Defined Me

You defined me
you defined me when you
beat me
spoke ill of me
when you lied to me
You defined me
when you took my innocence
when you fucked me and
told me that you loved me
when you twisted my words
syllables jumping from your sharp tongue
trying to escape from an icy spirit
You defined me when
you told me I was ugly
just a little black girl with nothing to offer
the world
or you
You wrote on the walls of my heart
you wounded me
you cut me
Your words will forever echo in my mind
in my soul
in my presence
you hurt me
and that pain has defined me

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Facebook Your Problems

  
For the past few years, memes such as this have been making the rounds on social media, more specifically Facebook. If I may speak frankly, this slogan is complete and total bullshit. 

Everyone has their own ways of expressing emotions. Some of us write, sing or use photography as a means of cathartic release. Then there are those of us who take to social media to share our problems. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. 

I’m guilty of facebooking my problems. I ‘bleed’ all over my page, over-sharing personal information when I’m upset. I send subliminal messages when I’m mad at friends. I have even gone as far as to post suicidal rants on my page. I’ve seen other people do the same and while you can dismiss some of these posts as the narcissistic ramblings of an attention whore, some of these posts are a legitimate cry for help. 

Instead of telling people to keep their problems off Facebook, let’s give them a listening ear and a secure place to share their troubles. There are plenty of people who don’t have the luxury of therapists. What if social media is the only outlet they have to express their pain? What if we had taken killer’s threats to harm others on social media seriously? I think a lot of suicides and homicides could be prevented. 

No matter how you choose to reach out to someone, make sure you reach out if you need help. The next time you see someone hurting, sacrifice a small part of your day to help them instead of ostracizing them. You might save a life.   

Fear

Prelude…

I’d like to start off by saying good morning to my current followers and those who will add me in the future. I am sorry for my absence from the blogosphere. I’ve recently moved back to New Jersey and reconnecting with my friends led to a disconnecting with my audience. For that, dear readers, I sincerely apologize. Your support is the reason I pick up the pen and paper and I appreciate every reader/follower I have. 

My return to writing will begin with the ‘In a Word’ series in which I choose an abstract concept and explore my feelings on the topic. The first concept that I have chosen is fear. I hope that you will enjoy this particular series. As always, you are more than welcome to share your honest feedback or thoughts.

Fear

I woke up early this morning and couldn’t fall back to sleep. Deep thoughts plagued my mind. Thoughts of car payments, my broken relationship, sexual repression, and past dead end jobs tormented me to the point of restlessness. I struggled for hours looking for a quick fix, one cure all for life’s troubles. Then it occurred to me. The best way to solve any problem is to find its roots. What I’ve discovered is that all my woes can be traced back to one concept: fear. 

Fear is instilled in us all from youth, and that’s why it’s so hard to combat throughout our lives. When you were young, you were taught not to touch hot surfaces/objects because they would burn you. Chances are, you touched them anyway and got a very nasty surprise. From then on, your tiny brain learned to equate heat with pain and the potential pain caused fear and panic within you. Well, imagine how sad life would be if you never grew out of the ‘potential pain induces fear’ stage. Trust me, it’s a sad life.

Fear has shaped my entire life. I was always a big girl, from elementary to present. I had/have an accent and kids can be cruel. A lot of the time, I just didn’t want to be seen. Being seen meant being ridiculed and that scared me. I remember a time when my whole class played bingo for candy. I had all the numbers my teacher called out. Rightfully, I should have won the prize, but I didn’t speak up. I let someone else claim the prize. Instances such as this have been a theme in my life. I was afraid to tell the love of my life that I loved him and he went on to have three children. I was afraid to apply for a really good job, so I ended up spending 3 years working part time as a cashier. I was afraid to pursue the guy I really wanted and ended up being in a dead end relationship for 9 years. Whose fault was all of this? No one but mine.

I’m still fearful of many things, but I’ve found that life brings us to the edge of doubt and forces us to jump into the cooling waters of certainty. Yeah, it’s cool to think about what could have happened had we done things differently, but it’s even better to start doing things differently.

 I was forced out of my comfort zone. I got fired from a job I hated. Is money tight? Hell yes. Are there jobs beating down my door? Hell no. But you know what? My dumb ass went out and bought a car the week after I got fired. I broke up with a boyfriend I no longer loved. I applied to jobs that I actually wanted! Fear will always be present, but you have to adapt to it and learn from it. 

Still, I wish I would have stood up early…

FaKebook Hara-kiri

Before you begin to read this article, There is one thing that you have to know about me; I am a HUGE Adult Swim fanatic. Some may even call me obsessed. I watch the whole line up; Family Guy, Robot Chicken, American Dad, etc. I go to sleep watching Adult Swim and I wake up to Adult Swim in the morning. Sometimes my tv watches me more than I watch it.

One of my favorite shows is The Boondocks. The plot revolves around the day to day adventures of a Black family as they struggle to maintain their ‘blackness’ while living in a predominately White neighborhood. 

One episode in particular focuses on Grandad (Robert Freeman) committing Facebook hara-kiri (ritualistic Japanese suicide) after a series of negative encounters with women. These women portrayed themselves as supermodels in their profile pictures and showed up to his home looking like wilderbeasts. Finally, Grandad decides that he has had enough and shuts down his Facebook account. Essentially, Grandad was being catfish before we even knew what catfishing was. It made for a hilariously funny and meaningful episode, but it also lead me to question the role that Facebook has played in my own life.

I can wholeheartedly relate to Grandad’s frustration. Many people portray themselves one way on Facebook, when in reality, they are someone completely different. Fakebook  Facebook timelines are always populated with exclusive parties, new babies, engagement rings, and pictures from exotic vacations. Everyone on Facebook is living better than you and guess what?!

I’m bitter! I hate you! I’m jealous! I want your life, your job, your cute ass baby, and your brand new car!!!!

I’m happy for you! 😀

I’m really not though. I’m suppressing screams of frustration and envy as we speak. You see, I really want to be happy when I see my friends doing well. I want to be happy when I see my friends getting married and having children, but all I feel is jealousy. I begin to compare my life to the next person’s and therein  lies the biggest problem with  Facebook; it gives you too much access to other people’s lives.

I get it. Fakebook  Facebook is a smoke and mirrors game. It only gives us a brief look into a very dynamic story. That couple who just got married may be in loads of debt trying to pay off their wedding. That new baby is keeping his parents awake while I sleep soundly. That engagement ring could be cubic zirconia. You can’t believe the hype. But there are people like me who do.

I’m a 28 year old cashier who still lives at home. I’m overweight and at times, socially awkward. I have a boyfriend, but our relationship is rocky at best. I went to college and graduated, but I have yet to find gainful employment. I was  already depressed about my life. Then someone comes on Facebook and throws their good news in my face. Yeah. I take it personally.

I dont mean to whine. I trust my audience enough to see beyond the surface and dig into the true meaning behind this blog. There is a definite link between my obsessive Facebook usage and my depression. Much like Grandad, I have allowed Facebook to deceive me. I have allowed Facebook to manipulate me into hating my body, questioning my relationship, and coveting the material possessions of my friends.

Fakebook Facebook got me fucked up bruh.

So…it is with great sadness that I have decided to commit Facebook Hara-Kiri. Please don’t cry for me. I’m going to a much better place…outside.

When A Raven Cries…

http://www.gofundme.com/rcta2aw

It was a day much like any other.  I woke up, accepted that I had to go to work, and dressed myself lethargically.  “Ugh. Another day,” I thought as I put on my clothes. I wasn’t enthusiastic about the day to begin with and it only got worse as I remembered that I had to work at both my jobs that day.  “Life sucks” I moaned as I left for the day.

I had had an argument with a friend of mine a few weeks prior to contacting him that day.  What we argued about is not important, but I felt a need to reach out to him.  At 10:52 in the morning, I texted him, and the text message read, “I see that you called me a few days ago.  I was still deep in my feelings from that b.s. ass conversation that we had, but life is short and I at least wanted to say ‘whats good’ on the off chance that one of us kicks the bucket.” What ensued was a creepy, unsettling conversation about who would die first and why. As we both agreed, time will tell.

I went through my whole day annoyed that I had to work.  When I came home from work, the gates of hell burst open and my nightmare began.  Apparently, my friend had been trying to contact me, but couldn’t get through.  Most likely I had my phone off to conserve power at work.  I opened his text message and it was directing me to look at an article on facebook. I wasn’t particularly concerned.  I thought maybe he wrote an article or it was another article pertaining to something stupid he had found, you know, the type of meaningless shit that people tag you in on a regular basis.  What I was met with was a shocking picture and headline, “East Orange Woman, Daughter Found Dead.”  Before my eyes, was a picture of a woman I considered my sister and a little girl I considered my niece. My sister Octavia Campbell and my niece Christiana Campbell had died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.  My world fell apart…

Life is so very unpredictable.  One day, you’re making plans to chill with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and the next day, they’re gone.  I kept saying “Next time I come to Jersey, we’re gonna meet up.”  Now, there is no more ‘next time.’  Its scary and heartbreaking.  Words can’t describe how I cried when the reality set in.  Even as we speak, all I can do is shake my head.  I feel so many things; anger, sadness, regret, even joy when I remember them.  The mixture of emotions is both overwhelming and necessary.  I need to feel everything that I’m feeling right now. Its an essential part of the healing process.

Although this is one of the hardest losses of my young life, it has taught me a lot.  Try to smile and be grateful just a little bit more.  Take opportunities where you find them.  Go visit your loved ones when you say you will! Stop procrastinating!!!!

Octavia and Christiana meant so very much to me.  Did I see them everyday? No, but that doesn’t mean they were any less important to me than those I do.  Both mother and daughter had beautiful smiles and personalities to match.  My sister was bold, unapologetic, but when she loved you, you knew it.  My niece was inquisitive and sweet.  She was the type of kid you just wanted to spoil.  Now they’re both gone…

I am trying to keep busy.  I have been to work everyday since the tragedy occurred.  I blog, I curse, I reach out to people, I clean, I drink, I question God I question God’s existence even more, and I promote the Gofundme campaign.  I have come to accept that the only thing I can do is move forth and live my best life.  My sister and niece have fulfilled their purposes on Earth and now must fulfill their purposes in the next realm.  Love and Light to them both…One day I hope to see them again.

Posted at the very beginning of this post is a link.  Please donate and/or share the link if possible.  It would mean the world to me and her family.

Love and Light to all my readers…May you hug your family and friends just a little tighter…

Christiana Campbell...RIP Baby
Christiana Campbell…RIP Baby
R.I.P. Christiana
R.I.P. Christiana

Morning Meditation…Fighting Evil

As I sit in my cubicle at work, I am plagued with feelings of failure, misery, and inadequacy.

I woke up today, as I do most days, and washed my ass.  I scrubbed furiously to make sure any offensive odors would be vanquished.  After winning that battle, I threw on whatever clothes I could find and headed out the door.  What greeted me was a dull, snow-covered landscape.  No sunshine, no warmth, just bitter coldness. Oh great. Another day of sliding around on the ice. Another day of waiting for buses. Another day of living.

I know that I’m supposed to be happy to be alive.  Everyone keeps saying, “Every day spent above ground is good day.” But it’s not.  Not for me anyway. I focus on so many negative aspects of my life.  I struggle with my weight and appearance, I struggle with my social life, but the thing that has been bothering me the most lately is my lack of gainful employment.

I work for Target and H&R Block.  H&R Block is a seasonal position where I do tax returns.  It’s often boring and tedious, but I manage.  Target is a permanent job, but they hardly give me any hours.  When they do give me hours, I give them right back.  The attitudes of the customers that come into the store make working there unbearable.  I try to work there at least once a week, but I’ve even grown to dread that.  After tax season, I will be working about one day a week, so I feel an overwhelming amount of pressure to find another job before then.  Sometimes the pressure is crippling.

Sometimes, I look at all I accomplished in my life and I become bitter and cynical.  I watch all these women crank out babies, sit back and collect child support and government benefits.  It seems as though having babies and doing nothing with your life is the latest lucrative business.  Fuck dreams. Fuck integrity.  Lay back and catch the nut and all of a sudden you’re paid.  Sell drugs and you’re paid.  Make a sex tape with an R&B singer and get ass injections and you’re paid.  Go to college, keep your legs closed, have dreams and ambition…well my friend…you’re fucked.  The least amount of intelligence and integrity in this world is punishable by poverty.  As I sit here and write, I shed tears…

Before anyone tells me the standard, keep-you-head-up-things-will-get-better bullshit I’ve grown accustomed to hearing, understand this.  I know that I have the power to change my situation. I know that I did the ‘right’ thing and that I should be proud of my accomplishments.  I know that single mothers struggle and child support isn’t meant to finance their lifestyles.  But the fact remains, the evil in this world is being rewarded while people who are legitimately trying to live a righteous life are being persecuted and shunned.  How is that fair?

I’m not trying to whine or kill anyone’s vibes.  I’m a fighter and I work on finding a new position all the time.  I put in applications and update my resume.  On occasion, I  get called in for interviews. I even have an interview with Verizon Wireless this Friday.  I’m excited and anxious and hopeful. I’m ready to work, but no one is ready to hire me.  I don’t know why…

Life is a never-ending struggle between the forces of good and evil.  The laws of our society punish us for negative actions (stealing, fighting, cursing). Yet, when these same acts are perpetrated on shows such as Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, we cheer for the stars.  We support the shows with our viewership, adding ridiculous amounts of money to their pockets. So the fuckery continues on because we support it.

But who supports women like me?

Mirror AKA Getting To Know Myself…

I have been hosting my blog for a little over a year now and I am thankful for every single one of my followers.  To commemorate reaching my 110th follower, I wanted to do something special that I should have done from the beginning; introduce myself.  Hi, my name is Katonya Raven. Hayes.  I am pleased to meet you and I hope that you will continue to follow this blog for many years to come. My gift to the blogosphere is an in-depth look into my personal life.  Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions that don’t appear in the blog.

1. How did you get your name?

Well, my mom stole my name from her coworker.  Lol. Apparently, my mother’s coworker had a daughter named Katonya and she liked the name so much, she decided I should have it too. I got my middle name from my dad.  He said that I was a beautiful black bird, so he gave me Raven.  I don’t think ‘beauty’ when I think of ravens, more like the creepy bird from the Edgar Allen Poe poem, but…I know he meant well.

2. How many siblings do you have?

I have two half brothers, one half sister, and a full sister.  I am my mother’s first child and my father’s fourth.  He was previously married, hence the half siblings.

3. Any pets?

Not unless you count my virtual pet fish Chaos and his sister Anarchy.  My boyfriend has a dog that I help care for, but they’re living in New Jersey.  I hope to own a cat one day though.

4. What is your ideal career and why did you choose it?

For a while now, I’ve wanted to be a psychologist.  When I was 16, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.  The psychiatrist I had seemed really cold and callous, almost as if she had no interest in what I was saying.  I remember thinking, “you’re supposed to help me, not throw pills at me.”  I ended up on an anti-anxiety/depression drug called Effexor and it made me borderline suicidal.  I stopped taking it and I’ve never looked back.  I don’t believe in prescribing medication for every psychological disorder.  I strongly believe in talk therapy and relying on social support systems.  Anywho, I hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Kean University.  I’m very proud of that achievement and I hope to go back for my Master’s when the time is right.  Don’t count me out; I’ll be a psychologist one day…

5. Where are you from?

This is hard to answer. I was born in New Haven, CT.  For the first few years of my life, my parents moved around alot.  We lived in Florida, then West Haven, CT then Bridgeport, CT.  We moved from Bridgeport, CT to Stratford, CT.  We left Stratford when I was eight.  We moved to Hillside, NJ when my grandmother died.  My parents still live in her old home, while I live in West Haven, CT with my aunt and three cousins. Its been a wild ride…

6. What are your hobbies?

Obviously I love to write.  In addition to writing, I draw, play video games, take and edit photos, bake, and dance.  I want to learn Spanish and I would love to learn computer programming if given the chance.

7. What are your pet peeves?

I hate close talkers.  Back up and give me my space! I DESPISE LIARS and people who hurt children and animals!!!

8. What are your biggest fears?

In order…spiders, heights, losing people that I love, and ice.  Yes, ice.  I hate the winter and I am CONSTANTLY afraid of falling and cracking my head open on ice.  There are so many more…but those are the things that stick out in my mind.

9.  What is your religion?

I am such an outcast when it comes to religion.  The majority of the Black community is Christian.  I identify as agnostic.  I was formerly an atheist.  I was shunned by those around me because I chose not to believe in God.  Growing older has made me more humble and I had to realize that I don’t know everything there is to know.  I could be wrong about the existence of God and I’m leaving my heart open to the possibility of finding Him.

10.  What was the darkest time in your life?

I’d have to say the past two and a half years have been brutal.  About 2 years ago, I lost one of my best friends.  I cried for two days straight and I literally ran out of tears.  My boyfriend lost his mother slightly before my friend died.  It was hard to watch him struggle with that.  This past year, I almost lost my mom due to a blood clot in her leg.  It was scary.  I started spiraling out of control; drinking more and spending money I didn’t have.  I’m just now clawing my way out of debt.

11.  What’s your favorite color?

Red.  So sensual. So passionate. So nasty. Lol.

12.  If you could change one thing about your life, what would you change?

I would have watched my diet and never developed diabetes.  Sometimes type 2 isn’t preventable.  Both parents have it, but if I would have taken better care of myself, I could have prolonged the inevitable.  Now I’m a 28 year old diabetic.  My fingers go numb and tingle sometimes.  My doctor told me if I continue on like this, I might lose a limb by the age of 40.  Definitely a wake up call.

13.  What is the most annoying aspect of your personality?

I am completely random.  Sometimes someone can be talking to me about a subject and I will switch the subject to something completely different.  Any random thing that just ran through my mind.  My speech can be wildly erratic because my mind is constantly changing channels.

14.  Do you want children?

I’m twenty-eight.  If I don’t have my first by thirty-two, I don’t want any.  I’m very conflicted in regards to having children.  Children are expensive to raise, but I would love to have someone to carry on my legacy after I die.  We’ll see…

15. If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A peacock.  They’re soooooo damn beautiful and unique.  Those feathers are gorgeous.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think they have any natural enemies either.  I never heard of a peacock getting eaten by another animal.

16.  What is your biggest regret as far as love?

I never told the love of my life I loved him until I was 26 years old.  I had only loved him since I was about….oh…TWELVE YEARS OLD!!! If I could turn back time, I would have told him how I felt.  I also would have had about five kids by now.  Sometimes regrets aren’t such a bad thing…lol

17.  What are your theories on sex?

I am a sexual snail.  I’ve had sex with one person in my lifetime.  I think that sex should be like a V.I.P lounge; many want access but very few get in.  Your body is a temple and everyone isn’t worthy enough to worship.

18.  What would you do if you won the lottery?

The first thing I would do is quit my jobs.  I’d tell everyone at Target to kiss my ass, I would bid everyone at H&R Block a tearful farewell.  Next, I’m going to the car dealership and picking up my Aston Martin Vanquish.  After that, I’m deactivating my cell phone and moving into my new home.  Notice I said home.  I don’t want a mansion.  Those compounds are creepy and I always think they’re haunted.  Why would two people (me and my boyfriend) need 19 bedrooms? Pointless.  I would give everyone I love some money and then disappear.  It would only be enough for them to start a business or buy a home.  Don’t quit your job because I’m not supporting you forever.

19.  Who are your favorite artists (music)?

I love Missy and that will never change.  I love Justin Timberlake, J. Cole, Snoop, Drake, Tyler, The Creator, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, The Weeknd, etc.  I listen to alot R&B and jazz as well.  I love D’angelo, Outkast…the list is too damn long.

20.  What is your favorite dessert?

Cheesecake!!! I could eat cheesecake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Death by diabetes would be worth it.

21. Thoughts on marijuana?

Legalize it. Point. Blank. Period.

22. If you could eradicate any disease, what would it be?

You would think I would choose diabetes, but I’d have to say AIDS/HIV.  Type 2 diabetes is often preventable. I did this to myself to some degree, but HIV affects so many people, often they have no choice in the matter. One of my best friends was born with HIV.  It lay dormant in his system until he was older.  I remember crying when he told me.  I think they already have a cure.  Magic Johnson has been alive forever. Money changes the game…

23.  What is one place you would like to visit outside of the U.S.?

I want to see Spain.  Spanish people are so sensual and passionate.  The men, muy caliente! Lol. The food is delicious.  I have such an interest in Spanish culture.  It is so alluring.

24.  What was your favorite class in school?

I loved both Science and English.  I have never been great in math.  I hate it and I haven’t used 90 percent of the concepts I learned in school.  I always have a calculator handy.

25. What was the best trip you’ve ever been on?

I loved Vegas and I HAVE TO go back! I’m planning on going back by the end of this year. Trust me when I say, it is as wild as advertised.

26.  If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what would you say?

I’m a crazy, down to earth type of person.  I’ll be as nice to you as you are to me.  I am a faithful believer in karma and I try to treat everyone with kindness, dignity and respect.  I believe that life should be comprised of 75 percent fun and 25 percent work.  I think you should laugh as much as you possibly can and I laugh often.  I can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  I can be cold and distant or warm and loving.  My personality tailors itself to the individual I’m dealing with.  I’m a chameleon of sorts.

27. How do you feel about gay marriage?

Love it! I’m a big supporter of the gay community.  I went to Pride in New Haven a few months ago.  It was awesome! Great performers.  I think that everyone should be able to love and marry who they want regardless of gender.

28.  If you were on your deathbed, what would be the last advice you would give your loved ones?

If it doesn’t bring you happiness, don’t do it. Don’t let unhappy people keep you from finding joy.  People will tell you you can’t, you won’t make it, you’re not good enough, you’ll never beat the odds.  Show them why they’re wrong…1329928575759