Saturday, September 26, 2009

so yesterday...

i throw it around so much...because i feel it bears repeating, chanting, singing...

perhaps it has grown familiar; but what other way can i express the way you make me feel?

i could smile when i see your face...

but i already do so innately.

i can give you a thousand hugs and kisses...

but those are directives my body follows involuntarily.

as individuals, we are mere specks floating through time;

but collectively, we are complete.

it weighs heavily; yet i am strong;

i drown in your enigmatic allure; yet i am thirsty.

the mystery that you are, and all its splendor, defines your complexities...

and that captivates me.

i want to learn more of your language when we follow each others rhythms.

i throw it around so much...because it bears repeating, chanting...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conversations overheard @ Bella Cupcake Bistro...

She said...

He was standing there before me as if he had never left, as naturally as breathing; which, in that moment, I’d forgotten how to do. The face was slightly tarnished, yet somehow more beautiful; like an oxygenated statue, or the graphics on an old faded t-shirt. For more than a moment, we stood in awe of one another. He found words before I did; and the voice was the same as it had been ten years before. It had not weathered like the face....

" are you? You look..."
He stopped short of a compliment, but his cheekbones were raised at attention, his head slightly tilted. When he smiled, the skin around his eyes smiled; too. I knew he was impressed with the sophisticated woman I'd come to be. I hoped my silence didn’t give the wrong impression. I just couldn't believe my eyes…

Though I said nothing, he seemed not the least bit offended. He continued to converse; as if silence was commonplace in his everyday conversations.

He didn't fit into this picture; but, conversely, was a cold steel skyscraper interrupting my sprawling water colored landscape. He had crawled out of some dead hole I had no desire to revisit.

I felt heat from the inside of my cheeks...I saw glares that weren't, heard whispers that originated from an internal shame that no one else in the small room could possibly know. I wanted nothing more, than to expunge this colossal Sears Tower hat had disrupted the serenity of my Water Lillie's masterpiece.

At last, I found my words. Hindsight being what it is; I wish I'd chosen them more carefully.

"What are you" I said. It just kind of… came out, and I knew how bad it sounded. It was simply the truth; unraveling itself, in that peculiar way it has a tendency to.

He was silent a moment, his smile changed in a subtle way only one completely fixed upon it could have noticed.

I recalled the way he smiled at everything, some time ago; my tears, my joys, my contempt, and my lust for him. When he smiled, I was his sole source of admiration. That was, of course... until I wasn't any longer...

"What am I doing here?" he finally said. He looked perplexed.

He looked down at his crisp Dress Blue uniform. "Buying cupcakes." he huffed sarcastically, but his smile betrayed the tone of his voice. I really wished he’d quit grinning at me… laughing at me....

I wanted to crawl under the bistro table. Calm down. I tried to regain control of the conversation.
"Oh...well, I live here, was all I meant. I know its cupcakes, silly. Its just that you’re here, in Georgia, with me…I mean, not with me, of course, but you’re here... and I’m here... with my husband I mean… Yes, my husband and I,... my husband attorney...we bought our home here in Buckhead last I guess you can say this is home for us now..."

I'd repeated myself past the point of redundancy. I heard my voice and wanted desperately to control the pitch. I was louder than I should have been. I sounded obnoxious, and I knew it. I couldn't help myself; he was standing there with that smirk, thinking about God only knows…I guess it gave me back my footing into adulthood- and out of this realm of past indiscretions- saying it...husband.

...So I said it one more time.
''My husband and I...we've been married six years."

He was completely unaffected; smiling even harder than before.

"Texas! Congratulations! Your all grown up now!" he said.

Did he seriously just call me Texas? All Grown Up...? The nerve! Had he thought me a child, back then?...surely not. Who did this asshole think he was? Whatever. I would conform to no box; yield to no road barriers. I am a respected woman in this community. A wife and mother. Where was the exit...from this man and these unwanted memories...

"Mrs. Jennings..your order is up!" the baker called. Thank God.

I turned to him once more, confident that I would be able to walk away from him this time.

" was...interesting to have seen you again. You take care, now." I said, as shortly as possible.

As I walked away, I could still feel his eyes on me, and I knew he understood. He had not had the best of me; after all.

He said...

I felt eyes on me. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that I'm not still capable of turning a purty young thang's head every now and again; but this broad was...gawking.

Maybe she's looking behind me. I thought . She made me uncomfortable in a foreign kind of way. I stared back; hoping to break her comatose expression, awaken her from her daze.

She blinked, cocked her head to the side. Still; she didn't turn away.

She knows me...
Think quick, where do you know this chic from? I drew blank after blank.

I should know her...
I felt warth settling in the pit of my stomach, this was potentially about to be an awkard encounter...

The look on her face, one of both awe and confusion; made me wonder just how well I knew this familiar stranger.

Dressed in loosely tailored, heather grey Tahari; there was little hope in appraising her assets underneath. She was too familiar in her gaze, so brazen it was impossible that our acquaintance was merely casual. The face wasn’t much to look at; and it seemed she’d gone out of her way to blend in. The type that wear Mrs. as badges of honor. not at all the type I used to step out with. I liked my playmates, well… more playful. Normally, I would never have looked twice at this stale woman glaring across the room at me.

But now that she had my attention…and I was intrigued, I guess.

So, I walked over to her. You know what they say…The best offense

"Well, hey you!" I tried it on, see how it fit.
It was risky, but I figured, one can never go wrong with the good ole "hey you" in place of: “I can‘t remember who you are to save my own ass..”.

I hoped it was a mistake in identity, and the worst that would come of it was a quiet apology, and a quicker exit.

But still, she stood there... silent.

I tried again.

", you look..."
I wasn't sure how to finish. I could have said "great" or "wonderful," but that would have been a lie; as I could not rightfully say it was an improvement on any prior look. See, I didn't just forget her name. I simply didn't remember her… at all.

I was drowning in the awkward silence. I was just about to say forget the damned cupcakes and head out of there.

Just then; she broke her silence.

"What are you doing here?" She said.

Good question. What was I doing there? Buying $60 cupcakes for my neurotic wife who can't just go to the corner grocer and buy a pack of Duncan Heinz. Who the hell was this woman?

I had her voice now, but it lent nothing familiar to my ear... Except that she was very nervous. Why? Had I slept with this Plain Jane? Man...I should really lay off the Patron.

"What am I doing here?" I laughed. "Well, the same as you, I suppose. Buyin' overpriced baked goods."
I really hoped she would laugh. It is harder to mask a laugh; they almost never change.

No dice, so; I laughed for us both.

She looked both annoyed and embarrassed by the obvious oversight. Had she thought I was stalking her? Hell, if only I could remember her!

Just then, my luck changed! In her embarrassment; she'd started to ramble...I couldn't tell you what the hell she was talking about, her husband or something or another moved to Georgia...???

Now we were getting somewhere! She was unraveling like a very uninterestedly wrapped birthday gift. Her voice was cracking; and the pauses between words were longer than is natural. The more she rambled on; the more a distinct southwestern twang slipped from her city slicker tongue.

"Texas." I said aloud. I was proud of myself, I couldn't help grinning from ear to ear. Sherlock Holmes ain't got nothin' on me!

I started to feel myself, knowing I was seconds away from cracking this mystery. I congratulated her on her marriage, told her I was glad she'd grown up so. Strangest thing, I almost thought i had it wrong, she looked a bit put off.

When her order came up first, I started to breathe easy, knowing she was exiting without a "keep in touch" moment, or forcing me into some awkward "put me in your blackberry" scenario. Had that happened; any hope of walking away not looking like a complete douche bag, would have been lost.

I only wished I could have remembered her...

Then it happened...
She exited the small shop; strutted across the busy intersection. I watched in awe; as she took each step in her stilettos, each rounded cheek defied he other under her corporate business attire. Only one girl I knew possessed a behind so grand it would perform under this most restricting gear. Memories came rushing over me so intensely I could barely contain my childlike giddiness. My smile was no longer painted on; but permanently etched into my head, like those memories of that magnificent specimen perched atop the burnout hood of my old Honda. It sat as just as regally in the air as it had all those many years ago...

I wanted to call after her, run through the pink frosted glass double doors and yell her name… . I stood mesmerized by the way her posterior swayed and bounced in cadence… in the most beautifully familiar way!

Of course. …Nadine....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PART TWO: "Baby's Parent Etiquette"

Rule #2: Don't place your ex in a box. Or He'll never have room to grow...

Scenario B: Fife and Brian were a very young couple with a child. He was not a lot of help with their daughter, he was inconsistent with his income, often "in between" jobs. Most of the time he sat around, played the PS3, never helped with the potty training, never cleaned up after himself, or took the child on outings. Sadly, in this scenario, the mother was the bread winner, the homemaker, the quintessential single parent within a two parent household. By the child’s third birthday, she’d had enough.

When Brian moved out, however, he quickly moved on; moving in with another woman and her two children. He got a new job and stayed on that job consistently. He was regular with Fife’s child support and not only that, took care of his new girlfriends kids as well!

This put Fife in a fury she couldn't explain. She wanted to be happy that Brian had matured so quickly. But something inside her couldn't accept his new found paternal responsibility. The thing keeping her insides boiling every time she dropped their child off for weekends at his house with this new woman and her kids. What she wouldn't admit…was that she would rather Brian continued to be the predictable child she was accustomed to- than to see him become the man he never was with her...with someone else.

There is was. No matter how much he improved as a parent, Fife wanted Brian in that box she’d labeled "dead beat dad". If he wouldn't do right in their five year history, then he couldn't do right for this new woman, either.
She found moving on difficult. She would spend a great deal time on first dates talking about how badly her past relationship ended, and what a deadbeat her child's father was. When she didn't find relationship success as quickly as Brian, she became even more bitter. She decided to run a little interference. When Brian would come to drop off his daughter, she began coming to the door in her robe and underwear. When that did’t work; she became highly combative, even to the point of pettiness. She complained about the shoes he bought their daughter, that they were “too cheap, and maybe if he wasn't taking care of all those other kids, he could buy better quality clothes for his ACTUAL daughter." So, he stopped buying "extras", stuck to the court ordered child support.

The last straw came two years later; when she learned that he and his girlfriend were engaged, and expecting a child together. Fife called and asked Brian to come over “so they could talk about what that meant for the future of their daughter together“. Wanting to extend an olive branch; he went over to see her; alone, as she requested. He didn't come inside, she met him at his truck. They talked for a long time; and it seemed they were finally moving forward, and past the animosity. Fife was very emotional and used this moment to express why she was so mad all the time. She told him that she was hurt that he was such a bad father and boyfriend to her- yet he had moved on and became the “perfect man for this new woman“. She told him how hard it was for a single mother to find love again.

He was shocked. He explained that he was upset with himself when they'd broken up; and as a result, he’d vowed he’d become a better father. He said he never meant for her to think she wasn't good enough for him; but in actuality, he had not been man enough for her. He’d learned from his mistakes with her, and felt he was given a second chance at happiness with his fiance, whom he loved very much. This made Fife cry; and Brian embraced her. Things got heated quickly, and the next thing they both knew, clothes were off and the windows were foggy.
When it was over, Brian was very upset that he had lost control with Fife; knowing that he was going home to his pregnant fiancé. He apologized for hurting or misleading her. She smiled and told him she understood, that this was "the closure she needed to move on". He was relieved, though something in her tone made him question if she’d really meant that. Brian asked if he could go inside to freshen up. He left, and nothing of their little mishap was mentioned again....
Well, almost. The next week, Brian's fiancé went to pick up the dry cleaning in his truck. When she went to get the pick up receipt from the console, she found Fife’s black lace underwear, strategically placed on top for her to find.
Despite Fife’s efforts; Brian married his fiancé, anyway. After the truth about the incident was exposed; however, Brian never came to Fife’s home unaccompanied again. A bitter rivalry ensued between both women. At every "drop off", an all out brawl took place. It got so explosive, the police were often called to the residence. What had once been just tension was now outright warfare! The little one’s would watch as the parents behaved like children.
Brian's visits to his daughter became less and less frequent.

*How were both parties responsible for how things went array?
*Did Fife contribute, in any way, to how limited her child's time with her father became?
*Is Fife responsible for her own failed relationships after her breakup with Brian…?
*…Or is there really a double standard, when it comes to how single mothers are received in dating... versus single fathers?
*How does keeping Brain in a box, ultimately keep Fife in an even smaller one?
*Had Brian taken the time to sit down and explain his epiphany that led to his "new behavior", would it have helped Fife come around to the idea of his moving on sooner?
*How did Fife let her bitterness take over her life, and ultimately; negatively impact her own relationship with her daughter?
*How truthful was Brian about why he was such a better partner with the new woman? Do you believe he truly, "learned his lesson", or was that the convenient answer for his ex crying before him? Do you know any men/women who did a 360 degree turn after a relationship ended? What explanation did they give for it?

It is always refreshing to see our children benefit from cohesive relationships between the biological parents, even after the relationship has ended.

The underlying message in both scenarios is respect. A woman (or man) must respect themselves enough to set and maintain boundaries once they have been put in motion. If a relationship is over; the sexual aspect must end as well. You only cheat yourself trying to hold on to something dead with your body. It won’t make that person want to be a better parent. Similarly, if your ex has, in fact; matured and is trying to move forward in a relationship with someone new; it is only to the benefit of your children with that person that you maintain a respectful boundary. Trying to run interference will only make you look bitter and desperate.
We must learn the science behind when to close the box (in Angela's case) and when to keep the box open for potential lessons (In Fife's case).
Things run much more smoothly when the children are the focus after breakups, and not our own selfish needs.

PART ONE: "Baby's Parent" Ettiquette

So, lots of feedback on the respect issues in married/single platonic friendships- thanks for that, guys! Apparently, this is a hot topic for most of us.

Truly, we are not our grandparents generation when it comes to how the family structure is built. Right before our eyes, we are seeing the stereotypical single parent stigma demolished; with more than half of marriages dissolving in divorce; many families are choosing to raise their children as single responsible parties. We are faced with a new problem that is an unspoken taboo: what is the "proper etiquette" for the baby mama/papa to follow, when the relationship has ended... but the children are still very real?

We all have friends that do it; perhaps its you. Still sneaking a little cookie out of that sealed off jar. Maybe you feel frustrated with the dating scene as a newly single person; and thus, seek comfort in whats familiar. Or perhaps, you have not resolved your feelings for this man, and continuing a physical relationship keeps you connected to him. Maybe a sexual relationship is how you lure him over to see his kids...Maybe you secretly want to sabotage his new relationship with that girl that you want no where near your kids. I have heard all these things; believe me.

I am not throwing stones, not at all guys. I simply want speak to what these things really say about you as a woman, as a mother, and ultimately: as a potential mate in future relationships.

Rule #1: Giving him the nookie... will not keep him from playing hookie!

Oh, don't shake your heads at me! You all know it goes on. That unspoken rule that is upheld by many mamas and papas alike: You can always still sleep with the baby's parent.
Scenario A: The revolving door of the baby mama....
Angela is a successful attorney, on the fast track to partner in her firm; she embodies what is inspiring in all single mothers. She cares for her two children as the primary care giver; she is a role model and spends quality time with her children while balancing her career. She and her ex husband were married young and separated years ago. He has not remarried, and she has not found the time to begin to date again. It takes so much energy, she told her girlfriends, these guys with their down low lifestyles; bad credit; criminal records...Angela had heard all the horrendous stories of what the dating scene held for her in Atlanta. So even though Howard, her ex husband, was never a hands-on father, was a cheater and had fathered children outside their marriage; she kept him around as a "filler in the space" until Mr. Right finally surfaced. When Howard would come over to "see the kids", he would spend fifteen minutes with the children, then head to the Angela's bedroom for a little action before heading off. She always felt guilty; her kids were middle school age now and surely knew what Daddy and Mommy were doing upstairs. At times when she would cut him off, he would simply not show up at all. Months would go by and the children would not hear from him. So, when he would come around, she obliged him what he wanted in exchange for the few hours a month he spent with her children. She knew it set the wrong impression to her kids, but as a Christian woman, she resolved that even though they were no longer married and living separate lives; that what she and her ex husband were doing was better than the alternative- fornicating with men that may end up being just a fling. With Howard, however awful; at least she knew what she was getting...
At least, that's what she thought. A routine doctor visit for a yearly exam showed that Angela actually had no idea what she was getting. Throughout her marriage and divorce, Howard had never been faithful... to anyone but himself. He misused women his whole life; and Angela most of all. He had managed to never give her a birthday present; an Anniversary Card...but he had given her HIV.

Sadly, this scenario plays out everyday. It seems simple enough to blame her for her lack of standards; or to vilify Howard as the "STD carrying-deadbeat -womanizer". But when we take accountability... how did BOTH contribute to the outcome, for their children?
*Had Angela been less fearful of moving on, of being rejected or hurt in a future relationship, could she have prevented this?
*Had Angela cut off Howard's sexual "privileges," and it resulted in his not coming around the kids anymore, would it have been worse than having them see him treat their mother as a "side piece"?
* How will her lack of self esteem impact her children's lives now ?

In this story, we see how continuing to engage in sexual relations with our "ex's", particularly "ex's" with whom we share children, never ends well. While it may seem the "safe route," the "quick fix," or the "safety net," what seems safe... could easily be toxic. You cannot be certain that your ex has the same standards of exclusiveness that you do, critically; when it comes to who they will engage in unprotected sex with. Just because you had a clean bill of health at OB when you went in for your prenatal check up; doesn't mean that your partner won't continue to gamble with their private parts after your relationship has ended. The same thing that made you end the relationship will likely not change just because he/she moves out. If you lower the standard to "cut buddy" status, then not only have you have not let go of the baggage from this relationship, but you are carrying it into any potential relationship in the future. Worst of all; it is showing your children that boundaries are meant to be broken. Once a relationship ends all the fringe benefits should; too.

Part Two is finished; I will post them both on the same day. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friendship... and the spouse.

Aw...platonic friendships. After thresholds have been crossed; brooms jumped and all that jazz, where do relationships with friends of the opposite sex fit in?

Though never an easy topic, I am frustrated enough to take it on this afternoon. This came about after my well intentioned husband tried to justify going to his single work buddy's bday bash at a nightclub, without me. This same coworker also has no problem calling and texting him. I have asked him to invite her to our dinner parties and mysteriously, she never showed. I need to add... she is a single woman. Don't misunderstand. I love my free and single ladies. I mention her status only to reiterate a point: the mindset is understandibly different between the single and married person. It may have never occured to her that she was violating ettiquitte by urging my husband to accompany her to a night club while inexblicably leaving me off the guest list. She is likely not after Meathead. She just doesnt' think like a woman who has to set boundaries because she isn't one.

What is the big deal anyway? Shouldn't we all still be able to engage in friendly relationships with the opposite sex after matrimony?

Well, I will anger a few of you, by answering with a resounding... NO!!!

I hear you now: that's jealousy, that's being a "ball and chain"...guys and girls should have the right to friends of the opposite sex...

Yeah. I hear you. Sure.
Without a doubt; there FEW exceptions- and these exceptions ONLY:

*The "friend" is a mutual friend to both husband and wife, or would have no problem being so. (e.i. the co worker that would gladly invite your spouse to the bbq, and come over to yours. This friend understands that marriage is a package deal that way.)

*The "friend" has never been in a relationship with your spouse. (No, I dont mean your sixth grade crush. I mean the ones with which you have vivid memory of their private parts. :-)

*The "friend" is a 'family friend' - which you have known so long, your other half would come across as a absolutely pyscho for interfering with your bond. (However; in these cases- that "family friend"- is usually very open to being around your spouse.) I will give an example of this later.

Before you write me off as a nearly thirty, overprotective, jealous married lady; let me give you the back story to my very sound logic.


A married couple is having some typical problems in their sixth year. Husband begins to feel like he married too young, starts to wonder if he's missed anything....He confides his frustration to a single co-worker of the opposite sex...

A few months pass; and the newly friendly pair go from casual lunches shared in the break grabbing a few drinks after playful everyday conversations... Very detailed conversations, where hubby reveals all the marital dirty laundry. All with wifey left in the dark about this new girl-friend/girlfriend.
So, months pass...things get better at home for the couple. Then, husband starts to feel a little "uncomfortable" with the amount of time his co worker "friend" spends at his desk; her non stop texting... which eventually his wife takes wind of. Of course, that doesn't go over well.
So what do you think happened to that friendship?
Yep. If you said husband tried to put it all on his "stalking co-worker" and cut off his friendship with the single guessed right. The poor friend was his shoulder to cry on... until he decided he was finished crying. She was left humiliated and undoubtedly angered that she was used this way.
MORAL: Don't befriend married people behind the spouses back. If your friend values your friendship, it won't be a secret from his/her spouse. Don't allow that married person to drag you into their drama by making secret friendships with them. you can't really help him/her with their issues, unless your a marriage counselor or a pastor-in that case you would still need to see BOTH parties. This married person is using you as their dumping ground. If you beginto feel sorry for this "unhappily married friend," you may find yourself with conflicting feelings about them, as this young lady did. She took all the wife bashing as a sign he was on his way out the door. Even if that person's marriage was in fact, over; keep it friendly until you know for sure, like the ink is dry on the divorce/separation papers. That way, you protect your own feelings, as well as the feelings of that spouse who has no idea that you are even an issue. It will only end in bad karma for you, when you don't respect the boundaries of marriage!


We all love social networking. Catching up with college/high school buddies- male and female- is my favorite part of it all, since we all live in different cities now. My obscure fascination with pro wrestling, hip hop, and the Dallas Cowboys- keeps me engaged in playful banter with my FB male counterparts on a daily basis.

So how do you draw clear lines of distinction; between keeping it real with your buddies, and crossing over into murky water?

Well, for one, it is wise to keep the conversation public. (E.I. The "Wall" or "Status Updates")...For the most part, I am PROUD to say almost ALL of my male friends keep it kosher and respectful; and even when a playful flirtatious joke is thrown in here and there, they always keep it respectful of my vows and I appreciate those of you who do that.

Then comes that proverbial bad apple that spoils the collective bunch...

Last week, I went against my better judgement and accepted a "friend request" from a high school "boyfriend". It seemed harmless enough, like I said, all my C-Town homies keep it clean and professional- so I am not so full of myself- to assume that this guy I haven't seen in over 12 years- had some ulterior motives. After all, my status clearly says MARRIED. So what harm could come, right?

WRONG. First it was the "chat" invites. I am a habitual night owl; and I keep my FB open while I blog or browse the web. Every night, in the wee hours of the morning; there was this red light alerting me that someone was inviting me to chat. Sometimes my deployed friends get on since they have the time delay, so I went to check it out. When I saw it was this "ex", my spidey senses tingled a bit, but I just ignored it and closed out the box. What did he have to talk to me about at 2 am, after 12 years? Strange. Even more weird, when I would close it out, he would start in again. The box read: HI KRISTEN. Ignore. Then two minutes later...HELLO KRISTEN!!! When he didn't get very far on the chat, he sent emails. In one, he casually thanked me for the "add", then said "but I didn't expect you to be married, though." WTH? Why not? Whatever. I kept it pro and didn't say a whole lot, figured he would fade to black into the pile of people collected on my page I never engage with.
Sure, I was annoyed. But its the computer. One has choices. I just closed out FB, and went on about my night.

Then the next afternoon, I went on to update my status. I made some less than subtle hint about wanting to have Meathead (hubby :)) take me on a hot date. This TOOL gets on and comments to my status: "OH, I'm ready to take you on a hot date right now. As I remember, we had LOTS of those!"

WOW!!! Talk about embarrassed! (Now, if you assume his prank was harmless; remember what I said- I actually did unfortunately date this guy for a very short time in high school. So there is no irony in his statement. He meant to be coy and cute; but conversely, was rude and disrespectful.) Had we been truly "friends"; the tone of the post wouldn't have made me so uncomfortable. Like I said, I love my male buddies! Some of the guys I converse with on FB are actually my husbands cousins, brothers and friends. No harm in that. This ex-asshole is not my friend, therefore, he had no business on my page. I ignored my better judgment, and was punished for it. Undoubtedly, he saw no harm in trying to open that door, maybe he was kidding. So really, its not his fault. In his eyes, I accepted his friend request, so if he saw me up at 2am on the chat, he saw no foul in trying to connect. He isn't the one that is married. I am. So I must remember to be mindful of how my intentions are recieved, especially by single men who have nothing to lose. Especially since the guy was so insignificant that I never even mentioned him, nor those subjective "hot dates" to my husband, who was not happy about the bull headed post. Lesson learned, however humiliated I was. :(
So how did it play out? I kept it classy, responded that his comment was inappropriate; and left the comment up, even though I could have deleted it, as a reminder to myself... that everyone cannot be your friend. Period.

So on to the example of the appropriate friendship... #3: The Lifelong Friend.

I promised in the intro, to give an example of the type of friendship that almost trumps the married clause. It is that on longtime friend of the family. I said ALMOST because- with anything; there is that one or two "bad apples"...but my example is one that is positive.
So my husband's parents followed their best friends from the military here, to metro Atlanta, when they retired. That family also had children; one of which is close in age to Meathead; and they all grew up together. When there are family functions and they all get together; I am thrilled to listen to the stories that they share as children. This particular friend-I may add; is a bonafide cutie pie- super pretty- and I am sure as kids, my husband had- at the very least-a mild crush on her. I think its cute, and he would probably kill me for putting it out there! Sorry, babe :).
Nothing about the presence of friends like this upsets me. Not even a little. I am more than secure, and not only that; I actually like all his childhood family. I found her refreshing and funny, and I probably talk to her much more than he does now. She is family- like his sisters and brothers. Because she is actually a family friend, she and her siblings made me feel welcome just like the rest of the Sealsee clan. If she called him right now; and was talking to him, about anything at all; nothing in my being would be dis aligned with that. Family is family. Respect.

I know I am going to hear it from yo guys so just note that my husband and I both have friends of the opposite sex. No jealous tirades over here.

Bottom line: as adults, we all chose our own paths to follow, and if you find a friend is not respecting boundaries that they should; whether single or married, distance yourself. It never ends well. The amount of disrespect for vows these days is deafening. NO JOKE- last week a female co worker of my husband's told him "I know your married... but I would love to go down on you while your driving..." and then walked away! No kidding. He had co-workers cosign it actually happened. This is what is comes down to. With trash like this in the world, the last thing a married couple should have to worry about is friends who say they mean well, but don't. If you are a great friend that provides the opposite sex perspective, I commend you. Everyone needs one of those. Just make sure you are really being a friend. And exit soapbox. :)

The moral is: with all endeavors; use your integrity. I love my singles and my marrieds; I urge both to govern themselves accordingly. Peace.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

what paralyzes you?

I may be a real big punk.

Last October I took my little cousin and sister in law to Netherworld, the top rated Haunted Attraction in the country. I ain't scared of no ghosts, I watched the Exorcist at age 5. Really. I have been to every run of the mill Halloween theme park.So when we entered the first of the two haunts, I lead the pack. It was just make believe...

Within minutes, I started to hyperventilate, looking for the emergency exit. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be, there were no distorted mirrors or evil clowns jumping out at you, no skeletons popping up out of cardboard coffins. No sir, whoever made this mad house was some sick twisted individual, no doubt. I admit, I wasn't ready for the attention to detail shown in that attraction. I was scared voiceless, unable to move forward without being literally pushed by my comrades. It felt like we were inside a real life horror movie; the makeup was cinema quality- the actors must prepare the entire year for the stamina to terrorize each patron with the same amount of fervor each time. The first house we enter was called "The mangler", and played out more like a cross between a Saw Movie and Night of the Living Dead. There were even real "survivors", running around like crazed victims of some unspeakable horror. Over the top gore, from start to finish.

I was so shook up upon exiting the first house that I had to prepare for over thirty minutes to even enter the next one. Heck, I am certain I would have forfeit that extra $5 dollars extra to enter the second house, had I not been pressured by the ladies in my party. Besides, the spooks didn't just haunt the inside. They were outside, hiding behind port o potties waiting to shake it and scare the you know what out of whatever chump was trapped inside. I decided to take my chances with the group rather than stay outside alone, with those things.

But I was so freaking scared. The whole time we stood in line, I kept trying to make sure I was not in position to be neither first nor last in line with my group. First was bad, but last meant the things could sneak up behind you...and I wasn't with that. Not at all!

So this time in, I hid behind my five foot nothing little cousin. I held her hand and kept my eyes closed the entire time. If I heard a noise or anything remotely ghoulish in my ear, I squeezed them even tighter, like a child awaiting a surprise. I was so scared, I had forgotten that it was make believe, the line between fantasy and reality had blurred indefinitely.

I came out of the second house much less shaken; but certainly stirred.

Do you ever close your eyes to the things that terrify you, hoping that if you just hold the hand in front of you, you'll be okay?

What if that hand leads you toward more pain?

What if the situation is more terrifying when you are kept in the dark?

That is exactly what happened that night. According to the other girls, the second house is the tamer of the two, and we actually went in reverse order. As it turn out, I had my eyes closed in the less scary haunt. I was so afraid, I gave up, and ultimately cheated myself.

This year, I am looking for redemption. I have already been to fear and scoped the two themes this year: Blood Night and Zombie Wars. I hadn't mentioned that the idea of zombies literally makes my skin crawl. Don't worry, no matter how detailed the paint, or how realistic the moans, I will keep my eyes open. Even if it kills me...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

pest control

My friend Liza has a serious pest problem. No one eats there; for fear that the rodent has been pilfering through the groceries. No one watches TV; the disgusting thing will sit down right beside you. She swears she got rid of it twice, and sometimes it seems as if it is gone for good. I asked her one day, how she planned to exterminate it once and for all...

"Hey girl, whatcha doin'?" I asked.
"Looking for my rat poison." she said.
"Oh, don't tell me it's back!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, unfortunately," she sounded very tired. It hardly seemed fair for her to have this embarrassing problem. She had always been clean, and neat. She didn't even invite over suitors anymore.

"I have no life anymore. I stay home with my children, because they are afraid of the rat. My mom tried to put the rat in its place, but it screeched back at her. Only my little brother will entertain it, because he feels sorry for it. It sits on my couch, eating my food, getting fatter, laughing at my misery. I would move, but I can't find a buyer for my house. When they see the rat, they scream and run." she said through frustrated tears.

Everyday, it sat unapologetic hoisted upon her once sturdy sofa. She had told me on more than one occasion; that if she could only get him out, she would replace that sofa the same day. There was a sunken spot where his body had imprinted the cushion permanently.

He started early in the day, and watched television into the night.
The rat watched lots of Judge Judy and Court TV. He was excited to see that it would be very hard to have him evicted. First, according to Judge Judy, she had to serve him with an official notice giving him at least 30 days to vacate the premises. He didn't figure she knew that. She was hardly ever watching TV. The way the rat figured, he was so slick, he could call the Judge and sue her for not being nicer to him while he stayed there. He would argue that he would go if he could take the beloved device with him. He picked up the phone, and dialed the number on the television screen.

The courtroom was just like it looked on the TV; only the courtroom audience gasped when he walked into the courtroom through the double doors in the rear. He was self conscious about his new found girth around the mid-section. He couldn't understand how he'd gained so much weight.

"All rise! Honorable Judge Judith presiding!" the bailiff exclaimed.
The Rat was so excited. This was the best day ever!
"Plaintiff vs. Defendant in the case of Mr. Rat vs. Liza Zimmerman!"

Judge Judy entered the courtroom with the same shrill countenance she always held. She didn't waste any time.

"Mr. Rat, you are suing Ms. Zimmerman for the rights to stay in her home indefinitely and for the television set. Am I correct Mr. Rat?" She did not look amused. It didn't bother him, he knew how to work the old bat. He never missed an episode.
"Yes, your honor. I feel that Ms. Zimmerman should be more respectful to me as a man. She treats me like I am worthless, and I don't appreciate it." He smiled triumphantly.

"I see. Mr. Rat, do you pay any bills?" She asked.
"No, I don't. I can't find a job, no one will ever give a rat a job." He replied.
"I see. Mr. Rat, I see you have children. Do you care for them as well?" The judge asked sharply.
"Well, compared to what alot of other rats do, I'm father of the year. Most rats don't do anything at all for their babies. Just hatch 'em and rum. At least I come around-" the Judge stopped him mid sentence. She had heard enough.

"Enough outta you! Ms. Zimmerman, I truly applaud your patience in dealing with this disgusting field animal!" The judge screamed, and the veins in her neck were much more prominent than they looked on TV. Even high definition could not prepare him for the wrath of this woman before him.

"Mr. Rat, I understand you never miss an episode of my program, is that correct?" she snapped.
"Yes...yes ma'am. I watch everyday." he replied.
"I see. And do you also watch during the commercials to see who my biggest sponsor is?"
"No. I usually wait for commercials to go get a snack."
"Well, that's much too bad. It seems you may have called the wrong Judge. I would expect anyone who is a fan of mine to know how much I hate dirty sneaky rats! Bailiff, will you show our sponsor into the courtroom now."

The bailiff obliged, and just then, a large man wearing a white jumpsuit with the bright red Orkin logo approached.

The Rat had the sinking feeling that his verdict- was about to be rendered.

make me a blonde poodle...part one.

Today there was an article in the Times about Michelle Obama’s hair and the controversy surrounding whether or not she will ever “go natural” and wear her hair in it’s natural curly state.

Truly, this is still an issue close to the heart of all Black women; whether you are a all natural or choose to straighten your hair through the many inventive processes we all know to well. The article made me think of the first time I ever knew what the standard of beauty was. The following is an excerpt from a short story I wrote a while ago, it is fictional but I think we can all apreciate the sentiment:

When I was nine years old; I sold my soul to Satan.
I mean to make no grand, sweeping statements filled with metaphorical sentiment, like when some corporate peon "sells his soul to the devil’- in which said 'Devil' really just some big, heartless corporation. No, that is not at all what I am telling you. I mean in the very literal, quite physical sense; I had a very real pact- with THE DEVIL, himself.

Don't act so shocked. I happened to be God’s biggest fan, but this was business. I mean, really, it’s not as if God buys souls, for crying out loud. Alas, my plan was neither it evil nor sinister, I hardly even knew the guy. I had something he wanted, and hoped in return he could give me what I understood was too shallow and sinful to ask the Lord.

I should probably give you the obligatory back story.

My Momma was the most beautiful creature ever to have ever walked the earth. Now, I know every little girl thinks their mother is pretty- but see, it wasn’t just me that thought so. The clerks at the local mall, the butcher in the meat isle of the Winn Dixie- everywhere we went, my mother turned the collective heads of everyone; from high school boys, to wheel-chaired old ladies. I suppose God allowed her to grace the world with her angelic looks since He was only going to let the universe borrow her for a little while; but while she was here, I lived vicariously through my mother’s perfect image. People seldom ignore that kind of superior beauty. Walking next to her made you feel like everyone was looking at you, too; as if suddenly my plain features took on significance, similar to the way unappealing night is lit by the mysterious light of the moon.

As resounding as her beauty was, to my constant dismay; she seemed sorely underwhelmed with the favoritism the Creator had bestowed upon her.

I guess terminal illness will do that to a person. She had been dying from the time she was born; and no matter how many times people would praise her looks; she would digress to “heavier things”- like how people should be happy with what God gave them, that outward beauty is futile.

I should note: that only pretty people believe this.

Undoubtedly, she would have traded her impossibly silken ringlets, her ample bosom, her impeccable almond skin, and her slightly overwhelming doe eyes; for a single day without pain. For myself, everyday lacking those attributes was my own brand of constant pain, subjective, but nevertheless, real in a way that made nothing else matter to me.

Sometimes, late at night; I would come down stairs and find her in front of the TV watching paid programming. Her face would be wet, watching some televangelist heal the afflicted, Right there in Technicolor for the world to see!

“See how they doubt you Lord! But I know you can heal me! Hallelujah!” she'd exclaim.
Every once in a while, TV Pastor would send my momma a little patch of felt that smelled like the oil my grandma used to cook with, with a letter that looked almost hadwritten. Momma was always very excited to see that her contributions were being acknowledged, that this man was her gateway to communication with the Big Guy himself.

Alas, no matter how many of those oil soaked napkins came in the mail, she hurt; all the way to the bone, everyday of her life. Eventually, the pain was too much, even for the bone; and corrosion left a hollow place where her hip bone used to be. After that she became increasingly less excited when the red velvet cloths showed up, but still believed that if she bested this test, she would overcome.

People always say that we shouldn’t focus on beauty, obsess about it. We admire the gifts that poets bring forth with their magic ability to string obscure words together and make them sound gorgeous. God gave poets their words. We marvel at thousand year old paintings that cannot feed us; yet somehow still, they nurture us. Yet we do not deny the artist, nor the poet, the right to share with the world what He gave them. He also gave favor to beautiful people; yet we deny them their glory, and say beauty is only skin deep.

Momma kept her faith, her beauty, her Bible, and her oily felt rags; and in return, was duly rewarded with thirty six years of life.

At Momma's funeral, people still admired her beauty, spoke of her shell as if it were a Rembrant. The chatter filled the space between occasional sobbing. "What a good job Baker’s did with the body!" "They didn’t make her too dark. And they nailed that red lipstick she loved so!" "MY that was the most beautiful woman I ever did see! Even in Death! Such a likeness to herself! Amen!"

Sometimes the whispers were not as low as intended.

"Where is the husband? He didn’t even come to see her off! Is the grandma gone raise them kids? At her age? God Bless her soul." Every once in a while, someone would come over and speak to us, the words thoughtfully well chosen.- “well look at you? You are getting so big! How old are you now, what’s your name again? Oh yes! Wow, eight you say? Well, you hold your head up, you got your mama’s spirit, that’s for certain. You just stay in the way of God....then to the other sibling: "Is this your little brother? Jacob!Well, ain’t he gorgeous! He is as pretty as his mama! It ain’t fair to give all them lashes to a little boy! Now that is a beautiful child!"

I asked Grandma why God never healed Momma.

“Watch your mouth, blasphemous child! We cannot assume we know w’tis God’s will. All we can do is be fai'ful to His word, baby. Our unworthy min's cannot comprehend His Devine Plan. He blessed her immensely. Them doctors don’t know it all, if they know a damned thang at all! Lord forgive me! I get fired up ‘bout them so called dock-ters… (and she always said 'doctors' like it was a really bad word. I used to think “doctor” was synonymous with child molester)…
"…you know dey gave m’ baby till her seventh birthday. Seven years old! Then they tu'n 'round an' say she wasn’t neva sus’pose to have nan’ one you chil'ren. Well, her and the Lord sho’ fooled them crazy PhD’s!!!" She belched up a victorious laugh that stretched across the single level home.

Maybe asking God to cure incurable diseases was too big a request. Maybe better to ask for compromises. He gave her years past what was promised to her by medical professionals. My grandma said all I needed was the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains! All I had to do was believe.Just like Santa Clause or Tinkerbelle? I asked, for clarification of course.“No, baby. They are not real,” she said.“How do you know?” I knew this bordered whomping status, but she seemed to be in a generous mood this evening.“Because man made them up just to amuse idle children“, she said.“Well, how do you know that God is real, Grandma?” I pushed. “How do you know some man didn’t just make Him up, too? To amuse idle adults.” I had recently learned the word adults, and I liked it a lot. It made me feel smarter than my friends that called them grown ups. Grandma was not as impressed as my classmates. She sighed and looked up from her Bible. “ I know my Lord is real, because I have faith, baby. You must always have faith,” she said.
Was that it? I am sure Momma had faith, but she was going about it all wrong with that bushy browed TV preacher and his oily felt rags.
I heard my momma say once; that she would trade all the beauty in the world for her health. Funny, I would easily have given a hip bone to possess even an ounce of her beauty. Rather to have lived a short, beautiful life; than to face the alternative: an long, ugly existence.
I figured He would appreciate the direct approach:
God, it’s me. You know. And I think you’ve made a mistake with me. See, I’m Denise’s daughter, and I know you have her there with you, now. I am happy she lives with you, she was in a lot of pain here. I miss her, but Grandma says not to question you, so I trust she is very happy now. Anyway, I am talking to you tonight because…well, everyone tells me how much I have my momma’s spirit, but they don’t ever mention my momma’s prettiness. That’s cause I think you may have forgot to give me any. I’m not mad, I know your busy and all, its an honest mistake. I was wondering, if you find time to, if I could have some of her pretty, too. Just a little. Maybe some softer, longer hair, that would be a great start. If I am not supposed to have pretty because I am going to have some other talent, I would gladly trade that talent in for this one favor. I wouldn’t want to be greedy. I love you very much. Tell my momma I said hi. Thank you for your time,

**i will post part two saturday.**