Pt III. Melrose Place: Luna Melrose

Melrose.

She was born out of necessity. It wasn’t a formal affair or a planned event; Melrose came into this world as means of escape. She was created to be the voice. The ‘no’, the fight back and the fearless Melrose would be the reason Luna didn’t have to be quiet.

Luna, the youngest of three girls and her sisters were both nearly 10 years older than she. In many ways, she felt alone. When she was learning her way around this life thing, they were on their way out of the house. When she was coming of age and going through puberty, they were partying in college and enjoying their newfound freedom. Her at home life resembled that of an only child filled with self-entertainment, artistic creation, and music.

Her parents were divorced and shared custody, although Luna spent as much time as she could at her dad’s house. This wasn’t because she was the proverbial ‘daddy’s girl.’ In fact, it was the polar opposite; Luna and her father didn’t get along well at all. They started butting heads early when she was about 8 years old. At the time her older sisters were 17 and 18, both graduating high school at the same time, with high honors. Lennox, their father, literally doted on her elder daughters. His pride could be felt as easy as placing your hand on his chest. Lennox Gold, also known in the area as “Spin” for his unique ability to spin like MJ with gym shoes on, loved his girls Lannete and LeAundra. Luna, on the other hand, was a toss-up day-to-day.

She would later come to the belief that his palpable disdain for her existed because she did; simply put. Luna came into the world nine years after what her parents expected to be their last child. They not only wanted two kids but they could afford two kids. When Luna popped up all needy and hungry, she was welcomed by her mother, but her father saw her as a leech of all things from love to money. “Because of you, I had to work an extra job” was a phrase he often bellowed toward her during heated disagreements.

But as life would have it, the very love Lennox kept shrouded in secrecy for Luna was the love she so desperately wanted and actively sought. Her mother and father separated just before her 6th birthday and by the time she had turned seven, they were divorced and splitting holidays, birthdays and weeks up on a family scheduled that hung on both sides of the double door refrigerator at her mother’s house. Her mom, Sydney Square-Gold, didn’t want anyone to have an excuse to say they didn’t know. Whether you were getting cold milk or hard ice cream, you will know where you are to be”, her mother would say.

Both of her sisters left for school that fall, so this schedule only pertained to Luna. As often as she could get her mother to agree with, she would be with her father. Luna and her mother had an exquisite relationship and she loved her mother dearly. She never questioned her mother’s love or wondered if she needed to be doing something or become someone else to earn her affection. Those sentiments pertained only to her father, and because of that, she didn’t feel like she needed to be at home with Ms. Gold anymore but rather, at her father’s house, becoming.

And every time was the same. She would arrive with her bags to a clean room as she always left her small bedroom tidy and start working on cleaning her Lennox’s house and preparing dinner. It may seem like a lot for an 8-year-old, but Luna didn’t have time to think about her age. She was focused on love.

She spent years attempting to morph herself into her own version of her sisters in hopes that it would sway his attention. Her father worked late at an automotive plant and in her mind, him walking in the door to a fresh house and hot food was a way to earn her stripes. There were days when it seemed to work but most times, he would barely acknowledge she was there or had done anything special. She never stopped trying. Even in her teenage years, Luna wanted her father’s love.

Her father, however, wanted Luna.

He was annoyed that he had her.

He was angry that he couldn’t have her.

He also recognized her willingness to do anything for him, so when Luna was 15, he decided to give her something to do.

 

And that’s how Melrose came to be.

 

Dead Man Can’t Email.

Incoming Email from Anonymous Acct:

I miss you baby… I’m sad I haven’t received my correspondence I was promised.. I’m a cheerleader of your gift and blessing to paint pictures through words. I’m perplexed by your continued disdain for your most loving ex you’ll ever meet…. I know that is hilarious to you…. I follow you and your compositions when I’m able and I’m a fan of your growth… I speak in this fashion because I don’t particularly agree with the word proud of someone.. I believe that is reserved for parents and elders when expressing there positive feelings for there offspring or younger family… I always knew you’d provide positive feedback for youth as I do also from the belly of the beast… I miss you though real spit… I root for you in all your endeavors know that! I am upset that I have been cut off from every other outlet in order to converse with you… I love you Kendria and I don’t practice this relentless pursuit of anyone I’m content with who I am and not whom I used to be. What I need from you is a consensus as a adult that you no longer want to hear from me and I will respect your wishes love. Peace and love. 

Can someone identify this lying MF because I need to know where to ship my Fuck You to. 

Word to the unwise: I don’t care about what you talmbout.

Back TF off of me for good. My heart and my love is no longer a game piece for niggaopoly.

That’s not personal, that’s a whole blanket statement.

 

~j

Live PD Cam

Self Conscious: Girl stop. That shit is in the past, let it go. It’s already been buried.

 

Me in real time:

I meant, literally. I can dig it…UP.

The color of masochism.

 

Plot twist: there’s no gold at the end, fool.

Stop digging up your past.

It only ends in the death of you.

~j.

II. Afterglow Leftovers: Luna Melrose

Melrose.

It had been a few hours since the test confirmed what Melrose already knew: Luna was pregnant. As Luna lay on the couch trying to lose herself in reruns of Law & Order: SVU, Melrose recalled the taste of her ex’s penis on her lips. It was a cross between stale memories and Scarlet Letter divinity. She never once tasted the new woman in his life but she attributed the extra flavor to her presence. That night, Melrose eagerly got on top of her ex and left her soul tied to his through rocking motions that pulled him in as far as possible. She smiled through an oncoming shared orgasm as the act itself solidified for her that he wasn’t shit.

See, Melrose was drastically different from Luna. She was vengeful. Spiteful. Angry. And fearless. She bit karma in the face most times. Nothing she did was without accepting the effects she caused. The problem was for as prepared as she thought she was, most times she was still never equipped for the catastrophes created. When she made it up in her mind to sleep with her ex, she wanted to prove to that she wasn’t missing out on a new, improved version of the good man she once thought she had. His willingness to penetrate her on more than one occasion proved his selfishness hadn’t changed and she hadn’t missed out on anything but good dick. Was it fucked up? Absolutely! Did she want to inform his current girlfriend that he was a cheater and a liar? Nope. It wasn’t about that for Melrose. She wasn’t out with a motive to hurt the new woman even though she knew her deliberate actions spoke volumes in the department of fucks not given. Instead, the fact that Melrose and her ex made love showed her that the new woman in his life was just as unable to yield results as Luna had been…as had all the women before. Did it take her turning into a concubine of sorts in order to stop taking his past, poor decisions personally? For Melrose, the answer was yes.

But what Melrose had not planned on was a positive pregnancy test. This mishap was not part of the blueprint, but still, she approached it with a smile. As a commercial break came on and Luna stood to go pee for the 3rd time in an hour, Monroe ran through her options.

“Abort it and send him the paperwork? Send the woman the positive test? Say nothing and leave the state? Adopt the child out?”

“What would leave him the most shattered?” 

Melrose didn’t want to hurt her ex; she wanted to shatter the glass house that he was sharing “I love you’s” in. 

Luna.

Well, I’m starting this pregnancy off trashy”, I thought to myself as I stared at the ashtray. First, I have no feelings that have developed as of yet. I’m seriously in a state of frozen emotions and indifference. I’ve also made no attempt to make the necessary phone call to my ex. If my inner bitch has her way, I won’t call him anytime soon. I will do something hurtful and inform him of it afterward but that’s not how I do things for real. I went to the bathroom and came back to the bed, sat on the edge and lit my blunt. It took three pulls before I got parallel with reality.

Ok. It took two; the third one was a might-as-well-hit-it-one-more-time hit. I can admit that. Now I’m sitting here, high and pregnant, an oxymoron in every way imaginable and feeling a bit lost in translation. This is not how things go in the movies. The amount of problem-solving that now needs figuring is almost out of my grasp; I’m not sure what I am doing or going to do. But I’ve always wanted to run away.

I’m fairly certain now is a good time.

 

Eyes Wide Shut to Open: Why I Choose Visibility Over Silence

One thing I love about the warm weather is being able to be outside, indulging in a bit of nature, without it being a problem (i.e. cold fronts, snow, slippery ice). When I take my lunch breaks, if I don’t have errands to run, I tend to drive to the parking lot of the former Marsh Supermarket at Trader’s Point, park alongside one of the trees for shade and chill. I roll the windows down, turn on YouTube or Netflix and let the next hour be dedicated to kicking my feet up in the breeze. I’m not the only person. Plenty of people have this habit all over the city as I have noticed. Parking lots during the summertime, are the working force’s favorite place to be. Even though I’m usually watching something or lip syncing to music, I never fail to find myself reflecting on something. Recently, I was thinking about my upcoming book release and how exciting it is, but also what people might think vs. what it really is. That is, assuming people are thinking about my book. This led to me thinking of my blog and how it started. This, of course,led to a whole rabbit hole of overthinking. My next mental landing strip was at the memes that remind us to be quiet. The ones that tell us it is better to suffer in silence than to let anger make a public fool of you (did I just make that up or is it a real meme? Cause its kinda dope). There’s one currently going around social media that sends a shout out to the people who are healing from painful things they don’t talk about.

Now, before I go any further, this blog is not to combat these memes or this perspective. I actually agree with it to a certain extent.

But when I was sitting there thinking hard over an episode of Coach Snoop and a disgusting black and mild, it was no secret that I am (or at least have been in these last hand full of years) the complete opposite of those memes. Through this book, my blog and often my social media posts no matter where they appear (twitter, Facebook or Instagram), I am vocal. At times, I’m loud. I pull back the curtains and share. I use my blogs and poetry as my sounding board when I need to, vomiting up what isn’t agreeing with me in the same manner as I would shout out the blessings of the day. 

I was listening to somebody do an interview recently and they spoke of telling other people not to believe what they see on social media because it’s all a lie. They went on to say people have social media lives and then they have real lives and these lives are not one in the same. Once again, I somewhat agree with that statement but I don’t think it holds true for everyone. Actually, I know it doesn’t.  I know MY social media is all facts. When it comes to my life, good, bad or in between, I don’t share anything to myself “look” a certain way. I am not a person in need of validation or pity. Before I was a creative, I was a human. A woman. I have experiences out here that go beyond show flyers and my blogs are hardly ever political. I write most things, whether a status, a caption, a blog or a tweet, from a personal space.

Sometimes it’s a lesson and other times, it’s pure hurt or anger, but it’s always authentically me. If social media is to be a reflection on my life, then I only know of one way: the truth. In that reflection, you will find creation and joy, but you will also find pain and disappointment.

With that being said, let’s double back to my lunch break-think tank, party of one. The memes declare that we should not let the tongue expose our woes to the masses. People tend to agree, as most people do NOT share the inner workings of their lives as much as they share these memes, which is perfectly fine. In fact, folks talk shit about people who ‘overshare’. It’s interesting that I hear people suggesting that folks aren’t sharing their real lives on social media when the culture of social media is to advise that people only share the good parts. Now I’m not suggesting everyone share every aspect of their lives at all. That’s certainly not healthy. I just question how we can expect to see authenticity when we sell faux living using our share buttons? And if all we are gonna look at is fake shit, then why are we following each other? I definitely believe one should be mindful of what they share; I know I certainly am. But this idea that I should keep all my less-than-savory feelings and experiences to myself is some shit I don’t subscribe to.

After I fooled myself into over-liking a dude that didn’t give a shit about me, I felt like holding that in would create an emotional inferno that I wouldn’t survive. So, I tipped myself over like the hot tea kettle I became and poured it out until I healed.

Why I Chose Visibility

I’m not going to speak for anyone else in this post. I’m speaking for myself and while I hope that someone can relate to this and feels understood, I understand that sometimes, we stand on a limb alone. I don’t suspect that to be the case here but I don’t reject it either. My words felt useless as a teenager. Anytime I have been tasked (which is what it felt like…a task) with defending myself or standing up for myself, my words seemed to fall on deaf ears. I had a boy that I didn’t get along with who spread rumors around the neighborhood that I was sleeping with my dog.

Since I was a known dog lover, the kids in the neighborhood went with it. It didn’t matter what I said to people, I would still get teased about trying to make my dog have sex with me. So, I stopped walking the damn dogs. I don’t think I would sit on the porch with them much after that either. I had to change the way I moved because my voice did nothing to help. There were so many instances of this. I don’t think any of this info is new to the blog, nor is the fact that I grew up feeling invisible.

Through my relationships with men and women, the continued path of invisibility grew longer and more tiring. I became a non-communicative, emotional recluse as a means of self-protection. I felt like if I didn’t share what I felt or thought, I wouldn’t get hurt by the rejection of what I said. My silent retreat became my way of survival. But my means of survival was also doubling as luggage and the more I added to my back, shoulders, and hands, the less open my heart was. Then there was that ‘other’ part of silence:

I had become not just a captor of what I felt, but also a protector of others…specifically the ones that hurt me.

M30 w/the Silencer

Silence can be good. Like the memes and people suggest, sometimes it’s the best thing for you. Silence is a necessity; it’s in the quiet that you find the loudest answers sometimes. Silence provides the ability to listen for God’s voice speaking from within you. Silence is your friend. But there is a method to utilizing silence and if mishandled, it can be your enemy. You know you have to verbally express your desire to remain silent if you are arrested? You know that remaining silent can work against you? Silence at the wrong time can be the greatest resource of energy for your enemy.

Holding in my feelings might have allowed the mindlessness of not having to deal with excuses and trying to reason with folks, but for some of them, my silence was their elevation. It allowed them the freedom to not feel wrong. As a matter a fact, often times my silence made my perpetrators feel wronged. The right silence at the wrong time will give muscles to the swine looking to feed off of passivity. I’ve fed plenty of pigs that didn’t turn into bacon. There is nothing in my life that I would do over-

-Well, I’d definitely undo the rebound play that wanted to shot his ball in my niece’s basket.

But I digress.

I do know that not speaking up for myself left me several situations over the course of my life that could have been avoided or prevented, most notably the La Douleur Exquise situation (if you don’t know #readmyblog). I had never felt so dead and so invisible in my life. Not before or since to be honest. Not to that extent. But it was also that situation that changed my silence.

I once wrote a poem called Say Something. You can listen to that here:

People loved this poem and would request it when I got on stage at the open mics or invite me to perform somewhere and ask for it. I struggled with remembering it or being able to do it and eventually stopped sharing it. It was because I wasn’t living that life for real. I wasn’t “saying something” when I needed to and had a hard time ‘performing’ something that ultimately ended up as a personal self-help poem. That poem is circa 2007. La Douleur Exquise came about in 2009. I have mad respect for those who deal in silence because it can be overwhelming. I also make my voice intentional, and if I ever feel like my motivation behind something I’ve shared was foul, I delete it. I have before. I will again….if necessary. But I stand by it all.

The listening skills of those who trespassed against me were too lax. I had chosen others, ease, and comfort over me; now was the time to choose me.  No matter how uncomfortable it made me, I decided to choose visibility.

 

Shot by Jo.Seph McCoy

 

So to the women out there who reject the memes and theories that suggest we shut up and deal with it like big girls who don’t cry, I say this:

Yes to you sis. Yes to your vocal chords. Yes to your fingers. Yes to your writings, your prose, your poetry, your notes and one liners, jokes andTwitterr threads. Yes to the songs you are writing. Yes to the songs you are singing, the poetry you are sharing and the off-top-someone-needs-to-listen-to-this feelings that you were compelled to express that night. YES SIS! Yes to your love of self. Your love of your own well being and your emotional competence. Yes to vocal visibility. Yes to visibility PERIOD! Yes to ‘reclaiming your time’ and power and not EMPOWERING hurt by choosing a corner to secretly be in pain in. Yes to healthy confrontation. Yes to emptying luggage and bags with each word you speak along the way. Yes to not living a lie. Yes to being done with empowering others to hurt you. Yes to taking your power back Queen. Yes to your books. Your releases. Yes to your healing sis. To all of you, whether it’s Karryn Stephans tell-all style or kibbles and bits like say a Januarie York blog, I say yes. Also, yes to those who are silent. Who embrace the quiet, who pick up their toys and go when it’s their time and give no pushback that the masses can see. You’re a fucking superwoman too you know?!!! This isn’t about one way being right over another; this is about women owning their stories and the right to share them from the perspective of which they were experienced. My book is no different. In fact, when I think of my book, I think of the choice to be silent and how if I had remained accustomed to that, this wouldn’t be. And if there is one thing I KNOW for certain, it’s that my book is the shit. Shout out to all of us. Shout out to me.

Two of my favorite quotes are here:

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it” (Zora Neale Hurston)

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” (Anne Lamott)

What I find in both of these quotes is empowering and forever inspiring. Both women speak of your right to take your pain and your stories, no matter what parts of them it is that you choose to share, and OWN them. When you own them, you make the choices of what to do with them and how. You find the why in sharing before sharing. I don’t share any of my private business without it having a point or intention. Even in the beginning, when the blog was on Google and named A(Muse.)D., the purpose was self-healing, which is great enough for me. Sometimes it’s not about everyone else. And then, sometimes you just know you got something that could save someone’s heart. I do not encourage angry sharing (although I most definitely did that in 2017). This is not an outcry for the right to be hurt and tell all of somebody’s business, put them on blast and hurt them. That’s not what any of this blog is about. It’s never been and my upcoming book isn’t either.

This is about, as my former therapist used to say, “walking in your truth.”

Shot by Abdul/JusFam Photography

When we walk in default silence, expressing little and holding our most soul-changing pains inside, we are not owning our stories. We are not owning what has happened to us as Anne Lamott says we do. We are actually loaning them out to others, similar to a library. Between Zora and Anne, I am reminded of own my life’s story and take pride and comfort in not feeling regulated to invisibility or silence.

 

I sometimes post things in fear, with my finger hovering over the POST option for moments before. I wonder will there be backlash but then I remember it’s not too many people reading this blog and that helps. LOL! But before I let fear stop me from sharing my truest version of myself at the time of posting, I say this in my head: “they might kill you for it, but they’ll never be able to say you enjoyed the pain.” Operation fuck it, feel it in effect.

Speak sis.

Be selective. Be intentional. Be aware. But own your life. Own your story. And speak.

There is freedom sitting on your tongue waiting for you to taste it.

~j

Sweet Winona, Beautiful Chicago: Another Tribute to My Family Matriarchs

A moment in time.

The last out of town trip I took with the women who acclimated me to road trips happened in July 2004; approximately 14 years ago. It’s been FOURTEEN YEARS since I shared mile markers with my favorites: my grandmother and my aunt Millie. My mom was never much of a road tripper. I can only remember no times when she was on the road with us but I know it happened here and there. She wasn’t much for going back and forth to Mississippi, which was a 9-hour drive that I learned to live for. My Gmom was spontaneous. Almost none of our road trips were planned, like the night my mom got married. Netria Parker Marlin’s idea of babysitting for the honeymoon was to hop in the bucket and hit the highway. I still see us leaving that night around 9 pm (it was dark) and driving the Buick Century 9 hours to Winona, MS on a whim. That’s how I can drive across the country and be unphased today.

But this trip in July 2004. The fourteenth to be exact. This was another spontaneous trip. Anytime there was a rental around, it almost always assured me that a trip was coming. My uncle had a Lumina that he rented to go to his hometown of Nashville. I drove the whole way there and up until the changes began in my family, he still laughed about how I drove 90 MPH the whole way there. I had NO license. But I got us where we were going safe and quickly; just like Gmom taught me. It almost brings tears to my eyes to think of the little nuances I took from my Gmom. She didn’t teach me to drive but I guess I was watching.

My uncle kept the Lumina for a bit and like clockwork, one afternoon my Gmom proposed we take it to Chicago to see my other aunt, who had relocated from Winona to Chicago w/her daughter due to a mental decline; she had Alzheimer’s and this trip would ultimately be my last time seeing her able to remember things. Me, my aunt Milli, my Grandmother Netria and my Uncle Lenny all hoped in the Lumina and set sail for Chicago: a three-hour trip. The trip would ultimately take the longest it’s ever taken me to get to Chicago and back. It was full of laughter, arguments, strange things and most of all, love. I had just started performing at Open Mics at the time and carried my notebook with me everywhere I went. This time was no different and man am I grateful for that decision. A week or so ago, I pulled this book out to troll it and saw a four-page entry from the trip to Chicago. As I read through it, tears shed uncontrollably. I remember this trip so well. I remember US – my family. Not perfect by any means but man, we were a good family. This journal entry is a great reminder of why it’s so important to journal and to write your stories. I remember how many times we got lost and how my uncle and grandmother, two alpha personalities, clashed on everything from directions to the weather. And then just like that, it would all be fine. Memories are not promised to us as my Aunt Anna Lee, who developed full Alzheimers shortly after our trip to Chicago and my Gmom, who also developed Alzheimer’s and passed away last June.

Wishing me happy birthday from my surprise video. I wish I could make the sound work so you could hear her voice.

But even if we don’t remember what is being recounted, the words are there. The stories are there. The energy lives. My grandmother’s birthday is August 16. Depending on when you see this blog, that’s tomorrow. It’s the second birthday without her; she passed just over a month prior to her bday. I can still see her in that bed. Still see her hand. Still see her gone. At no point as I stood frozen in front of her, waiting on the coroner, did it ever seem REAL. It wasn’t until we prayed over her and zipped her up at the foyer of the house i grew up in did I know my grandmother had left the building for the final time. I don’t know that I will ever ‘get over’ her death. Should I have to? As I prepare myself to receive my grandmother’s essence from the spirit realm rather than here on Earth tomorrow, I wanted to share this entry from our July 2004 Chicago trip. She drove the entire time and when I tell you, this entry doesn’t even cover all of it. There was so much but ALL of it was beautiful. I’d be grateful for any piece of it today. To be able to open this book and step back into this day was good but I really wish I could just have it all back. My gmom, who’s with God. My uncle, who can’t hear much and is alone and probably going to die alone and my Aunt, who’s in a nursing home slowly passing with each second. Then there’s Aunt Anna Lee, who passed shortly after our trip. Aunt Jessie, who’s death was the beginning of my family heartbreaks (I wasn’t that close to Anna Lee as she never left Winona). All of what we did together – the laughs, the trips, the existing in love – is gone. Even her dog passed about a month ago. But, thank God for memories. Thank God I still have my mom. She was never our road-trip buddy, but she’s no consolation prize either. We all we got. I hope we see a different part of Earth together, many times over, before it’s all over with. If for no reason other than it was once an inadvertent tradition to get up and go live. At least that’s one of THE ultimate lessons my Gmom imparted on me. Life is for living. Death is where the quiet is. Please enjoy this glimpse into my quirky, funny, loving and crazy, wild family and one of our road trips.

7.14.2004

 

I deem it absolutely necessary to document this trip to Chicago to see my other aunt. First, let me say we left at 10 oclock. The time is now 1:38PM. We have been lost more times than Waldo (where’s Waldo). My grandmother and uncle have traded one wrong direction for another. They’ve had yelling matches and I now feel like there is a sledgehammer continuously hitting me in the head.

HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

We are finally here. Thank the Lord. There are people on the corner selling regular bottled water, towels, every and anything. N-E-Way, back to the trip here. We got off on the wrong exits, even when we were on the right one. We were in Chicago for about 45 minutes just lost. It’s about 91 degrees and it’s hot as hell. I saw pictures of Yolanda’s wedding (cousin) and she looked beautiful. Now about to go see my other aunt. We are following Lillie Ruth & Nate (cousins). I will conclude this data later. They live on the nice part of Chi. Didn’t know that existed.

*Back*

We are about to leave the nusing home and my aunt looked so pretty. We all had some laughs and overall this has been a rewarding trip. We’re going back to Lillie Ruth’s so I can eat, then we are going home. My aunt thought I was my mom, but it’s ok. I hope she doesn’t get full-blown Alzheimers. But there are definitely signs of it. I hope the trip home is easier than the ride here or should I say once we got here.

*Back on again*

We are attempting to get on the highway to go home and he arguments have all started and the curse words and yelling have begun again. Lord if I make it home with my sanity, I’m good.

*10 mins later *

We are now on the highway and the argumetns have ceased for all of about ten minutes. Then they fired back up; now they’ve stopped again. Everything is quiet and we are in between Gary & Chicago.

*25 mins later *

We’ve managed to take another wrong turn and when you mess up in Chicago, you got to travel the 7 seas to get back right.

HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

*15 mins later *

Okay, we are going back to the highway to try this all over again. We should reach home at this rate by this time tomorrow. I need a blunt and a glass of wine. WE ARE BACKING UP ON THE HIGHWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I’m lost. But I’m not the driver, so it shouldn’t matter. We’ll see what happens.

*15 mins later *

I don’t know if I’ll ever see home again. My grandmother cut her seat heater on by accident, my uncle couldn’t get his back window up. My aunt called him a dummy. I don’t know where the hell we are. Where is Onstar when you need it??? I have a –wait a minute. MY AUNT JUST FARTED IN THE BACK SEAT!!!(***Added 8/15/18 – my grandmother had the window locks on. We had to live through the fart. I remember that, LMMFAO).

As stressful as this trip to and from has been, it’s been absolutely hilarious. N-E-Way – I have a headache this big (H E A D A C H E HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

It’s 8:28. We left Lillie Ruth’s house at 7:00 PM. We’ve been lost the whole time. My uncle keeps spitting something out of his mouthbut the windows are up. WHERE IS IT GOING!!!??? He’s right behind me !!!!!

I hope not in my hair.

OKAY! We’re 140 miles away. My uncle said he got bad hips. My aunt responded and said “Bad LIPS”.

Lord, please take me to Indianapolis safe.

 

*****Aftermath.

I think it was after 10pm when we got back to Indianapolis. This was a great trip. I had a lot of fun and more laughs than the law should allow. My grandmother drove 90 MPH the whole way home, which leads me to believe she was sick of us.

My aunt and uncle brought me home and we stopped at Kroger, which was another comedic experience. Overall, my dysfunctional family is the best, funniest family in the world.

I wouldn’t replace them for nothing.

~kendria

To the Parker/Marlin/Moore/Harris family that loved me like I was the greatest thing that ever happened to them, I LOVE YOU and God knows, I miss you with each passing breath. I miss US.

Old traditions gone forever. Gmom & Mom/Summer days in the van.
One of our last photos. She was smiling. <3
Such a classic photo of a G.
My uncle and my gfather. Alonzo Harris and William/Blood Jones. This is where we all sat always. #ThePatio
My uncle Lenny. My Gmom’s hand. We loved.
Isn’t she lovely??? I just love this pic of my mom!!!!!
Easter in Winona, MS. Only child face.
Mom w/the eye liner on point! My resting bitch face is similar but not as perfected as this!!!
My gfather. Aunt Jessie in the gold shirt. Lillie Ruth (aunt anna lee’s daughter) in black; her kids.
Aunt Millie in Winona on the porch of the house she grew up in.
Uncle Lenny in front of Gmoms house. They were next door neighbors.
Aunt Millie and Uncle Lenny w/the winning Nibby Gal. I miss these stories.
Chewy (left) was my gmom’s dog. She died about three weeks ago. She was such a sweetheart.
Final goodbyes to a real G. This day is so blurry.
Usie. She wanted to know what the hell I was doing.
I owe my aunt so many visits. Nothing changed about that number; it’s still the same. She loves me so much. I’ve hurt her more than I care to admit.
Aunt Jessie. Lafayette Square. I damn near remember this day.

Kendria, 8.15.18

The Savannah Syndrome:”He’s A Good Man, Savannah”

Savannah Syndrome Definition & Symptoms:

When a man proclaims to be a “good man” and is seemingly captivated by the idea that not only is he a “good man“, but that all women should see him as the Messiah of men, he may suffer from Savannah’s Syndrome. The man in his mirror tells him that he is THE man. The ultimate good guy. Any woman who doesn’t fall for his goodies is deemed not smart enough to see what is standing in front of her. His usual reaction to any type of rejection involves curse words, spiritual shaming, predictions of future regret, forever single and unapproachable. All while conveniently forgetting that he might be talking to a “good woman.” His language will read as if somehow the woman is now beneath him and his immeasurable awesomeness. These men are also known to accuse black women of being angry, often in unwarranted situations. Clinical trials have shown that men with Savannah’s Syndrome believe they are a savior for women (not to be confused with saving women). This condition is not rare as it’s known to affect 3 out of 5 “good men. The only cure is to death to the ego. 

 Note***This gif is meant to imply death to EGO. Don’t let a living ego tell you otherwise.

What is it about good guys who know they are good guys?

Do they smell their shit and think it’s the stuff roses are made of? Do their farts resemble toll house cookies being baked on a cold winter morning just before Santa Clauses slides down the chimney of their home? Is there a governmental kickback, tax-writeoff or a lifetime supply to Jordans and Jordan’s Chicken if they show the public how enchanted they are with their good guy status?

It seems there is a growing phenomenon of men, specifically “good men“, who know they are good men or at least deem themselves full of great qualities, that think because of this EVERY woman should not only want to entertain them but is somehow doing themselves a great disservice if they are NOT interested. They will guilt trip you using spirituality and your future, talk shit to you but use terms like “we” to make it seem less solely directed and/or get mad at you and shoot a white castle sack of ten texts to your phone just to let you know it’s fuck you because they know they are the good guy and oh one day you shall see. All this because you lack or lose interest.

Ummm….ok. But, my nigga you need to seek some help.

 

Seriously, get a therapist and get rid of that baggage boo. It’s not becoming of you. Let’s unpack this by starting with my most recent interaction with a male species….specifically the “good” kind.

We’ll make this short and refer to him as “Chocolate (C.) Winona.” He was handsome, not really the height I’m seeking but he was taller than me and I felt like I could wear heels around him. When I’m detailing a man for the first time, these are things I think about along with checking the lips, arms, Adam’s Apple and honestly, a rough estimate of his dick size. Hey, if men can gawk at my ass and make a big deal about it loud and in public, then I certainly can have an internal thought of big or small.

But about C.Winona…

We met on Saturday. By Monday afternoon, I had been informed not only that he didn’t “need me”, but also that  “The Devil Won.”

***I wrote that just as he did via text w/every first letter capital. No worries. Keep reading and you shall see for yourself. Now, hold fast to the phrase “The Devil Won” because I will be using that more in the future just to be an asshole. So about Saturday. A day trip out with mom to a local bar led to her wingmom’ing me into meeting Chocolate Winona. I was standoffish at first even though he initially caught my attention by giving me a $20 bill to put in the wall Jukebox. I’m a sucker for music so I obliged and chose songs that ranged from Rick James’ Mary Jane to The Carter’s Ape Shit. If he was looking for me to play love music by Tank and Keith Sweat, he chose wrong. But as the time passed and wine flowed, so did the conversation. He was a truck driver from Mississippi not too far from where my known roots began. At some point, we exchanged numbers although Peaches the Wingmom had already given him my business card.

I hoped to hear from him. He had informed me that even though he lived in MS, he stopped through Indy almost weekly. He was a good candidate for friendship. I’m not looking to be ‘boo’d up’ with none of these dudes. I am currently in a celebratory stage with my singleness. I enjoy not semi-owing another human being an explanation of where I am, what I am thinking or why I’m not fucking tonight.

But (t)HugzMansion gets lonely too. Just because I don’t want to be in a relationship doesn’t mean I don’t want to date and have a good time. Go out and have drinks. Eat food. Dance. Sweat. Laugh. You know, the things men and women do well together…or so I’ve heard. C. Winona seemed well for this because he doesn’t live here but he’s here often enough for us to engage in some of those things. Sex wouldn’t be something that could rule the connection because obviously IF we were having it, it wouldn’t be that much. And then there’s always the why am I trying to date men here (who obviously don’t dig me anyway) when I don’t want to live here ANYMORE. I want to graduate and move. It’s not Indy, it really is me. So there should be no more ties to no more tied-at-the-NAP niggas with kids, problems, and maternal nipples they still have their wallets attached to.

He seemed like a good start. He’s never lived with a woman, owns an acre or two down south and just really had an I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T aura. It was refreshing.

One thing I love about hanging out with my mom is that the wine will be flowing. The bad part is that more than likely, it will be wine flowing past my cutoff, straight to my glass.

There’s no point to me saying that other than shouting out another good time in the books. I didn’t leave my mom at the bar and go sleep with the truck driver. This isn’t a blog from the back of his truck cab that doubles as a help me message. We were at the bar for a long time and my mom ended up staying all night with me that night. She’s a great wingmom. They talked for quite a bit and I’m sure she has his life history recorded in her secret Book of NiggaNotes. It was an eventful Saturday out with my mom at The Living Room Lounge. It was really more of a scene out of a black episode of Cheers, just with a wine-drunk poet instead of the mailman.

Staging the Scene:

Sunday we talked briefly and decided to grab breakfast before he headed out to Texas. I drove to the truck stop where he graciously filled my tank up (after I had just put $16 in it…I wanted a refund). We stood outside chatting while he waited for his laundry to end and he asked me why I was so standoffish at first. This led to me saying I have trust issues. I’m thinking I’m not looking for you to marry me so I can say that openly, adult-like and honestly. He obliged my trust issues with some of his own and spoke on past occurrences that left him, side-eyeing folks. Again, we’re just going for food, not a marriage certificate, so I’m cool with this conversation as it was open and straightforward. I also had open and straightforward convos with the ex and so, alleged honesty or good convo isn’t impressive. But again, I’m a heterosexual woman who’s been single over a year and left dateless and dickless and saying “damn” three times randomly throughout the day.

I’ve been proud of myself lately. The guys I’ve come into contact with have all been met by me standing my ground. One guy asked for a hug after we walked and talked for an hour. I decided against it. Simple little thing it was but it felt good to say no. There have been several of these small gestures of me claiming my time properly that I’m hoping will bring a better litter of pedigree my way. It’s a new me that I’m quickly used to and in love with. This time, I stood my grounds on who I am willing to let cook for me:

Him: “Where you want to go get something to eat?”

Me: “Its two really good spots downtown. Wild Eggs and Yolk.”

Him: “Or we can go on the highway and get off on the next exit. There’s a Denny’s up there.”

Me (mentally scoffing AF): “No thanks, I don’t like Denny’s.”

Him: What do you want then?”

Me, without hesitation:”One of the two places I named.”

The conversation and food at Yolk were good. We laughed, talked travel, kids, food, life. We hit it off even more, sober nonetheless, and planned to meet up when he stopped back through Indy. I even gave him a hug which reminded me of how great a good embrace can be.

Monday Mourning:

Now I’m about to post screenshots for two reasons: to avoid typing and trying to summarize these messages without leaving out anything pertinent and two, so we can get back to the original question of this blog and end it. But first, let me start this at where things truly ended. Sunday night, I went fell asleep around 10:00 pm reading my book for class and watching Law & Order: SVU. When I woke up to turn the lights out around 1 AM, I saw he had called shortly after 10:30. I returned the call via text Monday morning wishing him a good day and noting that I was asleep the night before. Well, no need for paraphrasing. Peep this curveball:

The Capitalization of Every Letter Bled My Eyes Dry
**Jodeci sir.

Do you want my response to this madness or should I just dive back into the Savannah Syndrome? Fuck it:

I don’t have the battery life for this shit.

I immediately blocked him after I sent that last message because I mean it when I say I will cut your black ass off these days. No more sticking around and proving my instincts wrong. No more giving second chances. I’m all out. Sorry guise. I wasted them on trifelife niggas and now, either come right or miss me. Now, the term correct is not synonymous with perfect. But this shit right here…NAW! So as long as planes, trains, and automobiles cover the land and skies and ships cover the seas, I swear I will be God blessed and fine. My mom might be disappointed. I think she liked him. Mom, I think we need to make peace with me living this life to the fullest, solo. Or, as I am coming to wonder, maybe I have many true loves in faraway countries that are waiting for my arrival. I know this ain’t it. Oh and before I could get that block to stick, one final message came back to me from Chocolate Winona that I didn’t bother to screenshot (I only did shots to share w/my sister…but hey, why not the blog).

It said “Ok Ms. Smith. Take care. P.S. The Devil Won.”

N I G G A W H A T? ????

What exactly did the devil win? My soul? Cause that would be the only thing that matters and I’m certain that ceasing communications with someone other than God does not equate to the devil winning my soul….or virtually anything else! This makes me think about Too Black and Amiri Baraka. Too Black often performs Amiri Baraka’s poem “Must Be The Devil” as a tribute, and that repetitive line of “must be the devil!!”, popped in my head when I read that. So, it must be the devil winning, not you fucking up?

Seriously, please offer commentary to help me see the error of my ways. My comment sections are open for the public to leave real thoughts in. I welcome them. I gave you the whole screenshots because I want to get an outside take on how I handled this and if I jumped off the deep end. My conclusion was that based on this pre-convo about trust issues and me not answering my phone, that is how my morning text was greeted with “we gotta do better than this” and a reiteration of trust issues rather than something more friendly and fashionable (as in we just met each other) like “have a blessed day too.” Is that fucking hard???? Should I have really been told that we gotta do better? Nigga. I just met you!!! I don’t have to “do better.” Either you like what is being presented or you keep it trucking, Buck. And one more thing….did he hit me with the angry black woman technique? He suggested I shot him down in my aggressive texts but I never could locate either: not the aggressive texts or the shooting him down.

But that’s not the point of this blog.

This is really about The Savannah Syndrome. One thing that I noticed while we were headed to eat was Chocolate Winona’s repeated interrogation of whether or not I am the type that appreciates a good man. It got to a point that I felt I needed to throw it out there that I too am a good woman and make no mistake of that. It started to feel like he picked up a straggler from the corner who needed to be coached on being in a relationship so long as she was appreciative. I ended up saying yeah I’m appreciative but I also REQUIRE the same. I’m a good fucking woman, flaws.and.all. In order to take a seat at your table, I would have to sell one of my own.

I’m not a bum. But – I’m also still healing and reeling from the whatevers of my life so I took it with a grain of perception. But when I received these texts, I knew I wasn’t tripping. My ex used to do this shit. He would play this “good guy” role in attempts to guilt trip me (also known as manipulation) out of giving up on the relationship. He would say things like “you’ll never get someone who loves you like I love and support you”, “you know no one else will love you like me”, and other similar phrases often reserved for women to say to men but I digress. It worked but not because I didn’t think I would get a better love; but because I thought he was a good man and I wasn’t being ‘fair’ to him. Reality has shown that if someone isn’t loving you the way you want or need to be loved, regardless of their level of good, dropping them will allow you the opportunity for someone else to love you BETTER!!!! Even if that someone is yourself. 

Now, I know I’m one to overthink but I also know old relationships are supposed to teach us what to avoid and what to look for in new experiences. When that flurry of messages came through and I kept seeing about the devil winning and showing up Saturday “after the good man came”,  I was instantly yuckfaced about it. The final message of  “P.S. The Devil Won” really made me laugh. Because I couldn’t help but think what if the devil had nothing to do with this my G. What if God was saving me from something that wouldn’t ultimately be good FOR ME? What if for once in my life, I actually allowed that to happen without asking to be broken down first?

Just as there are still good guys left on Earth, there are good women. Most times, it is good women that raised them. I think it’s worth noting that “good” is a subjective term, which means its definition is subject to one’s own individual perceptions and experiences. What are you good at? Building? Cooking? Fucking? Manipulating? Staying out late? Just because you are “good”, doesn’t mean you are FOR everyone…or anyone. Being a good person or a good man or a good woman doesn’t make you perfect and it doesn’t automatically grant you access to whoever you want. Your version of your good self might be the worst choice for my version of my best self. This is how my last self-proclaimed “good man” left me looking:

Wow my boobs are flat.

It doesn’t mean either of us is bad people. And two good people not being compatible don’t mean the devil won shit!!!

It means yaw don’t mesh. The. End. Manipulation is running rampant in relationships and I’m no longer willing to sink in the murky waters of an unknown nigga ocean of confusion. Even if you’re a good guy. That “The Devil Won” shit rubbed me so ill man. Don’t try to use God to fuck with me. My ex did that shit too and thought he was the moral authority in the house while living a devildick lie of a life. Remember how Savannah’s mom from Waiting to Exhale told her that homeboy was “a good man”??? She said it with conviction in her face and voice. She wholeheartedly believed him to be such.

And good he may have been. He was also an adulterer. A liar. And a manipulator. All these things made him selfish as well. Quite similar to my ex, who again, suffered heavily from Savannah’s Syndrome. I’m not questioning whether he was good or not; I’m just saying there came a point for Savannah where his good wasn’t her cup of excellence.

When good dick is no longer the blinding force, you increase the odds of ending up with a confident good man who lacks Savannah Syndrome,

…and also has good dick attached to his beautiful, compatible soul.

So for now,

I’M GOOD, nigga, enjoy.

Today’s soundtrack is a new release from Chance the Rapper:

PS: God Won Again!!!! #AlwaysDoes

Falling in Love w/Fly Weights

“I looked good on his arm

As if I were candy paint decorating his suit jacket

Cherry red on suicide doors

My sepia arm dripping in jewels like daytime glitter.

Alternating from faux to French diamonds,

Because every girl needs costume and real jewels.

Accessorizing his east side accent like English language blanketing German subtitles,

the paparazzi loved the way we made an entry,

Arms criss crossing melanins.

We looked fly together

But I was interlocking elbows with an anchor that could halt the Titanic….”

~nomaD, J.York, October 2018

To know me is to know how much I love pictures. I come from a picture taking family. My grandmother owned all the cameras and never fell short of snapping her favorite polaroid to capture photos of the moment. It’s been almost a year since she passed and the one thing I’ve wanted to do was go to her house and look at her old picture books. I know if I do, all those people will come alive in her dining room for me one more time.

Gmom looking through polaroids while Gdad was kinda over it.

Pictures are my thing and it’s no secret that I had hoop dreams of learning photography and specializing in black and white shots. I have several clouds saving pictures for me, including Google and Amazon, as well as a site called Smugmug that I found years ago. My photos automatically upload to these clouds so there is never a shot or video that gets deleted w/o the ability to be recovered from somewhere. As of recently, the newest social trend is to give us a glimpse back in the past. It started out on Facebook but now Google and Prime (as well as others I’m sure) have made it where you can check out the photos you took from “on this day”, circa whatever year. Every day for the past few months, I log onto Prime and do something I’ve never been good at doing: deleting pictures. I delete every and any trace of photos that have my ex in them, no matter how fly the picture looks. On Google, you can do a face recognition, so I did that and removed him completely from my Google cloud. Prime requires me to do this every time they prompt me with a flashback. And I oblige it, daily. Matter a fact, let me check now.

 

I do this daily. I remove all evidence of him from my life and from inadvertently “popping TF up” when I least expect it. I know I can’t possibly scrub my IG and FB page clean without some help, but the least I can do is get those fauxtoshoots off my clouds. All my clouds are too high up to be holding onto this many pictures of Polyester Peter. But you know why there are so many pictures (there are HUNDREDS)? Because we looked so good together. I mean, we looked F L Y !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On our worst days, we could snap a picture that would make my eyes flutter hard enough to kick the 808s in my heart. He was always game to snap as many pictures as I wanted him to. I thought he was just as eager and excited to see us frozen in beauty the way we would be. It wasn’t for ‘likes’ or for public consumption although I made the mistake of sharing our flyness with the world (something that will NEVER happen again. My weddings guests will have to read braille to know what’s happening).

I just loved him. I love pictures. We were fly. It was a triple lutz win worthy of an audience!

But that’s all we ended up being: fly LOOKING.

We were anything but mid-flight.

Yep. We were a crash that looked pretty during the fall. The reality was I was holding hands with a gorgeous weight. For all the times I stared intentionally into his eyes, I fail to understand how I couldn’t see the lies I was being told or the fact that he was an anchor on my hand. A body of bricks. Concrete love, and I was lost in his jungle putting on makeup and pretty dresses.

Venice Beach Plane Failure – during a long period of silence between the two of us. I didn’t know he took this.

Which brings me to the point (finally) of this blog.

It is all too possible to fall in love with a fly ass weight. What does this mean? It means the person (male or female) that you have entered into a relationship with has all your love but no wings, no feathers and no ability to help you fly. No matter how hard you pull them in the direction of up, they will always bring you down. It might not necessarily be on purpose at the onslaught, but there comes a point in the relationship where I believe they make a choice to love you ill and pull you towards ashes and dust. I happen to believe if we are “returned” to Earth after our demise, six feet back into the ground, then our lives are not meant to be lived there; we are supposed to be on the up and up until they lower our caskets or spread our ashes. But there are times when we meet and fall in love with people who can only offer us first base. As the relationship progresses, you start to see the ship isn’t moving and every time you cut the anchor free, another hindrance finds itself in the way of your partnership motion. Congratulations, this is falling in love with a fly weight. 

That weight might dress well, have beautiful eyes that beckon your staring and their skin might appear to be made of golden sunrays but that doesn’t mean their arm doesn’t require a forklift or that their love isn’t the foundation for being grounded. No matter how much they support your grind (which is usually just above the surface) or how often they call themselves “your biggest fan”, they will begin to treat you in ways that don’t reflect what you expect (or what their mouth says). Soon enough, you will become disgruntled and sorrowful when you look around you and see your flight has been halted. Realizing letting go might gift you your travel back will undoubtedly be a painful recognition.

Let go anyway.

Flies vomit when they land btw. .. on whatever they’ve landed on.

The question becomes why is this person a ‘weight’ instead of a wing? Well, there is often one simple answer (although depending on the situation, there may be several more): Jealousy.

The wrong person will see your natural flyness (including but not limited to the way you look, the personality you own, how you carry yourself, how you handle life, how you chase down and achieve your goals and where you are in life) as a hindrance to their personal greatness and the relationship overall. I’m not sure why it is, but some people don’t notice when a person is trying to BUILD WITH them instead of against them. I’m sure it’s associated with whatever baggage they have in tow. But their blindness can keep you out the sky indefinitely while interlocking arms with them and snapping selfies for the gram. Your IG feed can easily become your relationship’s only means of protein.

Jealousy is dangerous, ugly and unloving and it camouflages itself as support, love, and light. But in reality: welcome to the darkroom. It will either kill you or stop your train. Muthafuckas will take from you when they are jealous of you and in a relationship with you. Money itself is too simple. If they know you as a hustler, they will see money as replaceable; they can’t take JUST that (although they will take that too). They take/want your soul. That’s where the satisfaction comes from. Your spirit. Your confidence. Your pride. They take one feather at a time from your wings until they’ve grounded you in a position where they can start trying to mold you into who they now believe you should be to or for them. Their greatness is defined by how weak you are for them. If they can put you in a position to compromise what YOU think, want, know, deserve and push back against, they feel empowered. If they, in their insecurities and fears, shortcomings and missteps, can put an ounce of mental control on us, to tame us, to mend us towards fixing their shit and not working on our own, to pull us down from their words, their ill-fated love, and poor decisions, then they have empowered themselves even more. The more power they collect, the bigger they grow and better control they have over something (usually these people have little control on anything else in their life).

We, the women of great internal power and audacious love, LOOK good on their arms. We look fly. It tells the world what they can pull and keep. It shows people something.

“Look who (s)he walked in with!!”

“How did (S)HE get HER?”

This is ego-lower self food, and it does more speaking on their behalf than they are willing to do for themselves. That’s why they accuse you of caring so much about what other people think. It’s not because you do and they know this. It’s projection baby!! When I tried getting back w/my ex in the late summer of 2017, I hosted a party shortly afterward with my friends. He got mad that he wasn’t invited and accused me of caring about how my guests would look at me if they knew he was back around. Let’s be 100 tho: I couldn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about who I choose to love and why. It was never that. It was all about what I thought about it and I wasn’t ready. But that grassroots attempt at a mindfuck almost worked. THEY care what other people think. Don’t fall for the projection!  Their (wo)manhood has plenty of stock invested in the “fly look” of the two of you that is based on your flyness PRE-their ass.

Here we are: these daring, brilliant, talented women with exquisite beauty that we don’t even rely on. Women who know ourselves.  Women who care for our loved ones. The villagers. Women who uphold honor, love, and respect and demand all of it. Women who build the table and pull out our own chairs. Women who aren’t content with chasing dreams; we massacre goals and create new ones to tackle.

To have US on their arm shows the world they are fly.

Then WE look fly in pictures.

No one can see our secret: that our arms are attached to weights.

And no wing can fly above an anchor. The only means is cancellation or cutting the ropes. It may be one of these most painful retractions of your life. You will ask questions that won’t generate responses that kiss it, kiss it better. Your trust may be broken as well as your heart and your mental state might be challenged for a period of days or weeks (and for some, months). You’ll indeed feel HEAVY as fuck !!!!!!!!!!!

Photo by ANKH Productions

As if you weigh 3 tons and can’t be bothered to pull your weight throughout an entire day (or you may instantly feel great, unbothered and ready for a do-over with a better candidate). But trust me when I say releasing the hand/arm that you are holding, snapping pictures with and looking good next to (also known as a WEIGHT) will open the sky up for you. The sidewalk will become a liftoff. You need not run. Just keep walking.

I assure you, as God and myself is my witness, you will be flying before you know it. While there might not be a hand to hold onto during your ascent, don’t trip. Fuck em and feed em’ concrete! FLY sis. Evict any negative energy from that person (pictures off cloud, phone, old gifts, left items, etc) and move UP with your life.

Fly until you fly into someone already up there, looking for you….we gotta learn that stopping to catch your breath doesn’t mean to pick up worm unless you’re eating it.

Don’t accept less,

Don’t be sorry,

Photo by ANKH Productions

and never settle for being grounded after you’ve left your mom’s house.

~J

 

***Dedicated to my sisterfriend that inspired this conversation recently. I hope you know who you are <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Baby What U Cut With: A Good Thing?

….Then there was that one time that I was standing in a trio of associates and friendships having general conversation and enjoying an ending moment when the sole male of us three noticed a woman drawing close on our triangle. As she eased in on us, he began introducing all three of us to each other; this was his girlfriend. To my surprise, she didn’t stick around and make a quadrant. Instead, she opted to recognize her man, speak to us and walk away with a smile and a book or two (we were in a library). As the two of us girls began childishly teasing our male associate about having a girlfriend and falling in love, someone mentioned marriage (as a joke). He quickly shot down our leap of love faith but confidently said: “but she’s wifey material though.” We all smiled and our proverbial ‘awwws’ before ending the night with goodbyes and hugs.

Nothing wrong with that right?

Right!

But something he said struck me one day while I was driving down the street letting my mind wander.

“She’s wifey material.”

Wifey material.

Wife-y.

Material.

You know what I’m about to ask right?

What is wifey material exactly? What does it mean to be or possess personality traits that make you wifey material? What type of material are wives made of?

Before I go any further, let me state matter-a-factly that this blog is in NO WAY about the male associate or his observation of the woman in his life. I don’t have a problem with the phrase; I’m just wanting to unpack it a little. So this is not a knock on him – he just was the conduit for this blog.

So about these wives and their specialty material . . .

Are they silk? Able to be pressed? Do they need to be washed on delicate? How about Cashmere? Is there such thing as a mink wife? Chinchilla wife? Linen perhaps? Linen definitely sounds like wifey material. The way I see it, rayon, cotton, polyester, and burlap don’t really sound like they would be firmly marching down the aisle of love. Those would be the non-wifey materials, saved for the throwaway girlfriends, the accidental teachers (who show the men how to love which usually goes to a different woman), the baby mommas and the hoes. . . ?

Hey, don’t shoot me here. I’m not labeling; I’m reaching …for understanding. What exactly is wifey material? And let’s not try to convince me it’s goofy stuff such as cooking and cleaning and sex on a regular basis. I’m talking about the subconscious stuff, the shit that can make or break a person – the REAL relationship glue. I remember something my ex said to me while we are arguing the day we broke up.

“No woman I would marry would ever have a past as filthy as yours”

Ouch, my nigga.

Damn my G. That hurt

…annnnd it was also kinda funny because no man I would want to marry would have a present like his (at that time), and I risked my love on a hope anyway. But I digress. . .

Still, it made me wonder, especially in conjunction with the phrase wife-material, does your past affect the type of fabric you’re wrapped in? Does time, youth, ignorance nor time elapsed not make a difference? Do you OWE your other half a rundown of the life you had prior to him (as was reported to me by my now ex), and if so, does that imply that your past shouldn’t be something you wouldn’t be eager to share? Or does your past, much like bad credit, affect your ability to be seen as a qualified wife?

When a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. Proverbs 18:22

One of America and especially black people’s favorite Bible verses to quote. I am not here to dispute this piece of scripture. In fact, I completely agree with it and at least have some understanding of it. Personally, I love the fact that finding a wife is gaining favor in the Lord. If every woman has the potential to be a wife, then every woman a man meets is cut from that same wifey-material…she just has to want to be a wife and intentionally align her actions, choices, and prayers up with it? I joined a group on Facebook at some point this year that was to go with this five-day challenge a friend suggested we sign up for. The challenge was about opening yourself up for Godly love but the FB group is called Young and Married. Yeah. I feel out of place but the people in it are mostly hopeful brides and grooms to be. I received an inbox asking if I wanted to sign up for a book that would help me prepare myself for a Godly marriage. Some of the emails I’ve received have been about molding you to be ready to be a wife (or husband). There was one video that Ciara posted a while ago that got her into all kinds of opinionated, social-media driven hot water. In it, a pastor is discussing being a wife before you have a ring. He repeats the scripture from above and addresses the fact that it doesn’t say “he who finds a girlfriend”, but rather “a wife”, suggesting you are a wife (or of wifey-material) without a husband, ring or marriage certificate. It is up to this elusive man to find you, realize who and what he has in front of him and then you get all the bells and whistles (proposals, weddings, marriage, etc). But in the meantime, you are (or should be) emotionally and mentally grooming yourself as who you want to be: a wife.

But what if I don’t want to be? What if I no longer care about getting married as much as I am concerned about living this life to the fullest? Even if that includes me dying single? Am I thot-material? Does the price of my fabric go down? Do I slip from the smooth edges of the silky shelves to the half-off clearance bin of leftover fabric parts? Can I never be of wifey-material because I am not reading books and ultimately preparing myself to be “the good thing-wife?”  Am I NOT “a good thing.” What exactly does a man find when he’s not finding a wife? A bad thing? Forgive me if I’m thinking too hard but if a man finds a woman that’s not a wife (or of wifey material), what exactly did he find? If this was answered in biblical terms, would she be a Jezebel? Are those of us who aren’t that man’s wife simply pieces of used fabric that no one wants to sew with?  What if we are no one’s wife????? #ThenWhat?

Actress Jennifer Lewis did a recent interview on The Breakfast Club where she was asked if she was married. She said she’s been engaged four times and still has the rings to prove it but she never went through with it.

“Honey, I’ve never been married. Listen, I married my career and I have no regrets.”

I’m not one of those people who believes there is someone for everyone. There are people who die every day without having ever been married, and many of these people have lived joyful lives and never once felt deprived of anything, especially not love. So for the women that fit that under this umbrella, what are they? Sluts? Whores? Devil-worshippers? Or just pieces of standard cotton that God tossed in the world to spice things up?

You know what made me want to be a wife? Power.

No, not the television show. As I came to understand wives based on readings, conversations, and random documentaries, while the husband may be head of household in many cases, it is almost always the wife that runs the house. She keeps the order. She balances the money. She inspires and raises the children and the husband! When I would see husbands gush over their wives, they would speak of her like an enigma. The ones that are truly in sync w/their marriage seem to almost shy away from understanding how they got so lucky. They know they fall short of her love and find themselves better and greater because of her. She leads the charges in their heart and is half the inspiration of their grind. All of this PLUS (depending on the beliefs) she gains them favor in the Lord. It’s a power-filled, selfless, spiritual act of love no matter what your beliefs are. By all means, finding a wife most definitely means finding a good thing and I’ve longed to BE a good a thing.

A good thing.

Not wifey material and I’ve hated that word since I first heard it @wifey. I never even longed to be a ‘wife’ until I started husbanding these stray, polyester sewn mutts looking for shelter and food. Playing house with my Barbie Doll raised imagination and my dry begging, cheap denim, Jegging-style boyfriends led me to want to be more than the role I was playing because they left me feeling like I wasn’t enough. And how could I be? Most of them needed their mommy or a parole officer, neither of which I was. And although I never really dug the live-in pussy situation, I somehow found hope that it would turn into a proposal a time or two. The only thing ever proposed from those mistakes were passions for fucking up my credit and my trust. Let Ciara’s pastor tell it, I guess I’ve been living as a girlfriend and not a wife, so every man who has found me, found a girlfriend, which doesn’t make me a ‘good thing’ as much as an easy conquest or short-term practice.

Interesting concept. . .

Becoming a wife wouldn’t have changed any of my relationships aside from putting me in the position to contact a cheap divorce lawyer. In all honesty, I  do want to make life art with someone and attack the world’s canvasses as if we have the only paintbrush left in the world. I want to be a good thing to someone and in return, receive a good thing back. But I don’t want to work to convince a nigga that I’m dope enough for the position. I also don’t want to give wife benefits to boyfriend material. I suppose there is a certain way I should be living or a certain hem of fabric I’m supposed to be cut from in order to have that and I’m not sure either of those is my priority or origin.

And I’m ok with it. I’m ok with never being married. I was ok with it in the past. I am ok with it now. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to be joined with one person and we go forth and change the world and each other’s lives for the better. It simply means I’m not waking up daily trying to align my feet with the wedding two-step or praying nightly for a man to come find me waiting.

Either a man will SEE me, or his legally blind ass won’t.

Hell after almost marrying my future divorce, what I know now is that being wifey material doesn’t make a man husband ready. Because let’s be honest: all the good men aren’t taken but the single ones are picky AF and some of us will be left out. Period. It doesn’t mean he’s not fresh off a block of abandoned sandpaper and masculine tears. What good is a wife to a man going through his third round of pre-pubescent attitude changes? Is she supposed to “good thing” him into adulthood? What about the dudes out here slanging unprotected dick front, back, and side to side (also known as hoe’ing and we know we can’t wife them), dropping babies at every missed left turn to Albuquerque? Sounds like my favorite scripture that asks:

“What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?” Mark 8:36

I’ve met my own share of wifey-material raised women who gained the husband and lost her soul and essence because that nigga was cut from strips of fleece and rayon.

What I know for certain is I am not living for the hope and prayer that a lifelong companion will find me and gain his rightful favor. I am living for me; not for this riddle or trying to reconcile with the fabric of my creation. I am flying to the places I want to and experiencing all this world has to show me. I am intentional about healing myself, helping others heal and creating safe spaces for those that need them. I create as I see fit and insert my voice only in the necessary moments. I love openly and wildly and for the most part, without any apology. I am intentional. I am light. I am beautiful and I am love. To experience me, in all my qualities and pitfalls, my vulnerabilities and my confidence, is to experience a good thing.

Who says I have to be a wife in order to be a good thing? What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Or in this case, the ring or the good?

I know I am definitely a good thing. Anyone who doesn’t see me as a wife is missing out. But after many years and tons of mistakes, I found my damn self and discovered someone pretty amazing living inside of me.

Found on IG (via @erickaps)

So I guess I will gift this good favor from the Lord to me!

Call me Pink Cashmere.

~J

First the Fat Boys Break Up, Now This

I begin this blog with a heavy sigh.

It’s been a hard month in the land of celebrities we love. Several of the people who spit the verses we kick back to and have given us the television we’ve enjoyed have shown their natural asses and proved that it is an unhealthy trait to put celebrities on a pedestal because they are absolute human beings. They do some of the illest human-being shit but often shit that only surprises us because we put them in this ‘light’ or position where we expect (or at the bare minimal hope) them to behave in the most angelic of ways.

But that’s not what reality presents us with now, is it?

First, there was Jay Z and Beyonce, which actually started a few years back with the release of Lemonade. As all of us Jay fans tried to relax and wait for what he would artistically do to redeem his proverbial fall from monogamy’s grace, he hit us with 4:44; a dedication of self-reflection, family, honesty, and empowerment. When he rapped “I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me/Let me alone Becky” (Family Feud), along with the songs Many Have Faced God and the title track, he gave us the confirmation we’d waited over a year for: that he cheated on Beyonce and Lemonade was a musical biopic of Beyonce’s pain, resilience, and triumph. Jay’s album was so well received by the masses, myself included, that even though we all sent a collective side-eye his way for cheating (like seriously…WHO is she???), we forgave him, as Beyonce clearly has done, and rocked his newest work on vol-max with little trepidation. Were we disappointed? Yeahhhhh, but hey, we survived.

But let’s come closer to today. It’s May 2, 2018, and it’s approximately 4:14 PM as I type. So.Much.Has.Happened!!!!! And I’ m not blogging to talk about it as much as I am to question this insane amount of picked and chosen silence. Let’s take a look shall we:

Kanye West 

I don’t have to regurgitate the bullshit he has strewn all over the press floors that allow him to shuffle his punk ass into their building and begin using his voice but . …. btw, where exactly did this voice derive from? Whatever good his interview w/Charlamagne did him was immediately erased and replaced by his spontaneous trip to the TMZ offices. I can’t even begin to outline the extent of my disappointment at his disparaging remarks that left many of us scratching our heads and hitting rewind just to see if what we think he said was true. Yes, it is true. He said slavery was a choice. He said black folks don’t care about black on black crime. He said he loves trump and that’s his brother…BRO! And I again want to point out this new slaves voice he’s using. I can’t sit through an entire interview while he uses it.

It’s not about his right to ‘free thought’.It’s his approach, his tactics, his voice (whose voice IS this????!!!!)….it’s who he’s aligning himself with and how he even got to that point to begin with. I could care less why he’s mad at Jay Z; I want to know what happened to the Ye that “Never Let Me Down.”

“Racism still alive, they just be concealing it”

~Kanye, College Dropout

Something I felt particularly disturbing about the TMZ interview was when he suggested being afraid that the young black man that read his ass to filth was going to try to fight him.

“So if I come over there, you’re not gonna fight me?”

If this ain’t fresh out of a cigarette pack of white tears, I’m unsure what is. This disturbed me on a level that let me know, not only is Ye not really trolling us (he is a little but not to this extent), but he really has gotten lost in the sauce of rich, white influences, Hollywood and seemingly an unnamed cult of trump supporters. It’s disturbing. It was disheartening to see our Ye treat another black man like he’s fearful of him while conveniently aligning himself with donald trump who happens to believe that police should do more in the realm of “roughing up” the suspects [who, when black, they fear].

That small clip worked my spirit. But what I noticed, that conflicted me emotionally, is a massive amount of celebrity support for Ye. John Legend called him to check on him and offer him a new perspective. T.I. stepped in and even recorded a song with him. Charlamagne interviewed him. Thousands of fans are still lining up for support of his free thought and of course, his wife supports him. In a sense, I love it. I love that people didn’t just jump at throwing him away; that folks like John Legend and T.I. (his friends) stepped in to talk to him – that’s the society I want to live. A place where we don’t just toss people to the side even when they need to be. It’s funny how folks are swearing he has a mental illness but in the same breathe want to throw him away. To me, that’s contradictory. But I digress with a question:

Where was this love, support, and respect for Chrisette Michele,

who not only issued a public apology but spent time at The Breakfast Club explaining her ”bad decision”, the aftermath, her suicidal thoughts, and where she stands with it all today.

There was no love offered her way or even a public display of apology acceptance. The so-called black delegates traded her and there’s nothing we can do about it huh? I posted the video from her Breakfast Club interview and stated that we need to stop throwing people away. I felt for her as I listened to her speak about experiencing a miscarriage then reading the comments to see how many people said she deserved it or offered her no empathy whatsoever. I had four likes. Meanwhile, the capes for Kanye are selling off the shelves.

But there’s something else. There’s an apparent media blackout on Nas & Fabulous. Two more of our beloved hip-hop celebrities who have fallen from grace, both due to domestic violence allegations. Kelis accuses Nas of being a heavy drinker and abusive to her over the course of their marriage. Emily B. accused Fabulous of punching out her front teeth. Then, of course, there’s the video of him threatening her father, holding some type of knife-looking weapon and slow-charging toward Emily. You know what people say when they see that video?

“We don’t know the full story.”

“They were together at Coachella.”

It’s disheartening AF. What does it take to make the voices of black women a priority worth listening to? I listen to Joe Budden and a ton of other podcasts and have heard plenty of excuses as to why these two aren’t being reported on. Charlamagne even went so far as to suggest that women come out with some sort of statement because Fab and Emily were seen together in Cali. THE FUCK? He suggested an apology until he realized how stupid it sounded. Few, if any, have mentioned Nas. Is it because it’s old? Or because it’s Kelis, someone the industry hasn’t always taken very kindly to? What’s the reasoning behind the silence on the abuse allegations against some of our hip-hop favorites while simultaneously flying across the air in a pair of Yeezy sneakers, YeCape blazing in the wind?

I know.

It’s been a hard month. We can’t lose everyone at once, right?

Some of our favorites have disappointed us with actions that don’t reflect the head bobs we enjoy at the expense of their music. It’s hard to put a thought to our beloved Nas, the mastermind behind “If I Ruled the World” and Illmatic in general, being drunk out of his mind and abusing Kelis in halls of a Calabasas home. I get it. The same for Fabulous. We’ve watched him grow from a crooked tooth young cat to a reserved elder in the game and it’s not easy watching him look like the accusations made against him might be true. Still, they both get a pass of silent non-judgment. If Emily stayed with him, it must not be true. He must not be so wild and uncontrollable that he would dare knock her front teeth out and threaten her father (without a valid reason…lol). And Kelis is a wild-card that was releasing ‘crazy’ music until she got with Nas so she must have hit him first right? It’s been nine years so what difference does it make now? She stayed so it must not be true…right?

Kanye West is trending across all social media platforms as well as YouTube, meanwhile, Fabulous and Nas don’t even have to publicly address their situations and none of their industry friends are talking about it. Its likely that if these things did happen, the very people that aren’t talking also aren’t surprised. No interventions are being staged and there are no stand-up guys that are trying to talk some sense in them. It’s just silent.

Who would these people be if they were not famous? Fame doesn’t change the soul of their personality. So if they weren’t in the public eye, who would they be? What was their environment growing up and how did they see women treated? How were they taught to show love? Celebrity status doesn’t erase any of these things, it only magnifies the mistakes of them, so I ask again, who would they be if we didn’t know their names? I ask this because I wonder why it’s so impossible to believe that they would do the things they are accused of? Because we love One Mic and still think Breathin’ goes hard? According to https://ncadv.org/statistics, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of domestic violence while 1 in 4 has been a victim of severe domestic abuse. With stats like these, I ask one final time, why is it so hard to believe they did it? Listen to that video of Kelis and convince me that she’s making all of that up. Why isn’t there more outrage? How does it not rank as dangerous and important to address as Kanye? Finally, why aren’t the men of hip-hop flocking to the phone lines, twitter pages and studios of these brothers to talk to them and help them heal their demons (so as to protect other women from experiencing such harm), as is the situation with Kanye? If the Nicki Minaj is dating Nas, why ain’t Drake asking him “what’s good?!”

BTW, Russell Simmons stands with pulling Kanye to the side and trying to save him.

R. Kelly. Nelly. Too Short.

I’m not saying these men are guilty at all. Well, we know R. Kelly is guilty as fuck but the rape allegations against Too Short & Nelly have either been dropped or stalled so I will stress these are alleged accusations. However, I can’t help but notice that when it comes to harmful acts against black women, there is collective silence and/or the assumption that she is lying until she proves she’s not. Anything she does that seemingly condones the harm done to her invalidates her claims so Emily B. showing up to Coachella with Fabulous makes him not guilty in the eyes of the same public court that is outraged about Kanye’s slavery comments.

I’m outraged by his comments…and by this weird all-white college frat-kid voice he’s talking in. But his explanation of why he said that didn’t change what he said or how it made people feel. So why does Emily B. showing up with Fabolous or Kelis staying with Nas make their claims invalid?

I love being black. It’s no secret and we all know that much. But who would we be without women? Why is it when acts of brutality are committed against us it spawns no outrage? No memes calling for boycotts. No suggestions of removing support of the accused; nothing more than a brief appearance on theshaderoom.

Interesting concept.

It’s been a heavy few months. Quite frankly, it’s been a heavy few years. We’ve either lost some of the greatest performers that ever lived or we have been let down by their private antics in epic proportions. It’s hard. I still love Your Body’s Calling Me by R. Kelly but I refuse to listen to it. REFUSE. My ears can handle the loss and there is a world of music out here to replace it. The same with Kanye. No, I won’t find another Kanye, but I don’t have to listen to this one. I may still reminisce over old Spaceships and walks with Jesus, but this new Ye, new voice and all, can kiss my black ass. The same with Nas. The same with Fabolous. I may be one of few, but I’m paying attention to more than the moment. And some of what I see really makes me sad. But I will tell you what:

The black race can’t be more important than the black women that populate it.

And saving Kanye, who has clearly abandoned his black pride, shouldn’t be greater than saving someone’s life.

Man it’s been rough.

As Bony T said in Boomerang: “First the Fat Boys break up, now this. Nothing to believe in . . . “

~J