Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome to 2016

Welcome to 2016.  Looking back on 2015 I realized why I had so few blog posts.  My life was boring, uneventful, and pretty uninspired, disappointing even.  Yes, I made it through another year, which is nothing to be taken lightly.  But the question I have been asking myself is did I really live?

The past few months have been a blur.  Jumping to the aide of sick family members and playing a support role during grieving is a selfless act.  At times like that you just go into automatic pilot.  You wouldn't believe how easily your instincts kick in.  But there is a downside with selflessness, you forget about your self.

When my aunt got sick and later passed away I tried to be as supportive for my grieving family as possible.  Having lost my own dad to cancer years ago I know the pain to lose a parent.  I tried to make things easier for my family.   I also had to make sure acknowledge my mother's feelings and loss with losing her only living sibling.  At the same time I still had to make sure that my mother's needs were met.  And in all of this, I managed to lose myself.

I lost sight of my visions.  I lost track of my goals.  I stopped going to the gym.  Suddenly things that used to be fun didn't even seem fun anymore.  I didn't feel like I knew myself anymore.  I kind of felt like I was going through the motions like a robot, a robot stuck in a corner.  But I have to WAKE UP.  I need to move on.  I have go to get myself together.  I tell other people all the time that you can't help others if you don't take the time to focus on yourself.  Such an easy concept to say and to never follow through with...

But it is 2016.  A fresh start.  A new year to try to correct what I got wrong last year.  I don't have resolutions per se.  I call mine "goals".  Usually my goals consist of the major aspects of my life.  For each theme I then write steps that I can do to achieve my goals.  To be honest though, I always have a few big overarching themes.  I really just want to be happy and be a better person.

The answer to the question did I really live is no.  But in 2016 it is time to start living!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dating Hiatus

My goal for Saturday was simple, spend time with mom and then to promptly ditch mom to hang out with people my own age.  Nothing against my mom.  You know I love her!  But after a few weeks of making sure everyone else was ok, after hosting people, after comforting grievers (including myself), I was ready to have a good drink, and preferably a drink with the male persuasion.  Seems easy enough right?

The day began with a question.  Would "Bow Tie", a Tinder suitor who had survived yet another instance of delete, renege on his offer to take me to the Maryland v. Penn State Football game?  After not hearing another mention of this alleged date for nearly a week, I figured that the chances were slim.  I also decided that I needed to bite the bullet and contact him because after all spending time with my mom was still on my agenda.  He finally replied to my message only to say that it was going to be "hard to link up" and that he had "friends in from college" and a "four hour exam to take tomorrow" (he's in grad school).  All of this is well an dandy, but surely none of this became a revelation the night before or the morning of said game.  And you know what I let him know that too.  I am tired of guys cancelling plans on me.  I am more tired of guys cancelling plans but waiting for me to inquire myself.  What's wrong with you dudes?

So my planned date of the week was a bust.  That meant I needed to reach out to some other guys before time ran out.  One of those guys was Troy.  I didn't disguise his name as I usually do only because he is an asshole.  You see Troy is another Tinder leftover.

There were two times in which we were supposed to meet up and something fell through on his part.  Luckily for each time plans fell through Troy decided to text me a week later as if nothing happened.  When I called him out the last time he said he would make it up, but I had never seen any type of "making it up" occur.  No, instead what I witnessed is one weak ass text message a week that said good morning beautiful.

So when I texted Troy yesterday I was not expecting much.   He told me that he was working this weekend (which in my mind ruled him out as company already).  I went on to tell him that I was tired of dealing with the wackness on men, aka Bow Tie.  Troy then proceeded to tell me that he gave up because I was always busy.  So I asked him how he would know if I was busy if he only texted me one day a week.  The conversation escalated to me telling him if he though that he really made an effort than he really wasn't the one for me and I wished him good luck and fun at work.  He then proceeded to tell me I was mentally unstable and to not contact him again.  WHAT THE F?!?!? Ladies and gents, let me tell you something.  Yes, I do have a tendency to be dramatic, over the top, and borderline crazy, but this was NOT one of those times.  At least let me earn your insult!  I am crazy because I call you out on your weak ass approach?  Strike two for Di Mo.

In my third attempt I reached out to "D".  I can't think of a worthy nickname so this will have to do.  D, another potential Tinder suitor did not have a good initial impression.  His phone conversations included a long rant about his ex-wife and not trusting people and him telling me that his only goal left in life at the tender age of 40 was to travel.  He also said, "you don't seem link a lawyer, you seem like a genuine person."  Despite all this, I still gave D a chance.  We went on a date that was nice and I enjoyed his company.  And through everything going on with my aunt he checked up on me which I really appreciated.  I decided to show my appreciation by inviting him to my friend's work event.  While he accepted on Monday by the day of the event he was "too tired", to which I told him that he needed to make up to me.  He did get some shade from me when on the same night he cancelled he bragged about all of the food that he had cooked that night.  Guess you weren't that tired huh?

So I reached out to D and suggested to him that last night would be the perfect opportunity to cash in on that make up date.  He agreed.  My only criteria is that I wanted a good drink and I didn't want to think.  The time was set for 7:00pm.  By 5 pm I had heard of no details for said date.  I asked him if he had figured anything out.  He replied by asking how far did I want to drive to meet him.  Side bar, if you are making up for cancelling on someone, wouldn't be appropriate if you met in a convenient spot for that person.  Also, what happened to picking women up from their door?  Anyway, at 6:15 despite my headache, we had decided on a place that I thought seemed like a fair distance for both to drive.  I texted him that I was leaving the house.  He told me that I was going to get their before him which was confusing for me but I proceeded onward.  By the time I got to the restaurant he asked me if I wanted to postpone since he was still 30 minutes away and stuck in traffic.  I laughed, because I was already there and this seemed like the worst day in dating ever, and told him that he could postpone and I would find something else to do.  I then began to drive 30 minutes back near my house to get a drink at a local spot.  He then called me said he was at the place and looking for me.  I texted him to let me know I left.  He seemed kind of pissed.  Should I feel bad?  Maybe, but I don't.  I said we could postpone.  I guess that means we both wasted a trip huh?

So that was yesterday.  Yesterday is when I decided that a dating hiatus was in order.  If this is what the dating pool has become then I bow out gracefully.  I told some of my girlfriends my trials and tribulations from yesterday and they all had the similar response "men suck".  And don't get me wrong, I am not some male-bashing, men-hating, bitter black woman.  I love men.  I miss men.  I would love nothing better than to spend a nice evening the company of a good man.  I am just wondering where they are?  And if you are one and I have overlooked you just let me know, equal opportunity and all ;).  But until then I am ok in the chill zone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Fragile Life

I know that you all have been eagerly awaiting my next blog entry.  I am sure that you have noticed that my entries have become further and further apart.  Believe me it is not because I did not have anything to say, it's probably more because I had too much to say.  I had too much going on, too many thoughts in my head, so much contemplation on my heart, that I was overwhelmed.  I was dealing with life.

We always think that we are invincible.  It starts off when we are children.  We jump, run, bike all to the utmost levels of danger because we believe that we are superhuman.  We convince ourselves that we will never die and that we will never experience pain.  But as our flesh gets older and our minds grow wiser we know that eventually we will all experience our final day.

My aunt passed away a couple of days ago.  This is my aunt that I have lived with for the past few years.  The aunt that acted like a superhero taking care of sick family members, including her sister who is my mother.  My aunt and I could butt heads and then laugh and joke the next minute.  She would call to check up on folks regularly.  She always made sure that the house was fully stocked with ginger even though she and I were the only people who enjoyed it.  The aunt that cared so much for others that she often times neglected herself.

My aunt was surrounded by love in her final hours.  You would think that we were on Jay-Z and Beyonce status with the way that we took over the floor!  So many family members and friends were touched by a woman who believed that angels were looking down and guarding over her.  To many, she herself was an angel.

We always think that we will have one more day, one more day to say I love you, one more day to say I am sorry, one more day, to promise to stay strong for everyone.  We live such a fragile life, never knowing when our last day will be.  After my father died I made a vow to never put off saying how I feel.  I always try to let the people who I care about know how special they were/are to me.  And although I could have told my aunt more how much I loved her and appreciated her I would like to think that she knew.  I would like to believe that she passed knowing that I will take care of her sister and that she does not have to worry.  My mustard seed of faith allows me to know that my aunt is living beyond her earthly flesh among the stars.

So listen.  Don't take this life for granted.  Don't hesitate to tell your loved ones that they are loved.  As clique as it may sound you just never know when you will have that opportunity again.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I'm Not Your Baby

There are times when I truly feel that my peculiar dislikes will leave me single forever.  I don't know what to say.  I can't help it.  There are just some things that make me feel uncomfortable and I really can't change that.  Amongst those things that drive me crazy are when guys call me a pet name prematurely.

I remembered that I wrote about the pet name thing before.  If you want to see it click here.  But it wasn't until a few days ago that I really thought about the underlying reason why I hate pet names.  Sure I don't like feeling patronized.  The ultimate black feminist in me doesn't want to be considered as an object or a little girl.  But this week I realized that there as something much deeper that bothered me.

My friend reminded me of something that one of my ex-boyfriends said while we were dating.  He was telling me a story about how one of his friends as caught calling a woman who he was dating by the wrong name.  His advice to this friends as to call every woman baby so that he never got their names mixed up.  My girlfriend shared a similar story with me that the guy who she as dating, who she found out had a girlfriend, also referred to all his female companions as baby.

The reason why I don't want to be called baby or sweetie or sweetheart or anything similar, it just doesn't feel special.  Pet names are supposed to be for someone you care about.  Someone with whom you have a connection.  When I am online dating nothing makes me feel more turned off than when a guy that I have never met all of a sudden thinks it is ok to use terms of endearment.  It to me is the same as saying I love you.  Would you say I love you to a stranger?  Of course not, unless they just gave you a million dollars! lol

So there it is. Crazy or not.  I might be too picky.  But I just want to know that I am really special.  I don't want don't want to be just one of your babies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Alter Ego Ethel

Move over Chris Gaines and Roman Zolanski!  Mimi and Sasha Fierce have nothing on Ethel.  Yes, I have my own alter ego and her name is Ethel.  You see Ethel is a 75 year old grandma who doesn't give a phuck!  Ethel is one bad mama jama who speaks her mind, does what she wants, and apologize to no one.  Yeah right now I am Ethel, so if you don't like it suck it!

The truth is I am getting tired ya'll.  Sometimes I am just fatigued from being the people pleaser trying to save the world.  It's exhausting!  I am constantly trying be sympathetic. I am constantly anticipating everyone's next move or lack of move so I can step in and save the day.  I feel unappreciated and neglected.  No more checking up on you texts.  No more remembering that this is the anniversary of the death of the pet that you grew up with as a child.  No more follow ups to see how your day at the dentist was.  No more phone calls to see how you are dealing with your breakup after only dating that guy for three weeks.  This is the end of me setting a time to meet up that takes into account your tardiness.  I am not going to feel bad if I go places or do something by myself.  I will not feel guilty if I don't want to go out anymore because I don't feel like driving or I would rather watch Murder She Wrote on Netflix.  Ethel will not let me bite my tongue nor will she let me stay completely quiet to avoiding hurting the feelings of a sensitive person who has no regards for my own feelings.  She will not let me play nice.  Because the Ethel in me wants me to enjoy my own life and stop worrying so much about everyone else's.  I mean clearly who is worrying about me?  No one.

Part of me embracing my inner Ethel is realizing that there are just some people who are not going to value you me as I value them.   A friend wrote a post that lifesucking and timesucking contraption aka Facebook, saying that she was going to put in as much into a friendship/relationship as she receives.  I plan on adopting the same strategy.  No more dating guys who aren't really into me (especially when I am not really into them either).

I have been told that it is my gift that I stay in touch with people, that I can sense when someone needs a word of encouragement. And while I do these things without wanting something in return, sometimes I need it.  What ya'll don't understand is that caring so much about others and internalizing their emotions is very draining.  My tank is depleted and I need to fill it up with more of me and less of everyone else.  Just because I am strong and I handle a lot of shit on my own doesn't mean that I don't need someone to check in on me dammit.  So when I feel that I don't get that type of support I just stick to myself.  Shoot sometimes I/Ethel need to be away from humans especially when they act like morons.

So today I am my alter ego, Ethel. Ethel, that ass-kicking grandma that is the biggest shit talker this side of the Mississippi and can get away with it because she is 75 and no one wants to disrespect their elders nor give her a heart attack.  Peace out biotches!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Attempting Open-Mindedness

I am single.  I am black.  I am female.  I have no kids.  I am educated.  I am attractive.  I am caring.  I am loving.  You would think all of those I am statements that I would be able to add that I am in a relationship, but alas I am not.  I am trying to stay open-minded in this cruel dating world but I am way past the moment of putting my hands up and more at the point where I am just accepting my future life of being the weird cat lady who never leaves the house.

When did dating get so hard?  I remember a time when I had two or three dates a week.  Now if I have one date a month that would be an accomplishment.  I truly am confused as to whether my pool is smaller or if my standards are greater.  Either way, I am in a state of disgust quite often.

I think I am just smarter.  I can put things together faster.  I am not as naive and innocent as I was 10 years ago, and quite frankly I shouldn't be.  I am now confident in myself.  I know my worth, my value and my overall awesomeness.  I am aware of my flaws.  And I know that anyone who has the opportunity to be my beau will be showered with the gifts that I possess because to be around me is truly a blessing.  The problem is not me.  It can't be.  So the problem is them?

Old, young it is all the same, just meh.  I am one of those women who doesn't mind dating a guy who is 10 years older than me.  I like a little gray hair.  I like bald men.  It's all good to me.  But what is not good to me is meeting these men who are quite older than me yet act quite younger then me.  I mean perhaps it is partially me.  I am no longer this doe-eyed girl.  Now I cut straight to the point no chasers. I want a guy of substance.  This means a man who is passionate about something and knows what he wants and goes for it. I want a man to court me.  You know take me out.  Try to get to know me better.  I am tired of a "wyd" text everyday.  I am at work the same time everyday what do YOU think I am doing?   I feel like men in this area have so many options that they don't want to commit to just one woman and they don't, because they don't have to. Or maybe they are just lazy.  Or maybe they just date to have sex.  Whatever their reasoning I am not about that life.  If you want to date me you better act like it!

Despite how it sounds, I really am attempting open-mindedness!  I have tried online dating on and off.  But everyone is just kind of blah.  I try to go to happy hours and such and most of the time I end up talking to old married men.  I mean they are nice and all but that is definitely defeating the purpose.

Sometimes I wonder why I am so pressed.  I have a billion things on my plate.  I don't want to have kids.  I see the relationships of some of my other friends and it makes me want to clutch my pearls in shock and dismay.  So what's the rush?  The rush is because I don't want to be alone.  Sometimes when you are a person who cares so much for others that you just want someone to care for you.  Is that to much to ask?

I am going to try to flip the script.  Turn my grimace into a smile.  I am going to kill them with my feisty whit and charm.  I am going to be positive.  And I am going to do all of this while remembering how amazing I truly am and not lowering who I am nor my standards.  And if no one else gets it?  Well then they are morons :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rage Against the Machine

On April 12, 2015 Freddie Gray, an African-American male was arrested by the Baltimore City Police Department.  On April 19th, Freddie Gray died as a result of the injuries that he suffered while under the care of that same police department.  This event sparked a series of events in Baltimore. Most were peaceful and unifying.  A small portion, heavily focused on by the media, were violent. But it is the death of Freddie Gray that has added another dimension to the discussion of police brutality, racial inequalities and the communities that are effected.  But this post is not about police brutality.  It is about Baltimore and other urban communities in the like.

You see the scenes from Baltimore really weighed heavily on my heart.  I used to work in Baltimore.  I interned there, I was a law clerk there, and I  was an attorney there.  As an attorney I represented children in child abuse and neglect cases.  My clients, children, lived in communities that have been ignored by the "leadership" of the city for some time.

These children represent the rage against the machine.  Cycles of poverty are generational.  Insufficient educational systems, lack of jobs, lack of access to proper health care, homelessness, and just a general lack of hope lay the foundation for a city of rage.  I have seen parents who go to the Department of Social Services for help and who then ended up being involved in the system for years.  The children I represented have lived in an environment where they have been forgotten for many years.

So it has taken rage and anger for people to finally listen. It has taken damaged vehicles, fires, and broken windows to remind the world of the people who they can no longer conveniently ignore.  No longer can you visit Baltimore and walk along the peaceful inner harbor, catch a game at Camden Yards, or stroll throw the cobble stoned streets of Fells Point without remembering the images that became emblazoned upon every tv set around the nation and around the world.

Let me make this clear.  I do not condone violence.  I especially do not condone children, yes children, not thugs, to commit crimes.  I understand the anger.  But I also understand that the police are taking all these pictures and videos and are using them to identify each person including, juveniles, who were involved.  As a result, these same kids will now be entering the system that they were trying to fight.  And let me tell you, once you are in the system it is very hard to get out.  It is a system with cracks.  A system that I have been trying to fix, so I know it well.

So why I am I writing this now?  So that we don't forget.  Change in Baltimore is not going to come from the prosecution of the officers involved.  Nor will it occur with body cameras for officers.  Change is going to take a multi-disciplinary approach with the community spearheading the change.  Not Al Sharpton.  I am talking about the men and women who have lived in the same house for 30 years.  The aunties and uncles who know the community.  We need young adults to step up and and claim their neighborhoods.  But we also need lawyers, doctors, teachers, police officers, scientists, architects, nutritionists, social workers, everyone working together to create several systematic changes.  It is going to take a lot of dialogue, a lot of time, and a lot of money.  It is going to involve moments of discomfort, but change usually does.  There are people who have already been doing the work, but they need help and resources.

Some people are tired of talking about race.  But the issues of race, poverty, and economic status are intertwined.  We need to keep talking.  We need to keep healing.  And we all need to have conversations that will stretch our understanding and tolerance of others' feelings and cultures.  Fear can serve as a catalyst for negative behavior.  It is time to erase this fear that we all have of each other.

Let's not let Freddie Gray's death be in vain.  No more teachable moments.  This time let's start a real substantive change in Baltimore that can be replicated across the country.  Let us no longer turn a blind eye to those issues that might not effect us on a personal level.  Because the truth is what happens in the inner city of Baltimore effects us all.  We are an inter-connected society and it is time that we start acting like it.  Their rage is my rage too.  I can't wait to see what comes out of the ashes...