What is the going rate for Integrity?

Strange question, I’m sure.  However, I find it necessary to pose it.

The other day, while in conversation with one of my core friends, she stated that if offered a certain amount of money, she would -without hesitation- become a Trump supporter.  Now, this is not a moment about politics.   If you are a supporter of one party,  because you just don’t support the stance of the other, then fine.  If you switch political parties because you believe that your political needs are better met/supported by another party, then fine.  However, if you switch parties simply because you’ve been offered a substantial amount of money, then -for what it’s worth- you lose my respect.
As a female person of color, supporting any racist/sexist/misogynist simply because the money is right…well, this calls to question your integrity.  What is your standard? What is your limit? At what point is money not enough to sway your beliefs?

money hungry

seeing a grown man cry

Have you ever seen a grown man cry? I mean, breakdown and sob.  I mean, see his tears and hear his moans and know that in that moment his blood pressure lowered, because what all he was holding/keeping/ignoring/suppressing is now being released through his tears.  When is the last time you saw a grown man cry? That does something to you.  Something shifts.  You realize you only know what he’s told you, but the rest has been kept hidden because, you know… we all know… “that a man ain’t supposed to cry”  not a “real” man anyways. goodness.  Who comes up with these rules?  Because Real Men (whatever this description is) break.  They get tired sometimes. They cry.

here’s what I know: I know that when a man drinks a lot of liquor he becomes emotional. Hear me when I say, I’ve seen a grown man cry plenty times.  I used to break with him.  he cries, I cried.  Plenty times. However, it got to the point where when it happened I simply turned away and kept on doing whatever the task was, or create a task or simply exit the environment.  Sometimes with a strong eye-roll.  It may sound odd, but that did something me. That shifted something in me.   Did it shift my sympathy? No.  At least I don’t think so…  but something shifted….

When I see a grown man break and cry, I can stand and be the shoulder he needs to cry on. I can honor the fact that this moment is significant.  I am wise enough to know that he’s not crying because he has nothing better to do.  I am present enough to not push for answers, but to simply allow the moment to be a simple as it is.  He needed this time. Let it be.

Now my mom? she tells a story of how when I was a toddler, she was doing her normal afternoon prayer, and there I was kneeling next to her. when she was done I looked up at her and said “mommy, you didn’t pray good today”  she said “why baby?” to which I replied “you didn’t cry this time” 🙂  That’s when my momma cries. during prayer.   So if/when she breaks outside of prayer, THAT breaks me.

But seeing a grown man cry…something has shifted in me…. and I don’t know if I can get it back.

tears of a man

What’s your Love Language?

I’m sitting at my desk and my co-worker comes to me with the question: “What’s your love language?”  Coincidentally, I have that very book in my kindle library. so I pulled it up and refreshed my memory.  There are 5 basic ones:

  1. Words of Affirmation
    2. Quality Time
    3. Receiving Gifts
    4. Acts of Service
    5. Physical Touch

Oh! I remember now. yeah, mine are 2 and 4: If you love me, make time for and spend time with me. And do what you say you’re going to do.

I’ll be over after work“…show up and sit and eat and watch tv or listening to music or talk to me. but show up and stay a while.

Baby, the light in the laundry room needs changing. I’m going to get the bulbs and do it for you” …do it. matter of fact, you don’t even need to tell me; just do it. Let me tell you something, to me, that’s gold. “Baby when’s the last time you got your car serviced…lemme get the keys.” …your night is bound open with a home-cooked meal and end action-packed 😉

Oh baby you look nice…I love you so much…you’re a great woman… but you say this while sitting on the sofa waiting for dinner after I get in from work and tend to the kids and this is your usual way. Yea… nothing. at all. you’ll get a good suggestion as to what you can fix for yourself or which take-out place is still open.

So my love languages are Quality Time and Acts of Service.

What’s your Love Language?

love languages

“I carry you in my spirit”

The first time I heard this I was watching Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and I thought goodness, that’s deep.  But let me tell you, it’s a thing. It really is a thing.

I realized that when I have a strong connection to you -my child/sibling/parent/father of my child/bestfriend- and you are going through something, once you let me know about it, and it’s heavy, I will carry it. depending on the depth/strength of the connection, sometimes the person doesn’t even have to let me know…but I’ll know. and I’ll carry it. walk away with it. sleep on it. wake up with it. and depending on the weight of it, the next day I will feel an extreme heaviness in my spirit and have to stop and think where it’s coming from…then remember…I’m carrying him/her in my spirit.

and it’s rough

I’ll sometimes feel that this assignment is hard… why am I hurting for this person when they’re not even aware of the severity of their own situation?

so I pray. “God listen. you already know the situation. I’m praying that you help “x” through this situation. give him/her wisdom to navigate successfully.  and please give me the wisdom to know when to speak, listen and shut up and leave them be. Amen”

Each person has a gift and a purpose.  “I carry you in my spirit“.  I don’t know if that’s a gift… but I know it’s a thing. and its real.

I carry you in my spirit

How did they do it all?!

Today I am tired because yesterday I did what turned out to be “too much”.  Of course during the “doing” I didn’t think of the possibility of too much; I was simply doing what needed to be done. My day started at 6:00a.m and ended at approximately 2:00a.m this morning. Then I was back up again at 6:15 to continue “doing”.  I look back at yesterday with no regrets, because things got done. Everyone’s request to me was met. I slept -briefly, but slept nonetheless.  And I’m tired. with Purpose.

and so I think….

how did they do it??? our ancestors. the slaves? how did they do it all?!

no cars. no ac. no down-feather comforters. no leather jackets with wool lining. no boots. no maxi-pads or tampons. no diapers and wipes. no baby powder. no deodorants. no pocketbooks/handbags to put them in.  no Dove body wash. no bath and body works lotion/mist/perfume.  again I say: no maxi-pads or tampons! HOW. DID. THEY. DO. IT?!  No marvelous wedding ceremony. no amazing reception venues.  no honeymoon for days.  Everything that needed to be done, got done right where they were. right where they stood. right where they worked.  And somehow it got done. all of it. all the requests/expectations were met daily. It got done.

no headphones plugged into some device so small and convenient, yet so huge so as to give you the sounds you needed to get through the day.  the music was there. within them. their hearts and minds. their souls.  Songs lived. filled. the “holes in their souls”. music. prayer. hope. faith. filled the holes left by the children/spouses/parents/friends taken away.

and the women. those women. our women. the amazing, marvelous, miraculous, magical, spectacularly beautiful, strong, divinely powerful women. They did it all. without the leather jackets with wool lining, boots, maxi-pads or tampons or pain-relievers. without the diapers and wipes. without the baby powder. and no pocketbooks/handbags to put them in.  no Dove body wash. no bath and body works lotion/mist/perfume.  These astoundingly superior women got their work done, with the baby tied to their backs, and the toddler at their feet. They breastfed their own and the ones not even in their bloodline.  They helped deliver the babies and tend to the sick. all this sometimes in one day. laid their babies down to rest. prayed over and for them.  and possibly got an hour or two of rest themselves.  Then got right back up and did it all again.   These women made the choice many times over to run for the unknown/unfamiliar freedom? or “stick to the evil you know”?   these decisions… what’s best for them? for their children?  How did they do it?  daily? These women. These stunning, intense, brilliant, indestructible, fervent women. They did it all.

So today I am tired. With Purpose. and I give honor and gratitude to my ancestors, for being steadfast.  Sonorous. Allowing this strength to ring out from generation to generation.  Nothing I do compares to  what they’ve done, but I do know I couldn’t do/accomplish any of this , had it not been for ALL that they did.  Had it not been for their determination, tenacity and Love for themselves, their children, their children to come, the children unknown.

“Dig Deeper”

I remember an episode of “The Cosby Show” where the older daughter -Denise- was telling them about a dream she had about one of her teachers….the teacher was wearing a big hat and Denise took it off her head and there was another hat and the teacher said “Dig Deeper!” so she kept taking the hats off and the teacher kept telling her to “Dig Deeper!”  Denise was struggling with this teacher because she would always tell her to Dig Deeper to find the answers she needed.

And so it is with my writing.

I am the one taking the hats off myself and telling myself to dig deeper. It’s continuous.  When I take my “hats” off, what’s there?

I’m a mother. Dig Deeper.

I’m a daughter. Dig Deeper.

I’m a sister.  Dig Deeper.

I’m a friend. Dig Deeper.

I’m a cousin/niece/grandchild.  Dig Deeper!

I’m an employee.  Dig Deeper!

I’m an acquaintance. Dig Deeper!

I’m the one you love.  Dig Deeper.

I’m the one you used to love.  Deeper.

I’m the one you still love.  Deeper still.

I’m the one who loves you.  Dig Deeper

I’m the one who used to love you.  Dig Deeper

I’m the one who can and will love you.  Dig Deeper

I am black.  Go Deeper!!

I am educated.  In what?

Sociology: the importance of the family dynamics. the importance of the church.  the importance of feeling/being a part of something beyond yourself.  The importance of the rich, middle class and the poor and how all these different classes supposedly offer a societal balance.

 Psychology: the way you act is a direct result of what you’ve learned.  Either you walk the same path, or you veer away from it. Either way, what you’ve learned -or been exposed to continuously over a period of time- affects you who are.

Networking: sitting at home, or posted up at your desk is as dangerous as it is safe.  Get out and meet people. Have conversations face to face.  Supermarket aisle “have you tried this product? how do you use/cook with it?”  or a random “I love your hair. what do you use?  Natural hair is not easy to maintain…”   If there’s one thing you can get black women to chat about it’s hair!  If there’s one thing you can get women to in general to chat about, it’s shoes. Chat. Give and receive random compliments. Make new friends.

Love: how to give it and how to receive it. How to walk away from it when it fades.

     Hurt: how to give it and how to receive it.  How to walk away when it becomes too much.

 Happiness: how to appreciate and honor it.

Pain: how to live through it.  Take medications or let it pass. Fix it or get rid of it.

Sex: Good or bad.  Never settle for the bad.  Fix it or get rid of it.  There are too many things to do and incorporate to settle.

Religion: if it suits you, cool. If not, find what does.  But don’t give up on God.

Trust: how educated am I on this subject?…this is the one “class” I never really passed because it seems like all I keep learning is how not to trust.  This is the class I am forced to retake over and over again. Damn it. This is where digging deeper got me.  I’ll keep working….

Confession Session: Religion

Note: If you are religiously thin-skinned, this post is not for you.  Please bypass it and read one of my more conservative posts.  Thanks 🙂  If you are open-minded and ready for some controversy, welcome!

With that being said, I struggle with religion.  I was raised Christian -religiously.  Meaning, there were rules -so many rules- and regulations to be followed.  I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was eighteen and that got done when I went on vacation to visit my sister in another state.  No makeup, no jewelry -definitely no ankle bracelets because …you know…. the harlots wore those. No nail polish and if you did, it better not be red because…you know…that was the color the harlots wore.  You can’t go to the movie theatre, can’t go to the school dance, can’t go to parties because…you know…Christians are to separate themselves: “come ye from among them“.  If you marry, don’t divorce. If you divorce, don’t remarry. Cause if you do…that’s a sin.  If you’re unhappily married, pray it through, God will deliver you because “whom God  joined together, let not man put assunder”.  Well, what about those that God didn’t join together? you know, the ones who see all the signs of “Don’t do it!” and they do it anyway.  The ones who get every warning -divine and earthly- that this isn’t the one for you and you sign the marriage certificates anyway.  If God didn’t join them….why stay?!  Your mate is a drunk bastard who beats you? “hold on…Joy cometh in the morning” and let’s not forget “God never gives you more than you can bear“.   No. That’s garbage.  pack up and run. If you don’t have time to pack, just run.  I digress….  You grow up thinking that everything outside of your religious teachings was a sin.  That all other religions outside of your own wasn’t “complete”  for lack of a better word.  So you grow up Christian. Religiously.  And then you discover your love of research. and asking questions. and getting answers. Outside of the Bible?! :O oh no oh no oh no.  Why I can’t wear pants? “because the bible says a woman is not to wear men’s clothing.” Yeah, but I buy my clothes from the women’s store, not the men’s store or even the men section of the store, sooooo how is that a “man’s clothing”?  And who came up with that anyways cause back in the bible days EVERYBODY WORE DRESSES.  I digress… Why can’t I wear earrings or a wedding band (when I get married)?  Cause we shouldn’t adorn ourselves with jewelry.  Maaaaan please. a pair of earrings and a ring?  Yea, o.k.  You should see my jewelry armoire now.  I’m pretty sure I’m making up for what I wanted growing up… Why can’t I go to the movies or parties? “Because the bible says don’t conform, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”  Yea, that nice Jesus of mine hung out with the thugs and thieves.  He liked them, and from what I see, he enjoyed a good party too: “we outta wine?! Man bring the water so I can change it so we can keep this party going!”  If I stick to hanging out with Christians, who am I going to influence and inspire to “find the light of Christ”?  Exhale.

Religion is exhausting and contradicting

Slavery:  as bad as slavery was, has been and will always be, the first mention of slavery that I’m aware of was in the bible.  The children of Israel were slaves to the Egyptians. Therefore, if it was allowed then, why wouldn’t it be allowed in this age?  So of course the slave owners reflected on this using the bible itself.  And you know those slave owners were some praying, God-fearing folks! [insert hard-eyerolling emoji here]

Also, Noah cursed Canaan, and Canaan is the offspring of Ham… and it is said that black people are descendants of Canaan and therefore they/we are cursed to be slaves to others…. Research has shown that this is false teaching and only used to justify racism.  Fast forward years later and we come to the history of slavery right here in America and so many other countries and islands all over the world.

Inter-racial dating:  back to the bible again.  Deuteronomy 7:1-6 tells the Israelites to destroy all the inhabitants of the Canaan land and not to intermarry with them because they would “turn your sons away from following Me, that they may serve other gods.”  Let’s take it back to the first point.  Slavery.  And if the slaves come from Canaan, it’s safe to assume that Canaan was black. IF the Canaanites were black and GOD said not to intermarry with them, then it must mean that INTERRACIAL dating/marriage must be wrong.  Again, this is all based on religious teaching.

Homosexuality: don’t panic.  Let me start off by saying I do not condone or condemn.  It’s not my place.  It is simply my place to love and honor you in the place in which you stand. The choices you make are your own.  The fact is that homosexuals suffer discrimination because the bible says it’s wrong.  O.k. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah -cities located in the southern region in the land of Canaan…I digress– is pointed out regularly.  Here’s the thing: at no point in that story did it say “God sent Abraham to set those two cities on fire.”  God set those cities on fire for his own reasons. He didn’t need help or permission from anyone.  So why do we as humans take it upon ourselves to “metaphorically” set people on fire?  Not only that, but it says that God set those two cities  on fire because “Then the Lord said, the outcry against Sodom is so great and their sin is so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me…” skip over to the next chapter and you find a whole slew of men wanting to be with the male visitors (angels) that Lot had in his house.  Those angels blinded those men “…Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.” (Genesis chapters 18 and 19).  So those men were blinded.  Those same angels could have killed them just as easily. But they simply blinded them.  Again, read it for yourselves.  The bible never said God set the two cities on fire because everybody was homosexual. It says God set the cities on fire because their sin was grievous.  You know how many sins are considered grievous to God?! A WHOLE HEAP OF THEM.  But what does religion do? pick a “sin of choice”, zero in on it, isolate some people, discriminate and crucify over and over and over again. Because, you know…. every body is God.

Church:  there’s a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr that says “…it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.”  I would venture to say Sunday on a whole is a day of segregation.  Christian religion believes it’s the RIGHT religion.  All other religions are wrong or just haven’t gotten it right yet.  And at the same time, all other religions believe that they’re religion is the RIGHT religion.  Everyone is bosom-buddies from Monday to Saturday, but come Sunday, we all retreat to our proverbial “corners” and worship our version of God the way we apply him to our cultures and tradition.

Religion speaks of a Forgiving God.  Then the religious people punish people for screwing up.  Basically, God forgives you but we don’t.  Do you know that they would “read out” a young woman out of the church for getting pregnant out of wedlock?  I mean, they would take the time out of their Sunday to let the church know “hey, so and so got knocked up so this is official notice that we’re scratching her off the members list. Once she has the baby and comes back she can start fresh”  I’m pretty sure the wording is different/deeper/”more loving”, but the context is the same.  Yep, it happened to me. I don’t know how it goes, but I know it went.  I didn’t attend church that Sunday because WHO wants to experience that humiliation?   Well, why go through that?  I’ll still be unmarried and toting my beautiful happy baby. Soooo why go through all that?  Shouldn’t my screw up be between me and God?   Yep, I’m sure someone said “well, if you had just kept your legs closed you wouldn’t have to go through that.”…  but you know…it got good and -as an older lady said- I forgot to get up” LOL!!!!  Gotta laugh at some of this stuff if not it’ll have you in a corner hugging yourself, rocking and humming softly.  And from what I see and know, a whole heap of them went through something similar at some point.  Why rain down such judgment on someone else?

That is my main problem with religion.  The continuous rainstorm of judgement.  The good book says “judge not, less you be judged” and yet…. every day… judgement rains from religious people.   Then when their leaders screw up, suddenly it’s “let God be the Judge”.  HUH?!

So, yes. I confess: I have issues -deep issues- with religion. Not just Christian religion, but religion on a whole.  I only focused on the Christian religion because it’s what I know first hand. I write from what I know.

What are your thoughts?

My Truth

is simple: I’m o.k.  I don’t have time or space to entertain… I have no desire to make time for after hours conversation.  Once I get home, I’m home. My phone goes one way and I go another. The thought of having to close my door to have a conversation with… or to talk after the baby goes to sleep…. it feels more like a chore/task… I just don’t have that in me right now.

Maybe when I meet that guy -the right guy- the one who piques my curiosity/interest, who makes me want to dig deep and learn about him, the one who the sparks fly with… that one. That one I’ll have time for. That one I won’t have to make time for because our time for each other will come naturally.  That one.

For now, I’m o.k.  I’m at peace. I’m happy.

This is my truth.

Touch me once again…

I’m listening to Floetry and loving every minute of it and I get to thinking…what is it? what happened to make me close off that part of me? …that part of me…not so much the physical (even though that remains on lock…unlocked) but the emotional, the mental, the spiritual part that welcomes being touched.  I can talk/text/write/blog about any and everything. Politics, religion, relationships, parenting, work/life balances, cars (have you seen the new Kia Optima???); but I just can’t seem to tap into that part of me.  Have I become so tired? afraid? cold?  I need to tap in to that part…

He came to visit me wearing full red: t-shirt and sweats.  I smile because I know he did it on purpose. he knows I absolutely love seeing him in red. He knows it triggers me…touch my sight

He took a sip of Heineken, leaned over and breathed in my face softly, then laughed. I can’t explain it and no other beer/alcoholic beverage does that to me, and I’m not sure if smelling Heineken on another man’s breath would have the same effect…I never tried…but with him…touch my smell

All he had to do was get close to me, stand in my space, allow me to feel his breath on my face…my neck…and it would alert all my sexual senses. Time would pass and I promise, just being that close to him was enough, for me…for him it was simply the beginning…the start of a moment that would last well into the morning. But for me, standing in the middle of a room, or the sidewalk or the grocery store, -it really didn’t matter- but just having him share my space…touch my skin

His voice did it. His laugh. His base. All he had to do was leave me a voicenote of some kind. Just hearing him spiraled me. Hearing my name coming out his mouth sent me traveling…my mind, my thoughts would end up wherever he was and within seconds my day/week/forever was planned with him…he knew what songs I needed when I needed them. He knew how to speak to me through these songs…he knew me enough to…touch my sounds

To have him appreciate my words, my formulas, my analysis. To have him understand and agree with or intelligently debate against my logic. To have him teach me something new,  teach me how to love…him.  show me a different perspective. Understand him. Help me develop my language…touch my words

Touch me. Trigger my senses. Touch me again.  Allow the neurons in my body to dance a new dance…communicate with each other in a new way…speak a new language, a love language.  A language that only you can/will ever understand.  Allow the muscles in my body to relax at the very thought/sight/smell/feel of you.  “It’s just the thought of you, the very thought of you, my love

Touch me.

 

 

Hideout

via Daily Prompt: Hideout

My hideout is not a hotel room on the beach. it’s not a cabin in the mountains. not a second home in the hills. nor a tiny house on the countryside.

this is my hideout. here on my blog. I come here for mental escape. right smack in the middle of the workday, while writing test cases and feeling like I’m stuck; no idea what the next format of driver’s license should be to test…wondering if I covered all the possible scenarios: My brain hurts and I need to get away, I come here.  I come here in the middle of the night when everyone’s asleep and the house is quiet: I can’t sleep and my mind won’t slow down, I come here.  I come here while patiently waiting in line at the deli: there are multiple conversations going on and it almost sounds like chaos. I come here.

This is my hideout. My place where I can be found by those searching for me if -and only if- I allow it.