Friday, June 27, 2014

Deep Woods Off, my ni**a!


So in the span of the last year, I have become adoptive mother to a cat named Papi.

Papi is a long haired, white cat  who was apparently an old ass black man in his former life. His favorite foods include fried catfish, chicken tenders from upscale eateries, and fried green tomatoes. Im almost certain he is also stealing my freshly cut watermelon slices from the fridge.  and yes I know. this is slightly stereotypical/intra-racist.  eh. 
It happens.

Papi gives zero f!cks about  anything other than his own personal needs. He is also spoiled as f!ck.   He only drinks running water from the sink and sleeps in the bed.  He loves to roll all over my bed and clothing , Which is a big issue  considering the amount of dark colored clothing in my wardrobe. Which  means that I go through a lot of f!cking lint/hair removers.
A lot.

So yesterday, after a heated “co parenting” discussion, I was on my way to see Nikki Giovanni at the Civin Rights Museum.  I  had on a long, black, maxi skirt, and  between the bedroom and thedoor, I managed to become covered in cat hair. 

I keep a lint/cat hair roller in the car but it was out.  Meanwhile a huge mosquitoes was getting WITH my ankles. Because it’s the south I also stay ready with some Deep Woods Off in the car and in my purse.  It’s a war out in these streets ,mayne.

I spray myself down with it and pray that the smell will die down before I get to Nikki.

As I am hurriedly making my way to the counter where the 1.00 sticky rollers are located (aint no reason to buy one for much more than that. Trust me, the tape aint no damn stickier); this random guy attempts to gain my attention.

Loose ass dude: Slow down there girl, he gone still be there no need to knock me down

I politely smile and keep moving. He, of course, follows.


Loose ass dude:   Where you headed in such a rush

Me:  i hand my item to the cashier and ignore him

Loose ass dude:  well you shole smell good to have such a stank attitude.  What fragrance are you wearing

Me: Deep woods Off.

The cashier cant do nothing but laugh. Dude gets upset and walks off, im pretty sure he called me a bitch under his breath.

Meanwhile.  Deep wood off doesn’t prevent attack from ALL insects.    Duly noted.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A day in the life: an Update

So. Its been a while since I ve shared one of my life stories.   While my life has become more settled.  Its also become crazier than ever.

I am no longer married.  I mean technically, yeah but for all “intensive” purposes im not. After  Almost 13 years.  That makes me a little sad. I said “I Do” with the full intention of getting my Keith Sweat on and making it last forever.

It Didn’t.

Im ok with that.    Co-parenting and maintaining a friendship with my former life partner has been…

Frustrating.  Eye Opening.   Hard as all the f!cks,l to say the least.

Ive also completely switched careers. Stepped back into management and marketing after a long hiatus as well as developed a pretty thriving side  “event promotion, consulting and marketing”  hustle.

Most notably, I ve started writing, consistently.  Most of the time its event and food blogging over at www.viralvoice.blogspot.com

Add to that my Role as mother of a pre-teen daughter, who is always  tip-toeing on my last damn nerve with all that involves being a “pre-teen daughter” 

I also have a new relationship. Which is both amazing and  scary as hell and.. full of firsts.. lets just say that.

Meanwhile I am having to readjust from a pretty diverse environment to one where.. at least on my side of the yard, im  an “only”.    On top of that, any that know me personally or have followed me on social media long enough to experience an “out on the town” night of drunk tweets and epic body rolling (yes, it is epic) knows that I am quintessentially, unequivocally, unapologetically  BLACK.  In all the ways that are good and special and #blackgirlmagic; as well as, all the ways that many see as cringe inducing-ly embarrassing or bad.

That being said.. my new job is in the  lily white pastures of upper elite, privatized corporate America. 

Now I LOVE IT. But talk about a culture shock. They are not used to the black chick with  bra length locs that wears house shoes in the building and changes shoes when I get into the office. They are not used to a member of the leadership team that puts her makeup on after the first cup of coffee, listens to Tupac and Gotti (clean versions, gotta keep it corporate) through the office standard Bose ipod dock,  who has a very liberal understanding of “being on time”.  

They are also not used to a chick that is detail oriented, task specific and results driven in spite of all of the above mentioned, in other words ,I get the job done. Word to big Daddy Kane.

But chile.. it’s a struggle from the lady who is always asking me “is that shea butter?” 

“No. B!tch.  Its Chanel”.

Anyway.  Through out it all I have decided that I am going to dedicate a bit more time to writing and blogging.

I need the ability to vent. Though since my online and personal  identities are a bit more connected..  Im not sure how this will go.  Lets see.

Anyway.

Im back.  For  now at least.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Is it co-signing … o r nah?


So Floyd Mayweather decided to post the following on his facebook/twitter/instagram feed   
“How a female dresses is her advertisement. If a female shows half her body, she’s asking to be disrespected.  If she dresses classy, expect to be treated like a lady.  How you’re addressed lies on your attire. Sexy is a spirit not an outfit”.
I saw it first thing this morning but I had shit to do  and Mayweather isn’t really my cup of tea to begin with so I wasn’t surprised nor offended enough to engage.   In the midst of doing some social media stuff, I saw the post shared a couple of times through my news feed.  At this point,  I have seen it shared quite a bit, with several “I’m trying to tell yall ladies” comments attached from both men and women. 
 As a result, I have engaged in 2 discussions with fellow facebook sisters; each one making the case that we need to know and understand what and how we are being measured.  That  "no, it isn’t fair" but “it is what it is”.  And “we can want to be respected in whatever we choose to wear, but we can't expect that”.

I understand the concept.  Its better to prepare ourselves, to know what we are up against but I also feel like
Fuck that.
Im grown. I can wear whatever the hell I want.  What if my sexy spirit likes to put my  titties out for the world to see?  That entitles someone to disrespect me?  If what I eat don’t make you shit, how then does the way that I choose to dress MY body  affect YOUR moral character? How  does it make someone disrespectful?   My attire is really the basis on which one will decide to grant me human decency?  Really?  *insert random ni88a please GIF here*

In addition, I cant and shouldn’t expect MORE from men AND women?  And lets not even mention the very subjective nature of this subject.  What if I felt that my outfit was appropriately sexy and some random guy I don’t know has a low tolerance for “sexy” and decides my v neck blouse is grounds for disrespect?
Or if my jeans are a little to tight around the curve of my ass that gives someone the right to disrespect?  And the most common defense is  "well you know we are only talking about extreme cases".. but the truth is we aren’t.  
Why are we not recognizing how close this “dress how you want to be addressed” philosophy is to the “she asked for it” mentality of many rapists?  Why aren’t we discussing how  this mindset makes a woman  automatically responsible for her victimization as well as limits her rights to be and express herself however the hell she wants too?

Now no one is saying  that you have to like or agree with everyone's clothing decisions.  You can choose to engage a person or not based on their attire. That’s your  prerogative but  a persons attire does not give anyone the right to disregard their humanity.   It doesn’t remove a woman’s right to consent, to decency; or  to respect.  And Im sorry… passing it around as “that’s they way it is”  and not addressing the dangerous pathology .. is co-signing it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

What about me Harpo? A Plea for our Black Girls and Women

Yesterday,  I was on Facebook as usual.  My Facebook feed is a purposeful mix of like-minded and not so like-minded individuals.  I think it is important to know and understand both sides of an issue regardless of what side I take personally. This is often both a blessing and a curse, when it comes to my sanity and anger management issues.  In the midst of a “conversation” about Beyonce and her appeal; a male "e-friend" asked, “what exactly are black women faced with today?”  in an attempt to dismiss a point being made about the struggle black women face daily.  
On another unrelated thread about “man law”  a woman is berated for providing an opinion outside of the general consensus (but a sound and logical point nonetheless) and grown, educated, black men felt the need to tell her to “know her place”.
Most people in my social network know several things about me.  I am pro black, pro women, pro-across the board equality.  I proudly identify as a black feminist  (yes the “black” is necessary) and I am definitely pro "do your own damn thang"; as long as it doesn't hurt or infringe on others. Based on my pretty liberal social stance I have been in a lot of discussions, debates and flat out arguments via social media  and throughout them all  I have come to understand one sad and consistent fact.
Black women are out here alone.  As journalist Jim DeRogatis stated when speaking about R Kelly in a recent interview: “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women.  Nobody”.    Black women are hit from all angles.   We are the cause for the demise of the black family, we emasculate our men, we coddle our men. we keep them from becoming men.  We are single mothers and  single motherhood is the root cause of all  of the issues in the black community.  Yet we cant remedy the situation because black women cant get married.  Why?  because  black women are too busy being black women and that’s why we are single .  We are the generational curse.  We are consistently told how unattractive we are, not only to our own black men, but to the masses.  It is a million dollar business to “fix” black women because everyone knows that black women  are all f!cked up.   If we are educated and have standards we are “to full of ourselves and bitchy”.  If we are poor and proud we are ratchet and unworthy.  If we fall in the middle we are literally invisible.
We are expected to play every single position and require nothing in return.   As Zora Neal Hurston writes in my favorite novel “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as ah can see”.
We grow up in a world where how you dress determines your worth.  It determines whether you have the right to grant and deny privilege to your body.   WE live in a world where a “fast ass” 12 year old is more responsible for her own violation then the adult men that seek her out.
We live in a world where when a  black girl experiences  a rape , one of life’s most tragically common situations,  the FIRST thing most people ask is ‘where was her mother” and then “what was she doing to deserve this”.
This is a world where Eddie Long is a monster and R kelly is heralded as the king of R&B (for the record they are both monsters, don’t get it twisted).
Everyone has black women in their corner.  Black women can be anything except human, vulnerable and protected. We can demand respect and consideration for everyone except ourselves.    Im sure you have seen the internet video of the woman who stops a crowd from attacking a person perceived to be a skinhead by covering him with her own body.  Or the staged video where a barber brings his white girlfriend into the barber shop  and is attacked by a black stylist  and a black woman comes to the rescue of the white lady.
I don’t have an issue with any of these things. These women are not uncle toms, or coons, etc  for their actions but I cant help but wonder,how many times the opposite scenario played out?
Where are the videos that feature someone that  comes to the aid of the  black women who are harassed on the street daily?  Surely there are videos of  someone protecting and defending black women from that?  Oh that’s right.  Most people refuse to even classify that as harassment (It Is).    Where is the widespread support for  articles written in defense of black girls who grow up in terrible conditions, who are harassed daily for any and everything that we do and are victimized by a pathology  that tells us we deserve it because we are less than any other culture?  Where are the likes and shares and call to arms for those writings?  Hell, where are more of those writings?
Trayvon martin highlights the issues that surround being a young black man in America but we overlook the story of the young black woman.  Yes, you have to have a hard conversation with young black men to explain that they are seen as a threat; but we also have to have very hard and very real conversations with our daughters as well.
1 out of every 6 women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape.  93% of these victims will know their attacker.   And these are reported rates.   Do you know how often rape goes unreported?  Do you know how many times a child has been a victim of coerced sexual activity that they feel is their fault.  Do you understand that rape culture is dangerous for all women but prolific in the black community?  Where we commonly joke about how  women and girls need to dress to be addressed? This is a favorite meme and mantra because women, especially black women, don’t just deserve decency outright.   What about the conversation we have to have with our daughters about the pain and the hurt that will come once they reach puberty? When the prevailing standard of beauty tells them they are not enough. That their skin is too dark and their nose is to wide and their hair needs to be tamed and if they try to assimilate and meet the prevailing standard they will also deal with the issues that come from a broken people  and be called out for their self-hate.
We have to tell them how  their body and natural curves will draw unwanted attention.   We have to tell them that  the best way to avoid altercations is to give in to the street harassment that demands they smile and give their attention to men and boys that don’t deserve it.  We have to tell our daughters to “smile and play nice”  because if not they are likely to be attacked verbally and sometimes physically if they do not.  We have to tell them that once they are the recipient of that attack no one will defend them.  In fact the law, the media, and most everyone around them will reinforce the message that it is her own fault and “all she had to do was”  be nice.
We have to explain  to our daughters that they  must be diligent on dates and try their best not to give off “the wrong signal” because consent doesn’t come down to yes or no but a complicated game of charades that include how much was spent, what you wore, how you spoke, where you placed your hand, how much you smiled  and much  more.  Because society reinforces the lesson  that no, can and often does mean yes, simply because you are there.  In a world where no woman has the right to change her mind; we have to let our girls know that much like black men and boys who will  likely have an encounter with the law that will treat them unfairly; most of our black girls and women will have interactions with men that will leave them bruised, broken and confused.
We have to tell our daughters that although they are human and have wants and needs;  if they  ever decide to take control of their womanhood and declare full agency of their bodies they will be ridiculed, taunted and stamped as a ho.
We have to teach them that boys with broken hearts will share their secrets and their pictures all over the internet and that it is THEIR fault for providing them with that ammunition.  They will be outcast and the boys in the videos or who had “game” enough to gain access to the pictures will receive no such  backlash and in fact,  those guys well be applauded for their actions.
We have to teach our daughters that because our men have been so beaten down by the system that we have to stand by them, even though they continue to disappoint us by the memes, statuses and actions that prove that while they love us.. there is resentment there and we must be okay with that.  Never mind that we have resentment, that we too are beaten down by society.
And lastly we must discuss with our daughters that should they choose to love themselves enough to overcome all of these obstacles and still demand the  right to be whatever and whoever they want  and uphold that choice for all other women, the biggest adversaries will be the very women they are fighting for and yet we must teach them that they must fight  anyway.   We must teach them that despite that hurt and confusion they will experience and how alone they will sometimes feel, there are others that also feel like them, there are black women who are dedicated to creating safe places for women of color. Who fight alongside you, who will be your friend, your confident and your release.  There are black men who will fight alongside you who will love your independence and not see it as a threat, who understand that you OWE them nothing and will work hard to earn what they should not take .
We must build our black girls up to be black women who understand their plight but know that there is hope.  We must raise our black girls to be there for each other… because no one else will be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

the only

my poem was selected for Viral Voice's "poetry week". Check it out and go leave comment on the blog. leave one here as well. 

The blinding flash of truth
Exposed you as something other than mine
Your hands, once my only place of solace
Now my only source of pain
My mind retreats,
Trying to see the world as I used to
Bright sounds, and flashing colors
Instead of the stark whiteness
Wanting to wrap myself in the comfort of lies
Wishing I could go back in the matrix
But this isn’t a movie
 And there’s no Red or green pill
No happy endings or
A knight on white horse
There is only silence
Only  you and I
Moving around each other
Planets whose orbits are now unaligned
Floating with no center
Gravity pulling me crashing to the ground
F!ck a rollercoaster
A natural disaster is more apt
It was only natural that we were together
And it was your nature that broke us apart
I sit in shambles of nothingness
Trying to catch the bits and pieces of what was
Attempting to piece together the crumbling pieces Of our foundation
There is no FEMA for broken hearts
NO disaster relief for lost love
Only questions and uncertainty
The realization that ignorance might not be bliss
But a whole hell of a lot better than this
The alien feeling of something once second in nature
There is no longer peace in US
No longer forever in your eyes
Or home in  your touch..
there is no longer us
only
you and I

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Foolishness: didnt your mother teach you better?

Friday foolishness… Didn’t your mother teach you better?




Yall, Look I don’t do internet beef and arguing.

Mainly for 1 reason, where im from we fight.

And that means that I am careful about how I approach people with whom I disagree and what I say when disagreeing.

I give respect until you disrespect me in all instances.

Why? Because I have both been popped and popped a muthaf!cka in the mouth for coming at me wrong.

You learn from those experiences. Which is why when I see these peeps online that pride themselves on “going In” and “going hard” on people via the internet I smh.

Because I know for a fact that these people “aint bout that life” in real life.

I was raised don’t say anything you would want someone to say to you and don’t hit anyone unless you are prepared to be hit back.

So imagine my surprise when this past week during a discussion on the role the school system plays in the education of a child some random ass chick decides to come at me sideways.

The disagreement was simple, I think that parents should reinforce and assist with the formal education of a child but that the school is the primary resource for formal instruction.

Several tweeters felt like the parent and other outside resources should be the primary resource.

I agreed to disagree and this chick tells me “she feels sorry for my child that they aren’t being taught at home”. It went downhill from there.

Now I don’t follow her she was just a part of the discussion I was having. So I don’t know her MO, nor do I care

My issue is that as a grown ass educated woman, I know how to disagree. I don’t hit below the belt or get personal because there is no need but I swear that at the end of our exchange, I was pissed the f1ck off.

Why because I knew that this chick is getting her life off of these type of interactions, that she has developed a following and made a name for herself by being “that bitch” when in real life “that bitch” is a lame scared little girl hiding behind a keyboard.

Also as a person with a masters degree in the dozens and prolific vocabulary of profanity resorting to either of those things would have made me look like a fool so I had to refrain.

And I hate refraining.



Because in a discussion about education and learning

I think displaying actual intelligence served me better.

And I hate that shyt. Cause I love the opportunity to be ignant.

Smh ….



Monday, September 10, 2012

That Awkward moment when......

Ok, I have been at my new job a little over a year. My manager is/was a crazy lady nearing retirement that really was all about retirement. My last meeting we spent about 3 minutes talking about my development and the rest of the time discussing her liking for “young’uns” and how she use to get it in when she was younger.


While discussing a new business proposal with a big prospective client she literally fell asleep on the call for 20 minutes.

Over the weekend my manager died.

We weren’t close, she wasn’t my favorite manager but she was aight. I find it sad that she was so looking forward to a new chapter in her life that she will never get to see.

I am sad for her friends and relatives.

I am sad about the fact that while I didn’t always agree with her methods I knew what to expect from her and now I have to learn all over again with someone new.

And then I came in to work today. And that’s when it started. All of the people looking at me , at her team expecting something?

What I don’t know. Tears? Outbursts? A dance off? Im not sure but I know its been awkward as hell.

The soft voices, the offering of unneeded Kleenex.

The faked and forced camaraderie of it all that was compounded by the fact that the systems have been down all morning so I had no way to block it out.

I don’t want to sound mean but gotdayum.

Sigh.

And then they brought in lunch and forced us to sit in a room while our director tried desperately to find something to talk about and ended up with 9/11.

Yes. Really.

And then when he finished we sat in awkward silence till the grief counselor came in.

I just couldn’t take it. Like I told him, I just want to go home. Im tired, Im already socially awkward, I don’t deal well with emotion and I wasn’t close to my manager,Hell Im not even close to my team. Some of my teammates have worked with her for years. 3 people have worked with her 10+ years.

They are grieving im sitting here trying not to look at them and feeling guilty for my lack of grief. Im frustrated and tired of people touching me and the soft voices and the awkward silence that follows the “how are you doing” When I answer “fine”.

Im just here.

Feeling a ton of awkward and weird and uncomfortable.

I feel the grief of everyone around me pressing down and I cant sympathize and my frustration at being forced to feel like I should feel some kind of way is preventing me from empathizing.



*sigh* and then I decide to leave for the day because I don’t want to deal with it anymore and out of habit I email my manager.



The return out of office message is both eerie and surreal.

this is probably disjointed and full of all type of spelling and grammatical errors.

imma just say my bad and chalk it up to the 7.5th stage of grief which is awkward stream of consciousness blog writing.