Monday, August 20, 2012

As The Cycle Continues

I'm in awe of most parents.  Like, I admire the work that most of them put into raising their children into the becoming the best possible adults.  Even when things don't ultimately go the way they planned for their kids and as hurtful as it may be, I still bow down to the work it takes to raise children. If you are a parent, that seems to be the most important job you'll ever have.

But the operative word was "most."  For as much as I love those parents, I am infuriated by the parents who basically do the absolute least and expect the most kudos. I don't want to offend but as I continue to watch some of the parents in my neighborhood, it weighs on my heart and my brain and I need to speak on it.

On an almost daily basis, when I walk home there are groups of people - men and women - hanging outside and their kids are playing with each other. Sounds good, right, seeing the parents outside spending that time with their kids? Eh, not so much.  These parents are often flat out drunk, smoking blunts and cursing up a storm in front of their own children.  This is at any given time on any given day.  They're hardly watching the kids, as sometimes they're all the way on my end of the block which is almost out of their vision and certainly where someone could easily snatch them.  It's almost like they know they have children but they'd prefer if they just went on and did their own thing.

Last week as I was walking to my building, this lady (she looked about mid-20s) must have been talking about her plans for the next day.  Her son said to her, "Ma, what day am I coming back again?" With an attitude she replied, "You coming back whenever I finish partying!"  I cut my eyes over real quick, saw her with her red Solo cup and a blunt while her son just went off to ride his bike. Maybe it wasn't a big deal to him that she responded like that because its something he's used to or maybe it wasn't even a big deal period but it was pretty telling. She was so dismissive and clear more concerned about her plans for the next night.

That example and so many others make me wonder if these parents on my block and others around the world are continuing a cycle or if they're starting one.  From the outside looking in (and I want to be clear that I'm on the outside looking in - been looking for about six years now), it would appear that these kids are growing up with an adult in the house but not a real parental figure. Almost all of them are very "forceful" in their tone and discipline so that the kids know who is in charge but what does it matter?  There don't seem to be any real examples being set. If that's the case, what are the children to go on as they grow into adulthood?  What positive examples will they be able to follow?  Sure, at some point all adults have to figure out their lives despite what they were shown as children but that is very hard. 

When you have kids, you take on that role and despite all of our numerous opinions, I'm sure that role doesn't include being drunk and smoking blunts in front of them on the regular nor does it include cursing them out all the time.  As I reflect on this, I just hope that all kids find positive role models at some point whether they or in or out of the home.

The Wall

It happened. I knew it would but was hoping it would take longer.  I was hoping I'd react differently.

The wall hit me right in my face with my daily posts and instead of believing that I could climb my big behind over it - or at least get a rope to help me up - I let it get the best of me and I stopped writing.

Sure, my biggest problem is coming up with something to say that I want to really share.  I'm pretty open on here but sometimes there are some things a girl just wants to keep to herself, you know?  I mean, I don't have any real "business" anyway but you know what I'm saying!  Then when I do get a topic, I have to think hard about not being too "wordy."  One thing about me: I. CAN. TALK.  My writing is conversational and those who know me can literally hear my voice when they read what I write.  But when reading, there's no time for all that. I have to just get to the point.

Anyway, I say all that to say I haven't given up yet. At all.  While I've lost momentum and the point was to write daily, I still believe I will finish up strong. I'm just disappointed in myself.

Oh well. *slowly starts climbing up and over the wall*

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Talk With Brooklyn

Dear "New" Brooklyn.

We've got to talk.  I know you're enjoying your new found fame but things are changing at a rapid pace and I need to address you before I lose it.  I know you're enjoying your new found fame and I can appreciate it. People are finally realizing what lifelong Brooklynites (or at least those who've been here for at least 20 years) have already known: you are wonderful. You are complex. You get on our nerves.  You are the place we are sad to leave if we must go.  And that's great for you! But slow down son, you're killing us.

First of all, this Barclay's Center.  I just can't support it.  Its built in an already crowded area and despite what the powers-that-be may think, that stadium makes it harder for us to access our grocery stores and retail shops in the area - especially on concert/show/game days.  The stores that have been in the area for years have had to shut down because you ("you" is Brooklyn, by the way) need the space for the stadium.  People were moved out of their homes for the same reason.  Every time I see it, I am reminded that Brooklyn has drastically changed over the last 10 years and this is just the "icing on the cake."

Second and most importantly, Brooklyn? You've allowed these transplants to move here and they actually believe they ARE Brooklyn.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm friends with many people who've moved here from other states and I love them dearly.  But for the purpose of our chat, I have to throw them in the collective. Long gone are the days of going to a party in Brooklyn and not only enjoying the people but the music as well.  Long gone are the days of not having to dress to the 9s (unless you wanted to, of course) just to go dance. Hell, long gone are the days of dancing. Now it seems that to go to a party in Brooklyn, you have to be dressed to the 9s.  You have to sit around and be cute.  You have to almost act as though the music doesn't exist.  By the way, most of the people at these parties aren't even from Brooklyn.  Its the weirdest little...thing.

Before you think I'm attacking you, let me say that I know you're not totally at fault. People from Manhattan moved here because they were financially pushed out. That started the trend and everyone followed suit.  The stores traveled and so came the prices and the Manhattan "attitude."  I guess after that, the natural progression was for Brooklyn to be morphed into some cheaper version of Manhattan.  But that's what we don't want.  We've been in our own little word for so long that we have our own identity. One that we'd like to keep, than you very much.

I don't want to continue to sound like the cranky ol' Brooklyn girl who misses her city.  I am absolutely fine with the idea that things often have to go through some changes, I really am.  I always want my borough to shine as brightly as it can.  Brooklyn has always been the "diamond" of the five boroughs despite what anyone else thinks.

"New" Brooklyn, we as "Old" Brooklyn don't owe you anything.  Don't force us into being what we're not. Take a step into our world and see what you've missed. I'm sure after that we can come to a common ground.


"Old(ie) But goodie" Brooklyn

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Over the years, there have been a lot of jobs and talents I've seen others with that have made me say, "MAN, I wish I could do that."  In my mind, you should look no further than me if you're looking for that everyday, renaissance woman.  I swear, I've done it all in my mind.  But in my heart of hearts, I was truly made to do one thing in another life.


I'm not talking about being an Oh that's catchy-the lyrics are cute-its fun to dance to" type of singer. I'm talking about a slap your mama-tell your life story-bring you to tears type of SANGA, feel me?  Besides actually listening to music, it is quite possible that I love to sing more than anything in this world.

The problem? Yep, I can't sing.  Thanks to the "Women of the Roundtable," which includes me and four of my favorite Sorors, I learned back in college how to harmonize.  They wouldn't let me join in on the singing unless I learned my proper key (you'd have thought hazing was involved) and so, I did.  We would "tweet" (that was our word for singing whenever we would sing along to Tweet's music) on road trips, to the grocery store, in apartments...wherever.  They also knew all the lyrics to the gospel songs and since I wanted to be down (they can all sing), I learned all the words too.  Thanks to them, many people today actually think I have a decent singing voice. I sing all DAY at the 9-5.

I sometimes imagine myself singing background for Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott or any of my other favorites.  The only thing is that when it came time to introduce the band and singers, I wouldn't take the moment that the featured artist gives his background singers to display their skills. Instead, while the other background singers are showing OUT, I just slowly fade to the back until that portion of the show is over. When we're back to the featured singer, I just kind of ease back in. See, I'm just there to keep the harmony.  I don't need to be famous. I just need one good, maybe six city, tour to get this passion out of my system.

But I'm not, so I can't, then I won't but...


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Music Makes Me High

In the month or so that I've been thinking about getting back to blogging full-time, I realized that one thing would likely get lost in the shuffle: music chat.

Although I use this space to talk about virtually anything, I primarily keep it focused on life (mine or the people in my life), love and all that in between.  I love to talk about that kind of stuff and though my life as a whole is due for an overhaul, I can chat about it all day. 

But music is a lifelong love of mine.  As a child, my parents owned crates and crates of albums. (Actually, I guess they really belonged to my dad because my mom got rid of them right after she got rid of him, lol.) I would look at the album covers while the album itself played, always intrigued by who wrote what song, what label the artist was on and played what instruments were played during certain songs.  That trend has absolutely carried into adulthood and before I finally broke down and got an mp3 player, my biggest worry was buying albums online because I was scared I couldn't read the ever important jacket.  Music literally means the world to me.

I knew I couldn't leave it out when I started blogging even though, like I said, that wouldn't be the full focus.  I do, however, take the music posts even more serious than the non-music posts which is why they don't pop up very often.  But lately I've been thinking that I might need to do something more with it so that (1) it won't get lost in the midst of other posts and (2) I can continue to express my own excitement about different aspects of music. I've been thinking about some different ways to do that and nothing is set in stone but just know I'm working some things out in my mind.

For now, during the #30IN30 challenge, there's a good chance you'll still see music posts - especially if something really pulls at me and I need to talk about it. After that, we'll see if something different happens. In the words of Boardwalk Empire's own Chalky White...could be, could be not.

Keep It Cute, Boo: The Lolo Jones Saga Continues

If you're not familiar with Lolo Jones, these are the two things that are always synonymous with her name: (1) she's a track star and (2) at 30 years old, she's a virgin.  While the latter of the two appears more juicy, there's more scandal in the former because of her recent showing at the Olympics.

Here's the quick backstory: Yesterday, Lolo placed fourth in the 100m hurdle finals. This was hard to take, not only because she was hoping to taking home an Olympic medal but also because the media has been especially hard on her lately.   The New York Times ripped her last week for only being visually appealing but not holding any real track achievements.  No, she doesn't have medals but she's maintained some American records over the last couple of years so you can understand her frustration during her interview on TODAY with some members of the media who appear to be all on her back about something that's not really accurate.  You follow me?  Good, so let's move on to the latest and greatest.

Fellow American track team members Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the same 100m hurdle race in which Lolo lost.  I'm not really familiar with them as I don't watch track & field year round but was able to read a little bit about each since their wins last night. They both have pretty good stories and we likely haven't heard more about them during the Olympics because they don't have the exotic look or the "perfect" pretty face that the mainstream looks for. The one they found in Lolo.  Can we be honest and acknowledge that these points are valid? Good.  What I noticed at the end of the race yesterday was that Dawn and Kellie were eager to hug and congratulate each other while I didn't notice Lolo come anywhere near them (she was probably off somewhere not knowing how to deal with failure and being a sore loser but its okay).  I gave a quick "hmmph" and shrugged it off because they probably all congratulated each other in the locker room after Lolo collected her emotions.

Then I saw this video this morning.  If you don't feel like clicking the link (I know how it is), long and short is that the interviewer asked both Dawn why she felt she wasn't getting the respect she thought she deserved and Dawn basically told her that she felt she has a compelling story but because their (Note: I guess "their" is referring to advertisers...not sure) favorite didn't win, she was pushed to the side.  However, she feels like NOW people must respect her since after winning the gold medal in 2008, she's now won a silver in this year's Olympics.  The interviewer then asked if there was any fighting amongst the team and for her part, Kellie Wells replied, "Well, I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they needed to do, prevailed. And that's all that really needs to be said." Dawn added a "Boom" to put an exclamation point on her girl's statement.


Is that what we do now, throw our teammates under the bus just because we don't like them?  Was there a reason Dawn and Kellie couldn't keep it cute and politically correct?  Did any of us need to know that they pretty much can't stand Lolo? Do either of these women think we want to hear more of their respective stories because they put their feelings on blast? Had they given their answers any thought and remembered any media training they received, they would have smiled it off and gave a very generic and hell, patriotic answer.

Do they think that any companies really feel the need to endorse either of them after making such damning statements? I get it, you feel disrespected by the media, fans and perhaps the track and field community. Hell, maybe even behind the scenes, Lolo throws ya'll much shade. But guess what? We don't know that part of the story nor do we need to.  Don't be mad at her because with or without the accolades you have she's getting the fame.  She didn't do it, her team did.  All their little shadiness did was help her get a little more shine and sympathy so look for a new check from a new endorser any day now.

It's all funny and "you go girl" until you find yourself borrowing someone else's sneakers to race in again (direct shade to Ms. Harper).  Next time, worry about what you might can do better to a cut of what the next woman has. Or better, keep working hard and you'll just get your own.

Self-diagnosis: Baby Fever

Baby fever is real.  Well, either its real or I just love kids even more than I already knew I did.

Here are my symptoms:

-Always smiling at moms with children (up until a certain age because otherwise, that's just be creepy)
-Always ready to strike up a "convo" with a baby or play with them
-Fully ready to babysit anyone with a child up until about age 10
-Constantly noticing kids' clothes and how "cute they'd be" on a little person

I went on a little vacation last weekend and outside of me enjoying the sites, I was most excited to see all the parents out with their kids just enjoying their time together. I had a particularly rousing "conversation" at a restaurant with a 6 month old (roughly) about the joy she was having eating her baby food.  I was even excited for a couple walking by me on the riverfront discussing how excited they were to have their first child.

Do these symptoms mean I really have baby fever?  Before we go on, let's see some other things:

-I have no desire to KEEP anyone's child forever.
-The moments of "I'ma get me one" are almost always fleeting
-I don't have a man to help get the job done

Oh and one last thing...?  I'm 32 and still not concerned about my biological clock.  I don't believe it doesn't exist because Father Time isn't always on our side when it comes to our bodies and levels of stress; I just don't think about the "tick tock" very often.  But I do hope to have children one day and my latest question to myself has been: If I'm not worried about a biological clock, am I very open to adoption one day?  I mean, all children deserve parents who'll love and care for them and I'm pretty sure I will be able to do that when it is my time to have some little ones - or A little one - in my house.

So is this baby fever or am I severely affected by cute kid syndrome? Is there a doctor in the house?

Race Relations...At Work.

How do you know when someone of another race is testing you to see how far they can go before you check them and when they're just aloof and don't know any better?

My co-worker, a white girl from Long Island, and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about some girly thing or another and hair ended up being the topic of discussion. Now, I'm a natural girl and let me tell you, life for me ain't been no crystal stair when it comes to this hair. So for a couple of weeks, I was rocking my Rita Marley - a lil mesh cap - over my hair with a little afro puff coming out on the side.  I was telling her that I don't have long hair but it is thick so I have to be in the right mindframe to do it; for her part, she told me that she hates blowing out her hair.  But to the end of that she added, "...but, and I hope you don't get mad, it wouldn't be as hard as dealing with you hair."  I cocked my head to the side but let it go because maybe she just said that based on me talking about how thick my hair was. Right?

Fast forward to yesterday.

We were talking about a wedding I'm going to soon that's apparently on her side of town when the topic switched over to the best and worst weddings/receptions we've been to. I shared with her the ugly details surrounding a particular wedding I went to and she told me the worst one she's been to. At the end of her story she goes, "But I mean, and no offense, the one you talked about just sounded ghetto.  The one I went to was cheap but what you're talking about is just..."

Screeeeeeeech.  Ghetto?

Being the professional I am, I cocked my head and said, "  Ghetto isn't the word I would use. Why not cheap like you said about the wedding you attended?  The circumstances were worse but all a result of the bride and groom being cheap. So so much."  She immediately goes, "No no, I don't mean like that but I mean, you get where I'm coming from.  Cheap is the better word though, you're right."  She moved the conversation along and then went out for lunch.

Is she testing me? Cruisin' for a bruisin?  Or is she a white girl from Long Island whose only ever really been surrounded by white people from Long Island and doesn't know any better?

Either way, I think it's time to put her on ice for a bit because no matter the reason, she's gotten beside herself.

What say you?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lesson Learned.

Ever think there's a "one who got away?" I don't know if the guy I'm about to discuss fits that title but...well, you be the judge.

It was something like Spring 2000 and me and my line sisters took a trip to New Oreleans for some party reason or another. We'd run into a college friend and his friends which included a quite tall cutie. Some random local felt an urge to keep bothering me and so in an attempt to get him to stop, cutie - we'll call him "B" - pretended to be my man. After my harasser walked away, B and I spoke for the rest of the night about music and traded stories about our respective cities. When the night was over, we hugged and went back with our respective crews without exchanging information.

Months later back on campus, my friend mentioned to me that his cousin had asked how I was doing and to "tell her I said what's up." (In my mind, he said it in his thick Nawlins accent that made me swoon a little the first time we'd met). We exchanged a couple of messages between our friend before he got tired of it and said, "Aight, that's it: here's his number and you give me yours so I can give it to him. Ya'll talk to each other." And so it began.

The conversations flowed freely and it was one of the first times I ever felt like j could be open with a guy (I was a fairly late bloomer when it came to guys). We talked about everything, including how long it would be before we'd see each other again since he was in Nawlins and I was in Mississippi. In my mind all I kept thinking was, "This must be what it is like to have a soulmate." And then I came back home to Brooklyn.

B wasn't my man and I don't think you could classify what we were doing as dating but it was something. So when I started hearing more and more about the "homegirl" he hung with all of a sudden, I raised an eyebrow. When my phone calls were often unreturned because he'd spent the night at her house, I started getting upset. Being the passive aggressive person I was at the time, I wrote him a letter expressing my displeasure but added that I didn't want to talk about it on the phone, just "know I don't like it." Yeah, I did that. He called me to tell me he'd received the letter but following my instruction, we didn't talk about the letter.

It was the last time we spoke.

In hindsight, it may have been fault. I was too scared to talk about it and he may have been annoyed because of it. Even though I believed B was more than friends with his homegirl, my inability to communicate messed it all up. Lesson learned.

I saw him three years later and he'd gained like 40 pounds and was super dusty looking. In my mind, his weight gain was some kind of karma for kind of keeping some things from me. Wrong? Absolutely, but I was 22 and dumb. Don't judge me. Was he one of my soulmates or just a way for me to learn a lesson (learn to communicate or lose out)?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Table For One

I'm officially out of the dating game.

There, I said it.

Only, I've not agreed to be any man's girlfriend.  See, I'm out of the game because I haven't been out on a date in...well, a long time.  It is painstakingly embarrassing to admit that but it is certainly true.  For the life of me, I can't really figure out why I haven't been dating. I can only think of one reason: I don't go out that much.

But women always talk about meeting men on the train, in grocery stores or just walking down the block. To that I ask: what train, what stores and what blocks?  On my main trains, there are only women, children and mentally disturbed folks. No, that's not an exaggeration but really just the way it is. At the grocery store, there are only women and families. And walking down the block? Well, I do get a few shouts here and there from the homeboys who never have anywhere to go or anything to do with themselves.  But these women are talking about "quality" men, or what appear to be quality men upon first convo, and so no, I don't encounter those either.

There was a time  - long ago - when ya girl (that's me in case you're not up on 90s lingo) was always meeting men. Some good, some not so much. But the point is that I could meet a guy at least once a month even if no information was ultimately exchanged.  Ahh, the good ol' days.

Wondertwin (one of my closest friends) said she can't understand why I'm not dating all the time seeing as though I'm a decent looking woman with a great personality (you can call this a pat on the back if you'd like but I really do think I'm kind of dope, lol).  No, I'm not the frilly dress girly-girl (I rock jeans and sneakers) but I do alright for myself. The only reason I can come up with is that I don't go out as often as I used to.  I assume if I got back "out on the scene," there's a chance I'd meet more men.  You certainly can't meet anyone sitting in the house; if that were the case, I'd truly be "off the market" with a ring and everything!

I've got to start from scratch and get back out there. I've never been a good flirt with someone I might actually be interested in so maybe that's something I can add into the new routine I'm working up in my head.  Like, something has got to give because sometimes the silence can be so loud.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results and I really can't afford to go crazy!

Searching For Me

"I'm just trying to do it all tonight, I got plans
I got a certain lust for life, As it stands
Everything is going as it can..." -Drake

My life ain't what it used to be. In the past year and a half, it has taken a bit of a nosedive and I'm desperately trying to swim my way back to the top.

I quickly mentioned in the last post that my job has erred on the stressful side over the last year. Lots of shuffling resulted me in doing the same job for different people and seeing how quickly things can change.  At the previous company, I had lots of support and help. When things changed, I had none of that. After months of sleepless, sobbing nights, it seems I've figured out a way to cope with things since they're likely to stay the same so I can continue to get the job done.

Unfortunately whatever my definition of "coping" is, it has resulted in me losing that piece of me that was a social butterfly. No longer do I really want to go out after work; the best thing for me to do is just go home and decompress. Going out on the weekends? A thing of the past. I need those two days to mentally heal from the previous five days' beatdown.  I don't even talk to most of my friends like I used to. Wait, that's not completely my fault so I won't take the blame for all of it.  But for my part, everything is, "I'm just tired" or "I just want to chill."  I've always appreciated being home and enjoying my own space but this?  I'm on another level of "me time."

Something is wrong. I've got to fix it but I don't know how.  I couldn't even tell you where to go in the city to have a good time.  I'm not even talking about places to meet men because let me tell you, that's another post entirely. I'm just talking about hanging out with your friends and just being able to chat with different folks.  Oh but wait, some of my friends and I seem to barely know each other now.  It's like I'm a freshman away at college learning to find my own way again.  This issue - and trust me, that's what it is - creeps in my mind almost daily.

I'm lost.  And as I finish packing my bag for my first vacation in a year (it's actually only a long weekend but I'll take it), I wonder if this trip will also serve as the start of the yellow brick road on the way back to the old me.

Gotta find my way back.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Here's the thing: It's not that I hate blogging. I actually find it to be fun, helpful and to an extent, therapeutic.  One thing about me is that there's rarely a moment when I don't have something to say. The problem is that I don't always have something to say that belongs in this space.  So I'll come back with a few things to say, say them and then be gone 'til I have something else to write about. For someone who claims to want to write a book one day (been claiming that for eight years), you'd think I could at least get like three blog posts out a week, right?  It's not that easy for me and I've been fighting myself about it.

But just a few hours ago on Twitter, one of my favorite writers, Aliya S. King, posed a challenge to all her followers who are writers or who would like to write: 30 posts in 30 days. My first thought? "SHIT."  My very next thought? "I'm doing it."  The only way to be a writer is to write (and read but hell, you can't be a writer without having written) and I'm not doing it as regularly as I should.  My freelance gig definitely entails writing but I'm limited in that capacity so the other option, besides other freelance gigs, is to use this space.  I mean, that's the reason I started it a few years ago anyway; even if no one ever read what I wrote, I was going to keep on doing it.  I'm doing myself a huge disservice by not sticking to my old rules.

I'm here now though, primarily in thanks to Aliya and her husband (he initiated the challenge). This is going to be hard for me because outside of my admitted laziness, I'm always tired from my day job and its constant stresses.  But if moms with f/t jobs can do it, if bloggers who make big money from it can do it...surely I can. 

*cue Jill Scott* Goddddd, please hear my call, I'm afraaaaiddddd...

Number One.