Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm always so "random"

I debated about posting this, but eventually decided to go for it. I wrote it specifically to post, anyway.

A "random" list for the blog: 05/25/2010, 2:28 pm

*one of my favorite children at my job gave me another Silly Band today. Their reason for giving it to me: because they didn't know what it is. As soon as she put it on the table, I said "Alfred Hitchcock." It was the unmistakable shape of Alfred Hitchcock's face from his nightly show. She stared at me blankly and shrugged. Another student asked me if it was Sherlock Holmes. I again said it was Alfred Hitchcock. She said, "I don't know who that is."

*I've lived in Florida for 21 years. Most people I've talked to have also lived in Florida for long amounts of time. Actually, it doesn't matter how long you've been here, if you've spent one summer here it's enough to know that it's hot here. Really hot. I don't understand the significance of complaining about shit that is already understood. Yes, it gets hot as closed-in balls here. No, it doesn't make anyone feel better when you say everyday how hot it is as if it's something new. In fact, you're contributing to the heat by opening your hot-ass mouth.

*Some people have called me a loner aka Miss Anti-social. I'm not, actually. When I want to be alone, sure. But I am generally a social individual. I just never have anyone to lay claim to. I have friends, always have, but a lot of these friends tend to have other friends they always hang with. And when you have someone you always hang with, it tends to edge the little people (like me) out of your plans. Sometimes I take it personal, but then I shake the rising anger off and realize that that's just me. As much as other people always hang with someone else, I also don't try my hardest to get my way in their plans. I usually will ask someone a couple of times about hanging, and then if they don't take any initiative, I stop. I don't want to be anyone's burden. This also applies to boyfriends. What this essentially means is that a). I have faith that one day I'll have this always hang group (--my family is my always hang group. They always want to see me, and I don't always have to ask them first), and b). one day someone will make me feel like my company is always being solicited, rather than me always soliciting someone else's company. Call me selfish, or needy. Or human.

*I've touched on always feeling outside of the circle, and I've realized why-- I'm always in the right circles at solitary times. I graduated college at a different time than all my friends, I avoided Facebook during the end of my college career (people still ask me where I disappeared to), I have a job, and a general routine when most of my friends don't have any type of schedule (due to recent graduation), etc. Oh well. Occupational hazard.

*I hate the word "like." Every time I catch myself saying it, I cringe and miss the days of 5th grade when my teacher banned it. (She also made us write only in proper cursive.)

*I hate that Florida is becoming a type of second New York. Credit this to the wave of New Yorkers moving here. There's nothing I can't stand more than people who've lived down South for plenty of time, extolling the virtues of someplace they ostensibly left for better opportunities. Color me insensitive, or Southern, but it's another one of those things I don't understand. (Like complaining about the heat when you live someplace hot.) Don't get me wrong--I loved NY when I visited, and I'm excited to go back. But I want where I live to be where I live. Meaning, if I live in NY, I don't want it to be like Florida. And if I live in Florida, I certainly don't want it to be like New York. Call me sensitive, but this shit was old to me since ninth grade. (--in high school, I [of course] had friends who were from NY... and curiously their "accent" was strong, regardless of whether they only lived there until they were five, or whether they only had an accent when they asked for ish like coffee.)

*One of the kids told me she liked my 'fro, and said that on some people, it looks like they shouldn't do it, but on me, it looked good. +10 points for the day.

*I've decided that my wants in relationship-land travel much deeper than seeking out a boyfriend. I want someone who makes me feel like I belong to them (not in a bitch, I pay your bills, go make my damn sandwich kind of way), someone who makes me feel (without trying) that every piece of my existence is valued. Even the not so great parts. You can have a boyfriend who doesn't make you feel that way.

*When my hair is big and 'fro-ed out, every time I see myself in the mirror, I kiss my reflection. And when I walk, my swagger is on. And I feel like there's 70s background music playing when I walk.

*I hate when people say something farcical or give an opinion that doesn't make sense and the other person in the conversation capitulates to, "well, I guess so..." I'd rather them end with a hmph and silence than to capitulate and reward the other person with a gift of being correct when they really are not.

*At my old job, there was an employee I couldn't stand. Let's call him... Victor, for the sake of the conversation. Victor didn't do shit. I mean shit. He came to work half dressed, and generally late. Sometimes he was affable and cracked jokes, but sometimes he was morose and didn't speak to any of us. I couldn't stand him. Not because I knew him personally or even consumed enough information about him to dislike him, but because I hated what he represented. To me, he represented the employee who didn't have to do shit but go into the computer lab with his group and listen to/watch hip hop videos on YouTube. He was barely reprimanded; never got fired. While I was up to my elbows in kid germs, whines, and coloring pages, he let his group do as they pleased, for the most part. When I went outside and stood in the field (which had no trees, mind you) with my group, getting bitten by mysterious bugs and unprotected sun exposure by the minute, he grabbed a chair from inside and promptly sat down. In the shade.

I disliked him, as you could see.

But maybe, just maybe, I've turned into Victor. At my job, right now, I'm sitting with my back toward the kids, writing this. I use my phone constantly. I talk to the kids, of course, but I generally only stick to my rotating circle of favorites. I don't do any activities. I disregard what my supervisor says. I use my time at work to read and write. (--to be fair, we aren't scheduled to do any activities, and pretty much everyone at work uses their phone and hangs out, as long as we watch the kids. Glorified babysitting, so I'm not too much of a rebel.)

I'm not saying I'm advocating the existence of employees like Victor. He had a bunch of other negative qualities I can't get past, but I'm just saying that maybe I understand his perspective. Because I've gotten to the point on my job where I don't really give a fuck.

*qualities that I've decided a man must possess (a work in progress):
  • he must be a ham, meaning he must never be too cool to crack a joke, or to make me laugh. not in the I'm-trying-to-be-the-next-stand up-comedian kind of way, but in the I'm-naturally-funny kind of way.
  • he must do something other than drink, or club, or video games, or hanging out with the friends (--meaning, he must have a hobby, even if he thinks it's dorky, like knowing all the names of the X-Men, or knowing how to bake a perfect cake. And no, this list is not exhaustive.)
(Did I ever mention how hard it is to type something verbatim? Now I'm tired of sitting here. Happy Memorial Day--remember those who fight for us to live in the free world... and those who have died to see to it that we remain in the free world. Holllllllllla....)

My friendships might be like my relationships, but they are still an entity all their own

They say that life imitates art, or that art imitates life, but I don't give two shakes of a tail what they say. I'm here to say that I'm starting to notice my friendships mirror my romantic relationships.

I was going to sit and take notes about this subject, and then write on it, but then I remembered--I don't like taking notes. I'm the kind of person who will take well-intentioned notes on something, start writing about it, and then never finish. I'm best when I take quick notes in my head, and then get to writing.

So, yes, my friendships mirror my romantic relationships. And that's not good. Because I want to overhaul both those troubling aspects of my life.*

That being said, I'm quick with emotions. What can I say? I don't believe in beating around the bush. I feel like I have established certain quota that can quickly gain you access into my circle--like whether you watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special every year or not--so such strident criteria eliminate the need to wait agonizing days, weeks, or months to figure out whether you're good to go, whether we're in a relationship or a friendship. Some people call it picky; I call it knowing what you like and more importantly, what you don't like.

For instance, I'm pretty damn sure that a man who goes around referring to women as bitches or men who don't meet his standards as faggots is somebody I'm not going to be attracted to.** That being said, the same goes for a girl who spends all her time dogging out other women, talking about how ugly they are and how she looks so much better, or a girl who goes about complaining that all men are dogs and she's so over men. As far as I'm concerned, as friends, we don't have shit to talk about.**

Anyhow, I'm getting beside myself. Okay, so I'm the one who doesn't believe in beating around the bush. So, I'm quick with it. When I like you, I make up my mind pretty quickly. The only problem with this, though, is that when you don't take time to deliberate, the chances of your being wrong increase. (Yeah yeah yeah, they say follow your heart and shit, but my heart has been wrong before, so blind allegiance to an entity that can't see isn't really my idea of smarts, but I digress.)

Hence, I fall into the "honeymoon period" with people pretty quickly. Friends and lovers alike. With friends, we become bosom buddies faster than I can change my hairstyle, and suddenly we're sharing all types of thoughts, joys, letdowns, maybe even secrets. Because I'm so joyful to be bosom buddies with someone again, I forget all previous encounters, all previous hesitation about being that close to a friend again--I figuratively lose my damn mind and attach myself to this friend, wondering if we're BFF... should I give them the BFF label? Should we get matching bracelets to proclaim undying devotion?

Same thing with relationships. All of a sudden, I'm in like, and I'm hanging on your every word, thinking you're the smartest thing since Bill Nye the Science Guy, and I'm telling these same honeymoon period friends about my (unrecognized) honeymoon period guy. Because I'm so excited to be all in like with a guy again, I forget all prior hesitation with the opposite sex, I forget about what made me into a cynic realistic romantic in the first place. I figuratively lose my damn mind and attach myself to this person, wondering if we're meant to be together... what will we do for our anniversary? Do I love him?

I know, I know. That shit is ugly. It's so ugly I couldn't bear to continue the thought. But, the truth is often ugly.

But, when you fall into a honeymoon period so fast, the end of the honeymoon period is inevitably fast approaching. Because at some point, that person on the other end of my fantasy does something to shock me out of the honeymoon I was so relishing.*** Whether it's a guy I'm "talking" to (don't even get me started on that phrase) cussing me out for questioning his character and intentions, or a friend ceasing to invite me out, all at once, I realize that the indelible line**** John Mayer so infamously introduced me to, has been crossed, I just crossed it by myself, my feelings aren't going to be the same, and that friend/lover isn't the person I thought they were.

Now, that's not to say that this isn't a good thing. Usually in my relationships, this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. All the foolishness of me mind-lounging in the sand, hand-holding a fantasy ends, and I usually get to know the real person I was failing to see. In one instance in particular, I ended up liking the real person much, much better than the person I initially fell in quick like with. That relationship/friendship thing has weathered the test of time not too shabbily so far.

But with friends, the rule becomes the exception.

I will leave you with this anecdote.

Though I've dealt with my share of relationship woes, my heart seems to have recovered from those much better than my friendship ones. (Surprise surprise to me.) When I was younger, I had a best friend, and I had another good friend. I still, to this day, haven't figured out exactly what comprises a best friend, but back in the day, the one girl came first, so I called her my best friend. Well, my best friend used to tease inform me occasionally about various things. (It couldn't have been teasing because it didn't make me feel good, and it came off sounding like affirmative statements rather than jokes.) I was informed by her that I a). was going to Hell because I wasn't saved, and b). that I wasn't that Black because I couldn't dance. Being the extremely sensitive child that I was, I never countered her on her assumptions. No, I didn't know what being saved was (another topic for another day), and no, I didn't think I was going to Hell, but I never said anything. No, I couldn't roll my ass in the hot and humid fashion so unfortunately considered an integral part of the "Black experience,"***** but it wasn't because I couldn't, literally, but because I was shy, and didn't like dancing, and to this day, usually only like all eyes on me if I've been drinking. But, I never said anything. I sucked it all in, and didn't say anything. And even today, my reflections on those things that were said to me cloud my vision of our childhood friendship, and the type of friendship we would have today, though we are no longer super close.

My other friend was bi-racial, and she didn't know that I thought she was so pretty because of this. Her light skin and "different" hair (though, looking back, her hair was just as kinky as mine), not to mention her smarts and apparent confidence in herself made her someone I idolized. She used to call me, apparently, in an affectionate manner, "big cherry nose," because my nose was "big." Looking back, my nose wasn't that damn big, and I've since gotten over my problems with my nose and thinking it was huge, but for the time, it hurt my feelings greatly. Somehow, my African-American nose (and how my friend saw it) represented how I felt about myself. Everything was all off, everything was all wrong, I was different, and not in the right way. But, I don't think I said anything.

My friends at the time didn't mean any harm by what they said. They were sweet girls, and they still are great, funny people. They had the confidence of childhood--I have since worked with children, and learned that the majority of them are fearless. They are curious little beings, and they point out everything, meaning no harm. They just like to point out their observations. Working with them has helped me learn this, and has helped me to understand that the childhood confidence my friends had was something I lacked. So while they were pointing out things that were obvious to them, I took them personally, feeling like I was being attacked; being dragged underwater by the current of my low self-esteem.

But, even now, I hold grudges easily against friends once I've been snapped out of the honeymoon period. On the surface, I easily gel with friends, but apparently, my friendship heart is much harder to break into than I thought. Once that line has been crossed with a friend, even if I've crossed it alone, things are usually never the same. Not in a good way, either.

*--yes, they are both troubling parts of my life. No, I'm not talking about everyone I know, so if you're reading, please don't assume I'm talking about you. Though, I could be, but don't be alarmed.
**--no, we're not taking into account the fact that sometimes you like people despite their presumed faults. Use your suspension of disbelief and pretend that it's impossible to do so, for the sake of this reading. (Yes, I've been attracted to men like that and I've had girl friends like that also. So, it's possible, I know.)
***--sure, I do shit too, but it's usually the other person who does something to shock me out of the honeymoon, because I didn't realize I was honeymooning in Cabo by myself, while the other person has been pacing it slow, never letting go of other friends, contacts, etc.
****--"My Stupid Mouth" by John Mayer. I used to know this song by heart, because it was the story of my life.
*****--unfortunate only because certain Black folks use this as a method to determine your Blackness, kind of along the lines of "if you pronounce your words correctly, you aren't Black, and you talk like you White."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

retribution in dreams

After my incident yesterday, I had a dream today during a nap that I went back to that store, and it was full of white people that looked like they came from the 1960's era of black hatred. There were a couple of other Black people in the store. I still had my 'fro, from what I could see in the dream. When the lady followed me, I stopped her (she was much uglier in my dream, with a short haircut and dirtier appearance) and questioned her as to why she was following me. She right there accused me of stealing gin and vodka. (Which Dollar General doesn't even sell, but I guess it was on my mind after having a conversation last night about what my favorite kind of drink was.)

Her cronies surrounded me and started in on me. I believe I cussed every one of them out, and then as I exited the store, I loudly proclaimed that I would be suing them, or something like that. I saw the two other Black people (males) in the store look at each other, as if to say, hmph, the usual. (You know, that gaze that Black people usually share with each other when non-Black people and Black people alike are cuttin' up.) And then, I left, slamming the door as loudly as possible, instead of exiting quietly and disturbed like I did in real life.

I guess this was my mind's payback for what caused me such distress I was still thinking about it today, when I was reading my book and the characters in the book got racially profiled on New Year's.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

my heart is heavy with weight of my color

I was burning to write this.

So much so that I'm sitting here, my head starting to ache dully, my backpack still on my back, my nerves rattled.

I practically hurtled my groceries on the counter so I could grab my laptop to document this feeling.
You could call me lucky. (Though, I don't believe in luck.) You could call me spared. You could call me young. Whatever the case may be, I do not believe that I have ever sincerely come into contact with racism. Meaning, I've never been given the sideways eye, never been called "nigger," never had anything truly derogatory thrown my way that had something to do with my race. Sure, maybe it's because of how I carry myself; maybe it's because of the people I've been around, I don't know. I have had some "educational moments," when I had to school someone on something, or let them know that they were being offensive, but never have I had an instance when someone was being flat out racist and didn't give two shits about my educational moments.

I don't know if I've just experienced one of these moments I've been "lucky" enough to have avoided in life, but my spirit sure as hell is riled up, so something just happened that I'm not sure I understand.

I needed to go to Dollar General this morning. Well, I didn't need to go, I wanted to go. Wanted to get some coconut milk and honey for my hair. (The experimentation of a natural girl and her hair knows no bounds.) So, I decided to stop by the one on Semoran, on my way home. I was wearing my work shirt and jeans, my hair is in a bigger 'fro than yesterday (picture later), and I had my little black slingback backpack on my shoulder. You know, the kind with the rope straps that you can just toss on your back. Before I got out of the car, I had what I call an intuition moment. What I believe an intuition moment is, is when you suddenly stop, debating your course of action for what feels like no good reason. Despite my reasoning that I will always listen to my intuition, usually when I have one of these moments, I go left of what I'm thinking. Maybe it's because I always learn the hard way.

Anyway, I was sitting in my front seat, having just silenced my ignition, when I looked at my sling bag for no good reason.* For whatever reason, I wondered whether I should take my wallet out and just carry it and not take in the bag. I don't know why I had this thought; maybe it's because I know that stores consider kids with backpacks to be suspicious characters, waiting to steal something. I don't know. Despite that logic, I'm grown, is what I would have said to myself. I decided I didn't want the hassle of trying to balance my wallet, my keys, my phone, and my sunglasses, and grabbed the bag anyway (along with my reusable shopping bag) and went inside the store.

When I approached the store, there was a not-so-young-but-not-so-old woman standing outside, talking to a guy. She paid me no attention, I paid her little attention, and I went on my way.

Inside, I found most of the things I was looking for--I needed some new bobby pins, for experimental hair styles, I found the coconut milk, and I didn't get those hot dog buns, which felt like they were on their way to becoming rock. But, I still didn't find the honey.

Instead of asking someone if they had honey, I just decided to walk around the aisles until I found it. I had time to kill, and I was feeling emotionally spacey anyhow, so I relished the quiet time alone and just meandered around. In the middle of all this, I felt my back vibrating--meaning that my phone was in the bottom of my bag, which was sitting on the small of my back. Feeling like it could be something important, I stopped in the middle of the aisle and opened my sling bag, searching for the phone. I found it, only to see that "unavailable" had called me. (I wish the credit card company would take a long walk off a short-ass pier.) I blew breath through my lips in frustration, and put the bag back down so I could toss my phone back in there. As soon as I straightened up to continue on my honey search, I had the fleeting thought that I hope no one thought I was trying to put something in my bag. Call me paranoid, or call me Black, but anytime I'm in a store, I always make sure that I don't do anything that looks suspicious, just because I don't want someone to think I'm stealing anything. If I bought something that doesn't require a bag, I carry the receipt in plain view. I don't fiddle with my purse a lot when shopping. Just a habit of mine.

Well, I go back to walking. And I notice that the same not-young-but-not-old woman walks down the aisle where I am. I stop because I'm getting ready to pick up the coconut milk, but I have to wait, because she walks extremely slow in front of me. She doesn't look at me, and I don't look at her, but I just wait for her to move out of my way, then pick up the milk.

I meandered to another aisle, and she appeared on this one also. I paid her a little more attention this time, though I wasn't alarmed--anybody who shops knows that there's no need for alarm just because you and a stranger end up on the same aisles twice.

But as I kept moving, she kept appearing wherever I was, and then the salesguy from the front register appeared also. They weren't looking at me, and they never stopped to ask me anything, but I noticed that they appeared wherever I was.

Eventually, I realized that the store had no honey. And I was growing agitated by the not-old-not-young lady and her flunky in the yellow and black uniform. I decided finally to head toward the front register. Flunky in the yellow and black walked up there at the same time I did.

When I got to the register, I said hello, to which I received a mucho-delayed response, and then I noticed the lady came behind the register with him. I felt like I was being stared at as he rang up my meager purchases in silence. Besides being stared at, I sensed a vibration traveling between them, as though they were speaking with their bodies to one another. I paid for my shit and he handed me my receipt, without saying anything to me, and I felt it again. Like they were staring at me. I looked down and noticed he didn't even put my shit in the reusable shopping bag, like I'd asked. He'd left it sitting on the counter, as lonely looking as I felt.

As I walked out the store, they began having an awkward-feeling conversation about cans on store shelves. When I left, I noticed they both came outside also, even though there had been a customer waiting at the register behind me.

I got to my car, open the trunk, threw the bag in, and slammed the hood. I felt like they were both staring at me, talking about me. When I pulled away, I made sure to drive by the store. I looked in my rearview, and the lady stepped out to the curb, as if she was looking at my license plate, and then she retreated from my view.

Now, you may say that maybe I was hallucinating, and maybe they weren't looking at me after all. Maybe this is a store ritual. Maybe you ask why I didn't say something to them. I know when I tell my mother this story, she's going to ask me why I didn't ask them why they were looking at me, or something like that.

I don't have an answer for you. Part of me, when already safely back on Semoran, wanted to drive back to the store, demanding answers. But, no one wants to be the sensitive minority, who cries foul anytime someone looks at you funny. I try to live my life assuming that people do things based on who I am, that if they look at me, it's because I'm tall, or because my hair is big, or because I'm even a bit cute, not because my skin is dark brown. But part of me wants to cry, and has been fighting tears ever since I left and went to the Wal-Mart around the corner from where I stay.

As soon as I walked in, I felt self-conscious. Were people looking at my skin, or my hair, or my features, and making assumptions about my character? I stopped to get some plantains, and a young white woman and her precious little baby were standing there. I braced myself for another sideways glance, feeling somehow inadequate after the episode in Dollar General, but she smiled and asked me if I knew how to fry plantains. I shared my acquired knowledge with her, smiled at her and her cutie-pie baby, and went on my way, feeling that there was still some kind of justice in the world, in my world.

I don't really know what happened this morning, and perhaps I will never know. Maybe I'm just feeling extra sensitive because I've been feeling particularly alone and out-of-the-loop the past couple of days**, and maybe I'm more sensitive because I'm wearing my hair out for the first time in a long time. But I know me. I rarely jump to call "race" when something questionable happens. I'm not one of those people who plays the race card just because someone got hotter french fries at McDonald's than I did, and the people who do participate in this kind of behavior make calling foul when it's necessary a lot harder to do.

But I don't get all shook up over nothing. And as soon as I pulled out, I was furious. I wanted to drive my car through the fucking store, I was so mad. (Though, I would never hurt my car like that.) And then, as soon as I was angry, I was saddened. Immensely saddened. The tiny circle of a space which I've been living in lately, seemed to tighten even closer, and the wave of being alone washed over me yet again.

I felt alone.
I felt profiled.
I felt like a Black girl.
Not in a good way.

Like I said, I don't know what happened in that store. But I'm never going back in there. I'll stick to the Dollar General on my parents' side of town, which I still claim as my side of town, because that's where my heart is. I've never had a problem in there.

They say home is where your heart is. And my heart has little respect for this side of town. This incident didn't help not one bit.

I wanna go home.
(here's the pic of the big 'fro... could this be why they clearly followed my ass around the store? I think not.)

*-the "no good reason" is usually God tapping you on the shoulder. So, the reason really is good, but we perceive it as being for no reason; random; out of nowhere.
**-thank God for my family, for without them, I'm sure I'd feel even more alone. And for those very few friends I have, who manage to never make me feel on the outside looking in.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"tell me why the road turns..."*

I really feel like talking about... myself. Not in a all hail Miss Malorie kind of way, but in the, I feel like sharing with you kind of way. Y'all know how I like sharing me with you.

I am lonely. Before you get sad, or piteous, stop. The sensation of loneliness is one I've been holding hands with since I was a child. I have always felt some type of loneliness. Sometimes, it comes for a day or two, sometimes it persists, riding under the surface of my skin, hiding behind my smile... sometimes, it touches me for a moment and leaves me again. I used to wonder about this loneliness... why does it exist when it shouldn't? Well, I a). no longer dictate to my emotions whether they should or should not exist (because it certainly doesn't matter, they will exist regardless), and b). I have always felt like I was on the outside looking in. Always. Always felt different, always felt like things were going on in me that weren't going on in others. Even when I meet people who are like me, that little part of me still exists. But it's gotten much smaller. When I get stressed out, or when things don't happen when I want them to happen, that little part seems much larger than it is. So, yes, I'm lonely. But only for right now. Tomorrow I probably won't be.

I am intense. No, not like I'll fuck you up if you look at me funny kind of intense, but just... intense. From my emotions to my facial expressions, to how personal I take things (we'll get to that), I am... too much for myself sometimes. Sometimes I aggravate myself. Sometimes I feel bad for recipients of my angry stares and sulky silences.

That being said, it's funny how the intensity of pure love dissolves the negative intensity. And no, I'm talking about the baby, you sho' look good right now kind of "love." (In middle school, always the scholar, I differentiated between the two by spelling changes. "Love" for the untouchable emotion I wanted, "luv" for the bullshit we-ran-when-Ms.-Witherspoon-caught-us-making-out-behind-the-building-and-I-made-you-cry-when-I-cussed-you-out-for-trying-to-take-my-virginity**.) I'm talking about the stuff that makes your heart smile*** and your eyes well up with sentimentality. Like when I'm having a shitty day at work and my favorite group of kids sits and talks to me though I'm sure I look like Oscar the Grouch with a book. Or like when he and I lie in bed and cuddle and talk... in those moments, it doesn't matter that I feel like the 7:30-6 is killing me creatively, and it doesn't matter that I may love him and he's not in love with me. In those moments, my intensity fades, and I'm just happy. Just happy to be in the position to receive the love.

I'm listening to the radio right now, and I was reminded of one of my favorite, favorite, favorite lines from a song, ever. I may be just a foolish dreamer... but I don't care... thank you, Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores for this song ("Zoom"), which encompasses pretty much everything I feel. Too often, I do feel like a foolish dreamer. Like I'm believing in all the wrong ideals. Love. Freedom. Love. Peace. Intelligence. Good-fucking-music. Writing. Creativity. Love, forever and always. Honesty. Kids, plenty of kids. Comfortable living. Love, deep, all-encompassing, true, stand-the-test-of-time love. Believing in true causes like the aforementioned can make one feel like a foolish dreamer. But you know what? I don't care.

I'm sure I've told you that I take things personally. Not as much as I used to. But I still do. This contributes directly to my "feeling on the outside-ness." I won't go into detail about that, but I do know that when people don't text me back, I do take it personally. If even just a little bit. Stupid? Possibly. Does it sting, occasionally? Yup.

Men and I... do I even need to finish that statement? Naw, I'll pass. You can fill in the blank space. What you come up with will probably sound better than anything true, anyway.

Retraction: it's not men and me. It's specific men and me. I'm not going to become one of those women who bashes all men for things they didn't do. All men cannot possibly be responsible for the folly of a few.

I think I'm done. I was exhausted earlier, but now I'm wired, the way I get when I'm writing. Plus, it doesn't help that my bed partner tonight is my laptop. I'd much rather be cuddling. Well, we can't always get what we want.

Before I depart, I must complain so I don't sleep with all this.
I don't have the type of money I want although I knew all the time that we would depart I don't think I was ever ready for the reality of it all the bureaucracy of adult life makes me forget how much I still love talking to children and hearing their unique viewpoint I wish we were cuddling now but that would mean I couldn't be writing I'm not not not ready even though I'm cynical and more realistic I'm still a romantic and I still believe in love and I hope the universe doesn't take all my ranting seriously because although I'm really cautious I do want to be someone's wife one day but it seems that I still either fall in the good lay category or the nice friend category but the girlfriend category and I seem to have had a falling out and I don't know what it's gonna take to get us back right because one of these days I'd like to be a man's friend before we have sex and I think it would be nice if one actually fell in love with me rather than practicing their unique brand of "I think you're a great catch but I don't want you" affection.


Complaint done. Now that I've complained, I thank God. Even through my frustration, I know I'm divinely blessed. And I don't take that for granted.

zoom... let me fly far away from here...

*-usually my titles have nothing to do with the post. This song happened to be playing as I was finishing writing, and its melancholy groove has always been a favorite. Plus, after writing so extensively about "deep" ish, I wouldn't have come up with a good title anyway. I did y'all a favor.
**-for the record, we did make out behind the building, and those little sniffles a decade ago were probably a well-played act so females would imagine him to be the "sensitive" type. I think he's a thug now, making rap music. Oh yeah, someone can't take something that's not offered. I don't know why I thought he was trying to take my virginity... it didn't matter, because I wasn't opening nothing but my inbox to write him a well-written (for my age) goodbye-I-can't-believe-you-did-this-shit-to-me letter. I was always a great fuck you, dude letter writer.
***-if you've never felt your heart smile, it feels like your body undergoes some type of mystical warming process... the good kind though. Not like in a microwave, but outside, in the sun, with a nice breeze blowing simultaneously. Truthfully, I don't know how to describe it. But it feels good.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday, 05.17.2010--> so-called random thoughts

As people, we run from anything that isolates us. We all are guilty of it. Tell me you haven't done it... talked with people you didn't want to just for the sake of having someone to talk to, left the tv on just so there would be noise, stayed in a group to avoid feeling alone. For some reason, isolation can be hard to handle. Even for someone who relishes periods of isolation (like myself). Right now, I'm writing with the tv off. There's no noise except the sound of my computer breathing, and my quick typing. It feels good to have a moment of silence in a day full of noise. I've even taken to keeping my phone on silent to avoid to noise of my texts. Though, before I turned the tv off, I had to think about whether I was sure that's what I wanted to do. Humans... we cling to the illogical.

I'm changing. I feel it, see it, know it. I've been changing for a while. A long while, now. But it's happening more rapidly. My entire viewpoint has shifted. I feel hyper-aware. I am changing. But I'm not done.

I have a testimony. One day, I'll share it with you. Maybe you'll recognize bits and pieces of it as things I've already written about; stories I've already shared. Some of it, you won't recognize. But one day, I'll share. My testimony is the reason why I'm still here, the reason why I know God exists.

Despite having already showered, his scent still lingers. This, to me, represents a cross between my imagination, and my truth.

I graduated from high school five years ago today. Five years ago today, I was seventeen, and had only undergone one of the major transformations of my bridge between adolescence and adulthood. I was seventeen. My sister will be seventeen this summer. I wonder what her journey's been like; what her testimony will be. What she'll have to say five years from now.

My hair has grown so much longer. I've threatened to cut it off (in faux effigy) many, many times. But I've persevered (for curiosity, for a lack of desire for flat hair, for my dislike of deviating from a course of action once I've chosen a course) and I have results. Life lesson: don't give up. (I already knew this, but nothing like real life understanding.)

Picture #1: when I first cut my hair, March 2009
Picture #2: when I wasn't lazy and braided my hair, December 2009
Picture #3: when I wasn't lazy and braided my hair, May 2010

i hear/see God in you

a variation on a memory:

entwined in you
is peace, is my heart, is where i want part of me to live, forever
calm with the knowledge that
when you take my body
part of my love comes with it
and with every taking
you are receiving
the love i so deftly have arranged
for you to have, free of all charge
because you deserve someone
who loves you through your faults
through your tantrums
through your insecurities
you deserve someone who loves you
simply because you exist
and though I didn't ask for the job
it's clearly mine
and I wear my badge with honor
despite how illogical
it may seem.

aligned with you
i lay my head
against your chest
and listen for the sounds
of God beating in you
and while i look up at you--
eyes closed; eyelashes curled toward your ceiling--
i say a fervent prayer for you
without moving my lips:
with every beat of your heart
i pray for you,
for your joy,
for your strength,
for God to constantly watch over you,
for you
to be
all that
you don't know
you will be.

no script, no plan, no notes, no nothing, but a fresh fresh memory and a pressing urge to write it, to give it to life so it will always exist. this gift is not from me. this ability is not from me. but i embrace it, as i embrace all the uncanny things life has given me. who would have imagined that the most mature emotions i've experienced to date, would come from a situation so unbalanced?

until the end of time, i'll be there for you, you own my heart and mind--i truly adore you
if God one day struck me blind, your beauty i'd still see, love's too weak to define, just what you mean to me... --Prince, "Adore"

Friday, May 14, 2010

these are my hands

I'm not wearing my rings.

I wear rings everyday, in the shower, to work, to bed, etc. I don't take them off to wash the dishes; I don't take them off to do work. They are always on me.

The other morning, for whatever reason unknown to me, I decided to take them off.

And when I did, I noticed my hands looked different. They looked longer, thinner.

I found myself rubbing my finger next to my pinky finger with my thumb, even though the ring wasn't there. (I always turn my ring around and around with my thumb.)

The most noticeable thing was when I washed my hands. It felt like I was washing a stranger's hands.

The same hands I always have, changed tremendously by something so minute.

Monday, May 10, 2010

think tock tick, tock tick think

I like lists. For whatever reason, it seems as though sarcasm is better rendered when in the form of a list. Plus, I don't have anything of high artistic merit to offer you today, just my thoughts. So, here we go:

--I don't like dishwashers. I'm listening to the sound of the dishwasher right now (I didn't start it), half-cleaning the dishes. Blame it on my Southern family, blame it on my upbringing, but I hate the dishwasher, and I tend to view people differently when they use one. Just saying. Though I don't like standing on my feet to wash dishes, I do it. And my mother does it. So does my grandmother. So will my children.

--Best text from Sunday: Happy (early) Mother's Day! One day you will deserve this day so much because you are the best! (that's why I love him so much :)

--I have absolutely no patience for dumb things, dumb comments, rude people, rude children, etc. I don't know if it's just because working with kids for 5 years has reduced my patience, or because as I age, I'm turning into my father.

--I want to move to the L.A.-ish area and become a runner with taut muscles like an Eric Jerome Dickey character. (One from Between Lovers or previous novels only, please.)

--I love my family. In their imperfections, I see myself. And in my imperfections, I see them.

--I'm praying that my time doing what I'm doing now is winding down. I've felt the opening to a new path coming for a while, but I have yet to happen upon it. But I'm still trotting along the path, eyes open. Watching. Waiting.

--I still believe in love. Not just any type of love, but that love. I'm still trotting along the path, heart open, though not as wide as before, but definitely open. Watching. Waiting.

--If you could go back in time, would you really change things the way you think you would, or would you fall right back into the same behavior that caused the mistake in the first place?

Friday, May 7, 2010

addictive reality

You are a drug.

when you're good,
you're really fucking good
and i'd sacrifice myself
to get a hit of you
noon, midnight, 10:46 am,

but when you're bad,
i swear off of you
and i promise never to
do you

Monday, May 3, 2010

welcome back

I believe, that my life's gonna see
the love I give, returned, to me...

Remember? Everyday, I see the love that I've sent out into the universe, at different places of my life, everyday, I see those waves float back to me.

Whether it's a child who thinks enough of me to holler across the courtyard to say hi to me, or someone sending me a message to compliment and encourage my writing--

regardless of who you think you're giving your love to,
regardless of whether they have enough sense to give it back to you,
don't fret: if your love is true, you have sent it into the universe.

And it will come back. I promise you, just like John promised me.

It will come back.

Maturity... and a tangent or two

Don't need a man who can give you money
c'mon, let me show you just what you need honey (I got what you need)
you need a man, with, sensitivity, a man like me
Ralph Tresvant, "Sensitivity"

I don't know if it's Ralph Tresvant's calm, almost-whisper that makes me believe him, but despite never being able to sing the rest of the lyrics to the song, and overlooking the very corny 90s rap toward the end of the song (it was the 90s, after all), whenever I get to that line, I find myself singing along, sighing with his almost-whisper, wondering if sensitive guys really exist. Wondering where they are.

I was pondering last night, a night that seemed as though it wouldn't bring sleep; my mind was so active with things I wanted to say, things I wanted to write. I took down a quick few notes before I went to sleep, knowing that, as they always do, the morning hours would bring renewed inspiration.

A message from an old friend aroused this topic in my mind. I started thinking about the many complaints that Black women (myself included) utter when it comes to the status (or supposed lack thereof) of good Black men. For some reason, my mind stuck on the topic of education. I complain all the time about the "thug life" phenomenon*, and just this past Saturday, I lamented to a lunch partner--as a grown man walked by with scruffy facial hair, dreadlocks formed into sloppy french braids, a big purple, electric pink, and light blue polo shirt, and pants with the same blinding colors hanging near his ankles--that when thug life stopped being popular, maybe I wouldn't be single anymore.

How does this connect to education, you might wonder? Well, we are all humans, and we all pass judgment. Even I, oh ye Queen of the non-judgment passes judgment. *Kanye shrug* ** Consider it my imperfect humanity. Generally, when I see a thug life example, of course I assume that this spoken imitator of all that is Plies is not a friend of higher education. (Though, Plies himself apparently has seen the 4 walls of an educational institution. Who knew.) Now, could I be wrong? Sure, there's always that possibility. But usually, I'm not.

This used to be a pretty accurate judgment call. Back in the days of undergrad (and by back in the days, I do mean less than three or so years ago), I knew that if I saw Mr. Thug Life walking around looking like he didn't belong... it was probably because he didn't belong. Thus, not in school. Conversely, if I met a guy, and he wasn't in school, or wasn't getting his degree, or trying to pursue any type of education, even if he didn't resemble a street pharmacist, that usually could explain to me (without him needing to explain further) his aspirations. Hence, the possible presence of the thug life phenomenon. Yeah, you can not be going to school and actually plan on doing something with your life (cue Diddy or Russell Simmons as entrepreneurs), but usually, those dreams ended up being more like, I wanna be a rapper, like Jay-Z, or Biggie, or Pac, or Wayne. (cue Fabolous... because you know damn well the likelihood of everyone who wants to make it in rap being anywhere close to those four artists I listed is like the chances of every man who wants to ball being another MJ, or LeBron, or Kobe. Just not that realistic.)

Yeah yeah yeah, you could say I'm being wrong, or that I'm generalizing, or exaggerating (I wish) or doing the same tsk tsking that white people do***... but I'm just being real. Continue.

My point is that, the educational factor isn't what is missing. I mean, sure, there's nothing like having a conversation with a well-educated brotha, but that's not enough. The maturity is what's missing. I've been duped by enough great conversations to have learned this. (And that my weakness for strong conversation is like the weakness in the flesh behind my knees.)

In today's times, having a Bachelor's Degree is the new standard norm. Still an accomplishment by far, but now that everyone is getting one, or has got one, it doesn't quite stand out as much. Kind of like bellybutton piercings. (I guess that would make a Master's degree like a tongue piercing? What would that make a Ph.D? A clit piercing?)

Even more important, an arena that was once reserved for the upper-echelons of intellect, class, and monetary standing (institutions of learning, having a degree), is now open to everyone. Am I happy that this arena is now more public? Of course I am. That's how I got there. But, in regards to this topic, the Waka Flocka Flames**** of the world now have degrees too. Sometimes they can even hold a great conversation with you. But at some point, their true colors will be revealed.

I guess what I'm doing is likening this whole thug life thing to immaturity. You can call it "self-expression" but I call it immature when a man walks around without being able to speak correctly and when he wears his pants at his ankles. And this alllllll comes back home to roost with me because I started thinking about people I've dealt with. About people I deal with. Thankfully, I don't have many thug life examples (though, shamefully, there are a couple whom I will never, ever tell you about), but I do, sadly, have many immature ones.

I guess I didn't realize it until I sat down last night, that I've been dealing with immature young men for a long time. I guess I thought I was doing all right, because, well, all the people I deal with have, or were in the process of obtaining degrees from institutions of higher learning. (Except those couple examples... though, if it's any consolation, we were never serious... or comedic, for that matter. I don't know what we were doing.) But, despite the fact that the majority of all the guys I've called myself liking had degrees hanging from their walls, they had immaturity hanging from their bones.

Except a very small few. Very small. So small, in fact, that I overlooked this highly beneficial, could-make-you-husband-material-instead-of-let's-get-some-sexing-in-when-we're-both-bored trait.

There was the guy who was so sincerely nice to me when I was head-over-heels infatuated with him and could barely utter a sentence in his direction, and who never took advantage of my naivete; who never uttered anything sexual toward me, as is the norm from the peanuts' gallery. He has always spoken to me with respect, the way I imagine all men should speak to all women, not just because you may happen to value yourself, while another woman may not.

There was the guy who offered me advice and told me to love myself and value myself, even after I'd shown my ass and lost my dignity and probably convinced him I was crazy. (Well, sending yellow roses for a graduation I technically didn't know about, on a date I technically didn't know clearly is a much more romantic ideal in a fiction novel.)

There was the guy who asked me long, long ago to be his girlfriend (and I said no... for no reason); who was always kind to me, who was a friend in school, who took me out on my first real date, who was God-fearing and seriously, the kind of good man that Black women seem to think (or so say all the magazine articles and news stories) no longer exist. (And, to boot, he was always like that. Even in middle school. When we were twelve and most boys were running around copping a feel on booties.)

All of them were always mature. They possessed a calm about them that my other, later loves, infatuations, interests, and conquests did not, and do not. They are mature men, now all snatched up by women who knew what they held in their hands.

I'm not sad that these men have all made it to some-kind-of relationship bliss. It was inevitable. And the immature girl that I was--and, to my surprise, partially still am--wasn't ready for their kind of maturity. That I know. But it did leave a profound impact on my psyche. And it helps me know what I'm looking for.

Now, what does that have to do with the song? Not much, really. It's just that when Tresvant sings about wanting to give me his sensitivity, I imagine that there's a guy out there, singing the same song about his maturity.

I'm listening.

you need a man, with sensitivity, a man like me...

*-the "thug life" phenomenon (my terminology, so don't expect to look it up on Google) is this not-so-recent-I-can't-remember-when-this-started-but-I-wish-it-would-die-a-hard-death-and-be-buried-in-an-unmarked-grave trend of men thinking that they can emulate the Lil' Wayne look and resurrect the Gucci Mane vocabulary in everyday life. Pants no longer sit on the waist, they hang so far below the ass that thug life men have taken to walking like 21st Century gunslingers, only this isn't the old West, and John Wayne didn't have a platinum grill. Just saying.
**-I've been wanting to say *Kanye shrug* forever. All the cool kids do it. Color me trendy.
***-no, I don't have extremely significant problems with white people. I'm just being real.
****-yes, I had to look him up in order to know whether I was spelling that horrific moniker correctly. *shudders*

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I think the saddest thing, is when the image that we have of something, is shown to be even less than that of our imaginings.

There are instances of this image-shattering that aren't necessarily negative. For instance, when you go back to your elementary school, which seemed so gigantic to you when you were five, but at twenty-two seems so minute in comparison to your memories. An event like this doesn't sadden you, but instead reminds you of the marvel of human nature and sense. It shows you that you have grown, in body and in mind.

But when you create images of people inside of yourself, and those images are shattered to reveal less than what you created... that is sad. Very sad.

In fact, sad is not the right word for it. That's not appropriate enough. The sensation is troubling; it is hardening, and it is, above all, a very unnerving reminder that as you grow, your heart and your vision grows with you. And that rose-colored lenses eventually lose their tint.


Like thieves, clad in black against the darkness of the night, we steal from each other on borrowed time.

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