Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Why Doesn’t Anyone Check In? Pt. 2

As I was sobbing to my girlfriend on Wednesday night, it became unclear what I was most upset about: my ailing health, or my loneliness.

As I mentioned in my previous post, people perceive me as somebody who can look after themselves so they forget to check in on me. In fact, I think that my girlfriend is now the only person who has seen me ugly cry, and at my lowest points. But that’s probably because we live together. Even then, sometimes she forgets that I’m not always good at taking care of myself and need a little help.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m the kind of person who checks in on people without needing to be asked. I just fucking care so hard about the people I love.

As a blogger, I am aware that I’m very adept at creating the allusion that I can look after myself, that I’m strong and determined and I think that I’m also probably good at throwing this perception of myself into real life settings. Upon reflection, at times, I can be incredibly dishonest when people ask if I’m ok. Only a very small handful of my friends can instantly tell when I’m lying. This is not because I expect people to be psychic, or play “guess how I’m really feeling”; I think a lot of it comes from pride and not wanting to be the sick girl. There is so much stigma around being sick, particularly within communities and although I’m an advocate for mental health issues and epilepsy awareness, sometimes I’m just sick of battling the stigma especially from people I know. I see the eye rolls and the awkward checking-of-the-time to get out of a conversation with me. And it’s not like I’m constantly going on about my health; if I’m bringing it up, it’s because I’m feeling particularly shitty and am desperately reaching out, but I rarely find a hand to grasp while I’m reaching leaving me waving into empty air.

I can also be surrounded by people but feel incredibly lonely. When I’m around able-bodied people, I feel like I can’t really open up about my disabilities without bringing a black cloud to the gathering; when I’m around white people, I’m forced to reserve my true feelings of discomfort as they ignore incidents of racism, because I don’t want to be accused of steering the conversation “back to me” or playing the all-allusive “race card”. In fact, around particular people, I’m starting to feel like the minstrel again, where I’m only tolerated when I perform the role of the joker or happy girl. I was talking this through to my therapist, who responded that she felt like I was in bondage like a slave, who wasn’t allowed to open her mouth unless given permission, which I completely agree with.

I recently quoted this on Twitter and I’ll say it again here: last week on Celebs Go Dating (we all know that I’m a slut for reality TV), Chloe Simms said:

I’m too tired to give a shit about anybody else right now.

For me, this was such a MOOD!

Around certain people, I do feel that I care too much about what they think, how they might react; basically I’m not myself around these people. Fortunately these are not people I invest a lot of time in, but it’s still time which is energy. And now I’m too tired to give a shit.

This has given me a lot to think about! And I hope it resonates with some of you too about looking after yourself when the people around you might be failing in some aspects. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

When Your White Friends Turn Out To Be Racists

Last year I was extremely angry about the way that white British people were treating me for speaking my truth: why am I getting abuse just for saying that racism exists in our country? Why are you telling me that I do not belong here? I soon then realised that I could not fight every single troll that was coming at me, especially when it was becoming detrimental to my mental health. Some days my phone would be going crazy with notifications from threads I had become involved in, because I thought that I could reason with such people, only to end up in them abusing me even more.

Mostly the abuse was coming from strangers on social media, most recently on my YouTube channel: 

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I no longer engage in accusations from strangers.

In regards to my white friends, I had either fallen out with them or just withdrawn from them. Because I had never wanted/ needed to be seen as Black, my colour, race and culture had never been an issue in our friendship, but now I did want to be seen as Black, which surprised the friends I ended up falling out with because suddenly they were not allowed to make racist comments around me while I laughed it off, but died inside.

I’ve stayed friends with some old friends, some of who have now revealed themselves to have only pretended to be onboard with my newfound Blackness; some of these people still think that they can get away with saying anti-black things to me, because they cannot perceive my blackness.

Here are two examples: 

One guy was a friend I knew from church (this was years ago). He knew that I fancied him, but led me on knowing that he was going to emigrate indefinitely. To say that I was heartbroken is an understatement. I was devastated because I had genuinely thought I had a connection with this guy, however now in hindsight I realise that it could never be because I was black and he looked down on me. After a couple of years in Australia, he moved to Zambia, to begin a career in ministry work. I didn’t want to believe that he was a ‘white saviour’ who looked down upon the people he was working with and claiming to help, however the more and more emails I received from him talking about the Zambians, the more it became clear that he was racist. Still, I was in denial. I was once in love with this guy (or so I had thought), how can he be fucking racist? I would’ve known, surely. So when he shared his number, I decided to send him a message to see how he was. His emails are generally addressed because he’s emailing a group of us, so I wanted to see how he came across on a personal level; was he the same guy I knew years ago? Would I be proved wrong?

When I asked him about Zambia, he replied that he couldn’t believe how modern it was and that it surprised him that there were supermarkets and a stadium. This is problematic for two reasons: one, because he had confirmed his racial biases which hadn’t changed even though he was now living in an African country, and two, because he had clearly forgotten that he was talking to a black woman – why would you tell a Black woman of Caribbean and African ancestry that you are surprised at how capable her people are???? When I called him out on this, he became defensive, including pointing out the fact that the Zambians were more racist about themselves than him and if it wasn’t for him they would have no self-esteem, (only proving the ‘white saviour’ trope and their beliefs that Black Africans are incapable of being anything without the white man) which obviously upset me more:

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Notice that he mentions the “race card”… can somebody please enlighten me on what this “card” actually looks like and how I can get hold of it, because according to white-supremacists, it is this powerful card which can be used to change the direction of the game of life!

The Race Card(Image source)

Note to white people: don’t tell me about your black friends just to prove how un-racist you are! IT DOESN’T WORK! He’s also clearly lying about black people agreeing with him. 

He also made some homophobic comments (unfortunately I forgot to screenshot them), in an attempt to conflate how gay people hate themselves just as Black people hate themselves and I ended up having to block him and calling him a c*** on facebook so that that all of our mutual friends could see what he had done to me and who this person really was. I also blocked him on there and via email so that he couldn’t contact me again. Our Black mutual friends actually weren’t surprised to hear what he had done and now that I admit it, neither was I.

The second example was a friend I met on social media. We appeared to get on so well that we actually came close to meeting in real life at one point, however as always life gets in the way. Plus, soon warning alarms signalled when he once asked me if he guest post on my blog, because I had more followers than him. Considering that my blog is unapologetically written from a Black perspective, I found it strange that as a white man he thought that blogging on my platform would be appropriate. It hence became clear to me that he wasn’t paying as much attention to my posts as he had initially claimed. He also commented on one of my youtube videos, with a “not all white people comment” when I was discussing how traumatic it is to be British but feel unwanted in my own country and the country I was born in, and perceived as an immigrant because of the colour of my skin. The video was about how watching the movie Black Panther had only enhanced this feeling of unwant. Again, I found his commentary to be inappropriate, because I clearly wasn’t talking about all white people and the video was about my feelings not his as a white person.

The final straw came when he commented on a tweet I posted of an clip from an LBC radio show, where a racist had called in to say that he wouldn’t be supporting the England football team because there were too many Black players on the team, therefore he was hoping that they would lose because of this. Again, this same guy comments on my tweet, being defensive about this not being all white people and that in his opinion racism was no longer as big an issue as it used to be, because he had never experienced it or seen it in his thirty-odd years. Let me remind you that this guy is white.

Joe1

But they do exist? Actually, more racism happens than white people tend to believe which is why non-white people are consistently gaslighted. To ignore this fact, is problematic.

Joe4

This white guy is telling a Black person who suffers from racism on a daily basis, that the amount of people like this is decreasing, when actually in the age of social media, it isn’t. Furthermore, racism hasn’t always been labelled as wrong because there is a constant conflict between white people and people like me who suffer from racial trauma on what counts as racism. In fact, racism in the UK is extremely insidious, making it just as psychologically traumatic as the explicit racism we see in other Western countries. Therefore, this comment is extremely harmful. 

A friend who is also a Black woman came onboard because she also found his responses to be problematic. In the end, I blocked him. He then sent me an email with the subject line “you’re overreacting” and demanded that I unblock him, while also attempting to assure me that he was not a racist. I never called him a racist, he had just chosen to expose himself as one on multiple occasions.

Now, I have been accused of being rash when it comes to my reactions to situations like this. When people start to act wild around me, I cut them out of my life, which voyeurs then link to the angry, irrational Black woman stereotype. But, firstly I need to put my health first and anybody who claims to be a friend or family member whose negative behaviour is provoking my conditions, needs to be cut out of my life. Secondly, I’ve come to a point in my life where I will no longer put up with shit. Up until my late-twenties, I was letting every tom, dick and harry walk all over me, just so that they could have an easy life, while disregarding my own feelings, which is also why I let my white friends be racist around me and pretend to be in on the joke – I used to be so afraid of calling them out and “causing trouble” that I just let them carry on. But now I know who I am and I have a lot more self-respect for myself.

Also, my actions are not rash. As you can see in the two examples I’ve given, I don’t want to automatically write off all white people as racists – especially when they are in my life. And I gave them plenty of chances to fix up, look sharp. It’s also why I put up with my family’s abuse for so long. But there comes a point where I have to snap, because like an elastic band, if you stretch me enough I’m going to fucking break and catch you in the eye.

XOXO

P.S. If you’re not already following me on social media, why the heck not???

Twitter: Cece_Alexandra

Insta: Cece_Alexandra

YouTube: The Black Wallflower in Wonderland

Posted in Blog

Why I’m No Longer Watching GrapevineTV

During the Summer, one of my best friends suggested that I check out GrapevineTV on YouTube.

After just a couple of episodes, I really didn’t connect with it and I told her straightaway, however she told me to give it a chance so I did. There were a couple of episodes that I liked, and a few people on the panel who I did connect with such, as Sensei Aishitemasu (who I follow on YouTube) and Donovan, so I kept going with it. Plus, as much I listening to podcasts, finally having PoC on my TV talking about current events – even if they all were US related – was great for my “woke-ness” journey.

However, apart from these few things that I did like, there were still so many things that I didn’t like. These were supposed to be intellectual black millenials, yet in every episode they were yelling at each other across a table while the host, Ashley Akunna stroked her hair like a lioness, rarely saying anything. These hyennas were perfectly perpetuating the stereotype of black people and never actually saying anything about the topics that they brought up. In fact, they were like a US verso of BKChat, just more stylish. (literally – these girls on GrapevineTV turn uuuuuup!)

Then, there were two episodes which began to hammer the nails into the casket for me: the first being the Erykah Badu episode where some of the guys sided with Badu and blamed child victims for sexually tempting older men with their clothing.

The second episode was one of the African vs African-American/Caribbean episodes where Ashley aggressively told Seren that African-Americans like her should work harder, if they want to get of the ghetto instead of blaming white supremacy for their hardships.

I took that personally and I took it to heart.

This forced me to stop watching, however I was still subscribed to the channel. When I received notifications about shows for Bill Crosby and R Kelly, I watched them, and I have to commend the team for doing a good job on these. The topics such as sexual assault, rape and child molestation within our community is important to talk about – particularly the psychological abuse that comes from perpetrators such as R Kelly.

But then came the NFL episode. First of all, the majority of the boys were refusing to boycott to games, which in my opinion showed the beginning of their ignorance. They felt unless the NFL players quit playing, then they weren’t going to stop watching. Ignorance. When some of the girls – including Seren brought up the idiom that the NFL is like modern day slavery, the boys laughed in their faces and told them that they didn’t understand the game, which I interpreted as modern-day sexism. Only one guy on that panel was talking sense, having spoken to Colin Kaepernick himself about his experience and his reasons behind his activism, which had convinced him to boycott the games at home, because he was intelligent enough to understand the what the system is doing to Kaepernick and what he is protesting against. 

They also had a white guy on the panel. I had a feeling when I saw him that it wouldn’t be a one off fixture.

This is show for PoC and there are members of the panel who proclaim on YouTube against integration, which in certain contexts I agree with – this being one of them. Then after the show, GrapevineTV’s Twitter account asked their viewers what we thought about the idea of having white people on the panel in the future. Straightaway I replied no, because our mainstream media is full of white people’s opinion’s. I’m here for people of colour. Other viewers agreed with me. GrapevineTV reminded me that the show was a place for intellectual millenials – reading between the lines, I could read that they meant this to mean an amalgamation of races too. Subsequent tweets then went on to say that Akunna as the sole benefactor could no longer afford to support the show on her own and Black people were “not forthcoming with their coins”.

Yet in previous episodes, Akunna herself had preached that she didn’t need the help of white people. 

The tweeter then seemed to become aggressive when viewers asked if Grapevine was looking to make a fast buck, because understandably, we were all confused: Akunna had always said that her producer was the benefactor. As far as I knew, the show hadn’t advertised any sponsors, nor asked for funding.

It then became clear that GrapevineTV didn’t really care about our opinions. They were going to go forward in the direction they wanted.

Some of my tweets were getting A LOT of retweets and GrapevineTV claimed that they received hate, but that’s a lie. The only hate shown on that day was from them – so much aggression and sarcasm. Simple responses and questions from viewers were responded to by GrapevineTV with aggression and sarcasm, because they’re incapable of having even the simplest of conversations. If you watch the show, it’s hindered by the format: they all sit around a table, where the commentary of the show seems to rely upon either the ignorance of sexism of the men who play the villains until Donovan “the hero” steps in, while the girls pipe in every now and then, and Akunna might read something from her phone to keep the conversation going. I don’t understand Akunna’s role; is she a host? Because I just see as an auxiliary bystander.

Placing white people on the panel is therefore only going to damage this sinking ship.

Sinking Ship.gif

Anyway, in the end, I had to block GrapevineTV on Twitter, and I will no longer be watching their show.

I will still be watching Seren’s channel and amidst the chaos, one of the hosts of The Nitty Gritty Show tweeted me and I am LOVING THAT at the moment!

XOXO