Hey everyone, been awhile.

And while I wish I was here to tell you about more adventures, instead I’m going to dig into this Gabby Douglas thing. If you don’t know, Gabby Douglas was a US gymnast in the 2012 Olympics and she kicked all kinds of ass.

Just two days ago, one of Gabby’s former teammates, Aly Riseman, posted her own #MeToo story. Gabby found her way into the story by tweeting in response to Aly’s story that women can avoid sexual assault by dressing modestly.

That’s bullshit.

I know that. You know that.

But none of us were born knowing that. We had to learn it. Or unlearn it. All our lives, doesn’t matter if you’re boy, girl, both, or neither, what is the one thing that we have always been taught about sexual assault? Victim blaming. What was she wearing? What was she drinking? Why did she walk home that way? This has been the narrative All Our Lives.

Hopefully, 2017 will do this one thing for us and radically change that narrative and young kids growing up now will not learn to victim blame.

But as I said, none of us are born knowing what gaslighting is or microaggressions or victim blaming. We had to learn from others by listening, by actively looking for help to understand. No one is faultless. As a friend said, “If you can look back five, ten years on your life and cringe at the things you thought and said, then you’ve grown.”

I can think of quite a few cringe-worthy moments. I have one that I’ve been thinking about since Gabby Douglas’ tweet blew up. Six years ago, maybe even seven, I was in the car with my friend. She confided in me that she’d sent nudes to her then long distance not-quite-boyfriend and they’d had a falling out. He threatened to post her nudes all over the internet in an act of revenge porn.

And I know exactly what I would say now about getting a shovel and some lye and hunting him down.

But then? I asked her why she sent the pictures to begin with. Victim blaming. This-bad-thing-happened-because-you-didn’t-fit-in-the-box-of-modesty-I’ve-been-told-is-the-only-way-to-stay-safe.

I wasn’t supportive. I wasn’t a good friend. I was just another mouthpiece of patriarchy telling her that she was the one who had done the bad thing, not him.

That moment is when we started to drift further apart. There were other things going on and that would happen later down the line, but that moment in the car is when the divide started to open wider. We’d been friends and confidants since elementary school. But in that moment I wasn’t a good friend and it doesn’t matter how many playground secrets you keep if you can’t be the friend you need to be when it matters.

We’re starting to talk more again, but I doubt we’re ever the friends we were back then. Because I messed up and I didn’t even realize I was doing it until years later. I had to learn.

The only saving grace any of us have is that we did a lot of learning before social media became the beast it is. Gabby Douglas is young and she messed up. Unfortunately, she messed up on a massive platform. This tweet is going to stick to her for the rest of her life. Doesn’t matter what she does or where she goes, there will always be someone who equates her with what she wrote when she was 21 years old. I can’t and don’t want to imagine what horrible things people have been tweeting at her for the last 48 hours because the world is not kind to black women, period. But if/when they mess up?

I hope there are people in her life who are patient and kind and who are willing to teach her. I hope she’s willing to learn. I hope she looks back in five years and cringes.


Be Nice

There are a great deal many uncomfortable and cringe worthy words and phrases in the English language (see: Moist) but there aren’t many that can get my hackles raised faster than “Be Nice.”

I’ve been hearing it all my life. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice. It’s been used as a warning for upcoming events. Be nice, she’s new here. It’s been used, more often than not, as an admonishment. Be nice. And I hate it because it implies that I’m being mean. I’m not. I’m being me and whether you like it or not I’m often moody, standoffish, aloof, and irritated. I like to be alone. I don’t like talking to people. I like silence. I like being left to do my own thing and those that interrupt that are often met with silence or an unamused stare. I’m not trying to be mean, most days, I just rarely care or have a stake in anything that’s being said or done. I don’t care.

By whose standards are we being nice? I often wonder if I was male if I would hear that phrase so much. Should I be watching June Cleaver and taking notes? Should I fake laugh and carry on conversations with people I don’t like because it’s not nice to not talk to them? Should I feign interest in someone’s child because I’m a female and that’s the nice thing to do?

But still, I hear it. All The Time. BeNiceBeNiceBeNiceBeNice. Hold your tongue. You could hurt someone’s feelings, don’t say that. Don’t do that. Be happier. Be gentler. Be softer. Be positive. Why are you so angry? Why don’t you smile? Why don’t you talk?

Why Aren’t You More Like Me?

My sister gets away with not being nice because she’s funny and that takes a hefty dose of the sting out. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone tell her to be nice.

I’m a cinderblock wall embedded with blades. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m not being nice. It doesn’t occur to me that not laughing at someone’s stupid joke or carrying a conversation isn’t nice. I don’t see a point in presenting people with a façade that isn’t true to who I am. If they’re not going to like me I’m not going to come up with a more palatable mask. Why should I?

If that’s not nice then I can’t help you. That’s your problem.

Welcome, to the 21st Century

Dear Supervisor,

In the short time I’ve worked with you it’s become apparent that you don’t often work with women. To help you navigate these confusing, dark, and perilous waters I thought I’d lend you a sexton or at the very least a flashlight so you can see the deck of the ship.

“I don’t have a problem with females on my crew”

I realize you want this to be a comfortable work environment. And I appreciate the thought. But when you continually reiterate that I am different, other, and foreign to this work environment you’re not making it homey. I’ve worked everything from construction to restaurant kitchens; I know how to function in a mostly male workplace. Quite frankly, I get along just fine with my male coworkers. I don’t need your gung ho reassurance that having a woman in your midst isn’t a problem. Ican handle myself.

Tough as Nails

If you need to talk to me, just say it. You don’t have to come up with a goofy grin to soften the blow. If I’m doing something wrong or could be doing it better, just say it. I promise not to burst into tears.
Not a Lightweight

Yes, I realize I’m not going to be winning any weightlifting competitions. But I’m still perfectly capable of lifting boxes over my head and stacking them as needed. If I need help, I’ll ask for it.


No. If for whatever reason, I don’t walk through those doors with a sunny Dallas cheerleader smile on my face, do not tell me to smile. Don’t tell me to “perk up” don’t call me “grumpy” or “grouchy” or “cranky”. You don’t say it to the guys when they walk in half asleep or staring at their feet, don’t think you’ll treat me any different.

You’re not my Therapist

On those days when I come in maybe quieter than usual or a bit distracted I don’t care that you ask if everything is all right. But if I tell you I’m fine you need to respect that answer. Either it’s true and I’m just tired or it’s none of your business. You are not my shoulder to cry on.

Quiet Time

A few days a month you might notice a change in me. Maybe I’m quieter, my sentences shorter, maybe I’m less willing to talk. I might seem a bit lethargic. It happens. The process of my body demolishing and remodeling itself is tiring and, at times, more painful than you can imagine. If I seem morose, I’m sorry. But it hurts, and I’m doing my best not to snap and just get through my shift. Just leave me be.

I know this is a lot to take in, but I hope, with enough time, you can figure this out and we can get on with our lives.