Lifelihood.

IMG_20150429_105520I’m just so damned happy to be alive, that I’ll take all the bullshit life can sometimes throw my way – the stress, the disappointments, the struggles, the heartache and the losses.

Wishing you all an absolutely wonderful day! I pray that life continues to expose to you every single day, just how beautiful it is being here…

Love.

 

Wake A Minute…

Just turned on the news and immediately it ran like this: “two dead and two more injured in a shooting at a wake in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Two killed (28 and 26 years old) in an accident in Queens overnight…” I turned on the news and in four minutes I heard of four dead – and, that was only on Eyewitness News. As GMA started, it launched straight into the images of what is happening in Baltimore. Sigh.

I recognize that I am just one voice, so I am not so arrogant to think that my call for peace will be the voice that is finally heard; but I will continue to ask – in fact, I am begging. This has to stop! This senseless taking of lives, the chronic disregard for others’ right to peace, safety, liberty, for life must end! The only place this looting, violence, ignorant retaliation, bullets, stones and knives is taking us is to our graves!

Too many dead. Too many hurt. Too many locked down. Too many disrespected. Too many on the streets. Too many misguided. Too many dishonored. Too many left behind. Too many groveling. Too many uneducated. Too many without hope. Too many broken. Too many without guidance. Too many with the wrong influence. Too many too spoiled. Too many too indulged. Too many without boundaries. Too many taught hate. And the truth is, so often we give ourselves license to behave in what we consider “our little piece of the world” however it damned-well suits us. What we either fail to realize or do not give a fuck about is the reality that our actions are giving permission to someone else for something else. Make no mistake – this world is seemingly made up of those opting to always be less than; it seems adopting behaviors that reflect same will always be the choice made because let’s face it, being a human being that lives with a marginal moral code (not even a superior one) requires not only hard work, but a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Listen, we’re losing; and we’re losing badly! We’re not even smart enough to be winning a battle but losing a war – our dumb asses are losing it all! Sigh. Please, let’s stop the senselessness. Let’s try minding our own businesses and leave others to do the same. Let’s employ constructive ways to have our voices heard and our grievances aired; we are “cutting off our noses to spite our faces” here. Too many of us are too educated – let’s start living that way and leading by example. Let’s start by showing we value lives and souls by the way we interact with each other – our parents, our partners, the deli clerk, the waiter, the bus driver, the fellow strap-hangars, the teacher, the bank teller, the elder walking in front of us, the youngster on the street corner – let’s stop disrespecting, disregarding and dishonoring those near to us and not expect that that trickles outward.

I pray for the souls of those lost and for the strength of those they have left behind to miss and mourn them. I promise… we’ll get it right.

 

 

Stop Being So Clothes-Minded!

At the age of sixty-five my name will also be a household one. At the age of sixty-five I, like Bruce Jenner will have achieved an accomplishment that will be note-worthy. Stick around 😉 But Friday was his night, so let’s address this.

I’m a sometimes-voyeur into the oft-embarrassing shenanigans of the Kardashians; at times I need to keep my eyes active while allowing my brain to shut-down. Kim and the gang allow for that in spades! I have to admit however, that on Friday I divorced all prior opinions (okay, most) of BJ (sigh…. Bruce Jenner people, not that other BJ!) and hit ‘play’ on my DVR. What I witnessed made me smile – as opposed to the incredulous laughter I generally reserve for the likes of the foolishness that is Hollywood in general and the KKK in particular (that be the Koo-Koo-Kardashians. Yes, feel free to use that; I coined it).

Let me start by saying that finally I find that the almost grotesque comical mask-of-a-face that BJ has carried around for years has in my opinion, fallen away. Don’t know ‘bout yall, but I have always thought him to be very odd-looking; almost as if his face were some sort of carnival mask – composed of bits and pieces that never quite complimented each other and that seemed to be borrowed from the faces of myriad other people. Now I understand that I was spot-on in my analysis of its mask-like quality, but so far off the mark with regard to the meaning/reason.

So, as I looked at BJ (cannot wait for his permission to begin referring to him as her) I could not help but to realize that for the first time, we were watching someone able to breathe; someone that was so very relieved to be able to admit to their gender identity… finally. To me, BJ was beautiful that night. I appreciated every lip curl, every tilt of the head, every spontaneous burst of laughter (that sounded like a woman’s), every tear, every strand of that beautiful hair, the voice. I truly enjoyed watching… and listening.

Our world needs bravery; and yes, our world needs for those with celebrity (or even notoriety) to stand up and lend their visibility, strength, passion and influence to the causes, the movements and the fights that matter. People like you and me, those of us with the hope for change, with the determination to live in a world that does better because it can, should absolutely continue on to do what we can – speak, write, sing – because in our ways, we too make a difference. But those with the cameras spotlighted on them, those that at times dominate our living rooms and our social media feeds can and should take any and every opportunity to rise up to make an impact.

Our gay, lesbian and transgender communities need champions. They need those brave enough, strong enough, visible enough, authentic enough, bold enough and fed-up enough to stand up and say, “Enough!” The pockets in our world that still fall victim to racism, segregation, discrimination, violence and annihilation need champions. For a man like BJ with so much – worldwide recognition and adoration for his athletic ability, the resulting fame and good fortune, beautiful wives, equally stunning children, exotic travels, grand homes and money – to sit down and admit that despite all of that the one thing he wished he had had was the freedom to be herself, gives credence, legitimacy and strength to so many others. I tip my hat in honor.

You see, every morning that I wake up, I not only know who I am, but what I look like and what I feel like line up. There is never a moment that I am afraid or ashamed to step outside, live and celebrate myself. Any given day I give myself and am allowed the freedom to dress any which way I feel – suits or dresses, heels or… who am I kidding? Never flats! – and my identity is never questioned (my fashion sense may be; but never my identity). Every morning I wake up I take my confidence and comfort in myself for granted; I am me. But, the more I learn about those in our transgender communities, the more I hear and read about the beatings and the killings, is the more I begin to understand and to mourn their loss of my certainty.

So, I too will join my (little) voice in bringing about the change that is necessary to not only protect their lives, but in allowing them the freedom and the space to breathe. As with any discrimination, I still wonder what drives people to hate. I wonder what the hell difference it makes to anyone else’s life what someone else does with theirs? How does who you choose to love and how you dress affect me? Unless you’re sleeping with my partner or stealing clothing from my closets, how else is it any of my damned business?! But what truly worries me is that we are not stopping at mouthing off; no, so many are resorting to fatal violence to reflect their ignorance and hate. Oh, and fear. We all need to stop being a collective nation of fear. We need to educate ourselves and implement other ways to express our confusion, dislike and even our disdain. You see, it is absolutely okay to not agree with those who sleep with others of the same sex, it is okay to scoff at those that dress up in the garb of the opposite sex, it is okay (but still ignorant) to think that white should only be with white and black people – well, if we absolutely have to get loved, well, we had better only look at others with the same unfortunate skin color! Yes, you are absolutely entitled to your opinions on any of these or similar matters. You are even entitled to share them with the other equally ignorant and narrow-minded people of whom unfortunately there are many. But what you are not entitled to do is to physically hurt, harm or kill!

Listen, I gotta go – if I’m to make good on my claim to be just as impressive at sixty-five, I gotta go hit some books J I wish you all a day of peace and a life lacking in judgment. I ask that each of us take a moment to educate ourselves on the things that bother, confuse and especially disgust us. I pray that in our lifetime we get to experience less ignorant rejection and more acceptance. I hope that we all get the strength to turn our collective backs on those that seek to harm and destroy out of their own narrow-mindedness. I lend my support, my strength, my voice, my love, my laughter, my peace, my prayers, my words, my education, my dedication to everyone looking for their way. I am proud of you all!

Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with. Gender identity is who you go to bed as…”

Money Doesn’t Grow On Pleas

Don’t know ‘bout yall but it’s been a very loooooonnnnnnngggggggggggggg week for me; I’m glad the time dedicated to recharging of the batteries is mere hours away.

It hasn’t been a particularly bad week (with the exception of a friend dealing with the loss of her father); it has just been taxing. So now I’m sitting under a dryer after getting my very-long-overdue hair washed before heading into work to do a very long evening/night.

So as I sit here with the only sounds that of air circulating around me doing it’s thing and of my mind flitting from this to that, I have decided to have a chat with yall cause, well, we do have some things to address. So let’s do this… let’s address this. Money. Let’s address some of the mind-set associated with those who have a lot, those with a bit and those with very little.

Now, at one time or another I have either been or been with someone that slipped nicely into one or the other of those categories (if you’re bored try figuring out which is which; ha-ha); so I absolutely feel qualified to both have and voice my opinions on same; here goes – no matter where you fall in that ‘lot to little’ scale, when you’re sitting down to evaluate and to count the things in your life that truly matter, what adds significant lasting value the amount of money in your bank account means zero – no matter the number of zeros.

Right. So now that I have dispensed with the trite (but true) “money can’t buy you happiness” bullshit let’s get down to some nitty-gritty. Just about the only thing that money can’t buy is happiness; but for everything else, food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, sex, experiences, transportation… even the trappings necessary to attract the attention of your ‘other’ so that you can attain and keep said happiness, you need some money! So, anyone who attempts to convince you that you are putting too much emphasis on the currency is either (1) broke as hell, or (2) ignorant as hell. Either way, run like hell!

Listen, it’s a romantic (and foolish) notion to think that we can survive on love; that “as long as I have you, that is all I need” foolishness. And, don’t take my word for it, Google the reason for the number one cause of divorce – financial stress (unless of course you live in Trinidad… then that will be Carnival! Hahaha). To date (and I been living for a while now) I have yet to hear of anyone getting divorced because of too much love. So yes, some may say that “money is the root of all evil” but the truth of the matter is, the lack of money is at the root of much evil. The worry, anxiety, stress and desperation that accompany not being able to meet all one’s obligations can be downright life-threatening.

Then, there are those with just a little too much of that stuff; ha-ha. Yup, those with too much green and not enough gray… matter, that is. Yes, there most certainly is such a thing as having too much; excess can be as problematic as lack. Of course, there are many that have done really beautiful and supremely generous things with what we may see as their excess; and, thank God for them. There are those that have, if not changed, greatly affected the world by their magnanimous gestures of philanthropy. There have also been others that share their good fortune in much smaller, personal and private ways – ensuring that their loved ones are safe and secure. Again, thank God for them; this world needs those moments of generosity that help to soothe some of what ails it.

For those of us who live permanently in the middle of these two financial extremes, the realities and demands for what we earn are still life-shaping. It seems at times (at least for me) that I am called upon to pay to breathe. True. It’s almost as if one has to pay to be alive. Sigh.

So money….. the truth is it is as important as the necessity for air and food – because without it we cannot buy the food we need and as has been proven just a few short months ago, you will need the shit to buy air (well, Kanye’s as least!). Okay, not sure why I started to think about this – maybe because after I get my hair washed I will be called upon to shell out some to pay for said service. Or maybe because the breakfast I ordered (and come to think of it, so too the lunch and dinner) will have to be paid for, eventually J . The reality that none of us can get through a day without spending money or benefitting or utilizing something that has cost money is quite telling. Accepting that for many this reality causes at times debilitating stress and some dire consequences is something that should be acknowledged and addressed.

There’s an amazing quote that says, “What you take for granted someone else is praying for…” Whether that’s love, a child, a career, a home, good health, food, security or money, let’s vow to take just a little bit of time and give a little bit of thought to any way we may be able to share either our good fortune or excess with another who may be just a tad bit less fortunate. I’ll start… anyone need a pair of shoes?

Let me know how I can help: emailme@letsaddressthis.com

 

 

 

 

Where There’s Smoke There’s Dire …..Consequences, That Is.

I swear, sometimes if you listen to the “court of public opinion” you would never do what is best for you. So, do yourself a favor and not buy into all the rhetoric – sometimes it is great to be a quitter.

I am proud to admit I am one – on April 21st, 2008 I quit smoking J

For more information on lung cancer, keep smoking…”

Here’s The Skinny…

Isn’t it interesting how little credence most give to the body-issues so-called skinny girls may have? Truth. Constantly in my own experiences I find myself being in the position of having to defend myself for voicing very similar image-issues that those of a bigger body type may have. From people’s responses, it seems as if you are expected to accept as gospel, their view of you and are put in the very awkward position of being made to feel guilt for even voicing any sort of dissatisfaction with yourself… simply because they may appreciate what they see; or even wish they had.

Let’s address this: yes, I am what many may consider to be a skinny-girl; and yes, I may even be blessed with how some may desire to look. However, none of that eliminates me from the right to have or voice dissatisfaction with any particular part of my attributes – I am absolutely entitled to grumble about the same things as anyone else – I can say that I don’t like my thighs, I most certainly am entitled to negatively consider how the fat around my middle is being highlighted in a particular outfit, I can ask if my cellulite is showing too much and, the pièce de résistance…. I most definitely am entitled to ask, “does this dress make my ass look big?”

I do understand what happens in someone else’s mind when they hear someone with what they may admire, dream of, aspire to or wish for complain about said thing – whether body type, life, career, social standing, etc etc. I get it; it can sound ungrateful and unappreciated. But in no way does your perception of someone else’s good fortune usurp their perception, reality or right to feel or wish for something else or better for themselves. The fact that one may long to look like someone else does not mean that that someone else does not have the right to express either temporary or permanent issues with their image. Telling a skinny-girl to “shut up” when she grumbles about some tiny issue or the other is as rude as a skinny-girl (instead of simply thinking it) saying out loud when someone of a bigger size complains about her weight, “well put down the damn pizza, then!”

My point is this – one’s opinion of oneself should never be scoffed at. Certainly there are instances where when necessary, one’s self-image may need to be adjusted, but that should be done with care and love, not dismissal and disdain – and that goes for both the skinny and the not. I mean, I am absolutely entitled to look at my ass in full 3D effect and have an opinion, whether good or bad. I think that what happens for most people is that they super-impose the effect something has on them or look at something that’s on their “physical bucket-list” and become irritated at those that present as not being sufficiently grateful for possessing same. But here’s the thing – I’m the one lugging this ass! I am the one that has to deal with the attention it garners and, I am the one that gets to decide if and when I am equipped to deal with same! Because, despite my hair, my choices in clothing and my four inches, what I choose to highlight, what I prefer that one notices is behind my eyes… not below my back.

Listen, I am not addressing the very real and life-threatening issues that so many experience and live each day; I am not addressing bulimia, anorexia or chronic obesity… at least not yet. Today I am talking about the more superficial aspect of physical realities; but I am pointing out the unfairness of perceptions. I would like to pinpoint that there is altogether too much eye-rolling, sucking of the teeth, lip-curling, sighing and dismissal as it relates to us skinny-girls expressing very relevant dissatisfaction with any part of our anatomies. The fact that my belly-fat may be inches smaller than yours does not mean that it is not there and that it does not upset me. The truth is we both need to do something about it! Dismissing my smaller issues as being inconsequential is tantamount to buying into President Clinton’s rhetoric that, “I did not have sexual intercourse with that woman!” Truthful; but hair-splitting at its best.

Let’s agree – if you refuse to acknowledge my periodic body-issues, please keep yours to yourselves – because us skinny-big-butted-girls deserve respect too J

 

 

 

 

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