Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Rest Stop to Reflect on the Road to Improvement

I was going to do a real yadda, yadda, yadda post about Thanksgiving, but something really interesting happened to me on the way home from work today: A random male came up to me and tried to punch me in my face. He looked harmless until he came up to me and said, "See this face? You make it mad, and you'll get this," sounding like some villain from when cartoons were worth watching and holding his fist up. At the exact moment I stepped away he leaned toward me and swung, barely missing my face. Not wanting him to sniff out my fear the way a shark sniffs blood, I stepped around him as nonchalantly as possible. Inside my mind I panicked.


And then I remembered I carry a taser in my purse. And a switch-blade. Because this is not the first time a man has tried to attack me on the way to or from work. Since I paid money for it I should use it. Swiftly I took it out  of my purse. Just as I was going to light him up with a jolt that sent him straight to Arkansas he took off. That was my afternoon.


While this incident took a total of fifteen seconds to play itself out, it rattled me for the rest of the afternoon. I know I'm supposed to be learning how to shake things off and letting them go. If it didn't kill me I'm supposed to learn from it. At the present time I've only learned one thing from that experience: I need to carry my taser in my hand on my way home, even in broad daylight. It takes too long to take it out of my purse. Whatever I was supposed to learn from it I didn't, because a seed of anger surpassed the lesson and then took root inside of me.

Understandably so, I was angry at the man for violating my personal space and threatening my safety at first. Then he became a small part of a big picture. I was angry at so-and-so for not being there to pick me up from work. I was angry at this male for not being there to protect me. I was angry at my oldest son's father for never being a part of our family unit. I was mad at my ex-wusband for being an asshole, thus making me divorce him. Had he been there he would have beaten the crap out of the man on the street. I was angry at my father for leaving me when I turned 9, because now I can never trust another man when he tells me he's never going to leave me again, and the man on the streets confirmed that men can't be trusted. As the anger grew the source of my anger became obsolete. He was no longer a part of the picture. I was kicking every man I ever knew out of my life. If it was a man I dismissed a long time ago I mentally brought him back into my life just to ban him from it again. My brother texted me. It took everything in me not to throw my phone across the room. He owned a penis; he was the enemy. A simple text asking me to come home turned him into the enemy. My warped, anger-possessed mind converted his missing me into him not wanting me to improve my life or get my degree. That anger sky-rocketed to the point of no return.

Right before throwing my phone across the room, two very strong forces stopped me. One was the force of reason. The phone is a Verizon Android. It was expensive as heck. Since I didn't buy it from Best Buy, I wasn't getting a brand new phone or a loaner phone while I waited for the new one to come in. My phone is a very important factor in my life. Not only are the backup files to my writing in it, but it also contains my Bible, my morning inspirations, my Kindle, and all of my music. The other force was that thing called a revelation. This comes during a moment of reflection. Yes, I have those. People who knew me in my younger years remember what a fly-off-the-handle temper I have. There used to be no distance between an action and my reaction time. Now I actually stop and think about what I'm going to do before I do it. Sometimes it feels a little corny, but it works out well. The obvious result of my moment in reflection was that I realized I have a problem with directing my anger at the wrong people.

The less obvious part was the revelation. You see, this time I misdirected my anger because in letting go I've also been ignoring what has been happening to me. I should have called the police on that man. I hate calling the police for anything, but no one else should be victim to this. He may have attacked someone else further down the street. In my selfishness I only wanted him to get away from me. What if he went a few blocks down and ran into some defenseless children? Because I didn't take care of the problem I resented myself. Then I began to blame everyone but myself rather than holding myself accountable for my error. I hate when anyone else does this, so why did I do it?

After the revelation came I realized that almost every man I blamed for something was someone I never properly took care of. (My brother is not included in this category. My brother is quite possibly the most wonderful man I know. His text just came at the wrong time). Either I let my anger cause a physical reaction, or the man just left, but I never fully closed the situation. As a result of these unresolved issues I left a bad situation open. Possibly I put someone else in danger. Unlike the people who may or may not have been attacked by that man, the person I put in danger by not fully and properly tying up my loose ends is probably going to be someone I have to confront. It will probably be someone I care for. That scares me, because I have two sons. Subconsciously I'm trying to raise them not to be like the men who hurt me. This idea may sound good in theory. However, in reality this can and will turn into a problem. It can stunt their growth. How will they learn if I manipulate their cultivation process? People think they know everything, but wisdom comes from experience. By me leaving so many "attacks" unresolved I have left someone else open to misdirected anger and that same attack.

Very rarely do we get to control the way situations in our lives end. What we can control is the way we bury them in our hearts and minds. The two have to agree. You can't just let something go in your mind if your heart is still holding onto it. A lot of times our hearts are stronger than our minds. It is up to you to figure out what it is that is keeping your heart connected to the person or the situation. In the original case it was that I should have done something to prevent the man from actually assaulting someone. The other people mentioned are people who left pain in my heart, but instead of letting myself heal I pushed them away. Each individual situation needs to be meditated upon so it can be resolved and then released. The way you handle something has to be well with you before it is no longer a part of you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"That's Why You're Gonna End Up Single!"

What is an independent woman to you? Is it a gift, a curse, or something you have to do just because that's the way things are? Did you ever think that you'd be punished for surviving? When you wake up in the morning, is it your mission to intimidate anyone simply by paying your bills? A couple of weeks ago I had a pointless discussion with two males who felt that the "Independent Women Syndrome" was a product of the Willie Lynch Letter. They had no reason to back up this statement. They just said that they wanted to make people think. About what is the question? All that statement made me see was that those two gentleman had way too much time on their hands. They should spend less time thinking and more time doing.

This week singer Tyrese Gibson issued a message to independent women. First of all let me say that Tyrese should have a seat. Then he should sing. Just sing and never speak another word another day of his life. Unless, of course, his words are scripted, because the phrase, "Didn't I tell you to put the block on the phone last week with yo' black ass?" changed my entire life. But as far as his "reflections" go, we don't need them. They're bad enough on Twitter with the poorly completed analogies, horrible spelling, and nightmare-level grammar. Then famous blogger just had to give him a video platform. You can watch the whole thing by clicking this link:

Now that you've wasted minutes of your precious life, help me pass out this stadium of seats to Tyrese.

When we say we don't need a man what we're saying is we don't need drama, competition, and foolishness. We need the freedom to do what we want in order to make ourselves better without having to worry about whether or not we're emasculating our mates. Life is too expensive to be worried about whether or not the amount of money I make makes me desirable to men. Should I stop being independent, or should men step up to the plate? I can honestly say I've never met nor have I dated a man who lived on his own. While I'm sure they exist, it's sad they're so hard to find. How, then, can they criticize something they've never done? I wonder if men would be as intimidated if they knew what being independent entailed.

My question is, what are black women supposed to do? Are we expected to just sit around and wait for some black men to rescue us from delinquent bills, bad credit, disconnected utilities, and homelessness? I've proposed a draft of the letter I'm going to start sending to my bill collectors until this phantom black man comes to my rescue:

"Dear Bill Collectors,

I know I owe you money, but Tyrese says I'm making black men not want me by paying them myself. So therefore, keep my shit on and a roof over my head until a black man comes along and rescues me. He's good for it. This way you'll get paid at some undetermined date, and black men will feel like they have their big boy pants on.

Yeah, Okay.
Cc, notarized by, and endorsed by Tyrese Gibson and any other black male who needs to Get the ____ out of here with this nonsense."

I'm not even independent in the usual sense of the word. I don't own a car, and I live in the apartment. I just make sure all of my bills are paid my children are taken care of. These things are done without asking a man for his help. Why? Because the two times in life I ever asked any man to do anything for me were problems. Never again will I depend on anyone but myself to do what I need to do. I never understood how me paying my bills ever affected anyone in a negative way. I need someone who can add to my completion, not someone who's intimidated by it. Unfortunately that person has not yet crossed my path. According to Tyrese and people who are letting the Willie Lynch letter hold them back, when this person does cross my path I'll turn him off with my ability to live. That's fine. I can deal with being single. It's homeless in November that I can't deal with. These Memphis winds are something serious when you live this close to the Mississippi River.

Artists Don't Apologize

Are we as black people capable of congratulating each other on our triumphs? I wonder when we as a people are ever going to live and let live. It seems we have this sense of entitlement. When one of "ours" makes his or her way to the top "we" feel like that person is responsible for taking us there too. Nothing this person does will be enough. Someone will be left out, and then there will be hell to pay. Success does not come with peace for African-Americans.

What am I talking about? Well, yesterday I read an apology letter from Tyler Perry. He's coming out with a new movie. People are upset because he chose to cast Kim Kardashian for this movie. They're going to boycott it. As someone who has never seen a single episode of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and doesn't see 99% of Tyler Perry movies until either BET or TBS airs them I have a question: WHO REALLY CARES? There are so many more important things we could be boycotting (like Kroger and Wal-Mart). Why are we targeting this man? He wrote, produced, directed, and probably even starred in the movie; he can put whoever he wants to in it. An explanation is not owed to a single one of you miserable souls. So what if Kim Kardashian isn't black and made a sex tape? So what if she's divorced? So what if she's not an actress? It's Tyler Perry's movie and Tyler Perry's money.

Which brings me to my next point. There is so much hatred toward this man simply because he's successful. Daily I hear what he doesn't do for black people. I'm not going to get into defending him, because I don't care. My thing is, why the ____ is he apologizing for it? This letter he wrote was a page of the biggest Bologna I've ever experienced in life. As an artist I was infuriated. He is a writer who is in the moment of bringing his words to the big screen, and he feels the need to say sorry for the end result. Seriously? Does he apologize for his dreams as well? Listen, if and when "Consider Your Ways" ever gets to the big screen I don't care what a single one of you has to say about who I choose to cast, what message you don't like, etc. Every time an artist completes a project it is like giving birth. The criticism it receives is comparable to someone having something to say about one of our children. Not once have I ever apologized to someone because he or she didn't like how my children have turned out.

So, Mr. Perry, you have lost cool points as an artist. Stop trying to please people and do what you do. Keep black films coming. You are doing a great thing by proving loyalty and leadership. No more letters to the impossible to please, please?