Friday, April 10, 2015

There's Something About Silent

Because it's Friday and we should all be smiling...here's a second post for the day that's been sitting in my draft box for months. Tomorrow isn't promised, right?

For the past several years I've had this running joke with my close girlfriends; "Black American men don't like me!"  When I first began dating at the ripe old age of 17 1/2 years old (I know I was a very very late bloomer), I dated an African American man. Almost four years later when I returned to the dating scene, I was dating all types of men: African American, Spanish (there was one Puerto Rican guy), African, Asian (oh wait that's never happened), white (oh wait that's never happened either). Okay so I've mostly only dated African American and African men. You got me.

The year before I moved to New York. I was talking to one of my girlfriends about someone new I was dating. After telling her his name she responded, "Dang Silent, you never date black American men. They're all African!" I had to stop and think for a second. Out of the last three gentlemen I dated, two were Nigerian and one was African American [with a unique name]. Touche my friend, touche.

Since I moved to NYC 3 years ago, I have seriously dated 3 men. At this point in this blog post you can probably guess their ethnicity. African right? Wrong! Caribbean men have now made their way into the mix and account for 40% of the men who approach me and 33% of the men I've seriously dated. 33% of 3 is 1 for those of you who didn't major in math.

At one point, I started scratching my head to figure out why this was happening to me. Is it because I live in New York City, the "fake" melting pot? I can't really call it a melting pot. That would imply that people of all backgrounds mix and mingle versus populate certain areas the way they do. My girls meet plenty of non-African and non-Caribbean men when we go out here. I on the other hand will meet the one African or Caribbean man in the venue. Whether they come up to me or they come up to me. I don't go up to men in New York (outside of New York, well that's a post for another time), its usually a man who can trace his families roots outside of the US. And as laudable as it is, using a lineage service does not count.

The funniest thing happened the first time I went to Jamaica in 2008. I was with a group of my gorgeous fair hued girl friends. They are a beautiful mix of El Salvadorian, Creole and just not dark like me girls. As soon as the five of us stepped foot on the beach, all of the attention went to me. I for one, was not use to being around them and getting a lot of play. This was at a time in LA, and I assume things haven't changed much, where my darker skin seemed to make me less appealing to some black men. I was once pushed out of the way by a man to get to my fair skin El Salvadorian friend. Asshole.  Let's be clear here, I was no ugly duckling. It's not like I was not getting any play. It was just the amount of black men who preferred fair skin was highly noticeable. However, this was not the case in Montego Bay and Negril, Jamaica. In fact, it was the complete opposite. Wherever we went, I always had a suitor or several and I ate it up. Hey, I was on vacation.

This story has repeated itself on every vacation to the Caribbean since. Jamaica pt 2, Dominican Republic and Barbados. Oh Barbados! That's also a blog post for another time. Remember how I mentioned earlier I don't approach men. Well when you just know any man you want to talk to, wants to talk to you, you change your tune.  I promise I wasn't purposely picking these places to test my theory either. I didn't actually select any of these places. I was a part of larger trips to the Caribbean 3 times in the past 12 months.

I do think it's time for me to test this theory in the Motherland. Anyone want to plan a trip soon?

I Miss You and One Sweet Day

Life is too short. I've heard it before, we all have, but its so very true. Life is too short to be unhappy. Life is too short to make change tomorrow. You or someone you love can be taken away without notice. I try and remember that every time I find myself mad at my sister for something stupid, upset with a friend for something even more stupid or just generally in a bad mood. 

My mother was taken away just like that. One minute she had had a stroke and 5 days later, she passed. It was around the same time as the singer Aaliyah. Although there was a full year in between her passing and my mothers, I relate the last song Aaliyah released with my mother. Miss You. I cannot for the life of me get through hearing this song without crying. Sometimes its controllable, sometimes, not so much. I remember a couple years after her passing, I was at a backyard party. I was mingling and having a grand time. Then, the beat of 'Miss You' dropped and I immediately headed straight for the exit.  I didn't tell anyone where I was going, I just needed to get far far away. These days, I can play the song if I want to get a good cry out when thinking about my mother. I have some beautiful memories and I am not ashamed to get a good cry in every once in a while. 

I went off to college the same year she passed and one of the first verses begins "Off to college.." Whew chile. I'm crying good tears just writing this. 

Off to college
Yes, you went away
Straight from high school
You up and left me
-
Did everything
For one another
Now you're gone and I'm lost without you here now
But I know I gotta live and make it somehow
Come back, to me
Can you, feel me (Callin')
Hear me, callin' (For you)
For you,'Cause it's

It's been too long and I'm lost without you
What am I gonna do?
Said I been needin' you, wantin' you
Wonderin' if you're the same and who's been with you
Is your heart still mine?
I wanna cry sometimes
I miss you

Now I'm sittin' here
Thinkin' 'bout you
And the days we used to share
It's drivin' me crazy
I don't know what to do
--
Come back...to me
Can you, feel me (Callin')
Hear me, callin' (For you)
For you, 'Cause it's

It's been too long and I'm lost without you
What am I gonna do?
Said I been needin' you, wantin' you
Wonderin' if you're the same and who's been with you
Is your heart still mine?
I wanna cry sometimes
I miss you

The other song that brings me to tears is One Sweet Day Mariah Carey featuring Boyz II Men. Even before the lyrics begin, I recognize the song based on the beat drop in the beginning too. Just like with Aaliyah's Miss You, if I'm in public, I either scramble to change the song or exit the room.  If I'm alone, I might just let my tears flow. Not sure I'll ever get to a point where I can listen to these songs from beginning to end without crying. Its been 12 years since my mother passed and I still cannot.

"Sorry I never told you, all I wanted to say. Now it's too late to hold you. Cuz you've gone away, so far away. Never had I imagined, living without your smile....And I know you're shining down on me from heaven.." 

Good thing my office has a door. 



Monday, April 6, 2015

The Misinterpretation of Silent Scorpion

People mistake...

my ability to compartmentalize my emotions with the absence of all emotion. 
my ability to cut off people who I don't think are good for me with the ability to absolve all thoughts of them all together.
my ability to give up a vice without vocalizing how much I miss it with the ability to stop yearning that for which is unhealthy.

Those who misunderstand my being misinterpret my actions and emotions.

Yes I am able to keep my feelings to myself but that doesn't mean I don't have the
m. That doesn't mean I don't go over every interaction with the opposite and same sex with a fine tuned comb, over and over and over again. It means I keep it to myself. It means sometimes I'm quiet. It means sometimes I'm not expressive but...I am not a robot. I am not without emotion. I am not without feelings of regret or guilt; without feelings of remorse or sorrow. Of thinking that all of the actions following my action were my fault. It means unlike others, sometimes I won't allow myself to make that call. To reach out. To speak up. To speak out. 

I understand. My ability to keep those thought processes to myself makes others unaware of my over analysis of certain situations and for that I say...I guess. While I can make myself understand, it's pretty dumb to me that people don't afford me the same thoughtfulness (and yes this has been vocalized to me before). To believe that I don't have the same kind of feelings as other people is as hurtful as it is ridiculous

I had to learn a long time ago to suppress my feelings. Life happened and in the face of it all, there were people depending on me who needed me to be strong and silent. So I stayed strong and silent in public. I'm really good at controlling things I can control. I guess I haven't learned how to shut it off just yet. 

Food is a great example. I made up my mind that I was going to give up cheese for Lent. Let's not get it twisted, I LOVE cheese almost as much as I love swine. But the point was for me to pick something really difficult. Once I get past the first 5 days of a vice, I can be around it and almost not yearn for it at all. I ordered my burgers cheese-less, stayed away from my favorite pizza and all the other goodies that come with cheese for 46 days and 46 nights. Why, because I had made up my mind to control my behavior. It was something I had done before with sweets, liquor, etc. When I make my mind to give up something, its gone. 

Do I have weak moments, yes. Do I stick to my resolution no matter how founded or unfounded they are, for the most part yes. I have given up sweets for the month of April. So when I'm presented with the opportunity to indulge I say nope not for me. That was until yesterday I decided, hey, I want a cheat day. So I indulged and wasn't the least bit satisfied. So the next 24 days will be a piece of cake...with no cake. 

Those are things I can control. 

Things I can't control. My feelings and who they're for are much more complicated.

When I decide that I am the most important person in my life, then yes outwardly, I express less about a person but they still occupy my mind. I have one person I wish would stop taking up space because we just aren't on the same page. But, I can't do anything about that. He's there. Feet up and relaxing. Taking up space and invading my thoughts. They aren't necessarily bad thoughts either, just thoughts I can't control. Same thing goes for some people who I am no longer friendly with. They take up space. They have their feet up as well. In that same space of emotion I cannot control. I am aware of this misinterpretation of my levels of control and working on managing appropriate times to express my emotions. 

For that, I continue to be misunderstood. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

I Had A Dream Last Night

I Had A Dream Last Night

And you were in it
I don't usually remember my dreams
They happen
I wake up
It's over

But this dream I remember...vividly

And you were in it
Looking how I last saw
Feeling how I last felt
It was so real
I woke up
It's over

I Had A Dream Last Night

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Won't Be Wearing an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

If there were ever a more well timed trip, it would be my impending get away.
My passport is ready.
My skin is ready to bask in the sun.
My hand is ready to grip my non-virgin pina colada.
My mind is ready to be occupied by things I can control; my liquor intake, amount of dancing and morning beach runs.
And not the things I cannot.

And although my bikini(s) is not yellow nor does it have polka dots, it is ready for the sun, fun and sand.

When Is The Right Time?

Sometimes we get so complacent in our the lives that we don't allow ourselves to explore our greatest potential. As stale as it may feel, we stick with what we know because well, its comfortable, convenient and easy. We stand in the way of greatness by settling for mediocrity. I'm not usually afraid of taking a leap of faith so I've been toying with the idea of searching for a new job.

I make a pretty comfortable living in my current position, most of my students help me love what I do and well I'm good at it. I'm having an amazing start to my fall admissions. My percent of change over last year is constantly being lauded by my supervisor and coworkers. My supervisor is so damn happy with my performance, which in turn makes me very happy. At my current position, I've gotten excellent reviews, I know the ins and outs of the population I'm working with, I know how to manage my supervisor and her personality, and I've mastered how to direct the business. So why leave at this moment?

Deep down I know at some point I'll have to move on. I just don't see a long term future where I am. For one, there's no opportunity for growth here. While my supervisor can offer me an endless supply of verbal praise, she is currently unable to offer me what I deserve; financial gains the work I produce merits. If I did what most people do, I'd stay in my current position for at least 2 years. I've surveyed a few friends, because that's what people do when they make big life decisions, and I've gotten mixed advice. Some applaud me for keeping my options open and agree that the time is now, while others encouraged me to wait until the society agreed upon 2-year mark before making the move.

I am a person who believes in fate. My coworker mentioned that his old colleague (who was previously in my position) was leaving another college at NYU.  The position was a full band above my and two levels above my current one but if I applied, I'd probably at least have gotten an interview. It was scary to even think about leaving a place I'd gotten so relaxed in and moving on to a place I didn't already know how to navigate. If this had been my two year mark, I'd have applied right away.I read the job description for hours trying to talk myself out of applying. Telling myself it just wasn't the right time. By the time I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply, the position had been filled.

This would have been an amazing opportunity for my career. I can't believe I talked myself out of applying for it. What if I didn't get called for an interview?  What if I did get called in and they didn't pick me? What if I got the position and wasn't happy?

But, what if I did get called for an interview? What if I did get called in and they picked me? What if I got the position and was happy and fully satisfied? I'll never know because I let my ego stand in my way. I didn't want to be bruised by no so I did nothing. I didn't even submit my damn good resume.

Sometimes the right time isn't the most comfortable, convenient or easy. Sometimes the right time is now.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I am not a STAN, I am a well informed supporter of a smart business woman

Most of my friends incorrectly assume that because I have been a fan of Beyonce since she burst onto the scene almost 2 decades ago, that I am blind follower. That I activate my BeyHive senses whenever her name is brought up in conversation...okay, wait, that is partly correct. I'd like to point out that I don't always comment on hateful comments about her. So many people hate Beyonce for the sake of hating Beyonce. When people say I'm a STAN, what they are misinterpreting is my ability to challenge their unfounded statements, with actual facts. Beyonce is a talented force who is hard working and smart. Yes, she's smart. No way you get to her status and make the calculated moves she makes without being a smart business woman. Did I say she was intellectual or educated, no. I said she was smart. Since there are varying levels of smart, she deserves to be put in the same sentence as that word. If you want to challenge me, I dare you. 

Now while I love my girl, I must say, a few of her choices over the past year have left me annoyed and disappointed. First there was Elevatorgate. Sigh. I had a short conversation with my sisters about this incident that went something like this.

Me: Did you hear about Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange in the elevator?!!!
Them: Yeah!
Me: If you ever...
Them: (cuts me off) We know. We would never.
Me: Cool
Them: And you would never..
Me: (cuts them off) Girl bye, no. 

When I watched the video of Solange going ham on JayZ in the elevator and Beyonce just watching, I just couldn't comprehend. After about 5 minutes of physical abuse and spitting from Solange, Beyonce finally stepped in. 
My sisters know me very well. Kicking and spitting any grown ass man especially their spouses and father of their child(ren)?!!! Chile, if my sis did that to my spouse, I might black out. They know this. I know this. Feet stay on the ground. Spit stays in mouth. At all times. I've never raised my hand to a man. Barely have ever raised my voice. I choose to deal with arguments with men in an opposite way of what I saw growing up. Now while my sisters' partner thoroughly raises my blood pressure, I keep my hands at my side when addressing them. 

Then there was the tour with her husband. Since I loved her last album, there was no way I wasn't going to see her live. It was worth the flight from New York to Los Angeles for the weekend just to see her (oh and my little sis and fam too!). During the concert, I sang every lyric to every song. Including JayZ's and especially their duets.  [Insert Yaaaaaassssss getcho liiiiife huntttty!!!] However, I was a little tired of seeing every inch of her body during her performances. She's bad. She knows she's bad. Jay Z knows this. Shoot the President and first lady knows this. But boo I don't need to see your crotch throughout an entire concert. The pole dance/strip tease type session was just, yawn. I was over it. But overall, it was a good time.

Then there's the biggest movement of our time and her silence. I was again, disappointed. Another chance for her to take a public stand and nothing. But let's be clear here. Beyonce and her husband make several private and anonymous donations throughout the year.  They have donated to the Ferguson movement on the ground and send hundreds of high school students to college each year. JayZ quietly started an educational trust fund for the children of NYPD shooting victim Sean Bell.  While his meeting with Governor Cuomo to discuss criminal justice reform was more of a political move for Cuomo than anything else, Jay-Za philanthropist and we can't discredit that. Up until last night, Beyonce hadn't really said much except for fairytale, we are the world IG posts. I didn't find her actual performance and believe other artists could perform the song better, including Beyonce. She was just, off. I understood the politics behind choosing her. While people will argue (and looking at my Facebook timeline, plan on arguing all day for a while) that Ledisi should have performed, I can tell you why she did not. 

The Selma soundtrack performances were left for the end of the program for a reason. When you add Beyonce to anything, you are guaranteed ratings.  In addition to her loyal (BeyHive) fans sitting through the 4 hour show, ALL of her haters sat through it to just to hate. Not sure why people have that much time on their hands but okay you proved why the Grammy's liked the idea of Beyonce over Ledisi. Doesn't matter if Beyonce asked herself or was selected, the bottom line is she brings in ratings. Higher ratings, equal more advertiser dollars.  It's the production of the show that defines its value far more than quality. Even though her performance was a little off, it was a moving performance for one reason. If you blinked, you missed it. 

For 2.5 seconds, Beyonce used the biggest platform to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. While viewers were distracted by her inappropriate sheer white gown and flowing mermaid like hair, her background dancers/singers dressed in all white suits held their hands up in the 'Hands Up' gesture. The gesture is the same used that has recently been used demonstrates protesting the death of unarmed black men at the hands of police. While Pharrell's similar use of the gesture and Prince's black lives matter statement before giving out the award for album of the year, is getting loads of attention, let's not miss skip over Beyonce's gesture. This is musics' biggest awards show. She chose this platform to take a stand and for that, and only that, her performance was moving. 

Smart move Beyonce, smart move. 

FYI: You can support someone and disagree with some of their actions. 

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