I struggle with vulnerability. The word itself makes me uncomfortable. The idea of having to subscribe to “the state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally” is not a comfortable feeling. I always believed I spent enough time with someone or in place, it would ease my customary anxiety but just a comment, an action, or even a location can send me back to a space where I felt nothing but vulnerable. I have seen how the distance I create causes others to feel weary of me . It causes distrust, resentment, and ultimately avoidance. I may try to explain all but it never seems quite enough. I write this at a time where I feel more exposed than I have in years but I lend these words to images that made me feel seen positively. Hopefully, they balance each other out.
The clock on the laptop struck 5 and I felt the pressure from my clenched jaw lessen. The small pain that seems to live in my left temple during work hours, magically went away and I could feel my Arthur curled fist release in a sign of relief.
I quickly passed my coworkers, ignoring any attempt to make plans or talk about dumb shit.
All I wanted was a bottle of wine and a good romantic comedy on Netflix.
In my late teens and early 20s, my FOMO was out of control. I didn’t go out but I’d kicked myself envisioning my friends partying, drinking the night away, and making bad decisions we were supposed to be indulging in at our age.
Now in my mid-20s, I can’t be bothered to go out if I’m really not in the mood. Cheap liquor doesn’t go down as smoothly and I prefer to wear sweatpants over any tight ass bodycon dress any day. In following my own advice, I have tightened up my budget and my budget really doesn’t acknowledge tri-weekly happy hour or $50 dinners every weekend anymore.
I really admire the people who are willing and able to go out but that’s just not my life currently. I wish we could all come to an agreement to stop shaming one another.
If your bank account isn’t upset that you’re consistently abusing it every weekend then who am I to judge. Just don’t complain that I’m home every weekend, standing ass naked in front of my exhausted and overly opened fridge.
Please keep all comments about me and my friends making homebody decisions, especially when we do decide to show face at the function. I can’t count the number of times that people have just stared and pointed as if I owe them money.
I know, I’m outside. This wasn’t initially my plan but I’m here now and trying to make the best of it.
We are all trying to navigate through this dimly light and overhyped space of adulting. There may be days, weeks, and months in which happy hour regulars turn over their last shots glass in exchange for a Power marathon in an incensed filled room. This shift in the social universe may lead, I and my fellow aunties, to electric side to Beyoncé’s Before I Let Go in some overcrowded and poorly cooled establishment.
But until then, please don’t kill my vibe.
All photos by Tatyanna Chamere
Photography by: Morgan Daniels
Styled by: M. Ansah
“I’m intelligent. I’m accomplished. I’m beautiful and yet I’m 30 and alone. Is God punishing me?”
“Just wait Maame, there is no need to rush into that part of life.”
College came and went with two interesting relationships and a handful of situationships under my belt.
“So Maame. Why aren’t you dating?”
“I dunno, the speaker never went into that part.”
Photography by: Tatyanna Chamere
I looked up from my phone completely unaware of what I’ve been going on for the past two minutes only to catch the last bit of a conversation from two very chic women.
“I mean her life looks interesting but we all know that can’t be true she’s probably just super unhappy and super miserable. I mean look at her? Nobody can look that amazing and be that happy all the — wait, she’s coming up. She said she’s here.”
The two quickly adjusted their faces just before an equally elegant woman, LV’d down to the socks sauntered up and embraced them with an excited giggle and a big smile. They mirrored her with the same enthusiasm before they both linked arms and walked up to the café like a scene from the Sex And The City movie
In my mind, I immediately began to criticize. How could these women have been so terrible? And then just smile in her face like they had not just come for her entire life? Firmly perched on my pedestal, I turned my attention back to my phone and started scrolling casually through Instagram. Before I knew it, I had fallen off my holy than thou art throne into my own shallow pool of hypocrisy.
“Wow, must be nice to be rich when daddy is footing the bill.”
“Her Loubs aren’t even all that. I know them sh*ts hurt.”
“He ain’t even that cute to be shirtless like that all the time.”
All while double tapping to show my social sign of approval and acceptance
From my days in college, the idea of being fake friendly was not foreign to me. My alma mater is known for people showering each other with praises and graces, only to turn around and slander each others names. To say that I didn’t participate would be a lie. It was extremely easy to get caught up in the mess. I would often sit in a corner with some friends, drink some wine in “kiki” about people on social media before turning around to collaborate with them on group projects about the dangers of sexual miseducation. **nervously clears throat**
My slight wake up call happened during a particularly difficult time in my life. Brooding over a bad break up and on going school stress, I posted a picture with a cryptic caption about being happy when things weren’t going well. The picture had been taken weeks prior, when I was happier and much more “in love”. I saw my notifications ring with words of affirmations and love. With an uplifted mood but head still down, I entered my apartment elevator and moved to the back. I barely lifted my head to see two girls enter the elevator, glued to their phones as well. I could hear their cackles through my Afrobeats blasting through my earphones and decided to be nosy.
“Sis, look at her brows. They look like enemies.”
“Flat chested ass. She thinks she cute because she cut her hair. Who cares?”
The picture was mine and the two girls were people I thought to be friendly acquaintances . It hurt and broke my already fragile state into pieces.
I’m much more aware these days of how critical people can be of what they see on social media. The likes and comments, though I like to think come from a place of genuine love and respect, can also just be nothing more than a socially normative routine done to hide indifference, envy, or simple distaste. The problem with this fake reality is that getting caught up in the mess of it has become normalized. What we don’t quantify is the toll it can take on people. Sometimes it’s better to go ahead and unfollow, unlike, and log off.
As I sat across from my gold cladden date, I couldn’t help but think to myself
Hoe, why is you here?
My eyes began to glaze over as he talked about his various business ventures and recent trips. I only snapped back as he expressed his desire for a woman who could “keep the house in check” but not hassle him about going and coming when he pleased.
“Why not just hire a maid?” I inquired. He shook his head furiously as if I’d made the most ridiculous suggestion. He tried to explain that every man needs someone to come home to at night but that person needs to be able keep him and home in line. Blah, blah, blah.
I could sense my attention drifting further and further from the delusional conversation so I excused myself to the restroom.
As I looked at my self over, lip gloss popping and my favorite wig bobbing, I again thought:
Hoe, why is you here?
This sadly hadn’t been the worst date/ encounter I had with the male species. A particularly interesting one involved a hotep that slipped through the cracks of my vetting process with his beautiful teeth and washboard abs. Our time was quickly cut short after he explained to me on our first date that he was interested in marrying me but only if I give up my desires to further my education and my instagram.
I knew I was bored. My mundane routine of work, home, sleep had me left grasping any and every bit of excitement that could find me. Except, the excitement finding me weren’t even particularly interesting. To be honest, I had allowed “swit” words and fine dining to steal some of my Friday and Saturday nights. I never thought my time could be bought until I tasted the Côte de Boeuf from Marcel’s.
Damn me and my bougie stomach.
I started to think of all the things I could have been alone doing rather than sitting across from one of the most boring men on the planet. Ideas of pole classes, coloring books and actually writing about my feelings again danced in my head. All of sudden, I began to feel sick about how I had just wasted my time and this poor delusional misogynistic man’s time. I quickly texted my friend:
<<Save me in 5 min>>
I walked back to the table, feeling more nauseated with each step. He could sense my discomfort and asked me what was wrong. I played it off as a stomachache and anxiously waited for my phone to ring. I don’t think I even allowed a second vibration to pass before I picked up and motioned that I was stepping out to take a call. I explained my situation to my girl and we both agreed it was time to go.
I walked back into the lounge and bullshited an excuse about a friend going through a bad break up. He gave me his unwanted and unneeded blessing to leave and I dashed to the valet. Within 30 minutes, I was undressed and in my bed. Before I pressed play on Living Single, I looked around and realized I knew exactly why I was there.
Creating a life in Atlanta was never in my plans. To be honest, I had no interest in staying in Georgia past the age of 18. It always too homely and I longed for the sophisticated and fast paced life of a New Yorker. It seemed like nothing was here for me. So it surprised everyone, including myself, when I choose to stay in Georgia and attend Spelman College, located in the historic neighborhood of West End. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I let the outward appearance of West End deter me from venturing out of the gates of Spelman the first two years. Other than a handful of excursions to Lenox Mall and Little Five Points, I stayed close to the comforts of my hall. Even when my car rejoined me in the city, my friends and I were far more concerned with taking trips to other colleges and cities that we ended up neglecting our adopted hood. Now that the possibility of leaving Atlanta becomes more of a reality every second, I realizing how little I know of Atlanta.
So the question is, what do I rediscover first?