Category "Even In Divorce & Separation- We Family"

Act civilized!

I told ya’ll I’ve been in protest on people sending me reports of the goings on and current events of the nation yet people refuse to respect my space and since people who know me well-know I enjoy a  little mischievous they couldn’t resist sending me this…..

Back in the day, ” showin yo ass” in public could lead to you having to pick your own switch to get your ass beat. Some cultures don’t play that embarrassing your family shit! Especially,  in public because respectability needed to be maintained at all times. Yet at the same time, there were occasions when all decorum could be thrown out the window, when using your words or attempting to ignore the Un reasonable was ineffective.

 

Case in point, My grandmother could make cuss words sound like lullabies and correct bad behavior faster than any correctional officer. So in celebrating and honoring the dead. I salute all of the master words smith who beautifully  articulate and punctuate verbally what some of us cannot say for fear of being ridiculed or simply for not having the knack or tacked when it comes to the profane! Not to mention sometimes in painful situations we have to find ways to lighten our hearts and resist being too hard on ourselves, especially after you have done your best to act civilized!

And please understand- in the words of my grandmother_ ” you caint buy class!” For those of you who ain’t spent no time in the desert like Hagar in the wilderness enduring heartache and endless  tears feeling like you ain’t never gone see golden years…… remember what the olé folks say……” Keep Living!”

all the ways to love

13 Nov 2014, Belgrade, Serbia --- Love spelled with flowers --- Image by © Blend Images/Corbis

 

I found this wonderful brother named Ebrahim Aseem‘s blog called Real News and all I can say is this vanilla wafer complexioned man softens any and all parts of my heart that have been calcified due to heartbreak. While I love his views about relationships, Iyanla Vanzant‘s words ring in my head but none so powerfully than HBCUGRD commentary.

” I want a genuine safe relationship. But I also want complete sovereignty. I don’t want to live in the confines of traditional social expectations”-HBCUGRD. As Zo Williams says, ” I can smoke a bag of that!”

One of the reasons why I created my Disclaimer page is because folks can get real ignorant about other people’s opinions and choices and so I wanted to set the tone and stage for providing a safe place and space for people because often times than not in relationships- be it marriage, family blood ties or friendship these relationships are not soft places to land if we are being honest.

The other thing that sparked my interest is the idea of having to be perfect and deemed successful before being able to provide guidance and or give advice. If you aint been through nothing and or haven’t faced any challenges than how are you going to be able to provide a testimony? One of the things that I find so fascinating about some religious folks is there obstinate and resistance to people who’ve had colorful lives less just say and I love to remind them that the good book was filled with shady characters with checkered past yet somehow Jesus loved to keep company with these outcasts and misfits.

A heart of marigolds --- Image by © Johanna von Aesch/the food passionates/Corbis

Since I am able to honor and hold space for beauty and vulgarity at the same time and am aware that they are not mutually exclusive it brings to mind the idea of black love being a revolutionary act. It takes courage to love!

Never the less, where ever you fall on the spectrum I can only ask that as individuals we learn to create genuine safe spaces in relating to one another. And for those of you who have lost faith in Love ask God by whatever name you call him/her and if you pray to yourself because you have no reason to believe in anything higher than yourself than ask yourself to show you what love looks like so that you will never be confused, that you will be able to identify what it looks like in action, words and deeds and baby-you gon see, learn and know- if you have the courage to ask.

 

 

Staying out of men’s business

 

Two pairs of black dress shoes --- Image by © Monalyn Gracia/Corbis

I’m witnessing a growing trend throughout the media where a significant amount of men are blaming black women for the plight and the ills of the black community at large. Reading and listening to all the negative talk about black women I could hear my Auntie in my ear as she poetically says, ” Yall was fucking-right!”, each time one of us gets pregnant. I am not of the mind-set that just because we fucking means a man wants to be with me. Nor do I believe in having children by men who do not want them but that’s another topic.

So when my Baba called  alerting me of all the things I needed to do to safe guard myself against the 100’s because they were on a killing spree.  As he spoke, I was thinking in my head, “who the hell are the 100’s” because growing up in South Central I knew just about all the names of the gangs from the East side to the West side. I’m thinking so there’s been a consolidation and a merger amongst the gangs or had they seen too many Sparta movies. I began to lose interest in all this male bravado and dick fighting. His solution was for me and my children to stay in the house and this is where I got indignant and I went left. I’m going to paraphrase the conversation.

” Do I look like I got a penis and some balls? I don’t! (I did say that verbatim)  Ain’t these yall sons, nephews, grandsons, cousins, etc. Why yall don’t get out there and talk to these boys? Why don’t all the motorcycle groups  and the men in the community get in the streets and do something about this instead of calling  to scare the shit out of me!”

I told my father, ” Listen I survived all the terror from the Crack Epidemic and if you think I gone be terrorized again you got another thing coming!” Yall just gon sit and watch another generation of black boys kill themselves and do nothing! I’m a female don’t put this shit on my back, yall men and yall need to handle yalls business and I hung up the phone.

Hear me clearly, these men are complacent in helping these boys kill one another and terrorize our communities. Their silence aids and abets these criminal activities and all these men got to say, ” Its Black Womens fault!”  At the same time,there are plenty of black men that take care of their families, as they should. And there are plenty of youth who join gangs with parents in the home, so don’t get it twisted. Children- don’t join gangs because it’s fashionable they join gangs for connections, to be loved, to be apart of something, to feel honor and have honor, to feel pride, to feel empowered, to feel like a man, to become a man.

How successful could any of these youth be in successfully reaching their full maturation into manhood  considering everything they are taught is through peer-to-peer learning. What would have been my  chances in reaching the highest potential in my own personal development into womanhood had I led by my own peer group. It’s the blind leading the blind so can we really blame or be surprised at the behavior of these young boys-absolutely not!

Every time, I get mad and disappointed at my Ex, I quickly remind myself, that I CHOSE HIM and what ever deficiencies  he has is to damn bad. I gotta work with him even if he makes my ass itch! I picked a man who didn’t have the skill set to be and do certain things but it doesn’t mean he can’t acquire them.

There are days when I point the finger at him. There are days when I’m righteously angry at him but I remind myself and say to myself, ” You wasn’t saying this shit when you was fucking him! If he was good enough to fuck knowing full well his background you caint even fix your lips to be like he aint shit because at the end of the day, he is the father of your children and if you cannot respect him then you have a problem!”

I told yall before me and my Ex did everything ass backwards, before we finally got married. We had our first child in our early twenties and he loved that girl as soon as she was born, it was and still is a complete love fest between the two of them. Despite the love he had for our daughter he would still play hoe games and disappear because he was hanging out having a good time doing what young twenty something men do who are fine and have good dick!

I was a shit talker, my mother was not, my mother operates like a ninja, she is silent and methodical-you will never see her coming. I watched how my mother handled my father and he was a hand full. I used to think my Yeye was weak for they way she used to respond to my Baba’s disrespect. Watching my Yeye I learned that talking shit and doing nothing is a Waste of Time! So one day, I had enough of frustrating my damn self and took my daughter down to her father’s job after weeks of him not seeing her.

I found my daughter’s father on the milk aisle stocking merchandise. He looked pleasantly surprised to see us, until my  frown did not come off my face even after our eyes met. I was thinking, ” Dam he looks good. Focus dummy, this is why he gets away with everything”, I told myself. Our daughter ran to him and they embraced like two love birds, they both were giggling and smiling at each other.

His nosy ass co-worker was all in our conversation and kept eye fucking me and sending telepathic messages but I ignored her ass and kept talking to my daughter’s father. He had a million excuses as to why he had been missing in action. I knew he only had about an hour left on his shift so I left my daughter with him on the milk aisle.

My Ex said, in a whimpering voice as he gritted his teeth, ” You gon leave her here, while I’m working!” I said, ” What’s wrong with here, shit this is a kid friendly place to be, look at all these mamas’ in this store wit all they kids, it’s the perfect environment for children seeing as they got to eat!” Listen, I took my daughter to work and to school with me, we were joined to the hip. It had been weeks since he had done any parenting-it was his turn!

As, I walked away, my daughter waved and yelled, “Bye Mommy!” His nosy co-worker, was looking at me saying, “shame shame!”- in her head, as she looked at me with disdain. I sent her a message right back. ” Fuck you, I aint taking care of no baby by my damn self, mind your own damn business!” Over the years, I’ve developed all kinds of tactics, strategies and shenanigans to get him to consistently participate as I gave him room to grow up, to mess up, to fuck up and try again until he got it right!

Not liking or wanting to be with somebody is an easy cop-out for not parenting children. We aint got to like each other-we just got to work together and raise these children!

The best revenge is Sweetness!

 

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, strength is defined as : the quality or state of being physically strong, the ability to resist being moved or broken by force, the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way, and or the quality or state of being strong, capacity for exertion or endurance, power to resist force: solidity, toughness.

My ex-husband texted me last week to ask if I were ok, he said that he had a dream about me and was concerned about me, I started to lie and say I was great, yet I knew that it didn’t make sense to lie to a man I had spent most of my life with. Truth be told I was in tears of mourning, needing a soft place to land and arms to cry in, wishing I could sit in my vulnerability and be honest about how I really felt.

Just days before, I spoke with J.T. and she reminded me, if I needed anything L.A. would provide it but I would never bring myself to show any of what I perceived as weakness to him. Although, he was a soft place to land I would never give myself the permission to do so.

My ex-husband and ex-lover are the kinds of men who can make you feel powerful beyond measure yet the power they can have over you can be destructive if not used for good. My reluctance to be vulnerable stems from fear of being not only emotionally hurt but rather physically hurt.

I can hear, L.A.’s voice in my head, ” Be sweet!” Those words used to soothe me when I found myself mad and or disappointed with his behavior, his ability to keep me calm while being angry was something I couldn’t understand, he kept me soft and supple, relaxed, in a complete state of surrender. I always wanted to be in full compliance with him and I intently used my words because to be disrespectful was not allowed. Before, he would disrespect me, he would leave me alone.

He is the kind of man, you can dobale` (dooh-ba-lay) to without fear that he will kick you. So why would I be afraid of a man who makes me completely surrender without fear of punishment, fear that he might  really see me, fear that my openness will bring a flood of tears that may last for months, even years, fear that if I had a chance to lay in his arms and release I may be healed. He would never know because the fear of speaking those words that would fully express my feelings and emotions render me speechless, my desire to purge is not stronger than the terror I feel and standing in front of him in complete vulnerability makes me forget my own name!

Would I ever be able to tell my ex-husband I miss him being my friend, that I never thought in a million years that we would ever not be best friends. I cried on his shoulders when L.A. and I broke up, there was no conflict that my heart loved them both, no judgement, he just wiped my tears and let me cry-we were young then before the bitterness and  plaque and decay began to hardened our hearts and it became easier for us to deny the love we felt for one another because the system had finally broken us and we both threw in the towel not due to lack of love but for the brute strength it took to be black and in love.

May God bless both of my exs for they both have been safe places to land in various points in my life, one being my protector and the other my guide.

 

You can fix crazy but not stupid

Naked woman powdered with body paint lying down on fashion fabrics

 

 

Evangeline died yesterday in her sleep just like Tee. She had been on my mind the previous week yet I never called or reached out to her. Another wild girl, we saw each other a couple of days after her mother’s memorial, she asked me to come get her from her sisters’ house.

Since then we had spoken regularly, her bouts with mental illness stemmed from years of sexual abuse by her mothers’ many boyfriends. She was the second generation of sexual abuse but somehow it was never talked about or addressed. Despite, her struggles and wounds her heart remained open, full of love and passion and as each family member shunned her for being too much of one thing and not enough of the other, she fought to be loved until her death.

Fighting to be loved, heard, and validated becomes routine for the scapegoated because their wounds are visible through, outbursts, melancholy, needed conversations, begging to be heard, cussing, fussing, drinking sexing, drugging all the things we do to replace the love, comfort and support from the people we share blood ties with…. the only thing you get in return is, ” You know she is crazy!” As if crazy means that you are unworthy to be loved.

The crazy makes everyone feel uncomfortable, ” Why won’t she just shut the fuck up!” How is a young woman to be blamed when her own mother whored her out. How do you reconcile, that Vangy was the reason rent got paid and food got bought.

Molestation, mental illness, and death are taboos, not to be discussed. When I think about how the people who have touched my life the most died-it seems that they ultimately died of a broken heart, Jill, Eric, Tee, Vangy, Devesha, Serta and more.

Society and families are like cliques made up of people who are able to conform, who are able to shut themselves off to remain well-behaved to be accepted by the group and therefore receive love and support. But what about those who cannot-do we leave them alone and abandoned like Hagar in the wilderness, do we reenact the myth and leave them in the Forrest like the albino children of ancient African Mothers with the thought that if they are able to survive then they will live and what happens when the children who were left in the Forrest survive and return in rage….. will you acknowledged the wrong done or will you just label them the devil!

No Wahala

Where are you getting your relationship advice from? I am inclined to believe much of the advice women are getting about marriage and relationship is driving them insane. Single women would always tell me that I was lucky that I was married because I had been CHOSEN. My husband being the standardized prize, the changing of my last name being the ultimate possession so many of them coveted and the indoctrination or rather my unsuccessful hypnosis that I should be so grateful and thankful for being CHOSEN, when truth be told; I never wanted to get married.

I openly expressed my reluctance to get married to my then husband when he insisted we get married. I bargained that we should live in a duplex, him living in one part and I living in the other but he insisted that wasn’t a marriage. I resolved it could be the our marriage, however, he was not having any parts of my terms of agreement. I don’t believe you have to live in the same house with your husband in order to have a happy and successful marriage. Hell, ” we go together forever”, we got to live together to?

I had spent most of my life with him already and I didn’t see the point. He wanted me off the market for good and he demanded that if I loved him I would marry him. I loved him deeply-I acquiesced. We were married and I devoted myself to him and my children, however after spending decades with my husband I felt like a trapped animal.

Love did not did not dilute my marriage, I have never loved a man in complete abandon the way I loved my husband, we had grown up together into adulthood but as time went on I changed and my changing became a deal breaker to our relationship, ultimately the boy I knew and had grown up with needed somebody who hadn’t witnessed his past.

Without a doubt we still love one another, however, love is not enough. Getting married as a form of validation and self-worth is one of the worst reasons to get married. There are misguided myths and misconceptions when it comes to being a wife. Waiting to be chosen is the worst mistake anyone can make is feeling as if your life is incomplete if you are not a wife. As women we are taught to devalue relationships that do not end in marriage.

I am single and if I do not know anything else I know how to get and keep a man. Right now I am interested in keeping myself.  It is time for us to start redefining the terms and framework for the institution of marriage. And in keeping myself I am going to dance around the house half-naked to these fine Nigerian boys!

Erasing the shame of pioneers

Young woman wearing head tie with finger on lips

 

There are days when my life is filled with grief and disconnect. There are days when I feel completely insane from isolation because I have no one to talk to about the past. Having a memory like an elephant has not served me well, it has caused me so much suffering because I can remember all the things the adults want to forget.

How could something that means so much to me that has shaped my life, my mind, my spirit be so bad. It has been less than easy walking around Los Angeles with tribal marks on my face and while I often feel like some kind of museum piece, my insecurities don’t necessarily come from having them but from the shame I feel from stories of the past.

I have seen and experienced so many supernatural things in my life that I used to question if they had ever happened and the most heart breaking truth is that when I reconnect with my peer group from Oyotunji, there is a sigh of relief from the burdens we carry from our parents and the lies we all weaved to feel safe and accepted.

It is amazing when you start to hear the lies as children we all came up with to both connect and disconnect from our experiences. I told people my tribal marks were a birthmark because I figure out early on Black Folks never questioned God and although people knew I was lying, it created a respectful boundary, a kind of don’t tell don’t ask clause. It was easier to lie because the truth seemed like a lie and once you started to tell the truth it just seemed unreal, so lying seemed more convenient.

So many black folks believe that once we hit these shores our culture was lost. I am living proof that although folks may not have understood why or what they were doing but because they listened to the spirits, things emerged in ways words have no description, those old ancient spirits were too strong to be denied and for that and to them I am eternally grateful.

As I write this, I envision the entrance to a nail shop, there seems to be one on every corner and as black folks enter and see food and drink placed on the ground at the entrance sometimes around Buddha sometimes not they never question, who they are honoring and or feeding. Their hoodoo seems to go unnoticed. So not only are folks willing to cross and enter the threshold where people honor and feed their ancestors on a daily, they are also willing to help these people pay their mortgages, bills and put these people’s children through college.

And as I sit here my grief begins to dissipate because the people from my village invented with one of a fellow cousins from Nigeria the West African Taco and we sold many in our restaurant called Fon and I am reminded as to how I become an expert in hospitality and today I gave thanks and honor to Chief Ajamu, his spirit is whispering that he wants his story our story to be told.

 

A wild tactic to get a much needed break!

Woman with butterflies in her hair

 

As women we sometimes talk mad shit about men, let me speak for myself, I talk mad shit about the men I know personally, in good ways and bad. The men in my life have been a source of great joy and pleasure as well as pain and an even greater source of  irritation that they make my ass itch!

As side from having to act like a wild banshee bitch from time to time to get some understanding from the men in my life -be it my father, brothers, cousins, x-husband, lovers, etc…. there are times when they will blow your mind. I am reminded by the episode on Shameless when the black lady married to the white guy was mad that her husband did a better job mothering her babies, she seemed disappointed and relieved at the same time.

At times being a woman, especially a mother, can encourage martyrdom….I could be wrong but I’ve lived long enough to see that men enjoy themselves, I don’t give a dam, how hard they work, how many jobs they have, regardless to their responsibilities they are going to celebrate and have fun…… with their friends, another woman, their cars/toys…..they are not going to sit around and wait to enjoy themselves and or ask for permission.

Dam shame women, especially black women got to take a crack break to get some help and respite, not Terry, during the tipping point in the crack epidemic, I could only imagine Terry sitting at home seething, thinking about how tired she was, how her own kids were pushing her over the edge. I could see Terry pacing the floor thinking…..” that son of bitch Stevie get to do whatever he wants, while I’m over here doing all the work, he got a thousand bitches sucking his Dick and I’m trying to figure out how I’m gone feed and clothed theses kids!”

And a scene from Pootie Tang ensues in reverse with her packing all her kids shit in plastic bags, and as she packs their shit up, she’s cussing up a storm as her 7 and 9 year old children look on in wonderment. Now I remember this day like yesterday, it is the same place I was at when the L.A. Riots broke out after the Rodney King Verdict, not too far from where Football set it off.

Anyway, we were all standing in the middle of the corridors outside when you heard skids from tires and then a woman yelling and screaming tossing things out of her car onto the grass out front and the last audible thing I heard was, ” Stevie, I left your kids and they shit on the grass, they living wit you now!” and Terry got in her car and sped away!

We all walked out to the front, my x husband and I watched Steve very intently and the only thing he said calmly was, ” These my kids!” and gave Cynthia and Champ both hugs and kisses. There was no dramatic response by Stevie nor the children, on the contrary, all three seemed to be quite tickled by their mother’s demonstration.

As Stevie was bringing the children and their bags in his sister’s house whom we were all visiting, his mean surly sister got on the phone-calling all the women in the family saying how Terry was a bad mother and woman. I didn’t see it that way, I thought it was heroic and courageous to take a stand and say, I’m not doing this shit by myself, she didn’t ask for permission she gave herself the much needed break that she deserved!

About a year ago at one of my x husbands’ family get togethers his Uncle Stevie and Terry were talking and laughing with one another and I brought up the incident and she told me from the point of her dropping the children off that day over time they had developed the greatest friendship with one another and became even better parents as a result.

Terry and Stevie will always be my heroes!