Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Being A Sexy Black Woman with #Epilepsy

Hey guys!

Quick post.

I’ve been working on my body this year, no just losing weight but also my self-perception. So far over the last couple of months I have lost weight. #PROUD

This began towards the end of 2017 with healthy eating and looking at my portion sizes, and light exercises I could do at home. Then when I felt that my body was ready physically, I began to exercise outside.

Running is still extremely difficult. Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever get back to my old level of fitness due to muscle weakness from the seizures 😔

I did throw myself in at the deep-end in January and signed up to a local kickboxing class for beginners, however my seizures have left me so unfit that I just couldn’t keep up, even with the other beginners, which is a shame because when I wasn’t recovering from seizures I definitely noticed the difference in my upper body even after a month, and upper body strength is where I am severely lacking. I have absolutely no fat on my legs, but I find that the muscles in those bounce back quicker after a seizure 😔

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll remember that I used to cycle as well as run when I was working full-time, before I became unwell. I recently had to sell my old bike because it was too hard-core for me, however I’ve traded it in for a brand new delightful Dutch bicycle which is much more easier for my sore muscles to handle:

Saying goodbye to my old bike was another wakeup call and a reminder that my body has changed so significantly.

However, thanks to embracing my identity as a Black woman, I’ve now learnt to love my body for what it is.

As Black women growing up, we had very few role models to look up to, so imagine at the age of 31 me finding The Slumflower finally telling me it’s ok to be who I’ve always wanted to be and to embrace my body for how it is and to not give a fuck what anybody else thinks. Because I love it and that’s all that matters 👊🏾

For example, I’ve always hated bras. Most women do – in fact, as soon as we walk through the door we take the damn things off. When you have big boobs like me it’s even worse! They can cause severe psychological distress and when people around you constantly tell you that you’re wearing the wrong sizes, when you know that you you’re wearing the right sizes, it’s just having to wear a bra that’s the issue and if you could only not have to wear one then you wouldn’t be so distressed, then you wouldn’t feel so self-conscious.

So when The Slumflower began the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement on Twitter, I burned my bras and haven’t looked back since.

What has this got to do with Epilepsy I hear you ask?

Well as a Black woman, everything. It causes me less stress, it boosts my self-esteem. It’s bad enough that I’m still suffering from the impact of racial traumas; ANYTHING that can contribute to my positive mental health and well-being, has everything to do with my Epilepsy.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Oh Mother, Where For Art Thou?

So I had a quick catch up with my mum last week afternoon and caught her up on my failed teacher training due to racial microaggressions, the bullies using my epilepsy as a scapegoat, and my subsequent suicide attempt. Fairly light afternoon mother-daughter chat. When she asked the reasons they had used to sabotage my reputation at work, I replied “well at first it started off as them accusing me of being late for work, then they started to say that I was aggressive towards members of staff. Have you ever known me to be late for work mum?” Without a moment’s pause, she replied no. However, when I asked her if she’d ever known me be aggressive, she paused, before replying:

“well maybe not aggressive but angry”.

We’ve fallen out over this before. She’s always perceived me to be an angry girl, however she’s never paused to think about the reasons behind it. I didn’t want to fight about it, so I just said to her “at work mum. I know how to present myself at work.” Her response was then:

“well I’m not there with you, so I can’t say, but I’m sure you are.”

How come you can say with conviction that I’m a punctual person when I’m not in your presence, but you cannot say that I know how to be a professional Black woman?

That’s what I wanted you to say mum.

It dawned on me that yet again, our parents are a generation that have been insidiously conditioned by white supremacists to think in certain ways about our Black actions.

Just because I may behave in a certain way in your home, does not automatically mean that I am the same person outside. Furthermore, you brought me up woman! You brought me up to have manners, to be polite, to act “white”around white people so as not to draw attention to myself, therefore that’s how I used to act outside (in the workplace).

At home, I was your angry daughter because I had issues with you, therefore if a group of white people in the workplace are then ganging up on your daughter and stereotyping her as an aggressive Black woman, alarm bells should be ringing in your mind mother.

And this is where I am yet again reminded that my own mother doesn’t know me.

My mother doesn’t even know that my favourite animal are owls.

Everybody who knows me knows this about me.

She banned me from having anything owl related in her house, because she thought that they were demon-related – especially so when Harry Potter came out.

Hedwig

So, after crying myself into a nap, I realised that things needed to change.

I messaged her, reminding her that the things that I was angry about, were reasonable things to be angry about, and I did not appreciate being labelled as angry for that.

This was confirmed when I went to see my Tarot Counsellor on later on in the week, Thursday. I’ve recently gotten into Tarot and astrology, because I follow my heart and not only do the cards give surprising readings; they sometimes confirm my gut instincts. For example, I had no idea that I would be speaking to my mother again – the cards read this, which was a surprise for me and after two years I thought that I was ready to move on, but it turned out that it was time for me to return on my terms. The cards also read some incredible insight into the broken relationship between my sister and I. You might be reading this and thinking this is all bollocks, but I’m not easily swayed either. I just follow my gut.

My Tarot Counsellor advised me that it was time to stand up for myself, because I already knew that the relationship between my mother and I was an unhealthy one, bourne down through generations of trauma. My mother was also a shadow who casts darkness over my light – in fact, nobody on earth makes me feel shitter than my mother and sister; nobody on earth makes me feel more like an outsider than my mother and my sister. My mother consistently acts like the child in our relationship, knowing that it puts significant strain upon me – both physically as well as mentally. She claims to care about my health, but it dawned upon me that we’ve been talking for two or three weeks, yet she hasn’t apologised for the fact that we haven’t spoken to each other in over two years, nor has she apologised for the vile things that she said to me. Whereas, I apologised during our first conversation.

So, I messaged her.

I wasn’t rude. I reminded her that I was her child and that if this relationship was to move forward, she needed to embrace her role as a mother. She should also get to know me, because she never had and she still did not. Those are my terms.

I haven’t heard from her since.

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It is what it is.

This time however, the door is still open on my side, instead of slammed shut like before, which is much beneficial to my mental health, as well as my physical.

And I’ve been busy making my family around me who know me and love me. I don’t need blood when I’m a Priestess and I’ve got options and acceptance.

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Besties

Before the end of brand beginning of 2018, I lost two close friends due to my new outspokenness.

The first was a friend from university, a white guy. I have to mention the colour of his skin because the reason we fell out was because of my wokeness. He labelled me a “social justice warrior” (which I’ve always been), but more so particularly because of my openness about racism. He wasn’t comfortable with it, decided we couldn’t be friends anymore and that was on December 31st.

I’d never come across the term “social justice warrior” before and actually found it hilarious that my fighting for social justice had only become a problem now that I had decided to direct my attentions towards the injustices of my people of colour. My girlfriend said that people who use the term “social justice warrior” are massive Nazis and white supremacists. I was shocked, because I’d known this guy for over ten years… and then it clicked. I’d never been Black to him, until now.

I never really talk about this friend, but believe me when I say it, this break-up broke my heart. Meeting at the age of eighteen at university we were pretty much kids and we were also both cancerians. We were both kindred spirits, we also lived together during the first two years of uni, both studied the same course, both came from incredibly fucked up families. Even when we fell out at the end of our second year, we got back in touch with each other after graduation and never stopped talking since.

Before I left London for uni, my sister and I were bullied by a group of black girls from church and I decided that I didn’t wanna fuck with black girls anymore and he heard all about it. (This wasn’t me generalising an entire group. I will do a separate post on this.) As my best friend at the time, I just thought that he was being a sympathetic ear, but wow how the slots are falling into place. His dad was also incredibly racist: the bull in me now would’ve gone raging for that red flag big time, but the naive girl at the time assumed that as he was friends with me, he clearly wasn’t racist.

Anyway, on 31st December 2017, he decided to terminate our friendship because I was woke.

After many tears I now of course know that I’m better off.

The second was the bestie from Bumble.

I’m still trying to figure this one out. I was talking about a Kanye West song, which turned into a debate about institutional racism over WhatsApp, which turned into a one-sided argument about me having been a bad friend and screenshot evidence that she had been collecting throughout our friendship taken out of context to prove that I was a bitch, always had been, leading to me being blocked on WhatsApp. I say one-sided, because I don’t get dragged into arguments anymore. I actually took a week off of university last month, because of stress-triggered seizures which then led to the flu. I told her to take time out but girls love to argue, so I’m sitting in a lecture about Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and my phone is blowing up with messages from her about how I don’t understand institutional racism (irony!), how I’m a bitch, how I’m this, how I’m that… You know that wow gif from The Wire… that was my wow moment when I realised I’d been sharing my darkest secrets all of this time with a psycho. She’d taken everything I’d said and used it against me out of context and I knew it was coming. Because I disagreed with her and stood my ground.

I like interchanging between books, so one of the books I’m currently reading is A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James and this quote reminds me of Bumble Bestie:

Nina Burgess – “I could try to shut her up, but like Ras Trent, Kimmy’s not really talking to you. She only needs a witness, not an audience.” (A Brief History, p.157).

I also recently learnt that South Asian people have a serious issue when it comes to colourism (Bumble Bestie is of South Asian descent).

At times it did feel like she wanted to talk down to me and I thought this was because of her Oxford education, but now I’m also beginning to wonder if it was also a colourism issue to. Did she even know she was doing it?

It infuriated her even more when “darkie” here argued back 😂

The girl was a c*nt. She did NOT like being told a different opinion. About anything. She could say that the sky was blue and you could say “with clouds” and she would screw up her face/ question why you were “questioning” her.

I stayed friends with her for too long. All because we connected during a time (Finchley), when I was incredibly lonely and broken. On the other hand, I just also felt like I’d finally found a friend who understood my mental health and sympathised with my physical condition. However, in all of that screenshotting drama, there was no regard that I might be having a seizure just because she wanted to prove a point.

However, in all of that screenshotting drama, there was no regard that I might be having a seizure just because she wanted to prove a point.

🤷🏾‍♀️

C*nt.

Both of these people are unfortunately emotionally unstable people, therefore I am trying not to let it cloud my judgement. Furthermore, I won’t let it deter me from voicing my opinions. I spent years keeping my intelligent voice silent afraid of conflicts like this.

Posted in Blog

I’m Out, But I’m In It For Nan

I’m back!

It’s been awhile.

It seems that this is the year that I’m falling out with family instead of friends.

Unfortunately there have been ripples of tension within my extended family (my uncles). Therefore, I’ve been drawing away from them in order to protect my physical and mental health. During this point, I’ve been developing relationships with my youngest girl cousin – who has now become like a little sister to me – and nan, because not only do I love them unconditionally, but they appear to be the only people who actually care about my physical health. Even my nan at 85-years-old, told me off for not eating properly, because I was worried about her and she forced me to apologise to myself!

My cousin, her brother and I think my nan is being abused by my uncles and aunt, but unfortunately there is nothing that we can do because Social Services have now failed us.

An 85-year-old woman imprisoned in a bedroom by a mentally imbalanced daughter (my aunt). The house is in disrepair, my aunt is also a controlling hoarder.

My uncles are enabling it, and I suspect, keeping my nan’s finance’s from her.

But I’m just an “outsider” – this is what I got labelled, as well as a child when I called out my uncles and aunt, for their despicable behaviour.

All of this has had an effect upon my epilepsy, as you can imagine. Two weeks ago, there were a few days where I couldn’t get out of bed due to seizures and exhaustion.

The change in relationship with my uncles forced me to make a change in relationship of my own. I needed my mum, so I called her on Monday. I surprised even myself, but it was good to hear hear voice. And during this time, she’s being the mum I need her to be. She’s concerned for my safety, she’s concerned for my wellbeing, and most importantly, she concerned for my health.

It’s all I ever wanted.

I also came out to her, and she didn’t reject me. She was surprised, but not angry, nor religiously spiteful or spitting blood down the phone….

… Barriers are still up though.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Are Mental health, epilepsy and race intersectional?

I guess some of you of might be wondering why I’ve chosen to take the direction of race of my blog, as well as epilepsy and mental health.

It’s because for me, as a woman of colour, I’ve learnt that it’s all intersectional.

I’ll give you an example: as you know I’m currently studying online. We have a WhatsApp group social group; We don’t always get along, however when we do it’s pretty fantastic. I’m not the only Black woman on the course, however I do seem to be the only vocal one. That could be because of the explicit racism I’ve experienced which has made me so, plus the fact that I’m the youngest on the course and we’re paying a hell of a lot for this course. Therefore, when people aren’t happy with the course, I’m always the “Katniss Everdeen” of the group, forcing everybody to fight for what we’re paying for. Sometimes I do take breaks for mental health reasons. Sometimes, I also like to just observe the group, and there is one white woman, originally from UK, now living in China, who has a superiority complex, talks down to a lot of the women especially, some just ignore her completely, some run to her in worship even though she is passive aggressively rude and rarely goes out of her way to help, unlike the rest of us in the group!

Over the weekend, she then tried to make me look like the “angry black woman stereotype” when she quite rudely told everybody to stop moaning, get over themselves and get on with it. We’re all frustrated with the disorganisation of the University, so the WhatsApp group is also where we come to vent and encourage. I never take kindly to people telling me what to do, especially when it’s some prissy white woman I don’t even like, let alone know. Clearly the message was rude, yet nobody else in the group said anything, so I stepped up. As the “angry black woman“.

Only after I sent my message, did somebody else message after, but it was very clear that they had waited.

The prissy white woman tried to retract by saying that she hadn’t meant to offend, however she failed to apologise – which I pointed out – therefore, failing to step off of her high horse. I reminded her that although this was a group for sharing information about the course, this was also a social group for venting and referring to it as “moaning” is demeaning and we will not be dictated to. She then only directly apologised to the other person – another white woman – and not to me; my only response was: “sorry you feel that way” as if my feelings were unwarranted, and I was being unreasonable, as”angry black woman“.

Later on, others felt like they couldn’t talk openly about their disappointment about their bad grades, as that would be “moaning” and I began to cry to my partner, as this was beginning to affect my mental health.

Then at 4.30am this morning, prissy white woman sends a message to let us all know that she is leaving the group. She did apologise for offending us, however it was nowhere near a sincere apology. She then left. The message woke me up and I haven’t slept since.

Lack of sleep of a trigger of seizures, as is stress.

And when my partner left for work this morning, the first thing I did was get out of bed to clean obsessively (I also have OCD).

And this is why, mental health, epilepsy and race are intersectional.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Heroes (Mental Health)

Tonight I want to talk about role models.

 

With the “collapse of Hollywood” amongst the sex scandals, it’s occurred to me that I’ve placed a HUGE amount of heroism and idolism into mere humans, who I once used to see as so much more than humans: Alfred Hitchcock was the reason I decided to study film, and why I place so much value in it as an artform, even to this day. Orson Welles, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola….

 

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to take notice of women in Hollywood, and I suppose this was because previously, I had been looking for a father-figure – somebody to look up to.

 

My sister and I found that in the actor Tom Hanks. Even in his younger roles like Big and Bachelor Party, we still saw the “dad” we needed in him, and the older he got, the more drawn we were to him. It never seemed to occur to us that we were drawn to his characters and not him as a person. However, the way he handled the difficult situation with his son Colin only fuelled the fantasy, and again it never occurred to me that this might have all been a PR spin in order to protect his reputation.

 

So imagine my heartbreak when I saw Tom Hanks’ name trending on Twitter alongside Matt Damon’s earlier a couple of weeks ago. We all know how Matt Damon feels about sexual harassment, so when I saw that name trending, my heart immediately sank because I knew that it couldn’t be good news… and it wasn’t.

 

I found a link of Tom Hanks being interviewed on CNN (which appears to have been removed now), “mansplaining” assault, and claiming to not have known anything about Weinstein’s alleged behaviour, however the way in which he places emphasises on the word “alleged” is incredibly shady. In another interview for the Metro newspaper, he then criticises Netflix’s decision to drop Kevin Spacey and claims that the company will go bust if they continue to act upon accusations.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=newssearch&cd=11&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjXm9CO9JbYAhUoI8AKHTcCDJc4ChCpAggmKAAwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmetro.co.uk%2F2017%2F12%2F13%2Ftom-hanks-calls-patience-judging-alleged-hollywood-abusers-7155153%2F&usg=AOvVaw3078wNtH8Xb2UE8fmt1a4K

 

My partner and I have spoken about the fact that I place too high expectations upon people, that I expect people to be perfect, which is why I’m always let down. But I constantly dispute this.

I just expect people to have fucking morals, and to treat people the way that they would expect to be treated.

 

And I also place my trust in the wrong people…. Parents…. Siblings….. Male celebrities…..Maybe just the human race in general….

-what-meme-41709

 

However, if you place your trust in the right people, you can then trust yourself and your own judgement. This is partly what your formation years are for, and how you then become a “mentally stable adult” who perhaps doesn’t place their trust in arsehole rapist sexual predator men, but in themselves.

Now if you look at my Twitter account, it’s full of Females, not only because I’m gay, but also because when you support the right people, you get “fed the right food”…

 

Ava DuVernay – Black, female director and activist who is incredibly artistic and has the biggest heart for Black females. I look up to her like the big sister I never had.  

Kelechi Okafor –  Black, female actress and founder of her own Fitness Studio, who daily inspires me with her activism. I actually discovered her when I was first suspended and would just spend my days stalking her on Twitter (LOL). I eventually got to meet her at the end of the summer, to tell her what a profound effect she’d had on mental health. She also taught me to speak up for myself; after spending nine months in an institution, surrounded by white people where I was forced to keep silent, I’d lost my voice and Kelechi’s tweets taught me how to speak again.

Tobi Oredein – Black, female journalist, who created Black Ballad as a platform for talented Black journalists to be published and be paid for it. I’d never seen this before I encountered Tobi on social media. And to know Tobi, is to understand her passion for Black, talented people and their struggle in the creative world, because it’s a fucking struggle to be heard. Black Ballad is so beautiful and full of such inspiration.

Izin Akhabau – Black, female journalist and was the youngest ever reporter for BBC News. Izin has been by my side virtually all summer. At first, we became connected because she wanted me to write a piece for her, however we became close during my mental breakdown and she came through for me BIG TIME. She’s also writes for Black Ballad and is starting her own online platform, so keep your eyes peeled.

Terry Crews – actor and recent activist for sexual harassment in Hollywood. I’m so glad I no longer know him from just being this dude from the “White Chicks” movie (which is awful by the way, don’t even get me started), to being the Big Black Man who started a wave in Hollywood. LEGEND. 
All of these people in their own ways, have taught me to be myself.

Self Care

I made a decision that I was going to subscribe to a magazine, and after “shopping around” for a few months, I made the decision to go with Pride and I’m so happy I did: their features on hair, music (I have a new separate playlist just from new acts I’ve discovered from Pride Magazine alone!), current Black culture etc is so fulfilling.

It’s great to just read in the bath when I need a break from social media, Netflix or studying.

It’s funny, I was talking to my best friend about the “Tom Hanks situation” and it seems I’m not the only person within the Black community to be disappointed in him and it’s because we gave him a seat at the table, as an honorary black man, which is so true. My sister and I definitely used to see him as black dad. But in retrospect, how could we all have been so foolish? He could never empathise with us as a “dad” if he’s not the same skin colour – it’s sad but it’s true.

When I messaged Tobi an appreciation message before the end of the year, in her reply she explained that Black Ballad had come from a time of brokenness for her, where she herself had lost dreams and friends, and this came from a place where she could empathise with my struggle because as a young Black female, she knows what it’s like to be hurt over and over again, not only by the people you look up to, but also by the people you trust.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Goodbye 2017

In 2017, I’m thankful for pain.
I never thought I would hear myself saying that, but here’s why.
At the beginning of the year, I was trapped within a juxtaposition of irony: I loved my career choice, but I hated my job.
Then six months later, I was bullied out of both and seeing no way out, I tried to end all of my pain.

2017 has taught me that below rock bottom, there is hell, where you have to learn basic skills all over again, so you can listen to the demons around you or you can start looking for something else.

So that’s what I did.

I looked for new voices to listen to, until I eventually made it out of hell; new places to go to until I eventually made it out of rock bottom.

Now in 2017, thanks to so many people I am no longer the same person.
I no longer have the same heroes.
I am no longer surrounded by the same crowd.
I go to different places to get my thrills.
I listen to new songs, because the the old ones offend me now.

 

2017 has taught me that I cannot look over my shoulder; some don’t want the sun to go down on them, however I cannot wait for the moon of 2018 to shine, because I spent a lifetime searching for myself and only found somebody else.

2017 I became a fragment of myself.

But as we enter 2018, I am whole.

Thanks to pain.

XOXO