Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I think an angel just walked into my office. A messenger from God.

Let me start at the beginning. I woke up this morning after falling asleep on my couch again, even though my bed was nice and inviting with new sheets and unobstructed by piles of clothing. I was glad to wake up early so that I would have time to thoroughly prepare for my day. I took a moment to look out the window and marvel at the newness of the day, observing the lateness in the sun's rising and the chill in the air. Fall is here. I turned on NPR and laid out and ironed my clothes for the day, rather than grabbing them off the hanger and rushing to put them on. I even picked out what accessories I'd wear and laid them to the side, settling on a vintage pair of earrings my mother gave me. They fit my style perfectly. I showered, did my hair, dressed and prepared food to take to work. I left the house feeling very well put together.

I walked into the building smiling and greeting everyone as they milled about attending to their tasks. Listening to my heels click down the hall, I sensed that it would be a good and productive day. I opened up the office and got right down to work.

After a couple of hours, this older gentleman walked into the office. A slender, older white guy- probably late 60's. He told me that he used to live across the street many many years ago, and used to go here when the building was still a school. This intrigued me, because many times I have walked these halls wondering just what it was like when it was full of students. He had a meeting with someone in the building, but was a week early (much to my amusement), so decided to stop in and see what the League was up to. I began to talk to him about what it is we do, the programs we're currently offering, etc. I didn't know what he really wanted, but I was glad that he expressed interest in the organization that I work for.

We began talking and I found out that he moved back to town after living in New Jersey. He explained how he worked in social services for years, doing everything from administrative work, to directing, and eventually becoming an independent consultant. Indeed a man after my own heart. He was very personable, yet non-intrusive, and something about this man allowed me to talk to him as if he was maybe one of my grandparents' friends. Someone who I didn't necessarily know, but who was not a total stranger. Turns out we have a lot in common. We were both first-generation college students, studied Sociology, worked in social service, and have similar values.

This older white man and young black woman sat down and barriers of race, class, status, and age fell away and we became two like-minded individuals. Individuals walking along the same continuum at different points. He marveled at how my eyes lit up as I talked about my goals and aspirations, and my love for what I do. I sat silent and observant as he discussed his experiences, perspectives, and his own personal journey. A conversation that started formally shifted to talk in a native language that only the likes of us recognize. A mother tongue conceived by and passed down directly from our Creator. We understood and identified with each other in a manner in which most people from completely different walks of life do not. It was a spiritual and humbling experience. Moments such as this one confirm the purpose and destiny that I aspire to fulfill, and for that I am most grateful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

30 Days Hath September

I swear this month flew by, is it just me? I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday, it was filled with love and attention (2 things that I undeniably love). It started off with AD calling me- he was actually the first one to wish me happy bday. I appreciated that.

Of course I had to work but it wasn't so bad. KR called me while I was at work and sang Stevie Wonder's birthday song to me. Now, most people only sing the chorus, the "Happy birthday to ya" part. But KR actually knows the words, so that made it really special. She is so sweet.

Then, my Caribbean power couple blessed me with some stuff I desperately desired. . . and fed me!!! They empowered me to shop, and you KNOW I won't dissapoint them!

Symonie bought me a purple pair of shoes. Bangin!!! Of course, I had asked her for them and lil sis sure did deliver.

Therese. Ohhhhhh Theresie. that perfectly matches my decor!!!! It is so cute, I couldn't have picked a better lamp for myself. Makes my living room all sexified- watch out now!!

That night AD, Therese, Lui, and I went out to this spot where a jazz band was playing. It was grown and sexy and just the thing that I needed to be doing on my bday.

All in all it was a great birthday, and a great month really. I am grateful to enter into another year of life and I plan to make it a prosperous one.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Want It All

Indulgence. What a sweet word, it just rolls of the tongue. Indulgence. . . like smooth velvety chocolate. Indulge . . . purple velvet caressing my shoulders. Indulgent . . . full and thoroughly satisfied.

I think I have been giving myself far too much lately. I have been lazy, indulgent, and have lacked discipline for the past 2 weeks or so. I am buying what I want, eating what I want, doing what I want!!

Maybe it's because it's almost my birthday. I personally like for my birthday to be a week-long celebration (Happy birthweek?)- maybe I'm overextending it lol. But despite all the things I've been giving myself, there is more that I desire.

My Birthday List

Perhaps a strange birthday request, but it's good for a lot of uses!

A bottle of Jojoba Oil

This is a must for the natural hair mixologist!

Some Pretty Purple Fabric

Purple is becoming one of my new top colors, but it must be an eggplant or plum color. Not Barney Purple. I think I'd like to make a nice sassy pencil skirt out of it!


Ok, we all have one thing on that birthday list that we know we're not going to get. When I was a kid, it was a Gameboy. Now that I'm older, it's the iPhone.

I wonder how many of these things I will actually get for my birthday. Maybe if I get some birthday money, I'll be able to indulge once again!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Never Let A Man Put His Hands On You

"Never let a man put his hands on you." My mother raised me with this advice. She always taught me that it is NEVER acceptable for any man, boy, or any member of the male gender to EVER lay a hand against me. And if he ever did . . . to wear his ass out.

She started teaching me this long before she ever mentioned that she had been a victim of domestic violence. I couldn't believe that MY mother, as strong and tough as she is, had ever been hit by a man. Repeatedly. It wasn't like a one-time thing that happened because he was so mad he couldn't control himself. It was an abusive relationship. But, I guess she learned from her past and passed that lesson on to me so that I wouldn't have to learn the hard way.

Now, the women in my family are tough. I've watched my mother brawl with her ex-husband. My grandmother shot one of her ex-boyfriends cuz he kept messing with her. Her sister, my great aunt, was the first female sheriff in her town. These women ain't no punks! I will never forget last Thanksgiving. All the family was there, and every older woman-grandmother, great aunt, great-grandmother- individually pulled me to the side at some point to tell me the same thing, "Never let a man hit you." And each time, this piece of advice was followed up by a story in which the woman- grandmother, aunt, etc- was hit by the current or former man, and how she basically went buck wild on him, and he never hit her again. My aunt even said, "That's why we're still together today." Now, this was about a month after the breakup. They had all received news of the engagement, but the breakup was still fresh. Noone really knew yet that we were no longer together, and that I wasn't with any man to have to worry about being hit, but I took the advice. And I will keep those gems of wisdom close to my heart.

I just wish that other women received the same messages.

Almost every week I hear my neighbors fighting. They are a young couple. Well- she's young, and he's about 10 years her senior. The fighting escalates from arguing to throwing things around to. . . him throwing her around. I hear her being shoved into things, pushed around, hit. . . I hear her crying and screaming out "Why are you doing this to me????" and it breaks my heart. I even had to call the police on them one day, because I was so scared of what was happening on the other side of that wall. The police came. They both insisted that it was just a little spat that they were having, even after the officer asked him why he was sweating so much.

"Oh, man, it's hot in there. I just need to turn on the air conditioning, you know?" It's not that hot in your apartment on a 60 degree night.

The thing that gets me is that she stays. She keeps coming back to him everyday, no matter what he does. I want to talk to this girl, and I know I can't tell anybody what they should or should not do, but maybe she doesn't know that she has other options. Maybe noone ever told her that she doesn't have to put up with his maniac behavior. And I don't wanna get all up in other people's business, but if it were my sister, friend, or my daughter in the same situation I would want someone to talk to them. Hopefully though, they will heed that same advice that was passed on to me, "Never let a man put his hands on you."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Letters To My Former Present Self

Dear Elizabeth,

It has been a long time since I last saw you. I mean, I see you around every now and again going off to work, at the store, and sometimes out running errands, but I rarely get a chance to actually chat with you and see how life is going. I hope that things are going well.

Are you still working at the Farm? It's funny because I remember you telling me that you would only be there for a year- no more. You didn't want to be one of those "Farm people," and Lord knows you never did consider yourself to be the corporate type. Now here it is going on two years! Funny how plans change, isn't it? I don't blame you though, you have to make money because those bills aren't going to pay themselves. Besides, it's a good company. Just make sure you get everything out of it that you can while you still work there, and I'm not talking about free lanyards and pens!! They have a host of professional development opportunities and courses that you could really benefit from. You might as well take advantage.

And then you and this two job thing, what is that?? You always did kill me with that one. I don't know how you always managed to have multiple jobs instead of just one full-time job, but hey- if it works for you, then go right ahead. It just baffles me, but I guess you know what you're doing even if nobody else does. Or do you? Nevertheless, just make sure you don't work yourself too much and don't make your plate too full. I know you're young and all, but you only have one life to live, and you don't need to live it all behind a desk and keyboard. Get out there, have some fun, meet some guys, get some drinks . . . Do it big every now and again.

Speaking of doing it big, it's really time for you to step up your professional game. I know, I know, you're working two jobs and all and I'm not suggesting that you work more; I'm suggesting that you do more with your work. Compared to most your age, you are doing fairly well for yourself professionally, but you've got to start taking life by the horns instead of always riding wherever it takes you. To me it seems like you and the forces have a special understanding. They always seem to take you to the right places at the right times with the right people. Stay in touch with that force and don't let it go. It has brought you to places and put you in situations that you never would have been able to realize through your own efforts. Now imagine, just imagine what you could do by combining your effort with the force that guides you. I promise you that you would soar even higher. You will do yourself and your community a disservice if you are afraid to spread your wings. Some people need to see you fly so that they will know that they too can do it.

Your mother always told you that actions speak louder than words. I know you think that people don't always listen to you, and well, it's true. They don't always listen to you. But they do see you. And they watch you. And that, Elizabeth, is how they will hear you. You have the power to communicate to others through your actions, and what's amazing is that you will speak to people who you don't even know, who may not even know you. I remember when you were a little girl, just a little bitty thing, no more than six or seven years old. You watched the news with your mother and the stories of shootings, and wars, and starving children overseas just broke your little heart. Most kids would have cared less. And I remember how just before going to bed, you would pray earnestly for peace on earth. You would pray as if your life depended on it. Do you still pray?

I know that "save the world" spirit still lives in you, but it will be up to you to realize your own potential. Know that this world needs you. Don't be afraid to run when everyone else is walking. Besides, you need to learn how to just look stupid sometimes. Maybe you should start by learning how to ride a bike, just because you fall doesn't mean you fail. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there to get the most out of life. Yeah, you might look stupid sometimes (and as put together as you think you are, you look stupid sometimes now), you will fall sometimes, you will hurt. You will mess up and be embarrassed. There will be times when no one will understand what the heck you are doing, and why you are doing it, but just make sure you know.

Anyway, I didn't mean to lecture you, I just got carried away. I love you and I want to see you at your best. I know you're at work and all, so hopefully I haven't taken up too much of your time. I look forward to seeing you soon!!

With love,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

I cherish these Sundays. Lazy, laid back, free flowing. I don't like to plan anything on my Sundays, not even a plan to get together with friends who I'd otherwise be with. Plans aren't for Sundays. Everything should happen spontaneously.

Monday through Saturday my life is planned out. I know what time I have to wake up, what time I have to be at work, what times I'll need to eat in order to not be starving later in the day, and what time I'll need to go to sleep in order to do it all the next day.

But Sundays are for me and those who I wish to be with. Catching up with friends and family, catching up with myself. Shopping, cleaning. Tending to MY needs in MY time. Cooking (which I never get to do during the week). Its lovely, it really is.

But as of now, I've spent enough of my day in a leisurely fashion. I need to do laundry, cook for the week, do my hair, and clean the place.

Ready for another week. I think it'll be a good one :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This 6 year old girl really has some talent. Hearing this rendition of "I Will Always Love You" touched my heart as if it were my first time hearing the song.

Oh my aching heart.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wake Up

I've never had too many problems falling asleep at night. I can fall asleep in bed, on the couch, on the floor, or even kneeling over a project. Sleep is a gem sent from the heavens, and I am so blessed that it comes so easily to me.

I really just enjoy sleep. I can sleep at work, in class, at the doctor's office, and even at the movie theater. I can sleep in a house, I can sleep on a mouse. I can sleep in the car, I can sleep with the stars. I even like when I'm sleeping, and I wake up just slightly only to realize that I'm asleep. I get so happy by the fact that I'm sleeping, that I go back to sleep and start the joyful process all over again.

Seriously, good sleep is up there with the other joys in life like good sex, good food, and good weather. To have all four. . .who could ask for more???? How could you not be at peace with life to have good sleep every night, good weather every day, and good sex follwed by some good food?? Utopia!!!!

You know how they have those bumper stickers, "I'd Rather Be Fishing". . .mine would say "I'd Rather Be Sleeping." In fact, that's just what I want to do right now, which might be why I'm waxing poetic about it lol.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Great

I've never been too good at bragging on myself. That could be why I have trouble with those "about me" sections of profiles. You want to present the best image of yourself, and if you really are great, how can you tell people that without sounding like a pretentious egomaniac?

I'm putting together the end-of-year banquet program. Dr. S asked me to be the alumna speaker. I think I can do that, public speaking has never been an issue for me. What I'm going to talk about, I have no idea, but hopefully an inspiring message will come to me in the next week or so. The problem is that I have to write up a bio of myself to put in the program.

I'm looking at the past programs, and all of their alumni had so many accomplishments. Real accomplishments.

"Mr. So and So grew up here and went to high school here. He was the captain of the football team and played on the All-State Team. He was president of this organization, earned these scholarships, and now does this and that with his Fraternity. He went to a prestigious HBCU and got a great job afterwards. He is now pursuing his Master's degree."

Damn. What am I going to say about myself? How can I tell everyone that I struggled through undergrad, didn't even end up officially earning my minor (although I still claim it- that damn last class!!!), and work in front of a computer 11 hours a day and make it sound good? What am I supposed to say, that I want to go back to school to get my Master's, but am too indecisive and broke? Maybe I could mention all the grand ideas I have, and that I have the "potential" to make them happen, but don't stay motivated.

But I do tutor spanish. I"ll have to include that. Let's face it- I'm not accomplished. I'm not doing badly, I mean, I do have a job, apartment, car, etc. I am taking care of myself and being responsible. I pay my bills on time (but I return library books late). I know that I'm doing more for myself than a lot of people my age, but when you boil it down, I'm just doing what grown people do. Taking care of business. That's nothing spectacular.

But let me get back to the subject at hand, which is that I don't like to brag on myself. I can only do so when being funny or sarcastic. I do have some accomplishments. I just don't want to be the one responsible for listing them in a way that makes me appear to be an outstanding citizen. Maybe I can get Dr. S to write it??

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Hate It.

I keep busy at the League. I am the "Editor in Chief" if you will, of our newsletter and that thing is a lot of work. Finding articles, scheduling interviews, and securing good pictures for the monthly newsletter, plus keeping up with my other administrative tasks is sometimes more of a struggle than I anticipated. (note the cluttered desk)
When I send out the newsletter, its sent to everyone on our email list. Somehow it almost never fails that someone hits "reply all" with a comment they intend to send to me regarding the newsletter. Generally the comments are positive, which of course I like and appreciate. This past newsletter, the one for February, included some blurb about Black History Month. This guy responds back with a 3 or 4 paragraph tirade about how too often Black History Month only focuses on Blacks' history over the last 400 years, but doesn't tend to focus on African History. Okay, that's fine, and it's also true for the most part. But the tone of his email was so condescending and harsh. On top of that, I was kind of baffled as to what his point was. Did he intend for me to know that Black history is more than the history of Blacks in America? I do know that. Did he expect me to change the article after it had been sent out? It was like, "why are you telling me this?" Oh, and of course he "replied to all" and sent his diatribe to EVERYONE who received the newsletter. Thanks.
So, the director "replies to all" inviting him to do an article for our next newsletter (since he has so much to say). I get the article and I hate it. It's more of the same of what everyone has already read from him, but in a condensed form. He even calls Black History Month "African History Month." I've never heard of this African History Month, but its clear to see that he wants it to be just that. I show Dr. S. the article and she thinks its lovely. I hate it. It's not positive, encouraging, or even enlightening. I don't want it in the newsletter.
The director finished her article too. I politely reminded her several times not to make it too long. It's a newsletter, and we only have a limited amount of space. We dont' need a dissertation, just a small article. Please. The article, is of course, too long again, so I'll have to cut some of it out. I don't mind editing, but I feel a little bad because I'm sure that every word in there is a word or a thought that she wanted to include. What to take out? What to leave in? I hate that.
But alas, I must get back to work so I can get this blasted newsletter out today and start on next month's.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What the Hell Man??

I keep having these pregnant dreams. I had one a few nights ago and last night seemed to be a continuation. The dream was eerie in that there were no strange, "what are you doing in my dream", unexpected characters, and everything was pretty realistic. There wasn't much dialouge, but mostly a lot of thoughts.

I dreamt that I was pregnant, only I didn't know I was pregnant. I started going into labor at home by myself. I didn't have time to call anybody because the baby started coming so quickly. Plus, I couldn't find my phone. Even though I didn't know I was pregnant beforehand, I definately knew that this was a baby about to be born, and I treated it all very matter-of-factly.

There was no, "Where did this baby come from?" I just knew I was having a baby. I delivered it myself and wrapped it up. I looked into her face, she was dark and beautiful. Then, I didn't know if I should feed it right then, or if I should wait, or how long I should wait. I was thinking that the baby is probably hungry. . .right? Should I stick my boob into its mouth?

I set the wrapped up budle of joy (?) on the kitchen counter as I looked for my cell phone. I didn't want to hold her, because I thought I could find it faster if I had both hands. Who should I call first? Don't I need to go to the hospital or something? I should call my mother, she'll be so surprised to have a granddaughter. Or maybe I should call Therese, she just had a baby a couple of months ago. She'll know what to do too. Yes, I'll call Mama and Therese. Gawd, where is my cell phone? Maybe I should go next door and ask my uncle to use his phone. What if he's not home? Should I take the baby out in the cold or leave her here? Never needed a house phone until now. . .

I picked the baby up again, held her in my arms and just looked at her. "Hello baby" I said. Then I realized that my baby had no name. Oh shoot, I have to name you. What's that girls name I had in mind before? Do I have to name you right now, or can I wait? Maybe Tura can help me come up with some ideas. It has to be something good, I mean, a name follows you forever. I don't want my baby to hate her name.

The father should help me name her. The father!? Ohhhh yeah, this baby must have a father. It must be Adrien. Maybe I should call him first, I mean, he is the father. I wonder what he will think. Wait, what month did I get pregnant?? This is February so. . . .May? I wonder if it was before or after graduation. Have I drank since then? We have a daughter now, what a trip. This will tie us together forever.

The dream ended with me thinking that I should have saved a little more money from my last check. A baby needs stuff.

Friday, January 25, 2008

You Love it, Don't You?

This morning I come into the office with everything that I need to accomplish in my head. I need to type up notes from the interview I did on Wednesday. I need to work on a few articles for the newsletter (which should be at least HALFWAY done at this point, but is SO not), and do some stuff with my student files. I'm ready. Today is Friday and I plan to get everything on my mental "To-Do List" done.

I walk in the office and Dr.S is already in there. We greet, and I sit down at my desk, ready to tackle my tasks. As always, there's about 15 pages of miscellaneous documents on my desk that have no owner or home. Somehow papers ALWAYS float to my desk! I don't know where they come from, who they belong to, or what their purpose is. All I can do is sigh. I tack "organize misc. documents" onto my mental To-Do list.

Dr. S calls my name. She says, "I want you to look at these documents." As she holds a stack of papers that are marked up and post-it-noted and loosely stacked.

She brings them over to my desk with a, "This page needs this, we need to add this, take out this, and change this." There's about 30 pages total, and none of these directions are written down. Inside I'm thinking, "Okay. You're kidding me right? You DO know I have other stuff to do right?" but I just nod and "mm-hm."

"I've also sent you the attachments that should be inserted. Change this on the one that says this, and put that one between page this and that." I get the email with about 17 attachments. This is just crazy.

But strangely, I love it. Back to work!