he had a nice set of teeth or: what is a black life to you white man?

lumumba had a nice set of teeth he said
chuckling to himself
and out of his front pocket came
a tooth
a tooth
lumumba’s tooth.
some believe he’s coming back he said
chuckling to himself
well if he does
he’ll be missing two of his front teeth.

what is a black life to you white man?
colonialist
imperialist
conqueror
ruler
what is a colored man
drenched in sun kissed skin
bathed in the nuanced hues of brown
what is he to you haint?
what does his man hood
his royalty
his heritage culture identity
what is a black life to you white man?
what is it worth?
what does it mean?

you
who chuckle
and dance in the power of your nothingess
killed patrice lumumba
because he was blunt
no shucking and jiving
and yessuh bossn for you
he made you nervous
you’d never seen confidence in black
only obedience in african
in negro
in islander
so you shot him up
like steroids in a juicehead’s arm
took his teeth out
dismembered him
buried him twice
burned him in acid
threw him away like what he was to you
trash.

a father
a brother
a son
trash.
what does that mean to you?
you killed your own in europe
historically, you hate yourselves and
any and all that come against you
even your god(s)

what is my life to you?
nothing
another dead nigger bitch
and i’m glad because
to HIM i am so important
his son bled
and even for you
he was bruised and beaten
bloodied and crucified
dead buried and resurrected
so that even in your piety
you can cry abba father
and repent
for taking patrice’s teeth
and the king’s father
and the NOI’s thorn
and angela’s freedom
and troy davis
and harlem children’s fresh food
and their right to breathe asthma free.
we have not forgotten.

today your children protest
your gluttony
watch the chickens
as they return to their home
to roost.

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insanity. the sneaky snooker.

it’s a play on… oh forget it.

this whole THING i’m in. can’t explain it. can’t try to organize it. don’t have my glasses on while i’m typing so right now i can’t even SEE it.

is it an attack of the enemy? or am i really truly unhappy with these choices i’ve made? have i really given satan that much leeway with my “self” that he can now make me think it’s either him saying something or influencing something or HIM saying something or influencing something? that would suck.

i must be honest. teaching those classes does nothing for me. doesn’t earn me brownie points ( i had earned em all when i actually WAS a brownie), doesn’t balance out a curse word or evil thought. doesn’t help me sleep at night. none of it. i am annoyed with it actually. i don’t feel good knowing that i’m helping people better themselves. and it definitely doesn’t make me feel more noble knowing that i’m doing it for free. my purpose in getting out of the education department at fvsu was because i realized i couldn’t teach kids. my purpose for deciding to major in english was to stay away from group activities. i prefer to be alone. even with writing, i will tell you all my issues from the safety of my desk. in person, we’d talk about the weather.

part of me feels wrong for admitting that this bothers me. part of me wants to say, “i’m just kidding. i know that what i’m doing is a good thing. i shouldn’t be so concerned with me all the time….and i’m helping people and it’s not so bad really because while i’m doing it, while i’m teaching, i’m not as annoyed.” that bitch is the reason i’m in this mess now.

i do not have a plan.. or goals… i suppress all of my desires because as i see them, they are all pointless. not because they’re mine. this is not self degradation, this is about the confusion, stupidity, depression, total emotional toxic waste that comes when you allow yourself to be overwhelmed by what you should have already overcome.

follow me.

at 18, i decided there  a few things that i could do to free myself from  my grandmother’s death grip, influence and presence. and so, in order:

i started smoking.

i kept my hair braided.

i joined the band

i got a job and didn’t come home from summer school (which got me kicked out the house but not COMPLETELY emancipated)

i remained friends with people i knew she didn’t like.

i went natural.

i dropped out of college.

i worked and became independent.

i went back to school on student loans.

i graduated from college.

i paid off my student loans

i moved to decatur

i grew locks

and in the end, i’m back in her house. and her schedule, wishes, wants, needs, desires, and whims still run my life.

what’s my point exactly? had i OVERCOME  my need to thumb my nose at her, to simultaneously get her acceptance and her disgust. i wanted her to love me because of who i was as her granddaughter and as a person, but i also wanted her to hate me because she expected me to fail after all the traps she set and i didn’t. but she is a MASTER manipulator. so she still wins small victories. like my self loathing. like the last two years of my life. like the revelation behind this note.

like every time i decide to do something i don’t want to do because i think i will be rewarded for my good deed. the “goodness” of my actions. i have been waiting for her to love me, like me, accept me for the last 26 years (i always count from age 3 forward) and it ain happened yet. all the good i did. all the good grades, the good behavior, the church activities, the extracurricular. i couldn’t just be in a club, i wanted to be president. couldn’t just be in the band, i had to be first chair. i had to be drum major. i had to be an honor graduate. had to get a full ride to college. had to. and it got me more headaches from her. my family say shit like, “she loves you in her own way.” fuck that and them. lol. it’s a silly cycle of broken dreams and infectious nightmares. and what, you ask, if anything, does this have to do with….. or even… what is your point byrom (cause who even calls me nikki…. only a few.)?

i made/make decisions based on what i believe are other people’s perceptions because i am usually looking for acceptance and validation from the world because i did not get it from the one person who i desperately needed it from growing up. there’s a term for it. i won’t google it. doesn’t matter right now.

truth is, i am the kind of person who does what she likes because then i know i’ll be good at it. i’m a musician because it’s in my dna. same for writing. same for being an english major. i can spend four hours playing an instrument and go home feeling refreshed. even though there are kids around. i spend the same amount of time teaching my classes and afterward, i am spent. through. annoyed.

i liked working at pizza hut. people made fun of me. but if you know me you know i love cooking. and making things with my hands. yes, i do have a degree. wtf does that have to do with what i like? quit testing your theories on me. i ain no damn lab rat.i like bartending. i do things with liquor and juice and berries and whatever that most people don’t think of.

i cultivate landscapes. nothing more rewarding to me than watching how flowers and trees, grasses and shrubs come together and share the same dirt but make the space look so different with a few shifts of earth and water. a lot of people don’t understand it. most people my age don’t do it. i can’t imagine not doing it.

wanna know how i figured out the need for her to love me was the root of my issue? i  have been working on this yard for the past two years. and this year, everything is blooming. and it’s all so gorgeous. some things are so breathtaking i can’t even describe how the colors compliment each other and how deep and rich the hues are. how the lilies…..nevermind. i ended up having to pull up stumps of holly bushes that had been there since i was like 8 or 9…. so they’d been there at least 20 years. and i dug them out of the ground. i didn’t use a truck or lawnmower. i used a shovel, axe, longhandled lopper (pruner) and a water hose (to expose the roots). it took me a while. but i personally escorted each of those 5  stumps to the curb for pickup. and i have the scars to prove it.  she can’t see the flowers i’ve planted, or the landscape i’ve cultivated….. but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. does it?

no. no it doesn’t. so i guess my point is, how existential do i really want and or need to be right now? if you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result, what do they call that?

insanity. the lesson in the mist.

dear oprah or: when it’s over, is it really over?

this

was not my introduction to oprah winfrey. the color purple came out on film in ’85. i was three. so i missed that whole life changing event until i was much older, like maybe 12 or so. didn’t appreciate it until i was in college. the film or the book. bygones.

THIS

was my introduction to Oprah Winfrey. in 1989 Harpo Productions sent out a little 2 part nugget of love called the women of brewster place. i was seven years old. i was smart enough to know i needed to see this over and over again, and intelligent enough to use the VCR, so i recorded it. and watched it. and sometimes, some 20 years later, i’ll slip the tape in, and watch it. it was BRILLIANT. a stellar cast of black women, telling a story of a family created and fortified through adversity, and love, and the vicissitudes of life.  and for me, it was magical. oprah winfrey as mattie michael was the exact embodiment of the type of woman i needed in my life at that time, and even now. she was wise, caring, loving, intelligent, giving, human. she was intuitive, and objective. she loved hard and cooked hard. it was awesome. i didn’t know who oprah was then, but i knew that whoever she was, she was some sort of magical, because i became lost in the character. mattie michael was real to me.

and no, this is not going to be some overly glazed ode to the lady o, it is simply my observations, my ruminations (i’m sorry but i love the kenan thompson’s sketch as Deandre Cole on “what up with that?” when i was putting all those -tion words in this blurb, i couldn’t help but here the 16th note high hat rhythm that comes in right before he breaks into the show’s theme song. i’ll include a clip so you can understand. now back to oprah), and my lamentations about her departure from daytime television. i will miss oprah. there, i said it. now i will tell you why.

oprah winfrey and i, unbeknown to her of course, have had a very interesting relationship. i started watching her show around maybe the age of 10, which would have been in 1992, and in case you’re wondering, the set of the oprah show looked like this in ’92:

this particular photo comes from a show she did on racism where she randomly assigned her audience colored collars to wear. it was groundbreaking stuff really.

and that’s exactly my point. as a young girl, from a small town, who loved to read and write and learn and experience something other than whatever it is the culture of this region prescribed for individuals of my age/race/gender/class, oprah was like the AP life class i could not get. watching oprah i learned about topics that, when further researched, totally broadened my world view. oprah helped explain racism to me. i was able to understand why and how the white people in this itty bitty town treated me the way they did, why it was okay for me to be smart but as soon as i was smarter than a white child there was an issue. this was in 1992! as years progressed, every issue she brought up, when relevant, was a new lesson in life.

when she added iyanla vanzant to the mix, i got a journal, and actually put my feelings in it. i remember vividly coming home one day, skipping band practice AND 4h to hear iyanla tell me how to learn to forgive. and i wrote that thing down in my journal. after dinner and homework, i holed up in my room and did the exercise for every individual i felt had wronged me. including myself. it was SO liberating. of course i had to do it continually because i was still young and learned that there were deeper levels of hurt and perceived and real injustice that i needed to muddle through. but the foundation for my own spiritual growth had been laid. i wasn’t getting that in church, or from my family, or from the woman who reared me. i got it from oprah.

now please don’t think that i’m taking oprah as some demi god, but she’s been in my life for almost 20 years, and next week she’ll be gone. i’m not good with separation. especially when i care. so this is difficult. and yes, this is still nrthebyrom talking. this is still the no snooker zone. had the NSZ been around in 1998 when the beef industry sued her, i would have been on here telling you that it was a snooker job. that you shouldn’t be led to believe that you are so stupid that one person with a wildly popular talk show could convince you to eat something that was bad for you anyway. i had stopped eating beef YEARS before that lawsuit and only recently began again. i argued with my rural fellow 4hers because, as the children of cattle farmers, they felt their livelihood was at risk. i felt oprah’s freedom of speech (and therefore mine) were threatened. i learned from that experience, that you cannot argue logic against fear.

time passed. i grew up.  oprah gained weight and lost it. i didn’t care. i loved her regardless… and then… the great jesus debate. my mind wasn’t THAT open. but hers was. and i stopped watching briefly. because i couldn’t vibe with her spiritual beliefs. i graduated high school. went to college. became a buddhist. ain no jesus in buddhism. slowly, my dormmates would bring up something they’d seen or something they’d read because oprah endorsed it. and i was right there. on my bed at 4pm watching before band practice. when i had my breakdown i watched the view from 11-12, mash reruns from 12-2, perused the internet and wrote on my blog from 2-330, and from 330-359 i prepared whatever it was i was going to eat. at four o’clock, i was no longer a crazy depressed hermit. i was an oprah viewer. and it made me feel normal again, if only for an hour. it’s the little things.

i’ll skip the oxygen network. in my mind, it never happened.

season 25. the OWN network. i’ll skip the puns. season 25. 25 years of oprah winfrey. 25 years of one hour blocks of information, education, and entertainment. 25 years of visits from people i’ll never meet and some i’ll never want to. 25 years of topics, giveaways, good books (including my all time favorite book ever.com) , bad lies, great music including this season 25 gem:

and then there’s gayle king. an ultimate best friend in the pantheon of best friends. i thought, how awesome would it be if i had a best friend like gayle. though the sentiment was that of a young woman who didn’t know what real friendship was , as an adult, the gravity of their relationship has been made abundantly clear. i finally have relationships like that. real true sister love relationships. i won’t even address the lesbian issues. because truly, if she told you about her feet, and you saw her issues with weight, and you know she was molested as a child. and you know she was pregnant as a teenager and miscarried. and you know she still with stedman. and you know all these other intimate details about her, wouldn’t you know if she was attracted to women? c’mon! she makes a living talking about life, and hers sometimes most specifically. you’d know. she would have told you. like she tells us all the other stuff.

but oprah and gayle…. you’ve gotta love it. two intelligent, successful black women who remain tastefully dressed on television, and do not feel the need to demean each other. they represent the best of us. this is my blog. start your own if you disagree. it’s free.

next week, when it’s over, is it really over? will the world ever not need oprah? it’s possible. but who else has done 25 years worth of what she’s done on a  comparable scale? no one. so when it’s over. when my 4 o’clock slot is just another weird hour. when i’m watching OWN hoping they’ll show reruns and i’m pretty sure they won’t. when i’m feeling bad about who i am as a super black woman. where will i get my rejuvenation. when it’s over…. is it really over? her show yes. her “ness” never. awesome. bless God. may the work i’ve done speak for me….

with all that…… here it goes….

dear oprah,

you never knew my name. have never seen my face and would not recognize my voice if you heard it. but i know your name, i know your face, i recognize your voice. millions and millions of people will celebrate you, have celebrated you, will continue to celebrate you. it is well deserved. i celebrate you as well. and everyday at four o’clock, i look forward to watching your show as i have since i was a little girl. i have grown up with you. your show has been one of the more consistently enriching experiences i can lay claim to in my arguably  short existence. i appreciate you for that.

i am grateful that God is so wise and intelligent. that he designed you and predestined your life’s path from eternity. i am grateful that i was able to watch your show and learn, and that you were willing to teach. willingness is so paramount. i am grateful that you did it for love and have been doing so since before you were OPRAH.

i catch myself looking at your show differently now, not just because it’s the last season, but because the vibrations are different. you have an air of power about you that wasn’t in full bloom before. it emanates from your being.

i hope i don’t sound weird, but you won’t read this anyway, which affords me a great deal of room to be candid. to me, you were an aunt, separated from me by distance and nothing else. i was a very lonely child,  and sought light from everywhere, often disappointed. but through your life i see light. i see similarities in our upbringing, in our beliefs, and that is what has kept you so viable for so long. your willingness and your humanity.  you provided me with a semblance of a paradigm. of overcoming, of wholeness, of truth. thank you. i will miss your show. i guess i will miss you in a not trying to be weird but kinda little kid sad face way. i’m not good with separation or change.

i really will have to rearrange my whole life because of one hour. damn.

thank you. namaste. God bless you. Shalom Aleichem.

sincerely,

nrTHEbyrom, avid and more loyal than not viewer since 1992

p.s. i’ll admit. i did laugh at your parodies, but i won’t include the videos.

OH! AND THANK YOU FOR MAKING UP WITH IYANLA. IT WAS AWESOME TELEVISION. helped my life immensely.i needed y’all to do that so i could try to heal some miscommunication ruined relationships.

there are some things that cannot be put into words. this was an attempt. the magnitude is immeasurable.

 

 

a rant on james frey or, so it’s like that then?

unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard of and forgotten or vaguely remember the ‘writer’ James Frey. frey’s “memoir” a million little pieces, was published by Random House in April of 2003.  it seemed the world went nuts over this little book with a big message. i just thought the cover was cool.

he was fortunate enough to have his book blessed with a little white and gold circle with  oprah’s seal of literary approval. i rarely missed an opportunity to read one of her choices, which i will discuss in a later article, but this one i could not bring myself to buy. of course i did my usual book buying ritual, i went to books a million, perused the new selections, read the back cover, picked it up, walked around the store and picked up other books, put that book back, went and bought coffee and a snack and went home.  i repeated said ritual at barnes and noble. i could not convince myself that this book was worth my time. sorry auntie o. and then the scandal broke. five days after my 24th birthday (it’s not important but why not), the smoking gun exposed frey’s book as a fraud. a big ole sloppy hot dumpster juice smelling fraud. and what’s worse, oprah had approved it. oprah approved a fraud. can we say tail spin?

and the world went NUTS!! he went on larry king (oprah called in to defend him) and he was on every piece of semi news and news show to defend himself. i was DISGUSTED! not just because his voice grates on the very fibers of my nerves, but because HE LIED! he lied about being wanted in three states, he lied about his criminal record, he lied about his jail time. he lied. and this book was in the hands of MILLIONS of people before and AFTER oprah approved it.  here i was, a struggling poet and soon to be college graduate, still holding on to the idea that if you do what you love and you come from a place of truth, you will be rewarded. I WAS SNOOKERED PEOPLE! not by james frey, because i didn’t read the book remember. but by the idea that a book can be written and steeped in lies and sell and be approved by oprah, who has the midas touch for most anything that is to be consumed and then be  revealed a fraud and frey becomes a VICTIM?! of what?! he didn’t snooker himself. he snookered everybody else. INCLUDING OPRAH!

i was upset then and now for the same reason. this topic has resurfaced because, in season 25 of her long running show, oprah decided to bring this man back for a two part interview as one of her most controversial guests. watching today, i remembered how i felt at 24, young and poet and believing that as long as i wrote from my heart and told the truth i’d be okay. and i counted on my fingers how many times this fool has been on oprah and i got pissed all over again. a FRAUD! a CHARLATAN! a NE”ER DO WELL gets on oprah 4 TIMES FOR A LIE and i have yet to get a positive response from a publishing company. ONLY IN AMERICA!

i got on twitter and said the following: @nrthebyrom Fk james frey. fk random house. fk his agent. fk his hs english teacher. fk his pens. fk his journals. fk his laptop. fk his drug habit.

i would like to add the following: fk whoever told him he had to lie to kick it when tupac CLEARLY said we don’t. fk his agent. fk the people who said oprah was wrong for calling him a liar because he did indeed lie. fk the people who didn’t get their money back for the book. fk the lady in barnes and noble who told me i simply had to have it when i said i didn’t want it.

FUCK WHOEVER SAID IT’S OKAY TO PUBLISH A SEMI FICTIONAL MEMOIR. THAT SHIT MAKES NO SENSE!! but i guess if Carl Rove nem can say common is a thug , a memoir can be a patchwork of supercalifragilisticexpealidocious liebangers.

i digress. another book i never purchased was Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ The Trials of Phillis Wheatley. i thought about the dear sister phillis today, as that man sat on television basically saying he lied on purpose, and that the reason he couldn’t tell the truth is because he had finally been published and Kurt Vonnegut was at his release party and oprah was going to put it on her list and blah blah blah. i thought about the dear sister.

the poet. the writer. the slave. named after the ship she was brought over on. an educated woman, even though enslaved. freed in 1778, when it was still wrong to be black and female and alive in america. wrote a poem to George Washington. went to his house.  my favorite of her pieces is on being brought from africa to america.not because of it’s title or even it’s syntax, but because of the debate it sparked in one of my classes. we argued over those 8 lines for almost 2 weeks. like to read it? here it go:

On being brought from Africa to America

‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negro’s, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.

phillis wheatley

she never heard thomas jefferson’s remarks about her. she faced down a group of “founding fathers” to defend her ability to be black, female, african, creative, intellectual, HUMAN.  she died at 30 years old alone and broke. sound familiar? it’s the fate of many a what? starving artist. i thought about phillis because james got a pass. nobody questioned his ability or the validity of his story because he sold it. it was real. it was so gritty and grimy. it showed the world that no matter how bad the situation, you too can reach your crack residue laden fingers down and grab the straps of your boots (if you’re not using them for a tourniquet) and put your life back together. you can. but phillis was saying she was glad she had been brought to america, even if it was under the guise of slavery. and thomas jefferson, among others, said she didn’t have sense enough to know what was going on or how to express it? and i still can’t get a book deal. so, if i publish my poems under a pseudonym and pull one of those moves like on the chapelle show when the blind black guy was a klansman, then maybe i could get some publicity… oh no? i’d be the new phillis? so… it’s like that then? damn.

dear james frey,

or to oprah to get your book sold.

sometimes

it’s more bitter than sweet

like chocolate

just sweet enough to enjoy

just bitter enough to be disgusted.

today it’s a little more bitter

perhaps because yesterday i watched my lil cousin cry

sitting in front of his mother’s casket

knowing his pain

and then not really

i was too young to see my own mother’s casket

at least that’s what the older people thought

so i spent the day with her best friend

drinking orange soda with peanuts in it

watching television and playing

not knowing that what was going on around me

away from me

would change my life forever.

sometimes it’s more bitter than sweet

changing her mother’s diapers

listening to her call me out my name

remembering that’s all she’s done forever

is call me out my name

and compare me to a ghost

who couldn’t defend me or herself

remembering a few years back

riding in her car from sunday school

on a day similar to this one

mother’s day

crying cause i missed her

having her mother say

she can’t do a damn thing for you now

feeling the gravity of truth in her statement…

sometimes the bitterness rises like vomit

and has to be released

so that i can live and eat and breathe

again.

sometimes i write poems

sometimes i write letters

sometimes i drink liquor

sometimes i drink nothing

eat nothing

until i feel more like myself again

and then

i wonder how much of myself

is me again

because i feel that without her

part of me is missing

and has been

at least since 85.

people who have mothers

are strangers to this pain but

they try to tell me how to feel

i would like to tell them to shut the fuck up

but jesus wouldn’t like that

so instead i break and cry

wishing i could rip my soul open

and show them the chasm

they wouldn’t know what to look for

or what they were looking at

when you grow up without a mother

or in my case both parents

it stands to reason that life is different

and more arduous still

if someone else has to rear you

if someone else has to cheer you

when you graduate

or score touchdowns

or make your first big dinner

or get married

or give birth

you grow up faster

you grow up harder

because you have no paradigm

nobody that looks like you or doesn’t

to validate your place

that’s my baby.

i’m nobody’s baby

i’m always reminded

by her mother

whose ass i wipe

whose  taxes and bills i pay

whose life i keep moving

even though

she

hate

me.

fuck your opinion.

read what love does

and know that i didn’t get that from her.

never been stupid

just hungry

for the chasm to be filled

for the pain to be abated.

26 years ago in november

i was three

and my mother was dead

and sometimes……

mothers and daughters part two: daddy’s little girl

when i was a little girl, i thought my dad was the most awesome person who ever lived. he could do anything. he made me feel special and loved and pretty and smart and good. a lot of people talk negatively about him as a person, which is hurtful to me, because i love him so, but that’s what ignorant people do. he treated me like i was the most important thing in the world to him, and when he died, it created a chasm in my soul that will never be filled. another chasm was created by my mother’s mother after he left, that i know now was happening because my daddy wasn’t there with his love to counteract. love protects you, it shields you from the barbs and arrows, the erosion of the soul that negativity can cause. i never felt lonely or sad around my father, never felt unwanted or unloved. that’s how the woman who reared me made me feel. that’s the shift i was speaking of in part one. the shift from something to nothing that takes place when we choose to insult or demean children, girls in particular. no matter what the world says about you, you can negate it or ignore it if you have someone telling you how beautiful and intelligent and worthy you are at home, in your haven, your safe place. but if that place is also a cesspool of insecurity and anger and peril, then you have nowhere safe to go. what do you do then? you seek that goodness in places where, unbeknown to you, it cannot be found.

i was never promiscuous. even though i didn’t know much about sex or whatever, i knew i didn’t want to be “that girl”, so i didn’t engage in those activities. but i did start drinking at a very early age. i think i was like 12 when i realized that alcohol made me numb, and numb felt good. it’s in my pathology to drink and drink heavily, so it happened. when i got to college, and the alcohol was more readily available, i felt a sense of release that no matter what happened, i could drink it away. i also started smoking weed and popping pain pills. i was addicted to numbness, to the dulling of the senses, the desensitization of my body, and my soul and the quieting of my spirit from the screaming, angry hurt that had been heaped on my head. the lie that i told myself was, it’s okay because i’m not “that girl” and i can hold my liquor so it can’t be that bad. it wasn’t really. but it was still damaging.

we place an obscene amount of pressure on our daughters. to be pretty, and manner able. to be attractive and sociable. to be good and smart, and we don’t pause to consider societal pressures, peer pressure, and the internal pressures they also must be experiencing.  so when our daughter is gaining weight, or moody, we just assume it’s because she doesn’t like us. or she is just going through a phase. we don’t pay attention. bulimia and anorexia affect our community too. let’s talk about it.  the pressure to be skinny, shapely, beautiful is deeply ingrained in a woman’s psyche. remember the example of the confident woman and the breaking down of her image for our own satisfaction? what differentiates her from the others? her self esteem. regardless of where her esteem has its genesis, or whether or not it is genuine or a front, it is tangible. and it is dangerous to someone who has none. to tell your daughter she is beautiful should be like second nature. if not, i would have to question whether or not you feel you are beautiful. if no one told you, start telling yourself, then it will be easy to tell your daughter she is also beautiful, if for no other reason than she is yours and you are beautiful. we can counteract promiscuity, drug abuse, bad behavior, poor body image and a host of other negative energies, habits and experiences with love . love protects. let it marinate.

in my mind i am 15. sometimes 13. not necessarily those two ages per se but around that maturity level at times. not the giggly simple girl. but the shy naive one to be sure. i don’t feel beautiful or pretty. i used to obsess about gaining weight or getting blemishes  on my skin. let’s watch the cycle shall we? ok.

my great grandmother was a tall, shapely, dark skinned woman. she married a tall, handsome dark skinned man. they both, being somewhat fresh off the plantation, had white blood in their genes, so when they had children, 3 of them were light skinned, and two dark skinned. that happens in our community alot. my great grand father died when his youngest child was around 12.  that left my grandmother with 6 children to feed (they had adopted another child from within the family, as is customary in our community), and a farm to maintain. she told her daughters and grand daughters not to marry dark skinned men because they were no good. this is coming, again, from a dark skinned woman who married a dark skinned man. he died and she was bitter. now don’t think i’m disrespecting my elders or ancestors with my language, i’m simply trying to highlight sentiments and emotive energies that have been passed through my bloodline.  so, her daughters and grand daughters married (with the exception of one) light skinned men. the boys married light skinned women. so cycle number one is color bias. my grandmother, who is light skinned, married a light skinned man because the dark skinned man she was in love with wasn’t acceptable to my great grandmother. she settled for the man who looked better and had a better standing financially. she settled.  she was getting older (in her mid twenties) and the pressure to be married in those days was intense. especially in our community. so she married. and they had a child, my mother, who was brown skinned, and of course female. my grandmother, who was already insecure and hurt and bitter, felt slighted by this lil brown skinned girl child because her husband adored the baby, and ignored her as a wife. they separated off and on. the little girl caught hell. because she was brown and female. 8 years later, they had another child.  a light skinned boy with hazel eyes. but the boy came out different, special, and in those days he would have been overlooked because of his mental deficiencies. so even though he is the boy they both wanted, he is useless because he isn’t “whole”.  they separated completely, and that left my grandmother in the same position her mother had been in, single mother, rearing children, working, with a man somewhere else. independent and bitter. cycle number two.

now my mother, who by all accounts was a woman among women, was mistreated by this bitter, lonely, angry, hurt, insecure woman. she was progressive. when she met my father and i was conceived , she was just fine with rearing me alone unmarried. but at that time she could have lost her job for being an unwed mother (she was a teacher. interesting how the moral code has changed for teachers), so she waddled into a courthouse with my father and they got married. he was light skinned, she was brown, i am brown (pecan tan is what the crackhead told me). when i was born, it started over. first child is brown and female. and she catches hell from the matriarch. this thing has trickled down through three generations. and i believe had my mother still been alive it would have stopped with her. but it will indeed stop with me. go back into your genealogy and find the cycles that keep you and your family in bondage. BREAK THEM!

in my grandmother’s house, i had to bleach my skin (didn’t work), i had to watch what i ate (she hated fat people), i had to keep my hair a certain way (she hated nappy heads, imagine how she felt when i let my soul glow in 03), i had to wear sunscreen and protective clothing (i was already too dark), and that’s just the beginning. everything about me was wrong and most of it wasn’t my fault. my eczema, allergies, eating habits, bowleggedness, body shape, all of it was WRONG. that’s genetics. why are you mad at your child for what you and her father gave her? bitter much? disappointed in your misappropriation of your own genetic make up, attributes, strengths and weaknesses? love yourself so you can teach your baby how to love herself.  pathology. my father’s father was dark skinned, his mother very light. both of my brothers are dark skinned. their skin got darker and darker as they got older. my grandmother was so pissed when my brother’s skin finally hit that last lil dark chocolate hue. she hated it. blamed it on summer camp. but it never went away. since he was a boy, the insults were fewer, but the color bias was still there. his daughter is a light brown skinned ball of energy with curly hair. that pleases her. but if it gets nappy, she’s unhappy.  break these cycles honey.

i watched her mistreat darker skinned people. “poor” people. less educated people. it affected me. i watched how she cloaked her skin in product after product to protect it’s color. i saw how good she felt standing next to her darker relatives because of her skin color. this is the craziest and dumbest ideology to witness. it was simply a flip of the genetic coin that gave her that complexion. to this day she swears her father said she and other two other lighter skinned sisters were the favorite because they were light and beautiful, and that her darker skinned sister was mean and evil to them because she was jealous. it couldn’t have been because she was a jerk from day one? nah. had to be the melanin. girl stop.

the father is the protector. he is the rock behind which the girl child can be shielded from the mess of the world. daddy’s little girl. some women hate the relationship their daughters have with their fathers. jealous, bitter women. he married you, you birthed her. realize your worth and your place and stop being an asshole. who is he protecting her from? YOUR BITTER  CONFUSED ASS. stop it. she should be able to find that in both parents, not just him. she should be able to look up to you and up at you to find her example of finer wombmanhood. greater personhood.  why do you think a woman will stay in a relationship that is abusive and detrimental? he said i love you. he said you’re beautiful. he gives her dirty little love trinkets that could have been beautiful treasured jewels from YOU. but you wouldn’t give or couldn’t give because  what? you weren’t raised that way. clearly it didn’t work for you either. stop handing your daughters your duffel bags of death. FREE HER and yourself from that bondage. be the mother you wish you had, and if you had a loving, supportive, God fearing mother, be that to your child. overcome your issues for her sake, and together the two of you can break these ridiculous, deadly cycles. if you don’t have daughters, be that to some little girl somewhere. a child can never have enough motherly love. i know i found myself in MANY a perilous and unnecessarily poisonous situation because i wanted my grandmother to love me. she didn’t, so i looked for it in other places, with other people, doing and experiencing things i could have avoided if only…

i admire women who have great relationships with their mothers. open loving interactions that are strong and almost tangible in their deliciousness. these relationships breed strong generations, and perpetuate strong women who help build nations.as a wombman you have power. use it. stop acting like what you say and do doesn’t affect or effectuate changes in your child’s life. i was told i’d never be good enough, smart enough, that i was ugly and no one would ever want me. i’m STILL trying to shift myself from nothing to something in my mind. thank God for Jesus.

and now, the bullets.

  • if you heard somebody talking negatively about your child you would be ready to(and some of you will)  fight them to the death for what they said right? why don’t you punch yourself in the mouth then, because they’re just repeating what you put into the air in thought and deed.
  • when you learn that life and death are in the power of the tongue, will you be ready to face what happens when your child confronts you with the death sentence you gave them?
  • God created the entire universe and everything in it with words, what are you creating with yours?
  • when children die, parents are left with regret and pain. the pain i understand. why regret?
  • if your child left here tomorrow, would they know you loved them?
  • would you let someone talk to you the way you talk to your child?
  • sticks stones break bones, words break people.
  • if you don’t tell your daughter she’s beautiful, some man or some other woman will, are you ready for that?

mothers and daughters pt 1

it’s been a while. i apologize.  hopefully, this will serve as atonement. during my days as a full time “caregiver”, i do alot of internet perusing. i don’t do it because i’m bored. i have a very active mind and thought process, and so, when i come across a new thought or am introduced to new or interesting concepts, i research them.

i am, regardless of my opinion, feeling, or desire, a woman. i have a womb. and this comes up in conversation sometimes, with people from every angle. guys wanna know if i have any children. my friends and some relatives (i do not call them family) want to know when i’ll settle down and have a baby. i used to resent this line of questioning for several reasons. today, in an attempt to honor the insight i gained during my 3 day consecration, i will expose the reasoning, espouse its validity or absurdity and tell you about why this is relevant to being snookered. follow me.

in the african american community, some women often do not feel a sense of joy at the coming of a girl child. i think this topic is a bit more relevant to me right now since one of my best friends had a baby girl yesterday, and a few days earlier another bff’s sister had a baby girl. so we’ve been welcoming new women to the world this week. but in some circles, little girls are not welcome. they are undesired because the girl child can often symbolize or signify insecurities that the mother has about herself or her idea of the female archetype. little girls represent the beginning of a new life that can give life to a nation, and that causes problems in homes where there is an alpha female, which is every house. in my house, as an alpha female in training, i experienced the things that i’m about to now discuss, and this is not an attempt to spew feminist theory, this is an opportunity to bring light to a very dismal situation.

The curse of being a little black girl


the initial point i want to make about having little girls is that we talk to ourselves with such disdain and disgust that when we see another wombman, young or old, we cannot help but to be critical, vindictive, or malicious. think i’m wrong? ever seen a woman with a lot of self confidence walk into a room? ever see the looks on the faces of the other women in the room who do not possess the same level of confidence? if that woman walks in, head up, back straight, aura on bright, smiling and willing to be sociable she attracts attention from people because she’s sending off vibrations that let the room know she is in the building. we will break her ass down won’t we? come up with whatever little nit picky thing we can to somehow tarnish her image, if only in our own minds, so we feel better. and don’t catch your man lookin at her… then it’s a real problem. but why? because you don’t feel good about you? he’s with you? get your weight up! (or down, be real)

think now about how we talk to our girl children. critical, mean, insulting. it’s almost as if we’ve forgotten being a little girl and having those things said to us. we’ve forgotten what they felt like, the stinging, painful words that are the  product of a pathology of pain going back to slave row where the brown woman was raped to make cafe au lait babies who had different hair and were then treated better. that lesson burned deep into the generational psyches of black people in america like the need for swine and greens.  but here we go. calling them lil nappy headed gals. lil sluts. fast ass split tails.  calling them heifers. my gramma used to call me heifer, slut, bitch, whatever. one day, my piano teacher was over (and she swore i was trying to do him, i was 10 or 11 and still had no idea how sex even happened) and i called someone on television a slut. he asked me if i knew what it meant, i said, “no, but that’s what my gramma calls me” i wish i could have taken a picture of his face. i remember that vividly. he looked confused. which let me know that what was going on was wrong. this is where it begins. when you, as a wombman, insult, demean and place negative energy on the head of a child, male or female, you are causing a shift in that child’s psyche that you cannot repair. as the facilitator of birthdays, you cannot allow yourself the room to speak to a child like you would speak to a grown woman. if you don’t want your daughter to be a whore, then don’t be a whore. and don’t call her a whore if you feel she has those tendencies. talk to her about it. let her know how you feel about it. talk TO her, not AT her and most importantly not ABOUT her. teach.

teach your child to be a lady. to be a strong woman. and that’s the problem. we’ve lost the paradigm of the strong black woman to her ignorant cousin, the strong black surviving female. the daily grind of trying to feed, clothe, house, educate, indoctrinate and maintain a life has cast a shadow on motherhood for many women. i could go into how the black man and blah blah blah. read the willie lynch letter and we’ll talk. my gramma was retired. she had time to be at home in my business all the time. to my detriment. she didn’t teach me about being a woman per se. certain aspects of my wombmanhood are so foreign to me at 29, i’d rather just skip them. like dating, being open to a relationship, the concept of marriage or motherhood. i will tell anyone i don’t want children, or to be married but that wasn’t always true. we’ll go into that later.  but we must teach our girls to respect themselves, each other and their womb. it’s sacred. it’s special.

little girls turn into little wombmen when their pituitary gland goes off and says to the body “okay, let’s go”. i know it’s more complicated than that, but this is my blog. one day we’re happy and pretty and playing and the next we’re cramping, and irritable and bloated and bleeding. and we’ve all been told that this is the curse. it is a curse. for little black girls, this is the time when we go from being the apple of the eye, to the lil fast tailed heffa that lives in my house. it has to happen. we know that because we went through it. what i don’t understand is why do we not make this a bigger deal? i remember watching the cosby show, when rudy got her period, and thinking, when i have kids (cause at that time i wanted 5 kids) and my daughter has her period, that’s what i’m going to do. make it special. it’s a rite of passage. from girlhood into the beginnings of wombanhood. and we act like these children are now supposed to know how to be an adult because their hormones and bodies change… how? my gramma went from being mean to being a complete asshole when i got my period. now mind you, i was 8 when my dad died, and i think the stress and trauma from losing him made my cycle come a bit earlier than it probably should have. it came on approximately a year after he died. and i remember feeling bad and telling her what was going on and she basically told me to go outside and stop lying. now, this is in the middle of the summer and it’s hot and nobody was outside but me and i’m kinda scared cause i don’t know what in blazes in going on with me and she’s telling me to go outside and stop lying. not the fanfare i expected. she put me on hold until she could figure out what to do with me. and it was and has been hell ever since.

we push our daughters into situations and experiences that we don’t want them to be in or have because of how we treat them. want a whorish child? call her a whore daily, exhibit whorish behavior and laud it, make her feel bad about who she is in any way. and there it is. i know i know, it’s not that simple. but what if it is? what if the reason our daughters are having so much trouble in this world is because we haven’t prepared them, haven’t loved them, and haven’t set the right example for them? you mean as a parent there’s more of a responsibility than the physical? the financial? the political? you mean there’s more. i guess. i’m not a parent. but as a person who is holding out hope…. yeah.

“I’M NOT HAVING CHILDREN OR GETTING MARRIED” became my mantra in high school. probably because several of my friends both at my school and those i knew in other cities and states were having kids. and some of my female cousins had kids as well. not good. because then i had to undergo the scrutiny of having my underwear checked at all times, having to turn in my calendar every month with my period marked out, and having other things done to me to “check me out” and make sure i wouldn’t have to be fixed (refer to the pic above). i decided that since my childhood and life had been so fucked up i wasn’t going to risk fucking up someone else’s life, and so. no kids for me. and it didn’t help that i felt (and still feel to some extent) that i probably won’t be able to find anyone who will love me enough to marry me. remember when i told y’all about causing a shift in your child’s psyche? in my mind, i’m like 15 years old. sometimes 13. i know i’m 29, and i know i’m adult, but i don’t often see myself as an adult because i was never treated like an adult. or a human being. i was treated like an obligation. and that’s how i feel in most of my adult relationships. when i actually have been in a relationship, i have always cut it off before it got too serious. i probably could have been married by now, but i decided to put my other pursuits before marriage and motherhood as a defense mechanism. the scrutiny has been so great that if i do decide to get married, it’ll probably be a very small ceremony where i’d have to fly the people in, and you can’t just show up to the reception. same with kids. some people won’t know i have any until they’re like 3. whatever.

HERE COME THE BULLETS!!!!!

  • we treat them like we don’t want them, even tell them so and then get offended when they get pregnant at 14 and have an abortion. well….
  • they go off and have sex and now you’re ashamed because she’s being labeled in the streets… did you tell her how special her virginity was? did you tell her she needed to love and respect herself and she didn’t have to look for that kind of attention? did you forget you were fucking out of control too and that’s how you got her cause your mother couldn’t tell you nothin either? remember? PATHOLOGY BABY! CYCLES!
  • we kill more babies than spermicide but we won’t talk to our kids about sex? stop acting like it’s not happening. TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER!
  • we don’t stay in positive healthy lasting relationships… nuff said
  • we sit by and turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and then are embarrassed when little Tiffany comes home butched out and wants to be called Big T.  really?

the truth is, i think i’d be an excellent mother. because i believe down deep in my spirit that my greatest legacy will be my children. the fruit that i bear. my niece, and all little girls whose lives i will have any connection to will be treated, at least by me, like princesses, if for no other reason that it takes a whole village to make a woman.


nikki on NICKI or: quit hatin

i was once a HUGE lil kim fan. lil kim could have rapped my speeding tickets and the corresponding fees on a hot beat and i would have been completely down with it. when her last album the naked truth came out, i drove about an hour to best buy and bought 2 copies. one for my car, and one for my apartment. i had to have it. to date i have owned 5 copies of The Notorious K.I.M. and that album still holds a very special place in my heart and in my cd portfolio.

i could segue into this whole spiel about how i was missing all the female rappers that i loved and had grown up listening to and then along came Nicki Minaj. i could talk about how i was listening to the radio one day and heard this voice and instantly fell in love with the personality, the wordplay, the audacity of this woman, the black barbie…. i could,but why would i? none of that really happened. at least, not to me. to millions of others though, it happened exactly like that.

i don’t even remember when i heard nicki minaj the first time. but when i first saw a pic of her or saw her on television i was like (and please pardon my language) “are you fucking serious right now?” i was disappointed by her look, her facial expressions had me shaking my head so much i’m sure somebody thought i was developing early onset parkinson’s… the hair, the clothes the voice(s) the everything. too much. and then i heard her rap. sigh. i am a sucker for wordplay. a good cadence is fine, because tupac (who i’m not a fan of really but i can respect his talent) was a master of cadence and rhythm, and we all know he had (and still has) a bit of a cult following. a gimmick or an image, though once not important at all, is now almost more important than talent and ability (see cali swag district, souljah boy tellem, wacka flocka flame, et all). and to be female in a crew or family of established male rappers doesn’t hurt either. unless you’re La’Chat, or Shawnna, or dare i say it, eve. but this chick, this nicki minaj character, was just that to me, a character. someone who would be the pretty girl in a crew of established rappers. big damn deal.

and then she was everywhere. on everybody’s remix, and she was beasting. EVERYWHERE. mix tapes, radio edits, videos, television. beasting. who could deny her? no album out and she’s a household name? who does that? ( i know other rappers have, but how many of them were female? exactly) and for every fan, barbie or ken barbie, she has a hater. most of the guys i know who don’t like nicki minaj are, in my opinion, probably descendants of men who didn’t like diana ross when she broke from the supremes, or didn’t much care for madonna at any point. and that’s sad. why is it that we hate what we can’t conquer? i think if a man is intimidated by a woman in any fashion, his first line of defense is to downplay her talent, intelligence or sexuality. for example, i have a friend (several actually) on facebook that i went to college with who claims that nicki minaj is a gimmick and the only reason anyone pays her any attention is because of her body. well hell the same could be said for lil kim, trina, khia, shawnna, etc. is that what you’re looking for to see someone’s viability? because if that were the case, why then is lil wayne so popular, or rick ross? they’re not what most women would call attractive, either due to genetics or their own modifications. or is it a double standard among blacks, men, and black men to always denigrate a woman’s ability to thrive and succeed in a “man’s world”? y’all did lil kim the same way. she can be a sex goddess but nothing else. you can lust after her but not listen to her because listening to her and then looking at her would force you to come o the realization that her body is something you can never have. you can’t conquer her sexually so you must break her down to a point where you are disgusted with her very being in order to remove the shame and insecurity you feel about being your lame or average, dreamless, goal less self.

personally, i’ve been told several times that my vocabulary and intelligence intimidate or turn men off. so the next logical step is to assume that because i am so independent, intelligent and outspoken  i must be a lesbian or bi-sexual. dudes always talking about taming me as if i’m sort of animal. the same could be said for any female who can hold her own. where is the sense in that mess?

i digress. so there’s a beef between lil kim and nicki minaj. this article is so poignant. apparently lil kim wants some homage paid to her in some unnamed form for nicki’s image. the wigs, the clothes are all based on kim’s old persona. but where did kim get it from? there’s nothing new under the sun ma’am. madonna has done it, cher has done it, erykah badu has done it, hell even boy george and elton john have done it. did you pay homage to them? or is it kim that you see your relevance fly out the window every time you hear a nicki minaj feature, or you’re sitting at home while she’s all over the television? she acknowledged you. did you acknowledge mia x? did you say ‘preshate you mia for being one of the first hard core female gangsta rappers with staying power’? no. because you weren’t checkin for mia x, the same way no body was checkin for nicki minaj because they thought she was a serial feature artist, a female figurehead in a sausage factory crew. what did you do to make sure you would stay relevant? not a lot. where’s your clothing line? your make up line? wig line? non profit? no? don’t have one? so you were just a flash in the pan then huh? didn’t take the time to brand your name like diddy, or jay z or any of the other rappers who also don’t pay you any attention.

do you do well to be angry lil kim?

nicki sings her own hooks. and can hold a pitch better than some of the more thirsty “r&b singers” out now (see keri hilson). she writes her own stuff, and we all know you’ve always had to negate having a ghostwriter. your diss record was weak, even for you.

she’s keeping you relevant. you sound bitter, desperate, THIRSTY. where’s your album? where’s your feature? you got street cred for going to jail. you didn’t come back hard. you didn’t pull a T.I. before you went to jail. his show was on MTV, yours on BET. when you came back where did you go? lil kim who?

this is sad because there aren’t a plethora of successful female rappers who still rap or made their name household fodder because they are businesswomen par excellence. this is like when a mother hates on her daughter because she’s still young perky and pretty. it’s that self actualization that one day we will be a memory. madonna and elton john have embraced lady gaga. why you hatin? and then here comes khia’s one (minor) hit wonder ass….nobody knew who you were until you were on that whack ass VH1 show and then you couldn’t even win that and you were a “real” rapper by then. you got clowned by wannabes. who does that?

minaj did a mini doc with MTV that was more revealing, more honest than any other artist we’ve seen. peeling back the persona and showing her self. she earned my respect (as much as i can muster for someone making millions of dollars while i’m unemployed and yet a starving artist) in that 53 minutes. she ‘bossed up’.

to the female rappers with nothing else to do… find something else to do. put out a record. make some money. get on twitter (if you even know what that is) get a lipstick. get your weight up. do SOMETHING. quit hatin. it’s so unbecoming of a lady, queen, or otherwise.

without works

i’d almost forgotten about Soledad O Brien’s Black in America: Almighty Debt special on CNN tonight. and then i logged on to twitter, and my time line was going bananas with the commentary. so i tuned in. again, o’briens’  newest installment of BiA, which i have either been for or against since it’s beginnings 3 years ago, opened the curtains for the rest of the world and presented, in all it’s beautiful ugliness, the perils and triumphs of the black community. this latest episode focused on, in case you missed the title, Debt. Specifically, debt and the church in the black community.

we were introduced to three storylines. there was fred philps, the high school student and aspiring actor, who dreamed of going to college to study his craft and pursue his dream. the next, carl fields, a 59 year old white collar professional who’d been out of work for 18 months and was looking, and finally, the jeffries, a couple about to lose their 3500 sq. ft. home to foreclosure.they are all parishioners at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ, where Rev. DeForest Soaries, Jr. is pastor.

i will try to spare you the spoilers, as i am sure CNN will air this mini doc again soon. i am, however, going to give you my commentary about the documentary and the implications it has for the black community from my perspective (as i do).

i will start with young fred. now fred, in my mind, was misinformed. all of them were, but since he was the youngest subject presented, i will not necessarily count his lack against him. not totally at least. fred wanted to go to school to pursue acting. there’s nothing wrong with that. but there’s also nothing wrong with having good grades in high school and working to get into college. fred comes from a single parent home, his mother works two jobs, and we are told that his brother had been deported back to jamaica for selling drugs. he’d been in a situation where there were no lights or running water in his home and yet, he graduated and dared to dram big (insert applause and misty eyes here).

this is my issue. if you have a dream, do the research. don’t just think that because you want it, it will come to you. since this show was centered around the church and the black community or a black community, allow me to rephrase. the bible says that faith without works is dead. so while our dreams are important in a sense, without action, they are simply a beautiful, comforting, brain fart. this young man was misinformed. 12 years ago, i was a sophomore in high school. i made a decision about what  i wanted to study in college (music therapy, it changed three times before i actually graduated from college) . i loved music and i loved helping people and music therapy seemed like the best choice at the time. i did research on the subject itself, and on all the schools that would allow me to study such a thing. i kept my grades high, volunteered more, participated in more clubs and extracurricular activities, not because i wanted to, although it’s been documented that i had definitely had a reason to, but because i knew that the only way for me to get where i wanted to be was to make myself a fantastic candidate; i worked hard. fred did what fred does. he acted. and acted. and the pastor stepped in on his behalf and got him admitted and got him a job. he’s gonna need it. he’ll be 16,000+ in debt at the end of his freshman year. SIXTEEN GRAND. i couldn’t imagine. but then again, i ended up at Fort Valley State University, an HBCU in the heart of Georgia. my tuition and fees were covered for four years. because of my hard work. and the grace of God.

somebody told him to chase his dreams. it seemed no one said “before you chase your dreams, condition. train for the chase. prepare yourself.” so here’s this kid chasing his dreams. and pretty soon, the Department of Education will be chasing him, wanting their money.

carl fields was disappointing. he was 59 years old, had worked his way up the ranks to vp of some company doing something and was reduced to yet another laid off black man. he felt emasculated because he watched his wife get up every morning to go to work and he wasn’t. he was in the bed. and a few hours later he’d be getting up to go to the library and fill out more applications. i feel his pain, really i do. i got laid off. i’m STILL filling out applications. what i couldn’t vibe with was the fact that this is a man with 25 years of experience in a specific field, who’d worked his way up to VP status somewhere, and he didn’t start a consulting firm. he could have done that out of his home FOR FREE. dude, you’re sitting in a church full of people who could use the information you have in your brain. activate your faith! do the work!

where is our sense of self sufficiency? before “they” gave us anything, we had everything. we worked together and we were self sufficient.  i absolutely abhor the idea of having to work for someone else for the rest of my life. i don’t think i was created for such monotony. for some, that’s not a problem. i’m not one of those people. i think i have a lot of marketable skills and talents. i seize opportunities to work for myself as often as possible. this dude is sitting there with a gold mind (catch it) and is frustrated and disgruntled. faith without works is dead. yes, God is good. yes, God wants us to be blessed. but He also wants us to live delusion free. i think Rev. Soaries needs to add that to his dFree program. debt, delinquency, deficit, and DELUSION. because to believe that you cannot support yourself is a complete delusion. why wouldn’t you believe that the same God you pray to, the same God you praise, the same God that created EVERYTHING can take care of your needs? quit shuckin and jivin and start planning and networking for YOU. because you know that at your age you are more of a liability than a commodity. be a marketable, essential asset to yourself.

last and certainly not least are the Jeffries, who’d built their 3500 square foot home themselves. they’d lost a child and have a daughter who plays tennis and loves clothes. they were always well dressed and put their absolute best face forward. these people looked more like the people i’d seen at another incarnation of a church i’d once frequented. they had all the material trappings of what we would call “blessed” but under the surface, they were about to lose their home. SO many things struck me as odd with these people.

first, why does your daughter have a credit card and no job? i understand that the two of you were once very successful at whatever it is you do, but that is a past tense situation, presently, you’re about to lose your home. why isn’t she flipping burgers or ringing up a sweater or tee shirt somewhere? when asked if she knew how high her credit card bill was, she said no because she doesn’t want to focus on the negativity. she said she believes that all you really have to do is pray and God will work it out. how negative is homelessness again? i guess it’s not her problem really. she didn’t create the monster that she’s becoming.

secondly, you’ve downsized to one car…. but that one car is a bmw x5. i’m not hating. you once had the money to afford whatever you wanted to buy. but between the shopaholic daughter and basically having to beg the bank to let you stay in the house you built, doesn’t a toyota sound a little more appealing?

Rev. Soaries has a fantastic program at his church. dFree. i love it. in fact, i’m probably gonna go register once i finish this post. the jeffries lady said she’ll go once she finds out whether or not the bank is gonna take her house. how’s that for hindsight? i know it seems like i’m a little more harsh on them than i was on the others. but it’s a symptom of an overwhelming pandemic that is stifling the body of Christ. we are in the world and becoming more OF the world. that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

the prosperity doctrine is like a cancer. it teaches that if we sow enough seeds, and speak enough life that God will bless us with riches and wealth and health. here’s the rub. prosperity is not all about being rich. the bible teaches us more about how we are to relate to one another, believers and non, than it does about being rich. in fact, it admonishes us to avoid the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16

these three things are hairy little imps that can creep into the lives of any believer who has ever faced the possibility of being embarrassed at how unsuccessful they are at keeping up with the joneses. FORGET THE JONESES. prosperity is about being a blessing to others because you’ve been blessed. can you read? FANTASTIC. can you help someone learn who can’t? do you have a dollar to spare? AWESOME! will you give it to the old lady in front of you who’s 13 cents short on her groceries? do you know anyone with a problem? HALLELUJAH! are you willing to pray for them instead of just pitying them? be a blessing because you’ve been blessed. of course there are more examples than this, but you’re not typing now are you?

my mind is not focused on prosperity. i used to attend a church where that was the goal. to get wealthy. how does my soul prosper in all this wealth i’m petitioning God for? i still don’t know. how does a new car and a new house and all this stuff help me when my husband tells me he’s leaving me? or when my daughter tells me she is attracted to women? or when my boss calls me a nigger? or when i can’t shake this mood indigo? what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?

we are to be good stewards over what we are given. tithing (no money? no worries, tithe your time, your talent, etc) saving, preserving. being prudent and wise with what we have. you can’t honestly expect God to give you a bentley if the kia that you have is constantly in need of some repair not because of how it’s made but because of your negligence. you can’t honestly expect God to make you stupid rich if right now you’re just stupid. c’mon son.

i have no need for this jackpot jesus nonsense in my life. i think we need to get real with ourselves and with each other about what is really being asked of us and what we are doing as a community in EVERY aspect, not just our finances. the political climate is such that any bad move on our part will constitute another generation having to pay for our mistakes. we can’t afford that. suzanne malveaux made a fantastic point about blacks and wealth. i won’t spoil it for you.

i will leave you with this, in hopes that you understand why simply throwing up a hail mary prayer to Jesus won’t help if you’re waiting on him to just give you stuff….or get you out of a mess you created from your own foolishness.

James 2:14-26 (New King James Version)

Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d]And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Footnotes: 

  1. James 2:18 NU-Text omits your.
  2. James 2:18 NU-Text omits my.
  3. James 2:20 NU-Text reads useless.
  4. James 2:23 Genesis 15:6

New King James Version (NKJV)

 

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

goodnight.

take some time to enjoy the view or the barbara walters #fail

i have been a somewhat staunch supporter of ABC’s estrogen charged morning show “the view” since its inception in 1997 (i know i was still in high school but i watched it on my holidays) and have recently become a somewhat regular viewer since i’ve been a full time “at home when it’s on” caregiver. i’ve been through all the line up changes, starting with barbara walters, star jones, debbie matenopoulos,  meredith vieira, and sometimes joy behar.  through the star jones succession, the rosie o’donnell renaissance,the exodus of meredith vieira, the  Lisa Ling etude,  the Sherri Shepherd sonata, Elizabeth Hasselbeck‘s surprisingly successful attempt at extending what should have only been 12 minutes of “fame”, to the now chicken soup comforting presence of whoopi goldberg. i know those are out of order but hey, it’s just background information. and if you were keeping tally, that’s 10 count ’em 10  co hosts. i don’t think the jeffersons had that many Lionels.

on October 14, i had the pleasure of actually having time to watch the view. i enjoy the “hot topics” segment, as this is usually when all the magic happens (for those of you playing at home this is when the co hosts talk about news and pop culture, and this is usually when hasselbeck would get into it with someone). i love the banter. i love the laughs, i love the arguments and the discussions. i love it when there’s a guest host and they get in the crossfire like a deer in headlights with nothing intelligent, or otherwise, to say. on this day, bill o’reilly was the guest. i’m not a bill o’reilly fan, and haven’t been for a long time. even before his whole ludicrous ludacris campaign, so to see him on the view, within the time frame of a mid term election, possibly endorsing and defending the “mama grizzlies” was enough to turn my stomach and tempt me to turn my television. i’m so glad i didn’t. watch the whole shebang (no joke intended) here:

sigh. i wasn’t so much annoyed with the fact that o’reilly was a jerk. pompous, arrogant, loud and in most cases, wrong. because he works for fox news, and we all know what champions they are for right and truth. i was more annoyed and slightly offended at barbara walters “chiding” her co hosts immediately after they left the stage. yes it’s true, bill o’reilly is another one of the growing number of people who feel they can say whatever they wish will or may on television, in line with all the other “news network” hosts, who we, unjustly and unfairly so, ask to report the “news” without feeling, without opinion, without any inclination that they are indeed human. and yes, he was an invited guest of the show. he was asked to come on and discuss with the ladies, whatever it is they were going to discuss. but it is not the co host’s job to neglect their ability to feel, think or know anything for the sake of your show. where i’m from, we have two sayings that were proven last thursday, “you’ll never know a fool until he opens his mouth” and “when you see a fool, let him be a fool”. i think it would have been foolish of whoopi and joy to continue to sit there and allow themselves to be insulted and denigrated by the likes of bill o’reilly. i think it would have been foolish of bill o’reilly to continue to insult and denigrate the hosts of a show he frequents. i think it would be foolish of the producers of the show (walters included) to continue to invite him on their show. there comes a time in any thinking individual’s life when they must decide how much nonsense they will allow. joy and whoopi had reached their point. honestly, right before they walked off, i was reaching for my remote. when they walked. i stopped. when barbara started talking, i listened and then tweeted:

@JoyVBehar and Whoopi just walked off stage. Barbara Walters just pussed out on them.

because she did. and then she did it again the next day. it’s like when an elder tells you to turn the other cheek or when they invite the cousin you hate the most (you know the spoiled one who whines, and cries to get his way. the one who is as dumb as a rock but is always being bragged on by his oblivious parents…. that one)  to go to six flags with you and they throw up on you on the scream machine, and you get mad because now you’re soaked in corndog/funnel cake/lemonade/ice cream vomit on a hot georgia day and you cuss that ass out only to have your parent or elder say: ” we will not have that kind of behavior. this is your guest and you will not be angry, you should be able to enjoy the fact that your cousin came with you, so play nice. and you stink.” but you invited cousin what’s his face mom, and when we get back to the hotel he’s probably gonna piss in the bed. so after i wash off the aforementioned vomit, i’ll have the anticipation of waking up smelling like urine. THANKS.

barbara walters had a point. we should have the luxury of being able to have passionate discourse with our fellow americans without washing our hands of anything. we should be able to listen and respond intelligently. we have the right to speak and as long as we understand that everyone else has that right, we should be okay right? WRONG. in this country, we have HUNDREDS of newspapers,  THOUSANDS of television channels, MILLIONS of radio shows, and when you walk into barnes and noble or any other bookseller, each genre is categorized so that if you don’t want to hear what say, joyce meyer or the dalali lama is saying, you can politely walk yourself to the comedy section and get peruse the kicks and giggles being spouted by say bill engvall or somebody. this is america. we don’t have to do anything that displeases us. period.

we have experienced a dumbing down of sorts that was all at once cute and seemingly harmless and has slowly turned our nation into a bunch of blubbering idiots. we laud reality television and uber negative political mud slinging and abhor an intelligent black man as president. i’m not a super obama fan, but i understand that it must be difficult to try to come up when you’ve been handed a near recession, a pile of wars, a racist nation, a health care crisis, an education conundrum, and a group of rich angry white people who’ve just lost their do boy. it’s like he walked dead center into an post civil war “we want our slaves back” meeting and he’s the guest speaker.

christine o’donnell is running for office. she can’t spell debate much less participate in one. it is as if people with an i.q. higher than room temperature and who don’t hate the president are in the same popularity rankings as hester prynne. what has happened to us?

Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, on a promotion...

Image via Wikipedia

so barbara, you failed me. you played referee and angry pimp, paver of the moral high road for a man who could care less about women, minorities, minority women, your show as anything other than another avenue by which he can spew his right wing “gimme back my slaves” nonsense, the president, democrats, the right thing to do, etc. you berated and scolded grown women like they were unruly teenagers who’d been grounded. and you did it all on television as if they didn’t have the right to say whatever they wanted and do whatever they wanted. they didn’t hit the man, insult his mother or call him any derogatory names. they walked away. which is what most people are taught to do in any heated confrontation. you failed me because i’ve watched you on television most of my life, and even though i never really knew your real stance on anything, i have been able to somewhat admire your tenacity and staying power as a female journalist in a 3 legged world. you of all people should be a champion for a woman’s ability to behave as she feels is necessary for her own sake. and you school marmed your way out of it to save your face and your show’s ratings.

i should have known something was up when this happened.

sigh. at least i’ve still got rachel maddow.

wasn’t that refreshing as opposed to this?

barbara walters called it a “gotcha” question. how? we ask that and more of individuals who wish to achieve citizenship here, why not ask it of our candidates. SHE’S DUMB, AND IT MAKES ME SICK. sigh… i’m going to go to bed now and dream of smart people.