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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to educator Julienne L. about teaching during the pandemic, "Bad Boys 3" to as a dating tool, what we've learned about ourselves since 2020, eliminating stigma around taking meds for mental health, shape shifting in relationships and how the devil has us fucked up.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Hey, good people. Thank you for joining us again for another episode of The Turn On. Today, we're talking to Julienne L., pronouns she and her. Julienne is a teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana. She's worked over the last decade to create more inclusive classrooms by mentoring teachers across the city and developing curriculum and standards. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
Julienne: Thanks for having me.
Erica: Thank you for joining us. Julienne is one of our special listeners, and so I appreciate finally having you on this show.
Julienne: Yes. Thank you. That's...
Erica: She be texting me like, "Girl, what did y'all say?" So thanks for joining us. Okay. We going to jump on in. What were the prevailing attitudes about sex and gender when you were growing up?
Julienne: My parents are Southern Baptist. Love that for me, love it. My mother's a deaconess and my grandmother is like a church mom, elder. We were really talking about it. It was very much like, "No, we don't do that." You know that book on periods that you get and scoot away?
Julienne: It was like that. For context, my family does Holyween, not Halloween because obviously it's the devil.
Erica: Oh, you one of those kids.
Julienne: And one year went up to dress up as, because Mary from the Bible, if you want to be a person from the Bible, I want to be the best person from the Bible. Like, why [inaudible 00:01:45].
Erica: The baddest bitch.
Julienne: Right. Like I want to be that bruh. Like I want to be her. I was sitting there and I was like, "Granny, I want to be Mary." Well you can't be Mary Magdalene because she was a hoe. She goes, "Jesus mama?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "Do you think you can give birth to the next Jesus Christ?" I was like, "Well at eight, I don't know if anybody." That's my family. As you know, there, wasn't a lot of openness about sex. My dad's very much like, "You have to tell me when you're having sex, because things can go wrong. Things can go terribly wrong."
Julienne: I was like, "What things? What's going wrong?" It was like "just things." They weren't really talking about it. As I got older, my family was very much like, much cooler. But between when I hit puberty in the end of high school, everything was just like, no. No sex, no sex. None of those things. That was really how I grew up.
Kenrya: What do you think made them get-
Erica: How does that impact...
Kenrya: Oh sorry. I had a follow up.
Erica: Sorry. No go.
Kenrya: What do you think made them get much cooler as you got older?
Julienne: I was at home, and so it was just like... There was this big incident of obviously I was already having sex. My parents could like figure it out if they're like piecing things together. There was this big thing my senior year, you go to the OB, you get a Pap smear and then if they call you back, something's not right. If they don't call you back, yeah, everything's cool. But I didn't know that. I was like, "I just got to go back." My mom was like, "What? Why do you have to go back?" I was like, "I don't know, girl." I had an abnormal pap smear. I had to hide everything.
Julienne: I think my parents were like, "This is not the best way to do this, because now we don't know anything that's happening. There's something we're supposed to... She's supposed to be telling us something when she comes back out of the doctor's office, but she's not telling us anything." I think for them, that was just like, "We're sending her hundreds of miles away, and if she can't even trust us in New Orleans, then like what's going to happen when she goes far away?" I think that was a really big thing for them.
Erica: Okay Julienne, how did all of that impact, how you move through the world today? You had the, you were Mary. Couldn't be Mary Magdalene.
Kenrya: Even though Mary Magdalene was a pivotal point of Jesus' story but anyway...
Erica: Exactly. But it couldn't be her.
Julienne: Let's not talk about that.
Kenrya: How does that impact how you move today?
Julienne: I think it's just that I realized in going to Howard and then going to different schools, unlearning. Just "These are really structures," and obviously meant to oppress women, and to make women feel small and unhappy and all these things. I'm a very sex positive person now. I'm just like, "Oh, if that's what you want to do girl, as long it don't involve animals and children, if that's your thing, get it on," and consent obviously. That goes without saying. But I'm just... I identify as bisexual, even though I'm currently dating that man. But it took my family a while. Not even a while. They were like, "Why didn't you come and tell us?" I was like, "What? The same people that... Excuse me."
Erica: No, no.
Julienne: [crosstalk 00:05:07]. Cognitive dissonance is really not working. It's really working against y'all right now. And then my family was like, when I told them they were really chill. My grandma was like, "You don't like girls, you just like people who look like you." Because I showed her what my girlfriend looked like. I was like. "Okay, that's a bad way to feel about it." And then my Papa was like, "I thought that. I thought that." Then my Papa was like, Mississippi deacon. He was like, "Now me and your Nana was just wondering, is it because you like the way women do..." I said, "Oh, we're not going to do this. We're not-"
Erica: You're not doing that.
Julienne: We're not.
Kenrya: So many details.
Julienne: We're not going to do it. We're not going to do it at all. This really helps me be a decent teacher now that I'm teaching eighth graders. I'm like, "Okay. I know from the deep south, yes, here we are." And some of my coworkers are white and they're like, "It's just sexuality. It's fluid. It's whatever." I say, "Shh, don't go around tell that to Black children parents, you will not make it. Don't Do that. Don't do that." Now it's pretty much like, "Okay, we cool." I'm much more open with my stepfather. My mother's she's a deaconess so she's still like, "Okay, that's cool. All right. Cool. But it's fine."
Erica: Okay. All right. So you said, you mentioned that you are an eighth grade teacher, which God bless you.
Julienne: Yes I need blessing.
Kenrya: Middle school is a fucking haze for all involved.
Erica: I have one. I know how he smells so I can only imagine a building full of them. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always know that you wanted to be an eighth grade teacher or...?
Julienne: No, I hadn't thought about that. I wanted to be a lawyer when I was at Howard, I was like, "I could do this. I could stand up for the rights of Black people of course, it's Howard. That's why I went natural." You know what I'm saying? I do really well in school. I got a 4.0 at Howard and a 4.0 in grad school, but I knew it took a lot of focus. I was at... You know how Howard does internships. I was at an internship, it was in a cubicle and it was very liberal and white and progressive. There's yoga on Monday days, bake-offs on Wednesdays. But I still was in an office all day, and I was like, "Oh my God, if I have to sit in this office, listening to the same Pandora station over and over [inaudible 00:07:29] to do." I'm like, "Seven whole days," walking home in the rain.
Julienne: I'm disgruntled. I was I can’t do this. I cannot work in a place where it's me in a box with other people. Every time I studied abroad... I've been studying abroad since I was in high school. I would teach when I was abroad. I would teach ELL. English Language Learners. English to people who didn't speak English. And then my linesister was like, "Why don't you just imagine being a teacher?" I was like, "Poverty. It smells poor over there." My mother was on the school, where I was like it smells unfortunate. Then one summer I did Jumpstart. I did bilingual pre-K and I was like, "This is so much fun. I love it." I was exhausted. But I was like, "Yes, small people, da, da, da." This is before people were talking about extroverts versus introverts and stuff that.
Julienne: Something I realized I really get my energy from other people, especially small people and watching them learn and figure stuff out, and then just really comparing it to how I grew up. Me and my brother grew up obviously in the same house, different schools. I don't know if you know Kenrya, my brother was shot and murdered. And so just realizing... While that happened after I graduated, I was starting to make some connections between the types of schools we went to and the different things that were happening. I was at Howard and my brother went to four different high schools and three different colleges and just really couldn't put it together. I was like if this is happening with the same parents, you know what I'm saying? The same adults, then the really big thing here is school.
Julienne: Just being around a bunch of Black people who went to different types of schools, having friends who never went to school with white people, ever. So Howard was the natural progression for them, as opposed to me where I was the only Black girl on the basketball. I mean basketball lord, volleyball team. I was like, "I can be a teacher. I can do this. I could go back home, save my people from ruin and destruction." It was not that, but that was definitely my mission and calling sort of thing.
Erica: If this is a little or too personal, then definitely tell me to shut up. How old were you... Because we have an age gap and it felt like a lot, but now that we're all adults, it feels less. And so I'm trying to figure out how old were you during hurricane Katrina? Were you in school?
Julienne: Yeah. I was in sixth grade.
Erica: Oh shit.
Julienne: Yeah I was in fifth grade.
Erica: Okay. All right. And so did you stay in New Orleans or did you go someplace else for a minute for school and then come back?
Julienne: Yeah, we left. My parents are on boards of universities and school boards and stuff, and so we were one of the first people to come back, but we definitely evacuated two days before it was supposed to get crazy, and then stayed in Houma, a very small town. It just wasn't... I was like, "This is so interesting." Stayed there, and my parents would drive the 50 minute drive to in the city, and me and my brother would go to school in uniforms and on a bus. And we were like, "How niche, how quaint, this tiny corner of the world. So country of you all. Deer hunting and stuff, and I'm not deer hunting, friend. I will hang out at my apartment.
Erica: There's some reality show that was based in Houma is it like...
Julienne: Oh, The duck, the duck hunters.
Erica: Yeah, I'm like-
Julienne: They're like millionaires or something.
Erica: ... I know it. Not that I know it, but I've heard of it and there's no reason I would've known about it unless it was a fucking reality show, so. Okay. I don't watch that one.
Julienne: “Duck Dynasty.”
Erica: Yeah. I knew that something was there. Okay. All right. What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Julienne: I love when I can see children learn. When it's a shift... It doesn't have to be academic. It can be social, emotional. It can be about themselves. When they start to put this thing and this thing and this thing together. It could just be literally anything. We were talking about... I was going to teach social studies and we were talking about just the different ways Black bodies have been used across different modes. We were talking about when, mm, Kobe Bryant died and how all of the... Well, no. We were talking about how, when people of color who were enslaved, when their families died, they just went back to work. There was no stopping to mourn. You just work, you just work.
Julienne: One of my students was like, "Yeah, that's what happened in the NBA. This man that everybody looks up to is dead, but they still playing and crying and stuff." I was like, "Look at y’all, you're learning so well. Oh my God." So stuff like that. Whenever I can make the classroom apply to real life. We'll talk about the amendments and then look at Trump's tweets, and be like should Kaepernick kneel. You know what I'm saying? And then, because I'm a Black teacher, when my students are, "No, he shouldn't." I'm like, "Mm-mm (negative). I'm not accepting the answer. Go back and redo it."
Kenrya: Not in here.
Erica: Not in this space.
Julienne: Stop it incorrect, go back and try again. But now that I'm older, I'm like, "Okay, if they're getting to the..." You know what I'm saying, if they're diving into it, digesting, if they come out with different opinions, I'm like sure, sure. But I like to take it and bring it into real life. So that's pretty...
Erica: That's beautiful. As a parent to a seventh grader, it's beautiful to see young teachers that are really connecting to students in ways that are not only... that are cultural, that connects what they're going through and what they're experiencing with the shit in a textbook, which is a whole different story for these little people. Okay. What is the most challenging part about what you do?
Julienne: Oh, there's so many challenging things. Now let's start naming them. I don't know. I think right now in the pandemic, it's just burnout. You're just always tired. There's not enough time. It's hard to hold parents accountable. It's hard to hold children accountable because it's like, "I know I don't be wanting to come to work, so I know you don't want to come to work sometimes. I know..." Not work, school. I know that you might not eat if you don't come to school. I know that your parents can't bring you to school all the time. You missing weeks at a time, but is the bus it's too early or it's too late. It's really hard to keep people accountable, at an academic level, while also realizing that these are human beings.
Julienne: Parents are humans with their own stories. Children are humans with their own stories. One child was like, "I just don't feel like it today." I was like, "You know what? That's valid. But also this is America so you can't feel it every day. You got to get with it." I think as a holistic teacher, it's hard to balance knowing that these are full people who need and have all these emotions and being like, "Yeah, but high school is coming up, and I need you to just get with it." In high school they're not going to care. In college, they certainly don't care. Just grappling with what I know they need versus what America is going to demand, and being like, I get that. I don't want to come to work a lot, but here I am and I'm pushing it. No it's not fair, but this is real life.
Julienne: It's a lot easier to do in eighth grade, then it was to do in fourth and fifth. Fourth and fifth it was like, "I really feel bad for you. This is really terrible but if you sleep every day in ELA for six months, you are not going to know anything." I'll just put up this fight with you for the first two weeks. Talk to your mama, talk to your daddy, talk to your grandma and just try to get you back on track. No, it's not fair. You should be able to sleep at home. You should be able to do what you need to do. But I can't send you the fifth grade not knowing anything because I let you sleep all day all through class. Stuff like that.
Kenrya: This makes me sad, because I'm just like, how do you balance that? My kid's been home, I've been homeschooling her all year. And one of the things that I think has been good is that I've been teaching her about the importance of radical rest, and speaking up when she needs a break, and using her words rather than getting frustrated. I worry that when she returns to a classroom, how will she transfer those tools that doesn't involve her being I'm going to go to sleep in this [inaudible 00:16:04]?
Erica: You're like, "You know what? We'll pick up math after dinner."
Julienne: I'm like, "Kenrya is that a good idea?"
Kenrya: But you know what? I think it is, because I think that Black women, we are socialized to be the mules of the fucking world right? We are taught that we have to push through everything. If I have learned nothing else over the last year and a half, two years as my health has declined is that that is not healthy and it is not sustainable. I'm doing so much unlearning around that, that I'm trying to get to her before she gets to that point. But to your point, where there has to be that balance of when do you push through? How do you do that in a healthy way, while still honoring what your body needs? So...
Julienne: I'm also thinking from the teacher perspective of 30 children who need rest at different times of the day. How do I teach you all if I only have you for an hour? This is a time where you need rest, but somebody else needs it in the next five minutes. You know what I'm saying? How does this work? I'm just like, "Oh, okay." All children have different needs, and so it's like, how do I handle everybody's need for everything as well as my need for being tired? I'm like just sit. Just-
Kenrya: You're human too.
Julienne: They're like Ms. *****. I'm like, "Just do it. Just ask your partner please." So yeah. No, I definitely get it.
Kenrya: Yeah. That's a lot.
Julienne: Teaching is one of professions where people tell you to take all your time. But if you really took as much time as you needed to, children wouldn't be in school. And then there was that whole thing when the pandemic first started, when people were like teachers should stop getting paid because they're not doing anything. I'm like, are we not doing anything?
Kenrya: You're doing all of the fucking things.
Kenrya: And making not even a fraction of what you're supposed to make.
Julienne: And then I was like, "Look at you with your child. And what was going on?" Like I have a parent, he's like, "Has he always been like this?" I'm like, "Are you kidding me? I've been trying to tell you this since August. Are you kidding me right now?" I was just like looking at her, and I'm on the phone. I'm like, "Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes, yeah, no." Like, "He's not really reading words correctly." I'm like, "Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. All those days you decide to keep him home didn't help. They didn't help him."
Erica: Yeah, wow.
Kenrya: I think people have absolutely gotten a window into their children in a way that they probably didn't want to. I think a lot of folks have were content to just send their kids off the school and let y'all deal with them and not really get to know them or what they need to learn and shit bit them in their ass.
Julienne: Right. And now they're like, "Oh no, no, they can't come home." I'm like, "Um hm. He cut up at school he'll be home with you. Just don't do this."
Kenrya: Well, okay. We've started to talk about this a little bit, but we asked you to come onto the show because we read a story last week called “Quarantine: A Collection of Shorts.” It features folks whose lives and relationships were changed by the pandemic, which is still going on. You talked just now a little bit about what that has looked for you, but can we delve a little bit into how the pandemic has impacted your work life?
Julienne: Yeah, we can do when I was home all the time-
Kenrya: Yeah, let’s talk about it.
Julienne: ... doing virtual versus when I'm back in the building. I've been in the building since I teach young kids, so I'll just start from the beginning. March 2020, wooh. I realized I'm an extrovert but I'm at home with me and my roommate.
Kenrya: Wait, that's when you first realized you was an extrovert?
Julienne: No, I’m an extrovert-
Erica: I was about to say wait.
Kenrya: I'm like, because we've known you for quite some time, okay?
Julienne: I'm an extrovert. That was like, I'm an extrovert, don't forget.
Erica: Literally, I remember when we first met you, you were like-
Kenrya: And you were baby.
Erica: ... a baby in college.
Erica: We knew you because-
Kenrya: You were an extrovert.
Erica: You were out in a good way.
Kenrya: In the very best way. You stood out yeah.
Julienne: Yeah. That's been my thing. So yeah, so that's me. They send us home. They're like, you have to stay home, you have to stay in the house. New Orleans had just had Mardi Gras. Unlike a lot of places that were hearing about it, New Orleans is a small city. It's a big city and personality in life and blasé, blasé blah. But as far as people and square mileage is very small, but the pandemic really hit us really hard because it's people coming up from all around that world to come to New Orleans. If anybody's been to Mardi Gras, it's no mask, it's no safety. It's just... Reaching over people and da, da, da. So the numbers in New Orleans are through the roof. For a small city, we were one of the made most major affected people buy it.
Julienne: It was just happening in real time. And so we went home and I'm calling children every day to see if they're okay. Sometimes their parents answering. Sometimes they're not, sometimes children have COVID. Sometimes their parents have COVID. Sometimes they in the hospital and I'm like, "Oh, okay. Well, here we are." We're logging all of this. I'm like this is exhausting just to call you every day, see if you okay. And then y'all are both parents, you don't want to hear from Ms. **** every damn day, every day. Like, "Ms. ****, I talked to you yesterday. We good? Just call in a week. The work not getting done, it might be getting done. Leave it alone." Then they had this drive that let us give back computers. And because I hadn't had social human interaction in weeks, "I'm like hello Kenrya, how you doing? How's your children? Yes, yes. Put my mask on. Oh my God, yes I just love everything. Everything's great."
Julienne: The parents are trying to drive off and I'm jogging next to the car, trying to talk because I just need human interaction. And they're like, "We have so many blocks. ****, do you need to do all the blocks?" I'm like, "Yeah, I got it all day. I could just run [inaudible 00:21:52] all day." They're in my car. I'm driving to homes, driving them off just to talk to people because I'm this is exhaust... People who are being recharged by this, I'm like, "Oh, I have no idea what to do." I don't even know what's going on. We really didn't know. Then the school year that just passed 2020, 2021, the fourth graders, everybody K through four, went back to the building a lot sooner because research proves that virtual doesn't really work for K through four.
Julienne: It doesn't work for their parents. It doesn't work for their cognitive and social development. So we were in the building and there are these big dividers that kids have to sit behind. They had their mask on, they're sitting behind dividers. We go to the bathroom in groups. Just so many different things that we didn't have to do before. I find myself really policing children a lot in a way that I didn't want to. I'm like, "Kenrya, make sure your mask is up. Erica, make sure your divider is up." You have to do this. You have to do this. You have to do this. And the constant looming threat of I'm doing all I can in the building, but if they go out the building and catch COVID, then the whole class is shut down. As soon as you build a routine, there's a possibility that you go virtual and the whole routine is shut down.
Julienne: Luckily, fortunately the fourth graders, their parents were really strong. We didn't go home. Not once. Sometimes I wanted to go home. I was like I just really wanted to rest and sleep in, but they were cool. Then as an eighth grade teacher, it's been really hard because they need a lot of social interaction, but they can't hang out with their friends across homerooms because we have to do contact tracing. Some of them don't have the vaccine. And so it's a lot of stay over there, stay over there, move over there, stay over there, stay over there, stay over there. You can't go over there. You can't go over there. And there was also a lot of teachers went from being these hero people to why are... schools are being epicenters. Schools are epicenters because teachers are doing whatever they want all weekend.
Julienne: Schools are epicenters because teachers don't make children wear masks. Schools are epicenters because... It became our fault immediately. I'm like, the children don't have vaccines. Their parents have to go to work every day. Maybe there's a small percentage of teachers who are going out, but you don't know that, you can't trace that. And just really, I didn't become an eighth grade teacher to police children all day, and knowing that the biggest blow ups, the biggest missile is da, da, da, is over. You just have to be where you have to be and I can't control that. But if you don't do it, it's coming down on me. That was really stressful. The fun stuff, field trips, no field trips. School dances, no dances. We're talking about hormonal children who want dances.
Julienne: They want field trips. They want to go do things and it's like no, can't do that. Can't do it. Nope. Don't do that. Nope. Can't go there. Nope. There's a lot of, no all the time. Everything that they want is just no, no, no, no, no. Then they're comparing it to children across Texas and in Mississippi who are doing whatever they want. And they're like, "Ms. **** that's not real because in Texas, da, da, da." I'm like, "You're 14. You don't understand that in Texas, they're not doing it right. They shouldn't be doing that either."
Erica: Texas is Texas.
Kenrya: Right, and in Texas there's babies who have died. Shit, there's consequences.
Julienne: I'm like, "I'd never let a student die." You know what I'm saying? I'm like, I pride myself on that. And if one were two, it's just that, "Oh wow, this emotional exhaustion is just taking me out every single day." But now they're going, they're having a spirit week. They're going bowling. They're having a dance. And I'm like five feet now because of the COVID, but because of hormones.
Kenrya: Give it some air.
Erica: Has, and maybe you touched on this, I'm sorry I anyway. How has that affected behavior? Are you seeing more... I feel like I sound the cops when I say behavior issues, but how is that affecting just kids being able to have an outlet and...?
Julienne: Yeah. So to Kenrya's point, when children came back into the building, we let children come back in waves for fourth graders. The longer children were home it was really hard for them to acclimate back to school. No, you just can't use the adult bathroom. I know at your house, there's no such thing as adult bathrooms. But you can't use that. Or you can't just walk up to Ms. ****, like you would walk up to your mother and ask a question. You can't do that anymore. You have to stay back. And some of that became big tantrums. Heads down, flipping stuff just because I'm trying to communicate to you, I'm irritated and upset. It's like I get that but you really can't do it any other way than what I said. This is the way that I'm trying to say it to you.
Julienne: I think they don't have a lot of outlets. When I tell y'all that LaToya Cantrell was not playing, there were no football, there was no basketball. There was no pee wee anything. There were no clubs. You went to school and then you went home. I think parents would even say they're just tired. They don't have any fun. They're just in school all day. And I'm like, "Yeah, that sounds like that blows. It's really terrible." On the eighth grade side. It's just a lot of why? Why? Why? I'm like, I've explained why? Why again? Just remember what I said last week about the "why". But yeah, in the beginning it was really tough. It was all like, "I don't give a fuck. I don't want to walk over there. Call my mom. I don't give a da, da, da."
Julienne: I'm like, "Oh, I know that it's unfair to you." It changed our dynamic when I was like, "Listen, I never was an eighth grader in a pandemic. I was never a fifth grader. I was never a fourth grader." Trying to give them the workaround is giving eighth graders choice. If you are unhappy with the choices you chose, there's nothing Ms. **** could do. I said to them, I'm like, "Here's some options. If y'all think something's going to work better, tell me. If it doesn't work, we can try it." But then when they complain, I'm like, "You chose this. Do you all want to go back to the drawing board or...?" They're, "Ms. ****, I don't like it." I'm like, "Well, who brought it up? You should have picked something else." That's been it's my teacher workaround.
Kenrya: You got your teacher self, but then you got the rest of yourself. How has the pandemic impacted your relationships?
Julienne: With my relationships or with my people, my friends and my family and stuff?
Kenrya: Your relationships.
Julienne: Okay. I didn't date for real during the pandemic. There was Hinge and Bumble. They were video call. I was like, "Video call? I don't know these niggas, why I want them to video call me?" Now you... First I can see you out in public. Now you trying to show me your house. I don't want you to see my house. What if you know where I live? Have you ever seen them tweet that was like, men be asking you over to their house like you might not rob them. I'm like, "Yeah, I wouldn't rob you, but stop showing me your house. What do you do?"
Julienne: Stop that. And then, because I'm a teacher, people have very cavalier attitudes about safety. Because it really only affects them right? It's like, "This just affects me. If I get sick, it's just me." Whereas it's like if I get sick, I teach 60 children a day and I would always try to think about it from a parent perspective. Like if Kenrya saw me out in the club. I mean, you would also be in the club.
Kenrya: I'm about to say, I'd be there too. The fuck you doing?
Julienne: [crosstalk 00:29:12] even if you saw me and and then all the 60 children got to go home da, da, da. So I just have to tell people like, "Yo, I know you think I'm taking this too seriously, but I'm not. And also you're being too..."
Julienne: You can literally see how stupid people were though. I was like, you all are idiots. You all are really dumb. Really dumb. Really, really dumb. I can't really emphasize it enough that you're really dumb. But I met my current boyfriend on a Zoom panel about men in education. So that was interesting. That probably never would've happened.
Erica: Wait, I didn't know that.
Kenrya: That's really unique meet cute situation.
Erica: This is definitely a romance novel.
Julienne: Yeah. He slid in my Zoom DMs. I was like, I didn't know you could do that. There's a transcript out there that has you being like I appreciate you sharing. I was like, "You know that people know that, right? That's somewhere in the universe in the internet." So...
Erica: Oh, that's so sweet.
Kenrya: But it worked.
Julienne: Yeah. Yeah. It's working. I think that we move... our relationship moving faster than normally would just because there's only so many places you can go. You know what I'm saying? It's like, "You want to go eat? You want to hang out my house. You want to go eat? You want to hang out of my house?" That's the only things that you really can do in New Orleans. But other than that, it was pretty much it.
Julienne: But yeah, no. Niggas is dumb, which we already knew. They're super dumb. I think one of the big things outside just the pandemic was, remember the woman who was killed the Black girl, [Toyin]?
Kenrya: Yeah, in Florida.
Julienne: She was like ride. She was murdered by that man because he, she assaulted her when she was trying to find somewhere to sleep. I think more than anything that really affected me more. Just really trying to figure out where people stand on Black women violence. Where are you on this? Outside of you just being dumb and it's the pandemic, what's the stupid shit about to come out your mouth about anything. And so just really how men... I find it more specifically with men than with women.
Julienne: How they try to quiz you when you date. Like you want to and ask me stupid questions. Now I'm asking you questions. What you think about [Toyin]? What you think about Zaya? What you think about, what you think about. I'm going in just because I'm about to have you in my house because that's the only place we can hang out and you don't-
Erica: Think [crosstalk 00:31:36].
Julienne: ... believe in his stories. Right. In my house.
Erica: I found as a... Now that you say that, I think about it as I dated through the pandemic. I think the pandemic made me short on patience with bullshit. I was quick to get to those questions and be like okay look, because the world is a dumpster fire. I'm going to talk about it. Let me see where you stand on this so I can determine if I need to bounce now or we can keep this up. So, yeah.
Julienne: Yeah. Some things we can work around and we can work to, but I'm not in the business of teaching grown men or women. I think, I don't know if it's the south, I don't know if it's Black women. There's also a lot of internalized... I think about what happened with Megan. Well, we don't know and [inaudible 00:32:21]. Oh, that was around when Fabolous. Remember when he knocked his baby mama teeth out and threaten to kill the daddy and all this stuff. And then people were like, "They're getting married." I'm like, "Oh my Lord. Oh my God. Y'all are getting married because she can't testify in court. Okay. All right. Okay." But between those two things and also being, I think 25, 26 around the time people say you start being less interested in foolishness. Those two things together was like hmmm.
Kenrya: God I wish I had been less interested in foolishness at that age. I'm really... You know I love you so I'm very excited that you got to at this age. I didn't-
Erica: Because bitch I'm 40 and just now getting it.
Kenrya: Right. I didn't start being super intentional about asking those kind questions until, I mean, granted I was married and divorced and then dating again. But when I was in my, fuck-
Erica: Shit, when you was married.
Kenrya: ... mid 30s and then start... Because when I first started dating online, after I was married, I wasn't asking the good questions.
Julienne: I wouldn't do it online. I wouldn't do it when we bumbling back and forth, you know what I'm saying? But it's definitely one of those in person, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Listen, that's my screening call. As soon as we got off the app, when we got into that call, I would start asking them motherfucking questions. I would tell stories and see how they reacted. And then based on that, whether or not they got blocked after we got off the phone. But I didn't get there until a decade after you did, so it makes me really happy that you're there.
Julienne: Yeah, I think one of the silver linings of coming home so soon everything that happened. I've been in therapy since I was 21. Like real therapy. You know like fight therapy when you first start because hard truths about my life girl, I'm teaching, teaching.
Kenrya: Like huh? No thank you.
Julienne: After the work day you want to tell me, "That sounds very traumatizing." Like, "Excuse me. No, no, no. You stop talking. It's time for me to go rest." But now I've been going for over six years. All of my therapist have be like, "Oh, is that what they said?" And they good for a drag. So I'm like, "Oh, you just going to keep dragging me. You just going to keep dragging me."
Kenrya: Yes. Listen, it ain't nothing like a therapist that's not afraid to drag the fuck out of you.
Erica: So I was-
Julienne: Oh sorry, go ahead...
Erica: I was talking to my brother who has... We're open about this. He's recently started his therapy journey.
Kenrya: He told me he's going. I'm very excited.
Julienne: That is great.
Erica: It is amazing watching it from the outside because I see him struggling. I was like bruh, you going fuck up a whole lot of relationships in the beginning, just because you're trying to set that boundaries and figure things out. I'm seeing that, and I think he's... He's kind of through the point where he's recognizing the fucked up shit that went on around him and boundaries and all of that. But now he's entering the dragging portion-
Julienne: Oh yeah.
Erica: ... after that.
Julienne: They let you get good and comfortable.
Erica: Right? You be like, "My mama ain't shit. My daddy ain't shit. My people doing this." And it's like, "Great. Now let me tell you something, you ain't shit."
Kenrya: How you ain't shit. Exactly.
Julienne: Like the Sponge Bob meme where he's sitting over the coffee, you just be...
Julienne: You're looking at the coffee like, yes, that's what she said. Okay. This lady told me, she said... I said, "Yeah it's just a lot of..." I was like, "You know, it's just like work." And she was like, "Dating a grown man feels when you teaching eight year olds." I was, "Well no, because what I'm trying to say is he just needs some support." She was like, "So you're providing a man 10 years older than you emotional support for his family?" And I was like, "All right, all right. Well let's."
Kenrya: I think that's good enough for today.
Julienne: I was like, "Oh." I was looking at the time I was like, 20 more minutes.
Erica: Can't even hang up.
Julienne: It be that, and then they turn the question back on you. Because I'm good at asking a question and I just want the answer, give it to me. "I don't know Julienne, what do you think is the answer to that?" I'm like, "How much do I you girl? You give me [inaudible 00:36:31]. Are you kidding me?" So...
Erica: Okay. In the excerpt that we read from the book, the main character, Nicole, she had sex with someone who was previously off limits. It was her brother's best friend. He was previously off limits, pandemic hit they start, you know. Has the pandemic inspired you to push any boundaries?
Julienne: I just read that question and I was like, damn I'm going to have a vanilla answer but only because I was a hot girl before. So it was like...
Erica: No I'm glad you helped us. That's healthy right?
Julienne: Right. I was a hot girl already so we was going to do it, we was doing it. So it didn't really change anything, you know what I'm saying? It was like... It was a lot more of, "I don't have time to really feel this out. You get one, two, three chances and after that, nigga if you can't do it, you got to go. But other than that, yeah I've been sex positive since I was 18 or 19. You know what I'm saying? So it was really just outside of that, we just kicking it. But as far as people, New Orleans is too small. It's far too small.
Julienne: You heard that Doja Cat line, "I heard from a friend of a friend that that dick was a 10 out of 10." I did not hear from a friend of a friend it was a 10 out of 10, I heard it was a two out of 10. So I don't want to do it. [inaudible 00:38:00] told me that, I don't want to try it. So I'm just like, if I ask around enough somebody going know. I'm using nigga like gender neutral. They're either [inaudible 00:38:08].
Kenrya: Oh nigga is absolutely gender neutral on this show.
Erica: Oh, nigga and bitch are definitely gender neutrals terms.
Julienne: I definitely entertained people with less intellect than mine that I normally would not have before. Because I'm like, "Huh, okay. We could just watch ‘Bad Boys 3.’" That was my get them. ‘Bad Boys 3.’ And you know those are the [crosstalk 00:38:36].
Erica: That was your equivalent to let me come braid your hair.
Julienne: "You want to watch ‘Bad Boys 3’?" "I just bought it." No, I did not just buy it. [inaudible 00:38:41]. Why do you think I just bought that movie? They're like, "Oh, [inaudible 00:38:42]." I'm like, "No, no, I bought it. I bought it earlier." [inaudible 00:38:47] but that was it. And I was like that movie is two and a half hours long, whenever I had to make it to the end of the movie, I'm like, "Oh my God, they're not as easy as it used to be too." [inaudible 00:38:58] a long time.
Erica: Your mama must have taught you some morals.
Julienne: I wasted two and a half hours, oh my God, okay [inaudible 00:39:08].
Erica: Okay. Well, so...
Julienne: [inaudible 00:39:14] let's wrap this up, "You know what happens in the end? Oh no! I spoiled it. Oh no."
Kenrya: “My bad.”
Erica: Yeah, okay. If you were given a chance to go back to March 2020, is there anything you would've done differently?
Julienne: Mine is sappy. I thought about this question. You know and I'm an A type personality. I think about the questions I ask myself them. I mull over them. I write them down. A lot of work. I know y'all didn't tell me to do all that, but I was prepared. I took care of my grandmother at the beginning of the pandemic. She had just got cancer or we found out that she had cancer. So my name's Julie and her name's Julie. She raised me since I was four months. So as I became an adult, and so then I got an opportunity to take care of her. We lived... I mean New Orleans is this big, but we lived a 15 minute walk from each other at that point. I'd wake up, walk my dog to my grandma's house. Help her eat. Go to [inaudible 00:40:16].
Julienne: We're doing so much cute stuff, and it worked through the summer, but then I had to go back to work. As somebody's who's like a senior citizen with cancer, me being around that many children just didn't coincide with her life. If I would've given it more time and thought, I probably would've looked for a different job that kept me remote longer so I could have done more of that. I saw my grandma in Thanksgiving for the first time in 18 months and that's never happened in my entire life. You know what I'm saying? The longest I would go was, Howard then you go home. Howard, then you go home. Something like that. But other than that, yeah, I know mine was sappy.
Erica: No it's great. Like I love a granny, so anything that's granny related, I'm here for it. Yeah.
Julienne: Yeah. So that was fun.
Kenrya: What did you learn about yourself in these months since March 2020?
Julienne: Well, I have ADHD and I did not learn that until the pandemic started. I'm one of those people who, it doesn't affect my life, my daily life functions. So obviously as I said already, I do very well in school. I do very well at my job, I can keep things together for a long amount of time, which works when you're a teacher, because you quite literally have to be thinking about the scenario as it happens. Predict another scenario. Think about the consequences of scenarios. If you see two children about to argue, you have to be thinking about 17 things the entire day. And then when the pandemic happened, you just shut down. So there's a lot less sensory input that's happening, and I would get really agitated and really fidgety either with my hands, or biting my lip or scratching my neck because it wasn't just... I didn't have enough input.
Julienne: I was asking my doctor, and I was like, "What do I do? I'm always irritated. I'm irritated and I'm bunched up." He was like, "You should probably think about maybe you have ADHD. Maybe that's what it is." Because I was already taking medication for anxiety, and he was like that might be part of it. And now what we know it's like adult ADHD is really hard to diagnose because it can also be impacted by trauma. And obviously, as I said, my brother was murdered, so there's layers to everything. And so having ADHD is like, "Okay, how do I think about certain things right?" I used to rack up tickets. Speeding tickets like this. People would be like, "Julienne, you know where the light is."
Julienne: I'm like, "I know, but because I have ADHD my mind immediately forgets it." I can see the speed camera thing and then immediately start thinking about something else. I ended up with $1,800 in tickets one year, just because my mind is not moving slow enough to remember this. Or more car maintenance stuff. It's like I'm hitting bumps in roads because I'm not thinking about slowing down because my depth perception is off. Erratic spending habits. You're just going to by stuff, now we back at Target. Are we shopping in person? And Target didn't let you try stuff on. So I'm like, "Yeah, I'll buy $500 for this, I'll return it." I do love a return. I do love a return process. When I say I do, I do. Yes I do.
Kenrya: It’s so much work.
Julienne: But I'm not really [inaudible 00:43:28]. I think bought $500 worth of clothes anyway. Where am I going? I'm not going anywhere. I should have just bought the $200 of clothes and the then maybe return $60. Just learning about being mindful, not just as a way to treat anxiety, but a way to treat ADHD or working out, or walking my dog and trying to play into those things. So even working out... You know some people, my boyfriend goes to the gym for two hours. Two hours.
Kenrya: So does mine. I'm like, that's a long ass time.
Julienne: Two? Two hours. No.
Erica: I don't believe you, send me pictures.
Julienne: No, no seriously. A hour and a half max just in the gym. I'm just like, I can't. So I go to Orange Theory, which is a cult. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see me-
Erica: No, but it's a good... You get an hour and you worked out and yeah, I loved Orange Theory.
Julienne: It works for my brain. Because I'm like, boom, we in, we out. Because if I'm on this treadmill any longer, I'm going to start slowing down because I'm bored. Like what? More of this?
Erica: Yeah, but it's like constant up down. I fucks with Orange Theory hard, yeah.
Julienne: So stuff like that. Or I get on these binge cooking things. I want to learn how to cook all Mediterranean. I'm going to eat Mediterranean for weeks. And then my boyfriend's like, "No, you're not. You're going to get bored with that in a week." And I'm like, it took about three days, and I have all these [inaudible 00:44:43]. I got mounds of olive and I don't want to eat this no more. Just trying to figure out how that... Like I said, because it doesn't affect my work. It doesn't affect me getting to work on time. It doesn't affect my productivity. And just having to work through shame around it. We Black women so when I told my grandma I have ADHD, she goes... Who did she blame it on?
Kenrya: The devil.
Julienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: That ain't nothing but the devil girl.
Julienne: The devil and white medicine. Yup.
Kenrya: Hand in hand. Fucking up niggas since... Fucking up, been fucking up.
Julienne: "That's just the devil Julienne. That isn't..." I was like, "Okay, but as a teacher I know there are certain children who really can't do this," but also not wanting to seek medicine as a answer for it. So I'm like, "Damn, already on birth control. I don't want to be on ADHD meds and..." This is going to be too much. What am I going to turn into? Just staying in therapy, keeping those type of rhythms. But yeah, learning I have ADHD is very interesting. It's because there's so many different kinds and types. Even if I'm on a worm hole and TikTok, they're like, "Do planners work for you?" I'm like, "No." Skip. Skip.
Erica: I've got mad that TikTok does the three minute videos. Now I'm like nigga I like TikTok because I need a one and done. I don't need three minutes. I don't need three minutes.
Julienne: Right. Three minutes. What is this? This better be a story about how your baby daddy was cheating and you find out, because three minutes.
Erica: It needs to be a packed three minutes. It can't be a... No I need to catch y... Yeah.
Julienne: I'm like, wow, this is a mini movie. Stuff like that. Yeah. But...
Erica: Wow. Okay.
Julienne: That's pretty much... That's not pretty much it. That's not a little thing to learn about yourself, but yeah...
Kenrya: It's a big thing.
Julienne: [inaudible 00:46:34].
Kenrya: Yeah. But it's great that there is a lot of stigma around taking drugs for stuff. We talk on the show all the time about the shit that we take to help our minds stay where they need to be, and our bodies stay where they need to be. There's no difference between taking something for ADHD and taking something because your stomach be fucked up. It's all about...
Julienne: Right, because you don't want to get pregnant. You know what I'm saying? Like...
Kenrya: Right. All of it is about being your healthiest self and there should be no stigma, but of course we know that people attach that. But part of that growth process is being able to say fuck that. This is what my body needs.
Julienne: It's about having people around you that are very helpful. When it first started it happening, my line sister was... I was like, I don't mean... I don't know. I don't need to figure it out. It'll be fine. My aunt, she's like a healthcare advocate. That's her thing, what she went to school for, and we're really close. She was like, there's no harm in more information, or there's no harm in needing to do things. I was like, hmm. The African American urge to not... like, trusting. Hmm, more information. Then, so there's certain workarounds. I got to call one of my linesisters when I'm at the store. She's like, "You're in the store a little bit long. What you doing?" [inaudible 00:47:52] the store just kicking it. "Listen, you've been in there for an hour. You need to be there that long?"
Julienne: Then my boyfriend will be like, "Target? Mm. I don't think we need to end up at Target, friend." I'm just like, "Yes, we do." Just stuff like that. Then having people celebrate the little things. I haven't gotten a ticket in the last eight months, any type of speeding ticket. I'm like, uh. When I'm down on myself, people are like, "Girl, you had $1,800 of speeding tickets. That's not terrible. You have none now." Just people definitely realize you need people in your corner who are going to help remind you that these things are okay, and this is real life. But then on the other hand, you be having... being in a network, people don't understand words. Now people are throwing out words and you're like, oh, narcissism, [crosstalk 00:48:39].
Erica: This is gaslighting. You're like, mm-
Kenrya: Is it?
Erica: I don't think that's... that's not what that term means.
Julienne: "I'm triggered." "By what? What triggered you? What did it remind you of?" "What?" “Okay, so you're not triggered. You're just uncomfortable or upset maybe.” Stuff like that.
Erica: Yeah. Okay.
Kenrya: What's your superpower?
Julienne: I've turned it into a superpower, because I used to be a super villain. Because I'm a good teacher, I'm good at reading people. What you know, what you need... As a teacher, do you need me to... do I get in good with you by giving you tough love? Do I get in good with you by, "Ooh, Erica, those are some cute glasses, girl. Okay." Do I just whisper your ear? You know what I'm saying? What is the thing that you need? Which is a great thing as a teacher. But in my dating life, I used to be like, ooh, now we got these.
Erica: “I can be whatever you want.”
Julienne: Right. That's what's up. What's up? Right. I can shape shift. "Oh, yeah, I love basketball. Hmm. Yes. Look at LeBron. Who is that? The Pelicans? Great." Or just anything. I can give you good praise. "Oh, look at you. You're such a good man." Are you? Hmm, but you need that, so let's get you out of these draws quickly, but yeah. Then, just being like, "William..." thinking about your therapist dragging you, just thinking about all the times that didn't... First of all, where you got that from. Let's look at where we got it from, and then has it served you the best? You know you could use it for good.
Julienne: You do it for good, because you do it with children all the time, but look at you not doing it well and start thinking about how your relationships, like romantic ones, or even friendships have been impacted by you just shape shifting and not being yourself in all these things. Yeah. Listen, I think she be dragging me. One of my new goals is self-esteem. She was like, "When you shape shift, you just never know who you are, and so you just never know what you about yourself." I was like, here we go. Here we go. Maybe I might... I think I might.... I like Black sci-fi, so like a “Lovecraft Country,” “Stranger Things.” As a Black girl growing up, you're not supposed to like Sci-Fi. There was no sci-fi to. I'm like, maybe I like sci-fi.
Julienne: Do I want to read a sci-fi book?
Kenrya: I've got some books for you with me-
Julienne: [crosstalk 00:51:05]-
Kenrya: ... if you want to be a sci-fi nerd with me.
Julienne: That's what I'm saying.
Erica: [inaudible 00:51:07]
Julienne: Then I'll say something like, "The upper-class urge." She'll be like, "Hmm. It wasn't... I don't dislike that person, but..." and my boyfriend's like, "Oh, so you don't like that?" I'm like, "No. I just feel like..." He's like, "So you don't them?" I'm like, "No, that's not what I'm saying. You're not listening. I don't dislike them." I'm just like, "I didn't say that." Me and my sister, she lives here and we'll be like, "Hmm," and our boyfriends will be like, "Before you go any further, you don't [inaudible 00:51:37]. You didn't have fun. You don't it like. Just give it up." I'm just like, "Okay, sure." Just trying to just be authentic and genuine, but then also realize that changes over time all the time.
Julienne: Things that I like this month might not be the things that I like when I'm 28, or one of the things that I could do at 26. You know what I'm saying? I used to be... I'm from New Orleans. I used to be able to drink under the table. I could drink anybody, everybody under the table. I've been drinking since I was 15. Now, boy. If we do two nights back to back, I'm like, "Excuse me? Oh, harsh lights. Harsh lighting." I didn't need no sleep at one point. Now I'm like, "Oh, a good eight and a half, 10 hours? Let's make sure we get those," and being true to that. I don't have to just keep hanging out. I'm tired, and FOMO, fear of missing out. It's okay. There'll always be more parties.
Kenrya: There's always something else.
Kenrya: Growing up...
Julienne: ... and not having to shape shift to be like, "Oh, it's okay. I'm not tired at all," because the person who ends up losing out on that is me. It's always going to be me, so stuff like that.
Kenrya: Lord. Yeah. I remember the first time I heard in therapy, that manipulation can be used for good, because in my mind it had only been used... and in my life it had only been used in poor ways, in ways that were negative for me, or negative for other people. What you were just saying about how that works in the classroom, it has its place, but being really intentional about when you use that superpower and making sure it doesn't hurt other people, or you.
Julienne: Right. Children are not supposed to know you don't like them. That's the number one rule of teaching. Every child is supposed to think that you like them. There are children who I do not like. If they get older, I'm like, ugh, you as an adult, that's going to be terrible. But they don't know that because why would they? You know what I'm saying? That's not supposed to know that. That doesn't feel good. But then now my brain has to change off. You know what I'm saying? I'm not in teacher mode anymore. I don't have to help people unpack their feelings. I don't have to pretend like I like you.
Kenrya: You do not.
Julienne: Being Black women, you just feel like you have to... you don't ever want to tell nobody no. You know what I'm saying? Me and my sister were talking and I was like... and some of my friends. We were like, "Y'all remember when we used to date people that we didn't like?"
Kenrya: For what?
Erica: We didn't like.
Kenrya: Who is that serving?
Julienne: You didn't like them. At one point I was dating this man who didn't eat fruits or vegetables, and read “The 48 Laws of Power.” I was just...
Kenrya: That's crazy.
Julienne: Everybody was like, "Why?" I was like... I just... I don't know.
Erica: Just, [crosstalk 00:54:14]. I thought I was supposed to be doing it. Yeah.
Julienne: Then one of my friends [inaudible 00:54:18] that like, "Ooh, the early 20s was ghetto."
Julienne: Dating a man who, every time he... Not me. One of my friends dated a man, every time he didn't come through on a promise, it was because of one of his different kids. I'm like, "Why did we keep doing this? What is happening right now?" and being like, "That's that pretending to like everybody thing that you don't have to do."
Erica: Oh, my gosh. I love the fact that you were so self-aware, and yeah, girl, you're doing it right. You're doing 20s right. I'm so happy for you. You were...
Julienne: "Embarrassing me in front of my friends. Why are we still dating? Why are you embarrassing me like this?" This man said, "You wanted a strawberry shortcake." He was like, "Well, I'm going to just take the strawberries off and put more whip cream on," and we celebrated my line sister getting engaged, and they both, two of them looked at me and I was like, Lord, can you believe it? How much [inaudible 00:55:08]. I'm ashamed, I'm ashamed, I'm ashamed of myself. I'm ashamed. There's no shame greater than [inaudible 00:55:14]. Okay. Just remembering my friends, stuff like that. It's like, okay, no, I don't need to be embarrassed anymore. Let's take a break.
Kenrya: That makes me happy.
Erica: So happy.
Julienne: I was like, wow. My children are going to want to date and I'll be like, "Listen here, listen here. You're going to date some good people, and then you're going to date some [inaudible 00:55:36]."
Kenrya: Let's talk about how we can recognize the folks who are not for you. I mean, I have those conversations with my little and she little. You got to get them ready.
Julienne: Now, what's that quote, that you don't have to... Everybody doesn't have to like you. You don't like everybody, but as a Black woman, I'm feeling like if people don't like you, you can lose stuff. You know what I'm saying? It's very real, like if they don't me, I'm not going to get this job. If they don't like me, I'm not going get a pay raise. If they don't like me... you know what I'm saying? There's this need to be liked, but not in a white people way. You need to be like the system inside your life. Right? If somebody doesn't like you, you the first one that's going to get cut.
Julienne: You the first one they're going to start talking about. It happened yesterday at happy hour. I was like, "Oh, people don't like me. That's fine." But now, working in a place where it's not weaponized if somebody doesn't like you, as opposed to this other place that I worked, and then people didn't like me. I couldn't get the second... I couldn't move up in my job. It was always clouded in something else. Just being like, hmm, I don't like this person. They don't like me.
Kenrya: No, it's okay.
Julienne: Such is life. Keep it at work and let's just mosey on down the way.
Erica: Wow. All right.
Kenrya: When you learn the importance of that when you're young, it helps you to have a stronger picker in terms of the situations you put yourself in, right? You were saying, being in environments where the culture is such, that that is not a thing that keeps you from getting ahead. How do you find those spaces and get yourself into those spaces so that you can come back to your core of reminding yourself, remembering that everybody ain't for everybody, but that shouldn't stop anybody's fucking show.
Julienne: Yeah. I think a big thing that happened, me and the Lord getting closer during the pandemic. After my brother died, I was just like, this is not real. You do not want me to talk to you. You are kidding me. Leave me alone. Go away. I'm not about to do this with you. I think that's one of the big things that happened in the pandemic is just being like, ooh, there's a lot of death going on. There's a lot of crazy [Toyin] and Megan, and pick random women on Twitter finding out that... I don't know if y'all are there... that hundreds of women at Howard's campus being assaulted by the same seven to eight men. You know the ratio. The ratio was 60 to 40, 70 to 30, and women are coming across being harassed.
Julienne: I was asking Lord, what am I supposed to do with all this? You know what I'm saying? How am I supposed to intake this, by having really, to sit with the fact that I was really upset about my brother being murdered, and I felt like I had done what I needed to do to be a good Christian. Because I felt like I was being punished, after already growing up in the house I grew up in. You know what I'm saying? I already grew up. I'm like damn, Lord, I need a break here. This supposed to be my break. I graduated from Howard. Then three weeks later, my brother's killed, and then it's like, okay. The pandemic, I think I went... in January, I was like I miss being close with the Lord. I miss it, but it's going to be heartbreaking. You know what I'm saying?
Julienne: If I get close with Him again, and then somebody else dies that I don't expect, it's going to be too much. It's going to be too hard to go back through this. Then just seeing how the Lord has worked in my life since then. You know what I'm saying? Car crashes, when my car has spun off the interstate and I didn't die, or I bought a house at 25. I had two degrees, stuff like that where it's like okay, life is going to be shit. You know what I'm saying? Dating might be shit sometimes, too, but it's not going to all be all bad. Really leaning on the Lord and going back to church, and doing all these things, that if you told me at 21, I'm like, church? Girl. I might catch on fire for the things I done said and thought. Leave me alone. I be like, hmm, in the sanctuary. Yes.
Kenrya: Excuse me. What are you reading now?
Julienne: Not a lot. Okay. I finished grad school. I'm an overachiever. I finished grad school, and then I decided to do this certification to become a mentor teacher. I had to read all of these academic and content things. Then I finished that and wanted to join this other seminar. Now I'm reading about being Black, but for fun. My old man and I read it. Old man means boyfriend. I don't know. That's what I always say.
Erica: I thought you talking about your daddy.
Erica: But side note, Julienne's daddy is fine as fuck. Every time she post him on Instagram, I'm like, "Tell your daddy I said hi."
Julienne: You always do that. I always tell him and he be like, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." I'll be like, "Stop laughing like that. That's weird. Stop doing that."
Erica: Okay. Sorry. You were and your book.
Julienne: No, that's fine. We're reading bell hooks, “All About Love,” which is always good. He ain't never read it before. He's a therapist, so now he reading it. There was Ida, and I would be reading to him, while we driving around Texas because there's nothing to do. He would be like, "What did she just say?" I'm like, "Yeah, boy. It's a trip. You would never make it out of alive. She'll just be dragging you to and fro, to and fro." Then me and my father are reading a Jesmyn Ward book. It's called “Sing, Unburied, Sing.” It's just... right. That, girl... that's right after “Men We Reaped.” Kenrya, did you read that one?
Kenrya: No, I didn't read that one, but “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” my God. Okay.
Julienne: “Men We Reaped” is about, she grew up in New... not New Orleans, but right outside New Orleans, very poor suburban poverty. She catalogs four different men dying within the span of her lifetime and just everything that led up to it. As I was working through all things with my brother, I was like, oh, this is cathartic. This is so much. She said something like... What did she say? She said she was telling somebody about Newton's Third Law. It was like, you know how nothing is created or lost. If your brother was here, how he was always here, then even though he's not here physically, then he's still going to be around here. I'm like, okay.
Julienne: All right. Whoo, girl. Okay. Then me and my daddy are reading “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” but also, because the brother dies, I'm like, all right, I'm going to come back to you. I'm going to come back to you in a couple weeks. We read it chapter at a time, so going back and forth between both of those, a drag. Maybe it's a sadistic thing. Maybe I just like to be dragged in my free reading time.
Kenrya: I mean, the writing is beautiful and you definitely get something, but fuck if it doesn't take you through it on the way there.
Julienne: She is. She's vivid. I mean, between bell hooks being a Black woman writer, so just being able to just talk about the way that Black women are treated in relationships. Even, she talks about manipulation, pretending to be weaker than you are, softer than you are, dumber than you are. I'm like, child, it's getting warm in here. Not me pretending to be dumb. Ooh, girl. Kick me. That's a drag. Jesmyn Ward talking about Southern poverty that's 20 minutes away from my house. I'm like, all right. Maybe I just need to watch, I don't know... give me some “Abbott Elementary,” “Bob's Burgers.” Give me something to watch that's just...
Kenrya: Those are fantastic shows.
Julienne: I'm like, give me something that's going just have my brain doing this. Ugh, exhausted. Yeah.
Erica: What's turning you on today?
Julienne: This is a very biological answer, but birth control is really kicking my ass. My titties are really sensitive to every single thing, but then it's just, sometimes it's great. Sometimes it's great. I see my old man, I'm like, yeah. It's on and poppin. I'm not running 60 miles an hour at Orange Theory. I'm like Jesus Christ! But that, and I'm really interested in just getting to know my body more and seeing, what is it like in this new phase? I done gained some weight.
Julienne: Nothing wrong with that, but I walk past the mirror and I'm like, damn, is this what Remy Ma was talking about? Okay. I feel like I put a thong on, I'm like, oh, that's what it's doing. Okay. Or I put a bra on, and I'm like, oh, look at you, girl, look at you. Because I grew up in a house where you don't talk about how you look. Now, just being like, yeah, I know my old man's turned on by me, because I am as well.
Julienne: Look at that. Look how that's [inaudible 01:03:36].
Erica: I [inaudible 01:03:36].
Julienne: So that's always [inaudible 01:03:40].
Erica: Okay. I'd like to ask a few random questions. Here goes.
Julienne: I did not prepare for these, so my A-type personality is shook. Give it a try.
Erica: No. These are easy. Okay. What was the first, I guess, CD for you? What was the first CD you bought with your own money?
Julienne: Ooh. See, deacon, grew up in a deaconess home. Okay? I didn't buy CDs. My people weren't doing CDs, but my boyfriend bought me “808s and Heartbreak.” I don't know. I can't write. It's a good album.
Kenrya: It is a good album. Fuck that nigga, but it's a good album.
Julienne: [inaudible 01:04:13] but because my parents' friends, and my friends' parents are all Christian, somehow... Oh, no, not “808s and Heartbreaks,” “My Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Erica: Even better.
Kenrya: That sounds great.
Julienne: An even better album. I get it. We're talking about the gifts we get. Somehow, some way, my CD disappears. It just disappears.
Kenrya: They saw the cover. They probably... just the cover alone.
Erica: It's red with the dick and the... yeah.
Julienne: Yup. I came home with it, after wearing a shirt that was like "the freaks come out at night." Obviously, I forgot to put my jacket back on because obviously my mama didn't let me buy that shirt on my own free will. I'm coming home, "the freaks come out at night". I'm at this multiracial church... I mean, not church. School. That thing disappeared so quick. That and that shirt. Never found them again. Listened to the music at school on my computer, but boy, on a CD. It didn't make it.
Erica: What was the first concert you ever attended?
Julienne: Ooh, these niggas really not worth nothing. Chris Brown. He was getting-
Erica: You were of age. You were of the age. Yeah.
Julienne: I know that whole album front to back. "Your man ain't me, why should he be acting all cocky like..." Then T-Pain was there, Young Joc was there. It was going down. It was just after the hurricane. Everybody parents want you to feel some... let's try normalcy. Let's try to give my children something... This is one of the first concerts after the hurricane. Me and all my friends are there. "Oh, they're popping." We're there rocking with it. How does this all in one concert? But my parents did not let me buy a shirt, of course, because [inaudible 01:05:56].
Erica: No more freaks come out at night. Okay. Last question. What is the one song that you listen to, that just fills you with joy?
Julienne: It depends. I'm getting them out of like Black women R&B bag.
Erica: Auntie music.
Julienne: Right. If I need to cry... not even cry, but I'm like, these ain't really nothing. Oh, that song with Missy Elliot, "Why they all in my business"? "Why they all in my business?" Okay. Fine. It's okay. I have multiple.
Erica: No. I'm going to find it now.
Kenrya: I think we probably just too old for it. When did they come out?
Erica: This a Whitney song?
Julienne: It's Whitney and Missy Elliott.
Erica: Wow. I did not know Whitney and Missy-
Kenrya: [crosstalk 01:06:39]
Erica: ... did a song together. Continue.
Julienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Julienne: Anything with Mariah Carey in it. “Fantasy”... I love karaoke. I can't sing. I'm a third. If you know, you know, but if you don't know, you don't know.
Erica: Girl, I'm second and a third, and a first, depending on the song.
Kenrya: I am a first consistently, but I be sometimes envying the third parts.
Julienne: Listen, I was at that wedding and my friend said, "Mm." I said, "Oh yeah, I forgot I'm a whispering third. I'm a whispering third. I got too excited. I got too excited. But right, "Pass the mic. Don't pass it to Julienne." Then anything by Mariah Carey. I'm trying to figure out for my 30th birthday, am I going to do Mariah Carey? Or am I going to do Whitney Houston? Or should Whitney be saved for my 40th? You know what I'm saying? But anything that they sing-
Kenrya: You're on.
Julienne: ... it's going down. I'm going to be like... Not because I'm "in love." You on TikTok. You know that song that's like, "Never had someone to do it quite like you."
Julienne: I'm like, you just may have [inaudible 01:07:47] in the car, all the way to see my old man. Calm down, Julienne. It's okay. Get it together. But if it's by a Black woman, I'mma sing it.
Erica: Okay. I love it. Oh, yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, me too.
Erica: I too am firmly in my auntie music bag. When we're like, let's play some music to get hype, I'm like Anita Baker.
Julienne: Right. [inaudible 01:08:12] They do gathering walks, which is basically walking around. Anytime that they're like music... Because I'm like, obviously, this is my job. No cussing. If they bleep it out, but if I still know what it means, I still can't play it, dog. I know what they trying to say. I don't give a bleep. Okay, we all know. We know what we're saying here. My new favorite thing, it's just stuff like “Waiting to Exhale” or repeat the sound. It makes me [crosstalk 01:08:35].
Erica: That's one of the best soundtracks of all time.
Julienne: I'm like, "This is how it works." I'm with my marker, walking around, grading they papers. "Wrap your hands up." They're like, "Ms. Louis, please." I'm like, "Well, y'all can [01:08:47]." I'm not going to cry, but I'm a keep looking at these papers. Yeah, stuff like that.
Erica: Okay. Love it.
Julienne: My auntie bag at 27. The children have aged me. They really aged me.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 01:09:02]-
Erica: It's okay, because they're going to remember that. They going to remember Ms. **** and the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack.
Julienne: But a teacher was like, "Y'all don't have any good rap music." I said, "It's just all drugs and hoes. Just drugs [inaudible 01:09:15]. I can't feel my body.” No, I say, "Drugs and hoes, and money they don't even have." Rapping about money being broke. I'm talking to myself at this point. Then one of them was like, "What they say, Ms. ****?" I say, "Hoes, whores." [crosstalk 01:09:29]. Whores and baby mamas. I was like, it's always been about that, Julienne. Why are you so [crosstalk 01:09:36]?
Erica: Why is it different?
Julienne: Right. I'm like, "And murder." They're like, "Okay, Ms. Louis. We're done with that topic already." I'm like, "Okay." Let me calm myself down now. I've worked myself up. But yeah. [inaudible 01:09:50].
Kenrya: Well, thank you.
Erica: This has been great.
Julienne: I hope...
Kenrya: You're great.
Julienne: I was going to say, I hope it was good.
Kenrya: No, it's lovely.
Erica: No, this has been a great conversation.
Kenrya: Yeah. I'm glad we were... We were like, whose life has been most affected by this fucking pandemic?
Kenrya: We were like, teachers? Erica was like-
Kenrya: ... my spec! Yes.
Julienne: Yeah, I be going in there like some days... Erica can tell you, some days I'm having a great time. The children are great. Some days I'm like, this is... Why did I do this? Why am I here? Is this my calling?
Erica: Wait, no, you... It was a couple years ago, you had a student that would do everybody's hair. She'd lay hair for little girls whose mamas couldn't quite do it. I thought it was the sweetest thing. Then people started sending you money to buy hair supplies-
Julienne: That was real cute.
Erica: ... for the little girl. I was like, see, this is why [inaudible 01:10:49].
Julienne: Yeah, I caught myself doing two braids. I can braid my hair, but Black mamas... Kenrya, you can relate. Erica, well, you have a son, Erica, so no.
Erica: I can't do nobody hair.
Julienne: They really get to work with the geometry and the parts, and the...
Kenrya: I wish I was good. Yeah.
Julienne: I'm looking at them. Now you know that the heart trend is on. I'm like, a heart? What if I had a daughter who wanted... girl, you got to go to somebody for that, because if you don't want no plaits for a braid out, then you got to...
Erica: I need some boxes. Just boxes.
Julienne: Yes. I learned to do my own faux locks during the pandemic.
Kenrya: Oh, wow.
Julienne: Never again. I won't do them again. I don't like to labor. I labor Monday through Friday, 7:00 to 4:00. No. Now, the prices went up, I'll be paying it. I will be paying it because I'm not doing it myself. Yeah.
Kenrya: That's for sure.
Julienne: Right. I really won't. My linesister, she's always like, "Just learn." I'm like, "You learn. Fly to New Orleans and do it. I'm not learning anything."
Kenrya: Yeah. I signed up for one of those... it was this chick who was profiled all over the place where she was teaching all of the Black women who hadn't ever learned how to braid really well. I can braid a little bit, enough to do a little cute something in my kids' hair. I was in her Facebook group, I was going... but I didn't have time. I just never really... I was supposed to. I was going to buy a little head and practice. So I wasn't practicing on my baby's head. It just never happened. It was supposed to be a pandemic project.
Erica: Girl, your child about to be old enough to do her own hair.
Julienne: Right. [crosstalk 01:12:12]-
Erica: Just let her do it.
Kenrya: Well, I learned to do other shit. I put twists in her hair. I learned how to do things that were a little closer to my current skillset.
Erica: Oh, because I was about to say, honey, we just fake it until she gets to that point. At this point...
Kenrya: No, they care too much.
Julienne: They going to want to do it they selves. They got-
Kenrya: No, you can't... But it's the pandemic and she still can't go nowhere. They care a lot, even at them little young ages, about what they should look like. It's just...
Erica: No, I'm not saying to just do anything. I'm just saying, you've made it this far without that skill. Keep fudging it.
Julienne: Right, because I don't push it. I don't, Get on her head. Get her head. It could be a bonding activity. I'm just like, I need... People with children, I just be looking like... If my mom will say something like, "Oh, so since y'all are together now, when are you going to have kids?" I'm like, "A teen mom. Girl, please." Oh, I already had this dog that I leave in my boyfriend house. I'm like a fly by parent. I see why niggas do it because it is nice. Drop by, give them some scratches and some rubs, bring over some food, and then I did. I go back home. He's on my floor right now and I'm like, oh, I have to walk you after this conversation? So needy. You need so much. Go back by your step daddy, please.
Kenrya: That's real. Well, thank you for saying yes, and coming on and talking to us.
Erica: Thank you so much. This was good.
Julienne: Thanks for having me.
Kenrya: Thank you to all of you for listening. Have a...
Julienne: I forgot that people are listening to that.
Erica: Or would be listening.
Kenrya: And watching. Listen, they listening and looking at your glorious Afro. I love your hair.
Julienne: Right. Got look. Unlearning anti-Blackness, it's really a thing.
Kenrya: It's beautiful and joyful. Yeah.
Julienne: Thank you.
Kenrya: We'll be back next week. Bye.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Hit subscribe right now in your favorite podcast app and at YouTube.com/TheTurnOnPodcast, so you'll never miss an episode.
Erica: Then follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. And you can find links to books, transcripts, guest info, what's turning us on, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com.
Kenrya: And don't forget to email us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com with your book recommendations and your pressing sex-and related questions.
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Kenrya: Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon. Holla.
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.