Sunday, July 26, 2015
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Shamelessly stolen from SBG. Because, writer's block.
1. Are you privy to a secret about a famous person? Do you read gossip about famous people in magazines or online?
I am. Quite a few actually. But no one else will ever know them. I really don’t read gossip. I used to. Lost much of my appetite for made up, snarky stories about strangers.
2. Do you know of a co-worker, friend or neighbor who is currently having an affair? Are you having an affair?
I do. And I really wish I didn’t know. I don’t wanna be involved in any way. I am not. And would not.
3. Have you ever had a secret that made you the subject of gossip?
I have. Although technically, it wasn’t my secret. It was my SO’s at the time. I was just helping keep it because, love. And dumb.
4. Do you like hearing gossip? What kind interests you most, e.g. sexual behavior, drug use, lying, betrayal, etc.?
Nah. I really don’t want to know or be involved in gossip or the types of things people tend to gossip about. I will admit to getting a kick out of hearing about the new and inventive ways karma has bitten someone in the ass though.
5. Do you pass gossip on when you hear it?
Nope. Because passing it makes me involved to a level that I don’t want. I tend to be a vault. And that’s why people tell me things.
6. Do you consider telling your spouse or partner to be consistent with a promise not to tell? Is he or she trustworthy with secrets?
I don’t. If someone asks me not to tell anyone, that generally includes my partner for me. If they don’t ask, I might share it with my partner if it’s relevant. But I also tend to date people who practice discretion, so it’s never caused any problems. My only bae is Jesus, so yes, he is trustworthy.
Bonus: What is one private thing that you would like to know about someone?
I really wanna know if someone is down with something I’d like to proposition them with. But I really don’t need to know the answer. No good can come of it. Lol
Well, that’s not true. Some good can come of it. A lot of good, actually. But it’s still a terrible idea. Lol
I’d also really like to know how someone actually felt about me. Because what I thought it was, it wasn’t.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
I first found out I was black when I was about 8. To be fair, I knew that I was black before then, but I didn’t know that it meant anything. Certainly nothing bad.
But it was at 8 when, upon meeting me, the parent of one of the friends I’d made at my very exclusive, very white private school looked at me in shock that someone their kid had grown fond of, with a name as plain and “acceptable” as mine, was also a little black girl with unruly ponytails and penny brown skin. I don’t know what happened after my friend was hustled into their waiting car, but I do remember we didn’t seem to play as much after that.
There weren’t many invites for sleepovers or birthday parties. And there was the assertion, at that same school many years later, that I had to have cheated on a science test because “you people usually aren’t this good at science.” There was the time I wrote a paper so good that my teacher was sure I plagiarized it, because she couldn’t believe that I was smart enough to write it. It wasn’t until a black teacher’s aide I’d had the year before came to my defense that the ‘A’ I’d earned was allowed to stand. All these years later, I still remember the stinging humiliation of it. It would be years before I ever wrote another thing for pleasure.
In high school, there was the time someone assumed I was a janitor. And when an employee followed me around a store I’d just been hired to work in to make sure I didn’t steal. There was the time when leaving a club, a cop assumed I was a hooker, not just a college student trying to get home. There was the time when leaving my job in a wealthy part of D.C. late one night when a cop pulled over to question me, and wouldn’t believe I was just leaving work until some of my white coworkers also left and vouched for me.
Being black in America is being followed in your own neighborhood and called a nigger bitch by a group of white boys in a pickup truck adorned with a rebel flag. Being black in America is being pulled over on the side of the road in southern Georgia while on a road trip with your mother. Being escorted from the car and questioned at its back bumper about whether or not you’re running drugs for your boyfriend. It’s being asked if you’ll consent to a search of your rental car, as two more cop cars pull up. It’s the flippant remark over a uniformed shoulder when they realize there’s no wrongdoing here that you “sure are pretty for a colored girl.”
It’s being followed in stores, and the assumption that you’re the secretary or that you can’t afford anything in the expensive store you’re shopping in. It’s strangers asking to touch your hair, and waiting on pins and needles for white people you love that you know love you to say something off color about a black issue and you never again being able to regain the full warmth you once had for them. It’s people assuming you have children and being shocked when you don’t, and telling you how articulate you are. Being black in America is watching the news and feeling scared and helpless and stricken and having your racial PTSD reinforced for you.
As I watch the coverage of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, trying to choke back tears and still work, I wonder how I am to exist and function in this white space of work, of the world, all while recognizing that there is no safe haven for me and for my blackness. I wonder how I could, in good conscience, bring a child into a world knowing that their skin is a target on their back. It is why I will never support the Rachel Dolezal’s of the world and people like her who use blackness as a cloak or costume or convenience.
Because being black in America is a great joy and a great burden that I cannot take off at my leisure. It is a responsibility and a reckoning. It is the idea that even as you exist, you can become a martyr. It is the recognition that even as you walk the land of a country grown from soil stained with the blood of your ancestors, you are not a citizen. That you cannot live the full breadth of human emotions in public, lest you be gaslighted or arrested or murdered. Being black in America is knowing that even the aisles of your house of worship can run red with your own blood.
And that there’s nothing you can do about a country where blackness is the enemy.
Friday, May 15, 2015
I am often consumed by the desire to lay waste to my life and start it over again. I don't mean some overly dramatic Eat, Pray, Love kinda reset. I don't see me setting fire to my world just to watch the flames. But sometimes in the morning, when I turn the key in the lock on my door, I imagine that this might be the last time I do it. That I could, if I really wanted to, leave this apartment full of things in this city that I love and simply walk into a new life.
The thing about growing up not really moored to anything, is that you recognize that you can always leave. You can start over; you will start over. You'll cry and you'll mourn and you'll miss, but you'll also rebuild and adjust and move on. You'll wake up and the life you had that you so earnestly, so dearly loved will earn a collective shrug. You'll get up and make coffee and go about your day. You'll be fine.
It's a precarious sort of being present and itching to make a break for it; the way your heart forms attachments but your head says, "You can leave this too." It's an unfairness really, to you who needs a rock even if you don't need an anchor; to those who try to show up and be present for you.
Being is a skill. Staying is a skill. And if you don't know what it means to be, to belong to something or someone or somewhere other than yourself, it's hard to ever learn it. When you have spent your life turning inward, fixing and mending yourself, self-soothing, you are especially ill equipped at forming the attachments that might help heal you in this way you don’t always recognize you are broken. You are whimsy. You are wind. You move through the world as if you belong to no one. Because you don't know how.
It's how you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this life you've built, you could leave. It’s why you have such a hard time connecting. Why you forget things other people hold dear. Why people find you warm, but distant. It's why the people in your life don't totally trust you; they see you eyeing the exit even when you don't realize that you are.
I fantasize all the time about leaving my life and starting a new one. And I'm really trying to stop.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I couldn't figure out why today was bothering me. It's just a Tuesday. Nothing significant or even insignificant happens on Tuesdays. Tuesday is neither here nor there. Tuesday is meh.
But it kept nagging at me, an ever-so-slight twinge in my gut anytime I saw the date. It's that feeling I used to not be able to name; that feeling that things were slightly askew, sliding off balance, but the tilt was so subtle I could hardly perceive it.
It didn't hit me until later, as I was stressing and muttering to myself while moving some meetings around on my calendar why I felt so uneasy all day; it’s your birthday.
I choose to gloss over what it means that my spirit still knows your birthday even when my mind is paying it no attention. It's better that way, probably.
If this was six years ago, I know what we'd be doing. We'd be packing and we'd be heading some place we'd never been. Probably somewhere with a beach, with you needing the sunshine and me needing the water. We'd be plotting on what to do and how to get around and where we were going to eat. We'd be excited and anxious checking in constantly; did you pack sunscreen (me)? Who's gonna smuggle the shorties on the plane (you)?
We'd both be planning dates the other would love in celebration of our birthdays barely a week apart. And we'd be trying to one up each other, because it's always a competition. We'd be staying up too late and talking about our plans.
We'd be talking, at least.
We aren’t talking. And we aren't who we were six years ago. We might not have ever been. And we aren't going anywhere. And we probably never were.
But we were dumb, stupid in love, weren't we?
It kills me to feel like I'm not sure of the answer to that anymore.
I want to call. I want to call because not talking is new for us. Because birthdays are important to us, and because whether or not you'll admit, all day you'll be wondering if I might. And you'll be disappointed when I don't. And it won't ruin your day- I don't have that power anymore- but it'll sit, quiet and small in the corner as you celebrate, and you'll glance over it at least once right before you go to sleep.
I won't call. Because I shouldn't. Because it's done. And it's the right thing to do, even if it's not what I want.
Instead I stop by the liquor store on the way home. And I sit out on my patio in the twilight sending you love and light and hoping you feel it, listening to My Cherie Amor and taking deep, shuddering breaths rather than crying.
We are hole-in-the-wall restaurants and we are cheese fries. We are Baltimore and the life we never had in LA and kisses on a street car in Memphis. We are a silly shorthand language only we know and love letters and AIM messages and slow sex against the wall in a darkened stairwell. We're a CD where every song says my name. We're strip clubs in Yonkers and tiny clubs with dope music in Chicago. We are turkey burgers with the plastic still on and slow dancing in the kitchen to Stevie Wonder.
We are done.
I unload my brown paper bag from the liquor store, and line shorties of the rum we used to drink on the altar of the railing like an offering. I shoot them all back to back without taking a breath in between. The taste is less familiar when not mingled with your tongue and your cloves and your Chapstick.
I look at the empty bottles, the last vestiges of sunlight shining through their emptiness. I arrange them just so and look at them until it's dark out. And then I knock them over on my way back inside.
Yet another shrine I erected that feels like ruins.