Checks And Balances

Woke up this morning and as is my habit, I logged into my bank account. Some who know this particular peculiarity of mine that dictates I chec20160513_080758k my accounts every single day, still struggle to fully understand why such a necessity for me. Some may even go so far as to call it “an obsession”. But listen, that is another post for another day. Today’s is going to address what I saw (or didn’t see) when I performed this daily ritual.

One week ago to the day, I sent out a check that, upon receipt and cashing, will change a portion of the landscape of my life. This decision was a long time coming; in some ways, quite overdue. However, as I saw that check with its “pending clearing” status in my account, I could not help but to catch my breath. It seemed from my reaction that even as I had made the decision and moved forward in its execution, only as I saw the proof, the reality of this decision being taken seriously, did the full significance resonate with me.

Isn’t it incredible how at times, when confronted with the proof of our own actions, we react in ways that will belie our participation in said decisions? Performances that indicate that at the time of making, an alien being had to have had invaded our minds and bodies and commandeered control. Truly. We’ve laughed at the ‘waking up after a night out in Vegas with matching tattoos or, heaven-forbid, a bride’ stories. We have shaken our heads in superior judgment at those who have succumbed to indiscretions that have subsequently cost them their marriages, livelihoods, relationships, social-standing, jobs or academic successes. We have universally scoffed at the feeble attempts to pin these indiscretions on, ‘lapses of judgment, black-outs, “The Goose” or out-of-body experiences.’

But I swear, looking at my bank account this morning and processing the difference in its bottom line today in relation to yesterday’s because of a decision I made, I am confident I could absofuckinglutely make a case for having been momentarily invaded by another entity. But the truth is, it was solely my decision. And dare I say a fucking great one at that! Even so however, the sight of the proof of an imminent change in my life had my breath catching (which wasn’t all that pleasant as I had yet to brush away the “morning breath”). Ha-ha.

I thank God that I have never been afraid of things changing. In fact, the monotonous repetition of things is tantamount to a death-knell for me. I require movement, variation and reinvention. So, this is in no way my resistance to what I have set in motion; instead it is acknowledgement that for many of us human beings, even as we take ownership over our actions and decisions, the manifestation of same can still be jarring; can still shock. Perfect example – almost thirty years ago I remember making love to the man I was married to. I remember doing it in such a way that allowed for procreation. Then, I remember taking the ten months to have that little person properly ‘cooked’ inside of me. I remember all the plans I/we made for her arrival (although I was told I was to have a boy; but…). I remember heading to the hospital when it was “time”. I remember the labor. I also however remember the absolute shock and wonder of looking at her for the first time… and to this day, for the billionth time! Almost thirty years later, I am still awed at her presence – as if I did not lay down and invite her here.

Soon enough, another part of this fantastic journey of my life will, if not change, be affected. I saw the proof this morning. So, as I brace myself to fully walk (in some fabulous 4” heels at that!) in yet another of the decisions I have made, I ask God for continued strength, you for continued indulgence and the Universe for continued patience.

 

 

“What Did You Do?!?”

Recently I have had to endure the constant finger-pointing in my direction; the conversations and accusations from someone who simply refused to entertain their culpability in the goings-on in their life, choosing instead to attempt to avoid their responsibility by placing it at my feet. Sadly, this practice is neither a new or unique one; there are a lot of us human beings out here who are either unwilling or unable to be brave enough to own up to the mess we have solely created in our own story; choosing instead to convince ourselves that constantly looking outward for the answers or accountability rinses us of our flaws. The joke is – there is nothing more laughable or that shines the spotlight more brightly on someone unable to own up. The transparency that develops after the first few, “What did you do?” becomes as gossamer as a spider’s web.

But as with so many other annoying qualities we humans can participate in, this one is not only infuriating, it is destructive. It can be abusive. Yes, I said it. Let’s address this. Being held accountable for actions that are not your own is irritating to say the least. No question. However, when one is constantly being accused or blamed for the actions or lack thereof of others, the effect on one’s emotions, mental well-being and psyche can be damaging. The blows to one’s self-esteem, when being falsely berated (especially by a (supposed) loved-one or someone in authority) are not to be negated. Having to process false accusations, being forced to take on the responsibility of another’s refusal causes wear and tear. Think about it… how can one defend oneself against someone who has so mastered the art of a lack of personal accountability? That sort of flagrant disregard for one’s own fingerprints on the landscape of their lives takes years of practice and a host of blinders. Finding suitable proxies has become the only thing they attribute to themselves, or will take credit for.

Our culture is better able to identify (not to be mistaken with acknowledge) physical abuse; the physical manifestations of a monster’s presence are left behind. But even with the proof oftentimes we train ourselves to look away, or to deny we see what we see. So, attempting to get emotional or psychological abuse to rise to a level where it stays in our consciousnesses will take many more years and many more conversations. I understand that. Meeting people on their levels, looking them in their eyes and sharing the words that reject any attempt at dismissal or bullying will eventually make more of us stop, listen and respect. Refusing to accept that certain tones or levels of conversation, certain words, bullying, lack of accountability, accusations are okay, normal, “just the stuff of jealousy because he/she loves you soooooo much” will eventually force change.

“Abuse is never okay.” No matter the form. Whether someone puts their hand on you in anger, in force or attempts to brow-beat you into believing that all the negative things that happen in their life are a result of your, not their actions… it is all abusive. We need to stop sugar-coating things and shying away from those things that either make us uncomfortable or ashamed. In those spaces the abuser hides – between your silence, discomfort and shame. It’s high time we go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, Woolworth’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier 1, Best Buy, etc etc and purchase all the lamps, spotlights, torches, flashlights, outdoor pits… anything we can find that illuminates and shines a light on this debilitating epidemic.

Abuse is never okay…”

 

Mic Check: One, Two, Three…

Black folks and Obama-lovers everywhere are congratulating themselves on his job-well-done; not so much for the past eight years (although he did good!) but, for his performance at what will (if it wasn’t already so, it most certainly IS so now) undoubtedly be his last White House Correspondent’s Dinner. If you have been unplugged and missed all the furor, catch a glimpse here (and everywhere): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FRcBiY4sc0

There are many things one could say about that man – negatively and positively. Some will undoubtedly be true; and others can be questioned. But, what I truly believe could never be questioned is that man’s swag, charisma, sex-appeal, machismo, cockiness… LORD have mercy! Never again will this or any other country have a leader and a First Lady with the panache these two people exude! Unquestionably for the past eight years they have brought, politics aside, some soul straight to the helm of this country! They have spoken, danced, flirted and strutted their way through this country and that and have interacted with us and our children in a language and manner we can finally understand and appreciate. I thank them for the color they have painted our world.

He dropped the mic! The President of the United States of America literally dropped the damn mic! The symbolism in that one action was not, will never be lost of anyone. I know it will never be on me. You see, like our president, there are moments in life when one is just done; when there truly is nothing left to do or say. Times when only the action of your strutting away is necessary. Moments when we should shut the fuck up… and drop the mic.Resized_20160428_000633

Life can be tough. Mostly our own doing. There will be those instances that test every ounce of the patience and mettle we possess. There will be those people that make us question what God must have been thinking when He allowed them to be born. Sometimes life can seem like a constant up-and-down motion – up and down on your knees. The moments between smiles and tears can seem to lessen. Failure and success start fucking and procreate. Yes, life can be tough. But my God, it can also be one of the most beautiful experiences we can have!

Okay listen, here’s my point: we will have obstacles, goddam roadblocks. We will have those that perfect target practice on our backs. When we say, “right” bet your ass they will say, “left”. Mountains will seem smooth with no foot-holds. Shit! The goddam sky will shorten its distance, cheating us out of a substantial limit. Friends will die; they will betray. Loved ones will disappoint. Children may make us question at times, “Why wasn’t I on birth control?” The color of our skin will determine our employment, salary and fog up the glass ceiling. The talented will die; the worthless will live long lives. Youth will continue to be wasted on the young. Disease will kill some, spare others. Money will be made, lost, won, stolen, swindled. Life may suck!

To this I say: “When life knocks you down, calmly get back up, smile and very politely say, ‘You hit like a bitch!’” Drops mic…

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