after a really good, short wknd in new york i've had time to reflect on some things. thankfully, it's all come out (relatively) coherently.
redemption means the act, process, or an instance of redeeming. to redeem, by definition, is to release from blame or debt, to change for the better, to free from the consequences of sin, to repair or restore (those are just a few of the numerous definitions). in general terms, to redeem is to right a wrong, to restore balance & order. i used to struggle almost incessantly w/ the concept of redeeming myself. i was nearly obsessed with changing folks' perceptions of me, or at least making myself very clear about certain things. the last thing i wanted was to be misunderstood, or have folks decide for me who i was. it was a constant thing w/ me. always, always, always trying to slay every dragon & lay misconceptions to rest. if i didn't leave a big tip at a restaurant, i was freaking out because i didn't want my server to think i was a rude or cheap person. it was getting out of hand.
of course, as i've lived more life i've come to realize something. regardless of my intention, ppl will think what they want to. they will take offense or think i'm noble regardless of what ithink of what i'm doing. simple enough, right? i can only ever be myself & do me. if that changes how someone thinks/ feels about me or anything else, so be it. also, my motto is "it's not that serious." think what you wanna, we both have shit to do & lives to lead. it's not that serious. ever. i can't stop dead in my tracks because someone doesn't like me. i can try to hash out differences w/ folks & sometimes you gotta agree to disagree. but that's okay. i don't have to redeem myself because someone thinks the sky is green when i say it's blue. i'm not gonna put all that energy into making someone understand me when it's clear they aren't able to or just don't wanna. that doesn't cause me to care any less about maintaining my own standards. but, i suppose that since human beings are social there'll always be part of me desires connection w/ others . . . & an extension of that would be the reflection of my values by others, or a validation by others. it ultimately doesn't matter as much as being at peace w/ my life, i do know that much.
i think that maybe redemption was so important to me because the feelings i'd get from being misunderstood were so greatly & deeply troubling for me. maybe i've watched the last scene of the color purple one time too damn many & thought i'd have a touching moment in the sunset, playing hand games w/ my long lost redemption as justice, fairness, honesty, righteousness, & peace watched us from the porch of a big old farm house. i never got it, though. i'd battle w/ ppl, raise the most miniscule points, & badger them w/ what i thought they should believe about me. it was wasteful of my time & energy. i spent so much time trying to correct folk, i missed some crucial things.
i'm better now. over it, for the most part.
& i guess that's because i know my peace of mind comes from the part of god that is in me. all the balance is in me, just mine to create outwardly. my peace of mind cannot be tied to another human being.
talkin about britney spears.
oh, my GOD. bill!!!! wtf?
i ate chicken today. i haven't been missing sht & i cannot WAIT to eat the mixed veggies & couscous i have waiting for me at home.
hash is no shit to play wiith.
i haven't been writing, & probably won't for a hot second. ah, well. effit.
heat that's still on in april
cotton candy nail polish
that new vitamin water
jill & emerson
high phone calls to/ from _________
ghostface killah (fuck what you heard, any man who walks around in a bathrobe w/ an eagle cuff on is aight w/ me)
opi nail lacquer
around the way corner stores
clark park people's flea market
yeye mi (hekua hey! eepa o!)
"believe it now (f/ muhsinah)" by dj roddy rod
"che che cole," antibalas afrobeat orchestra
as i give thanks for what i have at my disposal, let me not forget that every day i sit at the seat of bliss. i can have what i want, & i will always be taken care of. the universe always provides.
b, i'm prayin for us.
tonight & every night until it comes through. ashé.
being mad at pregnant 15 year olds for being pregnant 15 year olds won't fix shit. treating them like their lives are over because they have babies at 15 -- also not gonna fix shit. clearly, they weren't aware that it's not imperative to be screwin w/o a condom. apparently, a sufficient support system may assist these youngins in improving the quality of their lives -- baby or no baby. the same applies to many married & unmarried women who begin bearing children early in life. you are not ruined for having had sex, nor are you ruined for having been pregnant, having an abortion, or having a child. you are ruined if you allow yourself to be. fuck that.
someone just reminded me of something. i knew a man once who declared that any woman who was under the age of 30, unmarried & a mother was 'used goods.' i think that's terrible. my mother was legally separated from my father & had given birth to 3 children. plenty women meet those qualifications for whatever reason(s), & to me that doesn't make them any less human or any less decent. by virtue of biology, plenty women are parenting on their own. let's look at it like this: you have a womb & you bear the child. fathering a child, biologically anyway, is pretty much taken care of once implantation takes place. not to sound crass, but you motherfuckers get of way easy. being there is optional for y'all. it's a fact. it's a lot easier to walk away when your body isn't changing like that on a daily basis.
i'll be back to finish this later, reorganize my thoughts, etc. let's rap about it in the comments, shall we?
being in the precarious place where i am at the moment. i feel as if i'm a pendulum. swinging. all the time, back & forth. sometimes a hand grabs me, & i stop right where i am. other times, i'm moving so fast that i can't even name what it is that's happening. i don't feel fully at rest, even when i'm vegetative on my couch. even when i'm stoned out of my mind, drifting off to sleep . . . i feel that there's still that back & forth. & i don't know how i was even set on this path. this repetitious bullshit to which the quality of my life has dwindled . . . i'm annoyed, to say the least. it's not that i expected some magical shit to occur between ages 21 and 30 to make me into the perfect adult. i anticipated lots of hard work, humble moments, debt accrual, etc. i suppose that i underestimated the impact. the weight. sometimes it's like the whole world is working against me while i try to get what the universe has in store for me. it's a very odd feeling.
all i really want is to be myself fully. no apologies, no excuses, no shame. i want to make the money at no risk to my integrity, nor to my sanity. i know that there is abundance to be had. i'm trying to get to that point. i don't mean just money. i don't want trappings of a fabulous life. i want to thrive. i want to be comfortable financially. i want to love what i do for a living. at the moment i'm at an impasse. my passions are social justice & the arts. it's not hard to come across people who're into both, people who blend both. i want that to be my life, though. my career. i now know what i have to do in order to make it to that point. god, i'm gonna be in school for a long ass time. we're looking at a minimum 6 years. dual undergrad degree (sociology/ spanish), at least 1 master's (lincoln university MHS, stand up!) & maybe a 2nd master's. i need to kick some non profit ass.
but first i gotta work on some recruiting initiatives @ the 'good city job' i have. the new division manager wants to utilize my skills, instead of ignoring the shit out of them. i'm geeked. i might actually like it enough to stay if i'm not doing a bunch of dumb mindless shit all day every day for the next 6 months or whatever.
fingers are crossed
eyes are looking upward
feet are ready to move.
i just want to keep at it. this whole being myself thing. it sounds easy enough, but when nearly everything you are/ stand for is the complete opposite of most of what surrounds you . . . it's hard. i'm a socialist at heart. i'm an artsy fartsy activist type of broad. i don't fuck with complacency or stagnation all like that. i am not gonna comply just because it's suggested that i do.
that makes my life anomalous in little ways. but how i choose to express that makes all the difference. we all know folks who stifle themselves in the name of whatever. peace & quiet at home, a high-paying job that they loathe . . . it's not worth it to me. i'm worth more. always.
i just wanna be honest enough, all the time, to embrace & live that notion.
(aside from a seriously nasty e-shopping habit)
is black (or 'urban') celebrity gossip sites. the biting commentary is so entertaining to me. like, yeah i could be using the net as a tool to further my life (give it up one time for idealist.org), but no! i'm fuckin around on youtube & reading some of the absolute funniest (& meanest) tales of the tragically famous.
crunk & disorderly
young black & fabulous
. . . that's all you really need. i'll probably have 549 new sites to love by this time next month. but i'm starting off small. lol.
110 murders already?
knew it was bad. i've insulated myself from a good portion of the popular discussion topics amongst philadelphians, as i feel like i can't discuss those items comfortably outside of the circle of ppl i run with. but i watched the news yesterday for the first time in weeks, and . . . it really hit me. hard. i was kinda amazed. rather shocked. completely flabbergasted. 110 murders? yesterday's victim was a woman whose brother-in-law ran up to her & shot her in front of her child. marvae dunn, i hope the cops catch you & beat the shit out of you before you make it to central booking. i don't care what that woman did. it didn't deserve a bullet. i'm certain of that. no way did it need to go down like that. i'm not sure what to say or do anymore.
i pray a lot.
i worry a lot, in general.
btwn asia, san-dee & latoiya, i was already beyond feeling comfortable. i felt like the other shoe could drop at any time. it could be someone closer. there was shannon, my supervisor's niece by marriage; her boyfriend killed her & then himself as she left to pick their sons up from day care. it was like, "okay. don't get too excited about dating these lil knucklehead ass dudes. they don't value life." i got that. i've been good on that for the most part. but. but. i can't even go to a vigil if i wanna, cuz motherfuckers wanna shoot there, too. it's wrong. nobody wants to talk until & unless it's one of their own. that shit is crazy.
it's enough to keep me focused on leaving this country. fuck leaving philly. i love this city but i cannot sit around and watch folks die here.
may all those who've passed have an easy, swift transition, & be remembered by their families. ashe.
& not to be a biter, but i think this is how i want it. yep. i just have to find the artist & the money. please, god, help me find the money. i'm over the piercings for the most part. i'm keeping the ones i have, but i want some ink. no new holes. lol.
in a book i read, the author noted that aya is often a symbol used to declare one's fearlessness. like, "i've been through enough not to be scared of you." that's kinda fly. i ought to embrace that notion. fear not of man © mos
off to work
atlanta, can we do lunch next time i'm in nyc & have actual lunch monies? lol.
(if you don't know, that acronym means "greatest of all time")
i really hope she gets well enough to perform again (she had a stroke about a year ago), because my mom promised we'd go see her together next time she did a show near or in philly. no fair, man.
anyway, y'all go ahead & buy some of her music. please.
start dancing again
move into a bigger apartment -- soon
make these collages
go away for my birthday
better cultivate my plants
drop this 10 lbs
take a long, luxe bath made w/ my own products
get some more brass bangles & some copper ones too
dream more vividly
remain a vegetarian
make weed brownies
live abroad for one summer
find a new job that better suits me
kick ass at scrabble on a regular basis
get some new bed linens
stop missing chicken
let go more easily & often
see tiombe lockhart, muhsinah, & georgia anne muldrow perform live
get more kisses from emerson
love as freely as i curse
buy a new sexy bitch dress
make better tostones, perfect my beans & rice, & make my own sangria
get some more sparkle in my life
keep my eyebrows done
kiss jason a few more times
see all of sweet sweetback
get chaka zuluon dvd
donate to creative commons
smoke one last djarum cherry
learn every word to andré's verse on the "walk it out " remix
walk better in heels
get my hands on some really fresh essential oil blends
love me more
see bilal perform live before the end of this year
feel the fear & do it anyway
forget that whole fiasco
excel in my studies this time around
go see oyin
go see omi
discover what the HELL they do to make the food so dope @ red bamboo
get some more birkenstocks
listen to my ori more often
make delicious (w/ him)
own a djembe, a bata & a sekere
put my feet in sand on a beach where the water isn't some murky color
live in london
keep a hiding place in mexico
be okay w/ where i am. all the time.
treat myself like i'm beautiful
take more pictures of things & ppl i love
hear my grandfather's story
marry the right one, the first time, if i do it at all
taste fresh açai
get a zune
do nyc for a whole summer
go back to chicago
visit san francisco
wake up & know that i don't have to leave the house to make my money
buy my great grandparents' house back, & never sell it
see the god/dess in me, all the time
love the span of my hips
appreciate the not-so-smallness of my hands
wear more dresses
fry some hush puppies
give peace a chance
do a real detox
make this money
live my life like it's golden
primarily because i figured out part of why i'm having these ridiculously super fking emo moments. i think i'm allergic to soy. that is, the extra estrogen in soy is messing with me. i've been killing boca burgers, tempeh + baked tofu for the past few weeks. no more. quorn, you're about to get all my money. special trips to whole foods. greeeeaaat.
whatever. my health is important enough that i'll abide by whatever dietary laws i need to.
the mishap w/ my keys evolved into something else. i need a new door knob.
but all that led me to thinking about a shitload of other stuff. i had something resembling a panic attack.
it's making me feel really embarrassed & i almost hate to say it
but i miss my mom
i want someone else to pay these bills/ take the reigns, just for a month so i can catch my breath
i knew it wouldn't be easy but why is it so hard to get out of bed every single fucking day?
why don't i smile at ppl on the street anymore? how is it that i hate talking to ppl i love?
i don't like this. i don't have to be in control but i don't feel like i'm in control of myself, not even a teeny tiny bit.
i need to pray more
i need to fast more
i need to love more
but i don't even know how to do any of that when i want to cover every mirror in my apartment, put black fabric up at my windows, and drink myself to sleep some nights.
then other days i feel like i can beat anything & anyone
& all it's taken lately to take me away from that train of thought is one stupid thing
something someone says
a recollection of something/ one that i'd rather not be connected to
& here i go again
mad at everyone
escaping to books/ internet/ music/ movies/ tv
& it's like who IS this bitch? this simple, angry, bitter, tired ass woman who doesn't even wanna wrangle her mangy eyebrows or put together something nice to wear to work. i don't even know where it all came from. maybe when i moved the first time last year
maybe after labor day wknd, w/ the facial contusion & all that shit
i don't fucking know
. . .
but i feel like there's not enough sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, or anything else to reach me.
i gotta lay this one in the lap of the goddess. ain't shit else i can do.
hating work so much i'd rather be late than on time.
someone call bdp, i'm in self-destruct mode.
at least i get to vend this wknd.
i keep hearing raphael saadiq's "save us" in my head. only it's saaaaaaaaaaaaave meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee instead.
my stomach & womb are both telling me they've had enough. impromptu fast days are the hardest. if you're a praying person, throw one up for me, will ya?
i can only be so mad @ fifty cent for pushin that chick into the pool. (link and video courtesy of c&d and onsmash, respectively).
they were both dead wrong. he for thinking it was okay to put his hands on her, & she for failing miserably at understanding that he told her to bacdafucup. he didn't laugh her off. i think he tried to be, um, marginally tactful at first. but when he made the smoke signal comment, that shoulda been it. seems like jael was too busy feeling herself to think that dude's idea of personal space couldn't possibly apply to her. tsk, tsk.
i think curtis tried to be nice to the girl at first, laugh off her obnoxiousness. but she was clearly grating. putting your hands on someone you don't effin know is NOT acceptable, under most circumstances . he wasn't saving her from a herd of stampeding hooved creatures, nor was mr. jackson's shove intended to get her out of the middle of a fight.
he pushed her into the pool because he thinks it's okay to do that shit to ppl. not okay. i don't care if you're the king of the world; that's disrespectful.
but when you push folk & disrespect them, that's what you get -- a rash effort to shut you up & sit you down.
& while we're talkin celebrities & their bullshit . . .
who said mo'nique should instruct the flavorettes on how to be classy? word to sister patterson, these broads are taking their flash in the pan status to the next level.
more serious items tomorrow, probably.
that was when i didn't eat right, didn't exercise as much as i could/ should have, & really believed i should blame eve for my cramps. i thought i couldn't change anything about the cramps, or the bloating . . . i felt as if i was relegated to suffering this body, this existence as a woman. it wasn't until i missed my period one day that i really thought about it. my body is trying to tell me everything's okay, nothing's abnormal. my eggs are doing what they ought to do . . . no need to get all hype. eat better. drink more water, relax more. don't give into every craving & don't stress over dumb shit.
easier said than done, but still.
every now & again i have a uterine uprising of major proportions
. . . but for the most part, my womb & i get along well.
if more of us were proactive instead of reactive about our health, perhaps we'd be happier. just a thought. i'm not sayin everyone has to have a womb party, or anything that they don't feel comfortable with. but i don't think there'd be as many complaints about what our wombs do if we treated ourselves better on the whole. but i may be ahead of myself, cuz some of us still blame eve.
i got bored & didn't want juice so . . .
2 bags good earth decaffeinated green tea
1 small tea infuser filled w/ decaf ceylon tea (courtesy of tea leaf, reading terminal market)
1 large tea infuser filled w/ organic peach tea (also from tea leaf)
1/2 cup lemon (or lime if you have it) juice
goo gobs of trader joe's desert mesquite honey
3 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
i was out of spring water so i boiled regular tap water (half to death even) & went for it. i steeped the tea for abt 10 minutes (i forgot it was sitting there), & i am currently enjoying the hell out of the end result. the tea is strong, but only if you use a 2 1/4 quart (or smaller) pitcher like i did. all of this is according to my taste.
maybe i'll fix a meal to go with it. maybe.
that means it's time to say thank you.
the desire to learn
nantucket nectars half + half
the function key on my laptop
& i think that's it for now.
it was btwn christmas & new year's 2001, or maybe just after new year's. filo's. tasty treats. it was so small down there, so tight. i was w/ my girl sarah, & i think you were w/ some random friend of yours. a girl. skinny, tall. i wasn't drunk. just tipsy, enjoying the freedom of not having my boyfriend around. he was a wet blanket sometimes & never wanted to go out. but sarah was home from oberlin, & always looking to cut a rug since we were finally 21.
she & i had found our way towards the stairs, cuz we'd been thinking about leaving . . . or maybe because it was so hot by the ?uestlove's table we were tryna find air.
everyone in that place was tryna find air, i think.
de la soul. baby phat. i loved that song. i still do. i kinda went crazy when it came on, dancing like nobody was around.
but i wanted someone to come get close; even in a place like filo's, where it feels like a crowded church revival. & you did. right behind me, moving in perfect time. sarah whispered in my ear, "he's cute." i made the "giiiirrrrrrrrrrrrllll, i know" face & kept dancing.
you asked if we were leaving
i said "we were gonna, but we'll stay until it closes down."
i don't remember much else. you offered me some of your vanilla stoli + tonic (or was that your homegirl?). i loved it. i thought you were beautiful. & i never like dudes lighter than i am. never.
i wanted to ask you if maybe we could hook up some time. i wanted to know you. i wanted to know if your hands were as soft as they looked, what your hair smelled like (other than sudanese frankincense, dulled by the stench of cigarette-heavy air) . . . i wanted to know you.
& when i said we were leaving, we exchanged names
& i said, "maybe i'll see you here again? i come here rather often."
you were like, "nah, i'm leaving for england." like, that next day.
i felt a little stab in my heart. i let the whole "we should exchange e-mail addresses" thing fall by the wayside.
i wasn't gonna see you
you'd have a fabulous time in england & i wouldn't even be more than a faint reminder of home
i was sad about that, & couldn't figure out why
until one day maybe 3 months ago
it all came flooding back to me.
i met you at filo's, met you again through a mutual friend about 4 years later & couldn't place your familiarity. we started hanging out, & i never could quite figure you out. why were you so familiar? i'm sure you asked yourself the same questions about me. we'd talk about places we'd both been around the city & agreed that we'd probably crossed paths a few hundred times. i dated your close friend's cousin. we had several mutual associates/ friends. i kept asking myself why i hadn't met you sooner.
only i had
& so i was wondering if maybe you'd pop up again in 4 years or so,
a slightly different man
w/ a new cache of stories
back to stoli + tonic, maybe still on leffe
i know it was you.
do you remember?
the universe is so big, yet the way it rearranges itself can be deceptive.
that is, the way i was taught to pray (eyes shut, head bowed, on my knees & in the most respectful tone possible) isn't how i like to pray. i like to pray at random. i like to pray in my head most of the time, or in written form. when i pray out loud, it feels like i'm talkin to one of my girls instead of asking god something. or telling my grandmother that she needs to get her husband and kids and grandkids before i smack someone. i don't really know how to do ritualistic prayer. i don't know how to be small before god, because i feel that the god in me keeps me from being small in so many other situations. that thread makes me feel connected to everyone/ thing around me . . . how can i feel small as part of something so massive? if i manifest the power of every living, breathing thing around me . . . how am i small? i mean, i know i am. one in 7 billion humans. but if prayer is all about submission, if faith is about submission to the will of the almighty, how do i even begin to feel that way?
i guess that's why i feel like ifa is home.
where she could go in philly "for some real good spoken word." i was like, "i don't know any places that do poetry readings on weeknights." she asked about weekends. i told her no, because i don't go to poetry readings. i don't do spoken word. i've given a poetry reading or two in my day. but i'm not a spoken word artist. i don't memorize my shit. i don't tour anyone's circuit, & truth be told the older i get the more i feel that my words need to be enjoyed quietly, & individually. i'm not keen on this shit.
i also resent, for the millionth time, the assumption that because i don't have a perm, wear applebottoms, or go around singing avant songs that i know where to peep some spoken word shit. i don't know because i don't care. i don't care because that shit isn't me. if you do spoken word, boo, go right ahead. i'll applaud you when you wreck shit, & golf clap you when you bomb. but that's not me. my lack of noticeable around the way negritude means jack shit.
i don't know
i'm a 'real poet' meaning that i'm a person who sometimes writes poems
i don't like that "how can i find real poets" shit from ppl who fail to understand that love jones is NOT real life
that ppl who write poems when they lose a love are as real as black ice, just not on the same wavelength
that your kids writing you one of those mother's day poems are fucking real poets
the art in all of us should be apparent to all of us
& i guess until it is
motherfuckers will still be looking for a place where the artists gather
& unleash their talent on the world
but those places are everywhere
& those ppl are everyone.