Thanks For Waiting…

In my last post, I asked you to sit tight.  In my defense, I wanted the story to have a happy ending but I didn’t know how long you would have to wait.  Anyway, here goes…

I have become keenly aware of the unfolding of life as I experience this year of firsts without her.  The first Independence Day without her.  Her first birthday without her.  My first birthday without her.  Soon, the earth will have completed one revolution and we will return to that fateful point in time, Easter Sunday, the day we lost our baby sister.

In the days immediately after, I woke up every day, feeling anxious and restless.  Waiting for the spark, any small circumstance, meaningless in every other context, that I knew could start a wildfire of grief that would not be extinguished.  I lived those days in constant fear of that spark.

But this story, my friends, has a happy ending.  Here’s why…

In these last few years, I had reduced my little Noodle to a list of symptoms and medications.

“Did you take your medication today?” I often replied abruptly to her welcoming, “Hey, girl!” greeting and adorable little face, rolling my eyes at the pack of Newports on the table as I walked into the house she shared with our parents and her son.  Because I loved her, then and now, and I wanted…no, I, in fact, YEARNED for her to get better and be well.  But she already knew that her body would eventually betray us both.  Betrayal can only come at the hands of someone you love.

I spent countless hours researching her illness, trying to talk her into experimental treatments and new medications, wanting her to stay and fight – not knowing, or rather not accepting, that she very elegantly and courageously decided that her physical body wasn’t the battleground that mattered to her.  She understood that we are not our bodies that we are our spirits.  And she set about sharing her spirit with everyone that came in contact with her.  She was completely accepting of everyone exactly as they were, flaws and all.  You never had to be anything or anyone other than you were to be accepted by my sister.  This was her spirit – total acceptance.  That’s why everyone loved her instantly and always.

But really, all this spirit stuff, though?  Ugh…I couldn’t…so intent was I on salvaging the body with which she had long since and happily parted ways.  Her medical records indicated “Do Not Resuscitate” because she was larger than this physical life and she looked forward to being on her way.  Everyone saw it but me, but watching her let go, I learned her in an instant. See, I didn’t meet my sister for the first time until that Resurrection Sunday.

I know, right?

Since then, I am with her every day as she is with me.  I am coming to know her better now than I knew her during her short time with us.  I see her…finally.  And she is lovely and perfect.  In spirit and indeed. I promise her every day, I will never make that mistake again.  I will never allow the physical realm to interpret the person that God intended.  That ability to see others is her legacy.  It’s her gift to me. I mean that.  I see her and I see you.

All of that said, this is the last time I will share publicly about my sister’s death (although I’m always willing to share about her life.)  Thank you all for the kind words and show of support these last few months.  I am finally going to be okay.  She will see to it.

Now, quick…somebody say something funny!

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My Little Noodle

“My [sister] has died. And I don’t think I can go on.”

I once read these words in a letter from a grieving friend. They popped into my mind as I sat in the hospital waiting room. My family had gone but I remained to nurse an irrational fear that my baby sister was still in that room because she was always accusing someone of leaving her somewhere for dead. As we entered the sixth hour after the flatline, “You take as long as you need, sweetheart,” turned into hushed whispers at the nurse’s station and stolen glances to make sure a security officer was nearby.

I pulled the blanket up around her shoulders and warmed her hands in my own, keenly aware that this would be the last time I would touch her. I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I literally could not will myself to leave that place. Not until I heard her say, “Can you get a blanket for me before you go?” just as she did on countless other visits. Time stood still while hours passed. My uncle arrived at the hospital and said in his heavily accented English, “It’s ok. You can go home. She’s not in there anymore.”

And with that, I finally understood how futile it all was because my little Noodle had left. The grief came in a sudden tsunami right in that moment. I stood still and felt myself violently tossed in the waves of sadness. Wave after wave crashed into me and forced me to hold my breath. I was completely powerless to change the course of this storm. I was helpless against it…so I let go. First unable to cry then unable to stop. I quit fighting it and let myself be pulled down to a still, dark place beneath the storm where I could silence the deafening quiet in my head and quite possibly, maybe breathe again.

And I closed my eyes.

Sit tight…there’s more.

A Brand New Cosby Show

At last count, 16 women, the most recent being former supermodel Beverly Johnson, have accused Bill Cosby of drugging and, in some cases, sexually assaulting them.

To be clear, I find Beverly Johnson’s account, as I found some of the others, to be credible.

But to be fair, I’ll let the man have his day in court. And not just because it’s easier to throw a book at him there. Oops, I meant it’s easier to throw the book at him there.

But more importantly because his comments about innuendo really piss me off. This is just one more example of rape culture. Where 16 women can make strangely similar accusations about being drugged and some even assaulted and the accused is still allowed to call those accusations innuendo, suggesting that the women are not speaking factually.

His defenders will say this is all The Man tryna take Bill Cosby down because he was on the cusp of launching a new “positive” black network. *sigh* Really? Stop playing with me…the powers that be ain’t hardly scared of no positive black programming when they already know how to control us with the programming that’s in play today. We’re not hardly sitting around waiting for positive programming – we’re too busy watching reality T.V.

We gotta thing in our community where we can’t believe bad things about our heroes.  We’re not being fair to ourselves or them.  These folks, particularly those in entertainment and maybe even politics, are as flawed as any one of us.  It is entirely possible – hell, in my view, probable – that Bill Cosby did exactly what these women are accusing him of.  Unless we can accept that…we risk victimizing these women all over again.  Just so we can continue to worship a fallen hero.

#DontRape #RapeCulture #YouAreNotEntitledToAnyonesPuddingPop #TheresACommaAfterPudding #NoMeansNo #YesUnderDuressMeansNo #HasAnyoneCheckedOnClare

We Were Wrong About The Revolution

I can’t keep still. Or quiet.

While I feel a deep sympathy for the families of Brown and Garner, I can’t help but view the lack of state indictments as symptomatic of a much more insidious disease.

What we are witnessing goes beyond police reform. Rather it is the overall collapse of the relationship between Blacks in America and our government. Like every failed relationship, reconciliation must begin with renewed trust in a mutually beneficial objective. We don’t have that today. As an African American, I’m hard pressed to believe that I am respected and valued by my own government.

But neither do I believe I am powerless against them. Nor have I ever.

The civil unrest that we are facing today provides us the opportunity to agree finally and unequivocally that America has a systemic and festering problem with racial equality that is now playing out for all the world to see. This showing weakens our standing amongst both our allies and those states that seek to harm us. If that’s too strong a statement, our civility is certainly in question and our credibility undermined as our allies send war correspondents to our cities to cover the protests. In other words, our race issues, often called crimes by other nations, have now become an issue of national security, homeland or otherwise.

These protests, while uncomfortable, are beneficial because we cannot begin a dialogue on solutions until we have agreed on the problem.

Our federal government must indict on the possible civil rights violations that were left unaddressed by state and local governments. Failure to do so, at this point, is a nonstarter of the healing process and true dialogue cannot begin.

#WeWereWrongAboutTheRevolution #ThatMofoIsCertainlyBeingTelevised #AndTweeted #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #GodSaveUsAll

The Real Man Whisperer

Prior to today, I have stayed away from the topic of relationships. Mostly because I’m no effin’ good at them.

But today one of the fellas sent me this article and asked me my thoughts. (Click Here)

My thoughts on this are the same as my thoughts on relationships…”Shaddap!” Too many effin’ words. No man is going to read all of these words. So I went ahead and wrote out the DickNotes for The 8 Reasons Why A Real Man Would Never Cheat On Someone He Truly Loves.

#1: Real men are emotionally stable.

No the hell you’re not. Here’s the truth. Men…you’re going to have feelings. And then, because you’re maniacs, you’re going to have feelings about those feelings. When you’re done ovulating, drop the second set of feelings and use your words.

#2: Real men have enough willpower to keep it in their pants

That’s dumb. If you’re going to keep it in your pants…then keep it moving. Listen at this age, with your paunchy midriff and tentative hairline, you’re no catch, Princess. You haven’t got much else to offer. So take it out of your pants as frequently as you can – just make sure I’m around. As a matter of fact, give me your pants right now.

#3: Real men don’t date women they don’t love or don’t believe they can one day love.

WTF? How am I supposed to eat?

#4: Real men are respectful.

You better be cuz if you’re not…let’s just say that two can play this game. What? No, that’s not an invitation for a threesome, perv.

#5: Real men don’t need to add notches to their belts simply to make themselves feel like men.

Well, you the hell need something to hold them pants over that belly cuz that last hole on your belt has turned into the thin line between love and hate.  Maybe the notches would help.

#6: Real men would never hurt the women they love.

Unless she spits on him in an elevator. Too soon?

#7: Real men know what’s important in life – and it’s not another piece of ass

Why is it that men to get to have a piece of ass while we women have to contend with entire assholes?

#8: Real men have the guts to break up with women

As long as you’re not actually sitting IN the car, glass shards from the windshield probably won’t hit you anyway.

Any questions?

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

The truth is…I have quite the schnozzola. It’s always been substantial and I gotta tell ya…it ain’t shrinking. As a young woman, I was self-conscious about it. In fact, there are very few pictures of me in my twenties and thirties because I didn’t want to capture for everyone to see what I saw as a shortcoming. Never mind that I was often a loud, obnoxious, sarcastic asshole. Those shortcomings don’t show up on film.

 Now that I have settled into my body for the long haul, the schnoz bothers me less. But that acceptance has been a journey; one that each one of us must travel individually but that seems particularly poignant for women. So believe me when I say, I am in full and total support of a woman’s right to present to the world however she chooses.

 But today, I’m looking at a picture of a broad with bleached skin, 2 ft of weave, stenciled eyebrows, fake eyelashes, face full of makeup, colored contacts, acrylic nails, duck lips, gigantic silicon boobs, 50 inches of butt and hip enhancements and wearing a waist training corset with a HUGE social media following…and I have to ask…what message are we sending to the girls and boys who are coming up after us?

 I’m not looking to make a value statement about standards for beauty.   Listen, there’s nothing I’d like more than having big, gigantic boobs! I wouldn’t get anything done, I’d stay home and play with them all day. Who doesn’t like boobs?

 And I’m sure that all of these enhancements, if they occurred naturally, would be a lovely thing to behold. I think. It’s just that…my heart is breaking for the little girl somewhere who is looking at this tricked out physique as the ideal or even the norm.  Those are tough shoes to fill…and the bras and draws ain’t no walk in the park either.  

 At some point, we have to say enough is enough. How much dissatisfaction can we have with the way that we were made? We can synthesize a perfect world of beautiful dolls that all look alike but we miss the opportunity to fall in love with each other’s imperfections.

 Think about the people you really love. Isn’t there always some weird, quirky quality that belongs to them uniquely that makes them so damn lovable? An ex once told me that I walked like my left butt cheek was heavier than my right one and that he was afraid he’d never find that again. Really? You’d think that would be a good thing but it was this weird, knock-kneed quirk that he fell in love with first.

(Note: I know that may sound romantic but it was subsequently diminished when I later learned that he was collector of different, simultaneous quirks. And by quirks, I mean hoes.)

 One day, I may go ahead and fix my schnoz…but in the meantime, I just want you folks to love and accept this big-nosed bastard for ALL of my other lovable qualities.

 Ok…both of them.

 Ok…it.

 Now get the hell off my back. I’m doing the best I can.

…And One More Thing About Ferguson! (Then I’m Back To Shutting Up)

Let’s be clear. Arresting the officer who killed Michael Brown is not justice. Sure, it’s a pound of flesh…but you gotta rip that flesh from an 800-kb gorilla.

There is no such thing as justice for the family of Michael Brown. Prosecuting the officer who shot him is a necessary but arguably punitive measure that may bring about satisfaction or a sense of fairness but should certainly not be mistaken for justice because justice presupposes a sense of moral rightness. And in a place like Ferguson, MO…that just ain’t gonna be possible for everybody just by arresting one trigger happy cop.

 The 1990 census reports that blacks made up 25% of the population of Ferguson. By 2010, just 30 years later, that demographic grew to 67%. Yet, all the powers-that-be in Ferguson remain white. The mayor’s white, the chief of police is white, six out of seven city council members are white (that other one is Latino,) 6 outta 7 school board members are white (the other one IS black…so make a wish!) and all but three members of 53-member police department are white.

The last time I saw that much white, I was at a snow-covered ski resort in Liechtenstein on a polar bear rug eating mayonnaise on Wonder Bread with the NFL Wives’ Club. Oh yeah…or apartheid. I also saw it in apartheid. [uncomfortable silence]

The cop in question is a pawn in an entire system that oppresses black folks in Ferguson. And black folks have been playing along. The power structure will try to close ranks around him but make no mistake, he is nothing but a speed bump on the road to pacifying a people who contribute the majority of the economic base yet do not exercise or have the ability to exercise  (the jury is still out…but the jury is prolly all white, too) a voice in how they are governed and who will govern them.

 Black folks in Ferguson, and many towns across America that look like Ferguson, have been living under this 800-lb gorilla for the last 30 years. And by “living with” I mean, “oppressed by.”  And truthfully, oppression is as a deadly as a gun.  Certainly, the criminal act of murder must be prosecuted and punished. But sitting that cop in jail and returning to business as usual is not justice.  Justice for the community of Ferguson requires an insistence by the people that they be governed and policed by qualified people who look like them AND have as an agenda the best interest of a diversified community.  Otherwise, that community risks becoming a killing field for anyone…ANYONE…who is feared or misunderstood.  Death by gunshot, death by missed opportunity, death by lack of resources, death by an unsuitable education.  (Damn…ok, that’s kinda dramatic…but I’ma leave it in cuz I kinda need this point made)

 Without this change at this point, there can simply never be justice for the people of Ferguson.

Got that, Al Sharpton?