Stop Finger Pointing!

IMG_3421.JPGYa’ll can @ me all you want but I’m going to need grown people who share children to stop finger-pointing and soliciting public opinions about their baby-daddy-mama drama situations on social platforms. Please…for children’s sake!  I’m sorry, but there’s only one side I’m standing on: THE CHILDREN’S! Adults, regardless of who did what, don’t get a sympathy card or pass from me.  Everybody has a story to tell and people usually only tell one side of it.

When you grow up in the hood with as many uncles, aunties and cousins as I have, there’s not much left to the imagination when it comes to drama! Although we didn’t use the term “trap house” during my childhood days, I’m pretty certain my grandmother’s house would have qualified as one!  LOL!  Yaaaaaaaas!! There was always some shit popping off and I was THERE for it, HUNTY!  That old, raggedy Northside St. Louis house with multiple levels of all sorts of crazy and wild activities is where I observed all kinds of male/female drama. YOU NAAAAAAAME IT!

Unlike my grandmother’s house, my mama didn’t entertain much company, so  I saw very little adult male/female interaction.  She didn’t have different men in and out of our house (as far as know…lol). Aside from the few male suitors who took us on mother-daughter dates, my dad was really our only male visitor. Due to my parents very brief marriage, I quickly became the child my dad would make hood visits to drop off “don’t put me on child support” money, or pick up to visit with his side of the family, along with his second wife and two children (they didn’t feel like my mother and sisters at the time).

Consequently, there weren’t many available opportunities to study my parents’ relationship. Their interaction was not so much dramatic as it was stoic. It was as though they both still had something they wanted to say to each other, but just had never made the time or put forth the effort to do so.  Instead, they each lived their separate lives and maintained a strained relationship with me as their buffer. Similar to being stuck in the middle seat of an aircraft between two people who appear not to really like or care for each other, but no one knows the reason.  Not a very comfortable or safe place to be, in the case of a flight emergency, is it?

And that leads me to repeat: STOP POINTING A FINGER! NO MATTER HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT EACH OTHER, YOUR CHILDREN NEED TO FEEL SAFE AND LOVED!!! Though as a child, I knew my parents loved me, I still for whatever reason, needed to know they had some sort of love, care or concern for each other. I don’t know.  I guess I felt their feelings about each other was somehow a reflection of how they felt about me.   How could they not feel some sort of way about me when I resembled the person who made them feel some sort of way? Unfortunately, their unresolved issues became my adult insecurities about how best to maintain a loving and trusting relationship.  See how the cycle repeats itself? Fortunately, children are resilient, but why take that risk?

Cameras Do Lie!

FC54335A-9E6E-44ED-9091-DF65D2599248.jpgWhoever said the camera doesn’t lie: LIED! LOL!  Or maybe the person had never used one of today’s computer-generated cameras with all of its fancy filters and gadgets. But wait! Before I go any further, let’s get one thing PICTURE perfect, this post is not intended to shame those who wear makeup or use filters.  I’m sure most of us prefer to post ourselves once we have taken our best shot (yes, I’m going to throw puns every-which-way)! So if you are already annoyed, you are free to go. Now. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put our best photo forward.  However, we edit ourselves out the frame when we base our likeness off anything outside of who we really are!  Real beauty resides within the person taking the selfie…not the selfie!  Did you catch that?

I know it all sounds like corny clichés.  Maybe I can better translate it by making a side-by-side comparison to celebrities.  Big money is paid to photographers and paparazzi who capture the most natural shots of celebrities.  Just think about it.  The pictures of famous people doing the most mundane tasks, in the least glamorous setting, while looking their absolute worst get the most attention and highest dollar. Meanwhile,  magazine covers of beautiful models, wearing the most glamorous designs, in the best exotic destinations while showcasing their sexiest poses receive side eyes and snubs for being too Photoshopped.  We find something soothing and satisfying about famous people living normal lives.  Ironically though, many of us leading regular ol’ every day lives portray ourselves as the rich and famous on camera.

American culture’s obsession with reality has coined phrases like “keeping it real”, “for real, for real” and “fake news”.  Yet, we suck in jaws and angle cameras up high to look smaller.  We use babies and objects as props to camouflage unflattering body parts. We utilize the sun’s beautiful rays to enhance our skin, but any other time, dodge it like the Black Plague! LOL!  We tilt our heads to capture our best sides.  We suck in our stomachs to shrink our muffin tops. And yes, we even use filters that lighten and tone our skin complexions. But yet, crave, expect and demand to see the real-ness in everybody else, especially THE REAL RICH & FAMOUS!

We love to shout, “No one is perfect!” But we still pressure ourselves to be PICTURE PERFECT!  But you know what???  WOW! Now that I have blogged about it.  Maybe I should take a page from the photo albums of those with the confidence to stage their image and lifestyle even though they look or live differently.  We are told to, “Fake it until we make it!”  Maybe I envy the courage and confidence of those who glorify their existence without having to always prove how REAL they REALLY are. Hmph!  I am not lying to you!  I have spent all night, early morning and evening writing this damn blog only to abandon my own thesis! Regardless, I am still going to end this by giving props to those grounded in enough self-love and self-awareness to reveal their naked truths and allow the world to witness them.  I will explore my possible jealousy for those with the boldness to strut themselves as picturesque no matter who’s judging their pictures from the outside… in a different blog. This is probably already longer than my 2-minute reading goal.  TO BE CONTINUED!

“Paint a perfect picture/Bring to life a vision in one’s mind/The beautiful ones/Always smash the picture/Always every time” ~Prince

 

He’s an Ex for a Reason!

IMG_2273An ex is an old sweater that we keep in the back of our closets, but we forget that it’s damaged. Instead, we start to reminisce about the compliments it received, or how well the color accented our skin tone, or how comfortable the material felt.  Suddenly, we are back down memory lane with nothing but reasons to justify putting it on rather than reasons to explain why we stop wearing it in the first place. Yep! It’s all fun and fashion until somebody gets hurt…AGAIN!  This is not meant to burn bread on anyone’s Peaches and Herb “Reunited” moment, but it never “feels so good” for me.

Only Goddess knows what makes me even consider taking another slingshot at the more than once failed romance.  I can only offer another comparison, which involves a pair of expensive boots I bought several years ago, but no longer wear.  I actually wouldn’t mind someone else rocking them, but I’ve paid too much to reap the return of my investment if I sell them, and they are too expensive to just give away. So I only keep them around in case I decide to wear them…AGAIN!

In addition to my boots and sweater, I have a number of old t-shirts that I can’t seem to trash or recycle either.  A few of them are pretty special.  They help to archive fond memories of vacations, concerts or gift givers.  Most of them don’t even fit, but I tell myself one day they will.  Sadly, my closet, like the relationship with my ex, has been some sort of love-hate purgatory.

Whatever reasons I have given myself for keeping a closet full of shit I don’t need, I’m sooooooo over it! No…REALLY!  The stains and holes in the relationship are not worth repairing.  The memories are only in my head.  The time and energy spent can’t be recovered.  I have outgrown the bullshit. And if somebody wants to treasure my trash, I will gladly leave it in the alley for them to collect. I don’t plan to go shopping any time soon, but I am making room to purchase a brand new wardrobe from anywhere except: resale and vintage shops.

Baggage: Claim Yours!

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I got stains, pains, dichotomies, hypocrisies, bumps, lumps, scars, wars… YOU NAAAAAAME IT!  Whatever the case, we all suffer from varying degrees of it. Let me pause to think of a few of mine. Hmmm…Nothing!  I am perfect dammit!  I am perfect in my imperfections, because I recognize and claim my own shit.  Every now and then, it takes someone to remind or reflect something I’ve grown to accept as my norm when it’s actually a fear I’ve allowed to squat inside my GoddesSpace, pretending to be the rightful owner.

Fortunately, I know which bags are mine. My irritation is with people who don’t claim theirs! Imagine standing in baggage claim at the airport and suitcases are circling and people are standing around waiting to grab their belongings.  There are all sorts of brands, styles, colors, sizes and shapes. Some are labeled with name tags or special items to help their owners quickly identify them. Unspoken tension thickens the air.  People prance and privately hope and pray that their luggage made it safely.  As soon as they spot their stuff, they run to greet their bags as though they have been apart for several days and are just reconnecting after a long treacherous journey.  “Whew! Thank Goddess, we both made it!”

Now flip the script and picture a person who just sits and stares as all the bags cycle.  You recognize her from your flight, so she obviously has bags to claim too.  Instead, she only stares as others come, go and retrieve their items. Why is this person just sitting and staring instead of standing and waiting to jump at the chance to claim her bags like everyone else?  Is she so embarrassed by the looks of her luggage that she prefers to wait until the crowd disperses.  Or maybe she’s nervous about something illegal she’s transporting inside her bags. I could literally write a book using this analogy, so I will just end it here by saying:  Goddess, get up, claim your shit and continue on your journey!  We all have stuff we wish people did not see or know about us.

I understand that it’s not easy though.  Because on the one hand, people preach about not judging others but then use that other hand to point a finger at something they say people shouldn’t judge. It’s craziness and love trying to live a life while figuring it out at the same time! But if it’s any consolation, many of us have admiration and respect for the traveler who proudly stands at baggage claim, pulls three large grungy-looking garbage bags from the carousel (life’s merry-go-round), throws one over her shoulder and drags the others across the floor, makes an exit and misses the bus that Erykah Badu croons about in her song! YES! We have BAGS, LADIES!  Claim yours and keep traveling!

 

I DON’T WANT HIM, GODDESS!

IMG_1601.jpgI don’t feed women’s insecurities about their men. I don’t seek attention from men in established and personal relationships. Whenever I meet couples, I make sure my interaction with the man is not flirtatious or casual.  I make eye contact with the woman…not the man.  If the man specifically addresses me, I speak to both the man and woman as a unit.  I genuinely compliment the woman or anything positive I notice about the two of them as a couple. Basically, I go overboard to make sure a woman knows that I have no interest whatsoever in her man!

Why??? Because I damn sho’ know what it feels like to be in a relationship that feels unstable, fragile, insecure, dysfunctional, abusive and co-dependent!  I can easily detect the signs, especially on social mediums, where women’s tags, pictures and posts too often scream self-doubt and desperation. Therefore, I do my best to honor a couple’s union, regardless of its apparent sinkholes. Again, because I have been there!  But if I had to be totally honest, I only felt insecure when I felt bad about me.  If ever I was uncomfortable about my size, hair, job, finances, health, friendships or creativity, my relationship suffered. The painful selfish thought of my man wanting or admiring someone besides me occurred whenever I neglected to desire or admire my damn self.

It sounds so simple when you think or talk about it.  But that shit ain’t fun when you’re going through it!  There have even been times when the person I dated (due to his  insecurity and jealousy), intentionally did things to trigger or offset my “Got Me Looking So Crazy Right Now” button.  And once again, where I stood within myself  determined my response or reaction to the circumstance.

This obviously is nothing profound or deep.  Like many people, I feel the success inside a relationship is determined by how best we prepare ourselves outside of one.  Ultimately, we are responsible for our own happiness and SELF-esteem! A man’s adult decision to do something embarrassing, dishonest, unfaithful or hurtful still evolves around how well we value ourselves:  Will we choose to remain with an embarrassing, dishonest, unfaithful or hurtful man?

And since a woman may choose to stay, whenever I run into her with her man and she treats me like a red severe terrorist attack,  I show her some compassion rather than flirt with the fragility of their homeland security.  I show Goddess-ship  by helping her to know that I am not the least interested in a man who relies on another woman to secure his woman’s feelings about their relationship!

I’m Not Interested!

 

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AN APOLOGY FROM A RACIST!

Why demand an apology from someone you know doesn’t give five f&%$# about you?  Seriously!  If I already know who you are because your actions have shown me time and time again, why would I expect sincerity from your apology.  This shit infuriates me!  I hate to see Black people begging racist white folks…WHO THEY ALREADY KNOW COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THEM…to apologize for the remarks and actions they INTENTIONALLY make.  It looks weak as hell to me!

And furthermore, the fact that you’re even bothered by the thoughts and actions of an ignorant ass racist makes me question your proclaimed self-worth.  If you really believe you are deserving of respect, the earth’ scum couldn’t wipe the shit off the bottom of your shoes…let alone fix their mouths to offend you!   When a racist shows his true face, it’s the best gift he can give you.  It helps you to stay out your feelings, and to save your energy for people much more deserving. People of color, STOP ASKING RACIST WHITE FOLKS TO APOLOGIZE FOR THE RACIST SHIT THEY SAY AND DO!  Instead, thank them for giving you a heads up.

Now if your human-esteem survives off the validation of those who have disdain for you, then by all means, beg for your apologies.  That way, I will know to keep my distance from your self-hating ass! Because any person of color crying for an apology from racist white people is clearly not a friend of mine.  You obviously consider your enemy’s opinions and hatred far more superior than the supreme love shared among the rest of us…despite our racial makeup and differences!

HAPPY MLK DAY!

Get To Know: Author Of “Good Touch Day” Sandra A. Roberts

Thank you Erica Van Buren (Mama-Professor)!

Erica Van Buren

Sandra A.Roberts taught high school English for ten years and served as an elementary and high school librarian for six. Now she spends her time providing “Good Touch Day” as a licensed massage therapist and self-published author of children’s books.

Van Buren: What inspired you to write “Good Touch Day”?

Roberts: “Good Touch Day” was created to balance the story regarding “Bad Touch”. Being a massage therapist any time you mention massage to people you see their face turn up and there’s always some sexual connection. So, it was a combination of always having to defend the profession, to help children understand that it’s not always about the fear factor and to bring some respect and beauty to the profession.

Van Buren: What inspired you to write “Come With Me To The Place To Be” ?

Roberts: Just being in love and having a love affair with the library. It’s really a…

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Wearing Only My 50th Birthday Suit

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My 49th birthday is coming up.  I always have brave intentions each and every time it rolls around, but I usually end up doing something simple and small.  Since the BIG Five-O is supposed to be something really special, maybe I’ll just use my 49th birthday as preparation for next year’s adventure.  I want to do something really wild and courageous.  I have yet to decide on what that something is.

I’ve wanted to dance at a strip club during an amateur night since my 30th birthday.  Having waited twenty years, I will definitely need to use all of this year to prepare my thighs and core before March 5, 2019!

Perhaps, I could do a nude photo shoot instead.  Yeah, that might actually work.  But then again, I might be too concerned about how best to discreetly archive the naked shots.  What’s the point in even taking them if I’m still going to worry about who sees them.  Well, I guess that’s out.

Hmm…I think I should travel somewhere out of the country and do something that can’t be traced back to the states.  But shoot! The world really is small, so there’s a pretty strong chance that anything could follow me back home.

Hopefully, by the time I actually turn 50, I won’t care who sees me dancing at a strip club, posing in nude pictures or behaving wildly in a different country.  If the new 50 is anything like I hear it is, I’ll be prepared to do all three without any hesitation. Coolicious! I guess my 50th birthday plans are complete!  Do you have any suggestions?

Secrecy Starts at Home

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As a child, I was taught to keep family business private.  Not that I fully understood the reasons.  I just intuitively knew which information not to share with teachers, bill collectors, neighbors and certain family members. Whether good or bad or right or wrong, I was taught how to keep a secret at a fairly young age. And now as an adult, the #MeToo movement and Hollywood’s latest sexual abuse and assault scandals have motivated me to reflect on my feelings regarding the accountability and responsibility of secrecy. If we fail to take an honest look at how secrets are perpetrated and protected from the beginning, they will continue to live and haunt the lives of those holding them.

Is it right to expose an adult’s most vulnerable secret before that person chooses to share it?  Who is actually responsible for letting people know about an adult’s harmful or hurtful secret?  In connection to the recent celebrity cases, there appears to be more attention, shame and blame being placed on anyone with a personal or professional relationship to the person who allegedly committed the sexual crime.  Shamefully, the perpetrator’s shoulders are freed from the burden of proof and others are left defending themselves.

So how do we change the culture of secrecy that surrounds sexual crimes? What will we change to help  women to feel empowered and protected after exposing  sexual crimes? What laws will we create or change for sexual crimes. Will we expose the sexual crimes of religious leaders? Or how about we first start at home. We can choose to believe the stories of daughters who bravely admit to being  sexually abused or assaulted by the men their mothers love.  We can break the cycle of considering men’s sexually advances as normal and every girl’s rites of passage. We can stop denying and sheltering the sexual perversions of male relatives and get them the help they need early.  We can teach our boys to love, cherish and respect a girl’s right to govern her body. We can stop teaching women and girls they must do whatever it takes to find, please or keep men happy and present.  We can encourage a safe home environment of openness, courage, honesty, trust and truth-telling. We can ban family secrets!

 

Does Having a Man Make You More Woman?

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Though there are still many strides to make when it comes to our money and bodies in a “MAN’S WORLD”,  we have come a looooooooong way ladies! We are more educated and self-sufficient than ever before.  But still, our life achievements appear meaningless without a man’s stamp of wife-worthiness.  Now I can understand why men play the “why you ain’t never been married” card.  Penis privilege and double standards entitle them to question a woman’s single hood even when they’re NOT married!

No! I’m talking about those of us claiming pussy power!  Why do we frequently put down women who don’t have a man? We are often heard degrading women who have not FOUND A MAN! No matter the subject of debate,  women are often heard clapping back at other women, “Where your man at, Boo?!” As if nothing in the world matters without a man to back up whatever the hell a woman thinks she’s got the nerve to be trying to do without one!  Oh, before some sword-swinging sistah feels the need to defend men: This HAS NOTHING to do with bashing, hating or not needing a MAN! This is about women single-shaming other women!

There are many of us who feel damn right comfortable sleeping, eating, movie watching and traveling alone… without feeling LONELY!  Know the difference.  And it’s not some game we play in order to pretend we’re happy.  Getting a man is not nearly as hard as propaganda would have us to believe.  Furthermore, having a man is not going to guarantee a lonely-free life.  There are plenty of  married people who feel alone and lonely.

So I guess the journey of life leads back to the individual.  As the old folks would say, “You were born by yourself and you’re going to die by yourself!”  Love and matrimony are life’s icing…don’t make it out to be your birthday cake, Goddesses!