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I Can’t Stop Thinking About Getting Old

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

My great-grandfather nicknamed me “Old Lady Janday” after his mother. He said I was her reincarnation so I was basically destined to be a strange, old soul.

My great-grandfather nicknamed me “Old Lady Janday” after his mother. He said I was her reincarnation so I was basically destined to be a strange, old soul.

By the time you read this, I will be a quarter of a century old.

When I told a couple of my older colleagues about my impending birthday, they delivered the usual spiel about taking advantage of one’s youth amid stories about their 25-year-old selves. One asked why so many young people assume they’ll be around forever.

“I don’t,” I quietly interjected.

That ended the conversation. Too much?

I swear I wasn’t tying to be grim or depressing, really I’m just slightly obsessed with Future Old Me, and have been for a while. I regularly muse about what I’ll look like physically and emotionally in 40 plus years. I even think about how I’ll cope with eventually losing the important people in my life. Though all this is more meditative than macabre, I can’t decide if it’s a natural coping mechanism for growing older or if it’s unproductive and unhealthy.

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How Not to Be a Dick to A Woman With PMS

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

Last Tuesday, I got a solid 7 hours of sleep and I woke up excited to get started on a mood-boosting, energy-raising workout. But a few seconds into my dynamic stretching routine, I suddenly thought, FUCK this.

My legs started feeling heavy as if some invisible force had dropped a wet blanket over my body. My mood turned gray as my mind spiraled down a dark rabbit hole of woe-is-me thoughts (general theme: YOU SUCK AT LIFE!) and my face stiffened into a scowl. The cloud would not lift even after my workout.

Not this SHIT again.

PMS consistently fills my heart with dread every month. My physical symptoms are fairly mild, but the havoc that hormones wreak on my emotional state is unparalleled. Reading xoJane readers’ comments on other PMS stories has reassured me that I do not suffer alone.

The PMS cycle can be a seriously grim time that can make completing the most routine tasks feel as daunting as climbing Mount Everest. Some of us are even imprisoned in our beds because our insides feel like they are engaged in a bare-knuckle, back alley throw-down. Others seethe with an inexplicable anger or paranoia and lash out at everyone around them.

Here’s how to not be a dick to us so we won’t be even bigger dicks to you.

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Nothing Inspires Me Like Failure

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

Currently reading about a low point in ?uestlove’s career in his new memoir. My eyes are GLUED to the page, as you can see.

Currently reading about a low point in ?uestlove’s career in his new memoir. My eyes are GLUED to the page, as you can see.

Last week, I felt a brief shiver of glee as I listened to an established standup comic and television host W. Kamau Bell discuss his crippling addiction to pornography.

To be clear, I wasn’t relishing in his pain. Really, I was just happy that Bell was willing to lay his vulnerabilities bare so that someone dealing with the same issues could be inspired by his ability to reach incredible heights of success in spite of his addictions.

See, I get off on failure.

And no, it’s not on some Schadenfreude shit. One of the greatest motivators in my life is a good failure story from someone who has gone on to achieve greatness. These are the stories that remind me that, no, I am not the only person in the entire world to be disappointed or feel like I’ve royally fucked up. A failure story helps me realize that a setback can make for a compelling tale later in life.

A year after I graduated from college, I experienced the first of many major fail moments.

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UGH, I SUCK At Handling Racial Microaggressions

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

“My cousin calls me MONKEY!” my student “Isabel” tittered.

My heart race quickened. I had been enjoying listening to this adorable six-year-old Hispanic child prattle, as many six-year-olds do, during our reading tutoring session. It was our first time meeting, so I marveled at our easy rapport. Surely she was not going to take this conversation where my heart was telling me it was about to go.

“Why does he call you monkey?” I asked.

Isabel’s bright, almond eyes locked with mine as she twirled the ends of her long, brunette pigtails. “Becaaaaause my uncle calls me BLACKIE!”

In the second it took her to move on to the next topic, my mind shifted between all of these thoughts: Maybe in her family, the terms blackie and monkey don’t correlate the way they do for me. Maybe she misinterpreted the nicknames? Perhaps she didn’t say blackie. Did she change the topic so quickly because she knew that she said something wrong? She’s only six, though. Is this little girl mocking me? Ugh, there are so many people around –- what if she didn’t know what she was saying and I exacerbate the situation with my soapbox lecture?

I didn’t know how to begin discussing this issue with a child, so I just continued teaching her sight words.

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My Sexist Mailman Made Me Realize I’m Really Not Pulling My Weight in My Relationship

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

“Girls your age? Y’all don’t know how to act!”

My favorite office mailman “Ted” and I had stumbled onto the topic of relationships during one of our daily freewheeling conversations that cover everything from how to invest money to race relations in America. My penchant for thoughtful questions and answers has inspired him to call me “an old soul” more than once, but in this instance he emphasized that our two-decade-plus age difference meant that he would always knew more than I did.

“You don’t cook. You can barely boil water. You don’t clean. You don’t know how to treat a man! You have a boyfriend, right? You have to learn to do these things,” Ted continued.

He boasted that his current girlfriend, who is closer to his age, makes sure his clothes are ironed every morning and ensures that his home is neat upon his arrival. When I asked if he also cleans and cooks for her, Ted insinuated that men who perform these duties are gay.

I was shocked, countering that Ted’s girlfriend wasn’t doing those things for him because she is supposed to as a woman, but because she cares about him. I tried to persuade him to do the same for her.

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CHECK IT: My Work Day Playlist That Keeps Me From Bitch-Slapping Colleagues Left and Right

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

I don’t know when I’ll finally accept the fact that the entirety of my post-college life will be all about work. It’s obviously admirable to be a productive member of society, but the constant hustle can get monotonous even if you love your job.

That’s where auditory stimulation must come in. Channeling your frustrations into the right song can work wonders in restraining your bitch-slapping hand when dealing with difficult colleagues. And the right playlist can further lighten your mood on a great work day and give you the energy you need to churn out awesome work by deadline.

Here is my mix of a few songs that keep me going through the various highs and lows of work life. Full disclosure: Someone once told me I’d make a terrible DJ because my mixtapes were so random. But I think the assortment of songs here make musical sense.

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Making My Natural Hair Look “Acceptable” Takes Up An Obscene Amount of My Time

20 Oct

by Janday Wilson

A month ago, I was in a dream world. It was the first morning of an all-expense-paid vacation. I spent it floating in the Hyatt Regency pool, alongside the man I love, under the shade of palm trees and a cloudless California sky. The most pressing matter on my mind was selecting the perfect lineup before we hit the Empire Polo Club grounds for Coachella Day One.

Then the tips of my hair dipped into the pool.

Thank God I recovered in that pool quickly and got my hair Instagram ready. Cheese!

Thank God I recovered in that pool quickly and got my hair Instagram ready. Cheese!

From my reaction, you would have thought that chlorine is a deadly poison. I couldn’t get out of the water fast enough, straining to keep the rest of my head from getting wet, I frantically grabbed my wet ends and started re-twisting them. My boyfriend could only shake his head as he followed me out of the pool. Those 30 minutes totaled the entire time I spent “enjoying” the pool area during all three days of our vacation.

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