thought of the week: unapologetically black

it has been a minute – nearly three weeks to be exact.  that is the longest i have gone without writing a blog post since my very first one back in january of 2019.  it is also the most inclined i have felt to truly take a break for the first time in my life without needing to explain or justify it.  acknowledging my own growth and evolvement in this particular department is one that is important to me.  it came on the cusp of something unexpected – my last blog post + instagram live.

 

as with all of my instagram lives, i answered any questions that were submitted on the spot.  for the first time in 18 months, i was asked questions about race.  there was no way i was going to ignore the questions asked and i was going to answer them honestly as i would any other question.  here is what i wasn’t prepared for:

  1. a plethora of dms, text messages and calls from people who felt attacked (this is even with me being sure i did not attack any particular group in my responses)
  2. just as many people reaching out to express guilt over their own lack of awareness about the racial injustices black people face day to day
  3. friends questioning our closeness because some of what i shared on both my blog and my live was new information
  4. losing followers, likely because they think i am getting “too political” or “too liberal”
  5. the utter exhaustion from the aforementioned

 

on the brighter side, here are some revelations i have had in the time i have had away from blogging:

  1. if someone felt attacked when there was no language whatsoever that could be described as such, it is probably due to feeling like they fall into the category of people who are part of the problem.  and guess what?  that is not my problem
  2. it is not my job to hold space for the guilt of others, even my friends and family unless they specifically ask if i have space to do so AND have a plan of action regarding the work they will be putting in to make the shifts necessary to not only be guilt free, but anti-racist
  3. i am close to a variety of people for a variety of reasons – maybe we bonded over grief, childhood trauma, being working grad students, being women in male dominated workplaces, love for music, etc. – just because we have not gone deep about race does not mean our relationship is not deep.  however, if that is something you would like to dive into, ask me if i have the space to do so and let’s get to it
  4. while i lost followers for simply speaking both the truth and my truth, i gained more – if there is one person who learned something, that is a win in my book
  5. i have slept more in the last week than i typically do in nearly a month.  typically, i would apologize for it or at the very least, attempt to justify it.  with where i am in my life, i don’t feel like i owe anyone other than myself an explanation for taking time for me.  i do not think i have ever allowed myself time off to simply process what it means to be black

 

then, it hit me.  i do not think i have ever been unapologetically black.

 

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artwork by a.b. — gifted to me by hillary conlin

 

there are lots of things that i am both bold and unapologetic about in all spaces.  being a woman.  being passionate about my work.  being an advocate for marginalized groups.  being an absolute nerd when it comes to all things psychology and philosophy oriented.  being plus sized.  while all of these things are important to be bold and unapologetic about, some of them come easily to me.

 

that being said, how bold was i really being?  have there been times where i have minimized myself to make others comfortable with my blackness?  the answer (unfortunately) was yes.  it won’t be any longer.

 

so often, i am one of the only (if not, the only) people in any given space that looks like me.  with that often comes this pressure of being “the perfect black” because of my awareness that so many people in that space may have no other context than what they have seen on television as a representation of all black people.  and while there is a piece of me that is happy that i may have changed the minds of some ignorant people, there is a bigger piece of me that is disappointed in myself for ever muting or minimizing myself.  i can think of times i was angry and deserved to be but stayed quiet or calm because heaven forbid coming off as “the angry black woman” or “the ghetto black woman” – in my quest to be my most vulnerable and authentic self, this has to be acknowledged.  it has to be changed.

 

for all of my friends and followers who were surprised by my last post, i would like to reintroduce myself as kristin – the counselor, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the intj, the monopoly lover, the quality time and acts of service fanatic and most importantly, the unapologetically black woman.

 

one thing i will continue to do (when i feel up to it) is share things that i have learned or discovered.  as someone reading this blog, you can do with it what you wish.  one thing i will no longer do is make myself smaller or quieter to make others feel more comfortable.  that is not my responsibility – it never was.

 

xoxo,

k. tap

thought of the week: neutrality is not good enough

it has taken me days to try and fully capture how i have been feeling and i honestly don’t know that i will ever feel totally ready or feel that my thoughts are absolutely cohesive.  even still, this could not wait.

 

unless you literally live under a rock, this month has been filled with stories of the murders of unarmed black people whether it be by the police (like the cases of george floyd and breonna taylor) or by u.s. citizens (like in the case of ahmaud arbery) who have simply taken matters into their own hands.  that doesn’t even include stories like christian cooper (an avid birdwatcher), who simply asked a woman to put a leash on her dog in central park and was threatened by her when she said, “i am going to call the police and tell them you are threatening the lives of both me and my dog!” before proceeding to pretend to be in emotional distress on the phone with the police.  it was evident that she was using her white privilege to punish this black man for simply asking her to comply with the law.  she knew what the ramifications were of calling the police on a black man and she did not give a fuck.  to say that is problematic is a gross understatement.

 

i truly do not know if there is anyone who is not black that will ever fully understand what it is like to be hunted like animals at any given point in time and to know that there likely won’t even be repercussions for the people committing these murders.  i also don’t know if anyone who is not black understands the amount of stress and trauma that we carry day to day that is often unaddressed.  how many other groups of people do you know that read weekly about the death and mistreatment of their people and are then expected to go to work, perform as if nothing happened and oftentimes, wear a mask to be seen as the perfect token in an effort to not make others uncomfortable or to shift the perception of how people like them are received?

 

the only group of people i know that go through this day in and day out are black people – people like me.

 

shortly after starting this blog in january of 2019, i started doing questions with k. tap on instagram live once a month.  people submit questions for about a week leading up to the live and i write them down to pull from a bowl.  the questions can be about anything under the sun – family dynamics, the 5 love languages, grief, favorite recipes and most recently, questions around race relations in the united states.  two questions that were asked earlier this week were:

  • as a white woman (or man), how can i appropriately advocate for the black community?
  • as a black person, do you feel like meeting force with equal force would be a step towards progress?

 

i answered both of these questions at length and you can review that here.

 

what has been more interesting are the conversations that followed – not only questions but debates, sharing of information, people checking in because they have never seen me this emotionally charged about anything i have discussed over the last 18 months.

 

i have spent more hours this week feeling like the walls are closing in on me.  i either don’t sleep enough or i cannot stop sleeping due to the sheer emotional exhaustion of living in skin that looks like mine.  i have had splitting headaches.  i have cried enough tears to create a river to drown in.  and guess what?  the world does not stop spinning amidst all of the chaos.  i am still expected to show up and hold space for those around me, even those who have acknowledged the very trauma i have talked about in this post.

 

the number of people i have seen remain silent or simply say they are unsure of what to say during a time like this is disgusting.  the number of people who are simply posting themselves drinking their fifth hard seltzer on a boomerang on instagram who have yet to utter any of the names that i mentioned above makes my stomach churn.  the number of people who have no issue appropriating black culture but are seemingly okay with the hunting of black people is foul.

 

i am at a point in my life where neutrality is not good enough.

 

 

“if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  -desmond tutu

 

there have been so many people (since the protesting has started) speaking up more about the buildings that are being destroyed, the fact that all police are not the same and talking about how all lives matter.  let’s get into this:

 

  1. many of the protests were peaceful until the police or random non black people made them violent yet the media is not showing that AT ALL (i know plenty of people on the front lines and their video footage is drastically different than what you are being shown on your television screens).  and for the buildings that were destroyed, is there a price tag you would put on the life of your mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son, husband, wife or best friend?  if there is a price, is it more than the target store you are concerned about?  none of these questions are rhetorical – i am truly interested in your answer.
  2. while all police are not the same (i can speak on this as the daughter of a retired lapd lieutenant who never shot at anyone in nearly 30 years), the number of police who are racist, prejudiced or biased is too high if the number is more than zero.  the current state of the world has already shown us how high that number could be.  what is scarier to me are the police officers in this category who have not been caught yet.  imagine calling the police as a black person and having to worry that when they show up, you can be gunned down when you are the victim in need of the police to serve and protect.  welcome to amerikkka.
  3. black lives matter does not mean your life as a non black matters less.  in fact, if all lives matter, why aren’t you just as angry when someone who looks like me is killed for no reason?  newsflash: us black people are fully aware of how much the lives of everyone else matter.  we simply want to matter just as much.  if that is asking for too much, feel free to unfollow me.  this is a human rights issue.  it really is not that complicated.

 

as someone who is not black, now is not the time to talk about your views on protesting, the police or what lives matter.  now is the time for you to speak up on the behalf of the black people who are often silenced or simply told we are making everything about race.  now is the time for you to put your money where your mouth is.  now is the time for you to read literature on how to be a better advocate and ally.  now is the time for you to have the uncomfortable conversations with your family, friends, coworkers and associates that your black counterparts have been having.  now is the time for you to listen.

 

have you ever stopped to just listen to what black people in this country are going through daily?  and i mean really listen – not with the intent to respond but with the intent to understand.

 

and to my black people, seeking out a therapist to unpack the decades of trauma you have lived through and the centuries of trauma that came before you is in your best interest.  but guess what?  therapy cannot be impactful if the therapists out there are not acknowledging the injustices of our society.  that being said, choose wisely.

 

i am not looking to have people in my circle who simply are not racist.  i am looking to have people in my circle who are anti-racist.  learn the difference and put it into action.

 

if curious about some organizations where your donations could help, click here.

 

and lastly, check in on your black friends, especially the strong ones.  we break down, too.

 

xoxo,

k. tap

this is 30.

i cannot believe i am 30 or that every adult when i was younger was absolutely telling the truth when they warned me about how each year picked up pace as we got older.

i thought about making this post one that was fuzzy and warm but that wouldn’t have been fully me. so instead, i am going to share 30 life lessons that i will carry into my 30s to make this decade the best one yet.

1. authenticity is underrated.

2. no two people handle grief the same way and that is OKAY.

3. “no.” truly is a full fucking sentence.

4. there is no need to feel guilt around saying “no.” to someone you love because that likely means you are saying “yes.” to you.

5. the five people you are closest to serve as mirrors – do you like what you see? if not, time to change up the starting five.

6. gratitude is something to practice regularly. daily, i jot down three things i am grateful for. i haven’t had a day yet where i couldn’t list three things and that has been an eye opener.

7. work hard, play just as hard.

8. that being said, do not rely on luck. hustling is not negotiable if you want to be successful.

9. do something once per week that is completely selfish – it pays to have something to look forward to.

10. busyness is not an indicator of success. what are you spending your time on?

11. do not bring more baggage into a relationship than you can comfortably carry.

12. do not enter a relationship with someone that expects you to carry their baggage.

13. vulnerability is strength.

14. friends are the family you choose.

15. all good relationships have healthy boundaries.

16. age is not indicative of maturity.

17. self care is more than bubble baths and manicures – be sure that you are not ignoring your mental and emotional health.

18. while your friends, family and partner(s) are your support system, they have limits to the amount of space they can hold for you. even therapists have therapists.

19. for every action, there is a reaction that you do not get to dictate.

20. your dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone but you.

21. you regularly show people how to treat you, even without words.

22. check in on your strong friends. they are tired even if you cannot tell.

23. don’t punish people for not showing up for you if you have not communicated what showing up for you looks like.

24. pour into people who pour into you.

25. you don’t ever get over the loss of someone, you just learn to live with/work through it.

26. love on your inner circle in their preferred love language(s).

27. words mean nothing without action.

28. you are more than your job/career.

29. when questioning whether or not you are treating yourself with the love and respect you deserve, ask yourself what advice you would give to your best friend if in the same situation. whatever your answer is, channel that inward. be one of your own best friends.

30. life is short and unpredictable so give people their flowers while they are still here to enjoy them.

and to all of you who reached out today, thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes. it is greatly appreciated and made my heart warm.

to see what i am up to in vegas this weekend, check out my instagram stories.

cheers to the next 30 🥂.

xoxo,

k. tap

one year anniversary

for those of you who grew up listening to r&b, just know that i have been singing “anniversary” every single day for the last week.

 

one year.  today marks one year of blogging on keepupwithktap.com, getting to know more about so many of you and getting to know one hell of a lot about myself.  it has been lesson after lesson about vulnerability, letting go of being a perfectionist and realizing that authenticity is definitely underrated.

 

i had planned on reviewing my analytics to find out which posts you all liked most but luckily, top nine did that for me.  two things stood out to me:

  1. you are unafraid to dive deep with me
  2. i need to show more of my face on the gram since you all seem to like those photos

 

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for those of you who have not been reading since the beginning, i have linked the top nine posts below:

1. a much needed psa

2. bikinis for big girls

3. 29 and fine

4. family does not mean

5. people in therapy

6. pale pink + polka dots

7. #100

8. graduation (started from the bottom, now we’re here)

9. veuve polo classic – east coast edition

 

to say i am grateful to each of you who has read along in the last year would be a gross understatement. i am so excited for year two together. as we enter 2020, a new decade and my 30th year on this earth, i will continue to talk about some topics you can’t get enough of (psych, relationships and self-improvement). i will cover some new topics you’ve requested (like dating, narcissism, wedding season and more things fashion oriented).

 

i cannot wait to connect with you all on instagram live tonight at 8pm pst.

 

sending you all so much love and here’s to the next year together. 😘

 

xoxo,

k. tap

#100

#100.

 

100 posts.

 

it is crazy to think about how long it took me to get this blog going, especially because once i got started, it seemed to move at the speed of lightening.

 

whether you have been reading since my very first post, came in somewhere around the middle to read about my love for this year’s coachella or if today is your very first glance, i want to thank you for reading along + for tuning into my monthly questions with k. tap on instagram live.

 

i have learned a great deal about myself during 2019 and one of the biggest lessons was as a result of me starting this blog: i have decided to no longer wait until i feel ready to embark on a journey that could be magical because the reality is that i may never feel ready and i sure as hell don’t want to miss the magic.

 

this blog feels like my very own baby because it is the first thing i have done in life that belongs entirely to me and is being done just for me.  there are 100 posts with me keeping it completely 100.  there is something so refreshing, authentic, freeing and beautiful about being able to say that with confidence and certainty.

 

i have astounded myself with how my vulnerability through this blog has translated into so many of my relationships with family and friends day to day.  i have also been taken aback in the best way by how vulnerable so many of you have been with me after reading a post that just tugged at your heartstrings.  i really could not be more grateful.

 

i can’t wait for the next 100 and hope you will keep following this journey of mine.

 

with love,

k. tap