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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read from "Bittersweet" by Christina C. Jones and talk about hard-won orgasms, shaking free of perfectionism and teaching kids that being an asshole is not a healthy way to express love.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Erica: Friends, homies, lovers, niggas, and bitches, welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. This is your hosts, Erica and Killa, two hoes making it clap.
Kenrya: That's us. I really like that all of those terms were completely non-gendered.
Erica: Because of course.
Kenrya: Niggas and bitches.
Erica: Niggas and bitches. So, this week we are reading “Bittersweet,” which was written in 2019 by our good friend, Christina C. Jones. So, sit back, relax. Get your wine, get your weed, get your whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: “Bittersweet” by Christina C. Jones. I was getting my whole entire life to the Temptations' version of “Silent Night” when a knock at the door interrupted my damn falsetto. I'd only heard it because of a break in the music, and was tempted to simply ignore it until I realized what time it was. Late. I frowned as I grabbed the remote to turn the music down, then checked my phone to make sure I hadn't missed a call with some kind of emergency. I had not.
Kenrya: Annoyed, I walked up to the door, peering out of the peephole to see who it was. Royal. "What the hell do you want?" I shouted through the door, not exactly keen on answering for him since there was no telling what else I might end up opening without a wall between us. "I'll say it to your face," he called back. Ugh. I unlocked and opened the door, but didn't unlatch the chain. "Fine. Here's my face. What do you want?" He held up my abandoned gloves, hat, and scarf, all articles I'd sorely missed when I fled his presence at the coffeehouse. "I was going to just leave it all outside your door, but you've got the whole building jumping right now. So, I figured you were up."
Kenrya: "Didn't you close tonight?" I asked. "It's almost one in the morning, and you just had to bring me this stuff?" Royal shrugged, his movement somewhat camouflaged by his own cold-weather protection. "Don't you open the shop tomorrow? Can't have you walking to work cold." I stared at him for a moment, then unhooked the chair, opening the door wide enough to actually take my things from him. "Thank you." "You're welcome."
Kenrya: He peeked past me into the apartment. "You've got it looking pretty festive in there, and sounding like a party. You're expecting company?" "No." He leaned against my doorframe, one thick eyebrow lifting on his entirely-too-handsome face. "Would you like some?" I opened my mouth to give him the "no" he likely expected before he even asked, but it wouldn't come out. Whether it was my heightened emotions, or the alcohol, or goddamn Ariana Grande singing Wit it This Christmas in the background, but what actually came from my lips was, "Sure. Come in."
Kenrya: It shocked both of us. His eyes went wide, and hell, so did mine, but I stepped aside to give him room, and he stepped in, taking off his coat. "Do you want anything to drink?" I asked, once he'd stashed his coat, hat, and gloves, and was just standing in my apartment looking at me like I was what he wanted to quench his thirst. "Sure," he shrugged. "I'll have whatever you're drinking." I nodded. "Well, it was eggnog, but I finished the last of that. I'm on to spiked hot chocolate now." "The one from Guilty Pleasures that we use at Urban Grind?" "Duh."
Kenrya: I grabbed a mug from the cabinet, then went to the stove. "I made a whole pot." He didn't say anything against it, so I filled his mug halfway, then poured a generous shot of bourbon into a separate glass. I handed him both to let him regulate his own liquor intake. He poured half of it into his hot chocolate, and the rest down his throat without flinching. "It was a little rough tonight," he explained, handing me the shot glass back. "We got slammed right before closing. Great for profits, but not so good for the staff." I chuckled. "Yeah, I've had more of those nights than I can count, but looks like you survived it though."
Kenrya: He took a long sip from his mug and nodded. "Yeah, I made it out pretty okay. And I got invited inside for a drink? Oh, I'm good now." "Don't read too much into it," I told him, shaking my head. "It doesn't mean anything." "Like that kiss didn't, right?" "Yes, exactly." I moved out of the kitchen to retrieve my own mug, which I'd left on the coffee table to answer the door. I wasn't surprised that Royal followed me, nor was I surprised by his over-familiarity in making himself comfortable in my space. "Make yourself at home," I said, bringing a grin to Royal's face before he took a long sip from his mug. "Don't gotta tell me twice."
Kenrya: He reached up, hooking an arm around my waist to pull me down into his lap, only my most valiant effort kept me from spilling my drink all over both of us. "Dude, what the fuck?" I screeched, turning to him with furrowed brows. He shrugged, his face way too close to mine. "You told me to make myself at home, meaning get comfortable. I can't speak for you, but this is comfortable as hell to me." "Yeah, but..." "But nothing," he interrupted, shaking his head. He'd already put his own mug down, and now he took mine, stowing it beside his. "Don't tell me this doesn't feel good. Doesn't feel right."
Kenrya: I let out a sigh, but I couldn't really front. It did feel good. One of his arms draped around my waist, the other hanging comfortably over my thighs. It was cozy. My lack of an answer must've been answer enough, because Royal moved in kissing my neck. Immediately, my eyes fluttered closed, and I silenced all the blaring alarms in my head as his hand slipped between my thighs. "Just straight for the goods, huh?" I breathed, barely, as the sensation of his fingers sliding over my pussy through the fabric of my leggings. "We've danced around it long enough," he grunted into my ear, using his free hand to bury in my hair, and turning my face toward his.
Kenrya: "Let's get to the point now." Anything I might've had to say got swallowed with a kiss. He invaded my mouth first, his hot tongue licking and exploring until he found the right pace. I turned myself so that I was straddling his lap, giving both of us better access to what we wanted. Then, he slipped his hand under the layers of my leggings and panties, dipping into the space between my legs. His grip on my hair kept me in place, kept me grounded as he pushed his fingers into my pussy using his thumb against my clit to offer a throb-inducing pressure. "You are really wet," he murmured against my lips, casual as hell as if I wasn't on the verge of tears from how good it felt to be touched like this by someone else.
Kenrya: "How do you want me to make you cum?" "What?" I shivered as he ran his tongue down my throat, then licked his way back up. "Fingers? Mouth? Dick?" He offered, explaining his question as succinctly as possible as my hips began to involuntarily rock against his hand. I closed my eyes, letting my head fall back as I basked in the feeling, hypnotized by the pleasurable friction of his fingers. The hand that was in my hair, he pushed underneath my sweater, quickly discovering my braless state. My back arched against him as he plucked my nipple, pinching it hard between his fingers, no relief from the pressure as he brought his mouth back to my ear to ask his question again. "Fingers, mouth, or dick?" He growled, and I whimpered in pain and pleasure as he squeezed me harder.
Kenrya: "All of the above," I moaned, and the low rumble of his laughter in my ear almost made me come unglued. "Good choice." He pressed his thumb against my clit, flicking it back and forth as his fingers plunged deep, harder. His kissing and nibbling on my neck got reckless, and I didn't care about whatever marks might be left behind, only the feelings, only the orgasm.
Kenrya: After that first one, Royal wasted no time stripping me out of my clothes, with my Christmas mix still playing in the background. Right there on my couch, the same one he'd spent the night on, he spread my legs open wide greedily eyeing my pussy like he couldn't wait to dive in. He used his thumbs to spread me apart, getting his face close enough to take a deep inhale before he looked up, meeting my gaze. I damn near launched off the couch when he put his mouth over my already-sensitive clit and sucked hard. My hands gripped the cushions as he devoured my pussy, hands gripping my ass cheeks to keep me in place.
Kenrya: He didn't hold back, slurping, and licking, and fucking me with his fingers again as he commanded another orgasm out of me. And then, he wasn't done. Panting, and only half-awake, I laid back and watched as he stripped in record speed, only stopping to retrieve a condom from his wallet. Just as I'd suspected, his dick was beautifully thick and more than enough to have me squirming underneath him as he pushed into me as far he could go. From there, it was on. He hooked my leg over his arm and leaned in to get close as he stroked me. Deep kisses and deep strokes that had me dripping wet and moaning his name with zero reservations. Just bliss.
Kenrya: Eventually though, he sat up, pulling me up on the arm of the couch and hooking both of my legs over his arms. His feet were on the ground firmly planted as he started stroking me again, faster this time, and harder. Faster and harder. Harder and faster. So fast, so hard that I couldn't even hold myself upright, I just fell back, letting my upper body rest on the couch cushion as he plunged into me. I was so glad the building was empty because there was no chance my neighbors wouldn't have heard me crying Royal's name.
Kenrya: Laying back on the couch like I was offered a whole new, deeper angle of entry, and Royal took full advantage, slowing down to give me deep, careful, steady-paced strokes that had me feeling like I'd finally discovered life's meaning. Thighs shaking, heart racing, chest heaving, I was already fast-heading over the cliff, and then he started playing with my clit again as he moved, adding another layer to what was already too much. It felt too good, and I'd drank a little too much, and I was so tired from what he'd already done, but it was so good.
Kenrya: "Fuck, Anika," Royal groaned, stopping just long enough to pull me back into an upright position, and releasing my legs to lock around his hips. He took my mouth with his again, even though we were both out of breath and panting. "You're going to come for me again, right? You've got another one in you, don't you?" I shook my head. Even twice was an anomaly that had only happened when I was by myself, and that shit always put me straight to sleep. "I don't know. I don't think-" "Nah, I need you to give me another one," he interrupted, growling the words against my lips as he buried himself impossibly deep, holding there for a moment before he pulled back.
Kenrya: "I've been good to your pussy tonight, right?" "Yes," I whimpered, nodding as dick-induced tears started streaming down my face. He'd found exactly the right spot, and somehow he knew it. He was pressing into it, sending my nerve endings reeling as I throbbed and contracted around him. "Then you can give me on more," he spoke into my ear, then grazed my earlobe with his teeth. His hands gripped my ass as he finally pulled back, giving me a moment of respite from that intense spot before he stroked me again. "Cum for me one more time." "I want to, but I..."
Kenrya: He slammed into me, hard, and I completely blanked. For a moment, there was nothing in the world except me and Royal's dick pushing directly into a button that had to be labeled "Instant, Overwhelming Bliss." And the button was stuck. I couldn't even begin to explain the intensity that ran through me at that moment, sustained by the sudden arrival of his orgasm making him pump into me as he growled into my neck. My fingernails dug into his skin, keeping my tenuous grip on reality until that other worldly feeling passed, allowing me to collapse onto the couch and slide backward, my feet still propped up on the arm as my hands fell uselessly to my sides.
Kenrya: With a deep, satisfied breath, Royal dropped to the floor in a place where his head was close to being in line with mine. I think the goodness of it all had us both a little shaken up, because neither of us said anything until finally, Royal broke the silence between us. "So, can I call you Nik now?"
Erica: Welcome back.
Erica: So, that was an excerpt from “Bittersweet” by Christina C. Jones, which was written in 2019. Kenrya, do you want to give us... It don't even sound right calling you Kenrya. Killa.
Kenrya: I know. Every time I call you Erica, I'll be like, who the fuck is that?
Erica: Who is that? So, do you want to give us a synopsis of the story? Okay, I will.
Erica: Oh, you got it?
Kenrya: Yeah. So, there's Anika. She is the-
Kenrya: ... manager of Urban Grind, a coffee shop slash hangout spot in this book, which is the center of the workplace romance that develops. As it starts, we-
Erica: Can I interrupt?
Erica: So, one of the interesting things about our girl, Christina C. Jones, is that she writes a lot of books. We'll interview her next week, and y'all will hear that. She writes a lot of books. So, Urban Grind is a part of this-
Erica: ... community. Yeah, this town. So, Urban Grind is mentioned in other books, these characters are mentioned in other books, but this book is about the goings on of Anika, our homeboy, and Urban Grind. Sorry.
Kenrya: Yes. What's our homeboy's name?
Kenrya: Royal, yeah.
Erica: Royal. Wasn't that in-
Kenrya: He sounds like he's going to be a dick.
Erica: Wasn't that in... Whatchamacallit? Okay, disclaimer, y'all, I've been drinking.
Kenrya: She sure has.
Erica: So, this episode may be just a little off, but isn't that the one... The La Royale with Cheese, wasn't that in “Coming to America”?
Kenrya: No, that's in “Pulp Fiction.”
Erica: Oh, shit. Nevermind. Okay, continue. Fuck. My bad.
Kenrya: Yeah, that's the John Travolta-
Kenrya: Yeah, him. And I'm not drinking. It's the John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson scene about what do they call it in other countries? Blah, blah, blah. Yeah.
Kenrya: Anyway, Royal. So, Royal is the cousin of the owner of the Urban Grind. He's basically pushing him to do more at the spot. He wants to make him an assistant manager or co-manager, some shit. Anika.
Kenrya: Yes. So, she's busting her butt, and then also having to deal with his ass messing with her stuff in her store, and calling her outside, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is absolutely a friends to lovers situation. I mean, enemies to lovers situation. Because she hate that nigga in the beginning of the book, she hate him. Like for real, for real hates him.
Kenrya: It's clear that he likes her. He's trolling her. He's always trying to get under her skin because he obviously likes her. Some things happen. They maneuver, they spend time around each other because they're forced to, and sexy hijinks ensue.
Erica: Hijinks ensue. If that's on your bingo card-
Kenrya: You got it.
Erica: ... check it off. Okay. Remind me to write that on more bingo card.
Erica: All right. So, this is our classic enemies as lovers trope. It made me think about while I was sick, I recently had another procedure, and Killa and her daughter felt like it was a job to keep me out of trouble.
Kenrya: It was.
Erica: But bigger than that, I dismissed Killa after a few days.
Kenrya: She did.
Erica: But her daughter woke up every morning and was like, "Let me go sit down there with her." So, one day we were sitting down here talking. She's a little girl. I have a little boy, and he, my boy, don't tell me shit. He's like a safe, he's like a clam. He don't say shit. Her daughter, on the other hand, runs me all the gossip. So, I'm sitting there, getting all the gossip, all the gossip about the school and everybody. I ask her, I say, "Hey, do you have a little boy that likes you or anything?" I said, "Do you have someone that likes you?" "Yeah, this boy likes me, but he's always mean to me."
Erica: I instantly thought about when I was little, how they'd be like, "Oh, he likes you. That's why he's mean to you." I was like, "Ooh, that's-
Kenrya: I hate it. It's a set up for dealing with assholes.
Erica: Yes. So, I was like, "Well, if he was a really nice person, he wouldn't be mean to you," or something like that. But it was not the-
Kenrya: The typical [crosstalk 00:19:09].
Erica: The typical, if he likes you, he's mean to you. Because I hate that, and I feel like women are drawn to that because-
Kenrya: Because we're conditioned to think that it's an if-then situation. If he's an asshole, then he's into you. No, nigga, he's just not into you.
Erica: He's a fucking dick.
Kenrya: He's a fucking asshole, and either way, you shouldn't be messing with him.
Erica: But I feel like guys are also conditioned to be assholes as a way to get your attention. It's like, if that's what you think is how it's supposed to happen, then I ain't the woman for you.
Kenrya: It's just a terrible ass cycle. You gotta get yourself out.
Kenrya: Good job saying that to her.
Erica: Oh, yeah. I don't remember exactly what it was because I'm, one, drunk. Two-
Kenrya: You were also medicated.
Erica: ... medicated, but I definitely remember being like, "Oh, no, let's stop this right now."
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:19:57].
Erica: So she don't think that it's cool because a little boy is pulling your pig tails, he likes you. Because that is a time in which she's supposed to turn around to him and be like, "You're acting like a little bitch." Side note, yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment with a new oncologist. We're sitting there and making small talk, and she's like, "Yeah, I have a 10 year old, but she's on punishment right now." I was like, "What did she do?" "She told one of her little guy friends that he was acting like a little bitch." I was like-
Kenrya: I was like. I don't see anything wrong with it. Was he acting like a little bitch?" She was like, "Yeah, he was."
Erica: Which is something with parenting, it is so hard to keep a straight face when your kids are doing some bullshit.
Kenrya: Because sometimes it's just funny.
Erica: Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's real as fuck. But it's like, just because this is your real reaction, don't mean that we have to put it out there.
Kenrya: You can hold it in and then call your girl, and laugh about it [crosstalk 00:21:02]
Erica: Say, "This little boy acting like a little bitch."
Erica: Call your auntie, and tell me that he acted like a little bitch, and I'll be like, "Cool, we're going to roll up on him and throw some shit at his house." Okay. Did you have that experience as a young tot with little boys pulling your hair? How did you process that?
Kenrya: I don't know that I ever... If I did experience dudes be an asshole to me as a kid... Matter of fact, I can think about that I probably did, and it wouldn't have even registered with me that they liked me because you're not about to treat me like that.
Erica: You're a dick.
Kenrya: Yeah. I was the one who was always fighting boys. So, if you was going to treat me in any kind of way, then we was fighting.
Erica: Her name is Killa for a reason.
Kenrya: Yeah. So, maybe they liked me, but we never got that far.
Erica: See, I had this little boy in school, and he liked me. He was mean to me at first, and I was like, "I don't know what the fuck's wrong with him. This little boy is just mean. He picks on me and nobody else." My mama would slick me down with Blue Magic, my little pigtails. I had a favorite style; two in the front, one in the back. He would always pull my little pig tail, and it was the fucking worst. Then, I realized he liked me, because I want to say in the third or fourth... it had to be fourth grade... he touched my butt one day.
Kenrya: Oh, no. Too soon.
Erica: Bitch. Let me tell you how this little boy touched my butt. We're going to get back to the story. But anyway, he touched my butt, and I wrote it in my diary. I literally fucking walked-
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:22:44].
Erica: ... around for years thinking somebody's going to break in my diary and see this little boy touch my butt, and they're going to think I'm having sex. It was one of them like, "Oh, my God, we're about to... the world is about to end because this little boy touched my butt." But it should have been-
Kenrya: I'm going to jump off this cliff of conclusions, and fall forever.
Erica: Girl, talk about a spiral. I was like, "Oh, my God, they're going to think I'm pregnant." It was bad. Because this little boy touched my butt. I mean, whatever. But I think at that point, I realized I like sexual contact.
Kenrya: You were like, "Oh, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about this."
Erica: I was like, "Oh, this is forbidden, do it again." But anyway, I think it's really good that we stop our girls and our boys... we stop our young people in their tracks with the whole they're mean to you because they like you. Because that's some absolute bullshit. I think also it teaches us how to not be honest about our feelings and our emotions.
Kenrya: Yes. That it's okay. That that's standard, and that's how it should be.
Erica: Yeah. I think it's difficult for young people to jump out there and say, "Hello, ma'am, I'm really feeling you." I get it. We ain't saying you gotta do that, but we also ain't saying that you have to find some-
Kenrya: Poke me in the back of my fucking head.
Erica: Yeah, some horrible outlet for these positive emotions and turning into something negative. I think the fuck not. Because let me tell you, you mean to my baby because you like him-
Kenrya: Exactly [crosstalk 00:24:30].
Erica: ... I'm coming to whoop on your ass.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:24:33].
Erica: My child, Killa's child, I don't care. We're whooping on asses. I drive a big truck, and I own a lot of black.
Erica: Sisterhood of the crazy mamas. Okay.
Erica: So, one of the first scenes in the book is when Anika, she spends all this time... One of her roles at Urban Grind is to do social media. So, she spends all her time mapping out how their social media's page is going to be. This is how it's going to look when you go to Instagram and see all the pictures on one page, that kind of thing. Then, this nigga, Royal, comes in and posts this picture, and it drove me fucking crazy.
Kenrya: Oh, my God.
Erica: I say that-
Kenrya: Not just the picture, a fucking selfie of himself.
Erica: Yeah. It was some narcissistic shit.
Kenrya: And some bullshit.
Erica: Then, what pissed her off is that the picture... It was a complete thirst trap, and it caught all the honeys. Well, the honey caught all the bees. So, now she's like, "Damn, I can't take it down, but now I got to deal with this blot in my situation." But it was clear that Anika is very much perfectionist, and does not want... She had shit planned out in her head.
Kenrya: She had a vision.
Erica: A vision. We got a girlfriend that always got a vision.
Kenrya: Yes, fucking up her vision. We do. Hey, girl!
Erica: Hey, girl. He fucked up her vision. I think that it was kind of good that he... One of the things that I enjoy... not that I... well, I guess I enjoy. One of the good things that I got out of my marriage was that I am a... Well, let me not say that now. I used to be a perfectionist. Everything had to be in a particular way. Why are you looking at me like that?
Kenrya: Because you're still... You have gotten better.
Erica: I was about to say, I know you ain't talking.
Kenrya: Pot, kettle, tree, apple.
Erica: Yeah, no, I've gotten better too, but I'm also still a perfectionist. Yes. I'm a lot less of one.
Kenrya: You're a perfectionist in recovery, as am I. How about that?
Erica: Can we say that I'm like on step 12, and you're like on step six?
Erica: Because I'm truly on some like, "Fuck it, it'll figure itself out," and you're like, "No, we need to keep trying," which is good because-
Kenrya: But here's the thing, you can't pathologize... There's a difference between being a perfectionist and being a professional, right?
Erica: Okay, bitch. Burn, bam, bar, whatever. Yes. Because I was going to say, if it was the Erica school of thought, y'all niggas would be getting a podcast every... when the spirit hits me. When the spirit hits me. Can I tell them about Saturday?
Kenrya: What have we done on Saturday?
Erica: Nothing. So, Saturday morning-
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Erica: Saturday, I forgot... So, Saturday we set up a recording. We were supposed to do an interview Saturday. I just got a new phone, somehow my calendar got fucked up, and I did not have the interview on my calendar. So, I woke up, I ate an edible, and I was high as giraffe pussy. Killa stops down and she's like, "Okay, I'm going to go upstairs and get us ready for the interview." I was like, "Bitch, I just ate an edible, ain't no fucking way I'm going to be able to do this damn interview." Thankfully, my lack of perfectionism, professionalism, whatever, worn out and we were able to reschedule, because girl-
Kenrya: That was good because I did not feel like recording anyway.
Erica: Y'all would have been all jacked up because Erica, this recovering perfectionist, baby, that would have been a whole situation. So, yeah, I am a lot more, "Fuck it, we'll figure it out," whereas Killa is more, "No, we committed to it. Let's do it." Which it takes all types because... it takes both kinds to produce this shit.
Kenrya: Yes, that is very, very true.
Erica: Not this shit, this podcast.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:29:02].
Erica: But I recognize that my perfectionism was fucking up relationships. Not even just romantic relationships, but just relationships in general, because I always had an idea of how I wanted something to play out in my mind. Like, "This is going to happen this way," and I'll get so fucked up if things didn't go according to plan. It would just throw off everything, my mood that night, everything. It was just the worst. I'm happy that I'm in recovery because I'm now able to let shit ride, let shit slide, and also just appreciate...
Erica: So, old Erica would have definitely... Well, old Erica probably wouldn't have popped an edible at fucking eight in the morning.
Kenrya: Whatever time in the morning. Yeah.
Erica: But I definitely would have been really fucked up. It worked out, we were able to reschedule, and I laid around staring at the ceiling for the rest of the fucking day.
Kenrya: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:30:04].
Erica: So, how does your perfectionism affect your relationships?
Kenrya: Well, so what it used to affect... the way that it used to affect me was more big picture. So, not necessarily "This is how I wanted this day to go," or that kind of thing, but more like, "This is the plan that I have for my life, and this is the way that these things are supposed to go. So, I am supposed to graduate undergrad this time, start grad school, finish, get into a relationship, be together for this number of years, then get married, then be together for this amount of time. Then get pregnant." All of this stuff. I had this whole fucking life planned.
Kenrya: For the most part, I did actually work the plan, but the problem was that my shit imploded, and it was really a reckoning for me to understand that you can plan whatever the fuck you want, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't guarantee you happiness. It doesn't bring you joy, it doesn't necessarily. And that you can put everything down to the tiniest little bit in terms of what your plan is going to be, but it doesn't guarantee you anything. That was a really difficult thing for me to learn.
Kenrya: Because getting divorced and all of that, it was a wonderful decision. It was exactly what I should have done when I did it. I should have done it before that. But that wasn't tough, that part wasn't difficult. Separating from my ex-husband wasn't the hard part, emotionally, whatever. It was the fact that I had had this plan, and my plan had failed, and that I needed to come up with a new plan.
Erica: Do you think that you look back and you're like, "Okay, now I need to recognize that having an outline is good, but..." I think this is why I'm so against a list, because I don't want to be so set on the list that I miss out on everything else. I don't want to be so caught up in, does this hit the list, that there's something that's not on the list that I should have been looking for that was a red flag.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's like going to the grocery store and realizing that you need some ketchup, and it's not on your list and be like, "I can't get it, it's not on my list."
Erica: Exactly, exactly. So, yeah. That's definitely how I was in terms of perfectionism. Also, you can't think of everything. I am the type of person where I have plans A through Z, I definitely have plans A through Z, but then plan 12K star, asterisk, exclamation point shows up, well, problem star exclamation point shows up, and I am like, "What the fuck?" So, I've learned to ease up on this perfectionism and just make a plan to just wing it some... not wing it, but like, "We'll fill this out. We'll figure it out as we go along."
Kenrya: Yeah. I think what happened with me is I swung the other way. So, I went from, "Oh, I've got this plan," to, "Oh, I don't have a plan at all." I refused to plan because it felt too stifling. So, for like two years after my divorce, I just felt very unmoored. I refer to it as a time of transition. In some ways, I realized it in the moment, but really I got it once I had decided that, "Oh, okay, I'm ready to start figuring out what's next." I wasn't writing. I didn't write any books during that time because I just didn't feel-
Erica: You didn't?
Kenrya: Mm-mm (negative). I didn't write any books during that time. I had put out two before then. I just stopped because I didn't feel like I could devote that amount of energy, or that amount of time because once you start writing a book, you're on like a two-year trajectory. I just didn't feel like I could dedicate myself to anything like that at that time, because I wasn't in a space where I could plan anymore because my shit had fallen apart.
Kenrya: I realized, in hindsight, that I had moved a couple of times, I didn't put my art up anywhere. I didn't turn any of the houses where I was living into a home. All of that was a manifestation of me not feeling like I could create any plans. A lot of it mostly was probably just I didn't trust myself.
Erica: But I don't think that there's anything wrong in having that period.
Kenrya: No, I think it was useful.
Erica: Yeah, I think-
Kenrya: Because therapy also loomed really large in that time, and it helped me to get to a place where I could trust myself and did feel like I could start if not creating a life plan, plotting some points I wanted to hit along the way.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. I think about coming out of divorce and coming out of just shit, I definitely had a period where I was just existing, just kind of wherever, whatever. I think most women coming out of divorce go through that where they all know bald head, hoe shit. Bald head, hoe shit. FYI, as soon as the outside opens back up, I will be on my bald head, hoe shit. Anyway, I think it's valuable having that period where you're not just like bam, bam, bam, what's next.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:35:38].
Erica: Because you have to just... it allows you to just feel and figure things out. Because when I was going through that period, I learned a little bit more about myself, and what I like to do, what I'll deal with, what I want. So, I definitely think that it was definitely the complete swing of the pendulum. Because I'm the type of person, I have routines, this is what I do on this day, this is what I do on that day, and that kind of stuff. They ain't do none of that. It was like I'd wake up on a Saturday and be like, "Who's house I'm going to go sit at and not do anything?" But I think it was valuable. Looking back, it taught me a lot.
Erica: Okay. So, this story is based during one of my favorite times at a year, Christmas. For me, I'm not even really big into Christmas day. It's just the season leading up to it is just so special to me. I love getting the tree. I love decorating. I love blasting all my Christmas Black music, and making my son untangle lights with me. It's just...
Erica: So, Alexis... Is that her name?
Erica: My bad.
Kenrya: As she takes another sip of her drink. I wish I could drink though, they look really good.
Erica: They are. Anika really resonated with me in that sense, where she was really into Christmas, but at the same time, there was a lot of change happening in her family. So, she wasn't going to be able to do Christmas the way that she normally did.
Erica: I really struggled with that for a while, especially with a child, because with my family, Christmas is a big... well, with my family, particularly when my mom who passed away five years ago, Christmas was a big deal. Yeah, it's been five years. Christmas was a big deal. We would do all of the things, and then we'd go to granny's house on Christmas morning, open gifts, and have brunch, which was like breakfast thanksgiving. It was just a really big deal.
Erica: So, living here in the DC area, so far away from everyone, forced me to reevaluate, how does Chrimas look? I call this Chrimas. It caused me to reevaluate how Christmas looks. I'm still trying to figure that out, me and my son. We do a little different every year, and some things stick, some things don't, but I thought it was really nice how Christina made that a part of the story. Because Anika, her family was really big into Christmas. She was really big into Christmas, but this year, her mom and daddy was like, "We're going to go on a cruise." Her mama was pretty much in so many words like, "I'm going to be dicked down on Christmas day, and you figure that shit out." [crosstalk 00:39:06].
Kenrya: Remember we were supposed to go on a cruise for Christmas last year?
Erica: Bitch, we were like-
Kenrya: Thank God we didn't go.
Erica: We had in our head, like we're going to take the kids on a Disney cruise for Christmas, and our asses would've still been stuck out at somebody's-
Kenrya: In somebody's [crosstalk 00:39:19] in Florida. Thank God we didn't go.
Erica: Oh, honey, look at God. Look at God. Look at God.
Erica: With our family, holidays are a big thing anyway. It's funny because we recently had the 4th of July... I don't even call it Independence Day, it's 4th of July.
Kenrya: Because who's independent?
Erica: It's literally 4th of July. The negro holiday of barbecue-
Kenrya: Fireworks and barbecue.
Erica: ... and fireworks. Killa just laughed because she was just like, "I love that you enjoy this holiday as much as you do." Part of it is just because it's a family thing. So, even here, we went and bought a whole bunch of firecrackers. I woke up on the 4th of July, overhearing my brother telling my son, "Well, you know it ain't the 4th of July if you ain't worried about losing an appendage." I was like, "Oh, so we're doing that out here too?" But anyway, so, I'm like-
Kenrya: You indoctrinated my child into fireworks because we had never done it. You know I mean my shit.
Erica: She literally came over and was like, "You got some more fireworks?" And made me pop the last of the ones we had.
Kenrya: She was really sad when she came home on the fifth, she was like, "Did they do fireworks without me?" I was like, "Yes. Yes, they did. But you also had been doing them with your auntie for more than a week. It's okay." I was like, "That's why I did them ahead of time. It's okay."
Erica: Yeah. It's one of the things that we do. Now that I'm older, I look back, and I think about how I felt as a kid. So, I always want to replicate that with my son. So, yeah, we do it, and I hope he looks back finally and be like, "Me and my uncle wake up super early and go outside, and pop fireworks while he was drinking beer, and grilling." I hope that your child thinks about it the same way, like, "My mom would drop me off at my Auntie Munch house, and we would just pop fireworks, and I watched her get drunk," or whatever.
Erica: I thought it was really great how she brought in the Christmas aspect of it all. I noticed with you, Killa, you're not quite that way. Even the holidays that are your holidays are like your holidays because you're like, "We ain't going nowhere. We're going to watch movies."
Kenrya: I am a little lone Wolf. I don't know. I like to... I don't know. I like to be quiet. I like to use holidays as a time to just be peaceful and not be running around. Probably because when I was a kid, we would spend them running from house to house, like grandma house, auntie house, other auntie house, uncle house. We would have to do the rounds and see everybody, because all my family was still in Cleveland. Now as an adult, I want to do the exact opposite. I just like to stay in my house. I don't want to be bothered.
Kenrya: That's not always true. Like we did Christmas Eve at one of our friend's house. I like stuff like that, small groups where we can just go and be somewhere, and the kids can play, and the adults can play. We can pass around fat babies and stuff like that. That's fun to me in small groups that don't involve a bunch of strangers. Because you know how I feel about strangers. Because even their friend I liked them via strangers, but at this point, we know all those people, so they're not strangers no more. But I like to chill. On the 4th, you saw me for two seconds when I was leaving to try to go get some food.
Erica: Well, it works out because your child is a lot like me and my family in a sense where she's like, "It's a holiday, I'm going to put on an outfit-
Kenrya: Turn up.
Erica: ... and we're going to turn up." So, she can just skid out on her little tail on over here, and do that.
Kenrya: Usually, to bring it back to Christmas, and part of, I think, why I've become a little bit more entrenched in this with regards to Christmas is that, typically, my daughter goes with her dad on Christmas. So, Thanksgiving is my holiday. We may have an agreement to say she's supposed to switch, but fuck that, it's mine. So, she's with me all day Thanksgiving, everyone understands and respects that. We watch musicals. We bake pies. We eat our not traditional meal.
Kenrya: Yes. Or fried fish, or something. Then, for Christmas, we do one gift on Christmas Eve, we do gifts in the morning. We do have tradition where we get breakfast.
Erica: We all go to breakfast together.
Kenrya: Then, she goes to her dad's. So, it's always just been a respite for me. I like to spend a day laying around and not doing a whole lot, and watching movies. [crosstalk 00:44:20] that day.
Erica: Yeah. See, I feel like kids... This is because this is how I grew up, but I feel like Christmas, you're supposed to see all your cousins and show them your toys, you see their toys, that kind of thing. Because my kid's an only child, and all of our family is in another place, I usually spend Christmas morning playing Beyblades or learning how to do some Roblox activity, or something like that.
Kenrya: Then that spills over into brunch, and then my kid goes on her own. But that's why she goes, because my ex-husband's family is here.
Erica: They're being-
Kenrya: So, I want her to have that experience. Yeah. I want her to be with her cousins in somebody's basement all day, and that kind of thing.
Erica: Yeah. Well, my child will be somewhere smoking hookah and tipping in some bartender if he was spending it with his daddy.
Kenrya: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: So, yeah, there's that.
Kenrya: You know your audience.
Erica: Because we're The Turn On one, let's talk about the sex. I'll be very honest, I couldn't read too much of this sex scene because baby, this pussy of mine is like this. It is dry, and dusty, and there are cobwebs in this motherfucker. This quarantine has been so horrible with my [coupap 00:45:57]. My coupap has just been... Anyway, this was a great sex scene. I couldn't read too much of it because honey, I read it and just start it, and then I pull out Jerome, and then I'd fall asleep. I'd be like, "Oh, shit. [crosstalk 00:46:21] my phone."
Kenrya: Does that mean Christina did her job?
Erica: Yeah, she did her job very well, but I thought it was really cute. The scene that you read, when they first had sex, I thought it was really cute that it was like, "Oh, you left your Bobby pin here and I need to make sure you get it because you're going to need a Bobby pin tomorrow morning."
Kenrya: Right. So, let me in.
Erica: Have you played those games?
Kenrya: It just makes me think, again, you still haven't fucking watched “Love Jones.”
Erica: And I won't now.
Kenrya: Come on, B. I just want to come up and talk. It's a classic line, and you don't know it.
Erica: I've experienced it, not down... No, mm-mm (negative).
Kenrya: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. Definitely not coming from me because I'm very direct about sex.
Erica: Hey, come put that dick over here. Swing that dick this way.
Kenrya: My partner, the other day, I went and gathered materials and threw him on the bed. He was like, "Really, bitch? Is this your game?"
Erica: I get hit in the head with a bottle of lube, and that's it?
Kenrya: I literally threw lube, and a toy, and a towel on the bed. He's like, "Oh, this is your game?" I was like, "Listen, I asked you how you wanted me to approach if I needed to warm you up, or if I could just say it or whatever. You said you didn't care. So, this is what it is today. Let's get it." That's all I had.
Erica: You didn't need a warmup, I'm telling you. So, yeah, I don't have time to pussy foot around this pussy.
Kenrya: Exactly. I'd be tired, so let's get it before I fall asleep. This is really the thing. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah. Okay. Well, I have done that bullshit, and I have... I don't even want to say I've fallen for the bullshit, but I recognize the bullshit and be like, "All right, come on."
Kenrya: Let me just go ahead and... Yeah, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. I left my durag at your house. All right.
Kenrya: Sure. Come on, come get it.
Erica: Yeah, I definitely... I miss having to sleep in my durag.
Kenrya: That might've been a thing at some point when I was living in New York, once I was not in long distance relationships maybe. I don't fucking know, the 20s are blur.
Erica: Bitch, yes. Bitch, yes. Yeah. But I just thought, I was like... This is why I love this story because Christina uses really... you can tell she's writing for us. She has really great dialogue. She has really good just situations and scenarios that-
Kenrya: It just rings very true.
Erica: Yeah. It's just like, yeah, I'd done that, I've experienced it, I'd seen folks do it. Like, "Ooh, you left his box top. I know you care about your kid getting... his school getting him 73 cents." "Okay, I'm drunk on my way home from the club, but I'll get an Uber over there to make sure you get your box top." 15 minutes later...
Erica: Also, Royal... First, can we just go back a pulse, a beat? Let's go back a beat. Okay. First, this nail is driving me crazy. I slammed a door and my nail fell off, but now I'm embracing these press-on nails. So, I have bright fluorescent orange nails.
Kenrya: I really like them.
Erica: Nine of them.
Kenrya: Yeah. That's okay. That's okay.
Erica: But I talk with my hands, so I keep seeing this nub. It's like sexy, sexy, sexy, nub.
Kenrya: You gonna find somebody who loves that nub.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, he can come... Anyway, let me quit. Honey, I'm so hard up for some sex. Okay. Royal was fine. She wrote this... I could just see him being fine.
Kenrya: Yeah, I see him in my head too. But I'm so annoyed by him that I can't even lean into the fineness.
Erica: He was such a... I think he realized that he struck a nerve with her. So, he was like, "Oh, I struck a nerve, and that's where it is? I'm going to plug that motherfucker every time I see you."
Erica: So, yeah, he was a jerk. See, this is me falling for the brainwash or the patriarchy. I'm like, he was annoying and a sweet, come put your tongue in my pussy kind of way.
Kenrya: No, he aggravated me, but I got it. Eventually, he is able to say how he feels, and blah, blah, blah, and not just be the little boy pulling her pigtail. So, I guess. The problem is I would have never got there.
Erica: You would be like, "Okay, I'm done." So, this fine nigga had her cumming. Not once, not twice, but three times a lady. Was it three times?
Kenrya: Yeah. She was like, that was impossible because she couldn't even really get... she could barely get two on her own. So, the idea of hitting three with this raggedy nigga...
Erica: Do you have multiple orgasms, or are you a one-and-done kind of girl?
Kenrya: Oh, no, I'm a-
Erica: Is this too personal to ask?
Kenrya: No, I can't stop. I just keep cumming.
Erica: I have baby ones, and then I have like a monster one, and my hair will grow like three inches, and then I will be like... The thing is-
Kenrya: So, I have a monster, and then I have babies, and then the babies have babies, and [inaudible 00:52:20] you're a grandma by the time it's all done.
Erica: Yeah. I have like... Because the thing is, my monster one usually finishes it off. Because by the time it's the monster one, I'm sweaty and spent, and like, "You saw I was cumming, if you ain't felt like it was your time..." It's like Double Dutch. "Nigga, you had an opening.
Kenrya: Jump in.
Erica: "If you ain't feel like you needed to jump in, then...
Kenrya: Sorry for you.
Erica: "... sorry. You should have saw it coming."
Kenrya: That's funny.
Erica: So, I did this class, and it was called the 15 myths of men and sex, or 15 myths men believe about sex.
Kenrya: This is part of your sex educator...
Erica: Yeah. It was very binary. I will begin with that, but one of the things that they noted was that... There was this guy, he wrote this book, and had asked guys all these questions about sex. It was like this in-depth... See, I need to work on explaining shit to people because this is my explanation. So, it was this in-depth study about men and sex, and asking them tons of questions. But the guy that taught the class, he was like, "I'm really interested in these questions about men, and sexuality, and attraction around other men." Does that make sense?
Erica: So, he talked about how like in sports, this is supposed to be so hetero, but they're always patting each other on the butt when they get naked in a locker room, that kind of thing. Like Circle Jerks, and shit like that.
Kenrya: The shit that some people like to call homoerotic, but it's just another natural expression of-
Erica: Of sexuality. So, one of the things... So, they interviewed a bunch of men, and one of the things that man said, and I might've said this on the podcast before, men are so worried about making sure that women cum that when a man sees a woman having an orgasm, then they can let go and be like, "Oh, okay, my job is done. Now I can enjoy myself." So, knowing that now, I'm even more like, "Look, bro, I came about two, three times before my big mama cum comes." Big mama cum comes.
Kenrya: Take advantage.
Erica: So, you saw it come once, and I kept going, that's the Double Dutch going... You saw it come again. Look, if you don't jump in and get yours before mine comes, I'm about to pack these telephone wires away and go home. Did y'all used to play Double Dutch with telephone wires?
Kenrya: We sure did in the street with no shoes on.
Erica: Because they're the perfect-
Kenrya: We Black at the end of the day.
Erica: They're the perfect...
Kenrya: Except if you didn't to get hit because some shits hurt.
Erica: Some shits hurt. Also-
Kenrya: Yeah, and I was never good at Double Dutching.
Erica: I was about to say the same thing. I was never going to Double Dutching. We should do that one day.
Kenrya: What? Double Dutch?
Erica: Just go outside and play.
Kenrya: Bitch, I could barely do it when I was a kid. I can jump.
Erica: Yeah, we should just go outside and jump rope. We're '80s babies. I remember they used to show them videos of the Black girls in Harlem doing a Double Dutch competition.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and the high socks and little shorts.
Erica: I'd be like, "Damn-
Kenrya: Now I feel bad.
Erica: ... we ain't got this culture in St. Louis."
Kenrya: We used to jump in the street in front of my granddaddy house. Like I said, no shoes. You would wrap the cord around, behind your back.
Erica: Yeah. I could turn because-
Kenrya: I'd turn.
Erica: I didnn't want to be left out. I just couldn't jump. I'd be like, "Doug, you jump. Just keep giving me the tea. Now what did I say about that boy?"
Erica: Okay. I'm sorry. So, back to orgasms. Look, you did have your chance to jump in. If you ain't trying to jump in, when this last one come, I'm done."
Kenrya: Wait, Once you come, you're out? You don't keep going?
Erica: I come a lot, but once I get-
Kenrya: Once you have your-
Erica: ... my big one, nigga, I ain't no good. I'm going to lay there, and I'm going to let you... if you feel like you need to, but you gotta be comfortable with fucking a fish because I'm over here like-
Erica: ... boneless. Call me Chili's because I am a boneless chicken nugget, wing, whatever.
Kenrya: I don't understand the reference.
Erica: Chili's has the boneless wings. But anyway, or call me BW3s, whatever. Anyway, you got what I'm saying. Yeah. I take my ball and go home. I remember I was having a threesome and like, nigga, I came so hard, and I was like, "All right, y'all have fun. I'm going to go fix something for me to eat." They was like, "Damn, you took your ball and went home?" Nigga, read the room. You should've been like, "Oh, things are about to happen. Let me get mine." If you didn't, not my problem. I'm such a selfish lover.
Kenrya: Maybe it helps because of the order of mine. So, we had the big one, and then this like after... well, they're not aftershocks. They're their own full on orgasms. I don't know. Yeah. Once that's come, I just keep going. But I usually need a bit of a... just let me breathe for a second, and I can keep it going.
Erica: Okay, you don't fuck fat guys. I do.
Kenrya: I do not.
Erica: Bitch, I've had... Girl, I be like, "Nigga, you gotta get up off of me." I try to understand because I'm not really into holding my own body weight up either. Nigga, I get it, but we get to a point... I need to stop drinking. We get to a point, I'm like, "Look, bro, you gotta figure this shit out because you're too heavy for all it is." How did we end up here?
Kenrya: I don't know. Oh, Lord. I don't remember.
Erica: Well, speaking of fucking fat guys and laying your body weight on a nigga, let's turn to our segment called, What's Turning Us On?
Kenrya: Oh, I was like, where the fuck are you going with this?
Erica: Okay. So, for this segment, we always like to talk about something that's turning us on this week. Something that we like to use around sex, eroticism, romanticism. So, Kila, you take it.
Kenrya: Sure. So, what's turning us on this week is the Liberator Wedge. I remember seeing it for a long time. It would come up when I would do various searches for various things. It's always advertised on the sites. But it never felt like, okay, it's a wedge, I got pillows. I don't know, one day I was just looking for some things to, "Oh, maybe we could do some different positions, or we could... this kind thing." I felt like, "Oh, maybe a wedge is good for changing it up." Because sometimes just the slightest little variation of an angle can mean a difference between you cumming in two minutes and you cumming in 20 minutes because-
Erica: Also, I don't like fucking on my pillows.
Kenrya: Yeah. Because especially if you're sweating, that pillowcase is not enough of a barrier.
Erica: You literally got like just a pussy sweat socked pillow. Continue.
Kenrya: Exactly. So, one of the things that I like about this wedge is that it has a removable fabric, like a pillowcase. It's easy to get on, it's easy to get off. So, you literally use it, it gets wet, that's okay. You take it off, you toss it in the washing machine, and you put it back on and it's good as new. Because it's so thick, the actual pillow itself doesn't get wet. So, there's no clunkiness.
Erica: No juices.
Kenrya: Yeah, no lingering juiciness. It's just really good for, I think, making slight adjustments. We don't use it very frequently. But if you're in a space where... I've taken this to hotels before where it adjusted the bed height to where I needed it to be.
Erica: Wait. Y'all travel with this pillow?
Kenrya: We travel with a lot of stuff.
Erica: I definitely have my dick kit. Especially when I'm on some bald head, hoe shit, bald head, hoe shit, and I'm traveling, I got my shit, but it's a small compact-
Kenrya: This is a car trip.
Erica: ... discrete bags. Still, I cannot imagine pulling up-
Kenrya: It has its own little case.
Erica: ... to Howard Johnson's, to the HoJo's with my-
Kenrya: We ain't in no HoJo. But this is when we went to that resort. Anyway, it has it's own little case.
Erica: Oh, yeah. I'm like, "Resort?" Yeah, that resort. Okay. Yeah.
Kenrya: I don't think you would really necessarily know what it was. It crunches down. It's discrete as it can be, you know what I'm saying? Whatever. [crosstalk 01:01:53].
Erica: Who fucking cares? Yeah.
Kenrya: But yeah, it's good for making small shifts and for visibility.
Erica: I could see you drawing a picture in your mind.
Kenrya: Yeah. So, if you are someone who has ever wanted to get into a different position and had trouble holding yourself up, it can be really good for folks who have disabilities that make it hard to hold their body weight up.
Erica: It would also be good for filming.
Kenrya: Yeah, that's why I said visibility. Yeah. It'd be really good for increasing visibility for various things. Also, even if you don't have trouble, if you lean over it, it could be really good for holding you up for any type of a rear entry position, that kind of thing. Then they have various sizes, and you can put them together like building blocks to hold up various parts of your body. I think it's a really good disability tool, but it's also a good positioning for anybody who wants it or needs it. I really enjoy it. I like that it's easy to clean.
Erica: Yeah, that's always key.
Kenrya: Exactly. So, y'all can find information about that on our website in the show notes for this episode. You can click the link and purchase your own.
Erica: Yes, please. Okay. So, with that said, I think that wraps up this episode of The Turn On. This is Erica and Kenrya. Two hoes making it clap.
Kenrya: Two hoes making it clap.
Erica: We did it the same time the first time, but it wasn't loud.
Kenrya: Bye, y'all.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support The Turn On and get on. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five-star review and you'll be entered to win one of the things that's turning us on. To enter, just post your review and email a screenshot of it to email@example.com. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today, and you'll access lots of goodies, including The Turn On book club, and two-for-one raffle entries. Don't forget to send us your book recommendations and sex and related questions. Follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod, and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you soon. Bye.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to guest Tracy about finding love within your friend group, staying grounded on the hard days and the importance of sowing your royal oats.
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Erica: So Kenrya, guess what?
Erica: We have our first patron on Patreon!
Kenrya: Aw shit!
Erica: Look at that. Look at that. Look at that. And not only is this just the first patron, this is the first patron at the highest level.
Kenrya: What's that level? That's the... oh, We Go Together.
Erica: We Go Together.
Erica: I ain't getting rid of you, you ain't getting rid of me level.
Kenrya: I love it.
Erica: So shout out to our good friend of the show, always supportive, Stephanie.
Kenrya: Hey, thank you so much.
Erica: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is kind of the equivalent of yo mama always supporting you. You know how they be like, "She sold four copies of her album."
Erica: Her mama, her brother, her sister, and herself.
Erica: But Stephanie, thank you for being amazing and supporting the show, as always.
Kenrya: Hopefully the first of many.
Erica: The first of many.
Kenrya: Y'all follow Stephanie's lead and head over to Patreon and support The Turn On.
Erica: Yes. If you want to hear your name on this show, please support us at the $15 a month level.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: And with that, let's get started with the show.
Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Tracy, pronouns, she and her. Tracy is a 39-year-old cisgender heterosexual woman from the Midwest. Yes, ma'am.
Kenrya: She's a mother and program manager and she's here to talk about what happens when friends with benefits turns into forever ever.
Kenrya: Tracy is a pseudonym, so don't be trying to find her.
Tracy: Don't be looking for me.
Kenrya: Tracy, thanks so much for coming.
Tracy: Thank you for having me.
Erica: So last week we read an excerpt from the novella “Benefriends,” which features a couple that started out as friends, and then they morphed into lovers. What's your current relationship status?
Tracy: Married like a mug. Extra, extra permanent.
Kenrya: How long y'all been together?
Tracy: Since 2009.
Kenrya: That's a long ass time.
Tracy: It's a long, long time.
Kenrya: I ain't never been with nobody that long.
Tracy: Listen, I don't recommend it.
Erica: My barber maybe? Like, the fuck.
Kenrya: Shit, I don't even think I had any service providers for that long because I switched cities.
Tracy: I've been on-
Erica: Cell phone-
Tracy: A serial monogamous person.
Kenrya: Cell phone. Yeah, I was serial monogamous too. But the problem with my serial monogamy was that I just didn't want to be by myself, so there's that. That was only in hindsight, and I recognize that.
Tracy: And that's funny how that works, because now I'm like, "I just want to be by myself, want some time to myself."
Kenrya: There is that because you have how many children?
Tracy: Two children.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that's a real ass thing right there.
Tracy: Yeah, the struggle is real.
Kenrya: So as our listeners have probably ascertained, you're married to somebody who you were friends with before y'all got together. So tell us the story of how that happened.
Tracy: So what had happened was-
Erica: All good stories start like that.
Tracy: So lots of mutual friends ... so my friends all went to school with my husband from about third grade through 12th grade. So, I met those friends in college, so they were already friends beforehand. So I joined the friend group and immediately, once we all came together as friends, everybody immediately wanted to hook us up. But I was-
Kenrya: Why is that?
Tracy: They thought we some similarities with ethnicities and such, without sharing too much. But they thought that we would make a good match, just our personalities, very laid back. They just thought, immediately, y'all need to be together. However, I was busy sowing my royal oats at the time and was not interested-
Erica: As all women should-
Kenrya: Yes, royal oats. Listen, I fell asleep to “Coming to America” last night.
Tracy: Yes, I was on a serious mission. So this was like, I was about to move to New York, one of my dream cities that I always wanted to live in, and I already knew that I was about to be just hot in the streets. And so I was like, "No. We will be friends. We will keep it that way." And I was just also worried about the whole friendship circle, I was like, "I don't want to mess it up." I'm trying to sow my royal oats. I know I'm not right, right now. So we just remained friends, and we were those friends that were just always showing up for our friends when they got married or if they were having baby showers and parties. We were the two cool friends that show up and come with libations and hang out, so we kept it friends for many years.
Erica: So you kind of touched on this, where you said you were hesitant to mess up the friendship circle. In the book we read, the two characters, Shad and Aisha, they are similar to you, a part of a big group of friends and they were hesitant to start anything because they were like, "If shit goes down south then we fucking up the whole groove of the group." Obviously that was a concern. When did you overcome that and was just like, "Fuck it"?
Tracy: So after I sowed my royal oats and got burned out, I was literally in therapy-
Kenrya: These niggas-
Tracy: Listen, I was out done, okay? I was like, "Wow, everybody is just trash-"
Tracy: I am taking a break from dating from ... I'm just like, "I think I might just be single. I need to find myself." I had just started therapy, I was like, "Yes, this is such a good space to be in." I was weaning myself off all the penis, I was like, "I'm done."
Tracy: And then had been doing therapy for a couple of months and then went to one of those good friend's wedding in Mexico. And the things that I was interested in a year or two before, they just seemed so frivolous.
Tracy: And now, all of a sudden I was like, "Ooh, stability and non-triflingness-
Kenrya: These got jobs?
Tracy: ... and a strong circle of friends who I also like. Jobs, employee, traveling freely." All of these things looked extra sexy under the Mexican sun where we were for this wedding.
Tracy: So I was in a very different place and I was just like ... I placed a high value in that moment, I think, on ... and it's debatable with myself if it was too much of a value, but I really placed the high value on trust and having a relationship with somebody or just embarking on what could be with somebody who was already connected to a circle of people who I trust and who I know would look out for me and just not recommended-
Erica: They already did the vetting.
Tracy: They already did the vetting and I had already known this person. So I was like, "This is safe territory."
Erica: Okay, cool.
Kenrya: So besides the fact that I have never actually wanted to fuck any of my friends. I haven't. Look at Erica face though. She like, "I think I have."
Erica: I'm like ...
Tracy: But I find that-
Kenrya: Bitch, I know you fucked your friends.
Erica: You got a lot of friends.
Kenrya: I do and I ... Okay. I can think of two friends who I fucked and neither one of those situations was a good situation.
Kenrya: Yeah. In general, it's not a thing that I want to do. And also, in one of those, it was absolutely just a one-night stand, it was never going anywhere.
Kenrya: Another one of the reasons that I have rarely gotten involved with people who I counted as my friends is because I know way too much about them. Was that ever a consideration or a possible barrier when you were thinking about getting with your now husband?
Tracy: No, because he tricked me because ... he was always the quiet, kind of reserved homie in the group, so it's hard to describe, but I was like, "Oh, he's kind of like a little mystery, kind of hard to figure out-
Erica: Because that group is a lot of large personalities.
Tracy: A lot of large personality personalities. And this person, my husband's personality, was like completely like zero, just chill, all the time. So it kind of made me be like, "Oh, I kind of ... and I can be a lot sometimes. I'm much more chill now, but I'm on all the time. So for me, I was like, "Oh." I was trying to get to know him. I was like, "Who are you? Who are you?" It was interesting because I was learning a lot of stuff out that he hadn't shared with a lot of the friends in that circle, surprisingly, over a long time.
Erica: Okay. So how do you think having a foundation as friends positively impacts your marriage?
Tracy: I think ... I mean, I recognize not all friends with benefits have a circle that they ... I don't know. Everybody's like, "Oh, a friend is like a part of a larger friend group." Sometimes it's just your one friend. But for us, because we had that circle, I feel like we had a group of people kind of always rooting for us, which is helpful when you embark on marriage because you have so many moments where you're like, "Um, is this shit worth it? Like, I'm about to call it quits." Right?
Tracy: And so it's helpful to have some objective friends that'll just listen and that'll be like, "You know what, do what you need to do. I'm hearing you out and remember why y'all first got together" or-
Kenrya: Friends of your marriage. Right?
Kenrya: People who want you to succeed together.
Tracy: Want to see you ... exactly. So I think that's been amazing to have, and it's also been helpful for me to also remember when shit gets hard, where I'm like, "Remember? Remember how all this started when we was like all one big group of friends, just hanging out, we didn't have all these responsibilities?" So I think that's really the big piece for me, but to keep it real, a lot of it too is more so on just the disappointments of like, "Okay, we're in this large circle and we're friends and so forth," but then when things, aren't where you want them to be in the marriage, I think you kind of look at that friendship a lot harder, whereas like, "Okay, is this friendly?" Like, "Friends, remember? We go way, way, way back, like what's happening here?" So ...
Erica: So on the other side of the coin, do you think that there are ways that having this friendship as a foundation negatively impacts the marriage?
Tracy: I think sometimes I think so. And it could just be how everybody handles things differently. Right? So I can only speak from my experience, but for me, I think when shit gets hard, I pull on that friendship piece and try to think about, "Remember why this all started?" And sometimes I feel like that that's not necessarily focusing on the now, like on the right here, right now versus this history, right?
Tracy: Yeah. This nostalgic, kind of like what we used to be and who we were versus now who we are, two tired ass parents working in the middle of a pandemic in this tiny ass space looking at each other and it's hard. And so sometimes I think that piece, and then I do think about our friendship circle, right? And when I get frustrated around, "Am I going to be the one that's going to defect? Like ..."
Erica: [inaudible 00:11:32]
Tracy: My shit going to blow up first. But I think about those pieces where ... it skews the reality sometimes, or it's just extra shit. Where it's like, "You know what, Tracy, what is it that you feel right now? Like, what's happening right now?" And just shut all of that out.
Kenrya: Right. That actually leads to my next question, which is what have you found really works in your relationship to keep in touch with each other through the highs and the lows, both right now in the middle of a fucking pandemic and just in general? Because 10 years is a long ass time.
Tracy: Drugs, alcohol, no-
Kenrya: Yes ma'am.
Erica: Bitch. Let's keep it all the way for real, for real.
Tracy: Let's keep it real. Honestly, that every blue moon it's like, hey, quarterly, semiannually, let's put something on the books like vacations, just having time to connect and get away from this ... I mean the daily grind is so exhausting.
Tracy: Oddly enough, too, when I think about things that have happened over the years, I would say, also tragedies have kind of brought us together and kind of made us remember the reasons why we got together.
Erica: So what do you do to be in touch with yourself and your body in the midst of being a present partner and a present parent?
Tracy: All the things. Yoga at home now, meditation apps, reading positive affirmations. I follow all the Black therapists on Instagram. Anything that I can get that really just reminds me of my relationship with myself. I think being in a long-term marriage, one of the things that has really made very clear to me is yes, being friends helps and so forth, but the first relationship is with myself. And so I think for me, it's just keeping myself grounded and really just trusting my instincts more and just recognizing, some days I feel crappy, some days I feel great, and just kind of leaning into that without apologizing for it.
Erica: That's really dope.
Kenrya: Yeah. So, you mentioned earlier about how y'all work in the little space together. I'm wondering how the pandemic has impacted your dynamic when it comes to intimacy, both with your partner and with your children because there's a lot of different types of intimacy and I feel like being trapped got something to do with that.
Tracy: Yes, honey. It is completely throwing the vibes off because all day long it feels literally like I'm pulled in 25 different directions. So it takes me twice as long just to do one task that I would normally do at work in a shorter amount of time because I'm also getting somebody some food, getting somebody a snack, helping somebody wipe their butt and then coming back to do a video meeting, all the while ... and as being a mother, both of us, my husband and I can be sitting at the table, but both kids will constantly only come to me, and so it feels like I'm sitting on the other side of the table, like "This motherfucker get a full day of work?"
Erica: This nigga right here.
Tracy: No interruptions. I be sitting there like, "Come on girl." And that's when all my calm stuff got to come in because I be like, "thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking a lot of thoughts." So it just builds up a lot of resentment throughout the day, sometimes, because I feel like I'm taking on the brunt of the work. And so that's when the friendship stuff comes in, where I be like, "Again, this is not friendly. Like, what the fuck?" So having to have those conversations every so often as ... and then it just throws intimacy off. Like for me, my love language is like, help me clean up. Help me take care of the kids, just help ...
Kenrya: Be an equal partner.
Tracy: Be an equal partner. Help me not feel like a maid that's exhausted at the end of the day, and then I'm supposed to get sexy? And want to be intimate?
Kenrya: This don't make my pussy wet.
Erica: [inaudible 00:15:53] titties.
Tracy: This make me dry. Okay? I'm like, "You about to get this headscarf and turn to the side and good night."
Kenrya: And you earned it.
Tracy: You earned it. You worked so hard to earn that shit. Terrible. And then enter drugs and alcohol. Sike, no. No, but enter just me, honestly, just being like, "Okay, this cycle has to stop. What actions can I do to change this shit?" And then usually I will work on my mood, go exercise or some shit, and then I'll be horny and then life will be better for a short amount of time.
Kenrya: Exercise is underrated for that. When I finished working out, I feel strong. I feel great about myself and I want to fuck. Immediately.
Erica: No, for real. You have blood flowing to all your parts, not just your head and your limbs, but to all your parts.
Erica: So I think people fail to realize that getting that blood moving will get-
Kenrya: [inaudible 00:16:55].
Erica: [inaudible 00:16:56] moving.
Tracy: It sure is. I was like, "Whoa, okay, let me just get my workout on." But otherwise, I get into this depleted space where I'm just like, "I just don't have the energy for it." And it's just ... so I think, again, but normally once we get out of our world and this small last apartment, we also just on top of each other, right? And focusing on everything, how you chew, how you move, why you sit that there. "What are you doing?!" It becomes ridiculous, where I'm like, "We need to go visit some people. We need to get out." So just mixing it up, I find ... and just having something to work towards. Just having a goal together. We need that shit to lighten the mood and just kind of keep us moving forward. I know some couples do all kinds of shit and I'm like, "That's not us, but we need to start doing that."
Kenrya: You got to do what you can when you can.
Kenrya: It's not like there's not a whole bunch of shit going on in the world right now.
Erica: A whole bunch of shit.
Tracy: A lot. It's heavy.
Kenrya: Yeah. A lot of it, I think just comes into granting yourself grace.
Kenrya: When you're coming up against this stuff. So kudos to y'all.
Kenrya: My next question is what does a successful marriage look like to you?
Tracy: Successful marriage looks like therapy, like therapy together as a couple. It looks like travel, just doing things together, leisure stuff in addition to just taking care of all of the responsibilities equally. It looks like just mundane, same routine. A lot of relationship and marriage is literally just somebody being able to be in that space with you day in and day out without it feeling like it's a production and work and so forth, like just being ourselves. So consistency and connection.
Erica: So you got a lot of shit going on. So I know this question, if you're like, "Look, bitch, I wish."
Kenrya: Right, [inaudible 00:19:17].
Erica: Exactly. But is there anything that you're looking forward to reading? Do you have like a, to be read pile? I have one, it's really dusty, but ...
Tracy: I have ... I just finished a book for the first time in like a year, thanks to the pandemic. It's called “Pachinko” and it's a really great book about Koreans living in Japan. It's a historical family saga. And I learned a lot about Korean, Japanese relationship, history that I didn't know about. So that was a really great book. And then my next book, I have a pile sitting right over here. If you were here, you would see. I'm just getting into “Patsy” by Nicole Dennis-Benn. So that's on my list. I'm going to get through that one next. And I have “The Water Dancer” that I want to get into, and I need to finish “Thick.” So that's my ...
Erica: All right.
Kenrya: All right. Yeah, I haven't finished “Thick” either, actually. I'm somewhere in the middle.
Erica: Okay. So I have a few rapid-fire questions. I'm just going to give you an either or, and you're going to tell me your pick. Okay? Hot or cold?
Erica: Give or receive?
Tracy: Receive, selfish. Aries.
Kenrya: Yes, Aries.
Erica: Beach or mountain?
Tracy: Beach. Mountain is dangerous.
Erica: Now, I know you, so you cannot pick "Neither" for the next one. Dog or cat?
Tracy: Oh my gosh.
Kenrya: Ugh. Yeah, neither. Lord have mercy.
Tracy: You pissing me off with this because you know I don't like no animal hair.
Kenrya: Same. Hard same. Fuck, it's gross.
Tracy: But I'll pick dog.
Erica: Last one. Country or city?
Tracy: Woo. City.
Erica: Alrighty. Alrighty. Okay. So why would you do hot over cold?
Tracy: Because I'm getting old.
Erica: And them bones don't move like they used to.
Kenrya: Mm-mm (negative). They don't like that.
Tracy: I need hot liquids to keep everything ...
Erica: Keep everything moving.
Tracy: Keep everything moving and grooving.
Kenrya: Now, I leaned back on a heating pad all day yesterday because I got old lady back.
Tracy: Listen, it ...
Erica: How'd you throw out your old lady back?
Kenrya: Why you ask so many questions?
Erica: Because I know ... it's so simple. That I want to make ...
Kenrya: I was reaching over- No. I was reaching over to the side of my bed to get my motherfucking water bottle and went, "Ooh!"
Erica: She was like, "I think I threw my back out reaching for a bottle of water." I was like ...
Tracy: Getting wild over there. Water in the bed.
Erica: I know, because you got to sleep with some water next to the bed.
Kenrya: Listen, you know I can't-
Tracy: At all times.
Kenrya: Yeah, no, ever since I was pregnant, I cannot go to sleep without water next to my bed. It's impossible.
Tracy: Yeah. I'm sitting here sweating right now, drinking a hot ass cup of coffee, but-
Kenrya: It's hot.
Tracy: ... I felt like ... because hot. I felt like I needed to start my day with a warm beverage and then it helps everything be regular.
Erica: It's wild how the older you get, the more routines you have to have.
Tracy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Like if I don't do X, Y, and Z in this particular way-
Erica: My morning's off. I have to have a glass of orange juice with my green wheat grass powder, Miralax and all my vitamins.
Tracy: You know you ain't invincible. When we was younger, we used to be like, "I don't need nothing, I'm a hold it." Remember? It's like, "I'm a hold it and not go to the bathroom in this public place." Now?
Erica: There's no shame whatsoever.
Tracy: Well, look ...
Kenrya: You know I will shit anywhere. So.
Tracy: Listen. I have joined that bandwagon very quickly. I'm routine, like, "Oh, it's time."
Kenrya: So I have to say this. This wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On. Thank you for joining us and we will see you back next week.
Tracy: [inaudible 00:23:47]. I feel like y'all need special effects.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support the turn on and get off. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five star review and you'll be entered to win something that's turning us on. Just post your review and email us a screenshot at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today and you'll gain access to lots of goodies, including The Turn On Book Club and two for one raffle entries. And don't forget to send us your book recommendations and your sex and related questions, and follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks so much for listening and we will see you soon. Bye.
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.