“Dark Morning”

I’m thankful to God for early mornings.  My mom instilled an appreciate for “dark morning,” in me the first time she woke me (just me) up at 4:30, and dressed me.  We could see our breath in the station wagon as we waited for it to warm up.  She took me to Tastee Donuts and we sat at the counter.  It was just us, a few truckers, the waitress and her red bouffant.  I can’t remember what we talked about, but the feeling of camaraderie stuck with me.  When all is still, and most still sleep, I feel slightly more connected to other early birds.  That’s the time introspection is most effective; when I’m most primed to come to terms with who I am and who I’m not.

I like my morning vulnerability.  I’m more likely to reveal my soft underbelly of thoughts before sunrise.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t had coffee.  Maybe it’s because I have a fair amount of faith in my early morning kindred.  Maybe it’s because, sleep is a great experience for me.  I don’t own the recently popularized “no-sleep” mentality, adopted by so many moguls in training.  Sleep is the good stuff, so when I sleep, I go IN without apology.  Apparently, in addition to snoring, I contentedly moan in my sleep.  I can’t attest to that.  What I do know is that when I wake up, there’s a lot of cat stretching and lip smacking, as though I had the finest of canaries as a snack.  Waking up that way, I can only assume, makes me more open.

When you go out to mill among other early birds, there are always a few more doors opened for you with an extra good morning thrown in.  You’re far more likely to get extra butter on your biscuit or cream in your coffee when you’re at the right place early in the morning.  You speak softer and lean in closer, because you want to preserve the stillness by not waking the “others.”

But don’t call me a “morning person.”  I most certainly am not.  I have a healthy appreciation for all of life’s moments and secret joys.

Tig Ole Bitties

Or How I Had to Talk Myself Down From Jumping Off The High Rise

So every morning, my parents would proceed  on the LOOOONG trek of bringing my father to work, then dropping us off at school Uptown.  Every day, we passed the dreaded entity, known to all New Orleanians as “The High Rise.”  The mere act of getting on THR was a major feat.  It often meant the difference between getting a ride and being told to kiss someone’s ass:

“Can you drop me off?”

“Um…I’ll see.  Where do you live?”

“On the other side of The High Rise.”

“SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

It was high, it was fast, and people had this habit of driving like the other side might not be there once you reached the apex.  (Either that, or the entire city was filled with morons, completely unaware of the laws of physics.  ACCELERATE!)  It was basically the bridge to Downtown, and Uptown, and Mid-City, and anywhere else that wasn’t New Orleans East.  Of course, this made it prime ad space.  There was always some huge billboard or another.  Around my sophomore year of high school, Hooters advertised there.  We passed it daily for months sans incident.  Ultimately, it was too much for my mother to handle.

“So…what is this Hooters?”

“It’s a restaurant,” Daddy replied, CLEARLY not wanting to continue the conversation with my three sisters and I in the car.

“But…Hooters? What’s that name about?  It doesn’t make sense to me.”

“It’s something about the women that work there.”  He really wants this to be over.  He REALLY doesn’t want her to ask another question.  But Mom isn’t letting up, and at this point, she’s giving him the complete Scooby Doo “ruh?” face.  “Hooters is a slang term.”*

“Slang?  For Women?  Like ‘yahoo’?!”

At this point, my sister and I look at each other in horror.  What in the name of all the fuck shit are they doing in that bedroom?   Yahoo? Bruh…bruh…my damie.  No.  I guess Moms Duke didn’t get pregnant five times playing gin rummy, but still.  Gross.

At this point,  Pops is over it, so he sighs deeply and says, “Lou, Hooters is slang for BREASTS.  All of the women who work there have extremely large BREASTS.  [How YOU know, my n-word?]  So they named it Hooters because of the theme – BREASTS.”  (Yes, he emphasized it each and every time.)

And Mom, cool as a fan says, “Well I guess they won’t be hiring me.”

There are things you can never un-hear, and the fact that I did not slide open the door to our Aerostar and make my peace with Jesus is really a testament to my ability to survive anything.

That’s also probably why, when I started driving myself around, I took the long way, aka the Danzinger Bridge.

*Yes, my dad said “slang term.”  He also says relations or intercourse, and refuses to use the word gay, it’s always “homosexual” – for men and women. He has no time for your fancy talk.  Sometimes, I really just can’t with that dude.

Mama’s Work is Never Done

Or Why I Need Bill Dukes On Speed Dial

I hope you guys have missed me.  I battling the crud for a few days, and I certainly missed you guys.  Of course, it’s back to school time, so the beat goes on.  Anyone who knows anything will admit that parenting isn’t easy.  Finge and B.B. amaze me, make me laugh, and are two of the coolest people that I know of any age range.  But being the parents of two old souls can also be exhausting, frustrating and thankless.  Finge is now in middle school.  The magnitude of this body-slammed me last night when I realized that this

and this

overnight, became this

So the days of him singing Elmo’s World and the One Fine Face song from Sesame Street are gone.  He’s in middle school.  The world of seven different instructors and school dances.  In elementary school, I was a skater.  I didn’t study.  I didn’t have to.  What made me a bright and capable elementary school student, made me a terrible middle schooler.  The need to study was total culture shock.  Homework? Psh.  I hated it, and the fact that it was taking more than 20 minutes, made me not want to do it.  My son is now experiencing that.

For two weeks, I would get home from school and ask if there was homework?  The answer was always either no, or that it was already done.  Okay.  This is your school career, and you know homework is required.  You’ve done it before, let’s see if you’re growing up.

Enter school sanctioned snitching, known as Edline.  I get an weekly report of his progress. EVERYTHING – down to post-lunch flatulence (isn’t that one of the most hilarious words in the English language). So imagine my surprise when I received a report that said he had assignments that were either incomplete, or not turned in at all. So, I called him into the room and

We got it together.  Or at least, we’re getting it together.  This is the age where a boy can really lose interest in school, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you Edline, for being a punk ass snitch – my boy’s future thanks you as well.

Penance

Last night, I slept for almost 7 hours.  When I woke up, I was boastful.  I was on some, “Who’s got two thumbs and 7 hours of sleep?! Awwww yeah!”  So tonight, the Sandman showed me who was running shit, and has made me his bitch.

This past week, I have been feeling extra sweet.  I don’t even know why.  I got off the train, and it seems that when I hit the air, I was enveloped by a blanket of sexy.  I go through that from time to time.  Not even for a particular reason.  I’m just feeling myself.  I went out this weekend, nobody was trying to holler, no random compliments on the train, nothing.  But good luck trying to convince me that I don’t have straight up deliciousness going on.

Tonight, the hour became late.  I became restless.  It was too late to eat.  TV seemed boring.  Maybe I could…I mean, I haven’t visited my no-no in quite some time.  For those of you who read me often enough, you know that when I detail my tales of self gratification, they always end in comedy rather than eroticism.  And yes, this visit to my no-no was no exception.  The thing is, my no-no has been really good to me lately.  It’s really been on some, “You don’t bother me, I won’t bother you” shit.  It’s not that I’m devoid of sex drive.  I just keep myself too occupied to think about it – much.

Tonight, my no-no  stood between me and the sweetest of sweet releases like Gandalf in “The Fellowship of the Ring” and shouted, “YOU SHALL NOT PAAAAAAAAASSSSSS!”   Then, my no-no demanded that I bring her a man.  Then she got saucy and said, “And he’d better not be a bullshit muthafucka either.”  Damn no-no.  She’s being  beggar AND a chooser.  Yikes.

And the thing is, there isn’t even a “well, maybe I should get to know him better” guy.  There’s still some baggage I’m getting rid of, and I don’t want to carry those issues into a potential new situation.  I mean, of course I have crushes here and there.  Actually, there’s a guy that I have a fairly healthy sized crush on, and I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m cute, but no more than that.   Plus, I’m fairly certain he’s not digging me like that.  And even if he were, I would refer you back to reason number one.  I think after the Heartbreaker (The Artist Formerly Known As The Chupacabra Hunter) gave me the working definition of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, that cut my appetite for being in a relationship.  Of course, there’s an expiration date on how long i can say he’s the reason for my lack of desire for a relationship.  Once upon a time, I believed that I couldn’t experience deep feelings for a person at all, and he proved that wrong.  I’m sure I’ll meet a brother that will, at least, make me rethink my position and get back on the horse (and other things) again.

I haven’t quite figured out how I will handle the burden of my own sexiness and the impending wrath of my no-no (I think that bitch is making a picket sign), but I don’t intend to let life pass me by while I find out.

When it’s my time

If thou love, pronounce it faithfully
Or if thou think I am too easily won,
I’ll frown and say thee nay and be perverse,
So thou wilt woo, but else not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my havior light.
But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true
Than they that have more cunning to be strange.

Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare

Shooting from the hip is something that I take great pride in. If there is something that needs to be said, say it! No one wins when you skirt the issue.* A couple of weeks ago, I was having lunch with a friend from high school, and we discussed a mutual friend on a social networking site, that often altered their relationship status. “I’m single,” “I’m dating,” “It’s complicated.” She wisely opined, “If you’re our age, single, and trying to do this dating thing, I don’t care who you are. It’s complicated.”

Yeah.

Because we complicate it.

And we like it like that.

And by “we,” I mean “y’all.” Mamba likes it simple. Mamba likes to say what she means. Mamba likes people to mean what they say. And when they don’t mean it, or even if they are uncertain, don’t say it. There’s nothing wrong with silence.

Whenever I talk about people and their intentions, the focus almost always shifts to love. It comes up so often because love is one of the purest things you can offer someone. God is love. I don’t think it gets more pure than that. And even for those who don’t believe in God, when you feel love, I’m not talking the surface joint – or even necessarily the romantic joint – but when you’re in the presence of love, nothing beats that.

And yet, as a woman, if I want to be loved, I’m expected to play some kind of stupid game. Or, I have to deal with people that treat love like leprosy. Uncontrollable. All encompassing. Deadly. I may have said this before, but I happen to be one of those women who don’t wait to hear the “L” word before she uses it. I think the entire rationale is juvenile. I know those who think that when a woman uses that word first, she surrenders her power over the man. At one point, I was a person who would not share feelings until the guy said something first. I’m 32. If I’m involved with a person to the extent that I love them (no small feat), then I think it would be positively stupid on my part not to tell them.

I don’t do this because I expect to ride off into the sunset. I don’t do it because I expect that relationship to be forever. I do it because I know that life is short, and if someone means something to you, you should tell them. I take great pains to eliminate “I wish I said” from my lexicon.

Unfortunately, the straight shooter is not in demand. We are so comfortable with hiding from each other, with lying to each other, with taking one another for granted, that when you open your mouth to say, “You know, I like you, and I like who I am when I’m with you,” people run in fear. I haven’t allowed it to make me weary, but it does sometimes make me worry. Relationships are being being built on the sand that is deception and fear at an alarming rate. My discomfort with the way people feed lies to others is only surpassed by the ease in which people seem to be willing to choke those lies down.

And I’m the anomaly, because I can’t accept it. As much as I complain about being single, I acknowledge the fact that it’s a choice, because if I had the ability to swallow what my gut told me was untrue, if I mastered the art of delusion, I probably wouldn’t be single. But I won’t. I know that I’m true; more true than any broad that plays the game. And if I can be true after being hurt, picking myself up and dusting myself off, I’m really not trying to hear excuses as to why others can’t.

So what do I do in the meantime? Be fly, happy, and dance on Saturday nights like there’s no tomorrow.

*This is not to say that there are no topics that I find daunting, or challenging. But these things are most assuredly the exception, and not the rule.

Artemis

I talke about my father and my children quite a bit, but I rarely talk about my sisters (except when they are driving me up a wall).  I have three sisters:  Artemis (30), Q Diddy (25) and Gemini (23).  We have both always been strong, but where I was water, Artemis was rock.  As children, our differences were our biggest obstacle.  Once she accepted that I would always be water, and I respected that she would always be rock, our relationship became the tightest.  She has seen me at my highest and my lowest, and I’ve never doubted her being in my corner.

When at the worst of my funk, I remember being on the phone with her crying, and she told me, “Ok…so you’re going to do what?  Just quit?  I don’t think so.  Get up and handle your business.”  Since then, every Sunday, she sends me something encouraging to get my week started on the rigth foot.  This morning, I awoke to the following scriptural passage, that i believe anyone can draw from.

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking with regard to being in want, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be self-sufficient. 12 I know indeed how to be low [on provisions], I know indeed how to have an abundance. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned the secret of both how to be full and how to hunger, both how to have an abundance and how to suffer want. 13 For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.

I’m hoping that this can encourage someone else as much as it has encouraged me.

just b