Stop Being Unreasonable!

20150728_171646Everything happens for a reason…” On day one, July 27th, 2014 I launched this e-journal stating my disdain for this particular quote; publically scoffing at the triteness of it and vowing to never insult any of you by regurgitating it.

A friend said this to me yesterday. Now, she certainly is not unique in her use of it, sadly people say it (too) often. But, the reason I choose to address it today is to ascertain whether I am the only one with this particular aversion; whether I need to join you all on this bandwagon of clichés that is moving at a very high rate of speed toward mindlessness. Ha-ha! We were discussing meetings; specifically those between people and she said to me, “We met for a reason.” I admit that my initial response was an eye-roll on my end of the phone and a very vocal sucking of my teeth followed closely by an expletive. Okay, I cursed! Loudly! But then I attempted to try to understand why people/she felt the need to state something so very obvious – I mean…of course, you, him, her, everyone, we, fucking do do everything for a reason! Without that very simple (over-stated) reality, the world would be forced to grind to a confusing halt!

“Everything happens for a reason…” Yes, it does. We go to bed for a reason – it’s nighttime and our asses are tired! We wake up for a reason – it’s morning and time to go to work, school, the gym, the park, the unemployment office, home (after being a ho and sleeping out). We sit or stand to pee for a reason – our bladders are full. We brush our teeth and shower for a reason – the shits are dirty and must be cleaned. We go to work for a reason – bills need to get paid and we need to eat. We go to school for a reason – so that we can go to work. We come home tired and frustrated and beat our kids for a reason – well, the little bastards are just bad! Ha! And on and dronefully on. It ALL happens for a god dam reason! So, why do people keep saying it? It’s as if some believe it makes them sound so very eloquent or profound when they parrot it. Quite frankly, I wanna have conversations with the realists who say out loud, “I have no fucking idea why this shit is happening!” I prefer to spend my time with those that shun the quest for the “reason” in simple pursuit of the experience.

And here’s the other problem I have with the statement – because we are so invested in the “reason” behind all happenings, we tend to ascribe our own meanings, the ones that work best for us in the given situation, to the given situation. We have become quite adept at manipulating and massaging, ensuring the outcome resembles the meaning, the reason we have attributed to it. I mean, do we truly not realize that oftentimes, many times the outcome of things and situations were not organic, but sadly manifestations of our manipulations?

The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that human beings who meet are somehow destined to spend any significant amount of time colliding into each other. Yes, we have become masters at that particular delusion! We take what should be left as acquaintanceships at best and plummet headlong into brief friendships barreling into loverships. We seem incapable of recognizing much less accepting, that many encounters should remain devoid of bodily fluids, joint bank accounts, leases, pets and extended families. Sigh. And what do we tell ourselves? “… it happened for a reason.” Well yes, you’re right. But more than likely not the reason that you’ve constructed – evidenced time and again by the eventual (negative) outcome.

All I’m saying here is this – we will be all a bit better off if we stop placing so many magnanimous and crippling expectations on everything; as if there’s always some damned cosmic meaning! Some things, many things just fucking are! What you see is all there is! There is nothing deeper or more meaningful. Shit… sometimes the reason you find money in the street simply means that the person who dropped it was careless; not that God thinks you’re so very special and is looking out for you! Simple; not philosophical!

Listen, some things do carry significant meaning and some encounters are so impactful that well, there must be a lesson there; that had to “happen for a reason!” I understand both the sentiment and the desire to honor the experience. Got it. But the flip-side is also true – in this big, beautiful, constantly moving, sexy, provocative, inspirational, confusing, fucked-up, thrilling, challenging, mind-numbing, senseless, spectacular world of ours, at times the smiles we exchange, the conversations we have, the glances or even the stares mean nothing; snippets in time that are meant to be left where we found them. Sometimes we alter what truly should have been with our desire for more; in our constant quest for meaning. Sometimes, the reason is that there is no reason at all

It’s A White Thing… You Wouldn’t Understand!

20150726_192626-1Yesterday I worked at an anniversary event that required everyone – guests and staff – to wear white. First, let me say, “Happy 1yr Anniversary!” to Diamondz; I am wishing them continued success (and a much bigger venue to house all those guests!). But, what I would like to address this morning is the solidarity that can happen when everyone is called to unify in one purpose…

So, yesterday I watched as a room-full of “white” people shed the attitudes, jealousy, bitterness and competitiveness to unify. I marveled that such an innocuous request could (seemingly) achieve what some hold multi-moment summits to. I smiled as I bore witness as approximately one hundred black men and women, dressed in white, dined, laughed, danced and celebrated success and life! It made me wonder if, in shedding our usual “uniforms,” those that we put on more comfortably, often and mindlessly, it allows for new concepts, mind-sets, experiences and attitudes.

This is New York; and for many of us that means as a rule, we get up and don something, or everything, black. Most of us probably don’t even give it much thought anymore; and, I will hazard a guess that for many, if we were to be blind-folded, positioned in front of our closets, spun around a couple of times then asked to reach in and pick something, that something may still be black! If you’re like me, a little black something takes precedence in that walk-in.

So as you may imagine, not only did I have to go out shopping (which was no hardship) in the search of something white (which surprisingly was), but I admit to having to re-adjust my mind-set as I changed my norm. I, as I’m now certain happened for many others as well, experienced a noticeable shift in my mood that permeated and fed off of the others in the room. At one point I looked out and realized, “Wow! They truly are like me!” A sea of faces, all different, most strangers, but with skin colors that stood out in stark, stunning relief against its white backdrop, as did the matching smiles. I remember thinking that with a simple gesture – demanding that everyone wear the same color – the intention may have been a fantastic photo-op, but the achievement? What was achieved was a stripping away of the outward distractions that then allowed for the emergence of a fantastic sense of security! A feeling of peace that emanated from neutrality. A purity.

So, we all wore white; and it was beauty. This may be common for some of you – these “white” parties are very prevalent. Believe it or not, it was my first (but, there was no outward manifestation of my loss of virginity J ); and, it resonated deeply. In the midst of so much turmoil, unrest, discrimination (outward and inward), hatred and anger, it felt good, it was good to celebrate life and success! A simple act like shedding the uniform of darkness we so readily don on a daily basis, for me eliminated my pre-disposition to thinking of violence – c’mon… yall know anytime you put a roomful of black folks together, some shit would jump off! Hahaha.

Color affects our mood; and mood affects our behavior. It felt lighter, uplifting and innocent to wear white yesterday. It kinda said, “I come in peace.” With a simple change of color we were all catapulted into a change of our attitudes, thus behaviors. It was refreshing. We should keep it up. It’s a shame we’ve banned it after Labor Day…

Knowledge Is Indeed Power!

I was one among five Trinidadians having a conversation on Wednesday. One of the topics (and I admit I raised it) was the transgender community in general and Ms. Jenner in particular. I posed the question as I wanted to get the “temperature” of the opinions of a Trini living in Trinidad with regard to this very very hot-button topic. Here is what stood out for me – we are a people that demand (and yes, I guess deserve) the right to full-disclosure. We insist that those among and around us let us know absofuckinglutely everything about them that is note-worthy – their ages, their relationship status, their race, their political and religious views, their professional achievements and goals, their level of education, their sexual proclivities and now, what is under their pants or skirts. Yes, mainly we demand this information under the guise of complete transparency; but I am finding that in fact our predominant motive is judgment. We insist on information that is dressed-up as the stuff of all things casual and conversational, but that is then used to discriminate and snub. Someone (a woman) rejected the notion of Ms. Jenner (or, anyone like her) being able to use the same gender-identified bathroom as she. I asked a question: “where would you like her to go to relieve herself?” But the thought that continues to stay with me since that moment is this: if, unlike Ms. Jenner I never presented as any other gender than the one you all now are accustomed to – if, as I do, I always got up and put on dresses, heels and make-up and carried a purse, if, since the beginning of being noticed I always spoke in a cadence that one associated with being female and walked with that decidedly provocative sway from my pelvis area, if my career choices always leaned toward those of a woman (whatever the hell that means!), if I allowed my emotional outbursts to repetitively buttress everyone’s opinion of those of the feminine persuasion and on and on and on, then you would never dare to question my pushing on and walking into a bathroom that requires I squat to pee, right? You would never think to ask or suppose that I may have a penis under these dresses yall so admire!

And we wonder why people are sometimes so very secretive…

Don’t Look At Where Someone Fell. Look At Where They Slipped…

Are psychos born or made? Seriously. Don’t laugh; I’m serious! What are your thoughts on this? You see, I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday and at the end of it, I swear we/I came to the conclusion that psychos… okay, crazy women, okay, bitches are not born that way, our partners make us so! Hahahahaha. Listen, stop laughing!

Let’s be serious for a bit, okay? I believe that psychopaths are “born that way”. I do not believe that society plays any part; that is a predisposition. What I do think is that our society allows for the opportunity to give birth to what is inherent. Yup. Like gays. But… whole other conversation. So, I am not addressing these people; I am addressing the other crazies; the ones that start life in the accepted, normal way and end up as, well, fucking lunatics! That’s right… I am addressing the female species! The ones who run amok without a “path,” just plain ole psychos! Ha!

I have heard so many men use such dismissive and derogatory terms when describing women and quite frankly, given some behaviors (mine included), I admit to agreeing. I have heard and have used the, “She is one bitter-ass female!” and everyone’s favorite, “That bitch is crazy!” But my question to both the men and the women is, “Was she born that way, or did circumstances, experiences, you make her that way?” Seriously. Is a mad black woman born or made?

You see, I consider myself to be pretty even-tempered – well, until I see some injustice or the other, then the meaning behind the name rears its head. But, on any given day my preferred state of being is always one of love, encouragement, support, truth, passion, peace, candor, humor, empowerment and beauty. I love making people feel good. However, I admit that some experiences, certain occurrences in (my) life have dulled some of the glow. I recognize that there are those moments that wave a red flag in front of this bull’s nose and seemingly cause it to salivate! I acknowledge that there are scars that still ache when touched. So, decide – am I a product of nature or that of my nurture? When my passions erupt – whether good or bad – are they because of my DNA or yours?

I have watched women react to situations that can easily be opined in a myriad of negative ways; that’s easy. What is a bit harder is to place oneself in their shoes to determine what in their past may have caused this present reaction. You see, we all are a sum total of our experiences; so it must stand to reason that our experiences will either cause us to be better or bitter. So again I ask, “Is crazy birthed or constructed?” Don’t laugh!

At times I look at the way I react to a situation – I grant in ways that others may view as, “over the top” or certainly that the reaction seems as odds with the action. And, I can even agree that maybe – that reaction may be at odds with that action. But what is often hidden from either the recipient’s or the observer’s view is the trigger, the memory, the red flag that revived a prior act; the peeling off of a scab that loosely held together skin that houses swirling blood. The scent of something that mobilized a “fight or flight” instinct.

They say that, “Peter pays for Paul…” and, as much as we would all like to think that we are more evolved than that, the reality is that none of us, none of life can operate in a vacuum. Memories – of scents, touch, taste and sensation linger on our consciousnesses like the air that swirls around us – never seen, but ever-present. Our decisions? Well, they are birthed by our memories of our experiences. So, as we navigate our lives, hopping from one experience to the next, touching that and tasting this, we invariably carry the opinions, decisions, outcomes and remnants of our prior. Our highs, lows and in-betweens stack on each other like Lego’s.

The “psycho-bitch” is not born; she is made. Sadly, she is the end-result of betrayal, insecurity, pain or maltreatment. She is a woman that wants to believe, that believes she can believe, but that is both scarred and scared. She looks normal until she gets a whiff of a past behavior or action, then, well… So, all jokes aside, what does she need? She needs care, tenderness, understanding, gentleness, security, peace… oh, and some therapy! No, true. As much as a crazy-woman’s behavior may be traced back to some other person’s actions, the truth is, well, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

20150719_194557Peace.

“To Know Me Is To Love Me…”

If I were to make a list of all the celebrities, so-called prominent figures and politicians that have fallen from (your) grace, that list will be long and staggering. And, the list will absolutely not be funny! Now, I say “your” grace because quite frankly I have never elevated those I have neither met or vetted for that exalted position. For me, there are stringent standards that must be met before I consider someone better than the rest of us; before I ascribe to them the label of my personal super person, my hero. But, that’s just me.

But I do realize that for many, having (external) heroes and heroines is necessary. That looking at those that we may have never met nor had a conversation with with stars in our eyes and placing them on the proverbial pedestal happens daily. Too often to count we buy into the public personas of strangers to the extent that we bring them into our homes and place expectations on them without ever knowing their limitations. We don’t just fling the (acceptable and understandable) words like “admire, like, appreciate” at them, but we pull out the big guns – “love, honor, respect.” For people we have never met!

On November 24th I addressed my thoughts with regard to (specifically) the Bill Cosby fiasco entitled, “… He Sure Sold Yall A Bill of Goods!” so, there is little reason to re-address him; my position has been made pretty clear (and, I did not have to slip yall nothing to get into that position!). However, today as I sit and think about him and the too-many-to-list others that have either slipped or downright leapt from atop your fancy pedestals, I cannot help but to wonder if there is culpability from us. Oops, I meant yall. I mean, are we partly to blame for placing these deeply fallible humans – yep, those just like ourselves – in positions that they have never said they wished to occupy? Or, are we correct in placing such responsibility on them to do better, live more exemplarily, be role models because they have dared to get up and do their jobs so well that now they owe us?

If I know myself well (and I certainly do) I know I must have asked a similar question when the Bill C saga broke; or maybe I did so when I used the Ray Rice incident to spotlight the ever-growing prevalence of domestic abuse. Because the question I still toss around and would love for you to weigh-in on is, “does the demand of their job, their celebrity and our worship take otherwise good men/women and break them?” Seriously. Will being left alone to just get up and get it up to do what they are being paid to do without the hero-worship allow these men to remain the men they were before we shined our starry eyes on them? Or is that just it – they are indeed the men they were before and our starry eyes have just illuminated the monsters that resided within? Lord! Could this be a “chicken-egg” scenario?

Listen, I am fighting here. I am trying my best to find some answers that will do two things, (1) validate the respect, belief and worship yall have heaped upon strangers and (2) validate that they had, at one time or another, the right to said honor. I am willing to turn over rocks in an attempt to unearth the moment that they went from being one man to the other. And, because I am a humungous supporter of consequences, I am willing to determine whether too much expectation was placed upon shoulders that struggled under its weight. Because see, I think that many times when we look at people at the top of their game, doing their jobs so very very well, we forget that when they get home, even as their homes may be bigger and better equipped than ours, they still de-robe, squat and shit the same way we do! Yes. Despite the money, the trophies, the statues, the vehicles (on the ground or in the air) or the help, no one has yet to ever have enough swag to have someone else take a dump for them!

So, are we doing it? Are the drugs (to hide, cope or enhance performance), the indiscriminate sex, the abuse, the unfortunate words (a la Kanye), the meltdowns (good ole Lindsay) or the wars (Biggie, Tupac) simply the external manifestations of the unintentional expectations we have placed on fallible and fragile human beings like ourselves? Should we answer the question, “how would I cope if tomorrow my world became a constant fish-bowl and a cesspool of demands and expectations because of my achievements” in an effort to understand that maybe, just maybe we too may break?

People, all I’m saying is this – in this world there are clearly defined standards of right and wrong; the things we know we either should or should not do. Fact. But, governing all our behaviors is that pesky little right called, “free will;” ours to exercise. And, therein lies the problem. But like most problems there is a very simple solution – ascribe levels of standards and expectations to those, on those only after you ascertain their ability to either live up to or fall short. I mean, what point is there in placing your child in a gifted program if you know damned well they are a C+ student at heart?! No amount of prayers to the grading-Gods will turn a C-paper into an A-one. Why audition as a drummer if your talent is as a tap-dancer? Spoken-word your thing? Well, unless Beyonce is looking for someone to drop some lyrics in the back-drop of her latest, stay the fuck away from her auditions for a back-up singer!

Get my point? Expectation must be married to limitation. And hero-worship? Well that should only be bestowed with very intimate knowledge. You don’t know these people!

 

 

Every Tomorrow Is A Today…

So often we go through our days waiting – waiting to find out “why?” The “why?” behind this, that or the other. We waste precious moments trying to figure the reason things happen or certainly the reason they have happened the way they did. Countless invaluable time is wasted searching for the clues that should just lead to the answers we seek; oftentimes not moving forward but standing still because without the motive, the cause or the explanation to the events, occurrences and behaviors in our past, we hesitate or fear stepping into our future.

I have news for you – the future is now… This is the day you were worrying about yesterday and determined to not herald in until you had figured out that other day’s bullshit. It’s today. It got here. And, so did you. But see the truth is, one “today” you will not get here and neither would I. Someday, we will have run out of “todays.”

Listen, today just figure out what you can and for fuck sake, just leave the rest alone! Do not let the clutter or the noise distract you! What you do not get, what hurts, haunts or harasses you, leave it in the space, on the day it happened. Do not take it with you to your tomorrow. While you wait for (not worry about) the answers to your questions, never forget to continue to live. Do not let waiting become your life. Revelations happen in the midst of action. In fact, they happen because of action!

Sometimes the questions are complicated. And the answers are simple…”

Live.

 

 

Stranger Things Have Happened…

Logo - BitsYesterday I had one of those conversations – those that start sitting at a bar between you and a stranger, meandered here, there and absolutely everywhere and that ended perfectly – because of it both a bit richer that your lives collided for a few moments – but, decidedly still strangers.

Listen, I always thought that that was a myth – women just did not go sit at a bar alone. But, well, if we did, we were certainly on the prowl, yes? No.

This is Cal, from brooklynbuzz.com. Not sure what all they do, but the man is certainly passionate about his country, his Brooklyn, his black people and his interactions. For a few moments, just for a bit, I allowed myself to be one of his people…20150715_224341

“You Want A Piece Of Me?”

Logo - BitsOne year ago I embarked on a journey. A journey of self-exposure, revelation – of emotions and behaviors, truth, honesty, provocative thinking, of healing. And, I asked you to join me. To bolster me. To share your thoughts and experiences, or your opinions of my thoughts and experiences, with me. To help me string just the right emotions and words together that when together would help, would encourage, would give hope, would entertain, would inspire, would salve, would expose. You did. I do thank you.

Because of its intent, I called, I will continue to call this journey, my journey, our journey, Let’s Address This… Because of its content, I have promised, I continue to promise to always authenticate these words, “…Making My Mess My Message.”

So here we are one year later and, I am asking you to join me again. Today I (officially; yes, I have been dropping tidbits here and there lately) begin another journey – this one of exposure of another kind – theirs and mine. The encounters that happen so very often and, because of our hectic lives, our preoccupation with self, our never-ending distractions and the weight of our responsibilities, we may miss or discount. Encounters that embody my, your, their weight in feel-good gold! The truth is, oftentimes, most times, these moments are just that, moments. They can and often do happen in the blink of an eye, but their effect can last a lifetime (okay… at least a day or two!). I have them… often. So do you. Yes, you do; just pay closer attention. And, join me in addressing them.

As yall know, my first project, my first-born, gets all up in it – very very little is ever spared in my quest for a 360 degree conversation. This one? Well, this one is not that. Remember, we will be addressing encounters, moments, the hit-and-runs in our day. This one will contain the morsels, the tid-bits that make me laugh loudly at their incongruity or poke its index finger and touches my emotional sweet-spot. This one right here? Shit! This one has no redeeming qualities or aspirations; it’s not, ‘…Making My Mess blah blah blah!” This one is leaving my damned mess my mess!!!

My friends, let’s do this! Lets’s Address Bits

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