I didn’t want to, but I am…

The #metoo that’s going around has had me at odds with whether or not I wanted to talk about it, but after reading about Joy Bryant, my heart broke as I found a touching similarity to her story. Read it here… Joy Bryant’s story

I do not know the entirety of the story behind my conception save for the he say/she say versions my parents have served up, but I do know that neither parent knew how to parent well.  Their varied backgrounds prevented them from loving their children in the right way.

From what I’ve learned of my father’s childhood it was violent, angry, bitter, and strict.  He was academically smart; however, his father prevented him from seeking further education , so he filtered his skills into being a good craftsman and working with his hands.  His relationship with his mother was tenuous and the foundation for his misogyny.  My father was an extremely attractive man and that parlayed into his ability to score women and oftentimes in inappropriate ways.

After conversations with my half-sister and his current last wife, I learned some extremely ugly things about my father, and while I was in many ways appalled, I can’t say I was entirely shocked, as I saw things first hand growing up that my half-siblings did not and it set the tone for how I viewed him.  I saw women come and go on the weekends I spent with him, and learned not to get attached to any of them because I didn’t know how long they’d last.  Some were nice and some were not, but again, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t sure if they’d last as I said.  This fluctuation in women translated into my inability to bond with women or even fully trust them since some of the women my father dealt ill treated me.

I learned how abusive my father then, and as recent as this February when he passed, I learned more.  And again, while disturbing, I was not entirely shocked, but what sickened me the most was hearing my half-sister detail her own conception, which led me to thinking, I could have very well been conceived the same way…out of violence/force/coercion…Rape!

I wanted to ask my mother about it, but don’t really want to dredge up the past and have her go into one of her many tirades about my father.  I’d actually rather know about her childhood and relationship with her mother.  Her father passed when she was two.  She’s never really detailed what it was like growing up, but from the fragments I’ve heard from my deceased aunt/uncle and my mother’s sister, it wasn’t great.  The little she’s shared about her relationship with my father was drenched in bitterness and anger.

About ten years ago, she blurted out that he raped her, but I dismissed it, not that I didn’t believe her, but she said it in mixed company; (around MY friends) and it was an inappropriate time and place for such a revelation.  I never brought it up again. Given what I learned from my half-sister, previous conversations with my half-brother, and my father’s last wife, I don’t dispute my mother’s revelation.  I don’t have any resentful or angry feelings about it in all honesty because I had an acrimonious and tenuous relationship with my father anyway.  I have long since reconciled my feelings; or lack thereof toward him, so when he passed, I was completely fine.  I’d been previously estranged from him for ten years and it wasn’t until 2007 that I allowed myself contact with him again.  Those seven years were fraught with drama and I merely tolerated his existence all while forging a very close relationship with his now widow of whom he treated her poorly too!

I have always had an oil and water relationship with my mother; a little similar to how Ms. Bryant explained hers with her mother.  She was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive toward me and there were a few extreme physically violent episodes too.  I think there was a lot of envy that she had toward me as I succeeded in things she’d hoped to and she found ways to either take credit for my accomplishments, demean them in some way, or find ways to steal the spotlight.  The myriad of things she’s done to assassinate my character, make assumptions about me, or misrepresent the facts of my life has caused a lot of hurt and pain over the years and fractured my relationship with my siblings and my eldest brothers children.  (Fortunately, we’ve grown through and past them now – but that was decades in the making)  The combination of my mothers abuse and that which I fortunately escaped from my father sexually, served as a painful foundation for my life. For decades, I lived with a level of self-hatred, in spite of the Colgate smile I wore and then somehow amassed herculean strength to overcome all of the pain of the various abuse I endured.

My own #metoo is something I’m choosing not to discuss because it’s not necessary.  I know what I went through and what’s more important, is that I came though it to be where I am today.  Speaking about the foundation of it all is a sealing part of the healing package.  Reading Ms. Bryant’s story allowed me to speak to parts of my #metoo in a different way.  I even more understand the adage, “hurt people; hurt people“.  I make zero excuses for my parents behaviour in any way as it is inexcusable.  I just see it all for the ugly truth that it is.  MY truth! MY healing! MY catharsis!  MY closure!

I wholly empathize with the women; and men, that have been sexually assaulted, molested, raped, and/or sodomized.  I wholly empathize with those who have been abused in any way and I stand in solidarity with those who’ve had the courage to speak up about their experiences.  I understand why it was “easier” to not say anything than to speak up.  I commend those who now have come forward and are speaking publically about their experiences.  I silently pray for those who still do not have the voice or courage to speak up and pray they’ll one day be able to heal and not remain in emotional bondage.

In closing, I hope that we can and will find a way to accept the ugly truth about what is truly an epidemic in society and find ways to embrace and heal those affected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.  Abuse in its varied forms should not be swept under the rug and victims should not be shamed or disbelieved for speaking up.

#Solidarity!

Life’s lessons

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,

you will know what to do for each person. – Unknown

Knowing, understanding, and accepting the aforementioned is one of the most complex and agonizing of life’s lessons and experiences we will face and with age, I’ve found it to be one of the most liberating experiences I go through. 

In the past, I tended to rationalize the behaviour and actions of others and allow them to stay well past their expiration dates; in turn, providing them with a revolving door into my life and emotional capital of which was squandered.  There were too many Reasons and Seasons that I almost allowed to become Lifetimes. 

At this stage of life, I find myself closing doors more easily and more often.  I no longer allow myself to be held by nostalgia, chronology, and some misplaced sense of loyalty even when the other party finds a way; or at least attempts to reign me back in using those very same things to assuage their guilt for lack of contribution or participation. 

I favour and embrace the truth of where we are now, instead, of the role we each once played in the other’s lives and what we gained in those times or moments.  I recognize the varying degrees of relationships and the impression they had; however, to remain bound by that adds no gain.  My life is tantamount to an investment portfolio, where I have to regard the deposits made and the interest earned to determine whether I’m getting the most for my life’s relationship investments.  I choose not to live my life in the red or leaning toward emotional bankruptcy.  I reserve the right to close accounts and send statements of insufficient funds when people have overdrawn from my life and emotional well-being.  I refuse to continuously allow people to deplete me, be it financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally. 

I have to recognize the signs of the Reason, the Season, or the Lifetime in order to grow in every aspect of my life.  I cannot rationalize what doesn’t warrant the thought process because if I have to rationalize where we stand, I already have my answer.  What I must do is honour the Reason that became as Season for what it provided and reserve myself for those who are the Lifetime, and at the forefront of that is Myself. 

I’m currently liberating myself of someone who was a Reason, a Season, and what I thought would be a Lifetime.  I openly, fully, and wholly accept the Reason and the very many Seasons they played, and realize that Lifetimes are wholly reciprocal relationships.  Lifetimes are proactive, inspiring, uplifting, bullshit calling, and wholesome.  Lifetimes make others a priority and honour those who have bought the ticket with the true intent to ride until the end. 

This closure has been in the making for some time now; not entirely of their own making; however, and in spite of their words, their action has proven itself to be terminal.  There is nothing to wrestle anymore.  There is no taking into account the two plus decades of friendship (Reasons and Seasons) where we once saw each other through the others eyes, or saw each other through the myriad of life’s ups and downs.  All there is, is to let go. 

What was once perceived to be the embodiment of a Lifetime will become a fading memory shrinking further and further into the distance and will eventually set on the horizon of this part of my life’s chapter.  I am very much okay with that.  I honestly didn’t think I would be, but I truly am and in an odd way, I feel a bit relieved; exhilarated even as it feels like I reached past an emotional plateau.

So, here I am, older, wiser, and much lighter on my life’s journey.  I hear Ms. Badu clapping in my head and praising me for not being a Bag Lady.  (I told you before, music is always in my head!) 

If you’re struggling with Reasons, Seasons, and Lifetimes, take a moment to set your life up like a bank account or investment portfolio so you can see if you’re truly getting the best out of your life.

 

Honour thyeslf always! J

 

Lyrically Speaking…

I affinity for music and lyrics surpasses most things.  My iPod (yes, I still own one) if currently in need of new songs, but specifically ones with some passionate and intense lyrics.  

Music has always been an amazing way to communicate and has done so for me when I couldn’t find words of my own to convey my emotions.  I have a collection of playlists called; Lyrically Speaking – When Words Fail, Music Explains that have and continue to serve the many moods and facets of both my moods and personality in various moments and stages of my life.  

When listening to music, I don’t always listen my a particular genre, but instead by the melody and lyrical composition of the song, which is why I have almost every genre of music on my iPod.  My husband has revoked my “Black Card” on a few occasions after being subjected to my playlists while driving.  Personally, I don’t think music has a race or ethnicity; it simply is an emotion that ‘just is’.  Music requires no label other than the one that produces it.  

I was listening to music on Spotify and chose Sabrina Claudio as I came across some songs by her that I hadn’t already heard.  Like the previous ones, I was completely enamoured by both the soothing and seductive cadence of her voice and the lyrical content of her songs.  I found myself completely entranced by the musical composition of the songs and swayed while digesting both my lunch and the lyrics.  One line seized my mind as I listened to a rather short song called, Natural, and the line “Nobody really knows my name because all you call me is beautiful.” I was done!  That simple line spoke volumes to the enormity of how someone could make another feel.  Being curious, i wondered what prompted the writing of the song, so I looked it up and according to Sabrina,  “I normally don’t write from personal experience. It’s just stories from people in my life; just conversations that I’ve had.

This one was a conversation I had with someone who had been in a relationship for a very long time. It was at the point where it was really about to end; and they met somebody else who they spent a small amount of time with. That small amount of time kinda overpowered the whole longterm relationship that they were in.

It’s like the honeymoon stage times 10; and it’s all just within a week of knowing the person.”

I could relate!  I instantly recalled the numerous occasions I’ve written stories or poems based on something someone shared and it made it wonder why I’ve never tired my hand at song writing.  Oh wait!  I can’t’ read music, so I guess that would truly inhibit my ability to do that.  (insert giggles!)  No worries though, as I still continue to write and of late, I come up with soundtracks for imaginary screenplays or stories I write in my head while listening; correction, bonding with songs I listen to.  

Years ago, I did in fact write a short story based one of Kem’s song, “I Can’t Stop Loving You“, where I inserted lines from the song to convey the lead characters emotions.  That was a fun time. 🙂

I highly recommend the listening of Miss Sabrina Claudio.  She’s a wonderful singer/songwriter who I’ve yet to hear on the radio, but given that I very rarely do, I honestly wouldn’t even expect to.  They’d rather play songs with very little weight than songs that are actually worth listening to.  So, if you have Spotify or go onto YouTube, take a listen to this young lady and I’d hazard a guess that you’ll also like her songs and music.

Let the music play on…

 

 

 

F*ck you and your thoughts on women…

From Steve Harvey, to Tyrese, to Isiah Washington and all those in between, I’m more than sick and tired of you all trying to tell me how to be a woman; how I should behave; how I should wear my hair, and every damn thing else you all think you have a right to say.

You all have had no problems having sex with us out of wedlock, while already in relationships; having kids with us in or out of a relationship; using and manipulating us in the name of love; and enjoying the fruits of what we’ve contributed to your life in whatever capacity, and now you want to try and govern us.  The fug outta here man!!!  The very last thing I need in my life is some man telling me how to live MY life!

My foremothers fought and died for me to have the right to vote; work outside the home; my reproductive rights; how to dress; and most important how to govern my life for about ME  and not for some hypocritical arse hole to tell me how to do it.  How I dress; style my hair; whom I sleep with or how many I sleep with; what I choose as a profession; requires not a word from them or any man.  Instead of worrying about me, they need to focus their attentions of themselves and building up the manhood.  Where are these men when their counterparts aren’t stepping up to their own self-worth; raising their children; maintaining their fidelity; finding work and staying employed?  Where are these men when their counterparts are running around looking like shit with their expired cornrows, unkempt locks, pants hanging of their dirty behinds, and not maintaining their health?  Those are the questions that need to be answered.

I’m a grown woman who does not need their so-called point of view on how I should govern myself and my life.  My various hair styles are worn to suit ME.  My weight is maintained for MY health and well-being.  My style of dress is a reflection of MYSELF and how I feel in that moment.  My self-worth and self-esteem is not predicated on whether some man thinks is or is not appropriate.

I wish the men who felt they have a right to tell a woman how to live could live in our lives for a year to see what it’s actually like to be a woman.  I would like to see them endure their monthly cycle.  I would like to see them walk in heels.  I would like to see them undergo a gynecological exam or a mammogram.  I would like them to experience labour pains.  I would like to experience what it’s like to be treated like a second class citizen in a work environment they’re amply qualified to be in.  I would like them to feel the sting of inappropriate contact or conversation.  I would like them to be in the heart-wrenching position of having to decide on carrying a child, terminating it or giving it up for adoption.  I would like them to experience the abandonment of having to raise a child alone with no support or interaction of the other parent.   Most of all, I’d simply just like them to shut the fuck up!

Men think they’re the end all; be all on many things and they’re not.  They like to think they’re so empowered and so strong, but the wonderful words and wisdom of Betty White, says it all.

woman-meme-6

And that’s all that needs to be said!

View from where I am now…

It’s been years since my last post and it actually feels a little strange starting over. I was going to create an entirely new blog, but said eff it, let’s just go on from here and the most important thing to me right now is that I start writing again instead of talking about writing again.

I’m not going to recap the events of the past two years as there’s been too much that has happen and I’d exhaust both you and myself in even trying to detail everything.  Suffice it to say, the most important thing is that I’ve made it through; I’m still standing; and that now being 50 feel freaking amazing!

My life outlook is more enhanced and definitely more self-centered now.  I’ve spent a lot of my previous decades catering to the wants and needs of others and seldom focusing some of that time and energy on myself, but not anymore.  I have made myself a full time priority and make no apologizing for it.  Life is too short to waste time and energy on planning with no intent to execute action.

From hence forth, my posts will focus on self-awareness and preservation, what being a whole woman looks life from my point of view, and will of course make comment on the wanton and errant assault on black women and how we should govern ourselves.  There will be lots of profanity laced responses to the aforementioned and there will be kind and compassionate commentary and take on many other topics I chose to discuss.  I will make no apologies for my words as they are MINE and I am entitled to speak my mind and my truth.

If what I say is of any interest to you, please feel free to comment and if not, I’m not here for the “likes” anyway, so regardless, I’ll still share my thoughts however and whenever the mood strikes.

Til the next time…

 

Firm or shaky ground…

When we sit in solitude sometimes we reflect on things, people, and situations that took place in our lives.  In and during those times, we often wonder how or why things go wrong and sadly sometimes we may; and hopefully realize, we are own our own worst enemy.  It is important to recognize that there are things that are out of our control; things imposed upon us.  However, there are many things and events that we do have a say in and instead of being proactive, we are instead reactive; thus, causing us to be the architect of your own destruction.  We sometimes absorb situations instead of filtering through them to see what’s worth our heightened emotional state and by doing this, we create a shade of grey in our lives that cause us to continually be on shaky ground.  When in this state, everything becomes an issue, we find ourselves in combat not just with others, but ourselves, which only perpetuates, the weakness.  When we are more rational, we are more able to discern the cause and effect of a situation and be less likely to be reactive and maintain our emotional alignment.  That is why it’s so important to build foundations that are on firm ground in order to endure the many tests life will through at you.  And on this ground, it’s easier to withstand the chaos than succumb to it.

Life is an ebb and flow and how we receive and deliver can be the major difference to how we go with the current.  Yes, it’s sometimes very necessary to be the salmon swimming upstream and there are times where it’s not and we’re simply just being dramatic.  Mastering our environment may sound like a laborious task, but it’s not.  It’s essential for ones well-being and something that can be handled simply by weighing what’s important against who and what isn’t.  The Biblical proverb of building ones house on solid ground is equal to the fable of the Three Pigs simply said somewhat differently.

No trade-true architect would recommend any structure build on unstable ground, so why would you build your life, which is considered a Temple on such?

Blu

Act of Kindness…

On Monday, I assisted my soon-to-be stepson achieve his first grade assignment for Martin Luther King Day. He had to do an act of kindness of which he was adamant about not doing. His father and I, at separate times, told him that it was an important thing to do; not just because it was his assignment, but because kindness is important. I told My Love that his son has books that he’s outgrown for his reading level and should sort through them and I’d take him to find a place to donate them. The books were sorted through and we ventured out. On the ride, I explained that there are children who do not have the luxuries he has and that when kindness is extended, it makes one feel good knowing that they’ve helped another. I further explained that each day, whether we realize it or not, someone does something nice for us. He seemed to get it.

I pulled into the parking lot of a local church and we went in; books in tow. I explained why we were there and the ladies thought it was a lovely gesture and explained to my Stepson that his actions were greatly appreciated and the books would get good use at the church. The lady wrote a letter to my Stepson’s school explaining his act and how much it was appreciated. Lesson learned…at least I hope it was anyway.

Sadly, many children are no longer taught the importance of acts of kindness. So many are spoiled and overindulged to the point of hedonism and narcissism. They expect things to be given to them at will and without challenge. This is a sad state of affairs for them, their parents, and their future lives if this behaviour is not corrected.

When Lil Lady was small, I saw early on that she was blessed with a compassionate heart and I nurtured and encouraged it. On one of her first trips to New York City, she was fascinated by the many sights and sounds surrounding her, but the thing that stood out the most, was how she reacted to the people she saw. She sized them up, she inquired about their varied appearances, and was take aback by the homeless. She inquired and I explained that sometimes things happen to people and they have to live on the streets and beg for food or other items to make it through the day. I bought fruit from a street vendor as we passed a homeless person and we carried on our way. On the trip back to Port Authority, she asked if she could buy more fruit, but give it to the homeless person we saw. I explained that he might not be there, but on our next trip she could buy two pieces of fruit and give one away. She was quite happy with that and from henceforth, that’s something she did. A mother’s heart exploded with joy for her daughters compassion. This practice went on for many years and also carried on to helping with the Angel Tree at the church we were then attending. The requirement was to pick a name and then fill a shoe box with small items we thought a child would like. This, I was told, I was not allowed to help with. A little bit of her birthday money was saved and it went toward the shoe box. Of course, I contributed where necessary, but the selection and packing was all her. Again, lessons learned!

Suffice it to say, if we do not install these practices not just in ourselves, but in our children, we can’t expect them to take acts of kindness seriously. Personally, I strive to give back as much as I can be items donated, a small sum of money, or my time. My Love and I discussed ways we could volunteer as a family and individuals. I’ve found an organization that collects donated items for families in need and we’re going to aid once a month is sorting through donated items and prepare them for said families. I’ve decided I want to be a part of Girls Inc. in order to help young girls. I’m not sure what My Love will find to do, but I’ll help him find something.

As we look at our lives, let us not forget how we got to where we are. Let us recognize and realize, many acts of kindness was a part of that journey. And once you’ve looked back, I hope you’ll find ways to perform your acts of kindness whenever you can.

I came across this site and it warmed my heart greatly. May it serve as an inspiration to you also.

Faith in humanity/acts of kindness

Blu