Do You Thank So?

IMG_5398-1Goodness Gracious! We are once again at that time of year when most of us are nudged into saying the words, “Thank You”. Thank God for the constant conversations, commercials, the school and Federal closings, the pie-plans and all the turkey-sightings – because without it all I am sure that tomorrow would pass just like every other Thursday – gratitude-less and only noteworthy for its “throwback” handle.

So now that you have been put on blast a tad, might I ask, “What are you (most) grateful for? What person, situation, reality or set of circumstances should you not only have thanked God/someone/the Universe for, but should be so steeped in gratitude at your fortune, that expressing appreciation should be a constant?” Have you? Have you been smart enough to realize that – even as you may be struggling under the weight of debt or heartache, even as your living situation is no longer ideal and the strain and worry of that have carved permanent grooves between your brows, yes, even as you have heard the rumors that your company will be down-sizing and you are only now finally kicking yourself in the ass for all those times your lazy behind dragged yourself in five, ten, fifteen, half an hour late because for some reason you felt you had it like that and you’re only now realizing that those actions told them you would obviously prefer to not get out of bed at all, shit! even as you’re been feeling unlike yourself lately, a tad run-down and as if someone has taken a giant eraser and removed your shine – “Thank You!” still applies? Because well, you are alive? Or, are you one of those that are only grateful when the limited view you allow yourself presents in your favor?

Sigh. Don’t know ‘bout yall, but I am one constantly thankful fool! And I swear it seems more so for the “little things” as I am for those in-your-face grand ones. My ability, interest and desire to jump up and down clapping surfaces for Blow-Pops as much as it does for blow… oops, kidding 😉 . The honor I feel when granted a gift, your time, your energy, words, and attention, when singled out for a blessing or a lesson, when woken up yet another day to live defies my ability to adequately express. Yet, even as I struggle to find the words that convey all I feel, I never forget to say the ones that are such amazing substitutes, “Thank You”

I am in love with life. Yes indeed, I am. I am tickled pink that I am allowed to get up time and again and granted the trust to make decisions, plans and haste. I am grateful that when I fuck-up, even as the consequences may be permanent, my ability to self-adjust remains fluid. I am rendered speechless often (but not today J ) at the Universe’s belief in my strength, worthiness and bravery. Often I am moved to tears at what God presents me with – the people, opportunities, the favor… the blessings. For every tiny, small, big, great, gigantic, humongous bit of it I will continue to say, “Thank You!”

Listen, not sure about you, but I am grateful for my job and the only way I show my ass there is in a short skirt, ha-ha… so gotta go. Have an amazing Thanksgiving holiday yall! On Friday, remember how you felt yesterday and let that feeling of gratitude linger in your soul and on your tongue (let the residual taste of turkey make room for it). Never take this life and the people in it for granted; express your gratitude for it and them. And once you have finished expressing it, try this – live it.

Love.

Fifty Shades Of Gay.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR DIANE/DEE/FURY/MOMMY/SIS/COUSIN/MY 20151118_202706-1-1FRIEND. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!”

On November 18th I achieved my fiftieth year of birth. Fifty years of this journey called “life”. A half a century of experiences, stories, memories, love affairs… heartaches. On November 18th I fell in love with me. I woke up that morning and realized how bad-ass I am! Truly. Think about it… it is absofuckinglutely gangsta’ to celebrate fifty of anything – discounts, millions, shades of gray, pounds (gain or loss), life.

So since Wednesday I have been (in between running here and there) pondering on just what I will do with the next phase. You see, I am a firm believer that I have a say in ‘what’ and God has the final say in ‘when’. Shoot! I also realize He has the ultimate say in ‘if’. But be that as it may, I still make my plans, consult with Him (listen to Him laugh at some of them) and continue on. I indulge my right to free-will and place all my passion and excitement for this spectacular life into setting goals, listing dreams and preparing the breadcrumbs I will need to lay in my wake as a reminder of where I have been. I throw a peripheral eye on my past, while I apply laser-like focus on my future.

I am excited.

As I approached my birthday I had numerous conversations with folks who quite frankly, tried their best to mask their amazement and confusion regarding my excitement at approaching that age. I found myself shaking my head at their ignorance. You see I get it; I understand we live in a culture where youth is not only revered and obsessively sought after (just watch the commercials), but one where many think that to speak of my age not only loudly and publicly but with such pride and excitement, is a tad…no, grossly unwelcomed and unnatural. I got the impression I should either be outright denying it or at the very least, have the decency to whisper if it must be spoken about.

Never that!

Here is my initial thinking – the alternative to aging is not acceptable to me! As a result, I look forward to and celebrate every day, every year I am granted to get older. I look forward to every grey hair, every joint ache, every menopausal symptom, every benefit the government grants to “seniors”. I will be the first in line on the day I can apply for Medicare and get discounted tickets on the bus, subway, etc. It will probably be a while before people get up to offer the “old lady” a seat on the bus or the train or offer to carry my grocery bags, but I am okay with having that done now simply because I’m cute J I look forward to crossing all the academic stages in my red –bottoms (my graduation present to myself) as I collect my diplomas… at fifty-something and sixty-something. As much as I grumble and threaten, I secretly (well, I guess a secret no more) celebrate the reality that soon I can have a little person calling me some version of “Granny”. All of it. Bring it!

Listen, all my contemporaries, do not buy into the bullshit that as we age we lose our value. In my world, the exact opposite is the truth! As I take inventory of my life, of the experiences but more importantly the decisions I have made along the way – the twenty-thirty and part of forty-year old ones – I boldly and confidently state that as much as I appreciate the value even in so-called stupid mistakes, what I bring to the world now, this fifty-year old woman is the one with exponential value. Truly. Attached to my thought-processes, decision-making and responses are the bits I have picked up along the way. The truths and realities that have clung to me like so much lint on fabric. Today my fifty-year old self scoffs at the shenanigans of my thirty-something ignorant ass!

So no, I will not be quiet. There will be no behind-the-hand whisperings when asked my age. I will not lie. I will be the woman who stands firmly, tall, boldly, straight-backed, sure-footed and dares to look you in the eye as I announce, “I am fifty!” I will be the one re-defining all you thought you knew or expected someone of my age to either do or look like. I will be the woman telling this simplistic world that, “Yes, youth absolutely has its value; no question. We need new ideas, fresh outlooks and more importantly fertile wombs in order to keep our world moving forward. But hear this – this beautiful, exciting world of ours also needs the wisdom, confidence, insight and knowledge borne of experience that can only come from those of us who have lived, learned, dared, loved, lost…and survived.”

Thank you for your contribution – good or bad – to the first fifty…

How Touching…

Hair ShotNiggling at the back of my mind for what seems like a couple of weeks now is a conversation I would like to have with you. It has taken a bit to get it to tumble out onto these pages because I had to sit with it for just a bit – to see not only how I felt about it, but certainly how I was going to present it to you. It’s important; so, let’s address this.

Naturally I am unaware of the upbringing (most of) you had; the cultures, doctrines and moralities that were or should have been instilled. Only through your sharing will I ever be granted a peek into what makes your heart sing or your soul cry. So, for the most part I also do not know your thinking with regard to not just love, but more importantly, loving. I am unaware of what you were told as a young child – whether male or female – regarding not only your right to receive love, but, your responsibility in demonstrating it. For instance, did anyone ever have the conversation with you about touching? And here, I am not (solely) speaking about the kind of touching most of us engage in with regard to fucking, but I am addressing having been told or taught what it means to be touched… for no other reason than because, well, you’re loved. To demonstrate that you love.

As a black woman who has been both adored and abused, I am here to state that as natural and as simple as it sounds, “Of course I touch! Of course I allow others to touch me!” what I am speaking of is sadly not a reality for many of us. In my own life, as evolved (true) and as open and expressive (also true) as I am, I am willing to state that at times, the simplicity in accepting an expression of love and care through a touch terrifies me. I wonder if it’s because of the bruising I have received at times so that, like a wounded animal I have learned to cower at any potential threat of not only harm but good. Or if my periodic rejection of that display of vulnerability – both mine and theirs – signifies the antithesis of what I was nurtured to believe is the evidence of a strong, independent black woman.

Don’t touch me like you love me…” Have you ever uttered those words, or any version of it? I have. I remember being both terrified and turned on. I remember the fear of the responsibility of what that touch would then mean to me and the possibility of what it could potentially ignite in me. I recall the egotistical power I understood I now had, while at the same time knowing the moment I exercised that power, I would be yielding it to another. I remember accepting the incredibly sad reality that slaps and punches I understand – there are no hidden layers in them; they land with all the giver’s intent – without misinterpretation. But caresses? Well therein lies the mind-fuck – with every tender stroke it anoints your skin with the giver’s feelings while simultaneously peeling back the layers of yours – leaving you (deliciously) raw, exposed, vulnerable… leaving you loved.

For too many of us the reality is that we negate the value in the transmittal of positive, soothing, life-altering strokes. Oftentimes we are too busy, too stressed, too beat down, too wary, too skittish, too bruised, too skeptical, too broken, too hurt, too much in a hurry, too sexual and not sensual enough, too unaware, too afraid, too distrusting, too lost, too ignorant, too broken, too scarred, too scared, too uneducated, too un-indoctrinated.

Okay. Have you been taught how to accept touch? Has anyone explained you are entitled? Do you know touches don’t necessarily have to lead to either abuse or sex? Have you ever been touched… there? You know, on your soul? Are you brave enough to accept it? To know you’re entitled to it? To boldly stand up, look someone in the eye and say, “Touch me like you love me”? Do it. I dare you…

“… Oh, For Crying Out Loud!”

My tears flow easily and, they flow often.

Now, there are times when I sit and think that life, as beautiful as it is and has been for me, has not always been kind. In fact at times, life just doesn’t deserve my tears, it deserves some very very well chosen expletives… and, I deliver. There have also been those times when, in watching the degradation and injustices we deliver onto others, I cannot help but to grieve at our choices, decisions and actions. Especially when I feel impotent to stop or at the least to affect the negative behaviors.

But I am beginning to realize that in many instances, if I were to just give it – reason, thought, rationalization… life – a few moments, just a tad bit of time I would recognize that the situation or the reality do not deserve tears, but celebration. That some of the things that initially make my heart cry, eventually make it sing.

Perspective. It is/should be an integral part of our day-to-day outlook; we should never leave home without it. It is truly the difference between our happiness and sadness. Between success and failure. Between love and hate. Between hello and goodbye. Perspective is defined as: “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” Think about that word – “particular” – truly think about its placement here, its inclusion into the definition of a behavior, a mind-set.

So I am learning to, with those situations where I to have a say, not only delay my knee-jerk reactions, but to absofuckinglutely hold them up to the light of perspective, scrutinize the shit out of them and truly determine not only whether they warrant my tears, but any reaction or energy at all. You see, this amazing life has taught me that some things, many things, behaviors and people truly do not rise to the level of importance and relevance we bestow upon them. The longer I live is the more I am getting acquainted with that perspective-business and less intimate with that reactive-business.

Here’s the thing – I am only just realizing (yes, yes, I am a very late bloomer… ask me when I finally got my period!) that I need to regard and treat my tears the way I regard and treat my body – as infinitely precious. Therefore, I need to get better at determining what situations, which actions and moreover who deserve them. Listen, this certainly applies to you as well… tears mean energy. They signify that you are allowing a situation or a person to crawl into you, touch a sacred place and many times, take up residence there. Sap some of your life-blood. Sigh. I will not be so asinine as to make this blanket statement, “Stop it!” but I will encourage this – let’s give ourselves what we deserve – the time to determine whether or not our investing any bit of energy is not only necessary, but worth it.

Because here’s the thing… we are.

Nobody deserves your tears. But who deserves them will not make you cry…”

 

 

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