Getting Naked

I’ve always considered myself to be free in my thinking, relationships and choices. But, when it came to freeing my nipples in my birthday shoot, all I could do is load my mind with hundreds of thoughts that weren’t even mine.

What will people think? What will my mother think? Am I disrespecting my son by posting “revealing” pictures as his mother? Will Tae be comfortable with this?

When Jalessa sent me the first proof from the photoshoot less than a week later, I immediately began crying laughing at the silly things that had gone through my head the past few days. I was in love with the way she captured my vision. I was reminded that my body was not something I should ever be afraid of or ashamed of.

So here’s the thing: from the moment we become aware of our bodies, most women are taught fear instead of love.

Cover it up.

It’s not a vagina, it’s a “coochie”.

If you dress like this, boys will think that.

Work out.

Tuck it in. Suck it in. Pull it up. Pull it down.

Did you bring something to wear over that?

We are hardly ever complimented on our bodies outside of sexuality. Instead of words like “beautiful” or “wonderful,” we are bombarded with words like “sexy” and “scrumptious.” It is no wonder that by the time we begin to get naked around other people, we immediately begin to think about sex and attraction playing a role. We are taught that nudity is not normal.

When actually, nudity is very normal.

Normal does not mean let’s get naked in front of everyone. Normal means that everyone has to experience it at least once in their lives. It is not something we should be ashamed of. We should explore our bodies and take care of them. We should love our bodies and do with them what is right for us and not for anyone else.

As I clicked the post button on my Instagram, I felt a weight release from my mind. My journey had opened up and I had no reason to be worried or afraid. This body had expanded, tightened, grown and transformed in my 24 years of life. It had been grabbed, tattooed, loved, hated, kissed and scarred. So what would be a better ode to this beautiful, resilient piece of me than to show it off covered in flowers and drenched in sweet water?

Here’s to every woman who ever covered up a little more to aid a man’s self control.

-Love on that body, sis.

#SimmaSays Get Naked

Food Tour Quickie

It started with a cinnamon bun and cheap candles. Only three candles had been lit and already my entire cake was almost flooded with wax. I refused to give up even as my fingers burned and candles outed. But after the 13th candle, I figured you guys would get the point.

Villa Italia is a pastry shop in Schenectady, NY that specializes in a wide range of confections such as Italian rum cakes, raspberry cream cakes and caramel frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut carvings.

The staff is friendly, the vibe is chill and they even have a delicious variety of gelato if you’re in the mood to melt into a cup of paradise!

Lucky for me, the wax on my cinnamon bun hardened and was super easy to peel off without destroying my desert. When I got to the warm, gooey center I was pretty much ready to snuggle up and fall asleep right on my chair.

Next was this. Looks delicious, right?

Girl.

Everything about this sandwich was perfect except my request for a bean burger. At first I figured I probably shouldn’t order vegan options in a non-vegan restaurant. Then, I realized I probably need to actually read the descriptions of my orders.

The Ruck is a late night sports bar in Troy, NY with amazing vibes and awesome service. The menu options are on point and the sweet potato waffle fries are literally worth jail time.

Going through the menu and seeing titles like “Millennials Can’t Buy Houses,” confirmed that this was the place for me.

Unfortunately, my bean burger tasted more like a beet burger and I couldn’t figure out why there were red splotches in my pattie until I took another look at the menu and read: “Bean AND BEET burger.”

For me, it’s not so much that the beets were bad. But, have you ever had a glass of water while thinking about and expecting juice?–Traumatizing.

That being said, I’ll definitely be returning, except this time I’ll try the “Sausage Party.” It feels like the right thing to do.

When we finally hit the road, our next stop was an Orchard in Ghent, NY that was known for selling fresh Mexican food daily.

It’s too bad that it was too early for such heavy food when we arrived, but that didn’t stop us from stockpiling on sweets!

Espresso-salted brownies, sugared apple cider donuts and molasses cookies— it was a sugary mess, but each bite was warm and perfect.

I highly recommend heading out to your nearest orchard or farm if you have any weekend free time. The fruits are usually cheaper, but fresher and it’s a great place to clear your mind and breathe some clean air.

Who says you can’t take kids out to eat?

I was surprised at the blast I had eating out with my big guy and little guy. This spot was called BC Kitchen and is smack center of a college town in Poughkeepsie, NY. The menu was cozy, but simple and the venue was small and intimate.

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I didn’t learn from my earlier mistake and ended up ordering a portobello mushroom wrap with goat cheese. I ordered a side of honey mustard instead of the balsamic vinaigrette that the wrap came with and was convinced that this was it!

This was not it. I spent the date sneaking bites of Tae’s delicious chipotle chicken sandwich with melted cheddar and the right amount of chipotle mayo.

Finally, my last stop was NYC.  No matter how far I go, NYC is always my home and safe space. So, it only made sense that I spent the night wining and dining with my three favorite girls!

We had originally planned to head to Bahama Breeze in NJ, but when that rain hit, we took a calm seat over at The Ainsworth near 34th st.

Decor was nice.

Music was nice.

Chicken— undercooked, underseasoned, overrated.

The host and manager were very graceful about comping the order, but I was a little let down that I didn’t have ANY meal in my entire trip that really blew my mind.

But, the night didn’t end there.

The thing about food is, it’s better with people you can enjoy it with. I had so much fun with all of the people who I ate with, that I didn’t even mind that a lot of the food I tried wasn’t all of that.

My friends and I roamed the streets of Manhattan in heels feeling like Sex in the City: Brown Sugar Edition. We talked, laughed and even danced.

For the next two days, I had a wine picnic with my love and a seafood dinner with my family. Tae and I made tempeh and avocado sandwiches and enjoyed them with fruit, cookies and sweet plantains. My mother, my grandfather and myself had a fancy evening filled with crab stuffed shrimp and amaretto piña colada’s. I decided to leave the camera at home to make the most out of these moments. It worked.

I learned a lot about myself on this little trip:

1. My food standards are higher than I thought.

2. I love taking my little guy out to eat.

3. It’s important to read the menu throughly before ordering.

4. Food should always be an experience.


That said, would I do it again? Absolutely.

#SimmaSays Eat.

Thirty is the new Twenty

Most of us live our lives around the number 30. I remember being in high school and expecting to graduate college by 22, get married by 23 and have kids by 25 with a solid career by 27. Instead I got pregnant at 21, I have never used the word solid and career in a sentence to describe an actual circumstance in my own life, and as far as the ring status: me and Melo are not giving up just yet. Just wait on it.

Continue reading “Thirty is the new Twenty”

Sex Signs: Entitlement Does Not Belong In The Bedroom

Pussy does not have an open door policy. Contrary to what many guys seem to think, sleeping with a woman once does not give you an all access pass into her bed for the rest of both of your lives. I’m starting to realize that not only are a lot of men these days very abrasive about their sexual desires with women, they’re also very forward about their entitlement to having those sexual desires fulfilled.

First things first: Consent is based on mutuality. It is not an unspoken and automatic yes between married or committed couples.

Husbands, your wife is allowed to tell you “no.”

Her body does not belong to you once she consents to marrying you. I have spoken with many woman who call sex in their relationships “womanly/wifely duties.”

Please understand, sex is an experience. It is a privelage. It is not a chore or a check on your to do list. Sex should be enjoyable by both parties, and in order for it to be enjoyable for both people it must be consensual.

Second: pressuring, taunting or guilt tripping a woman into sex does not make sex consensual. Having to say things like “But we haven’t had sex all week,” or “If I can’t get it from you, you can’t be mad when I get it from someone else,” are warning signs that you are pushing someone out of their comfort zone.

When a woman wants to have sex with you, you won’t have to do much to know that you have a green light.

If you’re unsure, it’s better to use your words than to assume with action. Saying things like, “Are you okay?” or “Is this okay?” are great ways to make sure you’re both on the same page. If you are uncomfortable speaking to the person you’re having sex with, that’s probably a good sign that this might not be what you want.

Lastly: A woman does not need a reason to not want to have sex with you. The proper response to “No” is “Okay” not “Why not?”

If you are sensing that your partner may not be okay and you find yourself genuinely concerned, give the situation some space and have a conversation about it at a less sexually tense time.

There is no perfect way to read sex signs; there will always be areas of miscommunication, which is perfectly natural. Still, we should at least aim to respect the boundaries of anyone who we’re intimate with.

P.S: I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think we as women have the tendency to also overstep our sexual boundaries?

SimmaSays

When People Give Opinions on When I Should Have Another Kid.

When people give their opinions on when I should have my next child, be it positive or negative, two thoughts always come to mind immediately: the first thought usually includes profanity. The second thought usually includes an overwhelming amount of confusion.

•••

Hats off to all 17 people in the world who ever planned to have a baby and it happened and it was the most perfect thing ever, and then they lived happily ever after. But for the other hundred gazillion of us, it’ll be a good night, an awkward morning and a long nine months.

•••

Most of us don’t get to decide when we will be parents. You can be super careful and get pregnant, and you can try really hard and not get pregnant.

 
When I had Tris, it was the most beautiful day of my life. Then, two hours later I had to pee and I said I’d NEVER HAVE KIDS AGAIN! Then two weeks later I recovered and I knew that every moment of pain was worth it and that I’d love to have more kids some day in the future.
But, the older Tris gets the more I get the questions and the input about “more kids.” I’m not uncomfortable with the idea, I’m just uncomfortable that people other than myself and my partner are even thinking about the idea. I mean, can my son turn one first?

•••

Most thoughts are: “Oh no.” “No way.” “Go back to school first.” “Enjoy your life first.”

 

Bruh.

I will decide when I am ready for Baby number two. Me and my partner will decide when we are ready for Baby number two. And it will most likely be an awkward morning after the universe has already made that decision for us. We will probably be scared out of our minds and at the same time we’ll both hope it’s a girl. I will probably cry and he will mouth the word “Fuck,” ever so softly so that I don’t notice. And I’ll call my mom and she’ll pick up and after hearing me sniffling she’ll say, “You’re pregnant.” And then, we’ll get through it.

Because whether we want to accept it or not, life rarely gives you what you want and it never gives you what you plan for.
So, am I trying to have another child anytime soon? Nope.

But once again, most of the hundred gazillion of us never really are.

Thanks for listening,

Ashura

Hella Doubt.

“Girl, he still hasn’t proposed yet? And, your birthday, valentines day and new years passed since you had the baby? Yeah, unless you want to be a baby mama for life, you need to start putting your foot down.” -says single friend who hasn’t been in a real relationship since high school.

Sis, I get it. When you have a baby before you get married, your relationship becomes the elephant in the room. “When will he pop the question?” “When will you guys make it official?” Most people who ask usually aren’t trying to be rude, they just figure it’s about time. But, your time, his time and their time are usually three different types of time.

You could do everything right, but all of the happy pictures in the world are just not enough to fill the void of questions asking, “Why not tie the knot?”

After a while, you might find yourself wondering… “Maybe it’s dry as hell…Maybe it really smells…Broken p**sy?”

All jokes aside, no matter how much you try to ignore these questions, they start to bring doubt into your relationship. You start to doubt that you are both on the same page. You start to doubt that this is something truly serious. You start to doubt that you’re even ready to get married.

It’s amazing that so many people think marriage is our reward for doing what we should do in a relationship when we love someone.

‘We’ve been together for three years without being unfaithful. Let’s get married!’  or ‘We’ve managed to continue living under the same roof without going to family court after having a child together. Let’s get married!’

I don’t believe marriage is a reward or something that every relationship is entitled to. I believe that marriage is a new challenge to take on for those who are truly prepared. It is vowing to be one in thought and spirit. It is never making your next move without the other person’s feelings in mind. It is having enough love to forgive, to support and to grow with each other and also independently.

I know I’m still selfish. I know sometimes I leave the groceries unpacked at the front door because I know he’ll take care of it. I know sometimes I get Chipotle on my lunch break without getting him a bowl, even though I pass his job on my way there and back, because I don’t feel like spending the extra $7. I still like attention when I go out with my girls. I love being a mom, but I’m not ready to look like one.

On the other hand, I know my man isn’t perfect either. But, I know I have a partner. I know I have a partner who will ask me “Do I need to come down there?” when I have a bad day at work. I know I have a partner who will tell me to work harder when I get my first rejection letter. I know I have a partner that will pick up and leave to the next state if I tell him I’m ready to make my next move.

So, I told him my doubts. The funny thing was, he had hella doubts too. The beautiful thing was, even with all of our doubts, we were both on the same page.

The thing is, we are so trained to believe that love is supposed to go a certain way, we start to doubt our love when it takes on a different direction. So, when a man tells you he isn’t ready right now, you hear him say he isn’t ready. And, when a woman says she needs a little more commitment, you hear another want instead of another opportunity.

If you want to combat doubt, you have to be secure in what you have even when it doesn’t meet everyone else’s expectations. If it’s real, you’ll know. If it’s not, you’ll know too. Either way, don’t let doubt ruin a good thing.

PREGOCATION

Pregnancy is kind of like a fingerprint, no two journeys are exactly alike. One thing that is the same for everyone:

Having a kid is never ever what you expect it to be.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had already booked three vacations for the upcoming summer. I thought about canceling and then decided to make the most of it after finding out I couldn’t get a refund. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated getting some me time before Mommy time until my prince was finally here.

So, for my beautiful Mamas to be, I’ve put together a quick and short list on why you should invest in a Pregocation before the big day arrives:

1. Baby Showers Don’t Always Bring May Flowers
Baby Showers are supposed to be about celebrating the new mom and her beautiful blessing, but a lot of times they end up being about impressing guests and collecting as many gifts as possible for baby before Mama Bear gets to the hospital. Seven times out of ten, these occasions cause way more stress than relaxation.

You need a real day that is all about you. When baby comes, there will be so much time for baby, that sometimes you’ll forget to make time for you. Don’t get scared, it’s all a part of the game! But for now, bask in the sea of selfishness while you can.

2. Sex will never be the same.
Relax! This is not always a bad thing.

Some couples don’t have sex for months after having a baby, other couples get creative. This is all up to you and your partner.

Sex while pregnant is definitely a delicate conversation, but without getting into details, I’m here to tell you IT’S OKAY!

A pregocation can help you to enjoy intimate moments with your significant other that you may have been missing out on throughout your pregnancy journey. Keep in mind, while making love is a big part of intimacy, it is not the only part. Creativity is going to be a big part of keeping a spark present in your relationship. Use this time to come up with ideas 💡

💡 Try an adult board game. If sex is making you uncomfortable right now, you might need something that’ll change your point of view. If this doesn’t bring on the mood, it’ll definitely bring on a few well needed laughs to break some tension.

💡 Are you awkward like me? That’s cool. Maybe itsnay on the sex-ay for now. Another way of getting intimate is taking a walk down memory lane. Write down a list of questions about meeting your partner for the first time. “What was the first thing you thought when you saw me?” “Which part of me do you find most attractive?”

You’ll be cuddled up by question 3 and a half. 💋

3. Issa Celebration 🎉 
According to my 7 years of retail experience and full year of working an office 9-5, most Americans spend 80% of their day working for someone else. (This statistic has been brought to you by Straight Facts LLC.).

Celebrating ourselves is so necessary in a world where we often put our happiness second to success. Get the Mocktails ready and hold it on the sushi! We have a Mama to celebrate!

3. But what if I can’t afford it? 💰 
I get it, $100 in a person’s account who does not have a child is 50 cents in yours. No worries, a pregocation can be a simple weekend getaway at a nearby spa reatreat or a girls weekend at home with phones off and decorations to make the house look like home away from home.

Whatever you decide, make sure you make it about you and about what YOU want to do. Have your best friend or someone close to you do all the heavy lifting, while you do the planning.

It may seem like a squeeze now, but trust me, this trip is totally worth it!

Celebrate your new life. 🤰🏾

Your clock is ticking! Start looking up those tickets and put in for that weekend off! You’ve got a Pregocation to plan ❤️

 

Single Mothers & The Destruction of the Black Community

First of all, what the fuck? Lately, there have been a string of negatively charged posts geared at single mothers, specifically those in the Black Community. The general consensus is that single mothers are raising young men who are neither mentally or llemotionally prepared to handle the responsibilities that come with being a man. This is due to the fact that a woman cannot teach a boy to be a man.

I agree with this statement 100%, but I also believe that not every man can teach a boy to be a man. A coward will teach his son to dream small. He will never be able to see things in his son that he could not see in himself. A boy will teach his son to be the best boy he can be. He has never had to grow up so he only knows the journey of going from a child to a child old enough to buy alcohol, fight in the war and apply for credit. And, a man without ambition will teach his son to “ride along.” He has never truly hustled or took chances based on his gut, but since he’s gotten by on the accomplishments of others, he will teach his son an even worst lesson than the coward: success is not about how hard you work, it’s about who you know.

So, why should women stay with these men who do not value to our lives and can hardly add value to their sons’ lives? Too many of us know that the person you lay down with is hardly ever the same person once you end up having a child with them.


There are a million and one reasons why relationships with children don’t always end up working out. Whatever the reason, it is rarely ever one-sided.

That being said, I know many men who have grown to be solid men in a father’s absence. I know men who have been destroyed by a father’s presence. I also know men whose Dads have changed their lives. I say this to say: You work with what you’ve got. Parents play roles in our lives but they are not our only teachers.

Single motherhood is a battlehood fit for the finest and so is single fatherhood. No one person should be crucified for raising their child to the best of their ability. Parents everywhere, including myself, have things we can work on. Parenting is a constant learning experience. 


This does not mean any parent should be kept out of their child’s life due to the ending of any relationship. This means that parents doing their best with what circumstances they are given are not to be solely blamed for an entire community’s dysfunction. 

We have a lot of work to do, Black People. A huge part of that work is embracing the great parts of our community out loud, fixing the parts of our community that need work within the privacy of our own homes and checking in on ourselves every so often to make sure we’re doing right by our families and our community. 

Being a Perfect Girlfriend For An Average Man

Somewhere in the world there is a woman making excuses for her boyfriend. She does his laundry, puts money in his pocket, makes sure he’s satisfied intimately, cooks for him and tries to make a relationship with his mother who hates her. She is his lover, his nurse, his therapist and his teacher. And last night she asked if they could go out for dinner, but he gave her an excuse. So she’s on the phone with her girlfriend explaining, “It’s not that he’s a bad guy. He always talks about all these cool things we should do, it’s just that–”

Sis.


Why would you invest your life savings into a deal that has predicted zero possibility of profit? Why would you give your everything to someone who has done nothing but simply be a good human being to you? Good guys deserve a chance, they don’t deserve your whole world. It’s not about being a perfect girlfriend, it’s about being you, working on you and loving you; and finding someone who can admire and appreciate that.

First of all, nine times out of ten, your idea of the perfect girlfriend and your boyfriends idea of the perfect girlfriend are two completely different people. Stop chasing an ideal that you’ve pieced together through movies, memes and high school conversations about what a man wants. The more you are yourself, the easier it is to maneuver through your relationship freely. You don’t have to waste time peeling off layers when things go wrong and it’s time to communicate.

I mean, think about it: does your man really know what your idea of the perfect man is?

Because on the real, ten times out of ten, he’s not it. He’s either what you didn’t even know you were looking for, some buster that you settled for (even if you’re not ready to admit it) or someone in between. So why waste your time being his perfect person when he’s not even yours?

Another great thing about being true to yourself in a relationship is that you’re more likely to find the right person for you. A lot of times relationships stop going right towards the middle because people begin to be more comfortable being themselves as time goes on. When this happens, sometimes the other person may not like the person who they start to see.

Being true to you does not mean farting on the first date, it means just saying you don’t know who Steve Kerr is instead of googling it. It means saying you want a relationship instead of pretending you just want to date because you don’t want to scare him away. Because any way you put it, either the real you will come out or you’ll be unhappily trapped in a lie.

 

Traveling With a Baby

The most important thing to accept when traveling with your young one is that babies cry. If they’re flying, their ears may pop and if they’re young, they might be teething. On a long road trip, their diapers could be uncomfy. On a train, they may be afraid of all the new sounds. Whatever the reason, babies will cry. It is how they communicate.

Do not get flustered with yourself or with your partner because you feel embarrassed about your little one causing a riot; those who matter won’t mind and those who mind are assholes. Anyone truly disturbed by a child crying can truly get over themselves and try a private jet next time. They are not your concern, your child is your concern.

However, here are some tips that may lead to less tears and more scream free traveling.

1. Bag laaaady, you WILL miss your flight with a baby and a bunch of bags. Travel light, at least from TSA to baggage claim. Get a backpack and fill it with 5 diapers, a pack of wipes & one change of clothes. Leave room for your other travel knickknacks, but check everything else at the front desk or the gate. Feel free to bring your strollers, most airlines will let you check them in for free by the gate!

**TSA TIP** 

Check your bags for liquids before putting them through the scanner. 8 oz or less. TSA does not care that you need that bottle of water to make a bottle, you can buy it for 25.99 on the other side. They will hold you up searching through your entire bag. #LetItGoSis

2. If you don’t breastfeed or if your child has outgrown the boobie, keep a bottle handy. Nothing calms down a baby like warm liquid. Keep a thermos filled with warm water/milk and purchase travel packets of formula/cereal from your nearest Walmart, Target or Babies R Us. For spill free prep, try Mixie! [ :http://tinyurl.com/yc3xdf3h ] Fed babies are happy babies.

3. Bring a blanket, planes get pretty cool. Chances are if you’re cold, Baby is probably freezing. The more comfortable you make them, the closer they will be to sleep. After all, sleep is the ultimate goal for baby travel success (at least until you get to your destination).

Also, here are some cool travel products you may find awesome:

CleanSmart Pacifier Sanitizer Spray – 8 Ounce: http://tinyurl.com/y9cbg8y6

Munchkin Travel™ Car Baby Bottle Warmer: http://tinyurl.com/lws2qoq

Infantino Breathe Carrier – Grey : http://tinyurl.com/yal7cp7d

VTech Safe&Sound Myla the Monkey Portable Sound Machine Baby Soother: http://tinyurl.com/ydfdqozz

Happy Travels!!