Bored Ambition Reads: Toxicology…

Once upon a time, I was a young, hopeful student at UCLA, working in one of the student stores to keep some money in my pockets. It was in this store that I struck up a relationship with one S. Latria, a relationship that had and continues to, stretch well into the years since we’ve both left the campus.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of speaking over the telephone to S. Latria, who was conducting field research for what eventually became her debut work Toxicology: Transform Your Unhealthy Relationships by Becoming Your Own Best Friend and provide some of my own insight to my experiences with my relationships with other women, which, outside of my own family (and even still) were a bit lacking at the time.

The book has been released and as soon as I was able to, I purchased a physical copy (e-book just wouldn’t do) of the book and got down to reading it in what free time I currently have in my life. I’m not going to lie and say this review isn’t slightly biased, but looking at this as objectively as I possibly could, I recommend this book to those of you who are into self-help and improving the relationships in your life.

Speaking from a purely technical point of view, the way the books is structured makes it easy to absorb the information and advice that is being presented. The author starts off by relaying a story of her own toxicity and gives us the Toxic R.U.L.E, then she goes into the various toxic types (and there are quite a few), and finally ends it with another story in which she handled herself with more grace than she did in her first story. Interspersed in the explanations of the toxic types are various stories of women engaged in or dealing with people displaying the toxic personality types to help hammer home exactly how those types manifest in your life.

Content wise, I found myself seeing myself in many of the toxic types and I thought back to many of the friendships that I have and how I displayed toxic behavior, from enabling other people’s bullshit, to telling little white lies, to being both an optimist and a pessimist (it’s possible to be both, trust me). I have been a love enthusiast with men. I’ve joined a pack online. Of course, my ultimate takeway from the book wasn’t that I’m a terrible person, no, but that I am a person who is in a constant state of improvement, and while I have displayed these traits in the past, and may even do so currently, I don’t have to hold on to that past behavior or down myself if I’m anything less than perfect today.

I implore you, to purchase this book, a hard copy if need be. It is available on Amazon and I’m not receiving anything for reviewing this except the pleasure of spreading the word about an excellent piece of work.

I Never Wanted to Be the Quirky Black Girl, but Here The Fuck I Am

Apologies for the expletive in the title. I know some of y’all still follow that raggedy sense of respectability and whatnot.

Look at the featured picture* and tell me that’s not what you might think of when you hear the phrase “quirky Black girl.” I challenge you to give me another answer.

I resent that phrase and you want to know why? Not only is it another box that people try to put people in, but because once upon a time quirky wasn’t the word that people were using. Quirky is a cute word, not quite an Instagram model, but a girl next door. It conjures up images of birds and running in fields of grass and AfroPunk and pins and buttons and pink colored hair and interests that lay in the nerd realm or a carefree sense of being. Quirky is blue skies and dewdrops on grass and a fresh spring breeze. Quirky is summer in the city. It’s spending time “finding yourself” and tumblr accounts and blue checks on Twitter.

Fuck that.

Once upon a time, quirky was weird. Weird stinks. Weird is overbites and under bites and cystic acne. Weird is repulsive. Weird is thin, oily hair and wrestling t-shirts and nasal voices. Weird is surprisingly masculine. Weird is misunderstood. Weird doesn’t have too many friends. Weird grows up and has a constant chip on its shoulder and possibly seeks authority so that it can inflict the same pain and suffering onto those that once inflicted pain and suffering on it. Weird can’t relate. Weird is out of the loop. Weird is a damp basement with one light where a body might be buried in the concrete floor.

I was weird and I didn’t want to be that shit.

I wore that shit like a scarlet letter and I tried to wash it off as much as possible. I started cursing a lot, tried my hardest not to be a dweeb, tried avoiding dating fellow dweebs, and you know what? That shit don’t work. I couldn’t stop being weird. I was born in that shit, baptized in the waters of Lake Minneweirdo. Now I’m just a weird ass Black girl that curses a lot.

So when my sister called me quirky recently, I flinched. That shit hit me to the core because today’s quirky was yesterday’s weird and pre-29-year-old me still holds on to that stigma of being a weirdo and fuck you motherfuckers for celebrating the shit you used to shit on, where were you when I was running through the schoolyards pretending I was a Martian because they didn’t have one on Space Cases? Where you ass was at in 2003? You wasn’t with me shooting in the gym!

So if that’s what y’all want to call it now, I’ma be quirky. I’ma be weird. I can’t wash that shit away. No amount of dick weed booze self-hatred and denial is going to get rid of it, in fact, it makes it even more apparent. I can’t be anything else than what I am and as much as I have tried to be anything else, this is my lane, this is my niche. I don’t want to be anything but this. If you want to call it by a cute little name, then so be it. Just run me my blue check so I can start gatekeeping this shit while claiming to be for the culture.

 

*Follow the photographer here: https://www.instagram.com/melodyjacob1/

In the Shadows of Performance

I’ve made it no secret that my mind can be my own worst enemy. Ever since I was a child I wanted my stream of consciousness to be quiet; I even asked my father of all people if it was something that I could shut off and his answer, to make a short story shorter, was no. So ever since that time, I have had to listen to myself and myself is the goddamn devil sometimes.  Continue reading “In the Shadows of Performance”