why i am more than ok if you don’t want to sing the national anthem

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I am not a history buff. However, I realize and recognize the importance of understanding historical context and how that may affect perspectives today.

The star spangled banner, the national anthem of the United States of America, was written in 1814. Written by Francis Scott Key, the anthem was inspired by the Key’s observation of the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. History reports that Key looked on at an American flag (star spangled banner) with pride as the Americans had victory.

Ok.

So it’s 1814.

Here are few important historical contexts to comprehend:

  1. The U.S. is being built on the backs of black slaves at this time. Francis Scott Key himself had slaves; the author of our national anthem had slaves. Important to recognize.
  2. We are 49 years away from the Emancipation Proclamation in which President Lincoln will declare “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” And let’s not pretend for a moment that things were actually equal after the Emancipation Proclamation OR that they are now.
  3. European colonizers are stealing land from the land’s indigenous at this time. Literally. Land is being stolen and cultural genocide is happening.

 

Fellow white people:

can you understand now why someone may not be so inclined to sing the national anthem?

Why is it ok for Donald Trump’s campaign slogan to be a criticism of American (make America great again) but YET when a person of color criticizes this country—not ok??

Why is it that people are burning the jersey of a San Francisco 49ers player because he refused to stand up for the national anthem? Colin Kaepernick said, “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent…I’ll stand.” Word.

To you, fellow white people, the national anthem may lead to a sense of pride and patriotism. But we must always remember: at what cost have those things come? Or- was everyone experiencing the freedoms we are celebrating?

You could very easily go back to my post about the fourth of july and why everyone may not celebrate; this is very similar.

So before you burn another jersey, perhaps stop and think critically.

Why might this person feel that way?

What can I do with my white privilege to be an ally and supporter? For one, stop burning the fucking jersey; that is also just shitty for the environment and smells terrible.

As I have stated before, I will never blindly be a patriot to anyone or anything. That does not mean that I am not thankful to live here. That does mean I will openly criticize the United States in both past and present contexts.

If you’ve read all of this and still want to go burn a jersey, i’ll have my mama add you to her prayer list (again). And then I will encourage you to read Peggy McIntosh, Tim Wise, Audre Lorde, and every book  in this article.

I have said this a million times but I will always say it again: acknowledging you have white privilege does not mean you don’t have hard times or a hard life. It does mean, however, that your challenges are not due to your race.

This post has largely focused on the historical context of why an individual may not want to sing or stand up for the national anthem. There are many reasons, including those of Kaepernick, why someone may feel that the flag does not represent freedom today. I didn’t really delve into this too much in this post because it deserves its own post. Eventually, let’s talk about police brutality and violence against people of color, incarceration rates, literacy, poverty, etc. Maybe even do a little research of your own and get back to me; let’s talk.

Now let’s sit back, eat some chicken wings, and binge on some guac as we partake in America’s favorite pastime, football. Because let’s be real: the food is the only reason I show up, anyway.

Peace and love, y’all. Spread it around.

xoxo,

Jessica

 

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why the media matters

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

-Malcom X

 

It is important- VITAL- to stop and think critically about what the mass media is feeding us.

We do not decide what images, articles, or headlines are thrown in our faces. We can decide what we do with them- if we choose to form ideas, beliefs, or generalizations based on the media; or we can at least actively fight the bias.

So let us stop and think critically for a moment.

When a black person (man, woman, child) is shot OR commits a crime, what photos do we see circulating on the internet? How is this individual described in written text and vocally by reporters?

What about when a white person commits a crime or is shot?

What about a Hispanic person?

What about a Muslim?

Remember Trayvon Martin- a young black man shot and killed in 2012? Why did the media insist on running photos found of him holding up his middle fingers? And why did so many use that photo to justify his MURDER?

Why did it take so long for Brock Turner’s, a convicted white Rapist at Stanford University, mug shot to be released? Why were we told OVER AND OVER that he was a “great student” and “exceptional swimmer?” As if those qualities negate his rape?

Why is it that a story is run of a local sheriff describing a white FSU student that stormed out of a restaurant, killed a couple, and ate a victim’s face as, “he had no criminal record…he was a good kid.”

Why is it that the media loves to talk of a  radical extremist that conducts a suicide bombing in honor of ISIS as representative of Islam BUT an individual that shoots up a Planned Parenthood Clinic to save God’s children is not representative of Christianity?

Why did the media LOVE posting photos of what APPEARED to be Malia Obama smoking pot at Lollapalooza??? This is ridic for so many reasons. First marijuana is decriminalized there; second we don’t know if it is actually pot. And personally, I hope it is pot over a cigarette 🙂 If I could be at LOLLA doing the exact same thing right now, I would be.

Or most recently- a story that is making my blood boil: of US Olympian Ryan Lochte fabricating a story that he was robbed in Brazil most likely to cover up drunken, stupid behavior. Although we are not certain what happened, there is footage of Lochte and other swimmers having an altercation at a gas station in Rio and breaking down a bathroom door. And yet, so many are laughing it off as “boys will be boys.” What if a Black Lives Matter member had done this exact same thing in Brazil? Do you think the media would have been just as kind?? No, ladies and gents.

My challenge to you is as it always is: think for yourself. Do not digest what the media has to say as truth. Do your own research. And work HARD to not create and act on biases the media perpetuates.

The media works as a force that so often divides, creates hate, and prevents unity. Don’t let it.

I think the media has the power to do good. I follow many progressive media outlets that do just this- educate, inform, promote understanding and social justice, etc.

Also, I have had a few people tell me that when I write about topics such as this I am striving to divide groups of people. My response to those people: you are obviously coming from a place of privilege if you feel that way. If you are white or Christian or from any other dominant population and you feel uncomfortable because you finally realize the media favors you- you need to process and digest that (and learn to use your privilege for good). But do NOT tell me for a moment that pretending these issues do not exist or simply remaining silent is the solution. You can take that white/judeo-christian privilege and shove it up your ass 🙂 

Think for yourself. Spread peace and love.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

 

Jessica

 

Also, I know this is not the kindest comeback re: Malia Obama’s “pot smoking” but I can’t stop LOL’ing.

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For Her

It is with great excitement that I announce the release of my first book, For Her. It is a memoir that has taken me years to write and is finally complete. It is a small, yet brutally honest and raw book. I am very proud of it.

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My motivation in writing this book was never to become a New York Times Bestseller. Honestly, sales do not motivate me at all. This book was my therapy. It healed me. It helped me believe in myself again.

The idea for this book started years ago when I wrote a poem titled, For Her. The poem was essentially a letter to my younger self. And from that poem my memoir sprouted. For Her is a book that follows an emotional journey I have taken to process some of my hardest life experiences. As I process those experiences, I strive to learn and heal from them in order to honor my younger self. The book reads similarly to my blog; if you have read what I write here, you will not be surprised by my writing style in the book. If my blog annoys the shit out of you, maybe refrain from reading my book.

I write about many things in this book that I have never spoken about privately or publicly. This book is my life, my words, my thoughts, and my secrets sprawled out for the world to see. I am terrified. And yet, I am liberated.

The book costs $25 and is available on Amazon.com, Kindle, and for purchase directly through me. For my many friends not in the United States there are also a few options to purchase the book. It is for sale on Amazon’s European websites including Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. You can also personally Venmo me (including book and shipping costs) and I can directly mail it to you.

Thank you so much to everyone that has supported me on this journey– for listening to my ideas and rants, for sharing silence with me as I wrote, and for loving me while I painfully healed myself throughout this process.

And lastly, thank you to me. I heart me. I am so proud of myself for completing this and for not giving up. I can’t wait to see where I go next. ❤

Peace and love my friends– spread it everywhere.

xoxo,

Jessica

Bye Felicia

Yesterday.

Yesterday.

Yesterday, I wake up to a phone that was blown up with messages. As some of you may know, I was dating a man named Jon this past month. We met online. Just last week, I posted a picture on Facebook of him and I. It has since been deleted, but you may remember.

Yesterday, I wake up. I look at my phone and there is a slew of messages from Jon asking to come over in the middle of the night. I was fast asleep and I sleep like a rock; so I didn’t see those messages until I woke up. Jon says his ex-girlfriend showed up at his work and almost got him fired. He says she likely messaged me and that I should just delete those messages and block her.

Let’s rewind for a moment. Here is what I know about Jon at this time:

  1. He is from Missouri. That is where his family lives.
  2. He went to Stanford when he was 16.
  3. He is a second year medical student at the University of Michigan.
  4. He works at a free clinic in Ypsilanti that is 24 hours.
  5. He has a best friend named Luke that he often crashes with because his own apartment isn’t furnished, which I get. Furniture is bat shit expensive.

Ok. Back to yesterday.

Yesterday, after reading Jon’s messages, I go to my social media to see if there are in fact messages from this crazy ex-girlfriend. Sure enough there is a message in my Facebook Messenger waiting for my approval because we are not friends on Facebook. I approve the message and read it. In a very calm and collected message, this woman writes to me to tell me that Jon has been her boyfriend for over a year and he lives with her. He does not have a job. She found out about me when he had messaged me on Facebook Messenger on her phone when his had died and he forgot to log out.

My mind is racing. Noooooooooooooooo way. No fucking way. There is no fucking way.

I call my best friend Ceci and she rushes over. We start to do some fact checking. I trust Jon and I want to trust him. So we start doing some research.

There is no record in the directory at Stanford or University of Michigan that Jon is or has been a student there.

I text Jon about this. He makes up excuses that seem fairly legitimate. I demand to know what clinic he works at. He tells me. I look the clinic up online. The clinic is not 24 hours and also does not allow medical students to work there.
Also, med school at the University of Michigan started this week. Jon has not gone or shown any sign (physical or in conversation) that he is going to classes. He tells me this is because he starts later because of his research scholarship.

Things with Jon are not checking out. I am waiting to hear back from his original girlfriend (not naming her out of respect-will refer to her as Epic Woman from here forward). I message her back on Facebook with a slew of questions. She responds.

We are messaging back and forth. It’s a kind conversation. In her words, “girl-to-girl” I wanted to protect you from him. My gut tells me to believe her. I say to her- can I ask you a personal question? Can I ask where you live? Because I drop Jon off at his friend Luke’s apartment all the time and I have never met him. She tells me her address. SURE ENOUGH, it is the address that I HAVE BEEN DROPPING JON OFF AT MULTIPLE TIMES thinking I was dropping him off at Luke’s.

You see on our second date Jon told me he had been hit by another car. He told me his car was in the shop. But in reality, there is no car.

I message Epic Woman again. I ask her– want to come over to my apartment? I am with my sister and two best friends. Let’s exchange information and talk about this- woman to woman. She agrees.

A few hours later, her and her best friend show up at my apartment. When she walks in my apartment, she says- I have been here. I almost immediately throw up. What—you have been in MY APARTMENT- I ask. You see- Jon watched my cat, Hunter, a few weeks ago when I went up north with my best friend. When I was gone, he invited Epic Woman over and said he was house sitting for who else than- HIS BEST FRIEND LUKE.

Side note- if you are out there and are the real Luke- RUN THE FUCK AWAY FROM JON.

It takes me a few minutes to gain my composure. I feel COMPLETELY violated. My apartment is my safe space and Jon completely violated that. I can’t decide if I want to cry, throw up, or punch a wall.

We decide that the only thing we can do is confront him as a united front of bad ass women.

So we hop in two cars (Me, my Ceci, my Shay, and my sister, Epic Woman, and her best friend). We are a posse of SIX BAD ASS WOMEN NOT TAKING SHIT FROM THIS ASS.

Jon has been staying at Epic Woman’s apartment without her consent. He is not on the lease. But he refuses to leave. Epic Woman has been staying over 40 minutes away at a FRIEND’S HOUSE while Jon mooches at the apartment SHE PAYS FOR. I am livid FOR EPIC WOMAN. This is bull shit!

The plan is to show up at Epic Woman’s apartment, confront Jon, and get his ass OUT of her fucking apartment.

Boy oh boy—-if I could have snapped a photo of this asshole’s face the moment he saw Epic Woman AND ME walk in AND five other women.

Words are had. Jon denies everything, he is shaking, trying to cover for himself. He gets on his phone and is asking someone to come pick him up (who?? why can’t you stay there, Jon??)

We get Jon’s shit out of her apartment and throw it on the front lawn of the complex. She has both sets of keys. He is out.

I give Jon one more “fuck you” and we hit the road. Not a minute later do I get a text saying how much he LOVES me and how sorry he is. HA HA HA HA HA.

Later that night, Jon emails and texts me from a burner app. He is begging to come stay at my home because now he is homeless. I send him a list of homeless shelters and block his number and email.

I have never been cheated on before this. And this was so much more than cheating. This was a pathological liar. Not only would Jon lie to cover his truths. He would lie to embellish and make up a life! He had FULL BLOWN stories he would tell me about patients he had seen that day at the clinic when in fact HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A JOB!

Here is what I NOW know about Jon:

  1. I am not sure his name is Jon. It may be Aaron. It may be something completely different. Depending on which name is actually his, he may have a criminal record.
  2. I do not know for sure how old he is. He told me and Epic Woman a different age.
  3. I do not think he has gone to college.
  4. He is most definitely NOT a medical student at UM.
  5. His hair is a toupee (honestly, nice work Epic Woman).
  6. He does not and has not had a job in over a year.
  7. He is a pathological liar.
  8. He is manipulative. He loves to gaslight (see earlier blog post).
  9. He is all around a very large, massive piece of shit.
  10. Epic Woman and I are almost certain there are other women involved.

 

I am still in shock. This is so fucking unbelievable. So insane. Is my life a Lifetime Movie?

Despite all of this chaos, my heart finds hope and love in one area:

Epic Woman. 

She reached out to me kindly. She reached out to me to HELP. She saved me. I know Jon was counting on us pitting against each other. Hahahaha. But he underestimated the power of female solidarity and strength. Do NOT fuck with women, Jon. We are stronger and smarter than you could ever comprehend.

What is oddly hilarious to me is that Jon is subscribed to this blog. He will immediately get a notification when this is published. HI, JON. You are actually a very bad person. If you continue to harass me via email or text me from burner numbers, you will happily be turned into the authorities. The police are already aware of you and have your photo on their desk 🙂 Do NOT harass me. If you cannot tell, I am not afraid of you. I do not sympathize with you. You are bad. And karma is going to be so, so real with you, man. Stay the fuck out of my life.

Thanks to my friends that stood by me yesterday. Thank you.

But thank you most of all to Epic Woman. You are my guardian angel. 

And on that note,

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(Thank you, Nibha, for sending me this and so much love)

 

Xoxo,

Jessica