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5 Women On The Truth About Living Alone

It was both the biggest risk and the best risk I've ever taken.

Human Interest

When I was younger, I couldn't wait to be grown so I could have my own apartment. I remember visiting my older cousin's apartment and taking mental pictures of her decor because I wanted to replicate the same energy once I was old enough to have my own space. The chance to turn on lights without my mama giving me the black mama look was all I wanted. Every time Ari Lennox sang, "I just got a new apartment. I'm gon' leave the floor wet. Walk around this bitch naked and nobody can tell me shit," I feel that in my soul. I finally got that freedom after moving to Denver in 2016 and I realized the joy of living independently also comes with some lonely nights.

I've lived in different cities and countries all over the world but I always had a roommate so moving to the Mile High City alone was one of the biggest risks I had ever taken. And one of the best risks if I'm being honest.

I am so proud to be a part of a generation of women that is focusing more on what makes them happy and not allowing societal deadlines to compromise their life choices. Marriage and birth rates have lowered due to a number of variables and a woman's choice to make her career a priority is leading the charge. Between the government and nosey family members all in our fallopian tubes, women just want to create a life they love.

For some queens that equates to living solo. A recent study says that women who live alone have higher education levels, are higher income earners and are more likely to be professionals than women living with others. With those statistics, we decided to catch up with five women to spill the tea on the perks and pitfalls of living single-ish.

Peigy Theodore:

Courtesy of Peigy Theodore

"My life has been pretty different from my friends and peers. I moved out of my parents' home when I was 19 and my sister was my roommate. It was a stepping-stone decision for me. By the age of 21, I had moved out completely on my own. I've lived alone for almost 10 years now. I'm newly and happily single.

The biggest misconception about living alone is that it's scary, and not in the 'someone is going to break into your house' kind of way, but more so getting psyched out and thinking you're not going to sustain the life you want, especially in New York.

It's super expensive here but I made it work on minimum wage while going to school. I tell everyone, it's all about timing, budgeting and money management. That being said, it is in no way easy and there will initially be some fear because it's a big change but it's worth it.

I actually really love living alone and suggest for everyone to try it but there are three things I dislike that are kind of silly but here they are: being my own 'handy-man' (I'm actually really handy, but sometimes you just want things to be magically fixed); having to actually kill spiders myself; having to pay this expensive NYC rent on my own (honestly, I would save a ton if I were willing to get a roommate); not being able to zip the back of a dress. I've definitely shown up to places and asked someone there to zip me.

I almost never feel lonely. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with myself and just relaxing.

My favorite space is my living room. It's the perfect amount of comfort and I can just focus there as opposed to being in my room. Also, it's a great space for home workouts during quarantine."

Follow Peigy's journey on Instagram @peigystyles.

Vic Styles:

Courtesy of Vic Styles

"I decided I wanted to live alone two years ago. I was sleeping on friends' couches because I couldn't get approved for my own place. My credit was bad, and being freelance it was almost impossible to get approved. I vowed to myself that I would fix my credit and get an apartment alone. I worked and prayed diligently, and a year later I moved into my own place. I am in a relationship, but he does not officially live with me.

The biggest misconception about living alone is that you get bored or lonely. And for me, this hasn't been the case. I enjoy time with and for myself.

I grew up an only child, and because my dad was in the military we moved every 2-3 years. I say this to say: I've spent most of my life alone. I've grown to love and cherish the time I'm allowed to spend with myself and never really find it lonely. I am my own best friend.

There's only one thing I dislike - I freak out whenever I see a bug and there's no one to deal with it but me. My favorite space is my bedroom. It feels like peace. Some things I like to do when I'm alone include: reading, binge-watching cheesy TV shows, writing, manifesting through Pinterest vision boards, and of course working."

Follow Vic's journey on @thevicstyles.

Tania Cascilla:

Courtesy of Tania Cascilla

"I've always preferred to live alone, I grew up an only child, so I'm totally accustomed to it now. I'm single-ish and totally not against cohabitating, I think it's all about setting boundaries and respecting each other's space. Im definitely not opposed to living with my partner in the future but right now I'm enjoying the freedom of being alone in my space.

The biggest misconception is definitely loneliness. It's like geez, can't I enjoy my own company?

FaceTiming with friends, working, going for a walk, soaking in the tub or simply just watching TV help combat loneliness. I feel like I have so much going on that I honestly don't notice it.

My favorite space in my home is definitely my living room... Specifically my couch, It's such a cozy and comfy vibe."

Follow Tania's journey on Instagram @darlingtee.

Tanisha Cherry:

Courtesy of Tanisha Cherry

"I decided to live alone three years ago when I got the call that I was the successful candidate for a new job. This blessing was taking me away from a job that was making me miserable and giving me the money to change my living situation. At the time, I had five more months on my lease and the friendship with my roommate was over.

The biggest misconception is that being alone is being lonely, when really it's 'all in one'. Honestly, I don't dislike anything about living alone. I really enjoy living alone because I'm in an environment that aids in my flourishment.

Loneliness is sadness because one has no friends or company. I prevent loneliness by making plans with my family/friends and incorporating a shared interest. A shared interest can be food, fitness, shopping, etc. For example, my friend Ryan and I are committed to living a more active lifestyle. So, we go on two-hour walks together around our neighbor to get our steps in and check-in.

My favorite space in my home is my living room. There's an energy in that area that helps me be completely in the moment of whatever I'm doing."

Follow Tanisha's journey on Instagram @tanisha.cherry.

E'yonnie Scott

Courtesy of E'yonnie Scott

"I've dreamed of living alone since 2014 when I graduated from college. But I was finally able to make this a reality earlier this year in March. I made a major career change that gave me the footing I needed to branch out on my own. I've now been living alone for almost five months.

I personally prefer living alone right now, as this is the first time in my life that I've had this kind of space to myself. I'm 100% accountable to myself and have the flexibility to build my household around my needs. But when the time feels right, I'm excited to live with a partner that I can grow and align with.

As far as what led me to that decision, I took cues from my own experiences living with family, as well as from stories friends have shared about living with partners and roommates. It's very sweet living with loved ones, but I realized I'm more suited to having space to retreat into my own world (at least for now).

My biggest misconception about living alone was that, despite how much I love alone time, it still gets lonely at times. I still get homesick for my family and childhood home, but I'm finding ways to make my new space feel like 'home' the more I settle in.

Things I dislike about living alone include managing everything alone, like bills, budgeting, repairs, chores, and time management now that I'm working from home (sometimes it's daunting, but it also gives me a sense of accomplishment); the existential dread that comes with quarantining alone (I'm thankful, though, that my loved ones and I are finding ways to help each other stay centered); there's no one else around to help catch spiders that sneak into the apartment.

My favorite area is my living room because it feels like a sanctuary, from the teal couch pillows to the afternoon sunlight that pours in every day. I love my candles, my plants, the berimbau that sits behind my plants, and the bookshelf full of Octavia Butler. Despite the chaos outside, my living room and its soft accents make me feel safe.

I stave off loneliness with lots of FaceTime calls, a robust podcast rotation, crafting, gardening, tuning into webinars, movies, and playing lots of music. I'm also a part of a small quarantine-pod that meets up social-distance style. I love them very much and cherish our time together."

Follow E'yonnie's journey on Instagram @eon_genesis.

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Featured image by Vic Styles

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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