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Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Funks, Shopping and Dream Intrepretation for Dummies

So after work, I treated myself to a nice sushi dinner (man, I miss my sushi half-priced happy hour place), and decided on a whim to go to the mall and treat myself some more.

I was feeling really funky and needed a lift. So, I found an amazing, flattering dress from Loft, a cute pair of shorts for the summer from H&M an awesome pair of pants that look like I tend to hang out at Bazaars in Marrakesh also from H&M, and the Jimmy Choo fragrance rollerball (when you want to be somebody else, sometimes just smell different) and my favorite French face mist from Sephora. Oh, and a lemonade.

It was a splurge. I can admit. But it was nice. When I got home, I took a long shower and burned incense and put on fresh sheets.

I tried to do all of the simple things I know make me feel good.

When I went to sleep last night, I had three dreams. But I remember two of them. In the second dream, I appeared to be on a college Real World-type show. I wasn’t really getting along with any of my roommates who all had two or three pets, which drove me nuts. I kept explaining over and over that I didn’t have a problem with animals, but they were too big and too many.

It seemed like I was the nerd of the group and the other girls claimed I didn’t have a big butt. I know those simple chicks were lying. But I did manage to connect with a very cool male roommate, who happened to be familiar with the area and he and I would sneak off and just visit the town and look at the old buildings. Something tells me we were in Louisiana or Savannah. The vibe was hot and humid and sexy and warm. There were gardens and old buildings, the pace was slow. He explained to me history we laughed and walked arm-in-arm. He made me feel not like the unlikable nerd of the house, but quite beautiful. I felt this energy rushing through me. He was calm and cool and he didn’t have to say it, but I knew he liked me too. I knew he wanted to protect me and show me a world greater than the one I was clumsily trying to navigate, frustrated and unsure of myself.

That’s all I remember.

The second dream, I was in Greece. That’s for sure. Me and a Howard classmate, who I currently admire professionally were racing through the streets in a tiny, yet powerful red sports car. I was leaning on his arm as he drove and we darted in and out of these massive columns and long-standing monuments of Greece. I hate when men drive too fast, darting in and out of traffic. But for some reason, I enjoyed this. In Greece, it was awesome. Again, I felt flirty and sexy and completely alive. I felt like I could feel every atom, every bit of water and oxygen and blood flowing through my body. Oddly enough, I knew the person I was having this moment with had to be a metaphor, because I don’t really see myself with this person in real life, but being with him in that moment, felt completely correct.

I woke up to one of my best friends texting me. Then I realized it was 8 a.m. I leave my house for work at 8 a.m. I overslept, I was late. Three days of rain. Three days of dismalness.

I found myself rushing around the house and managed to get myself together in a span of ten minutes.

The whole way to work (about an hour of driving) I kept thinking about those dreams.

In both of those dreams, I was totally in love. In both of those dreams, I felt safe with the person I was with. I was able to let go and let them show me new worlds and I was happy. There was something familiar about each guy, even though they were both different, but the feeling was the same. There was joy. There was an appreciation for the moment as it was happening. Nothing else mattered. I wasn’t thinking about the future, I damn sure wasn’t thinking about the past. I forgot about all of the things I tend to find wrong with myself and I let myself be the woman who those men saw.

But then I panicked while on my way to work.

What did those dreams really mean? What was going on in my subconscious? Was it telling me the kind of man I really wanted and needed? The kind I’m truly yearning for?

The other piece of the puzzle was how easy it felt when I was with those dream guys. Love was coming out of my pores.

I wasn’t questioning anything. It was just happening.

Anything they would have asked me to do, I’m quite certain I would have done it.

I had already had a tiny anxiety attack at work yesterday in which I had to get up from my desk and take a walk in the rain to calm myself. I couldn’t put myself through that again.

I nearly want to cry right now, because I was reminded, if not but for a moment how that felt. I miss that feeling.

I keep on tricking myself into wanting a mature, stable, practical love. A love that is safe.

But love isn’t really safe. Not all the time anyway.

Love is a fucking risk.

As we get older, we get less reckless. We are super aware of our limitations, and history and failures and success tend to dictate how we proceed. We take fewer risks.

We do that with love too. We train ourselves to believe all sorts of stuff to be with who we think we should, and to talk us out of being with people who we think we shouldn’t be with. We get lost.

Our pain, our pain, it messes with us the most. Fear of pain drives us to be horribly safe, and even with in the confines of the safety prison we’ve built for ourselves. We’ve managed to be just as miserable. We have no cuts, no bruises, no stories. Yet, we suffocate.

I am suffocating. Right now. I am. It’s hard to fall asleep at night. It’s hard to stay awake during the day. I ache to be free. I want to go away for six months, travel, write, make bad art, drink wine, make love. Sing in a band and do the bass player, then write a song about what a ho he is. Wear sunglasses and sundresses with no panties. Wear long braids that I can feel on my back when I get out of the shower and swing them around. Just live. I don’t want to worry about bills, or love or falling in love or getting hurt or being alone, or being confused and neurotic, or being lonely, or choosing the right path, or being better.

I want to be someplace else. I want to be somebody else, but still me. Sometimes I want to be the spunky little kid I was. Sometimes, I want to be the fierce teenager who did everything. She sang, she played sports, she served the community, she was a nerd. Sometimes, I want to be a college student testing out my independence, partying, staying up all night long with my new friends talking about ridiculous things, then serious things, then studying and achieving.

I’m at a crossroads. There’s who I was, who I am and who I’m going to be. It’s getting so hard to see sometimes who I’m going to be especially based on who I was and who I am right now. I used to be able to see it so clearly.

The Choking Kind. Joss Stone

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Mama I Want to Sing

These folks make me want to drop everything and find a vocal coach.

I saw Nick Hakim open for Emily King at the Hamilton and have been in love with him and his background singer Jamie Woods… Oh wait. I’ma share my favorite video of her too…

So here is Ms. Woods. They both need to blow up, like today. I’d love to see her sing with Chrisette Michele.

Can’t stop playing that one. Effortless. She kills me.

I also need this fellow to drop another album. BJ the Chicago Kid. I just enjoy watching his vimeo videos where he freestyles. This boy can sang. Effortless. Swoon.

http://vimeo.com/3221023

Funky Ramblings

It’s rainy and quite melancholy out side.

I was in a mood since yesterday. I stayed in bed for most of it, sleeping, watching T.V. I didn’t really do anything productive until around 9 p.m. when I washed my hair.

I’d been in a funk. Part of it was because I had a moment of missing my ex. Yes, in the midst of a budding, something happening between me and Lancelot, I missed my ex.

I missed him physically. His smile. His shoulders, his back. His back was my favorite. He was the boyfriend I was most physically attracted to above all others.

I guess I’m still mourning that loss. Being linked to and almost married to someone that fine, in my mind, said more about me than anything. It’s very shallow, I know, but I was proud of the fact someone that handsome was into me.

But in the end, where did that get me?

His birthday is coming up. It’s the day after Lancelot’s. Which made me naturally side-eye Lancelot, wondering if this situation was bound to crash and burn due to the astrological proximity in birth he and my ex share.

I’m a flurry of feelings today.

I wonder about the give and take and risk of relationships. I think about my past failures and why I was attracted to certain people during certain periods of my life.

I think about taking chances and just trying. Just trying to let myself feel, and be and not be concerned with consequences.

But I have real fears of attaching myself to someone in an intimate, deep way and then getting screwed.

I may be a strong, grown, woman, but man. Dealing with that kind of hurt again is just a little bit too much. I don’t have another two years to take to get over somebody hurting me.

Other questions.

Can Lancelot make me happy? Can I make him happy?

He wants love, he wants loyalty, he wants to be able to put complete trust in the woman he is with. That’s what he said.

I want the same thing.

But will my analytical ways be annoying to him?

Will his bluntness hurt my fragile feelings on the wrong day?

Am I still mature enough to love someone within the confines of the kind of relationship I keep saying I want?

In his opinion, I am snarky and not direct.

He seems to enjoy the moments in which I am completely real, according to him.

I feel like with Lancelot, I have to learn a new language.

Most of the men I’ve fallen for had a gift of gab, they string together words in a way that makes me swoon.

Sometimes his answers are short, to the point. If he doesn’t have anything to say, he doesn’t have anything to say.

He does not needlessly fill in spaces, just to fill in spaces.

Usually, in my courtships, I fall in love with a man’s words and thoughts.

Lancelot makes me think, for sure and his views on things intrigue me.

But I feel like I am at a disadvantage, because it’s like because I turned him down before, it’s on me to make moves and show my interest. And that’s something I don’t like. I am not an aggressor.

I’m old school. I like the come hither thing.

I’m trying to work on the saying what I want thing. I told Lancelot I wanted more time, and he gave it to me. Last week, I saw him three times instead of once. Magically, his ridiculous schedule had some gaps in it.

I keep thinking about my own happiness and what I need to do to make it happen independently of someone else.

When I woke up today feeling grumpy. I actually said, “God, I seriously have no real reason to be funky. Please adjust my attitude. I have everything I want and need, work is fine, I’m talking to a great guy. Please adjust my attitude.”

I’m sure this will pass, just as this funky weather.

Happy Monday, yall.

I Overanalyze Overanalyzing, That’s Me Though

I’m feeling myself today.

I think it’s this green jacket I’m wearing with jeans and wedges that make my bootie sit high and proud. The sun is shining and I think I’m awesome. I feel confident as a mug for some reason.

On my way to work today, I’d been listening to Amel Larrieux, which I mentioned in the previous blog post. She gives you good, soothing, thinking music.

One thing that was totally on my mind that made me laugh is Lancelot says I process things too much, or namely I need to not process the “bullshit” as he calls it.

I thought about it.

I originally took Lancelot’s words too much to heart thinking I should stop processing everything. Thinking back, and thinking clearly, and stopping myself from thinking he was criticizing me and being self-conscious and ridiculous. I think see that he specifically meant bullshit.

I had to laugh at the literal interpretation that I made up on my own.

He was right. I did process some bullshit, and it came from him, which makes it ironic.

I process for a living, I process for fun while writing this blog. I process for my friends and help them with their problems.

Processing and analyzing, taking facts and information and helping bring context to it all, THAT’S WHAT I FUCKING DO. Pardon my French. But that’s how I feel. I had to say it with such emphasis, because that’s how it came to me today, and that’s when I started laughing.

It was like me realizing my eyes were brown. Like, yeah silly. Your eyes are brown and you overanalyze everything. Ha! Silly girl. Accept it. He’ll accept it too, because that’s you.

This is me. Processing is my talent.

I do it well. I was trained to do it so I could write and communicate and inform people and give them something they can use. If asking why is processing, yes. I process. If taking things apart from different angles is processing, yes, I process. If replaying conversations and moments is processing, yes, I process.

When you are down or confused or mad at someone, I will gladly process your stuff for you. I process for hire and I process pro bono.

I shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I shouldn’t stifle it. It’s so silly.

I am so absurd and silly.

Then I remembered him saying that he always thinks of the best case scenario and the worst case scenario and that’s how he bases all of his decisions.

That’s processing. That’s totally processing. When I decided to consider him a hypocrite, I stopped myself short.

He said not to process the bullshit…

That’s right. Good advice.

However his definition of bullshit and mine may intersect, or they may be completely different. But it’s my choice.

It’s always my choice.

But I can still be me. I can still do what I do. To fight my urge to be analytical, is to fight the essence of who I am. It’s to cut off my inspiration. I might as well stop this blog if I cease to process. And I’m not going to do that.

I’m so silly.

I guess we’re both right.

It Will Never Be Like That Again

Today, on the way to work, I popped in an old cd I loved in college. It was Amel Larrieux’s Infinite Possibilities.

It reminded me of how I would feel when I listened to it back then, who I was and what I was all about. She was singing about a lot of things I could identify with at the time. Love, the promise of it, pushing forward against adversity, loving yourself, respecting that you are a tiny, but still essential part of this planet. Amel is awesome (she was one half of Groove Theory, but has a collection of independent albums that are straight up art).

The last song, “Make Me Whole” was a favorite to one of my college roommates. She declared that, would indeed one day be her wedding song.

Both of us were madly in love, college freshmen, deeply devoted to our doting boyfriends. If I knew us then as myself now, I’d be like these kids are freaking annoying. They have no clue. Enjoy it while it lasts, babies. And I’d laugh, a good, hard laugh.

I sent a text to my girl today and told her I was listening to the song and I could not help but smile and think of those days. We were really young, and stupid and innocent, but full of hope and optimism. It was refreshing to even smile and remember what life was like without the scars and harsh lessons in life and love and loss we’ve had to learn over the last decade, but to remember how beautiful and sweet we were back then and how great those times were, that’s a blessing too.

My friend texted back that she wanted to be there again.

I replied: “Can’t go back. But it’s not to say you can’t experience something better on a different level. But nope, it will never be like that again.”

I don’t mourn that I can’t love so blindly and wildly and with the crazy energy of youth and ignorance and lack of experience anymore.

I appreciate that I know I do have the power to love deeply. I have the power to love with a different kind of confidence. I have the power to love with less judgement and more sympathy and empathy. I know that love is a kind word. It’s not always gifts or being taken to a bunch of great dates all of the time.

It’s not always deep, passionate kisses and steamy, sexy nights.

I appreciate that I know that love is patient (still working on that), love is kind, love is slow to anger (slow to anger doesn’t mean it never gets angry), love keeps no record of wrong (I keep a small file that I slowly delete working on that too), love never fails.

I do appreciate that I don’t take my love advice from movies, it’s just my entertainment. I appreciate that I can look at other people’s relationships, successes and failures, but also realize their stories won’t be mine, either. I will always be writing and revising it. It will continue to morph depending on who I share my love with.

Mature love is something I’ve always aspired to, because it’s honest, it’s real, it isn’t always pretty, but it’s like your favorite old blanket, or your old coffee mug or a beat up sweatshirt or pair of underwear you just can’t part with. There is something about the way it feels. There is something about the way it comforts you, the familiarity of it, the security of knowing it’s always there and it will always make you feel the way you feel. Every time. Mature love. Loving someone on that level feels like home.

It is home.

I’d Like to Submit A New Sport to the Olympic Committee: Hoop Jumping In A Relationship

Over the last several hours, I’ve been thinking. A lot. Which is something we all know I do.

Then, I process it here on this blog, before I make rash, bad decisions.

I went out for an impromptu dinner with Lancelot last night, and we had a great time. It was actually a nice, family owned restaurant, not far from my house in the most unassuming (i.e. vacant) shopping center. Food was good, service was good.

After getting some advice from a friend the previous night, I was determined to turn up my aggressiveness to show Lancelot he was all clear for take off and that I am indeed interested. My friend warned me that even though during our first go round I was honest about my situation and where my head was at, he did put himself out there and no matter how nicely I thought I did it, I still rejected him and rejection hurts.

So I threw some obvious pitches out there and he didn’t swat em down, but he didn’t give his usual, cheeky, flirty responses. He was super reserved. So, I said that there would have been a time he would have said something slick and now, nothing. He told me I was fishing.

So basically Lancelot told me exactly what my friend said. And what I got from his speech was that he is being cautious about me and feels like I came out of nowhere saying that I’ve changed.

I’m going to be honest. I don’t like when people question me, or my honesty or my loyalty because that makes me feel like they don’t know me.

And I feel like he doesn’t. Quick text messages and meeting up for a few hours once a week, does not give you a real picture into who someone is, if you are trying to get to know them, busy schedules or not.

He emphasized that he doesn’t like being lied to and he hates liars. He would rather be told the truth and disappointed and given time to get over it than lied to.

I told him that my paramount desire in someone is to feel so comfortable with that person, to be able to say anything on my mind or share a fear so seemingly silly or ridiculous, that person won’t judge and won’t go anywhere. I want to never be afraid that the person I love won’t accept what I say or think that I have to stifle my feelings or my dreams or ideas or suggestions. I never want to fear negative reactions or disapproval.

And maybe that’s as much on me as the other person. Maybe it’s about my confidence level. There are very few people in the world I feel I can be like this with and I have to have it with the person I enter into a relationship with. This level of trust takes time, it doesn’t happen quickly. And as much as I like this person, that level doesn’t happen quickly.

I told him that wasn’t really on my list before, but I realize above all that’s what I want the most in someone now.

While I understand where he’s coming from, I really do; it still bothers me.

What bothers me more is I didn’t like who I was when he was into me, and now that I feel like I’m better and genuine and trying, it seems like I have to work harder. There is a part of me screaming, why did you like that person so much??? I’m better now! Look, see??? Like this version!

I’m also bothered because I feel like this is the most I’ve put myself out there for what I’d like to see go the distance. I’ve been very half-ass with the men I’ve managed to date over the last year or so. I can be real about that.

And it scares me.

It scares me a lot.

The potential for me being hurt is ridiculously high and I’m tired of having to pick myself up and recover. I really am.

I feel like I have way more to lose than him this time around.

But you have to take the chance, right? The greater the risk, the greater the reward. So here I am.

So I’ve been asking myself the question, am I willing to jump through the hoops to earn this person’s trust? Is this person worth the hoop-jumping?

I know the answer is yes.

The next question is who determines the length of time for the hoop-jumping? Him? Or Me?

And when does the hoop-jumping fade into just doing something because you care about the person?

Or am I incorrect in calling it hoop-jumping, because if you care about someone, it’s not?

Whether you are just starting out in a relationship or been in it for a while, hoop-jumping is a part of the deal. The term hoop-jumping sounds negative and like a chore. You are giving and you hope that person will give as much when you need it the most. You hope you can have this symbiotic relationship, in which there is give and take and your collective survival is based on mutual giving to the opposite person.

Have I not really worked at relationships before? Did I usually rest on someone being in pursuit of me? In my last relationship, I gave until I could not any longer. It drained me completely. I think that’s why it’s taken me two years to even gather enough strength to get to this point where I want to offer my time and myself to someone. But I’m still fragile and nervous and I want to feel reassurance too. I need it.

I honestly feel like I’m in the position to get played, hard. That I could really put myself out there and he be like, nah. Forget it.

My grandfather was the pastor of our church. He often had a saying, that if you loved someone, you have to “prove it, prove it, prove it.”

Talking about it wasn’t going to be enough. You had to have a track record of love in action.

So, what have I really done besides talk, take him out to a show and cook a meal? And it’s really only been a month.

He says that he is simple. He says that he is honest and does not want history to repeat itself.

I told him I understood his concerns and that was fair.

We are supposed to watch a movie and chill tomorrow. We shall see how this goes. Two nights in one week…

 

Dating Diversity: I’m Not As Tolerant As I Probably Should Be

This is a race post. I’m warning you now. These are my observations and opinions.

So, I came to a very interesting revelation last night.

After going out with a co-worker last night, I realized how fun it is to flirt with men outside of my race as long as all parties are interested in the flirting and don’t have any real expectations.

Maybe Olivia Pope and President Fitz of the hit T.V. show “Scandal” are changing hearts and minds and finally making interracial voyeurs finally come out and be open. Maybe I’m one of them.

I am a black woman. I love black men. I prefer dating black men. I haven’t really ever gone out on dates with men of other races. Either guys I’ve dated may be mixed with black or they may have been Latino. All of my serious relationships have been with men who identify as black.

I often tend to feel that way because usually black men are the majority of men who approach me or try to ask me out. There have been a few occasions where I was in a conversation with a white man and I was completely oblivious to the fact that he may have been flirting or interested, because I honestly assume I’m not their type and I assume that there’s no way they’d be interested.

And even if I sense it, I have a tendency to also unfairly assume that white men see me as some exotic fruit. Remnants of American history and the relationship between white slave masters and black women upset me. A sign goes off in my head that says they see me and think, “good for freaky crazy, fetish sex only.” It makes me nervous and uncomfortable. There are some white women who may be afraid of a group of black men and that they’ll rape them. I get nervous if I’m in a room filled with really drunk, white men. Will they feel like they have the right to rape or disrespect me? I’ve had male friends who would say, “Let’s leave before they all want to start hanging us.” Or “Let’s leave when they start talking about Obama. It can only go downhill from here.” And we’d laugh, but it’s a real thought. It was not that long ago, that things like that happened in this country and on a regular basis.

Inhumanity, wrapped in revelry was a serious American pastime for a long time. Lynchings were celebratory events. People took photos, had smiling children and took pieces of the corpses home as souvenirs. So yeah, I don’t want to lump people in with folks a few generations ago, but the history does not completely elude me. It guides how I feel I am viewed by white men.

We are all more alike than we know. I think we are all curious about each other. They want to know if black women are really freaky, are our butts really that big? What do our private parts look like? And hell, behind closed doors me and my friends have wondered how big are they, are they pink? Like piglet pink? Do they perform oral sex better and like it way more than black men?

I just really believe that for whatever reason, they just aren’t attracted to me. So if someone else points it out, I’ll be like, for real? Wow. Cool, I’m crossing demographics.

Well in addition to chatting up some white guys who were interested, I want to include a caveat in this story.

The white men who make it known they are interested in me tend to be working class, not usually college-educated guys who are exceptional at various specialized, blue-collar trades. They tend to have grown up in diverse areas, they may have a child or two and are conversant in slang. I’ve yet to date, what I call a regular 100 percent white guy. The kind of white guy who shops at Hollister, knows how to make his own beer, was in a fraternity, who did not grow up around black people or tries to imitate hip hop culture. (I already know there is no such thing as my idea of the 100 percent stereotypical white guy, but it’s what I tend to imagine.) Those white guys never seem to approach me and I feel like I’d have more in common or share the same values with them than the ones who go out of their way to quote rap lyrics, or wear gold chains or drive tricked-out impalas. I don’t even mesh with a majority of black men who fit that description.

I’m amused, because these men shatter stereotypes across cultures and remind me, people are indeed people and that black people do not have a monopoly on trifling behavior.

More on trifling behavior in a moment. This story is going to get good.

These two men convinced me and my friend to join them at a Mexican bar and restaurant because one of them wanted to prove that he could do a mean Bachata for “a white guy.”

So fine, we didn’t pass this up.

One guy is very interested in my friend. My friend is Latina. He didn’t have any cash and managed to sweet talk one of the waitresses into giving him $5 so he can hit up the jukebox and find the proper tune. The other friend, who was the “self-proclaimed” wing man, mentioned this restaurant wasn’t his scene, but he was taking the L for his boy. After trying to get my number earlier and it not working out, we simply chatted about stuff and the more he drank, the more sad and frustrated he was.

He basically said, he’s been through a lot and I’m a classy lady. It’s not that he wasn’t interested in me,  or that I wasn’t attractive, but he’s going through a lot and, well I’m a classy lady. He emphasized that I was classy. I rubbed his arm and I told him, “It’s really ok. Really.”

But on the other side of me at the bar was a latino man speaking to me in Spanish. I guess he noticed things weren’t going so hot with the guy I was originally talking to and that he’d go for it. I stumbled through the conversation, apologizing for messing up the language, while others at the bar chimed in to fill in words for me. Everyone was amused. Everyone wanted to help me communicate or tell me which word was missing. They seemed pleased that I knew what I did, and that I actually tried. When I answered one of their questions by saying, “Yo no se, estoy baracha” (I don’t know, I’m drunk) the bar erupted in laughter. Two men asked me to dance about two different times and I obliged.

My earlier male companion egged me on to dance, since I was not interested and he got the hint, and so I danced, twirled and laughed and spoke mangled Spanish.

In Spanish, I thanked my dance partners for their patience with me and for being such good teachers.

They were tickled by this and their appreciation and approval showed prominently in their pants. Men.

I was mildly grossed out, but not really, because I was tipsy, but at the same time, I felt like I was an ambassador for Black women. I was getting my Susan Rice on.

We all aren’t always angry, or mad or loud like most of the black women on t.v. Sometimes we want to branch out and try new things and test our Spanish if someone is willing to listen. We want to laugh and flirt, and have someone lead us off our bar stool, by the hand and be spun awhile. We want to listen to other kinds of music. We want men of all backgrounds to find us genuinely beautiful and attractive and interesting.

I was glad to swap stories with two white guys who I would never normally talk to. Maybe they got to see something different from what they are used to, and to me that’s cool.

So in some convoluted way, I’ve talked about a lot of things here, I want to shout out the men I talked to in English and Spanish last night who helped me have a fun night, but didn’t act all pissy because I didn’t want to hang out with them again. Everyone just appreciated the moment, a dance was a dance. A conversation was a conversation.

But back to trifling behavior. The guys we originally showed up with, well the one I was talking to showed me a ridiculous switch blade he carried in case someone tried to steal his diamond chain (he likes the bling) I was suddenly chillin with Paul Wall. And I nodded and kept cool and said, hey, “I guess you got to do what you got to do sometimes.” He smiled proudly and took a sip of his drink.

I cashed out with the bartender and made sure he knew in English and Spanish that I was only paying for my drinks. Frick and Frack had a couple of beers and a shot of patron each.

At the previous bar, those two offered us a drink, but we said we were good and they said, well at least stay longer and have half a drink (they bought one drink, had the waitress put it in two glasses).

After hearing one of them talk about how he hadn’t paid a gas bill and that he still had one more notice before it was cut off, I had a feeling these guys were shady and I didn’t think either one of them was going to spring for my $8 tab.

So, me and my home girl headed to the bathroom at the Mexican bar, and when we returned, Frick and Frack were gone. They kept making jokes about skipping out on the bill, before they left and it appears that’s what they did. The bartender looked confused, and a bit annoyed as my friend settled her tab, only paying for her drinks and explaining she was only paying for her drinks.

Frick and Frack rode off into the night in their tricked-out Lincoln.

We were hysterical in laughter.

People are people. Gente son gente.

Patience: Putting My Money Where My Poem Is…

I went all out.

I got up early to go grocery shopping. I cleaned up around the house. Did my hair.

I made a mean pot roast (I redeemed myself after the “Not Roast” incident of 2003.). I made a shrimp mango flatbread. I made homemade sangria.

I washed my cloth napkins. Dried them, and placed lovely napkin rings around them.

Fresh flowers adorned my table in a vase.

I looked good. I wore a strappy long flowing turquoise dress that hugged my shape. I was barefoot. No jewelry. Just lip gloss.

Lancelot came to my house probably at 7:25, dinner was scheduled for 7:30. He was armed with a bottle of red wine.

We had great conversation, things were flowing along nicely.

He had seconds. He refilled my glass and would help me fix my plate, much to my disagreement. I would protest that he is my guest and I wanted to fix his plate. He shushed me.

It was a lovely evening and I didn’t want it to end. He helped me clear the table and said that he had to go home.

It was 10 p.m.

I was crushed. I wanted him to stay longer and relax. He said he could not.

He was back to business. He had meetings the next day and business proposals to draw up.

I had a sad pouty face and mentioned that I only saw him once a week, and hoped he’d carved out more time for me, but it is what it is.

He did say he wanted us to do this again, and that next time he’d cook and host.

The funny thing is, when he left, I found myself getting in a funk.

Normally, if I’d made such a meal, worn such a dress I’d have to kick a man out of my house and fight him off of me.

Lancelot graciously took his hug and a kiss on the cheek and departed.

I asked a few of my advisors what to make of the situation. Most said that this is my opportunity to decide if pursuing a relationship with someone so busy is going to make me happy. Will I be satisfied in the future with having to take a back seat.

Some argue he’s working super hard now, so he can chill later. Some argue, with more success, he may have even less time and once again, can I deal?

It was a difficult pill to swallow. Here it is, I’m enjoying the company of and highly respecting someone for their drive and ability to make things happen, but at the same time feeling a bit selfish for wanting more of this person’s time.

One of my friends said, “Well you complained the last time that he was too pushy and too fresh. He’s following your instructions.”

“To the letter, it seems,” I replied.

Maybe that’s an excellent thing. Maybe he respects me and likes me that much, just like I don’t want to make a misstep, he doesn’t want to either.

I do think this is a good opportunity for me to see if that’s the type of role I want to play in a relationship and if it will be enough.

One of my friends said that he may be testing me to see if I act simple when he says he has to take care of business and I have to take a back seat. My reactions to him handling business, may play a role in his interest in me steadily increasing.

During dinner, he told me about how friends and family became his investors and how blessed he was that people believed in him so much. He did not have to take out loans from a bank to start. He talked about how excited he was to be able to write modest checks to his investors and how he would be on track to continue growing.

I could tell that it’s not just his ambition that is motivating him, but he clearly does not want to let all of those people he cares about down. He takes it seriously.

I felt he wasn’t even saying that to brag. I feel that he feels that way deeply and I was further attracted and moved.

So, I asked him. “You seem to have a very clear vision of what you want professionally. But what makes you happy? What makes you happy in your soul?”

He said he just loves being a homebody and hanging out at home with his loved ones, sharing meals and good times. He said he doesn’t need a whole lot, he enjoys traveling, but he’s very simple. He said that even when he becomes wealthy, he’d want to stay in his current home, unless he had kids, and would then want a bigger place. He’d drive the same cars and live the same life.

One of my friends asked me if he was dating anyone other than me. To be honest, I don’t know.

He did mention that he was getting some pressure from his mother to give her grandbabies, and that even his grandmother and aunt have unsuccessfully tried to hook him up or lure him into surprise blind dates.

It seems his approach to love is that if it happens, it will happen and he must have some kind of attraction. The ladies handpicked by his family were nice, but they just weren’t it.

This situation is also another lesson for me in patience. While I think I am patient, I’m not. I do want what I want when I want it and sometimes that hasn’t served me well.

Slowing down this time around, may be exactly what I need. It makes me think of a poem I wrote and shared on this blog a long time ago.

Impromptu Poetry

The next time I fall in love, I don’t want to fall madly.

I’ll gladly

trade in the googly-eyed, flying blind, day-dreaming kind

for the steady, unconditional, responsible, loyal,

here today, still here tomorrow and the day after and after–

happily ever and beyond,

ever-lingering in every doorway, picture frame, under the rug and in between the couch cushions, all over this house;

in the eyes, hearts and DNA of our children and the generations that follow,

kind of love.

Come to our home for Thanksgiving and when he cuts that turkey, our guests will even taste our love in the juices that flavor it.

Because like our love, that bird was cooked painstakingly– not too fast and not too slow at the right temperature. Standing watch, we will tend to this love with unfaltering care–

no detail too small.

I don’t want the fantasy, I don’t want the fairy tale anymore, and surprisingly I’m not sad about that.

I rejoice now, because maturity has allowed me to see,

What we imagine love to be has never been rooted in reality.

Us girls dream of our prince, of that first magical kiss.

Not his dirty drawers on our floor, not yet another note on the fridge door, that says, “Baby I’ll be home late. Don’t wait…

up for me tonight.”

Brotha I don’t want to annoy ya, but I’ve got this paranoia, that one day,

you’ll up and walk away.

Kiss my forehead, smile and stroke my hair out of my face.  You don’t even have to say the words, you’ll just simply stay.

Just stay. I’m not perfect.

Just stay. Neither are you.

Just stay, the closest we’ll get to perfection is what we have between us two.

Just stay. Fine, I suck today, but asshole, you suck too.

Stay. No one else can make me laugh the way you do.

Stay. I like the way you kiss me there, and there and especially where,

the sun don’t shine–

except that time

we were on that private beach…

Stay because I know you want to. Stay because I know you want me to want you to.

Stay because there’s nothing else you’d rather do.

Stay because being the dude who stays with me, is just who

you

were meant to be.

Be with me

Because you just couldn’t know how to be anything else, with anyone else.

I don’t want the fairytale.

It’s perfectly fine we fight.

But after the jabs and tough words are thrown,

we’ll use those same lips

to kiss

good night.

Real Life Sara Bartman Moment Live At the Kennedy Center

I had a fantastic weekend. I spent it with one of my favorite people, a dear cousin and we ran all over this town.

I’m exhausted, but I’m happy, because we truly had a ball.

Saturday night, we went to the Kennedy Center (one of my most favorite places in all of DC) and we saw a show called New Orleans Bingo. This show had a Vaudvillian/variety show vibe with musicians, featuring the amazing and legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, burlesque dancers, aerialists, and even modern trendy acts that blend all kinds of music and art. There was an odd puppet show, and a talented MC/ring master wearing face paint reminiscent of what folks wear in the Zulu Krewe during Mardi gras (signature black and white make up).

I enjoyed the spectacle and this mish mosh of talented people coming from all walks of life, ages, races (as New Orleans is well-known for), but one portion of the show left me with my mouth open and this was after a burlesque dancer managed to strip down and exit the stage with a large rubber duckie strategically held to cover her breasts.

The performer was called Big Freedia, the queen of Bounce music. Big Freedia appeared to be a transgender person who was originally male. She captured the crowd right away and had amazing energy. I really dug Big Freedia.

Along with Big Freedia was her high energy DJ mixing beats that sent what would typically be a reserved Kennedy Center Crowd into a frenzy. This was also cool.

Big Freedia had a team of dancers. Two male and two female. The males in their style of dress reminded me of Lupe Fiasco or Frank Ocean. Their dance style was hip hop, but clearly totally the style of street dancers you often see on Bourbon Street or the French Quarter. They were fantastic, but I didn’t get to pay attention to them much, because Big Freedia’s female dancers stole the show. I mean, they stole the show.

They wore short shorts, sneakers and fitted tanks showing their midriff. They broke out dancing and twerking and popping their butts in a way that is probably more complicated and executed with such athleticism, you could admire them. And for a moment I did. But as time wore on, and that’s all they could do, sometimes balancing on one foot, or getting down on all fours or breaking into a split and being able to isolate butt cheeks and make them bounce, jump and jiggle, me and my cousin were no longer entertained.

We started to get upset. I started to say, I didn’t know how to feel about it. Here we were in one of D.C.’s most hallowed cultural centers and here are some black women, shaking their asses, over and over with such vigor, with such pride as a predominantly white audience looked on, cheering. Men being completely titillated at the show, in a way that was much different from the white burlesque dancer who added humor and props during her set.

The looks in the men’s eyes were more wild. And then I thought of Sara Bartman, known as the Hottentot Venus. She was carted around Europe as a side-show act because white folks had never seen a black woman with such a large butt and elongated labia. This woman was put on display, naked. And even when she died at the age of 25, they cut out her brains and vagina, but them in jars, made a cast of her body to put it on display.

People say she was the first of what we know now as video vixens. I told my cousin about Sara Bartman, and showed her a youtube video the next day, and we shook our heads.

I wondered how the older black gentlemen, who were a part of Preservation Hall felt about what happened. Were they upset? Did they see it as art from a new generation? Or did they have a strong reaction, knowing their history and the things they have had to suffer, their mothers, their grandmothers? It left a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach.

One of my good friends who lived near New Orleans, as I once did, argued that there was cultural value in twerking and popping and that it is a part of the “underground.” I agreed that as far back as 1999, Juvenile’s hit “Back that Azz Up” featured NOLA neighborhood girls and women, doing the same exact things Big Freedia’s dancers were doing, but they were back in the hood, at a large block party.

Me and my cousin didn’t mind the twerking in the beginning. I found myself cheering, but when we realized that was the only style of dance these young women could offer, we became increasingly dissappointed. And you can tell because when they’d get tired, they’d slow down, pull their shorts out of their butt, step to the left or right, and when they got their wind back up, they proceeded to pop, jiggle, and shake some more.

Now, don’t get it twisted, Big Freedia, was right there with them in all her glory. It was a sight to behold the way she was able to move and shake, but Big Freedia was covered up.

My friend pointed out to me that my anger about the situation may also be the fact that Big Freedia, was not born an African-American woman, yet she is capitalizing and profiting off the sexualization of black women.

The male dancers did get a number of cheers, when they were featured, but they did not capture the attention of the crowd the same way those young women did. I looked around the room, and I found that a lot of my white neighbors were looking at me to see my reaction as well. An older white man sitting next to me was so thrilled, his knee was bouncing so much during the set in excitement, my chair was shaking.

After intermission, his wife was sitting next to me. She must have noticed his excitement too.

Hmm.

My emotions were so mixed.

While I do believe booty poppin and twerking and moving our bodies in a sensual, sexual way have been with us since forever, black women can’t seem to get the albatross of primitive, exotic, sexuality from off our necks.

Some could argue, the white burlesque dancer did what the black girls did and the black girls didn’t strip down to pasties at the end of their set. Some can say we’ve evolved to the point where black and white women can flaunt their sexuality as they please, but as a black woman, it’s not that simple.

The world has not evolved that much.

Just up the street from the Kennedy Center, we have First Lady Michelle Obama, who knows that everyday, she has to watch her step. She has to be perfect. Even with all of her accomplishments and achievements before marrying President Obama, she knows if she wears a certain dress, or carries herself less than perfect, she is holding the image of American black women on her shoulders for the world stage. Her existence has to counter all of the damn video vixens, and basketball wives and Real Housewives of Foolishness, that folks who never have to see or deal with black women may believe as truth.

Even though it shouldn’t matter. Even though I am an individual, and can argue, these young women can do what they please and they don’t represent me, I felt like they do. We represent one another and people do lump us all in the same category. When those girls popped their asses in the Kennedy Center, it made me feel like while the masses of white people seemed to enjoy it and take it for entertainment or culture, if a lot of them may not have black friends or really interact with black people, and I don’t want that to be their lingering image of what young, black women are. So in my mind, Big Freedia and her camp did have some level of responsibility, whether they think so or not.

I don’t care if they do represent the Big Easy, where anything goes and that the wild life and open sexuality go hand-in-hand. The same rules of sexual freedom do not apply to Black women. It is a complicated situation that black feminists have been discussing for a very long time. My favorite group that dissects these types of issues is the Crunk Feminist Collective. I’d love to see what they’d think of this situation and if I’m over thinking it or crazy.

I dug a little deeper and found out that Big Freedia and her folks have become sensations in the artsy/idie communities and have performed in NYC at Moma, and SBSW.

I can’t help but wonder if people are truly accepting them as art and people who do represent their truth– booty popping is real, but are the smiles and accolades truly that of acceptance and appreciation, or are they a freak show in the minds of some of the audience, that hasn’t quite evolved? Do people not see them as people, but as a sub-reality?

Booty popping is a truth. I’ve done it in the clubs and at parties, myself. It is a release. You do feel hot, and sexy while doing it. But is it an art form? There are a lot of youtube videos, one called Twerkology, where a gay, Asian man is instructing others how to do it. You can put twerk on youtube and find a gazillion videos. One parent landed in the news for using physical discipline on his two young daughters for making a twerk video and posting it on youtube. I get his anger and frustration. People can argue about spanking, I’ll leave yall to it. But as Chris Rock once said, this man is simply trying to “keep his daughters off the pole.” He may have been extreme, but he knew all too well, how black women are perceived and he wants better for his children. And while doing some freaky dancing is a huge part of growing up, Lord knows people have rubbed up and shook butts at many a party, his daughters openly going doing this for the World Wide Web was probably much more than that brotha could take. Lessons had to be learned about just how serious and powerful the perception of sexuality is for black girls. Period.

Miley Cyrus was applauded for her attempt at twerking, but she cleverly put on a silly unicorn onesie to desexify it. Even Miley knew, that as a white woman, if she put on booty shorts and made it clap, she would get herself into a whole lot of trouble. Making it seem almost silly, helped her become a talking point on Good Morning America where they were trying to define “twerking.” I nearly spit out my water that morning. If she was in booty shorts, best believe folks would say she was being vulgar.

But black girls popping in booty shorts, eh, they are vulgar anyway. Doesn’t matter. What else is new? They are the ones getting pregnant. Who cares? This is the stereotype. We are not Miley Cyrus. We are not Kim Kardashian. There’s another set of rules.

I really hope Big Freedia and his dancers enjoy their moment, sharing their culture on such grand stages. They straight up made history, I’ll give them that. But I hope that they also for real for real understand the history and complexitites of the image of the Black woman and sexuality and how they are included in that. I hope they understand that they are not only ambassadors of their local culture, but for a larger culture when they go outside of New Orleans and expose their art on these platforms, where there are often not a whole lot of black folks. I hope they understand the weight of the situation.

I don’t expect them to change. And if by any chance they may come across this blogpost, they may totally disagree with me, and that’s fine too. But this is the honest reaction I had to the performance.

In a certain context, I don’t think there is anything wrong with booty poppin, it’s honest, it’s how we’ve expressed ourselves in Africa or in Carnival in the Carribbean since forever. It’s a very real part of how women expressed themselves, using their bodies in response to music. But I do hope, that maybe the twerk girls can incorporate a variety of dance into the program, like their male counterparts, who I thought were great, but I had a tough time concentrating on them. I wonder why…

I leave you with the video about the history of Sara Bartman.

Miley Cyrus “twerking”

Juvenile Back that Azz up.

Big Freedia Explains Bounce Music. (May not want to watch at work, FYI)

Be You In the Face Of Intimidating People Anyway

This post is inspired by a quick little message I got the other day, via LinkedIn.

An old boss who always seemed to terrorize me, and was never satisfied with my work and who never praised me, came out of nowhere to congratulate me on my latest promotion.

I asked a friend (who was in the trenches with me at the time and knew this person well) if I was terminally ill, or if he was terminally ill. She laughed. Then we made jokes about the old jokes about he and I having sexual tension.

I thanked the ex-boss for the compliment and noted that it meant a lot to hear it from him that he was proud of me.

He quickly responded that he has always loved my grit and determination and advised me to never lose it.

I really thought my days on the Earth were numbered and that the Rapture would commence once I closed the email. But I smiled. I felt validated and was left thankful, the Good Lord gave me a little more time.

Some folks would say I shouldn’t care, and what this old boss thinks of me shouldn’t matter. But he finally stepped up, and damn it, I do care. It felt nice. I told you I was awesome, mean boss! Now you see me! Ha! I still became somebody anyway!! I’m still in the industry! Ok, that was immature.

Moving on.

I’ve had a couple of bosses who were terribly hard on me early in my career. I mean, I really felt like it was bordering on abuse or hazing and I’m not exaggerating or complaining like today’s young folks who are really wack (for a prime example of our über entitled next generation, read this http://doanie.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/mean-professor-tells-student/).

But from time to time, when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I would have moments where I’d face off, toe-to-toe with those folks, job security be damned. When I had those moments, I secretly dared them to fire me, because I knew I was right.

There was even one instance with the boss that I mentioned, who told me to my face he felt I was too green and that my well-connected and highly respected recommendations were “overembellished.”

So I went off. And I even went as far as saying that despite all of that, I wasn’t going to quit, or be pushed into quitting. So if you are going to fire me, you call security and have me escorted out. I didn’t come all this way, and move my life to a vastly different part of the country, not to do what I came to do.

When I took another job, this editor and another difficult editor did say I reminded them of themselves as a young reporter and that they were so hard on me, because, well it was a hard business. They congratulated me and wished me well. While I disagree with how far they took the tough love without balancing it with necessary praise and acknowledgement of improvement, hey, it was a life lesson. I did get a tougher skin.

A second boss, who was at the job I landed in after the first mean boss, may have been even rougher than the first.

I was on assignment with this boss out of the country, and when he said something out of line, I looked at him dead in the eye and said, “You are impossible. Your expectations for this situation are completely unreasonable.”

He looked back at me and said that no one has ever said that to him. He actually smiled. The next day, we were having dinner at the top of the CN tower in Toronto, on him.

He was angry when I quit that job, but I told him I was underpaid and the conditions of the workplace were not conducive to my growth and things that I was promised upon taking the job never happened. I have to make the right business decision for myself.

In turn, he held my last check, citing that according to my contract, I had to pay back my relocation expenses and upon receipt, I could then have my last check.

I negotiated a signing bonus with my new job, to get me out of that wack deal. A mentor loaned me money to pay my rent until the whole thing was resolved.

Sometime after that madness, a person I deeply respect said that boss actually spoke highly of me and said he respected me.

To hear that from such a complicated person, who had ego that rivals that of Kanye West, I was shocked. Especially since he was so emotional about me quitting and was heard saying that I had no integrity for breaking my contract.

So what’s the point of all of this?

I often hold back. Sometimes it seems like I back down. But every now and then there are the moments where I stand up, put the fear aside and stand up for myself and for what I really believed was right, no matter how intimidating the person was/is/ or pretends to be.

And in both situations, I may have found out way after the fact, but I eventually found out that through those moments, I gained their respect.

That said, I didn’t cuss anyone out, or say something disrespectful, but I firmly stood my ground and spoke my truth. I’m sure God was looking out for me, because maybe other people have gotten fired for doing such things, but I still stand by it. Sometimes you have to show people that you demand respect no matter what level of the game you are in.

The sweet little LinkedIn message was a reminder to, as that ex-boss said, never lose my grit and determination.

In some cosmic way, he might have been right on time with that…

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