Category Archives: You didn’t know I was deep did you

Confessions pt. 1

I think most of us over-focus on our flaws, at one time or another. We all have things we want to change about ourselves; I’m working on things I can change & reminding myself that people don’t even notice most of what I find wrong, but there’s one thing I absolutely hate. It’s something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember…..

I am painfully shy.  Always have been.  I remember going back to school each Fall was like starting at a new school.  I had a close-knit group of friends that I was comfortable with, but the thought of new classes, new teachers, & new seating arrangements caused panic attacks.  Given a little time to get used to everything & warm up, I’m fine; outgoing even.  It was the same way at college. I didn’t think I would make it through that first night after moving in  and if my  cousin hadn’t called to check up on me, I don’t know if I would have.  Since I didn’t have my cable hooked up yet, she told me to go down to the lobby of my dorm and watch Martin. That was a guaranteed way to find some black folks.  We were NOT going to miss Martin, Gina, & the gang act like fools. Sure enough gathered around the TV were some of the people who would become my closest friends while I was there.  I even met the chick that would ultimately become my roommate. 

I’ve been called cold, standoffish and stuck up because I don’t just come up and start a conversation with someone.  There are times when I’ve overcome my shyness but those are few and far between.  Even now, with the anonymity of the internet, I can’t shake that feeling. It’s why I suck at Twitter, rarely comment on the blogs I visit (with the exception of one) and why I haven’t been sucked into the Facebook black hole.  Signing up for something where you have to ask someone to “friend” you?  Hitting me in the face with a cast iron skillet would be less painful.  Seriously.

What’s funny is Beana doesn’t have a shy bone in her body.  I find myself envious when I watch my 10-year-old throwing herself into just about any situation overflowing with enthusiasm & courage.  What’s even funnier is that at 35 years old, I wish I was just like her.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Not having a job all Winter gave me plenty of time to think about what I wanted to do once the weather warmed up.  The choice was fairly easy.  I decided to plant a garden; after listing all the pros (save money on vegetables, getting extra excercise, enjoying the fresh outdoors) & cons (there are bugs outside, it’s the South in the Spring/Summer and that = HOT) I could think of, I began planning what to plant & sketching where it would all go. I chose the usual suspects: green beans, tomatoes, okra, peppers (mild & hot), squash, cucumbers, herbs, watermelons, & cantelopes.As soon as the weather warmed up enough to ensure the frost had passed, I began to start working the ground. First, I had my father-in-law till up my space. Secondly, I raked out the large clumps of dirt, mixed in the fertilizer, and figured out where each row would be.     

      

Prepped & ready for plants.

Excitedly, I purchased the seeds and slips. I dug and planted. I watered and weeded.  And I began the hardest part of all; I waited. Considering how impatient I am, it’s a miracle I didn’t say to hell with it . Finally, I began to see some results of my labor; a little sprout here, a little sprig there. Some things, like my tomatoes, parsley, and peppers, took off; while others – okra, cucumbers, cabbage – had to be replanted.  The other herbs were also hit and miss, but I’m not too worried about them.  They grow pretty quick, so replanting isn’t a problem.  I find myself watching these plants for milestones like I did when Beana was a baby.  Crawling=beginnings of blooms, first steps=the little veggie/fruit emerging right before bloom falls off and walking=actual tiny tomatoes, and whatnot.              

Result of hard work

      

My baby tomatoes.

First squash

Baby Peppers

 This garden was a way to jumpstart the climb out of the void I’ve been in.  I can’t wait until I can start cooking with and eating what’s growing in my little patch of dirt.                

                          

Lost & Found

+++Things I’ve lost: My job. Last fall the company I worked for closed its office in my town. We all knew it was coming, eventually but eventually came sooner than expected. I received a call from the home office telling me that I had a week left. They were phasing out everyone & I was the first to go. So I spent the week packing my things, deciding which office supplies were coming home with me, and telling my co-worker bff that I did not want the office self-proclaimed party planner to do the dreaded farewell potluck.

My way. For months I got up in the mornings only because Beana had to get to school. I didn’t want to leave the house, didn’t want to do much of anything other than catch up on old episodes of Supernatural and Charmed. I’m a homebody at heart but even I could see this was borderline hermit behavior.

+++Things I’ve found: Or in this case rediscovered: Photography. As a kid I was known for always having my camera with me, (that and the fact that I enjoyed sneaking up on you and snapping a picture without your knowledge). Well, I decided that I would dip into my “one day I’ll be able to afford this camera fund,” and get a new camera. While it’s not my dream camera, it’s definitely better than the nothing I had. I’m loving being able to just take pictures of the Irises in my header that were planted by my Grandmother over 30 years ago, other things that catch my eye, again.

Luckily I wasn’t the carrion these vultures were after.

Gardening. I planted a small garden in my Mom’s backyard for us to share, and I’m thoroughly surprised at how much I’m enjoying the planting, weeding, watering, & composting of it all.   Next year I plan to increase the size and try something other than the basics.

A passion. The courage to go after a dream.  I’m taking two things I love to do and taking the plunge to turn them into a career. If all goes to plan after about 2 years of school, I’ll be trained and ready.

I still have my doubts and worries but I can see a the path in all the brambles.

Shattered

As a mom to a daughter, I’m constantly trying to drill into her head to be aware of the things going on around her and if she doesn’t feel safe to let an adult know. Hell, even if she’s with a group of her friends, briefly letting her out of my sight at the park or that pizza token game place makes me hyperventilate. I’ve seen way to many episodes of CSI/Criminal Minds/Law & Order not to be wary of places like that, but to be honest, I was thinking more of the future; the times as she gets older and there’s even less adult supervision. I was thinking of those nuggets of wisdom my mom told me. 1) If you’re home by yourself, don’t answer the door or tell anyone that over the phone. Say moms unavailable instead of she’s not here. 2) If someone tries to grab you scream, “Help me, this is not my mother/father. Call 911.” If at all possible fight back; kick, scream, bite, scratch. (Once I got older) 3)If you set your drink down at a party & walk away, never drink out of it again; you never know if someone has put anything in it. 4) Have your keys ready whenever you’re getting into your car or home. Try to remember to hold your keys so they can be used to defend yourself. Things like that. I know it’s not foolproof, I tell her it’s not foolproof, but it’s as the say Knowledge is power and I want Beana to have the knowledge to take back her power if, God Forbid, something does come up. As a parent you try to move Heaven & Earth to keep your kids safe and just when you think you might be doing an all right job at it, you read something like this:

Four boys ranging from ages 9 to 14 took turns raping an 8-year-old girl behind a shed for more than 10 minutes. Phoenix police say it’s the one of the most horrific cases they’ve seen. According to the Associated Press, the incident sparked further outrage after police said the victim’s parents blamed her for the attack and shaming the family. As if the trauma of being raped and having to live with the scars isn’t enough, her punk-ass father adds insult to injury, literally. “The father told the caseworker and an officer in her presence that he didn’t want her back. He said, ‘Take her, I don’t want her,’ “police Sgt. Andy Hill said. When the father was asked by local reporters what he thought should be done to the boys who raped her daughter, he answered plainly, “Nothing.” Maricopa County Attorney’s Office confirmed Wednesday, the 14-year-old boy, Steven Tuopeh, has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and kidnapping. The assailant appeared in court on July 23 and is currently being held without bond. The other boys who raped the little girl-ages 9, 10 and 13 were charged as juveniles with sexual assault. The 10 and 13-year-olds were also charged with kidnapping. Phoenix investigators said the boys coaxed her into an empty shed with bubblegum offerings on July 16. The boys held the girl down while they took turns raping her, police said. “She was brutally sexually assaulted for a period of about 10 to 15 minutes,” Hill said. Officers responding to a call reporting a girl screaming hysterically found the girl partially undressed and the young punks running from the scene. “This is a deeply disturbing case that has gripped our community,” Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Thursday. “Our office will seek justice for the young victim in this heartrending situation.” The victim and the pre-pubescent rapists are all refugees from the West African nation of Liberia. Hill believes the family’s African culture is why the girl’s father has disowned her. In some parts of the “Motherland,” woman are faulted for rape and often believed to have enticed the pervert so much, he has to rape her. Ultimately, women who are raped are shunned by their families.” It’s a shame-based culture, so the crime is not as important as protecting the family name and the name of the community,” said Tony Weedor, a Liberian refugee in Littleton, Colorado. “I just feel so sorry for this little girl. Some of these people will not care about the trauma she’s going through – they’re more concerned about the shame she brought on the family.” The little girl, now in Child Protective Services, is going to have a particularly difficult time healing said Paul Penzone of Childhelp, a group who cares for young victims of crimes. “These four boys used what was a ploy to entice her to a place where they could take advantage of her almost like a pack of wolves,” he said. “And what’s so disturbing beyond the initial crime is the fact that a child needs to have somewhere to feel safe, and you would think that would be in a home with her own family,” not in state custody, Penzone said. This poor girl is forever scarred by the sexual assault she suffered and now the trauma of being rejected by her family. Shame on all four of those boys and her father…they should all be bent over several times and plugged and then see how it feels to be “shamed.” Source

My heart shatters knowing this is the world we live in. Where the innocence of an 8 year old child could be brutally taken from her. Where male children ages 9-14 years old use bubblegum to lure, kidnap & sexually assault another child. Where the child’s own parents blame her, turn on her, and abandon her all while giving support to those what violated their baby. I know in African culture brutality against women and girls goes largely unpunished, it’s not seen as a crime but as an act the victim brought upon themselves. Knowing that doesn’t take away wanting to see those responsible punished – severely. Crimes against children should come with the harshest penalty imaginable, but in this case the offenders are children. What do you do? Punish them like the crime deserves or consider they’re children ingrained with the mentality that rape isn’t a big deal? I don’t have any answers; all I know is that each night I’m thankful that she’s made it through another day in a world that can be so horrible.

Week from Hell

This has been one of the worst weeks of my life (I’m still working on the post about it). For Beana’s sake I’m trying to remain positive and not wallow in a mixture of self-pity and failure. To keep perspective I like to visit fmylife. An entire blog of shitty days and while some of them don’t ring quite true: Today, I was playing with my pet hamster and I decided to put it down my pants for fun. It started running around and I actually got aroused. My mom then proceeded to walk into my room to see me with an erection and my pet hamster poke his head out of the hole in my boxers. FML I still pee my pants laughing.

Here are a few recent ones:

Today, I was going to have sex with my Hispanic boyfriend. I wanted to turn him on, so I asked my friend how to say “fuck me” in Spanish. She claimed it was “pollo frito”. I then proceeded to have sex, constantly screaming pollo frito for an hour. I later realized I was screaming “fried chicken.” FML

Today, while teaching my kindergarten class, I had a feeling I was starting my period again. A boy in the class asked me what a period was. Stressing over my own, I briefly told him it’s a woman’s time of the month when they have mood swings. He was asking about the dot at the end of a sentence. FML

Today, I came home to find a sock I previously used to whack off on my bed with googly eyes and a mouth drawn on it with a note that read “because you can’t find a real girl I made your current one prettier, Love Mom.” FML

So as I pick up pieces, I have to stop and find the funny. The funny helps me be there for Beana. Hopefully she sees that I’m still able to laugh and understands that it’s okay for her to laugh, also. That it’s okay for her to find joy even though there are sad things going on.

Titles

Everybody has them. You start out as child/student, then on to adult and end as the deceased; currently one of my titles is Receptionist. I never really planned to take on the title of wife & mom. As I’ve said before I was raised by my mom & grandmother and neither of them placed a high importance on having to have a man in their lives. Grandma was widowed at a fairly young age and my mom’s never been married. Anyway, the husband and kid thing wasn’t part of my future goals. Plus, after a harrowing summer babysitting a younger relative (I wish someone had warned me in advance that my cousin had matted with Satan) and unlimited free birth control called working in a retail store shoe department, I swore I would never have any children. What I did have were career goals and even though I was a pretty good student, I didn’t make a great college student. So despite our best efforts, time moves forward and here I am; married for 11 yrs and a mom to an 8, almost 9 year old.

I need to add a different title. I know that my current job won’t be around much longer; it’s going to move to another place and I’ll have to figure out what it is I really want to do next. The catch is, I don’t know what that is anymore. However, I do know that if I want to make use of my passions, I will have to go back to college. I’m ready for that; I’m ready to be a college student again. It’s the steps needed to get there that’s fuzzy. Since becoming a wife/mother, I’ve stopped making myself a priority. Recently, I was called a martyr due to the fact that I almost automatically put everyone’s needs before my own. It’s not like I do it I can have someone pat me on the head and tell me what a nice girl I am; It’s just I don’t know how to give to myself anymore. Relearning to carve some me-time out will be interesting. Re-adjusting my vision of what titles I see for myself will be thought provoking. I just want to enjoy/love going to work. Hell, I’ll just be happy to know what that is.

Yes, we can

Yes, we can
Yesterday, I hopped online to check out what some of my favorite reads had to say about the election results. It was inspiring to see so many people celebrating this historical moment. The funny thing is I couldn’t come here and put into words just what I was feeling. I have commented before an Obama Presidency will mean to me that despite all the campaign negativity & racially motivated ugliness most Americans can see the truth through all the lies. This country has made great strides towards racial harmony, but the road ahead is long and treacherous. Barrack Obama is a courageous jumping off point for the next leg of this journey. That America is finally sick & tired of being sick, tired & BROKE. We are ready to do away with what’s been in control for the last eight years. We see someone that is compassionate enough, intelligent enough & willing to get the job done. We have someone that is not blowing hot smoke up our asses and promising to do the impossible but someone that promises to everything in his power to make it better for as many people as he can. That our children (Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, and even White) have someone to look up to that started in a single parent home, worked damn hard through school to become lawyer and community organizer. Maybe our children will stop looking to athletes, rappers, and actors as their main source of role models. All of that is true but when I try to vocalize what I feel deep in my gut, it becomes a lot harder.

The first time I was called “nigger” I think I was in the first grade and someone I considered a friend called me that for some reason. Even at the tender age of 6 (maybe 7) I knew that word was meant to hurt and degrade. I remember going to the librarian crying and telling her what Pa.cer (yeah, he wanted everyone to call him Pa.cer like the car and he was calling me names) had said. Of course he was disciplined and I believe there might have been a classroom talk about words you shouldn’t use. The details are fuzzy, but the feeling I had from that word will probably stay with me forever. There are two other times I can remember being called that and one time where someone wrote nigger go home on a wall by the school cafeteria but each of those time I was stronger (although one time I did cry because I was so angry). Its easier to stand up for yourself when you’re 12 than when you’re 6, and it was easier at 15 & 17 than it had been at 12. Overall, despite the fact that I went to a semi-rural school my brushes with racism were infrequent. I didn’t have to fight for my right to go to school there; I was not left out of school activities because I was black and I didn’t have to fear for my life because of my skin color. Even as an adult I’ve experienced prejudice. I’ve been told that “you’re not like most blacks” or the famous “you don’t talk like you’re black.” Now I’m able to react not just out of anger but rationally (but if I’m truthful my comebacks are usually made to make the offending person feel small, heh so sue me).

It’s been 25+ years since that first time and the world has changed for the better. Beana now goes to the same school I went to and has made it all the way to the 3rd grade without being cut to the quick because of that word. I’ve wondered when I will have to have that conversation with her about why some think they are better than others because of skin. It came up a little bit during the election but the “buzz word” was Muslim not black. To me it’s a half dollar of one 6 of the other. So Tuesday night as I was crying during Obama’s acceptance speech I realized that although I’m only in my early 30’s I didn’t think I would ever see this in my lifetime. So as I celebrate the achievements of President-elect Barack Obama, I also celebrate the achievements of those that came before us and now when I tell my daughter (and any future children we might have) that with hard work, perseverance, and a thick skin anything is possible; I can & do actually believe it.