The Secret’s Out

In his room Josiah rehearsed his speech, while he was supposed to be setting the table for daily family dinner.

 Downstairs he heard his mom calling for him,

“Josiah! Josiah, the table isn’t going to set itself!”

“Ask Jamaal, he isn’t doing anything and I’m getting changed since I got all dirty at my game earlier.”

Downstairs his mother rolled her eyes up to the ceiling where she heard the footsteps of her other son, Jamaal, coming down to take Josiah’s place in setting the table. Julia’s husband, Johnathan, entered the kitchen where she was adding her finishing touches to her Meatloaf.

“Hi Honey.” Johnathan said as he kissed his wife on the cheek.

“Did you finish up all of the work you needed to get done tonight?”

“Yes, I actually got a little more accomplished than I thought I would”, he replied as he looked up and noticed Jamaal, “Hey Jay, where’s Jo? Isn’t it his week to set the table?”

“Sup’ pops, and yea it is his turn but you know pretty boy had to wash up from his game.” Jamaal responded sarcastically.

“He played for like three minutes, if that. How dirty could he have gotten in less than five minutes?”

“That’s enough of that. I don’t want you two taking it any further, my child is a great football player and he is a pretty boy, yes, but at least he washes his hands before dinner.” Julia said as she began placing the food on the table and turning her nose up at her son’s dirty hands. Jamaal threw his hands in the air then walked over to the half bathroom to wash them.

“Germs all over the damn silverware, I should have known his dirty ass forgot to wash them again. Now I have to set the table, if you want something done…”

“You do it yourself.” Johnathan finished his wife’s sentence and grabbed her for a kiss. “My hands are clean honey and I will reset the table.”

Josiah was at the top of the stairs listening to his brother and father go on about him, thankful that his mother cut them off before they could hurt his feelings any more than they had. He took a step back, rethinking his plan, maybe he shouldn’t, but he needed to and walked down the steps to greet his family.

“Hey mom and dad.” He said as his parents turned to look at him. Julia dropped the bowl of broccoli onto the floor and Johnathan’s eyes bulged, Jamaal was standing still in the doorway of the bathroom with his jaw dropped.

“Josiah, what is that?” Johnathan asked his pretty boy son who looked more like a pretty girl at the moment.

“This, this is me.” He said as he walked towards the fallen broccoli and began picking it up piece by piece. “Sorry I made you drop this mom. I’ll make some more.”

Julia was still standing there, frozen in the moment of time from when she first laid eyes on her son, her eldest son, wearing a skirt and a blouse. It wasn’t Halloween, it wasn’t a prank, it wasn’t a decision he made when he rolled out of bed one day, he said and it is true this is me. She felt her husband’s hand on her arm guide her to the head of the table, robotically, she walked to sit in the chair.

“Honey, look at me. Honey, breathe, you need to breathe.” Johnathan said attempting to call his wife from her catatonic state.

Julia turned to look at him and tears began rolling down from her eyes. Images of her siblings flashed through her mind, she could see her brother so vividly but could not process what Josiah had just said.

Johnathan turned towards his son.

“Look what you did Josiah. You made your mother cry, are you happy? Why would you do this? You play football, how are you gay? I don’t understand, please explain.”

Josiah pulled the freshly cooked broccoli from the microwave and sat down at the opposite head of the table, across from his parents.

“I am gay. I have always been gay. I like boys. I also prefer to wear clothes like these. Clothes labeled as ‘Women’s’ or ‘Ladies’. There have also been times that mom would have me in Sephora for hours and I would dip off and play around in the makeup”, Josiah replied, “Oh, and Jamaal I really do enjoy watching Lifetime Movie Network.”

“On bra! Oh na, you’re playing! LIFETIME?!” Jamaal yelled out in disbelief.

“I th- th- that’s not the important part.” Julia began between breaths. She straightened herself up ad began speaking directly towards Josiah. “I think that you may just be confused and-“

“No. Mom. I am not confused and for once I am thinking clearly. I have been having these feelings for a long time and I felt like I had to hide to avoid disappointing you or dad. I signed up for football and watched it with Jay every time a game aired. I was afraid, but after today and after I saw that e-mail. I now know that I am okay.” Josiah defended himself.

“What e-mail?”

“The e-mail on mom’s laptop. Stop acting confused. I mean, you all had me believing a lie for seventeen years but not anymore.”

“When did you get on my computer?” Julia asked.

“What is he talking about ma?” Jamaal chimed in.

“Nothing. Son, please go to your room. We need to have a private discussion with Josiah.” Johnathan commanded Jamaal.

“No, he can stay here. I am not ashamed and neither should you all be. Jamaal deserves to know the truth just as much as I do”, Josiah said to his parents, “I want the full details.”

“The truth is, we never wanted you to know or feel some type of way about your origins,” Julia began, “Or your birth parents.”

“WHAT?! Bra not my brother?” Jamaal jumped out of his seat.

“Sit down Jamaal!” Johnathan commanded.

“That explains the payment confirmation e-mail but I know there’s more. Continue Mom.” Josiah said as tears welled up in his eyes.

Julia opened up about the adoption process while her husband held her hands in his. She began with the day she found Josiah wrapped in a blanket on their doorstep with a note attached. She stood up and went to her desk drawer, unlocked it and pulled out the note that read,

Sis, I can’t do this. I can’t raise a child alone and I see why she left us but the way I felt about her and the way I feel now are two different things. This little boy needs a loving home and a man to raise him. You and I both know that my brother-in-law is fully capable of doing so. I apologize if this will be a burden to you but please do not give him to Child Protective Services, if you do that then I may never see him again. I will be back to see him on his 18th Birthday, by that time I should be steady and he will be mature enough to understand. Please take care of him and do not tell him anything because I will, once I figure it all out.

“Your dad, my brother, he was gay and he… he ended up on the streets. He was selling himself for drug money, back when crack was big in the ghetto and he died of an overdose on another drug four years ago.” Julia confessed through tears.

Josiah stood up and walked over to where his mom was sitting. He crouched beside her and they embraced one another. Johnathan stood and wrapped his arms around both of them while Jamaal sat back, still in disbelief.

In the Morning

Getting Ready: The Difference Between-

Women

I’m gonna swing from, the chandelier, the chandelier. I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t exist-

Karen jumped up from her slumber and slid the ignore button to silence her alarm. At that moment, like every morning, she contemplated changing her ringtone. She rubbed her eyes and took a look at the time, it was only 7:00am and she wasn’t due into work until 9:00. Karen slid from under the sheets and out of bed, then proceeded to make it by throwing her comforter up into the air and then creasing down each corner until it looked like the spread in a Homestyle magazine. She walked into the bathroom and looked at her hair.

“What do I do with this today?” She asked her reflection in the mirror. After pulling her hair up and then letting it fall back down, she shook her head and ran her fingers through it to give it body. Upright, her hair was still just as flat and she decided to put it in a bun. When she reached for a bobby pin to hold the bun in place, there weren’t any left. There weren’t any in the drawer or even on the floor. So, she unraveled the bun and let her hair swing free in a ponytail.

She turned on some music before dancing her way over to the closet. Scanning through the clothes hanging up that barely fit and those folded neatly and stacked high. I never have anything to wear she thought. Karen pulled out a few go-to items and tried on a few pair of shoes to match it. Wearing her go-to dress, she went to her dresser and put on her go-to jewelry. She checked the time again, 8:01. She was making great time, so she decided to put on some makeup.

Back in the bathroom she rubbed lotion onto her face followed by her favorite Elf primer, then used her contour pallet to create better looking cheek bones. Then she put on a layer of foundation to blend it in, before filling in her eyebrows and spicing her eyes up with some mascara. She highlighted her cheekbones and added some blush to create a warm-looking face. She spritzed herself with her favorite scent and grabbed her phone. She went back to the mirror and took a morning selfie she sent to her friends via Snapchat, with the hashtag #IWokeUpLikeThis.

She flicked the lights, and packed up her things to walk out of the door. When she closed it, she opened it again and rushed back to the bathroom to put on deodorant. She glanced at her watch as she ran back out of the door, 8:54.

And

Men

8:00am

*Nnt, Nnt, Nnt, Nnt*

Kyle smacked the top of his alarm and sat his head up halfway to wipe the sticky saliva from the side of his mouth. The alarm went off again, this time he picked it up and threw it across the room.

“Shut the fuck up!” he yelled at the inanimate object. He burrowed his face back into his pillow and screamed then got up out of bed. He walked out into the hallway to his bathroom avoiding the various articles of clothing on the floor. When he reached the bathroom, he opened the door only to discover that last night’s date with the toilet still lingered. He proceeded to piss in the toilet anyway and made a note to plunge it later. He closed the lid and flushed. “Fuck!” he yelled as the water and its contents came up and out onto the floor. He ran back to his bedroom to grab some paper towels, then threw them aimlessly onto the milky brown and yellow water; when it was soaked up, he kicked the pile of paper towels to the corner of the bathroom and scooped them into a trash bag. He grabbed the bag and ran downstairs for the mop.

Downstairs, he threw the garbage into the garage and grabbed the mop from its place on the garage wall. Back upstairs, he turned the water on in the shower and poured bleach from the side of the toilet onto the mop. As he cleaned the stains that his puking toilet left, he spotted his lost earring. Picking it up, he put the mop in the corner, rinsed off the earring and put it in his ear. Then he hopped in the shower.

8:20

Out of the shower and looking into the mirror, he smiled at his reflection. Then proceeded to grab his mouthwash to clean his teeth and have good smelling breath. After spitting out the mouthwash, he poured some gel in his hand and smoothed his hair into a mohawk. He went back to his room and picked up a pair of boxers and conducted a sniff test to see if they were fine to wear or if he needed to open a new pack. The boxers smelled fine to him and he proceeded to put them on, only to discover that they were too small. Not his. He walked back to the frame of his door and yelled out at his housemate, “Stop bringing your fucking whores into my room Jack!” He slammed the door to add emphasis and opened a new pack of boxers. Kyle went to his dresser drawer and pulled out a t-shirt to pull on before throwing on a button down to go over top. Then he pulled a pair of his blue jeans on, then socks and sneakers. He grabbed his wallet and stuck it in his back pocket then picked up his cell phone to text, Good Morning Baby, I’m headed out the door I will see you soon. He watched the read receipt show up at 8:35 and left out to meet his girlfriend for breakfast.

Beautiful. Bold. Black. -by SugaHoneyTeash

I Need to Know I’m Beautiful

I need to know I’m beautiful

I need to know it when I wake up in the morning with crust on my eye and drool on my cheek.

I need to know it when my hair is a mess and my eyebrows ain’t on fleek.

I need to know it when I made yet another mistake that I cannot undo.

And I need to know it for myself cause this here beauty, is for me, not you.

Beautiful
Amara La Negra

I’m not talking about the beauty that is strictly glitz-n-glamor, I’m talking the gritty shit that built my character.

I’m talking ‘bout the pain ‘I’ endured that created morals and the reason why I’m so Goddamn Loyal

I need to know this beauty so it runs through my veins because I need it as confidence when I’m in pain.

I need it as armor when I walk in through that fucking office ‘cause them white muthafucka’s have a hard time seeing what I’m offerin’

As a black woman, I’m tired if doing it all by myself but it’s hard to depend on someone else when they can’t see your beauty like you see it in yourself.

Beautiful
Issa Rae

I need to see it when no one else can, ‘cause I be damned if I let someone else paint a portrait of who I am.

I need to know my beauty so it infuses with my soul, ‘cause that piece has been missing and it’s time to take control.

 

**Inspired by my beautiful black sister-friend Erika, I love you E!**

Teash & E

IG: sugahunyice_tee

Potentially Powerful

Young women, it is not your duty to rescue him. Young lady, it is not your duty to rescue him!

Hey girl… it is not your duty to rescue him.

There is potential in almost everyone that you meet. Almost everyone has the potential to be great and do positive things on any different level in life but this does not mean that you will be around to witness it let alone be the one to lead anyone to it. Especially a man. Why are you still waiting on potential? Girl let me tell you how much time I’ve wasted waiting around for a man to realize his potential and change up. I can tell you, and you’ll still waste your time because that’s just the way that faith works. Your belief in that man’s potential could be used in another area of your life, but who am I to tell you what to do? I see the potential in you too but am I going to lead you there?

Maybe so, likely not. Take a step back and revisit that.

Potentially Powerful 2

 

For those who believe in a higher power: Trust and know that you are being tested. Have you not learned from your own lessons in life that it is necessary for tough (and easy or medium) lessons to take place in order to cause the needed transformation in a being? Have you not learned to understand karma and its ways? Just to let you know, when you do bad, that bad can be done unto you or someone close to you, when you do good that good can be done unto you or someone close to you; when you play God, you will be taught that you are mortal; when you block a learning lesson in someone’s life, you will be forced to learn a new one in yours… do you understand this? There may be more to it, but did you understand that? Stop trying to control things that are out of your control. Especially the potential in men. Just as you are learning, so is he. Just as you must learn one thing from this person and the next thing from the next person, so must he. Just as you are destined for this thing and he is destined for that. This is life. It was designed and created for you before you were even granted life as a gift. Do you understand that there is someone (something) guiding you to where you need to be just as he/she (it) is doing the same for him?

If so, why are you still waiting on potential? Take a step back and revisit that.

 

For those who believe they are the higher power: Girl, you have a mighty power in this world, a way with words, maybe your aura has changed peoples’ energy around you, maybe your smile lights up the room, maybe you even walk on water and maybe you bleed gold. One thing you are not capable of is leading a man to his destiny. Being that you have embraced your power, whatever led you to that is most likely doing the same work in him. It is going to be the man who raises himself up and determines what his future will be. Not you. Do not wait around while he drains you of your power, to empower his.

Sis, why are you still waiting on potential? Take a step back and revisit that.

 

For those who believe in nothing: If you believe in nothing then why is it that you believe he even has potential?

Why are you still waiting on something you do not believe in? Take a step back and revisit that.

 

Potentially Powerful 1

For those who love metaphors: Imagine you are in the middle of the ocean. Stuck and treading water. You see a ship out about 1,200 feet or so away. A buoy rocking in the ocean 1,900 feet away. An island 1,400 feet away. Are you swimming to the ship, the buoy or the island?

The ship is the man you want to be with (the man of your dreams, the one with the potential), the buoy is your backup or go-to, and the island is your deepest self. I’ll ask again, are you swimming to the ship, the buoy or the island? Be honest.

Sure, you could take your chance at attempting to swim over to the ship but the ship is also sailing, how fast can you swim? Is the ship captain going to notice or see you in the water? How many sharks are in the water? What’s the tide like? Is the wake going to drown you? How salty is the salt water? How thirsty and tired are you? How strong is your will to get to that ship regardless of what is thrown your way? Just a few things to think about before you attempt at swimming towards that ship.

Potentially Powerful 3

 

Now, regarding the buoy, it is close. Looks safe because you’ll be out of the water and able to rest your limbs for a little while, you may even feel safe from whatever it is in the water but the buoy is temporary. How hot is it outside? Is the buoy large enough to ensure that you are protected from whatever lurks in the water? Could you fall asleep on the buoy and not drown to death in your sleep? Is there something else occupying the buoy? Just a few things to consider before you decide to settle on the buoy.

 

Potentially Powerful 4

Now, the island, the island is far right? I agree, but if you originally chose to attempt at catching that ship… is it really that far? Are you willing to put in the same effort to get to that island that you would’ve put in to get to that ship? Are you willing to take the chance, the same chance you were willing to take hopping onto that buoy? Do you have faith and see the potential in what may occur when you make it to the island, explore it and rest upon it?

Potentially Powerful 5

 

Why are you still waiting on the potential you see in other’s when it is your potential that needs your faith? Take a step back and revisit that.

 

 

*This piece was inspired by a conversation with my mentee ‘MvdiFv’
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