Cupcakes and condoms

In honor of National Women’s and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Co-founders of The Red Pump Project, Karyn and Luvvie, decided to present an event around several U.S. cities. The Red Pump Project is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

To commemorate this day, I attended Cupcakes and Condoms,  hosted by the Atlanta ambassador, Skyy Banks. We spent our afternoon mingling, chatting about sexual health and, of course, eating cupcakes.

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Take control of your body (naked pt 3)

Since I gave away my virginity at 20 years old, I’ve been battling with the idea of sex and regret. I used to think I would wait until marriage. Not seriously though. It was just the thing to say. But growing up, I had this weird feminist mind set so it kinda didn’t matter because I didn’t take guys seriously enough to even consider sex. But after I gave it away, I felt pretty empty. Like well, that’s it…do I go grab a bowl of cereal? Was there supposed to be fireworks? Fanfare? If there was, it didn’t happen for me. And it really hasn’t happened six years later.

I’ve come to the realization that when it comes to sex, I am weak. Not weak as in I’m always after it. Weak as in I won’t stop it from happening. I can count on one hand the times I’ve asked to have sex. I never wanted to have the blame put on me, if any accusations were to be made. No one could say, well, she wanted it.  Mmm, not really, I just went along with it. Which to me, is worse.

At 26 years old, I had to stop and ask myself some serious questions regarding my sexual behavior. Patterns that seemed to happen the same exact way with different men. Surely, after the third time, one would have to stop and think, “it’s ME, not them”. And it was me. I now believe that God placed roadblocks in my sexual life that I literally jumped over to ignore, until they smacked me in the face via doctor’s visits, dreams and blatant disrespect. And I couldn’t (and still can’t) blame anyone but myself.

One year ago, I wrote a letter to my 15 year old self expressing all that I would experience in ten years. A good chunk of it was mainly about sex. My, how times changed. That’s when I realized that I really needed to do something about this problem. So many times I’ve tried to give it up and failed. I did realize though, you can’t give up sex if your partner is not willing as well. You will battle on your own and you will lose.

Many times I’ve attempted celibacy and failed. After listening to the dating series by Pastor Andy Stanley called The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating, I decided to give it another try and focus more on what I will gain and not on what I was missing out on. It has been an interesting journey these past few months. It’s funny how much clearer you can see deception when lust is not clouding your judgment. And not to say that this is an easy road but it sure is a whole lot cheaper (physically and emotionally less taxing).

The decision to be celibate (again) is the reason I feel more confident in speaking to young women about the decisions that women make involving sexual activity. It is the reason I feel compelled to educate young women and girls about sexual health and protecting themselves. And thanks to the new Affordable Care Act, all women will be able to get the proper preventative care services. No longer can we blame anyone else for the decisions we consciously make regarding our sexual activity.

Is celibacy for everyone? It sure as hell isn’t for me but it’s the discipline I need in my life right now. If you’ve chosen to have sex, take control of your body. I’m so tired of hearing the HIV rates in Black women increase. We’ve got to protect our bodies (and our hearts).

Letter to my 15-year-old self (Naked pt. 2)

Thanks to Katie, I will write part two of my naked reveal of myself, to myself. This is a continuation from part one. An open letter to my 15 year old self from my current 25 year old self. Sometimes it’s hard to flat out say things in black and white that you really didn’t want to admit to yourself much less to others. By writing to my former self in the form of a letter, I can still say all that I want and wish I knew then.

Disclaimer: No names have been used because that’s not my style. Everyone close to me knows my story and I know they support me in my writings. This is only a brief summary of ten years of my life, not focusing on the details. If for some reason, you feel like you’re going through a similar situation and you need someone to listen to you, I highly recommend seeking counsel (or if we’re friends, I don’t mind listening). My journey is personal but I know I’m not alone in it. Sharing is caring.

Dear 15 year old Lucy,

 Heeey girl. I just wanted you to know that everything will truly be alright. I know I know, you’ve heard this all before. Life can’t get any worse. You still hate your parents for moving you to Atlanta. Leaving all your family and friends to start all over for seemingly no reason. That’s gotta be tough. But listen, I’m here to tell you that ten years down the line, you’ll be ever so grateful for that sacrifice your parents made and the life that you will have.

On that journey, you’ll have met sooo many different people. You’ll have made lasting frienships with girls you’ll call the Gmail Girls. You’ll know tons and tons of people. In fact, people will say, “Dang Lucy, you really DO know everyone!”. Girl, brush your shoulders off you socializer you. I bet you wouldn’t have thought that with how things are going now. Loner in school. Eating by yourself. Rushing to go home to eat, sleep, watch tv and do homework. Sometimes cry because you just hate Atlanta.

On that journey, you’ll have met maaany men that you’ll have crushes on. And I mean many. You’ll have two boyfriends while in college. You’ll have relations that seem like relationships, just without the title. You’ll have relations with these men that God did not ordain. Oh yes honey. You’ll go through it all. The heartbreak of men telling you to stay out of their lives. Of rejection, physically, mentally and emotionally. Of pushing people away and not batting an eye of care. Of contracting STDs (girl yes! yea um, about being a virgin till you’re married…). Of playing the victim and also the vindictive. Of depression. Of being selfish and never allowing anyone to really understand you because you think they’ll try to use it against you. Of wearing a smile when you’re actually crying inside. Of feeling like you’ll never be good enough because you’ll define who you are by what you’ve been through. Of finally loving someone but not receiving that same love. Of not really knowing God for yourself, but what you were taught to believe yet never really learned or understood.

You’ll graduate college and finally feel free but head right back into that deep dark space called mental captivity. Defining yourself by your situation again. Aren’t you supposed to have all the answers after graduation? Why so blue? That’s life chica. It has its ups and downs. But I can give you a heads up on a few things:

  • Everyday will be a new day to experience and learn something new.
  • You’ll encounter people that will touch your heart.
  • You’ll continue to love despite not feeling it in return. Why? Because love conquers all. Because God Is Love.
  • You’ll learn that your relationship with Christ really is the most important thing. And however you stray from the path you were on as a child, God will continue to call you back home. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. He is the ultimate constant force.
  • You’ll find happiness and peace and will always chase after them.
  • You’ll enjoy all the moments you are given because you know nothing lasts forever.

So hold your head up baby girl. Ride this ride call life to the fullest. Take away lessons from every experience and GROW. Use those experiences to touch the lives of others going through the same things you will go through. Don’t let someone else feel alone when you can be there to lend an ear.

Your future is bright girl. You just don’t know it yet. Be encouraged. I think it’s about time for Aids Walk Atlanta . Yea, this will be your first year participating. Keep doing that. You’ll love babysitting kids too. Oh yea, and you’ll find that you’ll love to travel….a lot. So skip to it young lady. You have a lot to accomplish in ten years.

Love,

Me (really you), at 25

Are you secure?

I realized the other day how strong women really are.

Imagine it: we give birth, we raise kids, we cook, we clean, we work, we stay when the love has left, we love, we nurture, we withstand abuse, we feel…period. Yet and still, [some] men have the AUDACITY to continue to mistreat us.

I may offend some men [and women]. Please, if you don’t fall into this category, don’t be offended. But dont ignore what your brothers are doing. If you are a woman and don’t feel affected by this post, that’s fine. Not all women are strong. At least they don’t know it yet.

AGAIN, IF THIS IS NOT YOU, IGNORE.

I’ve been reading a lot of angry tweets from men lately and they’ve become a bit disheartening. The cause of their anger: women who are whores/sluts/bitches/hoes, etc. They [women] dont value themselves because they love men that don’t love them and that cheat on them. My thing is, how is it that you can sleep with the very women that you dawg out? You say she’s a bitch, she’s a hoe, yet you inseminate her. You impregnante her (condoms much?). You pass your filthy STDs to her (careless much?). You have your way with her. Why? My brothers, why don’t you just leave her alone? If she causes so much trouble and is no good, how about follow your own advice and stop messing with her JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN? Find quality women and call it a day. No need for the name calling back and forth. It becomes so disheartening to see how much we hate each other and how we display this hate.

I really had to think about what could possibly be the reasoning behind such hate. I came up with one word: INSECURITY.

Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue… and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness.
Naomi Campbell

Let’s be clear: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SEX. This may sound like the unChristian-like thing to say but I do not preach abstinence. I encourage SAFETY. A woman who enjoys sex is not a hoe. Sex coupled with true intimacy is a beautiful thing, especially when shared with someone you love. Do women AND men go out on sexacapes and act careless? Yes. But enjoying sex and loving your sexuality should not label you a whore.

Now back to these insecure men…excuse me…boys.

I’ve met a lot of dudes in my life and I’ve noticed that when they are uncomfortable, unsure and insecure about something, they lie, cheat, laugh, or boost their own egos. Anything to make them feel better. It’s such a sad trait that I sincerely hope goes away with age and a good dose of humility.

What purpose does it serve for you to bash a woman because she loves sex just as much as you? Tell the whole story. Something went wrong. Why else would you be calling her names? If it was all good, you’d still be with her having a good time.

To the good men out there who unfortunately got burned by an equally insecure woman who chose to use her sex as an escape from reality, I’m sorry. But that does not give you the right to be hypocritical about what you’re both choosing to do. NEITHER PARTIES.

One of my goals in life is to be able to change how young girls view themselves so that they will not have to be the victim of some mans vulgar depiction of women. I want young girls to understand who they are so that they won’t have to fall for anyone who doesn’t give a damn about them or their worth. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to yearn for love in wrong peole and I DO NOT want another young girl to grow up looking in the wrong direction.

You are beautiful. You are strong. You are not what they say you are. Clearly, they’re the ones talking about it. Don’t sweat it.

;)

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