Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Was a Teenage Weirdo

"Nah, I wouldn't go.  On second thought, yes, I would go.  It's probably the only time that all of the people I really hate will be gathered together at the same place - and I can finally blow them all up."
- A quote from my twin sister when I asked her if she would go to our High School Reunion

 Now before you run to the police station and accuse my (obviously very bitter) sister of attempted terrorism - I just want to say - she's only kidding.  She's a proud mother of two and isn't going to ruin her life (or anybody else's) by blowing up our High School class.  But she pretty much sums up how a lot of people feel about going to their H.S. reunion.  As you have probably already guessed, my reunion has rolled around.  *It's been 10 years already?!*  And a bunch of memories have been flooding back into my mind.  Being nerdy for two years.  Coming into my own for the next two years.  Making new friends and being terrorized by new enemies.  Situations that I wish I could do over and things that I'm glad I did right the first time.  The blood, the sweat and of course the gallons and gallons of tears.  (Sidenote: Regardless of everything I've said, I will take the worst of my H.S. years over my best day of Middle School any day.  Middle School is a hell that no human being should ever have to experience.)

So I'm trying to figure out if I should go.  Why?  I have no idea.  I only had 3 real friends in H.S. and I have hung out with 2 of them pretty much since the day I graduated.  There's really nobody else on my radar - and I doubt that I'm on anyone's radar, either.

Actually, me and my sis argued about this a little.  She says that people will be expecting - even hoping - that we show up.  And ironically, within 5 minutes, I received an email from the President of our class saying she especially wanted me there because we belonged to the same sorority.  I was surprised and horrified at the same time.  (And yes, I joined a sorority in college.  Why?  Because deep down inside, I'm a glutton for punishment, lol.)  So one might argue that my sister is right, but I think people have more of a fleeting Facebook interest in me.  For example, a couple of months ago, I received a friend invitation from a girl I went to school with (she was my neighbor for years and one of the rare people that was nice to me in middle school) and she asked me what I was doing with my life and extended a few pleasantries.  I accepted her invitation and told her what I was doing and asked her the same thing but received no response.  In fact, I just found out two days ago that she'd deleted me from her friend's list.  So I guess it was a quick and nosey way of seeing what I was doing but nothing beyond that.  And to be honest, I'm not upset or surprised.  That's what Facebook is about.
End of Sidenote  :-)

I would be lying if I said there's not a part of me that wants to go back and "dazzle" everyone with my new-found confidence and "great dressing" ability and impressive resume (that still won't land me a job in my field - but nobody has to know all that!  ;-).  But I know this idea would only work in the imaginary world of a 15 year old, desperate for acceptance.  In reality, it would be like getting all gussied up to go to Spain and run with the bulls.  It's only "fun" in theory.  In reality, it's a dangerous blood sport that leaves the dead and injured in its wake and the only real joy is making it out alive.  LOL - I'm being extra.  Let me reel this back in . . .

Moral to Story:
It's really not that serious. I was a weirdo in school, but now I've grown into a (still weird) but hot swan - if I do say so myself - and I didn't really like the people that I went to school with.  If I went, essentially, I would be paying 30 bucks to hang around a bunch of people that I would have paid millions of dollars to get away from 10 years ago.  I wish them all the best, and I'm sure I'll be be seeing pictures of those folks on "the book."

On a lighter note, here's what it would look like if I went to my H.S. reunion . . .


Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State

So yeah, this whole Penn State thing is a hot mess. It hurts my soul to know that children (children in a program that was supposed to help them) were being sexually abused and a bunch of grown-ass men were standing around, not doing a thing about it. What's even worse is that Penn State students are rioting, because said grown men have lost their jobs.

This is definitely a case of misplaced outrage. This whole situation is especially shocking to me because it totally goes against everything I've been taught as a woman, an American and as an adult. Let me explain . . .

As a Woman
As a woman there are places that I can't go alone. I cannot count how many times in my life a man (or sometimes a group of women) have walked me out to my car - or apartment. Or how many times I have had to depend on a male friend to give another dude the hint to back the heck off. There are times when a man has yelled or antagonized me in some way or other while I was alone, because he knew that as a female, he had the upper hand and I was afraid. And I'm not going to lie, in these very instances, I thought to myself If I were a man - I would jack you up, like right now. I've also seen men step up and get extra - I don't know - righteous about situations. Like threatening to kick somebody's booty if they get out of line. And those were moments in my life where I have been appreciative - because as a woman, I can tell you the law - but men can lay down the law. And that's pretty awesome.

So as a female, the member of the (physically) weaker sex, it shocks me to the core that a man, who has nothing to lose, doesn't stop another man from raping a little boy in the shower. Like isn't there some kind of innate masculine alarm that should go off and make a man grab the other guy and pull him off the boy and commence to whooping his ass? I've seen men fight over much less. (As a child, I remember seeing a man haul off and start fighting some other guy in a TGIFriday's just because the other guy was rooting for a different football team.) Now I'm not saying that if a woman had of stumbled upon something like that, she has an excuse to walk away. She would be just as accountable as McQuery for not trying to break that ish up and calling the police, but it really shocks me that a man would not have went to the more primitive side of his brain and (like I said before) commenced with the ass whooping without a second thought.

As an Adult
I remember getting the "if something happens to you, tell an adult" speech ad-nauseum as a child. And as a child, this solidified 2 things for me. #1 - it taught me that adults are going to handle situations the right way. And if something is going wrong, I could always find relief in knowing that a grown-up is going to help me. (F-, I'm choking up just typing this). And #2 - it taught me that part of my job - when I became an adult - was to help kids because . . . well, that's just what grownups are supposed to do. So the one thing I couldn't wait for was to become a grown up. And now that I am an adult - I still feel the same way. It's a part of my job to look out for children, animals, hell - anyone who doesn't have a say. So if a kid came up to me in the store and said, "Help! I can't find my Mommy." I wouldn't say, "Sorry kid, you're on your own." I would jump through whatever hoop I need to jump through in order to get this kid to their parent - because as an adult, that's what you do. You use your years of reasoning ability, life experiences, and knowledge of social norms to solve problems. So it is beyond me, as an adult, why none of these men didn't think to call the Police immediately much less stop that man from doing what he was doing WHILE he was in the act of doing it. Actually, I understand that there were a lot different things at play but the idea of an adult not being . . . well, an adult - it shocks me. And I couldn't imagine what it must feel like to be a child and to be completely helpless even though I am surrounded by a bunch of so-called adults.

And last but not least . . .

As an American
Maybe I've watched too much Batman, or Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, Ironman, etc. You get my drift. Maybe I've been brainwashed to believe that every day guys can be super heroes. Remember this? When I think of this kind of cover up, I imagine some back woods, un-developed country somewhere with no laws set up to protect children. Either way, with the Catholic church and other cases in America of organizations being protected rather than children . . . I guess I should have known better. In this country, we celebrate people for being great coaches, and great business people and great entertainers. But when an organic opportunity for glory reveals itself - I guess that's when you find out whether someone is truly great . . . or not.

Speaking of which, today is November 11th, 2011 or 11/11/11. And it's also Veteran's day. I don't support war in any shape, size or form but this holiday is definitely not lost on me. My cousin is in Iraq at this very second, and I pray every day that he returns safely. So, I just wanted to acknowledge all of the men and women who have died and/or put their lives on the line for their countries.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Could Use a Hug . . . and Maybe a Cheeseburger

So today, I had a mini breakdown.  Here's how it all started...

A week ago, I got an email from my supervisor (from a seasonal job) asking me if I could come in and help him with an audit.  I gladly agreed to come in, because with all of the insurance stuff and the sudden popups of invitations to hang out with friends (more on that later), I could use the quick buck.  I got there and the first thing he asked me about was the insurance gig that I took on in NJ.  I tried to defend it the best I could but my colleague saw right through it.  "Don't you feel like you're moving backward?" he said.  And there it was.  I died a little inside.

For the rest of the day at work, I filed papers and looked at Youtube videos of people - most of them younger than me - living my dream.  For the rest of the day, I thought to myself, "What the farfutnoogen have I been doing wrong?  How come I get an idea to do something and then just sit on my ass and not do it?  Are all of my failures stemming from laziness, or just a fear of trying?"

Now I know I've written about this before, but . . . I dunno . . . after today, I just really got angry and to tell you the truth, I'm still angry.  I guess it's because I have no one to blame but myself.  It doesn't help that I just got my 10 year high school anniversary invitation on FB today.  I'm feeling like I'm running out of time.  I'm feeling like I need to really hustle and make a major move.  Like Japan style . . . you know, get on an airplane and as one of my best friends would say "get sh** done."  But it's like, I just picked up this insurance gig.  I need the money and it would be hard for me to get things done if I didn't have some disposable income.  Am I sabotaging myself?  I have a pre-test to take tomorrow and then the real test to take on Friday and I haven't studied one bit.  (I'm staring at the insurance website right now.)  Wtf?!

What I really want to do is write.  I want to write and produce/direct and edit for TV.  I worked as an editor at a dead end job for 6 years before moving to Japan to free myself.  But now I'm back and I have a ton of ideas and have even written them out.  I have the camera and equipment.  But actually taking the time to really commit is something that I have never done and I don't know why.  Actually, I do know why.  I expected to make a break-through using the connections and experiences I cultivated at (what turned out to be) that dead-end job also, I am full of fear.  Pure, unadulterated fear.  Either way, I'm just having some doubts about myself.  I guess everybody reaches that point in their life.  And the boyfriend is even worse off than I am.  He has the time and the money but no idea where to start or what to do.  (It doesn't help that he's a major procrastinator).  But the closer and closer I get to signing the contract with this company, the more it feels like falling out of an airplane with a broken parachute. This is that part in the movie where someone grabs me by the shoulders and says "Pull yourself together!" after of course, slapping me in the face.

So that's where I'm at right now.  A quarter life crisis.  (Actually, it's more like a third life crisis)  *shivers*  Don't get old kids.  And by old, I mean 28.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Maybe We Do Have Bad Attitudes

I may piss a lot of people off with this one but who the hell cares?  This is my blog and I can say what I wanna.  (Now that the unwarranted, guilt-ridden self-defensive statement is out of the way . . . )  One of my best friends was on the Anderson Cooper show on Friday with her boyfriend.  The show was talking about interracial relationships (my friend is a white woman and her man is black.)  Well, at some point in the show, a black lady made a comment that she's disgusted when she sees black men with white women and that black men only date white women because they're more submissive and blah-blah-blah (I wasn't really listening).  The comment was ignorant (in my opinion) and personally, I thought the whole thing (the show, the topic, etc.) was silly to begin with.  I think the show was promoting the book Is Marriage for White People which is a stupid question.  Truth be told, I was only watching it to support my buddy.  Who really gives a rat's ass about interracial dating nowadays?  (Again, my humble opinion)  Either way, after she spoke, Anderson went over to my friends and asked them what they thought about the lady's comment.  Tyrone said that he was disgusted with it, but he also said that White women do have more of an easy-going/bubbly attitude.  My friend, Sarah (after mentioning that she has black female friends - that would be me yall, lol) then kind of reinforces her man's words by saying that yeah, Black women can be a little defensive.

I laughed at the "oohs" that she got from the audience.  Of course, Jacque Reed jumped in and explained Black women's viewpoint (or whatever) as to our anger and pain or something (still not really listening).  I guess the whole thing just went over my head.  Granted, I am a black woman.  This is an undeniable truth.  But as someone who's spent a lot of time on the receiving end of judgements, anger and nastiness of my sisters (and I mean "sistahs" not my biological sisters, though they have had their days); I can honestly raise the question that maybe - just maybe - we do have some f**ed up attitudes.  It goes without saying that there are plenty of White women (and Asian and Hispanic - just women in general) with bad attitudes, but I can only speak from my experiences as a Black woman (who has had to defend myself against the stereotype my whole life.)

I don't have a lot of black female friends.  I have about 2 to tell you the truth.  Other than them, I have a couple white girlfriends, hispanic and now a few Japanese girlfriends.  In the grand scheme of things, as someone who's grown up in the housing projects (surrounded by Black women, mind you), in a small poor neighborhood, pledged a Black sorority, minored in African American Studies in school, and jumped through damn near every hoop that most Black woman have to jump through (dealing with Black men, going to church, self-esteem issues, racism, sexism, etc.) - I've still emerged with only two Black female friends who are not in my family.  2.  And one of them is in my sorority - so that feels a little "default-ish" too.

Either way, I've always been someone with a friendly personality.  I'm uninhibited with who I talk to and have been known to be friendly and very "unassuming."  To the point where a good amount of Black women have questioned my blackness and the ones who didn't just assumed that something was a little off with me.  And throughout all of the rejection, I used to defend my sisters.  To the point where I would be extra nice in situations where I didn't have to be.  I've listened to Black men rant about Black women and I've attempted to defend "us" and be "the voice of reason" as if I could explain it all.  Truth was, I couldn't.  I barely had two black girlfriends to rub together.  There were times when I'd seen sistahs go in on people for some of the stupidest shit that I could not in a thousand lifetimes explain.  Hell, there were times when sistahs have gone in on me, for some dumb shit - and I had no idea how to react.  It was like I was a member of a gang and I didn't know our "colors" or gang signs.  (I remember back in college, one of my sorority sisters was telling me that she wanted a girl to join our sorority because she and the girl were ready to fight at one point.  She said that this was the kind of toughness that she wanted in our "clique."  I just looked at her confused.  Why would you want someone with a jacked up attitude to work with you side by side in a sorority?  Wouldn't you want a nice person to do like sisterly stuff with - you know, sisterhood?)  Either way, I guess this was why I didn't (and don't) have a lot of Black female friends.  That attitude is part of the "strong" "real" "take-no-mess" category that we like to put ourselves into and frankly . . . I don't have have it.  It doesn't make me weak, or fake or submissive, but it definitely makes me a little different.  And part of coming into my own was accepting this fact about myself - and honestly, about my sistahs.

Now I don't necessarily believe that there is a correlation between Black women's attitudes and the whole lack of marriage "crisis" in the Black community.  With my rainbow coalition of friends, I get to see the whole perspective - and the truth is, my Japanese girlfriends (and white girlfriends) are singing the same tunes that my Black sisters are belting out (about not enough good men to go around).  And personally, I've had just as many Black men repulsed at my bubbly personality as there were ones who were delighted by it.  (It's just a matter of preference).  Just the other day, I walked over to one of the two Black dudes at the Meet and Greet for my job and you should have seen the quick eye-roll he had for me.  It wasn't until the rest of the peeps there started shaking my hand and talking to me, that he realized that I was "cool beans" and he began to converse a little as well.  It was like he realized that I didn't have the attitude . . . he did.  (That's what I like to call getting the "pre-attitude" attitude - something that I get a lot of as a BW.)  So yeah, Black men have a little work to do in the attitude department as well.  But when it comes down to my sistahs, I am not defending anyone anymore.  The only black female I will defend is myself and just because I'm a black woman doesn't mean that I don't have to deal with bad attitudes from other Black females.  I hate dealing with that mess too.  Shoot!  lol

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spooky Stories

So this post may be two days later than Halloween and maybe it's sparked by all of the ghosts, goblins and werewolves that have been featured on TV lately but not too long ago I couldn't get to sleep. I was creeped out and just plain disturbed. For some odd reason, every scary thing that I'd ever witnessed in life suddenly came to the forefront of my mind. It was like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and I couldn't stop my mind from moving one thousand miles per hour thinking about each and every little thing.

Womanly sidebar: Maybe it doesn't help that the hormones are kind of raging right now. But I still don't want to belittle how I felt. The ish was real.

I truly believe that there is more to this world than what we see. Halloween night, I had a bunch of things going on in my mind that went a lot deeper than the ghost stories that I'm about to tell. But I'll save that for another post and just share some of the spooky things that crossed my mind while I lay in bed, trying to make sense of it all.

Story #1 - The Time I Got Attacked By a Hair Roller
I was about 8 or 9 years old and scared of EVERY little THING. I didn't want to go anywhere alone because I felt like I was going to encounter something horrible or creepy and no one would be around to witness it or save me. Either way, nothing scared me more than being upstairs when everyone else was downstairs or being downstairs when everyone else was upstairs. And when I found myself in that compromising situation, I made sure to take slow deliberate steps (in order to give all of the monsters enough time to get out of sight, of course) and I made sure to keep my mental blinders on (so I didn't have to worry about catching a glimpse of anything out of the corner of my eye). I also called down to my family every few minutes (so - you know - they could be sure I was still alive). So one day, I ventured upstairs to get something out of my dresser. I must have been in a brave mood that day, because I don't remember the walk upstairs taking the usual 15 minutes. Either way, I'm standing in front of my dresser and there's a bunch of junk on it. Pictures, little boxes of things, scraps of paper and one of those little pink rollers with the foam cylinder in the middle. I don't really remember what I was doing up to that point, but I do remember the hair roller suddenly levitating. It shakily flew up into the hair at my eye level. I just stood there trying to understand what was going on when the next thing I knew, it was coming toward my face. The levitating roller began hitting me over and over again. I closed my eyes tight and swatted at it. It lasted for about five agonizing seconds. Suddenly, in one smooth move, it gingerly returned to the top of the dresser - about one foot away from where it levitated in the first place. I stood for a split second longer, looking around. Then I ran as fast as I could down the stairs, screaming. I told everyone who would listen. "I was attacked! A hair roller flew in the air and attacked me!" My family, of course, was amused and this was immediately added to the archives of strange things that have happened to me. Now here's the funny part to this story. I have a twin sister (with whom I shared the bedroom) and this sister swears up and down that she was there when it happened. Of course, I argued with her for the first couple of years that nobody was there. I told her that I'd looked around and didn't see anyone. I ran down the stairs and didn't encounter anyone until I reached the living room. I asked her what she was doing while I was being attacked - so on, so forth. She adamantly defended her stance and surprisingly, she could tell me in detail everything that happened - down to the way the roller returned to the dresser. And strangely, after a while, she began to appear in my memory - standing at the top of the stairs, watching in disbelief as I got attacked . . . by a hair roller. To this day, I'll never know whether she was really there or not. Maybe it's one of those twin things (you know, shared memories or whatever) but it wouldn't be the first time and it definitely wasn't the last.

Story #2 - The Fat Demon
My family (which consisted of my mom and two sisters) and I lived around the corner from my aunt and her two daughters. Every so often, we would go and visit them. Now let me preface this story to say that (with the exception of myself and my sisters) we have some big ladies in my family. My Aunt (who has lost some weight since then) was a big lady, my mother - a big lady and one of my Aunt's daughter's was (and still is) a "thickums" as well.

So, I had to have been maybe 10 or 11 years old and just sitting around with my sisters while my mom and Aunt talked. I needed to use the bathroom and so I ran upstairs to do so. Now my aunt's apartment was set up the same way that my family's apartment was set up. The bathroom was straight ahead up the stairs. To the right of the bathroom was a utility closet and to the right of that was two bedrooms. Upon going up the stairs, I saw that one of the bedroom doors - the one closest to the bathroom - was open. Curiosity struck, and I went against my better judgement of putting my mental blinders on and glanced in the direction of the room. Inside the dark room, sprawled out on the bed, was a really fat woman who appeared to have horns. I assumed it was my fat (and mean) cousin L and kept it moving. Whilst sitting on the toilet I started thinking to myself. That couldn't have possibly been L. She's not that big. I mean . . . she's big . . . but that lady seemed to take up the whole bed! Besides, that lady's hair looked funny and L has braids right now. But it couldn't of had been Aunt C because she's downstairs talking with mom. I decided to get one good, long look at the person in the room before going back downstairs. Just to be sure. So on my way out, I stopped and turned to my left. This time, I was not glancing. I was looking - taking it all in. But no matter how hard I looked, I could not see the woman's face clearly. It was clear that it was a person. There was no doubt about that. Her legs were like two large trunks shooting out from beneath a large stomach and huge, breasts that rolled down on either side of her body. Her dark face remained shadowy, but even darker were the small horns shooting out from either side of her head. I immediately took a step back and ran down the stairs. For some odd reason, I couldn't digest the image that I'd just seen. I attempted to justify it. Aunt C's in the kitchen right now. Maybe at some point, she decided to go upstairs and take a quick 5 minute nap. Maybe it was a bunch of blankets, piled up together and it looked like a person. The room was dark. Maybe my cousin L is pregnant and decided to take a nap in her mother's room. That's it. I told myself I would go with that one. Later on, my twin sister asked to go to the bathroom. This was a perfect opportunity. As she went up the stairs, I waited for the scream. Nothing. When she walked back down, 5 minutes later, I looked at her face intently, checking to see if she looked scared or shocked. Nothing. The afternoon went on and I heard my mom ask my aunt, "Where are your kids?"
My Aunt - "They're out. Q is with her friends and I don't know where L went. Husband's at work, so it's just me today." At that point, I gave up. I didn't know what it was that I saw, but I figured that it must have been a figment of my crazy imagination. When it was time to go, we all hopped into my mom's mini-van and headed home. Everyone was unusually quiet. I was going to mention the fat lady, but then changed my mind and just stared out the window. Then suddenly my twin sister said, "So who was that really fat lady with horns laying on Aunt C's bed?"

Story #3 - The Dark Hand
I'll keep this story quick, because I didn't mean to write so much up to this point anyway. But this story, for me, is the most disturbing of them all. Maybe because no one was around to experience it except me. Maybe also, because it was an encounter with some otherworldly thing actually touching me. Either way, it was after my bedtime and I was maybe about eleven or twelve years old. I wanted to go downstairs to get some water but was deathly afraid. I creaked down the loud stairway, maybe spending two minutes on each stair working up my nerve. Finally I reached the 5th step - 6 more stairs to go. I could see the living room now. I looked around the room, probably longer than I should have. The room was dark, and I kept looking at the mirror on the wall in the living room - the only thing that reflected any light. My fear was building and I could feel my heart beating. I didn't want to move another step down the stairs because this would mean that I was farther away from everyone else. I willed my foot to take another step but it wasn't happening so I stood creaking back and forth on the same stair. I continued to look out on the scary room that I wanted so desperately to enter. I took a deep shivery breath and wished the room was brighter so that I could really see what I was getting myself into. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. For a split second, I thought it could have been a family member until I looked down and saw a black hand, blacker than anything I'd ever seen. It gave a light, but firm squeeze and then disappeared into thin air. I almost killed myself trying to get up those stairs. It took years for me to ever go anywhere alone.

And those are a few horror stories that in my book, prove that there is more going on in life than the Republican Debates, the NBA lockout and Kim Kardashian.