singlehood chronicles #1

i noticed that i've avoided writing too much about myself lately--even slacking on my journaling. instead, i've been doing a lot of internal processing, trying to figure out the best way to articulate what i've been feeling...

things are good. i've been having fun, meeting interesting people. i'm also learning just how much the last few years have changed me.

i am much less wlling to give up space, time, and, most of all, myself.

i realize that i'm still able to share myself physically while not allowing many inroads to my mental state. i've heard that's one of the many pisces paradoxes that make us equally irresistible and infuriating.

it's also interesting how long i existed without the level of physical attention and affection i prefer. this has caused me to develop an almost ruthless analysis around kiss, touch, etc. exposure to an openly affectionate man--other than a family member or friend--has been both enlightening and an adjustment.

sometimes i find myself forgetting that, at my core, i am very physically affectionate. i've simply suppressed many of those tendencies since (a) my ex wasn't around much to benefit from them and (b) it takes time to figure out how other people will interpret it, so i remain reserved until i'm assured some measure of safety.

my boundaries are firm:

i am determined not to just give myself away because "he seems nice" or "we get along, so why not?" the "i do not have to diffuse my love..." mantra really worked on me.

exclusivity will be my choice in my own time and not determined by my empathy. thankfully it's become easier to not allow others' emotions to blend into my own.

falling in like/lust is fine, but loving has become something much deeper and wider for me than "falling" into it. i can't fully explain it, but when it comes around again, it will be a completely different ride.

so, that's where i am. i'll sit back and see where it takes me.


today's psa: children are NOT weeds.*


rape dat ho? really?

has no one talked to these kids about how serious rape is?

...before i go there, a caveat: dancing like this is not new, nor is it necessarily a horrible thing. baltimore's comparable to miami (i hear) in that "dirty" dancing is how we get down. i've seen and participated in this kind of stuff at high school dances and clubs--albeit to a lesser degree. no big deal.

let's face it: teenagers are horny. all that dry humping to a beat can help let off some steam and avoid the messy complications of attempting actual sex.

however, i think the proliferation of overtly sexual music videos and a few other factors have stirred the pot in ways we weren't privy to in the early-mid 90s.

you had to turn on b.e.t's midnight love--if you were allowed to stay up that late--to see the kind of stuff that's on a constant loop on mtv these days.

my parents didn't care if i watched music videos all day. even if NWA came on, the worst thing i'd probably see was a gun waved around and a girl in some lingerie. for the most part, rappers showcased clothed b-girls for sex appeal (when they used them at all), and even the raunchier female rappers were still fairly covered.

not so now.

even with that, there were still some invaluable things that assisted in the understanding that the word rape was not something you tossed around like a frisbee.

there was health class, for one. i don't know if budget cuts or nclb (groan) or whatever have eliminated this little gem, but health class is where we learned about everything from condoms to birth. there were segments on STIs, and we touched on things like sexual assault, date rape and the like. now, i could have had an exceptional teacher or curriculum, i don't know. but i do know that i walked out of middle school knowing some things about how to protect and care for myself, and i think a lot of my classmates did, too.

i also wonder how much of a factor traditional judeo-christian spirituality is, particularly with so many grandparents raising grandchildren. there are various reasons i don't believe in complete and utter chastity until marriage, however, i can respect a church that combines the message of conservative sexuality with practical and lifesaving information far more than the load of crap that is abstinence only education.

i fear for any young person growing up in a house where it's forbidden to speak frankly about sex, (physical/earthly/human-to-human) love, and protection because "you're not supposed to be doing that til you get married 'cause god said so, so don't ask."

teens are going to want to try things. they're naturally curious, impulsive and probably starved for information about the bodies they have to live and breathe in every day. the silence and denial (what were you doin, grandmama, when those blue lights went on in the basement?) is not helping anyone.

teenagers are tricky. they can be cynical, moody, and unpredictable. but they also have all the intellectual curiosity and potential they did as younger children. we should be taking advantage of that time to trust and mold them into confidently well-informed human beings, not trying to shut them up or shove them into boxes where they don't fit.

'cause when we do, this is what happens.

*my mother is fond of saying this, i.e., children do not sprout out of the ground spontaneously and grow on their own. they need instruction, direction, and care, to be raised and nurtured. and even before that, two people, somewhere, joined to bring this life to fruition. when did we begin to believe that "i feed you, give you clothes, spending money and a house to live in" was all we needed to do for our babies? what's the missing link? how do we build that bridge again?


bipolar kids

came across this today.

this is an interesting topic for me, on many levels. in my psych classes, i always got a kick out of the pathology lectures. as interesting as it was to learn about the brain and how people process information, it was even more interesting to think about solving problems when things went wrong.

i can say that i'm glad the story comes from "normal" parents in a "normal" family. it probably would have been all too easy to hear about another "crack baby" or see an inner city family struggling with something like this--although that's a reality, too, and those folks probably have far less access to the resources these parents did. however, i think that seeing it come from a white, middle class setting normalizes the problem in a way a black/brown/red family wouldn't.

what also strikes me is how smart, sensitive, creative, and deeply feeling these children are. when compared with autism--which can also cause outbursts, etc., but can also include mental deficiencies or developmental delays--bipolar kids (and adults) are often extremely intelligent and articulate. eerily so at times.

there's also that statement about them being "born screaming".

i also perked up at the statement that this kind of diagnosis was rare just a few years ago. just like autism.

so, i'm wondering:

is this another segment of the indigo phenomenon (which i haven't completely bought into, but still interesting to consider)?

is this another, not-so-subtle consequence of the medicalization of birth? how do we get the word out that there are alternatives?

what about the role of immunizations? diet?

is this just exploding here, or in most western(ized) societies?

i don't expect newsweek to answer these questions, but i am interested in what the more holistically-minded community has to say...


maroon 5

ok. why am i JUST finding out about these cats?

i wanna buy, like, all their shit, posthaste.

sexy lead w/ an awesome falsetto.
good guitar grooves...
and their videos??!?!?? off.the.chain. i didn't know anyone was doing the mini-movie concept joints anymore.

and i'm not a rihanna fan, but i can't stop listening to this song...

*rushes to itunes store*


what happened to the black church?

i've often considered that question, but couldn't really speak to it in detail.

i didn't grow up in the church, and the one i did attend was not what anyone would consider part of traditionally black worship/culture, so i was never exposed to ch'uch except through friends.

maryland, though technically southern, is essentially a catholic state (and, by extension, also very episcopalian, episcopal and lutheran), and many descendants of slaves fell into the family religion of their owners. even so, there are also plenty of baptist, pentecostal, and storefront congregations.

the megachurches have mainly hit the suburbs, although there are a few large, overreaching congregations in baltimore city as well.

while the politics didn't stick around, some of the black spiritual movements of the early-mid 20th century did take a firm hold, including the nation of islam, daddy grace's church, noble drew ali's moorish science temple, and the hebrew israelites.

i think dr. hill is, on some level, making the argument my mother always did: once we were appeased by the slight gains of the modern civil rights era, black folks began to fully buy into mainstream american culture--good and bad. we sucked up the materialism, individuality and hedonism, ignorant of how to truly play the game and phenotypically unable to fit into it.

the result: we didn't wind up working on wall street in droves after desegregation, we wound up filling up the prisons. we also weren't able to shake our traditionally collective and family-oriented culture, even as our families were lost to us.

folks like creflo ain't helpin.

thanks for not throwing us youngins under the bus, brotha.


i'm tired and it's late & i need to go to bed

i'm feelin'

and beautiful
and wanted
interesting (and interested)
and all that good stuff.

...and i ain't got to choose.

*jezebel grin*

nighty night, love muffins!


guys & gals...

just stumbled across this interesting little article...figured i'd offer my own commentary.

8 Things She Hates About You
By Lisa Jones, Men's Health


You don't pick up after yourself at our place.

yeah, that's pretty standard. ha.


You ask how much our new haircut or handbag costs...

…yet conveniently don't mention your sportsbook.com account or the $200 you lost on the NCAA parlay. Until we're sharing a bank account with you, we're not all that interested in your opinions on how we should or should not spend our money.

hmm...i never really experienced this one, but i definitely agree that unless your name's on the lease or there's a marriage license somewhere with my name on it, the finances are pretty much individual business--and if, within marriage, we decide on two individual accounts with one joint account, then that individual account is my business, too.

moving on...


You talk to us as if we're one of the guys.

...this isn't too much of a problem for me. i like it when a man feels comfortable enough around me to not use some special "lady language"--even if i occasionally have to remind him that i do like to be sweet talked. to me, that's not an unfair trade.


You speak of the future vaguely.

YES. this is a biggie. if you want me in your future, act like it. and NOT just when you're trying to save a sinking ship...

sometimes i think this is the male equivalent of "s/he should know what i'm thinking." we don't. and we will move on. tell us.


You stop trying.

You have us as your wife or girlfriend. We're committed to the situation, and all is good. But pretty soon you stop trying to impress us--and we don't like that.

again, agreed. but with a caveat: bring "the woo" (as she puts it) back yourself every now & then. show him how it's done, and if he has any sense and loves you, he'll reciprocate. and always, always remember that you gotta put out the same honey--or some variation thereof--you used to wow him to keep him.

generally, men aim to please. literally & figuratively. so if you gently remind/tell them what you want/need, they'll oblige. all about give & take.


You blatantly look at porn.

this doesn't bother me. feminist politics aside (...we can always analyze from that angle later, if necessary), i don't necessarily mind your usual--hetero or homo--run of the mill porn. you can even look on my computer--my parents rarely come to my house, and i don't have any kids. hell, i might watch with you if i'm in the mood. or see something i like. or learn something.

...however, if i come across your secret stash of enema fantasy videos, kids, scat, extreme sbdm, or other major fetish, we'll have some issues. or, at minimum, a looooong talk.


You turn down sex.

this depends. if you do, i'll assume it's because you're stressed/tired/etc. (same reasons i wouldn't be in the mood) and that you are mature & articulate enough to say these things to me, not just grunt and roll over.

be warned, though: i am the type who will offer to rub your shoulders to get you outta that mood, which could still wind up leading to, well, you know. that's just the kinda of girl i am. *wink*

besides, if you're REALLY ignorant about it, i know how to use my fingers AND my silicone, thank you. and will do it while you're lying there. which could also result in me getting what i want. see how this works?

...oh, and all that coming in drunk and winding up a weepy mess is not applicable. i can hold my liquor, and furthermore, i don't use that as an excuse or a vessel to freely vent my emotions.


You ask us out via text.

another varied issue which also might be a generational thing. never had this happen...at least not exclusively. i think that for busy folks who have jobs where they can't be on the phone for 5 hrs out of an 8 hr day or whatever, texting can be ok.

i've also never experienced the "mass text" from someone i was dating or thinking of dating...but this could also be related to the fact that, until the breakup, i'd been attached for the last 5 years.



she's saying i'm screwed.

(in a good way)


there are some interesting indications.
we'll have to see how it plays out.

in other news, i've smudged the house and incantated (i don't think that's a word...LOL) all over the house. i am more than ready to conjure up all kinds of bliss, joy, and magnificence for myself over the coming months.

summer has always been my best season. even when i have nothing else, i've got the sun, long days, brilliant sunsets, and open windows full of sweet air. my skin turns a brilliant, honeyed gold, and my hair's streaked with red.

in short, i blossom into full fledged flyness. lol.

i'm ready.

bring it.

bombs in somalia? huh?

i mean, i know we've been doing all kinds of whatever in the horn of africa for some time now, but what i don't understand is why...

why are we so worried about militants over there when the middle east is supposed to be the seat of all evil?

i really don't get it (will probably have more to say once i've read it in full).

from democracy now!

Thousands of Somalis Protest Deadly US Air Strike
Thursday’s air strike comes in the midst of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Somalia that the International Committee of the Red Cross described as “catastrophic.” Over one million people have been made internal refugees, and 3.5 million, or nearly half the country’s population, may need food aid by the end of the year.

Abdi Samatar, professor of geography and global studies at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of several books and publications on Somali history, politics and culture.


AMY GOODMAN: Thousands of people in central Somalia came out Sunday to protest a US air raid that killed more than a dozen people Thursday. Among the dead is Aden Hashi Ayro, a man the United States says was al-Qaeda’s leader in Somalia.

Ayro was a military commander of the armed opposition group, Shabaab. The group had functioned as the military wing of the short-lived government led by the Union of Islamic Courts before it was forced from power in December 2006 by US-backed Ethiopian troops. Since then, Shabaab has been one of the main groups carrying out attacks against Ethiopian and government forces in Somalia.

It was added to the US government’s terror list in March of this year. Washington said Shabaab members were trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and hosted suspects wanted for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Shabaab denied the allegations and said they were not terrorists but told Reuters “now we’ve been designated terrorists and forced to seek out and unite with any Muslims on the list against the United States.”

Sheikh Ibrahim Sulley is the spokesperson for the Union of Islamic Courts. He condemned Thursday’s attack in an interview with Al Jazeera and warned the United States against further action.

SHEIKH IBRAHIM SULLEY: [translated] This attack was cowardly and aggressive. We condemn the international Arab and Islamic community’s silence. These bombs are making Somalis more united. These people do not need bombs. They need international humanitarian help. It is good for America to stop. If America continues what it is doing, they will reap the harvest of the crop they have sown.

AMY GOODMAN: Thursday’s air strike comes in the midst of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Somalia that the International Committee of the Red Cross described as “catastrophic.” Over one million people have been made internal refugees, and 3.5 million, or nearly half the country’s population, may need food aid by the end of the year, the UN Food and Agriculture organization has warned.

Nearly a hundred people have been killed in the past three weeks alone. Late last month, Ethiopian soldiers raided a mosque in the Somali capital, killing twenty-one people, kidnapping forty-one children, this according to Amnesty International.

To discuss the latest in Somalia, I’m joined in Minneapolis by Abdi Samatar. He is professor of geography and global studies at the University of Minnesota. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Professor Samatar.

ABDI SAMATAR: Thank you, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the reaction to the US air strike?

ABDI SAMATAR: I think it’s quite befuddling to Somalis and many other peace-loving people around the world as to why the United States has chosen to bomb people who are desperate for assistance and food and who have been dislocated and traumatized by an Ethiopian invasion, a country that has its own people under tyranny in itself. So it’s surprising to Somalis that the United States, who is supposed to be the beacon of democracy, is using all the terror tactics that it condemns in this instance, and people across the country have been demonstrating against this.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain exactly what happened with the air strike. Who got hit? Who got killed?

ABDI SAMATAR: Well, according to the reports and telephone calls from Dusa Marreb in central Somalia, it’s not quite certain whether it was planes or missiles sent from a ship on the Indian Ocean or a plane from—based in Gode, Ethiopia.

But that—the gentleman by the name Aden Hashi Ayro, who was a target of the United States Department of Defense and the CIA for quite a long time, him being accused that he was trained in Afghanistan, and therefore because he’s trained in Afghanistan, he is by nature guilty of being a terrorist. There has been no evidence produced so far that he has been linked to any terror attacks in Somalia against anybody else other than the Ethiopians themselves. So it seems to be that presumptions repeated sufficient times become a replacement or a substitute for reality.

The other people who have been killed, an area about the size of a sort of two blocks in places like Minnesota, for instance, has been leveled, and the majority of the people who were killed were innocent civilians, much like what the Ethiopians have been doing in Mogadishu itself.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain the Shabaab.

ABDI SAMATAR: The Shabaab used to be part of the wing, youth wing, of the Islamic Courts. Many of them are very religious. Aden Ayro has never been known to be quite religious. He has never sort of said many things that will suggest that he’s an Islamist. It seems to me that he was a nationalist who was trained in Afghanistan who was opposed both to the warlords who used to control Mogadishu before the Union of Islamic Courts took off and before the Ethiopians came in, but that the many members of the Shabaab, and to the order of about 250 of them, have broken ranks with the Union of Islamic Courts and the people who are based in Asmara, Eritrea, who are fighting against Ethiopians.

The Shabaab claim that the Union of Islamic Courts and their allies have sort of reneged on the promises which they have made, and therefore a few of them decided to do on their own. The Union of Islamic Courts spokesman, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Asmara, said that these young men are fighters who are fighting the Ethiopians; they are not terrorists, in any sense of the word, and then, therefore, despite the fact that they have reneged on the promises and the agreements they had with the Islamic Courts, they remain to be nationalists.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Professor Samatar, geology professor and global studies—

ABDI SAMATAR: Geography professor.

AMY GOODMAN: Geography professor and professor of global studies at the University of Minnesota. Just after this happened, word has come out today of tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets of Mogadishu over soaring food prices. Can you talk about what’s happening today?

ABDI SAMATAR: Well, what you see in Mogadishu over the last year and a half or so, since the Ethiopian invasion, which was sanctioned by the US government, has destroyed virtually all the life-sustaining economic systems which the population have built without the government for the last fifteen, sixteen years, and that the militia that’s supposed to be the very people who protect the population have been looting shops. For instance, the Bakara market, which is the largest market in Mogadishu and in the country, have been looted repeatedly by the militias of the so-called Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, supported by Ethiopian troops. And the new prime minister of Somalia, Mr. Hassan Nur Hussein, has himself announced in the BBC that it was his militias that—who have looted this place. So what you have is a population that’s hit from both ends—on one end, by the militias of the so-called Transitional Federal Government, which is recognized by the United States, and on the other hand, by the Ethiopian invaders who seem to be bent on ensuring that they break the will of the people to resist as free people in their own country.

So the prices of—for instance, if I tell you a kilo of rice, which used to be somewhere in the order of about seventy cents, US cents, is now anywhere up to 250 cents—that’s $2.50. The average day’s income per person for anybody who’s able to hold a job in that incredible environment is less than a dollar a day. So the mismatch between incomes and the prices of commodities that are primarily imported from overseas is horrific, that nobody can afford this. And what you have is really terror in the worst sense of the word, that a million people have been displaced, that the Ethiopians and the Transitional Government have been denying them access to humanitarian input, and that the United States seems to just watch and let that happen itself. It’s as if there has been a calculated decision made somewhere in the world, maybe in Washington, maybe in Addis Ababa, maybe in Mogadishu itself, to starve these people until they submit themselves to the whims of the American military, in this instance, and the Ethiopians, who are acting on their behalf.

AMY GOODMAN: The latest reports we have, an Associated Press reporter seeing several people injured in the protest in Mogadishu; after that, tens of thousands took to the streets, hurling stones, smashing windshields of cars and buses.

ABDI SAMATAR: Well, what you have here is, you know, the Somalis have supported the war against terrorists, but they ask our country—that’s the United States—the simple question that the President, Bush, has asked the international community: are you with us, or are you against us? Here are people whose livelihoods have been destroyed, who’s dealing with an illegal occupation of Ethiopian forces, a government in Ethiopia that’s not a democrat, that’s harassing its own people and brutalizing its own people, and the Somali people are asking the United States: why are you supporting our terrorists, when we don’t support the terrorists that who are acting against you?

We don’t have an answer for the Somali people as Americans. And for me, this is quite critical for the so-called public diplomacy that the United States State Department has been an impact on. And that is, if we are interested in winning the hearts and minds of people around the world, and particularly the Muslim world, then what we need to do is be true to our ideals of democracy and respect for human rights, tell the Ethiopians get out of there, let the Somalis sort themselves out and promise the Somalis to support them as long as they play with internationally sanctioned rules of human rights and whatnot. That’s what the Somali people are asking, in my opinion

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Abdi Samatar, I want to thank you very much for being with us, a professor of geography and global studies at the University of Minnesota, author of several books and publications on Somali history, politics and culture. Thanks for joining us from Minneapolis.


mirror, mirror

last night i decided to appreciate myself a bit. i took a warm bath, did a full shea butter moisturizing routine, and took a look at myself.

it's one thing to have lovers tell you what makes you lovely...it's another to take in those aspects of you for yourself and see if you agree...

honey used mention that i was heart-shaped. i realized i am. my hips and pelvic mound form a sort of double heart.

the bottom i've lamented losing doesn't look bad when i'm on my hands and knees, even if it's not as bootylicious as it once was.

my breasts aren't as full as they were, but still pretty in their teardrop way. i've always thought they were shaped a little strangely, but i'm appreciative of them just the same.

i enjoy the color of my skin
my body art
the shape of my thighs
the elegance of my hands...

i suppose i can understand why i've caused one or two folk to fall for me over the years.