Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Light Green Eye Brow Trimmer I Almost Slit My Wrist With

I want to be bitter.  
I want to be angry.  
I don't want to be nice. 
Or wifely. 
Nor do I want to take the high road.  
I want to curse like a sailor and slap my husband stupid. 

I want to go back in time and take that trip to Spain with my daughter instead of heeding my then boyfriends words to not go. 

I want to walk away 7 years ago when I read the words of my husbands unemployment claim no less, describing his indiscretions with his coworker. How his employees covered for them while they snuck off to the hotel.  How they lied to me when I would call up to his job just to speak to him to see how he was doing. 

I wanted to walk away from the memory of my bed and tear stained pillow, knowing that affair was bull.  It didn't mean anything to him.  Yet it meant that my husbands penis was inside another woman. More than once.  Someone that I personally asked if she was having an affair with.  

And she lied.  But then chose to tell the truth when the crap hit the fan.

I wanted to deliver my child I found myself pregnant with 1 week after the discovery of this said affair. I prayed so hard that the child would save my marriage.  

But children don't save marriages. 

I wanted everything to be his fault.  I wanted to ignore the fact that I talked down to him.  That I emasculated him every moment I could because of my ignorance and hard wiring to "the strong, black, independent woman that really didn't need a man". I wanted to stop demonizing him. I wanted to stop being flippant. I wanted to ignore the resentment that would well up inside me when my husband sat around for hours playing his video games. I wanted to not be jealous. 

I wanted to ignore my husbands arguments to move to my current home state. Because I knew the reasons all stemmed from his mothers selfish wants and desires.  

I wanted to say NO!  Please trust me baby, this is a bad idea.  We shouldn't leave.  But I wanted my husband to make the decision.  I wanted to step into my role as a Godly wife and submit to him.  I wanted to rail against God for this rule.  But I also wanted to show my husband that WE could do the impossible together and be alright.

I wanted to throw my cellphone the day after my birthday 2 years ago when the screen read "Harrison County Jail" and my husbands voice echoed in my ear on the line.  I wanted to not believe that he had been arrested.  I wanted that horrible cringing feeling to belong to someone else.   I wanted my husband to not be a statistic and stereotype.  I wanted my husband to be bonded out of jail so I could curse him out for his bad decision making.  I wanted to leave him right there. I wanted to ignore my promise to him that I would always have his back. I wanted to shield my children from the fact that their daddy was arrested. 

I wanted that entire ordeal to be over.  I wanted to not be pregnant again with the threat of jail time hanging over our heads.  I wanted to not be pregnant with a son because I knew how cruel this world can be to young black men. I wanted my husband to be there when my son first walked. When he first talked. I wanted his lawyer to do the impossible and make these charges false. I wanted God to be right there with the judge working on his heart to show favor to my husband. 

I wanted to cry out in that courtroom when my husband walked away free after seeing 5 other young men sentenced to lengthy jail sentences. 

I wanted everything to be ok at that point. I wanted my husband to take that experience and better himself. To prove to society that he wasn't a bad man but just made one, bad decision.

I wanted my husband to have the same hustle and motivation that my grandmother instilled in me.  I wanted him to get up off his butt and realize that he was given a second chance, that he could change our lives.  His life. I wanted to desperately believe that our marriage was just going through the motions. 

I wanted to believe that our son would change things. But again, children don't save marriages.

I wanted to believe that these issues and problems with our "daughter" would ease with time and therapy.  I wanted to believe that she would be ok. I wanted to believe that the reason for her anger was due to her guilt in how she treated her birth mother.  I wanted to knock some sense into her biological dad to make him see that what this little girl really needed, was a stable environment with parents that loved her and showed it.

I wanted to pray that my younger daughter did not turn out jaded from all the negative scenarios we have been saddled with. I wanted to make sure that my joy, my sunshine, my munchkin still remained the happiest little girl who woke up with a smile on her face every morning.  I wanted to wipe the haunted look off her face. I wanted my marriage issues to not be so transparent to her. I wanted to give her better than what I had which was no father and a drug addicted mother. I wanted her life to be influenced by a man who loved her so she wouldn't seek out from love men mistaking it for something else like I did. 

I wanted her innocence to remain intact. 
I wanted to not be pregnant again. I wanted to feel differently about my husband and the possibility that we could bring another baby into this world. I wanted to miscarry.  I didn't want to feel guilty about feeling that way. 

I wanted my baby's heartbeat to pop up on that screen. When it did not, I wanted to kill myself for wanting to miscarry. And for almost two months, that miscarriage that I wanted so bad wouldn't come.  I wanted to not be aware of the fact that I was carrying around a dead baby in my womb. I wanted my husband to not blame me for the miscarriage. Again. 

I wanted my job to understand. But jobs don't really care about miscarriages. I wanted my supervisor, who is a woman, to understand.  This hurt. This pain although experienced many times before, was so new. And fresh. I wanted my head to not be a jumble of wishes of death and destruction, visions of wrist cutting with my eyebrow trimmer. The light green one. 

I wanted the courage to take the damn pills and end it all. I wanted the stigma of mental illness and black women to not affect whether or not I took my medication. 

I desperately wanted this miscarriage to bring some love back into my marriage. 

But. Children. Don't. Save. Marriages.

I wanted to be a priority to my husband. I wanted him to care enough about me to call and see where I am when I am not home by a certain time of the night. I wanted him to be awake when I came home from work. I wanted to go to marriage counseling. I wanted to be around other couples so he could see that it's not just us that deal with these issues. 

In the midst of this, every month, I wanted to be pregnant again. 

I wanted to peel my face off and snip my tear ducts when my husband told me I wasn't a priority to him anymore. I wanted to believe, again, that it was all his fault.  I wanted to sleep in the bed for 3 years. I wanted to shave my head again. I wanted to stop crying at work as I swept mail into the bins.  I didn't want my coworker to see me. But on the flip side, I wanted to scream to my coworkers, "Something is broken inside me! Please someone fix it?!" 

I wanted my low self esteem to not be real. I wanted my desire for love to not be so achingly hard. 

I wanted God to miraculously fix my broken union. 

I wanted. 

I wanted him to look at me like he did 12 years ago when he told me he thought he loved me. 

I wanted to go back to when we were two peas in a pod.  When our dreams propelled us into each others arms and hoped bloomed like algae. 

I wanted to go back to that pier in San Pedro.
Back to that moment that I KNEW that I loved this man and I had barely met him in real life less than 1 hour ago.

I wanted Jesus to fix me. I want my husband. I want our marriage. I want someone reading this, who is going through what I am going through to not give up hope.  To not give in to the darkness that calls them. 

To not feel unwanted.  I know in my desert place right now, it doesn't matter what I want or wanted. Because this is not about me. This is about his glory. And how he is changing me from glory to glory. This is about the only child that ever saved a marriage, Jesus. I'm not going through this for nothing. I want to be out of this, but I know God is telling me to be still and rest in him. To give over my marriage to him. To give over my brokenness. 

To surrender EVERYTHING I have yet to release:  the self doubt, the bitterness, the overeating, the miscarriages, the bad decisions, the affair, the mistreatment, the missing respect, the missing love, the fact that my daddy was never around, my messed up teenage years, my abusive relationship with my daughters father, my broken relationship with my older sister, my destructive addiction to food, my mistreatment of my husband, my skewed view of the strong black woman, my misguided belief in what a strong black woman is........

All of those things, I wanted. But now I understand, I can only give those things to Jesus. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Drinking Culture and the Promiscuity That Goes Along With It

"Drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Goes along with that, like a side effect, like fries on the side of your order. Where does promiscuity even come into play?"

From the letter of the awesomely, strong and world changing young lady sexually assaulted by a Stanford student who received less than a year of jail time and probation for fear that he might be negatively impacted.  What. In. The. Hell.

Sorry to my church family.

Why in THE world, in this day in age is this even something that someone would consider giving a "talk" about?

This letter was powerful. Sad. Eye opening and encouraging. I read it, in it's entirety to my two daughters. I read it, as I sat there crying and snotting thinking about the women I know who have had some type of sexual offense against them.  Women who never got justice.

I read it to my two beautiful daughters who know exactly what is going on in this world but STILL are naive and innocent in some respect.

Because as young girls in high school, where young boys tend to act out their sexual frustrations and heightened hormonal fantasies, in the form of butt slapping and rubbing their sexual appendages on the backsides of girls, (which has happened to one of my girls) I wanted them to understand.

Understand the mindset of a young man who hasn't learned how to respect a woman/girl.

That it needs to start early when they are young.

You see when this 10th grader rubbed his penis against my daughter's butt, I was incensed. I was livid. I wanted to go up to the school and give this young boy a dressing down myself but was not allowed to because of the laws that govern parents involvement with other children in schools.

My daughter, on the other hand, thought it was disgusting but didn't want him to get in trouble.

Right there.
Is the problem.
With respect.
And self-respect.

For yourself and your body. And why it's important to teach our daughters that although however "cute" or funny the little games boys play may be, they still need to know that your body is yours alone and should NOT be touched in any way sexually or otherwise without your consent.

And before some intellectual advocate for the idea that kids will be kids rises up to scold me, I am in no way saying that innocent flirting between kids can lead to rape.  That's not what I am saying.

What I am saying is, fathers talk to your daughters - the first place a girl should get her validation is from her father. He needs to let her know that she as well as Her body is hers and hers alone, that it's to be respected.

Fathers talk to your sons. Better yet, show them that a woman is more than a bitch or a hoe, more than just a body to be sexually idolized on TV,  in music videos, in songs.

She and her body are worth more and should garner more respect than what seems to be the general acceptance of a confused new feminism that applauds women who hold their looks and sexuality as trophies to be handed out, put on display and celebrated because simply we're women. And strong.

Respect should be something that is actionable. If a boy or a young woman understands that respect is more than words then they will have the courage to speak up for themselves, their friends. The courage to tell someone, which may be their friend, that hey, I don't want to be touched like that, even if you are playing. No, it's not ok that you rub your penis on my behind to satisfy your perverted sexual wet daydream.

And that same friend should understand that it's not a scolding, but a wake up call. And therefore, you being mad at me for asking, demanding respect is irresponsible, selfish, immature and grossly misguided.

Respect is something that should develop character and integrity which breeds responsibility.

If my character and integrity have any merit, then I'm going to be responsible enough to try and make the right decisions. Even when no one is looking.

And when that same responsibility, integrity and character is found to be less than, I'm going to not only accept the consequences for my actions BUT ALSO own up to them.  Not try to rationalize. Not try to make it easier on my family because I let them down, so I put the blame elsewhere. But acknowledge that I royally messed up and what can I do to try and fix it.

I don't know Brock Allen Turner. I don't know his parents. Or his lawyer. I don't know this young girl or what she believes. But all of those folks can take a lesson from this young woman.  Because she gets it. Despite her pain.  She understands.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (KJV)

Many people question the sovereignty of God. How can he allow these things to happen?

God gave us the right to choose.  We as humans experience horrible, terrible atrocities. And we rail against God. But in our pain, we have an opportunity.

An opportunity to show just how glorious God is: God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him. (NLT)

I will not be silenced. I will forgive. I will trust again. I will praise. I will take my terrible, atrocious, horrible ordeal and show the world.

I'm. Still. Here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Romancing the Novel - Chapter 1 - Champ Pain

Bonnie Raitt knew what she was talking about.  You can't make someone love you, but you can make yourself lovable.  Maybe that is what the problem is - you know within me.  

So let me get real for a minute.  
Before I met him, I was full of romance novel love confusion. 

It didn't take much or too many words to get me going.  I had a knack for attracting cute guys.  Me - attract cute guys???  I couldn't quite figure that out.  Still don't understand it to this day. But there they were, throwing themselves at me.  And me dodging them so they wouldn't land on me.

In 2nd grade Billy gave me a cute stuffed mouse at the end of the school year.  In 5th grade I beat up Joshua for saying he liked me.  I liked Danny in the 5th grade.  Danny like Angelita.  It was not a made for TV movie. She was cute and Latina - I was black and lacking.

Scottsdale, AZ
5th Grade

I was eleven and so IN LOVE with Danny.  I had a thing for white boys.  This is Scottsdale, Arizona.  My arch enemy was also in love with Danny and was nastily making her way towards me as we waited in line outside of class.

Angelita flipped her hair and walked up to Grace with Cha-Cha in tow.  Damn Cha-Cha. Yesterday she was my friend but today....."Ahem.  Es-scuse me, Grace but do you chower???"  Angelita asked loudly.  Angie and Cha-Cha didn't even wait for an answer but sauntered off, their heads shaking with laughter. . 

Danny was standing right behind me.  To say I was mortified would be like asking if beef came from a cow - DUH!!!!  I had never been asked that.  "Do I shower?"  What the heck does that mean?  Of course I shower, with a washcloth and everything and not just with a bar of soap and my bare hands.  Girls are so mean.  

Angelita asked Danny out that day but all I could think about was the shower I was going to take when I got home.  I can't believe I even remember that.  Hmm.

At 16 I met the island guy.  He. Was. Delectable.  He followed me off of the bus on my way to school.  I ignored him.  He called himself Champagne.  Man was he cute AND from Belize so he had that whole accent thing going.  Kind of like R-Kelly BUT 100 times more good looking.  He was older.  I was used to that.  I was rarely interested in guys my age.  They got on my nerves and were soooooo, young acting.  But Champagne.....oh, Lord forgive me but that man oozed "sex" out of his toes - just keeping it real.

I ignored that too.........

March 11, 1997

Los Angeles, CA

Grace nerdily sashayed to the bus stop.  The Laundromat was coming up at the corner and ugh creepy Craig would probably be outside watching my butt again.  Grace pushed that thought down, stared straight down at the ground and concentrated on trying not to trip.  One foot in front of the other.  Ew, someone spit a lugie right there.  What is that on my shoes......Grace thought and like the sun sets, tripped on the sidewalk.  "Dangit!"

"Hey gorgeous!" "Hola, mamacita....." and some rapid fire Spanish followed.  Grace glanced up briefly and frowned.  So disgusting these men are.  Grace had been dealing with disgusting men since the summer she woke up and breasts had invaded her upper chest deciding they would hang around for the long haul.  After being flat chested and watching my older sisters Double D Dolly get so much attention, the invasion was a much needed ego boost.  I loved my girls.  The problem with that was, so did all the hormonal men with nothing better to do but ogle me like a flopping fish on the sidewalk.

Whatever, Grace thought.  Grace was too busy trying not to fall and trying to decide whether to go to school or catch the 310 bus all the way down Crenshaw Blvd to Hollywood just to turn around and come back.  Bus fare was free since I had my bus pass. I could stay on the bus all day and people watch.  *Sigh* so many choices so little time.  

Creepy Craig had made his way to the edge of the parking lot of the Laundromat.  "So when you coming to wash clothes?  I got some quarters for you."   Craig said, jiggling his pocket.

"My granny already washed them.  Sorry, here comes my bus."  Grace tripped up the steps of the bus and flashed her bus pass.  Bus was not quite full yet so there were plenty of seats.  I flopped down in an outside seat facing forward. I really didn't want anyone to sit by me.  

Rule 1 in Social discomfort - Most people will not want to cross over you to sit down.  Why?  Because they would then have to make the choice between a full frontal or butt kiss.  Who wants to have to squeeze their butt in front of your face to sit down and possibly smell your butt in the process??  

That was my secret - social Discomfort.  Sit in the outside seat keeping the inside seat empty and hope no one is too comfortable with their butts and fronts to wave it in front of you and sit down.

As the bus rumbled down Crenshaw picking up the futures of tomorrow, I knew in the back of my mind I would go to class that day.  Charles might be there.  Just thinking about that tall dark chocoscicle made me smile.  Graces' face relaxed into a dreamy goofy smile.  "Ow!!"  Grace cried as a backpack smacked her in the face.

"Sorry, Grace."  Johnathan said.  "It's ok.  Whatever."  How the heck does he know my name????   I had been daydreaming for so long, I didn't even notice how full the bus had gotten and thus failed to follow Rule 2 in Social Discomfort:
2.  If you sit in an outside/aisle seat, you risk being hit by various objects hanging from the arms, hands and backs of other bus riders.  Therefore - STARE OUT THE WINDOW and keep your face averted.
Great, Grace thought - clearly irritated.  Now I hope my face doesn't swell up like I got beat down.  Grace has always believed she had hypersensitive nerve endings which caused her skin to react in weird ways.  There is a name out there for it - somewhere.

One time I scratched myself on my lip - just barely touched it when reaching to scratch my itching scalp.  My top lip swelled up 3 times it's size - my lips are big enough - this was not right.  I looked like a sambo!  Lip was red, hot and huge. Good thing I was on my way home from school on that day; I would have just stayed on the bus to Hollywood rather than explain to some nosy dumb classmate about my lips condition that doesn't even have a name and suffer the humiliation of some random sex joke made by one of my genius classmates.

"Canni, I shit there?"  "What?"  Grace snapped out of her digression, holding and rubbing the side of her face.  "Canni shit here?"  Grace looked down at the finger pointing at the empty seat. Eyes followed the finger to the hand.   Hand to the arm, arm to the shoulder, shoulder to the neck and finally neck to face.  De-lect-able.  I tried not to focus on the fact that I was eye level with shit guys crotch.  But it was right there.  I glanced upwards.

I have never been keen on keeping my face calm.   Usually whatever I am feeling plays out like a video on my face.  My stomach clenched and the word diarrhea started.  "Damn.  Why is his crotch so close???? He's cute but did he say can he shit here????"  

"What?" The cute shit man said.  "No your crotch.....I mean, you can sit here." I stammered.  I turned my knees out and inched over a little bit, trying to make what little room I could for cute shit guy to squeeze in.  "Oh God, front or butt, front or butt??," I thought - panicking.  As his butt passed my face - I prepared my nose for the onslaught. Nothing.  Whew!!!!

I tried my best to ignore the shirt and thigh touching me.  Why do guys have to sit with their legs all gaped open so much?  Shit guy sat in the window seat in the only way guys do - they need room for their sacks but try to be sexy at the same time.

In this case, I really didn't mind.  Cute shit guy was humming some song and my ears had perked up.  Dangit he would have to be sitting on my left side.  Right next to my bad ear.  What was he humming?

"R-Kel-ly."  Cute Shit guy said.  I whipped my face towards cute shit guy.  "You are NOT R-Kelly.  Are you?" I asked and looked closer at his face.  He looked way better than R-Kelly and hey, I was 16 so........

"Was humming R-Kelly - 12 Play - you wasked what I was humping."  He kind of ran his words together as only someone with English as their second language can.

My face flushed.  This was one good time I really appreciated being dark skinned.  That made blushing a truly secret event. "I'm sorry I didn't realize I said that. Out loud."

"Thas aarait." Cute shit guy said in his thick accent.  "I'm Champ Pain."  

What, was this some kind of code/language island guys were using these days to hit on women, I thought.  

"Ook."  Grace said and averted her eyes, deciding to ignore the sexy nut slouching guy.  

My stop was coming up.  I had excuses to come up with for my AP Enlish class and shit guy was telling me he was in pain. Grace could feel the crease between her eyes forming.

"My name es Champagne."