Forget “A Moment Of Silence”. How About Multiple Moments Of Love?

I was settled in to write a post about all the fatalities that have made the headlines of late. Sadly, there have been so very many. I was going to write about it because your lives may have gotten in the way and you may have missed some of them. And, I was going to write about them because the 149 fatalities (I cannot yet acknowledge in the same way the pilot who caused this massacre), the 7 little babies in the house fire, those 2 young men lost in the East Village explosion (to name quite a few), need to be acknowledged and mourned.

So yes, I intended to do what I do when I (not only) interrupt your days by slipping into your morning to ask that you pay attention to my thoughts for about fifteen minutes, but then to hopefully take some more time out of your day afterward to either process, laugh at or shake off the emotions I may have intentionally or invariably invoked.

But instead, I will just do this – give you one word – please express it however you feel, however you can. For the lives lost (those that have recently made the headlines and have touched my heart), I live this one word today in their honor:

Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove

lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove

lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove. RIP.

One word of love (joined together to give it even more strength) for each of those lives. And, one more time just for you, from me. Love.

Remember? “… And Nothing But The Truth”?

More and more lately I am being allowed a ring-side seat – the show? The exposure of those amongst us who publicly spout one thing, while privately live another. Maybe you won’t be surprised at the number of people who, on the surface seem to be living in truth, but in reality the real truth is that their personas are not only comically public, but, privately dangerous.

Yes, “dangerous”. And my reason for using that word is quite deliberate – there are few things more dangerous than lies. Think about it. Think about the commitment it takes for someone to establish, then live a fallacy. Think about the pathology that must exist in a human to determine that that is the course of behavior they would like to pursue and the being they would like to live. To have the option to be anyone and to then decide to be someone of marginal substance is mind-blowing.

So, I have been watching as some are being stripped of their masks and others’ shines are turning to tarnish. I am laughing at some and shaking my head at others. In all instances, I am left wondering “what was the point?” Why would anyone choose to think that a lie, any lie can be sustained forever? Because to effectively and efficiently fool most, one would have to be dedicated to effectively and efficiently lying to all. For a lie to reach its intended target, lies would have to be sprinkled liberally throughout. Sigh. You see, the really interesting thing about duplicity is this – it cannot be sustained – our interactions are too many and… never forget there is Google! Truly. There is not a one of us that can take a step, make a footprint without leaving some social, physical or verbal DNA somewhere. There is also no one that has not as some point or the other, pissed off, rubbed the wrong way, caused jealousy or envy, or has even made someone somewhere so damned proud that they could be made to shut up about us. No news travels faster than pride or anger!

So it makes me wonder why people bother. Aside from the moral standpoint, I wonder why some still engage in behaviors, conversations and actions that can be exposed for their fraudulence. I marvel that, with all the strides we have made in the fight for racial equality, shattering the glass ceilings, education, technology, sexual rights and freedoms, we still insist on shackling ourselves with our own deceptions. I shake my head at the fact that some of the most profound of liars are the ones that are seemingly so very enlightened in other areas. Or maybe that makes perfect sense – the otherwise perfect image allows room for the duplicitous veils.

But, there are shattered masks littering the ground; people being exposed for what (yes what, not who) they truly are. But the saddening thing about this exposure is this – as the masks fall and shatter into a thousand pieces, so too do dreams, hope, trust, love, belief and faith. There are seldom any that are left untouched. So again I wonder, “what the fuck is the point? Until someone develops a “little blue pill” for lies, the reality is that there is absolutely no way you can continue to keep that shit up…

Even Dora Says, “We Did It! We Did It! We Did It! Hooray!”

Yesterday I was sitting in my History class exhausted and wondering yet again whose brilliant idea it was for me to go to college! And, yet again, I accepted that there was no one to blame for this particular idea, but myself. So, like everyone else who likes it better to shirk responsibility, I started to think of something else; ha-ha. I decided to tune in to what my professor was going on about; and, thank God I did! Okay, so he was speaking about establishing ‘peace time’ after some war or the other and how believe it or not, that was difficult to do; because as we all know, there will always be those opposed to ‘peace’. Anywho, he put a picture on the screen that catapulted me into today’s post! It was a picture of thousands of men protesting and striking against the abhorrent conditions they were being subjected to, post war. Wages were minimal, jobs were scarce and conditions were poor. Faces as far as you could see – of all colors. That sight evoked the very recent depictions of the rallies, marches, sit and lie-ins that erupted to protest the deaths of the black men killed by police officers. There were so many poignant images of our nation united in anger and fear; citizens showing their support by wearing, re-posting and shouting, #blacklivesmatter. Faces as far as you could see – of all colors.

I was joking about not paying attention during my class; I am too much of the nerd (thanks, daughter) for that to ever be true. Additionally, as much as it challenges me (or because it does), I am glued to my professor’s mouth during his lectures, doing my best to absorb, understand and process what has happened – what has contributed to making the world, this country and by association, everyone who lives in it the people we are. So I listen to the facts as well as the rhetoric and I look at the images. We trace back to slavery, so-called freedom, presidencies, constitutions, amendments to same, treaties, proclamations, wars, post-wars… and through it all, I look at the faces – of all colors.

As I sit through the barrage of information and images, I begin to make the links and connections that help to explain (not always excuse) some of what has and continues to transpire. Going back has allowed me the insight to go forward. But, what continues to stay with me are the images. I have seen some gruesome images; atrocities that should not have been allowed to happen! But, I have seen some that have made me tilt my head to the side and feel that little impish smile that we sometimes get when we see something that either we weren’t meant to or that brings us a bit of hope.

I have begun to realize that we are a nation, in fact a world that needs an ‘enemy’. And, if one is not forthcoming, we manufacture one. Let’s address this. There is absolutely nothing new about wars, protests, revolutions and disputes; as long as there are people, there will be discord. Agreed? But what I am realizing, what is giving me that little smile is the fact that we are so programmed to hate and to fight, that it matters not whether the supposed enemy is each other or ‘them’. I watch images and learn realities of the atrocities visited upon those of my skin color (that continue to this day) and, I also see the images and have lived with my own eyes those of my skin color standing next to those of lighter skin, in solidarity and protest against the ‘them’. Hmmmmmmm….

Like I told my professor (and class) yesterday, I admit that my thinking may be incredibly simplistic – but, if we are able to put aside our anger and disdain toward each other to fight against the “other” enemy when necessary, if we are able to draw upon the strength of our supposed-enemies when we need it, if we are able to add our voices in unity and out-cry against some other injustice, when literally and figuratively linking arms with other skin colors is empowering, when my lighter-skinned friends can post, write about, wear, march, sit and lie-in to tell those ‘others’ that #mylifematters – then why the fuck can’t we keep these moments and emotions in our realities when that particular instance is over and we are no longer fighting that “other” enemy?!? Why can’t we realize and let it truly resonate with us that (and here is my simplistic thought) if we can come together to fight against, all that that proves is that we can come together?

Listen, I realize that we have become, a lot of us, a nation of people that are just dedicated to sound-bites and mostly governed by our public and social personas. I realize that so often we simply do what can look good in the moment; not thinking past the cameras and posts. I (sadly) get that. So I guess that that is why for me when I look at the images and depictions, I shake my head in wonder at our stupidity. I marvel at the fact that is so very blatant if we choose to take the time to look behind the hash tags, status updates and IG images – we can get along! We are able, when it suits us, to set aside the anger and the differences that so many are not even sure where they originated! We can look past the shading differences in our skin tones! When push comes to shove, our economic standings matter not! Look. That is all I am asking, please look. Make the emotions when we come out to fight the “other” enemy the new reality. Allow those emotions that allow for solidarity and unity to replace those that encouraged and invited discord, strife, anger and hate. Keep them close. Take down the posters of Beyonce, One Direction, Lenny, Brad and Angelina and replace them with the images of those past and quite recent moments in time that depict us standing together in unity. Watch it every day and let it remind you that not only is it possible, but that we can and DO do it! Don’t buy into the rhetoric – that enemy just wants to keep us blind…

I’m Starting With The (Wo)Man In The Mirror. Asking Her To Check Her Ways…

Yesterday seemed like a good day to make some decisions and changes. Today seems like a great day to bring them to life.

Lately there have been some happenings I could have done without; decisions made by others that pointed some of its ripple effects in my direction. I shared some of those with you all; some others I have kept to myself for one reason or the other. But here is what I will share – in some way, be it magnanimous or miniscule, I share in what eventually unfurled. So, as I accept that my influence over others’ behaviors is limited at best, I acknowledge that I hold complete ownership over my own – hence yesterday’s decisions and today’s implementation.

I am truly excited about all this! There is a sort of liberation that accompanies any decision (that is followed by dedicated and focused action) that should not be minimized. You see, the truth is that sometimes/many times, the harder part of that “decision = action” equation, is the “decision” part; because that little bugger means taking an honest and critical look at our shit (and, who the hell wants to do that… given some of our shit!). Truly; think about it. There are so very many ways one can use to justify this or that action and, some of them very valid to boot. But the truth is, sometimes, no matter how much justification we can attach to our behaviors, said behaviors can still be indisputably wrong.

So I’ve decided to do something quite simple really… I’ve decided to adjust my sails in an attempt to affect the winds that blow in my direction. My blessings are many; but I admit that there are things in my space that can do with some of my devoted attention. Lately, I have been so very busy and things have in some ways been turned upsidefuckingdown that I have allowed myself the right to just keep putting that one 4” clad foot in front of the other; letting the proverbial chips “fall where they may”. How is that for valid justification? The thing is though, it’s true as fuck! But, what is also true is that I am not now, nor do I intend to be the type of woman to settle for mediocrity – either from myself or from the circumstances around me!

Yesterday I made decisions. Today I begin to live them. Excited that some people and things will be accompanying me as I push forward; resigned and accepting that some won’t. I mean, it is proven that one moves best when the load they carry is lighter. Listen, do this with me. Oh, what a fantastic idea! Do this with me! Take a look at your shit – yours – not anyone else’s and, figure out what you need to do to make the rest of your time here as close to perfect for you as you can. Shine a bright, revealing light on your crap and make plans to get rid of it. If it’s temper issues, ask a toddler how to count to ten and learn that shit! If it’s weight struggles, decide how long and well you would like to live, get disciplined, stay focused and reach your goal! If you have a stink-ass attitude, I don’t care how much you think those bitches or the no-good men in your life made you this way, check yourself! Lazy? Procrastinator? Understand that that makes you amongst other things, undependable, a disappointment, an underachiever and downright ‘not hot’! Get up off of your ass!

I could keep going; but both of us have shit to do that starts now! I am toooooooooooooooooooooo excited; I love when I am brave enough to make myself my project J See, I have no right, absolutely no right to ask, order or tell you to change this-that-or-the-other behavior that may either rub me the wrong way or that downright disrespects or dishonors me. But what I do have is the ability and the right to look at and adjust my own behaviors that may erroneously give the impression that that is okay with me. Additionally, as a proud member of the society that is the human race, I am obligated to ensure that I am not deluding myself in thinking I am doing ‘life’ (mostly) right, when in truth I am simply a 4” strutting bitch!

Don’t know ‘bout yall, but Santa’s not catching me off-guard this year, I want all my damn toys! Making my list and checking it twice…. That fat fuck doesn’t get to decide if I’ve been naughty or nice 😉

 

 

 

 

Neither Nemo Or Waldo Are At My House…

At this stage in my life, I received a phone call from a young lady (yes, I insist on calling her that), who intended to confront me about my association with/to her boyfriend. She got straight to the point and that point seemed designed to call me every name in the book that she has yet encountered that befitted a woman of my seemingly very loose moral standing! Her purpose for the intrusion into my peace and my life, was to educate me on the reality that it is “sluts like you who open your legs” and entice otherwise innocent men; that without “hoes” like me, her man would be where he belongs – in the home she is building for him and their son. She knows that I and others like me are to blame, because she knows that he does not go around telling people he’s single and, we just don’t care!

So, I let her tell me things about myself that I was, before that call, unaware of. I listened because I was loathe to miss the other names that I now gather had been erroneously left off my birth certificate. Yes, I let her finish. But then, I politely asked her to allow me to speak, because there was no way that after disturbing my Sunday evening (especially as I was already struggling to concentrate on studying), I was going to let her off of this call without addressing a few things!

The very first thing I said was that I was absolutely no threat to her (naturally she “black-girl” responded that no one was a threat to her; but I had to point out that she was making phone calls at 8:20pm on a Sunday, trying to track down the particular “slut” who was infiltrating her hen-house!). Then, I cautioned this young lady to be very careful where she places the responsibility for whatever was happening in her home; and without a doubt, something was happening. I also suggested that she becomes cautious about letting her (righteous) anger dictate permission to call, curse and insult women that she knows nothing about; that is risky and foolish. In no way does the pursuit of her right to be treated well ever usurp my right to the same! And quite frankly, I applaud my restraint in not allowing my eventual anger at the call and the name-calling to take me down the path of sisterly enlightenment; my restraint in not at 8:20pm, devastating a world that seemingly only she, even if she were to win this phone-call battle, is unaware that she has already lost the relationship- war.

I continue to marvel at women’s naiveté when it comes to assigning the blame of infidelity squarely where it belongs! So many are like this misguided young woman – preferring to blame other women for the demise of their so-called partners’ morality; opting to believe that but for others’ immoral, slutty behavior, he/she would be safely and faithfully at home. Ridiculous! Not one of these women will (publicly) admit that their mates are at fault, or heaven forbid, that they may themselves share some culpability! Instead, they opt to lay the blame at the “other woman’s” feet; because well, like I was told, it seems I do not know how to keep my legs closed! Boy does she not know me!

I am purposely staying away from taking this in the direction that is so easy, saying that “all men are dogs”; because well, they certainly aren’t. In fact, I have met some morally fantastic ones! I do however know that some men, like some women, are certainly lacking in moral fortitude and will absofuckinglutely indulge in behaviors that their relationship-status should preclude them from. Absolutely! And, I think that many women and men fall victim to those types; making the ones at home not the only ones being lied to. This is what I cautioned that young lady about. It will serve her well to understand that even as there are indeed others who will discount the validity of your relationship (as your partner also does) there are also those that have been told that your relationship is invalid.

But even hours after the call, I am still struck with the amount of work this young lady is intending to do and the fact that maybe it has not yet penetrated for her that that work may be a constant. You see, after I assured her I was the least of her problems, she informed me that she would then be calling the “next on the list”. Wow! I actually feel sorry for her and for anyone else that elects this as the course of action they should pursue in a situation such as this. What the hell are you trying to protect?! Let’s say you succeed in scaring off those on your most recent ‘new number list’, do you know how many more there will be? But more importantly, why the hell would someone try to delude themselves into thinking that that is a relationship worth fighting for?! What about being in a situation that for you dictates you call and threaten random women on a Sunday night says honorable, respectful, safe and empowering? Sigh.

Listen, too often we romanticize our unions, preferring to think that the threats are all coming from the outside and that the “boogeyman” lives out there. I think it’s about time we face the truth, look at what truly is, deal with it head-on – face it inside our homes! I have never, nor will I at this stage in my life become one of those misguided women who think that my value goes up with my ability to lure your partner from you; I respect both myself and the roundness of the world too much to be that short-sighted! Additionally, when I enter into relationship it is with the view to my partner staying, not just visiting; so I have zero interest in leasing. Finally, my self-esteem is an intact one, so attempting to prove my femininity or womanliness at the expense of another will never be necessary for me. So instead of lasting anger, I feel empathy toward this young woman and her partner. I do. Because, I would hate to ever be in a relationship where there is still the necessity to look outside for what I need – either for a place to lay blame or a place to find companionship.

 

 

 

… All We Have Is What’s In Between “Hello” And “Goodbye”

Thanking everything that I woke up today. Yesterday… yesterday is gone!

So, I have been thinking about the “take-away” that I gypped yall on… yesterday; fueled by my inability to see any point past the pain I was feeling. I am sorry about that. You see, there are “take-aways”, because in any situation, in every situation there are lessons to be learned; information and emotions that can be used to smooth out the rough edges in days to come.

Let me admit that I will probably never get to the place where I can look at the loss of my baby boy as a “blessing”; there will never be any set of realities – the health of my eggs or even his sperm, the health of the relationship we had before I got pregnant, the so-called burden a new baby’s presence would have had on my academic career, other people’s judgmental opinions about me without even knowing me – that will ever cause me to look at what happened as anything other than, to date, the most significant and life and perspective-changing loss I have ever had.

But what I am able to extrapolate from this poignant set of circumstances, is the (scary) reality of the fleeting nature of life and how incredibly stupid we mostly are at how much we take it for granted. Now, I know that so many spout the correct words, the ones that are used to convey how much we (supposedly) value our time here. But, when you stop and take a clear look at actions, those words are rendered void every time! Like so many of our behaviors, in this instance as well, our words are in direct conflict with what we do. Sigh.

So, one night I went to bed making plans for and amazed by the presence of my baby and the next morning I woke up and he was gone. Still physically with me; but no longer growing with me. It seemed as if it were “just like that” (as I snap my fingers). Let’s address this: how much of life happens like that? Actually more accurately, how much of death happens like that? Literally, those that we love (or profess to love), are here this minute for us to either love, respect and honor, or gone the very next, leaving us with flashbacks of anger, un-retractable words and actions and regret. You see, we live our lives as though we know, we just knew that we would have all the time in the world to fuck up and then get it right. We behave as if we’re God – knowing just how much more life there is in us. We make decisions as if they were unilateral ones; paying scant attention to the fact that the moment after our last word, we could then only be remembered for our last word.

Listen, this is absolutely not about advocating for living our lives just waiting to die; that would be incredibly foolish (not to mention boring as hell!). What I am addressing this morning after waking up from a memory of a nightmare is the encouragement to live our lives being more aware of how precious it and those that share it with us are. It is about truly recognizing that we are all of us on “borrowed” time and as such, should not spend this particular ‘loan’ foolishly – the interest is too fucking high! I also advocate for the removal of the people and things in life that take up too much of your precious real estate without paying rent; do what landlords do and evict them! Literally, “ain’t nobody got time for that’!

Tina Nguyen was simply walking down the street, I imagine fully involved in her life and now, she is being mourned by people that love her. All her future plans are not to be fulfilled or actualized (by her); but I pray that she enjoyed and succeeded in the fulfillment of her past ones. I wonder if when she woke up that morning she knew that there would be only a few short hours left of her life, what she would have done differently. I wonder what those around her who (professed to) love her would have done with that knowledge. I wonder if she knew her life would end at thirty-seven if she would have loved harder, married sooner (she was steps away from her July wedding), had babies earlier, bought those shoes she’d been “keeping her eyes on”, possibly not had that stupid argument with her fiancé. I wonder what would have been different.

My friends, we are all “Tina’s waiting to happen”. Without any exception, we will all end up the way she did; only the ‘how’ will/may be different. Just like all the babies that never made it to this world, one moment we too will have beating hearts and “just like that” (as I snap my fingers), it will stop. So in the meantime, let’s make the shit count! Let’s have the reality that this moment could be our last truly resonate with us and have that realization affect our behaviors. Let’s begin to value our time and the people in it; because they, like us, are on loan. Let’s love hard, dream big and give and accept no bullshit! Let’s put a value to every single moment in our lives so that when “it’s time”, there may still be plans that are left on the table, but what we did experience rests our souls in peace and leaves those left behind to join us at a later time, both smiling at the memories and wishing there had been more. We continually place the emphasis on the wrong things – time is not money, time is honey!

 

 

 

 

Same Skin, Different Way…

Today is my 169th post. To date, it will be my most difficult. Today three years ago, I miscarried. It was a boy. He should be my living son. Not my devastating memory.

On March 21st, 2012 the world as I knew it stopped spinning and, when it resumed, it was completely different. Or, maybe the world was exactly the same – I was the one who was completely different. The truth is however, whether either or both are true, every day since that day has been tinged just a fucked-up shade of sad.

Please do not get me wrong, I have laughed since March 21st, 2012; sometimes quite loudly and often uncontrollably. I have gone about the days and the seasons since then, doing my things and I have enjoyed so many beautiful moments. Since then, I have made and achieved goals and, I continue to make more. Since March 21st 2012 what I have not done however, is stop mourning the loss of what should have been my beautiful little boy; my second child.

So today I do what I have done so very often since that horrible day – I cry, my heart shatters yet again and I continue to wonder why my God chose that moment to look elsewhere. Sigh. Please, can you all bear with me a few moments while I share parts of this? You see, I keep praying that the more of it I “give away” is the less that will stick around to haunt my heart (I keep praying).

I woke up on March 19th, 2012 and my body felt quiet. To this day, it is still the only word I have that describes the moment I suspected my baby had left; but that was only confirmed two days later – March 21st. I remember trying to communicate this feeling to both the man at the other end of that creation and my sister; I also remember the dismissal I received from the ER doctor, who, when I told her in the only way I could at the time, that I was there because I woke up and my body felt “quiet”, sarcastically said to me, “so you’re here because you feel good?” Truly; that is what she said. Oh, and that is in conjunction with her refusal to perform an ultra-sound or sonogram, or whatever the fucking thing is called that could have told me if my baby was in distress or even still alive! Instead, she dismissed me and told me to go to my primary doctor two days later – March 21st.

My God! Please give me a minute…. Okay; sorry. On March 21st they confirmed that there was no longer any heartbeat emanating from my son; and with those words, my heart stopped. Since then, it has resumed pumping the blood that I need to live, learn and love, but a significantly different woman and mother walked out of Methodist Hospital than walked in. My smiles are different. My laughter is different. My talks are different. My dreams? So very very different. My love is different. My hope is different. My insides are different. Honesty, the only things that remained the same on my walk out of the hospital were my love for my daughter, Aneesa and for that little boy they told me would never be born.

So three years later, I still mourn; and, I still wish that I was able to have brought him here. There is such a very big part of me that considers this loss a personal failure; proof of my inadequacy as a woman. Think about it – there are many aspects of this life that women are kicking all sorts of ass in; matching and at times, surpassing our male counterparts. But this? The ability to get pregnant and give birth is one of the fundamental purposes we were placed on this earth! No matter what else we achieve, ensuring that our population carries on into the very very distant future is placed squarely at our feet (with a tad bit of help from some sperm, that is). And, I failed.

Now, trust me when I say that I have had the many conversations with myself and listened to the intended comforting words of others who point out all the realities, such as, age, health, commitments, frailty of that relationship, etc etc. I have even suffered through the trite, “everything happens for a reason” bullshit! Again I say, “of course it does”! I have heard many things over the past three years; and, I have valued all the attempts (even the clumsy, uncomfortable ones) at comfort. So, I thank you.

Listen, I’ve got nothing here. Typically, I can find a way to take an experience or occurrence, divorce myself from enough of it to be able to highlight what I feel should be the “take-away”. I’ve got nothing here. Because truthfully, the only “take-away” I have ever gotten from this experience, is heartache.

20120306_121655“Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my baby on my lap and tell him about you. But since I did not get that chance, would you please hold him on your lap and tell him about me?”

Early Bird To Worm, “You Ready?”

Lord have mercy! Up at 2am to study (okay… ‘cram’) for a History mid-term today. I am accepting no judgment with regard to the ‘cramming’ part – at my age, one has to treat the occupancy of the real estate in the brain the very way you will treat dropping an Alka Seltzer tablet into water – best if used right away J

I am wishing deserving outcomes to all those studying, prepping or preparing for something either important or necessary. Despite the obstacles, circumstances or hour, keep on pushing – success is the only thing that will look good on you!

Making a decision takes a moment. Living a decision takes a lifetime…”

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