I Refuse To Ca[r]ter To It!

So, the Carters have announced their first collaborative full-length album. But for me, this is not the news.

Let’s address this

This morning on GMA when this was announced, naturally everyone was all a-twitter about what this meant and how it signifies, apparently to the world, the fact they had “made it” past their and I quote, “marital troubles.” To substantiate this, they [GMA] showed clips from Lemonade and 4:44 that were geared to remind us just what those “marital troubles” had been and then they showed a clip of a Jay Z interview when he was waxing eloquent… well, eloquent for a cheating black man, about the fact that the divorce rate was fifty percent and the reason for that? Well, in case yall did not know, the reason, according to that particular cheat, is the fact that no one stays and works things out. Yes folks, the divorce rate is at this high not because of cheats like him, but because after they cheat, the wronged parties bail instead of “working it out.”

He said that. And, was quite smug when he did so! It was as if he thought he should get a fucking award for the fact that his wife, instead of treating him as badly as he treated her and treating herself better than he did her, decided (for God knows what reason) to stay with his cheating, disrespectful ass! He truly sounded as though he has attained some higher moral plane because they decided to “work it out!” What the fuck is wrong with him?! And, heaven forbid, us, if we buy into this shit?! Just how does a cheat get to change the narrative? Did she allow that when she decided to stay? So it no longer is about the offense but we are to shift our focus to the fact they are not contributing to the divorce rate?! Wow! VERY well done! (Oh… in case you missed it, that was my sarcastic voice). So, their “we made it” collaboration (the album, not the twins; although…) is their proof to us that their love is strong, renewed and sustainable. Okay.

I do not know about you, but this one is ridiculous to me. I am a huge fan of God’s and am well-acquainted with forgiveness (in theory, not so much in practice). There is not the scenario that will ever allow me to forgive my partner for being unfaithful; whether once or the multiple times he has committed the offence. But if I were to ever allow my self-esteem and self-regard to plummet so low that I kept on standing at the side of a cheat, never will I allow their participation in a narrative that shifts the focus from their sin to the sad state of affairs in our world. Never will they be allowed to be anything other than infinitely grateful and awed at my allowing their presence at my side. “The reason the divorce rate is at fifty percent is because people give up and refuse to work at their problems.” Nigga (pardon my ineloquence), the reason the divorce rate is at fifty percent is because people like you broke your vows, disrespected your partner and children and those partners refused to accept it!

But listen, all you forgiving souls go ahead and buy their album, give them your money and enjoy.


When The Exes… Nope. When The X’s Matter.

Ever wonder why so many middle-aged people go to such lengths to either deny their true age or heaven forbid, hold it up as some sort of trophy they gained for either (whether true or not), looking younger or, still being able to perform x, y or z? It’s kinda like, “I think doth does profess too much” and the only two choices left once some have attained any age past fifty, are deny or amplify. Truly. Listen to some above-fifty-year-olds, when cornered their conversation about their age will either start with, “I am fifty-something…” or, “so and so could not believe I am fifty-xx.” It seems as if finding an above fifty-year old simply content with just being and devoid of all that middle-aged baggage is a rare commodity indeed.

But exactly when did we get so prickly about aging? Did our partners who traded us in for a younger model do it to us? Was it when we realized that employers valued longevity and naiveté over experience and maturity that our insecurity regarding aging reared its ugly head? Or, was it the moment we conceded to not just flipping our wardrobe for the season, but needing to flip those shorts and mini skirts to our daughters and nieces that broke our spirit? Is it the realization that we have crossed into the realm of having more years behind us than ahead of us that is fucking with us mentally? Perhaps all of it?

Let’s address this

All of the above possibilities are valid. Accepting the reality that what was at one time potential-suitor eyes no longer lingering on us as they used to, but brush over us and light on the younger versions of femininity can take some getting used to. So, an almost-desperate attempt to grab onto and potentially squeeze so tight one may suffocate the vestiges of our youth may come over us. Yes, we may purchase the red convertible, stand on line with the anorexic would-be model, cougar-it, and convince ourselves we still look good in clothing from Forever 21 (and only our friends have put on the middle-age weight). But truth be told, we just need to let it go and stop embarrassing ourselves.

Listen, I do not have any of that fear-of-getting-older problem. Quite the contrary actually… I have zero interest in the alternative. I look forward to any of the aging signs that choose to show themselves on me physically; anxiously awaiting the gray hairs… everywhere! All I ask of the process is good health; aside from that, I thank God every day He has seen fit to bring me this far (many are denied the privilege) and, I ask Him every day to please take me further. I deny shit! I will be fifty-three in November and am proud! My conversations are not peppered with any attempt at coyness with regard to my age. In fact, as often as I can, I lead with it 😊 I consider it a blessing and an honor. I have nothing to prove to anyone with regard to what I can still do at this age. I am alive; and living is all I need to do.

People stop dropping your voices after you mention fifty-xx…those x’s matter too (in fact, for many of you they may be the the only exes that do! Ha-ha). Truly, stop. Celebrate those ones, fives or nines. Say them with pride; they prove you survived. Fuck any and all who choose to miss the value in experience (wait, in this instance I mean “fuck” as in “to hell with them!” not the other kinda fuck). Hand the clothing down to the youths… it’s okay. Date appropriately; don’t take that “age is only a number” stupid-ass cliché too far! Do not play yourself! Start positioning yourselves to become the matriarchs and patriarchs in your communities. Bring your childlikeness with you, but do not confuse it with your childishness.

Grow up. Fuck that! Age up. It’s okay.

Let’s Call A Spade A Spade, Shall We?

So, Kate Spade has committed suicide. And, like millions around the world, I was shocked at the news. My shock, like most people’s, arose from wondering “what the fuck kinda problems could she have?!” Because like most, there is that moment when I do look at the glittering outsides of another’s life and assume all that is shiny is reflected onto the insides of that life. I know that is wrong. So, she killed herself; and what is left with me since hearing the news is a profound empathy for her daughter. You see, I am one of those people who gets angered by suicide (even as there have been those times when I too had been incredibly despondent and suicidal), believing it to be one of the most selfish acts one could commit. And, when one leaves behind a child or children to try to make sense out of this senselessness (which is why I did not go through with it), then I am left with anger toward the deceased.

She killed herself. So, let’s address this…

This morning it was reported her suicide may have been tied to an impending divorce. It seems she and her husband had been separated of late and he had filed, allegedly plummeting her into a depression. This claim seems to be substantiated by the suicide note Spade left her daughter which reads in part, “This has nothing to do with you. Don’t feel guilty. Ask your dad.” Here we go… what kinda fucking shit is this to leave for a child?!? THIS is where any possibility of empathy for what she [Spade] may have been going through, escapes me! “Ask your dad”?!?! So, not only does this child (she is thirteen) have to deal with the death and loss of her mother (through suicide), but now she also must try to reconcile her father’s role in said suicide?! What the fuck was [Spade] trying to do here… mangle any possibility of a healthy and sustaining relationship between father and daughter moving forward? I am so livid at this! Why do people feel as if they have the right to, through their selfish and senseless actions permanently scar the lives of others? Her behavior is no less vile than the actions of those murderers who enter schools because they were “depressed” “psychotic” and “hopeless” and instead of doing the fucking world a favor and just killing themselves, decide to kill so many others. Or, that damned drunk driver who, because of the relaxed state alcohol has put him in, walks away from a mangled murderous mess unscathed. And, let us not forget the ex-playboy model who, because of a custody fight with her ex, jumps from a high-rise window with her seven year old son… killing them both. Just what the fuck is happening?!

Listen. We have discussed mental illness. I am deeply empathetic. Truly. I most certainly have been a visitor in those ‘dark places’ and at times, am still grateful I escaped. I have been balled up, flat out, on my knees and ready to be committed. I have stood at the edge of a subway platform… waiting for the train. I have called the Suicide Hotline because I knew I did not have strength. I know pain. It and I have been intimate. So, I know weakness. But, I also know strength. The strength to recognize that my shoulders have touched yours and my words have spilled onto your lives. So, I recognize that my decisions, all my decisions, those you know about and the ones I do in private, ultimately impact you. I know that as my presence affects you, so too will my absence. I recognize that I owe you. I am accountable to you. So, I reached out. I sought help. I spoke up. I decided my health was bigger and better than any shame I may have felt at any momentary weakness along this journey. I recognized that my despondence was what was weak and my getting help was what was strong. I destigmatized the bullshit I had been fed that was attached to mental and emotional issues by realizing this world, as beautiful, exciting, giving, willing and capable as it is, can also be at times, tough. It makes us show up and pay for what we want and at times, the payment is high. But, so is the reward. So, now when I go to my knees I do it in gratitude to my God for having brought me through.

If we looked at her world, at Robin Williams’ world, we would have assumed a picture unlike what they thought it looked and felt like. I understand that. I understand that, whether I understand or not, they felt their pain was bigger than any hope. I also understand the danger in saying, “If I can do it, so can you.” So instead I will say, “If I can do it, so should you.” You see, our spectacular universe has love, happiness, forgiveness, beauty, safety, success, passion and second/third and fifty chances for all of us… don’t run out on yours. Promise yourself to treat yourself better than you have and you do. Allow yourself multiple déjà vu moments… in one of those moments it will get better. Show up in your life. Show up in your life. Show up in your life. Show up in your life. Never give any thing or any one the power to sap your strength, energy, purpose, peace, happiness or will to live. There is no circumstance that cannot get better or change in time and with help.  Unless you end life.

Kate Spade is dead. The fashion world has lost an icon. I am certain anyone with one of her bags is rocking it today as some sort of tribute. I am saddened by her death not because of her, but because of her daughter. I am devastated and afraid for her. I am praying the cause of her death was more than a reaction to an impending divorce; because that… that is fucking bullshit. She owed her [daughter] more than “This has nothing to do with you” because she is so very very wrong… this will have everything to do with her.

Let us vow to speak up. To ask for help. To eradicate shame. Our shoulders have touched. You owe me.





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