Saturday, September 28, 2013

Yellow Bone & My Pilgrimage Around The World

Yellow Bone has been sitting around worrying about me. I can't say that I blame her. If I were in her shoes I would be worried too. It's not everyday your girlfriend quits her job while making a pilgrimage around the world by herself. I would be more than worried. I would be frantic.

No amount of phone calls or text messages can put her mind at ease. No matter how many times I say, "Baby, I'm fine...stopping worrying" she is not convinced. 

Again, I can't say that I blame her. 

Today I sent her the can of popcorn you see above with a note that reads....
I'm okay baby. Stop worrying about me. When I return home you and I will snuggle up together and eat this delicious can of popcorn in front of the television. 
I love you always,
"Insert my government name"
Nice gesture, but it didn't do anything to calm Yellow Bone's worries.  So, I went online and purchased her a round trip ticket to Hawaii, which is my next stop.

Hopefully, a little love making, and several strolls on the beach with me, will calm her nerves. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

I'm currently riding the Amtrak up and down the east and west coast. Right now I don't know if I'm depressed, angry or what. I do know that I'm deeply disturbed and extremely emotional. 


I'm currently reading a book titled, The Forest For The Trees by Betsy Lerner. In the book the author describes, "The Ambivalent Writer" as follows:
For the ambivalent writer who cannot attempt, sustain, or complete a piece of writing, the ambivalence usually shifts back and forth from the writing to self. The inner monologue drums: I am great. I am shit. I am great. I am shit.
The author goes on to state the following:
I believe that the writer who can't figure out what form to write in or what to write is stalling for a reason. Perhaps he is dancing around a subject because he is not ready to handle it, psychologically or emotionally. Perhaps he is unable to pursue a project because doing so would upset his world too much, or the people in it. Maybe not writing, maybe being driven crazy by the desire to write and the inability to follow through, is serving some greater goal, keeping  some greater fear at bay. Fear of failure is the reason most often cited to explain why so many aspiring writers never realize their dreams.
These two paragraphs pretty much describe my existence right now. I want so much to pursue my writing career, but something is holding me back. That something is, and always has been, me.

I suffer from an inferiority complex when it comes to my writing. I'm quite secure about everything else in life except the thing that matters to me the writing. 

The Forest For The Trees has been sitting, unread, on my bookshelf for five years. I don't know what made me put in my suitcase (fate maybe), but I'm glad I did. I'm glad I finally took time out to read it. It has been the lifesaver I needed. It has been the kick in the ass I needed.

I fear failure. I'm human. I've talked about this before. I fear I might pour my heart and soul into a manuscript only to be ignored by readers. It has already happened to me once. Rejection is a hard pill to swallow.

I want to be a successful writer, but I have to re-evaluate what it means to be successful. Arguably, I'm successful right now. One book has given me financial security. However, that book has not made me happy. Why? Because it is NOT my best work. It is not the work I wish to pursue. So, while it has given me a financial leg up, it hasn't given me much of anything else. Given this reality, I'm not sure if it's fair to call myself successful. What the hell is money if you're not happy with the product you've put out?

I have found my voice and now I'm dedicating myself to sticking to it.

No matter how much I try, I cannot get passionate about anything except socially conscious science fiction. This is my genre. This is my calling. I'm done trying to write the black lesbian romance novel I want to read and "fluff." My heart is not in it. It is not in the cards for me. Though I believe I'm capable of writing all of the above, I am NOT passionate about it. So, I've decided to stop pursuing it.

Yes, this decision might cause me to lose out financial, but I have to make a choice. Write fluff and grow rich while feeling empty inside or write what I love and feel fulfilled and accomplished???

I've been blessed with an extremely sensitive soul, and interesting view of the world/voice, a way with words and charisma. I believe I've been given a special gift. I have the ability to take social ills and formulate them into thought-provoking narratives in the science fiction/fantasy genre. To my knowledge there hasn't been a Toni Morrison of science fiction (the way I describe myself in my head). This is it for me. This is what I was made to do. This is what I plan to do...even if it doesn't sell like mainstream fiction.

On another note...

I called the bank today and quit my job.

I have enough money to live on for at least three years without working if I monitor my spending. Though I wouldn't normally just up and quit a job without notice, I'm convinced that job, and the white people I encountered on an everyday basis, were some of the main sources of my anger and discontent. Not to mention I found it hard to come home and write after getting off work. Bottom line is my job at the bank had to go.

When I return to Atlanta I plan to move my money from the bank to the black owned bank I located in Atlanta (Georgia only has three black owned banks in the entire state). I want to support my own people rather than this big ass bank that's being raping the hell out of the economy and people of color for well over a century.

While riding the Amtrak I watched a documentary about a man named Booker Wright. His words in that documentary forced me to self-reflect...

This change in me is inspired by his words.

He managed to sum up exactly how many of us (black folks) feel. I'm done working for someone else. For now on I plan to work for myself. I plan to pursue my dreams. I plan to pursue happiness.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Want To Have A Conversation With You...

Just a quick blog...

A little less than a week ago I received a reponse to my survey asking for topic suggestions for my blog. This particular response caught my attention and I'm interested in having a conversation with the woman who wrote it...

Question one: What would you like to see me write about?
  •  Answer:  The lack of educated, beautiful black lesbians who have their shit together and where the hell to find them.
Question two: How did you find my blog? What do you think about my blog?
  • Answer:  Found it by browsing the web. I think your blog is raw and real. As a black lesbian, reading your blog allows me to have "interaction" with someone who is educated and has their stuff together. I do not have many lesbian friends who have themselves together and I cannot hang with people who are not trying to be productive. I am a pharmacist, became one at 24 so I want to be around educated folks. Even though I do not know you, you're like the friend that I do not have yet; even if it is one sided. Keep up the good work and keep chasing your dreams!
If you are the woman who wrote this please email me. Don't be shy. I just want to have a conversation with you.


Friday, September 13, 2013

I Don't Feel Like Blogging Anymore...

I don't feel like blogging anymore. I'm not quitting my blog. I'm taking a few weeks off...

A strange feeling has come over me. It has nothing to do with this blog. I think this feeling speaks more about my life right now. I'm feeling extremely discontent. I'm not unhappy. I'm not depressed. I'm just...discontent and bored right now. 

I've decided to take some time off and travel. I'm traveling across the United States, Africa (Kenya, South Africa, Sierre Leone, Nigeria), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Barbados, Trindad, The UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, and Sweden.

Hopefully, when I return I will be back to normal.

If you want to chat email me:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Rare Moment With Family & As Expected It's Cringe Worthy

This week I received word that my grandmother is in the hospital near death. Yesterday, I rushed home to be by her side in the hospital. Grandma probably doesn't have much longer to live. When I arrived at the hospital grandma was laying in bed sleep with a feeding tube up her nose. The doctor was talking to my two aunts, a cousin and our pastor about grandma's condition. After he left, I went over to grandma's bed and tried to talk to her. She didn't even know I was there nor did she seem to remember me once she opened her eyes. 

About twenty minutes after I arrived at the hospital, my mother and brother arrived. Five minutes later, my dad arrived. Twenty minutes later, my aunt from Alabama arrived. This was an extremely rare moment. It is a rare thing to see my mom, dad and brother in the same room.

We began to chat. We joked around for a while, but then my mom began to talk about her grandchildren, my older brother's kids. My brother's kids are biracial (black/white). My mom told my aunt and her husband (the couple from Alabama) about her nosy neighbor and my niece's reaction to the neighbor. My brother, her father, often refers to this particular neighbor as "monkey." Why? Let him and my mother tell it, the neighbor looks like a silverback gorilla. 

My niece, after hearing my brother refer to the neighbor as monkey, began calling the man monkey as well. To most rational people this is quite offensive. I'm willing to give a child the benefit of the doubt. After all, she doesn't know any better. She is repeating what she heard. It's her dumbass father's responsibility to teach her better. However, to hear my mother (a forty-something year old black woman) tell this story with a broad smile on her face, while agreeing that her neighbor "does look like a silverback gorilla" (her exact words), is embarrassing to say the least.

I immediately noticed the startled look on my aunt and uncle's faces. Neither of them was amused. In fact, my uncle (an extremely educated man) opened his mouth to say something, but he was interrupted when two nurses walked into the room to change my grandma's diaper. 

I, too, was horrified by her candor and willful ignorance of the racism she was expounding. I remember thinking, My god! This woman and my brother are the two black people closest to my niece. Any information she receives about her blackness will come from them. God help that child!

Anyone who knows black history should know that "Monkey" was (and still is) a term used by whites to describe black people. The monkey caricature is a fixture in American history thanks to racist whites. For years, whites have depicted black people as monkeys, coons, etc in an effort to dehumanize us. So, to hear black people use this same racist and offensive language to describe black people is startling and polarizing.

After we left the hospital my mother offered to treat me, my brother (and even my father) to a meal at the local Golden Carrall. Once there, I didn't waste any time tearing into her ass...

Me: Do you realize the story you LOVE to tell about Bug (my niece's nickname) calling your neighbor a monkey is offensive as hell? Not only is it offensive, but it is shameful! Why in the world do you insist on telling everyone within earshot that your biracial granddaughter has come to associate dark-skinned black people who look like "insert neighbor's name" as monkeys? There is nothing funny about it! Your granddaughter is being taught to be racist. Instead of teaching her better you're sitting around laughing and agreeing with her. What the hell is wrong with you? Did you see the look on "insert aunt and uncle's name" face when you told them that nonsense? For God's sake stop telling that story. And stop going on and on about the "good hair" on Bug and her brother's head. It is sickening to watch you fawn over them based on a beauty standard steeped in white supremacy!

My mother didn't say a word. She looked away as if the ramifications of her story about my neice's antics were finally sinking in and bringing on embarrassment as a result. The contempt I feel for her has somewhat subsided over the years, but whenever shit like this happens it always comes roaring back. I find myself grateful the jest of my rearing didn't come from her. Grandma would have never tolerated me calling another human being (regardless of race) a monkey.

My niece is going to be in for a hell of a wake up call when she begins to come of age. She is going to realize she is too dark to be considered white and too light to be considered black. In the small segregated town where I'm from she will learn exactly what it means to be a person of color in this world.

Every time I replay this event in my head I cringe and I'm overcome with shame. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dr. Dre: His Money & Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)

I know I'm late to the game with this one. I learned about this story months ago, but I wasn't going to comment on it... 

For those of you who don't know, Dr. Dre gave $35 million dollars to the University of Southern California (a predominately white university). This caused a backlash from members of the black community (most notably Dillard University's president), who quite frankly, regarded Dr. Dre's donation to a WHITE university, as the act of a sellout nigga (I'll come back to this argument later). 

After reading this article I feel compelled to say something about the situation.

If you've been paying attention, you should know that I LOVE historically black colleges and universities. I am a proud graduate of Spelman College and I fancy sending my children to HBCUs one day. Historically black colleges and universities have a special place in my heart. I have already decided that the bulk of my money will be bequeathed to Spelman College for the educational advancement of young black women. 

I do believe African Americans have an obligation to honor and uphold Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Why? Because for decades these institutions were the ONLY place we could get an education. These institutions have produced more black professionals than ANY predominately white university. If not for HBCUs, and the alum from these schools, we wouldn't have had a Civil Rights Movement. 

I don't give a damn what any black person from a predominately white university has to say. I am convinced that Historically Black Colleges and Universities create a better and more full-filling environment for African American scholars. The things I learned about myself, my history and the ways of the world while a student at Spelman College cannot be duplicated at a predominately white university.

Predominately white universities succeed in giving a number of black students a good education. Historically black colleges and universities succeed in giving black students a good education and a good sense of self in a world that is hostile to everything they represent (i.e., young, black and gifted). In my opinion, there is no doubt which institutions better serve its black students. 

When I first heard about Dr. Dre's donation to the University of Southern California I honestly didn't give it much thought. I thought to myself, "Good for him. It's his money...he can do what he wants with it." However, once I read the argument put forth by Dillard University's president my opinion quickly changed.

I'm not a Dr. Dre fan (hence why I didn't give this news a second thought). The man is guilty of selling the black community down the drain with this type of verbal crack...

In my mind, he is garbage and no amount of money will change that. You can't buy class.

Dr. Dre has made hundreds of millions of dollars by portraying the most damning stereotypes of black men and capitalizing on the disillusionment of young black men in America's inner cities. Young black men made him a multi-millionaire before white boys began buying his music. Yet, when he thought to give back he didn't give young black men a second thought! Let that statement sink in...

The most disillusioned, most economically challenged, most ostrasized group of men in America supported Dr. Dre's career when he didn't have shit. They bought his music like crack. They bought his concert tickets and supported other artist who he introduced to the world. Yet, when he decided to give back he thought of a wealthy white university! 

I can't argue with the "sellout sambo" comments because truthfully I agree with them.

Out of all the places Dr. Dre could have put his money he chose a wealthy white university that has no use for black people unless you can catch and throw a ball or you're extremely gifted academically (and even then you can look forward to being treated differently while on campus).

Does Dr. Dre know that his generous donation will go towards the education of people, who wouldn't be caught dead giving $35 million dollars to Howard University, North Carolina A & T, Spelman College or Morehouse College? Does he even care?

Even if he didn't think enough of HBCUs to donate the money to those schools, he could have given back to the very people who made him who the hell he is today! He could have set up some type of job training program in Compton, California to help young black men prepare for the real world. He could have given hundreds of scholarships to help these young men learn a trade or something that will lead to business creation in the community. He could have given money to after school programs for black children in Compton. 

I have long said any hope for the black community will come through black women. I truly believe that if the black community is to be saved from the looming hell of violence, degradation, etc promoted in Dr. Dre's music, it will happen through black women. Black men, whether rich or poor, are pretty damn worthless when it comes to things like "community building" or "helping other black people." They are too far gone mentally. 

Anytime you have a black man, who grew up in poverty amongst other black poor people (who in turn made him rich), give millions of dollars to a predominately white university, who for decades wouldn't even let black folks in the door unless they were there to sweep the floor, act as a token to silence cries of racial discrimination, or make the university millions of dollars catching a ball, something is WRONG. I bet you the president of USC had a good laugh at the dumbass known as Dr. Dre.

People sit around criticizing Oprah for building schools in Africa. Well, at least Oprah had the good sense to build schools for OTHER black people than give her resources to people who 1). Don't need it and 2). Wouldn't give a shit about her if she wasn't rich and famous (and even then, they don't seem to respect her).

This is why I have vowed to give whatever I can to the education of black women. I believe by giving towards the education of black women my investment will be returned through the offspring these educated black women produce. Educated black women are the LAST hope for the black community. I know some of you might be asking, well what about educated black men? I suggest you read the comments from educated black men under this article. They speak volumes. Most of them don't see a damn thing wrong with Dr. Dre's donation to USC. 

Don't write me off as a militant black woman (I am not). 

Just think about this: When have you ever seen a white millionaire give $35 million dollars to a black college or university? Keep in mind, the donation Dr. Dre made to USC is the second largest donation ever given by an African American to a college or university (the largest being the $20 million + inflation= $39 million in today's dollars, that Bill Cosby gave to Spelman College in the 1980s).
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