absolutely anything. I want you and her to learn from my experiences and mistakes.

Select the sub categories located under “Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts” after reading it, to follow the journey with me back into parts of my teenage mind. 

The Reason

The Reason

He made me feel confident 

He’s the reason I smiled

When I woke up in the morning, he was all I thought about 

ALL THE TIME

I was a totally different person

I couldn’t focus 

I was infatuated

Whenever we were together, I thought about it a million times over

I felt wanted, special and beautiful inside and out

He was sly, mysterious but that was OK

I broke him down when necessary 

He knew just what to say at the right time

He also knew when to surprise me to make me notice him again

He was smart I must admit 

Playing with my mind, while I played with his

But it’s all over now 

No more long stares or conversations or visits in the hallway

Just memories are left

Especially of when he said “I love you”

Select the sub categories located under “Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts” after reading it, to follow the journey with me back into parts of my teenage mind. 

Stories

He tell me stories~Stories only true lovers can share~He tells me his thoughts, his feelings, what’s on his mind and how I can keep him satisfied~He tells me what he likes about me~My brown, smooth skin, my legs, my smile face and hands~He says he can keep me satisfied~Take me to places I’ve never been before~To paradise~And once there, take care of me mentally and physically~To water my sexual, sensual garden~

I just sit and listen while he’s telling me his stories~Meanwhile longing to touch, to feel, to taste him~To feel his hands caressing me all over~Hearing him whisper I’m his and that he loves me and will never leave me~Saying that I’m not just another girl, but that I’m different, special~He says he’ll take care of my needs first~Before his~That he’ll satisfy me and make me moan to feed his ego~He says he’s a pro when it comes to love making~That I’ll be his one and only lover and he’ll be mine~He says he’ll take it slow and be gentle because he knows I’m a virgin~That he’ll keep that in mind~

He calls me his sexy chocolate thang~ I just smile and laugh in return~Does he want me only for what I can do for him?~ Or does he want a little more?~I’m longing to be with him~To see if what he says is true~If he can really satisfy my wants and needs~Or to see if he’ll let me down~

I want to do it~Experience it~But how do you know when it’s right?~ Is it worth it?~Should I?~I don’t know~Maybe one day I’ll find out what it’s really about~But until then~I’ll just keep listening to his stories

Select the sub categories located under “Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts” after reading it, to follow the journey with me back into parts of my teenage mind. 

Freedom

Sometimes I just want to scream, scream, scream

To see if anyone really hears me, my cries, my need to be free

Or just to see if it’s all just a figure of my imagination 

To see why they won’t set me free

Do they not love me?

Or trust me?

Or believe in me?

They can’t call it protection because there is no real danger 

They can’t call it love because there’s no one around to hate

So what can they call it?

Control?

Safety?

Captivity?

Sometimes I just want to scream, scream, scream

To see if anyone really hears me, my cries, my need to be free

Or just to see if it’s all just a figure of my imagination 

Am I only good for cleaning?

And watching?

And scoring?

Or am I appreciated for just a little bit more?

Why is it that the ones who seem to need freedom the most always end up lacking it?

Why is it that the ones who need to be controlled the most don’t have it and the ones who don’t need it get the third degree?

Sometimes I just want to scream, scream, scream

To see if anyone really hears me, my cries, my need to be free

Or just to see if it’s all just a figure of my imagination 

My heart, mind, body and soul long for it 

My blood and emotions fiend for it

All it is 

All I need 

All I want 

Is a little, just a little

FREEDOM

Select the sub categories located under “Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts” after reading it, to follow the journey with me back into parts of my teenage mind. 

Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts

These are a series of poems and gathered thoughts that I wrote as a teenager. They were in a black spiral notebook that I kept hidden for years. It’s amazing that I had it up until I was in my mid 20’s. Then for some reason (I can’t recall), I ripped a few pages out of it. I’m

unsure of where the rest of the notebook is. But I found those few pages within the past year. 

My teenage years weren’t my favorite. My parents were extremely strict and my frustration showed. We didn’t have a good relationship. I did well in school. The only positives I felt the I had were my young sisters and my close friends. 

I went through some very dark times. There were countless nights where I’d stay awake and literally cry for hours on end. Unfortunately,  I did ponder suicide at times. I’d constantly wonder why I had to deal with molestation, fear and the feeling of being trapped.

There are so many teenagers and young kids that are having the same thoughts that I did. That is why I’m putting these words on display. To remind them that they are not alone. That they are not wrong for their feelings, but they need to find a way to get rid of them. They need to remind themselves that they are enough. That they will be OK, although that seems impossible. They need to know help is available. They need to know they are not crazy or weird and that their feelings are valid.

I want them to focus on their future. I want them to know that time heals. I want them to know that there are millions of people in the world and they don’t have to surround themselves with bullies or abusers. Lastly, I want them to know that there is life ahead of them and they need to make sure that they are here to live it and enjoy it.

Reading some of these writings (as an adult) that I wrote in regards to losing my virginity showed me my “all or nothing” side. I was actually surprised at how obsessed I was with losing my virginity in high school. But a lot of teenagers are that way. I was scared and intrigued at the same time. As a result, I wrote about the boys that were trying to pursue me. I ironically, I haven’t found a single writing about after the deed was finally done.

Don’t rush to lose your virginity. It’s something only you can control. So don’t give up that power too easily. Be safe and educate yourself. Be sure that you’re fully aware of the consequences that may occur after the deed is done.

I came across some writings that I wrote over a few months when I dated my first boyfriend. Like all teenage girls, I was obsessed with him. Literally. We were best friends. We’d sneak out of our houses in the middle of the night and  hang out as long as we could. Sometimes I was exhausted, and he’d steal his parents car and come see me. We would sleep in my little sisters’ tree house until it was time to go get ready for school. 

Sometimes, he wasn’t always the nicest to me. He could be angered easily. He had no problem yelling at me, hanging up on me or calling me out of my name. I loved him so much. I didn’t care. I’d apologize and beg for his forgiveness. I’d call him over and over until he answered. I didn’t realize I was practicing the behavior of my mother. But we were kids, so this has no weight on his character today. He was and still is a great person with a huge heart. He was just as misunderstood as I was. That’s what made our bond so strong because we truly understood each other. 

He had grown up and grown out of those bad habits when we reconnected years later. I had grown up too, but I was still practicing my bad habits. I was still displaying my mother’s submissive, weak behavior that I had mistakingly learned to master. At that time, I was in the relationship described in the post “Toxic”. Ironically, I told him about the situation and he told me to leave that guy. But I didn’t listen. I was too far in.

Select the sub categories located under “Unpoetic Teenage Thoughts” to follow the journey with me back into parts of my teenage mind. 

Perception

Perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. It can also be a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something, in addition to a mental impression. 

I wasn’t close to my mother or stepdad due to the fact that I felt that they allowed their perception of me to become their truth in our relationship. Needless to say, their perception of me wasn’t the best. This led to them judging everything that came out of my mouth harshly. That (among other things) helped to perpetuate a volatile relationship. As I was growing up, all we did was argue. I’d go days without speaking to them because I simply had nothing to say. They lived in their own toxic world and I kept to myself. 

My stepfather used to say “Whatever goes on in this house, stays in this house.” Therefore I didn’t speak of what went on there to anyone besides my best friend and I made her sweat to secrecy. So as a young girl, I learned to build the walls that I have today. I felt that was the safest thing to do. I didn’t want to betray my mother and stepfather regardless of how bad things were. I was (and still am)a fiercely loyal person. As a result, I kept a huge guard up. I didn’t (and do not) trust easily and I was (and still am) a very private person. 

I don’t speak of my feelings. If I do decide to trust someone and they betray me, it’s rare that I forgive. I know as people we are supposed to forgive. I’m trying to work on it. 

With these walls built, lack of trust and my ability to shield anything wrong in my life, the negative perception of me flourishes. My defense mechanisms are seen as undesirable traits that push people away and give them the wrong idea about who I am. I don’t care as much as I should because you can’t please everyone. And I have great people in my circle that have a different perception of me, so I can’t be that bad right? 

The mix of people’s perception of me and being a black woman with resting bitch face is part of the recipe for being called an “angry black woman.” I believe that phrase is a way to avoid identifying what the problem truly is. Instead, it’s just calling someone a meaningless name. Instead of labeling each other, we should get to know people. We are not required to like everyone. Just accept who they are and move on. 

I can be perfectly fine one day and everyone is asking me what’s wrong. When something truly is wrong, no one notices. I do take some responsibility for the perception people have of me. Our past relationships and experiences help shape us. We learn, grow and adapt as we go through this journey of life. That’s why we shouldn’t judge anyone. 

“I put on my makeup, put a smile on my face…and if anyone asks me, everything is ok…I’m laughing because no one knows the joke is on me…because I’m dying inside with my pride and a smile on my face…” 

The above excerpt is from a song by Tamia that I identified with years ago. My confidence was not what it is today and I felt that it would show. My walls that I built protected me. My smile is my best shield.

Becoming a mother has taught me to be a little more vulnerable. To forgive a little. To be a strong, confident role model for my daughter. To focus on truly being happy in life and not lowering my standards for others. To be a little more compassionate and understanding. Perception isn’t everything. It’s just a start. 

Victoria

Victoria 

I hate to lose. I’m very competitive. “You’ll be good at it!” My friend said. “Yea right…I would never attempt and no one would hire me anyway. I don’t even have boobs!” I responded. Then he says…”Bet.”

So that Saturday, I drove an hour away to the first place we found on Google. I told him I’d be back after I got rejected. He seemed to think otherwise and he was right.

“You ever done this before?” Dom (a bald headed buff Italian man) asked me. He looked like a bodyguard but he was the manager. I told him absolutely not. “Get on stage and dance.” I had on my everyday heels from home and did as he asked. I chose one of my favorites “That’s The Way Love Goes” by my idol Janet Jackson. 

Before the song was over Dom told me to stop. “Do you have shoes?” He asked. I told him I didn’t. He told me the cook would drive me down the street to get some. So there I was… sitting in the passenger seat of her pick up truck in complete shock. I had lost the bet.

I filled out the application and was told I was hired. “What’s your name going to be?” Dom asked. I had no idea. I hadn’t even thought that far. Nothing sounded good. I could tell he was getting impatient, so I blurted out “Victoria! Like Victoria’s Secret since it’s a secret I’m here .” Dom was fine with that.

I made a few hundred dollars that night and I worked until the club closed. I don’t know how I got through that night. I wasn’t 21 so I couldn’t drink. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but it was fun. The “Veteran” dancers were nice and the customers were as well. Everyone was happy and having a great time. 

It was easy to tell who the top girls were and who were trash or visitors. But there was respect all around an no one broke the rules inside. There really was no sex in the champagne room back then. If a girl wanted to take things further, she did it outside the club after her shift. I still can remember the first night I made over $1,000. The guy was obsessed with me and had plenty of money. So of course I made sure my friends joined us during the “dances” so they made money too. He spent money well and all he wanted to do was drink and have us listen to him brag about himself.

Bachelor parties were the best. I was too afraid to do them outside of the club, but I had a lot of fun when we did them there. It was a guaranteed money making night if the groom liked you because that meant all of his friends liked you too (and of course they were footing the bill). I was always looking out for the men I met. Reminding them not to get too drunk and to remember they have lives outside of those doors. I had to let them know the night wouldn’t last forever but mistakes would.

I ended up quitting my other 2 jobs after about 3 months because I was making more money on a Friday and Saturday night than I would all week! I would literally hide money in my glove compartment and trunk because I didn’t know what to do with it. So for a few months, I spent most of the “work week” going out to eat and hanging out with friends. Then once the weekend came I was getting paid to socialize and dance. It was perfect.

I’ve always been a very openly sexual person, so dancing truly was fun for me. It was like an outlet without having sex. I wasn’t even sleeping with anyone in or outside of the club and I didn’t have the urge to. I supposed working in a sexually charged atmosphere can do that. I would still be surprised and humbled every time a man or woman came to tip me and compliment me. I was appreciative inside but exhibited pure lust and control on the outside. “Victoria” was who Janee was behind closed doors. The lady that only a few lucky people got to see in private in the real world was on display on that stage.

One night, one of the D.J’s asked me if I would ever work the day shift. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I couldn’t fathom who would come to the club during the day. I couldn’t imagine there being any money to be made. I wasn’t doing anything during the day but spending money and sleeping. So I told him I’d give the day shift a try.

Yes, you’re right. I loved it! I started work at noon and would finish by 5pm unless I decided to work the night shift. It was intimidating at first because I was unfamiliar with these ladies and they had their own regulars. I ended up bonding with them and developing my own clients. Of course it wasn’t as busy and the atmosphere was more quiet and intimate, but I enjoyed it. I spent a lot of time talking to businessmen, doctors and wealthy clients. I learned all I could from them and made genuine friendships. 

One guy bought me lunch and snacks for the other ladies at least 4 times a week. Another always stopped in when he was in town to talk to me about his wife and to make sure my bills were paid for the month. Another was a man who had low confidence, but I became his cheerleader. He ended up introducing me to his girlfriend and she thanked me for giving him the confidence needed to finally ask her out.

I dated 2 men while working there (not at the same time of course). They both met me there and understood that work stayed at work and that I was extremely loyal. They even came to see me while working which I didn’t mind. I just hated for them to see me dance on stage. I was self conscious when they were in the crowd. If they asked me to dance at home one on one, I was too shy. I’m confident, but sometimes not as confident as people think. I’m more confident in front of strangers than I am with people I actually know. I care about the opinions of people that I know personally, as opposed to strangers.

I love those girls to this very moment. We looked out for each other and spread the wealth. It was a beautiful sisterhood. All different types of young ladies, all different shades and body types. We were a team. Many of them now are doctors, teachers, nurses and have families. We’re all Facebook friends! Working at the club was a fun temporary job for all of us and we used it for what we needed it for. I told myself I’d stop after 2 years and I did. I gave myself a time frame because I didn’t want to become a “lifer”.

I don’t think there should be any judgement if the job is done right. You’re there to dance and entertain. Not to sell sex and get involved in drugs and human trafficking. The exploiters, thieves and criminals give the business a bad name. But the ones who do it right would tell you they enjoyed it as much as I did. This job set me up for the perfect getaway that I needed away from the prior toxic relationship.

Tinkle Time!

I decided after Lauralie’s first birthday that it was time. Yes! I decided to start the introduction to the potty chair. Her and I went to Walmart and I let her choose one. She didn’t know what she was choosing of course but she settled on a princess potty seat. 

We took it home and I broke it out the box. I text her father and let him know to purchase one as well (since we were already living in separate homes at the time). She looked at it but wasn’t too thrilled. I left it in the bathroom and I would ask her if she needed to potty whenever I went. She looked at me bewildered of course but I kept at it. 

It took her father a few months to buy a potty chair because he kept forgetting. By the winter after her 2nd September birthday, he had purchased one and was fully on board. Once Lauralie became curious about he potty chair, she let it be known. She would randomly ask me what is was and if she could sit on it. Of course I said yes, but I made it clear that it wasn’t a toy. I wanted to her to understand what it actually was used for and to not get confused. 

By April she was using the potty regularly. As of now (January 2020) she only poops in her Pull Ups. She’s a little over 2 years old and she gets excited using the potty. I’m sure her love language is “words of affirmation” because she loves to be complimented and praised when she does something well. For me, the trick is allowing her to explore and learn things on her own time. I was never pushy and I didn’t want her to get frustrated. Instead I explained to her what the potty was and I let her explore. If you make things fun for the child, then they’ll reciprocate it!

Cheap Toddler Thrills

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have fun with your child. I’m serious. I feel they are the least expensive at this age to entertain. There are playgrounds, picnics and free classes around your town. Finger painting, chalk and (my favorite) dance parties are fun at home!

When she was a baby, I’d lay Lauralie on her changing table mat and play toddler songs. She’d kick her feet and give big smiles as I clapped my hands and made silly faces with her. It was my favorite part of the day! Now that she’s two, we have dance parties at home and in the car. She loves it. What kid doesn’t enjoy the hokey pokey and some Disney classics?! 

Lauralie is an only child so I love taking her to the playground to interact with other children. We pack some snacks and she rides the swings and slides down the slides until her heart is content. And she makes a friend or two depending on her mood. 

A lot of indoor play programs offer a free class. They are usually called “free play” and they last about an hour or so. I recommend trying different locations and seeing all the options that are available. Find one that both you and your child are comfortable with. I take her to those as well and she does a great job. We haven’t found one that we absolutely love, but we have plenty of time! For now, her home base is on Sundays at her and her father’s church. She loves to “praise Jesus” (as she says) with the other children!

I purchased a water table for her when she was about 1 and a half. It’s not something I would’ve thought about had I not saw one in the store. It keeps her content on the patio while enjoying the Florida sunshine. Bubbles are definitely another favorite that is easy and fun for toddlers.

This may seem wild, but learning to paint her nails has taught her patience and concentration. She practices her colors and takes her time when painting her nails and mine. Lauralie knows she has to blow her nails and lay them out so they can dry. She enjoys the process because her end result is pretty nails. 

She has a mini ball pit that she’s had since she turned 1 that my best friend gave her for Christmas. Now that she’s older, we use the balls to practice our colors and counting. It’s also fun for hide and seek! Blocks are a big hit right now. She likes to see how tall she can stack them until they fall down and she repeats the process.

Chores that seem boring to us adults can be fun for kids! Picking out the colors and counting the fruits and vegetables at the grocery store for example. Or helping separate laundry and cleaning up can all be turned into a fun activity. It just takes a little thinking outside of the box along with a smile!

Sweet Milk

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I would watch videos on babies “latching” for breast feeding and the “Do’s and Dont’s.” A woman’s body is beyond amazing and I was fascinated that we can give birth and feed our children.

Lauralie latched well and was a pretty good eater. I knew I’d be going back to work two months after her birth so I wanted her and I to get all the practice that we could. I enjoyed breast feeding but I wanted her father to feel included as well. So about 2 weeks after her birth, I started pumping so we could introduce her to the bottle and so he could feel more included. I made sure to be out of sight (I’d actually go upstairs) while he fed her. She took to the bottle with no issues.

Since I didn’t go back to work immediately after birth, her and I were home alone together. I enjoyed every second of it. I was actually sad when she fell asleep and I’d wait anxiously for her to wake up. I would pump if possible because I was so worried about my “supply” decreasing. She did end up favoring one side over the other and at 2 a.m it’s a little hard to remember which breast she last fed on! Therefore, I ended up being lopsided for a while and I began to try to increase my supply with tea made for that reason. 

The tea worked for about a month or so. About 4 months in, I decided to start supplementing with formula. I pumped at work and I’m thankful for my job being encouraging as I started my journey of motherhood. I mixed breast milk with it, so Lauralie would still have a familiar taste. It took her a few days and within a week she was using formula once my “milk stash” in the freezer dwindled. 

I was pleased that I was able to breastfeed. Even though I didn’t do it as long as I wanted to, it didn’t matter. She was happy and healthy. I’ve been told by some mothers that they feel inadequate because they were not able to breastfeed. There is absolutely no need to feel that way! As long as your child is getting the nutrients, love, care and attention that is needed then that’s all that matters.