Saturday, December 22, 2007

closure

The theme of the other week in group therapy was "closure." I've been really reflective on this lately, especially in regards to past relationships.

I met Cincinnati when I was 21 years old. He had a good couple of years on me, he and I were about close as close can get, we weren't "officially together" (and I haven't been official with anyone for a good 8 years), but this was what I considered the second relationship of my adult life. He and I spent so much time together, as my sister put it, "I was just sure ya'll were in love." Save for trips out of town, for a good 6-8 months, we saw and/or spoke to each other everyday. He was my boyfriend by another name.

Of some of the endearing things he used to do were: knock twice on my bedroom window to come through following work every evening, bring in oatmeal raisin cookies from Subway because he knew I liked them, laugh at all of my dumb stories because he found me "amusing" (a high compliment coming from him), wrap his arms around me at night while we slept, wake up while I was getting dressed for work in the morning and tell me I looked beautiful, and when I needed something else -- some sexual satisfaction -- he would unselfishly give that to me too.

I was really hurt when we started growing apart. What was everyday communication broke down into every other week, then every few months, then down to nothing at all. He had been talking for years about wanting to get married - and he called my bluff - and went out and actually did it last year.

I had a hard time accepting that he never even told me he was engaged. Or planning a wedding. I knew he was dating someone, just didn't know it was this serious. Hurt when he forwarded me the wedding pictures where he held her hand at the altar and wiped a tear away with the other. All I could see was this picture-perfect wedding that I feared I would never have.

I've been thinking about him a lot lately. It used to be that I couldn't listen to an Anthony Hamilton song without thinking of him (he was a major fan with that first CD). I especially think of the laughter and comfort and good times that we shared together - at times like now when I am painfully lonely for a man's interest/touch/affection.

It was only a year or two out of my life, but I have especially fond memories of him. Now when he crosses my mind, I hope that he's happy, and I wish for the happiness that I felt with him again with someone else.

change your world

I'm revisiting Anthony Hamilton's album "Ain't Nobody Worryin'."

Somehow I think this has something to do with Cincinnati. Dude I used to kick it HARD with a loooooong time ago.

I love this damn song.

"Change Your World."

101 Ways For Self Motivation

I was really feeling this one:

#21. Feel Good First
Most people think they’ll feel good once they reach some goal. They think happiness is OVER THERE somewhere. The problem with feeling good about yourself until you hit a goal is that it might never happen. By linking happiness to something you don’t have yet, you denying yourself the power to create it in the moment. Your happiness is your birth right. It shouldn’t depend on you ACHIEVING something. Start by claiming it and using it to make your journey fun all the way and not just at the end.

Click here to read the rest.

Friday, December 21, 2007

year of completion

Has 2007 been a year of completion for you?

2007 is a year that ends a nine year cycle. As with all endings comes the realization of certain truths in our lives. In a nine year you get the opportunity to reassess decisions you’ve made or did not make over the past nine years. Be prepared to see the success of seeds planted and nurtured throughout the years and the opportunity to plant new seeds. Be also aware that many patterns and habits that you have been repeating through the years that are not for your highest good will be revealed to you, so you can free yourself from them for once and for all.

A new year always gives us that new surge of energy that makes us say "this is the year!" What’s different about a nine year is that you will be shown how your efforts have paid off for you. For those who have worked hard and smart, you will be rewarded this year. Many of you have already seen the realization of a goal or dream and 2007 is the further expression of it. The energy of success brings more of the same. This is a time to explore new possibilities for yourself in business, relationships, or your personal development. This is a time to dream new and bigger dreams. A time to plant new seeds that will harvest bigger crops.

In a nine year you will be surprised by how many old friends you run into. People tend to resurface, sometimes to remind you about a particular quality you’ve let go dormant, or to remind you of good times you’ve shared, or to bring closure between you. You may also have old problems resurface that were not handled correctly. When you acknowledge this as a gift you can grow from the experience. When you connect with someone or something from your past ask yourself “what is the lesson and blessing that this person or situation represents?” In doing this you are able see the truth in the experience. Being forced to acknowledge and pay your debt is a good thing. Being reminded that you were a wonderful teacher, or mentor is also a good thing.

This is also a year of completion. If you’re in a dead-end job or relationship, look at when it started, or when you made the decision to settle. This is not a year to harbor regrets, but a year to make a conscious decision to end a pattern, a habit, a form of thinking, or a way of being. Be willing to let go of the dead weight in your life. Remember: You have to be willing to get rid of what you don’t want to make room for what you do want.

You have to take the time to evaluate your life. Look at all the areas of your life. Examine your successes and your perceived failures and congratulate yourself on both for your efforts. Then take each one and see how you can raise the bar, or do it better. Create a plan to achieve your new goals and put it into action.

2007 promises to bring joy and fulfillment. Be willing to receive it. Be willing to embrace the new and unknown and know that you are supported by the Universe. Happy New Year, Happy New You.

Friday, November 30, 2007

i go to group therapy...

...and this week we touched on dealing with emotional pain that comes with the territory of being a smart Black girl in a doctoral program in whitebread America.

I shared with the group that the part of my life that I am most dissatisfied with is my love life. Not that I want to up and get married in the next year or something, but it would be nice to have someone, a partner, someone to lean on.

I can't remember the last time I had a man call me up just to hang out or stay in a watch Blockbuster movies. The last time a man touched me was.... well, I can't even remember. This shit hurts. If touch and physical affection are human needs, I am drastically deprived. My shit is on empty.

One of the group members said something that resonated with me. She described this environment as "social assault" on Black women. In such an overly-competitive, academic environment, our professional colleagues aren't especially friendly and welcoming. Our social environment is overwhelmingly comprised of people who don't see me except as a caricature. There aren't many brothas to speak of. And when I'm in arenas with our brothas I don't necessarily feel especially loved or supported either. The reality is it's extremely isolating and oftentimes hostile to one's sense of self.

When I'm not numb to the pain, it swells and throbs and aches. And this is how we end up in therapy.

damn, december already?

I've been feeling kinda weird lately. Can anyone else get with the concept of "arrested development?" I recently discovered that my younger sister officially makes more money than me. Not only that, but she's shopping for her first home purchase. :(

I don't begrudge my sister anything. I'm so glad she found a job that she likes with a schedule that works for her and is making some money. But damn.... I've got 3 years on her.... I'm absolutely dying to make my first home purchase, but I have no down payment funds to speak of. And probably won't for a few years. Ouch. That hurt to say that.

Shit, fuck it, I'm jealous. I said it.

And she doesn't realize what she has.... I pointed out a free first homeowners seminar in the newspaper and she didn't even get the importance. *sigh* I would give my left kidney to have this opportunity within reach.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

wearing the mask

I'm probably a sucky friend. I'm supposed to go to a dinner party/birthday celebration tonight. I'm really just not feeling it.

Let me try to verbalize how I'm feeling in words... It takes a lot to put on the happy face in order to get up and go out sometimes. Sort of like that Paul Laurence Dunbar poem - we wear the mask. I have worn the shit out of that mask. Sometimes I can pick it up and put it on, sometimes I can't. This is one of those can't nights.

This is the same reason why it's so difficult for me to pick up the phone and call people. Who wants to hear from someone who's always feeling blah-to-crappy?

I feel bad/guilty for not going. She was really expecting me to come out. It's not like I'm sick or hurting or anything like that. I'm just not feeling it. And I have to come to terms with that and have it be all right - regardless of other's expectations.

bitter and disgruntled

Maybe it's just me... Listen to this scenario and tell me if it makes any sense to you. I don't get it.

I am absent for my classes last week because of an out-of-town funeral. I send a notice to my class informing them of why I will not be in class or available for the duration of the week. I tell them that class will go on as planned - with a substitute teacher of sorts - and to bring their books with them for an in-class assignment. When I get back to town, I see that 4 students didn't come to class. Why? I'm just going to assume that they're playing hooky because the teacher is out.

I email the prof that I teach with. She says to allow them to make up the assignment. Something about this doesn't sit well with me, so I get to thinking, ok, they can make it up for full credit if and only if they have an excused absence. Otherwise, they shouldn't have missed class, and when you miss class, as an adult you take the risk of missing out on something. And I'm allowing the unexcused absences to make it up for partial credit.

Well, the prof decides to pull rank and says that it isn't fair for me to assume that they're out playing hooky (*rolls eyes*, it wasn't that long ago that I was an undergrad myself, I know their games) and everyone is allowed a "free" absence, so I should let them all retake for full credit.

What in the hell kind of message are we sending here? It's OK to skip classes for no reason, after all, the teachers will allow us to remake everything I missed at full credit? Shit, why come to class at all, under this reasoning?

OK, to my credit, I ask the absentees if they have excused absences. One kid writes back. He says that he missed class because he had to pick up his best friend from the airport (WTF?). Additionally, he also missed class this week because he had to pick up his girlfriend from the airport (double WTF?). This same kid left class earlier in the semester to catch a flight. SMH. How in the fuck does everyone you know seem to fly during my classtime?

My feelings are.... you know what you risk by not coming to class.... I understand if you were sick, but to just not come to class for no good reason at all - and then to force my hand to reward that behavior is a bit ridiculous. Now does this make any sense to you? I swear, these undergrads at allegedly a top-tier university skate through college with inflated grade point averages and without a lick of responsibility.

Take an insider view on the situation. The American college education system is going to hell in a handbasket.

Monday, November 12, 2007

the first love song...

...I was ever sung. I really miss this melody.

"Well, I say you're my, beginning my end
You're my sista lover and friend
God is, your light from within
It shines through your beautiful skin"
-- Goodie MoB "Beautiful Skin"

one of my favorite scriptures

This is one of my favorite scriptures from the book of Ecclesiastes... I thought about it tonight.

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I've been thinking alot about life and death lately. Maybe because of the funeral. I cannot imagine the pain of losing my mother, but I know that that time will come. I feel like I'm working on borrowed time. I spent part of my visit back home being the supportive friend, but I also played good daughter and granddaughter.

I feel like I'm working on borrowed time. My grandmothers are still in good health, but they are getting older. In the past 4 years, my maternal grandmother's abilities to be self-sufficient have deteriorated swiftly. She used to ask me when I was done with school and when I answered, she would say that she might not be alive by then.

It is with a tremendously heavy heart that I board the airplane every time I come back here. There is so much life that I'm missing out on by being 1000+ miles away from home. You know, some people can't wait to get away from home, but my relationship with my birthplace is renewing. If there's anything that's sustaining, it's family. And right now they are too far away.

I'm missing the early years of my godson's life. Really, how much visiting can you do in the space of a few short days? I would love to take him to the zoo someday or just hang out at my house. If I have children, I want them to really know their grandparents because they've spent those early years seeing them on a very regular basis, and not just a voice on the phone or a signature in a greeting card. I want them to see where I grew up, how I lived. How I got from here to there.

Today I came back to Neverneverland under gray, cloudy skies. It is like this for months on end during the winter. Every winter. Not to mention the cold. It feels like gritting my teeth to get through the days sometimes. I take solace in knowing that this will be my last winter here. Lord willing.

Death is difficult, but it has opened up some dialogue amongst me and my people. How to go on living knowing that things are swiftly changing. Just like my grandmother did for her mother, she will have to leave her home of 50+ years to live with my family. How memories fade, like her short-term memory. How people pass on.

If love is what life is about, then let me live squarely in its center. This is my prayer. Amen.

making wrongs right

I guess I must have really given it to my roommate in that email... Not only did she apologize profusely for not being more cognizant of the fact that it is a difficult time for me, but she also admitted that she was wrong for inviting people over without consulting me first, and canceled NFL Sunday night. And when I got back this afternoon, she had purchased some beautiful flowers for me. What a huge lesson for me in "ask for what you need" and you shall receive, huh?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

back to my life

I am getting back on an airplane to Neverneverland tomorrow morning. I'm not ready. As much as I like some of the things that are going on professionally in my life there... everything else pretty much sucks. And it makes me hate going back there.

These past couple of days have been emotionally grueling. I just tried to do what I could do to be there for my friend. I read a few scriptures at the funeral services. Ran around doing errands for folks. Made family visits. Ran some stats and wrote a few pages on my dissertation prospectus. And last night was accused of being selfish because it was 7 pm.... and I was dead tired and didn't want to go out to dinner with the fam, which by the way, pissed me off. But hey, that's family, right?

I feel like I just need to sleep for a few days, but tomorrow, it's back to business as usual. Lawdhelpme. I have some thoughts on life, death, what's important, where I wanna be, etc., which I will share as soon as I've gotten some rest and what I want to say has gelled into coherent thoughts.

My God.... I really don't wanna go back. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

i am so pissed off right now

OK... so I'm out of town for a funeral. I check my email today and see that my roommate is planning a damn potluck dinner the night that I get back into town. No phone call. No notice. No warning or nothing. Just sends out some emails to invite a bunch of people to our house. How fucking insensitive can you be? Not only has this chick had visitors (her parents and boyfriend) at our house for the past two weeks, but she goes an invites the whole damn department to our house the night I get back from an out-of-town trip - without clearing this by me first? WTF? I'm about to e-tell her about herself.

Monday, November 5, 2007

comforting someone through grief

This news came out of the blue. One of my close friends from high school recently lost her mother to breast cancer. And I feel like it's important to come back home and offer whatever support that I can. It's a sticky situation because I'm not good in situations like this... How do you know what to say to someone after they have lost a parent? What will bring comfort? What if you say the wrong thing? Well, I pray that I figure it out.

where i wanna be

"I'm blowing up like you thought I would/Call the crib/Same number same hood/It's all good..." -- Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"

I'm quoting Biggie because I'm having an awesome day. I had been having all this anxiety about whether or not I wanted to go into academia post-grad school, but I'm reconciling those worries. I'm living the dream and it feels good. I think I've found enough that I like about what I do in order to stay.

A panel that I organized got accepted to a conference in Chicago in March. I love conferences because I love meeting people and presenting my work. It seriously puts me on a high to share ideas with others who understand and are interested in the research that I do. I'm reprising my role as co-investigator of study on themes about Black masculinity in hip-hop music lyrics for this one.

I've gotten involved in a few new research projects that I am really interested in. I like to call the first one the "Baby Daddy" study. It's designed to look at social support systems throughout pregnancies to determine why there are racial disparities in birth weight for African American babies. I get to do interviews with pregnant women about their families and relationships with their baby daddies.

The second research project is on older African American women's experiences with depression diagnoses and values about medication. I get to lead a focus group to talk about some of their experiences. I'm super excited because we touched on some of the issues I'm interested in, namely "Strong Black Women," cultural mistrust of the medical system, the Tuskegee legacy, etc. Since my dissertation is on SBW, I'm super excited to talk to these women and really hear what they have to say. And I also had to deal with some stuff behind my own clinical depression diagnosis so I feel like I can relate.

And this morning I did a guest lecture for the class I'm teaching for. My partner-in-crime (my friend, research, and teaching buddy) and I put together some of our research and added some music videos courtesy of Youtube. It was soooo exciting. It was like lights, camera, action - and I was on. All 300 students appeared to be super-engaged, asked lots of questions, received great reviews, and even got some of the Black students to raise their hands and speak in class. This is a supreme feat, so I'm geeked.

It's moments like these when I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Things are going great. And better things are coming up on the horizon. At least professionally.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

not been a good week for me

I've been really emotional this week. And it feels like I just lost my best friend.

Yesterday started off crazy... I was proctoring an exam for the class that I teach. So we're sitting here in the huge lecture hall and the professor is running back and forth in between rooms to make sure that everyone is situated. The other TA's are in other classrooms helping proctor.

One of the TA's sends me a text asking how everything was going. My texts make a short chirping sound. I responded back, didn't turn down the volume because I didn't think she would text back. Well, she did. At this point, YT girl in one of the front rows says aloud rudely: "Will you turn off your phone?"

I could feel the blood boiling in my veins. I loudly said to the entire class that I was communicating with the professor and GSIs about the exam. Sorry to interrupt. This chick does not know how close she got to being told off. And before this, I was having a reasonably good day.

I've posted before about how I've been super busy and overwhelmed. Well, I've missed about 4 of my Creative Writing classes. Last week I talked to the instructor about setting up a gameplan because I'm overwhelmed with other responsibilities. We discuss setting our own deadline so that I could stay in the class. Well, I emailed her last night with my schedule, and she writes back saying that because I've missed so many classes I should probably go ahead and drop.

I don't know why, but I'm feeling really upset about this. I really enjoyed this class. I hate being advised to drop. This is being extremely melodramatic, but I feel like I lost a piece of myself. This class was part of what was making me happy and excited and looking forward to the rest of the semester. And now it's no more.

Monday, October 29, 2007

my celebrity twin...


...looking FABULOUS!!!

I don't know how many times in my life people have told me that I look like her. Too many times to count.

I take it that she got a new stylist because these days she's looking absolutely fabulous. Now if I could have her BODY! Yowzas!

Work it, Serena! Work it, girl!

Friday, October 26, 2007

talking en espanol

I received my matches from Speed Dating the other night. Even though I marked "yes" for like 5 different dudes, I only got one match. But guess from who? Mr. Chit Chat en Espanol. Arguably, the most attractive dude in the room. So I should be excited, right?

Well, my insecurity is kicking up again. I was confident in myself for just one night. My mind immediately went to: "Wait, this must be some kind of mistake" and "He's probably just looking for someone to talk to in Spanish again." Not that dude might actually be interested, as was the point of speed dating in the first place.

Really. What's wrong with me? I've had the email sitting in my inbox and now I'm afraid to use the email addy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

hard dick and tricks

Man, this is entertaining....



"Stop liking the dick that don't like you." -- Alexyss K. Tylor

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the next 3-5

I think I'm going to have a talk with the family at some point.

I'm not losing sleep over this right now, but it is figuring in as an issue that I may have to deal soon. There is still a chance that I may court with a young man, get married, and pop out a couple of kids before I end up being the oldest mother in preschool.

Well, I'm starting to figure... If not, then what? A plan B, if you will.

I want babies. I'm not necessarily ready to have them at this very moment, but I will in the next 3-5 years. I feel like most of the decisions I've made in regards to my life and career have had to do with sacrifice and providing a life for my unborn children. I never imagined I might be doing this alone, but there is no way that I'm giving up my right to have kids.

I could literally give two hot shits about my career, except that I want to do something with flexible hours, that doesn't bore me to tears or work me to death, with maximal pay/benefits. End statement.

I never thought this might be me, but I may have to start thinking through some alternative means to the "white picket fences" scenario. Damn what anyone else thinks or has to say.

my life flashed before my eyes

Here's my emotional trauma from yesterday. I didn't have time to post, but I was HEATED, do you hear me? I had to leave campus because I was ready to go off on some white kids...

Yesterday I'm leaving therapy. It was a rather good session because I've been having a rather good week. For the first time in a long time, no crying whatsoever. I'm feeling good until...

I go to walk across the crosswalk. I stop, look both ways, and proceed to cross. There is a car slowing down to a halt at the stop sign. As soon as I step a foot in the crosswalk, this white muhfucka decides to press on the accelerator like he bout to hit me! The car screeches to a halt literally one foot away from me. I almost fall across the hood of the car and look up to see this bastid and his friend smiling and laughing like this was the joke of the year.

Ya'll wanna know I almost LOST it?! I was about to show the fuck out and bust some heads in the middle of the dayum street! (Well, I would have if I can physically get that angry with someone. It's a rare occurrence.) How about you wanna bet I would have pulled some isht like this cops would have swooped down out of nowhere and hauled my azz downtown? I know he saw my black ass in a big black coat walking across that damn street!

These white kids walk across the damn street without looking and cars slow up not to hit their dumb asses. This bastard decides to play target practice with my ass. Fuck the dumb shit. Teenaged white boys behind the wheel of a car are a menace to society. That is my final word.

speed dating

I had to be talked into going to speed dating last night. I'm really glad that I went. Some of the usuals were there: the party promoters themselves, the dirty old men, the friends of the party promoters. And I was in rare form.

I don't know what was going on, but I was working it! I was sitting at the bar before the speed dating began and caught eyes with the rather attractive party promoter. We locked eyes. I smiled. He came over and introduced himself. You may never know what a big deal this is. Me? Used to playing the wallflower?

Well, I sat down at that table, and I was "on." I was witty, talkative, and charming. I was inquisitive. I maintained eye contact. I smiled and laughed when appropriate. I took the "nerves" down a couple of notches. One guy even told me how comfortable I seemed. Not me - Shy and Nervous Nellie. Imagine that!

OK. So there was one extra-cute guy. He said down at my table and we proceeded to have our entire convo in Spanish! I was being silly and said he was "numero cinco" as he walked up and we took it from there. LOL. Come to find out... he's been to the Dominican Republic too. I was intrigued. It's been a long time since I've met a man to be intrigued with.

I'm not certain there were any "love matches," but I marked down "yes" to anyone who didn't seem like insanity on wheels. [An aside: Why did my girlfriend get stuck at this table with a dirty old man who kept asking her is she was sexually active? This fool then went on to explain that he was married but looking for a girlfriend. WTF?]

If I get any mutual matches, I will soon find out. By the way, I've decided that I'm on the "marriage and kid track" with a goal of crossing the finish line in the next 5 years. After that, we're making some isht happen. LOL. So I'm working with the 80/20 rule from "Why Did I Get Married." Is this person at least 80% close to what I want/need from a partner? And we shall meet in the middle on the rest.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

school daze

Picture Spike Lee's film "School Daze." You know, I never really got the tension between the college folks and the noncollegiate Black community till this weekend. I didn't get a favorable impression of the student culture at Morehouse/Spelman. I have never seen so many bourgie, elitist-acting mofos in a loooooong time. Not that everyone is like that, but it seems like too many definitely are.

Even the feel of Homecoming was different from my alma mater. I think of ours as very fun-loving and familial. Folks ain't walking around putting on airs and whatnot. But maybe I'm biased. Ain't nobody too good to buy a rib sammich, lol.

I went to a private party in a hotel suite this weekend. There we were - we were introduced, but folks weren't really acting friendly and mixing and mingling, save for a few people - and later we all go out to the same club and these same guys (and girls) act like they didn't know us, when we just saw them 20 minutes ago. WTF is up with that?

And this is way off-topic, but a subject that needs to be addressed anyway... So all of these new negroes were milling about the suite when one of them told us about the "entertainment" in the other room. Low and behold, they had "rented" a stripper (is this was you call it? LOL), and there she was, naked as the day she was born, getting paid to lather up in the shower and be ogled for the evening.

This was really puzzling and troubling to me at the same time. I mean, I was speechless. I made a joke that if you're paying for a stripper, I'm going to need her to hop up on the tabletop and work it out. At the heart of what I was feeling is a sense of disgust for some of these new negroes who feel like somebody needs to kiss their asses because they represent the "cream of the crop" (and ergo, can do whatever the fuck they wanna because "I got the degree, I got the money, I've got all these women at my disposal and I dare you to say something about it"). I mean, WTF?! That shit had me genuinely pissed the fuck off.

I've got alot more to say about some disturbing trends I've been noticing in "new negroes" (a.k.a. professional Black men), but I will save that for a later post. Let me say right now that higher education clearly does not approximate lesser ignorance.

ATL Shawty!

ATL was a blast! I'm always excited to get away from Neverneverland and this weekend was no different. Unofficially, I was going down for the SpelHouse homecoming, but I did a lot more hanging out than homecoming stuff.

I met a friend from an internet messageboard that I frequent. She went with me and my two friends to lunch at Atlantic Station. And we all went out clubbing at the Underground that night. Along with another friend from MI + boyfriend in tow. The energy in the place was infectious. I had on a bright yellow tunic top and jeans. My hair was bouncy and bangin'. What can I say? I was getting my shine on. My dance on. And my drink on. LOL.

I had a semi-realization this weekend. My life is closer to what I've always wanted it to be than it ever has been. I have the flexibility in my schedule that I desire. I've gotten to experience life in a totally different area of the country. I've gotten out of my shell and out of my comfort zone to make a whole new group of friends. We're jetsetting, partying like a rockstar on the weekends, but we're about our business. I still have some stuff to work on, but this life I lead is in a lot of ways infinitely better than if I had spend my life inside of my comfort zone in Florida. I'm glad I found it in myself to take the risk and get on out there.

ATL down. I want to plan a trip to NYC and L.A. and Paris is on the table for the Spring. I'm loving life right now!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

when things fall apart

I'm on the verge again. I don't think I've felt quite this stressed in a few years and I'm about to say "fuck it" to a couple of situations.

This is the most stressful "short week" that I've ever had. Fall break was Monday and Tuesday. I spent those days sequestered at home, grading papers. Which I am still not done with, by the way. Unless some miracle happens between now and tomorrow, some of my students are about to be sorely disappointed. Doing this work is almost as tedious as taking out all those damn microbraids a few months ago.

I haven't had any time to work on my dissertation prospectus, thanks to all this damned grading I've had to do. As the cherry on top, I forgot to meet with my advisor today. I mean, completely forget. Never mind having that draft that I promised to her last weekend that I haven't even started on.

I'm crazy behind in Creative Writing. Haven't been to a class in two weeks nor turned in my poetry portfolio. Once the stress levels went up, writer's block set in.

I'm leaving for ATL tomorrow. What I should have done is waited until Friday to leave because I'm having to cram a bunch of work in between classes and then hightail my ass to the airport immediately after so I don't miss my flight. I won't even have time to come back home and pack. I have to get it done tonight and take my suitcases to school with me.

I have a whole new stack of papers to grade for my second job. *sigh*

I feel like I haven't had time to breathe lately. I almost want to skip ATL for some sleep, but I can't waste my plane ticket. SMH.

Lawdhamercy. And there's nothing I can do but hope for the best and start over tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

STFU!

These are words I should have uttered earlier today. For those unfamiliar, this means "shut the fuck up."

A very rude friend of my sister's comes in the house, says hello, looks squarely at me and asks: "What happened to you?"

I look down at myself, puzzled. I look back up at her. "What do you mean?"

"What happened to you?" she repeats. "You used to be way smaller than me."

Moment of clarity. Oh. She's talking about these 40+ pounds I've gained.

I should have said "Shut the fuck up" with a smile plastered on my face. Instead, I answered her question, and then ended with a "damn, that was harsh." She apologizes. Say she didn't mean it like that. I can understand cuz homegirl has a tendency to put her foot square in her mouth on the regular.

Just a little while ago, I swear, I would have went on with my feelings hurt and said nothing. Small victories, I tell ya.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

seeing someone in a new light

Have you ever had an eye-opening conversation with someone that made you look at them in a totally different light? This happened to me today. I went to the second meeting of my support group. Unbeknowdst to me, someone I knew from the summer program I completed before starting my Ph.D. walked through the door. We had spent a lot of time in the big group of folks together, but I had never had a real conversation with her. I thought she was ok, but not my type of person to hang out with.

I never knew how much we had in common. I've changed in the past 3-1/2 years since we first met. I've learned how to be a little less guarded, more open, and genuine with my feelings. So maybe this is why we connected today. It was like getting to know her for the first time all over again. And we hung out for most of the day, which is totally unprecedented, talking non-stop the entire time. I just think there is a lot more to her than I ever realized. We probably learned more about each other in six hours than we had that entire summer.

I'm not saying we'll be bff's. Maybe we'll be closer friends or maybe this was an one-day dealie, but I'm glad I got this opportunity. It was refreshing to encounter a similar soul.

freaky experience

Not that kind of freaky experience. For purely entertainment purposes, I tagged along with a friend to a psychic fair. It was Saturday afternoon. I was bored. I'd never had a reading, so I figured, why not. I got a full reading with a bunch of different types of tarot cards. First, she told me some stuff about me and my life, and then at the end I got to ask specific questions.

I'll leave out all of the mundane stuff. I think she was like 75% accurate. But here's what freaked me out. She was reading my cards and said that she had a message for me from the "other side." And my heart dropped into my stomach. She said she was seeing an older man. Someone who died from something dealing with his heart, lungs, possibly a stroke. That detail rung the first bell for me. She went on to say that he used to have trouble walking around. And that he didn't speak much, possibly because he was unable to.

OK.... my step-grandfather had two strokes and he died when I was 12 or 13. After the first stroke he was paralyzed on one side of his body. And he didn't speak with the same fluency that he used to. He sort of mumbled. And he didn't talk much at all after the first stroke.

She said that she saw a rose, which means love. She said that I was one of his favorite people. And she saw another man, a family member still living, who was close to me and another one of his favorite people. I think this is my daddy, but I'm unclear. He said something about me not being so hard on myself. And something about my relationship with my daddy.

I really wasn't expecting this "message" to come through at all. How freaky is that?

ETA: You know I had to ask about children. Before I had even asked she said that she saw children around me. My specific question was when, but she didn't answer that, lol. She told me that the only reason why I hadn't had kids was because I was busy with my career. She said she saw two children. Two boys. One will be very outdoorsy and love the countryside, the other will be more "citi-fied" (her words, lol). Interesting indeed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

i've never uttered these words before...

...but I think I want a kid. Like soon.

Not that I'm going to go out and make it happen. Clearly I am not in a relationship. Clearly I haven't even had sex in ages. *sigh*

I've never felt it before, but I think I feel the itch.

my new anthem album


The new Keyshia Cole album "Just Like You" is the business.

A lot of people don't really care for her, but I LOVED her first album. After seeing her in concert, I knew I would go out and get the followup. This second album is really different. It's a lot more polished, future R&B-diva-in-the-making with a lot more ballads than the previous album.

I can dig the comparisons to Mary. There is a certain tough girl/ hidden vulnerability thing going on.

I've been bumping "Just Like You" nonstop since it came out last week. It's one of those albums you can play all the way through. I give it 4 stars (out of five).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

not buying it!

Did anyone catch Clarence Thomas on 60 minutes? Apparently, he's written an autobiography, claiming being misunderstood, and I think, is trying to reinvent or re-spin his image. It's funny because I remember the confirmation hearing from when I was a kid. I didn't have any real adult insight into his psyche or why Black folks cried Uncle Tom, so his interview was intriguing. (Which in and of itself is intriguing because I've never really been interested in politics like that).

Well, after careful examination, I'm not buying it. I don't agree with his politics and I've went back and done some research... and he's had made some quite inflammatory statements. What I will never understand... I can get with 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,' but what if you have no 'boots' to begin with? If your argument is for 'merit only,' why don't you approach it from both sides of the equation -- no race-based quotas and no legacy systems, "buying your way" into universities/organization (aka WASP affirmative action). Merit is merit is merit. Why won't anyone go there? Simply put, it pisses off the powerful in this country by which "the old boys' network" is the "American Way."

CT is such an enigma because for as much as he claims to hate "tokenism" and "affirmative action" (for people of color), it seems like this is the very role he's playing out in the political arena. And for those who saw the interview, something about his story just doesn't jibe with me (and I love how they glossed over the sexual harassment issue with Anita Hill with his very white wife there to co-sign that it never happened *rolls eyes*). I will NOT be buying the book. And I really like how they tried to reincarnate his image for this next generation who missed all of the details and the mudslinging of the early '90s. I'm just not buying it.

And I think he sexually harassed that woman.

suddenly it all makes sense

Have you ever had this psychological wound that never seems to heal? You don't know where the wound came from. You don't remember being bumped or bruised or stabbed or pushed headfirst down the stairs. (I'm being cheeky here). Well, I figured out where mine came from this afternoon. It's a huge realization that I'm not quite sure how to deal with, but it has reared its ugly head.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

one year older

My birthday is coming up again in just a few weeks. As I get older, I tend to get all weird and self-reflective, and this birthday is no different. I have spent the last year or so confronting some things that happened to me that were not OK, feeling sorry for myself (or grieving, as my therapist calls it), and doing what I had to do to get through. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm not saying this was wasted time or opportunity because I believe I needed to experience this to go through to the other side.

If I had to spend the next year doing anything, it's firming up the vision of what I want my life to look like, and putting the steps in motion to get there. I had a dream that I had my own kitten. A beautiful orange calico kitten. Seems random, but I cannot tell you how much my heart yearns to have something or someone to nurture. Something to come home to. Maybe this is part of my maternal instinct manifesting.

I feel like I'm rambling now.... Anyway, any progress, real or imagined, is welcomed over here. I'm anxious but I look forward to this next year because it means moving forward.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

in over my head

I'm overwhelmed. It feels like life must be secretly conspiring against me. I'm about to officially shut down for the night even though I have a number of things to do. I need a time-out and there is not one coming.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

showing my hand

Creative writing is going along swimmingly. Surprisingly (or maybe not so) it is the highlight of my day. It's my turn to be workshopped. This means that I had to distribute 20 copies of an original poem to my class for critiquing next week. I was so nervous about what to turn in. I had written one poem about my relationship with Chicago, another about being a disappointment to my "revolutionary" father, one about Michael Vick, and one about my XXX stash (haven't turned that one in yet!).

The poetry prompt for the day was to write a poem from the perspective of an animal, something that tells you something about people. OK, so I was stumped. You know how people do those stupid icebreakers like "if you could be an animal, what would you be?" I didn't have a real answer. A dolphin... because they're smart and friendly? Can't write a poem about that. So I started with a poem about salmon swimming upstream. It turned into a piece about drowning under the weight of my parents' expectations and feeling that weight when visiting home. No personification of an animal, but I digress. I still think it turned out great.

We did a mini-workshop with a partner. He read my piece and said that he absolutely loved it. *Yay, a fan!* I've gotten great feedback from my instructor on my second poem - the one about disappointment - and good reviews from one kid in class. lol. I'm really, really looking forward to hearing from the entire class during my workshop. If only writing my dissertation could feel this exciting and wonderful!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

let the church say AMEN!

I didn't write this, but it really resonated with me today. This is probably a huge contradiction of some of my former posts, but whatever... I'm FEELING IT TODAY! It's a pearl of wisdom gleaned from a marathon thread on "Unpopular Opinions. " PREACH ON, SISTAGIRL!

This is my unpopular opinion:
We women are selling ourselves a bag o crap.

When women are alone the general comments are:
Wait for the right one to come along. Have Faith. The common denominator in your failed relationships is YOU - fix your problems. You must be attracting these types of men. If you want a man of a certain caliber, you have to be a woman of a certain caliber. Change this. Upgrade that. Fix this... and on and on.

When men are alone they get this:
Ask someone out. If she doesn't work out, ask somebody else.

I'm just sayin, Ladies.
Isn't it possible, even slightly, even a teensy weensy bit - that in this male-chavanist driven society, where women are generally commodities whose insecurities support billion dollar industries in beauty and apparel, where men can leave their families at the drop of a hat to forge new ones, where the idiot balding slob in a sitcom is married to the stunner of a wife, where women judge each other, not simply on the basis of their accomplishments in life - but how well she aged (because looking your age is somehow unfathomable), where an increase in any attribute (age, weight, skin color, education, executive position, children) statistically DECREASES your chances of being with a mate - isn't it possible, that the problem is NOT YOU?

There are too many dayum women chasing a photoshop illusion of perfection and a glossy hardcover book fantasy of a well balanced have it all woman.
The yoga practicing, ceo, marathon runner, married to an international executive, highly organized, great cook, impeccably decorated house bought one year after graduating from top ivy league school, fantastic lover, perpetual kegel practicer, all natural vegan recyclable, totally even tempered and soft voiced, had 3 honor roll kids but can make it to everyones games/practices/recitals, 5 language speaking, dressed perpetually in designer, 800 credit score never paid a bill late, loved by in laws and family, historically aware and politically active, volunteers every Tuesday, high class but never bourgie, 36-22-36 since 9th grade, dated/knows umpteen stars, never had a yeast inf or even a slight cold, weekend yachter who makes chitterlings cuz she's still DOWN woman is not attainable.

I just wish sometimes - we'd say to each other -
Hey, being single and alone, it happens. And sometimes it SUCKS. If you think that there's something to learn from a bad situation, learn - but sometimes things JUST DON'T WORK OUT. Don't analyze, poke or prod yourself. Don't FIX what most likely AIN'T broken. Don't lock yourself in a room - fasting and praying for something to happen. Get up, get out and LIVE. Use your time on this earth to bring some beauty to it in whatever special way you can.
With that said, I'm about to write a personal resolution to "do me," and whomever doesn't like it can kick rocks. I'm about to learn how to separate the bullshit of life that has nothing to do with me, push it aside, and do it big -- regardless of who is or who ain't blowing up my phone or beating down my door to be with me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

being brutally (and painfully) honest

Reading a messageboard that I frequent, I ran across this post. It's not about me - primarily because I don't tell my business out in public forums on the 'Net - but it hit me hard.

Uh, I wasn't going to post but I must.

This isn't really about him. It's about you believing that you don't deserve any better so you accept what little bit of nothing he gives. You've become co-dependant and your relationship has now become that of mother and son.

I would strongly urge you to take a long, hard look at yourself Try to figure out how you became the enabler. What is it about you that requires so little?

He is selfish, irresponsible and lazy. You can't change him but you can damn sure change your circumstances. Stop falling for the okey-doke like your name is Celie. Take care of your business. If he's the one he'll do whatever it takes to keep his place in your life.

I sincerely wish you good luck with everything.

What hit me like a ton of bricks was the line about "the problem isn't him; it's you" and "you believe you don't deserve any better." Being brutally honest, sometimes I look objectively at my mindset about certain things, and I often wonder why my own self-esteem and self-worth is shot to hell.

What in the world happened to me? I am not one of those self-loving and self-actualized women that speaks up for herself and demands the treatment she deserves (and not just in romance, but any type of relationship I have with any other living human being). When did I just learn to shut up and go along to get along? When did I internalize that I was just unworthy and unloveable (and yes, there are many days, despite any type of outward appearances, when I feel exactly this way)?

I've stayed in relationships too long. I've watched as "friends" took advantage of me. I've stayed silent and not spoken up on my own behalf. I've let other people do the talking and thinking for me. I've stayed in abusive situations.

I. I. I. I. I.

The common denominator is me.

I don't have anyone in my face anymore telling me I'm fat and too black and ugly. Now I do it to myself.

I can't point directly to any childhood trauma. Or I guess what I define as trauma. You know, child abuse, neglect, and the like. But the damage is there. I have broken bits and pieces of my self scattered all over the place.

What happened to me?

And this is what I realize about Chicago.... It's not him. It's me. The same dysfunctional relationship I share with him, I also share with other people in my life that are not so easily cut out. And it's not always bad. Sometimes it's good. But when it's bad, it's really bad. Like devastatingly painful bad. No matter how bad it got, I've always just learned to deal with it. Suck it up and move on.

This is the real story of my life. The one that no one sees. The one that has always been there. I know I'm not right. I can't help it. I can go to therapy and vent and cry and post out all of my thoughts on a web page, but I can't erase 27 years and start my life over as someone else when it's all said and done.

big thangs popping

There is now an official dissertation plan in motion. I have my ideas for studies. The data has already been collected. Now I just have to find one last committee member and write up a proposal, which I will defend in November. "Now I just have to" is a funny phrase. As if this is a small task in any way, shape, or form.

On another note, it's yet another boring Friday night in Neverneverland, and I'm home alone starting at a computer screen. *le sigh* I'm about to go deep condition my hair for the second time this week. This is a thinly disguised attempt to distract myself from the utter boringness of my life. I tell you what -- I may have shrivelled up from lack of sexual attention by the time I leave here, but my hair will damn sure look amazing!

Friday, September 14, 2007

maybe there is hope for me

I'm kinda being tongue-in-cheek with the title of this blog. I had an enlightening conversation with the instructor for my creative writing class. We were discussing the class, how to make the most out of workshopping, and writing in general. She shared some information on a very interesting course on turning other genres of writing into fiction. She had taken the class herself, and while poetry is her forte, she turned one of her poems into a short story. Apparently the class is open to all types of grad students - from English masters students to masters/doctoral students in other fields. And I'm seriously thinking about taking it next semester. I can already imagine turning one of those boring journal articles into a captivating short story.

Our conversation gave me some ideas on creating a career for myself. She told an anecdote about a friend of hers who adapted his dissertation into a book for the general public. This same guy also stretched the limits of his career (he studies something about communications, copyrights, and freedom of speech, especially for music), stepped outside of the box, and now has Chuck D on his cellphone call list. How cool is that?!?! If I'm going to do academia, I want to do it like this! Making up my own rules as I go - and not being so concerned with being scholarly all the damn time.

It's a little late in my graduate career, but this is the first time in a long time that I've felt nourished by my studies. Maybe I can create my own interesting blend of psychology, race, gender, and sexuality with creative writing. Who knows?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

today's screwup

I'm a screwup. Who forgets that they are supposed to teach a class? Well, I didn't forget. I just thought the class was at 3, but it was at 2 p.m. While I was supposed to be teaching, I was in my office preparing for the class, thinking I was ahead of the game. Can you believe that? Either way, I effectively missed showing up for work. Aww man, it is truly no wonder that I don't get kicked out of here. It's way too early in the semester for this mess...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

adventures in neverneverland

Things are relatively good over in Neverneverland. I survived the first week of classes. This will be a busy semester for me (and hopefully a productive one as well). I'm teaching again. It's my final semester of indentured servitude, Hallelujah. I have three classes of 25 students each. Even still, I ain't letting these children stress me out this time around. Teaching evaluations be damned. I will be released in December. Knowing that I won't have to necessarily teach again keeps me in a chipper mood. And maybe for the first time ever, I feel competent as a teacher. This is awesome news, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm supposed to assemble my dissertation committee, finalize, and present my proposal this semester. Yeeeeeaaaahhhhh, this scares the shit out of me. But as a friend reminded me, my job is to just get this shit done so I can move on with my life elsewhere.

I took another job this semester. I will be grading papers for another course as well. It's not soooo bad because it's similar to the teaching gig I had last year, at least paper-wise. If there's anything I should know by now, it's APA-style writing. I can do this. Plus they're paying $17+ per hour. Consider myself having signed at the dotted line.

As if I didn't have enough writing to do, I'm continuing with my plans to take this Creative Writing Workshop class. I've been to two classes so far and I actually enjoy it. It's very different than a psychology class, that's for sure, but different in a good way, using a separate unused part of my brain. Finally, after all these years, I am learning my craft. I promise you, I'm more of a writer than a psychologist. So let's see...

I'm attending a support group for Black women with depression. We had our first meeting on Friday. It went along swimmingly. To dialogue about how depression affects us, to know that I'm not alone in the ups and downs, and to meet some other Black women I know in a context other than grad school will be a good experience for me.

I kicked off my resolution to leave Neverneverland at least one weekend per month. This weekend was a road trip to a sleepy little town about 2 hours away. The occassion was a wine-tasting. By the by, I know little-to-nothing about the technique of wine-tasting. I've never been to one of these things before. I just know I like sweet, fruity wines. I tasted a couple I liked... and by the end of the night, I was sloshed, lol. Anyway, these excursions are an excuse to get away, leave work behind, bond with friends, and stay in a hotel on the low-low, so I'm satisfied.

I'm trying to decide whether to stick with Weight Watchers. I've been half-assing since I joined a few months ago and went completely AWOL these last few weeks, so I'm afraid to step back on that scale. I'm still hovering in the same 5 pound range. *sigh*

I'm still going to therapy once per week. We did a check-in after not meeting for a month or so. It's the same old same old with me. No easy answers and issues that run deeper than any particular messed-up situation in my life. Such is life and human behavior, I suppose. If my schedule permits, I'm also continuing with my group therapy as well. I can't imagine not participating because it has nurtured my personal growth over the years. We get into heavy, deep shit, but we still get together and laugh as only Black women can do. I've missed it over the summer and I'm raring to get back.

No new interesting men to speak of, but such is the case for Neverneverland. Some things never change.

And.... that's all for now, folks. Damn, evaluating this list of activities almost makes me overwhelmed. But everything is everything. I'm in good spirits.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

i will be watching this one too

I love Michael Moore's films.

His upcoming docu-commentary on racial profiling and policing.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

because i'm in desperate need of levity

This commercial made me chuckle. It's really cute.

over and done

I'm over and done with Chicago. For the last time. I took time out of my precious vacation to ride him halfway around town and help him fill out job applications. I asked my daddy if he would agree to give him some man-to-man advice on how to gain some stability in his life. Blah, blah, blah.... And what does this fool go and do? Goes out, gets drunk, and starts some shit that ends up with him getting arrested. Now this nigga is blowing up my phone asking me to help him out on some bogus shit that he never should have been involved in.

You know what finally got through to me? This endless cycle of drama is something I do not personally want to be involved in. I understand when life gets hard for folks, but you gonna go out and incite some more drama on top of an already impossible situation? Naw, buddy, this ain't no mistake. This is a lifestyle. And I want no part of it.

I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm pissed. And this shit is ending right here and right now. I'm out. He wasn't thinking about me nor his family nor his kid nor his upcoming job interview when he went out and did what he did. I'm even disconcerted that he had the gall to do what he did in the first place. [And what he did was catch a ride to Babymama's house, start some shit on her doorstep, refuse to leave the premises, and busted one of her windows in. And the boys in blue came right on over and picked his ass up and hauled him off to the Duval County Jail.] I don't have time for this shit. If this is the lifestyle he wants to lead, that is his choice. But he will do this without me.

Angry is not even the word. I am incensed. From Michael Vick to my pregnant and clueless dear friend to Chicago, I'm sick and fucking tired of folks just doing what the hell they wanna do without even considering the consequences, and then crying tears afterwards when shit ends up fucked up. Ya'll need to not only grow the hell up, but wake the hell up! No one is playing with ya'll azzes nor about to cut ya'll any slack for your stupidity. And that's my final word.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

i'm still upset...

...But now the tears have started.

You know how when everything feels wrong and you're really upset about it, but you feel like you don't have anyone to turn to?

I feel like this right now. The story of my life, I guess.

There are so many things that have to change. Starting right from this very moment.

pissed the fuck off (multiply that isht by 2)

Why are some folks just stuck on stupid? You just might have an unconscious wish to royally fuck up your life because that is exactly where this is headed. But you know what? I ain't going down with you. No way. No how.

I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm not a cold, heartless person at all. I understand making a mistake... but damn... when is this shit gonna stop? And then, when you got folks in your corner, trying to root you on and help you out, you go out and do some more STUPID SHIT just for the hell of it?

And you know what... my feelings are hurt for you. But that's where it ends. All of this is happening because of you and your carelessness. And so if you don't give a damn - which apparently you do not - I absolutely don't give a fuck. Not any damn more.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

pissed the fuck off

Courtesy of my roommate, my checking account is now $-250.

When I left town, I told her that I was leaving the rent check with her because I wouldn't be back until after the 1st. And at that point, my rent would be late. I left the damn check on the counter, postdated for September 1st, with the intention of it being cashed no earlier than the 1st.

After having my debit card denied several times, I checked in with my bank to see that my rent check has been processed on August 27th. August 27th for a check dated on September 1st! My meager savings account has been wiped out and as a result I've got checks bouncing all over the damn place and I'm incurring fees on top of that.

You know, pissed ain't even the word. I don't have funds for fuckups like this. I call my banking institution and they tell me there's really no such thing as a postdated check and it's illegal to write checks for an amount that isn't in your account... so there's nothing they can do for me.

I get paid TOMORROW which is why I wrote the damn check for September 1st. I don't get paid again until the end of September. Getting through the month of September was going to be a stretch in the first place and now I am $250 in the hole over this bullshit. This shit really pisses me the fuck off.

I call this bitch to mention what had happened. I have checks bouncing and shit, for a check in which I told her I intended to have cashed after the 1st, hoping that maybe she would offer to do something to help. Nothing.

So pissed off.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

building bridges

Just a little while ago, Chicago asked if he could speak with my father. I talk about my family pretty frequently, he's visited the house and whatnot, and he's in search of some personal and professional guidance. As he told me, taking one year off of going to college damn near turned into ten, with not much headway. While at the time, he was making pretty good money from the perspective of an 18-year-old out the gate - since then he's been working a string of customer service-type jobs and currently looking for a more stable situation. He's told me before that he wants to get where my father is in life - a nice house, family, and job - and bypass the model that his own father gave him, which was floating in and out of jail for his entire life.

I can definitely respect the dream here. The truth is... I see a lot of similarities between Chicago and my father. At 26, my daddy was living with grandma, car-less, and working a dead-end job. At the time my parents got married, my daddy was working at a plumbing supply warehouse stocking shelves. From someone who's been somewhere similar, I feel like he can learn a lot from my old man. And I'm entirely humbled that he would even reach out and ask.

The trouble with me is my lower-level anxiety about broaching the subject. The words haven't been spoken aloud, but I know my daddy had aspirations of me getting with one of the doctors or lawyers or Ph.D.s of tomorrow. Well, that hasn't happened. He has met Chicago on a few occasions, but they don't really know know each other. To introduce him to the fam like this just seems, well, huge. Will my dad respect the fact that I deeply care for this man, even if he's not exactly whom he'd always envisioned for me? Will be willing to open up that door? Will Chicago be able to stomach my dad's blunt, to-the-point-ness and really be willing to face some of those not-so-great decisions he's made over the years? How will I feel about opening the door on this type of relationship between the two of them?

Basically, all these questions to myself to say: Are you really ready for this, for real, for real? I feel like it might be time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

hallelujah!

After five excruciating days, the microbraids are ALL officially removed! *doing the cabbage patch* Never again, I tell you. I don't have this kind of time nor patience on my hands again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

so sick of vick

I am so amped up right now... All I've heard all day was folks complaining about this-and-that and how Michael Vick is being treated unfairly, blah, blah, blah. When we gonna stop making excuses for people? This is not some conspiracy to "get the Black man" - this dude was just wrong on every level. Should he go to jail? Should they take ALL of his money? If he were white, would they treat him the same way? This is beside the point to me. America has a history of screwing US over and throwing the book at Black folks who commit crimes. Why - pray tell - should this be any different? Why are ya'll surprised?

I'm going to quote the Boondocks here when they said: "Every nigga that commit a crime ain't Nelson Mandela." Here is my final word on this debacle. I finally HAD ENOUGH and had to voice my opinion on a public forum full of folks talking about how "bad" they feel for Vick. This about sums up my whole opinion on the matter.

Sorry this is extremely off-topic, but I just gotta say it - and I might draw fire for this, but I'm going to say it anyway. Yes, it is maddening, but what is even more troubling to me is why we rally over this particular issue when there are numerous examples from the war on drugs to inequities in public education to housing in which the same thing happens everyday and all over the country (blacks facing stiffer penalties than whites or being treated unfairly) to which there is no widespread public outcry or outrage.

It seriously bothers me that we're more concerned about a football star losing earnings and serving a stint in jail over something which he should have known better in the first place, than rallying together over something that's much bigger than one man who thought he was above the law, in which folks are being systematically treated unfairly and unequally all over this country.

To take Vick's case on as an example (or anyone else... there will be someone else next year, trust me) to which folks wanna get all riled up and outraged - when the man had a choice and chose to do wrong - is just a bit ridiculous to me. Injustice has to be fought on all fronts and it's not just important when a Black celeb commits a crime. Yes, we gotta start somewhere, but does this really merit the attention it's getting? Why aren't we talking about Jena 6 with this much passion and conviction - rather than celebs who are probably just feeling themselves a little too much and thought they could get a slap on the wrist for committing a crime?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

what i've been up to

I just submitted some work for yet another conference. It's coming up in March in Chicago. I'm mildly excited about this one. After all, it is Chicago, and sure beats Neverneverland - even though the weather will be at least just as crappy.

I've been taking out braids for the past 4 days. Yes, you read that right. I was sick and tired of my hair so I got microbraids. They're cute but a micro-pain-in-the-ass to take out. Today I worked no less than 6 hours today. And I still have a good chunk to go. On the bright side, they'll be done tomorrow then I just have to fight with my new growth before I get another relaxer.

Speaking of Chicago, he and I have been talking. I suppose in the grand scheme of it all I've been imaging my life outside of Neverneverland and I've been trying to figure out if he fits in it. I have no conclusion other than that I'm afraid because it's totally unpredictable - as I guess that relationships tend to be. Reminiscing on past relationships, I can't say that I gave my all, but what I did give in the end I was left holding the ball. Alone. I'm just afraid to go there with anyone. *sigh* Wounds of love long gone...

And this is new... I've met Chicago's entire family at some point or another. I'm supposed to have dinner with his aunt at some point this week. How will that go? We'll just have to see. Nervous? Well, truthfully, kinda.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

trying to not be judgmental

A very close friend of mine just announced that she is pregnant. Again. By this same dude who fathered her first child with whom she swore she wasn't ever getting back together with. And why? For good reason, including the fact that he ain't taking care of business. When I say ain't taking care of business, I'm talking about the fact that dude is in his 30's, chronically unemployed, still living with Mom, and a weedhead. Not to mention some anger management issues and needs to back up off of flying off the handle and calling her all kinds of "fat bitches" etc. when he doesn't like something she does. This whole description probably just came off as judgmental, but these are the facts, as have been told to me. So I was floored to hear that she was pregnant by this dude again - when truth be told - she ain't got a pot to piss in herself.

So here's where I'm struggling.... I know people make different life choices than myself, but I seriously don't get it (and I suppose it's not for me to get either). Maybe this is just my Black middle class upbringing talking again, but I don't understand going off and having kids all willy-nilly. Once, I'll give you a pass. Three "ooops" pregnancies within the past 4 years? I don't get it at all. You don't have a home of your own. You have a very shaky relationships with these guys to begin with. You just became steadily employed within the past 6 months. Dude ain't in the position to help financially 'cept babysit when he ain't out trying to "live the dream" of being a rapper. [INSERT *ROLLING EYES* SMILEY HERE] And the list goes on and on.

Am I being bourgie? Am I being judgmental? I just can't connect this to being anyone's choice of an optimal life for oneself or one's child(ren). I really want to tell her to get it together. For real.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

yet another top ten list

This is probably old news, but whatever. Black Enterprise's list of the top ten cities for African Americans - for work and play (May 2007). I've heard anecdotally about Texas. And Houston and Dallas are on the list. So is my hometown. #10 on the list. Ya know, after 3+ years in the Midwest, I'm actually not adverse to moving back home.

Off-topic: If you click on the links for each individual city, you can read folks' comments. Some of the comments for Jacksonville is straight up-comedy. Still, my family is here, the city is expanding, the weather rocks, and I have roots here. I'd definitely come back.

1. Washington, DC
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Raleigh-Durham, NC
4. Houston, TX
5. Nashville, TN
6. Dallas, TX
7. Charlotte, NC
8. Indianapolis, IN
9. Columbus, OH
10. Jacksonville,FL

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

neverneverland


While visiting another blog, I stumbled across a site called Postsecret. Folks send in their deepest secrets on postcards and they're published on this blog. There are several volumes that have been published in actual books as well. I'm late to the game, but some of these secrets really speak to me.

This one was most definitely calling my name -- I call it "Ode to Neverneverland." It sums up my basic feelings about this weird place in which I live. And then they wanna charge an arm and leg for the pretentious bullshit. This is just one part of why I wanna get away.

dance like everyone's watching

You know, I've been fighting an internal life-long struggle with wallflower-ism, feeling self-conscious, and developing confidence. I am so struck and awed in the presence of others who seem to have that "it" factor.

I made a new friend recently. Well, it's a friend of a friend. Another Ph.D. student in another field at another university. I really like her energy, her personality. And she has that "it." We went out last night... And how many Ph.D. students you know go out and get loose on the dance floor in red hot pants? lol. I don't wanna accuse folks around here of having a stick up their ass, but yeah, kinda...

This girl was out there getting it all by her herself - dancing like everyone was watching - and not giving a damn what other people thought. It was all about her in that very moment. It was so refreshing. I wish I knew how to cultivate the "it." I don't have it. I can mimic it for short periods of time, but it isn't part of me. And I want it.

quench my thirst

There I was, in the thick of the crowd, grooving by myself to the melody.

And then there was he. Some nameless, faceless person who planted his hands firmly around my waist. He wanted to dance.

Where he touched me felt almost electric. Strong hands on my waist, on my thighs. It felt very masculine, yet gentle. It was like conduction of energy through my clothes and all over my body. It felt reminiscent, healing, and whole. Like a huge part of what I've been missing.

This very last time I was touched was this past December. And now I don't just crave it. I hunger for it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

if it ain't one thing...

...it's definitely another. I had the pleasure of attending the Keyshia Cole concert extravaganza. It was a great show. We had awesome seats right there in the ninth row. One of her opening acts threw some t-shirts into the crowd and I caught it in mid-air. Dude who hooked me up with the tickets also hooked it up with my very own bottle of Malibu coconut rum before the show.

It was good times... until the concert was over. We were also sitting near speakers. As expected, my hearing was a little off after the show was over. I really didn't think anything of it until I woke up this morning. It's better, but my hearing is still muffled out of my left ear. I wasn't concerned until I went in to work today and my friend urged me to set a doctor's appointment. Well, long story short, there is some definite type of hearing loss going on. Whether its temporary or permanent, I won't know. I have an appointment with an audiologist tomorrow to assess just how bad it is.

I never thought some free concert tickets would turn into this mess. I feel even worse because I took a friend along with me - and she's experiencing the same symptoms, only worse. Not to mention that this was her first concert ever. I'm hoping for some good news tomorrow. Well, as good as can be expected. What would be stellar is if I woke up tomorrow morning with my hearing intact.

i'm about to explode

How's this for a confession? I haven't had sex since April 2006. Yep, that is 1 year + 4 months ago. What in the hell? Now I'm officially about to lose it. Everywhere I look you know what I see? Dick. Something needs to be done about this situation with a quickness. The sad part? In the 3+ years I have been in Neverneverland, there has only been one guy to even try to a sincere effort to get in my pants. One. And this was 2 years ago. What in the hell? This might be really wrong, but I'm on the verge of propositioning someone of the male persuasion. This is ridiculous. I repeat, ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

homegirl keeps it real

A lot of folks wanna say that Alexyss K. Tylor is crazy and off-her-rocker because she uses some, um, flavorful language, but you know what? She ain't telling nuthin' but the truth. And she keeps it... REALLY real, 'specially with Mama Tylor sitting right there. I can't stop watching. Check it out, "Dick Will Make You Slap Somebody," lol. Obviously NSFW.



Monday, August 13, 2007

take your "deal" and SHOVE IT!

Boy, let me tell you... Credit cards can be useful, if you know how to use them -- and I don't mean "just swipe it" -- but in most cases, I would wager, their "deals" are straight up bullshit.

I did a dumb thing. While I was out partying the other night, I opened a tab at the bar. I was rushed so I didn't think my choice of card through thoroughly. I chose the first piece of plastic my fingers touched. Hey, I have 0% APR on this card. I can just pay it back at the end of the month.

Well, guess what? 0% for the balance transfer offer I took out, not purchases. I think the interest rate might be something crazy like 19.99% for purchases. Those $35 in drinks could easily turn into ten times that amount, especially since the fine print states that all monies paid are applied to the balance transfer amount before purchases. This means while I'm paying off my BT the drinks are accruing interest and then the amount is recalculated to owe on the principle + interest.

Month 1: $42; Month 2: $50.40; Month 3: $60.47; and so on and so forth, so if it takes me a year to pay off the money I already owe, those drinks for one August night out will cost me $311.76! By the time I get to paying, if I pay it off in full at month 12, that amount is equivalent to buying all of my friends a couple of rounds of drinks. That's absolutely fucking ridiculous. Thank God I have enough money in my savings to pay off my balance in full. I hate to see the money go, but I'll be damned if I end up paying that much for something consumed an entire year ago and forgotten!

This incident caused me to check up on my other credit card balances. Another card I owed $56 dollars. Do you know the interest rate on that bad boy was 24.99%? For one month worth of interest, I owed an extra $12 in finance charges. For one month! I paid off the $56 + finance charges right then and there THEN called to lower my interest rate. I was transferred to an account manager who told me they could only lower interest rates by 3% -- but he was gonna cut me a deal and lower mine by 5%! Woooooohoooo. This still makes my interest rate damn near 20%. What a deal! And at the close of the call, I was asked to complete a balance transfer offer. To get myself into further debt? You've got to be joking. No thanks.

Mark my words. I know you're supposed to never say never, but I will NEVER carry another balance on a credit card again. God so help me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

zebra print dress

I never thought I was bold enough to wear animal print, but nevertheless I found myself out on the town in a similar zebra-print dress (mine was like 20 times cuter). I was on some liquid courage, courtesy of an open tab at the bar + more than a couple of flutes of champagne, and you know that opens the doors for all kinds of craziness.

But I was a good girl. I only flirted and freaked down this guy in my program, who I believe has a teensy crush on me. I blame it on my raging hormones + the freakem dress. lol. He's one of those types that will flirt and makes jokes with you -- but then underneath it all, he's like, um, but for real though... I almost gave him a call after the club -- not necessarily for sex, but I'm long overdue for a serious makeout session -- but I talked myself out of it. Before the night was over, I told another guy in my program that I had a crush on him. Why, I don't know? It just sorta came out when I saw him by the bar looking all kinds of delicious. I felt up yet another guy I had just met. He had some amazing biceps, let me tell you. And off-topic: Why are all the Nigerian dudes I've met like super duper amazingly sexy? Never mind me, I'm just a horny, sexually deprived grad student.

On the upside, I ran into dude who secured free tickets to the Musiq Soulchild/Raheem Devaughn concert about a month ago. I'm supposed to give him a call because he might have some free Keyshia Cole tickets. I freaking LOVE Keyshia Cole!!! Let's cross our fingers.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

call me crazy

I'm thinking about taking a leave of absence from school starting in January. I'm about 85% sure I'm going to do this. I feel TRAPPED in my own life. I'm so sick of this place that I don't want to be here one second longer. Seriously, I had to fight off the urge to get in my car and drive to parts unknown a few hours ago. Actually, this still sounds like a good idea, if I had any friends that lived any closer than FL! What will I do with myself? I don't know.... probably something completely and absolutely insane. Travel. Join some study abroad program. Something, anything besides this freaking monotony of my life. All of a sudden "it's going to pay off in the end" doesn't seem good enough...

destiny?

I signed up for a Creative Writing class. Hopefully this will be enough to keep me in school for the semester. If you have any belief in fate, maybe this is it. 'Twas past midnight and I was chatting with an online buddy. She was one of the ones who had courage to jump ship and follow her heart to a career in the arts, even though her parents pushed her toward academia. We have a whole lot in common. She left and never looked back - and she is happy.

After chatting for awhile, I was convinced to "pimp my degree" for all that it's worth. Not to make a decision to leave at the moment, but to at least try and channel some creative energy into something constructive.

I checked out the online course catalog. There was a Creative Writing class with 4 vacancies and 3 people on the wait list. I added myself to the wait list - and as of this morning, I am in. I've been wanting to explore this side since that high school creative writing class that never fit into my schedule.

And this is the ONLY thing I find myself looking forward to about this upcoming semester at all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

developing an exit strategy

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not feeling where I'm at in life right now... If I could figure out what do to with my life, I think I might tell academia to kiss my black ass. It's not that I don't have the ability to do this, I'm just starting to think that I don't want to. If I never have to write another paper in life, I wouldn't be the least bit upset. *shrugs*

I think I'm a natural-born free spirit and this lifestyle just feels confining. I hate Michigan, the actual state itself. I'm not in like with my roommate. I'm competent in my work, but I don't exactly love it. Matter fact, the thought of academics taking over my life again in a few weeks makes me wanna break out into hives. The problem with this lifestyle is that I have no time or space to do any living. It's all about the next paper to write, class to teach, or conference to attend. I'm sick of it.

All I wanna do is figure out an exit strategy to this madness, buy myself a nice house of my own, dabble in creative pursuits, and float around for awhile -- as long as my bills are paid in full every month. How to go about this? I have no fucking idea... Entrepreneurship? Real estate? I'm currently clueless, but I can't live like this any longer, just waiting for things to get better.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

back to basics

Or the art of doing nothing. My teaching gig ended on Friday, so I have no physical location to be on any given day anymore. While I'm supposed to be writing papers and getting a submission together for a conference, I've been sitting up on the couch, watching DVDs. My drug of choice: "The L Word." Season 2. Volumes 1-3. Who knew female-on-female relationships were so darn interesting?

hustling


I don't believe I spoke about it here, but my financial metamorphosis is still well-underway with the yard sale that I sponsored this past weekend. Six of my friends (and myself) got together to purge our closets of unnecessary clutter. We had lots of good shit to contribute to the sale too. We didn't get as great of a turnout as we would have liked, but all in all, we managed to make $300 (after deducting the cost of supplies and early morning mimosas!). Ya girl managed to make the most sales of all - a whopping $115. Hey, it's more money than I had a few days ago.

Speaking of something else... The illusion of money. Up until very recently, I didn't pay all that much attention to where my money was going... Certainly didn't do any calculations to determine how much I was paying in the long haul for some of these low-monthly payments on bills that never seemed to go away. Well, I finally got real with myself, and got disgusted with being uninformed and screwed over (For more info, please see the documentary "Maxed Out" or "The Secret History of Credit Cards" on pbs.com), and started paying down what I owed.

Well, it feels like I don't have any money now, lol. No more shopping. Every decision to fork over even a little bit of money has become super conscious. I won't see the proceeds from the yard sale. It's going straight to Washington Mutual. I won't see any pay increase from my teaching gig this summer. Those funds went to Bank of America. And once those bills are gone... I will still owe.

The point of this is bigger than feeling broke today. It's about setting some new habits in motion. Although it sucks now, one day I will be out from under this and able to start a-new. This feels better than a brand-new Coach bag.

more bad news

How come every time I turn around there is someone else going through a medical crisis? My faculty advisor, who has been an absolute Godsend to me and a huge part of the reason why I had the forebearance to stay in grad school, just found out that she was uterine cancer. She's only 42 years old. This all happened really quickly, but she underwent surgery for a full hysterectomy on Friday, in hopes that she will not need radiation treatment. The "good news," I suppose, is that the cancer is still in stage 1 and the doctors believe that the hysterectomy should take care of everything. I hope so. As a main element of my support system here, I seriously don't know what I would do without her.

Monday, July 30, 2007

does schooling get in the way of education?

I'll admit that this is a pretty controversial question for someone in training to be an academic. I revisited one of my first loves - the library. Now this was way before using the library solely as a place to search for books/articles for reviews of literature. I mean, before the shitstorm of papers began, when reading was a pure joy... I used to go to the library every few weeks or so, wander up and down the aisles, examine an interesting title, and flip over to read the description. It is the opportunity to learn a lot about many different subjects. Just to fulfill your curiosity on a variety of subjects.

This opportunity was pretty much lost to me once I began high school because of the shitstorm of papers. I'm reading this book about finances, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." I happened upon an interesting concept of the author about education. He argues against specialization in any one field, saying that the truly successful know a little bit about a lot and are able to integrate that information to work in their favor.

Now a Ph.D. is about as specialized as you can get.... It's about a new level of learning - creating knowledge. It's about asking questions and critically thinking and testing out theories. While I may be able to recite stats about media socialization and gender roles, I'm missing out on all of the other knowledge that's out there. I have ideas about what I wanna do. It's not about pigeon-holing myself in this one area either. The problem is that I have no clue what else is out there beyond the very specialized information that I receive from folks who have preceded in the same footsteps.

I reexperienced some of the true joy in just letting my mind wander wherever it wanted to go. Learning just for the sake of learning about whatever. How can I get that back? How do I go about being a student of life and experience if this is what I truly want? This may be out there, but it is one huge part of the motivation of formulating an exit plan before I even start building an academic career.