Tried and True Friendships

What is friendship? Can it even be defined? A friendship encapsulates many different roles yet each friendship is defined differently based on the connection. Some friends are only for a season and some can remain in your life until the end. Now, the dynamic of those friendships will change based on life experiences and we should all learn to understand and respect the process. You may move away and live in different states or continents for work or relocate after marriage, whatever the case may be. Those changes can put a strain on the friendship or make it even stronger….that’s all up to the people involved.

I had some great friendships as a kid. I had friends who I would play hopscotch and jump rope with at recess and when school was out. Friends who would climb a mango tree with me and sit on the grass and eat mangos ’til we were full. Friends that I did homework with and made up dance steps to any song we heard. Those friendships all ended when I moved from Belize to Boston. We didn’t have IG and Facebook then to keep in touch (I’m showing my age lol but I’m not ashamed of it). Mailing letters was an option but money for stamps wasn’t always available. Then in high school I made new friends. Friends that I would talk about boys with. We would go to school and complain about our parents/guardians unfair parenting rules. We would schedule what time we would be on AIM after school to chat and remind each other to call our cell phones before 7pm because that’s when the free minutes came to an end. But there were also the “friends” who made fun of my weight, my hair, my nerdiness and my accent…..yup, my accent. I remember these Jamaican girls speaking patois, and hearing them made me feel comfortable to join in with my Belizean Kriol (Creole) accent. Turns out, I was trying too hard to speak patois and I was saying everything wrong according to them. At that time, timid me didn’t stand up for myself and called them ignorant for not knowing that there are different dialects in the Caribbean so I just never spoke in my accent in school from that day on. But there was this one girl who didn’t make fun of my accent and that was the start of our friendship.

That friendship followed me into adulthood but with a few bumps and bruises on the way. A few years out of high school and we are both living in different states, speaking on the phone every day and texting when we were not calling each other. Then things began to change and neither of us saw it coming. We were both going through a lot financially and emotionally and would turn to each other to vent about whatever the issues were that day. Somewhere along the line I felt as if there wasn’t a balance in our venting sessions. She would express her tribulations and I would express mine but we would always end up back on her issues when I didn’t even get through all of my complaints about life. Then I realized all we were doing was complaining and that was no way to live! I would try to bring some light into the conversation but that was all overshadowed by darkness. This would continue for months and one day I just had enough and told her I needed a break from the friendship. I told her I couldn’t handle her being so negative all the time while I was dealing with issues of my own and I couldn’t handle her burden on top of my own. See, I had this habit of not speaking up for myself when I had an issue with someone, then I would let it fester and I would reach my breaking point unbeknownst to them. So to her, she was blindsided by my decision to press pause on our friendship while I was just mentally drained and fed up.

After a few weeks of not speaking she did reach out to me and I ignored every call and text. I was not ready to dive back into things because I did not think anything had changed. A few weeks turned into months and into a year. We formed new friendships and strengthened the ones we already had outside of each other. Then one day I missed my friend and something told me to call her….she answered. Sometimes you have to break some things apart to put them back together. Over the course of a couple weeks we discussed everything. Within the break we both grew tremendously. I had no reserves for speaking my mind on matters within the moment. I expressed myself wholeheartedly without fear of sounding mean. Our friendship now is not what it was when we were 17-18 years old, but we’re no longer those people either. We are women now with a greater understanding of who we are and our purpose. We recognize our triggers, speak openly of our anxieties and know when to give each other the space we deserve.

We recently had a conversation about boundaries. How we are learning how to set said boundaries and not feel guilty for doing so. I sent her a link on Instagram that had a caption saying “Feeling guilty because of the reaction you are getting once you establish new boundaries? Remember it is more about taking care of yourself as opposed to being mean to the other person.” A new boundary I have in place is choosing how much of my personal life I want to share with people….we had a conversation that went something like this…

Her: So are you going to give me more info on this subject?

Me: No

Her: Ok, I respect it.

It seems miniscule but I appreciated her not badgering me to tell her something I wasn’t willing to discuss. No questions about when I will be ready or why I wasn’t ready at that time or if I’ve given info about this specific topic to someone else. My decision as an adult was not dissected but simply respected.

My friendships now are exactly what I need them to be. Real when it’s time to talk about issues. Fun when it’s time to go to bottomless brunch. Encouraging when one of us feels like quitting school or work. Hilarious when we are sharing memes all day. Comforting when one of us has suffered a loss. Respectful when some things are not up for discussion. Supportive when we have an idea or want to make a change. Balanced….we don’t need to speak every day but those check-ins are golden. I know who I am and the type of energy I want around me and I am glad that I’ve grown into the woman I am today who can recognize what is feeding my soul and what is draining it. All our friends serve a purpose in our lives. We just need to decipher if that purpose is helping us grow or keeping us stagnant.

xoxo

Jess

My Life your Entertainment

“You the type to Instagram yo breakfast in the morning”, that’s what the little boy said to Chris Brown in his “No Guidance” music video. It’s funny to me because some people really make a living off of doing something like that. I salute the hustle, sometimes I wish I can “make it big” by being an “influencer” but then I think about how much of their daily lives they make public. As private as I am, I don’t think I can wholeheartedly be an influencer and provide the content that will elevate me to the highest level of popularity in the social media world.

Revealing your life on social media has become second nature to some. Those who take a picture before they take a bite of their food or a sip of their drink. Those who turn to their media platforms to vent about an issue they’re having with their family or friend. Those who travel simply to document their activities throughout the entire trip. Elaborate date nights and proposals recorded to show the world in hopes of going “viral”. New couples sometimes find themselves arguing over making their relationship known on social media as a way to solidify the union. Because, is the relationship even real if your “followers” don’t know about it?

For the non influencers like me, I think we can agree that we post what we want on social media. Some adventures of mine will make it on Instagram, you can even get my favorite song of the week or the infamous “in the gym mirror pic” when I’ve had an intense workout session. Some days I am enjoying my time and soaking in the moment so much that I will put my phone away, or record and save for later lol. I read an article that said people were renting private jets to take pictures to post on social media giving the illusion that they fly in style. These jets never left the tarmac!! If it’s not your career, live your life for you and not for the views of other people. *link to article attached* http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/10/you-can-rent-a-grounded-private-jet-to-take-instagram-photos.html

That fabrication made me think about how many other social media posts are fabricated….relationships maybe? I’ve heard of fake YouTube relationships just to get views. I know of some popular pages that will post a picture of a couple sporting the biggest smiles and looking very much in love but behind the scenes they are unhappy and arguing majority of the time. We should keep that in mind before we compare our lives to others and possibly envy what we see them post. It’s easier to post the happy times with smiles and a full heart. And that makes the “relationship goals” hashtag misleading. What we see on the forefront does not tell the story of what these couples had to overcome to be the unit they are today. In some cases, it is only just a picture and the relationship is in total disarray at that very moment.

We shouldn’t look to the internet for validation. We don’t need everyone to see that we are in that person’s life for us to believe that we mean something to them. Being a #MCM or #WCW does not mean the person loves you any more or less. Nor does it prove that your relationship is stronger than anyone else who hasn’t posted their bae on their page. It’s more than ok to keep some aspects of your life private. I am a firm believer in energies and some of those followers may not like seeing you happy with a partner. Their negative thoughts can transfer to your relationship energy and cause an imbalance.

Although social media has become a career source for influencers documenting their lives. It should not be confused with real unedited life. An Instagram post is not the blueprint for a happy life. I could personally do without the headache of who likes what picture or which picture to post to show how “happy” I am with a partner. I prefer the real life happiness. The brunches with your girls, the trips to the winery or beer garden or happy hour on a Thursday when y’all know damn well y’all got work in the morning. The movie date nights, the amusement park trips, or the cooking dinner together nights. The quality time spent can never be captured in a picture and portrayed properly on any social media platform.

If a relationship has no Title, does it even exist?

“What are we?” – A question that is asked many times as a way to validate a relationship. Sometimes it seems as if a title is more vital in defining a relationship than the dynamic of it. But I guess it can be justified because everyone else has a title right? My sister, my brother, my cousin, my friend etc., all titles we were born into or naturally occurred (my friend). Yet being in a mutually beneficial relationship with a friend is not enough. He has to be “my boyfriend”.



There’s no way I’m spending all this time and being intimate with someone without a definition for who we are together. I need to make sure that he knows he’s my man so he’s not out here entertaining other women. He needs to know that he’s mine and only mine because I don’t share anything! – and that’s the type of thinking that makes us forceful in getting a title. We make it a big deal early on, not taking into consideration his personality or feelings about the situation. We just know what we want and we’re going to get it.

I was talking to a guy for months and in casual conversation he mentions that we were a couple. It was cute, I’m not gon’ front, but I was so extra that I told him not to call us a couple because he never formally asked me to be his girlfriend lol. He thought it was the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard but I was persistent. So an hour or two later he finally decided to grant me my wish and ask me. I don’t know why I needed to be asked that question even after he already said we were a couple. Maybe it was the pressure from my friends and family who constantly saw us together and kept asking me if he was my boyfriend. I think I was tired of not having an answer or feeling as if “he’s my friend” wasn’t enough for them. Either way, I needed a title from him and I got it. We were together for about 3-4yrs give or take a few break ups in between lol. I don’t even think I used the title when speaking about him after the initial reveal. I would refer to him by his name, I was never the one to say “my boyfriend this” or “my boyfriend that”, he had a name and that’s what he was called.

Then there was another guy who asked me to be his girlfriend within a month, making me talk to his mom on WhatsApp and giving his sister my number so we can be friends and hang out. That relationship was over two months later and it didn’t even really get started in my opinion. This was Shawn (see blog post “My Online Boyfriend”), and he had no reservations for letting his friends know he had a “woman”. With him I barely heard my name unless he was upset about something (which was rare). It was always “I’m with my girl”, “my girl this”, one time he introduced me to one of his friends with “this is my girlfriend.” and that was it! Not “this is my girlfriend Jessica.”, nope, my name was simply girlfriend. Strangely enough I had a problem with that, I fought for a title in the relationship before him but now that I was given it so freely I wanted my identity back lol. I can be so complicated at times. We broke up and never spoke to each other again, while I am still friends with the one before him to this day. Even though the coupledom of Shawn and I was short lived, I learned that having a title early on and meeting the family doesn’t solidify the relationship. The connection you have with them is more important than showing people that you finally have someone. We should have taken our time, I see that now, but I was just so eager to have someone that I didn’t take a moment to think things through.



Those guys were completely different in every way. One was meticulous with making decisions and did not like feeling owned or possessed by someone (which was his reasoning for not seeing the big deal in titles). The other yearned for that possession and assigned a title instantly to secure me, to make it known that I belonged to him and no one else.

The way I see it, having a relationship with someone is deeper than “what are we?”. The understanding between two people holds more weight than the title you place on the relationship for the sake of introduction. God forbid you take your girlfriend home to meet your family and only introduce her by her name! She would have a fit! Her name is not enough, she’s not just her name anymore, she’s a girlfriend and that title must come before her given name! When friends ask “so y’all together?”, we must give the “correct” answer, and that answer is the validation of what they have witnessed. You’ve been spending a lot of time with this person so it must be more than “just friends” right? -seems pretty silly to me now that I’m older.



I’ve learned to enjoy the company around me. Someone I love spending time with can just be a positive energy that I gravitate to. A higher vibration that matches mine or simply pulls me to be on the same frequency. I want to experience someone for a good length of time without feeling like I need to slap on a title. I want comfort. I want peace.

XOXO

Jayelle

A Dream Deferred

I still remember getting my acceptance letter to Brown University in 2007. I was going to major in Accounting and minor in Spanish (the Garifuna course was not yet available, not even on Rosetta Stone). I was looking up sororities that I would want to pledge since I didn’t (more like “was told not to”) apply to North Carolina A&T and wouldn’t be a part of AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority) as I had dreamed. I was ecstatic either way. Until it was my turn to meet with the guidance counselor to go over the next steps and I cried as I told her that I would not be attending Brown University or any of the other four colleges I was accepted to.

High school graduation 2007

That was the point in my life where I never understood the phrases “everything happens for a reason” and “God has a plan” because what the hell could be the reason for this and this don’t feel like a good plan.

So you telling me that I got straight A’s all through school, met all the academic requirements to attend college, got accepted, just to be told that I can’t go??!! This was his “plan”? Seriously? I was distraught and embarrassed. All my friends were gearing up for college and I had to shy away from every discussion because I couldn’t say “I’m not going” without tears forming. I spent homeroom period in the guidance counselors office for at least a week, crying and yelling about how much I hated the world and everyone in it.

I can’t say that I got over it but I accepted it as time passed because there was nothing I could do about what had already happened. I ended up getting a job and saved up enough to finally apply to college again 2yrs later. I got in!!! But….the week after I got my acceptance letter I lost my job. How was I going to maintain myself and pay for school? Needless to say, I had to drop out before class was even in session. That’s when I gave up entirely.

My mental capacity had no room to receive anything school related from anyone. I had tried and the universe just did not want me to succeed at that time. Seven more years would pass before I would even toy with the idea of embarking on another educational journey.

I was working for the same company for 5yrs in 2015 when I had an overwhelming feeling of complacency. There was no room for growth and the boss was convinced that I would just work there forever (rolls eyes). So I took that as a challenge and applied to community college. I started my first day of college in January 2016!

I completed my stint in college in December 2018 and graduated with an AAS in Business Management May 2019! That job I had? The one with the boss who thought I couldn’t do any better?…. I resigned on October 5th 2018. Started a new job October 29th 2018.

College graduation 2019

No I didn’t get the college life experience I had hoped for. I didn’t pledge any sorority or live in a dorm (but I did go to a few college homecomings and parties but that’s a whole other blog post lol). But I did get a degree after what seemed like years of disappointments. Years of me not believing in myself and giving up far too easy. I call it a leap of faith. I was nervous, anxious and excited through the entire process. I haven’t been in a class room in 9yrs! Would I be the oldest one in the class? Would I be able to keep up with the work? How will I balance working full time and going to school? Do I still know how to study? So many questions, so many concerns, all to conclude with YES to all. I did it.

With the emotional and financial support of my family and friends I was able to achieve a dream I thought was impossible at one point. I am proud of myself. I am happy with my accomplishment and I am determined to achieve much more.

Xoxo

Jayelle

Being ok with saying “NO”

My anxiety stems from always needing to be perfect. Always needing people to like me and be pleased with me. I hate confrontation so I avoid it by making sure I’m pleasing everyone. If they need something and I don’t have it, I’ll find it for them instead of saying “I don’t have it”. If they want to do something but it’s not something I want to do I’ll do it anyways and act like I’m having fun. I’ve grown to put my foot down in certain situations but not all….yet.

I was the yes girl. Yes to every damn thing. “Jess let’s go here, let’s do this, lemme borrow this amount, agree with me, be on my side…etc.”. My responses were always “sure, cool, ok…yes”. It got so bad that I started to hate something I once enjoyed. Braiding hair. I learned at a very young age thanks to my older cousin and mom who were my test models back in the day. I would do my own hair all the time and then people starting asking to get there’s done. I would be doing hair so much that I just got so annoyed and stopped doing it all together. Had I said “no” to a few people in between those days that I was too tired then maybe I wouldn’t have stopped the way I did. I just had a hard time saying “no”. Mainly because I kind of felt obligated. See, I was that kid that came to live with your family, the new face that you were suddenly seeing everyday. So as a way of doing my part around the house and making everyone happy with my presence I would say “yes” to everything including all hair requests. I was good at it so maybe that made people think that I wouldn’t mind doing it all the time but never saying “no” definitely didn’t help.

I’ve gotten better with saying “no” to things I don’t want to do. Some may see it as me being spiteful and that I just want to say “no” for the hell of it lol but that’s not the case. I can see why they would think that way tho, I’ve been saying yes for so many years that a “NO” seems unlike me, inorganic, purposely “defiant”, and for that I can only blame my younger self for not learning to say “no” sooner.

Some may see it as a drastic change in my personality but I see it as the true me finally making her way to the surface. Being able to do what I want to do without being fearful of repercussions. No one is going to punish me for not doing what they want. And so what if they get upset because I don’t show up for something or I can’t let them borrow a lil something. The world won’t end! You’re upset with me, just get over it. Life is way too short to be worried about who agrees with your life choices.

If we live our lives to please others we will never truly be happy. Not everyone is the same so there will always be a difference in opinion and preference but if we didn’t have those differences life would be boring.

Xoxo

Jess

The after breakup “closure” – a myth

Long after a break up I would insist on meeting with my ex for “closure”. Something I thought I needed in order to move on. That somehow, speaking to the person I was no longer in a relationship with would bring me some sort of peace or comfort. For some reason I thought that closure was the medicine to cure a tainted heart. But it was just an excuse to see him again lol.

There was a lot I didn’t understand when I was younger. More common was “why would a guy say I’m such a great person but in the same breath say that he doesn’t want to be with me?”. I accepted the split and called it mutual but after a few weeks or months I would still have questions. Questions that I believed could only be answered by the person who once loved me but stopped all of a sudden. So I would reach out, asking to meet up so we could talk about what all happened between us and how we got to the end. Some of them were open to it and some were not (mainly Shawn’s scary ass, thinking I just wanted to jump him lol). I would rehearse for this closure meeting, the things I wanted to say, the questions I had and I would write down some of those questions just in case I forgot. See, this was very important to me. I’m the type to think about what I could have said way after something happens so I had to ensure that I would not do that this time, I would not get lost in his charm, or whatever else I found attractive, that could distract me from my purpose.

It’s closure day and I have said nothing I had rehearsed. Instead I’m kissing all up on him like nothing ever happened (huge face palm). Then we spend the rest of the day like we’re boyfriend and girlfriend again. Just for me to go back home and send a long text message (that he never read) saying all that I intended to say. And that right there was my closure.

Closure for me is a myth. Why do I need to speak to the person that broke up with me, pleading for the reason why we didn’t work out? Why couldn’t I just accept it and move on the same way we accept many other things we cannot change? We had a good run together. We laughed, argued and learned new things while in each other’s company and just because it’s over doesn’t mean that it didn’t mean anything. You know, I think that it was mainly because I didn’t want to start over. I was so afraid of starting all over with someone new that I would have tried anything to get that old thing back. But with age comes wisdom and some people are truly just seasonal and I have found comfort in that.

Closure comes with true acceptance within oneself. So what if he has already moved on? So what if you miss him? So what if that song reminds you of him? That’s how life experiences are. Many things in life will remind you of the past, some will make you smile and some will bring you sorrow. Yet, we tend to separate a romantic relationship and look for a deeper meaning when emotions resurface. I had to learn how to manage my emotions and I am still learning. So now, when I feel like someone owes me an explanation I try to be clear on why I feel that way. Do the work within yourself before you waste time and possibly money chasing “closure”.

xoxo

Jess

That long text he never read

“He needs to know how much he hurt me”, “He has to feel the pain that I feel”…and those were the thoughts that started off that 4 paragraph text message I would send to the lucky young man who hurt my little feelings because of what he did or didn’t do at the time. I have a message for my old self….HE DON’T CARE AND HE’S NOT GONNA READ IT SIS!

I thought I was making a statement and actually guilt tripping him into caring about how hurt I was but I should have just packed up my dignity and kept it moving the same way he did. He said he was coming to town to see me and I was hype because after the 4th cycle of break up to make up it was make up time again. But this time was different, he said he also wanted to go see the other girl he dated during our “break” and I lost it. The audacity of you to want to go see that dog-fac….that woman who was nowhere near as poppin’ as me!! See I was also the girl who would speak ill of the next chick (man I’ve grown lol) when I didn’t even know her from Adam (but I did know her from Facebook, my search game was on point). After he said that I felt like an option, like he was saying “well imma go see both of them then choose who I wanna be with for real”, well I wasn’t having it because this girl right here is always the only choice. I was so livid I didn’t even give him a chance to finish his sentence (I would regret this later on but life goes on). I hung up the phone and started typing. Yes, it would have made sense to stay on the phone and say all that I wanted to say but remember, I’m upset so my sentences will not be formed correctly and I’m emotional so I will cry while yelling at him and I have to remain a thug and thugs don’t cry. So there I was walking to the train crying and typing a few strong worded messages (with a voice message when my tears took a break).

The purpose of the messages was to tell him that he was a horrible person for hurting me again but I knew that he knew. He was aware of the impact those words would have on me but he just didn’t care. Those messages didn’t make him feel guilty for hurting me or made him hurt the same way. My feelings were separate from his and expressing my disdain for his existence was not going to take away the pain I was feeling nor strike him with the same discomfort. I was suppose to work through my feelings by myself with the help of a diary or a trusted friend who would just listen and not suggest that we find some dudes to jump him. All I wanted was to vent and he was not the person to vent to at all. I did more damage to myself because I allowed my emotions to take over. It’s even worse when the guy doesn’t respond to any of the 10 text messages or if his response is not what you expected. Hours later he finally responded and hit me with the “are you done?” (lmao), and just when I was going to start another long message he calls and I decided to answer because I was calm already. He explained himself and I actually listened and when he said he didn’t read after the first two sentences I was kind of relieved because I was embarrassed after I read what I had typed. I did not present myself in the best light and it seemed like my self esteem was not present at all.

When my feelings are hurt by someone, friends, family, or significant other, first I try to dissect why what they said hurt so much. Is it because there’s truth in what they said that I haven’t faced yet? Are they speaking from a hurt place and only trying to hurt me in the process? Is it even worth picking a fight over? My dignity is more important than letting someone know how much they hurt me. I give people more credit than that now. You know what you did, no need for me to tell you.

xoxo

Jess

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Lincoln was 6’4″, caramel complexion, with a voice like the dude from Boyz II Men who be talking on all the tracks (I think his name is Michael McCary). I was already arguing too much with Emanuel so meeting Lincoln was a sign that I should just end things with Emanuel and get with Lincoln right? So after just meeting Lincoln, walking around Manhattan for hours just talking and enjoying each other’s company, I decided to send Emanuel the text – the “it’s not me it’s you” text, because he was acting up for awhile and he knew it so the end was inevitable. Emanuel was a family friend so imagine how awkward it was when he was at the summer BBQ just as Lincoln pulled up looking like the only dessert!

I was 18yrs old, he was 22 and serving in the military (I had a thing for a man in uniform…still do…). We spent hours talking on the phone, he would visit me after work and we would just walk around the block and stop at a park bench on those beautiful summer days in New York until it got dark and he would walk me back home and be on his way. Just to do it all again the next day. It was only a few short months of this summer romance then he had to report back to his base in Baltimore. I thought it was over but Lincoln still wanted to see the kid (well duh) so I would hop on the bus (no I didn’t drive then…still don’t lol) to spend the weekend after I got off work. After the second month with about three visits, things started to get weird. Lincoln was starting to pull away and because I don’t chase after no man I pulled away too. He made the decision to break up and I agreed even though I didn’t want to. Since he was also a friend of the family (I also had a thing for dating friend’s of the family…still do) we tried to keep it cordial for when we would end up at a family function.

That didn’t last long because just a few months later……I was having a rough day so I decided to call Lincoln to complain about it but his vibe was off. It wasn’t the usual warm inviting consoling tone I normally got from him. So after what seemed like hours of pulling teeth he finally tells me that he’s getting married to the girl who saved his life when he was in a car accident the week prior. Yup, my face was on the floor! So I went off because I just couldn’t believe it! We talked about marriage and kids and all that good stuff but there I was listening to him say that some other woman he didn’t even know was going have the life him and I had dreamt up. Being cordial had flown out the window and got hit by a plane. After I was done yelling, screaming, crying, he calmly said to me “You’re a great girl, probably too good for me and you deserve someone better than me….I’ve hurt you too many times…” blah blah blah! And he had put those words into the universe for it to be said to me by every guy I would date after him *insert eye roll*.

Lincoln was the love that broke me. My heart was so cold after him. I was emotionless. Until I met Alonzo in….(I’ll tell his story in another post). See I was finally over Lincoln and in a new relationship when boom he calls me from a number that wasn’t stored in my phone. It’s always when you’ve already moved on and happy that the ex wants to slither themselves into your life again for no logical reason but to mess with your head, but I digress. He knew I wouldn’t have answered if I saw the call coming from his number, that little sly fox got me. So as I caved in to have a conversation with him he said he would be back in town for a bit and wanted to give me my birthday card that he never sent because he knew I hated him. So I asked if his wife was coming with him to bring me my card and his response was “C’mon Jess, it’s not even like that”. I didn’t know what that meant at 19 years of age and still don’t but boys are dumb (boys not men) so I just left it at that. We met a few days later, he parked his car and I stood on the sidewalk with my arms folded and face screwed up making sure he know just how I felt about him without using any curse words. I stuck my hand out for the card and he asked if we could talk. Silly me said yes and got in his car, he apologized for being a jerk and I accepted his apology. It wasn’t long before he started to reminisce on our good times but I had to burst that bubble real quick. I read the card in the car which had everything he just said written down along with “You’re the Best I Ever Had” but he got no points for that because Drake just released that song and he wasn’t going to mess up my jam for me.

That was probably the most affective form of closure I ever got after any break up. He admitted he was an idiot and I agreed. All was well with the world. However, those words “you’re a great girl and deserve someone better than me” haunted me. If I’m so great then why don’t you want to be with me? That was a question my young self never got an answer for. But if I could have a conversation with 18/19yr old Jess I would tell her that Lincoln leaving was the first great thing that could happen to her. Young Jess would have been a military wife living away from her own family and friends with two kids. She would have missed all the family functions, all the other relationships that taught her so much and most of all she would have never met Alonzo. “You’re a great girl and deserve someone better than me” is just another way of saying “It’s not you it’s me” and he was right. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t my path to follow him in his career. I had to make a life of my own and learn about who I truly am. So if you ever hear “It’s not you it’s me” don’t question it, just accept it and move on. Better is yet to come and life is about living through experiences like this one so one day you can start a blog and write about it or at least have a really great story to tell your kids when they start dating.

Disclaimer: Names in this true story were changed out of respect of the other individuals involved

xoxo

Jess

Restaurant Review: Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Harlem New York

So my best friend from high school Chorlette got some exciting news and I wanted to celebrate her, so since she’s a pescatarian I just searched for seafood in a good location for both of us to meet up and stumbled upon Lolo’s Seafood Shack. It wasn’t until we got there that Chorlette pointed out that the menu had “Belizean Conch Fritters”. I lost it! See, I’m Belizean so I automatically put on for my people. I continued reading the menu and saw that they also served Johnny Cake (a type of bread made fresh by hand) and the Johnny Cake was the bread used for the sandwiches on the menu. I loved that idea but decided that I’ll order it on my next visit. I hope y’all didn’t think this was a one off for me lol I’ll be back to visit my play cousin’s place.

We ordered the “Belizean Conch Fritters” which were well seasoned and perfectly crisped around the edges and soft in the center. The “Crabby Dip + Plantain Chips” were delicious, the dip was the perfect balance of crab meat
callaloo, manchego cheese, and smoked gouda pano crust. For my entrée I had the “Salmon + Shrimp + Broccoli Basket” which came with “Garlic Fries”, the salmon and shrimp were flawlessly seasoned and then there was the “special sauce” that reminded me of Belize, it was savory yet sweet, light and creamy. It was the perfect sauce to dip my broccoli in! The garlic fries were drizzled with a garlic sauce that was so divine I didn’t even need ketchup!

Crabby Dip +Plantain Chips and Belizean Conch Fritters
Crabby Dip +Plantain Chips and Belizean Conch Fritters
Salmon + Shrimp + Broccoli and Garlic Fries

A meal isn’t complete without a drink now! We had Lolo’s Rum punch in a carafe and it came with an extra shot of rum in our cups!! They spoke to me with that move!

Lolo’s Rum Punch with an extra shot of rum in the cups

Lastly, there is outdoor seating that I must experience in the summer time but in this cold New York winter they provided a heated shed. We walked out and as I looked down the stairs to the shed I felt so at home. Like I was back in Belize about to eat the fresh bread my grandmother just made on the open fire! Chorlette said it made her feel like she was “back ah yaad”, which is back home in her native Jamaica. Overall, the entire vibe is welcoming and the food will make you a frequent customer. So if you’re ever in New York make sure you swing by Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem!

The outdoor cabana

xoxo

Jess

Negative Self Talk

I’ve strived for perfection my entire life and just realized it this year. I still don’t believe I purposely had to be great at everything, and not to sound presumptuous, I was just always told how exceptional I was at the things I could do. From being in the top of my class in elementary and high school to cooking. There was that one time I was ranked 2nd in the class (not 1st like every year before that) and I went home crying, like the hyperventilating type of crying lol. I was book smart and never got into trouble in or out of school. I didn’t fail and because I didn’t, no one had to tell me that it was ok to fail, that it was not the end of the world, that it is a part of life and growing up.

I knew what I liked and stuck to it. I never tried to play any sports, and that one time I ran in the relay race I was in the hospital a few hours later for “breathing troubles” so I never tried to do that crap again. I knew how to braid hair, I knew how to cook, I read books every chance I got and I was always patted on the back for doing those things.

Then I became a woman and the smallest sight of imperfection would cause a panic attack. I got fired from my first job, “it wasn’t working out” is what they told me but all I heard was that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t excel at something. I found myself sleeping on the floor of my cousin’s apartment making trips to the library to look for jobs on craigslist. At this point I barely had anything left in my savings so this was the bottom for me.

That’s when it all started. When I started belittling myself and blaming my circumstances on what I thought were my horrible decision making skills. It’s been years now and I still speak poorly of myself when I make an error or if I’m not perfect and something I try to do. I don’t even read as much as I did before and I curse myself every time I notice I’m doing something trivial that’s time consuming and I could be reading a book. Negative self talk takes over and if I don’t take the time to realize and work through it then it will consume me.

Negative self talk is your inner critic that causes you to blame yourself, causes you to doubt yourself and what you are able to achieve. You think that you’re not good enough. You don’t believe that you can do something so you don’t even bother trying. If not managed it can cause a tremendous amount of mental stress. I’ve learned to manage my negative self talk by noticing when I’m being a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy”. When I notice it I take a minute to breathe and remind myself that it’s just life and I don’t have to be perfect at everything. It’s easier said than done but with consistency I can attest that it helps.

Practice daily by speaking positivity into yourself. Remind yourself of your beauty, your strength, your resilience, your passion. Look back to how far you’ve come and remind yourself that if you made it through that then you can make it through anything. Life is what you make it so make the best of it because tomorrow isn’t promised. Love yourself everyday no matter how hard the day may seem. Negative Self Talk is something we can all kick out of the door of our lives.

xoxo

Jess