Sunday, December 27, 2009
I knew a man; this man was an interesting man. He told me he grew up in Queens, NY. I met him sitting with a group of friends having drinks. Being a lightweight and knowing I had to drive, I tried my best to just sip. He was staying at a hotel not to far away from the bar.
This man was not the most attractive man but to say the least, he was an interesting one. What caught my attention was him telling me he would never date, marry or take a Black girl seriously. Being a “Black girl” I just looked at him. Was I sipping too fast? I asked him why and he talked about his childhood. His mother. What I took away from the conversation was his mother pushing him and his brothers too hard. His sister (the only girl) ended up pregnant and his mother had to help raise his niece.
I sat there, sipping and wondering when this man was going to explain his reasons for staying away from the sistas. He never did. He finished saying his mother was especially hard on his father. So hard that his father left because he couldn’t take the pushiness and neediness of his mother. (His words not mine) His mother became bitter and his baby sister was also bitter. The two of them never did anything to uplift the men in their lives. They just complained and screamed.
He met his wife on a business trip. He showed me a picture of her. Blue eyes, blond hair, skin as soft and snowflake like, just beautiful. I complemented her and he rolled his eyes at me. He told me she was there for him, she never stressed him or pushed him like his mother did. When he came home, he came home to a quiet home. He was never bombarded by questions from a woman, instead greeted with kindness. When he went to bed, he felt successful, there was no one pushing him.
I took this all in and tried not to be judgmental. I kept quiet since he rolled his eyes at me. I needed to get home and told him goodnight. He asked if he could walk me to my car. I didn’t mind. When I got to my car he said he enjoyed talking to me. I winked and smiled. The less I said, the more I felt his thoughts go crazy.
When I got home, I was greeted my husband, “sup gorgeous.” As I got ready for bed I asked him if I was ever too hard on him. He said, “When you are stressed, but I can take it cause I’m a man.” My stress pushes him in a negative way. He explained that I get very independent when things get rough on me. My aggravation puts him in an uncomfortable place because his roll is supposed to provide. I push him into a place where he’s challenged even more because I’m not supportive and my attitude comes off as blame. Is this what this other man went through? Did he go through that kind of push? I thought all women did that maybe I was wrong?
I wished I could have changed the other guys mind. In order for me to do that, it would mean I’d have to change his past. My husband said he doesn’t think this guy hates all black women because he was nice enough to walk me to my car and speak to me. “Don’t take it personally,” he snuggled underneath me. How can I not? The numbers are stacked against “Black girls” and if a Black man tells me we are too hard I have to wonder. Are we too hard?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Whenever I think of lonely people, the song, “All By My Self” by Eric Carmen comes to mind. What is it that really makes up lonely? I know a lot of people who are just fine by themselves, personally I like being alone for at least part of the day. I like my space but there are times when I’m lonely. I grew up basically an only child so I felt the loneliness since I was small. This feeling isn’t new to me. What is new is the re occurrence of this emotion. What is it in this world that makes this emotion so powerful?
We interact with people all day long but somehow in the mist of the day, we fade out from world into one where no one exist but yourself. Lonely city population one. How is a person to concur this?
I had a conversation with a new friend. I thought this person was just going to drop something off and go but they were there for hours. I didn’t mind because I wasn’t in a rush to get back to writing but I remembered something my mom told me. She always said, don’t mind people who like to be in your company, they are just a little lonely. She went on to say, it’s ok to dedicate your time to lonely people because you never know when that’s going to be you.
As you all should know by now, I have people trusting issues. I don’t even like making new friends! Somehow I always find myself in the company of interesting people. I must have a welcome mat on my forehead. My point is whenever people are in their lonely season I want you to understand it’s just a passing moment. There will be more and just like the last one, it too shall pass. It will pass as long as you let it. I think sometimes when we get so caught up in being lonely that we almost in some ways make sure we stay that way. We latch on to the wrong people to fill that void when in fact it’s your lonely season. Let it pass and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
When I say vulnerable, I don’t mean become friends with anyone. I mean put yourself in the right circle. Be who you are in the right place and that loneliness will pass. Clinging on to whoever comes along be it, physically, sexually or in some cases over the internet is not going to make it go away. Being lonely doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. It’s a mental state and an emotion. It will pass but don’t force it.
Someone told me that fact that I’m afraid of planes means I’m not a real Christian because I shouldn’t be afraid to die. No fool, it means I don’t like the thought of plunging to my death. I’d rather be sleeping then waking up on a cloud next to Jesus. They were right about me thinking of the extreme. I have better chances dying going to the grocery store than on a plane. The same goes for loneliness. When you are in the same state, do not think of the extreme. Sometimes we need to focus on what’s in front of us and live through that season. Even ifs it’s just for a moment.
I find it interesting when people you haven’t spoken to in years because of a conflict you both can barely remember resurface. Sometimes, one party is over it and has completely moved on. Sometimes both parties have moved on. Then there is that party that just won’t let go.
Here is the thing. If at one point in time there was a friendship and a ripple in the world has cause you to cross paths again, why not bury the hatchet? Why try and push their buttons, especially, if it’s been that long? What if the last words you said to this person were the last words they heard then they passed, how would you feel?
I made a vow to myself a long time ago. I would never make old friends my enemies, especially if you didn’t kill my mother or put her in any harm. You do something to my mom, yeah we are enemies, if not, I couldn’t be. We all have people who don’t necessarily like us, but I think it bothers us more when the person who used to like us doesn’t anymore. Many times we blow them off by saying forget them or they were reason, season and even holiday people. But what are we really saying? Go to hell? Don’t make a hypocrite of yourself when lost friends resurface. As the days are long and the life is short, don’t let a grudge misjudge what you can later regret.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I’ve been breathing for 24 years and still find making new friends almost the scariest thing! I am so comfortable just sticking with people I’ve known from high school and below. After 12th grade people just became more and more odd.
In a communication class I took freshman year in college, I learned we attract people. Some people attract psychos, some attract abusive people and so on. I attract needy people who think they own me. It’s one thing to attract needy people, shoot, I’m needy, but to attract needy people you try to lock you down with a ball and chain, just isn’t my thing.
I have found myself almost becoming anti-social. I am so traumatized that there’s going to be a new member to the “I hate Mackleen” club. See, I don’t do being captured nor being anyone’s slave, punching bag, or pet of any sort. So what happens when the writer / poet finds her lovely self in this situation? I shut down. After anyone drains me to the point of no return, it’s a wrap! I find a hole called the ignore button on my phone, come down with the no return calls syndrome, and I take no medication for the ‘if I see you I will go the other way’ fever. In other words, I get real shady until I figure out what to do.
I sat in a church group once talking about my problem, a sweet woman (I thought would be a perfect friend but her issues were worse than mine!) said, “people are just not going to always like you. Whether you help them everyday or not.” Now I knew this, but I didn’t know that this was my life. She doesn’t know this but she saved me a George-Bush era $35 co-pay to see a doctor. I hate for anyone not to like me. I would say, “yes” even if it was an inconvenience. It never failed, as soon as I couldn’t do something, the membership went up at that club I mentioned earlier. Just like that, I would get a withdrawal from them and the relationship was over.
So…I came up with how to solve this problem, beat them to the punch! Shoot, I’m nice but not that nice! Had I figured this out sooner, I would have had a little more money in my pockets, less trips to the pharmacy and less alcohol assumption. The pastor said that same night, “People will send you to the grave.” This entire time I thought, isn’t this what God wants us to do? Treat people, as we would want to be treated. He looked at me and said, “You letting people control you has nothing to do with God, it’s you.” Me huh?
I don’t like being drained but I don’t like being disliked. If at the end of the day, what is more important is someone who isn’t going to take advantage of me then I am better off cutting ties those “haters”. When asked at their stupid club meeting why do you hate Mackleen so much? It’s going to be a constant repetition of, “she said I was draining her.”
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
She decided to give me tips on how to train dogs for shows. She complemented my dog by saying how pretty Diamond is. She looked at me up and down. Then she asked me if I was in a relationship. I said, yes I am. She told me training my dog would be like training my man. I had to raise my eyebrows at this one because I was always told that you couldn’t change a man. I told her that.
She smirked and said, “I didn’t say change your man, I said train him.”
She had to leave after that to take her daughter somewhere. I thought about this for the rest of the day. How could I experiment this on my man without insulting him? Do I slip him a treat whenever I thought he did something good? If that were the case, what would the treat be? My imagination went crazy as I plotted my next move. I even let myself be walked back to the car by Diamond. I got home and thought of ways to man-train my man. I found it impossible. My man didn’t jump on me whenever he came home, well at least not anymore. I would catch his eyes wandering however, but I didn’t have a leash to pull him back. What would be my leash and how could I provide him with treats? Let the training begin!
I wanted to go out to dinner. In this economy we have to budget when it comes to eating out. Gone were the days when we ate out three to four times a week. The most we had eating out was the Chinese restaurant that gave us one large plate to share. That was dining out for us. This time I wanted to be pampered and drive into the city to eat out. Test one. Direct eye contact, smile and speak clearly.
“Baby, let’s go out this weekend,” I said.
“What bills do we have to pay?”
That answer is a good answer because it’s not a direct no. I will give him praise. I reach over and nibble on the neck, that’s his favorite spot. He smiles. I tell him we’ll have to double check. Test two. We need to fix the curtains in the living room. I ask him to do it tonight, then I add in if he does I’ll make his favorite chocolate chip cookies and shake the bag in front of him. After weeks of asking, the curtains are put up and his treat is milk and cookies after dinner. He gets to eat them while watching the TV in the bedroom.
Saturday afternoon, my experiment continues. We are at the mall and we walk by a shoe store. My mouth waters. He suggests we go in and take a look at what they have for sale. I immediately see their winter boots under the sign “New Arrivals.” I pick up the knee-highs and feel the soft leather. I look at the bottom of the shoe and immediately put it back. I could only dream. The store clerk asked if I would like to try them on, but before I could say no, my mate tells her to bring them in my size. As she leaves, I ask him why. He says he wanted to see how sexy I would look in them. I agree. When the boots are brought out to me in a box, I see no one has even worn them. They are still wrapped in paper and plastic. While I’m trying them on, I hear him say his friend is having an all day football party tomorrow. I hear him but I’m getting high off the new boot smell. I put them on and look at my reflection. Perfect.
“You really like them?” he asks.
I nod my head with a big smile on. “I’d like to hang out all day with the guys tomorrow, I know we had plans but I really want to go. By the way, tell the girl to wrap up the boots for you. You get a treat.”
I was so excited about leaving with the new love of my life that I just jumped up and kissed him on the cheek. I whispered a “praise” of what he was going to get for the boots later. I ripped the boots off my feet and signaled to the girl to ring me up. We left the store and all I could think about was what I was going to wear with them. He then asked me if I minded if he bailed on couples day tomorrow. Before I could tell him how he promised Sundays were for us, a look at my right hand served as a reminder. The $169 boots were pulling me towards my reality. We never did agree to dinner and I couldn’t ask now. I frowned and said I didn’t mind. In the car he had the nerve to ask me was I cooking dinner. I nodded my head yes; I was the one that was trained!
As I spent my Sunday afternoon toying with fresh Nine West boots and various outfits to go with them, I thought about the lady at the park. I wanted to blame her for lame advice. When Diamond barked I realized she was sitting on the bed. She always sat on the bed. That would never change. My mate was never going to change, football and his friends were more appealing than couples day or listening to spoken word and having dinner at a restaurant. I couldn’t train him anymore than he could train me. My shiny new boots not only screamed this season’s new fashion but it screamed compromise. Diamond knew she would get treats if she did as she was told; that was a compromise. As long as I let her have fun, she would behave. That was our compromise.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I don’t believe in accepting broke. Everyone has some kind of hidden talent; it’s a matter of looking deep within. If after searching, you still can’t find anything, go back to school. I am not an advocate of putting yourself into debt but a lot of these colleges offer certificates, workshops and seminars to help people get a feel of what they could be good at.
Take the time to try. Figuring out what you could do on your own doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. It’s just having security. We all need some kind of part-time somewhere for various reasons. Some are for savings accounts, vacation or just having a little extra to pay for the little extra. I know people who have part-time jobs to save in case they have a baby. Baby accounts? Others just need to keep the lights on, pay the babysitter or day care. Do not get me started on day care!
Another way to figure out your hidden skill is by thinking of what you like. I would have never agreed with anyone who told me I would some day build anyone’s website. If it wasn’t for my poor bum knee and unemployment status, I wouldn’t have been interested. But I always had an interest. I found out there were community classes at the Art Institute of Atlanta where I could take a weekend class to teach me a lot of intro stuff. I spend about six long weekends learning graphic design. The entire time in the back of my head I’m saying, “I hate this complicated nonsense!” But I did it and had friends that let me practice by working on their website, making their newsletters real fancy or designing a logo. After buying some of the books and borrowing some from the library, I made it through. I learned and am still learning. Of course it’s harder because I learned a lot in 6 weeks and everything is trial and error. But it wasn’t impossible. It’s been helping me quite a bit… financially speaking.
You owe it to yourself to try. When you finally get it be a professional. Do not slack off because your friends are your first clients; treat it like a legit business because it is. When you get your first sale, I want to know how you feel. I am almost positive that the feeling is a lot more thrilling then seeing a paycheck that you know is already gone. Best of luck!
Till Next Time
According to dictionary.com, privileged means: “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.” Where does that leave the rest of us? Unprivileged? No, that leaves us under-privileged.
We are underprivileged because it’s harder for us to get access to things. Not to say we cannot have access to things only the privileged have; it’s just harder. If you take a person like myself, whose family came from a “less fortunate” background, it’s likely in order for me to get ahead, the journey is likely to be harder and longer. Basically, I have to start from scratch. I have to work my way to meet all kinds of people, manage to win them over with my witty charm and with everything I have, “make it.” Take someone else whose parents are well established, known amongst the elite, well connected and can make one phone call in order for their loved ones to get ahead. That is privilege.
Before I am stoned on the way to the mailbox, let me make myself clear on where I stand with this. There is nothing wrong with being privileged. It’s likely the underprivileged eventually make it to the other side and bring others with them, and the cycle continues. The issue is making it across that benefits bridge. Going from under to options. Having that access, picking which door to open instead of trying to pry, kick down or break in the door! What is going to keep you strong enough to finally say those magical words, “I did it.” It’s very simple: faith.
Dictionary.com’s definition of faith is, “belief that is not based on proof.” People really don’t know. If nothing is guaranteed except death and we don’t know what that is either, unless you are a killer or suicidal, (which for the sake of the article, I do not recommend trying to find out) don’t try to figure it out. Keep pushing. Push until you can’t push anymore, rest and start that fight again and this time shove. Put your back to the word no and look forward. Forget the light at the end of the tunnel, what are you doing in a tunnel anyways? Get across that bridge by any means necessary. If you see yourself in it then it belongs to you. When something belongs to you, you cannot under any circumstances let anyone take that away. It’s all you can guarantee yourself at the end of this life, is trying.
The rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson before he was signed to a major label was on a CD by a DJ named DJ Clue; the album was called The Perfect Desert Storm. 50 Cent had a track on the CD called Good Die Young, which was also featured on his very first album "Power Of The Dollar." Anyways, in verse one he talks about how money makes people react and what should happen if he should die. The line that stayed with me for years is, “let my tombstone read I Tried ,and from the start, everything I wrote was from my heart, so it'll always be number one on my chart.” He’s talking about his art. No matter what happens, he did his best and that’s all that mattered.
Being underprivileged can be a moment, not a moment within seconds, but a moment in your life. In order to cross that bridge you have to believe in your heart that you are the best in whatever you do and actually BE the best. I know who’s number one, do you?
Till Next Time,