Friday, February 26, 2010

Read a Book

Today in glaringly obvious understatements: I was an excellent English student as a child. My love of the written word came directly from my love of reading. I absolutely loved to read. I didn't think it was uncool or not fun. Fiction was a means by which to escape; history a conduit to self discovery. I devoured books in school. (I still do.) If a particular book peaked my interest, I was done with it within a few hours. (I actually still read alarmingly fast. But I don't speed read. I refuse to miss a single word. And I retain about 90% of it for years afterwards.) I was (am) absolutely insatiable when it came to learning. I wanted to know everything for myself. I remember once reading the Bible cover to cover just because I wanted to make sure that what I was being told was right. (And we see how that worked out.)

When I reached middle and high school and my reading and writing skills surpassed that of my peers, started taking advanced classes and got exposed to even more outside my little bubble of southwest Atlanta. My teachers (whom I am forever indebted to) started challenging me a bit more; my papers had to be longer, better written, more extensively supported than that of my peers. The subjects had to be more difficult, more complex, my stances more nuanced than your typical high schooler. (In the eleventh grade I had to write a paper on Henry David Thoreau and civil disobedience, whether or not it was a viable theory to apply to the gentrification of my hood. And a paper in twelth grade about the origins of Christianity and whether or not the Bible was evidence enough to justify slavery, female subjugation, and persecution of homosexuals. Makes a nigga miss a book report, don't it?)

The thing that reading, and subsequently writing, gave me was a very firm grasp on critical thinking. I couldn't get away with half ass points or unsubstantiated claims. I couldn't argue my point without fully researching it, truly understanding the scope of the question presented to me.

One of the best exercises I ever did as both a reader and a writer was my ninth grade year in an Honors English class. The first week of school, my teacher gave us a paragraph to read. After we read this paragraph we had to write down what we thought it meant. We shared what everyone in the small class thought it meant, and then we passed in our paper. Every month, for the rest of the school year, we reread that paragraph, wrote down our interpretation, discussed them and passed them in.

At the end of the year, when all of my interpretations were handed back to me, I had nine very different interpretations of the very same paragraph.

I never forgot that lesson.

I have tried as best I can to carry that lesson into adulthood. I have applied it not only to my work but to my interactions with friends and colleagues. It has served me well in not only expressing myself, but respecting and learning from other people's viewpoints. I try to keep in mind that not everyone interprets the paragraph the same way.

That being said, I can't help but wonder sometimes...

WTF did you niggas learn in school?!

I cannot bear to read the news or blogs or discussion in chat rooms or watch TV anymore. I simply cannot live this way. I have been blogging for five years, I have come in contact with countless bloggers, real life writers, journalists etc, and I can tell you a few very important things I have learned from this new foray into social media;


1. Not everyone should have a voice.
No really. Just because you have something to say doesn't mean you should say it. Ever. To anyone. You shouldn't even write them in your journal. Especially if said journal is kept online. You think that what you have to say is profound and intelligent but in fact it makes me wonder just how much moonshine your mother drank while nursing you.

2. Some opinions are wrong.
I recognize that you have been taught since elementary school that by their very nature, opinions cannot be wrong. That is a lie. An opinion can in fact be so flagrantly erroneous that you laugh out loud if only to keep from curling up in the fetal position and weeping. Don't believe me? Evidence.

3. Some questions are stupid.
Again, elementary thought tells you this isn't true, but as a grown up you will discover that is simply not true. Stupid questions include:
"Where is his birth certificate?"
"Does your hair hurt when it grows out of your head that way?" (which is a true life question a white girl asked me about my naturally curly hair)

Plan accordingly.

4. Just because you "know" big words does not mean you are a writer.
On this, I will admit my bias. I write. I went to school with writers. I know some of the most talented writers that you don't know. So when I read absolute foolishness in mainstream publications and then hear about how these incredibly talented wordsmiths can't get their work green lit, it makes me want to drink myself into a coma. Let's be clear; knowing how to work the thesaurus function in W.ord does NOT make you a writer. Nor does (almost) knowing how to use the King's English. THAT'S WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!

5. The internet should require an IQ test and psychological exam before you can use it.
Look no further than the comment section on, well, any website. It doesn't matter who's website, its the same in the comments for news organizations, gossip blogs, or political tomes. It doesn't matter if it's a heartwarming story about how a fluffy puppy wrapped itself around an injured kitten during a snowstorm to save it. SOMEone, SOMEwhere is going to have the most profoundly ignorant, offensive shit to say. And they are given an even larger platform to spread such vile sentiment and link up with other bottom feeding creatures because of Al Gore's creation. The internet should be a privilege. You trolls are on punishment.

It happens to even the most well intentioned people. They hear certain catch phrases...

... racism
... republican
... gay
... feminist
... Christianity

...and just stop listening. There are plenty of debates raging in blogosphere but little to no listening and zero to negative critical thinking. No one has any actual evidence to support their batshit crazy theories or staunch personal convictions. No one has done any research or digging or soul searching to see how and why they came to such conclusions. And yet, EVERYONE is right. Because everyone has been validated by a little bit of internet gangsta.

And I can't.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good debate. Not for the sake of debating, but because the discourse has taught me so much, especially if talking to someone who knew more than me about a particular subject. I like asking questions. I like stirring the pot and then sitting back to listen and soak up some knowledge.

That is to say, I know when to shut the fuck up and let the big kids play.

I would enjoy it, very, extremely, alot of much, if some people on the internet would learn the same.

And in the meantime, read a book, niggas.



*jumping down off soapbox*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You Make me So..

We have plans tonight.

I go hard for a man who takes control, y'all.
But I've already made plans with my bottom bitch to hang out and drink wine and talk shit.

I can't. I have plans.
Can you reschedule?
You should have let me know sooner. But I'm not cancelling on my girl.
I understand :-(



However serendipitous though, inside the hour, my girl has flaked and I am texting him back.

Come and get me.

I hope he intuited the suggestive invitation, like I intend.

I've barely clasped my earrings before he is at my door, filling the space with his big frame, smiling down at me and smelling like Burberry Touch, scientifically proven to make my panties slide to the floor of their own accord. I take him in, raking him over with my eyes from head to toe; his sapphire eyes and wide smile, olive skin stretched smooth over broad shoulders. But he's all suited up. And in jeans, I am underdressed.

"You did NOT tell me I needed to dress up!"
"You don't. You look great. I just haven't changed yet from work."
"Uh... Peter... you're a teacher. An elementary school teacher. I KNOW you didn't wear this to work on a Friday."

He blushes, all cute and sheepish, his dimple caving in.

"I just wanted you to think I was handsome."


You could try to tell me that men aren't just as emotional and needy as women, but I wouldn't believe you, lol.


After I change we head to his car, the leather on his seats grabbing my bottom of my dress and pulling it up a little further towards indecency. I giggle.

"What's so funny?"
"Leather seats always pull up my dresses and remind me of this verse on this T.I. song-"
"With the plush leather guts steady grippin' the butt," he finishes for me. I look at him seven kinds of incredulous.
"I can't with you, white boy. What part of the game is this?"

He just smiles at me, that beautiful, cocky smile and I turn my face towards the window so he doesn't see me liking it.

He turns up the volume of the music at my requests as to where we are going. Part of me is a little irritated that he is ignoring my question; I don't like that shit. But part of me is curious if he is as cute as he thinks I think he is.
I think so.

Barely ten minutes later he pulls over on the side of the road, with no discernable destination in sight. I'm not nervous or anything, I am just real... aware.

"What are you doing?"
"Gotta get something out of the trunk."

I am the paranoid type so I will share with only you that I was already unclicking my seatbelt and unlocking my door just in case. I don't play those kinda games. Before I can run in the opposite direction screaming though, he places a bouquet of flowers on my lap. A beautiful spread of mixed color calla lilies, which are my favorite. I smile despite myself.

"I love lilies. But you didn't have to do that. They're just gonna die."
"Flowers? Oh, I didn't buy you flowers. They are just holding the more important part of the present."

I look down at the bouquet again, noticing for the first time that it is slightly heavier than it should be. And then I see why...

He's tied a string with a tiny bottle of rum across the stems. I laugh for the next fifteen minutes while he continues driving.


We valet at one of my favorite hotel bars downtown, the cavernous room somehow made more intimate by the dim lights and plush furnishings. We sink down on a couch, our sides seemingly fused together, me tucked under his arm, drinking and talking, feeding each other and giggling. I think we are winding down for the evening when he tells me we have one more spot to go to. Hand in hand, we walk to one of my favorite jazz spots in town, music streaming out of the windows and wrapping us up in the chords.

We dance our way upstairs after getting more drinks, braving the crisp air so that we can enjoy the skyline. He is behind me, his arms draped around my waist, his chin hooked in the curve of my neck, filling up my space with his body heat and his cologne. And I am... comfortable. I do so enjoy his company.
And him.

We sway in time to the melodies floating on the air coming from the live band, murmuring to each other in the hushed tones usually reserved for people who have been far more intimate than we. But it feels so...
Natural.

We dance slowly, but like we have been dancing forever, my eyes closed as to block out anything other than the music. One song ends and then another, each an unnamed melody that blends with the one before it and the one after. Somehow, everything manages to feel still but us. For a moment I think that if I reach out my hand I will be able to touch the minutes hanging suspended in mid-air. After a long while, tangled up in him that way, I hear a song I recognize even though the lyrics do not accompany it.

There is only one for me
You have made that a possibility
We could take that step to see
If this is really gonna be
All you gotta do is say yes

Peter pulls me closer, his head on top of my hair, his hands travelling up and down the expanse of my back. I feel equal parts calm and frightened; calm because I like this feeling, frightened because I know what comes next.

"It's true you know," he says to me, without lifting his head.
"What?"
"All you'd have to do is say yes."

I sigh. I always end up back here. Always end up right back in what I am not looking for. And if I am honest, I am tired of just ending up in things. I'd like, for once, to walk into things clear headed and whole.

If I am even more honest, well, I am not immune to the intoxication of this feeling. I just have to decide if the drunkenness of this moment, if giving myself over to it, is worth the hangover tomorrow.

But just for the right then, just for the rest of the song, I just let it be what it was...


All you gotta do is say yes

Don't deny what you feel let me undress you baby
Open up your mind and just rest
I'm about to let you know you make me so

...hoping to postpone tomorrow for as long as tonight would allow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Married, Filing Jointly?

Seriously, I hate this time of year. And before y'all try to play me like I don't like it because Valentine's Day is coming up and I'm single, kill yourself. That's not why. I am not one of those single people. Maybe because I actually enjoy being single rather than just saying that until some man comes along that makes me abandon my friends, my interests and generally my own identity, I don't begrudge anyone their happiness. I think its cute to see couples all giggly and googly eyed. Certainly anyone who knows what that feels like wouldn't want to keep someone from that.

In short, I ain't that bitter single bitch.

But really though, there is something about this time of the year that reminds me that I am, apparently, a failure in life. That always lets me know that no matter how hard I am grinding, no matter how much life I am living, no matter how much I am accomplishing and achieving, I really ain't shit.

And that time, ladies and gentleman, is tax season.

Seriously though, why does the government hate me? No, really. If you are single, childless, and don't own a home, you are invisible during this season. You don't exist. The government doesn't give you tax breaks, accountants don't market their services to you, hell online services don't even bother charging you for your tax return; it's just too damn easy.

You know, cuz you have nothing to show for your life.
In short, you're unpatriotic.

Or something.


It's as though everything is designed to make you want to marry and pop bubble headed baby seals outta your poor uterus and buy houses you can't afford that have lawns you don't want to mow. And if you DON'T do those things, well, you get punished. And God forbid that, like me, you have more than one job. I was actually punished this year for working TOO hard...

...to the tune of a little over $400.


For my sad, pathetic, little single person bank account, that's ALOT away from my tax return! Wtf?!


Let me get this straight...

You won't let me claim my dog as a dependent? (What? That bitch gotta eat everyday and go to the doctor just like I do. And if you think for a second that I am eating lamb on a regular basis like she is, YOU'RE HIGH.)
I can't deduct my shoes as a medical expense. (What?! God shouldn't have made me short.)
And because I have NO desire to be a homeowner I get NOTHING? (For real though, I am more apt to sleep with a contractor than be in any way interested in paying them to fix my house. Sex is free! And fun {when it's safe. Wrap it up.}!)


This is some bullshit.


So as if it wasn't bad enough that I have to sit through countless pop culture assaults on my choices, baby showers with no liquor, and weddings that will be over before they pay off the credit card bills, even the GOVERNMENT is playing the role of my mother and wanting me to get married and start breeding?


Can you let me live?!


I sat here today, looking at my tax return, wondering if I have done things right with my life. Sure, I've made it to 25 with no baby daddies and no divorces. I've travelled and achieved and made friends and networked and drank and relaxed and eaten and loved and lost and everything else. But seriously, is it all for nothing?


The IRS certainly seems to think so.

I get it. I do. Everything is designed so that we procreate and propogate the species. Science and biology and all that. And it seems as though the break neck pace at which everyone needs to "accomplish" the husband/wife/kids/house thing is speeding up year after year. Before you know it, people are going to start having joint high school graduation/bridal showers.

So I recognize that anything I do outside of what is considered the norm, will garner me the confused head tilt. You know the one; where you tell someone you are single/unmarried/childless and they tilt their head to the side, their eyes all soft and sympathetic, they probably pat your arm patronizingly and say, "Oh it will happen for you."


No thank you, Stepford hoe.


In theory, I understand it all. But I would be lying if I said that, for a moment there, looking at my tax return, lamenting once again my lack of achievement in God and the IRS' eyes this year, I wondered if I was doing the right things with my life.


Then I remembered that, if I want to, I can blow the whole damn thing on Sephora, shoes, and strippers.


And all was right in the world again.

:-)




p.s. The only reason I even got a return is because of the astronomical payments I make towards my student loans. It seems like a cruel joke; I pay Sallie too much, she bends me over without dinner or proper lubrication and I get a couple hundred bucks afterwards. Gtfoh.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bulletproof

Here are some things you might not know about me...

- I am 25.
- I have a college degree from the HBCU better than all others.
- Said degree was obtained in 4 years... but it should have taken me 6.
- I have no children. None. Just a dog.
- I have never been married.
- I have a good job at a name brand company, and a part time job to fund my dreams. In short, I hustle.
- And, to put it plainly, I'm BAD. Five star. Cold. "Fine... fine as all outdoors."

So there you go.

Now why am I the only one that recognizes that most of that shit doesn't matter when it comes to finding a mate?

We are becoming our bullet points. And it is ridiculous. It is not a male thing, or a female thing. EVERYONE is falling for this bullshit. It's happened to all of us; you meet a person at  bar/concert/church/party and before you can say their name aloud three times to remember it, they are telling you all about their resume.

And if you are anything like me, you don't give a shit.

Personally, I am over bulletpoint niggas. You don't get a gold star because you have a job. You don't get a pat on the head because you went to college. You don't get a cookie because you didn't get some off brand hoe you met in a club knocked up.

Listen very carefully...

YOU ARE NOT A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX. YOU ARE NOT AN ANOMALLY IN NATURE. YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. YOU DO NOT GET SPECIAL TREATMENT. NIGGA, THAT'S WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

You don't get extra credit for doing the LEAST of things.

I know, baby mamas and unemployment is rampant. And more than a few dudes don't have cars, let alone a safe, reliable mode of transportation, and are more than happy to set up permanent residence in their mama's basement. However, being outside of that group does not make you The Golden Child. It means you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Grab your nuts and go that way.

Women are just as guilty. You've done it, your friends have done it, hoes are doing it all over the damn internet; running down their degrees and their jobs and their homes and their trips and shit as though this makes them a better person. Rolling out the laundry list of requirements they have for a mate that has nothing, ABSOLUTELY NO THING to do with how that man will treat you, who he is, what his personal constitution entails.

Let's be perfectly clear; we are not our resumes. Where I work, what I look like, says nothing about my character. It speaks to nothing that would make me a suitable mate.

And what kills me is, WE ALL KNOW THAT.

Most of us have dated Guy Who is Great on Paper. I certainly have. Don't believe me? Search the archives.

But here's the thing; so many of these men are ONLY good on paper. They are not loyal, they are not kind or funny or generous or thoughtful or adventurous or spiritual or intelligent or family oriented or ANY of the things that would contribute to building a happy, healthy, fruitful life together. Most of the men in my life, platonic and otherwise, have been college educated, with a good job, and no kids and blah blah blah. And trust that it's real talk when I tell you that degree does NOTHING to make them more faithful or emotionally available. Having a good job is not synonymous with being ready to commit. Not having children does not mean he is responsible. More often than not it means the nigga is LUCKY.

I say it all the time, and you won't believe me because you don't know me. But the people who are in my everyday life know better; I would spend my life with the janitor of an elementary school if it meant that he would love me for the rest of this life. Does that mean that our obvious economic status wouldn't cause us issues at some point? Probably not. Does it mean that there is a chance that we might not like the same things or be interested in the same cultural pursuits? Maybe. I'm not that naive. But at the end of the day, fuck my degree and my car and my job and my dog and all the stamps in my passport. Will you take this walk with me, even if it means that sometimes it is so bad that we have to crawl?

THAT is who I want.

It really is great when you find someone who has similar life experiences as you because in many ways, they can relate to who you are and what your life is about. I've always maintained that if I could build my perfect man he would be a childless black guy from a 2 parent household from Atlanta, have gone to an HBCU Howard, probably work in broadcast or entertainment like I do, and never have met a sporting match he didn't want to watch (outside of tennis; can't fuck with it). Let's not even mention the fact that I would adore it if he were at least a foot larger than me (I'm tiny) and I would love it if his shoulders were as wide as the horizon.

But in reality, NOT possessing those things is not a good enough reason to disqualify a man who is otherwise prepared to give me all the things I want and need.

So please stop doing it.
Please.

Thus far, I have lived a fairly bulletproof life. And I encourage you to do the same. You never know, if you stopped allowing yourself to get shot up, walking around wounded by these men you have NO business being with in the first place, you might even live long enough to find what it is that you are looking for.