All Alone in A Crowded Dorm: The Lamenting of a Non-Traditional Mid-20s Undergrad Student Living on Campus

     It’s 12:29 am, inside of my dormitory on the campus of Winston-Salem State University where I attend school as well occupy the position of a Resident Adviser. Lights all around me are on, the security guard sits at the front desk talking with a female student who is up late studying for an exam (this is during the Summer Sessions). On my side of the building where the males stay there is a student up late watching ESPN, while all the Nursing students sans 1 guy who isn’t turn up in one room since they all passed an exam they have today. Where am I?


     Sitting inside the Classroom kitchen eating Tilapia I just made at an hour where most human beings wouldn’t be up let alone cooking.


     What’s more is this feeling overcoming me that I’ve had quite often since moving back to Winston-Salem, NC after 6 years to complete my Bachelor’s Degree. The Feeling of Loneliness.

     Maybe I’m entirely to well aware of who I am, what I am surrounded by those who are still operating under their first chance in life to achieve a degree and their dreams while I’m currently on who knows what chance the Higher Power has given me. Sure, I’m young (relatively speaking) but it’s not the feeling of wanting to be that age again that’s making me lonely. I’m even a part of an organization that is just for people over the age of 25 whom are undergrad students. I’m even lonely surrounded with those people because I’m the youngest person in that organization…

by 7 years.

     Being in undergrad at the age of 26 feels like a bizarre version of Malcolm in the middle. I’m old enough to not have anything in common with the traditional aged college students, yet I’m too young to have anything in common with the majority of non-traditional college aged students, outside of attending classes. My choice of conversations, social outings and gatherings, mindset, and life plans doesn’t really match anyone around me, and it feeds upon my secondary temperament of melancholy where I seep into a small hole and don’t talk to anyone around me, moving around as if I’m not noticed… mostly because I am unnoticed unless someone needs something out of me.

     Living on campus makes things even harder because the majority of people here at night are traditional aged, and I am not tied down with the responsibilities of many outside bills or people whom I am accountable for. During those times where often you want to just relax and do things with people, you find it difficult. The issues ad problems of someone whom is 18-22 come across as quite trivial when you hit 26. And that moment where you’re sitting around and listening to people discuss going out to a party, only to remember that you’re too old for that scene and miss being in a place like DC where I could easily find people who were in my age group to have fun and interact with void of an awkward pretense or the feeling of not belonging. It would be nice, just once, to hold a conversation with someone who actually knows what I’m going through; who actually got tired of the typical turn-up and finds the enjoyment of being social at a local bar and meeting and conversing with new people. It may seem so small, until its something you don’t have the option to do.

     I guess the bright side is I’m graduating in May so I won’t deal with this much longer. But even now as I look towards the future, planning on grad school, life decisions, and most importantly where will I be living this time next year, I find myself in this funk, again. I miss being around my friends. I miss living a lifestyle where I’m comfortable. I miss feeling like I’m somewhere I belong. Sure, I know that I’m here due to my own faults and choices, I accept my responsibility in subjecting myself to this lifestyle, but that doesn’t make things any easier. Some days it hits me hard (like right now) and other days it doesn’t. I just gotta keep pushing.

(Pause in time because I’m always working even when I’m not working)

     So as I sit in this dorm, after completing room checks, answering questions of residents, shooing them away for wanting some of the food I just prepared, constantly engaging different people every five minutes who want to talk to me even with everything else simultaneously going on, I’m by myself and its trying and its sucks,

Because nothing sucks more than feeling all alone… no matter how many people are around.

(2:38 am; 7/22/2015)

Mother Fuckas Never Loved Us: How Black Girls Have Never Mattered in the Fight For Black Liberation

I have thoughts on the subject, but they say it a lot better than I could. Great read.

#STAYwoke

lafdjdlkj“I will not participate in the public bandwagon bashing Bill Cosby. Rape is rape and it is never justifiable, but rape is largely only punished in this country when the victims are white women, and the perp is a Black male….

Where was this outrage when Josh Duggar molested his sisters? There was no outrage instead excuses were made in his defense. While TLC continues to promote 19 Kids and Counting, I’ll continue to remember the images of Black culture that Bill Cosby was responsible for producing. The image of what Cliff Huxtable represented. This was not about any sexual relations Bill Cosby had, but more about tarnishing the legacy of yet another successful and prominent Black figure….

9 Black people were murdered by a confederate flag waving white supremacist, because apparently “you’re raping our women. Yet there’s still discussions about weather that flag should still be allowed, not even…

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Can I vent for a short bit? The World is just killing me right now.

I really am just through with this world we live in. Not just the country, literally the world. In addition to everything serving as the fuel for the #BlackLivesMatter Movement (Fuck the #AllLivesMatter covert racist bullshit, miss me) this week in the Americas:

You have a woman who is making a mockery of the experience of Blackness, both good and bad taking up news headlines; you have a country literally kicking out their native citizens for nothing more than having darker skin and “Haitian facial features”; and a member of my BMC/ WSSU Ram family mourning the assassination of his cousin in South Carolina tonight. They say don’t be radical. They say not to react. They say don’t make things racial. If you don’t fully understand this burden of what it means to be black (and that’s to y’all lack of awareness of self black folks too) refrain from telling me how to feel. I’m angry, I’m over it, and I seriously seeking answers and real change. This system isn’t working for me, and I refuse to remain a cog.

Two Faced: The Curious Case (& my ironic vantage point) of Rachel Dolezal

Oh how funny this fickle thing of Race is and can be.

          The news coming to light about Rachel Dolezal, President of the Spokane, WA Chapter of the NAACP who was recently outed (by her parents of all people) that she is indeed not a Black woman that she’s been trying to identify herself, has brought about a great amount of varying opinions of people. Some of them smart, many of them…”not so smart.” So I’m somewhat compelled due to speak on this.

Much like Rachel Dolezal, my viewpoint is two faced. So bear with me, read first before jumping down my throat.

First, I see this situation from that of a Sociologist by trade. I can’t help it, its literally what I do on a daily basis and working towards a degree in. Because of that, my viewpoint and understanding of race is different than that of most people, because I understand that it both doesn’t exist, and yet also does simultaneously. Race is a self-identifying social construct. Someone’s race isn’t based upon any genetic factors (like ethnicity) and is based upon solely on someone’s skin color and the color of their hair. If you’re looking at the picture above and saying “Okay, and?” you have a great point, but there comes the other side of why Race really doesn’t exist. People can literally say they are whatever race they choose. Its not a comfortable thing for most to hear that, but we live in a country that literally ask you on the Census, every job application, surveys, etc. “What Racial group mostly identifies you?”

Think about how many people in this country quite possibly have been identifying themselves as something they aren’t, just because that’s what they feel. Hell, If I knew marking white on a job application would mean I had a higher likelihood of getting a job (and I had lighter skin and could pass –  more on this later) I might say I’m white too. So, to this degree, from the logical, sociological, ignore anything about cultural context at the moment perspective, yeah, Rachel Dolezal could very well identify as a “Black Woman.”

Now, Let’s bring in some context. Because honestly, this lady really has irked my nerves for a plethora of reasons, and I’ll preface looking at this situation with this question:

“What does it take for someone to be considered ‘my nigga’?”

Seems like a weird question in light of this conversation, but understand where I’m coming from. It’s easy claim to be of a particular race. Like I said before, people can claim to be whatever they want. They have the right, cause ‘Merica. It’s another thing to truly identify with the plight of that in which you are claiming. The good AND the bad that makes someone apart of a particular demographic are equally as important when considering what it means “to belong.” Consider this scenario: Why do members of Fraternities and Sororities become highly offended when those who did not go through the same process as themselves claim to be a member of the same organization? The answer is you have to go through some things before you deserve the right. This is where the fraudulent behavior of Ms. Dolezal is the most offensive.

We can speak all we want to how she’s been claiming to be Black as an adult, let’s put things in perspective of how she grew up white, and what she can’t identify with. Rachel Dolezal grew up as a white girl in America. Blonde straight hair. Light Eyes. She never had to deal with knowing the country she was born into devalued her beauty, she WAS the ideal of beauty in America. She grew up with Barbie that looked like her. She never had to deal with someone asking questions about her hair texture, running fingers through it as if she was a pet, treating her as less than human. She probably never had to deal with pain of being burned by a hot comb that was sitting on the stove as her mother prepared to flat iron her hair, and most likely didn’t learn about this until she immersed herself in Black culture at Howard. There were women who looked like her in successful positions all over the country, on TV, in her neighborhoods, in her classrooms, etc. She never had to deal with the plight of people of people of color, and more specifically women of color dealt with everyday from the point of birth all the way up into adulthood. She never had a black father and had to wonder if seeing images of black men being killed for nothing more than being black and considered dangerous meant he wasn’t going to come home at night. She’s never had to deal with the sting of growing up and hearing someone say “You’re cute for a black/dark skin girl.” Never had to look thorough a history book and realize that she would only hear about her “race” during the month of February and consumed with nothing more than Slavery, MLK, Harriet Tubman and such. These are the things that, while we don’t necessarily think of them, contribute to what it is to be black. Rachel baby, you haven’t lived through these things.

On the opposite spectrum, receiving a full ride to a university under the pretense that you are a black woman, in a country where affirmative action serves to give people of color opportunities that were denied through 400 years of systematic and institution racism and slavery when you’re a white woman? Being able to call on your “blackness” without any actual connection to the plight of black people in getting yourself in positions as an educated black woman? The ability to speak on behalf of those who, while I’m sure appreciate the gesture, you do not know the first hand experiences of? All of these things speak to white privilege. The privilege to be in the world of the majority, yet identify with that of the minority, something that those of color could only dream of doing.

For those reasons, I refuse to recognize her black face routine as being anymore than her playing Halloween 365. I can’t help but question her being the victim of a hate crime, nor overlook her treatment of black women who were her students in her class rooms at Eastern Washington (jealous they were born what she wants to be no doubt).

Let me just put it this simply:

Can Rachel Dolezal say nigga? I’m gonna let you finish, but…

Ms. Dolezal,

Just speaking on behalf of myself (and maybe many friends of mine): You don’t share the collective condition with me known as “nigga/negus” and you don’t share the collective condition of being a black woman in America like my little sister, my mother, my grandmother, so forth and so on. Please, continue to do your work with the NAACP, it wasn’t only founded by black people, nor is striving for equality the responsibility of just people of color. Nor is teaching and understanding Africana studies. But do so not based upon what you are CHOOSING to identify as, but based upon your upbringing, and with the knowledge of how your white privilege allows you the option to choose to identify as Black in a world you could just as easily be what you are: A White woman born to white parents in Montana. You weren’t born in the #WrongSkin, you aren’t #TransRacial, and you’re too intelligent to actually think either one of those is a “thing” or valid. So just stop the false flagging. Be you.

On the topic of Janay & Ray Rice… And those speaking negativity over their Union.

No one is sure what their relationship is like, based upon one egregious and horrible act. No knowledge of how long they’ve been dating, their issues behind doors, etc… What we do know is he committed a completely wrong act, regardless of what the situation was or wasn’t, that he seeked help, she stood by him and forgave him, and they are willing to admit their faults and put in the work for a successful marriage. If you can’t respect that, your perspective is wack.

I’m not negating what he did, but if she forgave him and he reached out for professional help, who are any of us outside of their relationship to say anything about their marriage? Relationships aren’t pretty. Both parties have the ability to do some horrible things to each other, physically, mentally and emotionally in the entire process. I will say that while I have concern to a slight degree about the safety of Janay Rice following Ray becoming an unemployed man following the released video, I applaud her for her willingness to forgive someone who did her completely wrong. It may be a parting foul for most, and that view point is justified. But we can all learn from her ability to forgive.

– Style Barker

Who Are We REALLY? An opinion on Inhibitions.

“And they say that money change you, but money don’t change you
It just make you more of what you already are” – Phonte – The Good Fight

 

 

One of my favorite bars from one of my favorite rappers from one of my favorite groups popped into my mind tonight during a twitter discussion. The topic followed my commenting on a young lady that posted a nude photo of “herself” (she later said it was a google nude she tweeted for followers. The things we do to be twitter popular, smh) with the caption “Drunk”

I wasn’t buying it.

Pretty much, being drunk isn’t an excuse for any of our actions, if anything it just removes the muzzle over our “moral compass” imparted on us from the world. Just a opinion of mine. But this got me to thinking:

 

Who Are We… Really?

 

Anyone other than me wonder about what life would be like free of morals, a care, or debt? Is that not what money, drugs, and alcohol actually allow people to do. It’s one of the reasons I don’t put anything past anyone: positive or negative good or bad. If anything, those things that hinder/affect our life and our decisions (morals, cares, debt) limit our spectrum of what is possible and what is within the realm of our abilities. The best music of the last 60 years was made by a bunch of men high out of their mind on Heroine. It’s not that they couldn’t make that music sober, but without that inhibition, what was there to stop them from doing some classic shit that’s never been done before? It’s the reason we who are common can’t fathom even the most basic of situations outside of being under the influence.

In a moment of self-reflection, I look at myself, and the things that have come so easy while drinking that I was in my own way of doing while sober.

While drunk, high, or in moments where money wasn’t an issue I’ve:

  1. Devoured an entire Extra Large Pizza, and proceeded to beat box for 15 minutes straight.
  2. Made out with a young woman I was attracted to the night that I met her, while still in a relationship.
  3. Spent $1600 in literally 48 hours between a train ticket to NYC, A Hotel room in Manhattan at $300 a night, Food, transportation while there, and back home, and a pair of shoes for my gf at the time on a whim.
  4. Cursed my pops out and told him I was sick of his shit cause he called me Trifling.
  5. Sent nudes to women. On a whim. Because Why not?
  6. Had sex with a co-worker inside the restaurant I was working at… while I was still working my shift.
  7. Drove my friends car across a college town in NC, without a license while drunk and sipping a cup of drank while at midnight, speeding the whole way.
  8. Maintained dates/relationships with 6 different women at the same time, and spread attention equally among all of them, taking them out on dates, buying them gifts, traveling to see them, and footing the bill each time.
  9. Ate a woman out the day I met her, just because of how she ran her hands on my head. And smacked her with my dick without knowing what her name was.

All these things are true, and took place in the last 6 years. And what’s more, I can’t say that money, drugs or alcohol caused me to do any of them. They didn’t change me, they unblocked myself from all things that I had and still have the ability to do; including things my sober self said I never would do.

And it scares me. But you gotta keep living. S/O to my vices.

~ Style Barker

“Fuck You, Aubrey Graham”

To Mr. Do Right And Kill Everything,

 I’ve listened to your music from Take Care and Thank You Later, I’ve come to one realization in reply to those two Imperatives, and the appropriate, timely response comes through in the form of a declarative.

 

Fuck You. Yes You, Aubrey Graham.

 

And this isn’t about you giving light skin brothers the most hope since Al B Sure or unrealistic attempts to show us you really didn’t grow up acting as Wheel Chair Jimmy. No, this is about your music and the feelings it stirs up within me.

 

I can’t stand you, because I remember being you… and what being vulnerable with my emotions would put me through. And how once upon a time I said the same shit you say in Marvin’s Room, but I meant it and it was my heart and not alcohol I was speaking through.

 

For reminding me off all the Unforgettable ones that would Make Me Proud to simp and do everything for, only to remember how I was doing it wrong. For every girl I swore was Fancy and could be the Best I Ever Had, but had plenty of Practice before they ever met me. Fuck You Aubrey.

 

You are the constant reminder of the person I used to be. Someone free to open up freely about my feelings and poor them out endlessly to whomever I hoped was my future woman to be. A Reminder that it never quite worked out trying to get to know The Real Her, because no one wanted the simp, punk ass version of me. And you know what else that describes?

 

YOU, musically.

It’s as if you watched my past life and through your music live vicariously. As if your constant Drake hands strum the pain of my past, killing me softly similar to the man L Boogie spoke of when she sang with the Fugees.

 

Stop reminding me of the man I used to be, I worked hard to hide that compassionate, caring, sacrificing, daring and romantic person inside of me.

 

The pain of the past returning is too much to bear so I’ll try to turn off the radio, delete your albums, ignore your features, and hate anything I see reading “YMCMB”.

 

Because it’s not so much me hating you…

It’s that you remind me of Too Much who I am now… And The Ride I took to get here from who I used to be.

2:26 AM In Washington D.C. – Fighting For Serenity

It’s 2:26 AM on an Early Thursday morning of my bedroom in Washington DC. Never more than this moment have I wanted to miss home rather than be home. I shouldn’t be this awake at this hour, and honestly, I’m not that awake to be honest, but sleeping isn’t a better alternative, what better time to reintroduce myself to this passion for writing that I had, but lost once upon a time.

I learned the Serenity Prayer at the early age of 3. At least I believe it was 3, it may have be ingrained into me from my father repeating the words every Friday night since the year I was born, so it seems that while I don’t know my first words, that Serenity Prayer may have been the first thing I memorized. I say that to say how ironic it is how even though I know the following words, how hard I find it to find myself in a Serene state of mind:

God Grant Me the Serenity,

To accept the things I can not change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

& the Wisdom to Know the Difference.

Amen.

I’ve made mistake in my short 25 years on this Earth, and yet I find myself in this humbling state of not being able to accept the things that I can not change – those things in my past. Living with no regrets to me doesn’t make any sense. Maybe it is because I regret some things, and can admit to doing so, however it’s just difficult to let go. I would be lying if I told you I don’t look back at moments on my life and think about what I would do differently.

Is there a fine line between Courage and Desperation? Is it really courage to change the things we can, if changing those things is essential to getting from a state of living menial to inching towards serenity? I surely don’t feel courageous, and I’m not ashamed to say I have a sense of desperation. I’m desperate to leave this whole I’ve been digging over the past handful of years to where I want to be… or should I say, where I should be… or should I say, dare I say, to get to a place where I feel like I can look my my peers in the face behind the facades of smile and laughter I often put on. Because while I can hold a conversation with anyone, about anything, and feel as though I’m respected, the fact of the matter is that doesn’t pay bills, that doesn’t open doors, and whether I like it or not degrees are the measuring stick by whether people give a damn about your opinion. So again I ask, is there a fine line between Courage and Desperation? Because I’m not scared to get out of my current situation… I’m fearful of what my life would be like if I don’t. 

It’s now 2:51 in the morning, An UnGodly Hour to be up Fighting for Serenity. A bit of sweet irony in that “Fighting For Serenity”, An act of calamity in search of calmness. I guess that’s why that prayer includes praying for the Wisdom to know the difference between what you can change, and what you can’t. I guess until next time, I’ll just remain… in search.

~ Style Barker