Keeping Up with the Jonzee still at the right spot.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Jamaica, Jamaica

I was going to wax philosophical about the plight of the darker nation through out the African Diaspora--as I have been to Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, and Cuba this year, but today (particularly since I am re-reading The Emperor of Ocean Park) I'm a little down in the dumps about the state of my fellow folks of colour, the fact that I am 30 and feel like I am way behind, and its to hot to think that hard. Instead, I decided to reflect on the trip with two of my closest home girl, who, until we sat down in a foreign nation had never met in person.

I have to admit, I was quite worried about the trip. The planning of the trip was a grand monumental disaster. 45 Negroes expressed interest, and as I expected, most of them could neither get their money right or commit to a party in paradise. No mind, though. I was determined to go, hell or high water, celebrate the Durty 30 in Paradise. Two of my home girls felt the same. One is my ride or die partner in mischief. The other, a soldier in reaching the goals she set for herself when we were children--regardless of divorce, poverty, and raising two kids on her own.

I have been on extended vacations with folks in the past who by the end of the trip you can't stand them. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I love these two women more after the trip than I did before. Even though, during the trip I wanted to kill Ms. Road Dawg and wanted to put a muffle on Ms. Achiever.

Why? Because, regardless of the fact that I have not lived near Ms. Achiever since we were 16--and often go months (though not in the last couple years) without catching up, and that Ms. Road Dawg and I parted as roommates on strained terms 6 years ago, they probably know me best, support me the most, and always show up.

They are such positive women, who know how to have a good time. None of that we have to go everywhere in a group, agree on every activity, and eat at the same time. We did things together. We did things separately. We had a brief moment of beef that we promptly worked out--when Ms. Road Dawg left the resort without telling us where she was going and came back late morning the next day.

I am surprised to say, that I can't wait to go on a vacation with them again--God willing--this time next year to celebrate Ms. Achiever's arrival in old age.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Same Noose;New Millinium

I heard about this story a few weeks ago. And its sad that something like this is just picking up steam, while that stupid chick Paris gets front page coverage from every rag-pretending-to-be-newspaper in this country. But I will go ahead and say what many of us (except those who prefer to wear rose-colored glasses and keep there proverbial heads in the sand) already know, racism is a pervasive evil that has not gone away but changed forms and in far to many places remains exactly the same (minus the plantation).

This story reminded me that I often find myself asking myself--do I wear a racial chip on my shoulder> Many things to me have both ethnic and racial connotations, and as much as I try not to look at everything through that lens, when you where my color (not so much my ethnicity unless I tell you) its hard not to take note of the differences I notice. Some, with the rosy glasses, and some who may not be as over-analytical as I tend to be, might say its racial paranoia. Others might just nod there head because they to have taken notice and though these actions are not deplorable--they are definetly, in my opinion racially motivated.

For example, when ever I board the train in the morning, if I have a seat to my self--with two open seats, I have noticed that people will cram themselves in the handicapped seat or somewhere eles uncomfortable. Although it is a good thing to have the seat to yourself--its sort of like being the last one picked on the kickball team in elementary school.

Or how about boarding an elevator. I don't know how many times a man has stood to the side to let the women on first and then straight stepped in front of me like I am invisible.

Or the fact that some of my favorite majority membered co-workers look for empathy from me about some of the dumb assumptions they make about people of the coloured persuassion as in "you are a perfectly reasonable black woman, don't you think all black men have a chip on there shoulder?" Huh, what? Why me?

But these things are more pervasive straight ignorance and to some degree probably based in some horrible interaction that went arwy. I don't think they are purposely done. In most cases, I think its not even conscious.

But, honey, hanging a noose from a tree in the South, where the history of Jim Crow is not too far gone and the racial tensions in many Southern towns are couched under the guise of knowing your roll and the practice of good Southern hospitality, is clearly a conscious decision to which was meant to extend harm.

That Strange Fruit never dissappears does it?

These are just little things. But definetely noticeable things.

But I digress, it is a shame that racism is still so blatant in some places. Particularly in the South. When are they going to get over the fact that they lost the damn war for goodness sake!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The 14 days -5 hours-and- 10-minutes Blues

I woke up on the funky side of the bed this morning, with a sinking feeling that something ill is getting ready to go down. In exactly 14 days give or take some hours (hence the title of the post) I will be 30. I have been looking forward to thirty since I was 28. I figured, since my plan to have my shit together by 25 went horribly awry, and I instead said hello to quarter-life crisis, that surely by 30 I would look back on my twenties, like "you poor, stupid, stupid child." Instead, today, thanks in part to the icky feeling and also to the fact that I am not nearly as close as I was hoping to be where I want at damn near thirty.

What is pushing that this morning? Well, how much time you got?

1) I expected to be in a position where I would have finally corrected my bad money mistakes I made in undergrad--trying to ball till I fall on Citi, Chase, Bloomie's. But alas, I am not. I have made progess--significant progress. But yet and still, it seems like everytime I can see the top of the hole, something comes along and says, "oh remember that dumb shit you did with your credit in 1998 and forgot about? Well, you gots to come up off some cash." Its frustrating and I know it takes time to correct--particularly when 911 had a profound effect on gainful employment for me, but still. I'm thirty, damnit and I want to be done.

2)Ooh! Let me tell you about my job. Many in my field say its great training to be on the equity side of housing finance. Its a unique skill and folks say that Equity people are thought to be smarter than debt people--even though it takes the same skill set. But then I tell them how much I make, and even those who have been housing finance look at me and say, "Damn, girl! They pay you what? You need to get a new job." The thing that frustrates me the most, is that I now have more skill and know-how then I did before I got to school and now make way less money then I did (particularly if one was to factor in inflation.) and I am treated like an over-paid senior admin. I am ready to roll...but alas I am still here.

3) I still have two who is slightly off his rocker. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I live in NYC metro, why am I bitching? Well, lets see, having roommates is a pain in the ass. I play mother hen so its like having two grown children. And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I have had a total of 18 roommates (including folks just staying for awhile till they get their shit together) since I was 18. Can a sista get her own spot? Or what. The S.O says to stop my whining, since I am always at his place. But damn, it would be nice to go home every once in awhile and not deal with other peoples mess, attitude, late bill/rent payments.

My horoscope says great things about this month. And the good Lord continues to be great. I'll get over my blues. I just thought I would share.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jury? What Say You?

The Verdict. Unanimous. The Man Friend has passed the smell test from the most difficult to the easiest folks in my life. I took him home to the Cleve for my grandparents' 60th anniversary, and even the stern older AKA church ladies (who are like my Defensive line of grandmothers) gave that fool approval. And had the Reverend make an announcement in church on Sunday that I not only graduated with honors but that I had a new boyfriend they approved of.

And I am scared out of my mind. I know, I know, I know, I asked God for this and he has been preparing me. But...who knew a healthy relationship would be so much damn work. And who knew that you would know the man you want to spend the rest of your life with the moment you talked to him for more than 15 minutes. That is some scarey ass shit.

See, I think there is some residual scar tissue from other "love" battles that is taking some time to get rid of. My mom, this weekend, recognized it. And told me, to "be nice" to him. Because she knows the biggest scar and the way I protect, is to try to push you until you leave. Funny, someone I used to love did that to me for years, and I was unwilling to go. So now, why would I turn around and do the same? Who knows?

I am working on not being afraid of him...but he really is everything in the notebook.And it freaks me out everytime I ask Him for something. I work on it. He sends me challenges and opportunities to prepare me for it and then it happens. Maybe it is the amazement of how He works that scares me and not the relationship. More than likely it is both.

The Teacher was simply a fine-ass sports car mirage. But this brother is a good-looking sturdy German Automobile with my best in mind at all times, with no fear of checking me sometimes and letting me have my way others (I am spoiled--clearly)He not only believes in God, but has a clear relationship with Him. And he makes this high-octane, over-overachiever stop and smell the roses.

I need to stop being so over analytical about where this is going and enjoy the ride. I am working on it. I really am. I am working on being nice. I am working on expressing myself in a healthy way. And I am working on not being scared of a good man who is willing to work on it with me.

Friday, July 13, 2007

She be a Big Girl

A lot of big girls I know have been losing weight lately. I myself have had a net loss of 8 pounds (lost 18 gained 10 back when I got a man...ROFLMAO) And though I have waivered between obstinent (Im a healthy big girl--low cholesterol, healthly blood sugar levels and was an athlete through high school and college) and tearfully unhappy with my weight to the point of sometimes being depressed, I have generally been okay with it. Now, however its time to get moving on it for real.

I have always been careful about how I dress and my hygiene (uh I hope everybody regardless of size is on their job with this one) because I remember the mean and hurtful comments I got through out grade school mostly from scrawny little white boys. I was 5'4 in the 3rd grade and by time I hit 6th grade I was 5'8" and shopping in the junior section and was very concious of every move made. I was also keenly aware of the stereotype surrounding larger folks--that we are slovenly and over emotional. Unwittingly, my mother further contributed to my self-conciousness by remarking how I needed to lose weight if I wanted to get a good looking boyfriend. My father on the other hand continuously told me that the women in his family had always been sturdy tall woman--and that each and every one of them was healthy. And I have always struggled with the fact that I was an active child--I played travel soccer for 8 years and briefly in college, played basketball (albeit not that well) and ran the 1600 meter in high school--and yet and still I am a big girl. And perhaps it is these conflicting views that have me moving between "And so what, I'm a good looking big girl." and "Damn, I'm fat and should be ashamed of myself."

Take all of that combined and you come up with me. A very smart, pretty cute, fragile ego'd woman with a love of the finer things in life, who has become so concious of her weight (particularly since coming north again) that she walks down the street comparing her self with the size of other women.

And the conflicted view has spilled over into my romantic life. I have never had a problem getting a man. And all of them have been fine. But all of them were also idiots. And I realize it was my waivering self-esteem that made me keep them around because at least I could run them. They were lucky to have me. And I was happy to have a piece of eye candy. And it wasn't until I moved back to NYC without a man and a safety net (you know a rack of fools in your rolodex in case the one you with breaks fool.) that I had to come to terms with that. Two years after that realization--and little bit more happiness with myself and I am in a wonderful healthy relationship. But, my current lover has his work cut out for him. And sometimes I wonder if the reason I am most comfortable with him is because he's a big dude.

For years, my male friends--my other brothers-- have propped up my ego with the "you on the small end of the big girl scale" comments--particularly when I am feeling down about my size. But now that I have begun to lose a few pounds and have gained some pretty nice muscle definition in some areas, it is less my uncomfortablness with my current Size 16 (14 in a dress) 5'8 1/2" inch frame that bothers me, but the "damn girl, you look good comments." that I don't know how to handle from people I haven't seen in awhile. It begs the question, was I a mess before? And just like many other woman I know who have lost weight, dudes who wouldn't have said two words before now want to holla--but personality and style wise I aint no different than I was before.

But it remains apparent that I need to lose this weight. And not because of how others perceive me but because I want to lose it for myself. I continually here about black folks I know developing diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure--all attributed to their weight and many of them stubbornly refuse to change their lifestlye. They are losing mobility, having strokes, and groing into old age at a young age on what is essentially a suicide mission.

My grandparents--who will be married 60 years on the 23rd--have lived into their mid-80's because they have done what needs to be done to stay around. When the doc told my grandfather that he had heart disease and to lose 50lbs or shorten his life--he lost 65. I want to live and if for no other reason its time to kiss size 16 goodbye.