Women, please work hard to ensure that your ‘beauty’ is not something someone can simply wipe away with a wet Kleenex…
I could start out “nice and easy”, wielding my proverbial pen to lull you all into a very false sense of security. Or, I could opt to continue to behave in my preferred state of being – and cut through the bullshit. Let’s implement the second, shall we? Cause passive-aggressive? “Ain’t nobody got time for that”!
Let’s address this: I find that the place where one can find the most sanctimonious and judgmental people is, you guessed it, in church. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am absolutely not speaking about those that believe what they believe, mind their religious-business, live their lives and more importantly, allow you to live yours as you deem fit; no! I am addressing those people that not only insist on trying to convert our supposed-sinful asses, but who also take some misplaced, unearned and undeserved pride in the fact that they walk through the (church) doors and are able to fling biblical quotes around. The ones who dare to think that they have a right to have anyfuckingopinion about how I/we live our lives! Told you… I don’t ‘do’ passive!
Before I completely get taken over by both my emotions and the (un-holy) spirit, let me share this with you – I am a very big fan of God’s! I am because there has been proof in my life that He is in my life. There have been those situations, experiences and instances that I have chosen to give up to Him because I knew that I had little to do with either the inception or the outcome. There continue to be moments in life that I opt to walk alongside Him; to include Him in. For me, I prefer to live this life, my life, believing that not only does He exist; but that undoubtedly and unquestionably, I am one of His favorites 😉
See, but here is what I also believe. Not one bit of that, of my choice to have a relationship with my God, allows me the right to try to influence your choices! And, it certainly does not allow me the unmitigated gall to ever point out to you what, in my ignorant, unsolicited, misinformed, sinful and human opinion you may be doing incorrectly with your life! Who the fuck am I? I mean… God may love me big, but He certainly didn’t marry my ass and change my name to ‘Mrs. God’!!
What I’m saying is that we all need to be very careful. And, we also need to be very truthful. My resistance toward judging anyone based off of my religious or spiritual beliefs also influences my hesitance in speaking or writing about it; I prefer to just simply judge your ass based off of the obvious worldly dumb-shit you do (God doesn’t need to get involved in all our foolishness!). Additionally, my spirituality is as sacred as my loverships; I share if, when and how I want; and in both these matters, I find that other people’s opinions at times do more harm than good.
Listen, we need to do like the State and stay the hell out of other people’s bedrooms and religions! If and how someone gets down on their knees in either instance is nobody’s damn business! If you have always known or just found God, good for you. But, before you open your mouths to profess all that you know and attempt to try to point out all that you think someone else does not know, maybe you should first make sure all your (worldly) ducks are in a row! And, I defy any human being walking this earth, the ability to show me a life devoid of blemishes or so-called sin.
Sigh. I applaud anyone, everyone who is attempting to live right; no matter to whom they attribute the influence. I also firmly believe that one does not need the Bible, Quran, Torah, or any other book to point how what is right or wrong. But, I will also never disrespect those that lean heavily on those teachings. What I will always resist is someone proclaiming to be better than, simply because they can regurgitate passages and scriptures – my four and seven year old nieces also know all the words to Ariana Grande’s songs – without any damn idea of what those words mean! Just sayin’.
Now I’m riled up! Finally I will say this: for those always wondering what my ‘take’ on religion has been, here you are: I speak with my God often. Every once in a while (have been mad at Him since I lost my baby boy), I go to church to borrow strength form others around me. More than praying, I talk to Him… a lot. But yes, I do pray – we need it. See, but because I way down in my soul know that my God is one of love, benevolence, patience, wisdom and understanding, I also know that He knows that this life out here at times needs me (and you) to let loose with some well-aimed curse words! My God understands all my weaknesses – of the flesh, the heart, the mouth, my soul. My God was chillin’ with prostitutes, murderers, thieves and shit; yall out here tying to condemn people.
So, I don’t know all the scriptures and many Sundays you will find me in bed, not in church. But, when I wake up Monday morning, my God knows that I will be doing my best, with what He gave to me. Let’s all be very clear – there is no human being on this earth, walking, breathing, shitting, working, playing, fucking, shopping, employing, dismissing, educating, parenting, preaching, or any other ing you can think of, that has the right or authority to judge you based off of their so-called religious beliefs!
Ladies and gentlemen, find your way to do your good, let it emanate from deep within you; do it every day. It will not teach you the Bible; but I daresay you have tapped into your spirituality.
“Guess what day it is?” Ha-ha. For those of you already knee-deep in your chosen professional fields and careers, it is indeed the much-celebrated ‘Hump Day’. But, for those of us still in the throes of our academic aspirations, it is simply the first day of school. Yep, today marks the official first day of my Spring 2015 semester (although my classes do not start until tomorrow).
Indeed this break has been not only a good one, but certainly a necessary and revealing one. Thankfully my break started with my being able to take the time to spend Christmas in Trinidad with my beautiful daughter (and that boyfriend of hers that I truly like; shhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t tell him). The past month+ also afforded me the opportunity to re-connect with some friends – well, I am always connected; but, I actually saw their faces (it is very widely documented amongst those that love me, that when the semester is in session, I am at best a voice over the telephone). Boy are my friends beautiful J . I was able to ‘swim with the dolphins’… okay, not true; but, I was able to be a part of the multiple fairytales that my nieces Ty and Riley could have conjured up. Priceless moments, heavily littered with laughter.
But see, these amazing moments also brought with them the not-as-pleasant situations that, simply because of their importance, were absolutely necessary for me to attend to – and certainly before the bell rings today. There were family issues, professional situations and living accommodations to address. I thank God that every single one of them has thus far been resolved not only in my favor, but similarly in my best interest. My family is safe and sou… who am I kidding? There is nothing “sound” about my family; we are all beautifully nutty! Hahaha. But, we are safe. A modified professional schedule that will accommodate both my academic and peace-of-mind priorities has been agreed to. And, shortly after putting the period on my post dated January 2nd, I got a phone call that offered me a “stay” – not of execution, but of vacateion. I am still in my home.
So yes; it was a fantastic break! But now, I cannot contain my excitement for tomorrow! My daughter calls me a ‘nerd’ and, I believe she is indeed right J . But loving name-calling aside, my excitement for every semester is two-fold – I am absolutely loving this journey I have embarked on; but more importantly, each semester brings me closer and closer to my finish line. And my friends, for that day I cannot wait! Knowing that the day I am able to begin sharing the knowledge I have garnered to help and to heal is moving closer to me, is an incredible feeling! It wakes me up, gets me out and keeps me going!
To all my fellow CUNY students and to all students getting up and showing up, I wish us all an absolutely successful semester! I wish you the fortitude to keep going, in spite of. I pray that your dreams are bigger than your book bags and that your troubles fit on the tip of your pencils. Cry when you need to; this school-business is tough. But never allow your tears to blind you from your goals – simply use them to wash away what may have momentarily blinded you. Just think… you are already a success – you’re in school!
Alright, don’t use me as an excuse why you’re late for your first day of school – get your ass to class! I’m off to get ready for work. Show up; but most importantly, be present. Let’s have a fantastic semester!
“It always seems impossible until it is done…”
Let’s address this. Today is a snowy, yucky kinda day and a lot of us are off of work; but not necessarily holed up in our own homes (if you know what I mean). I daresay it’s the kind of day that a lot of naughtiness will be taking place and quite a few babies will be conceived; some may even be born ten months from today. But see, this is exactly what we need to talk about – the fact that days like today invariably manifest such fall-out and mainly because many of the parts that will get together do not belong together. #infidelity
Here’s how I feel about this: there is absolutely no justification for it. There is no excuse, no reason, no set of circumstances, never enough alcohol that will ever place my vagina near, on or over anything that does not publicly, totally and honestly belong to me. There have been and will continue to be behaviors that I will apologize and ask understanding and forgiveness for – but I can vow that the only time I will be fucking outside of my home and our bed, is when you and I are getting our freak on somewhere else… together! Period.
Over the years, I have listened to many a friend try to explain to me how “it just happened”; trying to then figure out what the hell happens next. I have listened. I have watched some otherwise wise people make messes of their relationships and lives by allowing a momentary decision to have negative permanent consequences. I have shed tears of utter frustration in solidarity with theirs of despair. I continue to ask myself why. #soveryconfused
Listen, don’t get me wrong, I do understand that some believe that human beings were not meant for monogamy; to them I say, “stay single”. I seriously have no problems with that train of thought; I even think there is some merit to it. But, what I do have a problem with, are the men and women who enter into relationship without full disclosure; deceiving their partners by omission, thereby placing both their health and heart at risk. Trust me, if all you would like from your life is a life of meaningless or un-entangled coupling, there are many many others just like you; find them.
One’s health and heart. I have been cheated on and, for me, my emotions associated with it are similar to the ‘stages’ associated with grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Truly. Think about it. But, those are the emotions of my heart. His lack of a moral compass also forced me to think about my health. You see, whether you have had protected vaginal sex or not is not the only consideration when it comes to intimacy. True intimacy dictates that you trust, surrender and allow your partner access to other areas and parts of your body that well, you can’t put a condom on. Honoring your partners before any intimacy by getting yourself tested and proudly waving your “clean bill of health” is not worth the paper it’s written on when it comes to a cheater. #unprotectedlove
Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that “life happens” and oftentimes, people find themselves in situations that no longer make them happy; they no longer work. All I am saying is that you do have a right to go after your happiness; absolutely. But, you also have the right to do it right. Always remember that the true character of a man (used in both the gender and neutral sense), is not how he behaves when times are good or easy, but when they are unpleasant or difficult. I will never advocate for remaining in an unhealthy, unhappy situation. But I always will encourage and insist that one extricates with honor – both for you and the other.
The other truly disturbing commentary about infidelity is that some (women) not only make it easy for our men to be unfaithful, but seem to believe that it validates their womanhood somehow by having another woman’s man creeping to their bed. To these misguided fools I say this:
- Any girl can get a man to visit. Only a woman can get him to stay
- If you keep opening your door and your body to a man who only comes to you when it’s dark, trust me, that is exactly where he will always keep you
- Someone who truly wants you will clean up their mess and make a clear path for you. Someone who doesn’t will continue to litter that path with excuses
Listen… forget all that. Heed this well documented, tested and true statement/prediction: “What they will do for you, they will do to you…” Get wise! #karmaisthatotherwoman
So, God did not create a blizzard for (most of) us outside (this time); similarly let it pass by your homes. If you are somewhere you no longer want to be, please leave; do not stay to hurt and humiliate. Remember, as you chase after, cherish and protect the shiny new heart you now think is the one for you, one still beats in the chest of the one already there.
Alright, fuck all of that! If you can’t be good, for God’s sake then, be careful! I mean, they’re keeping us off the roads because, well, they’re dangerous and slippery when wet… #thesidebitchisnotnecessarypersonnel
Lord help us! There is some crap about to fall out of the sky unto our (suspecting) heads! Not sure what you all think of it – because I know that some of you (shhhhhhhhhhhh… white people) like the snow and shit! But speaking on behalf of all of us ‘people of color’ – yall could keep that! Sigh…
So yes, it’s forecasted to be a big bad one, starting now and ending tomorrow; at the end of which, poor little us could be trying to navigate through our days in 12-24-36” inches of shit! But, this is just one of the prices we pay for living in the most exciting city in the world! That’s right… not addressing you readers from Philly, DE, DC et al; I am in a “New York state of mind”. Hahahahaha.
Listen, be safe; truly. I do not care what your weather preferences are – what they are predicting can be dangerous for us all. The roads will be difficult to navigate; whether in a vehicle or on foot. Be careful. I suggest for those who can, call out and stay in; tomorrow I just might (I’m thinking beer, food, munchies and movies. Don’t judge that beer was first in line; the letter ‘b’ went before all the others 😉 ).
Okay, I gotta go; got to get to work. Trying to figure out what to wear for this impending foolishness will not be easy! My GMA folks say we just “bundle up” and be careful; translated to mean, Hunter boots, hat, scarf, North Face, long johns and gloves (don’t know about yall, but I have always said nothing named “John” will ever touch my skin – no matter how long he… oops, I mean, it is). Hahaha. Okay, I’ll stop with the foolishness; I really do need to get a move on.
Be good. Be safe. Be happy. Have a great Monday yall…
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it…” – Angelou
Some of the best experiences in life happen organically; and, they cost a hell of a lot less than their edible counterparts do at Whole Foods!
Last evening I was fortunate to be sitting in a room filled with some very diversely eclectic women; each wearing their uniqueness proudly, but with one indisputable similar thread connecting all – they were smart and successful as all fuck! Then, there was me; ha-ha. No, but seriously – in that one room these women collectively had more letters behind their names than there are readily available in the alphabet – someone would have had to “buy a vowel” J
So, as we sat around and talked, laughed, danced and got into those fantastic conversations that jump from here to there, I could not help at intervals, to simply sit back and absorb not only where I was, but amongst whom. I could not help but (and still) to acknowledge that that was precisely the reason that I have chosen to live the way I have – giving my attention and placing my energies into the real people that I am fortunate to share time with; having very little left for the so-called celebrities and wannabes. In the event I do need to explain, I say “so-called” because in my world, I was sitting crossed-legged on the floor in a beautiful apartment in Brooklyn, amongst the true celebrities.
These women, of some all kinds of ethnicities, are all women dedicated to not only their lives and their families, but are, in their professions, some true heavy-hitters. But last night, they were all simply women… no, friends, getting together to celebrate the warming of another’s new home. Just as we left our coats and shoes at the door, so too did they all hang up the letters – shrugging out of what they did – to simply be a part of all that we are – women.
Let’s address this: the Bible (oh shit….don’t leave; I promise to come back around) talks about “where two or more are gathered in His name” and, we all have heard and made the very Urban joke of those other people being afraid when they see two or more black folks… congregating. Hahahaha. But listen, none of that compares to when you place two or more beautiful, positive, self-aware, purposeful, driven, vocal and intelligent women in one room; add some food, wine and beer, mix and stir! There is not a name for that concoction! It is definitely in moments such as these that, if one is smart, you can extrapolate what is needed to identify, acknowledge, learn from and heal. It is in the safety of commonality and lack of judgment that pockets of spaces are exposed that allow for shared realities and that broker understanding. Experiences such as last evening emphasize the responsibilities that women have toward our young ladies. I remember thinking that I wished my daughter were in that room.
So we laughed, talked, ate, drank, laughed some more and danced together for a few hours; at times unwittingly placing ourselves smack dab into a spectacular Waiting To Exhale moment or three. There were old friends reconnecting and new friendships being forged. There were moments of empathy (d’uh…. we were after all women) and beneath and behind the laughter, incredible moments of enlightenment and education. For me, there was confirmation that I am indeed on the correct path.
I watched these women and felt pride. You may wonder what the hell I had to feel proud about; as if I had anything to do with their success. But if you are indeed asking yourself that question, you are either yet to learn or have missed the class on womanhood. I felt pride because I did have something to do with it; just as they do and will continue to for me. And, not just these women, but all women – because… womanhood is a journey; and there is not a single one of us that can successfully navigate that course alone. Every day I rise, every morning you (woman) rise, I lend to you as you do me, your strength, your beauty, your compassion, your tenderness, your determination, your sensuality, your wisdom, your peace; you lend me your voice.
I sat in a room of beautiful, accomplished women in whose names I dedicate today’s post and in whose honor I will continue on…
Let me start by stating that there will be nothing funny, tongue-in-cheek, flip, smart-ass or suggestive about today’s post. Today I will be addressing a topic that sadly hits (absolutely no pun intended) very close to home and that is the catalyst for many major decisions and actions in my life. This morning, we will be addressing the continued epidemic of abuse.
For those of you still reading (as I am quite aware that for many reasons, including guilt, being confronted with this topic makes many uncomfortable), thank you. I say “thank you” because I understand and recognize that eradicating this scourge requires many working together; this truly will be the stuff of villages. So, from a woman, a victim, a survivor, please know that your presence signifies hope. It conveys strength. It offers solidarity. It reflects unity. It lends courage. And, trust me when I say that all these are the tools that a victim needs… from those outside.
I say “outside” because quite frankly, most of the work and the effort belongs to the one on the inside; the rest of us can talk until we are blue in the face – nothing happens until you know, you are certain, there is no more doubt that (1) you are indeed being abused and (2) you know that you deserve better than that. Because my friends, sadly there are many of us walking around making excuses for our abusers: “he just had a really bad day. We’ve been under a lot of stress lately. I started it; I knew I should not have said that to him. I swear… that was the first time he’s ever done that to me”; and on and on and on. I have heard so much of it. I have said some of it.
Before I go any further, let me say this to ALL victims: the only culpability you have in an abusive situation is the fact that you remain in an abusive situation. There is absolutely nothing that you could have done that allows for your abuser to curse at, spit at, strike, kick, punch, degrade, belittle or disrespect you. And make no mistake, someone who verbally berates, belittles, humiliates and disrespects you is an abuser. My God… I just realized I am crying. Please hear me – there is nothing that you could ever do, that warrants being mistreated. There is much that we can do that deserves being angry at or even left. But there is nothing that should permit a man (used in both the gender and neutrality sense) to stay and destroy your sense of well-being, your source of strength, your entitlement to peace, or your ability to cope. Trust me when I say that God has not yet fashioned the human being that is worth giving all that up to.
By now you all should know the things that matter to me; you know that this does. My heart no longer aches for my own story; that pain was transferred to the fuel I needed to get me here a long time ago. So to him again I say, “thank you”. But, I continue to hurt for those whose names I know and for the anonymous victims of abuse; I will forever work toward their enlightenment and eradication. I am educating myself in the disciplines I will need to help and to heal; but I hope that in the meantime they/you will hear me when I tell you that you deserve better. You deserve more. Because trust me, if your partner is an abuser, you truly couldn’t have done less (than him).
Language must change. Before we can truly affect this epidemic, the victims’ languages must change. Collectively, we must stop erecting the veil that these offenders depend on and hide behind. This is the epitome of the circumstance where it is true and encouraged to say, ‘it’s not me; it’s you”. Please stop making the excuses; again, there are none. Put aside your hurt, your disappointment and your shattered dreams for long enough to do what is necessary… before he shatters your face. Trust me when I say that I am not being dramatic – the anatomy of abuse dictates that behaviors escalate – the more you take, is the more they will give.
Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we forget. Our lives matter. Our hearts matter. Our souls matter. Our peace of mind matters. Our safety matters. Our well-being matters. Our children and what we are invariably passing on to them matter. Our love matters. An abuser never matters. Do not let them strip you of you. Never let them drain your light in an ill-fated attempt to infuse themselves with it. Never get lulled by the highs; its bigger badder counterpart, the lows, will be showing up very very shortly. Stop romanticizing the situation – romance is born from the soul – theirs is void.
Listen, I have to go; my heart is too full and I am losing neutrality. I do hope that somewhere in these words, something resonated with someone who needed it – whether you are the victim or the victimizer. Sadly I do not believe this will be the last time I address this with you; but I am hoping it’s the last time I have reason to dedicate it to someone I love. But if not, know that for as long as you need, as long as it may take, I will listen. Today, tomorrow always. I pray to find the words to help you.
I understand. I am here. And, I love you.
I woke up at 6:30amish and went through my routine – went to the bathroom to relieve myself of that best-pee-pee-of-the-day, first pee-pee, went to the kitchen to put the kettle on the stove for my tea, picked up my tab on the way back to the bedroom, stopped off again in the bathroom to perform some other morning rituals – then got back into bed where I do my second best work… writing 😉
So I gathered my thoughts and allowed the process to begin. Yes, I sat and allowed my thoughts and feelings to take over; to dictate what will flow through me… to you. Please believe me when I tell you that most times, the only control I have in the process is the decision to write. What I write is ruled by that other bitch. Ha-ha. Truly.
The kettle started boiling; I went back to the kitchen to pour it over my teabag and left it to steep for the (not sure why I do this) requisite seven minutes. Back to the bed, tab on my lap and I started to write: “This morning when I woke up, I…” Then it hit me – so often less is more. Sometimes, it takes only a very few words to convey the relevance of any statement or reality. Today, just now I realized that these next words may indeed rival all the significance and depth of any of my I love you’s. My friends, this is what we will talk about; indeed probably the most profound of all I can ever address:
“This morning I woke up…”
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add; but when there is nothing left to take away…”