Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Codependent

The thing about being my mother’s daughter is it is never NOT about being her daughter.


There have been stretches of time, sometimes even significant, where I can convince myself that I have carved out a space for my own life that does not coexist with hers. But, like any good, codependent relationship, this is pretty much impossible.

I have a theory, the details of which I have not quite yet fully worked out, about young, single parents and how their relationship with their children bears the brunt of the stunted emotional growth. I.e. if, like me, you have a parent preoccupied with people leaving them, they will do everything in their power, consciously or subconsciously, to make sure that you never can. No matter how this might affect you.

There is a thing that happens to a child when it recognizes that it is not planned for. Not that its conception wasn’t planned for; this is a different thing entirely. But rather, that everything that comes after that is a secondary consideration, if a consideration at all. That its adjustment/well-being is not the paramount consideration. That it has been told all the things it should do, but that no one has made the appropriate concessions or provisions to make sure that it has the means to accomplish them. The child learns to put itself second to work, to other people, to anything really because, after all, how does it feel worthy of even being considered, if it never has been?

Really, this is all a very eloquent way of trying to understand what I don’t understand. Why, at 27, our relationship is this way. Why I can easily trace back the roots of our issues, but not how to sever them. Why there is not a clear, easy path to do what is healthy and helpful.

It is easy to say all those things. Because it is not easy to say that I am angry. Angry that I’ve spent so much time catering and tending to her. Angry that so much of my childhood was about her and her issues. Angry that even now, my life can’t seem to stutter step forward, without hers falling apart and getting in the way. Angry that I still feel such a misplaced obligation to step in and help fix it, to shoulder burdens that are not mine, to take less than just so that she is not alone.

And, despite general consensus that I might actually be a good mom, that I don’t even know where to begin to break this cycle, and I can’t do this to another child. So I am angry that, once again, what happens in my life is predicated by what has been wrought in hers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Judgment of Kim Kardashian

We are all prone to judging. It is our way as humans. And really, no matter what commonly espoused clichés would have you believe, there is nothing wrong with using your judgment.

Some of y'all are taking it too far though.


This has never been more apparent than this morning on Twitter watching you people discuss Kim Kardashian’s engagement. Opinions ranged between shock at the ostentatiousness of the ring (20 carats?!?!) to raised eyebrows at how long they had been dating (6 months?!?!) before settling firmly on the train of thought that I take the most issue with: that Kim Kardashian doesn’t deserve a 20 carat ring/marriage/love because she once made a sex tape with her boyfriend that was made public.

Get the entire fuck out of here.

Some people were kidding. And really, my Twitter timeline is all about the comedy. But some people were categorically NOT joking.

Isn’t this what we do to women? Tell them they must be a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed. But don’t talk about that freaky stuff. You HAVE to swallow/take it up the ass/have a threesome/buy a sex swing to keep your man because what you don’t do for him someone else will. But don’t actually like it. If you do, you’re not a woman endeavoring to keep a man happy, which should be your ultimate goal. Then, you’re just a whore. Don’t be a virgin because no one wants to deflower you and deal with all that emotional responsibility because as a woman, you must be reduced to a pile of poetry writing, infatuation fighting, love song wailing feelings at giving your most precious flower with a man.  Besides, you need to have the sex skills of a porn star to keep your man happy. But don’t hone those sex skills over too many partners because then you’re easy. And for God’s sake, DON’T BE HONEST WITH YOUR PARTNER ABOUT YOUR SEXUAL HISTORY! And CERTAINLY don't demand your sexual endeavors actually please or satisfy you.

It’s ridiculous. You “need” to do all of these “whorish” things to keep a man, but only in secret. Because if anyone finds out or- Gasp! Shock! Awe! - you actually enjoy it, then you are clearly a dirty, worthless slut with more miles run through your vagina than I-10.

This has always been the problem I have with critics of Kim Kardashian and whatever or whoever she's doing. Keep the criticism valid; say she can’t sing. Or that she sometimes appears more than a bit vapid and self absorbed. Or that she has made a name for herself trading in sexy with the kind of body shape that has caused Black, and to a lesser extinct Hispanic women, to be deemed “too ethnic” in Hollywood for years (though that isn’t really her fault).

But don’t try to convince me that because you can pay $29.99 to watch her give lackluster head to her ex-boyfriend that somehow she is no longer deserving of being someone’s girlfriend, fiancĂ©, or wife.

I am always interested in the criteria that people have for what a wife “should” be, how she “should” act, how she should have behaved herself before marriage, in order to be considered “marriage material”. It’s all bullshit. And what disturbs me is that so many people, men and women, buy into these “ideals” of how a woman should conduct herself, further blindly participating in the patriarchy.
There is a glaring double standard here. The same men that would high five Ray J for mounting Kim’s massive ass from the back, are the same ones hollering about how she doesn’t “deserve to be wifed”. As if she was fucking herself in the video. As if he wasn’t there, boring us all to death, too. As if he didn’t experience the opportunity for the same kind of career boost she did.

I vehemently protest the notion that someone’s sexual history should disqualify them from EVER being in love or being happy.

You people are the WORST.

What sin did she really commit? Having sex? Having sex on tape? Having sex with Ray J? (Which, in my opinion, is the real tragedy here.) She filmed herself having sex with a long-term boyfriend and, no matter how you believe the tape got out, it was offered up for the consumption of people who really like to watch celebs have sex. Why is Ray J not the whore? Why is there not a greater commentary on the reasonable expectation of privacy that two pseudo-celebs can expect when filming themselves have underwhelming sex? Why is Kim the only one who gets continuously trashed and sentenced to a lifetime of spinster-dom because of a sex tape?

Because she's a woman? Because she dared have sex? Because she deigned to tape it? Because it got out? Because you people bought and watched it enough to make it one of the best-selling porn DVDs OF ALL TIME?

If you try to convince me it is for any reason other than she has a vagina, I will call you a liar and a socialist.

At this point, I can only shake my head. Because there are so many people of both genders who STILL, despite all evidence to the contrary, that believe a woman’s sole value lies in what’s between her legs and how she chooses to use it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Accessory NOT to Take on a First Date

You know how you have those moments where you have to sit back in your seat and think to yourself, “That did not just happen to me.” I had one of those moments on a date not too long ago.


This post is belated as it happened well over a month ago, and wasn’t going to write about it but it has bothered me SO MUCH since. Because he seemed so normal. Because it was so easy and fun. Because I thought I was the woman. I just wonder if this type of thing is happening to anyone else or if the universe is trying to steer me down a clear path of celibacy.

This is what happened…


Seemingly Normal Guy and I met at a gas station one Saturday afternoon when I got off work. It is exactly as unglamorous as it sounds. Usually I meet people in wonderfully charming and off beat ways but this is not that. I was filling up my truck and he was filling up his Maxima when he made a crack about my car in desperate need of a wash and then my school. When I saw his TSU plates I took pity on his obvious lack of good judgment, assured him that we all make mistakes, and that if he actually used the number he was asking me for, he could start to turn his life around.

The rest of the weekend and the early part of the following week was filled with the pre-first date prerequisites: the getting to know you conversations (I found someone who actually uses a phone. I want to put him in a museum), the cute and flirty texts, the random funny emails and jokes. He was funny. He was charming as all hell. He wasn’t Republican. He didn’t hit me with the pervert laugh and ask if he could join in when I told him about my ex. He asked me on Tuesday if he could take me out on Friday. He had an ACTUAL date planned and didn’t leave it up to me. In short, he was kinda perfect.

We go to dinner Friday (he picked a sushi restaurant. SUSHI. A BLACK MAN WITH NO KIDS AND NO DIVORCES WHO EATS SUSHI. Where the hell is Ashton Kutcher?!) and he is every bit as amazing, if not more so, than he was through all the annals of technology. Plus, he smells amazing. I keep inhaling so deeply I am pretty sure he thinks I am having an asthma attack. But whatever, he smells all masculine and woodsy I am having a hard time keeping my panties to myself.

Over passing our rolls back and forth and sipping sake, the talk turns personal. But not on-a-date-fresh-out-of-college personal; why you don’t got a man? Have you ever done it outside? You wanna split the check on this hot wing order with me and come back to my place to “watch a movie”? It’s that kind of grown up personal.

By the way, when did I start dating like a grown up? I am getting older at a pace that is alarming to me and I am NOT happy about it.

“So,” he says, sipping sake, “why have you chosen to be single?” His phrasing is impeccable. “Chosen” sounds neither patronizing like he is lowkey asking what’s wrong with you? nor is it setting me up for juvenile game: “You’re wifey material. Why ain’t nobody put a ring on it yet?” As though I have no say so in the matter.

“I just haven’t found someone worth being with in the long term yet I suppose.”

This is a lie. Clearly. I have neither been looking nor entertaining the keepers that find me. But it is a nice way to say that you are too lazy to be committed and can’t decide if you want a boyfriend that lets you have a girlfriend or a girlfriend that lets you have a boyfriend so in the meantime you keep two jump offs that keep you happy.

I turn the question back on him and he gives the standard first date answer; just enough info to show me he is human and sane but not so much that I am turned off by how often he stalks his ex-girlfriend’s place for signs that she is sleeping with someone new.

So far, this is all just perfect.

And then he ruins it.



“It’s really a shame it all fell apart, too.”
“Oh, really? Why is that?”
“Because I am SO ready to have a family.”


*cue record scratch*


There is a large consortium of women for whom this would be the part of the date where it felt as though the heavens opened up and Jesus himself reached down to give their uterus a little thump.

I am not one of those women.

“Oh. Ok. Had you guys been discussing marriage and kids?”
“Not necessarily marriage. She wasn’t ready for that. But I convinced her to have kids.”

Sir. SIR. You CONVINCED HER? You, being a grown ass, fine ass, successful man with no kids and no ex-wives had to CONVINCE any half sane woman with a uterus who is not me to have a kid with you?

Red flag.

“So, you want to have kids like, soon?”
“Oh, yes. I want at least five but probably six or seven, and since I am 33 I really need to get started. I have always wanted to have kids. And I see my homeboys with their sons and daughters and it just makes me wish I had one.”


Seven? SEVEN? SEVEN WHOLE CHILDREN?! Do you want a reality show or something? By now I am fidgeting in my seat but I try to laugh it off.

“Wow! Seven! That’s a lot of children. Do they even make a minivan big enough for nine people?”
“Well that was part of the reason I got the car I have now. I figured it could last me through at least three children and then we could upgrade. But it’s large enough to fit five comfortably and it has an amazing safety record.”
“Mmhmm.”
“So, do you want children?”
“Um, I am not completely sure yet.”

This is where you can see the record scratch happen for him. But as my own occurred about 4 minutes and 37 seconds ago, I am barely concerned.

“You mean, like, you don’t know if you want to have children AT ALL?”
“I just haven’t made up my mind yet.”
“Well, you’re 27. When exactly did you plan on deciding?”

Did this man just clock my uterus?

“27 is still young! I haven’t put a timeline on myself. If I am with someone and it happens then ok. And if I don’t have kids then I will still have a great life.”
“Wow. I don’t think I have ever met a woman who didn’t want to have kids.” He stares at me for awhile like I just told him I prefer to eat the heads of chickens, beaks and all, rather than the actual edible parts. I think he keeps waiting for me to say I am joking.
“I mean, like, wow. I thought everyone our age had thought about it. And decided. I mean, when you see your friends with their children, and see their little fingers and toes and hear their little baby giggles and smell their baby smell it doesn’t make you want to have them? At all?”

I don’t have the heart to tell him that most of my friends are without child, and quite a few of them are epically committed to single shenanigans that having a child would really get in the way.

Instead I grunt out something indiscernible and noncommittal.

And so he spends the next 20 minutes waxing philosophically about just how badly he wants children.

His monologue, while heartfelt, is like cold water to my libido. I get it. I do. We aren’t 21 anymore. We can’t just go out for the sake of a free meal (women) or on the off chance we will get laid (men) anymore. We are (somewhat) too old to be dating without purpose. There are biological clocks and tax incentives and mortgages to consider. But seriously. It is our FIRST DATE. Do I need to hear about how you already have a room picked out in the house you bought last year for your “future family” that you think would be just perfect for a nursery?

I can’t.

By the end of the date, we were both staring at each other like we were sitting across from a dog that can do taxes. Not really sure what was going on, but certain we don’t trust it. I have NEVER been so glad that I strictly never ride with a man on a first date. Getting back to my car after the check was paid felt like finding an American embassy after being lost in a hostile, foreign land for months. I was SAFE.

This is probably gonna happen to me more the older I get. Conversations about where we want to travel and what we want to do in our careers will be inevitable replaced by what city we want to raise kids in and what religion we think they should be. I get it. But can it wait until the third date? Or hell at the VERY LEAST the third date. I will likely be inebriated enough by then not to be so disturbed by it

Men, next time you go on a date, bring your wallets. Leave your biological clocks AT HOME.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Giving Up

I stood there. Stark still. In what was probably the exact same spot, though I have no way to tell. Because there are no pictures. Just memories that are still far too sharp despite me trying my damnedest to forget.


I took it all in. The second line that was part of a wedding processional. The girl from Scores walking down Bourbon in 6 inch heels and G-string, and nothing else. The older couple sneaking kisses beneath a neon sign advertising hand grenades. The cop, far too attractive for my own good, standing vigil on the corner. My eyes take it all in and I store it in the file folders of my mind.

But, my heart. In my heart it is 2007. And I am standing in this same spot, on this same street, but this time not alone. I am a We, my face nuzzled to the humid skin on his neck, sipping the drink he is holding for me and then lifting my face to his to find his mouth. Hooking my chin over his shoulder as he pulls me closer with a firm hand on my butt and whispering in his ear, “This could be our life.” Half promising, half asking, hopeful he will agree to be in this, forever, with me. That maybe this weekend is enough of a glimpse into the life we could build together that he will be as invested in it as I am. That he will want to occupy this space as Us, in an eternal kind of way. And deep down below all of that, even more quiet than my whispered words, a plea that he won’t leave me this way, hopeful and dizzy in love, wanting him.

Please.

A girl in a veil and a t-shirt that says “bride” bumps me out of my reverie. She apologizes profusely, and I can only smile what I hope is a warm smile that doesn’t betray the fact that I am about to burst into tears.

I watch her walk away, willing myself to, for once, not be distracted from what I am feeling.

I stand there, on Bourbon, my eyes stinging and raking my hands through my hair, from forehead to neck, as I do when I am stressed. And for the first time in four years, I let myself just feel it.

The weight of the disappointment. The sharpness of the heartbreak. The white hot fury at the waste of it all. The coldness of the cynicism. The melancholy of the loneliness. The resignation. All of it.

And I am ok.

This is not 2007. This is now. This is just a street. And this is still a city I love. And I am ok.

My heart, finally moved from back then, sends up a prayer to whoever is listening that this not be forever. That I find that feeling again. That this time it be healthy, happy, ever after.

And I believe someone is listening.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Then and Now

New Orleans is not the kind of city you can visit without falling in love with it. It’s the type of city where beauty and ruination can exist side by side and somehow perfectly color the entire portrait of what the city is. Whenever I go, I am always struck by the architecture, the warmness of the people that makes even strangers feel familiar, the unique sounds of the language and music special to this city so unlike any other in the country. Whenever I go, usually driving, the more road I put underneath the wheels between Texas and there, the more I feel like I am leaving the place I live and moving towards a place that is home. I love it there so much.


Which is why it is so shocking that I haven’t been there in years.

I haven’t been actively avoiding it. I just haven’t longed for it, or craved it in the way that often have in the past. Because I have been busy living life. Because I have been travelling to other places. Because New Orleans has become, like many cities before and after it, one of those cities that hold memories for me that, for the most part, I prefer not to deal with.

The last time I was in New Orleans was when my Paw died. And, of course, for the jazz festival that served as the introduction of The Great Houdini to my family. You know, right before he disappeared.

I am returning to Crescent City this weekend, ironically for the same event, with the same people mentioned above. I wish I were the type of person that didn’t notice these things. Or that could notice these things and let them roll right off their back.

But let this be a lesson to you. This is what happens when you avoid. Sooner or later, the universe conspires to place you back in front of those issues you fled from. And you may or may not be ready for it.

I almost wish I were the type of person who didn’t remember every. Single. Thing. I wish I were the type of person who could go to a city and not dread seeing the spot etched in my memory where some insignificant but fond thing occurred. That I were the type of person who did not get anxious at the thought of walking the street we once straddled the middle of, standing stark still in a stream of people, kissing in the humid air as if we were the only two there. I would like to be the kind of person who did not have to admit to getting sick to the stomach at the thought of having to stay at the hotel where we stayed because everything else is booked. I wish I were not the type of emotional that would consider, even if briefly, just sleeping in the damn car in this dangerous city.

I am not that person, though.

For me, it becomes a bit of dread mixed in with the excitement of seeing my family and this city I adore. The memories of the last time I was there, that I worked so hard to repress, pop up at inconvenient moments. I get in my car and remember us going at it in the back seat so vividly I think I can still feel my skirt up around my waist and my hair sticking to my damp back. My godfather IMs me, talking about plans and accommodations and I remember how different his questions were back then; La, who is this boy you are bringing? You’ve never brought anyone to meet me before. This is serious? Don’t worry. I will have a talk with him.

If I am quiet and still enough I can hear the song the brass band was playing as he swept my hair up, kissed the back of my neck and murmured in my ear, “This is perfect.”

As eloquent as all of this is, I wish I had an eloquent way of dealing with it. I do not. I plan to try to lose myself in the time with my family as much as possible. I will focus on remembering my way to the house in 7th ward and I will go lay flowers on my Paw’s grave. And I will likely be very, very drunk.

At this point, against my better judgment, I would encourage you to follow me on the twitter. It will likely be drunken foolery on my timeline the next few days. You’ll enjoy it. And by the time I get back here, we will have figured out how to not have me be a mess together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Emotional Laziness

Talking to my sister this weekend, I stumbled on something that I hadn’t really realized but that I see now, in hindsight, I should have seen coming a mile away.


I have gotten insanely emotionally lazy.

There was a time when it was hurt; after a string of breakups, one epically soul crushing, I was just way too wounded to even pretend myself into thinking I was in a place to open up to someone else.

Later, it was fear. Fear that maybe I wasn’t over it all, that I was still broken in some way. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to get it right. Or worse yet, that I would find that illusive spark with someone (as I did), get invested and it would all fall apart.
Again.

But now, it isn’t even that. It is pure, unadulterated laziness.

I don’t want to invest. I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to feel. Anything, really. My life has (somewhat) reached a peaceful, quiet place. I’m ok. For the most part, everyone I love is in a good place. We are all reasonably happy, if not content. And I am not interested in anyone disrupting it. Not even with something great.

That sounds terrible, lol.

But it’s how I feel. And I know, you will armchair psychologist me and analyze this and tell me all about how since I wasn’t hugged enough as a child that this is now manifesting itself in my life at 27 or whatever the fuck a therapist would say. Lol But it really isn’t. It is simply just me being lazy. As I have been in other areas of my life at other times. This time, it is just my love life.




(x-posted at tumblr)