Why do we women hide our age? Besides wanting to hold on to our eternal youth. This year, I will blog my transformation from my 30's to the big 4-0. Join me on my journey of discovering more of me, this new world of the forbidden 40's and proving that life begins and not ends. After all, isn't 40 the new 30?
...was to chronicle my journey and discoveries during this year as I turn forty in September. I wanted to share my firsts with you all as well as my leaps of faith and new adventures. This was supposed to encourage me to do these new things to have an interesting life to blog about, not that my life isn't interesting enough, but I need to recapture some of what I lost.
(My first ever legendary Michael Jackson and Prince Party with Keistar Productions in NY!)
Looking back, I used to jump out on faith without a parachute! Okay, I want to move to New York for acting school - did it without a dime! Okay, I'll become a flight attendant, but I've only been on a plane once or twice - what the heck, do it! I just did things and guess what? It all worked out and I've done things that many people wouldn't have the opportunity to have done. But, some of that risk taking has evaporated when I became a mother. However, it is now time to reclaim me, my life and this moment!
It is time to reinvest in living life to the fullest. I enjoy reading updates on folks on Facebook. They hop around to different states visiting friends. Have themed parties and get-togethers. Who says that once you're a parent and over thirty-something that these things have to stop? Not me! It doesn't!
This year, I won't turn up my nose to opportunities to be in the moment! This is my goal to reclaim that newness and the joy of exploring and discovering from the small moments to the heart-bursting-through-my-chest moments. From catching a matinee by myself (which I used to do) to sharing a glass of wine while I paint pottery (which I enjoy painting) to test driving my Mustang GT to a bikini wax (which I'm not sure if I want someone that close to my cookies). And, the festivities will begin next week as we plan to enjoy time off for spring break (Kesha get ready) from rock climbing to zip lining to hiking the mountains to riding through the mountains to parasailing when we go on our cruise this year.
I want to do it all!
My first to share with you all - I tried on swimsuits and got my first ever tankini! No, not quite ready to put on a bikini - lookahere, baby steps! Okayyyyy!
(My first ever face painting as an adult, pictured with my mom who has her face painted as well.)
Back when I was a middle schooler, there used to be a little cute boy with the brightest smile who visited my church. He was on the skinny side, but he had a smile that could light up a room. He'd find himself coming to visit me out of all of the other girls at the church. We became fast friends and childhood crushes.
Throughout our friendship, we'd be in and out of contact. That was mostly my fault, I'm afraid to admit. He'd come out with, "I love you. You don't have to repeat it back to me. I just told you because I wanted you to know." Awww, right? But, that scared the heck out me and I would swoosh, disappear. I don't know why it scared me, but I also felt that he was too young to know anything about love.
After years (again), we reconnected and found ourselves saying, "I do." And, within months quickly realizing, "I can't." Why? We were way too young making adult decisions without a support system. And, it fell apart. Through the years, we became mature enough to realize the truths, that the responsibility fell on both of us. We brought our immature issues to an adult relationship. However, our friendship was still so strong that the judge didn't want to grant us a divorce. I truly believe that our family struggles and hardships made us have a soul connection that has never been broken, as if our spirits found refuge in each other.
Well, after all of these years, we got a chance to spend some quality time together recently. He came into town and just like old times, we laughed and talked as if we never skipped a beat. We rediscovered how funny we each were, caught on our triumphs and challenges without the awkwardness. Granted, we talk on the phone from time to time but that's long distance. It's not the same as one on one. And, after all of these years he still says, "I love you...I just want you to know that." Awww, he has and probably will always be a great friend, which many of us skip in our relationships.
Back in college, the African-American student body was protesting and called for everyone to demonstrate by locking themselves in a building until the Administration heard and responded to requests. At the time, before I became an activist and created the African-American Studies program as a major, I was just regular. Folks were demonstrating and I didn't have time to get involved, was my attitude. I didn't even know what the demands were, I thought as I walked to class instead of locking myself up with the others. I'm sure other students didn't know (like my cousin), but wanted to join in on the protest just because.
I let the opportunity pass me by to be a leader and/or to let my voice be heard. But, as I grow older and learn more lessons in this life, I stop, think and take a stand. Yep, I was out there stopping sagging pants in the street and registering them to vote. And even now, as I learned that Mecklenburg County has planned to close 12 (not 2 or 3) libraries, I refused not sit home and let someone else do the talking for my community. I attended the meeting and added my two cents and a question.
I'm appalled at the audacity of our city to announce 12 libraries to be closed in less than a month, unless we raise 2 million dollars. Thanks for the heads up, oh great Queen city. I, and other citizens of our community, are outraged with the short timed announcement.
Why on earth would they build a new library (Hickory Grove) and invest in the remodeling of another (Beatties Ford) and close them both? Why would they close such high traffic locations such as these? Why would they close locations with most of them being on the East side of Charlotte? Better yet, doesn't City Council realize that they are closing the libraries in the areas that need them most - areas that cannot afford internet service? Teachers announced that the only way that their students get their research assignments completed was by visiting their local library and using the computers -- so much for our children competiting in the 21st century. And, why would they close libraries in the areas that don't have local bookstores?
I'm flabbergasted! This is tomfoolery! If schools weren't threatening closings and more layoffs, then many of us wouldn't have been so outraged. We're sick of hearing about budget cuts in our school system and now the library! I wonder, if they threated to close the libraries out in Ballentyne or other prosperous areas, would the outcry have been louder? Would the monatary investments/donations to keep them open be made sooner? I've seen the resources of those schools and libraries compared to other areas (plus, they have bookstores galore in their communities) and there is no comparison.
Well, all of that doesn't matter unless we all learn the lesson - stand up for what you believe in, instead of watching it on the news and shaking your head. We can't lock ourselves up and wait for folks to listen to our demands, we've got to go out and make our own voices heard. Speak up for yourself!
Peace (this blog sounds stronger if I ended it with a strong "Peace", don't you think?)
One of my favorite movies, Set It Off, was on tonight. Four women (Queen Lahtifa, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise) share a personal bond through their struggles of poverty, but find a solution by robbing banks. Naw, its more to it than that, but I tried to make it sound decent. The movie is indeed, gripping, gritty and entertaining.
It's funny how I can remember when and with whom I saw that movie. Tracee, Erica, Ava and myself (all young acting students at the same Theatre school) went to the movie theater and watched in awe. In our minds, we cast ourselves in the roles and couldn't wait to make it as big time film actresses. Now I'll have to ask which roles we were to play...hmmmm, can't remember.
Erica, Me, Ava and Tracee in New Jersey '09
Boy, does life get away from you. We all are still acting in some form, but not on the enormous screen. We are all still friends and most of us are mothers while a half are married and the others are single. We kind of set if off in our own individual ways...minus the bank robbing.
So, I had an old friend, or ex, or whatever you want to call it, visiting me last weekend. Well, business brought him here, but our friendship prompted us to hang out for the weekend. It was a pleasure to have the testosterome around the house, laughing and talking. Then I noticed the cup left on the cocktail table...then after the first night I noticed that he waited for me to bring him his dinner plate...I noticed another cup left on a dresser...the dishes left in the sink from breakfast brought out a swarm of ants...water running for a long period of time as he shaved his head and I have to pay the water bill as a single mother without a stable income...and ahhhhhh!!!!! What the heck! Wait a minute!
I called Shinnell and said, "He's doing this and this..." And her reply, "Uh, what do you expect? You said you wanted to be married and that's what you would have to deal with. I fix and bring my husband his plate...my mom still picks up after my dad..." Eeyeww! Okay breathe..."Is this what it is really like?"
Oh, I got it. Maybe I noticed these things because he's a friend and not someone I'm in love with...maybe that's it? Could that be the reason why I noticed the little happenings? Or, lord help, am I really not marriage material? Which is fine because I really want to go to graduate school and finish my manuscript without the distraction of a husband who would sit there and wait for me to bring his dinner plate and leave cups everywhere for the ants to come until I pick them up!
So, I was visiting my Granny yesterday and went to check her mail. I saw an envelope from my aunt, Sophia, whom I previously blogged about. As my Granny opened her different packages, she finally opened the one from Sophia. "Oh, she sent me the email that you sent her." What?! "Oh, she's trying to tell on me," I thought to myself. I said more in my mind, but that's the jist of it.
Let me remind you of the situation. My Granny moved here from Detroit for the warmer climate. Aunt Sophia planted that seed in her mind and even talked her into getting a two-bedroom apartment (instead of a Senior's Residence) so that she (Sophia) could room with her or have available for when she wanted it, I guess. Anyway, she had me to believe that she was moving in as well during the warmer climates and then going back to Detroit. (She was my bestest friend in the whole wide world as I helped get things set up.) However, she hasn't been down her but once, for a few days. So, out of concern for my Granny, I emailed her. See below the first email I sent which went unanswered:
I told Granny that I was going to email you with her needs because I know that you gave your word to her to move in with her. As I assisted you in getting Granny set up in the apartment, I do know it was your intention to move in with her for at least several months. But, for whatever reasons you haven't been able to keep your intentions to her. I informed Granny that I will not be able to assist her in the coming weeks and will let you know as well. You will have to know that my schedule has been increased and Granny will be needing assistance. As I have found, you have been concerned that Granny didn't have food and was upset because of this, so you might want to see to it that you or your resources can be sure that your concerns are met, if my assistance hasn't been meeting your standards.
I have printed this email out for Granny as well, so that she can be aware of the situation and truly understand that I will not be able to make it to her often and her livelihood should be a team effort.You may feel free to email me, if needed. I don't think you have called me since we spoke about the move with Derrick, but that is an option option also. But, I'm sure that you will speak with Granny directly about my concerns and I'm open for dialogue with all of you to ensure that she is well taken care of.
I felt the need to inform Sophia that I would tell Granny and print the email out for her, because I know how controlling and tattle-taling, or uh, loquacious she could be. This email worried her so much that she constantly asked my Granny if she read the email. So, lo and behold, she told on me and printed the email and sent it to her herself. What aggravated me beyond the fruits of the spirit,was that she had the unlitigated gall to mark it up with red ink with her personal comments like, "This is when she emailed me after emailing..." Which was totally made up because she doesn't know what I do!
I am so done with her and I told my Grandmother so. I said, "I now understand why folks don't like her. I see clearly why they can't stand to be around her or talk to her." Of course, that opened the door for an hour of lecture on forgiveness and how Jesus wants us to be more like him. I know...easier said than done. "I'll forgive her but I ain't got to deal with her!" I said that under my breath because I didn't want another hour's worth of lecturing.
I have been a little busy and a tad bit tired lately and haven't been updating my blogs. I've been going to bed a little earlier to get up a lot earlier and I still felt like I need a nap! Like right now, I'm yawning. (Go away, sandman!Ugh!) Like I was saying...uh, what was I saying again?
I'll just update a few things that I've been up to:
1. Saturday morning, I cooked breakfast of pancakes, cooked apples/raisins and veggie bacon. Since Dove and I were on our way to her last perfomance with her performance troupe and cutting it close with time, I decided to wash dishes when I got back. And, lo and behold, when I arrived home there were a gazillion ants in my kitchen to welcome me. I freaked and cleaned out everything! The nerve of them ants barging in and not helping with the mortgage, ugh!
2. I just read a book called, The Help. It was a good read as it exposed the lives, thoughts and deeds of the Southern white women toward their Black maids. The author is white and yet she was able to capture the voice and energy of the Black maids extremely well. It made me wonder what type of life I would have held and what I would have been like if I lived in that day and age? Would I bear a spitfire like Minny or a passive maid with inner strength like Abiliene? And, it made me look around at my African-American friends and caucasian sisters and wonder what if they were living during that time period, what character would best represent them? Would they be strong to stand against their peers and be true like Skeeter or go along with the popular person for fear of being ostracized by Miss. Hilly and her league? By the way, I absolutely loved the creativity of the author's use of similies. (I'm going to write a few down as a reference until I can afford the Queen's College Master of Creative Writing program - unless I get a sponsor.)
3. I saw the movie, Brooklyn's Finest. Yeah, what a waste of time and money. The previews are so much more than the movie. I loved Don Cheatle and always do, but the movie was a flop, in my opinion. I would say more about them killing everyone off and shooting them in the back (who shoots in the back, but cowards? and, how many times in one movie should characters be shot -in the back?), but I don't want to spoil it for you. I'll just say, the characters weren't allowed opportunities to show their redeeming qualities, and that sucks!
4. I saw my ex-husband and was able to spend a moment with him. (Yes, I was briefly married years ago.)And, just as I thought, I don't love him anymore. I like him as a person and love him as a friend, but I don't have any feelings for him. I know that he has them for me and I've told him time and time again that I can't reciprocate them. Sometimes I wondered if I had been only lying to myself and have lied so long that I believed it, but it is absolutely true that the feelings for him are long gone. But, unfortunately, I don't think that he believes me.
And, I'm quite sure that I put her into one as well.
Today was a gorgeous day, but we spent it all indoors. Yep, didn't soak up any of that Vitamin D and now its back to work tomorrow morning. All she had to do was get caught up on her school work, but guess what? That never happened.
I homeschool her and lately, I've been inundated with work and couldn't focus sit with her. But, she has had three consistent weeks of being able to concentrate (sitting in one classroom while I travel to different ones) and I'd check her work and give her feedback and directions. But, somehow she didn't take the directions and follow through. Now, guess what? We both missed an opportunity to go outside and do something fun.
What I wish?
1. For her to find passion about something. She takes piano, but she doesn't automatically practice on her own, I have to remind her to do so. Or, sewing. Oh, she just had to have a sewing machine because she loved sewing, but guess what? It's not like she has a driving force to turn it on and sew until her little fingers are sore, in fact, she did more sewing without it. I have only found her passionate about one thing...watching television. She can do that non-stop and tune out everything around her. Oh yeah, she likes to read, thank goodness. But, I find our worst fight is with her school work. She's slow and unfocused which makes for a bad combination because I'm hard on her. Usually she ends up crying after I fuss at her, but she should be used to the tears because Isurely am.
2. Me to be more patient. I have to admit it, I do lose my patience. I expected that I'd get better with age, but that's not happening. My prayer is that with patience, I will be able to accept her the way she is and not get angry when she doesn't respond the way that I want her to. Because Lord know that the phrase, "Get outta my sight," is getting caught in my throat. Yes, I want her to focus and get the work done with the direction that I give her, but today she sat there "reading" from about 2 to 7:30 with little to show for it. (Did I mention that she likes to sit in the bathroom (since she was 4) forever...she can sit for 30 plus minutes on the toilet! Just wasting time.)
3. Her to be more responsible. This is a biggie. I have to remind my lovely daughter the same things every day and wish that she'd have the sense to finally do it on her own. "Did you put on deoderant?", "Did you put lotion on your face?", "You woudn't be so itchy if you'd moisturize your body." For goodness sake, I need a break from reminding her to do the common sense things that I've reminded her to do over the past five years. Today I told her that I pray that God withholds her cycle because she is not yet ready or responsible enough to handle it. Why am I still reminding you to take allergy medicine when you know that your nose is running and your eyes are itching? Ugh, that's aggravating!
4. Me not to withhold my affection when I'm aggravated with her. This is an important one for me because she is very affectionate. Sometimes I get so irritated that I want her away so that I can calm down. But, I wish that I can quickly let go of negative emotions and energy and move to the next moment so that I can be there for her in the way that she needs me. (This one makes me question if I'm indeed ready for marriage because if I'm made then he's not touching me...most likely.)
Of course, I'm blogging out of frustration because of the day I had. I know, I know...momma said that there would be days like these.
The famous comedian/actress Mo'Nique had admitted to an open relationship with her husband, Sidney Hicks. "Let me say this: I have not had sex outside my marriage with Sidney...Could Sid have sex outside of his marriage with me? Yes. That's not a deal-breaker. That's not something that would make us say, 'Pack your things and let's end the marriage.'" And, Will and Jada Smith have admitted to having an open relationship. This leads me to ask, "Is everybody doing it or is this just a celebrity trend?"
It's funny, what used to get a man hit upside the head with a cast iron skillet back in the day will now get him a free pass plus a kiss on the cheek. A friend and I were talking about how when we were in highschool, if a guy said, "Suck my d*#*," he'd better be ready to throw down 'cause them there were fighting words. But now, girls will gladly go to the restroom and do that plus more.
Listening to Michael Baisden, you can find yourself hearing all the crazy, freaky things that folks are doing these days. Swingers?! When has Black folks joined the Swingers bandwagon? I must have missed that memo. But, according to his viewers it has been going on for a long time. Swingers and now open relationships. What else? Or, what next?
I find it disgusting when a married man approaches me. What is in it for the single women? Sex? Is that all? Heck, that's the short end of the stick if you ask me. He is paying for his wife's bills and making sure the mortgage is being paid, but I'd get a night of sex that I'd have to stay on my knees and repent for later. Heck naw! Besides, the wife gets all the benefits...pension, health insurance, life insurance, social security, etc. But, what about the other woman he had the open relationship with? What benefit does she get besides a hot bed that would get cold after he showered and went back home?
And, what about diseases? Has anyone forgot about them? You can't look at anyone and tell if they have HIV, syphillis or chlamydia! What if he got so into it that he didn't wear protection and mistakenly took something home to his wife? This makes me think, if Sidney can go do whomever he wanted, then there is no limit to the sexual relationships that he could have, right? So, what if he was like Wilt Chamberlain and was buck wild, would that change things? Ugh, too many variables and way too many risks.
Naw, that is not for me. Besides, I wish a brotha would ask me to have an open relationship after all of these years of being single and hoping to find a mate? Man, is you crazy? I have to admit, I'd go ol' skool on him and reach for a pan and make him think about the words he just blurted out.
I love art! I think that I have a visual artist inside of me. I used to sit in a corner and either draw or color (other than reading a book). In elementary school, I remember coming in 3rd place for an Easter Egg decoration contest. My heart were set on a coloring book/crayons, but the teacher walked towards me holding a big chocolate bunny as my reward. I mumbled, "I can't eat chocolate." I desperately hoped that she'd turn around and give me the coloring book instead, but she shrugged her shoulders and whispered, "Oh," and turned around. She knew I was lying! I was a fat kid who ate sweets all the time, but I wanted that coloring book and crayons!
Anyway, I was only tramatized enough to still remember it after all of these years. (Pictures below are of Lois Mailou Jones.)
While I was researching a visual artist that I recently became captivated with, I learned of a new artist who is talented and amazing in her own right. While researching Lois Maliou Jones, a visual artist from the Harlem Renaissance period. I found Joyce Ownes, her mentee who is wonderful. Please visit her site (yes, all 11 of you and whomever else might me visiting my blog) and check out her work: http://www.joyceowens.com/. I immediately read her biography and learned that she is accomplished as so many other famous artists. I predict that Joyce Owen will be legendary.And guess what? I emailed her and she contacted me directly! If you want to begin collecting art she is one artist that you would want to have in your collection. It is my dream to start a collection for Dove and I truly want her work to be well represented in our collection.
Thank you Lois Mailou Jones for opening my eyes and leading me to Joyce Owens. (I'm giddy as I write this, excitement pulses through my veins.)
I'm inspired to pick up my sketch pad and pencils and even may pick up a paint brush. I owe my friend a painting and have been paralyzed by fear. This is the year of stepping out and finding the me within and all I have to do is pick up the brush. Yep...(taking a deep breath) Wish me luck!
I said that I was going to be open to trying new adventues this year especially as I turn the ripe beautiful age of forty. But, the real question is how far will I go? I'm being real transparent as I write this blog and am surprised at myself for even putting this info out in the world. But, for one year I decided to blog honestly.
Okay, I got a phone call today from someone in which I usually ignore. Why? Because I know that it could be dangerous for me and potentially lead me into an arena that I am not sure that I want or even ready to tackle. Okay, let me preface this by admitting that I previously wrote about dating someone as long as he wasn't fat. But, what about white? Woud I date someone outside of my race? Latino, yes! But, a white guy? I've never been attracted to one before especially as I've poured over many pages of my history as I majored in African-American studies. Oh yeah, I thought some white guys were cute, but just never imagined myself dating one.
Fast forward, this guy calls periodically. I met him a while back while working on a project. One day after working, we went out for drinks and while walking to the parking lot, under the shadows of the moon he kissed me. He didn't just peck me, but he kissed me passionately. The type of kiss that Oprah talked about when discussing Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. If you don't know what I'm talking about, rent the movie and watch how TeaCake (sexy Michaeld Ealy) kissed Janie (Halle Berry).
I ignore his calls because of that kiss. It scared me. Its been a lonnngggg time since someone seemed passionate about me as if they wanted to take in the very essence of me. Or, kissed me like nothing in the world at that very moment mattered, except me. And, that's what he did. I have to admit that I replay that memory in my head like a movie from time to time. Hmmm? Do white boys really have it going on or was it a fluke? I'm not sure but I do love my brotha's, but will I ever be open to anyone outside of a Black man? Is it just a hang-up of mine that I need to get over?
I asked many friends if they'd date outside of the race? Many women said that they were open to it. But, were they just words or truth? I've heard the arguments and debates of shortages, being open to whomever God sends you, blah, blah, blah... To be honest, I never really applied these arguments to myself because those other races never really paid attention to me so it was never an issue, or made real. However, now that I wear my hair natural, I've gotten looks from the other side. It's flattery, but I ask myself again...am I up for trying new things?
It's funny how one weekend out of the entire year you'll find downtown (uptown) Charlotte overwhelmed with Black folks. CIAA brings Black folks from all over and truth be told, I have never heard of it until I moved here. And, it was busting with folks so much that the Fire Department shut down the Epicentre several times during the weekend.
However, since I am footloose and fancyfree, I ventured out this weekend. A friend of mine reserved a hotel room at the Hilton and invited me to partake, which I did. The weekend found me out and about mingling and meeting so many different people. There were day and night parties hosted by celebrities and organizations, which was found all around downtown. Thank goodness for connections because I didn't have to spend any money. And, since I'm on a serious budget, the malls did not find me trying to get my CIAA skinny jeans and stilettos. I went as me: dredlocked, natural, fun loving, congenial me. And, let me let you in on a little secret, that was all that was needed. I didn't need anything fancy to strike up conversations to meet folks.
It was amazing to get so many compliments in one weekend. That last time I got so many compliments was when I went on a cruise and half of them wanted to marry me, I'm guessing for citenzenship. Hmmm? Darn, I hope I don't have to wait another year to rake in the compliments again. Anyway, after hopping around from place to place trying to stay out of the cold, the night found my friend and I in a nice chill spot. I met some very cool dudes and even played a few games like Scrabble. Can you believe we played board games during a hot event like CIAA and it was a blast. One dude kept teasing me, "Gurl, you are smart!" Yes, I do read a lot. What was so funny, I guess the new come-on is for a guy to "read" a girl. Several times during the night I got "read." "You're very artistic, aren't you?" or "You look like you're a vegetarian," or "You are well-read, aren't you?" It was hilarious and entertaining.
I truly enjoyed having fun without all the bedazzle and sore feet. I couldn't help but wonder if my sista's would ever be free to just be? Women and girls were walking around outside with short halter dresses and stiletto sandals (you heard me right, sandals!)without a coat and it was freezing! I like to act ya'll, but those females earned an Oscar because they acted as if it was 85 degrees. They weren't even shaking from the cold! That was amazing to me. One lady said, "When has it become a trend for Black women to look so whorish?" I'm not sure when, but there were so many sista's not exhibiting self-worth or value. Literally, I cannot articulate how many vagaygay's I almost saw because of the skirts being too short. Or, how many lumps in their bodies that the stretch leggings didn't hide.
Anyway, I digress...I had an adventure this weekend and was so pleased to get out of the house and meet so many wonderful folks. (sigh) What could be next on my adventure list? :)