Queen Size: A Love Poem

two nude black women embracing.

Let me roll over into your warmth. Photo courtesy of Mike Mogul.

 

Written by Tresaun Lee for her wife, Maia

 

I shove my backside against the perfectly assorted seam.

Rubbing the 300 count about

my thighs –in silent hopes to feel

an arm

wrap around my waist.

Never begging to wash sheets.

Praying the scent of you escapes my

feather down &

sinking deeper into an oversized dray;

awaiting to be weighed down to

the box spring.

The gentle thrusts of slow spooning singing out.

When will you return here and make this castle

feel less big?

Like the nape of your neck –smaller in fact.

Consume the “other” side.

Let me roll over into your warmth

rather than the chill of that empty sort.

Have me wake in dire nights to a steady

breath on my cheek and eyelashes

batting open to dawn.

Seeing your

tangled tresses interlock on my tips –even

in the dead of night.  No black room can darken

you out.

Every sleep alone does fill this dread.

Yet and always I find it too much of a

pillage to assort these pillows

to stack them so –to remake

your inanimate body feel like it’s here.

Just come home to this scene.

For even a King feels small

in a chariot beset for a Queen.

11 Reasons Black Lesbians Can’t Find a Good Woman

Written by Zamara Perri

Your actions are most likely telling women to stay away.

Your actions are most likely telling women to stay away. Photo by Monica Moraru

  1. You don’t take care of yourself. The way you present yourself to the world is important. You often won’t have a second chance to make a first impression. You may think of it as being superficial, but it’s truly not. It’s a signal of how much you value yourself. If you take care of yourself emotionally, physically and mentally it often shows on the outside.
  2. You have an attitude. No matter how cute you are or how much professional success you have, nobody wants to put up with a woman who has a nasty attitude. Swag is cute and all, but if you don’t treat women with RESPECT, then don’t be surprised that you’re alone.
  3. You don’t see her because she doesn’t look how you want her to. Attraction is definitely important in romantic relationships, but sometimes you automatically dismiss potential mates without even realizing it. You’re busy judging her because she has a kid, dated men in the past or is doing a job that doesn’t make enough money for you. Or maybe she’s older or looks like a stud and you’re only interested in femmes.
  4. You’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re in a small town, your soul mate is most likely not next door. So open your mind to traveling for love. Try online dating and be open to a long distance relationship.
  5. You’re not looking at all. You expect her to magically show up on your doorstep without doing any work. And I’m talking to you femmes who are always waiting for a stud to approach you. Smile, flirt or buy her a drink.
  6. You complain about being single too much. Our thoughts create our reality. Once you say you can’t find a good woman, you’re letting the universe know that you don’t want a good woman. Talk about what you want, not what you don’t have.
  7. You’re not ready for true commitment. You’re petty af, not ready to compromise and have a rigid views of relationships and gender roles.
  8. You’ve got baggage and you think someone else will distract you from solving your own issues or will magically fix all your problems. A grown woman doesn’t find that cute in the least.
  9. You’re not done learning how to be in relationship or be alone. I never think of any relationship as a waste but as a lesson. I learned important lessons in bad relationships and while single so I could be my best self in my best relationship. Relationships mirror of what is happening inside you. They aren’t about the other person they are about you.
  10. You have no life and interests of your own. People find passion and goals attractive. Women who have nothing that excites them are boring.
  11. You don’t know what you truly want. You say you want a committed relationship but keep entertaining women who don’t want the same thing. When your words, body and spirit are aligned, you’ll accept no less than what you deserve. And a real woman who is on your level will find you irresistible.

I Finally Came out at Work

Written by Zamara Perri

Black feminine women are often assumed to be straight and that can make coming out at work especially difficult. Photo via Madame Noire

Black feminine women are often assumed to be straight and that can make coming out at work especially difficult. Photo via Madame Noire

I started a new job last week and for the first time in my working life I did something I never did before. I came out. It turned out not to be a big deal.

 

For the first time ever, I didn’t feel the need to: pretend I’m single, convert pronouns from “she” to “he” to “they” or pretend that I have absolutely no social life outside the office. For the first time ever, I felt comfortable just slipping my real personal life into regular conversations. After 15 years as a black queer working professional, I felt absolutely comfortable just being myself.

 

How did I get here? From as far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed kissing girls. I remember playing house with other little girls. I remember having crushes throughout high school. I even remember having opportunities to be with women in college, but I was too scared to act. And besides, my best friend at the time made fun of a girl who liked me. I was too scared to admit that I liked her back.

 

I remember my first real job in a newsroom and how the women talked openly about their husbands and children. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. And at that point I was still dating men. I remember dating this one particular boy and how much pressure I felt from the church, my family and friends to just settle down and marry him. I’m so glad that even though I didn’t have the courage to come out then, that I had the courage to leave him behind.

 

I then took a step that pushed me even deeper into the closet. I started working for a conservative religious organization, which was legally exempt from federal anti-discrimination laws. This meant that if I didn’t follow their strict code of conduct, which included not being gay, I could be fired.

 

As gay marriage was starting to sweep the nation, homosexuality became a more frequent topic of conversation in my office. I had colleagues, friends and family who, thinking that I was straight, openly told me how they really felt about gay people and homosexual relationships because, you know, the Bible said it was a sin.

I felt targeted, judged, harassed and regularly shamed.

I spent 10 years being terrified of losing my very good job, losing my friends and family and losing the professional prestige I had earned from pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

 

I remember buying a home and settling down with the woman I thought was the love of my life. No one at work knew about this important development in my life. I couldn’t bring her to company gatherings. I couldn’t mention some of the challenges we were having. I remember the day we broke up, I called my boss crying and asking her for a day off. My boss fancied herself my friend so of course she wanted to know why I was so heartbroken, but she had already made it clear how she felt about homosexual relationships. Even though her views on gay marriage were evolving, I knew I could never tell her why I was in such pain.

Last year in 2014, I was being groomed to take on a more senior leadership role in the organization. I couldn’t take it anymore. I gave my boss one month’s notice and quit. As someone who grew up in poverty and really had no one else to lean on, this was a terrifying move. I rented out my condo. Moved into a cheap, crappy apartment, started freelancing, applied for other jobs and used the library’s WiFi.

Nine months later, I got an offer to work at an HBCU. Although it was a state university, which means they could not legally discriminate against me based on my sexual orientation, I still did not feel comfortable coming out there. There was prayer and other religious mentions during large gatherings. I felt like I hadn’t gotten far enough away from the conservative religious workplace I left behind. I did come out to one co-worker, but that was only after we spent months getting to know each other and going to the gym together.

My new, corporate gig has explicit, written protections against discriminating against someone due to their sexual orientation. When I started work at this place, I made up my mind that I would no longer hide who I am.

I’m a big believer in keeping my personal life separate from the professional. However, pretty much everyone on my team is married or engaged so when they mentioned their families, I felt no qualms mentioning my partner. And in response, my colleagues showed interest in me as a whole person. No one seemed surprised or acted strange when I mentioned my partner. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. I felt like a whole human and like I can now relax and focus on doing what I was hired to do.

I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have these protections. Even though gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, there are literally 28 states where gay people can lose their jobs because of who they love. And that is not okay.

There are also hundreds of thousands of organizations that are losing the benefit of having a brilliant, vibrant, diverse, happy, engaged work force because of bigoted and short-sighted leaders who have not made it clear that discrimination of any kind is never okay. That’s too damn bad because no one should have to choose between taking care of their families and living a lie.

 

Read more about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act here.

11 Toxic Communication Habits That Black Lesbians Should Dump Now

Written by Zamara Perri

Communication can break or make a relationship. This is the second in a series of articles sharing how we can improve the way we communicate with the women we love.

Toxic communication habits can put your relationship in danger. Photo courtesy of MadameNoire

Toxic communication habits can put your relationship in danger. Photo courtesy of MadameNoire

I once broke up with a woman who was smart, attractive, hardworking and a homeowner. Why? She told me my reason for doing something was “stupid.” It may sound drastic, but I recommend that you break up with anyone who talks to you in a demeaning way, because it’s only going to get worse.

With this particular ex, this wasn’t the first time that she spoke to me this way. She had plenty of practice because I let her and because I didn’t know any better. I say I didn’t know any better because whenever she said something nasty, I fired right back with my own nasty comments. One day I just got real tired of feeling shitty about our relationship and I was done.

Looking back, I realize that people do what they know and say what they know. And if you never call them out on their bad behavior, how can you expect them to change? Good and bad habits are learned. That also means they can be unlearned.

If you think that the way you talk to your sweetheart needs some work, then you may be right. Pay attention to the things that you think may not be a big deal because every word has consequences. You don’t have to be angry and shouting at each other for you to have an obvious communication problem. All it takes is honest self-evaluation and conversation.

If you want to make your relationship stronger, keep an eye out for the following toxic conversation habits and get rid of them, pronto:

 

  1. Not apologizing. It can be really hard to admit that you’re wrong, but do it anyway. Practice doing it and you’ll get better at it. When you apologize, you are acknowledging your role in whatever breakdown you both had. It means that you are listening to her and want to improve your relationship. When you don’t apologize, you are telling her that you don’t care that your words or actions caused her harm.
  1. Criticism. How often do you tell her that she didn’t do a good job cooking a meal or dressing to your specifications? Sometimes we don’t even realize the things that you think of as helpful are actually hurtful. It’s not that you can’t give her suggestions for improvement, but think twice about the message that you’re sending. When you criticize her, you’re telling her that she’s not good enough.

If she asks for your opinion on something that’s one thing, but volunteering information that is hurtful, not helpful is another. Instead of criticizing her, think of all the things you sincerely love and appreciate about her and share one of those thoughts. Also, if you consistently practice speaking to her with kindness, it won’t hurt so much when you have something less than pleasant to share with her.