Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hey! You remind me of a girl that I once knew...

First things first, you’ll recognize that the blog has a new look. Our new design is courtesy of my good friend from high school. He’s into graphic design and all that jazz. I told him I wanted a new look and he got to work, showed me a few mockups and this was our final choice. What do you think? I’m really digging the little picture of the girl with the flipped hair. In college, I wore my hair in a flip, like, everyday, so when I first saw the new page, I fell in love. Thanks, buddy, for all your hard work. He’s going to keep playing around with things, so the layout might change over the course of the next couple of months, but… we’ll see. I like things the way that they are, but I’m open to new ideas if he happens to come up with something better.

So, I disappeared for awhile. I think I’m back now, but who the hell knows. I’m actually tired of making promises that I can’t keep, and I figure that you’re probably tired of hearing my lame-o excuses, so let’s just agree that I’m wack for staying away for so long and then keep it moving.

On to the real topic.

Try to describe my physical appearance. Go ahead… try. Those of you who know me would probably say that I'm short… thick/chubby/fluffy… brown skin, brown hair, brown eyes… pretty non-descript. There's nothing more that could really be said… what I outlined above pretty much sums me up. There is nothing striking about me. In fact, I think that if you tried to "describe" me to someone who's never seen me before, Your description could probably apply to just about every brown girl in the universe.

I'm pretty regular. And I guess that explains why I have the most familiar face - if not in the world, then certainly in the Washington Metropolitan area. I can't go anywhere without people either thinking that I'm someone else or comparing me to someone I know. On my first day at the new job, one of the admins stopped me in the corridor to ask me if I was related to some family that lived in her neighborhood because I "look exactly like their youngest daughter". I'm sure this is a perfectly nice family, but I'm definitely am NOT related to these people.

I'll be standing in line at the deli during my lunch break and the guy who spreads the mustard will tell me I look exactly like his cousin or his ex-girlfriend. Yesterday, I went to pick up Sister Souljah's new book and as I walked from Barnes & Noble to my office building, I ran into a group of older homeless men who were sitting on a bench along E Street. One of them calls out, "Hey girl! You look like this woman I knew once." I couldn't even be mad. I had to laugh. It was a real trip. Lol! I'm thinking do I really look like a woman you "once knew". Really?

So, yeah… the familiarity thing was getting to be a tad bit bothersome. Although, it has also worked to my advantage a few times. A couple years ago, VH1 had this show called "Divas Live". I never watched the show, so I'm not 100% sure about the premise of the show. But what I do know is that apparently there was a contestant on the show who looked like me and she was beating the shit out of all the other contestants! Well, one weekend while this show was on the air, my girlfriends and I went to our favorite late night eats spot in Adams Morgan. The very gay, but very cool manager of the spot came over to our table with a starstruck look in his eyes and immediately swooped down on me, asking breathily, "Are you the girl from that VH1 show?”

My face reflected my genuine confusion. “Which VH1 show?” I asked.

“Divas Live!” he said. “I love that show!” At this point, he actually starts fanning himself as though the thought of me being this girl in the flesh was just too much for his body to take. It was as if he had officially overloaded his circuits at the mere thought. LOL!

“Um… no. That is not me,” I sadly informed him.

He paused for a second and tilted his head with a puzzled look. I’m certain that for a second he thought I was lying about my identity. He was positive that I was this woman.

After a minute or so of silent contemplation, he decided that he believed me.

“Well, you might not be her,” he said apologetically, “but I am happy that you’re here, honey. You are just adorable!”

I was flattered. I’ll take a compliment no matter who’s giving them out. And, from there, I had a genuine friend for life. Nelson (that was his name) always hooked my friends and I up from that moment on. Whenever we wanted a table in that particular spot, we’d ask for him. He would float through the crowd and shower us with air kisses and the next thing you know, we’d be seated with a minimal wait time even during on the busy nights… and there would almost always be a discount applied to our bill. Not bad for just resembling a “celebrity”.

The funniest part about it all was when I was getting rung up at the cash register at work and the cashier said, “Did anyone tell you that you look just like the girl on the VH1 “Divas...”

“Yes,” I cut her off mid-sentence. “I have heard that before.”

Finally, I decided that I better look up this person so that I could see if there was really any resemblance. I was SO disappointed when I saw her. No disrespect to this woman, but I don’t feel that I resemble her at all. But, hey, if it gets me prime seating at my favorite restaurant and a discount on my food and drinks, then who am I to question?
One day, I was standing in the line at the pharmacy picking up some medication for my grandmother and this older gentleman who was also standing in line was staring intently at my face. I got to the counter and picked up the medicine and was heading back out to the car, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and it was the old man from the pharmacy line. He asked me my name and I told him. Then, he asked me if I was Haitian. That was the first time I'd gotten that. I've been asked if I am Ethiopian, Dominican, and Panamanian, but never Haitian. I told him that I’m not.

"Why do you ask?" I said.

He told me that I reminded him of a woman named Marie Claudette that was his "friend" in high school. I put the word friend in quotation marks because while he described their friendship as platonic, he had a wistful look in his eyes that suggested there may have been more to their relationship (maybe it was one-sided… who knows?). I wondered how he thought that I could be someone he went to high school with. My mother probably wasn't even born when he was in high school – so surely I couldn’t have been! Maybe he thought I could be Marie Claudette's granddaughter or something.

Well, the old dude looked so hopeful that I might BE Marie Claudette or maybe at least related to her and so hopeful that they might be reunited, it hurt me to have to tell him that I didn't know her at all. He proceeded to tell me a few stories about Miss Marie and I could see that she was a character (as am I!) and I could also tell that this man cared for her deeply. His eyes danced as he described her and he chuckled a few times... It came out sounding more like a giggle, which was disarming coming from a man of his age.

As much as I enjoyed talking to him, I wrapped up our conversation and he ended it by saying, "Marie Claudette was a beautiful person both inside and out. Even if you don't know her, I can tell that you're a lot like her." And he smiled a very vibrant smile and wished me well. It was a touching moment. Usually, I'm bored with people who mistake me for someone else, but this particular moment, I was glad that I was able to take this man back to a happy time in his life.

I guess that I’ll continue to try to reap the benefits of my familiar face. Although, it could get to be a problem if someone thinks I remind them of a person that they don’t particularly care for.

Until then, whenever someone says, “Hey, you look just like…”, I’ll just smile, graciously accept any compliments, explain who I REALLY am, and move on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving up too much/Keeping Mum on my Mystery Man

My cousin says she's not interested in reading people's blogs because they're like diaries and she doesn't understand why someone would want to read about another person's private life. Nor, so she says, does she understand why a person would put their private life on display for the whole world to see. I can see her point - for sure. Some people may not understand why bloggers blog or why readers would read blogs, but I say if it's not YOUR thing, just abstain and keep your opinion to yourself. Now, I guess, is a good time to divulge that my cousin is extremely opinionated and also has numerous other hangups (the blog aversion is just one of many others). So, I really take what she says with a grain of salt. I did think this particular opinion of hers was worth mentioning, though, because I have often considered just how much of my business I should reveal in this blog.

A lot of you are privy to my true identity (I sound like a superhero or something), although there are now a few of you who aren’t (Hey strangers! Thanks for reading and commenting!). For those of you who DO know me, I often wonder whether I'm setting myself up for embarrassment when I reveal too much... When I discuss other people who might be effected by what I write, I try to use aliases or thinly-veiled (admittedly, sometimes the veil is VERY thin) accounts of actual events to protect the identity and privacy of my friends. Every now and then, one of my friends recognizes themselves in a post and sometimes they have a positive reaction. Other times their responses are... not so positive.

The last time I was in NY, Bestie told Jenna about the blog. Bestie’s identity could be protected… I never tell a lot about her or her private life. But, whenever she tells someone that I’m a blogger (and lately, she’s been telling EVERYONE!), she immediately follows-up with “and my name is ‘Bestie’”. Her identity would be safe, but for her own in-person revelations of her Lovely Brown Girl alter ego. Jenna (obvi an alias) wanted to know what her "blog name" was and whether I had talked about her in detail on the blog. I honestly couldn't remember what I'd written about her in the past. I told her that I use aliases for my friends and that I try not to use any identifying characteristics and, luckily, she was cool with that. Plus, I know Jenna will never sit still long enough to read what I've written here. Her adult-ADD would prevent her from getting past the first paragraph! (Love you, girl!)

Anyway, I'm having all these thoughts because I'm having a moral dilemma. So, there's a new guy in my life these days. I may have mentioned him once or twice on here, but I haven't gone into detail about him. For one, my adult-ADD has been acting up and I haven't been able to sit still long enough to get my thoughts about him down on paper. I've tried to write about him before, but I have a lot of trouble getting the words out. And it’s not because I don't have anything to say about him. In fact, the problem is that I want to say so many things about him, I don't even know where to start! So, I'll just sum it up by saying this - He's wonderful. He's probably... No actually he is DEFINITELY the best guy I've ever dated.

If you read the blog regularly, you are already familiar with the cast of characters that make up my dating history. There was the role of "The Two-Timing Hustler" played so aptly by Jeremy; "The Cheating Selfish Psycho" role was immortalized by Mr. Ex; and "The Self-Centered Attention-Whore Playboy" (which is a character that still makes regular appearances in my life) who's played by MBF.

And, now, there's this guy. I don't have a name or an alias for him mainly because I can't think of anything catchy to call him. And, I haven't been able to identify what character he plays in my “life movie”... I think that's because the role he has been playing was so unexpected. I am almost afraid to write anything about him at all because I'm afraid I’ll jinx it. Like, I'll sit here and tell you all about this man and why he's so amazing and the second I publish the post, he'll drop off the face of the Earth and our friendship/relationship/whateverthehellship will be effectively over and I'll look stupid! Now, I understand why (some) celebrities and other public figures are so closemouthed about their romantic relationships. When you talk about them too much, you set yourself up for failure. Until something is really solid and established, you just want to handle it gingerly for fear that you could really muck something up. Besides, nobody wants to be an emotion "slut"... you know, giving up too much before it's really time.

And, believe me, I really want to tell you more about this person… what he means to me, what he has done to restore my faith in men, how we met (actually, it’s a really great story), where he is located, how he makes his living (which is an incredibly inspiring story in itself), etc. But for some reason I can't bring myself to do it. Even though most of you don't have a clue about his identity, out of respect for him and the fragile nature of our whateverthehellship, I feel obligated to maintain his anonymity. (Plus, it occurs to me that he might actually read my blog. I haven’t asked because I’m not sure I want to know. Lol!) Maybe I’ll find a way to tell you all these things without revealing too much, but it’ll require a very delicate balance… once I start talking too much about it it’s a very slippery slope, indeed.

I'll just say this... know that he is doing something right. Yes, he is. *giggle* (Uh huh… Brown Girl the Cynic giggles now. That should tell you something, right?) And, should things develop and/or progress to something more solid, you will hear more about us (is there an “us”? hmm…. ) down the line.

Stay tuned!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, November 03, 2008

Do you smell what Barack is cookin? It's CHANGE, bitches!!

*Special thanks to J.I. for planting the seed for this post*

Well, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written and you all already know that I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long. I’ve actually had people write me with story ideas, urging me to just write about ANYTHING as long as I write something. And, I gotta admit, I’m touched! I didn’t think you guys cared that much. And I never thought that you’d miss me if I stopped writing. Who knew??

Since I’ve been blogging, what I’ve discovered about myself is that I write better when I’m actually motivated to write. My muse doesn’t speak to me as often as I’d like him to (muses, I believe, are traditionally female, but I am much more into men, so mine is a boy), and when he does speak, I will write anytime, anywhere. That means that I’ll start hammering out a post on the train, standing in the line to get my turkey on wheat sandwich at lunchtime, while I’m under the hairdryer at the hair salon, etc… whenever, wherever, by any means necessary.

Well, I’ve been waiting for my muse to strike… I’ve been on the lookout for him to appear, and I’ve been listening for his voice. But, lately, I hadn’t heard anything… until I was walking home from the train this evening. Now, first of all, I walked out of my office and had totally forgotten it would be dark outside by the end of my workday thanks to that stupid daylight savings time shit that we adhere to in the United States. I suspect that I might have SADS (seasonal affective disorder)… I think that I’ve mentioned this before, but when it gets dark early, I get depressed. Anyway, today, I realized that I wasn’t all that depressed even though it was pitch-black at 5:30pm. And the reason why I wasn’t depressed was because tomorrow is a big day for our country, y’all.

So, then it hit me. The one thing that I haven’t written about in this blog is tomorrow’s Presidential election and what it means to me.

Well, here it goes… in case anyone is listening and in case anyone cares:

Barack Obama.

I never – in a million years – would’ve thought that I’d see a name like that at the top of a Presidential election ballot in America. I am Black, and I’m also a woman… this means that I am a member of two groups of people who – historically – have been disenfranchised. So, whenever I would contemplate whether someone like me would be able to be elected President, I always assumed it would be a no-go. I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I’d never see a Black female elected President of the United States in my lifetime. But, then I got to thinking… maybe, just maybe, I could see a WHITE woman elected… or (an even bigger stretch in my mind) maybe I could see a Black MAN become President.

Now, the emphasis I placed on those words is important. Pay attention! I pretty much knew that there was a possibility that a woman could get elected… IF that woman was WHITE. And I had an inkling that a Black person could be a viable candidate… if that Black person was a MAN. But never, never, ever, ever did I think that I’d see a WHITE woman and a Black MAN pitted against each other in a race for the Democratic nomination for the United States Preisdency… I expected that maybe first a white woman would be introduced as a candidate. And then, a few years (or several years) down the line, a Black candidate would be brought to the forefront. And then, BOOM, it all happened at the same time.

I’ll admit. At first I was torn. Am I Black first, or am I a woman first? I always really liked Hillary Clinton (mainly because I hearted her hubby, Bill, so much!). She came to speak at my law school and I left her speech feeling inspired and empowered. I just knew that if she ran for President, she would have my vote. She’s smart, spunky, strong… a real “maverick” (LOL!). And I admired her so… actually, I don’t know why I wrote that in the past tense because I still do. But then, a viable Black candidate named Barack Obama burst onto the scene and turned the political world on it’s head. He had speaking abilities that caused him to be likened to MLK, a top-notch education, a damn-near immaculate personal history (relatively speaking, for a politician), a beautiful family, and a catchy slogan. He’s a Barack-star! (pun intended) And I thought, hmmm… maybe he’s what America needs. Even though he caused me to doubt my faith in Hillary, I had pretty much decided that America was more ready for a white female President than a Black male one, so I continued to side with Hillary.

I did some research on both candidates just to be sure that I was making an informed decision. I remained a Hillary supporter in spite of the fact that I liked a lot of the things that Barack was saying, but I wasn’t sure that he’d be able to pull off a race against any of the more established Republican candidates… and more than I wanted to see a Democrat in the White House, I wanted to ensure that I would NOT see a Republican in the White House. So, I threw my support behind the Democrat that I thought would be most likely to dethrone Bush. In fact, I remained a lukewarm Hillary supporter until the day I went into the voting booth during the primaries. I walked up to that voting machine and saw that Black man’s name at the top of the ballot… and I kept hearing his voice echo in my head… “Change, change, change”. I know it sounds dramatic and cliché, but that’s really how it happened. And, I just couldn’t leave that booth without voting for Obama. So, he got my vote.

I’m not going to lie. That first vote in the primaries got cast for Obama because he is Black. I don’t feel guilty about that either… Let’s keep it real, y’all… white people have been doing that shit FOR YEARS. And just because Obama is the first viable Black Presidential candidate that America’s ever seen, I felt like I had to vote for him. I wanted to help give him that shot in the dark. Even if he couldn’t pull off beating the Republican candidate for President, he’d still make history for being the first Black person to receive the nomination of a major political party. That was worth something. I was happy with my decision…

And then, I got to know more about the man and became more and more of a supporter. People attacked him, and instead of attacking them back, he played fair. I watched him relate to people young and old, rich and poor, Black and white. I heard him deflect accusations, consistently handle himself with dignity and grace, unabashedly love his wife and children, and present clear solutions to societal problems in a concise manner that even “Joe Six Pack” (barf) can understand. I watched him become a favorite among young people. After awhile, Obama’s candidacy became less and less about race and more and more about hope, and change… it sort of reminded me of something I’d heard about Bobby Kennedy. I was reading a review of the movie “Bobby” that was released a few years ago, and a critic said that the interesting thing about the movie “Bobby” is that Bobby Kennedy – as a character – is nowhere in it. The movie is all about the hope that Bobby inspired throughout the Nation during his Presidential campaign and how that hope changed people’s lives. That’s what I see Barack doing now. There is a spirit in the air… an excitement that I haven’t ever witnessed before. Barack Obama is like Bobby Kennedy was to his generation… except Barack isn’t rich, he isn’t white, and he wasn’t born into a political dynasty. He got to where he is today on the strength of his own ability… and not BECAUSE of his name, but IN SPITE of his name. I took all this in and I thought… this man deserves my votes on his own merits, NOT simply because he is Black. At that moment, my mind was made up – I was with Obama.

To give you an idea of just how much he has affected people from all different walks of life, I’ll share a few examples from people that I know personally:

One of my friends from work is a 24 year old white sorority girl from a small town in Pennsylvania. She lives in DC, but has traveled back home to Pennsylvania on her own dime (she doesn’t make much) at least three times in the last year to knock on doors for Obama.

Another good friend is a very glamorous Harvard lawyer who works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. She gave up her Christmas vacation to go to Iowa and canvass for Obama’s campaign. For a week, she braved the cold air and the hard bed in the local Holiday Inn to ensure that Barack won the Iowa primary.

I was out at dinner at Max Brenner in Union Square during my recent visit to New York City. A gaggle of white pre-teen girls walked by my table on their way to use the restroom and every one of them had on something that said “Obama”… a pin, a t-shirt, a hat, etc. It was really very cute… and disarming.

My father has “adopted” a family of 8 where the children range in age from two months to 18 years old. When we gave my father his birthday celebration, the family joined us. Alonte, the six year old was walking around asking everyone if they were going to “vote for Obama or McCain”. I asked him why he was asking everyone that question and he said, “cause I’m gonna vote for Obama and then we’re gonna have a Black President”. I told him that he won’t be able to vote because you have to be 18 to cast a vote in a Presidential election. And he said, “then YOU vote for Obama… and then we’re gonna have a Black President.” Well, alrighty then. If only it were so simple!

My grandmother, who is 80 years old and has mobility issues, has been obsessed with Obama ever since he announced his candidacy. We watched him accept the nomination together and she wept as he spoke. She said, “Thank you, Lord. I just never thought I’d live to see this day.” This same woman who we can barely get to leave the house more than once per month dressed herself and left her apartment of her own volition to cast an absentee ballot about a week ago. She said it was one of the proudest moments of her life.

MBF left work early today and skipped a happy hour *gasp* to volunteer at the DC for Obama headquarters from 4-6pm. They asked him to use his own cell phone to call voters in Virginia and encourage them to vote. He agreed. And this is a dude who is ALWAYS complaining about making or receiving phone calls before 9pm. “Gotta watch my minutes!” Ha!

The New Guy (yes, he’s still around and not at all “new” anymore – but still great!) left for Europe on October 15 and will be there until the middle of December. Before he left the country, he cast an absentee ballot in Virginia (where he’s from). He’s lived in New York for a few years now, but decided to vote – early – in Virginia because, “I figured he’d need my vote in Virginia a lot more than he’d need my vote in New York.” What foresight! Hmm… isn’t he dreamy? *sigh*

A few Sundays ago, a woman stood up at a church function and told us that she was 92 years old and has voted in every election in which she was eligible. She said that even though she doesn’t get around very well anymore and she was certain that the lines on Election Day would be long, she was refusing to cast an absentee ballot. She explained that this election was more important to her than any other and that she wanted the experience of walking up the steps to her polling place, standing in line, and physically casting her ballot on Election Day. And that’s exactly what she’s going to do tomorrow.

Barack Obama has touched people’s lives in a way that nobody has before. He has crossed color, class, and culture lines to emerge as the most capable candidate overall. Now, of course, this is just my lil old humble opinion. And, if you decide not to vote for Barack, I defend your right to do so. That’s what America is about… the exchange of ideas. In America, we have the right to have a difference of opinion. And that’s a beautiful thing! What matters most is not for whom you vote, but that you vote. Period. Someone once said that bad politicians are elected by good citizens who do not vote… You may have to read that a few times in order to really get it, but think on that…

Ask yourself - wouldn’t it be nice to have a capable, intelligent, level-headed, thoughtful President in the White House for a few years? If you are still undecided, and you answered yes to that question, I’ve got news for you… there’s only ONE candidate that fits that bill. Vote for him.

Anyhoo, folks, I am writing this on the eve of one of the most important days in America’s history. Whoever wins will make history – Barack Obama for being the first Black President in US history and John McCain for being the oldest, whitest, most out-of-touch President of all time. Sheesh! And, let’s face it, whenever people make history, it’s a great thing! But, the most important thing… the thing that makes me want to dance a jig every time I think about… whoever wins will NOT be George Bush. Good riddance, Dubya!

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Ok, people… Get out there and Barack the vote!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lessons in Love

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I already know I'm going to hear some complaints about the length of this post, but... GET OVER IT. If you have a real problem with anything I write OR with how I write it, leave a comment, dammit. Otherwise, shut the f*ck up. (Jokes... sorta.)

Ok, people. So I met someone. And I like him. A lot. But I've been hesitant to mention him to my dear readers (although some of you - individually - may have heard me mention him once or twice... Or ten times!!). I guess the reason why I hesitated is because you've all heard me ramble on and on about MBF and how I feel about him. But the truth of the matter is that I've known for a long time that MBF is not right for me. I mean, he's a magnificent person and I think anyone who ends up with him will be very lucky to have him. But, as I told him recently "its become obvious to me that we are not right for each other and, so, I encourage you to be somebody else's blessing". And, I shit you not, I was dead ass serious.

MBF... Man, this dude does some nutso shit. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. Ok, for example, few months ago - at the beginning of the summer - he knew I was working like crazy with little free time to myself, so he offered to take me out for happy hour. And, I was really excited because I was Stressed (with a capital S)!! So, I met him at this lounge called Jin...

- Pause -

Sidebar: MBF, if you're reading this, I know you're rolling your eyes right about now and huffing and puffing with exasperation because you are tired of hearing this story. But guess what? I really don't care! The story I'm about to relay - that was some shady shit and I'm still pissed (despite your apology) and so I reserve the right to tell this story as many times as I want until I get tired of telling it!


Ok, back to the story.

So, we're at Jin having a cocktail and eating wings. We're laughing and joking and generally having a good time together - as we always do. So, after we finished our drinks, we decided to move the party and head down the block to check out this other spot. We get there and immediately run into this guy that MBF knows from college. The guy MBF knows is sitting next to a girl with very pretty locs. I must digress again (sorry!) Ok, so, please understand that MBF must be the center of attention at all times. When women are around, there's no such thing as "laying low" for him. So, we sit at the bar. The order of our placement: guy that MBF knows, MBF, me, girl with locs. MBF proceeds to talk to homegirl - over my head. He compliments her and essentially tells her that if his homeboy hadn't already tried to holla, he would try. Huh? This dude is bold! At any rate, throughout the night the two of them continue to flirt - most of the time right over my head. I conversed with the guy that MBF knew and a few others while all this was going on. And I left the bar twice to use the restroom since my drink seemed to be running right through me. At any rate, an hour or two later, she got ready to move on to her next location and she gives MBF a hug, at which time I hear him say "I'll definitely text you later."

At that point, I saw red. Did this dude really just say that hed text her later? Which means that, at some point during the evening, he got homegirl's number. Now, immediately, I start buggin out. I saw red and I just got SO angry. The thing is, my anger didn't stem from jealousy, it stemmed from me being disrespected. I'm a firm believer in the Golden Rule, so you treat others the way that you yourself wish to be treated. I would never, ever, ever in a million years get another dude's number if I was out with a male friend one-on-one. Why? Precisely because I would never want one of them to do it to me.

Anyway, back to the night at hand.

So, I'm flabbergasted and I turn to the dude that MBF knows. "When did he even get her number?" I ask.

"They exchanged information while you were in the bathroom."

Damn. I can't even take a piss without this dude picking up chicks.

Well, at that point, I was done. As far as I was concerned, the night was over. I had nothing more to say and at that point I wanted nothing more than to be home in my bed. So, I grabbed my bag and made a beeline for the door. MBF, who wasn't even aware of the fact that I knew he had gotten homegirl's number, reached for my arm. I turned on my heel and went off on him. I'm pretty sure I made a bit of a scene, but at that point the last thing I was concerned with was keeping up appearances. So, I walked out into the summer night with MBF following me, repeating the refrain "What's wrong with you? Where are you going?", and the dude MBF knows following us. I am silent because if I speak, what comes out of my mouth will NOT be pretty. That is a guarantee. I walk to the corner, never facing MBF, and realize that I'd met him down here & didn't have a car. He was supposed to be my ride home. Shit! I throw my righthand in the air and hail the first cab that drives by and close the door in MBF's face as he's asking me for the 100th time what's wrong.

In the cab on the way home, I call Bestie and relay the entire story. And she listens and then calmly reminds me that MBF does this sort of thing to me all the time. Not necesarily as obvious as it was this time around, but he's always telling me about women he likes with little regard for how this information might make me feel. And then I think about how he basically told me a few weeks after we met that he wasn't sure if he liked me. He stated that as an observation, I'm assuming he was doing that in the interest of full-disclosure, but again he says this with no regard for how this might make me feel. The truth was, at the time I wasn't sure how I felt about him either, but I wouldn't ever TELL his ass that!

But that night that I left him in the bar. Of course, he blew my phone up for the rest of the night, but I ignored he until he switched to text messaging. Then, it dawned on me that this was a "teaching moment". Even if he couldn't get it right with me, goshdarnit, I'd make it so the next chick won't have to go through this bullshit. So, I sent him a 4-screen text telling him what I thought about his disrespectful behavior. He responded and apologized, but I still had issues with the way he handled that whole situation. MBF will always be my boy but he'll never be "my man", if you know what I mean. And thank God for that! As I told him recently, "You're my boy and I love you, but recently I've come realize that we are not right for each other. So, I encourage you to be someone else's blessing." And I meant it, too!

So, yes, it has become apparent that MBF won't ever be the man I would want or would need him to be! In my past relationships, I've nearly had to develop a marketing plan extolling my virtues and providing market studies on the dating scene just to get a man to commit. And after Mr. Ex, I promised myself that I wouldn't ever be with a man that I had to convince to like me. You either do, or you don't. And, if you do, your words AND your actions have to prove that you do... And that's why the new guy is so amazing. I don't have to guess at how he feels. He likes me and he's not afraid to show it (thank you Jesus!). And best of all, unlike MBF, he's been SURE about me from the start... Now, I'm not sure where this new thing will lead or whether it will even become a full-fledged "thing". But for now, I'm just enjoying the moment and going with the flow. This is unusual for me, but I'm learning to stop trying to control everything... and just live in the moment.

Life is all about lessons. And I thank MBF for the lessons that he's taught me. He's shown me what I want from a man, but most importantly, he's shown me what I DON'T want. And that is, perhaps, the most valuable love lesson of all.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Goodbye Summer!

I have received a few complaints from readers who said my posts were too long. One even said that my posts are more like book chapters! Lol! So, because I respect my readers and appreciate the fact that you read me at all, I'll try to be more concise from now on. And, because one "special" reader has threatened to take my life if I do another "to be continued" post, I'll stop doing those, too... For now. :o) So, today, I'm taking heed and posting something short and sweet - just some random thoughts about the most boring summer on record! Again, this was written on my Blackberry on the train, and since I'm at work and the day is already looking hectic, I don't have time to do a thorough edit. Basically, I'm asking you to please forgive any typos...

This morning, I got the shock of my life. I walked outside in my dress and 3/4 sleeved cardigan sweater and felt like I was about to turn into an icicle! I was FREEZING and, well, um... When the hell did that happen?! Literally, it happened overnight. I'm a DC native, but every year I'm reminded the hard way that DC has two seasons in place of the normal four. Here we only have HOT and COLD seasons. It honestly seems like there is no in-between.

Today is overcast and this morning I was chilly even with a jacket on. This makes me so sad because I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my good friend, Summer. Summer, Summer. Oh how I'll miss thee! Even though I only see you once a year, you are such a generous friend! I so look forward to your annual visits. And when you're here, the time just flies. Whenever you show up, you always bring good times. And you never arrive empty-handed. You bring me priceless gifts like block parties, loft parties, house parties, barbecues, fish frys, picnics, sunshine, gentle breezes, passionate romances, darker skin (sexual chocolate!), and lighter hair. Its a lovely time for all when Summer comes to visit.

But wait a second, now that I think on it, Summer wasn't such a joy to have around this year. Summer showed up empty-handed. This year, the only things summer brought along was work, debt, and more work! I mean sure, Summer showed up with some sunny days and gentle breezes, but I hardly got to enjoy them because I was... Yep, you guessed it - WORKING. And, to top it all off, Summer didn't host parties of any kind! I didn't go to a single party be it in a house, on a block, in a loft. Nobody barbecued a damn thing and fish frys? Fugeddaboutit!

Damn, Summer. Now that I think about it, you were a stingy mofo this year! But, still. I'm sad to see you go. And what's really unfortunate is that you've only just left, yet I can't wait for you to come back for a visit next year...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spare the rod, Spoil the child?

This weekend, I was pretty sick with asthma and allergies. Lemme tell you, people, nothing is scarier than not being able to breathe. It is really not a game. That's some frightening shit. Anyway, needless to say, I wasn't up for much stimulation this weekend, so I took it really easy. MBF and I decided to hang out with my mom. He met my mom and I at our church because the Usher Board was having a cookout and the food was off the chain! There were barbequed ribs, chicken, fried fish, baked beans, potato salad, cakes, cookies, pies & ice cream. Good gracious! This is why I LOVE being a Baptist! You will never go hungry at a Baptist church. Lol!

Then, we decided to go to Starbucks and drink coffee and people-watch. People-watching is one of my absolute favorite things to do, so I was pretty much in Seventh Heaven (why do people say Seventh Heaven? That means there has to be at least six other Heavens out there! Weird...) drinking iced tea, hanging with two of my favorite people, and providing a running commentary of everyone who walked by. So, after a while, this White man (I promise that the fact that he's White is relevant to this story) and his child start walking toward us. All of a sudden, the child drops to his knees and refuses to get up. His father, clearly confused about what to do next proceeds to drag the child along the sidewalk. When he gets to us, he stops, and asks the child why he won't get off the ground.
"I'm tired!" the child snaps. "How much longer do we have to go?!"

The father stops and tries to reason with the kid, but he is inconsolable and unreasonable, so the father resorts to dragging him down the remainder of the sidewalk. The father seemed embarrassed, but not embarrassed enough. Like, I think that maybe this wasn't an isolated incident of dragging the child through the street.

I looked at MBF and said, "If that was my child, there would be no reasoning. There would be a butt-beating (or at least the threat of a spanking... I'm a big softie & probably wouldn't go through with it) and that would be the end. But when a child is being unreasonable and is behaving like a heathen he/she will be treated as such.

MBF said, “There wouldn’t be any reasoning because my child would never DO something like that!”


Now, I fully understand that MBF and I can talk all day about the way people discipline because neither of us has any children. So, I’m sure that it’s much easier said than done, but it seems as though the answer is so simple. Put the fear into your kids and get the results you want.

My mother’s entire immediate family lives within 15 minutes of each other. I have five cousins – three boys and two girls – and we’re all around the same age. We were raised as more than cousins… we were like brothers and sisters. My two cousins D and E were closest to me in age and their mother and my mother are sisters. Because our moms are very close, we spent A LOT of time together when we were growing up. Our mothers used to take us shopping at the mall almost every weekend.

We had a routine. My mother would drive me to my aunt’s house. We’d get inside and I’d play with my cousins while our mothers talked. Then, they’d call us downstairs and make us use the bathroom in preparation for the “long trip” (in reality it was probably more like a 20 minute trip, but it seemed like a long-distance road trip). Then, just as we were about to step out of the door, they’d look at us and say in a very stern voice, “If you embarrass me in this mall, you are going to be in big trouble.” We’d get in the car and make our way to the mall and then they’d repeat the warning, “Don’t embarrass us in this mall… or else!” Well, the combination of the tone of voice and the menacing look was enough to keep me in line. I never once got in trouble while at the mall… or anywhere else for that matter.

Well, except for one incident.

For this story, I must go into the third-person. When Brown Girl was four, she was at her grandparents’ home with all of her cousins, aunts, uncles, and a few guests that her grandparents were entertaining. Brown Girl’s mama used to always pride herself on the fact that Brown Girl was not one of the grandchildren most likely to show-off in front of company. In fact, Brown Girl was generally shy and spent most of the time in her cousins’ shadow. On this particular evening, Brown Girl went downstairs to the basement, saw a can of Arrid deodorant on the couch, opened the can, and ate some of the deodorant. She is not sure why she did it, although she vaguely recalls that it had something to do with her newfound acquaintance with the concept of shock-value. And, boy, were the innocent bystanders shocked… and disgusted… to say the least. Brown Girl’s older brother, who was about 12 years old at the time, ran upstairs to snitch on Brown Girl to their mother. Brown Girl’s mama, stopped her grown up conversation, got out of her chair, came downstairs to the couch where Brown Girl stood eating deodorant, and – for the first and last time – tore Brown Girl’s legs up. Mama had always threatened Brown Girl with “do not to make me get up out of my chair… or else”. Brown Girl had never been sure of what the “or else” consisted of, but that evening, Brown Girl found out. Brown Girl’s brother, who had never seen their mother angry enough to lash out at anyone, began to cry hysterically (don’t tell him that I told you this) because he was so afraid.

[end third-person]

I never received another spanking in my life, although there were a handful of times when I probably deserved one. I don’t remember the details of that deodorant-eating day, but I vaguely recall a negative encounter with my mother that day. Honestly, I remember eating the deodorant, but not the spanking. I’m not sure what that means… maybe it means that I was more impressed by my own rebellion than the punishment that I received as a result of it, or maybe it means that I blocked out that negative experience, maybe it means that the spanking wasn’t as significant as my brother and mother like to recall, or maybe it just means that I’m getting old and don’t have the mental capacity to recall things that happened that long ago. Whatever the case, it’s more of a funny story than a traumatic event.

But I know one thing, whenever my mother looked at me sideways, I recalled the fact that she had spanked me before and she just might actually spank me again, and that was enough to keep me in line… So, maybe if that man had given his child one good lick, he would’ve been able to shoot the kid a look and make him think twice about crawling on the damn ground in front of hundreds of people.

(I know I’ll hear a bunch of objections and complaints regarding my idea of rearing a child, but I plenty of folks have been spanked and still turn out to be normal and functional human beings. So, if you happen to disagree with my methodology, then make some suggestions for better ways to handle out of control kids. Please… I welcome your suggestions.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired

So... A lot of people have been giving me grief about Junior since I last posted. Let me make this extremely clear to you people out there - no matter how "funny" or "amusing" you may find Junior, he is not now, nor will he EVER be a prospect for yours truly. I'm sure that he is a blessing... to SOMEbody, just not THIS body. I actually haven't seen him this week, so maybe he's decided to give up. Fingers crossed!!

But, in the continuing saga of men who want to date me and in whom I have no interest at all, this morning I was confronted by a man who literally made me laugh out loud (and not in a good way). Admittedly, I didn't handle the situation in the most tactful manner, but the shit was downright hilarious.

I am coming down with a cold, so this morning it was more difficult than ever for me to get out of bed. I got dressed and made my way to the train. I listened to my iPod the whole time I was on the Metro and then walked bleary-eyed off the train toward my office building. Before I made it to the escalator, this dude taps me on my shoulder. Now, first of all, I was about to knock his ass out because he tapped me on the same side I was carrying my things and he made the mistake of touching the MJ bag. And lemme tell you, NOBODY touches the MJ without permission.

So, anyway, I side-stepped him and looked at him like he was crazy.

As you may recall, I'm wearing my iPod at this very moment and my music was rather loud, so at this point, I am reading his lips and it seems as though he has formed his lips to say, "Can we go to lunch?". But I refuse to believe that is what he has asked me. So, I just stare stupidly at him and take out one of my headphones.

"Huh?" I say.

"Can we go to lunch?" he repeats.

Ah ha. Just what I thought.

"No, thanks," I respond.

He takes a step back and looks me up and down.
"What?" he asks.

"No, thanks," I repeat.

Surprisingly, I have managed to keep a straight face up until now (if you know me, you’ll know that I have a tough time controlling my facial expressions), but here's where I lose my composure. Homeboy looks startled, taken aback, and GENUINELY surprised that I said “no, thanks” to his question. He is literally looking like he just cannot wrap his mind around the fact that I wouldn't be interested in going to lunch with him. And, the look of astonishment that spread across his grill caused me to burst out laughing in his face! He looks at me with an expression of pure disgust, turns, and walks in the opposite direction. I shake my head and brush it off. Then, I chuckled from the station to my desk.

Reading this now – on the train after the workday is over - it seems like what I did was harsh. I mean, I'm the same one who complains about not meeting good men and maybe this was "the One", right?


Any dude who could get his approach THAT wrong is not the one for me. And what was so wrong about his approach? Well, number one, his appearance. Dude was probably in his mid- to late 30s and was wearing super baggy jeans, a t-shirt with glitter on it (DC dudes, what is up with your obsession with the Bedazzler? Glitter and sequins and shit do not belong on men's clothing/hats/sneakers!!!) and stunna shades in the underground –DARK - Metro station.

Then, he touched me. Well, actually he touched my MJ, which quite possibly could’ve been a more serious affront than actually touching ME! You do NOT need to touch to talk. Invading my personal space is not a good way to start off a conversation... especially that early in the morning.

Finally, he got his opening ALL wrong! How about an "excuse me" or even some other small-talk starter? But to begin (what you think is going to be) a conversation with "can we go to lunch" and to just start off cold... You clearly know nothing -NADA- about women.

So... thinking back on it now, I probably should not have laughed at him. And maybe if his presentation had been more on point I might have actually entertained his question. Ordinarily, I am not a rude or mean person, because I don't think of myself as particularly stunning, as long as a man approaches me respectfully, I am usually flattered enough to be at least polite. At worst, I may make it a "teaching moment" and say "Ok, bruh. Let me tell you what you did wrong." But this morning I was sick and late for work and didn't have the energy to be flattered and certainly didn't have the time to teach a grown man a damn thing.

Dear Lord, I hope I am not blocking my blessings for having to check that fool, but I just couldn’t hold in the laughter.

Anyway, I honestly think I’m just frustrated that the ones that I don’t want seem to be the most aggressive about wanting me. I’m tired of the Juniors and the Bedazzled aggressors of the world! Why can’t the ones I like just like me and the ones I don’t just leave me the hell alone?


Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

I know that it's been far, far too long since I've written anything. And, I'm going to stop with the empty promises that I will post more frequently. Because, the truth is that my schedule is hella unpredictable right now and there's no way that I can make any guarantees that I'll post when I get home from work. Today, I have solved that problem by writing my post while I'm still AT work. Probably not the best solution, given the fact that I work in a law firm and I'm certain – although no evidence has appeared to alert me to this fact – that Big Brother is always watching me here.

You know it's funny because today, when I devised this plan to post from work, my boss says to me, "One of the attorneys has a blog. And while I don't mind anyone having a blog (as long as they don't discuss work), I don't want him writing the blog on company time." This comment came TOTALLY out of the blue. We've never discussed blogging by employees before. In fact, before this conversation, I probably would've guessed that my boss, who is an older woman, didn't have a clue about what a "blog" is. Now, I'd be convinced that my office was bugged or something since she happened to mention this on the same day that I decided that I'd start writing while at work. But, the problem with that theory is that I hadn't actually voiced my plan to anyone, nor had I written about it. This was a plan that I had conceived in my mind. And, if "the Firm" has access to what's going on in my head, I have a MUCH bigger problem on my hands than I could've ever suspected.

Anyway, I normally wouldn't even have time to post during the work day. I am literally busy with something work-related just about every minute of every workday. And by the time I get home, I'm so tired that I'm brain-dead. As I may have mentioned before, my activity of choice after work is sitting on my couch in front of the television. Hey, I know… it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. But I really, really miss blogging. Everyday, I observe something or hear something or think something and I say to myself, "Self, this would make a really, really great blog topic." But then I'd get home and get in front of the laptop and I would realize that my brain was mush and I was unable to recall the topic I'd had in mind… or I was simply not motivated to put fingers to keys, and I'd commence to catching up with people on Facebook, or start doing some online window-shopping instead!

But, you know, when I deny myself the opportunity to write, it really becomes frustrating for me. My mind becomes restless and I have so many thoughts floating around in my head that I cannot possibly settle on one long enough to write about it. And that's frustrating. When I was a kid, I watched that movie, "Throw Mama From the Train" with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal. In that movie, Billy Crystal wplayed a writer plagued by writer's block. At that time, I'd been writing short stories for years and I already knew that I loved writing, but I just couldn't understand why writer's block was so frustrating to Billy Crystal's character. But, now I understand! It's enough to drive a person crazy... to sit in front of a blank Word document and see that blinking cursor taunting you. There isn't a more miserable feeling... Except maybe constipation, which is a pretty damn bad feeling in its own right. And, I'm finally finding my writing voice again, so that makes me very relieved. I thought maybe I'd lost the ability to formulate a complete thought and then express it on paper. But it's still here, thank ya Jesus!

So, I finally find the words, right? And as I'm sitting here writing them down, this fool comes in and interrupts me. And, no, I'm not referring to my boss as a "fool". I'm actually talking about Junior, this guy who works in the mailroom. A couple weeks ago, Junior decided that he liked me. He didn't come out and say it or anything, but his actions definitely let me know what he was thinking. On a particular day, he had to pickup several packages from my office to be sent via FedEx. After his third trip up, he asks me if I might know of some jobs available in the federal government. I tell him no, but that I'd keep an eye out for him. (Please keep in mind that this question was totally random as I don't have any reason to know of such openings.) He leaves and I go to the restroom.

When I get back to my office, I receive a phone call from what the caller ID says is the “Fax Dept”. I don’t know anyone who works in the “Fax Dept.”, but I answer and, what do you know, it's Junior. He starts a random conversation about the weekend and then tells me his birthday is Monday. "Cool," I say. "What do you have planned?"

Turns out he's got no plans. But he asks again about job openings and asks if I have a personal email address where he could send his resume. Um... Ok. I reluctantly give him my email address, quickly end the conversation, and pack up my things to head to the Metro and get home. But before I even get to the entrance of the Metro, my crackberry let's me know that I've received an email. It's, of course, from Junior. He is asking me if I'd be interested in helping him celebrate his birthday this weekend. The short answer is no. The longer answer is HELL no. But, instead, I don't respond... I ignore his messages not to be rude, but because it's the most polite way I could’ve responded to him. The, that Sunday, I get a friend request from him on Facebook and another email asking me what I had done that weekend.

Now, this is a rather long back story for my “relationship” with Junior. I still see him everyday when he drops off mail and packages to my office. And I am very cordial to him. Never rude at all, but I keep it short and sweet so that he understands that our only link is my dependence on him (and the rest of his department) to bring me FedEx packages and interoffice mail.

At any rate, I’m saying all this to say that when I finally got into the groove of writing this post, I was typing pretty fast since the words were pouring out of me after having been pent up for so long. The door to my office was open, but since I looked like I was in deep thought, people were passing by the door but not stopping because it seemed I was doing something important and work-related. And then Junior comes by. He sees that I am typing furiously, so he just stands in the door, presumably because he thinks that I will stop doing what I am doing to carry some random conversation with him in the interest of politeness. I look up and hold up one finger (not the middle, although that’s the one I feel like throwing up) to let him know that he should hold on for a minute before speaking. When I reach a good stopping point, I look up to acknowledge his presence. And the question that he'd been waiting to ask me was so asinine… so… random (do you notice that there is a theme or randomness permeating this story?) that I don’t even remember what it was. I respond curtly to the question and then he tries to continue the conversation by steering it to what I’m doing this weekend. I tell him that I’m really busy and don’t actually have time to talk, and he says cool and goes on about his business. Now, I made Junior my friend on Facebook because it was the “nice” thing to do. But even though I’ve given him no indication that I’m interested in him, he continues to press his luck with me. AND, he threw me off my writing rhythm after all this time. I would’ve posted this much earlier, but because I lost my train of thought when Junior interrupted me, I didn’t start writing again until I got on the Metro at the end of the work day. But the good news is that I’ve finally overcome the writer’s block because, despite Junior’s intrusion, I wrote the whole way home.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Monday, August 11, 2008

Naptime: it ain't just for kids anymore...

We've had a lot of loss this week. First Bernie Mac, then Isaac Hayes... they say that death comes in threes and I hope to God that "they" are wrong about that. No more dying! (I know this is a unrealistic request, but this is really stressing me out!). There may be additional blog posts because of these losses, but I'm not making any promises. Even though it's only Monday and the week JUST started, it's turning out to be hellish thanks to someone at work (NOT my boss, thank God) who happens to be the devil incarnate. I guess the honeymoon is officially over... Anyhoo, inkeeping with the promise I made to you and to myself, here's this week's post. If I can keep this up consistently (looks like I might succeed!), then maybe we'll move up to two posts a week, and then three, and then... well, you get my drift.

Totally random thought.

The question that begs to be answered is – when did it become imperative for me to take a nap in order to be fully prepared for a night out with the girls? When I was a kid, you couldn’t pay me to take a nap. I remember when I was in pre-school, all the other kids would pull out their cots and their pillows and blankets and hit the sack for at least an hour during the school day. But not this little Brown Girl. I’d be helping my teachers put toys back in their places, or assist with decorating our classroom, or simply sit and listen to my teachers gossip or discuss the intimacies of their home lives. I’d do a lot of things during that nap hour, but the one thing I wouldn’t do was sleep.

When I got to be a little older, every night around the same time, I’d complain to my mom that I didn’t feel well. To which she would roll her eyes and respond, “You feel fine, baby. You’re just sleepy.” Today, it strikes me as odd that I wouldn’t know the difference between feeling sleepy and feeling tired since the feeling of fatigue is so familiar to me at this point in my life.

I never took naps in high school because during the week I’d come straight home from school and rush through my homework in order to be able to socialize or watch television. And, why waste time sleeping when I could be talking to my boyfriend on the phone or watching a good movie on cable? On the weekends, when I actually had time to sleep, my goal was always to go out with my friends late at night. My father, a champion napper, understood a nap for nap’s sake, but didn’t understand the logic behind sleeping during the day to go out with your friends at night. And, in fact, if he caught me sleeping during the day and then I asked permission to go out at night, he’d use my nap as evidence that what I really needed to be doing was going to bed early (because obviously I was tired – why else would I need a nap?) instead of hanging out with my friends. So, of course, my solution for that was to pretend that I was upbeat, chipper, bright-eyed, and bushytailed ALL DAY – even if I was exhausted – in order for me to pass his test. It usually worked and he’d let me go out and stay out late. And rarely did I need a nap the next day. But, of course, this was when I was young and had energy.

I didn’t, in fact, become a fan of naps until college. I took them not because I needed them, but because they seemed like a luxury. After my first semester, I arranged my classes around two things: Jerry Springer and naptime. In between classes, I would leisurely make my way back to my dorm room, kick off my shoes, wrap my hair and tie on a scarf, and lie down for at least an hour, during which I’d fall into a deep and peaceful sleep. And, best of all, there was no one there to judge me. My roommate understood the value of naps just as much as I did, if not more, and therefore respected my quiet time. Come to think of it, she and I had a beautiful roommate relationship built on mutual respect and understanding and a common love of naps.

But back then, napping was something I wanted to do, not something I needed to do. Imagine my surprise a few years ago when I first uttered the words, “Whooo girl. If we’re gonna go out tonight, I need to take a nap.” The words didn’t even sound right coming out of my mouth. “Need” to take a nap? But why? I’d never needed a nap before. And then, it hit me. My youth – those reckless days of staying out til 5am, only to awaken at noon and do it all over again – were in the rearview mirror. Never again would I be able to survive for a week on no more than 10 hours of sleep. Gone are the days of me partying six nights a week and “catching up” on that sleep with a 2 hour nap on Sunday afternoon that would leave me good for the rest of the week. Those days are behind me now. Now, I NEED sleep. It’s a bit disconcerting to know that most weekends, I am unable to function like a normal person if I stay out past 3am two nights in a row. That means that I have to decide whether I’ll go out on Friday or Saturday night because my near-30-year-old body, it turns out, is not cut out for sleep deprivation.

Right now, it’s nearly 1am on a Friday night. The original plan was to go out with the girls to a party that some people from college invited me to. But, when I got home from work, I felt that familiar blanket of exhaustion wrap itself around me and I knew that I would be no good to my friends (or to myself for that matter) if I didn’t get a nap in before the night began. The plan was to lay down around 7pm and wake up around 8:30 to start making myself presentable. I had a bunch of things to do after work and so I didn’t actually stretch out until 7:45 or so. I slept right through my cell phone alarm at 8:30 and didn’t actually crack my eyes open until 9:35. When I woke up, I felt terrible! I’d missed four phone calls and six text messages from my girls, trying to determine the plan for the night. I was embarrassed. Had I really slept that long? How could I have ignored my alarm? Why was it that I needed the nap in the first place? What kept me from being able to come home from work, eat a nice dinner, make myself presentable, and go out and have a good time with my friends – without the need for a nap?

As soon as I’d had a glass of water, I picked up the phone and started reading my text messages. I had received a text from Bestie at around 8:45 saying she had a headache and was bowing out of our plans (she has been doing that a lot lately – BORING), I rolled my eyes and then returned calls to Shawn and Soleil. Shawn answered the phone, her voice thick with sleep. She had fallen asleep, too. So we agreed that we’d hang out another day. Soleil had actually left a text message saying she was going to bed and that she would call me later. I sent her a text apologizing for being inaccessible and told her that we’d kick it another time.

And then it hit me. I am not alone in my need for beauty sleep. All my girls were asleep, too, and it wasn’t even 10pm. While I took some comfort in a “misery loves company” sort of way, I was also sort of sad for us. We were no longer the nocturnal party girls that we used to be. That energy eludes us now. But I guess these sorts of things will come to pass and, eventually, more and more signs like this will remind me of the fact that I am not the person I used to be.

In some ways, I grieve the person that I was. I liked her. She was fun. She took a few risks and didn’t care about the consequences. But, only a FEW risks. In fact, I often wish that I had taken advantage of my youth more. When you are young, you can make mistakes and nobody says, “Wow, look at that pathetic woman who has seen so much and, as a result of her experiences, should really not be making immature decisions like that. Shameful!” No. In fact, when you are young, people laugh and say, “Look at that crazy kid, taking a chance to see what life has to offer. She messed up now, but she has many more chances to make it right.” It’s sort of depressing to realize that youth will not always be on your side. No more will you have a defense for your naïveté or your gullibility. You should know better. And because you know better, you should act better. You should BE better than what you once were.

I don’t know if I’m better than what I was back in my college days when I partied til the sun came up and thought that it was passé to go to bed before 10pm. What I do know is that now, I need a nap before I socialize at night and, sometimes, I need to stay home on Friday nights. Somehow this change in my routine has made me aware of the fact that whether or not I’m “better” than who I used to be, I’m certainly “different” than what I used to be. And, actually I’m ok with that. I think…

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Opposite of Love

I'm going for weekly posts. And, if I'm feeling extra creative, maybe more than once per week. Let's hope I can keep it up. You know consistency is one of my biggest challenges. But, I'm workin on it...

There’s a thin line between love and hate. At least that’s what the old folks say. Before today, I had always thought of that saying as just a figure of speech. But, very quickly, I learned that – like most figures of speech when you break them down – there’s a lot of truth behind those words.

Yesterday I experienced a flash of such pure hatred that it was almost scary. Ok, a little background on hate. Hate is not the opposite of love. Love is fiery and passionate and, therefore, the OPPOSITE of that is indifference. Indifference is when you just don’t care about whatever you are considering. Hate, on the other hand, which is often mistakenly cited as the opposite of love, is also fiery and passionate. Sometimes, you can hate a person or a thing with so much fervor that it causes you to feel high. You become lightheaded, your heart beats a little faster, you might even sweat, or blush if your skin is light enough. These are also physical responses to love. Actually, though your mind is keenly aware of that which you love and that which you hate, I wonder if your body even knows the difference.

But I digress.

As I was saying, yesterday, I was having a heated conversation via instant message with MBF and – it wasn’t the first time, but it was certainly the time that I felt it with the most intensity – for a split second I hated him. Like, genuinely hated him. It happened so naturally and so quickly that I was startled by the feeling. Just this week, I was busy typing out an ode to my love for him and days later if he had been in my reach I would’ve done physical harm to him and not thought twice about it.

It occurs to me that I have never had a romantic relationship that wasn’t complicated. There are always things left unspoken, an elephant in the room so to speak. I have been angry with every partner. Mostly because, contrary to popular belief, none of my relationships have come easy. Every one of my boyfriends has had some doubts about relationships. I can’t say whether the doubt surrounds their relationship with me specifically (though I obviously am the common denominator here) or whether they all have had an aversion to monogamy, which for all of them has turned out to be true on some level. The thing that I do know is that I’ve nearly had to convince each guy that I’ve dated seriously that I was worth dating. And then after we’d been together and gone through the motions to cement our “love” for one another, they would do something to let me know that they had not believed that I was worth it after all. Maybe they had cheated. Maybe they had done something to disrespect me. Maybe they just seemed INDIFFERENT to me at the moment. Whatever the case, something inside me would snap, I’d see red and in that split second my love for them would quickly mushroom into a cloud of hate. And, no matter where we were or what we were doing, I’d stare indignantly at his face, or at the receiver (if we had been speaking by telephone), or in MBF’s case study his words on a computer screen, and be thinking as my uncle would say, “Dude, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”

The anger wouldn’t necessarily result from what had just been said right then, nor by the perception that I had of the way that the guy was behaving toward me in the moment. No, the anger would result from a lot of little things that built up over the time that we had been involved. Sort of a “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation. Of course I would feel some hostility and resentment. This was a person that I had spent time trying to convince that I was really worth his time, energy, and exclusivity, and after tireless effort on my part, he would have shown me that he didn’t believe me. And then, logically, I would hate him.

I was startled when it happened with MBF. Shocked, really. I had expected it with boyfriends – it had become a familiar turning point in my relationships… and, yes, I am aware that this is not healthy – but MBF is not a boyfriend, although I probably feel more strongly for him than I’ve felt for any of the boyfriends I’ve had up to this date. At any rate, I wasn’t sure what to do with the feelings that I had. MBF said something that cut me to the core. I’m sure that he didn’t mean for the words to harm me, but I was hurt. So, I made a stupid threatening statement to him in the moment that I hated him. And when he didn’t react – he didn’t even seem surprised at what I had said out of desperation – I became bold and defiant and took my words even further. Dug even deeper in an attempt to hurt him the way that he had just hurt me. Did he even know that what he had said had confirmed what I already knew – that he doesn’t think I’m “worth it”? Again, I spoke out of desperation and almost sounded a bit crazy for saying something so outrageous, ludicrous, and untrue. He paused, laughed, and told me that he forgave me, even before I apologized. And, just like that. Snap! The hatred dissolved and he was my friend again. He had literally fought my hatred with love and, as I always suspected, love won that battle.

It’s sort of crazy how you don’t even know what you are capable of doing until you’re backed into a corner. When you feel forced to act to save face, you will do what it takes to protect your interests. I did that so many times with Mr. Ex, it wasn’t even funny. I had said that I would never again maintain fond feelings toward a man who caused me to act out of my character. With Mr. Ex, I didn’t even recognize myself and that scared me shitless. Numerous times, during our interactions, I’d feel hatred bubble up inside me and settle on my chest like a 25-lbs weight.

Who was this person who wanted to destroy things, who wanted to cause physical harm to other people, who shouted and screamed and made idle threats? Surely, it wasn’t this Lovely Brown Girl. Nothing about who I was with Mr. Ex was “lovely”. It was all ugly and it made me unsure of myself, all the while trying to convince him and everyone else that I was sure of both who I was and what I was worth. But is that exactly why I was so angry all the time? Because how can you successfully convince someone that you’re worth it if you don’t even believe it yourself? That’s what I started to recognize after nearly two years of conflicting emotions, of a daily split between intense love and passionate hate. At the end, I was exhausted. I was tired of trying to convince someone of something they were never going to believe and sick of doubting myself about something I knew to be true from the beginning. Of course I was worth it! I knew it, he didn’t. I was trying to persuade him to believe that I was good enough, when everyone else around me (including, on some level, me) knew that I was in fact TOO good for him. He didn’t deserve me. So I left. End of story.

And now, there is no more hatred of Mr. Ex. That’s how I know I don’t love him. The other day, someone asked me if I knew what he was up to, what he’d been doing since we broke up. My reply: “I don’t know where he is, what he’s doing, who he’s doing it with, when he’s doing it, why he’s doing it, or how he’s doing it. And I don’t care to know.” For the first time, I realized that this was actually true. I don’t wonder about him. When I think about it, I wish no harm to befall him. In fact, I don’t wish anything for him, good or bad.

Mr. Ex has called several times in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve ignored his calls and have not been motivated to call him back. He doesn’t leave messages and the last text that I received from him was on my birthday when he had signed it “A guy you used to know”. I liked that he used the past tense. When I got the message, I read it and smiled and forgot about it until a friend who was there with me when I received it reminded me of it days later. This is indifference. The opposite of love. Golly, it’s great to be here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Unrequited love SUCKS/A Tribute to MBF

Say what?? Two posts in two days?! I'm on a roll... watch out now!

By all accounts, Julia Roberts is a pretty decent actress. Everyone has at least one favorite “ro/co” (romantic comedy) where she plays the sprightly heroine with the contagious laugh and wide grin. Most of my friends are particularly fond of “Pretty Woman”, which became an instant classic when it was released so many years ago. But, my personal favorite Julia Roberts film is “My Best Friend’s Wedding”. Today, it is a Sunday afternoon, and it is raining, and I just finished watching “My Best Friend’s Wedding” for probably the 100th time. And, as always, I had the same reaction when the first intense scene came on.

Julia Roberts played “Julianne” who had made a pact with her best friend, Michael, that if they were still single by the ripe old age of 28 (ha!), they would marry each other. When Michael calls Julianne a few months before her 28th birthday, she panics, thinking that he is calling to remind her of their promise to each other. But, in fact, Michael is calling to tell her that he has met Kimmy, a 20-year old blonde bubbly rich girl, and that they are getting married in four days. It is at that moment that Julianne realizes that she has been in love with Michael for their entire 9-year friendship, but has been too afraid of commitment to act on it. Now that she runs the risk of losing him, she feels she must act quickly and take drastic measures to stop his impending nuptials. She travels to Chicago and agrees to serve as the maid of honor at the wedding in the hopes that keeping Kimmy, her new enemy, close, she’ll be able to put a stop to the wedding. Unfortunately, things go awry (and hilarity ensues along the way), and Julianne ends up at the wedding alone, watching her best friend run off to his honeymoon while she sits at a table crying in her cake at the reception. Of course, there is more to the story than what I just laid out, but that’s the plot in a nutshell.

At any rate, when the movie was first released back in 1997, I was a senior in high school. I was watching the film with someone in the theater (I can’t remember who) and, at one of the most intense scenes, I burst into tears. Now, I am not the type that cries easily. In fact, back in 1997, the last time I had cried at a movie was probably when Ricky got shot i in “Boyz in the Hood”. So, nobody was more surprised than I was when my body was racked with sobs as I watched Julia Roberts grapple with her emotions as she realized that she was about to lose the man of her dreams and there was nothing that could be done about it. At the time, I didn’t even have a male best friend, so it wasn’t that I understood the implications of what it meant to deal with foreign emotions about someone who had been closest to you. It wasn’t as though I understood the risk that Julianne was taking when she came clean about her emotions. But there was something that I related to in the movie. It made me sit up and take notice. And, I can say that there probably isn’t another movie (except maybe “Love Jones” and then later “Brown Sugar”) that has had such a profound influence on the way that I view romantic relationships.

Little did I know that, one day down the line, I would be placed in a similar predicament with my own male best friend. For our purposes, we will refer to my male best friend as “MBF”. MBF has been all manner of things to me in the last year that we’ve been friends. Like Michael and Julianne, we had a pretty hot month or so of dating under our belts before we decided to just be friends. And, I should probably mention that the being “friends” thing was not my idea – it was more a unilateral decision on MBF’s part. But, I took a real inventory of my feelings and decided that it was much more important for me to have him in my life in just some way – ANY way – than to have him be in my life the way I WANTED him to be there. Maybe that sounds weird and extreme, but I have a connection to him that I just can’t explain. Something about him is special and endearing and just… just something that I couldn’t immediately make a clean break from. And, so, we became “just friends”. And after confiding everything in each other, including hopes, dreams, and fears, we became BEST friends. It just happened so naturally that I almost didn’t realize that it was happening. But it did. The only problem was that, after a few months of best-friendship, I realized that my romantic feelings for him became even more intense than they had been before. I knew all parts of him – the good and the bad – and that just made me love him more.

My personal philosophy is that men and women can’t be “just friends” if even one is attracted to the other (if both of you are attracted to each other, your “friendship” is doomed from the start). In friendships, your guard is let down, you are comfortable with being vulnerable, you are your real self. So often, you don’t get to see that truthfulness and honesty in another person until very far down the line. And, when you see that in a friend of the opposite sex, whom you also find very attractive, it logically follows that you will begin to feel a sort of affection for them that transcends friendship. Well, see, that’s what happened to me and MBF. But, rather than risking our friendship, I decided that I would sit on my feelings and never voice the way that I was feeling until I was certain that he felt the same way. I mean, I was never really sure if maybe I wasn't just confusing the intensity of the affection I felt for him in friendship with feelings of romantic love. Come to think of it, I think that might be easy to confuse. Always wanting to be with someone, feeling your best when they are around you, needing their approval and their attention... those are all feelings that you could have about a best friend of the same sex without actually being in love with them. But, then, there was also intense jealously and a desire to be physical... two feelings that I had never experienced with friends of the same sex and it would be quite awkward if I did feel those things toward, say, Bestie. That would also open a whole new can of worms and cause me to spiral into an identity crisis!

Now, there were times when I sensed that the feelings that I had for MBF were mutual - if not the romantic feelings, then at lest there was a mutual attraction. But, they were never expressed. And, so, I never expressed mine. In the meantime, MBF dated other people and I knew about it. And, although it pained me that it was happening, I still kept quiet for the sake of the friendship. But, then, something happened that made it so I couldn’t avoid saying something.

MBF met a girl. We’ll call her Gwen. Gwen ended up being someone that MBF liked very much. In fact, he liked her so much that he told me about her. MBF had mentioned people to me in passing before but he was always careful not to make too big a deal out of any of them. And then Gwen came along and MBF told me that he really liked her and because he felt that she might become a part of his life, he just thought that I should know. (See, this is how I fell for MBF in the first place… because he does considerate things like this.) I appreciated his honesty, but when he said it, my stomach hit my shoes. Literally, my heart dropped and I felt like I had been slapped. I mean, OF COURSE, MBF would meet someone eventually. It wouldn’t just be the two of us like ’08 Bonnie and Clyde for the rest of our lives. I was stupid and naïve to have thought otherwise. But as MBF moved forward with his feelings for Gwen, it almost felt as if a little part of me was dying. And I thought that if I could just let him know how I felt then he would possibly forget all about Gwen and tell me that he felt the same way about me that I felt about him and we’d live happily ever after. I tell you, unrequited love SUCKS y’all. And it makes you crazy… (but that’s a different story)

It’s like when Julianne from “My Best Friend’s Wedding” asks her new best friend, George, what he thinks Michael will do when she finally comes clean and tells Michael that she is in love with him. George says that Michael will choose Kimmy, Julianne will stand beside Kimmy at the wedding, kiss Michael goodbye, and go on with her life. Julianne obviously knows that this is how things will turn out between her and Michael, but she also feels a deep longing, an irrepressible hopefulness, that makes her go through with her plan to foil the wedding. There is something prodding her along, telling her that maybe Michael will change his mind. But, naturally, he doesn’t. He, in fact, chooses Kimmy, Julianne stands next to her at the wedding, and in the end she kisses Michael goodbye, and then moves on with her life. In an interesting turn of events, she even puts Michael’s feelings before hers and, even though her heart had been broken, she worked hard to mend the relationship between Michael and Kimmy, and was integral to making sure the wedding went off without a hitch. And, in the end, Julianne is emotionally rescued by the unconditional love of her gay best friend (a necessity for a single woman these days), George, and ends up dancing the night away with George at the reception as Michael and Kimmy depart for their honeymoon. She does not hide under a rock and die afterall, which is exactly what I would do if faced with this outcome in a similar situation.

But, I digress.

Even after seeing that movie one million times, my head told me that MBF would not reciprocate my feelings, but my heart hoped for a different chain of events. And so I told him how I felt. He was flattered, naturally, but did not choose to cross the line of friendship, which had been clearly drawn in the sand for the last 8 or 9 months. When the decision that we would remain “just friends” had been made – for the second time (!), I did not hide under a rock and die there (Huh. Go figure.) and the awkwardness that I had been fearing never materialized. We carried on exactly as we had before I told him the way that I felt. But, I was relieved to have gotten it off my chest. What a weight that was lifted off my shoulders! I just needed him to know, and now that he did, it was up to him where things went and he could never claim that he didn’t know about my feelings. In fact, a few weeks after I revealed my feelings to MBF, Gwen did something very immature that exasperated MBF and he said to me, “If you are still single when you’re 35, we should get married.” My mind immediately went to Michael and Julianne and that pact that they made before the start of the movie. Would MBF and I end up just like the characters in the movie? Me wanting MBF, MBF wanting whoever will be the object of his affection, and me being wanted by no one? How utterly sad and depressing.

At any rate, like I said, I should’ve known that things wouldn’t end with us holding hands and walking off into the sunset to face another day together. It didn’t even end that way in the movie! Instead, the movie ended with the Julianne dusting herself off and moving on with her life. Maybe I should’ve recognized that, one day, I too, would be in a similar situation to Julianne. Surely, there was a reason why I identified with her character so strongly. And, even though pessimism is probably my strongest personality trait, I am a closet romantic who loves the idea of love and what that little four-letter word could mean for me. When I was younger, I would sit and fantasize about who would love me, and when, and how. And, in the end, I was always under whelmed by what love turned out to really be, as well as disappointed by who was doing the loving. Let’s face it, I haven’t had the best romantic relationships, that’s for sure.

I often wonder what happened to Julianne, Michael, and Kimmy. You know… what went down after the credits finished rolling? Let’s imagine that the story continued. Did Julianne get her happy ending with someone else? Did Michael realize that he made a horrible mistake by choosing Kimmy and leaving his best friend behind? Will Michael and Julianne end up together afterall? Does Julianne turn into a spinster who’s great joy in life is being the Godmother to the Chinese baby that George and his partner adopt several years down the line? I know it’s just a movie, but I really do ponder these scenarios every time I watch. And this time when I watched it, I thought of the absolute horror I would feel if MBF told me that he was marrying someone else. How could I keep on a happy face? How would I find the strength to mask my disappointment? But I’d have to deal. I mean, how totally unfair would it be for me to ask him to sacrifice his chance at love to be “just friends” with me for the rest of our lives? Realistically speaking, I have learned in my days that just because you love someone, that doesn’t make them love you back. So, in the end, my heart will probably be broken (unless I meet “the One” and marry first… dear God, please let me be first!), but at least I’ll always have my MBF.

Things didn’t work out with MBF and Gwen (although she is still trying to weasel her way into his life). But, there’ll be another Gwen. And, another. And, another. Where will that leave me? I mean, hopefully, I’ll find someone of my own who doesn’t want to be “just friends” with me and who I will love with the same fervent emotions (or emotions that far surpass even those feelings) that I feel for MBF. But, nobody will replace him in my life and I hope that nobody will replace me in his.

I just hope that, by the time I have to endure my own “Male Best Friend’s Wedding”, I will have my emotions in check enough to be that friend that he really needs me to be on that day. My gut feeling is that it will take all that is within me not to stand up in the ceremony and holler “I object!” at the top of my lungs.*** But, I sincerely pray that at that moment, I will have enough restraint and dignity to put his feelings first and let the day progress as he would see fit.

But we’ll just have to wait and see…

*** MBF reads this blog, so he will get a kick out of this since he always jokes that, despite the fact that I am his best friend, he will not be inviting me to his wedding… at least I THINK he’s joking…

Sunday, July 27, 2008

She's baaaaack!

I’m back y’all! Yup, the Brown Girl is back. The last couple of months have been really stressful. Getting used to this new job has been a real challenge and I’ve had little time to do the things that I love, like writing, idle chatter, internet “window shopping” (cause I can’t afford to buy even half of what I want), watching the “Black in America” series on CNN, etc. But, I’m tired of making excuses.

I’ve started writing so many times. In fact, I have about seven completed posts sitting on my desktop. But, truthfully, I am not proud of these posts. For the most part, they are tinged with negativity and pessimism. Now, I’m a pessimist by nature. I think I might have been born that way, but I’m not sure. At least, as long as I can remember, I have been a “realist”, which is just a synonym of “pessimist”. And, I’m wondering whether that’s held me back in my life. I am well aware of the “power of positive thinking” movement that has become so popular these days. I even took a ride on The Secret bandwagon for a little while, but I quit that because it was too tough for me to visualize all those damn happy thoughts. And so I’ve been grappling with this latest bout of negativity and I’ve refrained from posting because, hey, no sense in me bringing you down with me!

But today, someone sitting next to me on the train was wearing Jeremy’s cologne. And just like that… instantaneously, I was inspired to write something that wasn’t all about gloom and doom and post it right away! It’s not even like I was inspired to write about Jeremy himself because I haven’t really thought about him… REALLY thought about him… one way or another, in months. It was just something about that familiar scent that brought me back to reality and made me realize that I needed to snap out of this nonsensical “depression” and get creative again.

So… right here, right now, I am making a new commitment to this blog.

Dear Blog:

I apologize that I’ve been away for such a long time. I left you with no explanation and no sense of closure, and that’s just not fair. You are very important to me and I apologize sincerely for essentially ignoring you for weeks (or months – yikes!). You are always there for me when I need to vent, always willing to be a vessel for my opinions on just about everything under the sun. You are patient with me and provide me a means to keep in touch with my friends both near and far. And, for that, I am very grateful. So, I am ready to renew my commitment to you. I promise to remember you, respect you, and to ensure that you realize your full potential.

Lovely Brown Girl

Ok, so now that that’s out of the way, we can move on. I’m back… at least for a little while.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ooooh girl! That's my SONG! - "It Takes Two" Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (1988)

So, I recently became a member of this group of people who all really LOVE hip hop. But, before I could join, I had to answer a few questions. I was asked when I knew that hip hop had become a part of my life. As I reflected on my answer, I recognized that I never had a lightbulb moment about hip hop. In my life, it just always... was. I don't remember a time without hip hop. I was born at the very end of the 70s and by that time, hip hop had already taken up residence in my household thanks to my older brother. I remember listening to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick rap about synchronizing the time on your Gucci watch and bobbing my head along to the music before I even knew what Gucci was! And, I was humming along to Salt & Pepa and "shakin my thang" in elementary school. It's always been a part of my life and it always will be.

And so it was that I was recently at a party where DJ Alizay (my FAVE) was spinning nothing but bangers all night long and I sweated out my very fresh relaxer within a matter of minutes. If you're damp when you leave a party, you know you had a good time! What I recognized was, everytime I would hear the opening strains of a new jam, I'd look at my homegirl and shout "oooh girl! that's my SONG!" and my hips would start shaking pretty much involuntarily.

Wouldn't you know it? That inspired a blog post. Ha! So, here it is. "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock. Lemme tell yall, this is the first rap song that I ever knew ALL the words to. The year was 1988 and I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade at Woodlin Elementary in Silver Spring, MD. This song pretty much marks the beginning of my love affair with hip hop. The year was 1988 and I was 9 years old. And every time I hear this song, no matter where I am, I always turn to my girls and yell out, "ooooh girl! that's my SONG!".


Btw, where are they now?? Hmmmm... If anyone knows, fill me in.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Called SELF-Esteem for a Reason/Living Life Like It's Golden

Like Usher, I also have a confession (corny, but it works!): Sometimes, I have low self-esteem.

Yes, I understand that having low self-esteem is not exactly the type of thing that you freely admit. But I am trying to be more honest with myself as I approach my third decade of life (yikes!).

Now, sometimes I have very, very good days. And on those days, I’ll walk into a spot and repeat a mantra that goes something like, “I am the shit. No chick in here has anything on me. I have got it going on and nobody can tell me anything different.” Yes, those are the good days when I feel as though I am looking good and am in the mood for acting bad.

But, those days don’t happen that often. I am always feeling insecure about something. Those of you who know me personally know that I’m short. But the funny thing is that on most days I don’t FEEL short. But then there are those days when I do. and those are not “good” days. On those days I feel more like “Wow, I’m really short and I look weird and everyone is looking at me because I am short and weird looking.” (Yes, these are actual thoughts that I have about myself. Pathetic, isn’t it?)

And, of course, I have my cheerleaders. Those girlfriends of mine who are constantly saying things like, “Brown Girl you know you’ve got so much to offer. You’re smart, you’re ambitious, blah, blah, blah.” While I adore them for building me up, I have to admit that sometimes it does nothing to get me out of my funk. As one friend says, “Low self-esteem is the devil.”

We, as women, tend to blame self-esteem on everyone else. We say things like “My father never told me I was beautiful, so that’s why I have low self-esteem,” or “I’ve been cheated on so many times that now I have low self-esteem.”

But, Katt Williams said it best when he said something to the effect of, “Talkin about [men] fucked up your self esteem. [Woman], it's called SELF-esteem. It's esteem of your fucking self!” Truer words were never spoken. I am constantly reminding myself that I am the creator of my own self-image. The image that I create and the energy that I project into the world are what others will use to define me. And if I don’t feel good about myself, nobody else will either. This is so important for us to remember when we get down in the dumps or start coveting what other people have.

One of my biggest self-esteem issues has to do with my body image. As I mentioned before, I am short. And I’m also carrying around a few extra pounds. Now, I am trying to do something about that, but as I’ve mentioned (repeatedly) I am a work in progress, so that is, well… in progress! But I remember one interaction that I had with Jeremy on one of my “bad” days that made me feel oh so good.

Jeremy and I had a lot of bad days, but we had a lot of good days also. One day, I was feeling particularly fat and inadequate and was pretty much stomping around in a bad mood. To make me feel better, Jeremy took me out to dinner at a nice restaurant downtown. (Now I should mention that at this point, I was heavier than I’ve ever been because Jeremy was ALWAYS taking me out to dinner!) Our waitress was a pretty cute girl who seemed to have eyes for my boyfriend. Jeremy wasn’t really paying her any mind since he was being very attentive to me that night. And I remember a conversation that we had in the car on the way home from dinner. I asked him if he had noticed our waitress, and her perky breasts, and round brown. He said no he hadn’t noticed because he’d been too into making me happy. I knew I wasn’t being fair, but I just kept going.

He pulled the car over, took my hands into his, and looked into my eyes and said, “Look, I just want you to know that YOU might not be happy with your body, but I am. It might not be perfect, but I love it because it’s YOURS. Ok?” he asked.

“Ok,” I responded, sniffling.

I looked out the window to keep him from seeing the satisfied smile on my face. I knew I was impossible on my “bad” days, but he put up with it. And the way that he reassured me seemed so genuine and his love felt so unconditional at that moment. I know it’s not right to put so much stock in other peoples’ opinions, but it felt good for my boyfriend to validate me and my appearance. I often look back fondly on that particular moment that we shared. It was one of the times when his love felt unconditional…

Sometimes, I also feel like my self-esteem is low because of all the blows that my ego has taken in relationships. I’ve been honest with you about having been cheated on by several boyfriends. The first time I’d been cheated on, I was 13 years old. I had dated Brad (this is his real name, by the way) for two whole months, which is in actuality a long-term relationship when you’re in middle school. He told me he loved me AND he was the first boy I ever French kissed. I thought we’d be together forever. We went away for summer vacation and things were perfect between us. Two weeks later, he met another girl at summer camp and decided that he couldn’t be my boyfriend anymore. I remember that Valentina had to deliver the news and she tried to do it as delicately as she could. My ‘tween heart was broken! A little piece of my heart died that day. I couldn’t believe how easily he could throw away all that we shared! Even though I remained hopeful that I would find “love” again, I was cynical and bitter about men and their ability to commit. I know it seems insignificant, seeing as though it was a middle school relationship. But it was my first encounter with puppy love. Before that happened, I believed that anything was possible and I thought that everything that guys said to me about the way they felt was the actual truth. My experience with Brad was my first real adult wakeup call and it made me feel shitty about myself. And of course, the disappointment continued. No need to explain since you already know the stories of Mr. Ex and Jeremy. And when I was a freshman in high school that boyfriend cheated on me, too!

My insides carry all those scars that I earned in those relationships. Even though each relationship broke me down a little bit, I somehow emerged stronger each time I endured the hurt. And although I am proud of myself for making it through those relationships, sometimes the war injuries that I’ve sustained rear their ugly heads and make me feel a little down about myself. Like, obviously, something is wrong with me if nearly EVERY dude I’ve ever seriously dated has cheated on me. Clearly, there is something wrong with ME. I’M the common denominator. I internalized those thoughts and, even though I usually feel confident in myself, sometimes, residual feelings pop up and make me feel bitter and unsure of myself. When that happens, well… those are my rough days.

I made a confession about my rough days to a fairly new and very wise friend and she shared a metaphor with me that changed my life. I will expand on it a bit for the purposes of the blog, but will preserve the spirit and integrity of her original words.

She said: We are like gold. We all have to go through a process to become refined if we want to look like the gold we see in the jewelry store. But when gold is first discovered in the ground, it doesn’t look the way that we know gold to look. The way that we see it when it’s in the store, it’s shiny and pretty. But, if the gold could talk and we gave it a compliment on it’s fine appearance it would say, “Girl, you don’t know what I had to go through to look like this! I had to be pulled, tugged, pushed, ground down, and polished. But obviously, there was a purpose for me because someone took the time to dig me out of the ground… and here I am! That process, and all the pulling and tugging and pushing hurt, but that process – as tough as it was – it made me beautiful to you. But thing is, I was always beautiful to my Creator. He knew my purpose and he saw me like this – all shiny and pristine – from the moment He took me out of the ground.”

That’s all there is to it. And can I get an “Amen”?!

Those words spoke to me in a way that I had never been spoken to before. In that moment I realized that if I ever felt a lack of self-esteem, I should see myself through the eyes of my Creator. I know that I am somebody special because God don’t make no junk! That’s something I used to say when I was little. I know it’s kind of corny, but it’s a mantra that I need to incorporate back into my daily living.

If ever you feel as though you’re not everything you could or should be, just think of that shiny gold. If you’re ever feeling beat up, less than perfect, hurt, angry, or bitter, think of that gold. It didn’t always LOOK like precious metal, but the process that it’s Creator took it through, made it beautiful. Life is a process and as we progress through it, the bumps and bruises and life experiences – both good and bad – are what make us who we are. We are the sum of our experiences. From the moment we are put here, we have a purpose and a destiny and it’s up to us to make the best of what we are given in life and to understand that although we might not look perfect on the outside, to our Creator we are that pristine and polished piece of gold that is waiting to emerge at the end of the process.

If we think of ourselves in that way, how could we ever be short on self-esteem?