Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A happy blog post

Because my real life --with the exception of certain relationships and recent tragedies--is fairly entertaining in a positive way, I am bringing some of this energy to "Keysha Does Amherst" this morning. I don't like to burden my "offline friends" with my inner thoughts and insecurities as they are, unless they are spilling over; primarily my very close friends are the only folks who access this blog at all (thanks for checking on me :) ). For the most part, however, 2012 is closing out well.

Some updates:

1) I found a counselor/therapist who has helped me through this very tough period (See posts "So I Went To See a Shrink..." from last December through "When keeping it real goes wrong", late September 2012). She has been amazing and has helped me rein in all of the craziness going on around me. If she ever reads this, "Thank you." And I will probably never let my SB faculty advisor read this, but he definitely sat with me while I recounted events, resisted help, and eventually called Every Woman's Center to set up sessions while crying (finally) happy tears. Thanks, Nat.

2) I've resisted writing new posts so I would not have to read the old ones. For a while, they were just too painful for me. Talking about what has happened does help, though. And finally, I recognize how entirely abusive and unnecessary that entire situation was. I will not say that I regret any of that experience, however. I learned quite a bit about myself and my resilience; for instance, I have a pretty mean right hook...and I hope never to be pushed to use that skill again.

3) I'm happy in my skin. I've been through a lot of other people's BS in addition to those limitations I imposed upon myself, but I'm spiritually and emotionally good. Very little people can say to me or about me will make me react. I'm not at all claiming invincibility; I'm just saying that life is good, in spite of how terrible some folks want it to be.

4) I'm ABD. Finally!

5) I've realized how blessed I am to have the best friends in the world. Friends who scope out rooms to ensure your safety (or check out the guy who you were checking out to see if he was checking you out). Friends who can pinpoint (literally) the longitude and latitude of every memory you share together. Friends who welcome seven-hour conversations just to catch up...even from midnight to daybreak. Friends who hold you accountable. And, finally, those very important friends who raised you and/or grew up with you and know you better than you know yourself. Thank you.

Amherst is really starting to grow on me. I've even earned a nickname from who I see as the local Gandalf: "Clove".

No apocalypse jokes on those last statements, please :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Purging Day

The constellations above
Are the same,
Even when I gaze under
a different light.
I still take my coffee
Dark blonde:
Light, sweet, but bitter enough
To wince.
I spend my days, still,
Preparing for beginnings
To no end,
Praying for a chance to
Rest myself
In something.
I sleep in the crook of
My own arms,
Shrouded by God's desire
For me.
I love,
In spite of hate.
In spite of you.
I almost lost these things
By giving myself away,
Piece by piece,
Only keeping what was necessary
To fight again tomorrow.
Now I know
That it pays to be

Sunday, September 30, 2012

When keeping it real goes wrong

Almost immediately after posting about my friendship with my friend (unnamed, but known to the few of you who do read this blog), something horrible shifted in our relationship.

Wednesday night, I visited him (with some leftovers from dinner with my bff) to celebrate news I'd gotten about my academic career and perhaps play a little pool. He was strangely AWOL when I got there, so I called, left the food on the doorknob, went in the pool hall for a drink, and went about my business. He called a half hour later, asking if I still wanted to hang out. I was just at a bar down the road talking to friends, so I went back.

This was the moment he became a monster.

I walked in and noticed he was either high or drunk, two bad signs considering his mental health state. On Monday, He had asked to read a conference paper I was presenting on Saturday in order to help me prepare. Flattered, I obliged. When I got his substance induced feedback, the flattery was over. He was offended by the subject matter (how authors in the past stereotyped mixed race characters..though I focus on authors who dismiss these stereotypes as bullshit), and told me the paper was garbage, he thought I was smarter, I'll never get out of UMASS because I don't believe in myself (and I write like that, lol), etc. I just looked at him like he was crazy, thanked him for his feedback, and said "let's go play pool".

That was awkward but at least we got a game in. At the Billiards hall, however, there was another young man of color, openly gay, who I began a conversation with. My friend moved in and out of it, an became irritated and walked back home. I met back up with him trying to decide if I should hang a bit longer or head on; I was worried (and tipsy at this point) so I just lay down. He went out to smoke a cigarette and began yelling at nothing across the river in his backyard for about 7 minutes. He said there were demons at one point; at another he said there was a local derelict in the woods he curses at. I dunno.

He came back in and lay in his bed and, after going in a homophobic rant about the guy at the bar, asked me if I'd ever thought about killing anyone. I said yes and left for home. I wasn't sober and I definitely just hauled ass out of there, trying to process everything. I found myself upset to tears and that I'd left my hat (he'll claim things that people leave or give him and pass them to the next person) so I went back. He was upset because I didn't call first; irritated (because I rarely call first) I said at the moment I couldn't do the attitude and he didn't deserve that courtesy.

This is where the barrage of verbal abuse commences.

He asked me why I even knew his name.

He accused me of being angry with him for not being intimate with me (read my last fucking blog, lol)

He told me I was shit to him and he didn't owe me anything. He "paid his debt" to me for helping him transition after being in a behavioral health facility for a week and without income or food for the past few weeks.

He told me he hated me and wanted me to "skip rocks".



When I asked him, calmly, why he would say things like this, he'd just repeat them. I'm not sure if it was the liquor or the psychosis talking, but I was more worried than offended (but still very offended and heartbroken that someone I loved would say these things to me). I got angry. I wanted to burst a window or throw a glass ...anything. Instead, I walked around his tiny apartment, grabbed the things I'd lent him while he was in the hospital, a cigarette I'd bought him, extra frozen produce I'd shared, threw them in a bag he'd handed me, and threw the full bag across his kitchen floor. That was our friendship--a cluster of small sacrifices, often one-sided, that I saw as an extension of myself to someone I wanted to be well but he, as someone who often and continues to have things handed to him, could never appreciate or even understand what selfless love, in the AGAPE sense, means.

I left, again, determined not to see him. But, again, something didn't sit right with me. I got some distance and I called him, to see what the issue was, and we spoke for 30 minutes. He was an emotional mess and I was concerned that he'd take drugs again so, in my PJs, and with a change of clothes and a half bottle of milk (for cereal), I went back. He was calmer while I was there, though still under whatever he was under. We cooked eggs and pancakes. I had my cereal and made some earplugs, and managed to go to sleep while he blasted Korn for two hours. Later that morning I showered at his place, a lottabit shell-shocked by everything. But he was better, back to himself. He reread my paper, asking questions this time, and wished me well on my trip. I went home and cried and slept until I drove to the airport, heartbroken and extremely confused.


I got back to Amherst at 7ish and met with our shared friend for coffee. I was curious to if she'd talked to him and found out about a karaoke event at a local bar. Loving karaoke, we went. He showed an hour later, had been drinking but still approachable. We had a great time singing, dancing and laughing at one another. His mood progressively darkened through the night. I'd offered to drop him and our other friend off. Upon dropping off our girl friend, he began getting irritated at my car radio and pulling at it, and cursing her for her family's faith and nationhood. Luckily, she just left, but I got stuck with the monster.

He continued ranting and said that if I didn't agree with him then fuck me. I kept asking him why on earth did the conversation (extremely hateful) even matter so much to him?

Scroll up to the insults hurled at me on Wednesday night X 12.

He begged me to go away and forget him, promised that he hated me and wanted nothing to do with me.

I snapped, after weathering the verbal abuse not once but twice. Drunk, he'd placed his belongings on the ground next to his door when he was cursing me. I grabbed his phone and threw it against his apartment building, I took his car keys and chucked then into the parking lot in the dark, and then I punched and slapped him --a few times -- in the face while cursing him for being a dick and using me, knocking him into his bushes

I didn't even recognize myself at that moment and I didn't know I could be driven that far into anger. Of course, at that moment in his head he finally got to become a victim so he rubbed it in, calling me psycho and running from me in all of his 6"4 300lb frame. I tried to apologize, but I left, my last words--forever--being I love you (to which he replied "fuck you").

While I was on the road, feeling emotionally 10lbs lighter, he called claiming to have left his keys in the car. Done with this I reminded him of what had in fact happened to his keys and that this was a "him" problem. He wanted me to go home, and I was now parking at my complex. He went on and on throwing every sympathy move at me (my mother curses me out, my brother is dead, we're friends right?, I need to go to church tomorrow, etc). I told him to call one of his coke whores to let him sleep over, or break the damn window if he wouldn't look for the keys himself. I told him I was over him AND his mother, and that he needed to forgive his brother and let him rest.
I drove back and parked far away from his door scooped up the keys from the gravel and threw them in his face. Turning and leaving for good. Silent.

I told our friend what happened, so I could officially announce my estrangement and I called his father to let him know I was still worried and I tried. As I said in my last blog, part of loving a friend is knowing when to walk away, knowing when you're a hindrance as opposed to a help, and knowing when to pursue your own happiness. Being around him once made me very happy, but everything has its season.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I love you, but....

It never gets easier.

A few months ago, I wrote about talking to a potential love interest and friend (who is now nonexistent to me for all of the best candidly about relationships and how that honesty and openness often gets me placed in the "homie" category. Yet again, the curse is in play :) In this case, it may be for the best, though my heart begs to differ.

For the past few weeks (if you follow me, sincerest apologies for the hiatus...but really, I don't care), I have been in deep with someone I now consider a great friend. It wasn't always like this; we each had our motives--or lack thereof--at the beginning of our connection. We both sheerly sought to have fun or fill a void. After a tumultuous season, however, something wonderful happened: We became friends. We listen to one another, share interests and know what makes the other tick. We have had the pleasure of sharing meals, adventures, advice (unwanted and needed) and, in a strange turn of events, we even discuss Scripture in depth and randomly. He even put the man who claimed to be "God's will for me" (see earlier post) in his place when I was too scared to respond to the barrage of texts and calls this "gentleman" unexpectedly made after a peaceful hiatus. We have a plethora of differences, as I mentioned in a previous post, but the respect and love for one another is there. And it's honest.

But, as I mentioned, this is hard for me. Maybe because the desire to be romanced (period) is there. Maybe because knowing him flaws and all makes me more involved emotionally. Maybe I'm confusing these feelings for something else all together.

I don't feel confused. I feel like a good friend, something I didn't expect to evolve from what we were(n't) before.

The hardest part, I think, is accepting what being a friend means. It means boundaries. It means, perhaps, really realizing that you aren't the other's ideal for a partner (and maybe he/she isn't right for you...though my mind and heart are still negotiating's more of a domestic dispute that a civil conversation). It means hearing about other girls or guys, and dying slowly inside the further the descriptions veer from resembling who you are. It means loving unconditionally and wishing your friend the best for their situation, whether you are involved or not, and and knowing, when the time comes, to move on in order to insure your own happiness. It means really loving someone enough to die to yourself and tough through a bruised ego, lust, lofty fantasies, and selfishness.

What I complained about before is lightweight compared to the real deal. It is hard to love someone without struggling through the implications of desire and fulfilling one's own wants and needs. I know it has been hard for me. But because I know what I feel is real, I am willing to fight those things detrimental to what has come to be between the two of us. I just hope it does become easier with time ....

Monday, September 3, 2012

True dat

Friday, August 31, 2012


Within the span of seven days, I've received two alcohol-induced confessions that have thrown me for an emotional loop. Though they were perhaps things I needed to hear, the only thing that they've left me is emotionally exhausted.

The latest was from a long-ago friend--a very good one, once upon a time--who estranged himself from me (and many of my other friends) on the surface because of his longing to be with a former girlfriend who lived at a distance. Of course, it would be polite and safe to leave the story there, as I have for the last 10 years. The truth is that we were extremely close, but culturally, politically and racially so different that our bond caused confusion. Lol... But our love for comedy (he was an aspiring stand-up comic), New York hip hop, movies and our respect and love for one another kept that bond tight. Briefly.

We took classes together (at first by accident, and later--more painfully--on purpose), he came up to my dorm room to escort me to each gross cafeteria meal, and even accompanied me on my fledgling adventures into Detroit's hip hop scene. We had fun. Until we made out. While that was something we wanted, he had an Yahoo girlfriend (just that; pre-eHarmony, never met) that this was unfair to. We acknowledged this and kept it moving, never "going there" again, but still having adventures, watching movies, making up crazy jokes and stories. Still laughing.

Then it was over. Suddenly.

I understand how our friendship complicated things with the girlfriend, who he later met in person. I understand that we had to set boundaries, but he just stopped. Everything.

As I mentioned before, we still had all the same classes and lived in the same place. We still shared the same love of movies and differences about affirmative action and other politics. But "we" were not. It wasn't until another good friend of ours exploded on him that he started showing up again. I was too heartbroken to say anything and too immature to really acknowledge how I felt. I just let go. We saw each other once before he left for the Southwest to be closer to his now-real girlfriend. I sent him off with a few George Carlin books for the plane and a "good luck".

We reconnected a few years later when he moved back to the Detroit area, but it was never consistent. I just knew he was there, and soon he was there and I was here in Amherst, a far cry from the girl he once knew.

Last night, he texted me out of the blue, "not drunk" but drinking, he promised. He apologized for choosing a stranger over me, and confessed that he missed me and our friendship and has for a long time. I didn't know what to say, and I still don't.... In a hail of "it's all goods" and LOLs, I just wept. Not happy weeping, and not sad. I'm not sure why I cried.

I'm not sure how I feel, but I know this guy represented the first time I'd literally felt abandoned by someone I loved, friend or more. That's a lot to process in a few minutes and within a few messages. And he tried to make amends for a 10 year old pain of mine within that.


This and a few other misadventures in love and friendship taught me to put all my cards on the table instead of being stubborn and self-righteous (as I am apt to do). I did this recently with someone who I have grown to care about over the past few months. Our whatever-it-is has not been without interruptions or disappointments. Like the friend discussed above, on paper, he and I are extremely different people. As many times as I've said or heard, "this is no good", he's still here and so am I. We have a number of similarities, and I love his forthrightness. But it is relationship that needs time to grow, still.

About a month ago, I decided against my reluctance to reveal how I felt (I can't even say "I" decided....I fought hard not to say anything. Lol), and I wrote him a note about how I felt and why I couldn't say anything sooner. It wasn't an ultimatum, a character-basher, or a proposal of any kind. Just a note. About me. And it was unplanned; I have no idea what it says anymore. I just know it was free flow from my heart.

Last weekend, I saw him while I was out around Amherst. He was drinking. We made small talk and he invited me to have a drink. I decided to sit with him. He acknowledged my note and said he shared my feelings. I was not sure how lucid he was (the next day he said he could recall very little) but I determined I wouldn't press the issue. One would think that I would love to know that the feelings were mutual; someone else would've been ecstatic I think. But I was taken aback; not sure what to say, even more unsure of if what I had to say would matter at that moment. I just listened.

We spent the next day as usual, with the exception of attending his awesome church as a guest, but I never pressed the question of that conversation. Though I'm beyond my stubborn self, I don't think I'm ready for it. That might be why the subject came up when it did, and he may not remember at all...

The text-talk with my old friend was just icing on the cake of an emotionally heavy week. But there's a reason for this, I guess. Who knows what's coming in the near future or what this is preparing me for? (God knows, lol).

What a welcome back.

Saturday, August 4, 2012