Saturday, November 7, 2015

I use to be super organized, like bordering on anal retentive, OCD organized. And then the order that I had carefully crafted fell apart. It got loose when I moved to NJ to be with my bf after I discovered that I was pregnant. He wanted his family to be with him and so I picked my newly unemployed ass up and moved, even though I could feel my family's disapproval. With him I was going to have what I always wanted - that nuclear family, maybe even the picket fence and a dog. He seemed to welcome, even need, my order. But I soon realized that my need to keep things organized gave him permission to relax (read: be a slob). It was like oil and water. I became the ever busy house wife, trying to see how many plates I could juggle. I was the chef, the maid, his secretary (like really, I kept his calendar in order as he tried to start a business in between his 9 to 5 and video game marathons). I assumed all of the "duties" of a wife without any of the benefits. We weren't married and he didn't seem to be pressed. His mother didn't respect me. I mean, her passive aggressiveness was the stuff of sitcom legend...without the laughtrack. Because that shit was not funny. At all. I had tried to find a job and managed to do some temp work but who was going to hire me pregnant? Not working was foreign to me. I had starting officially working when I turned 14 but I was always hustling, being industrious. That went hand in hand with my compulsive need to put and keep things in order. Not working while going through my first pregnancy away from my family and dealing with him and his mama did something to me. I started feeling broken. I had always worked hard not to feel broken. The good grades, accolades at church, scholarships to college and degrees had helped me feel less broken. But when my baby was delivered prematurely and had to stay in the NICU for 2 months,

the edges got frayed when my plan to leave him got sabotaged and I found myself making the rash decision to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. But things really fell apart when my grandmother passed away. I became a certifiable mess. Oh, on the surface, it looked like I still had my shit together. I still managed to multitask with my Superwoman cape fluttering in the breeze.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a change gon' come

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

yeah, i know that it's already 4 days into the new year so my proclamation seems late but it's never too late to make a change.  a change is coming for this blog.  a new name and theme with corresponding tumblr page are in the works so stay tuned.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

the boys all pause

what i wrote back then (june 2010):  the twittersphere was all...a-twitter after this week's episode of the boondocks aired.  aaron mcgruder's satirization of tyler perry was hilarious and blatant.  but some people were turned off by what was perceived as homophobia.  if all you heard was riley punctuating sentences with "no homo" or if you felt queasy because grand-dad didn't want to kiss winston jerome, i can kind of see where you're coming from but then that means that you missed the point.  i'm not going to proclaim that i know what aaron mcgruder was thinking but here is what i had to say in response to a question posed about tyler being "publicly outed" over at parlour magazine.

tyler perry outs himself every time he dons the madea get-up. i had refrained from joining the debate on twitter because let’s face it, debating within 140 characters is limiting & frustrating and it’s so easy to be misconstrued. anyway, i loved that episode. contrary to some people’s belief that it was homophobic, i think that the denial of any homosexual tendencies is self-hating and in a way, homophobic.
but that’s not even why i don’t like tyler perry. aside from the same story line that seems to run through everything he does (can you grow/expand some?), i’m offended by his caricature of black women. yes, the most obvious caricature is madea (i don’t know why people still think men dressing up as women is still funny. and why couldn’t he get a black woman to play the matriarch?!) but all of the 1.5 dimensional women fall into the 3 stereotypes of black women – the mammy (sheila/jill scott), sapphire (angela/tasha smith) and the jezebel (trina/denise boutte). these characters are from “why did i get married?” but they are reoccurring in almost all of perry’s works.
rants aside, i am still optimistic about “for colored girls…” because he is just producing it. the story is already written and he would be hard pressed to twist shange’s vision.
 now:  umm.  what can i say that hasn't already been said?  i plead the 5th.

the writing's on the wall continued

i haven't posted in over a year and a half.  so much has happened during that time.  so much - i changed jobs like 3 times all within the same company. i had to close a program down and lay off staff in this terrible economy again, all while my family was experiencing economic troubles.  i was diagnosed with hypertension (like really dangerous hypertension - 192/115) and i found out that i was pregnant.  pregnant and almost 40.

i've wanted to blog but either i was torn about how much to share with the internets or i just didn't have enough energy. of course i've been reading blogs (mostly about fashion) and leaving comments but that was easy.  it wasn't an emotional task for me.  each day that i would click on blogger to catch up on the latest trends and who's wearing what, i would feel a little twinge of guilt that i wasn't not putting any energy into what i claimed to love.  i wished that i could express my passion like my favorite bloggers.

a few days ago, one of the fashion bloggers that i just started following left a comment on one of my posts, the first "writing's on the wall" post.  her willingness to share such intimate parts of her life on my blog touched me.  it forced me to respond and so here i am.

@ Style4Curves, i am so sorry for your losses.  i know that this sounds cliche, but maybe it wasn't your time.  as a fellow chronic planner, i  had to learn the hard way several times.  i had planned almost every step of my life with at least three contingency plans for each step.  so of course, i stressed over every detail and even more when things didn't go as planned.  this high level of stress eventually contributed to hypertension, which unfortunately i ignored because i had too many other things to worry about. (it's funny how we pick and choose which signs we pay attention to.)  that diagnosis was one of the wall writings that i chose to ignore.  (isn't is also funny how the writing doesn't disappear simply because we ignore it?  we keep going through the same trial, remixed but the same, until we learn the lesson we're supposed to learn.) one of the most recent times found me on a hospital bed for the third time during my last pregnancy, being told that my hypertension might kill my unborn baby or me or both of us. that is actually a legitimate reason to worry but it was a catch 22.  worry and jeopardize my life and pregnancy or let go and let whatever was going to happen happen.  "let go and let God."  "whatever will be, will be."  pick a cliche but know that it wasn't easy either way.  i had to be reminded that everything has it's own time and order and that sometimes, the order of things is not going to be clear to me.  i had to learn to trust - trust myself to know that i am resourceful and resilient enough to be ok no matter what happened and trust that the powers that be/my higher power/God had a plan for me.  that plan is still unfolding for me and it hasn't been all happily ever after but i am happy.  
now back to you,  maybe it wasn't your time.  maybe planning everything is affecting your health and in turn your reproductive health.  i don't know.  i don't even know enough to say that if you stop wanting it so much that it will happen.  what i do know is that you have to learn to be ok regardless.  look at other ways to utilize your maternal energy.  motherhood is not simply giving birth to a child.  there are thousands of children that need a mother.  look into being a foster or an adoptive parent.  explore being a mentor.  use this time to write more (yes, i am THE black pot talking to the kettle) and research ways to make money so that you don't have to be a starving artist.  take this time to step back and look at the writing on your wall from every angle.  what themes have been reoccurring in your life?  as i type this advice to you, i am asking myself the same questions.  but your comment, the literal writing on the wall, has told me that i need to get back to writing.  it's also encouraging me to start studying for my licensing exam so i can charge for my counseling services (see, a way to make money with my dreams).  thank you for sharing with me and thank you for getting me to look up again at the writing on my wall.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

take a page from my book

breathe in...breathe out.  Ok, I've been meaning to post. Believe me, I've had a lot to share and it usually winds up in the back of my notebook or on my cell phone using a notepad app, as of late.  There's been so much going on and when I've finally been able to check in on my family and friends, I'm saddened to find out that so many of us are going through similar things, suffering in relative silence.  So, in a healthy compromise, I will be sharing more, starting with all the bits and scraps of stories, poems and random thoughts floating at the bottom of my runaway bag aka my purse.  Some of what I share will be autobiographical, some fiction - a little of my story and some of my family and friend's but it will all be relateable because it's a little of me and a little of you. Please leave comments.  I need the feedback. And if you have a story to share and you don't want to leave it in the comments, email me directly at So without further ado, here's an excerpt:

No matter how many different ways she added it up, she wasn't going to be able to pay all of her bills this month. Her head throbbed and the back of her neck felt hot but she was used to it by now. Just like she was used to making herself as small as possible to decrease the chances of getting touched by the rush hour crowd or having to ride from Queens to downtown Manhattan, ignoring the growing bulge in the pants of the man staring down into her dress. Candice figured out the minimum payment acceptable for the cable/internet bill. That had to stay on. But she was already on a payment plan for Con Ed after reniging on two previous plans. She had to pay that bill or else paying the cable and internet bill was useless. Her cell phone bill had to be paid because that's how most people contacted her, even though it was mostly for work. Then, there was her Metrocard and groceries and...Candice found herself swaying as the numbers and images of past due stamped bills swirled in her head. The last thing she thought as she crumpled to the sticky floor of the crowded train was, "I can't afford to miss work...I wonder if I can cash in some sick days...I hope I'm wearing panties"

As Candice came to, she smelled something familiar and comforting - florida water and...roses? Grandma? As her eyes started to open her eyes, she remembered. Her grandmother had passed away 3 years before. The memory made Candice want to just lie there in God knows what on the E train floor. "Miss, are you ok?" "Did she hit her head?" "G'dammit, now they gonna call the amberlamps and I'm gonna be late for work!" That bit of negrotude shook her out of her pity party long enough to make Candice sit up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

the writing's on the wall...

i see patterns clearly.  those random occurrences that some consider coincidences, i see as everyday miracles, works of fate.  i look forward to seeing them. in fact, i look for them.  it's like i'm looking for reassurance that i'm on the right path, that i'm doing what i'm supposed to be doing.  some pray for signs.  i don't.  honestly, i haven't prayed for much lately, other than strength.  i just look around and smile when i see the pattern.  the random occurrences. the everyday miracles.  the writing on the wall.  or in this case, the writing on the screen.  

i had been putting off resetting my password for one of the several systems i use at work for almost two weeks now.  i like my current password.  it's cute and easy for me to remember and that's very important since i have at least 8 passwords to remember for work.  so today when i tried to log in and couldn't after several tries, i knew that i had to finally get a new one.  boo.  anyway, i called the helpdesk and was given my new password.  AUTHOR.  the writing on the screen, the random password selection had chosen AUTHOR as my new password.  is it a sign that i should write more and realize my dream to become an author?  that's how i'm taking it.  what's the writing on the wall telling you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

getting out and taking a chance...

last night, the air was thick and heavy with possibilities. it felt like anything could happen and i wanted to be off my block when it did. it started with a trip to barnes & nobles and then a stroll across atlantic ave. on court street. i had never been on court st. on that side of the avenue, over there by trader joe's. before that trader joe's opened, it always seemed like there was an invisible wall or some kind of spell that made you not even interested enough to look down that way. i don't know what made us look over there last night but we did. maybe it was how the lights were twinkling. i do recall how movie set clean the block looked. anyway, it took forever to cross atlantic but when we did, it was if the veil had been lifted. there was a steady flow of traffic in and out of trader joe's but it thinned out as we went down the block. after wading through all of the hemp totebags and scooters, we encountered the standard fare - trendy boutiques and restaurants, world of bennetton crews, baby strollers and hyperactive mini dogs. ahh, park slope. nothing new but it was a welcomed break from our block. weeksville, that historical slice of brooklyn on the border of bed-stuy and crown heights that no-one seems to know or remember anymore, is rough. in fact, we walked by 2 curb barbecues, the beginnings of a drunken serenade, and two soused old men scheming on how they were gonna get their next king cobra (that's malt liquor, y'all) on our way to the train station. anyway, we just missed a wine tasting at the brooklyn wine exchange but we picked up a garnacha bielsa (red for him) and a quattro mani toh-kai (white for me). how bourgie of us, lol.

court street was nice but we turned down bergen to get to smith street. after walking down several blocks and checking out several menus, we decided on this cute asian restaurant on the corner with outdoor seating. chance asian bistro on smith and butler is now officially my new favorite restaurant. my boyfriend buddha had a prix fixe dinner with wasabi lobster tempura as an appetizer, filet mignon for the entree and coconut mille crepes for dessert with a sangria. i also had a prix fixe dinner but i had the jalapeno calamari, crispy tropical chicken in a warm pickled ginger sauce and the yamamomo (japanese plum) creme brulee with a nigori sake berry martini. we also each had an extra appetizer. i had the spicy thai mussels and he had the steamed chicken shu mai dim sum and the deep-fried shrimp wontons. sounds like a lot of food, right? it wasn't. the portions were just right. the food was well-seasoned. the flavors were distinct and not muddled. i could identify the ginger, scallions, coconut milk and the red curry paste in the broth for my mussels. that broth was so good that we both spooned some over our jasmine rice. everything was delicious. everything! i had no complaints. at. all. the food was orgasmic and the restaurant itself was modern and sexy. we had already started planning our next visit before we had even finished our appetizers. sigh.

the night continued with us watching our DVRd sunday line-up. FOX aired one of the most uncomfortable hour long family guy specials ever. i still love them but last night's episode was just crazily inappropriate. talk about pregnant pauses and awkward laughs. i guess it prepared us for the season premiere of the boondocks. that shit right, listen. i'll have to dedicate a separate post for that later. i'm still processing everything i saw and heard. i will say, like i said on twitter (follow me @ashaknows), that someone needs to write their thesis on uncle ruckus in "post-racial" america and entitle it "a splish-splash of irish". ha! anyway, the night ended with a lightening show and a relatively quick steady rain. i thought the rain would break the humidity but the air was just as charged when i woke up this morning. hmmm, i wonder what else this week will bring. i don't know but i'm willing to take a chance and find out.