Updated: Mar 26
To Whom It May Concern,
I like Frosted Flakes with raisins in it. Preferably the ones that come in the little red boxes, because I like nostalgia sprinkled on everything. The milk has to be real cold, but I won't drink it when all the flakes are gone. I also like to eat in bed, not cereal, but other things like cookies, tons of ice cream, chips and cake. I pee with the door open in my home. Take the longest showers and baths, hogging the bathroom for over an hour at a time, sometimes more. I like walking through my space almost naked; completely when I'm all alone. Air drying is my favorite pastime. I thoroughly enjoy my bare feet on sand, in the grass or even on very clean cement sidewalks, but mostly in California. I fall asleep during tons of movies and Broadway shows. An event has to really be worth my wile, hosted by the right people, at the right time and in the right borough in order for me to attend. Not for any particular reason, just because I'd rather bring the best of me and if I can't, then I won't do anything at all. I judge almost all of the books that I read by their covers. If it doesn't sell me in the first two minutes, I may never read it in its entirety. My mood used to be mad testy. I was aggravated by so many little things, but over time I realized that all the things really don't matter as much as I once thought they did.
I also think I suck at relationships. I choose selfish men. I haven't quite figured out the balance of loving someone, not being jealous and giving them enough room to live their own lives outside of me. Once we meet, I get this crazy idea in my head that it's all about us and I'm the main event. However, in this life you need a combination of everything, from friends to clothing and a good deal of absence from them all in order to keep a proper flow of infatuation and self worth. Somehow, after all of the incredible sex has been had, the good stories have been told, delicious meals have been shared and outside problems set in...after other people enter from each corner and I have to juggle them with my own life I get tired, draggy and naggy. I used to tell them lies (my lovers that is), mostly when I was ready to leave, but was having an exciting time cheating. That's when shit gets messy and when I get painted a completely different shade of vibrant red than I actually am. That's when they forget why they liked me to begin with. So, I leave to remind them. It must be said that I always try the route of being completely loyal first and for an incredibly long time. However, almost every man I've ever known from my grandfathers on down, have committed adultery many many times over. They've ruined women's lives. Mine. My life. I know, I've lived through it. And since I've had so many boyfriends, friends and husbands step to me blatantly knowing that they had significant love at home, with the full intention of bedding me time and time again and sometimes incest. I don't feel bad saying this. The things that are said in the absence of a wife or a girlfriend is despicable. I've been the absent wife. I've also been the present side piece. How dare you talk to me like that? How dare you even look at me? I refuse to be a part of it anymore, on either side. I'd rather burn the whole damn house down. I've had to do it to my own home for the same reasons and yet, I still love. Before I become a lengthy fool, I'd rather stand alone. How dare you interrupt my fantastic life with foolishness? I have good shit to do. You may not like me afterwards and that's cool. I hope these words keep you away from me forever. The ones who love me will be around, maybe, but in the end I will always have me.
In short, (but this is kinda long) I need the men to stop being what we call Wo'tless (worthless = stink and dutty behavior). Stop creating situations where women have to make good decisions all the damn time. I've been trying to make good decisions since I was a child. I'm 85% no good at it. Making good decisions under fire makes me fumble and do the opposite. I got lost on what business not to talk outside our house and in it when I was a kid. Secrets were safer, but in the end, they cause the most problems. If "the truth comes to light" you look like you don't have respect for yourself. It's stupid and unreal. Especially since I wake up and go to sleep with all the respect in the world.
I remember not wanting to do many things, like laying under a bed with a boy while he laid his (five years my senior) heavy ass on top of me...only to crawl out looking dusty and worried about being seen by the people that I really wanted to like me, like my older sister. Not realizing that the same thing and worse was happening to her, my girl cousins and girls I knew in general. I've been talked into having sex or fooling around too many times before the age of twenty-one. I was abused by a former boss at eighteen...But wait, can it really be called that if I went to his house willingly and liked some parts of it...? Yes, yes it can. He was in his thirties. It was assault. I still feel disgraced. The toughest ones are closest to you though... a husband's hand down your body at a party in plain sight of everyone, but no one notices and so you say nothing. Just keep swallowing more mental straws Jas. He's drunk Jas. He doesn't fully know what he's doing. Then, I have to remember that I remember lots when I'm inebriated. You're comfortable with being the uncomfortable one in situations like these Jas. The unwanted dick pics, this is why I don't like getting them E V E R. The unwarranted slaps on the ass, the "accidental" rub of a breast, because how dare you be wearing shorts in the summertime. The winks behind their women's backs. I'm sick of it. The only thing I ever do is be good at being nervous while smiling, or stare incredulously and whisper a venomous "S T O P". Men usually think this is funny or foreplay. It's horrifying. It's worse when you just go along with it. Right now, (the last time this happened was on March 21st) an older man in my office building occasionally hugs me when he sees me, smells my hair and kisses me on the top of my head in my office building. I've told him that I'm uncomfortable. He recognized it. Made up a fictitious story about me going to his supervisor with a complaint and when I assured him I would never do that, he proceeded to continue with the same behavior. I liked him before he started doing this. I still think he's ok I guess... I just want him to go back to not doing anything physical to me. I'm tiny, cute, kind, talkative and forty-five years old. This shouldn't be happening. There's no protection from this. Either you are too nice, a flirt, a tease or a bitch. Newsflash, there are a million levels in between. I like being sexy and feeling that way too. I love male attention, and I still don't want unwarranted bullshit. Don't fucking touch me unless I tell you I like it. Oh, and men, stop putting your hand on a woman's vagina if you're just flirting. That's some crazy shit. It's happened to me in the past year and I was blown away. It was done by a grown man I've known since I was fifteen! It goes on and on friends and I know it's happened to you or is happening to you... Don't step to me if you have a girlfriend. Don't flirt with me if you have a wife!!!! I literally never manifested this. Also, I'm not cutting my tits and ass off for any of you. I'm not covering it up either. You may see me being ladylike and you may see me being a complete ho. Control yourselves. Also, control yourselves around our girl children. We're now extremely venomous about ours. We went through it so they wouldn't have to.
I read all of this ten times. Five times I was scared and it made no sense. The other five times I felt courageous and it made all the sense in the world. It's quite distorted. Sometimes, I'm even distorted to myself. Sometimes I don't know who I am nor what I'm doing, but it's usually after someone has put me in a precarious or uncomfortable situation. That's when I become slightly unrecognizable to myself.
However, with a little bit of space and time, I grieve things, live carelessly while carefully still being myself. I still do laundry every week, change my linens every two, wash dishes everyday and straighten up my entire space every night. Still save every two weeks, still clean the bathroom on Saturdays, still clean my fridge with every grocery delivery. I sleep with books in my bed, at times they are under the covers with me, falling on the floor throughout the night along with skeins and skeins of yarn and crochet needles. I still make my bed every single morning, cook and bake once a week. I still baby my son and he's no baby. Still kind in the office after twenty years of dedication and the lack there of. I wear lipstick and get dressed up even when I have absolutely nowhere to go. I skip birthday parties and send out cards to the people I hold dear. Sometimes I don't.
If I had to guess, I'd say that people mostly like me because...hmm... probably because I'm kind mostly, with good intentions. I'm welcoming and hospitable to myself and my home, but I shine when I do them for Y O U. One of my favorite artists, (Play Cousin) Erykah Badu sums me up quite perfectly...
"And I'd lie for you
I'd cry for you
Pop for you
Break for you
And hate for you
And I'll hate you too
If you want me to
Ah, ooh ooh
I'd pray for you
Crochet for you
Make it from scratch for you
Leave off the latch for you
Go to the store for you
Do it some more for you
Do what you want me to
Guess I'm a fool for you..."
I'm the delighted sound of the piano keys in between the words and I'm the sadness within the voice all while being the beauty and mystery that comes from the sultry lips and face that sings the song. I'm all of those things and just when you think you love all of those things about me, I do something strange like wear clothing that no one understands and say things that makes most people uncomfortable. That's when I have to conceal tears, fangs and claws due to personal injustice. No one likes that, so I have to try to make myself palatable again; aesthetically pleasing. I'm a 10 minute and 22 second song at the end of one of the greatest albums of all time that blesses those who dares to listen to it...
I was birthed at the end of a reckless and great decade (1978) by two individuals that were young daring and on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum of each other. Real Go-Getters with bad behavior who loved fiercely, but could not stay. They were committed to and separated from each other, because the world is such a beautiful distraction. One cheated and one got cheat on. One is highly educated and the other is highly educated in the streets. Both very attractive; One is wild and free while the other is extremely well constructed...like a tailored suit accompanied by an extravagant blouse and the best shoes. Both know how to dress and can cook their asses off. Both will cut you while smiling. Not with a knife, but with a machete. Both speak with a heavy Antiguan accent, even though one of them washed that right out of me. She was just doing her best though.
My mama made me.
My daddy made me too.
New York made me.
California made me too.
Abuse made me.
Care and good times made me.
Heartbreak made me.
Getting up again made me.
All the music I've ever studied made me.
All the words I've ever read and written has made me.
Hobbies made me.
Art made me.
Bad adults made me.
Excellent teachers made me.
Brothers and sisters made me.
Cousins and aunties made me.
Boyfriends made me.
My ex-husband made me.
Confusion made me.
Order made me.
Being introverted made me.
All of nature made me.
Losing made me.
Winning made me.
Poverty made me.
Wealth made me too.
Hate made me.
L O V E continues to make me B E T T E R.
I'm too complex to understand. Too outstanding for any box. Different versions of Jasma John reside in the minds of all the people who think they know me. I can be a Q U E E N, a V I L L A I N or both magically at the same damn time. Really, I'm just getting through life like everyone else. One tiny step at a time.
Although I care what others think of me, I usually do my own thing anyway. As a child, I was into things that consisted of solitude; such as making doll clothes, typing an excessive amount of gibberish (I loved carrying the typewriter case and hearing the sounds the keys made, changing the tape and adding fresh paper under the bar to the roll), making potholders, macrame for flowerpots and plants that didn't really exist, collecting stamps and lots of coloring. Anything that had to do with groups or crowds, I stood near, but didn't fully participate in. I distinctly remember my younger self passing every time someone asked me to play double dutch. I'd rather just sit on the mailbox and watch.
Now that I'm an adult and growing into it more and more everyday, I know that every single one of us are made up of some, all or more of these things. We embody everything and we have to fit together nicely. I know that it's difficult, but do me a favor...Be the best you that you can be every single day. Respect each other. Men respect us women even when it's not Women's History Month. Don't only treat the women you're attracted to with care, treat us all that way. If you're new here W E L C O M E.
Here's what I'm watching, reading and listening to:
Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Season 3) on Hulu
I very rarely watch something when it comes out, especially if it's in pieces. I most definitely prefer to binge. However, with this last season of Wu-Tang: An American Saga, I'm watching it every week in a slightly desperate way. I really don't want it to end. I love watching the making of something great. It also helps that the group is still together and is fine as hell. :)
Frida on HBO Max
I haven't had much time to watch TV other than the regular Law & Order episodes and maybe Love After Lockup (I don't care what you think). But, late one restless night I decided I needed a movie and why not one about love and art? This is a biography of the renowned Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, who's artwork still stands the test of time. I'm so glad to have watched this beautiful movie.
Thank God for the Audible app, these two books I've listed before, but hadn't read them in their entirety. Time just didn't permit. I'm so grateful to have been able to listen to them in the authors own voices. It made the stories all the more powerful.
Finding Me by Viola Davis
This story pulled me in from the second Viola started speaking and didn't let go of me even after her last words in the book. I was so ecstatic that she wrote the forward for Cicely Tyson's book as well. It was a beautiful surprise.
Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson
I know I say this often, but I plan on saying it at least a million more times. It is so imperative to tell your story. The world needs it, not just you living life. We need to know what you saw and how you felt. What did the world look and feel like to you during your time and more. Thank you for this book Ms. Cicely. You can know a person and not know them at all. I want to hear as many stories as possible in my lifetime. Also, without giving anything away, I had so much in common with both of these women and that makes me feel connected to them somehow.
Lone Women by Victor LaValle
One of my birthday gifts this year was a three month subscription to Book Of The Month Club from my sister, Chelsea. I was so excited when I got the email. The hard part was choosing a book. I settled on Lone Women. The blue box showed up in front of my door about two weeks later and I squealed, rushed inside, opened the box and read the first chapter of the book. SPOILER ALERT: In chapter one, Adelaide Henry has killed both of her parents and lit them on fire in their California home, because of the secrets that her mother held. Y I K E S! Then she sets out to become a homesteader in Montana. Since it's based in 1915, we know that this will be far from easy. Especially since she's carrying around a Seward steamer trunk full of secrets of her own.
Lately, I've been listening to playlists that I have curated over the past eight years. I've been revisiting old albums that I like, because they help me write. Also, I've been seeing my favorites live and it's been such a treat. On Thursday, I went with Tory, Chelsea and Leondria to see Jill Scott at King's Theater in Brooklyn. I can't believe that it's been 23 years since Who is Jill Scott? - Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 debuted. It was wonderful, very emotional and good.
I want to mention another thing that I did this month...I went to The Unlocked Experience with my cousin, Dionne. UNLOCKED is a women-founded organization daring to close the pay gap by re-imagining the way we network. I was invited by my friend Rachelle, who was also a panelist. The event was beautiful and I can't wait for the next event. You can find them on IG: @TheUnlockedExperience. Here are some pictures from the night. Rachelle is the lady in red :)
In closing, I'm all the things you've probably heard about me. Yeah, it's probably true. I'm not always proud of it all, but I am P R O U D of M E even though I trust me wholeheartedly and not at all. Should any of this be upsetting to you, please leave now. I can't be the girl that everybody likes, because that woman just does not exist. We are all one flaw, mistake or bad intention away from being greatly disliked and that's okay with me, because I'm so much more than anything that I've ever done, said, thought or felt. I'm more than your idea of me and vice versa.
Ladies... keep being sweet, feisty, sexy, safe, strong, soft, nice and sometimes even ice. Aim to be balanced within yourself and to give it to others around you. When you need to rename, repackage or re-brand yourself, make sure that you take time for that too.
S I N C E R E L Y,
P.S. I love when y'all speak to me in the comments. I just get a little busy to respond. I'll try to do better in the future. Tell me your stories in private or drop a comment. Don't forget to like this post everywhere you see it. Especially here at the bottom.