Try This On For Size.

I was asked yesterday why I had not yet written about that “shithole” Trump and his latest foolishness and my response was this: “What is there left to say that hasn’t been said or isn’t being felt?” Truly. I feel that throwing my two-cents into the ring and vomiting all that I feel with regard to that vile excuse for a man will be redundant, as I KNOW it mirrors your emotions. So, I choose to keep a watchful and disgusted eye on him, keep on writing to our President Obama, begging him to come back or send his wife to save us all, pray to God to protect us from his (Trump’s) ignorance, racism, narcissism and dangerous rhetoric and move on.

I am in Trinidad. I am in the country of my birth and where my heartbeat, my daughter, lives. It is incredibly hot here (WhooHoo!) and thus, I am wearing little pieces of things (solely in deference to the weather 😉). But listen, this post is not about the shithole and it is not about my daughter – one I hate and refuse to waste either of our time on and the other I adore so much that I tend to protect her privacy fiercely. This post is about those “little pieces of things” I wear. This post is about fashion yall (yes; I know).

Since starting this blog, I have been periodically but consistently asked why I do not write about fashion. Why, given my past career and my obvious delight in getting dressed (up), I seem to steadfastly steer away from addressing this conversation. In fact, in the years I have been addressing those topics I hope you have been interested in, I have written about fashion once; and that was under duress. Ha-ha. I have steered away from fashion predominantly because I found the topic, addressed by me, would be just too obvious and perhaps, even clichéd. I never would want anything I offered you to have the, well, “du’uh” reaction. But lately I have been thinking that my steadfast avoidance of this conversation is just fattening up the elephant in the room. So, let’s address this…

Lesson number one: there is a difference between fashion and style. (I kinda feel as if that is all I should have to say; but alas…). I believe the first mistake we make is confusing the two. A very simple explanation in differentiating between the two has already been given: “Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it…” Simple. True. Gospel. Oftentimes, some amongst us believe that their ability to recognize and afford the latest trend to hit the catwalk will instantly transport them into the realm of stylishness. This is as untrue as your sitting in a garage making you a car. People, one is materialistic; the other organic. We must become very comfortable and honest with who we are. We will need to discern whether our sense of fashion and our sense of style have been introduced to each other or whether they continue to be estranged.

Lesson number two: just because it can be reproduced in your size, should it be. Simply put: not everything is for everyone! And I am speaking to both my fuller readers and us skinny-ass ones. Knowing and more importantly getting comfortable and accepting what you look like figure-wise is fundamental. Rejecting a celebration of the “one size fits all” reality will get you far in your quest to be considered a ‘stylista’. Too often there are some of us who seem to have, if not a distorted image of self, certainly a distorted mirror and who seem to see ourselves as the person we wish to be/become and not the person we really are; and then, we dress that future self… now. Stop. There are very flattering styles for both us fuller people and us skinnier ones. Embrace your truth and rock the style to suit!

Lesson number three: what you wear must be intimately tied to what you are wearing it for. In other words, the occasion must affect your fashion more than it does your style. In this instance, what you pick becomes a tad more important than what you then do with that choice. Respecting the dictates of: black tie, formal, semi-formal, informal/casual, garden, professional, church-wear, “meet-the-parents” wear, funeral, beach, lounge, honeymoon-night and for those of us it affects, season-appropriate for all those afore-mentioned, is absofuckinglutely essential! Showing up to a wedding – even a garden wedding – in jeans is inappropriate. Meeting the parents in your shortest club gear is guaranteed to make the father a fan and the mother not (and make no mistake, mom’s is the only opinion that matters!). So, determining the occasion and knowing your audience is essential. Trust me, no one will be appreciative of your supposed-style-sense by flaunting your knowledge of the latest fashion trend or your ability to afford same if you are dressed in fuchsia at the funeral!

Lesson number four: trust me when I tell you that you can get away with most anything if you wear a fantastic pair of shoes with it! Trust me! Now, I am not saying to ignore any of my above directives and go all size or occasion inappropriate and then wear fantastic heels. Nope. What I am saying is, for the most part, you can shop at thrift or vintage stores, your favorite boutique, Macy’s, shit, even Target (yep; have done that!) and top (or is it bottom?) off that outfit with excellent quality, well-made shoes and kick some style ass! I have worn a fifteen-dollar dress from Target with a six-hundred-and-fifty-dollar pair of heels and everyone complimented my dress! Yes. Those heels had everyone asking: “whose dress is that?” in that very obnoxious brand-whorish sort of way. Hahahaha. I delighted in telling them “Target!” So, ladies and gentlemen, skimp on the cost of the clothing if you like, but when it comes to shoes, put your money where your toes are!

There are more lessons, but this is all for today (must save some for subsequent posts) and a very good start. Trust me or try me. Truly. Let me know how you do. Listen, I do not know all things. I at times do not even know many things. But people, I do know style 😊

IG: hell_hath_know_fury
Twitter: @addressingthis

 

The Same New Me.

Happy New Year.

Like you, I have been reflective for the past few days, contemplating, assessing and making plans for the year ahead. But unlike some of you, I believe I am being realistic in determining just what I would like to do and marrying that with just what I am capable of doing… not based on ability, but based on availability.

One of the major and most common of mistakes we make at this the start of a brand spanking new year is setting these unrealistic goals for ourselves. The reason they are branded as “unrealistic” is because we seem to set them based on a life and a lifestyle that is the antithesis of our own. We vow to work out five days a week when we know (1) we cannot afford a gym membership because we only work three days a week (part-time) at best (2) we have never worked out one day of our lives thus far, so five? (3) not only do we have a full-time job, but it is sooooooooo full-time that we start at 6:45am and finish at 10:00pm (on a good day), that finding time for the gym is damned near impossible when most times we cannot even find the time to eat (4) it is frigid out; who the fuck are you kidding?! But, we make them and our good yet highly delusional intentions last until mid-February when we say to ourselves that we survived last year as is, so “if it ain’t broke…”

But the truth is, the passing of each year into the dawn of another is supposed to manifest growth. We are, if we are committed to doing this life correctly, to set the groundwork that allows for the potential for the successful manifestation of yet another rung of achievement. Each new year should bring us closer to the actualization of the fulfillment of those dreams and goals we have planned for ourselves. And, as each year passes our list should never get shorter; on the contrary, it should always maintain either the same number of aspirations (not to be confused with the same aspirations) or more. You see, as we cross one achievement off, another should replace it. We should never stop dreaming, planning, pushing, growing or striving.

My name is Fury.

Twenty-plus odd years ago my modeling agency sought to immediately address the “elephant in the room” that was my bald head and provocative/challenging personality. Instead of pretending I didn’t exist as is, they sought to celebrate it. We came up with the name together as I felt it was truly the personification of all I am – the bold, simmering, provocative, in-your-face, transparent, fiery, sensual, unfailingly honest, challenging, fiercely loyal, dedicated, creative young woman I was that also housed this woman I have become.

Fury.

2017 was a wonderful year for me. Not always easy, at times heart-breaking, exhausting, but wonderful. It was the year I laid more crumbs down that now point me in the direction of the next chapter. 2018 will see the manifestation of the grueling work I have invested and the tears I have shed. It will unfurl even more transparency in my unwavering quest to leave this world just a bit better than I met it. I will meet you and it with the strength of a survivor’s spirit and the heart of any warrior you have ever known. I will be accountable to you, in my speech, my words and my actions. And, I will continue to fight, through my words, speech and actions for those who are unable to fight for themselves.

It’s a new year. It’s the same new me (no, not a typo; think about it). I have made new plans, set new goals, dreamt new dreams. But, I am still and forever, your Fury. People, it’s 2018… let’s address this.

Love.

Email: emailme@letsaddressthis.com

IG: hell_hath_know_fury

Twitter: @addressingthis

There Is No Joy In This Here Villa!

For the record, let me unequivocally state: aside from the humiliating, demeaning, destructive and potentially life-altering effects sexual abuse or misconduct can have on its victim I stand firmly on the side of it being punishable. Unequivocally I also state that distinctions must be made between the two, misconduct and abuse. As a domestic abuse survivor I am, not surprisingly, hyper-sensitized to any situation that promotes the domination of one and the unjustified subjugation of another. Whether verbally or physically. With awareness for the sensitivity of these realities, I applaud the courage and strength of every victim, male or female, who speak up and out. And, I will continue to figuratively or literally hold the hand, wipe the tears and pray for all the others who have yet to find their strength. I will continue to speak for those for whom the strength to speak still eludes.

This is my position. It will always be my position. Whether in the classroom, boardroom or bedroom, I will ensure the respect, honor and treatment deserving of this black woman. And, with every one of my steps I hope to stand with and when necessary, in front of every other woman who is yet to acknowledge her worth.

Having said this, this Joy Villa business has me cocking my head to the side quite a bit.

This morning I watched an interview on GMA where she [Villa] explained her side of things. For those of you who don’t know Villa (a black Republican and Trump-supporter; but let’s not try to hold that against her), has accused Corey Lewandowski – Trump’s former campaign manager – of sexual assault. She has claimed that in November at a political party, he [Lewandowski], unsolicited and unwanted, slapped her on the buttocks twice. She said she objected after the first slap, but he did it again.

Okay, let’s be clear. Let’s address this…

NO ONE should be touched inappropriately. And, when anyone is touched in a manner they find objectionable or offensive and utters any variation of, “stop” or “no” those commands should immediately halt said behavior. If it does not, the offender has now crossed the line from perhaps doing something stupid or having committed the offense of misreading signals or body language to being committed and purposeful in his intent to violate another’s rights. And for this they should be held accountable.

Here’s my problem with this particular instance. We are absolutely experiencing a climate where voices are raised in unison against sexual misconduct and assault. With the resurrection of the #metoo movement (predominantly) women have been speaking up and out in rejection of abuse and in defense of justice. As the bodies begin to pile up of the (supposed) offenders it has, at least for me, started to become a bit worrisome trying to ascertain the truth-tellers from the publicity-seekers. Perhaps my skepticism in some instances is concern – concern that the potential liars amongst the movement will too-muddy the waters of credibility for the true victims.

Joy Villa. When asked what she would like to have happen now that she has gone public and if she intends to file charges, her response was: “I would rather not go there. I really want an apology. It’s a hard situation because this is a crime that was committed against me. I want this to be resolved in a manner that all of us can come out feeling good about it, I don’t want to keep dragging [Lewandowski’s] name through the mud and keep the press going on it.” WHAT?!? Exactly what “manner” is it that allows for a true victim and her victimizer to “come out feeling good about it”?!? THERE IS NO SCENARIO THAT ALLOWS FOR A TRUE CRIME VICTIM TO COME OUT FEELING GOOD! And, there is no thinking that settles on them (especially so soon after an alleged offense) to care about the feelings of their alleged victimizer! If all that is needed for her to move past this sexual assault for which she is publicly speaking out about is “an apology” then I am left to ask, “Why then not have privately asked him for one?  Or better yet, if an “I’m sorry” will make it all better for you, then just move on and let it and us go!” TRUE sexual assault and assault victims require more – more therapy, more justice, more understanding, more support, more privacy, more retribution. And, in those very common instances when we remain quiet well, we fucking remain quiet! We do not raise all this fuss, engage an epidemic that is sadly sweeping our nation, where real victims die, to ask for an “I’m sorry”! If he assaulted you, that is not good enough! He should be held legally accountable; file charges! If he did not and you are abusing your ability to engage an audience solely for the purpose of advancing your career, then shame on you! And, shut the fuck up!

I continue to encourage all women, when you are ready, to speak to someone about your experience. Find strength in knowing (sadly) that you are not alone, there are millions like you. Seek healing. And through healing, I promise you will find peace again. Your voice does not need to be public. But I pray you one. Speak to that ‘other’ you, the one you were before that thing happened. Invite her/him back. Let her/him know you missed them and that you need them. And, please do me one last favor? Your victimizer touched your body in ways you reject… please do not let them continue to touch your soul.

Love.

 

 

Speeching Off!

 

My Fellow Americans:

It has certainly been a while since I have spoken with you all in a forum such as this; and I thank you for the opportunity to again stand before you, as your humble servant and friend. This past year has been a tough one for us all on so many levels. We have had personal and economic losses, we have been ridiculed locally and internationally and we have seen too much death. Terrorism, despite our best efforts, has continued to plague our shores, as it has those of our allies. We have had to endure the unmasking of a demoralizing and damaging sexual epidemic that strikes at our hearts even as it attacks the heart of one of our industrial mainstays. Those we had held in some esteem have let us down in ways we could not have imagined and from which we will struggle to recover. And, those we expect to uphold the highest examples of morality, integrity and decorum in public office, and in whom we place the well-being of our citizens and our country, have failed us in ways too numerous to mention. So yes, this past year has indeed been a tough one for us all. Therefore, I stand before you today.

I am here to remind you of who you are. Who we are. To reinforce in all of us despite what we are being told, shown and victimized with, the strength of a people that endure. We endure not in spite of; but because of. We endure because we are imbued with an indomitable will that is built to withstand blows, knocks, disasters – both natural and manmade – ridicule and incompetence. We endure because we are from a people who have endured and died to give us life. We endure because we rest our strength not on the will of man; but on the unshakeable will of God.

In the past year, while you have been wondering just what twist of fate has brought us to this place, I ensure you those of us you have trusted and supported in the past, those of us you have let into your homes, your families, your work and social places… those of us you have let into your lives, have been doing what we can to mitigate the damage others seem destined to inflict upon us all. I ask that you continue to trust us. That you continue to be patient in the face of seeming hopelessness. I ask that you continue to respect and believe in our constitution and know that it will work. Remember how long it took for us, the brave, strong, worthy and deserving black citizens of this great nation to get exactly what was due and owing to us… and be patient. Remember that just ten short years ago millions in this country and around the globe ridiculed and doubted a black man would ever occupy that great white house… and be patient.

I have never lied to you and will not start now when we are being constantly barraged with lies. So, I will admit that at times it is difficult for me to remain optimistic. There are days when our children look to us for answers, with the same looks of dismay I imagine yours do, and we fumble for the answers to explain. There are nights when I cry, because I give in to despair at just how badly things have gotten. Then I pray. Because I remember that even as man will fail me, my God never will. Despite what it looks like. Despite all who use His name in vain. So yes, there are nights I worry. But miraculously, daylight comes and renews my strength and my faith; in myself, my family, my nation and in you. I wake with a renewed purpose to continue doing what I can do; and I ask you for the same. Keep on doing what you do. What you can do. Keep on putting one foot in front of the other and I promise you, I will match you, step for step. And, if you stumble, I promise you I will be there to catch you, or cushion your fall.

Maya Angelou said, “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated…” I ask you to hold on to those words. Keep them wrapped in those secret places you look to when times get so tough you think you may break, but don’t. Tuck them away for safe-keeping and only bring them out when needed. Let them remind you that others have and do feel what you do. Find comfort in the strength in numbers.

Yes, this past year has been a tough one for us all; but we are a tough people. So today I stand before you, but in absolute solidarity with you, to remind you, my fellow American mothers, wives, sisters, survivors, aunts, caretakers, husbands, partners, educators, seniors, tweens, teens, LBGTQ community, military, young ladies and men and the immigrants on whose hard work and personal sacrifice we all depend and benefit, we got this!

May God continue to bless America and us all.

Michelle Obama.

________________________________

I submitted a final paper (13 pages) for one of my English classes. My thesis? I decided to explore the success of, when one writes, whether he is able to completely divorce himself from the text; or, whether ultimately we all leave fingerprints along the way. My other thesis question focused on the success of ghostwriters; whether one is truly able to write in the voice of another and be successful/convincing.

I submitted the above letter in my paper as my attempt to speak as another. Was I successful?

PS. Have I ever told yall my desire to be a professional speech-writer some day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Birthday Exposed My Birthmark And My Birthright.

Sometimes things happen subconsciously. Like avoidance. I realized this morning that I, unbeknownst to me, had been avoiding posting… because my friend is not here to read and comment. Then I remembered… you all are. I did not realize I was suspending my voice; but now that I do, let me correct that.

How are you all? What has been happening? Is everyone in your world behaving? Most probably not, as the holidays are upon us and absolutely nothing brings out the worst in people/families like weddings, funerals and yes, the damn holidays! Sigh. There certainly is something to be said for the angst that settles upon us sometimes simply at the thought of those who bear our DNA all gathered in one spot. Lord have every mercy! Good luck, yall!

But guess what? This will brighten the mood I just plunged you in with that little reminder of what’s to come… it was my birthday on Saturday! Yep; I was able to tick off yet another year on this magical journey and look excitedly at the onset of another. This new year of mine holds so much to look forward to; I can scarcely catch my breath!

So, what did I do to mark the occasion, you ask? Well, this year for reasons unknown to me, I decided I wanted to head to D.C. So, that is precisely what we did. Then I decided that since I was there, it would be spectacular to start the day of my birth paying homage to my ancestors. It would be fitting for me to thank them for life. My life. So, we headed to the National Museum of African American History. And, because God and I have called a truce since my latest crisis in faith, he arranged it so that on that morning, at 6:32am, I was fortunate enough to go online to their site and get four free passes for that day. And, to lead me to the right security guard at the entrance who overlooked the fact that there were five of us… with only four passes.

My mind is still compromised! Being in that space, surrounded by and faced with what had been done to my great great great great great great great great great great grand-mothers, grand-fathers, grand-everythings, touched and is touching me in places and spaces that had, until that moment, remained private. They are no longer so. Emotions, questions, confusion, bewilderment and sadness have been pushed to the surface of my soul and is leaving me changed. I am even more flabbergasted at the atrocities we are capable of inflicting on each other… in the name of, what exactly?! Whew! I was and am humbled by the words that convey sentiments of people I have never met, but know all too well. The words and emotions of what they experienced, then  shared, just so that I would not have to. My God!

You know, my intention was to tell you of all of my celebration, but I will stop here. Rest assured it was spectacular and I thank all who contributed with their presence, presents, calls, texts, postings, singing and cards; all amazing expressions of love. Thank you. But I will stop here so that the greatest gift I have ever gotten will have its moment to resonate. The gift of life; given to me by my ancestors. The gift of freedom; gifted to me by my ancestors. If you have not yet gone to see that commemoration of history, go. You should. You must. You owe it to yourself and to our world, moving forward. Black or white. Shit! Black and white! The former to understand where we came from and what our ancestors sacrificed for us. The latter to see where we came from and what our ancestors scarified for us… because of yours.

Here are the details on how to experience it:

On the first Wednesday of every month the museum makes available free timed passes online (these tickets cannot be purchased). When I went on the first Wednesday in November, there were only passes available for February 2018 and beyond (yes; it is that popular!). However, every day starting at 6:30am, you  are able to go online and try to secure same day timed passes, if there is any surplus. The maximum allowed any one person is four; so if going to be more of you going, I recommend more than one of you tries at the same time (although three of us tried for last Saturday and I was the only one successful!). On weekdays, you are also able to walk up to the museum and potentially get passes for immediate entry. Here is the site: https://nmaahc.si.edu/visit/passes Go. Trust me. It disturbs your soul. But, our souls should be disturbed.

Let me know what you feel.

I Used To Be Fearless. Now I Am Faring Less.

In case you all are wondering, yes, I am still reeling from shock and grief. The ‘good’ news however, is that I have been able to find out what ‘happened’ to my friend. And, thank God, it seems she passed peacefully in her sleep. This is ‘good’ because I had been terrified Gloria had had to confront the reality of her imminent mortality; that it was literally something that stared her in the face and there was a moment or ten that she needed to reconcile with. You see the thing is we all know we are going to die; it is the one thing we can count on. But, regardless of how we feel about death and dying, having to confront it in real-time is a whole other matter. And, knowing some of what Gloria had already had to face in her short lifetime, I did not want her to have been scared. So, I am thanking God for this very small mercy.

Now, I am facing another problem, or maybe even a crisis, of my own. I am scared. Okay, terrified. Since the untimely passing of my friend, I have been confronting the parallels in our lives – social, academic and geographical – and realizing that she could have been me. The fear is almost paralyzing. Every ache means something. I am afraid to go to sleep; opting instead to try and keep watch over myself. Over my life. I am afraid for the plans I have in the future… what if I do not live to achieve or experience them? I am scared of losing those I love. Afraid to let them out of my sight. You see, that night Gloria died, I know she went about it the same as she always had, expecting to pick right back up in the morning. Except for her, morning never came. That could be me. You.

Today I said the words out loud, “I will need help with this.” I had planned on speaking with a therapist regarding my grief; but now I realize I also need to speak about my fear. Because, it is real and it is big. I am terrified of my life getting interrupted; and not some distant arbitrary time in the far-off future, but today. Tonight. Like hers did.

I am in tears again. For her. For me. You. For all that we could miss out on. I have plans. My daughter has them too. I want to see hers actualize. Shit! I have grandbabies to meet. Degrees to achieve. Love yet to give and receive. A life. My life.

Listen. Death came too close to me and I am not equipped to deal with all it means. I will get help for what I am feeling, because I know the worst thing I can do is to let my fears paralyze me to the point where I voluntarily stop living, loving, laughing, dreaming, hoping, planning, dancing, feeling, praying. So, I will seek the help I need to learn how to process this in the healthiest way possible. To learn how to smile again… and let it be true. I promised you all the truth of and from me, so this is it – my heart aches and I am now terrified to live because I could die.

Listen to me please. There are things in life that touch us and leave us. And then there are those that stay with us and alter our lives. Please, check in with yourselves often. See how you are doing. And, if you are not good or struggling, acknowledge it, then do something about it. Please. Take care of you. Embrace both your strengths and your weaknesses. Fuck that old commercial…absolutely let them see you sweat; I promise you it is okay. Ask for what you need; and keep asking until you get it. You deserve it.

I need help with this. And, I will get it. Because until I am stopped, my life is mine and God help me, there is a lot to enjoy.

To be continued…

Love.

 

 

 

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