Something Missing at the Black History Month Program

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Artwork provided by http://unothegateway.com/

Multiple question marks on paper[/caption]It is Black History Month where America, and more specifically, those Americans of African descent celebrate culture and achievements.  My nieces asked me to attend their Black History Month event last night. It was held at a local church where they go for an after school program sometimes. They waited the day before the event to ask me to go, and they asked me several times.  I submitted and committed to going to the event.  You can tell from my writing that I was very much enthused…not. I love my nieces and nephews, but this part of being an auntie, is not my favorite and I avoid it as much as possible.  

Misery loves company, so I asked my mother if she wanted to go. She genuinely did. At 6:45 PM the next day, my mother and I were driving up to the parking lot of the church.  I dropped my mom at the door so that she would not have to walk in the newly fallen snow and the ice that it covered. After I had parked, I went to the church and was met with the chaos of children of all ages running around getting ready for their performance. I smiled remembering me being in their place. 

My mom already found a seat in the sanctuary. I sat next to her like I use to in church when I was a kid.  She asked me about the time. I told her it was 7 o'clock. She seemed surprised that the show had not started and began to look around, noticing she and I were the only ones in the audience. Around 7:15 others began to pour in; grandmothers, mothers, aunts and the people who financially supported the program. A few minutes later drums played on the sound system and dancing, speeches and singing began.  

In the back of the church sat several young boys. Another young man was standing at the door of the sanctuary making sure no one interrupted the program by coming in and out of the door.  Outside of that, there was no male presence. None of the boys performed in the program, and there were no fathers, uncles or grandfathers in the audience. That struck me. A few days before this, I was interviewing people in my neighborhood for a project, discussing the 1967 riot that occurred in Detroit. One subject that continued to come up in those discussions was the broken black family dynamic and how males are frequently missing in the households.  This program was a blaring outcome of that. Not only were there not males in the audience to enjoy the work of the children. There were not males to help in running the program, and the outcome is no activities in the program that were more male-friendly and supportive. 

The reason male presence is small or sometimes non-existent in the black community is very layered. Here are just a few that feed into this phenomena:

  1. Slavery: Many families were broken up in the buying and selling of slaves, creating a different dynamic in black households than in other American households
  2. War/Military: A vast proportion of men who were drafted and took part in wars and military are men of color. Again, removing them from homes and at times bringing them back in emotionally broken mindsets. 
  3. Drugs: Drugs began to pour into the neighborhoods and streets of lower and middle-class neighborhoods, causing havoc in families and communities 
  4. Sexual freedom: Sexual freedom hit its peak in the 60s with additional access to contraceptives, giving more freedom to have sex without the worries of pregnancy
  5. Women's Movement: The women's movement empowered women to take more control over their bodies and unplanned pregnancies. Women had more options than getting married and having kids, and more women were opting not to get married. Men felt less responsible for unplanned pregnancies and their outcomes, leaving more women taking on a larger parental responsibility
  6. Prison: More men, especially men of color were imprisoned because of drugs, removing them from their families and creating more economic hardships and more single-family homes.

This list can go on and on, but why no longer matters. What matters is finding a solution. Here are some. 

  1. Black men and women do not really talk to one another about these pains and challenges. Not as couples. We just expect better and too many times degrade when we do not do better.  More discussion, listening, and understanding needs to occur in our relationships and our communities.
  2. Therapy and counseling is a must. We are a traumatized people who are told every day to get over it. Talking helps get over it. Building helps get over it. We must make therapy and counseling a regular part of our relationships and community. 
  3. Partnerships, not dictatorships – I have seen relationships where black women tear down their male partners with their mouths and actions. I have also seen the same with men, fighting for dominance instead of working together and loving together. Let's build partnerships. Know your strengths and weaknesses in relationships and build and enjoy accordingly
  4. Plans – economically, educational, trips, families, everything. The world is hard and does not help when you are working to plan for your future, create budgets, create families, but we must.  If we want certain things in life with a partner, planning those things are a must
  5. Autonomy – We are individuals, and we all need space and time to be us.  I have seen relationship
  6. Commitment – What families look like today is different from the 1950s and 60s.  And that is what it is, but when you have children, you must take care of them, and that is more than money. That is time, that is knowledge and enjoyment. If your partnership as mates does not work, your partnership as parents must. 
  7. More community and together-ness. Integration and individualism have caused many of us to disconnect from community and our cultural foundation. It has caused us to invest less in our neighborhoods, our people and businesses and in our educational institutions; things that we need when it is difficult to access them in other communities.  Segregation demanded that we did this before. Now, let's do it out of the benefits and necessity. This doesn't mean isolate from the America culture. It just means build the black culture and foundation as you continue your American journey. Other groups do it. We should too. 

 

 

Days of Doubt


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I move forward, regardless of what is going on around me, what people say or how things appear. That is how I get things accomplished.  There is always a solution to all problems and  roads to all visions. I keep my eyes open and ears open to hear and see where to go. It works for me time and time again. But I have my days where I crash into a wall of doubt that I didn't see coming and before I know it, I am on my ass wondering what happened and why I am doing any of this. I had a day like that yesterday.  

I woke up, I prayed, thanking God and universe for everything and asking for direction and productivity in the day. We are a few days from 2017, so, I sat down and began planning for another stellar year and as I plan, something started happening. Anxiety started setting in and then just right out fear. My daily meditation usually steadies me through the day. Not yesterday. I was blocked from seeing beyond the reality that sat in front of me and that reality said, "Girl, you ain't gonna make it. How you gonna make any of this happen. You don't have…." and it went on from there.  I actually welled up and  when the emotions got to heavy, submitted to the reality that today, I have doubts and I do not know if I am good enough or have the strength or capacity to do any of this.  Doubt exist and it happens. I think the worse part for me is not having someone to call or talk to slap me out of it.

I walked up to my studio and pulled out paper and crayons and started drawing without purpose other than to busy my mind.  A couple of completed drawings done and a few hours later, I was clear enough to talk to my inner self. I told her that the vision is big and it  is what we are here to complete, so we can do it. The world we live in says without knowing certain people, having certain money or other criteria, there are things that cannot be accomplished and when I hit that wall of doubt,  I believed that and folded. We are again conscious and have gone over that wall of doubt and can again see the limitless resources and capacity.  

Move forward, regardless of what is around me, what people say, how things appear, despite the walls in front of us. 

Fears

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This week has been a doozy. Many people have gone through so many different emotions after hearing Donald Trump will be our next president. Some people are ecstatic, but most that I have spoken to are depressed, angry, confused and really scared. I've haven't heard the word fear so much since 9/11.  I took a moment internally and thought about what really scares me and what fears I have. Just to name a few:  

  • Death of loved ones (my parents, siblings and the like)
  • Guns 
  • Our environment being too far gone to fix
  • Being homeless
  • Not telling a person my true feelings about them before it's too late
  • Becoming deathly ill
  • Not having the ability to think clearly
  • Not being able to create art

These are real fears that I face every day and try to alleviate by enjoying my family and friends, creating art as much as possible, using my mind to its fullest capacity and working hard to stay healthy and happy. There is one thing on this list that I have not been able to move forward with and that is telling that special someone I care.  One day, I will get over that fear and scratch it off of my list. One day. 

Fear is an emotional mechanism that is supposed to keep us from doing dangerous things or to alert us of danger. It is a good thing in its place, but sometimes the fears we have are based on the unreal. That is when fear itself becomes dangerous and harmful.Some people have let the fear of Trump create an unreal world in their heads and that can develop into more bad decisions. Let's work for the best and prepare for the worse. 

With the Trump election, my first reaction was not fear at all, just disappointment. I felt it on several levels starting with the politics that lead us to having such poor choices in our presidential candidates, to the horrible language and media frenzy we had to live through for the last year. In hindsight, maybe this is the only way such an election could have ended.  But, for just a moment, I did think, even in the brokenness that we are facing as people in this country, that we would pick what would be best for the majority of us. Again, maybe we did.

The hopes and optimism I held for America were unwarranted and I knew better. My soul knew better. She was talking to me and getting me ready for what she saw was coming and what I was scared to admit.  When it happened, disappointment hit and then the next thing I felt was, time to get back to work. Keep creating art that young children see in their neighborhoods. Keep writing about humanity, spiritual understanding, my Black-ness and womanhood. Keep transforming public spaces and keep loving family, friends, and neighbors and beyond. Be ready to move when my inner spirit tells me to. Be ready to work when I am called.  That is it. We have fears to get over in this country. Fears about race and the guilt of it. Fears about this changing country.  There is a government system with outdated laws, processes,and policies that need to change. Until then, I've decided that Donald Trump is not something I need to fear just another person to love, pray for, and tell the truth to.

The Airport

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My plane got in rather late tonight. We landed about 12:04 AM. I knew it would be another hour or more before I could lay down in my bed. This trip was only a few days but I felt like I hadn't slept for weeks.  I use to call someone to pick me up but that has become more challenging as my family has gotten older and friend's lives are fuller.  Now, I save money for a taxi-ride. Yes, uber is cheaper, but a taxi driver doesn't feel the need to engage and entertain you the whole trip. At one in the morning, the last thing I want is a purposeful conversation.  It was 12:37 when my bag finally fell from the carousel.

I noticed as others grabbed their luggage, they headed for the door looking for the car of their loved ones or even were met by a love one in baggage claim. Smiles, hugs, handshakes and screams. I saw a little boy run up to what I assumed was his grandma.  It gave me such a warm feeling and an empty one at the same time.

Ten minutes later I was in the taxi. The driver asked where I was going. When I told him Detroit, I saw a little hesitation.  I understood it, but also was a little angry about it. I haven't been back home for 15 minutes and already facing Detroit stereotypes and prejudice. Yet I understood. The world in not safe. Detroit is not always save.  The taxi driver dropped me off  at my parent's house, I got my keys from the hiding place and dragged myself to the car. 

Slowly, I drove to my home. I turned off my car and I took in my surroundings. It was very quiet and very late. For a moment I thought how I would feel safer if someone was with me. If I could have a friend to keepme company. But I had only me.  Nothing more.  I got out of the car and as I removed my bag from the trunk,  a man came from the side of my neighbor's house. It frightened me for a second and then I realized it was one of my neighbors. I smiled and said hello and wondered why he was outside at that time of night.  My mind went back to the taxi driver and I was a little less angry at his hesitation to come to the city.  My heart slowed down and I opened my house door feeling safe, secure and alone.

It was the next day, around 9 am that I called my mother. She didn't even know that I had stop by to get my car.  She told me I should have waken her, but I know if I did that, she would have yelled about me waking her. I was in a quiet place that morning, so our conversation was short.  My trip from the airport made me think about how alone I am and how uncomfortable that can be sometimes. I decided to go back to sleep hoping rest would take away the sadness and depression I was feeling. I have a good life, but that moment, for that moment, I felt miserable. 

 

Get Your Hands Out of Your Pockets

21st September 1963:  Black American civil rights leader and Baptist minister Dr Martin Luther King (1929  - 1968) raising his hands in a restaurant.  (Photo by William H. Alden/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

21st September 1963: Black American civil rights leader and Baptist minister Dr Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) raising his hands in a restaurant. (Photo by William H. Alden/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

I almost do not want to write this, but I have to.  It's Sunday and I am getting ready for three hours in my studio. Painting, drawing, etc.  Before going in the studio, I decided to stop by an art store to get paint for today and also tomorrow. I am working with this after school project and I wanted the students to work with different colors than what I currently have. Any excuse to go to the art store is good enough for me.   There are two art stores on Woodward Ave. that I could go to but I was closer to the one in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit, so that is where I went. 

I get there and was happy to see that paint was on sale. I grabbed what I needed, took a little bit of a walk around to see if there was anything else I wanted and got in line.  As I waited, I hear one of the staff members yelling from behind the counter to someone out of my site range. She said "Please take that out of your pocket and put it back." I hear someone say something and then I hear her again – very loud, boisterous and aggressively say "I saw you take that out of the box and put your hand in your pocket."  Then I could see the person she was talking to. It was a young black guy  in a tan jacket with a cool afro. The quintessential artists type. He said back to her "Yes, I did put my hand in my pocket, but I did not put anything in it. Do you want me to come up there and empty my pockets?" She says "I saw you put something in your pocket." The young man came up to the counter and  He said "You absolutely did not see me put anything in my pocket." as he empty all of his pockets showing them all to be empty beyond his wallet.  The staff member said, "Oh, I just had to make sure." The young man walked back where he was and continued looking at markers. 

I was at the counter heated. First of all he and I were the only black people in the store. Only people of color in the store. Secondly, she is yelling so that everyone dead or alive near by could hear, degrading a person, calling them a thief in front of a store full of people. Thirdly, she didn't apologize for her horrible behavior after she is found to be wrong.  So, I looked at the young lady who was taking care of me and said "You know what?" and before I could finish that, my spirit told me to handle it differently. Don't put all your paint away and walk out in a huff. Tell the young lady what you think.  Okay, I said to myself. After the cashier finish ringing me up or almost finished,  I looked to the young lady that rudely talk to the young black man. I kept calm. I looked her straight in the eye and said.   "I need to say this. I was about to put all of this back because of the interaction you just had with that young man. I understand you were doing your job, but it would have been better if you would have walked up to him and had a conversation with him instead of the way you handled that.  You should apologize." She looked back at me, straight in the eye and said, "You are right. I could have done that differently." She heard me and I had hope that she will do that differently if it ever happens again. 

She may not even realized the perception of what she did. Her act, which could have simply been an employee protecting the product of her company, could easily been perceived as a prejudice and racist act. That is how I perceived it.  This is something most people of color deal with on a daily basis. We are profiled and assumptions are made or we are the victims of people who do not understand our history and journey and react in a way that actually is very hurtful to us which, for them, may be a normal reaction to the situation. 

This young lady, from my point of view,  assumed this young man, who is black, was stealing. Then, like many people that look like her have done over many decades, she talk to him as though he was less than. She accused him before she knew and then, just like other whites in similar situation, she did not apologize. If she had better understanding of the world around her or had experiences like this herself or even had friends she cared about that had similar experiences, she may have acted differently.  

This young man and I knew that we had to react with less aggressive nature to be heard or that issue could have escalated and we would have been on the wrong side of that situation. We have to sympathize with her ignorance to enlighten her and at the same time keep us out of danger. That is our life. That is our reality. I think of Martin Luther King and his life and how many times he dealt with perceptions of who is was and what he was doing and how many times he just wanted to show his anger towards those showing hatred and anger toward him.  He and others like him had to be absolutely strong and a little crazy. I felt myself wanting to go over that counter and grab that young lady. A quick second and it would have been over for me. Thank god for spiritual guidance. 

It may be a moment before I go back to that art store if ever. I hope that the young man is also okay.

 

Self-Love

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Teaching school is a fundamental way of sharing. My sister is a teacher. She teaches kindergarten. It baffles me why, because I am not even sure she likes kids. I think she is just really passionate about education and how best to ensure a child will be educated than to catch them at the beginning of their educational journey.  She is just one of many teachers in my family. My aunt, father, cousins.  We learn so much in school. Math, science, how to play and color. We learn how to socialize and even about time (this English class is too long vs. gym isn't long enough).  I told my sister I wish that self-love was taught in schools. I think it would have changed so much in our society and has the potential still to do so. 

I know I may have written this in other posts, but I am going to repeat it. Love, for me, was something you expressed and gave to others. It was something others gave to you if they felt you worthy of it.  Love from others is something you wanted. It gave value.  Growing up in church, love from God was paramount. From what the preacher says, you come into a life already with God's love. Something you never have to worry about, but the world and its views make you work hard just to believe you've earned such unconditional love.

It was not until I was in my 20s that I learned of the concept of self-love.  Those feelings, thoughts, and patience you have with others, to have them for yourself. That was foreign to me. You hear the word self, and your mind goes straight to selfish, at least my mind did. But self-love is not selfish, and it is one of the best things you can do. 

Self-love is this appreciation of who you are as you are. When you appreciate, like and love yourself, you tend to make better choices for yourself from health choices even down to your relationships. When you appreciate and love you as you are, it becomes so much easier to do the same for family and friends. 

I actually did not love myself. There were things I was confident about. I was confident that I was smart. My report cards supported that fact. I was confident that I could draw, but not confident that I was good at it. I was confident that I was a decent musician. I held first chair in middle and high school band and even in community bands while in college. I was confident that I was not a "pretty girl" and somehow became okay with that. There was a lot of pressure that comes with being pretty that I did not have to deal with. I was not confident about love or like. I assumed people like me mostly because of my achievements not because of who I truly was. I accepted that. I tend not to care about other's accomplishments and always wanted to see people from within and to like them from that space. I think I chose to deal with people in this way because I was giving them something I did not have and wanted.

Self love came when I was at a rock bottom. Years of depression, could not think, work or create and no parent, friend or family around to spring me out of that hole. I remember being on my bed, in darkness, hugging myself. There was a warmth with that. It made me fall asleep when I probably hadn't slept for a while. That feeling gave me energy and mercy from the darkness. I thought it was a fluke feeling.  Later, I saw a book about self-love that really opened me to the concept and made me wonder why this is not taught to all. Why little kindergartners aren't told about self-love. 

If everyone loved themselves, no one would feel empty and try to fill it with others. No one would feel they have to give up who they are to be loved, feel secure, feel peace. If at five years old, you were told that love lives in you and you are truly beautiful as you are. If the world truly supported that philosophy this world would be all we imagined and it would be real.

Truth: I am still learning to love myself but I have seen my progress, and I have seen how it makes me feel about my parents, nieces and nephews, friends, associates. I see how it makes me feel about strangers and how comfortable I am with myself. I am not in a rush to be in a relationship, but I know as I am now and where I am continuing to go, I will have an amazing partner to share my life and love with and do it while truly being me.  

 

Colorful Women Series: Stay Woke

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Colorful Women is not about skin color. It is about the colorful personalities and experiences of women. But, the last few months have been filled with racial and prejudice events that I must use the Colorful Women platform to speak on the subject.  Sometimes having dark skin in America can be hard. It can be the difference in living an amazing life or not. It can be the difference in life or death at times. 

I kind of tear up thinking that someone may think less of me because of my skin tone which God the Creator gave me.  It could not be wrong or bad if it came from the universe. For me, my skin has been beyond a blessing. Everyday, I live beyond the definition this world has placed on my skin. I am lucky to have family and friends and the upbringing that says be proud to be Black, be proud to be human and to be most proud that I am a child of God. We all are children of God, equal and just as important as anyone. I know there are many people of color that did not have my upbringing and have been torn down by the American narrative of the Black person. 

How can we change what is going on in the world. Easy. Love is the answer. Treat others as you will have them treat you. Be proud of who you are inside and out and live respectively and a Black person or whatever type of person you are blessed to be. We MUST – all of us, know our history and how we became the country we are so that we can fix it. We MUST share our knowledge to other generations. We MUST stay aware. I love the saying STAY WOKE. They are amazing words. It is like the Matrix. Once you take the pill there is no looking back. Your eyes are open, keep them open. My eyes are open and with each day, each book, each conversation, each newscast, my eyes are open wider. 

WOMEN: A special request for you. We have gotten to a place where we tear down each other, men, our loved ones. Let us go back to our nature and comfort our children, our men and each other. Let us TEACH love. That is our womanly power. We have given it away to show our independence and some weird type of strength that really has created a toxic space. We can be independent and nurturing at the same time.

I write this with peace and love – STAY WOKE my friends. 

 

Colorful Women Series: Wallflower

fullsizerender_5This world is not always kind to introverts. Us that sometimes choose reading a book at home over the bar or an intimate conversation with one person over hundreds in a room laughing, drinking and dancing. Us that are sometimes called party poopers when really we like to party differently. Though one day, we will rule the world, today, I wish I was more extroverted. Invitations to bars and clubs usually go in the trash. I have come to grips that most of that is not for me. I end up standing in some corner or sitting in some chair like a wallflower. I don't want to be a wallflower at anyones even, but I could not trash this particular invitation. It was from you. I needed to go. I hadn't seen you in months but have thought about you everyday. 

If I was an extrovert, I imagine that I could, without thought, go into this club looking amazing, smiling at everyone and, as I look across the room and see my friends, holler without fear of judgment,  "Hey! Whadup!!" But instead, I have come to this club, alone and for the past 10 minutes have sat in my car. I must say, I look amazing in my off white dress and black heels, but even amazing can start to look terrible when you are nervously sweating. 

Time for the pep talk.

I am a grown ass woman and I can do this! I have paid $20 for parking and I want my money's worth. 

I got out of my car and into the bar I went.

Actually it wasn't as bad as I thought. It never is, but  what is fear if not an over exaggeration of the unreal and untrue?  I grabbed a drink and looked around for you. I did not see you anywhere so I did what most people like me do. Find a good place to stand or sit and look like I fit in.  A few people smiled as they walked by me.  Some said hello, but mostly I got stares. I am indeed wallflower-ing it tonight.  I so wish I invited someone to just chat with, but I didn't want to screw up a chance to talk to you alone and freely. 

I am crawling out of my skin. Every fiber of me is saying, "get the hell out of here" and it takes everything in me not to listen. If I do not see you in the next 10 minutes, I will call it a draw and try again next time. Will there be a next time? 

I took a sip of my drink and looked down at my shoes wondering why I picked them for this outfit and when I looked up, you were standing in front of me. A smile so wide and beautiful. You greeted me with a tight hug and warm kiss, and just like that, the anxiety, the nervous sweats, the fears disappeared.  We talked for a few moments and then, someone grabbed you. I was alone again but smiling. 

An hour later, I am driving home and just as I put the car in park in my driveway, my phone beeped. It was a message from you. It was a picture that you had taken of me standing on the wall and underneath it you text "A beautiful wallflower." 

 

Colorful Women Series: Colorful People

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Close your eyes and see the world differently. We have removed the brown hues, olive skin, pinks and porcelain whites and traded them for reds, greens, blues and bright yellows. Can you see me with my green skin and magenta locks walking down the street with orange men, yellow women, pink children and purple elders. How can the world not smile and love and be happy with happiness walking around saturated in beauty.  

Now open your eyes.  

Those colorful people exist. On the outside our beauty has been tainted by judgmental and prejudice stories and beliefs. On the outside we may be brown, black, beige, olive, tan, white – but truly open your eyes and you see that real US. The inside that sparkles bright like rainbow colors. Our true source of our beauty. Do you see that.  

NOW, you can enjoy the beauty of our browns, blacks, beiges, olives, tans and whites. We are colorful people inside and out. Uniquely and equally so. All we have to do is keep our eyes and hearts open. 

 

Colorful Women Series: She’s Better for You

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Hmmm, I hoped that you pick me, but I took a look at her. She is beautiful. She is a go getter. She is smart, focused and driven. I put her photo next to yours and even I had to admit you look good together. I am on Facebook and I see that you like her status, over and over and over again. I do too. She is amazing and I cannot help but compare. I am amazing too, but I am not good at telling my narrative. Not enough photos, events, posts or successes to brag about. I sit every day in my meditation chair and your face always comes between the gaps of nothing.  I think…one day, when time is right, we will cross paths and share paths – but fear that may never happen with such beauties, like her around. No, I am not jealous. I was disillusioned to think that I had a chance. My beauty only peaks outside of my bodily shell every once in a while. It can go unnoticed and it has. No, I am not jealous. I am sad. My relationship with you is just as real as the one I have created with you and her  but if I was God and I had to use my magical powers to connect people in human bliss. I would pick her for you. 

Colorful Women Series: Do You See Me?

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You read a lot. A LOT. 

I know. 

Put the books down and LIVE you say.  

Write the BOOKS – Don't read them.

You don't know. Reading helps me live. 

See, the last book I read, told me not to sweat the small stuff. 

The book before that, showed me how to think BIG. 

Two weeks ago I was reading this novel and I learned how to tell someone you love them 

AND

then how to murder who I love and get away with it.

Being shy (and sometimes shy still)

Books open me up and help me form words when nothing else would

Stories connect me to people. They have connected me to you. 

What is your favorite book?

Google.com isn't a book

What am I reading now? 

A Shakespeare play. My favorite. King Lear.

Fathers and daughters and bad relationships.

No, King Lear doesn't remind me of my father. 

You say good bye and walk away

I look beyond the pages of my book to see you get further away from me.

What would our novel be about. A girl in love and a guy with no clue. 

Oh my gosh. He looked back!

Did he see me gazing?

Does he see me at all?

Colorful Women Series: Neck Roll

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A short walk around the corner and I was at my fav cafe with a hot coffee and a book. It was after lunch but before dinner, so not that many people were there. Just the way I like it.  A guy on his laptop was watching  video smiling and silently laughing. A couple having a quiet conversation and one other person on the phone. The girl on the phone was beautiful. Long hair – most of it hers, flawless makeup and dressed to the nines. She sparkled. Her boisterous laughed filled the cafe. Every now and then she realized that she was disturbing the rest of us and would quiet down. 

Whoa. Her demeanor changed. She got up out of the chair and walked to the door like she was marching to war. You could hear the anger in the syncopation of her sandals slapping the back of her heels.

She didn't get completely out of the threshold of the door before her hand went to her hip and she began to point as if a person was standing right in front of her. Her words became shorten and rough. She is mad. And then, I see it. The neck roll, moving side to side with each word she says as though there is not a vein or bone in it.

"I don't need you." I don't need no man. I am an independent woman. Who the hell do you think you are?"

I was wondering what the guy on the phone was saying. We could only imagine. But we didn't have to imagine her responses. They were filled with derogatory names and expletive language.  After about five minutes of that, she pushed the red button on her smart phone, looked at it for a moment and with tears in her eyes she looked into the cafe. She realized we all saw and shame came across her face. She quickly turned her heard and with the same angry walk she left out the cafe with, she walked to her car. We all heard the car door slam and the screeching of tires out of parking lot.

I sighed, glanced around at the other observers of that episode and went back to reading my book. 

She was hurt. How many times have I heard women say how independent they are and what man they don't need. It is a mantra of a lonely and fustrated. What does independents have to do with wanting to be loved, honored and held. What do it has to do with sharing moments and life with anyone. Nothing. 

The neck roll tells no lies. She was mad. Maybe she will go home and have a good cry, or bitch to a girlfriend over red wine. She look like the kind that will take a bat to a car. 

Colorful Women Series: You Aren’t A Real Woman

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I found out the news the way most people do these days; on Facebook. He is leaving town with his fiancé who is expecting their first child. I didn't know about the fiancé and of course I did not know about the baby. I was deflated and embarrassed. 

For years we were in and out of each other's lives. Sometimes I would be in a relationship. Many times you would be with someone, but I thought the end result would be you and I.  That is what I thought the universe wanted. 

Days before the truth came out, you lay next to me and said, "You look like a real woman." Here we go with this again. You have accused me of NOT being a real woman so many times. What does that mean?

Why did I let you get in my head and questioned my femininity.  I didn't wear things cut up to there and down to there. No, I didn't really get the enhancements of silky hair and acrylic nails. No, I did not learn the magic of batting my eyes and getting men to do what I want. I was okay with the type of woman I am until you. If the lack of these things really makes me less of a woman why did I continually find you at my door? Your definition of my womanhood bounded my power and my love. I should have left it alone –but attraction is a monster that warps the senses.

You loved my intellect and hated it at the same time. You admit that you would love to wallow nude in my intellect. It scared you and to compensate your fear, you would attack my womanhood and tell me that I could never tame you – “I am wild and free.” Well so was I.

It's too bad. You knew me deeply, loved me deeply, but you could not commit to me. Maybe you knew you couldn't live within my standards, which were simply, live fully, love fully, and be open and honest.

LOVE – Love is easy and natural. Commitment? Well, that takes courage and determination.

For days after reading that post I felt less beautiful, unwanted, unloved and alone. Time, understanding and prayer raised me above that, but I cannot help once in a while to go back to that memory and ask how can you love so deep and treat someone so conniving.

The good of it all is if I didn't get the message before, I got it now. Hope you found the real woman you wanted. Me? Still looking for that real man. 

Colorful Women: I Know You Want to Touch It

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You want to touch my hair. I get it. It's different. Tightly curled, strong, springy and spongy. Soft and scratchy. It may seem a little wild.

It shoots up in the air, connecting with the world  around it, taking in the power of the universe.

You want to touch it. Become one with it if only for a moment.  

It is exotic and beautiful. It's rawness brings you in. 

Let me tell you how it makes ME feel. 

Confident in a world that makes me question myself every day.

Real.

Uniquely beautiful.

Rooted in my skin and in my heritage.

It makes me spiritual and free.

Do you think its beautiful? Weird? Sexy? Free?

Some call my locks exotic – others call it nappy. 

You may say its beautiful – others call it un-tidy

COMB YOUR HAIR? You look crazy! 

WHY YOU WANT TO WALK AROUND WITH NAPPY HAIR?

That is UNPROFESSIONAL. You look ghetto, street, urban, HOOD. 

Why does this world question and deny me beauty and freedom?

POWER. It fears the power of my tresses and miss-understands them. 

I learn not to care and stand confident in my natural beauty. 

BUT You. I know you want to touch my hair.

and one day, I will grant you the privilege. 

Colorful Women Stories: She’s Always Right

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Which skirt should I wear?

Red. Black. Flower pattern?

This one still has the tag on it.

It's beautiful, but too revealing. Is that celluilite?

I'll wear the black one with a yellow blouse. No…I will look too much like a bumble bee.

Black blouse and black skirt will match. No…this isn't a funeral. I REALLY DON'T KNOW.

Let me call her and see what she thinks. 

 

Ring…ring.

Hey. I just sent you a photo of the skirt and blouse.

Just open the message. Click it to make it bigger.

What you think?

I know it is not a funeral. Can I pull it off with yellow accessories?

Red skirt? That was my second choice. 

With a purple jacket?!!? I will look like a complete clown. I rather look like I am going to a funeral. 

I don't want…huh?

Okay – red skirt, black blouse and purple jacket (sigh) I will try it.  

Bye Ma. 

(15 minutes later)

She was right. She is always right.