30 Days & The Reclamation of my Body
THIS IS THE YEAR THAT I WAS SHAKEN. I HAD NO CLUE THAT earthly things CAN TAKE YOU THROUGH YOUR OWN PERSONAL HELL. I'M NOT FEARFUL OF MOST THINGS. THE THINGS THAT FRIGHTEN ME ARE THINGS THAT I DON'T BELIEVE THE AVERAGE HUMAN THINKS ABOUT UNLESS YOU, TOO, SUFFER FROM TRAUMA. I'M DEATHLY AFRAID OF HOME INVASIONS FROM A RECURRING NIGHTMARE I HAD AS A CHILD (AND LESS FREQUENTLY IN MY ADULT LIFE). I'M NOT SURE IF THIS IS BECAUSE I'VE WATCHED FAR TOO MANY MOVIES IN 24 YEARS OF LIFE OR IF IT'S BECAUSE IT'S THE WAY I ENVISION THEM HAVING COME FOR MY FATHER IN '93. I'M A CONFRONTATIONAL PERSON WHO WAS TAUGHT TO WATCH HER SURROUNDINGS AT ALL TIMES AND, BEING FROM MISSOURI, ALSO BELIEVES IN GUN LAWS. WHAT STARTED OUT AS AN AMAZING NIGHT ENDED WITH A MAN FORCING HIS WAY INTO THE single-STALL BATHROOM I WAS IN. NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I FELT AS WEAK OR AS PARALYZED THAN I DID IN THOSE MOMENTS. I WAS ABLE TO MURMUR "NO" AND "PLEASE STOP" IN DESPAIR, BUT MY COMBATIVE SPIRIT WAS DEPLETED. AND I REALIZED I HAD NOTHING. NO MASE. NO TASER. NO ANYTHING. THE BOUNCERS ACCIDENTALLY SAVED MY LIFE. AND ONCE THEY REALIZED WHAT was going on, I WAS SHAMED. THEY TRIED TO TOSS ME OUT OF THE CLUB as if i was still trying to be there. AND I BEGGED FOR THEM TO CALL ME A CAB WHILE THE CULPRIT TRIED TO PRETEND EVERYTHING WAS FINE AND WE WERE LEAVING TOGETHER. ONE OF THEM FINALLY FELT SO SORRY FOR ME, HE HELPED ME STEER CLEAR OF THE MAN AND INTO A CAB. I HAVE NEVER BEEN FORCED TO FACE MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WAYS THAT I HAVE THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE. I MADE MYSELF WRITE EVERY DAY TO DOCUMENT THE WAYS IN WHICH I DEALT WITH LIVING IN MY PERSONAL HELL + trying to integrate MYSELF back into my EVERYDAY life. I've INCLUDED EXCERPTS FROM EACH DAY ON THE PATH TO RECLAIMING MY OWN BODY. I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE. AND THANK YOU FOR EVERYONE WHO HELPED ME SMILE DURING THIS TIME, WHETHER YOU KNEW IT OR NOT.
I called. At 2:59 AM. I sat in the hotel lobby waiting for someone to get me. Some girl I didn't know, no one knew. She handed me the keys and I made the trek upstairs to the room, greeted with a hug of despair and concern. And I, in typical Toi fashion, shut the questions down with a look of disdain that cautioned against any further questioning. Because I loved her. And I didn't want to ruin anyone else's night. I slept on the chair although she had already made room on the other side of the bed. I didn't want to sleep next to anyone. And the next morning we drove an hour for the long haul back HOME, in which I slept the entire way to avoid conversation for the sake of normalcy.
Today I called into work and received an angry email in response. okay, so this is partially because i'd let my roommate draft this cold email with no EXPLANATION. but i didn't know what to say. and i needed a mental health day. we all love obama, but are blind to his sentiments about empathy. I'd initially planned to step out for an interview with [h] under the guise of a "doctor's appointment." I got dressed for work. And, I couldn't do it. I sincerely couldn't. so I crawled back in bed at 8:27am fully clothed and laid this way for most of the day searching for Black therapists in New York to no avail. You wouldn't believe how many Black doctors are out of network. What the fuck. I don't even know where to start looking and I can't call my mom because I haven't talked to her in two weeks. again, What the fuck.
Oh yea, I bombed my interview. Our printer went out at the last minute. i left the presentation i actually *did* have ready in my apartment. Only two printers worked at the Staples on 125th. my taxi took a half an hour to cross six blocks in soho. I also sat across from a boy in a "Supreme Team" jacket and blanked when he asked me my favorite street wear brand. I wish I'd just stayed in bed.
Hell hath no fury like an insensitive employer. Today, a blonde asked me "Where were you, Toi?" with a bright smile and an overly playful finger. And It took everything in me to suppress me hopping out of my seat. Instead, I smiled and went back to my computer screen. my boss called me into a meeting shortly thereafter with a colleague. I asked if we could talk privately and in the back room away from his glass door that everyone could see inside of.
He laughed as if it was beyond him that I could come out my mouth to ask such a thing. my colleague excused herself. And after much prodding, I went from being as solid as a brick wall to expressing my unhappiness in my current role. All it took was a "wait, are you okay?" to have me in the center of a mental breakdown in front of my boss. i shed tears. Tears that I wish I could take back. in a way i feel guilty for having told my boss this before any of my loved ones. i'm resentful of his entitlement and my lack of control.
SO I CALLED BRIA. AND THEN I TOLD TALIA. AND THEN I TOLD WALLACE.
I tried to go on a date. I'd been avoiding [x] for the past couple days. He's a sweet guy but no one I'd ever let get close to me. Not close enough to tell this to. Today felt more normal. As normal as it could be under these circumstances. I figured an invitation to Harlem Shake for a red velvet milkshake could only pick up my spirits if anything. and was i fucking wrong. I sat on the other side of the booth not wanting to be kissed. touched. looked at. [x] thinks it has everything to do with him when truly it has nothing to do with him at all.
i went to the therapist for the first time ever today. my boss recommended her. 'the best of the best,' he said. so, i went. bright and early. and aired out a lot. about my career (or lack thereof). my relationships (both platonic and romantic). and about it. 'exploited' was the word she'd used. that's the word i've been trying so desperately to place. talking to a therapist made me realize that i need to talk to people who actually care about me. that i need to talk to myself. that i need to let all of this out. writing helps.
it also made me realize that i need to find a black therapist because there were a ton of nuances to my life that she just couldn't understand, no matter how well-intentioned. she also told me i was trying to get back into my normal life and dating too prematurely. THAT didn't stop me from trying to make up for being an asshole last night. i suggested that we go see 'sleight' tonight. i really have a knack for picking out the worst movies lol. but it felt comforting that something was normal.
Tarte brow pencil AND TALENTI DELIVERY. I DON'T LIKE FLOWERS, SO THIS IS MORE OF MY LOVE LANGUAGE. i'm finding myself being hypersexual yet not intimate at all. you know how people try to shower to wash someone off of them? i keep thinking the more sex i have the less i'll associate it with him. i recognize it's not healthy, but it's my truth.
Naia came today. I wanted to show her Blockheads so badly on this nice day. I've cut out hard liquor from my diet and the experience isn't nearly the same. Goat cheese doesn't belong on quesadillas either, bruh. this is also the first time we've been in the house at 9pm. ever. i haven't told her so i know she probably thinks i'm being weird. i'm so glad she's here, though.
i went to church for the first time in a while. I think Naia thinks I'm being weird. the service was 'meh' and reminded me why i never go to church in ny. the bagels were good but i need something that will really move my spirit. Wallace and I went to Harlem Shake and talked about our goals and aspirations for hours on end. that damn red velvet shake. My spirit feels a bit better today, though I wish he would eat real food again.
I ran into [f] on my way to work today. he was so chill AND WE really vibed right away. i work in the middle of the garment district and he asked where i was headed. when i told him where i worked, he tried to follow me up the stairs and i'm like "oh no, baby, what is you doinnnn?" lol. i passed along my contact info so that he can come in this week to pick up samples for duckie thot. maybe things are looking up after all.
Today Talia was my savior. I thank God for the sisters we weren't born with, because He knows how to place them in our lives at just the right moment. i sat up laughing with her at the wax place being a clown and then we went for chinese.
I'm midway through '13 Reasons Why' and still not sure how I feel about the romanticization of suicide.
Also, I've been avoiding the doctor like the plague. not enough happened, but I'm equally terrified and mortified to admit anything happened. But ignorance isn't always bliss. it also grosses me out that anyone was even that close to me without my consent ever. I remember my first time ever getting tested. Devin came with me and we freaked out at the Planned Parenthood together. Im hoping he can hold my hand through this one. I'm so glad he's coming I need him now more than ever.
PS- I haven't been crying. BUT This scene from 13 Reasons Why just sent me in a frenzy:
Maybe if this girl hadn't had too much to drink what happened next never would've happened. But it was a party, everyone had too much to drink. Besides, how can you blame someone for something that happened while they were unconscious?
I want to stop crying like a little bitch. I WANT TO CALL AND TELL [HIM]. I miss [him].
I woke up to a DM from [F]. Lord, please come through with the connections. I need a new job. You know my heart and my wallet.
I NORMALLY DON'T MIND CAT-CALLING. YOU TELL ME I'M BEAUTIFUL OR TO HAVE A BLESSED DAY, AND I WILL SMILE AND GO ON ABOUT MY BUSINESS. BUT TODAY. I FELT ONE WITH ALL THE WOMEN WHO'D EVER BEEN OFFENDED. THE MAN WHO'D ASSAULTED ME HAD A THICK ACCENT, AND SO DID THIS MAN ON THE STREET. HE STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS FRIENDS, THE SHORTEST AND LOUDEST AND WRONGEST, AND HE KEPT CHASTISING ME. AND IF HE'D STEPPED JUST A STEP FURTHER I WOULD HAVE PROBABLY SPRAYED HIM LIKE A ROACH WITH THE MASE IN MY CLUTCH. LET WOMEN BE.
I opened up a nude of myself from my first boyfriend ever. Attached was a poem that rhymed "DeVine" and "fine." HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A PHONE THAT can AUTOCORRECT 'DIVINE.' THIS PHOTO IS FROM 2011 AND THE ONLY INDICATOR THAT IT'S ME IS MY BACK DIMPLES. I DIDN'T RESPOND AND THREE HOURS LATER HE SENDS A TEXT THAT READS, "DAMN YOU STILL BEING MEAN, HUH?" This man really GREW UP TO BE a WHOLE ASS creep AND PREDATOR. I SHOULD REALLY CHANGE MY NUMBER.
[F] FLAKED ON ME TODAY. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO COME INTO OUR SHOWROOM TO PULL SAMPLES AND JUST .... DIDN'T SHOW. I WENT SO FAR OUT OF MY WAY TO MAKE SURE THAT PR DIDN'T INTERCEPT THIS CONNECTION AND LET OUR CEO KNOW THAT I'D LIKE TO BE THE POINT OF CONTACT. AFTER I HAD TO PLEAD MY CASE AS TO *WHO* HE WAS AND *WHY* HE WAS IMPORTANT enough to pull samples, HE JUST DOESN'T SHOW UP. AS IF IT'S NOT HARD ENOUGH BEING BLACK IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY. SIS CAN GO.
Shonn and Devin are here. I'm so happy they decided to come last minute; I think the Lord knew I needed them. We even pulled up at my old job to cause a scene.
I woke up with two of my best friends in New York with me. It's a fucking monsoon outside, but I just got an email from HR about a position at [v]. And even if it's not in my stars, people are watching. They're going to see me some day. "Noticeable, and can't nobody get control of you 'see' me". Wallace said it best: "Where the fuck else do we have to go from these downs, but up?"
i went to The Link Up and sang 'Stomp' in the middle of the club with the people I love. dom even popped out. I ran into [HIS] friend, [X], at the next function and pretended not to see. AND SHE PRETENDED NOT TO SEE ME EITHER (praises be). IT'S NOT THAT IT HAS anything to do with sis, but IT'S TOO PREMATURE. We ended up at Wallace's new place and it's so nice. I'M GOING TO MISS THE JAMAICAN SPOT, THOUGH.
Devin and Shonn tried to kill me this morning. Well, mainly Devin and Amber. I asked for a Slope Day workout, and I never remember running being part of the equation. Shonn was hellbent on getting a Ramen burger from Smorgasburg so that's exactly where life took us. DEVIN WENT OUT TO LIVE HIS BEST LIFE WITH AN OLD COPENHAGEN TEAMMATE AND I FELL ASLEEP ON SHONN AT LIKE 8PM. WORST HOSTESS EVER.
THE BOYS LEFT BRIGHT AND EARLY THIS MORNING. I TRIED THE CHURCH I'D BEEN AVOIDING TODAY AND INVITED SKY TO COME ALONG. I HEARD THAT IT WAS MESSY AND always SOME BIG FASHION SHOW. WHAT'S WILD IS THAT ONE OF MY PROS IS AN USHER THERE (WHO KNEW) AND SHE QUICKLY CALLED MY NAME AND USHERED ME TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE. EVERYTHING FELT SO WARM. THE MESSAGE WAS "LIVING WITH OPEN WOUNDS" AND TOUCHED ON THE FACT THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE COMPLETELY HEALED BEFORE HELPING OTHERS. AFTER JESUS' CRUCIFIXION, HE CAME BACK TO BREATHE THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO HIS DISCIPLES-- WITH NAIL MARKS IN HIS WRISTS AND ALL. IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I'D NEEDED, WHAT I'D BEEN SEARCHING FOR ALL ALONG. I THINK THIS IS HOME.
they also have recognized the problems with finding mental health facilities in black communities and have built their own facility. doing the work. i have sent an email inquiry directly after church and am excited to try them out.
IS IT ME OR ARE ALL THE $2 TACO SPOTS IN NEW YORK MINIATURE? LOL. i tried to suggest something new ON our cornbread + ice cream tour of the city and THE SPOT DISCONTINUED THEIR CORNBREAD. ended up back at a familiar FAVORITE. I AM NOT COMPLAINING.
I GOT TESTED TODAY. EVERYTHING WAS CLEAR. EVEN THOUGH I KNEW EVERYTHING WAS CLEAR, I AM RELIEVED. ONE LESS THING TO WORRY ABOUT. i need to find a new york physician. clinics are not my calling.
I LOVE ALEX AND AMBER IN WAYS THAT THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW. I DON'T THINK I COULD HAVE CHOSEN BETTER PEOPLE TO HAVE TO SEE EVERY DAY. OR THAT KEEP ME UP EVERY NIGHT. i am really praying that this is the year for all of us. alex in acting. amber with hosted. me in fashion. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NOVA IS ADDED TO OUR LITTLE FAMILY. holiday cards have never been more lit.
I interviewed at [V] today. And no matter what happens, I interviewed at [V] today. [MY WOULD-BE SUPERVISOR] is amazing. We just sat and talked for what felt like forever. I received an email that I made it to the second round shortly thereafter. I want to put together a great presentation for their team next week. I'm nervous as hell but I know that God is with me.
I decided to throw Wallace a surprise party. For whatever reason, I ended up walking to his house at 10pm to pick up the keys from Kev instead of the other way around. It's such a short distance— two blocks, two avenues— yet I felt so uneasy on this walk. i've never felt uneasy on this walk. i've felt uneasy in brooklyn, but never in harlem. I wonder if there's some sort of hypnosis that can shun paranoia away.
i had a phone Interview with [E] today that went really well; I have been called in for an interview next week. my boss advised against going, which makes it even funnier (they tried to work with my current company and dropped the ball). i'm going anyway. there's money to be made.
KEV AND I TRYING TO PLAN WALLACE'S BIRTHDAY WAS HILARIOUS. BECAUSE 1). this man invited me to the party i was throwing for him! AND 2). HOW THE HELL DID HE NOTICE THAT THE LIGHTS WERE ON ON THE 17TH FLOOR IF HE WASN'T EVEN IN THE BUILDING YET?! THAT SNOOPING MOTHERFUCKER. TALIA IS A GODSEND BECAUSE SHE REALLY THROUGH THE OOP ON WHERE TO GET THE CAKE. KEV, RIF, FONZ, TALIA, AND I SPENT THE NIGHT USHERING IN WALLACE'S BIRTHDAY IN THEIR NEW PENTHOUSE APARTMENT UNDER THE NEW YORK SKY ON THat BLANKETED ass FLOOR WITH LOTS OF CHINESE FOOD. THIS IS WHAT NYC IS ALL ABOUT. THAT REALLY REJUVENATED MY SPIRIT. I THINK HE LIKED IT.
i've found myself sleeping more lately. in fact, i was supposed to nap for an hour and meet up with wallace for his birthday; i ended up sleeping until 11. i got my ass up and met him at this house party anyway. HE WAS DONE FOR AND I SPENT THE NIGHT GUARDING HIS BOTTLE OF HENNY FROM UNWANTED PARASITES. in his drunken state, he revealed that he was meeting one of my faves and was trying to pitch me for a job i didn't even know i needed. ALSO REALLY GLAD TO HAVE MET JASMIN. SHE'S ON TEAM CHECK-A-N*GGA. GO US.
TODAY IT POURED. AND I MEAN REALLY POURED. I PROMISED MYSELF I'D GO TO NYASHA'S KICKBACK BECAUSE I NEVER MAKE IT. AND TODAY IT JUST POURED. AND NONE OF THE TRAINS WORKED. AND I SPENT LIKE 3 HOURS GETTING TO BROOKLYN. MAD (WITH WALLACE) YELLING, "THIS BETTER BE WORTH IT," LIKE EVERY 5 MINUTES. AND IT ABSOLUTELY WAS LOL. i saw a face i'm happy to have seen. and being around destinee +crew always brings me so much joy.
i know i should have called my mom today. I didn't. I bought a cactus instead. something as resilient as i hope to be, with a pretty pink flower as a focal point. this is who i think i am. this is who i hope to be. OH YEA, TEARS CAME.
today i interviewed with [E]. it went worse than [H], except totally not my fault this time. i questioned the level of professionalism WITHIN THE FIRST 2 MINUTES AND IT GOT PROGRESSIVELY WORSE. F bombs WERE DROPPED. BIRDS WERE FLIPPED. I WILL PROBABLY LAUGH AT THIS FOREVER. IT WAS JUST SO ... BAD. I SPENT THE MAJORITY OF THE INTERVIEW LOOKING LIKE THAT CHRISSY TIEGAN GIF AT THE OSCARS. I WOULDN'T LEAVE MY CURRENT SITUATION TO GO THERE, NO MATTER THE PAY. MY BOSS WAS TOTALLY RIGHT.
I ALSO PASSED ALONG MY PRESENTATION SO THAT HE COULD REVIEW IT. AND, ASIDE FROM A FEW FORMATTING EDITS, THE ONLY FEEDBACK WAS, "YOU'RE GOING TO KILL THIS!"
I WAS, STILL AM, SO NERVOUS. I FEEL LIKE I KILLED MY INTERVIEW AT [V] TODAY BUT I'M NOT SURE. IT SEEMED TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I INTERVIEWED WITH 3 PEOPLE AND NOT ONE OF THEM GRILLED ME. THERE WEREN'T ANY QUESTIONS I DIDN'T FEEL PREPARED FOR. THEY ARE REALLY ALL SO NICE AND SEEMED TO BE SURPRISED BY THE DECK I PUT TOGETHER. I HAVEN'T TOLD ANYONE I'M INTERVIEWING ASIDE FROM MY BOSS BECAUSE I DON'T WANNA JINX IT. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY BUT IT IS NOT MY OMEGA.
a similar situation happened to my sister. i'm sick because i should have been there with her last night but i fell asleep. the difference is, this man is famous. it's a sense of entitlement that overcomes the male body that is sickening. oftentimes, we as women don't say anything because we don't want the negative REPERCUSSIONS that follow. sometimes speaking up is more harmful than helpful. in her case, it could be a breaking point for her career. in my case, the bouncers who accidentally "saved" me shunned me directly after so as not to draw any negative attention to their establishment. they didn't even want to help me hail a cab. sickening. get over yourselves.
I FINALLY TOLD WALLACE THAT I'D BEEN INTERVIEWING WITH [V] THE OTHER DAY. THEY GAVE ME HOMEWORK OVER THE WEEKEND AND HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING ME WITH IT. WE ENDED UP AT BILL'S PLACE INSTEAD. OF ALL THE TIMES THAT WE SAID WE WERE GOING TO CHECK IT OUT, WE NEVER DID. BUT TONIIIIIIIIIGHT. WE MET THE OWNER, BILL, AND HIS BANDMATES AND WATCHED TWO SHOWS OF LIVE JAZZ BEFORE THEY KICKED US OUT. THIS HARLEM GEM IS WHERE BILLIE HOLIDAY WAS DISCOVERED AND IT WAS EVERYTHING WE'D BEEN LOOKING FOR IN A SPACE. BILL SEEMED TO SPARK AT OUR IDEA AND I THINK WE CAN REALLY PACK THE HOUSE. I AM IN AWE OF THE SPACE AND WANT OTHER MILLENNIALS TO BE, TOO. I'M ACTUALLY SAD WE NEVER DISCOVERED THIS SOONER. TONIGHT WAS MAGICAL.
WALLACE AND SKY CAME TO CHURCH WITH ME TODAY. THE THEME WAS ON MENTAL WELLNESS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND, AGAIN, RIGHT ON TIME. THERE WAS AN OPRAH-STYLE THEME WHERE HE HAD TWO PROMINENT HEALTH PROFESSIONALS DISCUSS THE STATE OF BLACK MENTAL HEALTH. NOT ONLY WAS IT EXTREMELY INFORMATIVE, IT WAS PARTICULARLY ENGAGING. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT CHURCH HAD ENDED, THE PASTOR GOT UP AND GAVE A PERSONAL TESTIMONY REGARDING HIS OWN SUICIDAL THOUGHTS. I'VE NEVER WITNESSED SOMEONE SO HOLY TALK SO CANDIDLY. BUT I APPRECIATED IT SO MUCH.
SELAM CAME AND SAW US. I DON'T KNOW WHEN OR HOW WE VIBED SO HARD BUT I AM REALLY HAPPY SHE STOPPED BY TO SEE ME WHILE SHE WAS IN TOWN. WE WATCHED MADEA PLAYS AND I LET SKY PUT SOME GUNK IN MY HAIR THAT I AM THOROUGHLY REGRETTING RIGHT NOW. IMAGINE SOMEONE RUBBED VICK'S ALL ON YOUR DAMN HEAD. THAT'S WHAT I FEEL LIKE RIGHT NOW. SMELLING ALL MEDICATED LMAO. I'M GLAD I WASN'T ALONE TODAY. AND WE'RE GOING TO STOP PRETENDING LIKE MADEA WASN'T FUNNY BEFORE IT BECAME A MINSTREL.
I WENT TO SLEEP LAST NIGHT. I WAS SO OVERWHELMED I JUST SLEPT. THE BIGGEST SIGN OF ME BEING DEPRESSED. I GOT AN "I'M ON YOUR HEAD UNTIL YOU FINISH THIS PROJECT" TEXT THAT GOT ME MOVING. AND I TURNED IT IN AT 3:30 WITH A 5PM DEADLINE. SHIT. WE'LL SEE. FINGERS CROSSED, KNEES BENT, HEART OPEN.
DINNER AT ROW HOUSE WAS EVERYTHING I NEEDED TONIGHT. it's nice to have an ally. AND I'M SO GLAD WE FINALLY GOT TO TALK WITHOUT HATERATION + HOLLERATION IN THIS DANCERY. GIRL TALK. GOAL TALK. SOROR TALK. CAREER TALK.
I AM DEATHLY SICK. I FEEL LIKE I HAVE THE MAN-COLD. I WENT INTO THE GOOGLE DOC WHERE I HAD TO SUBMIT MY TEST FOR [V] AND SAW [X] LOOKING AT IT. BUT NO ONE HAS SAID ANYTHING. I AM GIVING THEM ONE MORE DAY, BUT I REALLY WANT TO PULL UP NOW. MY ANXIETY IS GETTING THE BEST OF ME.