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Africana WomaNINJA @ZalUIbaorimi
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As I reflect this morning, I am considering my “sex-positive” journey:

The sh*t was never pretty. Now for others who have a positive and more affirmed journey that is wonderful because that needs to happen more often.
But my own journey was definitely marked in sexual trauma, sexual questioning, religion, bullying, etc.
I did my “hoing” or was at least was perceived that way and although in the sex positive community that is embraced, it’s not quite that way in a lot of our neighborhoods. It’s “sex-positive” nothing and a ho isn’t exactly a term of endearment. Y’all know.
In my neighborhood or even in our culture, knowing dealers is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of the time, knowing them kept a lot of men from harassing me. Most of them kept me safe on my way to school. I was fortunate enough that my “special admission school” was a 10 min.
walk. But yeah, it was good when they threatened folk and protected me. Now I’ll admit that a lot of that was rooted in this probability of them believing that I would be in a “better situation” than most in my neighborhood, which is problematic, but a discussion for another time
However, girls in my neighborhood, including myself were stigmatized very early. So that means being 12 or 15, but grown men and much older teenagers (19 or so) being ok with asking to f*ck, because you’re body looks like an “adult” body.
We have to talk about this part of Black girlhood, because it’s actually really grotesque and I say grotesque for this reason. The reality is that Black girls have it hard enough; however, if you are a Black girl from a neighborhood that’s identified as having a lower class
standing, your childhood is definitely tampered with. Even with active parents or guardians, there are just some things that even they couldn’t protect us from.

Part of the grotesquerie is the confusion of knowing you’re a child, but having folks treating like you’re an adult.
I can honestly say that I’ve had the SAME body since I was 12. Now yes, I’m 4’10” and usually fluctuate in weight (92-97 lbs), but my body is grown. So take that idea and then couple it with 12-year-old Melanie (the name my parents gave me)
Now take that, and apply to Black girls. All Black girls are vulnerable to a certain degree, but “hood” Black girls? I want to talk about this.


Sexuality and Black girlhood
My parents tried to protect me from damn near everything, but the truth is it’s possible. Even that small percent of danger and harm typically swallows up the entire pie chart.
When I was in the first grade I had a classmate who was tall and curvaceous. She used to have outbursts where she would pretend to have an orgasm. Some of us were amused while others laughed. She frequently talked about sex. It was like this until the 4th grade- I transferred.
Now, I’m thinking as my 26 yo self, wow, because now I can actually look through my 7-10 yo eyes and see how male teachers stared at her. I can see the father’s of my classmates looked at her during pickups and drop offs. I can even see the women’s disgust.
Not at the men, of course, but her. I remember her name, but I won’t get into all of that. She was a little kid, with a said “grown” body.
She wasn’t the only Black girl in my class like that. Now, whether we want to admit this or not children do embark on sexual journeys early, which is a part of coming of age. This bullsh*t right here, that I just described should not have become and initiation to adulthood.
Most of the Black girls in my class knew a little something about sex. That’s not exactly abnormal either, what is alarming is that many were able to fully describe what it’s like. My mother had the full blown sex talk with me when I was 8. I’m glad she did because...
one biology did it’s thing a few months later, I had my first period. Also, if parents/guardians didn’t discuss sex then, trust someone was going to tell us.
Well anyway, my childhood best friend and I were inseparable as girls. No names. She was one of 4 sisters. She had one younger sister, and two teenage sisters. The oldest was deemed the smartest and was the one folks pushed to go to college
Their mama gave me my first relaxer in their kitchen when I was 9. She used to always sing, “The Battle is the Lord’s,” while adlibbing about how she would beat my friend’s ass if she didn’t sit down.

From a distance they seemed like a happy family.
My mother always came over though. My friend’s mom always wore sunglasses though and as a kid I’m like how can she see my hair with glasses on. Her father seemed nice. My friend’s baby sister wore prescription glasses but sometimes she had on shades too.
Sometimes my friend would stand on classroom tables and “act out.” Teachers didn’t believe she was that smart smh. One time my friend got hold of my test and switched our names. My teacher found out and called our parents. I was afraid because at this point my mother
told me we wouldn’t be going over to the house much anymore. It was only a block or two over. My mother explained that she believes the dad is beating on them.

I switched schools and we lost contact.
The last time that I saw her I was 11, the next time I saw her she was standing in my living room as a 15yo with a new baby.

Her dad left and her mother was sick. Her sisters left. That year her mother passed away. Her baby sister didn’t want to be around the drama
I used to take care of the baby from time to time. My friend had kidney failure I would later learn. She did a lot of drugs. She would ask me to watch her son, but the guys in the neighborhood told me if I kept going to the house something would happen to me.
Well, some of the MEN in the neighborhood were living in her mom’s abandoned house... I believe they were giving her drugs. I know they were actually. Sometimes I would be alone with them as I watched the baby. My parents found out and were livid. We talked about letting her stay
with us. She was not quite sure who the baby’s father was but she believed that it was her older sister’s boyfriend, because he raped her. That’s why some of the sisters, now adult, left.

My friend took off and I didn’t see her until I was in my twenties.
Whew y’all, this stuff gets me every single time.
Now, here I go back to my childhood. My parents didn’t allow for me to walk to the store for the first time alone until I was 13. I took the bus in middle with my mom everyday, I was embarrassed because “I’m grown!”... my dad picked me up. I begged my parents to let me go home
on my own at least once. A man followed me the entire time and chased me home. So that wasn’t happening again for a while.
From 10 until, my mother was very stressed over the men in the neighborhood and I could hear my parents discussing it in their room.

I remember:

“Do you see the way that they look at her? That’s our baby. She looks like a baby!”
One time I heard her crying because she said that a man with his wife/gf and child kept staring at my breasts. I was 10, and I noticed it to. A matter of fact, I noticed it in church and before breasts I noticed it at age 3 and 4.

That’s disruptive to Black girlhood. That’s grotesque.
When I was 13 and was allowed to walk alone to the store, a man pulled up beside me and told me that he would give me a dollar if I got in his car. I started walking a little faster and he started to drive beside me. I took off running, to where I could see other folk in my hood.
But I didn’t want to tell my parents because they were “overprotective” of me and I didn’t want them to tell me that I couldn’t exercise my freedom by walking to the store alone.
When I was in the 6th grade. (Mom was a journalist, and covered a story on a gala hosted by Ron White, around the 2004 indictment) A young man approached me and told my mother that I was very beautiful. She went off because she already seen him staring at me for at least an hour
Don’t you know, I’m back in class that Monday and that man was student teaching for another class and came right up to me? I told my mom.
My father always instructed men to stay away from me because he could always see the look of fear in my eyes of them since I was a little girl. It wasn’t because they looked scary it was because they were always staring.
By 15, the dealers in the neighborhood were a bit different and less familiar so they tried me frequently.

So I walk down the street one day and I hear “hey,” and let’s be real I was teen and excited that someone older approached me. My parents always had me guarded, and
just a few months before I was sexually assaulted in my high school building. I didn’t quite know how to tell my parents yet. I knew they would be devastated though. I say this because the assault did make me more inquisitive about sexuality.
I wasn’t quite doing it yet, but I was doing “stuff.”

So the dealer (a man) who approaches me and I smile says, “Damn you got some pretty lips. You look like you can suck a mean dick.” He gave me his number.
That winter one of my friends was was also 15, we met because we were camp counselors, she suspected that her man was cheating on her. Now when I say man, I literally mean her MAN. This dude was 23 or 24 years old. She asked me if I could set him up and see if he would like me.
He did like me. His trifling self had a sister that went to my high school. He told me that he was in love with me. My friend was angry and she stopped being my friend because she said I stole her man. This situation is still sick. We were KIDS. I never had sex with him.
He always sent us photos of his penis. I met another man at a high school graduation party who also preyed on me. None of these men had access to me, because my parents would have beat their ass if they found out. This guy also said he loved me. I was creeped out so we never
spoke again. Then here comes the social media stuff. I got on Facebook at 15. My parents ran a tight ship on it, after they found out I had it. But one time a man kept asking to meet up with me, etc. I would gas him and then tell him no.
A few years ago, he tried to say on Facebook that I was a freak, even though we never did anything. He ended up outing himself as a pedophile in front of everyone on a post. By trying to expose me, he exposed himself.
Anyway I was extremely depressed between 15-18. I was suicidal, getting over my molestation, had an abusive older boyfriend in college and managed to try to hide it. My “exceptional” Black intelligence dissipated and my high school threatened to send me to my neighborhood school.
I could not catch a break. I was bullied, received rape threats after my assault, and boy’s frequently offered me money for sex.

And nonetheless the men in my neighborhood persisted.
The dealers would ask me and other girls if they could f*ck us in abandoned homes, where many of the addicted would go. They were grown and clearly had no respect for us.

I didn’t go, but who knows, maybe some of the girls did.
Men would joke about running “trains” on little girls. But AGAIN, her body made it acceptable. It was literally us Black girls’ fault for looking the way we did. Age was just a formality.
Now, I know a lot of Black women may not say anything or may feel some discomfort with this thread, but I know so many of you have similar stories about being hypersexualized as children.
I was sexually assaulted a few more times and that last time was by a Black man in the Academy. Bless.
So I’m sex-positive NOW but with a lot of reservation. My intro to it has not been from pleasure, but because of a lack of safety and harm. That’s my painful truth. I’m an academic now, but I’m struggling to even navigate this world of privilege. I moved in and out of
having privilege all of my life, not because my family came from money (lmbo we ain’t got it), but because my parents had access to certain spaces and did a lot of research on for free or at least affordable opportunities for me. My friends didn’t have that, and some of their
parents just didn’t have the time. But the reality is, I still had to go through mess. Imagine growing up and hearing folks say “with a father like hers” how could she have gotten into the abusive relationships she’s been in? He’s great.”
You’re damn right he is BUT
I had sexual trauma and nasty men to thank for a lot of the mess I had to through. My mother argued with so many adult women who refused to believe that their man was nasty and if they did know they protected them.
So yes, I DO think about who makes it into discussions and who doesn’t while we pontificate. That’s why my research is personal. While we talk about research “interest,” which is a funny word how about my research is autobiographical and I will stop at nothing
to make sure that Black women and girls are cared for and heard, especially when we decided to ignore particular Black girls and women.
Black girls are demonized in a very specialized way and when they are from lower income neighborhood hell is on earth. Not only do I want to I want help reveal that, I’m willing to go right back in it.

I want to talk about this hell so that we can talk about heaven-PLEASURE.
And honestly this is the part where I get disturbed when folks feel like some of us are shaking the table just because. Although I do believe that’s valid. However, I think the work that some of us can do (it’s not all of our ministries) is to shake the table to expose the demons
The girls and the women who they grow up to be, some of us pass by them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yeah, “the fast girls, the “thotlers,” sis was pregnant as a teen, sis who has a few baby daddies, sis who had the train run on them, sis who liked to go “both ways” mmmhmmm
So yes, I join in the celebration of once being a Black girl and now being a Black womanhood, but I’m still in mourning over myself and “the others.” We do need joy, but we also have to get real about the ugliness. Now if you’ve never experienced that kind of ugliness, that is
indeed a blessing.
Mom, dad and grandma got me through.
Now I have the best sister and brother in the world who would kick ass for me. We may not be biologically related, but our families love each other and hold us in light. No one questions our relation (wanted to add who else got me through 😊)
But anyway, it’s good to think about who IS sitting at the table, but it’s also liberation work to consider who is also NOT sitting at the table. Then you ask yourself WHY?

With that said, my sex-positive journey has been one of survival.

End thread.
So can we talk about this? I want to engage y’all or at least retweet what you have to say.
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