A dish best served

People like to say, “Living well is the best revenge.”  Maybe that works for them.  I happen to make a practice of avoiding people obsessed with revenge.  It is one of the most toxic compulsions known to man.  Revenge, when examined, is an obsession to prove yourself to those who may never see the good in you in the first place.  Revenge, is a time suck.  Any time not spent on building and progression is time wasted.  Whenever I ponder over “folks who done me wrong” it’s time that I’ve stolen from more important matters.

Back in the days of Mental Oasis, I was so damned hurt and angry, vicious words toward those who hurt me flew from my phalanges with such ease, they were my fingerprints.  The ex-husband was roasted regularly, as was any other wrongdoer.  They NEEDED to be exposed.  See, I was seeking validation and vindication.  I had to prove that I was better than the way I had been treated, and someday they would all see my value.  I had allowed my melancholy and hurt to dominate a place labeled an “oasis.”  Where they do that at?

So a scrapped that blog, though you can still read some good stuff in the archives (I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for almost seven years), and created this space.  But I almost fell into the same traps.  I had to reaffirm something my mother taught me long ago:  “Don’t waste your time pining over people and things that wouldn’t spend their time on you.”  There may be allusions to certain situations or treacherous acts, but I try to keep the people and details to a minimum.*  I just don’t see the need in letting “my haters be my motivators.”

My chocolate wonders not having to constantly go without. The idea of my father, who worked two jobs to support five kids at times, paying off his mortgage early.  Being able to help my mother’s only surviving immediate family member.  Helping build up marginalized people who have heard “you can’t” so often, that it’s as natural as oxygen.  Hell, a bomb ass stand-alone shower.  THESE are my motivators.  Haters don’t even rank.

And for those who haven’t been so nice to me, all the best.  May you heal from whatever hurt motivated your ugliness toward me.  Granted, there are some things that simply can’t be undone, so I may never consider some of those folks “friends” again, but I will never wish them ill.  At the very worst, there are some people, I just won’t think of at all.  I think that’s okay, because I don’t plan to serve revenge.

However, I would be remiss if I neglected to add that I’m a born and bred hot girl, so I definitely plan to serve it.

_______

*An exception was made for my posts during Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Aware Pt. 1 and Aware Pt. 2.  Domestic violence has been a passionate cause of mine since I was 14 years old.  I felt it important for everyone to realize that abuse could happen to anyone.  It is not something that only befalls the “weak” and the fatherless.

THUNDERSNOW!!!!

In Louisiana, frozen things descending from the sky in any capacity = bad business.  The entire city shuts down.  The mayor tells you to stay home, and attempting to come into work would have your boss investigate you for weekend crack usage.  I visited Shreveport in February of 2006, and there was an ice storm.  THEY SHUT DOWN THE INTERSTATE!!  We don’t play that in Da Boot.

However, I’m not in Kansas Louisiana anymore.  I’m an East Coaster.  Light, and not so light, frozen things falling from the sky happens to be par for the course every winter.  Apparently, I possess the slightest bit of egomania, because every unfavorable bit of winter weather, I see as a personal attack.  There are also little “cute” winter terms and catch phrases that I hate.  “Nor’easter” is one of them.  Why can’t you pronounce the “th?”  Too much effort.  Did a seven year old make this up?


GIFSoup

Up until very recently, my least favorite winter term was “wintry mix.”  It is equally nondescript, and indicative of conditions that suck in a major way.  Again…


GIFSoup

But now, my loves, I have a new nemesis, and it’s name is THUNDERSNOW.  Let’s totally ignore the fact that it sounds like a beefy white lunchtime stripper’s stage name, but do you know how much thunder I heard?  NONE!  When you use the word “thunder,” is absence of actual thunder allowed?  It shouldn’t be.  They used it so much, that you can tell they REALLY wanted it to catch on.  I’ll let Regina George help me out here:

So weather people: CUT IT OUT!!!

Seriously, I’m just bitching because I hate copious amounts of snow, and I had to take a cold shower due to losing power at 9:00 last night. Oh, and because I REALLY hate the word Thundersnow. Pepco can kiss my hind parts too.

Bastards.

A Year of Shakespeare

This man is the reason I write.  For the first five years of my writing life, I only knew iambic pentameter with aa, bb, rhyme scheme.  Occasionally I would step outside of my box and write ab, ab, but that was only when I was being fancy.  The first five years of my life as a writer, I was a poet, like old Billy Shakes.

Thanks to Shakespeare, I discovered that literature was a living breathing thing, meant to be absorbed, dissected and enjoyed.  Reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time planted the seed of longing for my first kiss (fast-forward to a VERY disillusioned 13 year-old).  Reading Othello helped me realize that even back in the day, the man was trying to keep a brother down.  Macbeth taught me that ambition not tempered with goodness and reason, could prove fatal.  King Lear taught me that…there is still some Shakespeare that I can’t quite finish.

So a few months back, I purchased the complete works of Shakespeare; comedies and tragedies and sonnets, OH MY!  I would read a little, and become distracted.  I think that now, in my time of actually taking my career seriously (I’m 34, so it’s really time for me to either live the dream or find a new one), it might be good time to get back to basics.

Beginning February 1, my goal is to read a bit of Shakespeare each day until January 31, 2012, or until I have completed all of his collected works.  You guys will have the pleasure of accompanying me, because every Saturday, I plan to post a blurb about my latest adventures with Bill.

My first undertaking will be a play.  Drop me a comment and let me know which one you would choose.

Aeronautics

For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.
– Toni Morrison Song of Solomon

If I’ve sounded frightened and apprehensive recently, it’s because I am. Currently, I’m in the process of believing in myself.  REALLY believing in myself.  Going through so much in 2010, up until the VERY end, was unbelievably difficult.  I loved, lost and had a near tragic experience with my own life.  I realized that time is not going backward, and if I am going to make something of myself, the time is NOW. I was forced to take the past two weeks to slough off my past, and I realize that flying backward is fruitless.  All of my failures and frailties shaped me into who I am presently:  an ever evolving being.

There are things that could have been done differently, they weren’t, and I will never be able to change that.  For those I hurt in the process of my growth, I am sorry.  Unfortunately, life is not so cut and dry where I can promise that I would have done things differently, and things would have ended up for the better.  There are things I did as an immature person that I would never imagine doing now.  I can only start from here.

And where is “here?” Here is where I don’t owe any human being a damn thing.  I have given every bit of time, every explanation and every apology I plan on issuing out for past mistakes.  Every i has been dotted, t crossed and chapter closed.  I refuse to back pedal into the realm of dead issues because someone else is uncomfortable, uptight or angry about things that can not be changed.  I don’t remember ever feeling so light.

I’m surrendering to the air.

Let’s fly.

I’m black and therefore, I am…Diverse?

Every school year, I make a pledge to become more involved in the kids’ school community.  Every year, I fall short of my goal.  I am not a member of the PTA, I can’t remember the last field trip I chaperoned, and it often takes all that I have to make it to parent-teacher conferences.  (My kids, angels that they are, give me PLENTY of opportunities to meet with the teachers.)  Yesterday, while checking my voice mail, I discovered a missed message inviting me to a two hour workshop at Finge’s school last night.  To my surprise, it was to participate in a Montgomery County Public School program, known as Study Circles.  YES!  Because I’m going to teach these privileged housewives a thing or two.

I think as a minority woman, I occasionally hold the silent belief that the handbook to all that it means to be accepting and diverse is etched in my psyche.  I believed it until during a time of open sharing, the lone Caucasian male in the group said something that I considered arguably ignorant, and reeked of “White Man’s Burdenism.”  My left eyebrow (the powerful one) went up, my lip curled, and I wanted him to just shut up.  After a moment, I paused, because I realized that this is why a group of this type is necessary.  As he continued to speak, I picked up a certain sincerity and confusion in his voice.  Because there were things he simply didn’t understand.  In that realization, I further decided that I couldn’t quite understand why he didn’t understand, and maybe that’s why we’re all here.  Even if he is ultimately dead wrong, he should be able to effectively express himself and be respectfully rebuffed if necessary, should he not?

I don’t think this group will heal the world, and I don’t know that me and this gentleman will engage and completely understand the complexities of being in the other person’s shoes.  I do, however, believe that it is important to know that we are all human and everyone has a story.  There are reasons I feel the way that I do as a black woman, and there are reasons he feels the way he does as a white man.  We’re not obligated to agree with one another, skip off and sing “Happy Together.”  I think varying people having an open space to respectfully share and listen to the view points of others is something I can really get down with.  I will keep you guys posted.

 

Bare

No heels, No shirt, No skirt,
All I’m in is just skin.
No jeans, Take em off,
Wanna feel your skin.

– “Skin” Rihanna

“It’s unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same.”

– Pulp Fiction “Fabienne”

I ain’t no diva.  It’s rare that you’ll see me in heels (since I am still not 100% on my ankle seven months later) and I was probably born in blue jeans.  I can work a smokey eye, but I like my face; the one I see first thing in the morning.  Seeing my words on paper will always pacify me in a way that seeing them on a computer screen never will.  When I cook, I chop each and everything by hand.  Falling in love with a best friend has always been the ideal, so I’ve never cared much for “set-ups.”  I’m earthy and organic; bare feet in the grass, taking in the sounds around me. And when it comes to sex…

No, when it comes to the aesthetics of sex, I am curiously lost in the sauce.  This is not due to some puritanical stigma.  There’s the sex circus, and there’s sex.  Of course , the two can intersect, it simply doesn’t always happen.  At the top of my list is lingerie.  For lingerie aficionados, this is not directed toward you.  There are different strokes for different folks. Since I believe you don’t know that you won’t like something until you try it, I’ve purchased a lace this and silk that in my travels.  Ultimately, it felt incredibly silly, because it’s not me.  Polished toes, one of my man’s roomy shirts, and nothing else would be much more my speed…for starters.

It’s not that have no desire to titillate, or be titillated for that matter.  What begins in the mind is essential to enjoying sex.  But it is also an act meant to be enjoyed physically, and not just observed as performance art.   But this is the notion that has taken over, we do what we’re told in terms of attraction and sexuality, rather than embracing what draws us in.*  Adonis-like bodies with perfectly formed faces are lovely to look at, but that does not guarantee a recipe for pleasure.   Frankly, there are like, thirteen people who look like that – on a planet of billions.  I’m can assure you that both the very lean, and the more Rubenesque are perfectly capable of getting down for their crown.  Yes, Darren Sharper is my fiance and future baby daddy, but I have no qualms with cuddling up with a burly fella, because…

When all is said and done, my intentions will be perfectly clear.  I want to enjoy the person I am with.  Conversely, I want them to enjoy what I am doing to and with them.  Being present in that moment of delight when those first sighs escape is what truly matters.  Accoutrement is perfectly acceptable.  Candles, oil, music, and other miscellaneous trappings of sensuality are nice.  However, if I have too much time to pay attention to those things, something is being done all wrong.  Low moans, the smell of (the mythical) him, and the taste of a sweat-salted shoulder happens to be what curls my toes.  If you can’t relate, you’re missing out.

Holla if ya hear me.

*At 12, I had a poster of Al B. Sure! in my locker and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.  Now AND then.

A Little Lagniappe

The recipe called for a lot of “1’s”:  1 lb. beans, 1 lg onion, 1 bell pepper, and so forth.  My trusting mother left me in the kitchen with her instructions, to make my first pot of red beans all alone.  She reappeared about an hour later, apparently pleased that in the process of “frying down” the meat, I’d managed to avoid completely smoking out the kitchen.  She looked in the, pot, stirred it up tasted a bit of the liquid and instructed me to chop another, smaller onion and she added a little more garlic.  Responding to my quizzical expression, she said, “Baking is a science.  Cooking is an art.  In art, there’s always room for a little lagniappe.”  My first pot of beans was a huge success, and I actually became the cook of the family.

My mother and her two good friends, Virgie and Shirley adopted an unspoken child care circle, where one of them always managed to be stay at home moms, caring for the broods of others.  Shirley was the one most often in the position of caregiver, charged with no less than seven children at a time.  Food was carefully watched over, as it always had to be made to stretched to accommodate the masses.  One glass of Kool Aid with lunch, another with dinner if we were still there that late; everything else was water.  One day I was having a particularly off day, and Aunt Shirley called me back into the kitchen after everyone else had been sent outside to play.  She extended an extra glass of Kool Aid to me, saying, “Child, there’s a time for rules, and there’s a time for lagniappe, so drink this and don’t tell anybody.”

Such were the lessons of my upbringing.  A lot of life is following your routine, but when a little extra is needed, you shouldn’t balk at it.  Embrace it as normal.  There’s no such thing as not having time for another cup of coffee, or an extra moment for a hug.  If you don’t have the time to hear someone’s answer when you ask, “Girl, how you been?!” then you’re doing life all wrong.  We’re all living in these times of lean, where money is tight, credit won’t get it, and our day to day living is strenuous.  I don’t think that we should completely abandon looking for those stray moments, where “just a tad more” marks the difference between existing and living; functional and fabulous.

Now that I’m in charge of molding young minds, I teach them the importance of snatching little extras here and there, making all the difference in having a good day and a great one.