“Video games are for boys!”

I remember them time and time again: “That’s for boys, put that down!” every time I stepped outside of that pink stuff and frilly dresses square they drew me in. I felt like a square.

I still do.

I missed out on some really great video games, but my brother(s) didn’t. I got the hand-me-downs [broken consoles, with cords with impossible to fix shorts in them, controllers with buttons that don’t work, etc.] and the things they didn’t want to play. I enjoyed them all the same. I ended up being really good at Columns, though. I still haven’t mastered Golden Axe. I could only reach stage three. Good times.

The only time I got to play video games usually resulted from something I’d rather not talk about having to come into play. Let’s just say after it ended and while it was happening all I saw at the end of the tunnel was a place to be free. I found my home in video games. It was my way to escape from everything around me. That escape only lasted in maybe 3-5 minute burst, maybe once a week or once a day, if I’m lucky. I was trying to disappear from their eyesight and they couldn’t even realize it. I wanted to help them stop wanting to beat me with broomsticks because they couldn’t process their anger differently. Dammit, I wanted to wear short sleeves in the Summer! I wanted to stop having to explain my scars, my bruises. I wanted to stop explaining why my skin is always full of open wounds. That now I’m the one causing because now, I pick my skin. I’m this trapped, confused, black child in the ghetto and I’m not even safe in my own home so what exactly was out there that they were keeping me from? I’m sorry…I’m panning away from the point.

Moving on….

Video games were my escape and they wouldn’t even give me a minutes peace. No matter how much I begged and pleaded. I wanted to be able to sit and play video games like my brothers. I wanted to be a kid. I didn’t want an Easy Bake and white Barbie dolls. I didn’t want frilly dresses and purses. I didn’t want to get beat for doing things that weren’t “lady-like”. And video games were “unladylike”. I could learn car detailing properly, I couldn’t learn mechanics and I couldn’t play video games because all of those things are for boys and that I should get in the kitchen with granny and learn how to cook.

Let me tell you…

I can COOK my ass off.

Then feed it to you and have you coming back for more. 

It’s a good thing too because I love to eat. -ahem.

When I was finally able to leave the house I started to collect older consoles, but I was still a dreamer then because I was collecting component cables and cartridges for them as well so I could play them. My family took them all; sold them or tossed them away, I forget which one they’re a fan of the most. My Gamecube, too.

My very first legit video game I was able to sit down and enjoy that I paid for when I was finally able to leave my house was ‘Super Smash Bros. Melee’. That was my first owned console; the Nintendo Gamecube. I had a silver one and I thought I was the shit because people would tell me how they wanted the silver one. Cheesy, I know. It was mine. My first racing game was a Need for Speed game. I have so many favorites of that franchise: Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed Underground 2, and Need for Speed: Carbon. I don’t know why I loved those games, but I did.

*I was going to add pictures to this but, meh. No one reads this anyway.

There are so many games I want to play. Some, I’ve never heard of before my fiance mentioned them. Luckily, there are emulators and I have a gaming rig so I can just play catch up. It’s just, it would have been great to experience video gaming in all its glory, but I couldn’t because “video games are for boys”.

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Why I Refuse to Make Sacrifices Just for My Children

The archaic and mundane reasoning behind why a mother can only make sacrifices for her children is getting really tired. Yes, I am a mom. I’ve been one for almost five years now. In those five years, I’ve been told on multiple occasions that, “your life is to those kids now”, or “you have only room to make sacrifices for your children, you gave up your life when you had them.” Why?

Why do I have to subject my life to just being a home-maker? If I don’t make sacrifices for myself, how can I for them? I have to be able to take care of them, right? I can’t do that if I have to toss my dreams away. I’m only human. If I listen to these memes that people share on social media, I’d be more depressed that I’ve ever been.

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I’m not saying that I don’t love my children and that I don’t make sacrifices for them, but I’m not going to not make sacrifices for myself. I’m not going to put my entire life on hold just because I’m a mom. I tried that, it didn’t work. I’ll never do it again. All it did was made me bitter and depressed. It sent me to a place I hope I’ll never return to.

Some women are okay with that, I’m not knocking you for doing you. It’s just that’s not me and a lot of mom’s – when they hear me say my truth – cannot handle it. They think it cannot be done. Single mothers do it all of the time; with more children, so I know I can do it with my fiance and two children. If I don’t keep my sanity by finding an outlet or going back to school, then who will? I’m not perfect and I’ll never strive for perfection because that’s implausible.

I should be able to take care of my kids and have the life I want. It shouldn’t have to be either or and I’m sick of hearing it.

A Letter to My Black Children

My Dear Children,

There are some things that I must tell you. I have to be honest. I can’t sugar-coat it, I can’t wing it. Nothing but the truth can be said about what I need to tell you.

You’re black.

Yes, you already know this, but what you may not realize is that society is going to look at you differently. Your skin color plays a huge part in how people treat you. I know, it shouldn’t be that way but it is. I cannot tell you why because I’m not exactly sure why. Just know that mommy and daddy loves you two very much.

To My Son:

My smart and handsome little boy. You’re going to be a very tall and possibly huge man. That and your skin color is going to intimidate people. There are going to be preconceived notions that you’re violent, angry, a thug even, just on that alone. You may – most probably will – get treated differently and probably harassed by law enforcement. Keep your head down, don’t get angry, respect them, don’t make any sudden moves, keep your hands where they can see them. Hopefully, the cop that day may not taze or shoot you anyway. If you know you haven’t done anything and you were just going home, don’t think it’s your fault. It’s not. It’s society. It’s hunting season and black people are getting killed at least 15 times a week at the time of this being written.

You will have to work 10x harder than the white man to get anywhere. The system is built to see you fail. Don’t let it break you. Show these people who are. You’re smart, independent and you don’t need to be white to get far. Don’t limit yourself to football or basketball just because someone took one look at you and say that’s all you’ll amount to. History tries to erase and take claim to everything we’ve created. We’re geniuses. If you want to be a scientist, a doctor, hell, even a race car driver, go for it. It’s your life.

Just know that society base their views on how dark your skin is. The lighter you are, the smarter they think you are. As a mom, I have to tell you these things because I love you. I wish there was someone there to tell these things to me when I was a child. I hope throughout the years as you get older that I have the strength and the knowledge to help you.

Cops are getting away with murder, the government is no better. Hell, you don’t have to be a cop to get away with murder, just be white. They don’t need a reason to kill you. Society doesn’t really need a legitimate reason to hate you, you just have to have a fucked up disposition that’s out of your control; your skin color.

 Don’t hate yourself, and please don’t hate me. I don’t want you to ever regret being born. Don’t give the racists or the bigots the satisfaction. Colorism, classism and racism is alive and kicking. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

To my daughter,

My sweet and beautiful daughter. Mommy loves you and your brother so very much. The world is going to treat you so unfairly, mama. You get paid less, especially if you’re black. But on the flip-side you’ll probably get a job faster than someone darker than you because you’re high-colored. People will ask you if you have a white parent, or “what are you, exactly?” Hopefully you have your father’s sense of humor and smarts to give them a quick and educative response.

You will have to work so much harder than anyone else to get a high-paying job. The work-force don’t take kind to women working. Especially if you go into welding or any other job where there are mostly men. Don’t let that stop you, mama. It damn sure isn’t stopping me.

Not only do you have to worry about how society sees you, you have to worry about how black women and men see you. Why? Because of your lighter skin. Black people are not kind to each other when it comes to things like that.

There are other things in life that you and I will explore together because as a woman, I’m still learning and realizing things for myself.

Life is not kind to us. We’re treated unfairly and are seen in a dirty light. As long as I’m living, you two won’t have to stand in that light alone. Your parents got your back. We can’t protect you forever or keep you from the world that’s out there. Everyone isn’t racist. Everyone aren’t bigots, or prejudice. There are genuinely nice and caring people out there, it’s just that there are fewer and fewer as time goes on. Keep your eyes open, be aware, be smart, be conscious, be safe.

Mommy and daddy loves you!