12.26.2009

miracle at st anna

i'm dealing with a ridiculous case of writer's block, so this is a mere placeholder.

but, in a word, spike was robbed.

12.24.2009

underworld




as i stated my solstice prayers a few nights ago, i was reminded of the underworld journey...how necessary it can be to disappear from the world and dig deep for strength, knowledge, and power.
After several intense and painful experiences, Inanna is finally freed, thanks to the intervention of the God of Wisdom. On the path returning to the upper world, Inanna rediscovers, one by one, the things she discarded at each of the 7 gates. Each time she pauses to decide whether to keep the skill, belief or symbol of success, or leave it behind, in the process she discovers that even the few she chooses to bring back with her now have different meanings and functions. But, most important, when she re-emerges into her sunny courtyard, Inanna realizes that she is not only Inanna, she now is also her sister Ereshkigal. She has actually reclaimed a part of herself, and in doing so has become whole, wise, powerful and empathetic in a way impossible before she made the journey. [link & emphasis mine.  source]

i am here.
i am encouraged.
i am ready.

12.13.2009

who was gonna love me? who was gonna make me feel good?

i watched precious last night, alone, at the local indy theatre.

i didn't go in fully sober; in the absence of company, i enlisted a glass of red wine for backup.  i didn't think it'd be personally triggering, but i knew it'd be painful.  i didn't relish the idea of weeping--if it came to that--in the presence of a bunch of art school kids.

that said, one of the many things that stuck with me was mary's (played by mo'nique) breakdown when confronted with the reality of precious' abuse.

{SPOILER ALERT - descriptions of some pivotal scenes follow}

12.12.2009

an exercise in restraint

i've done a bit of meeting and greeting lately. feels good. i am grateful for the confidence and clarity it's brought.  plus, i haven't done deep visualization in a long time, so it's been catalyzing.

it's also reminded me how impatient i can be in the "will he/won't he call" stage.

typically, i don't mind doing a little legwork if i think the guy's worth it. if you want something, go get it, right? 

since i'm nearly always operating from my intuitive, heart-self and not my head, i often see and am attracted to said potential.  therefore, my natural inclination is to give them what they need without deep regard as to whether or not they are able to return the favor.  i always get the basic, "decent guy" packaging, so they are at least willing to try to reciprocate. 

unfortunately, where i can get ocean-deep, they often flounder.  and that's when things fall apart.  so i've decided it's probably better to step back and let them show themselves first.

now more than ever, i am totally focused on cultivating intentionality in my relationships--even in the beginning stages.

love can come and will be reciprocated as applicable. i'm open to that. and i'm still gonna get mine when i want it.  however, there will be no commitment without real, tangible outcomes, and i have no problem stating that very clearly. 

you want me?  that's sweet.  prove it

over the last thirteen years, i've learned three big lessons: first, there's a thin line between mysterious, creative depths and the masking of unearthed and unacknowledged pain. second, if i need a crowbar and forceps to approach your psyche, it's not gonna work. third--and probably most important--a well-rehearsed melange of coping and defense mechanisms is not a personality.

lots of really "nice guys" have all that going.  in spades.

so, yeah. i'm ready to hop back on the merry-go-round. 

...just understand that i am heavily armed. 

12.09.2009

the integration continues...

{for more on this, check out anything tagged the list}

my current focus is integration and synthesis. i'm still discovering neglected bits and pieces of self that, once found, start outlining their needs and demanding space of their own.

mostly it feels daunting, but i should be excited. i mean, it is exciting, right?  i get to learn new things and move through the world with these wonderfully novel self-bits.  ultimately, that leads to more confidence and strength.

so why am i being so weird about it?

because it'll just make me weirder and set me apart, again.
because it might seem contradictory to some.
because TKON is ever busy and creeping in uninvited.


i'm far better than i used to be, but i still struggle with all of the above, determined to "fit in" to a bunch of bullshit that's not worth my attention. however, what's becoming increasingly obvious is that i fit in where i need to--with other brilliant, unique folks. and i'm meeting more of those people all the time.

i am immensely grateful for that.

maybe that's the key lesson in my last tarot reading: evolution is taking time, but it also comes naturally and continually to me.  my goals are taking shape, and separating from the dead weight was a priority. soon, i may even start "shedding" the 9-5 in favor of my lifework.

snakes shed their skin in order to grow.  they cannot become taller, and i don't think i've ever seen an overweight one. the only way to mark progress is to wiggle out of the old, dull shell and emerge anew.

all animals do that in some fashion, but snakes leave evidence. a snakeskin is a repository of information and power.  of course, the snake itself is elusive, but at least you can reconstruct its story.

my snakeskins are pages.

i suppose that's why i don't look back too much, especially when i'm journaling in longhand.

if i ever get interesting enough to warrant a memoir, someone else would have to write it.

12.08.2009

tiger by the tail

i'm sick of the tiger woods thing.

there are many reasons, but here's the main one: i still feel like we're having half assed, immature discussions based on the wrong questions. it's time to go deeper; ask the questions at the root instead of getting stuck on the leaves.

first and foremost, no one outside a relationship knows what the folks in the relationship have decided to put up with from each other. therefore, getting all righteously indignant about who's a whore/skank/slut and who ain't is irrelevant.*

the world has changed, is changing, as we speak. with that, the way we live and love is changing.

wouldn't it make more sense to begin to define loving in a more personal, intimate way and then build supportive communities around what works? what grows your family and contributes to the expansion and edification of your heart, mind and spirit might not look like anyone else's situation...and shouldn't have to.

what many of us are taught to "strive for" is built on jacked up gender roles, rapidly shifting socioeconomic standards, and paternalistic abrahamaic religious mores. in the western ideal, cis men and cis women are essentially brought up to be polar opposites of one another--opposites that are supposed to bond, procreate and live the (american/euro) dream for the good of (old man) god, forever and ever, amen.

that's a pretty small box to fit into, but plenty of folks are still trying.  and the pressure to conform is leading to all kinds of lies and heartbreak. 

the white, western world is now re-learning what many ancient cultures have known for centuries: all the things surrounding love and attraction happen within fluid continuums, not in rigid categories.  manhood and womanhood are meant to blend into and compliment one another, with the true emphasis being on full personhood and soulhood.  yes, you need an egg and a sperm to create more human life, but the binaries typically stop there. 

but we're talking infidelity, so, for the record, here's my stance: if you are in an intimate relationship with only one other person, and both parties have explicitly agreed that said relationship is sexually monogamous, if one party has sex with someone else without their partner's consent, that's not cool.**  

yes, "emotional affairs" are also possible, but with a sketchier premise that begins to delve into insecurities, lack of communication, arbitrary limits on the range and manifestation of human emotion...in short, another damn blog altogether.  

so, someone cheats--whatever that means in your world. what you do about it is your business. my point is, there are other, more relevant questions besides, "why do _______ cheat??!?!?", such as:

how long does it take to openly and honestly discuss a problem?  e.g., an "emotional" affair can happen on your desk or over the phone, but takes time to build steam.  physical cheating takes effort:  you're going out, meeting, take clothes off...etc.  when and how are you dealing with your primary partner?

where do women learn to "let it slide as long as [zie-she-he] comes 'home'"?  conversely, where do men learn that the appropriate response is to hurt/maim/kill the other party?

why is the first assumption that it's all about sex?  people have many needs.

what barriers exist to dissolving a relationship where you feel disrespected? are they concrete/material? cultural? spiritual?

consider the money and power factor. what made tiger think these women would stay quiet when telling would also bring notoriety?  what made him think his wife would stay (she'll be well taken care of either way, apparently)?  

see where this is going? 

ultimately, reducing these issues to "men will be boys" and "mistresses are whores" is silly, at best.  if we're gonna talk about it, let's really talk about it.


*from what little i've read/heard, elin seems pissed, so it's probably safe to say the relationship was not an open one.  still, the high horses are startling.  none of us know the other women any better than we know her.  plus, as someone mentioned earlier on my twitter feed, there are babies to think of.

**essentially, somewhere between 18-25 or so, you learn that this needs to be made crystal clear if you intend to get what you need out of the relationship and/or have a case if someone fucks up later. it's starting to sound like too many folks make assumptions about the nature of a situation and wind up getting hurt.  communication is fundamental, at all stages.  in addition, i abhor the "if you're not married, you can't cheat" crowd.  how silly do you have to be...

12.07.2009

sorry, kid, no toys for you...

this is the latest article i've seen in a rather disturbing trend: some charities are excluding the children of undocumented immigrants* in their xmas programs.

so it's come to this?

instead of examining the real reasons for immigration...

instead of tearing down that insipid wall at the border...

instead of focusing on growing homelessness, hunger and unemployment for all of us...

we're just gonna be all grinch-y about who gets toys and who doesn't and make folks feel worse about themselves that way?

yeah.  that's really christlike, y'all.



*no person is illegal. also see no one is illegal - vancouver. some of the same factors are at play in the u.s. argument over immigration...

12.05.2009

Transgender Children - Out Of The Shadows

i am continually reminded of why we need to question what we *think* we know/understand about being human.

think of how old humanity is.

think of all the knowledge & understanding that has been suppressed and lost.

think of how new the notion of "normal" truly is.

keep in mind that it is very likely we're actually RE-learning and remembering...not falling off some sin-filled, hell bound cliff.

11.24.2009

the big picture

*warning: graphic, possibly triggering video linked to "sigh"*

sigh.

this is the second time in recent weeks that i've seen the "planned parenthood is killing us!" thing.

i'm already sick of it. 

so...how come you get to appeal to folks' emotions while maintaining absolute silence about how black women also have less access to full information about reproductive health and adequate mental health services?

hell, even if you do have insurance or whatever, the u.s. ain't all that great with infant mortality rates compared with the rest of the industrialized world.

what about the foster "care" system that's chock full of kids of color that no one's adopting/caring for? they're getting funneled into the military and worse, you know.

if you really care about black women, their health and their babies, this misses many crucial points.

no one--and i mean no one--can talk about stopping abortion without simultaneously stopping domestic violence, sexual abuse, poverty, rape and a whole host of other issues that plague black women.

we also need accurate information about our bodies so that we can fully care for ourselves.

can't have that both ways, either.

yes, i am firmly pro-choice.  when, how, and whether a woman becomes a mother are issues that are between that woman, the deity of her understanding, and her healthcare provider(s).  period.

but that has nothing to do with why things like this piss me off so much.

to me, messages and media like this do not feel any more tied to my womanly welfare than ones that would suggest i need to tie myself to the nearest brotha and hang on for the ride.  actually, they seem like a backdoor way to keep women barefoot and pregnant.  or trapped in the good old "virgin/whore" dichotomy.  maybe under the thumb of male dominance and all other sorts of nasty oppressions.

yes, the ghost of eugenics is an issue, but it hasn't been a {true} social movement since about 100 years ago. even if i give you the benefit of the doubt on that one, we also know that living in a racist, white supremacist context has resulted in all kinds of psychological and spiritual maladies that we have not yet dealt with effectively as a people.

what does bringing more babies into the equation--at this moment in time--truly solve?

did you know pregnancy and birth can be triggering for women with abusive pasts?  are you only paying attention to that after they've become pregnant, or are you trying to save girls who are suffering now?

yes, i love children. without a doubt, they are beautiful, wondrous blessings. when you're prepared for them.

and i'm not just talking finances.

the moment you "save" a baby only to leave that child's mother in the lurch when she needs support, higher education, guidance, employment, child care, shelter, and all the things necessary to raise a child well in this world, you're dooming that baby anyway.

but i guess none of that matters.
....
addendum: for more on this topic, including stats and such, click here.

11.23.2009

derailing for dummies

this link showed up on twitter yesterday, and i think it's a great way to make some important points.

difficult discussions are learning opportunities, not an excuse to shut down. we can all make mistakes when attempting to communicate with anyone. the key is to stay open and listen.

it's also worth noting that there's a difference between resting on privilege and knowing when it's time to shut down a conversation.  even then, it's how you shut down the conversation that matters.

11.22.2009

"attraction" versus lesson-learning

lately it seems that many folks are clinging to the "you attract who/what you are" argument, particularly with regard to relationships.

i always want to interject with a, "yes, but...".

instead, i let it slide.

this is when it's great to have a blog.  

from where i sit, "you attract who you are" is a vast oversimplification at best.  at worst, it's a dangerous thought trap in a society that already does far too much victim blaming. 

of course it sounds perfect.  you keep meeting jerks?  well, you must deserve it on some level. keep finding mates who beat you? guess you need to get a black eye every now and then...but we all know it's not that simple.

i will concede this point: low self esteem leads to disastrous intimate relationships.  this is clear.  whether it's because you keep letting this one clean out your bank account or put up with the other's neglect hoping for a better day, if you don't believe you deserve the best, you won't get it.

on the other hand, what about the folks taking advantage of these self esteem issues?  where is their responsibility?  what healing do they need?  in a perfect world, those in need of some gentle uplift would be supported until they were ready to enter into relationship, appropriate emotional responses and boundaries intact.  instead, we have a predator/prey model that has folks ducking for cover, even if they might never be privy to the more extreme manifestations of the problem.*

in my understanding, interactions with others are lessons.  people enter your life for a reason, and your walk together speaks to that, whatever the outcome.  how many times have you heard about a relationship that should have been perfectly blissful, but wasn't because one or both parties were not doing the necessary work?  that's a lesson.

to use my own example, i didn't "attract" my last relationship because i hadn't done my work, although i definitely learned about a few tender spots in our time together.  it's likely he entered my life because i had started to feel i was ready for "the one".  same with him.

the difference?  i continually worked to be and maintain readiness and was open about my process; he worked in his own mind and shut me out.  i had the tools to deal with our issues and mine when they arose; more often than not, he didn't.   

then there's the money and success angle.  i.e., you can't have "broke" friends if you're tryin to ball.  well, my answer to that would be, "what does 'broke' mean?"

i can tell you right now, i don't think i have one materially rich friend.  but i have many friends and acquaintances who are billionaires in heart, spirit, intellect, and character.  i wonder how difficult it would be to find those qualities if i decided to go out and get some financially secure friends.  trust me, i've been around my nouveau riche, upwardly mobile peers, and i couldn't stand them.  i had very little in common with them on any level, even though i grew up middle class myself. 

just goes to show what gets rewarded these days.

in a time and place such as this, with so many supposed quick fixes and instant solutions, you don't often hear about the deep work of healing.  those of us committed to that path will often attract those in need of healing and must be ready to draw the appropriate lines in the sand.  one way to avoid sending out homing signals to the wounded is to get very, very specific about what we ask for.

so, instead of "you attract who you are", i would offer that it's more accurate to say, you get what you ask for, consciously or unconsciously--which i have always seen hold true.

if that's what the "you attract..." crowd really means, great.  i just cringe a little when i think of what hearing that does to the most vulnerable hearts among us, and how it lets some bullies off the hook. 



*e.g, someone who's afraid to date 'cause everyone's a potential serial killing, sti-bearing, low down cheating monster according to the nightly news and dateline nbc exposés. never mind that these elements may not even be a significant factor in their communities.

11.20.2009

transgender day of remembrance

{for more, visit these blogs: gudbuytjane, scattermoon, shemale}

i'm glad someone alerted me to this day, because i think it's important. i'm gonna go around the barn a bit to make this point, so bear with me...

there are many things i'm grateful to my parents (and extended family, for that matter) for, and one of them is how they allowed me to make up my own mind and be myself.

there weren't constant discussions or indirect jabs at groups of folks simply because of who they were--well, ok, maybe white folks. but i didn't get drilled about how it was so "wrong" to be gay or what have you. not even in church. no one in my circle was obsessed with the sexuality/gender expression of others.

in fact, my mother often talked about a schoolmate who she believed killed himself because of the isolation he faced for being a gay man, and often expressed annoyance at homophobic folks. the impression i got from my dad was that he didn't "get it", but there was no seething discomfort or hatred.

so, when i made cis-glb friends as an adolescent, it wasn't a big deal. i hated when i would hear and see people make fun of them for even the *perception* of queerness. i didn't understand where all that was coming from, and besides, who cared?

my given name starts with "les", so i got called a "lesbian" in middle school. little did they know it wasn't the worst thing i'd been called.

when i went to western--the oldest, all-female public high school in the u.s.--i got the "don't come out a lesbian..." speech from my friends going to zoned and/or co-ed schools. this, despite the fact that, while attending western, i only met a handful of girls who openly identified as lesbian and/or queer. so, apparently, just the notion of all us girls being stuck in there together was a problem.

it wasn't until much, much later that i had any concept of what it meant to be transgender, although i'd seen elements of it all my life.

i think many cis-glb folks as well as cis-straight folks wind up never knowing.

once i did learn about it, it didn't seem like a huge deal, either. certainly not a reason to hate anyone or deprive them of a well-lived life. on the other hand, i immediately understood the implications in the wider society.

i've learned a lot since then, and i'm grateful to all those who have taught it to me. when i think about the people who are dying because of transphobia, i realize that many of them look like me: women of color. i realize that cis-men of color are often killing them, just as they are often the ones killing my cis-sisters.

that hurts me. and it scares me that people have become so close-minded, so unaware and intolerant--or, more accurately, horrified--of all the possibilities of what it means to be human, to have a spirit, to go beyond the boundaries of physicality, to slip out of binary definitions of gender.

so, today, i pray that those who have lost loved ones are healing.

i pray peace for the spirits of those who have transitioned, particularly under violent circumstances. i pray peace for those who were forced to live lonely, unfulfilled, or without a true home while on this plane. iba t'orun.

i pray that transgender youth are finding safe spaces to be, to love, to grow.

i pray that cis-folks--straight and otherwise--open their eyes.

oppression only benefits the oppressors. remember that.

peace.

10.31.2009

because i'm crazy...

...i'm gonna try nanowrimo this year.

progress will be noted on the writing blog (if the widget works), so if you don't see me over here for awhile, that's why.

10.26.2009

dear old morehouse

word.



pissivity (3)

right now, i'm a lot angrier than i'd like to be.

i don't want this space to become one long, bitter black lady rant, but...i am pissed.  i need to own that.  

do i want to scratch every man's eyes out? no.well, not really.  i have good days and bad days.

i can say that i am far more critical and skeptical than i used to be, but maybe i need to be. 

when things finally fell apart, i told myself that for as long as this anger was a part of my life, i would keep it as constructive as possible.  so i'll write what wants to be written.  fuck it.

that said, here are a few things that run through my mind here lately* when i hear folks say they want a relationship with a "real wo/man" or "i'm so ready to meet 'the one'":

1. know your shit. own it. fully. for example, men's daddy issues can bubble up in relationships just as easily as women's. there is nothing that says men are immune from the same need for validation, fear of abandonment, and trust issues that are often heaped on the shoulders of women.    

2. if you've got a pretty good handle on #1 (therapy is your friend. remember that.), then think about why your other relationships worked--or didn't. if things were cool as long as they didn't get "too deep" or you've only stuck it out for a year or two, rushing to meet the person you'd like to spend the next 10, 30, or even 5 years with might be a bit of a stretch.  slow up. 

3. emotionally, you cannot "fake it til you make it". you simply cannot. don't try. it is unfair and unreasonable for you to dig in and hold on once you've realized you are clearly out of your league. yes, i understand that you love him/her, but good feelings and good intentions are not enough.  you may need to be an adult about it and let go--and by "let go" i mean have a real conversation with your partner about what's going on. you don't sneak off in the middle of the night. you don't sabotage. you don't throw a tantrum. just be honest, be real, and handle your business.

4. if you're truly in love and determined to hang in there, you're going to have to listen and you're going to have to work--particularly if you know you're dealing with someone who has less baggage than you do.  if it takes too long for you to work through all that stuff you've owned and s/he gets tired (keep in mind your author is over 30 and her bullshit tolerance is at an all-time low), you may just have to deal with that. relationships are emotional risks, and no one knows how they're going to turn out. if you are unwilling or unable to take that risk, see #3.


just another $.02 from lil ol me...



*not a typo. i'm southern. sue me.

10.24.2009

the case for true intimacy

when i was ill a couple of weeks ago, i thought to myself, "man, this is when it sucks to be single...no one to hug you, bring you soup..."

then i remembered the ex had never been there when i'd been sick anyway.

granted, i don't get sick often. regardless, he'd never nursed me beyond a sympathetic phone call or two. once when i had a bad cold, he brought me a bag of treats.

in six years, we'd developed no daily, weekly or even monthly rituals. we didn't have a song. pet names were used liberally--cute, but what did that really mean?  a waitress at one restaurant came to recognize us, but we didn't have a place to call "ours", really.  i hardly knew anyone in his family and never met his parents, although i finally came to know a few of his friends.

by all accounts, this was never about lying or cheating.  he'd simply learned to wrap his life in neat little packages so that if anything happened, he could walk away, no hard feelings (for him). never mind what that did to me or us as a unit.  in the end, he finally understood this, albeit too late.   

i was a wreck for weeks, not because i wanted him or even missed his smile, but because i became conscious of what i'd lost by settling for a relationship so far below my understanding and experience of intimacy, affection and love.

even at times when i thought i should miss him, i found there was nothing to miss. he had given me so little of himself compared to what i had tried to give him.

deep intimacy was nearly always reduced to purely physical moments; towards the end, even those moments became rarer than usual.  if we weren't fucking regularly, all the ugly gaps started to show, and nothing seemed to fix them. whenever the distance grew, i was the only one who seemed to know how to bridge it.

hell, even casual lovers need attention and cultivation. now, if i fuck you on the first date or what have you, i'm willing to deal with the fact that i might stir up your bullshit around "easy" women or simply confuse the hell out of you*, but if i catch a whiff of said bullshit, don't expect me to accommodate you.

at this stage in my life, i have no time for men who overthink to the point of complete inaction, who are full of fear or trapped inside their own insecurities and hangups. there will be no re-raising, coddling or praise for half-assed displays of affection.

i was "brave enough" to try to navigate all that once.  no longer.

if you want me, let me know. i'll respond in kind.

if you leave me alone, i'll leave you alone. i'll show you i'm interested, but after that, the ball's in your court. play it, or not.

i've learned very well what hides behind intimacy issues**, and i don't need those demons visited upon me or my heart again.



*i haven't had this happen, by the way. on the rare occasion i have had the will and the opportunity to do this, the reaction of surprise/confusion is far more common, with the confusion stemming from the fact that i do so because i want to, and not in an effort to please and/or impress them. this is where women who do not own their needs/comfort levels are making it hard for broads like me...


**note that i'm not using the word "commitment", although i think folks often use that and "intimacy" interchangeably.  from where i sit, everyone with commitment issues may have intimacy issues, but not everyone with intimacy issues has commitment issues. there are plenty of folks who can "commit" without doing a damn thing to deepen their relationship(s) with other human beings, typically because that's what they've been raised to do--i.e., if you love her, you gotta marry her and have babies 'cause that's what "proper" folks do...damn the fact that you don't know how to talk to her or even check in with yourself.

in my opinion,
commitment means honoring whatever bond/agreement you have with a particular person(s) (e.g., remaining sexually monogamous). intimacy has to do with how you operate in relationship; a way to measure emotional health.  can you touch/kiss/pleasure with ease? can you reveal yourself at appropriate stages in the relationship to help it grow? what are your triggers, and can you discuss these effectively with your partner?  do you know how to be consistently present and emotionally available--whether or not you are physically present? shit like that.

10.05.2009

goin thru some thangs...

it hasn't been easy over here lately...

i'm walking a really fine line between going full out and just keeping it all in...trying to be the shepherd and killing every mf'er in the room.

it's truly not easy.

i know that, ultimately, i am in the process of being and becoming something better than what i was.  i am evolving and choosing freedom and power over the crumbs i was offered.

i'm trying to hold on to that. 

9.30.2009

hope somebody puts this on obama's desk...

drew westen's "all the president's values".

an excerpt:
But even when [George W. Bush] was lying through his teeth, lying through somebody else's teeth (like Colin Powell's at the United Nations), or bombing the wrong country, you knew where he stood. He had beliefs. He had principles. He had values.

Mind you, I didn't agree with any of those beliefs, principles, or values. But once Bush took off the "compassionate conservative" Halloween costume he wore for the 2000 election, he generally told us what he believed in and pursued it as vigorously as he asserted it.

For example, Bush thought gay people like his vice president's daughter were a threat to civilization (okay, maybe he had a point about Liz Cheney), so he tried to sell a Constitutional amendment to make them the official lepers of the United States (since both he and Jeb still needed Hispanics, and we already had a national flower).

He believed abortion was murder and that premarital sex was a sin (once he was no longer premarital, of course), so he used the big stick of both U.S. aid abroad and the federal government at home to prevent everyone he could from getting an abortion, a condom, or accurate information about birth control.

He thought everyone should be able to carry an AK-47 into church, so he opened an office of faith-based initiatives and let the ban on assault weapons sunset.

And he believed that monopolies constitute a free market and that profits are good no matter how you get them, so he gave taxpayer subsidies to oil companies while gas was at $4.00 a gallon and handed the national car keys to Wall Street traders along with a fifth of Jack Daniels and a race track.

Okay, so he wasn't among, say, our top 43 presidents.

But I wouldn't mind hearing about values from our current president. And more importantly, I wouldn't mind seeing him act on them, whatever they are.

i know obama's in a nearly impossible position, and i think i understand what he's spent most of this first year trying to do, i.e., seeing how far he can get while stepping on as few toes as possible.

but precisely because he's in that impossible position, he's also going to have to take some risks.

the situation was pretty much fked when he got there.
there would have been challenges facing any president after dubya's mess.

but we need more. lots more.  and he's gonna have to get stepping on those toes so we can see what he's made of and act accordingly.

my heart still believes, and i've been saying since january 09 that we should give him at least a year before complaining too loudly.

well, that year's almost here.  and i'm not impressed.  yet.

step up, mr. president.  shut the haters down. 

9.25.2009

sara kruzan and the culture of incarceration

forced into prostitution at 13.
killed her pimp at 16.

so, essentially, she's serving life without parole for the "well thought out" murder of an abusive, manipulative creep.

at what point do we holistically begin to look at what is happening to girl-children and women like sara and offer them true justice?

no morals? no scruples? i wonder how much her being a young woman of color had to do with that nice, high handed statement by the judge.



more information on sara's case and how you can help ban these sentences for juveniles in california can be found here and here.

9.16.2009

ethical sluttiness for the revolutionary sista

yesterday, i started reading the ethical slut.

so far, i like it. a lot.

however, it also illuminates the fact that there are so few tomes dealing with real-life, full, deep eroticism for women of color.

rarely are we asked about our needs.  it's even rarer to have those needs validated once they fall outside a set of very rigid parameters.  already you see that getting to the point of actually exploring those needs can be, at best, problematic.

...and we all know being "black enough" can be tough, especially when you're a black woman.  in that case, you've gotta be black enough and woman enough.

clearly, i love my people and i love our history. we birthed humanity--what could be greater than that? although i haven't technically traced my bloodlines, i recognize my connection to mama africa and encourage others to do the same. i am aware of and interested in black struggles for peace, equality and freedom across the diaspora.

i am also a sexual being.

a single, post-30, not-rushing-to-get-married-or-have-babies-type of sexual being. 

as such, i admit to having some anxiety around having my afrocentric/pan-africanist card revoked if/when sex enters the conversation.

why?  because i love for the sake of pleasure, companionship, and spiritual-physical-mental enrichment, not procreation and/or the "ultimate goal" of securing a monogamous, life-long relationship.* 

allow me to explain: most of the prominent voices in afrocentrism are male. these men talk about literal and figurative returns to africa with great aplomb, and many have learned the appropriate rhetoric and theory inside out.  still, they seem to neglect the fact that consciously-minded black women would love to see the kingman's guide to comprehensively loving the black woman or sacred man.** 

recently a wonderful sista sent me the prologue to the river where the blood is born.  those few pages reminded me that there is a deep, rich, sensual story within the hips of african women; one of pure feminine power independent of the men in their lives--when they choose to have them (note: the badu backlash).

it is a story i know, but can only hear in whispers.  so much of the story has been obscured, eradicated, twisted, or left untold.    

all that to say, as far as i'm concerned, ain't nobody's business if your fist is in the air in the morning and your stilettos are in the air at night.

loving yourself for who you are--in whatever configuration--is loving your people.

P. S. - if there's one thing ifa has taught me, it is that my destiny is not yours.  that is, our unique destinies flow into the community's destiny, and all is in divine order. to me, that speaks to the understanding that there is no need to control another or decry his/her choices--you don't know what god/dess has blessed them with, and it's not your affair. when you're working towards your highest good, you're not worried about it anyway; you have too much work to do.

if we are to live with good character--which is truly supreme--then we must be honest with ourselves and those we come in contact with.  part of that honesty, i would think, entails taking the time to understand how our circumstances are the same, and how they have changed.



* for most of my life, i have been a serial monogamist, but one with fantasies of polyandry and a recognition that some of my fondest experiences of loving have been tied to some degree of polyamory.


** ...that does NOT involve questionable power dynamics, domestic violence and other misogynistic tactics.  of course, i'm playing with the titles of shahrazad ali's the black man's guide to understanding black women and queen afua's sacred woman. to her credit, queen afua's husband does have a brief section in her book.  either way, some of you beautiful, goddess-appreciating, non-christian/hebrew/muslim brothas need to represent! 

9.14.2009

coming to a cinema near you...

apparently, tyler perry has gotten his hands on for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. 

confused? here's an idea of how it all went down and some possible casting choices.

others have taken the words out of my mouth...

my best friend gayle

fallon wilson

dopegirlfresh

post bourgie

AC

a bunch of poems, tyler? ok...

9.10.2009

call it what it is.

no matter where you stand on health care reform or even obama, the level of disrespect i saw last night during his speech was nothing short of appalling.

as much as i despise(d) the bush administration, i have enough home training to know that if i were in the halls of congress listening to the man speak, i'd have to sit on my hands and hold my tongue, period.

and i'm just a lowly layperson.

i am glad to see that joe wilson's opponent is raking in the cash this morning.

this got personal some time ago, but last night was the icing on the cake.

just like the gay marriage debate isn't about marriage, the venom over healthcare isn't about healthcare. 

wtf? a black man gets to call the shots?  where'd MY america go?? how dare he be more accepted by those insignificant foreign countries than good ol' george??  how is he more articulate, more intelligent, with the audacity to tell my kids to stay in school?  there are little black children living in the white house, for god's sake...can't you see something's wrong here??

in a word: racism.

what else can it be when the truth is spoken--albeit a truth i and many others have deep problems with--and they still demean, disrespect and disavow?

on a more personal level, i can see why folks with the means to leave during the jim crow era left.  who wants to live/breathe/eat/contribute to a place that is so obviously unconcerned about your health, well-being...that is so utterly repulsed by your very existence?

i'm not going to force you to love me, see my beauty, or acknowledge the depth and breadth of my people's history.  i will, however, continue to educate my people where and how i can.

i am tired of begging for respect and favors. it's obvious it doesn't matter what we say about our own oppression. we've just been overly sensitive for the last 100 years or so.  but my people should definitely know the faces of oppression and how it can be overcome.  i'll talk to them about that. 

whitefolks: until i see some of you with some real influence speaking this truth to your folks, i'm done talking to you.  don't imitate me unless you understand the roots.  don't ingratiate yourselves with me and my people unless you're willing to stand with us when they put the nooses around our necks and the bullets in our backs.*

i'm a fan of the devil i know, so thanks for showing your true colors once again, america.

i get it.



*i know/know of people who ARE doing this work, and i'm grateful to them for it. it's important and necessary.  however, i know it is not work that i would be able to do without suffering debilitating burnout. i also uplift people of color like damali ayo who work to help folks understand the effects of racism on PoC.

9.04.2009

for the love of new orleans...

healing time

for all those who know her, love her, live(d) there, fell under her spell...

may she rise again, better than ever.


9.03.2009

restricted

(in thought-bursts)

this weekend
it'd be so cool to go up to philly and hang out
get a pedi
take myself out for pancakes with a good book.
grab a couple more good books.
see a movie or two

but i'm worried about having enough for groceries and incidentals.  and the familiar needs shots.  that'll need to be taken care of before i shuttle him off to my folks for a few days...

so i'll likely wind up mostly at home. 
i suppose it's all right. i need to clean anyway. 

it's my first long, totally single weekend in a long time
(not that he was around for many long weekends anyway)
and i have nothing to do.

no prospects on the horizon, although i'm starting to wish there were.

being single AND broke is endlessly frustrating. 
i can't even spoil myself ? what part of the game is that?

something's gotta give...

9.02.2009

weaning from myspace / "new" blog

'cause i'm crazy, i've opened up yet another blog.

it's not truly new since i've been posting this stuff on myspace for the last few years.  but having everything on blogspot makes a whole slew of things much easier. 

i'm transferring pieces and deleting content from myspace as i go, so if you want to read more poetry/estoteric type stuff, check this out.   

8.29.2009

iba shango




...with love & gratitude for all your blessings, love & protection. ase o.


Alaafin, ekun bu, a sa
Alaafin, (the king of Oyo) snarls like a leopard and the people run away

Eleyinju ogunna
One whose eyeballs glow like charcoal

Olukoso lalu
Olukoso, the famous one of the city

A ri igba ota, segun
One who uses hundreds of cartridges to win victory in war

Eyi ti o fi alapa segun ota re
One who used pieces of broken walls to defeat his enemies

Kabiyesi o
We honor you

Ase
So be it.

(oriki & translation from roots & rooted)


8.28.2009

manifesta

(intended as an extrapolation of the list)

hereby rejected are the notions of love and being that sponsor brokenness.

honesty and loving are supported. lovers need to be healing balms, full and whole in their personhood.

know that--immediately and sans compromise--women like us will not be depleted for the sake of misguided notions of healing.

let the broken be cared for in the appropriate spaces. they must do their work as we have done ours. we cannot stand in place of the mothers they mourn, nor can we replace the shoulders of long lost fathers.

we can only be and love as ourselves.

conversely, we do not expect whole men to nurse broken lovers. we acknowledge that they, too, are human and have limits, and that they are not the only drain on time, resources and energy in intimate adult relationships.

if we are to come together, we must come together whole. or, at minimum, be honest about our brokenness so that informed decisions can be made.

anything less causes pain, destruction, drama and heartache.

it is in this spirit that we resolve to preserve heart, mind, body and spirit, and to love fully only in spaces that are reverent and respectful of the same.

ase.

new quote @ blog bottom

(so slick i had to take a second to mention it...)

"and, brothas, y'all need to know/ if too much sugar makes you sick / spoils your appetite for even the smell of dinner / there are certain flavors of women you should not consume..." ~christa bell

8.27.2009

last july, i was thinking... (an unreleased draft)

yes, i am fiercely independent. even as an infant i wouldn't let my mother hold me too long before i fussed to be put down.

i enjoy trying to get somewhere on my own before i ask for help--i'm not sure why.

maybe because i've always been assured of a safety net. i know help will be there if i really, truly need it, so i don't sweat the small stuff. or cry wolf.

because my heart was broken too early.

because, somewhere in there, i'm a warrior.

because i can.

better or worse, it is who i am.

over time, i've learned that's something a woman's not supposed to be. 'cause men need to be needed, you know. if they're not being big, bad wolfy providers standing guard at the door day and night, they just don't know what to do with themselves.

to hell with tenderness, time, passion, or pleasure.

to hell with getting to know me inside out
or learning to speak my langage (and teaching me yours)
or discovering my deepest needs and desires.

i mean, sure, you'll rake the lawn and wash the dishes without being asked...and i'm not knocking that. at all.

but it goes so much deeper...

8.25.2009

lesson learned

i'm really feeling jo nubian on this one...

it's a good reminder that the straight-up abusers and liars are not the only men to watch out for. although those men do a good bit of damage on the social/macro level, the signs of that behavior are far more obvious.

on the personal/micro scale, it can be the ones who think they have it all together; the ones who have been able to mask insecurities with a variety of talents and levels of conversation. "good" guys capable of stagnating or ruining relationships through a lack of emotional intelligence, self awareness, and triggered behavior.

that's the situation i've had to break away from, and the one i'm terrified of encountering again.

i'm worried about the boys running around with man-masks on...who've never been challenged, called out, or touched deeply enough to know what's lurking under their facades.

from here on out, i can love them in the abstract--as my brothers in the struggle.

but that's as far as i'm willing to go.

8.19.2009

argh.

bob herbert on healthcare "reform".

once again, this country is shooting itself in the foot because of the lies it continues to perpetuate and the prejudices it feeds...

8.17.2009

acknowledgement



i am afraid to open the door that will allow me to comprehensively re-envision my life.

but i know i have to let go; these new dreams, ideas and concepts must be allowed to flow in, out and over me.

it's the only way to move forward.

8.14.2009

i saw love yesterday

...and it nearly stopped my heart.

it was so obvious and open.

somehow, when i saw those two people together, it slammed into me.

this is what was missing. this is what i've been hoping for.

8.12.2009

a dialogue

the players
  • a beautiful mermaid
  • a huntress, able to shape-shift into a tigress at will
the scene
the shore of a beautiful, unspoiled ocean. the mermaid has approached, tears in her eyes. the huntress stands proudly on the pinkish-white sand, sighing. she knew this conversation was inevitable.

the conversation  
mermaid (her voice is a hiss. her anger sends waves crashing onto the beach)
you bitch. you did it again! how could you?

huntress (unflinching)
it needed doing.

mermaid
damn you, i love him. why are you always so harsh and unforgiving?

huntress (forceful, but without malice)
i loved him, too. but he was taking up too much space and time. that wasn't part of the bargain.

mermaid (her eyes well with tears)
b-but...what will i do out here all alone?

huntress
live. what else? when's the last time you swam out to the deepest parts of the sea, hm? you don't even wear your jewels anymore for fear of attracting someone else, while he's off entertaining his own thoughts. you have forgotten yourself.

mermaid (calmer, straightening her spine)
no. he needed me. i have been true to him, that's all. i did what he asked and took care of him.

huntress (barely stifling a haughty laugh)
you did. and where has he been?

mermaid
busy, i suppose.

huntress
then you should busy yourself. it is time to move on. i have paths to forge, things to build. i would love to fight and win pretty things for you, sister, but you no longer call for them. you've asked me to sit on this shore and wait--

mermaid (a sad voice laced with anger)
i hoped things would get better. he always said they would, and i know he wouldn't lie to me.

huntress
no one said he lied.

mermaid (sighing)
yes...

huntress
the results are what matter.

mermaid
it's still sad...

huntress
of course. i am sorry for your loss, but i'm still not certain you realize all you've lost in your loving and waiting. i wish i could cry your tears, but i swore to protect you, so i had to run him off.

mermaid
i appreciate your concern. i just wish things could have been different.

huntress (visibly softening for the first time)
you know i do, too. but we are both meant for great things. love will come again.

mermaid
hm...i have missed my jewels. a long swim might be helpful...

huntress
don't get distracted on the way.

mermaid (with a sad smile)
no...i'm finished with love for awhile. i haven't forgotten that we're the same; twins forced apart by my forgetfulness. there has to be a way for us to come together again.

huntress
definitely. next time we meet, we'll reunite and celebrate.

the mermaid swims away, slowly at first, then gathering energy and joy as she goes. the huntress walks off to begin her work.

~fin~

8.09.2009

today's gratitude

to ward off the insanity...

my cooking skills
sunshine
candles & altars
sister circles
my wits
dreams of grandmamas i never knew
fresh breezes
intuition
self love/self preservation
silent phone settings
breakthroughs. even painful ones.
farmer's markets
goddess oracle cards
incense
having just enough to get by
futureme.org

8.08.2009

the split

self #1...ferociously protective of my space, time and energy, she is the warrior with the perpetually present blade. it is also perpetually sheathed, because she knows the one insolent enough to warrant seeing it will almost surely face elimination. this blade can take many forms...

she knows precisely when enough is enough. her eyes gleam with a razor sharp wit, and curses roll off her tongue like pillow talk--sometimes in anger, sometimes just because she likes the feel of them in her mouth.

she always knows exactly who and what is worth her time, and isn't shy about letting folks know when they've overstayed their welcome. but to those who respect her boundaries and her power, she is the most loyal friend/lover/supporter you could ever hope to have.

...i've come to think of her as my wild woman, my leo moon made flesh. she is the ever-purifying fire of change, evolution. the queen on her throne whose pleasure comes before all else.


self #2...sweetest thing this side of honeycombs and sugar cane. patient. it would be unfair to call her long-suffering, but her pain threshold is high enough to make her appear as though she is.

unwavering in love, her mantra is 1 corinthians, 13:1-10. she devotes herself fully to her beloved, willing to do anything to please him once she knows her feelings are returned.

she will endure long nights alone with a smile, strengthened by the hope that it will pay off in the end. love songs and gossamer dreams are more than enough to feed her when he's away.

time, her dreams, her sorrows...love makes them all irrelevant. her beloved is all she needs.

...this is my piscean sun, the source of my compassion and kindness. the self-sacrificial, spirit-loving priestess, focused on love and light.

the mediator: my overworked libra ascendant.

currently on the table (again): my relationship.

wild woman is ready to kick him to the curb. she's muttering that he's energy-draining dead weight, too neglectful, too much to learn. sure, he's fundamentally a good guy, but there are dreams languishing on the back burner. she's itching to start in on a complete life overhaul. if he can fit himself in the scheme of things, fine, but out of sight means out of mind, and she's starting to forget how she wound up in this mess in the first place.

of course, the mermaid isn't ready to let go. she's tied her coral heartstrings to him, so she's compelled to wait by the seashore, devoted as ever. she sees the roots of his flaws and wants to see him triumph over a painful past, no matter how long it takes. of course his ignorance and missteps pain her. she misses him when he's gone. but familiarity and comfort override all that--besides, if she cries a few tears, who'll notice? she's already sitting in the ocean...

the argument is draining all of me dry...

8.07.2009

anatomy of a pity party

some days it doesn't pay to be smart.
or patient.

some weeks feel like months.
some hours feel like days.

sometimes life is just...life. in all its frustrating, sloppy, all-over-the-place mess.

i don't feel like being righteous, or practical, or anything like that.

i'm just giving in...

if i'm due for another underworld trip, might as well make it a good one.

8.04.2009

in fourteen hundred & ninety two...

so, apparently columbus set off on his first voyage yesterday?

maybe that's why i've been feeling jacked up...

517 years later. hm.

folks can be cute if they wanna, but i'd say spain owes a whole lot of the world a huge damned apology.

8.02.2009

vodou child

in the new orleans airport, i found voodoo dreams by jewell parker-rhodes. although it was published over a decade ago, i'd never heard of it.

after a few pages, i was reading it as if it were going to float out of my hands at any moment.

a few days ago, i purchased the sequel, voodoo season. i've started it, but haven't had time to make too much of a dent.

i am intrigued by parker-rhodes' intimate familiarity with the lwa damballah and the various manifestations of spiritual sensitivity. i hadn't seen so much of myself in a book since octavia butler's parable of the sower.

the fictionalized marie laveau felt like a past life; her great-great granddaughter, marie levant, holds parts of my present one. i'm sure it was no mistake that she renamed the heroine levant, "rising", to counter the earlier la veau--the (nearly sacrificial) calf.

also compelling is levant's connection to her unknown-to-her ancestry. since i began revering my ancestors, i've come to intuit that i come from a long line of priestesses and wise women--african, native american, and european.

understanding that, i realized that i am not as unusual as i believed myself to be.

but i have no proof.

that's probably an advantage to families that stayed in the south: they remained closer to the spirits of the ancestors, the fields they worked, the stories of roots women and hoodoo men.

as much as i love my concrete, i need those stories now.


7.24.2009

dream #1292905

i dreamt of a serpent last night.

lately my serpent-dreams have been filled with apprehension and fear. i often feel overwhelmed by the snakes, and i wind up trying to hide them, avoid bites, and keep them from growing. as a teenager, i often dreamt of walking with snakes literally covering my feet, and i was comforted by them--so this newer set of dreams bothered me greatly.

but last night, i simply carried the snake with me, wrapped around my wrist. it appeared to be something between a garter snake and a ball python, and was very sweet. occasionally it would "bite" me, but it was more like the love-nips you get from a cat than an attack. when i woke up, i could still feel the energy of the serpent lingering along my wrist and hands...

i'm grateful for the vision--i'm sure it is a step towards reconciliation with my unconscious mind and a fullness of self.

7.18.2009

bad dreams & beautiful mornings

i had really bad dreams last night.

i may be in one of those phases where i can't watch any old thing before bed, or something gets disturbed. eastern promises wasn't any worse than many things i've seen, but sometimes i don't know what will set me off.

i think the moonstone i've been wearing has opened my perceptions and intuition. i'm probably more of a sponge than usual.

i miss new orleans...

the cramps are starting...

and i have to spend the next 90 min or so slogging through the mass of hair on my head--which is why i should have been up 2 hours ago and probably never should have gotten on this computer. you know, no matter what i do to it, it still takes me forever to deal with it. always has...

oh well. might as well start the day.

7.17.2009

obama's naacp speech

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



i agree with you, mr. president.

but i would love for you to say more about the kids who don't have that mother, grandmother, or anyone to push them, because that's really what makes the difference--and why many of these kids fall through the cracks. even you didn't avoid all the trouble out there (bless you for refusing the "holier than thou" angle).

poverty and lack of opportunity can be overcome, most definitely. ultimately, children growing up in families with appropriate priorites who just happen to be poor are the ones most likely to have stories like yours & judge sotomayor's.

but the larger the cracks in the foundation, the bleaker the prospects become. that's not an excuse, it is simply a reality.

all sorts of abuse, drug addiction, familial dysfunction and a pervasive gutting of human dignity also contribute to our children's demise.

what of those whose poverty has been ground into their bones? what about how the psychology of poverty manifests in a capitalist society?

what of those who messed up and got caught? will we begin to reconsider the treatment of addicts and our drug policy? have you considered true prison reform so that those who have served their time can move on with their lives?

...i'm hoping those are the questions behind the "institutional" problems you noted, and things your administration plans to evaluate, at least on some level.

i appreciate the naacp as much as the next sista, but i am also keenly aware that their concerns, battles, and mentality have focused on the middle class and talented tenth segments of our community than those entrenched in the 'hood.*

to put it another way, i have no problem with this speech, but it feels like preaching to the choir.

now, the father's day bbq felt a little different. can we get more of that? thanks.

*i realize that dubois let go of some of that stuff in his later years, but--as is typical in western, either/or discourse--the damage was done as soon as the catchphrase had caught on. you were in or you were out, period. bourgie black folks reveled while the masses shrugged. more reason to remain separate, to stunt collaboration.

**also see racewire's commentary on the naacp's 100th birthday.

7.11.2009

i can show you better than i can tell you...

i should have known it would be easy to fall in love in a place like this.

vintage everything...




truths wrapped in myths wrapped in mysteries...






good times and debauchery



juxtaposed with sheer architectural beauty...





the pleasures & pains of the ancestors*






and the cultural triumphs of their descendants





please trust me when i say i will return. within hours of my arrival, new orleans found her way to my heart and made herself at home.


*the current site of the omni new orleans hotel used to be known as the st. louis exchange hotel. slaves were sold there. the second photo is a detail of congo square.

7.02.2009

another random posting...

last night was restless...forgettable dreams, visitations, headaches...

i feel like i'm seeing through a sort of veil, so i'm not sure what to take from it all. it feels like i've been handed a great deal of information, and i'm still trying to process it.

was introduced to a series by dr. jewel pookrum yesterday that proved to be very interesting. a lot of what she said was common sense, although i know to many it might seem far fetched and "impossible". however, if you've done any study of the chakras/meridians or done any in-depth traditional spiritual work, you'll probably see how it all comes together.

y'all know i don't repeat stuff unless it feels true, so i'll just pass that on and leave you to draw your own conclusions.

oh, and it looks like i'll be going to artomatic tonight, which makes me happy.

those are my random thoughts for the day. hopefully i'll return with something a little more cohesive over the weekend...

6.30.2009

blending




the indomitable erzulie dantor has introduced herself to me...

considering some prior goddess card readings, i'm inclined to believe that she has emerged as the shadowy sister of my bright, sweet oshun self.

and i have been instructed to embrace the shadow.

looking back, i wonder if she manifested in the fierce self preservation and healing anger i experienced as a teenager.

she may have silently returned when i unconsciously began to seek out my wild woman.


i can see she's reminding me that i possess claws and teeth, that i can fight for what i want--a thing i know but can be very uncomfortable with.

she doesn't care about my nervousness. rather, that seems to drive her ambition to turn me into a skilled, fearless blade-handler.

as she stares me down, i realize that i can calm her, appease--but not subdue.

there's no escaping it; i must merge myself, be whole.

avek tout respe, maman. ayibobo!



phonte on MJ

the realest.

6.29.2009

eh.

something's wrong...maybe a lot's wrong.

i don't really know how or when or why, but i can see that i really want a lot of things to change.

and i'm wondering how any of those changes are going to get made with no money and little time.

i know there's a way...

i just have to get my intentions down
leap over all the "no you can'ts"
and make it happen.

easier said than done some days...

6.26.2009

why michael was special

you need to be just the right age for someone like michael jackson to make an indelible imprint on your life. for those of us who are now 30-35 or so, we were at that age.

yesterday evening, many of us finally understood why our parents were so shattered over the death of marvin gaye; why the world wept when john lennon was shot.

he was our first crush. the first star we wanted to BE. some of our parents deemed us too young to go to his concerts, so we were forced to watch with envy as big brothers, sisters and cousins got to go instead. we couldn't wait for the next awards show, the next new video.

he was our big star. the first black face on mtv.

the little girl inside me who remembers kissing his face each day because she just knew he knew how much she loved him, who kept her "beat it" jacket and shirt long after they no longer fit, is distraught.

and she's ready to walk out with him.

as for the controversies, we have all seen what even modest stardom can do to children. michael was one of the consummate child stars of the last few decades--only he didn't fade into obscurity when he hit adolescence. having to live out nearly all your insecurities, flaws and growth as a human being under the spotlight can lead to irrevocable psychological, spiritual--and apparently even physical--change. most of us will never know what that's like.

and the accusations? i think his development was arrested in childhood (or a sort of mourning for childhood) for a long time. being around children helped him capture something he'd lost forever. but i do not think he was a pedophile. i believe he put himself in situations that could have suggested it, and that was his downfall.

if you want to see a textbook pedophile, watch this film. if that were michael's m.o., that trial wouldn't have broken him down. he'd have brushed his shoulders off and kept it moving. he was the super-rich, untouchable megastar after all...

instead, i think those things forced him to grow up--something he may or may not have been ready to do.

those who'd been paying attention knew we'd lost him long ago. some of us began mourning him then. the "wacko jacko" headlines weren't chuckle-worthy, they were pitiful.

on that level, his passing simply indicates that he is finally at peace.

ultimately, my gut tells me he was a good man who died of a broken heart. and now the world's heart is broken.

long live the king.


addendum: jay smooth on MJ

6.25.2009

iba ara t'orun



because he was only 9 years younger than my mother.

because i stood on an air conditioner just to kiss his picture every day.

because i had a "beat it" jacket.

because "thriller" was one of the first records i got that was my very own. not my parents', but mine.

because i loved him.

because we loved him.

rest well, michael.

6.23.2009

her name was mattie

...my maternal great-great grandmother.

i saw a picture of mama mattie over the weekend and i've been thinking about it ever since.

she looked like pictures i've seen of jamaican maroons and sojourner truth. of harriet tubman and delia.

no one in my family looks like her now, although my aunt, her children and one of her granddaughters have milk-to-dark chocolate skin tones.

she was also one of the last in my mother's line to have many children:

gussie (my great grandmother)
clayton
leslie
emma todd
bubba (bertha)
madeline

now i'm wondering what her parents looked like, what kinds of stories they told.

did they know about their last african ancestor?

did she know about herbs and spells? dreaming? divination?

what did she look like at my age?

and on and on...

and then i thought, i probably never would have known her name if i hadn't asked my mother about her when i started on this path.

the practice of calling on my ancestors made it necessary to clear up the relationships behind the names i heard bantered around in family stories.

for many of us, this is when the pain of the maafa arises, since to many this information is lost. but it is also the power in returning to the veneration of our ancestors.

even if we do not know their names at first, when we call, they come and tell us. they can help us heal relationships with other family members, guide our steps and offer countless blessings.

iba egungun idile mi
ase

6.19.2009

princesas

it's been quite awhile since i've seen a movie that broke my heart.

princesas made me think of many things...not the least of which were the issues surrounding sex work, the women who do it, and the myriad dangers they face.

i would try to deal with this on the sexy blog, but it's entirely too raw and too personal.

it may sound positively insane to some of you, but i can very deeply recall a time when this work was not stigmatized or demonized. it was a part of life, and it was protected. sacred.

i, and possibly many in my family line, did this work.

now it is a vehicle for depravity and desperation--not because these are "bad" or "fallen" women, but because balance and wholeness are not valued states of being in this culture.

who can sell prozac and narcotics to balanced, whole people?*

as i watched the story unfold, all i could think was, it shouldn't be this way. it didn't have to be this way.

i am thankful that i have learned and remember that lesson and came into this life with a different purpose. the temples are long gone, and it could have been deadly.

i think the same thing when i see real whores on the streets.

it shouldn't be this way. it didn't have to be this way.

and...

it could have been me.



*i had some issues with this film, but it did make an interesting point (blink and you'll miss it...) about the advantages to controlling people's thoughts/feelings around sex/sexuality.

6.18.2009

today, i was reminded of many things...

be mindful of when you are taking on the battles of others--consciously or unconsciously, in the temporal or spiritual realms--and know when to let go.

the simple miracle that is a candle.

our access to guidance and blessings is unlimited--we only need to ask and remain open to the answers.

salt is good. for everything.

there are countless spirits waiting for incarnation. which, in turn, makes me wonder about how many babies are being born and how some of these more restless ones are only sticking around for 15, 17, or 21 years or so...

the beauty of a refreshed altar.

6.15.2009

love (of money) and marriage

i drove to work today and, as usual, listened to a morning show which, as many do, contained a prank call segment.

premise: fiancee takes her ring in to be resized and appraised. hubby-to-be knows about the resizing, but not the appraisal. fair enough, i guess.

prank: "jeweler" calls fiancee and tells her that the ring is a cubic zirconia, "order now for $19.99!"-type deal and is only worth about $50.

result: fiancee proceeds to lose her shit, including a 3-way call to hubby-to-be to have the "jeweler" tell him what he's found, with hilarious results.

...but after a few laughs, i was just disturbed.

fiancee was all hyped up about how much her father was spending on the wedding and how, somehow, she couldn't be marrying the "man of her dreams" with a $50 ring on her finger--not with "all the money my man makes" and so on and so forth.

not to mention that instead of thinking, "damn, maybe my man got hustled..."--which would have been my first thought--you proceed to cuss him out before you find out the whole story?

to his credit, he stayed pretty calm until the very end of the call, and not once did he react to his fiancee with the same fury she threw at him.

i hope "for richer or poorer" ain't in those vows, 'cause something tells me if homegirl got that stressed over the cost of her (possibly all kinds of conflicted) diamond, it could be a wrap if dude loses that well-paying gig.

i acknowledge that my analysis is showing, but her whole reaction spoke volumes about the ways women are taught to value themselves and their relationships in a materialistic culture. i wish them the best, but...