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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read from Tasha Harrison's "A Taste of Her Own Medicine" and discuss their complicated relationship with hand jobs, dating after divorce and the art of picking good partners.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Tay Keith, fuck these niggas up. Is that what he's saying?
Kenrya: I think so, yes.
Erica: I don't know if he be fucking things up anyway. Tay Keith you always have a place in my heart for that... “Before I Let Go.” Nonetheless.
Kenrya: I love it.
Erica: Hey you all. Welcome to this week’s episode of The Turn On. This week we are going to jump right in it. We are reading “A Taste of Her Own Medicine,” which was published in 2019 by Tasha L. Harrison. This book came highly recommended by two of our listeners, Michelle and Nicole, and this one hits a little close to home. Sit back, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get your whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: “A Taste of Her Own Medicine,” by Tasha L. Harrison. The hand between my leg shifted to cup me more fully, the heel of his hand creating a delicious pressure against my mound. I rolled my hips and a bright spark of pleasure made my eyes roll back in my head. "Poor baby," he whispered. "Your tight little pussy still aching, huh?" This kind of talk, this dirty talk, I always thought it was silly. I wondered how it could be sexy, but I swear when he asked me about my tight, aching pussy, all I could do was nod. "I know it is. I'm aching for you too."
Kenrya: He shifted in his seat and his right hand grabbed his dick. I watched him, mesmerized by the way he handled himself, wondering if he wanted me to handle him that roughly. I was never rough with Eric, he didn't like it that way, but could I be that way with Atlas? "Hey," he said softly, drawing my attention back to his face. "What were you going to do to me when you reached for my pants by the falls," he asked? Now that the moment passed, I suddenly felt shy about my thoughts and actions in that moment. "I didn't really think it through. I just wanted to feel you in my hands." "Hmm," he grunted. "You still want to?"
Kenrya: Just like that, with that simple suggestion, my palms tingled wanting that intimate caress. "Yes," I said with a nod. "I want you to. Can you?" he begged. "Right here," I asked glancing around? It was dusk and the parking lot was full of cars, but no one was walking around. "Right here, upstairs, I don't care where. I just need you to touch me. I don't think I can spend another night like this." We kissed again and I felt him tremble when my hand rested on his chest. He was practically vibrating. "Right here," I said. "I can't go upstairs with you. If I go upstairs." He nodded, understanding the things I left unsaid. I wanted him, there was no denying that, but so much had happened today and I'd crossed so many boundaries, and I knew that if I went upstairs with him I was going to want more than just a touch, more than just a kiss. His hands wouldn't be enough.
Kenrya: "Okay," he agreed, then glanced around the still quiet parking lot. "Right here." I gathered up his soft t-shirt and slipped my hand under it to touch his muscled chest and drifted lower to caress his belly, the ridged topography of his abdomen. When my fingers tangled in the trail of hair that led to the place between his legs, his whole body quaked. "You okay?" "Yes, I just want your hands on me." "Okay," I whispered and tugged at the drawstring of his sweats. His desire was so acute it seemed like physical pain. I knew and understood how that felt. It's the same way I felt in the greenhouse, but I'd never known anyone to feel that way about me.
Kenrya: The dusk deepened around us, casting the world outside the car in shadow. It made the interior of the Subaru feel cocoon like. Condensation formed on the windows adding to that secretive intimacy as I reached into his pants. He was big and hard in his pants and pulsed when my knuckles skimmed the silky fabric of his boxer briefs. I broke away from the kiss to look down at him, to watch myself reach into his boxers and take him in my hand. He was smooth and velvety soft against my palm. Atlas hissed and lifted his hips to tug down his pants a little further. His dick, now free of its constraints, leaped into my hand. I closed my hand into a loose fist and drew it up his length. "Oh God, Sonja," he breathed. His head fell back against the headrest. I looked at him. God he was so damn beautiful. His eyes were closed and his thick lashes made dark shadows on his sculpted cheek bones. He rolled his hips, urging me silently to draw my hand down his thick length and back up again.
Kenrya: He swallowed and I tracked the way his Adam's apple bobbed. I had no idea what I was doing. It'd been more than a year since I'd even touched a man intimately, and I'd only ever been with my husband. "Hey," I whispered. Atlas opened his eyes and looked at me. "Show me how you like it." I drew my hand up his length again. "Do you like it hard or soft? Do you want me to put my mouth on it?" "Shit," he cursed and his dick grew harder in my hand if that was even possible and a bead of precum formed at the tip. I leaned over and lapped it up. "Jesus Soni." "Show me how to please you," I begged softly. His big hand closed around mine, tightening my grip, then drew both of our hands up and over the fat, wet tip of his dick. On the downstroke he thrust upward, forcing himself through my clenched fist. The sight of it was so erotic that my pussy clenched, releasing a gush of moisture that dampened the crotch of my leggings.
Kenrya: Needing him inside of me in some way, I wrapped my lips around the tip of him again and he whimpered. "Like that," I whispered? "Hard, but slow, like this?" I asked, squeezing him and drawing my hand up over the tip. "Yes," he nodded, thrusting into my hand again. "Just like that." He hooked his hand around the back of my neck and pulled me in. His kiss was deeper, hungrier, more reckless. It took all of my willpower to keep my pants on, to keep my ass in my seat, to keep from sitting on that beautiful dick in my hands. Atlas grasped at me, kissed me hard, then pulled away to watch, seemingly torn between wanting me closer and wanting me to make him come. I pulled away to take him in my mouth again. I've never felt so compelled to suck a man’s dick before, to see this strong, devastatingly handsome young man come apart because of me.
Kenrya: I teased him, sucking hard on the tip and every time his hips lifted the tiniest bit, thrusting deeper into my mouth. I knew what he wanted, but I waited until he asked for it. "Please Soni," he begged. His hips rolled upward again. "Please…" I moaned and swallowed him down. Taking him in as deeply as I could until his cockhead hit the back of my throat. "Oh fuck Sonja," he moaned loudly. "Fuck." I looked up at him. He was gone, lost on the edge of bliss from what I was doing to him with my mouth. "Baby…baby I'm about to come." I hummed, closed my eyes and took him in deeper. "Oh fuck, you just gon…baby wait, no." He made a sound that was somewhere between a chuckle and a moan, tensed, and came, flooding my mouth and moaning my name. I swallowed him down, sucking and licking every drop from his dick until he started to twitch and jerk. He pulled me off of him and brought my lips to his.
Kenrya: "Why'd you do that?" he whispered, kissing me hard, that same hard hungry kiss he'd given me at the start. Could he taste himself on my tongue? "Why'd you do that? You didn't have to do that," he said, his voice full of gratitude. Was that reverence? "I know. I wanted to." "You're amazing, Jesus, Sonja." He kept kissing me. “It's been a long time since I've done anything like that or even wanted to.” I pulled away a little so I could look him in the eye. "Thank God you came when you did. I was two seconds away from crawling over this console." He shook his head. "This is a complete 180 from crying when I made you come in the greenhouse this morning." I shrugged and slid my hand under his shirt. “Maybe it's the come-to-me oil, but there's no denying that you bring it out of me.” Atlas sighed, "Same," he murmured, "So much same."
Kenrya: He covered my hand with his. "You laughed before you came," I said, remembering that moment. "Is that normal for you?" "I don't know, my attention's usually focused elsewhere." "No one's ever mentioned it before?" "No," his brow furrowed. "Is that your way of asking me how many girls I've been with?" he asked, smoothing his hand over my cheek. "No…I just thought it was cute and unusual." But now I was wondering. How many women had he been with? Who was the last woman he was with? Was she my age or much younger with a firmer ass and a belly without stretch marks? He stopped my self-deprecating thoughts with another kiss. "Maybe we'll talk about that next time, when you actually come upstairs and I actually get you in my bed." I shook my head. "I can't." "I know, you can't tonight. I just wanted to let you know that this changes nothing. I still want you, so don't go home and lay awake all night recounting every minute that we spent together today looking for the one thing that you did that might have turned me off. Only one of us needs to do that."
Kenrya: I rolled my eyes. "You did nothing wrong." "You mean except come in your mouth after you sucked my dick for three minutes?" "Was it only three minutes?" Atlas nodded and looked a little sheepish. "I glanced at the clock when you..." He rolled his eyes. "It was three minutes, maybe four, and now I'm humiliated. Excuse me while I tuck my flaccid dick back in my pants." "Atlas," I reached for his hand and laced my fingers into his. "It doesn't really matter how long you lasted, especially since I can still feel you so big and hard in the back of my throat." "Jesus, Sonja," he said for the third time this evening. He brought our joined hands to his mouth where he grazed his lips across my knuckles. The look he gave me made me squirm in my seat again. Maybe all of this dirty talk wasn't so silly.
Erica: Welcome back. That was an excerpt from “A Taste of Her Own Medicine,” by Tasha Harrison. So Killa, as I said, this touches very close to home.
Kenrya: Oh divorced bitches.
Erica: I know, okay before we jump into that let's get to the situation at hand. When this nigga said, "A guy that makes you abandon your responsibilities and make love all night"—bitch. It flashed back to those times where you meet a guy and everything is sweet and you're all going to have a night of fun and then two days later you emerge from his house like, "Oh shit."
Kenrya: The sun's so bright.
Erica: Exactly, your girlfriend's like, "Bitch, where you been?" That line touched a nerve in my little whore spirit. I was like, "Oh I remember that." We had a moment of appreciation for our good friend dry humping.
Kenrya: Was it dry humping?
Erica: Yeah I think it was. We said people gave up on dry humping.
Kenrya: Oh yeah before, and oh first season.
Erica: Yeah bitch, you was there.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah with the woman who was with the older man.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah.
Erica: So bitch, our good friend a hand job. Here's the deal, my hand jobs suck.
Kenrya: Yeah I'm not great.
Erica: I feel like my hand jobs suck, but I feel like her hand job was really great. But I think that she probably thought about it and was like this wasn't a good hand job.
Kenrya: She didn't stay with the hands for long though.
Kenrya: She popped her mouth on down there right quick.
Erica: Yes, but one he was-
Kenrya: Which was also my experience.
Erica: Yeah exactly, you never do a hand job to completion, right?
Kenrya: Right. Well I'm sure people do. I don't think I have, but that's because I don't feel like it's so good. I have been told that I'm good at it.
Kenrya: But it don't seem like it.
Erica: But it don't feel like it, it don't feel right.
Kenrya: Yeah, I think the problem is that you really got to use lube. Spit is not enough because it's just on your hands and it's not continuously coming like when it's in your mouth.
Erica: What? Continuously coming.
Kenrya: What she said.
Erica: Yeah, so I appreciated... The whole scene reeked of divorceness because don't you remember when you first start dating post-divorce it is a lot like... For me it was a lot like dating when you're first dating. You got to be home at a certain hour, curfew because you got to go relieve the sitter. Or you're all sitting out in the driveway, the next thing you know you're giving a hand job and head in the car.
Kenrya: That is a thing that has happened.
Kenrya: Yeah, I hadn't really thought about it that way.
Erica: It definitely is return, it returns back to oh, we're doing this shit all over again. Nine times out of 10 if you're anything like me or Killa, you had a momma. My momma was Kenrya, after me, "Who you going out with? Tell me whereabouts. Drop a pin for your location." This book itself... Oh shit, we didn't give the background story of the book.
Kenrya: Oh what the...
Erica: Oh damn, we jumped all into it.
Kenrya: That's okay.
Kenrya: We'll do that right quick. It stars Sonja and Atlas, who of course is aptly named because he has strong shoulders and he can bear the weight of the world on them.
Erica: Love me a shoulder.
Kenrya: I know, so Sonja has been divorced for about a year. She was married to this dude named Eric who we find out over time is a fucking asshole. She has two kids who are in high school and she has decided that she wants to start a business because she needs to support herself outside of the business that she worked on with her husband. She basically helped him build his business. The story starts with her going to an entrepreneurship class and her teacher is Atlas. When she meets him she loses her shit because he fine as hell.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Yeah, and then it's clear that he also... From the very first moment they meet he's flirting with her and then it's all...
Erica: From the first moment.
Kenrya: Literally from the first moment, and then she wrestles with what it means to date as a divorced woman and as a mom.
Erica: Also she struggles a little bit with her age because she's a little bit older than him, right?
Kenrya: Yeah, she's 40 and he's 30 and she makes a huge deal out of it.
Erica: Huge deal out of it.
Kenrya: He's like, "I don't give a shit."
Kenrya: Yeah, but it's a big, big deal for her.
Erica: Okay, so that's how I got to the whole divorce and dating things. This nigga was wearing sweats.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I love some sweats. Not only how they look but-
Kenrya: Because you can see everything.
Erica: They're easy access when you're doing nasty things. You can just slip a hand down there because there ain't nothing worse than having to have to lift his hips to unbutton some button down fly jeans.
Kenrya: Still, it's like their thot wear.
Erica: It is totally thot wear.
Erica: It's a Fashion Nova.
Kenrya: It is nothing-
Erica: Of men's clothing.
Kenrya: Well they have Fashion Nova shit too now.
Erica: I know but it don't be hitting like a pair of gray sweatpants do.
Kenrya: It's true. It leaves nothing to the imagination.
Erica: Nothing to the imagination. Okay, so back to this divorced and dating thing. Do you have anything to say, anything else?
Erica: Oh, I was going to ask if you had anything else to say about the sex itself. I love giving head, you love giving head, and this scene explains why good head is good head because it's not even I want to please you. It's like no, I need to have this in my mouth right now.
Kenrya: Yeah, it is and I think for folks who don't love it, that's the part that's missing is that they don't... For me it very much turns me on, that is foreplay for me.
Kenrya: It's a part of me getting ready, and it seemed like that was also a part of her getting ready.
Kenrya: Yeah, but then there's that other part that we've talked about on the show when she was like, "To see him lose himself, that abandon that comes with it." That's a huge part of it for me. I like the control aspect of all of that.
Kenrya: Tasha explained that really well.
Erica: Very well and it was so beautifully written. No, I need to taste this right now.
Kenrya: Right now.
Erica: And when he was saying I need to feel you on my body, I need to feel you touching me, oh man this man can talk some shit.
Erica: He definitely has the gift of gab and I am just...
Kenrya: Won her over to that. The reason that we started and ended the excerpt where we did is because it starts with him talking shit. She's like, "I ain't never really... I always thought that shit was silly." Then by the end she like, "Well maybe, maybe this works."
Erica: I think it's well known here that I like to talk. I like the sex talk. I think I could probably be a phone sex operator, I love a good talk. Yeah, it's corny if I'm talking to you right now, but in the moment bitch it is delightful.
Kenrya: Yeah, you out here charming niggas out their pants.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), be like come on. Lift up them hips. Pull them panties down.
Kenrya: Men hate it when you call them panties. I like to do it just to make them angry.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: It's funny to me.
Erica: Take them panties off. Take them panties off. Okay, so we're talking about dating after divorce. Kenrya what was your dating situation like after divorce? Walk us through it.
Kenrya: Messy. I went straight from divorce into a pseudo relationship with an old flame.
Erica: I think a lot of people do that though because it's easy.
Kenrya: I mean in my... Well it was easy and also you know the situation, this guy was somebody who I'd dated before, who we went to school with, and there was always this... He was my what if guy.
Erica: Reunited and it feels so good.
Kenrya: It was we had both gotten married, we'd both gotten divorced, or I was in the process of it and it was like, "Well shit, let's try it. Now that we're both actually available let's try again." Shit got messy, a lot of stuff happened.
Erica: Dot, dot, dot.
Kenrya: And it ultimately did not work out, but I thank God for that because it brought me to a better place. Then after that I was by myself for... I didn't start even trying to date for a year and a half, I was really focused on my own shit. Then one day I was like, "Huh, okay."
Erica: Was it self-imposed or was this a-
Kenrya: Yeah, I was like, "I don't want to be bothered."
Erica: Nigga you had a fast.
Kenrya: Oh no before that.
Erica: Oh okay.
Kenrya: No, no that was before that.
Erica: Sorry, I'm trying to-
Kenrya: You're trying to prompt me.
Erica: Yeah I'm trying to get you to have a-
Kenrya: No, no there was a year of me not being interested in not dating. I think it was a year, and then I decided to go on the apps. Got my ass on Bumble, started dating, it was not great. Catfished by dudes who posted pictures 15 years younger than they were. All kinds of shit. Jack hammer dick, lots of-
Erica: When was the fast?
Kenrya: I'm getting to the fast.
Erica: I think the fast was before that though.
Kenrya: It was not, no it was not.
Erica: Okay, sorry. Sorry you all, I'm really lonesome like girl. Okay, yeah.
Kenrya: I had a few months of Bumble dating that were not great, and then I went on a date with a guy and had a panic attack. Not on a date, but I got home... You don't remember this?
Kenrya: This was the nigga who we went out to eat and the roach was crawling on the table at the Senegalese spot.
Erica: Yeah mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: He brushed it off and kept eating and I was like, "Nigga you eating with your hands. What is happening?" Anyway, so went on a date with that dude, got home, it was a day off so we had done a lunch date and I said, "Oh, this will be cool. Do a little lunch date, come home, lay on my couch for the rest of the day." I had a fucking panic attack. That was what got me back into therapy. Actually that day I remember I called you and was like, "What's your therapist's name? I need some help." I realized later that it was the date that had sent me there. I found out later that I had PTSD from relationships with men and all of this stuff. One of the very first things that she made me do when I started therapy was go on a men fast.
Erica: The fast.
Kenrya: Exactly, I finally got there.
Kenrya: It was supposed to originally be for 30 days. Remember I had a date scheduled with somebody and she was like, "Well you can go on that date but you need to tell him on that date that you can't talk to him for a month." I wasn't allowed to flirt, to sext, to do anything really with any man because I date men. A month turned into three months.
Erica: Yeah as I say.
Kenrya: Which turned into six months, and then so at the end of the six months, after a whole bunch of work she said that I was ready and sober around the shit that made dating not great. Then I started. I got back on the apps and started dating again and it was a lot better because I was making way better choices. I didn't give niggas chances, honestly, is what it came down to. I had a set of criteria and really strong boundaries that I had built that allowed me to be able to better... It gave me a better picker basically.
Erica: Were you dating for relationships or dating for fun?
Kenrya: I was dating for relationship. I knew that I was ready after being done all of that work that I wanted to find someone that I actually wanted to build with. Yeah, so I was out there looking purposefully for somebody who I could see myself with.
Erica: So we're here, this is called The Turn On. We talk about sex. We talk about the sex during this time.
Kenrya: There wasn't a lot of sex during that time because most... I was breaking it down to my partner. We were talking about how dating was as a woman on the apps. Let's say I talked to 10, I matched with 10 people. Maybe of those 10, maybe four of them would make it off the app to a phone call. Then of those four maybe two of them would make it to a date, and then I would go on a couple of dates with one of them. One of them would make it past the first date and then I'd go on several dates with another one and then we would end up fucking. Then either it would work out or it wouldn't. Wasn't a ton of sex, it's a funnel, a narrowing down of people before I got to the ones.
Kenrya: I didn't mean I waited a long time to have sex with the ones who made it through, but the quality was not there. Because I was dating with a purpose in terms of actually trying to find somebody who I actually liked beyond just fucking, hey dog, there wasn't a whole lot of sex, not that second time around. Yeah, what about you?
Erica: What about the first time around?
Kenrya: There was some bad sex and there was a couple instances of great sex and one nigga who... That was the second time around, who I've talked about before. I feel like he was probably really into domination but wasn't honest about it and up front about it, and so I felt that he was trying to hurt me in the course of having sex without us having had a conversation about it, which made things not cool.
Erica: Yeah, but even the dominant guys that I've dealt with it wasn't a... I've dealt with dominant men, not sadists.
Kenrya: Right and I think he was ultimately a sadist.
Erica: A sadist yeah.
Kenrya: Which is fine, but talk to me about it.
Erica: I don't mind a dominant man, I don't want a sadist yeah.
Kenrya: Right, but when I called him out on it that's when he ghosted me. But that's cool.
Erica: How was sex the first time with someone other than your husband?
Kenrya: Sorry, my eyes closed. It was amazing. It was so good because it was the what if guy, so we hadn't had sex in years before then so it was all this pent up energy, and because we'd had sex before, we both knew each other's bodies already. I still remembered what worked and he still remembered what worked too. It was fucking fantastic.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: All right, all right.
Kenrya: Tell us about your post-divorce situation.
Erica: Post-divorce I initially, well throughout my separation I reunited with an old flame. It was good, we had a good long weekend. We literally locked ourselves in a hotel room for a weekend and had some good nasty sex. That was great. Then once I actually said, "I want a divorce," I think I filed, no after I said, "I want a divorce," my therapist put me on a fast and mine was 60 days. Was it 60 or 90?
Kenrya: I think it was 90.
Erica: It was 90 days.
Kenrya: But it got longer because you ended up coming off after... Oh it just started way after mine.
Erica: Uh-uh, yeah.
Kenrya: But you finished after I did.
Erica: It was a 90-day fast and I literally would... I flirt like I talk.
Kenrya: With everybody.
Erica: I flirt with everybody. I be on the phone with the Verizon tech and I'm flirting. It was really difficult, but it was good. It was good to clear my mind and my brain of boys. Sometimes I get boy crazy, and so it was good to not have that as something I'm thinking about as I'm trying to figure myself out. Once it was time to come off the fast, I definitely was planning a grand opening party, a remodeled and come in, take a look. First five people in with a coupon get in free kind of thing, but it didn't quite happen like that. It was like eh, okay this is... I can do it and I haven't found anybody to do it with.
Kenrya: We put you on Bumble.
Erica: No, uh-uh.
Kenrya: Yes we did.
Erica: That wasn't until December. I came off fasting August.
Kenrya: Oh right, it was January 1st.
Erica: Yeah, so I came off the fast and one of my girlfriends who always knows somebody who knows somebody introduced me to this guy that was traveling a lot and old man, served great dick, it was great. I traveled, meet him in a city, we have a good long weekend of nasty fucking and then we go on about our business. It was fun. I kept that situation up for a minute. Generally I was kind of... I knew that I didn't want to jump into a relationship, I was ready to-
Kenrya: I forgot about him.
Erica: Have some good sex. He still be-
Kenrya: Does he?
Erica: Niggas like to test-
Kenrya: Keep it open.
Erica: Keep the lines open. It's like in the winter when they tell you to keep a drain running so the pipes don't freeze?
Kenrya: Don't freeze.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), he let it keep that drain open so the pipes don't freeze and that's fine. That's fine because I do the same thing. I definitely have my every three months. "Hey big head. Hey stranger," text that go out. It's whatever. After that I pretty much stuck around on that. For me dating had changed so much between the time that I was... Before I started dating and after I started dating.
Erica: Dating and courtship had really changed.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: It was different and I had to wrap my mind around it. It took a lot for me to even want to put a profile up because you're like-
Kenrya: Yeah, because we didn't have that before we got married. People weren't-
Erica: People were but it wasn't like ads or anything, it was literally Yahoo dating.
Kenrya: Or Match and... Right.
Erica: It was go to the computer.
Kenrya: They didn't have these apps.
Erica: It was very, very different and so I think everyone was looking for... There was the illusion of we're looking for partners in life and it was now he's trying to fuck.
Kenrya: I was going to say these apps lend themselves more to sex.
Erica: Yeah, which whatever.
Kenrya: It's fine.
Erica: Right after Christmas I told myself that I'll be ready to get on the apps. New Year's Day I came to Killa's house and we setup my profile.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I'm very good at writing Bumble profiles.
Erica: Yeah, she is. Yeah, she setup my profile and I got on Bumble. That was the only thing I really was on. Matched with a few people, Kenrya gave me all the tips and tricks. I knew what to do well before. I didn't have to do the trial and error because Killa did it all for me. I did that, I met a few people. I met one guy who we would have been... Actually we're still really good friends, it just did not work because we had fundamentally very different views about life.
Kenrya: Some things.
Erica: Raising and children and all that. Also, I don't know if I want more kids, and so it's hard to... Well first the goal of it initially was to be fucking, but then I actually started liking the dude and I was like, "Oh this is a danger," so then I started... I went about it backwards because I was fucking him and I was like, "This is a good fuck buddy," but then I started catching feelings. I was like, "Oh wait," when I should have vetting for that before I started fucking him.
Kenrya: That way if things changed you would already know.
Erica: Then I'm still good.
Erica: Yeah, it was one of those ooh, this ain't going to work. I don't see this working down the line. We had to part ways. Yeah, so I've done the app stuff. I meet people. I mean again, I'm a big flirt so I meet people just in organic situations. Went on vacation, met somebody.
Kenrya: That was random.
Erica: Yeah, very random but it worked.
Erica: Yeah, so now I'm still dating. I mean I will have a week-long period where I'm like, "Oh, let me get back on this app." I'll get on the app and then be like, "Well there was a reason you haven't opened this app in three months."
Kenrya: Digging through the trash, digging through the trash.
Erica: I was digging through the trash for a hamburger that was easy to eat. I recently got back... Yeah recently got on the app and met somebody that's cool and that kind of thing, and I'm still not quite ready for a relationship I don't think. However, when I do look at fuck buddies I try to think of if they would... If I were to catch feelings is there anything barring, fucking up the situation from this being something? No I'm not going to have a fuck buddy that ain't doing shit with his life because if that dick's good and we got a good conversation and I'll be like-
Kenrya: Oh, I think I love he.
Erica: Exactly, so I try to avoid that kind of situation. Yeah, I don't think I'm quite ready for a relationship yet. I think it's primarily because I'm still trying to figure myself out. I mean I know what I want, I think I know what I want. I got a lot going on y'all. I guess I'll share with everybody now. Back in December I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yeah.
Kenrya: That's a lot.
Erica: There's a lot happening.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Wow, and I think I might actually cry and I haven't cried about this since I was diagnosed. I have surgery next week, so yeah that makes dating really weird. I mean not that it makes it weird because actually one thing I've learned is niggas don't give a shit about that.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:36:08].
Erica: This one nigga was like, "They ain't sewing up your pussy are they? They ain't doing a mastectomy of your ass." I'm like-
Kenrya: Oh God.
Erica: Gee thanks, niggas ain't shit. But at the same time you're about to undergo a very long process. Most of the guys that I'm dating, even the guy that I literally met two weeks ago is like, "You cool, I'm cool, let's see what happens." I'm lucky in that extent.
Kenrya: Yeah, nobody's like, "Holla at you later."
Erica: Yeah, and if you are cool.
Kenrya: Bye, yeah.
Erica: I completely understand it, but I think with all of that that's going on it's difficult for me to focus on building a relationship.
Kenrya: Yeah, that takes a lot of energy.
Erica: Yeah, so I mean I have people that I'm dating and maybe if they stick around that'll show... Maybe something will be revealed in the healing process and there. Maybe there's some grand gesture that I'm like, "I can't be without you." Yeah, so I don't think I'm quite ready for a man because right now I need to be my own partner and I need to be... From what I understand treatment and recovery is going to require an inordinate amount of selfishness on my part. It would be wrong to drag somebody brand new into this because it's going to be all about me. One of the things that's very difficult for me to accept right now is receiving the outpourings of help and love from everyone. I mean I know people love me, yada, yada, yada, but it's been very difficult having people... I literally had a girlfriend text and say, "Hey, I'll come over and help with laundry." I'm like, "Bitch, no." I think it's a wrong foot to start out on in a relationship for it to be all about me. I don't think that I'm going to be able to-
Kenrya: You also can't force people to do things, so it's not as if let's say with this person who you just met, if it turns into something and he's here just as things are getting tough you're not forcing anybody to do any fucking thing.
Erica: Yeah, but I just-
Kenrya: This nigga's got free will just like you do.
Erica: Yeah, I feel like relationships are supposed to be reciprocal. It's not a-
Kenrya: Whoa see we talked about equity versus reciprocity.
Erica: Yeah exactly, but I think... You're right, equitable and I don't think that there's any way that I can be an equitable... Well I guess I could if-
Kenrya: Ebbs and flows, boo, ebbs and flows.
Erica: Yeah, I just feel like going into this I have to make it all about Erica.
Kenrya: As you should, and either somebody deals with that or they don't, but you can't force them to do it.
Erica: Okay bitch. Fuck, anyway so-
Kenrya: You know me I'm like fuck that.
Erica: Yeah, so that's where I am with the dating thing. I'm still having really great sex. These titties have been on a world tour. Lord they have been on a world tour.
Kenrya: They deserve.
Erica: They deserve as do I deserve. Yeah, so it's been an interesting ride post-divorce. I think that I'm a very different dater now, and I mean what helps-
Kenrya: What makes you different?
Erica: My picker's better. I am comfortable saying what I want and what I don't want out of a relationship. I feel like once you've been, at least for me, I know what it feels like to be stuck in a relationship, well feel like you're stuck in a relationship where you're stuck and you're trying to live and be somebody you're not.
Kenrya: Who you aren't.
Erica: Who you aren't, and so I am going into all relationships with an ignorant level of transparency. I mean I don't tell everything on a first date, but I'm very clear about who I am and what I want and what I expect. If it's too much, if it scares you off, if it feels like it's too much of a problem-
Kenrya: Speak now.
Erica: That's fine because I'm not going to change or shrink or hide who I am and what I want for the sake of being with somebody because that shit is hard as fuck to maintain.
Kenrya: It's exhausting, and for what?
Kenrya: So you can look up and not who the fuck you are?
Erica: Yeah, and I never understood the whole I can do bad by myself until I truly was like, "No, I can do this shit on my own." I'd rather struggle and be by myself and come home to peace.
Erica: Come home to peace. Wasn't my word last year peace and prosperity?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Yeah, my word last year... Each year I pick a word, a few words for the theme of the year. Last year was peace and prosperity. I definitely found peace. Even thinking about all that happened. I think I told you this before. All that happened last year, I lost my granny who was my favorite girl in the whole wide world.
Kenrya: She was dope.
Erica: Yeah, I got fucking diagnosed with breast cancer. But 2019 was one of the best years of my life because I found peace, so even in the midst of all of this bullshit I found peace. I'm peaceful, I'm happy, I fucking launched my podcast, I have a better idea of who I want to be and what I want my empire to look like. Yeah, I don't have anybody and I'm fine with that. Maybe in 10, 15 years if I'm still like this that might change, but right now I have found peace and comfort in my own little situation, my own little setup. I don't want to add anybody to that that isn't enhancing it or making it easier. I know that relationships can be difficult, but I think the difficult part should be the logistics part of it. Logistics is probably the wrong word but the fitting two lives together, fitting two personalities together. We should genuinely like each other.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: We should genuinely want to spend our time together, that kind of thing. I think now that I'm better in my pillars, in the pillars of Erica and what she wants and who she is, now that that's more solid, the rest of it fills in the blanks and it works out. So yeah. You think you're different dating?
Kenrya: Oh fuck yeah. I was not healthy or sober when it came to dealing with men because my codependency was such that I put everyone before me. It meant that I put men before me, even ashy raggedy assed niggas that didn't deserve it. I was a let me take care of you, hoe. It's nothing wrong with taking care of the people who you care for, but not to the detriment of yourself. There was a whole lot of care taking and a whole lot of making myself small in order to make small men feel bigger. To the point where yeah, I didn't really know myself anymore.
Kenrya: I remember when I finally left and he would come talk at me to tell me why I should stay with him and I would literally look through this nigga and he went, "I don't even know you anymore." I'm like-
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: You didn't really know me to begin with. I am back to being myself. That has made me better post-that. I think one of the most important lessons that I learned and that made me better when it came to dating is the lesson that you can always leave.
Kenrya: Long before I left my ex-husband I wanted to leave. I had calls to leave, and I chose to stay because I thought that people deserved-
Erica: You thought you couldn't.
Kenrya: No, not even that. I had convinced myself that everybody deserves another chance and that may be true, but not on my back. But I didn't know that then.
Erica: I didn't say that I got to give you a second chance.
Erica: I wish you and your new girlfriend the best.
Kenrya: Exactly, but I stayed and then spent a whole bunch of time waiting for him to fuck up again so I could leave because I felt like I had made the choice to stay with a nigga who cheated on me.
Erica: Oh I didn't know that, but yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Yeah, literally I'd be like, "Just let me catch you."
Erica: Let me catch you yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative). It's like where is this rule coming from?
Kenrya: Right, some shit that I had imposed when I literally could have woke up one day and be like, "You know what? Fuck you and fuck this." When I got to the point where I realized I could always leave, that changed literally everything because not just in relationships, any kind of a bad situation. Even I have anxiety and going to new places fucks me up. We were just talking about this when I was going somewhere when we were out of town and I had to remind myself that if I didn't like it I could turn around and I could leave.
Kenrya: It had been so ingrained in me and I think in a lot of Black women that you have to try, you have to give somebody another chance, it's up to you to keep things going and make him happy and blah, blah the fuck blah. It made it easier when I started dating because if I didn't like some shit a nigga said on the phone I would get off, I would send him a text that says, "We're not a good fit. I wish you well." That's what I would always text niggas and then I would block them because I don't owe you an explanation and I would move on with my day and with the rest of my life. It made it so much easier for me to put myself out there because I realized I didn't have to stay anywhere I didn't want to be.
Erica: One of the things that I do, so my little codependent self, part of it is codependency but part of it is this is who I am. I'm a little old Black lady, I turn into a granny when my friends come over because I want to make sure they ate, I want to feed them, I want to cook for them. When I started dating one of the things, one of the rules I gave myself was no cooking for these niggas.
Erica: No cooking for them until they earn being cooked for. Did you have any rules like that?
Kenrya: I never let anybody in my house, that was a rule that my therapist and I actually set up rules for how to keep me sober with dating. People had to prove that they were worthy of coming to my home. I also did almost exclusively daytime dates because they had to prove that they were worthy of me getting a sitter and being away from my child.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: I would meet folks on my lunch break. That made it easier for me again that I can always leave, there's a set amount of time attached to something, I'm not letting anyone into my own space, they weren't in my vehicle, they weren't... Know where I lived. It made me feel safer in that way. In that respect I didn't cook for anybody. You know I like to bake for niggas and everybody, but they would have to earn the baking and all of that shit. Yeah, I think those are probably the biggest ones. Daytime was really important to me. I didn't want to give anybody the privilege of having my very precious nighttime hours. I think the only person who I went on a first date in the evening with is the person who is now my current partner.
Kenrya: That's it.
Erica: You didn't have a kid that weekend so it wasn't a-
Kenrya: I did not. It wasn't a me and hardship, it was literally we had been planning a date for the following week during the day and then her dad actually got her and I didn't have anything to do and I was like hey.
Erica: Yeah, let's meet up.
Kenrya: Then it went from there.
Erica: Yeah, that dating as a mom thing is a whole other beast.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I'm really lucky because my ex and I have... We have a really decent schedule.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), you all do.
Erica: It allows me to have a lot of flexibility, and because I have such flexibility I try to not date on the days that I have him. I do break it occasionally for-
Kenrya: There's a concert of something has a specific.
Erica: Yeah, something like that, but I try to keep our time our time. Babysitters aren't cheap.
Erica: Then also you think about coming home and then having to parent post-date fucking sucks.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: It was like we'll do it on the weekend I don't have my kid.
Kenrya: Yeah, I would rather not.
Erica: Yeah, okay do you have any other old habits that... I mean we talked about the things we do, but are there any old habits that you had that you look back now and you're like, "Oh my God."
Kenrya: I do have a big one. I remember back when I was... I got married before most of our friends. I got married at 26. I was super young and married and had all these ideas about what it took in order to make some shit work that now I'm like, "Bitch, shut up." One of the things was that I would never say no if he wanted to have sex.
Erica: Oh I remember that conversation. I was like bitch, don't tell my husband.
Kenrya: It led to me doing a lot of shit I didn't really want to do.
Kenrya: And resenting.
Erica: Resenting him and resenting yourself.
Kenrya: Yes, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Why the fuck am I here?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and it still wasn't satisfying to him because he still ultimately-
Erica: It still wasn't enough.
Kenrya: Yeah, he still wanted to have more sex then we were having even though we were having it constantly and he was still cheating. That's always that reminder that cheating is not about you. Although I just always remind myself the nigga cheated on Beyoncé, so the nigga cheated on Beyoncé and she don't need anybody. I contorted myself in that way, and toward the end, maybe the last year that I was married I finally was like, "Fuck you. If I don't want to have sex I'm not having sex. It's not fun for me, it's not going to be fun for you because I'm not into it so no."
Erica: You know, we all hit that. We all hit a point.
Kenrya: A wall.
Erica: Looking back there's a moment in our marriage where it's over.
Kenrya: It's over before you know it's over.
Erica: Yeah, it's over before you know it's over and I remember my point was where I was like, "Okay, well you're going to live that way. I'm going to live this way."
Kenrya: I knew your shit was over a smooth year before.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. That was when I was like, "Okay, you do..." I was like this is how I'm going to feel comfortable being in this marriage for the rest of my life. You live your way, you do what you want to do, and then I'm going to live my way and do what I want to do and should we overlap from time to time.
Kenrya: Then bonus.
Erica: Then great. It's like how the fuck is that a marriage? A marriage, a forever partnership? Yeah, I definitely thought this was my way of reconciling this decision I made. I was going to say fucked up decision.
Kenrya: No, don't say that.
Erica: This decision I made that ended sourly.
Kenrya: Yeah, and so one of the things that has come up for me now, as a person in a really healthy relationship, is that I sometimes catch myself feeling like I need to have sex when I don't necessarily feel like it. Because I was so used to being with a man who literally I found was counting how many times we had sex, if I could tell we were going to have a bad day because he would ignore me in the morning... He was a narcissist, they are manipulative. But it would be because he felt like we hadn't had sex the night before and so he would pout and act like a child the next day.
Erica: You know that pouting shit, I cannot stand a passive aggressive person.
Kenrya: Yes, you know that's one of my biggest pet peeves in the world.
Erica: It's making my teeth itch. It makes my teeth itch. It's crazy because I was dating this guy and he was passive aggressive as fuck and would... I'm like, "Yo, is there a problem? We good?" "No we fine." Then he pissy-
Kenrya: Why you acting like a little pissy bitch?
Erica: Then I got to ask again like, "We good?" "Well I was really upset about..." You know what? We did that shit.
Kenrya: I can't read your mind.
Erica: We did that shit twice and I was pissed that we even got to it twice because I don't... We're adults. Let's be adults, let's be 100 about it. There shouldn't be anything that I do... I shouldn't do something and you be... If you can't fucking tell me, "Yo, you hurt my feelings or I'm feeling a certain kind of way," or "Hey it would have been nice if I got some head." You probably won't get any, but nonetheless-
Kenrya: Say something.
Erica: We should be able to say something to one another.
Kenrya: With your chest.
Erica: If we can't then why are we together?
Erica: You literally had your face in my booty hole, your whole tongue was in my booty hole, but you can't tell me you pissed about something? It was like, "You know what bro, I'm good. I'm good love, enjoy." Looking back I was pissed at myself that I even allowed it to get that far because I should have seen that pouty passive aggressive shit. I can't stand a pouty nigga.
Kenrya: We see the flags and we see them. I mean I think that that's one of the things for sure that I know that makes me a better dater now is that I see them flags and I don't just see them, I heed them. Because it used to be, after I was married then I could see them, but I would tuck them away and not do shit about them, or I might even say something but there was no intent. It was so he could talk me out of the flag. You know what I mean?
Kenrya: Now I'm like, "Nigga this is a problem. Either this changes or that changes or I go," kind of a deal.
Erica: Yeah, and it's not even on some angry shit.
Erica: If I tell you this is a problem and you're like, "No, but I really like this." Okay that's great and I wish you the best. Like the dude that I was talking about, we're great friends now. We talk regularly, we keep in touch, we do stuff together, but it's because look, you ain't for me, I ain't for you but we're cool so let's-
Kenrya: You're able to be honest about that.
Erica: Yeah, let's be honest about it. Yeah, I mean I definitely feel like when I first divorced I was on this I'm going to forever be the fast auntie, auntie Erica will never be married. Then I sat down with a group of women, most of which were on their second marriage and they were talking about how great it is because they were better at defining what they want and saying what they want and saying this isn't what I want. More in tune with themselves and they were saying how great their second marriage is and the people that they're married to are. I think because they did the work and I mean this was a small group of women. I know women on their third and fourth marriage, so obviously didn't catch. I think now I am more open to the idea of a second marriage but it's got to be damn near perfect. I mean I know perfection don't exist, I know that there's... It's work but there are certain things-
Kenrya: The conditions have to be right.
Erica: Yeah, the conditions have to be right.
Erica: On that note, I think that wraps us up.
Kenrya: Okay. Thank you all for joining us.
Erica: Thanks for joining us. This is Erica and Kenrya, two hoes making it clap.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from you all. Send your book recommendations and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. Please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod, and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast, and find links to our books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Remember, The Turn On is now a part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more shows you'll love at Frolic.media/podcast. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Holla.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya interview social worker and disability advocate Vilissa Thompson about having sex while disabled and making good trouble.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today we're talking to Vilissa Thompson, pronouns she/her. Vilissa is a macro-minded social worker from South Carolina, love that. She founded and runs Ramp Your Voice, an organization where she discusses the issues that mattered to her as a Black disabled woman including intersectionality, racism, politics and why she is unapologetically all about making good trouble. Hey, thanks so much for joining us today, that is dope.
Vilissa: Thank y'all for having me.
Erica: So, Kenrya read your bio but I like to ask our guests, tell us in regular ass terms, what you do.
Vilissa: I'd say for me, I like to say, I cause good trouble. I like to rile people up, especially white folks who don't have their act together when it comes to racism, erasure, whitewashing. As well as calling out our own as Black people who are ableist and exclude us, particularly different perspectives, like the disabled experience. Then our histories, when I started telling of the issues that matter. So, I am an equal opportunity calling outer. And just really want people to take what they're doing seriously, particularly if the activists, organizers, or play some type of role in the betterment of our society, to ensure that everybody is seen, heard, and included in everything that they do. So that's just something that I really am passionate about, coming from my social work background as you all mentioned, it's all about activism, it's all about ensuring that people have what they need. And in my way, that's a charge for me to find different avenues to continue that type of work in this space.
Kenrya: That's awesome. So what is your activist and advocate origin story?How did you come to this work?
Vilissa: Well I got my masters in social work in 2012, I started to write from the social worker lens around that time, for social work online platform, and I started to include the disability experience in that since no one was really doing that at that time. A lot of social work platforms were coming to light around that same era. So they were kind of find a way and I wanted to have that particular niche. A year later in 2013 is when I created Ramp Your Voice as a way for me to dig deeper, not just within social work but also within disability activism, and to really talk about the issues that mattered to me from a broader perspective like education, health care, politics, just what I've seen, the cause of representation. Just really getting my perspectives and thoughts out there, just covering different topics. So I started doing that as a weekly blog post on different issues that matter to me are things I saw folks talking about or that was trending online or in the news cycles.
Vilissa: So that's basically how I got started. And in that same frame, started to do public speaking when it comes to social work, going into social work conferences here in South Carolina. Speaking about the disabled experience because nobody was really doing that at that time and really a lot of people still aren't doing that. And what's unique about it is that I was talking about it from an authoritative experience and not from an acquired knowledge experience, which is what most of my colleagues have. So that was a very different framework to really bring it to these spaces. So I did that within the South Carolina Chapter here, as well as the National Association of Black Social Workers, taking it there with them. So just really learning to how to bridge gaps within the social work community and also fine tuning my public speaking skills to get to where I am today.
Erica: Wow, dope. So what's your favorite thing about what you do?
Vilissa: I always say, connecting with other Black disabled women and femmes. That's always been the highlight for me, is meeting us. I just got an email a couple of weeks ago from one of us, just really glad to find my work. They live in a different country and they just really felt seen. So really getting those type of responses, having those sistergirl moments, really make the work worth it. Particularly when you may get discouraged due to people not acting right or there's a big ... Right. And there's a big setback in the movement or just the news cycle is really depressing. Having that type of engagement really shines a light if there's a darkness.
Erica: That's really cool. So, does being Black impact the way you advocate in a disability rights space?
Vilissa: It does. And honestly for me, being a light-skinned Black woman who some people consider racial ambiguous, impacts how I navigate. I do notice how people engage with me versus Black disabled women and femmes who are darker. And there's colorism there. I know I can be very loud and I am purposefully loud and direct because I know that some of us cannot be.
Kenrya: We stan a loud woman.
Erica: We need loud women! I told you I'm loud!
Vilissa: You know? And that's the stuff that I understand. I understand my light-skinned privilege. It's not something that I'm ashamed of, but it's also not something that I run from or wheel away from. And I am purposeful about uplifting my sisters who are darker than me because I know how colorism works, and people favor those who let me more than them. So being loud and being intentionally loud is my way of using this privilege to get the message out. And because I know that white people, if you look more like them or you have a proximity, they're willing to quote unquote, listen to you better than somebody else. So, that's my way of using this privilege.
Vilissa: And being from the South, coming from a family that has a lot of light-skinned folks, I know how the colorism works. I am one of those light-skinned people who's not with, excuse my language, the shits, when it comes to light-skinned people.
Erica: Never excuse your language on this show.
Vilissa: Not recognizing their privilege, not knowing how, yes there.... Some people do experience trauma and trauma is real no matter what skin tone you are. But there is an imbalance in how that trauma manifests into opportunities and to the way society views you. The way even our community, within our community, views each other. And that's something that's very important to me as a light-skinned Black woman to always be mindful of and to always call out if I see other light-skinned people acting up and not in some ways knowing our place. Because I do feel like we soak up a lot of energy and space in the colorism discussions and not really understanding how, yes, there are things about us that matters too, but let us also examine the imbalance that's going on.
Vilissa: So for me, bringing that into disability spaces, is understanding how that works when you're dealing with a space that is overwhelmingly white, when it comes to representation and leadership and how that manifests differently in the space. But also being willing to call it out and engage accordingly so that it's not just me that's being heard or being respected, but it's all the Black disabled women in the space who have the same opportunities to really be themselves and to be heard and have their messages really resonating with those who need it, particularly those within the Black community.
Kenrya: And that speaks really poignantly to the fact that all of our oppressions intersect, right? And you can't just hit on one of them and not hit on the others. All of those things make up who you are and what you have to face every day. And I love that you're making sure that you're making space for everybody as you're doing your work. That's pretty dope.
Vilissa: Of course, I have no choice. That's my responsibility as somebody who holds certain types of privilege. Not just light skin privilege, but other privileges as well. Being educated and this and that, that's the responsibility and the accountability that I have to hold myself to.
Kenrya: That's awesome. So for me, being a Black, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied woman, as we talk about privilege, influences the way that I show up in relationships. From the ways that I tend to take on lots of emotional labor to the ways that I choose to have sex. I'm interested, because you know what we talk about on this show, how does being a Black disabled woman impact the way that you love?
Vilissa: I think it impacts the way that I love from the example of love that I was raised with. I talk a lot about my grandmother who has now passed away four years ago on Christmas Eve. And she loved me unapologetically, she loved me fiercely. And it's due in part to two reasons. The first being that she always saw me as her, in her words, her gift from God. I was born in '85. In the year of 83, my grandmother lost five people dearest to her, including my grandfather and her mother. So, when you have somebody who's experienced significant loss in a very short amount of time, that really shapes how they view life, how they view love, how they view people. And so my grandmother would say that after all that has transpired, she prayed to God for him to send her somebody, and that was me.
Vilissa: So to really have somebody who just really loves you for just being there, and having someone to really care for and to really put themselves into and to really love, and for them to find love again in a new way, it's important. And also the second piece was the fact that the doctors told my grandmother that I only have four to eight years to live due to my disability. I have osteogenesis imperfecta, which is layman's terms for brittle bones disease. And I think that also influenced the way that she loved. Because if you're given this timeframe, then that means that you're going to pour all your love and that person as long as you can.
Vilissa: So, I think those two factors really impacted the love that I had from her for the 30 years that I had her in my life. And it just really shaped how I view people, love unapologetically. It Doesn't mean you love carelessly, your love should have boundaries. Your love should have common sense. But when it comes to the person, it should be unconditional. You should love people who they are or how they are, you shouldn't try to love people to change them. You should love as fiercely as you can because tomorrow isn't promised. So all of those things that, particularly now that I've been able to reflect since her passing, has really shaped how I view love at 34 years old. And how I've seen how I view love in relationships, particularly in my young adulthood years, that's when I started dating. I've been a late bloomer most of my life. So, I didn't start dating until college and really having flirtations and situations in between.
Vilissa: But, when it comes to love, just really loving, just giving my whole self into it, and just really giving my all. And my love is intense. I'm a Scorpio Moon. There's an intensity there when it comes to love and there's a fierceness there, there's a wholeness there. But I've had to learn that a lot of people cannot handle that. Not because of the intensity, but because they don't know how to love themselves. And as somebody who dates men, which is the ghetto.
Erica: Oh, ghetto!
Vilissa: The ghetto.
Kenrya: We all know it and yet we still live here.
Vilissa: Yes, yes, yes. You learn that a lot of men have blocks when it comes to love. Not knowing what love is, not having an understanding of healthy types of love, healthy engagements. And that's a very key thing, healthy. Coming from somebody who has a psychology background and a social work background, having the study of human behavior. Over the course of my early to mid-twenties, I really started to dissect how I love and how men have loved me or have engaged with me. And just really realized that they don't know a damn thing about love. They don't know how to be vulnerable or to just really realize, "You know what, I'm a little messed up, but I'm a work in progress." Or even admitting that. Or if they realize they're a little messed up and a work in progress, they're not making progress at all. So being at this age, my tolerance for certain things it in the negative right now.
Kenrya: Yes ma'am.
Vilissa: Younger Vilissa put up with a lot of things because I was learning, they were sadly learning too. But 34-year-old Vilissa isn't with the shits right now.
Kenrya: Doesn't it feel good if it gets to that point?
Vilissa: It does. And if it's good to note that if I want to give into some mess, I know how to categorize it in my head, but if I don't want to get into a mess, I know to avoid it and it'd be okay. And I think that's the power too. Because at times, a little mess isn't bad. But it's all in moderation and it's all about how much energy you put into it, but still holding true to what you want at the end of the day, and what matters to you. If you want to have a little fun, and that's kind of what I'm doing right now is having a little fun, just doing me, that's great. But when it's time to settle down, I know what I want. When the right person comes along, or at least the ideal situation comes along.
Erica: That's funny. We had an episode a while back where we talked to a therapist. And we were talking about hotep men. We were like, "How do you avoid them?" And she was like, "I mean, most hotep men got good dicks. So if you want it, do it, you just know what you're jumping into." That's what it is. Just be aware of what you're jumping into and categorize it as such.
Vilissa: Right. And I'd think that's the place where I am right now. It just seeing it for what it is and then engaging accordingly. That's just the truth of it. So I think that's very sage advice that that guest gave. Because as you get older, your ideas of love, based on your experience, based on what you see other people go through, can change and can be fluid. And just moving with the that. But as long as your core values, your deal breakers especially are in intact, then if you want to just have a little fun, then have a little fun.
Kenrya: Yeah. Yeah. So, last episode we read the book, Alyssa Cole's, “Can't Escape Love.” And the disabled protagonist struggled with being vulnerable because, well she was reluctantly embarking on a new, healthy relationship, but she was struggling with being vulnerable in that relationship because she before had dated a string of men that tried to coddle or control or fix her. And both Kenrya and I found that so true in our lives, does that ring true to you?
Vilissa: I think that with me, being somebody who's visibly disabled, I use a wheelchair, I'm a little woman, men don't really care too much about the disability. They see it, they're like, "Eh." I'm like, "Okay." I don't really get coddled or anything like that. On dating sites, guys can kind of give weird responses but I usually ignore them.
Kenrya: Weird responses across the board anyway. We get it.
Erica: Because they're going to find something to be weird about.
Vilissa: Exactly. But for me, at this age, it doesn't really matter. But I think that younger me, in some ways was a little self conscious about, what would they think about me being thick in the right places, or me being in a chair? Would they feel self conscious or whatever, like that. And I would think that I really worried about, in my younger years, my dating years, and not always feeling the most confident in being bold or being flirtatious even though I am a very flirtatious type of person.
Erica: Oh, I see your tweets, you be shooting your shot.
Vilissa: You already know, you already know. But younger me just wasn't there yet. And I think that's okay. But now, being at this age, I'm very intentional about stating my me, stating my pleasures. Just anything that I feel that matters to me romantically or sexually. Because we're not trying just be lying there, being poked endlessly and not feel enjoyment and pleasure from that. Oh, and not speaking our desires and expecting somebody to be a mind reader. At this age, I have more confidence in, if you who like this, you like it, if you don't, you don't. And that just the brakes. My body isn't changing. I'm not changing. So it is what it is with what I have to give.
Vilissa: So for me, I haven't had negative experience when it comes to being disabled and dating men, but my bad experience has been with their one maturity and my understanding of things and being sometimes too giving or too, yeah, too giving. Too giving of many chances or just really hoping for the best. And at this age, just being very intentional, like I said, of what I get myself into or just seeing things for what they are, or just stating my truth. Like, "Hey, either you with this or you're not." So, I think that just the journey of being a disabled woman, feeling more comfortable with your body, knowing that you are attractive and really beginning to own that in your own way, whatever that looks like for you. I think that just takes a lot of time and age and stop caring so much about what men think, or whoever you're attracted to thinks, and about what you think. And realizing that they have to impress you. And that's more of a priority than you having to impress them.
Kenrya: The mid-thirties hit real different.
Vilissa: They do! My zero cares level now is in a negative. And I love it. I wish I had the energy in my twenties of not caring about everything. And I see young disabled women in the spaces that I'm in who care about everything. I'm like, I'm exhausted for y'all because that life is hard.
Vilissa: And I would not want to go back.
Kenrya: No, not for nothing. I mean I remember being a teenager and you're reading in sex ed about women and where we fall in a cycle and when we hit our prime. And I feel like so much of the reason that we hit our prime in our thirties and forties is because we give up the fucks.
Erica: We start shedding expectations.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's really just about making sure that we're getting what we want. And it doesn't mean that we're not being great partners, because it's in us, right? It just means that we're not great partners before we're great partners to ourselves.
Vilissa: Right, right. And that's the great thing about being this age is learning how to prioritize yourself. Like for me, 2019 was about learning how to be selfish. And that's very hard when you're a Black woman, and you know how we give, and then you're somebody who's a nurturer by nature, just innately. And also being in the field that I'm in, being a social worker, that's about giving and supporting people. All these things makes it so hard to really know how to be selfish. And even this, it's not really being selfish, it's just putting you first and saying no to things that you don't want to do, saying no to people you don't want to be around. And I think that's something that the 30's, and I'm looking forward to the 40's as well, really instills in you. Is that you really can't keep being this people pleaser. Whether it is in the bedroom, in relationships, on your jobs, in your friendships, in your family relationships, wherever. And allowing yourself to be sucked dry. That's not cool, that's not sustainable, that's not healthy. So I think that the 30's is really the time where you shed some of that toxic thinking and behavior and really find something new within yourself.
Kenrya: That's real. So is there a myth about disability and sex that you'd like to debunk here on The Turn On?
Vilissa: Oh yes.
Kenrya: You were like, "Oh, I've been waiting on this one."
Vilissa: I would say that the first would be that disabled people are not sexual. And that is beyond. That is completely false, completely false. But people have that myth because they infantalize disabled people, they view as the children, they view us as helpless, they view us as all these things that strips us of our personhood, that puts us in this very innocent box. And that is, in many ways, problematic, grotesque, and just a problematic way of viewing people as a community. That allows us to be very vulnerable to sexual violence, particularly if we do not have an education about our bodies, and consent, and body autonomy. And also being afraid to report and be in fear of not being believed. That really creates an imbalance of us being able to express ourselves and our desires, sensually and sexually, and having those ideals respected by those who know us and by potential partners.
Vilissa: It acts a stumbling block for people who may be interested in us, but who may fear being looked upon as somebody who's preying on the quote unquote disabled. And may be reluctant to approach us for sexual encounters, for dating encounters, or both. It really impacts our ability to see ourselves as sexual beings and really owning that identity. Sex to some people is a luxury for us to have and not a right. And sex is a right, sexuality is a right for us to participate in. And so, all of these things just really impacts our comfortability of being sexual. And also the fact that you don't see disabled people being sexual in the media. It's hard to know that disabled people can have sex if we're not on TV shows or we're not in movies doing these things.
Vilissa: So, there are a number of myths about our sexuality that starts with us being non-sexual. And going from there, that really impacts our ability to, like I said, understand our bodies, to report any acts of violence enacted against us, and to really just feel included in the discussions about sex and about sexuality and sensuality. And then of course you're going to keep it intersectional here. When it comes to being a Black disabled person, particularly a Black disabled femme, a woman, we understand the myths surrounding the sexuality of Black women and we add disability onto that. That's a whole nother bag of myth that you have to endure. The policing of Black women and girls bodies, when it comes to our sexual expression. And then on top of that, as a Black disabled woman, people stripping you of being a sexual being.
Vilissa: I always like to say that at 34 years old, very few people ask me if I'm dating, very few people ask me, do I have children? Very few people asked me do I want to get married. And it's all these things that friends who are my age who are either coupled or not deal with all the time. But because I look a certain way, I present a certain way, people don't think that I have those same type of desires or the same type of wishes as other women do. So, it looks very different when you add the intersectional lens on how people engage with you when it comes to your sexuality, sensuality, and what that means for you and how to combat that.
Vilissa: I was on my stay-cation for the holiday and a sistergirl and I who worked at the hotel was talking and she asked me, do you have kids? And it really struck me because not many people ask me if I have kids. Of course I said, "No I do not," in a very happy tone.
Kenrya: It's the principle.
Vilissa: I just felt so good. It's the principle! It just felt good to be asked that. And it's something so simple. But when you're not used to that type of pressure, it's like, "Wow." It felt good to be asked that. And I understand the flip side of that, people who are bombarded with those questions a lot and how that is. Almost invasive and disturbing. But for those of us who don't get that question a lot, it's like, "Wait, dang, do people not think that I want those things just because I am under four feet tall in a wheelchair?" Because I do, I'm not sure about kids part, but at least the relationship and the partnership part. That's things that I do care about, that I wish that people would explore with me, in the correct context, given the time and space situation and not some random stranger on the street, but would be more engaging if we are having a conversation to really be more mindful of their own ableism and how they approach, particularly disabled women, about our lives and what does that look like?
Erica: So, how can people who don't have disabilities show up for people who do?
Vilissa: The first I would say is to check your own ableism. Like I was giving an example earlier, if you see a disabled person, what first comes to your mind? Do you have a sense of pity, of sorrow for that person just for being disabled? Because if so, that's a major problem. Disabled people are not living pitiful or saddening lives. If our lives have challenges it is because of ableism, due to the societal, structural, systematic barriers that impact our abilities to fully engage with our communities, with our peers, with the goals and dreams that we have. So definitely check your ableism and how you view disability, how you understand disability, and who you see as disabled.
Vilissa: I have a viral hashtag, #DisabilityTooWhite, that came out, it'll be four years this year. And a part of the discussion that surrounds that is, who gets to be disabled, when it comes to the images that we have on our mind? And they're usually white disabled men, white disabled women. Rarely do we think about disabled people of color, being disabled. And if we do, we have certain images of them that we are presented with due to the media. So really just examining your whole connection with disability.
Vilissa: And also, if you're going to keep it real, talking about Black folks, many of us are walking around with disabilities. Particularly if they are not apparent or invisible disabilities like mental illness, chronic illnesses and so on and so forth. So many of us have this internalized ableism, which would be part two of that. That we need to examine about how we view our bodies, how we view those around us. And how we identify or resist identifying. A lot of Black folks don't identify as disabled because we don't want to have quote unquote one more thing added to the list of Blackness to make life hard. And disability isn't something that's shameful, disability isn't another quote unquote, hard identity. It's a part of who you are. We have a rich culture, a rich history. And we really need more Black folks especially, to start examining their internalized ableism and start to really become more comfortable with their disabled minds and bodies, and to really start claiming this identity so that we don't feel so alone in what we do and how we're living, and we start to create a community for ourselves.
Vilissa: I would say, when it comes to more systematic things, learning about disability issues, disability history, disability rights, in the work that you're doing. Whether you're an organizer or you're an activist, teacher, politician, whatever that you're doing, every social issue has a disability lens. So, if you're working in education, there's disability lens. You're doing politics, there's a disability lens. If you're doing environmental studies, there's a disability lens. You need to be very familiar with those lenses so that your work is fully complete, you'll work is inclusive, intersectional, and diverse.
Vilissa: And in that you need to also make an effort to get to know disabled activists and our trailblazers that we continue to uplift and the work that we do. I think that's very important when it comes to the diversity of our work and to ensure that if we're trying to get everybody free, then that means everybody, not just people who just look like you or who have your same sexuality or same gender or same able bodiedness, it means everybody. I always like to say, particularly in Black spaces, you can't get to your Black utopia of liberation of freedom and expect to leave Black disabled behind, that's not going to happen. So be very intentional about learning about disability issues as well as working alongside disabled activists and ensuring that we are all getting to this freedom and liberation and utopia together. And not be unintentionally harmful with that internalized ableism or just ableism in general.
Kenrya: You put your whole foot in that answer. So, to that point and to that end, are there any resources that you recommend for folks who want to learn more and dig in there? Whether they be websites or books or anything?
Vilissa: I'd say, if you're on Twitter, disabled Twitter is where it's at, Black disabled Twitter is where it's at. Of course, follow me. As well as some of the Black disabled women I know, like Keah Brown, who just came out with a book last year called, The Pretty One. I would suggest reading that, it's about her experience as a young Black disabled woman. I love to work with Heather Watkins, who is a gen Xer from the Boston area, she talks a lot about being a caregiver, being a mom, being her unapologetic self. I'd say just really get to know the names of Black disabled women, the feelings in the movement, past and present.
Vilissa: Look up the story of Johnnie Lacy, Joyce Jackson, key Black disabled women women of the seventies and eighties who were a part of the independent living movement of that time and the work that they've had to do to get us where we are today. Just understanding that history. And I think for me that's where it all begins, education, understanding the history of a group of people you may be unfamiliar with. And then going from there and just seeing how you can be supportive or even finding your own voice. If you start to explore and come to terms with your own disability identity and really start to shed some of that internalized ableism and start welcoming an identity that is just as important and impactful as all the other identities that you may have.
Kenrya: So, you your site and we want to let people know that that is rampyourvoice.com. The Patreon is patreon.com/rampyourvoice. On Twitter you're Vilissa Thompson, V-I-L-I-S-S-A. As well as @RampYourVoice and @WheelDealPod, right?
Vilissa: Yes, that's a political podcast that I cohost with Neil Carter, who is a Black disabled man. We hope to bring that back this year during the election cycle. So I'm hoping that we'll get back and running so that we can give you all the shade and tea as we embark on 2020.
Kenrya: Yes, and then on Facebook you're at a Ramp Your Voice, right?
Vilissa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Awesome! Thank you so much for joining us this week. I learned a lot. I'm sure our readers did. Or readers, listeners.
Vilissa: I am glad to be on here. I listened to you all's pod and it's really nice to be a guest and to really start the new year off with this interview.
Kenrya: Thank you. Same. It's been a privilege to have you on. We have been, like Erica said, following you on Twitter for a long time. So we already feel like we know you, but to get the time to sit here and kiki together has been pretty dope. Because y'all missed all the stuff became before we hit record.
Erica: Yes, this is the perfect Friday night.
Vilissa: The pre-show is always good.
Erica: We'll hit record and then just keep it going.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from y'all, send your book recommendations and all your burning sex and related questions that you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod, and Instagram @ TheTurnOnPodcast, and find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. And remember, we're now part of the Frolic Podcast Network and you can find more shows that you'll love and Frolic.media/podcasts. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Peace!
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.