Tuesday, December 31, 2013

LOST FILES: Out with the old, In with the new!

Out with the old and In with the new
tired of dealing with all the things I've been through
tired of hearing that same ole song
of how if this ain't right, you'll be wrong
all day long
of how the loving's so good and you can't get enough
yet it just ain't enough for you to go pack your stuff

and get away from the one of whom you're so tired
you say she ain't on her job yet the bitch still ain't fired
so I quit, baby, cause the pay ain't shit
tired of being your temp cause it ain't covering no rent

That's why it's...
Out with the old and In with the new

got a dude who's willing to do things you won't do
got a dude who is ready to make moves not just grooves
not just talking the talk but ready to show and prove
got a man whose not only commanding my attention
but he's got my respect and oh, did I mention

he's confident, ain't worried one minute about you
ain't asking no questions, ain't searchin' round for a clue
cause he's so sure of himself and his power within
he knows you and your history ain't no match for him
cause I told him about you....how I was so feeling you
but it's a new year, boo.......had enough of you

That's why it's
Out with the old and In with the New!!

c. Sameialika Tarver 2005

BFLY'S TOP TEN.....Lessons Learned in 2013

There are many things I've learned throughout this year,
but this is a compilation of the top ten.
These lessons were eye-opening and life-changing......

1.) DO WHAT IS BEST for you. I felt so much guilt for wanting to move out of my home and my hometown, leaving my daughter, granddaughter and grandmother behind. One part of me believed it was selfish of me to take my support away from them but the other part of me needed to be selfish, in order to give myself the love, care and support I desperately needed. I'm glad I made the move; my spirit has been so much better for it.

2.) MENTAL HEALTH is of the utmost importance. Losing my brother to suicide and battling my own depression has brought the issue of mental illness to the forefront of my life. This year, I became stronger in my fight and more optimistic about my future. I am very conscious of the way I think and behave towards myself. I must maintain a healthy mental outlook, and I aim to do so, by any means necessary. 

3.) GOOD PEOPLE do still exist. Early this year, I took a much needed leave of absence from my job. At the time, I only had a few days' worth of leave credits I could apply towards my 30 days off. The amount of potential income loss was significant, but it was worth the stress relief I'd get from not having to go to work. I applied for our time donation program (where coworkers could donate their own leave credits towards my absences) and hoped I'd receive a few days, at least. About a week into my leave, I received a document stating that most of my leave would be covered by coworkers' donations and I would only lose a day and a half of pay. My God, my God......what a blessing that was!

4.) EVERYTHING HAPPENS for a reason. I was reconnected with someone I hadn't seen in over 10 years. He wasn't anyone I had ever had any romantic interest in but, I opened myself up to the possibility. I developed an intimate relationship with him and believed it would be a long-term partnership. We had good, fun and meaningful, times together but they would be short-lived. When I realized it wasn't going to work out between us, it took a while for me to accept it. I was disappointed but I knew I had to walk away. My hopes for us were shot down but I knew the reason for his coming into my life had been met. I left the relationship as a stronger and better person; and grateful for the lesson the experience taught me.     

5.) LETTING GO is mandatory. As parents, we worry that our kids are not listening to us; that they will not heed our advice or follow our good examples. So we tend to hang on to them, for dear life, fearing that they cannot live productively without us. Sometimes, our children choose paths we wouldn't necessarily choose for them, they do things we don't agree with and they disappoint us in various ways. Even so, they do listen; they make good choices and do things we approve of and, even, are proud of. One of things I worried about most was my daughter being on her own with her baby. I thought I'd be getting frantic phone calls from her, or relatives, saying I need to get back because she just can't do it. But, I haven't received one such call since I moved. I've been visiting with them for the holidays and, I see for myself that she is doing well. I am proud of the mother she is, the young woman she is becoming and the personal growth she displays. Her housekeeping and home management is on point and I can return to Charlotte knowing my daughter is doing A-ok without me.

6.) FAMILY/LOVED ONES are not to be taken for granted. The drama and chaos that often comes with being part of a large family or circle of friends can cause one to want to get away and stay away. When I moved, it was a relief to be away from it all. I wanted to be one of those relatives who only returned home for holidays and special occasions. I wanted people to miss me when I was gone and appreciate me when I come back around. Now, I see that being away from the drama and chaos also means being away for the love, support, camaraderie, friendship and fun. Them missing me means I'm missing them and the appreciation goes both ways. While I am glad to be distanced from people & situations that have been stressful in my life, I'm not so sure if I want to be that loved one 'reserved for holidays and special occasions.'

7.) LOVE is an action word. This, I already knew but things that happened this year made it clearer. I've experienced. or witnessed, the love lie in many ways, from individuals I didn't expect it. Friends who have been around for decades and relatives who have been around for life have shown up (or not) this year in very unloving ways. It's sometimes hard to accept that the people you want in your life are not good for your life; that the people you thought would be around forever have now run their course; that the ones you'd give an arm for can hardly give a damn for you. They may say they love you but those words don't mean a thing if what they do says they don't.

8.) LEAPS OF FAITH are necessary for growth and change. Deciding to leave my job of 7 years (which provided a decent paycheck and good benefits) and move to a new city/state with no new job lined up required much thought, a good plan and strong sense of faith. Though this decision was one of the riskiest (and some may think, stupidest) I've ever made, I submitted my 2 weeks' notice with no worries. I packed up my belongings with no hesitation. I drove down the highway, away from my hometown of 40 years towards a place I had only been to once in my life, with no fear. I've lived in Charlotte for almost 5 months now, and though it hasn't been smooth sailing, my life has changed for the better. Being in my new environment has been conducive to my continued personal growth and has strengthened my resolve to take another leap of faith and another and another......

9.) ONLINE DATING is not for me. There are many people who have found love via an online dating site so I know it is possible. However, the virtual dating scene isn't for everybody and I'm one of those it isn't for. Through my experience, I learned that my time and energy would be better spent on face-to-face interactions.

10.) SPENDING HOLIDAYS with family is something to be cherished.  I was dead wrong when I said, spending holidays with family is overrated. This year, I was set on 'doing something different' for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had shared those times with the same relatives all of my life so I figured it was time to change it up. But, when the holiday season approached, there was nowhere else I wanted to be than with my family and friends. Thanksgiving was full of so much love, good times and laughter and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day was filled with incomparable joy. Although I may 'do something different' in the future, I will never again discount the value of spending the holiday season with the family I love and friends I cherish.

What are some of the greatest lessons you've learned this year?

Monday, December 30, 2013

It's a Beyonce World!

I hear Bey's new album has got a few people's granny panties in a bunch. HMPH! Yes, some of her lyrics are raunchy, videos damn near soft porn but GUESS WHAT? Beyonce Giselle Knowles is a groooowwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn woman! Not only that, she's a young, sexy, married and madly-in-love grown woman. She's singing these songs to/about her husband and I am feeling every hum, growl and yeeeeeessssssssuuuuuhhhhhh! It seems, people think she has 'changed,' been 'turned out' or greatly influenced by her husband, rapper Shawn 'Jay Z' Carter but I beg to differ.

Beyonce was a young girl when she hit the music scene, so of course her music was tame. She came out in a group and did things a certain way. Eventually, she became a solo artist and started doing things a bit differently. Over the years, she has grown and shown the world different sides of herself. She grew up, she branched out, she matured, built up her self-confidence and became a woman. Although a part of her has always been a bit on the shy side, demonstrated by nervous laughter, smiles and girlish tone of voice; another part of her has always been bold and wild, demonstrated by her stage presence/performance, earlier videos and song lyrics. She has always been sensual and even sexual in her music and performances. It's just that, this time, she added a huge dose of raunch to it.... and the haters critics went wild! "Beyoncé is trying too hard! Beyoncé is trying to be hard! Jay-Z turned Beyoncé out! Bey is competing with Rhi! Why she gotta be so nasty! She's a mother, how dare she?! What does her mother think?! What will her father say?! Who does she think she is! Beyoncé has degraded herself.....she's no longer a lady....she has no class....blah blah and blahflippinblah!" Since when does becoming a parent render you sex-less? No fun? Boring? Plain? Vanilla? Why isn't she allowed to grow up, blossom, explore, experience and enjoy life on the next level? Chile please! But let me shut up.....Beyoncé can tell it best.......take a look/listen

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Twas The Night Before Christmas: A Mistress' Tale

'Twas the night before Christmas, I felt like a fool
I had given away one of my most precious jewels
my heart was taken with lies and wet kisses
I was seduced into playing the role of his mistress

Our days were filled with mystery and hot passion
not thinking of his family or consequences of our actions
I told him I loved him, he told me he cared
he bought me gifts aplenty, deep secrets we shared

He spent nights at my house, most days I spent alone
staring out the window, listening for the phone
Upon his arrival, I'd run to the door
welcoming and delighted in being his whore

The night before Christmas, I heard a terrible noise
out on my front lawn were his wife and two boys
she screamed and she yelled, she wanted to fight
he ducked behind the door, trying to stay out of sight

She approached me and roared, "Bitch, get out of my way!
I came for my husband, with me he's gon stay!
'Get out here' she demanded, as she lunged for the door
 He came out from hiding and I knew she had scored

I looked at him, pleadingly as he looked away
straightened up his clothes and walked out
to my dismay
I stood there shocked in spite of what I already knew
he had a home and his family he was returning to

As he got in the car and drove off with his wife
I stood frozen as the pain cut like a knife
I shuddered as reality suddenly set in
I'll  be spending the holidays alone
once again

c. Sameialika Tarver 2005

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jesus is the Reason for the season

The Christmas holiday season (November 1 - January 2)  is my favorite time of year. All the holly, jolly goodness that gets spread around warms my soul. The decorations, the music, the smiles on people's faces, the shopping, the cooking and of course, the wonderful gifts (given and received) bring joy to my heart. People look forward to spending time with family, traveling, eating, drinking and having a merry good time. However, what often gets lost, overlooked and ignored is the true meaning of Christmas. Then there are those who don't even know why the holiday is celebrated but they celebrate anyway. Some children are brought up in families where Christmas is a day of the year on which they get to wake up and receive beautifully wrapped presents, for no pparticular reason. Not much, if anything, is said about the birth of our Lord Jesus, who is the reason for the season.

I believe in Jesus Christ and He is, indeed, the savior of my soul. Growing up, I was always involved in Christmas programs, at church and in school. My maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother provided me with a strong, spiritual foundation. I attended Sunday school, went to church, sang in the choir and recited many a poem and scripture. I learned bible lessons throughout the year, but especially during sacred holidays. Christmas involved the participation in several programs and celebrations where the story of the birth of Jesus Christ was told in various ways. I was taught and have always known that Christmas is the day we celebrate our savior's birth.Yet, when I became head of my own household, His story took a backseat in my holiday celebrations.

Imagine that. It's your birthday yet all of your guests receive gifts and party while you are left sitting in a back room. Or worse, you're not invited to the party at all. 

Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a son God sent to atone for our sins. He performed miracles that provided healing and relief to people. He used his life for the betterment of the poor and less fortunate. Jesus Christ was a perfect, shining example humanity. This holiday is not only meant to commemorate Jesus' birth but, also to remind and  inspire us to be more 'Christ-like' in our ways. It serves as a reminder to be thankful and grateful for who we are and what we have; to be stewards of love, kindness, compassion and understanding....not just on Christmas day but all year round. The Christmas season is a time to give more of one's self for the happiness & benefit of others. It's a period when offerings of service, skills and time are just as (if not more than) appreciated as material gifts. There are many people who will be alone at Christmas; families whose homes are not adorned with beautiful decorations and sparkling Christmas trees; parents who can't afford to buy their children gifts or even a holiday meal; men, women and children who don't have a place to call home. So, as you indulge, enjoy and partake of all the wonderful things you have been blessed with this Christmas season, please remember those less fortunate. Please share your bounty and give of yourself and your time. Pass on the story of Jesus Christ to your children and fellow man; teach them that the spirit of the season is to not only count your blessings but to be a blessing. Remind them to wish the savior a Happy Birthday, in deed and word. Celebrate Christmas in a new way this year; invite Jesus into your heart and home. It is then that you will receive perfect love, joy and peace that only He can provide, the kind that will sustain you, on Christmas day and all the days of your life.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For: UPDATE

What a HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME it was! 

As promised, my sister (who I will refer to as 'NT' going forward) had a few great surprises lined up for me. My birthday agenda started off with a manicure and pedicure; then we proceeded to a local chain restaurant, where we had dinner and drinks with a couple friends. During this time, NT informed me that the surprise she had scheduled for 9:30 pm wasn't going to pan out. That news  immediately took me from a happy place to a frowning face. She asked me if I had anything I wanted to do and, of course, I didn't. As I mentioned in my previous post, my funds were limited and the clothes I was wearing were not fit for much more than (a place similar to) where we were. I did have on some beautiful, leopard print Michael Kors booties that I ordered a few weeks ago, as a gift to myself. But, the outfit I put together was very casual. Cute, but not fabulous as it should have been. Anyway, believing my night was going to end just as I was starting to feel good, I was ready to go home and park myself in front of the TV (as usual). Then, one of the ladies I was with convinced me to go to the next spot (which was a bar/restaurant that I had no desire to go to). As soon as we arrived, I was pissed. The place was packed, which would have fine if there was a table available for me and the ladies. We had to walk around and wait for over an hour before we were able to get a table. By then, I (and another person I was with) was ready to call it a night. But, we didn't. After having a couple more drinks, my mood improved and I was ready to party. Since this place isn't exactly a 'partying' spot, I settled for dancing in my seat and in the aisle with NT's boyfriend. Then, out of nowhere, one of my sisters & my brother in law (who flew in from our hometown that evening), his cousin and another guy I know from my hometown walked in! Ooooohhhhhhh chile, was I surprised and happy to see them!! My mood increased by a 1000....and so did my alcohol level. As soon as they arrived, they ordered a round of shots for everyone....then another....then a round of drinks.....and another. By the time we were ready to leave that place, I was way over my limit. I went home that night, feeling drunk off of love and liquor!

NT had something planned for me the next day, as well, so I had to deal with the hangover in order to make it to my next birthday surprise. It was a struggle for me to get it together but it was definitely worth it. I was treated to a 90 minute, full-body massage and sugar foot scrub. Can you say, 'heavennnnnnnnnnnn!' It was my first time getting a professional massage and it was everything I imagined it to be plus more. My massage therapist was a woman, with a very sweet voice and strong, skilled hands. At first, her touch felt a little suspect (light feather touches over the legs and buttocks that seemed to be unnecessary) then I realized it was just part of the process. I found it difficult to fully relax, in the beginning but before I knew it, I had completely surrendered. I woke myself up, several times, from my own snoring. At one point, my snoring was so loud, I scared myself! I was so embarrassed. However, I learned that a client's snoring is actually a compliment to the massage therapist. It lets them know that their client is fully relaxed and, likely, satisfied with their treatment. I was. After the massage, I had to go shopping for something to wear to the birthday party we were planning to attend that evening (in honor of my brother in law's sister).

The shopping trip was an emotional one for me (unbeknownst to my sis) because, for some reason that I haven't figured out, I experienced an 'Aha! moment' that hadn't hit me before. For me, shopping has always been stressful. I could never wear the things I wanted to wear and when I did find something I liked, in my size 20, it was almost always either too expensive or too matronly. When I walked in the store yesterday, I went straight to the plus-size section, as I usually did. I found nothing there and I started to leave the store, disappointed, but stopped to think maybe….just maybe…I could find something in the ‘regular’ sized section. Mind you, it's been a good while since I've lost weight and have been able to shop and find nice things in the regular sections so, I don't understand why this time, I hesitated. I looked, timidly at first, then I saw something I liked. I figured the leggings I chose would fit because they’re stretchy but I was skeptical about the shirt. Imagine my joy when I tried the outfit on and not only did it fit but I looked damn good in it! That motivated me to find some nice jewelry to match. I found a set in gold and silver so I bought both. Having those items and knowing I was going to look great boosted my enthusiasm to go to the party that night. Usually, I’m the party pooper; the ladies can’t stand me because I almost always opt out of partying with them. But, they don’t understand (or even know about) the anxiety I feel. Although we're not in competition and I know I can hold my own, I have to admit that, hanging with the glammed out divas has been difficult for me, at times. It's not always easy finding clothes that make me feel & look like a million bucks (like the divas always do) instead of the overweight auntie that a lot of plus-sized clothing made me feel & look like. Before we went shopping, I wasn't too excited about going out again but, after getting my outfit and accessories, I was looking forward to it. I went home, took a good nap (in an effort to sleep off the lingering effects from the night before) and when I woke up, I felt rested and ready to party. I got dressed with 100 % enthusiasm and 0% anxiety. I went to the party feeling good and enjoyed myself to the fullest (complete with more shots and drinks....omg).  

On Sunday, I woke up with a happy heart and smiling face. I enjoyed breakfast and conversation with NT and 2 friends. That evening, NT made one of my favorite meals and our sister joined us for dinner. We spent some quality time together before it was time for her to return home. 

My birthday weekend was more beautiful than I imagined it would be. Not only did I have a great time but it was one of those times that was great because it included activities and people that made a significant mark in my personal history book. Spending my first birthday away from 'home' was truly a wonderful and memorable experience! 


Friday, December 6, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For......

Today is my birthday. I'm not excited and I'm not shouting it from the rooftop (as you can tell from the letter case and punctuation I used) but I am happy. I'm blessed to see another day and to have made it another year. However, I will admit that I feel a bit bummed.

In my family, birthdays are a huge deal and whenever possible (which is almost always), we celebrate in a significant way. We can't/don't always have big parties but a gathering of family & friends with cake, food, drinks and even a few cards/gifts are always on the agenda. This year is different. This year, I am 1200 miles away from the people I usually spend my birthday with. I am 1200 miles away from my personal stylist (sister, who makes sure my hair and wardrobe is right for the occasion), my cheerleaders (daughter & grandiva, who make me smile on the wakeup), my partner in crime (sistercous, who I could count on for a manicure/pedicure) and my crazy clan (of sisters, cousins and friends) who make sure I have a wildly fun time! Just as I wished to be, months ago. Before I came to Charlotte, I longed for a calmer atmosphere, less crowded holidays & turned down celebrations. I couldn't wait to 'do things differently.'  And different, they have been.

Last night, while watching our usual Thursday night TV programs, my sister surprised me with a beautiful, delicious red velvet cake along with a very cute birthday card, which informed me that I should be dressed and ready to rock 'n roll by 5:00 pm this evening. She said she has a few surprises in store for me, which put a smile on my heart because I just love surprises (and great greeting cards)!  Still, I find it a struggle to get excited. I'm in a new city, with few relatives/friends and limited finances. I am unable to enjoy the sweet touches that usually come with my birthday and, more importantly, I do not have the people (my daughter, siblings and mother) around me that I cherish the most. Sure, I have a sister here (that I do love & cherish) and even a few other good women that I enjoy the company of. I know my sister is going to do her best to make sure I enjoy my evening....and I'm pretty sure I will. Yet, it's just not the same. I know this comes with the territory of moving away and believe me, I thought about it.....a lot.... before I made the move. I just really didn't think it would be such a big deal being away from my family & friends on this day. But, it is.

To some of you, I may sound ungrateful and/or immature. There are folk who regard a birthday as 'just another day' or believe that birthday expectations & celebrations are for kids. You may be thinking, I should be happy I'm still alive (I am), I should appreciate my sister and her efforts (I do), I should embrace where I am now  (I have) and I should get over being away from my hometown loved ones (I will). It's just that, this is my first year not being able to celebrate with my usual crew. The first year I won't be able to enjoy their big laughter, crazy antics and loving gestures. The first year I celebrate without my favorite people. But, as the saying goes, there's a first time for everything.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Time Is Now...

Today is my father's birthday. It's been over 10 years since he passed away but my siblings and I still acknowledge, and in some way, celebrate the day our father was born. When he was alive, he would not let us forget it. He would call us days before, telling us what we better have for him he wanted and he made sure to show up and collect. In some ways, I felt like, 'he got some damn nerve!' but, for the most part, I took joy in showing my Dad some love on his special day. He was nowhere near a perfect father but he loved him some me and I loved me some him.. We shared a close bond and had a good relationship. I was a 'Daddy's Girl' for most of my life, but things changed as I got older. 

In the weeks before my father died, I was giving him the cold shoulder. If he said anything to me, my responses would be short & snippy, I kept my distance and my smiles for him were tight-lipped, if I smiled his way at all. During this time, I was ready to confront him and go head-to-head with the 'Why didn't you/where were you when...' conversation. I had asked him a few hard questions before, but it was never an opportunity where we could have a full-blown discussion. I was so ready for it, and I could tell, in his eyes, he wasn't. I believe he had an idea of how I I felt because he seemed to be extra soft & cautious in our interactions. He wouldn't say too much about my attitude and actions towards him but he would give me this look. A look that said, 'You better watch who you're talking to' but 'I understand where you're coming from' at the same time. For the most part, I never gave my father any backtalk (because I knew I would get a backhand and a fat lip), but at this particular time, I didn't care. I was (as they say today) in my feelings. I felt hurt so I wanted him to hurt too. 

Then, one night, my father was hit and run over by a car....and he died from the injuries 10 days later. He was in tremendous pain in the days leading up to his death and I felt no sympathy. It was one of the few times in my life that I felt cold & indifferent towards someone I loved. I was mad so, at the time, I thought, 'that's what he gets' (the pain, not the incident). Not once did I think he would die (from those circumstances) and never did I wish death upon him. I just didn't care that he was suffering and I chalked it up to him getting his karma. Then, he was gone.  

As I saw my father lying lifeless on my sister's couch, all the things I felt the need to say to him before didn't seem to matter much. In the subsequent days of planning his funeral, I had time to think, reflect and reminisce. I thought about how unnecessary and unfair my recent actions toward my father were. How, instead of being funky and cold towards him, I could have used a more loving, warm approach. Instead of judging my father on the things I thought he did wrong, I could have focused on all of the things he did right. I could have looked at him as the flawed human being he was (as we all are); a person who made choices that resulted in some good and some bad. I could see the hurt in my Dad's eyes from the disappointment he knew I felt. Yes, I had some resentment but our good times greatly outweighed the bad times. I should have reassured my Daddy how much I loved him, and that I was still his girl, in spite of it all....

No matter how much anger, resentment or disappointment you feel, if you love someone, need someone or want someone in your life, let them know.....now....before it's too late.

Don't wait until it's too late.....
if you love me, tell me now
if you care, show me how much 
I really mean to you

Don't wait until it's too late....

if there's something you want me to have, give it to me today
if there's something I need to know, don't hesitate 
say what's on your mind

Don't wait until it's too late...
if the time comes, take it
when the chance arrives, embrace it
and make 

Don't wait until it's too late...

when my eyes can no longer see
and my ears can no longer hear 
when my feelings can no longer be

Don't wait until it's too late

when my body has gone cold
and your words and actions can do me no good
and all I am is a memory to hold

Don't wait 
another day might be too late....

the time 
is now

copyright 2013 by Sameialika Tarver

Happy Birthday Daddy

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Woman Seeking Man

I gave up, quit, threw in the towel on the online dating scene. Already? you say. Yup! Already. 

You see, I joined the online dating community with the hopes of finding someone I could meet, date and possibly end up in a relationship with. I looked forward to meeting people who are interesting, fun, mature, attractive, sexy, stable, secure and open to the possibilities I am open to. I thought I'd have a good chance since I am attractive, intelligent, fun, fabulous and a lot of other good things. Not so much. In my month-long membership, I have not met ONE guy who has gained enough of my interest to want to date him. There was one who had my attention (physically stimulating), a couple who were nice to talk to (but leaned towards the boring side), a few who were fun/interesting to talk to (but showed clear warning signs of 'crazy ahead') and some who just tried too hard (using cheesy poetry, cliches and terms of endearment). However, there was one guy (that I will refer to as 'Jack') I did exchange phone numbers with, speak to on the phone and had a mild interest in. He invited me to go to the mall with him, on a whim (or so I thought) and, immediately, I told him yes, I would go. 

I met him in the parking lot of a nearby shopping plaza. My sister drove me there so she could meet him, see his face, car and license plate number. He seemed harmless over the phone and I felt very comfortable with him and although I know anything is possible, I was stupid crazy outta my mind cool with getting in the car with him. So I did. Conversation started off good. He did most of the talking, I laughed at his jokes & sarcastic remarks and I shared some things about myself. It was a 45 minute drive (due to traffic) to our destination and, within the first 5 minutes, I knew I wouldn't want to see this guy again. The rest of the time we were together reinforced that feeling and three things stood out for me.

#1 - Physically, Jack wasn't appealing to me. In his pictures, he looked attractive but when I saw him in person, I realized he was hiding one thing in all of his pics - a big belly. Now, I have a tubby tummy myself so I'm not judging or being shallow. The difference between me and  him is that I did not hide that fact in my dating profile. I included head shots and full body pics. Of course, I try to dress in a manner that will not put my belly on display but it ain't hard to see that I do have one. He clearly did not want to show his and he made remarks about himself (while we were in the car) that let me know he is insecure about his body.

Not only am I carrying extra weight around my middle but I have also dated (loved and was crazy attracted to) other guys who are overweight, with big bellies. However, the way they carried themselves made a big difference in how I felt towards them. They were confident and sure about themselves. Their weight or body shape did not hold them back from holding their heads high. Jack's posture in the car was of a lazy, sloppy nature. He seemed to be well groomed and smelled nice but his body language told me he had no swag (sorry, can't think of another word that expresses that) and he knew it.

#2 - Jack was not the 'boss-type' of guy I perceived him to be. In his pics, he came across as a guy who is a 'man's man.' The kind of guy that takes his lady by the hand and leads her through a crowd, who stands behind her at the bar and orders her drinks for her, who scoops her up in his arms and squeezes her tight. Instead, he was the kind of guy who makes sarcastic remarks that are insults in disguise (jerk). The kind of guy who gets in the car first while his 'date' stands waiting for him to unlock her door - from the inside (not a chivalrous bone in his body)! The kind of guy who sneaks in touches & feels with the hopes that he won't, or belief that he shouldn't, be checked on it (perv tendencies). 

While talking in the car, he used his hands expressively and touched my leg once or twice and even came veryclose to touching my breast. I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first two times he made or almost made contact with me, but on the third time, I had to check him. When I told him to keep his hands to himself, he had the nerve to be defensive & offensive, at the same damn time! He told me I need to relax and calm down. Then he grabbed my hand and rubbed it on the upper thigh area of his jeans and (in a joking manner) asked if that made me feel better. I told him it did not. It actually made me very uncomfortable, but I didn't tell him that. Instead, I laughed it off and tried to make the best of the situation. 

#3 - Jack is a cheap bastard. He told me, when he was with his ex-wife, they went dutch on outings to the movies because it's too expensive for one person to pay. Excuuuuuuse me?!  Yes, the movies are expensive but there are ways to cut down on the expenses other than going dutch. I'm not opposed to going dutch or even, footing the bill sometimes. However, that would be after a few dates and my idea to do so. For a guy to suggest it, especially in the beginning phase, is a turnoff for me. I know times are hard for a lot of folks but, sir, if you don't have the money to take a woman to the movies or on a decent lunch or dinner date, please get off the dating scene.

In addition to the movies scenario, he made other statements to let me know he wasn't the type to spend money. Don't get me wrong. I'm not nor have I ever been a gold-digger. I just like for a man to want to spend his money on me...whether it be for a movie date or very nice birthday/holiday gift. Or a simple book that I have interest in. While we were in one store, I picked up a book and flipped through it. I looked at the price then put it down. He asked me how much it cost and I told him. He said nothing and walked away. I picked up another and did the same thing. That time, he said nothing.That was it for me. Yes, I can pay my own way & for my own things, but that isn't the point. In fact, I didn't really want the books, I just wanted to see if he would offer to buy it (or something) for me...especially since he invited me to go to the mall! I mean, really, what kind of man asks a woman to go to the mall with him then not offer to buy her anything?! 

I think he's done that before though. Take a drive to the mall (under a bs premise that he needed to find sneakers for his son), walk around, get a feel for her and spend not a dime. Well, he did offer to buy me something to eat from the food court (ha!) but, by then, I had lost my appetite.

I lost my appetite for food, any connection with that fella and the online dating scene. I know what you're thinking. I shouldn't let one person spoil the whole experience. I haven't been online long enough to give it a fair chance. There are success stories from online dating. Yeah. Yeah Yeah. You do you and let me do me. From the short time I was online, the exchanges that I've had and that one 'date,' I've realized that online dating is just not for me. Not only does it not give people a real glimpse of who I am as a person, but it enables too many fakes, frauds & imposters to be a part of my life, no matter how short the time is. I've lived enough and learned enough lessons to know I need to follow my own gut, do what feels good/right to me and not be afraid to make choices that are in my best interest. Ok, it's really not that deep.....but then again, it is. 

There's nothing like being in front of a person, talking to them, looking at them, seeing the way they move and feeling the vibes they give off. That is a much better way to gauge whether or not you want to pursue anything with someone. It's a waste of time, in my opinion, to set up a profile, stalk check your mailbox, read/send messages, give out your phone number, text or talk to people then realize they aren't worth your time. You can't get that time back. Yes, we can still be fooled by people in person but, I think we would waste less of our valuable time doing so. If I had met Jack in person, I would have never given him my phone number or the time of day. I would've immediately dismissed him as a 'cornball' and moved on to the next. But, I'm glad I had the experience. Now I know what it's like in the online dating world. I'm not saying I'll never try it again but for now, I'll stick to real life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

LOVE: The survival of the fittest

My ego wants me to hate you but it's me that I despise...
for allowing you to seduce me with your well rehearsed lines of overused lies....

With that fire in your eyes, you ignited a spark that had me longing for things we could do in the dark....

The brightness of your smile blinded me to a truth that is so ugly 
your lips that I kissed told fibs about how much you really loved me.....

The way you held me in your arms gave a comfort I needed
so when I saw the first warning sign, I refused to heed it....

In that moment, when the bold truth burst thru the door, I didn't want to face the you I knew I wouldn't want any more.. 
No matter how much my heart wanted you to be the one for me, my mind could not decry or deny the cold reality....

The disappointment in knowing I was wrong....again
The frustration of having to start all over.... again
The humiliation of having to face my family and friends....

But truth is, I am human and though it's love that I want, I refuse to be fueled by desperation
I need a truth I can flaunt
I refuse to be led on by good looks or charm, I need arm candy of loyalty
only a king of honesty is fit for my royalty

I will not allow a foolish man to swindle me out of my heart in return for sweet nothings given out in the dark...
I won't be driven crazy by drama created by desperate exes and lonely baby mamas...

I need a love that is mature, healthy and true
and though I hate to admit it, that love is not you.....
So, onward I go, with another lesson learned 
and though my feelings have been burned, my heart is still intact
I will survive.

copyright 2013 by Sameialika Tarver

Monday, November 18, 2013

All I Want For Christmas....

....is a new name.

According to the article published in The Kansas City Star, a bi-racial girl of African-American and Caucasian descent desperately wanted to change her name from Keisha to Kylie. Reportedly, she wants to change it due to the ridicule, negative remarks and bad treatment she has received, as a result of her name. Personally, she believes the name Keisha is beautiful. It's just been uncomfortable for her to carry it, as it doesn't fit her.

Keisha/Kylie's mother, who is Caucasian, said she picked out the name Keisha for her daughter before she even gave birth. In her mind, the name Keisha represented a 'strong, feminine and beautiful' black woman and she wanted her child to carry it with pride. She hoped her baby girl, that she named Keisha, would feel proud and connected to black culture. Instead, the very opposite happened. Raised in a community where it's said to have a small black population, Keisha was subject to the ignorance of those around her who made negative assumptions and dead-wrong generalizations about her name. They asked if she had a 'La' or 'Sha' as a prefix to Keisha and they assumed she was 'a certain kind of girl.' She had to change her name, she said, because, with it, she just didn't feel like herself.


As much as our names can have an effect on how we are perceived and treated and be an indicator of what culture/racial group we belong to, it has nothing to do with how we are as a person. We are born with certain genetic markers, dispositions and characteristics but nowhere have I ever read that a certain name effects the kind of person you become or determines how you carry yourself. Names can be a source of pride or angst but it's not a source of character or state of being. People change their names for various reasons, and they have ever right to. Change your name, Keisha, but please be honest (with yourself, more than anyone else) about the reasons behind it.  

You didn't change your name because of how other people perceive it and treat you. No Keisha, you changed your name because you agree with those negative perceptions and generalizations. In the back of your mind, you think just like those who shamed, judged and belittled you. To you, the name Keisha represents the loud, ghetto, poor, unworthy, promiscuous, video-vixen wanna-be girl; it represents everything you don't want to be associated with, which boils down to (what you and the ignorant folk around you see as) 'blackness.' So you want to be Kylie. It's no wonder you chose a name such as that because it brings to mind privilege, beauty, class and all things good & white. Instead of embracing your name and showing the people around you that the name Keisha represents all the black and white goodness that you are made up of (as a friend suggested you do, according to the article), you opted to abandon the name in the hopes of abandoning the stereotype.

With your new name, you hope to be treated with respect and dignity, as you very well deserve to be. However, you're missing the part about people mistreating you due to their own issues with your being black, not what name you carry. Therein lies your real problem, Keisha/Kylie. You can never replace the black part of you. A name does not change the fact that you are and will always be (perceived and treated as) a black woman. As a black woman, sometimes you will experience discrimination, racism and prejudice. That's just a fact of your half-black life. You cannot control other people's behavior but what you can do is be the best half-black Keisha/Kylie you can be. No matter what name you choose to buy for yourself, you must make peace with, love and respect yourself, as you are, before anyone else will.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


By now, I'm sure you've read many reviews online, heard feedback from friends and saw many a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post so add this to that collection: THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY movie is a must-see! For those who don't know, The Best Man Holiday is the sequel to the movie, The Best Man. The first movie came out in 1999, starring the milk-chocolatey delectable Morris Chestnut, dark & handsome Taye Diggs, sexy & scintillating Nia Long, sassy & sophisticated Sanaa Lathan, deliciously mesmerizing Terrence Howard, fine & fabulous Regina Hall, prim & pretty Monica Calhoun, charmingly attractive Harold Perrineau and the bold & beautiful Melissa De Sousa. TBM is about a group of friends who met in college and get together years later, for the wedding between two of them. The groom's best man is his best friend who becomes his worst enemy. As things unfold, the friends try to prevent each other from being disappointed, hurt and even killed. In the days leading up to the wedding of the bride & groom, friendships are tested, relationships are ruined and life is turned upside down....but love does prevail.

In the sequel, TBMH, the entire cast returns, plus the sexy & talented Eddie Cibrian. The friends are back together for the holiday season, with new members of their families, news to share and old baggage to get rid of. This time around, life is different for all of them but they have no idea just how much things are about to change....again. No longer young and carefree, the friends are faced with difficult challenges to face, grown-up decisions to make and real life reflection to do. They learn that they can no longer afford to be careless, irresponsible, spineless, unaccountable, God-less or unattainable. They learn the true meaning of love, forgiveness, friendship and life. Together, they've been through a lot and although their bonds are tested again, together, they remain.

Both movies are full of humor, chaos and drama....lots of drama. You will laugh, you will cry, you will clap and you will want to throw your popcorn at the screen. In the end, you will relate to something or someone and even learn a lesson or two. So if you haven't already, go see The Best Man Holiday....but only if you've seen The Best Man first.

I know I'll watch both movies again....and again....and again!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Scary World of Dating....

The dating world is intimidating, to say the least. Although I've never been married and haven't been in a serious, long-term relationship in years, I'm on the dating scene for the first time....and I don't know what to do. I've never had to 'look for' a mate or put myself out there to be 'found by' a mate. Every relationship (short or long, serious or casual) I've had has been with someone I already knew or, at least, was familiar with. They usually approached me and I never had to do much to 'make them' like me. I grew up in a place where 'everybody knows everybody,' I had the reputation of being a 'good girl,' and I come from a huge family so, if a guy didn't know me, he knew somebody who did. So I never had a problem with attracting men. Now, none of that matters.

I am in a city where no one knows my name, my reputation or has connections with anyone who could put in a word (good or bad) about me. I am single and ready, but scared to mingle. Scared, in the sense that I don't know what to expect, say or do. So scared that, when I'm in social situations, I give off body language that (according to my sister, whose word I trust) says I am NOT available, DO NOT talk to me, DO NOT approach me. Yet, I DO want to be approached and I would like to be spoken to. I think I allow my fear of saying or doing the wrong thing take over and I end up giving off the opposite vibe of what I really want. My lack of suitors isn't helped by the fact that I don't go out much, either. However, I did set up a profile on a dating site (that many have claimed to have found love on).

I don't know if my profile is a 'good' one, according to dating profile standards, but I think it's pretty decent. I have nice pictures of myself posted and my 'About Me' section is cool. I think my profile lets people know that I am serious, mature and fun. So far, I've been contacted by over 40 men but only 2 or 3 have stood out. I was given phone numbers by 5 but only gave my number to 1. He and I communicated by text only for over a week then I told him I would like to hear his voice (although I wish I didn't have to tell him that). I finally spoke to him a couple days later (after I initiated the phone call) and the conversation was....awkward. Although he seemed to be very interested, through text messages, his phone conversation showed otherwise. His tone was full of nonchalance & annoyance and his words were short & curt. The teeth pulling conversation lasted about 6 minutes then he said he would call me back but, he never did (just as I suspected). I'm not sure if I even want to talk to him again (although, for some reason, I feel 'pull' from this guy). As for the others, they seem to have a short attention span and a need for coaching in the communication department. The conversation is wack y'all! I don't want to be a skeptic and approach all situations with a "side eye" but the men I've come across so far make it hard for me not to.

I'm gonna give it a chance though. I've only been on the site for 3 weeks so I will give it some time. How much time is yet to be determined........

How do you feel about online dating? Have you had any success with it? Do you have any tips for a sista?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fallen Angel.....

Today marks the day my youngest brother and my mother's only son was born. It would've been his 26th birthday, but due to a fateful choice he made on April 26, 2012, he is not here to celebrate. At the age of 24, he chose to end his life and thus, the battle he was having with a bout of depression. I, too, have struggled with depression during different periods of my life and I wrote this poem during one of those tough times. I had plans to leave it for my family to read, with the hopes it would give them some understanding of what I was feeling. I never thought I'd be presenting it as an homage to my baby brother.

In memory of Terryn Clevon Pringle.....FALLEN ANGEL

Anger & frustration is what I feel inside....Loneliness & longing are constantly by my side....crying & yelling, I've done all that I'll do...it helps just for the moment then that moment passes through

I will go away from here, sooner than you think...sooner than you can say, 'goodbye', as quickly as you can blink

I will go away from here, find myself some peace...find myself a cozy corner, get myself some sleep

I will go away from here, stop thinking about the pain...stop thinking about this hole in my soul, I'll never feel either again

No, I'm not taking the easy way out...No, I will not lay blame...I just don't want to be here, anymore...I want to be free from the game

I just want to get away from here...in some way, I always feel locked down...whether it be in my mind, in my search for love or me spreading my love around

I told you, I was going away from here...I told you I was tired of half-living...I was tired of feeling I was getting nowhere fast...Insane is where I was being driven

I told you I was going away from here...I told you I wanted out...I told you I had to release myself...I guess you wanted me to SHOUT

Now that I'm gone, I feel no pain, no sorrow...I have no worries, I feel no fear, no qualms about tomorrow

I feel like I am floating, looking at you from afar...I have finally found my place in the sky...I was destined to be a star....


*If you or a person you know are having suicidal thoughts or are going through a tough time, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help! 1-800-273-8255 http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Friday, November 8, 2013

Honor thy brother....

Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about, longed for and felt pain from the loss of him. Daily, I fight back tears....and sometimes, the tears win. Sometimes the tears drop, like a leaky faucet and clear up quickly, like a teasing sunshower; sometimes they run like a silent stream, with no end in sight; and sometimes they fill my eye sockets like liquid fire and burst through as a raging storm, causing sounds like thunder & lightning to escape my throat. Five hundred and sixty one days later and the death of my baby brother still hurts like hell.

I won't rehash the story, but for those who are new readers (or simply passing through), my youngest sibling, Terryn Clevon Pringle, committed suicide on April 26, 2012, at the age of 24. His death was unexpected and the impact on my family has been tremendous. My brother was deeply loved, cared about and adored by many. Yet, for some reason no one can fathom or begin to understand, he didn't feel it..or believe it....deep down in his heart. He didn't think his presence in our lives mattered much and he believed we'd all be just fine without him. He could not have been more wrong. He was my mother's only son and his father's only child. My mother cries for her son, every. single. day. She blames herself for his death, every. single. day. She believes that 'if only she...' did 'something' different, he would still be alive and she tells herself this untruth, every. single. day. My siblings and I have unsettling dreams and startling visions of my brother; we have nightmares about his death and sleepless nights filled with anger & frustration. We've blamed ourselves, at one time or another, thinking we could have, should have said or done something that may have saved our brother's life. We don't like to talk about it though. We don't share our feelings and experiences too often because no one wants to be the person to 'get everyone else started.' No one wants to be the one to spoil a good mood, make somebody cry or get a conversation going that will send someone into a dark place. But, at certain times of the year, like holidays, milestones and birthdays, it's impossible not to acknowledge the void we feel, or to express what's in our hearts and on our minds. This weekend is such a time.

Terryn was born on November 9, 1987. He wasn't into big parties and never wanted us to spend money on or make a big deal over him. He didn't like to go out to bars & clubs but he loved to have a good time. To him, a good time was hanging out with family and close friends, playing card games or board games, listening to music, having dinner, drinks, etc. He warned us not to do anything special for his 25th birthday but we ignored him (like we did for his 21st birthday) and, unbeknownst to him, we had big plans in store. Well, I guess he fixed us. We spent his 25th birthday mourning his memory instead of celebrating his presence.This year, however, we are going to celebrate Terryn's birthday in a way he would want us to; having fun, finding reasons to smile and celebrating good memories of him. He would want us to tell stories that will stir up laughter and warm, fuzzy feelings. Terryn would want his nieces and nephews to remember him as a good uncle who loved them, cared about them and always wanted the best for them. He'd want his mother and father to know that it was no fault of theirs that he chose to say 'goodbye.' He would want his siblings to know that he loved us and appreciated all the time we spent together and everything we've ever done. He'd want his cousins, other close relatives and friends to know that they were special to him. He'd want all of us to remember that his legacy is one of love and joy, not heartache and pain. So, dear brother, although there will be tears and moments of sorrow, we will not focus on the pain. We promise to spend the day honoring the goodness, happiness and joy you brought to our lives............

WE LOVE AND MISS YOU TEE.......may you continue to rest in everlasting love, joy and peace.

*in the picture, Terryn is wearing the hat

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Word of Advice....

I read somewhere, that it could be helpful for one to consult with their exes to get a better gauge on how one could be better in future relationships. I thought about it and, as with most things, there are some advantages and disadvantages to this notion. On one hand, if your ex could be honest (without being brutal), you may be able to learn yourself something. On the other hand, if your ex is still salty, you may get an earful of some things that will just make you mad. I like to think of myself as the ex you can still be cool with, with no salt added and I would give honest, helpful feedback. But how many of my exes could be counted on to give me the non-hating truth?? I think I could get the real deal from 2 or 3, but would I actually go for it? I don't know.

I've thought about it and, even, seriously considered doing it. I mean, what's the worse that could happen? They don't oblige me or they say some things I don't want to hear? They post on FB or IG about their crazy ex who needed their help on getting her future love life together? Not so bad. I think I could take that. But I don't believe any of my exes would actually do that. I think, if I seriously asked them questions, such as, 'What did I do wrong, what I could do differently or better and what did I do that was great or on point?,' they would give me honest feedback. They would probably feel honored that I have such regard for them that I would even ask. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.......I just might try it.

What about you? Would you ask your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend for their advice on how you could be better in your future relationships? If so, how much consideration would you give to what they tell you? Have you asked and heeded their advice? Did it work?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Charlie's Angelz

I've spoken about my siblings on this blog a few times, but for those who don't know, I am the eldest of 11; technically, of 2 whole sisters, 6 half sisters and 2 half brothers. (For the record, we never use the terms 'half-brother' or 'half sister.' However, I'm using them in this blog post for descriptive purposes only.) I don't remember life without siblings (as I was only a year and 2 months old when my first sister was born) and I can't imagine life without ever having them. Yet, there have been times when I've said (and I think all of my siblings can attest to feeling this way at one time or another), 'Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do I have to be a part of this crockpot stew of siblings!' We have a lot of love for each other but with our complicated beginnings (Papa was a rolling stone), comes jealousy, resentment, competition, chaos and drama. All siblings experience some drama & rivalry but when you add multiple sets of parents to the mix, that experience is multiplied by a thousand. This is not to say there is no goodness....or even greatness....within the group, but the complications can't be denied. When we were young, with hardly any control over our lives and relationships with other people, our parents played a huge role in how we got along (or not) with our sisters and brothers. While my parents were together, my father had 4 children outside of their relationship (in addition to the three he had with my mother) with 3 other women. The first five of us were born within a period of 5 years, with 2 born in the same year, within 6 months of each other. Can you say DRAHHHH-MA!

I grew up in a place where 'everybody knows everybody' so my father couldn't hide his indiscretions for long, if at all. My mother always found out about these other children and we always found out about our new siblings. As a young child, I didn't fully grasp what having these 'outside siblings' meant to my mother and my parents' relationship. I was always happy about having a new sister and excited to tell/show the world. Of course, this did not make my mother happy and, at one point I would get admonished for referring to any of the 'other' kids as my sister. I don't know what my sisters' mothers were saying to them but there was a period of time when two in particular (who shared the same mother) would sometimes say mean things about/to my 2 'whole' sisters and me. It hurt, of course, but even moreso, I was confused. I didn't understand why they felt this animosity towards us when we had never done anything to them. It wasn't until I got older, learned more of the truth and had certain experiences that I understood why the bad blood flowed between those 2 sisters and us. My parents finally broke up when I was around 9 years old, not long after the last of the 'outside' kids was born. There was more drama to be had, despite the breakup, but eventually my parents would stop the madness. My father moved on with the mother of the last child he had while he was with my mother; they had 2 more daughers & one son and eventually got married. My mother moved on, got married and gave birth to my youngest brother. Although our parents finally gave up the drama, my siblings and I (unknowingly) picked up where they left off.

Throughout the years, we have had wonderful times together and we've had heartbreaking times too. We have dealt with pettiness such as gossip & jealousy, serious issues such as backstabbing & disrespect and life-altering events such as birth & death. We have spoken ill of each other, had physical fights, ignored and even stopped speaking to each other. But, we ALWAYS fall back to the lesson our father taught us: sticking together. If my father did anything right, it was to make sure his children not only knew each other but had relationships with each other. He always told us to never let anything or anyone come between us, no matter what. So, when we go through difficult times, we always manage to bring it back to what's important: our relationship with each other and the examples we are setting for our children. We all understand that, because we are human, we will make mistakes and we will do things to upset, disappoint and hurt each other. But what we will also do is be more careful, thoughtful and conscious of our words & actions so the hurtful things happen less; and what we won't do is let the negative overpower the positive. We have vowed to each other that no matter how upset we get or how big or small a transgression is, we will do what it takes to work it out.

We're in a good space today and I believe we serve as good role models of people with similar family dynamics. Therefore, I will be writing more about the good, the bad & the ugly times of Charlie's Angelz (which is what our Dad affectionately referred to us as, since his name was Charlie). I share with the hope that it will inspire someone else to improve, nurture and appreciate the relationships they have, with their siblings and other loved ones.

Charlie's Angelz have come a long way, baby and I say with confidence, things will only get better!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

REALLY (Black People)?!

People are all up in a tizzy because Julianne Hough (a white singer/dancer/actress) dressed up as 'Crazy Eyes' (a black character from the Netflix hit show, Orange Is The New Black) for Halloween, complete with a brown painted face. They are comparing it to a highly racist and negative practice that whites used, way back in the day (and some still do), as a form of entertainment.

Really, Black people?! These are two totally different things, in my opinion. She was dressing up for Halloween, for goodness' sake! She wasn't doing a minstrel show or trying to be funny or derogatory with her actions. I don't know her personally, but I'm assuming that she is a fan of the show (as I am and alot of people are) and thought 'Crazy Eyes' made for a good Halloween costume. According to reports, Julianne was not aware of the history of 'blackface' and she did not mean any disrespect towards the black community. Some have suggested that 'her people' should have known and should have warned her that dressing up as this character would not be a good idea or that she could have done the character without the brown face. I beg to differ. Halloween is a holiday on which people dress up as all sorts of people, characters, things, demons, goblins and monsters. It's a day where you get to be something/someone other than yourself, in the name of fun (for the most part). I see nothing wrong with Julianne being this character and choosing to go 'all the way' with her costume. Sure, she could have donned the orange jumpsuit, put her hair in (some semblance of) bantu knots and kept her own white face buuuutttt......(in my opinion) it comes across so much better with the brown face.

To each his/her own but I think, these days, people jump on any little thing and scream 'racist/racism!' Now don't get me wrong, I'm not some black person who doesn't believe we've come such a long way that racism is not an issue. Oh, it very much is. But what I don't like, and refuse to cosign, are things that are 1)minor sand particles built up into a mountain 2)innocent occurrences (such as this) that get misconstrued or turned into something it is not or ever intended to be 3)jumping on the 'It's racism!' bandwagon just because somebody said it was racism. How are we ever to make more and bigger strides towards less racism if, at every chance (big or small), we are screaming racism and brewing major media storms about small or nonexisent issues? If everything a non-black person does that however remotely looks like they are being insensitive, disrespectful or derogatory is fodder for a race rally, how can we ever get past it? As it's said, perception is reality so, while there are definitely racist folks around and racist practices going down, I think we need to adjust our mind's eye just a little bit. One of my favorite quotes is:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
_ mahatma ghandi

Choose your battles wisely and fight when it's necessary, but please people, please....stop the 'stinkin thinkin!' Besides, Julianne's face ain't black. Like Tamar Braxton said, she just looks like she has a tan.

p.s. Julianne, stop stealing people's ideas.....you knew I was planning to be 'Crazy Eyes' for Halloween (I really was, y'all)!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


So, I flew into my hometown last night for a surprise visit. My daughter had no clue I was coming so she was pleasantly shocked to see me walking into her apartment. She and my granddaughter were soundly sleeping when I arrived and although it was a school/work night, I had to wake them up. The grandiva was not happy to be awakened and she had no problem with hurting my feelings with her resistance. But once she was fully awake and realized her Gida was actually in the bed with her (yes, I got under the covers with her, fully clothed), she lit up. Then she scolded me for being in the bed with clothes on. We spent a couple hours hanging out then she reluctantly went back to sleep. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed she woke up, 6 hours later, ready for more quality time with her Gida. My eyes were burning from lack of sleep but, of course, I got right up with her. I contemplated spending the day with the grandiva, thinking she would not want to leave me to go to school. But she made it very clear that skipping a day of play with her friends was not on her mind. She enthusiastically got ready for school and, as she made her way out the door, she put up two fingers and said, 'Peace Gida!'....but only after she made sure I would be there when she returns.

My next stop was my mother's house. I decided to go there while she was at work and visit with my cousin and grandmother. I was anxious to see my grandmother's reaction to me since she had promptly forgotten who I was when I moved away. I spoke with my grandmother on the phone, a few days after I made it to Charlotte, and she did not know who she was talking to. She didn't remember my voice or my name. I cried. It broke my heart. At 90 years old, it's to be expected and I knew she had forgotten a lot of people. But never did I think she would forget me, especially not that fast. I was worried my leaving would cause my grandmother to become depressed or even sick, so when I thought about it, I realized her forgetting me was actually a blessing for her. She would not become heartsick or miss someone she did not remember. Still, I held out the hope that, if she saw me in person, her memory would be revived. When I arrived at the house, I walked straight in the unlocked door. After being greeted by my startled cousin with a bear hug, I stood face to face with my grandmother and said, 'Hiiiii Grandma! and wrapped my arms around her. When I pulled away, I asked her, 'Do you remember me?' She said, 'Yes but I haven't seen you in a while.' Whew! she remembers, I thought. A few minutes later, I asked her if she knew who I was and she said, 'no.' I told her my name and I told her I am her granddaughter. She just nodded and said, 'Well, I'm glad to see you' with the unspoken words 'whoever you are' lingering in the air. Nevertheless, I am happy she is still with us and I feel blessed to be in her presence.

As I sit here and wait for my mother's arrival home, my head aches due to fatigue resulting from the late night/early morning I had with my grandchild, my ears are being assaulted by my cousin's loud enjoyment of raisins she's eating, my eye is irritated from the love I received from our very excited-to-see-me dog (I am allergic to animal hair yet I can't resist her doggie hugs) and my arms are cold due to the NY fall temperatures that my short sleeved shirt is not suited for. Yet, it all feels and sounds so good because, no matter the new places you go, people you meet or experiences you have......there's no place like home!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I have been a 'natural' gal for over 3 years; natural meaning my hair has not been chemically straightened. The journey from getting relaxers to no chemical straightening was much easier than I thought it would be. However, the maintenance of that existence is just as difficult as I imagined it would be. It all started when, I decided, I needed a change after wearing different variations of the mohawk hairstyle. There's only so much you can do with a mohawk, so, I decided to chop it all off. I didn't do it with the intention of 'going natural;' I just liked the way I looked when I held my hair down and could see nothing but face in the mirror. I literally said, aloud, 'Damn, I'm pretty!' The barber who cut it off and shaped me up agreed.

I wore the brush-cut style for months, then I decided to let my hair grow back. I figured, once it reached a certain length, I could get a relaxer and a different hairstyle. But, when it grew and I saw the true texture of my hair (that I hadn't seen since I was about 12, 13 years old), I liked it. In fact, I loved it. I remembered having a 'nice' texture of hair but didn't quite recall what that looked like. I'm a 'nappy girl,' for sure, but there's a wide range of 'nappiness' and I happen to fall into the 'not-so-bad' range. Now, I'm not one of those people who uses the term 'good hair' (which is usually used to describe someone's hair that is straight, wavy or curly, with not a nap in sight) nor do I believe, 'there is no such thing as good hair.' People can try to make themselves or others feel better by saying that, but (I'm sorry), it's just not true. On one extreme, there are some curl patterns that are extremely tight & dense (that I wouldn't even describe as 'curl' patterns) which makes the hair hard to manage and difficult (or impossible) to mold or manipulate into any styles other than braids or an afro. On the other extreme, there is straight hair, with not a hint of wave or curl that makes it difficult to wear most hairstyles in its natural state. That's what I would call 'bad hair.' However, there are many hair types in between that allow for alot of maniupulation, variety and beautiful styling. That is what I would describe as 'good hair.'

I'm not really sure where my hair fits on the a-b-c (hair types) scale but I like to describe it as 'cotton curl.' It looks good and is quite manageable in its natural state. When it's wet, the curl pattern is tight & springy; when it's dry, the curl pattern is tight and soft. I like to wear it in various forms of the afro and I also like to do different kinds of 'twist-outs' (where you braid or twist the hair then keep it in that style for a few hours or overnight, then unravel hair to create a curly, coily or wavy hairstyle). However, maintaining the health of my hair and creating hairstyles takes A LOT of time, energy and product (money). I look forward to getting much (if not all) of my original length back but the more my hair grows, the more frustrated I get with the upkeep. Which is why, thoughts of the 'creamy crack' cross my mind, often.

'Creamy crack' is the name somebody (probably a naturalista) gave to relaxer products that are used to straighten the hair. Although there is a great number of women who have 'gone to rehab' and gotten their naps back, there are still many women who are still addicted to what the relaxer does for their hair. I was once addicted and though I no longer need that fix, at times I sure do want it. Sometimes, I want it, to be able to wear my own hair in certain styles and feel the air on my scalp as my tresses bounce and blow in the wind. Sometimes, I want it, so I can wear certain weave styles and get my various states of 'diva' on. And sometimes, I want a relaxer, because my hair would be much more manageable and require less daily maintenance. Whatever the reason is, it ain't got a damn thing to do with denying my blackness or 'wanting to be white' or being 'brainwashed by europeans' or any other shitty notion some people come up with to try to make a sista feel guilty, bad or 'less-than'. I don't care how I wear my hair, I know I'm a black woman, I love being a black woman and I am going to express my black woman-ness in straight hair, curly hair, nappy hair, weaved, braided, long, short or round-the-way hair. Whatever style I choose, these facts will remain constant.....I'M BLACK and I'M PROUD! BLACK GIRLS ROCK! MY BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL! ....got it? Ok.