Black People Don’t Have Anxiety, Right?!

I think I came out the womb stressed. Well at least it feels like I’ve always been stressed. I was sitting in Mr. Dolan’s 8th Grade English class doing group work when all of sudden I felt my body starting to shake. My chest was tight and I couldn’t catch my breath. My teammates started to stare and of course at that age people assumed I was just being dramatic ass Jess.  I didn’t know that day would be the beginning of my battle with anxiety. I mean come on, black people don’t have anxiety, right?! I just thought my blood sugar was low.

I learned that I had a panic attack and that I was unclear about what that really meant. I dealt with anxiety into my adulthood. In high school I was prescribed medicine to help with my anxiety but was advised against taking them. I didn’t want to jeopardize my chances of getting into college or getting a good job because people thought I was crazy.  I flushed the pills down the toilet.

On top of dealing with anxiety I was sad. Not the happy-mad-glad-sad you learn about in preschool but the sad that made you not want to get up in the morning. The sad that made it hard to do things you once liked doing because you had so much on your mind you knew you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. In college the sadness got so unbearable I decided to seek out help. I sat in the waiting room of campus health waiting to see a doctor. After being seen I was advised to go to Counseling and Wellness Services. I met with this white lady who listened to me talk about how sad and overwhelmed I was and at the end of the conversation she diagnosed me with clinical depression, suggested I took the rest of the semester off and wrote me a prescription for anti-depressants.

I couldn’t process what I was just diagnosed with and the fact that she tried to tell me to go home. I thought only white women got depression; at least that’s what I would get from all those medication commercials. I had never heard of a black person being depressed, just they needed more Jesus. When I mentioned I was prescribed meds again I was given the same advice, “You better not take them damn pills! People gon think you crazy and you won’t be able to get a job!” So because I thought it was in my best interest I let my prescription sit at the pharmacy and ignored the 50 million calls and voice mails to come pick it up.

Now here I am at 25, now a mother still battling my anxiety and depression. I never liked talking about it before because I felt like it was a sign of weakness. I figured people would wonder how could I be a good mama, teacher or partner if most days I was trying to figure out how to keep myself going enough to make it to the end of the day. 

Since the birth of my daughter and moving back home to teach I’ve gained about 60 pounds. People who didn’t know I was somewhat of a slender stallion back in the day think I’m being dramatic when I talk about my weight gain.

This year my anxiety had grown especially with being single and having to find a new person to get to know and share all the deepest parts of myself with. Let alone share this plush chocolateness with. I get anxious about being bigger which fuels my depression which leads to me eating my emotions away and the cycle begins again.

Of course I always hear, “If you want to change something about yourself just do it!” or “You lack motivation! Once you get motivated you can do it!”. In my 6,934,457 attempts to lose weight I start off focused and determined. By my 3rd night in the gym Jaziya ain’t having it and is ready to go home. When I try to explain to people that it’s nearly impossible to take care of myself, heal and really make a commitment to losing weight while being a mother and teacher I hear so much how I’m making excuses. Mostly from people without kids but that is neither here nor there. 

Time after school runs later than expected or either I’m so emotionally exhausted from trying to figure out ways to co-parent with someone that sometimes seems impossible to deal with; going home to eat and cry seems a lot more fulfilling than trying to encourage myself to do one more set of wall balls.

To help with my anxiety and depression I went back to the doctor in hopes of finding a more convenient solution. I asked to find therapist to help me find ways of coping and dealing with stress. I couldn’t find anyone available after 5 o’clock so my doctor suggested prescribing me medication. My initial reaction reflected what I’ve been told my whole life I said “No, thanks I don’t want people to think I’m crazy.” By the end of my appointment and some encouragement from my Stay Schemin chat I convinced myself that I would give it a try. I know that it isn’t a permanent solution but I felt like I was taking a step to trying to better deal with my anxiety and depression.

I’ve been on antidepressants since July and they actually make dealing with my mental health easier. I will admit they make me tired but again this is a temporary solution. I really went back and forth about sharing this part of of myself for many reasons. Obvious reasons. But I know that dealing with this is a part of my journey. This is my attempt to let other black women know you aren’t alone. To let them know that it’s okay to get help and some things you just can’t pray away. You don’t have to be ashamed of the parts of yourself that aren’t the most appetizing. You are still a wonderfully made Unapologetic Warrior!

Unapologetically Me,

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Not My Sister’s Savior

We all have those friendships where you are constantly trying to save your bestie from self-destruction. Talking them off ledges and out of those edge snatching braids they seen on that one girl in a Facebook video.

As friends we pride ourselves so much on being loyal that we are willing to prioritize our friend’s needs, emotions and well-being before our own. Constantly trying to catch them before they fall and stop the tears before they flow. This is when boundaries and obligations begin to blur. We go from being friend’s to being caretakers.

Those are the friendships that are one sided and draining. The friendships where you have to remind yourself; I am my sister’s keeper, not my sister’s savior.”

We enable these friendships to happen, we have created a pattern of “Oh, I’ll save you!”. These patterns create two different reactions, 1. That friend EXPECTS you to always be there or 2. That friend RESENTS you because you were right about whatever they needed “saving” from.

Either way you left feeling unappreciated and just sick of their shit frankly. Yet you sit there telling yourself you can’t cut them off because that’s your “sister”, she needs you! But guess who you need more?! YOURSELF. 

I am learning on this journey of self-love that romantic relationships aren’t the only types of toxic relationships that can leave you damaged mentally and emotionally. Those one-sided friendships are just as damaging. The constant stressing and concerning of another grown ass woman’s well-being is also traumatizing.

People often excuse those individuals with some bullshit ass response of “That’s just how they are!”.  That can’t continue to be an excuse as to why your “sister” can’t value, respect or reciprocate the love, loyalty and energy you put into them.

It is expected that as women who value their relationships with their girls that you are your Sister’s Keeper, but it is not your responsibility to be her savior. You deserve to surround yourself with uplifting women who KEEP you empowered and provide a balance so that your cup isn’t always full of other people’s hot messery.

 

Unapologetically Me,

Goodbye 2021: Open Letter to My First Pride

As the summer begins to dwindle I am approaching my third year as an educator. Just yesterday I was being introduced  to the Pride of 2021 and now my babies are going to high school. Transitioning from enrolling individuals into affordable health care to being responsible for the minds of 105 impressionable teenagers was no where near Easy Street  but I stuck it out. I fought for my students. Loved my students and disciplined my students in the ways a mother would discipline her own.

I would be lying if I said everyday was a dream working with 105 little people going through puberty, break ups and trying to figure out exactly who they are. Those kids stressed me out beyond words and there were days I walked slam out of the classroom to look in the mirror and ask myself, “What in the hell were you thinking girl?!” But those moments never last long when you realize you are part of a greater mission; creating positive, affirmative, fearless revolutionaries.

On the last day of school I wrote 2021 an open letter read to them by their 8th grade teachers, of course I couldn’t do it myself I was too much of an emotional wreck having to say goodbye to individuals that helped mold me into the educator I have grown to be. I’m sharing my letter in hopes that they’ll come across this on a day they have forgotten how much they are loved and will remember, I am here to and through.

“Today is your last day of middle school and I have probably cried a thousand times throughout the week because my babies are leaving the nest. Before you continue on your journey to and through college there are a few things I wanted you to know.

First off I apologize. I apologize for not being confident in myself and my ability to guide you. Y’all came into my life at a time where I was unsure of myself, confused and broken. I felt incapable of being of use to any of you. I had these big ideas about how I wanted to lead you to greatness but had no idea of how much work it would actually take. There were times when both the nights and days were long and I had no idea of what I was doing. Because of my ignorance as a teacher I chose to love and lead you in the best way that I could. As my own.

If you ain’t know, it takes a lot of energy, patience and dedication to love over 100 children. I loved you on your best days, worst days, when you were trifling and even when you had me fling a chair across the room. And although learning to love you all as my own was exhausting I received some of the greatest gifts. Love, support and dedication from you.

From ’21 I learned what it means to have grit. To give 100% even when it feels like you have nothing left to give because you have a team of people who need your guidance. I must thank you all because you have made me who I am, an educator.

There were so many things I got wrong with you all. So many times I yelled when I should’ve given hugs and times when I gave up on you because you gave up on yourselves.

But I have seen so much growth and maturity in each of you that I am beyond proud of.

As you continue on in life always know that you have a friend in me. Know that you are capable of greatness. Know that you are full of #blackandbrowngirlmagic and #blackandbrownboybrillance.  Understand that you will succeed whether you stay here, go to another school, or even venture off to another state (Ella Ella Ella).

This world is full of injustices and hopefully I have provided you with the tools of radical change and advocacy. I’m needing to end this letter because I am getting emotional so ’21 even if you forget everything you learned in your middle school career please never forget that I love you and will always be eternally grateful for meeting your wonderfully ratchet selves.”

XOXO

Ms.Boone

Unapologetically Me,

Liebster Award

Nomination

A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Liebster Award. I am beyond grateful to Starr who nominated me. Starr created and operates Adulting Mama A blog about her everyday life with kids. I admire her because she too is pursuing her dreams while ensuring her kids and students are successful just as I am.

Liebster Award

The Liebster Award was created by bloggers for new and upcoming bloggers. It is used to support and connect bloggers within the community and expose different audiences to a variety of writers.

It is an honor to receive recognition for the work that I put into Unapologetic Kinkz. When receiving the award there are rules that must be followed, a major part of the rules require me to pay it forward.

 

Pay It Forward

As a part of my acceptance and continuing on the legacy of Liebster Award I have included four blossoming bloggers for all their hard work and dedication.

  1. Diamond Winstead: OxiMoron Fashion Sense
  2. Candace Cooper: The Single Sister’s Tribe
  3. Ronique Forgie: She’s Quiet Confident
  4. Taylor Walker: Let Tay Tell It

 

Checkpoints and Milestones

I spent my last days as a 24 year old making memories. Surrounded by amazing friends doing hoodrat stuff,  meeting new people, trying new foods and going new places. Then it happened. I turned 25. At a rooftop bar enjoying drinks, we twerked our way into the next morning making sure to watch the clock at 11:59 so that I could remember that moment forever.

Mid rump shake, grinning from ear to ear and awaiting the plethora of birthday calls and text I went from feeling like I had all the time in the world to thinking, Shit! I’m already 30. Since then I have constantly been reflecting on milestones and checkpoints and praying that I’m doing life right.

There are different milestones we experience like learning to walk, to read and pee in a public restroom while squatting. No matter how small the milestone may be we are always proud to have made it. Along the way of these milestones we set different checkpoints for ourselves. These are times we want to have accomplished those milestones in our lives. For example some people hope to graduate college at 22, obtain their Master’s by 24 and get married by 26. Travel to 6 new countries with their spouse and then start a family at 28.

Once we reach those specific points in our lives we are constantly checking to see if we are on track making it over the milestones we have set for ourselves. When we are headed on our journey smoothly we want everybody to know. But in those moments where life isn’t quite working out and we are standing at a checkpoint with no milestone in sight we feel defeated. It becomes easy to feel like we are failing at life because we have put pressure on ourselves to create these imaginary timelines of when and how life should be lived. All so other people can think, “Damn they got their shit together!

I have no shame in admitting that I set checkpoints for myself and 25 was on the list. With so many of my peers sharing their bomb ass lives and milestones like getting married, buying houses and taking extensive trips out the country I look at my life as a 25 year old mama and try to figure out what I have to show for being on this Earth for quarter of a century.

If you are an Unapologetic Warrior and you aren’t where you want to be in your life remind yourself that it isn’t too late. It doesn’t matter if you are 25, 38, 76 or 85. What I have been trying to get myself to understand is that milestones and checkpoints don’t determine my worth. It would be awesome to have all the things I wanted by 25. But, the reality is that things don’t always happen in the ways you want them to.

It’s up to me to continue to work towards those milestones without the limitations and constraints of checkpoints. Don’t get me wrong, when you have a goal in mind it’s a good idea to be able to measure when it can be tackled but also understand that because the program is always subject to change there has to be room for adjustments.

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Unapologetically Me,

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