Monday, August 09, 2010

Where Has All the Time Gone???

Whew! It's been so long since I last wrote here. Too long. Well, I'm back... I think. I hope I am. I'm going to try my hardest to be. So much to say...

It's been a year and a half full of ups and downs. And growth. And many, many lessons. I need to empty my brain of all of the thoughts and emotions and opinions and words that have been filling it since I last was here...

If anybody is out there (I reckon there isn't) I'm back...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Truth

"The truth?! You can't handle the truth!"

Everyone and everyone's Mama has probably used this term at some point in their life. It's more than cliche. In fact, it's bordering on annoying as hell. But for a lot of people, it's still, well, the truth.

Recently, I've been evaluating the truth. I've been pondering on the politics of it all. When it's ok to reveal it. When it's not. How sometimes it's strategically placed and other times not so much. How sometimes it hurts like hell, and sometimes it's a burst of relief. The truth is so complicated and so... contradictory.

Nonetheless, I think I've come to the realization that for me, it's essential.

This week, things came to a very heated head between me and my ex-girlfriend. We've had a relationship that can only be described as tumultuous, off and on for the last almost 3 years that ended for good about a month ago. This week, out of the blue, she writes me about how angry she is. She was my first girlfriend and at one point I loved her very much. Now, I think I'm at or either rapidly approaching the point of ambivalence. To put it bluntly, I just don't give a fuck. So when she told me how she felt, I was quite honest in a very delicate, very cordial, very truthful kind of way.

The truth did not go over very well.

So after several increasingly heated exchanges via Facebook (don't ya just love it?!) I decided to just stop responding. I'm done.

So, do I regret telling her the truth? Nope. Am I sorry that it was hard for her to take? A wee bit (though after some of her more colorful responses I'm more sorry that her mental health was threatened by my truth and less sorry for the actual truth). Quite honestly, it felt good to get that off my chest. In fact, it had me wondering why I waited so long to let it out in the first place.

Which brings me to my point: the truth is that truth, if you know what I mean. I refuse to walk in lies anymore. Because that's what it is when you're not putting it out there. I'm not bringing that negativity to myself, to preserve and perpetuate someone else's fear of the truth. If you're asking me to do that, then are you really looking out for me?

I've been thinking about this a lot in terms of friendship. A friend of mine says that Black women often use the truth as a weapon. I don't agree. First of all, I think it's another way to villainize Black women and second of all, I think it's total bullshit. Who said that the truth would ever be easy? I question how one can really be a friend if they can't be honest with the people they love?

I have learned my lesson. With my ex, I should've been honest with her a long, long time ago. Holding all that in was detrimental to our relationship (if the relationship wasn't already detrimental enough) and detrimental to myself. I believe that when you hold the truth in, you let lies out. And lying is dangerous to the soul. I know I often quote India.Arie, but in the song "Get It Together" she says, "Now your chest burns and you back aches, from 15 years of holding the pain..." I refuse to let that happen to me.

In the case of my ex, holding in lies prohibited me from growing because everytime we got back together, I was forced to hold to keep up the charade. Keep pretending that this was working, that I was happy, that this girl she was falling in love with was really me. That stuff is crazy making, if you ask me.

So, I'm saying it now, I refuse to be dishonest with those that I love. Refuse. I will never be the person to smile in my friends face as if the shit piling up around us is not there. Refuse. I refuse to look the other way when it's obvious someone I love is hurting. Refuse. And I refuse not to address the truth because it might make someone uncomfortable. Refuse. I can't control what you do with it, but I can control what I do with it. And I can help deal with the aftermath.

And really, all I ask is the same in return.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Morning After...

The day after Valentine's Day should always be remembered during the hustle and bustle of romantic preparations. In fact, in those endless books on romance and myriad articles touting the wonder that is Valentine's Day, there should always be a little disclaimer that warns about the day after. It should read something like this...

NOTE: The day after Valentine's Day is either one of two things - filled with whispered I love yous and sporadic left-over romantic love making... or just fucked up.

Mine, as usual, falls under the latter of the two.

Two years ago today, me and my ex, had our first BIG break up, one that lasted more than a few days, more like several months. Said break up sparked a series of on and off relations between us with the last ending a week ago. But that's not what makes this Post-Valentine's-Day suck.

What makes it what it is for me today is me. Me. I'm tired of me right now. I'm tired of loving people who really don't love me back. People who "love" or maybe "care" (love's weaker sister who often shows up when people are too scared to claim her sister) based on how they deem appropriate but maybe not on how or what I need. I'm tired of loving people who can't appreciate the gift that is my love and who take it for granted. I'm tired of wishing and hoping and dreaming that maybe one day they'll love me back the way I need it, if at all. I'm tired of feeling like the act of loving is more of a battle than a beauty. I'm tired of being ashamed of my love.

I can admit that there are two mes. There is the me that doesn't trust you and so is nice, and funny, and happy and bright and cheerful and all those things that the real me possesses, but not necessarily who the real me is. Then there is the me who really trusts you and so she puts all of herself out there to you for you to love. There are very few people who get to see her. My ex was not one of them. Only one person with whom I have been romantically involved has ever met her. Right now, I'm kind of sad that she did.

I admit that I want to be loved. I think we all do. But we all don't talk about it, at least not that way. I admit that I am so tired of giving my love to people who can't or won't understand it. I'm tired of convincing myself that what they give me is enough. Because it's not. I think I need to learn not to trust my heart in the hands of someone else because just because they can hold it, doesn't mean they know how to stroke it like I do. I need not trust someone else to have my best interest in mind, because we're all human and as humans our first instinct is self-preservation. I need to know that in the battle that is love, when my heart is in someone else's hands, survival of the fittest will always kick her ass. Always.

But I still want to be loved though. These last couple of years have involved a lot of self-work. A lot of getting to know me and growing to love me. And I'm proud to say that yes, I do love me. When this whole thing began, it was India.Arie's song, Butterfly, that flowed through the speakers of my mind, whispering to me that she was my butterfly. She was my butterfly because she is everything that I want but didn't know how to put into words. She was the embodiment of my soul's longings. I didn't even know what she looked like or would be like until, couldn't even fathom it, until I met her. Then I sighed with recognition.

But sometimes souls make mistakes. I know that now.

So, as of today, Post-Valentine's-Day, I'm vowing to myself that this mess is over. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. I'm appreciative of the friendships I've gained. I'm sad for the doubt and mistrust that's beginning to cloud my eyes again and I'm hopeful that maybe some lessons are subjective and maybe they can be unlearned the next time around. I’m hopeful that the friendship that was built on the back of this love can survive it’s dismantle and be rebuilt into something beautiful and something healthily platonic. For my own sake, I don’t think I can handle anything other than that, because right now I feel so broken…

So for now, I need some “me” time. I need to learn how not to have to hear her voice throughout my day to make it a good one. I need my “me” time to learn how to appreciate my ideas and my various creative expressions without sharing them with her. I need my “me” time to reevaluate myself and figure out what I do and don’t need at this point in my life. I need my “me” time to love on myself a little more. I need my “me” time to just be free and me.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

On... Man Love?

"...But a man love."

Samuel L. Jackson felt the need to use this term to qualify his love for T.I. and Justin Timberlake when announcing their joint performance on the Grammys tonight. You know, make sure us viewers, fans and fellow Hollywood-ites would know that the love he felt for these two was of the burly, masculine persuasion, you know not all sissy and feminine and queer.

So what exactly is "man love"? Does it mean that you give burly chest bangs and intricate handshakes and growls of saluation instead of hugs and kisses or just hellos? Or maybe it means, you know you talk about real manly stuff like, football and ... er, football as opposed to I don't know baking and uh, child rearing (those are feminine topics right)? Perhaps it means that you know, you enjoy fucking as opposed to making love?

Because I'm a woman, am I somehow inhibited from understanding and prohibited from experiencing, "man love"? Is the love between me and my friends different than this grizzly love of which Mr. Jackson speaks? Does man love fall under the category of philia or agape or eros love?

Another question, is the love between gay men "man love"? If not, can gay men experience "man love" with their male friends? Or does this term refer to strictly, platonic love between heterosexual men? Is it that, "Aw man you know I love you!" (insert manly chuckle and perhaps a handshake half hug). Perhaps followed up with a, "You my nigga!" (NOTE: nigga in this sense can be interchanged with dawg, homie, buddy, pal, ace, or any term that affectionately and appropriately describes a favorable male aquaintance).

I'm just trying to get it straight, you know. I don't want to use the wrong term or get it twisted or whatever.

So, inquiring minds want to know, what is this

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Does Happen?

"...Or does it explode?" ~Langston Hughes

What is this world coming to?

On Tuesday, a California man shot his wife and five children before turning the gun on himself. All of them died. Apparently, before he died, he faxed a letter to a local television station explaining the reason for his actions: both he and his wife had lost their jobs about a week earlier.

It's a shame.

The first thing I felt when I heard about this story was sadness. Not anger. Not disgust. Just sadness. I don't believe this man was evil. I don't believe he was a crazed sociopath. I don't believe he was a monster. What I believe he was, was desperate.

I also believe that in this time of economic crisis, many more are reaching that point. Rock bottom.

It's so easy for people to point fingers or place blame, because in a case like this, there has to be a culprit, a bad guy, a villain. Even though it seems pretty obvious that it was desperation probably mixed in with some depression that caused this man to make such a drastic, terrible decision, we can't leave it there. We have to cast this man as the bad guy, perhaps to distance ourselves from his repulsive humanity.

Financial security is a blessing. It's a blessing that so many of us take for granted and many more of us kill ourselves to have. How many families are out there, about to reach their last dime, not sure where the next meal is coming from, feeling like failures because they can't support the lives they created? How many families work themselves into an early grave of hypertension and anxiety and loneliness and isolation in order to prove to their family and friends that they are good and hardworking and worth love and support and expenive things? And how often does our society, with it's mantra of pulling one's self up by one's boot straps and it's model of the American dream and it's mandate that financial security and material possessions are a measure of one's worth, how often does this society say that the latter is worth more than the former? How often does it blame those very individuals for not carrying their share of the weight and demonize those who struggle to take care of their basic needs?

The reality of the situation is that this man and his wife had five mouths to feed in addition to their own. They had bills to pay and necessities to buy and they had no way to do that. In a day and age when thousands of people are losing jobs in a single day, the likelihood that they would quickly find alternative employment was slim.


We live in a carniverous, cannibalistic society that preys on the very lifeblood that keeps it going - the working class. We berate people with the idea that they're only worth as much as they can give. We beat little boys over the head with the idea that it's their ability to provide money and material things, not their ability to love that determines their worth. We tell the poor that they have no worth and treat them accordingly. We take out the mistakes of the greedy on the backs of the hungry. We do all this and then we turn and point our fingers when the very backs we've been walking on buckle under our weight.

When tragic situations like this occur, we rightly examine and critique the behavior responsible for it. But when we stop there, when we fail to go a step farther and look at the cause for such behavior - in this case a recession that's killing more families than this man did - then we continue to contribute to the problem. We continue to ignore it and thus we contribute to the ugly cycle that allows it to happen again and again and again.

In no way am I saying this man was right, to the contrary, it was sick, tragic and wrong. But in every way I am saying that there is more to this case than domestic violence. By denying this man that truth, we are denying his humanity and ours.

Is this what happens to a dream deferred?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things...

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

Ok... so I've been tagged several times recently on Facebook and here thought I would go ahead and play along... Here goes...

1. This is the third time I've attempted to do this but each time it's mysteriously deleted... I wonder if it will work this time or if the gods are trying to tell me that my life is not interesting enough to post 25 things about... we shall see...

2. I tend to think really dry, really negative things are funny and so I often appear to be more depressed than I really am... does that make sense?... basically I have a really wierd sense of humor that involves laughing at the misfortune of others and myself... hahaha! I'm also usually laughing at folks in my head... but I'm a really nice person.. I promise! :)

3. My 25 things will likely be 25 paragraphs as I am extremely long winded or more acurately long worded as I tend to be somewhat quiet in person.

4. I'm a writer of non-fiction, fiction and occasionally poetry... I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my shit... :) really sensitive.

5. I hate my job and at this point I don't care who knows... believe me I am formulating my escape plan... daily.

6. I've lost some friends and gained some great ones in the last few years... I thrive on friendship and connections with others and I love my village and all of my friends!!!

7. I am incredibly silly and often make myself laugh. I sometimes wonder if I will grow out of said silliness by the time I'm like 37... I hope not.

8. Both my daughter and I have Arabic names and both of us have fathers who practice Islam... and we're both Black women... haha way to state the obvious...

9. I waiver between really wanting another child and sticking with the lovely one I have. I do know that I love being pregnant and want to experience that again at some point... maybe I will be a surrogate.

10. Not to brag or anything... but I think I'm pretty brilliant... well I know I am.

11. Here's a haiku... sort of: I love to sing.
I am not a good singer.
I sing all the time.

12. When I was in high school I secretly dreamed of being an actress and used to practice my Academy Award acceptance speech often.

13. I love knowing random facts... and spend hours online reading about random things... like the time I spent the afternoon at work reading about rivers and streams on Wikipedia. I like to think I'm preparing to win thousands on Jeopardy one day.

14. I have a strange affinity for bodies of water.

15. I love adjectives and really vivid descriptions and words and language. Right now I love words that begin with L, (hahaha L Words!) like lilting, lovely, lyrics, love, lesbian... they roll off the tongue so nicely!

16. I am very passionate and I cry easily... especially when watching movies... I was messed up after watching the Hours, seriously, couldn't stop crying for like an hour afterwards.

17. I want to be the next bell hooks/patricia hill collins/oprah/aishah shahidah simmons/rebecca walker... basically a brilliant ass black woman writer/activist/feminist/queer/thinker.

18. I love music and art! I consider myself to be somewhat of an artist...

19. I really like to debate/discuss.

20. I have an obsession with reading and books... I can be a compulsive book buyer.

21. I love my apartment, but hate it at the same time. I'll probably be moving soon...

22. I plan to go back to school to finish my Bachelor's in Journalism in March (see escape plan in #5)

23. I think my daughter is hilarious and destined for greatness... she wants to be either a Mommy-Dancer or a Mommy-Doctor.

24. I am astonishingly unorganized.

25. I'm quirky, some may say weird... I embrace it all. I like to fancy myself a free spirit!

On Closets and Me and the Televangelist...

Being in the closet will fuck you up.

That's the honest truth.

I'm sitting here watching Oprah's interview with Ted Haggard and that's the first thing that came to my mind. That and a saddening remembrance.

What he's saying sounds crazy and ridiculous and makes no sense, but I understand. I understand believing so much in something that says what you feel, essentially what you are, is bad. I understand believing that if you pray enough, are good enough, ignore it enough, deny it enough, God will make it go away. I understand being afraid of losing all that you know, your family and friends and community, your life for something that you think is bad and want nothing to do with. I understand hating yourself. I understand all that.

I guess what I he a hard time understanding is how, after Haggard says he's come to grips with who he is, with his sexuality, how he can still basically find fault in it. In him. He said he understands who he is. He said he accepts who he is. He said he is a heterosexual man with homosexual attachments.

What the hell is that?

You know, I'm no proponent of boxes and labels. I agree with Haggard, in that they are only something used to make people feel comfortable, to let them kow how to identify you and interact with you. They have nothing to do with the person being labeled as much as the person ding the labeling. I get that and I agree with it. However, there is something to be said by giving voice to one's own truth. Giving name to it. If he said, I'm not heterosexual, but not homosexual, and left it that. I'd be cool. If he said I prefer not to use labels, but I recognize that I have attractions to both women and men, I'd be cool. What I'm not cool with is that he's still clinging to this heterosexual identity, in essence, placing more value on that identity than on who he truly is. It makes me sad.

At the end of the interview, he said that he thinks the ideal is monagamous, heterosexual relationships. He said God accepts everyone, but that there is still this ideal to achieve. Basically, he's still saying that who he is, is still not quite good enough. Because, no matter who he chooses to be with, how he chooses to identify, how he chooses to behave, the truth of who he is will never change. He will always be a queer man.

That's why being in the closet will fuck you up.

I think when people deny who they are, when they can't even be honest with their selves about who they are, then that is the sickness. It's not being gay, that's not the sickness. The sickness is the shame and self-hatred and the lies. The sickness is not being able to give voice to who you are. The sickness is not seeing your inherent value, but that of something that you will never be.

That sickness will kill you. If not physically, then certainly mentally, emotionally and yes, spiritually. I truly believe that when people repress their sexuality, it finds ways - often unhealthy ones - to seep out. For me it was promiscuity and a deep self-loathing. For Haggard, it was prostitution and drugs. For others it make be something equally as danderous to self and to others.

It's ironic that I could see so much of myself in this fundamentalist, Christian televangelist. Seeing him today brought back memories of much sadder, much younger me. I feel sorry for her and for him and for anyone else who believes choosing the closet, choosing self-hatred, choosing to not to give voice to one's truth, choosing to operate and identify from a place of other is a better option than choosing to love and accept self.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is Here...

I can't even write one of my lengthy posts today because I am speechless. Really truly at a loss for words.

I can say thought, that I am happy.

I am happy and I am proud. Proud to be Black. Proud to be an American. Proud that Barack Hussein Obama, a black man with a funny name is this Black woman with a funny name's President. I am moved almost to tears, most definitely beyond words at the weight of this occasion.

It's simply beautiful.

It's beautiful that Black folks in this country finally can see themselves reflected back it's face.

I am speechless.

I sit here, searching for words to describe exactly what it is i feel, because that is what I do, I paint my thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, inklings and notions with words.

Right now I can't even do that.

This lack of words symbolizes just how joyous this occasion is for me.