Reading Time: 5 minutes With all of the talk surrounding R. Kelly (and let’s not forget that whole Drake and Millie Bobby Brown thing), I wanted to share my own story of being groomed. It isn’t cinematic and it wasn’t overt, but it happened. Luckily I was unharmed, but what I remember most that it felt like a natural step towards adulthood. I thought to myself, what teenage girl doesn’t have a dalliance – however small – with an older man? Looking back now I see that this feeling – that it’s normal, that it’s part of growing up – is the danger. Because not only is it perceived by many girls as normal, it’s a dream come true.
Reading Time: 3 minutes When I got a bit older, I tested and patented a new system I like to call Fuckboy FiltrationTM. It’s where you ask for what you want when you want it. For example: If I didn’t feel secure, I would let the person I was dating know, and tell him what I needed to feel better. If I wanted a relationship to move forward I would outline my expectations: where I wanted things to go, when I wanted that, and what would happen if those expectations weren’t met. I even sometimes went out of my way to be terrifying, like “Hello, hi, are we dating, is it serious, it puts the lotion on its skin.”
The result? Singlehood. Glorious, powerful, elective singlehood. Also, some (lots of) crying.
The men that were spooked by these conversations faded away. Almost every time I did this I was ghosted within a month. And…I loved it. Obviously, it was frustrating at times, but I knew that I was successfully filtering out people who didn’t want what I wanted, or who just didn’t want to be with me.
Reading Time: 3 minutes Whenever I have the chance to take a quiet moment with my partner and just appreciate him – the curve of his shoulder, the color of his eyes, the utter satisfaction of his belly laugh – I take it. I take it knowing that it could never come again, and my only choice is to drink it in right fucking now. In that little moment, there’s no pressure to make us last, no worries about money or jobs or apartments, no forever. There is just him and me and this. And then he does something annoying and it’s gone, and boy am I glad I stood in the glorious present when I had the chance.
Reading Time: 4 minutes One of the things I found myself doing when I first moved to New York was being incredibly deferential to people who walked with more confidence than me. I would stop to let people pass me on tight sidewalks. I would allow people to barrel past me through doorways – sometimes holding the door for what became hoards of shoppers. I would even let people push me out of the way to get on the train first.
And – to be clear – when I say “people,” mean men.
So, this year I made a commitment to myself to take up more space. It is my incredibly passive-aggressive way of protesting Trump’s America. In my mind, I’m saying “you, white man, will go through this door after me, a black woman because I deserve as much space in this world as you do.”
Reading Time: 6 minutes So, it turns out that my dad did manage to give me away – it just doesn’t look like I thought it would. There’s no request for permission, no father-daughter dance, no walk down the aisle. Those things are lost. But the way I see it, he left me in Dan’s hands knowing that I would be handled with the utmost care. And that’s the only blessing I need.