Posted in Blog

I Am Black British, I Will Not Get Out of Here

I had my last session with my private therapist this week.

It’s the end of an era.

#celebration #turnup

She’s been a blessing to me, truly. An inspiration. And I’ll always be thankful to her for helping me to create the woman I am today.

I have come a long way. I’m back in part-time work now, which I never would’ve had the courage to do without her help and I’m more motivated than ever to finish my MSc, now that I’ve seen where it can take me!

Backtowork

(My back-to-work selfie)

Before going back to work, I almost had a back slide, following a racially traumatic trip to the North of England. My girlfriend and I rented a motorhome and took a road trip through the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. I noticed that the further North we went, the more people would stare (and glare), and become less friendly, until they were ignoring me completely to pretend that I didn’t exist. In a café in Cumbria in the Lake District, the staff refused to speak to me and kept me waiting longer than other white customers who had ordered long after me. The waitress also didn’t bring me any cutlery with my food, like Black people are savages and therefore always eat with our hands. Then later on the same day, I was asked to leave a pub, while my white girlfriend sat peacefully undisturbed by the staff in the corner. I was asked to leave because as a Black woman, clearly not from the area, I made the manager uncomfortable thus she made me uncomfortable on her land. I sat at a bus stop crying for half an hour, just wishing to be back home in London, even if I do live on an all white street where the neighbours think I’m going to rob their properties or pull a gun out of my handbag each time I reach into my handbag to pull out my keys.

Psychologically, this experience made me want to retreat back into myself. I knew that I was returning to work the following week too, but I very nearly called to say that I’d changed my mind, or that I could no longer work for whatever reason.

But after ranting on social media about my experiences and finding solidarity in my Black sisters online, I found the strength to not give up. One friend even DM’d me to make sure I was ok when she saw my tweets about how upset my holiday was making me.

#Blacksistersgotmyback

It’s a shame that racism marred the trip, because I saw some majestic waterfalls, glorious moors and stunning horizons. England truly is a beautiful country.

(Left image: Peak District; Top right image: Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire Dales; Bottom right image: Cumbria, Lake District.)

 

Moors2

(Image: Yorkshire Dales)

Part of me was initially angry with myself for having put myself into the situation, because “I should’ve known or expected to be racially abused” and I felt that I shouldn’t have made myself go on the trip in the first place. However, it was during my therapy session after the trip where I suddenly realised that (a) I had no right to make myself feel like that, burdened with guilt and shame and (b) I am British as well as Black Caribbean and I have EVERY RIGHT to go wherever the fuck I want in my OWN COUNTRY, my OWN home. Nobody has the right to dehumanise me, but DEFINITELY NOT in my own fucking home. I’m not going to apologise for being alive or being the colour I am just because certain people perceive the colour of my skin to be the wrong colour either.

Which brings me to Love Island, my new reality TV addiction (hence all the random hashtags in this post!)… Samira, the only Black woman contestant has been single since the season launched, because every guy’s type appears to be blonde hair and blue eyes (white), which is not the issue here because this is also Samira’s type. The issue is, as the only Black woman on the island, none of the men find her desirable. At first, when I started watching, my initial thoughts were, “well what did she expect, going on a show like Love Island she’s guna get rejected!” However, upon reflection, I suddenly realised that I was wrong for thinking this way. Why shouldn’t Samira go on a show like Love Island? She’s fucking hot, she’s British and she has every right to go on a dating show like all of her white peers, looking for love, a fling or whatever. Seeing how the other contestants treat Samira, is just the epitome of British racism – the guys treat her like a leper because she’s that sexually undesirable to them, while the girls treat her like an agony aunt, forcing her to put aside her own problems (the fact that nobody fancies her or wants to couple up with her), to listen to the other girls whine about their petty boy dramas, simultaneously rubbing in her face the fact that they have boys to have drama with, while she doesn’t.

To be implicitly and explicitly told that you “don’t belong here”, is what racism is in our country.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Eugenics

The US created Feeblemindedness – a medical diagnosis that meant mentally deficient, stupid or foolish (Laureate, 2016).

I’m going to say something extremely controversial here: but as much as I love my mother, I find her to be weak and incredibly feebleminded.

She’s not weak because she was in an abusive relationship, (big-up Kelis for saying this recently. I should’ve known Nas was a prick).

Giphy

Thanks to therapy, I also no longer think that my mother is weak for having not protected me as a child.

What I do see in her, is a lack of ability to think for herself. She’s incredibly naive and stupid, very easily misled too – particularly by Religion. If I think morbidly about it, had my parents had met during the 1920s in the US, or had we been governed by a totalitarian regime, my sister and I might never have been born, because both of my parents may have been deemed unfit to breed (my father was poorly educated also), and so would’ve been sterilised.

I’ve spoken before about how my mother’s opinions are often misinformed due to Religion – particularly when it comes to science and medicine. But now it gets worse: a couple of weeks ago I found out that she’s a Trump supporter, because her church are teaching that Trump has been sent from God to free Israel and restore it to its pride of place, fulfilling the prophecies of the book of Revelation. Thus as a leader appointed by God, Trump should be supported and tolerated.

Giphy

Thankfully, eugenics is illegal because clearly I prove that feeblemindedness isn’t a genetic trait, however I was shocked to hear that the person who created me could really be so stupid. In case you don’t know, Trump is also best pals with the Israeli Prime Minister, whose government ordered for Jewish Ethiopian immigrant women to be sterilised against their will (and consent). Trump is also a fascist, misogynistic prick who believes that white Americans are the ultimate superior race, and whose policies dehumanise every person of colour in his country.

I initially thought that I had misheard her when she said she liked Donald Trump and his “cheeky face” (yes she did say that about the President of the United States). Initially we had been bitching about Theresa May and discussing the latest on the Windrush scandal, when my mum said:

“and she’s supposed to be a Christian, shame on her”,

to which I snorted and replied: “well, so is Trump”. However, she very quickly defended him and wouldn’t hear a bad word said against him.

It was incredibly unsettling.

It’s still not sitting right in my stomach – in fact, I feel sick just thinking about the conversation again. And even though we’ve spoken about it since, she still won’t back down from the teachings from her Church, regardless of Trump’s actions as a Leader of “the Free World”.

I want to know what my sister thinks about this, because surely she cannot be as stupid?

My girlfriend said to me that I cannot judge my mother and cut ties with her, just because we have opposing political views, however this is way more than that.

So much more.

She also proves to be feebleminded when it comes to parenting. She’s never been capable of raising me, lacks initiative and drive, perceives having “stuck around for my sister and I while my dad was the one who abandoned us” as a fucking obligation as opposed to her job as a mother, and seeks constant approval (like a child) for having done such a poor job of raising me in particular, when I as the child (regardless of what age I am) am desperately seeking love and approval from a mother who is incapable to giving that – especially to me.
What irks me the most about this, is it’s the older generation (that includes you, Kanye – 300 years of slavery was a choice? Screw you) fucking up yet again, leaving us (the educated, younger generation) to clean up the fucking mess. Thankfully feeblemindedness isn’t genetic, and thus also thankfully eugenics is illegal, otherwise the race would’ve been euthanised and we wouldn’t have the fabulous, Black intelligent people of my generation and the next, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not mentally affected by the sins of our parents. 

 

References

University of Liverpool, Laureate Online Education. (2016). “Week 5: Abilities: Theories, Structure and Measurement of Intelligence” Lecture Notes, Personality, Individual Differences and Intelligence Module.

Retrieved from: https://elearning.uol.ohecampus.com/bbcswebdav/institution/UKL1/201840MAR/MS_LPSY/LPSY_316/readings/UKL1_LPSY_316_Week05_LectureNotes.pdf

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Exhausted

I am exhausted.

Being an introvert, although I do love to socialise, I find interaction with the outside world exhausting, which is a big part of the reason why I chose to do an MSc online as opposed to in a University with a building, where I would be forced to engage with people in real life. For me, there is nothing more indulgent than putting off my morning shower for as long as possible, so that I can sit in my PJs while I read a chapter for my latest assignment.

And I do love socialising, especially with the people I love, but it does drain me. Last night for instance, I went to Kent to visit my surrogate family – my Auntie (my mum’s best friend who is like a second mother to me), her husband, their daughter and nieces. I brought my girlfriend with me too and this was the first time they’d met her and it was also the first time I’d seen them all in almost a year. I love spending time with them – especially my Aunt. She and I have a very similar sense of humour and although she’s known me since I was 14, I think we’ve actually only really gotten to know each other properly over the last two or three years, when I moved to London and stopped talking to my mother and sister. Even though she was still my mum’s best friend and she loved my sister just as much as me, she never turned her back on me and I love her so much more for that. As a teenager she was also the only person who I could truly be myself with: withdrawn and broken, and it’s only recently that I found out that she’d been advocating on my behalf to my mother to renegotiate a proper relationship with me over the years, because she could see how burdened I was by the unhealthy and unbalanced relationship my mother and I had.

So seeing them wasn’t the exhausting part; It was the catching up, and filling in on the latest on my new relationship with my mother and the still broken relationship with my sister who still refuses to speak to me for so many unknown reasons, and trying to decipher why my mother is the way that she is… that was exhausting. I spoke to my mother just yesterday afternoon actually, because I was upset about something and needed my mum, but then I told her that I was going to see my Aunt in the evening and let slip that the last time I’d seen my Aunt was at her daughter’s birthday party last year, so I was really excited to catch up with her. Awkward silence, then my mum said:

Oh. You were there? 

I’d completely forgotten that my mother probably wasn’t invited because at the time we still weren’t talking and my Aunt wanted to see me so invited me over my mum. Plus we were meeting up without her again last night. Then I ended up leaving a conversation I’d initially started to make myself feel better by coming away feeling almost just as shitty, because my mum was clearly upset and I’d probably gotten my Aunt in the doghouse with her.

I told my Aunt about the conversation and she reassured me that it was fine, that it was just one of those things that my mum will have to get over. Plus my mum doesn’t hold claim over my Aunt. In fact, I probably have a closer relationship with her than I do with my mum, but I know my mum and I think she’ll hold this against me. In her mind, I forced her best friend to choose between her and me and and her best friend chose me.

My mum and I are meeting up next Thursday… it will be the first time we’ve seen each other in almost three years. It was a meeting I had to initiate because my mother lacks initiative even when it comes to her own children. This is what exhausts me the most and having to constantly explain this bizarre relationship that we have, where I’m now coaching my own mother on how to actually be a mother. When I asked her why she hadn’t yet suggested to meet up, considering we’ve been talking for a couple of months now, her response was:

Well I was waiting on you. 

I need my mum to prove herself to me, which she knows, but she’s sitting pretty waiting on ME to initiate our first meeting.

Thanks mum. Way to prove yourself there.

So my point of this story is that as an introvert, socialising is exhausting enough, without having to constantly drag around the baggage of my family.

My cousin and I now have a rule that when we call each other to catch up, we will no longer speak about our fucked up extended family and I think it’s brilliant, because we can focus on not only catching up but strengthening our sisterly relationship and getting to know each other deeper as well as having fun. I think this might have to be a rule that I bring in to other relationships too, because as much fin as I did have last night, where on the car ride home I was so happy I was singing at the top of my voice with my girlfriend sitting in the driver’s seat next to me (I never sing properly in front of people, I have intense stage fright), this morning I woke up feeling emotionally like I’d gone ten rounds in a boxing ring while having multiple seizures at the same time.

Sometimes it is good talk, but I’m now starting to realise that you don’t necessarily need to talk about all things, all of the time.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Getting Myself Into Twitter Trouble (again!)

So I got myself into a feud on Twitter earlier today, because I was defending a thread about abuse in Black households and the majority hated the tweeter and the thread because not only did they perceive it to be anti-Black; they didn’t believe that there are Black abusive households because they never experienced it.

To say such a thing is so stupid, that I likened it to white people saying that racism doesn’t exist because they don’t experience it. I fight with white people online every day, I don’t expect to be fighting with brothers and sisters too. But when it comes to speaking openly about childhood abuse (sexual, physical and psychological), I will fight to the death because of the impacts this has upon mental health.

Domestic abuse and sexual abuse happens in all homes, regardless of colour, but the issue with Black families is that we refuse to let victims/ survivers speak about it. Black women in DV relationships are called anti-Black and seen as betraying the culture if they go to the “White police” to report crimes against their partners; Black girls are also very often sexualised from very young ages and victim-blamed when they are abused. Many adult women – including myself – are forced to continue to suffer sexual abuse in silence, which has detrimental impacts upon our mental health and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

So when I see Black people denying my experiences, just because they (a) never experienced it themselves and (b) call people like me anti-Black for openly talking about my abusive childhood, it pisses me off.

So some people were not only trolling the girl who created the thread, they were also gloating about their unblemished childhoods to compare to ours in order to prove that our experiences never happened. Now I’m all for celebrating good parenting, especially within our community, however there is a time and a place for this… and this fucking wasn’t it. Plus the fact that she also made clear that this wasn’t relevant to all Black households, was completely ignored because apparently she added that part a day later. But so what? Any intelligent person reading the thread knew that it was implied.

There were a few supporters, however I confronted one person I follow, because she came across particularly as antagonist and antipathetic.

She then not only refused to see the issue from my perspective, she also tried to antagonise me, before eventually blocking me when she realised that I wasn’t going to rise to the bait.

As I said, instead of engaging in conversation, she tried to antagonise me. This woman is Mikki Kendall and I once followed her because she claims to be a Black feminist. But denying Black women the right to speak openly about the abuse they have suffered is anti-feminist as well as anti-Black. It is not anti-Black to say that our community is flawed, particularly when survivors like me are actually actively working to change those flaws by sharing our experiences and changing mindsets. And to block me just for disagreeing with your point of view is childish and ignorant:

I would imagine these are the same women who tell R Kelly’s victims to keep their mouths shut, because speaking badly about Black men in open spaces is anti-Black which is absolute bollocks.

Telling victims to shut up is also provoking further trauma to victims, which makes you just as bad as the perpetrators.

I can’t find the original thread now – unfortunately I forgot to retweet it while I was too busy defending the creator of the thread against the trolls, but to the girl who spoke up, WELL DONE, you’re a fucking legend and I stand by you 🖤 I hope you find healing as you continue on your journey and keep speaking up baby girl!

To the haters, keep your ignorant mouths shut until you educate yourself.

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

The Problem With Colourism (and Light-Skinned Women)

Once again Black women have been thrown under the bus, by lighter-skinned women as well as men.

DJ Maya Jama is mixed-race and at the age of 18, posted a tweet where she had repeated an offensive joke by comedian Kevin Hart. Why light-skinned women feel it is necessary to berate their darker peers is beyond me and reasons are constantly up for debate: they’re jealous of us and suffer from insecurity issues; they want to put us in our place which is at the bottom rung of society.

I don’t really care. I just want it stopped.

On my timeline, Stefflon Don was the first to open her mouth against dark skinned women:

“All you dark-skinned hating on light skin bitches like if God gave you a choice you wouldn’t change your colour lool…” 

This was said in a tweet. At first she denied even saying it, instead of having the balls to own up. She then deleted the tweet. Instead of admitting that (a) what she’d said was wrong and (b) that although it may have been something she thought before, as a Black woman now she definitely no longer thinks that way, she just tried to pretend that it didn’t happen. I remember Stefflon Don being on my list of gigs to go to on the “Song Kick” app, however after that comment and behaviour, she’s been cancelled for life.

So back to Maya Jama:

Screenshot_20180421-124746

The joke was originally told by Kevin Hart (who’s a dickhead anyway), however Maya thought it was so funny – especially being light-skinned herself – that she had to share it on Twitter. Her apology once the tweet was exposed was also a joke, in mine as well as many others’ opinion, because instead of apologising specifically to the women she had offended – dark-skinned women – she apologised for offending ALL women, because in her subconscious she wasn’t sorry at all. In fact, she still stands by the view that as a light-skinned woman, she is superior to her peers of a darker tone.

She later rewrote an apology:

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 17.21.04

 

This is clearly directed at the appropriate audience and appeared to demonstrate an understanding of not just the consequences of repeating such views, but also a hint of an understanding of the historical context (particularly colonialism). But by then, she had enraged so many of us, that the apology was too little too late.

What fucked me off the most, was the behaviour of Black men on social media, who attacked Black women for having an opinion, for being offended and for standing up for ourselves. I, myself was targeted by incredibly ignorant Black men, who clearly did not understand colourism. Black women of a darker complexion are perceived as the uglier, aggressive, non-feminine species of the community, while lighter-skinned women who can pass for white and therefore carry a privilege over their darker-skinned peers are perceived as more attractive and therefore, more feminine. This is a negative ideology which began in slavery and continued in colonialism. For years, darker-skinned women have been subjected to violence and cruelty, not only from outside of our community from white people, but also from Black men. This has had detrimental effects upon the mental health of Black women too, which for years has also gone unregarded.

And now we’re owning our dark skin, and embracing our beauty, Black men in particularly do NOT like it.

For years, as Black women, we have also been instructed to police our pain and emotions. When derogative comments like these are made and we come out fighting, (defending ourselves and showing valid emotions to racial provocation), we are accused of being trolls (again, not a pretty association!) Colourism is a sub-category of racism, and it is damaging and oppressive. Yet it continues because light-skinned women continue to repeat the negative narrative.

The lie that dark-skinned women are jealous of our lighter-skinned peers also needs to end. WE ARE NOT. You may have made us feel inferior when we were younger – so much so, that we did want to be like you so that boys would find us more attractive, so that we could gain the privileges you all got as children (and still do), you even made some of us want to kill ourselves, because you made us feel so ugly. However, the narrative has changed. We are who are and we fucking love it. So fuck off and leave us alone.

My final point on Maya Jama, is that although the original tweet was written when she was eighteen years old, she apparently has said things on Twitter where she has compared dark-skinned women to shadows, and although I haven’t seen these tweets, I believe they exist and I not going to go stalking through her timeline to find them. As I previously mentioned, the lack of remorse in her original apology, proved what was going on in her subconscious. How we truly feel and want to act resides within the unconscious, which then influences our behaviour; the thoughts that reside within the unconscious are inappropriate and illogical, and demand instant satisfaction and as we become age, we are supposed to learn to control these impulses. Acting out and then apologising afterwards isn’t good enough.

I didn’t really rate Jama before – all I knew previous to this, was that she was a DJ and dating Stormzy (who has remained uncharacteristically silent during all of this! Very disappointing). I didn’t rate her because to me she was a nobody who did nothing for the community, and so I have no issues with cancelling her.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

What Makes A Good Therapist?

I came to a bit of blows with my therapist this week, where during our session I felt that she accused me of being judgemental and bossy, which is not me at all.

We were talking about my mum; My mum and I are talking again. On Sunday she left me a heartfelt voicemail, apologising for having not been there for me when I was younger and for letting me down. So on Monday I called her and we had a heart-to-heart about our relationship. She’s asking me to forgive her, but my heart has been broken so many times by her that I’m reluctant to trust her. Plus she still has a lot of issues of her own to work through, which she will not care to admit to. In building a barrier for myself, I am protecting myself, because I’ve known my mother for almost 32 years now – I know what damage she can do to me. Also, we’ve always had a problem with communicating with each other, which causes me significant mental stress, and also triggers seizures, so I’ve decided to take charge, meaning that the relationship is on my terms. I believe in being honest and open, because it’s healthy.

This is all advice I also received from my tarot reader, Leona Nichole Black, who pretty much confirmed my gut instincts: before I’d seen her, I’d decided that if I was going to have a relationship with my mum, it wouldn’t be the same as it used to be, it would be on my terms and my tarot reading confirmed all of this for me, which you can read about here.

However, my therapist disagrees, and think that instead of judging my mother on her past mistakes, I should just learn to enjoy being in her presence and get to know her again.

But my stance is, why does there have to be an either or? Why can I not do both?

My therapist also accused me of being quite domineering, because of what I said about things being on my terms, so she asked me to role play, where she was my mum and I was me and we had a conversation about planning to meet up. However, during the role play, it became evident to her that when I say that I want things on my terms, what I mean is that I want open communication. Anybody who knows me in real life, knows that I’m not a controlling person!

So at the end of the session, I came away feeling shitty, because nobody likes to be called judgemental or controlling, least of all me. She did end the session by saying that she feels protective over me and doesn’t want to see me get hurt again, which is why I cannot understand why she cannot see that my approach is the best, if we’re both of the same opinion of protecting myself?

From what I’ve been learning in my MSc about therapists, I understood that a good therapist doesn’t give their opinion – particularly personal ones – about the patient, especially because the patient is the vulnerable one out of the two and will take it to heart…. This is regardless of the type of therapy it is that the therapist is practicing too. Even if the patient is causing harm to themselves, there are ways of conveying concern without expressing a personal opinion.  And this is not the first time that she’s done this either. I just sweep it under the carpet because she pays me so many compliments. This is also not the first therapist I’ve seen, who’s gotten a little too personal either (which you can read about here).

All of this are things I’m taking on board for my own personal learning, for when I eventually go into therapy myself.

Not insulting your patient is definitely a good starting point.

XOXO

Posted in Poetry

Doctor Whiteface

You’ve diagnosed me as pain less

But I’ve told you that it hurts when you remove my heart.

I can feel the scorn in your hands of oppression around my neck.

When you pierce my eye with your surgeon’s scalpel,

so that I can’t see you remove my brother’s life from my side.

It hurts.

 

You say we can’t feel pain

But it hurts when you stare

And when you pretend we don’t exist.

When you call us stupid degenerates regardless of having more years of education than you all.

We can recite the law you constantly break upon our backs.

And it hurts too

And when you force us out of our jobs because of our melanin skin.

 

And yet you all continue to stare like spectators at a match.

It’s the FA cup final and you’re chomping at the bit

For some black blood.

 

But this is Britain, so your excitement is reserved.

And you expect us to keep a stiff upper lip, while denying us our British heritage to our faces.

All bets for black blood are “under the table”.

 

Like a mental institution Doctor Whiteface,

Your island really is full of crackers.

 

 

©The Wallflower Speaks Loudly, 2018