Monthly Archives: December 2013

The comment that made Harriett Tubman bones sit straight up….

Please bear with me.  Just for a few moments.

Early this morning, in an effort to make myself sleepy, I began watching   the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  I know, poor choice but I figured since they were visiting Savannah Georgia and all its rich historical content, it could not be too bad.

Oh. My. Goodness.

So there I was, listening to a tour guide tell the ladies about the Underground railroad beneath the oldest African American Church in the country and pointed to the tiny holes in the floor where the slaves would put their faces for a little fresh air on their journey. I am sitting there imagining what that must have been like back then, when one of the women, whose name is Porscha, said this;  ” How did they fit a train down there?”

I literally fell OUT my bed in horror!!!  What?

As the women were patiently explaining to her that what she thought was this

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is actually this,

underground railroad2

she stood there looking at THEM as if they had no sense but in my head I was thinking ” Any moment now, this will all register to her.”

No such luck.  She kept saying things like ” How did they build railroad tracks under the church?”  and “How did the trains go through without making too much noise?” My favourite? ” Who was the conductor?” Seriously?

I closed my eyes firmly and could actually see Harriett Tubman’s bones come fully to life as she sat up in her grave and said ” What the fragglenackle? Who is this chile, why is she so ignorant in this day and age and did I really go through all of this and die to have my ears offended after all these years at the end of my struggle?” The visual I caught of Harriet was this and rightly so….Pissed.

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I could see her ( Tubman) taking some raggedy, dusty cloths soaked in muddy water and slapping some much need sense into Porscha’s empty head. Pretty and coiffed but empty.

How in the WORLD did this woman ( Portscha) go through all those years of school, had a grandfather who knew all about the Civil rights movement and made a name for himself in the work and she knew zip, zilch, zero, NADA about the underground railroad???  What else did she NOT know?  But this is the same woman that said there were 366 days in a year so….This just takes “ratchet” to whole new level…

Porscha can tell you about the latest fashions, how to look beautiful etcetera but has yet to hold a conversation intelligent enough that does not leave heads spinning in horror.  I can’t even blame public education because her family should have been certain to impart this most important information to her.  I am almost positive they did, so where was her head all those years when the stories were being shared?

That level of ignorance is beyond inexcusable and a lesson in what we all must know about History in order to be clearly present and accountable.. Not just the history of our own culture but to soak in others as well because it all weaves intricately into the fabric of present day.

As I kept watching in suicidal fascination to my poor brain cells, it all began to make sense why Porscha was so dense and had no clue about so many things that should be elementary to the average person.  Someone told her, she didn’t have to be anything but beautiful, find a rich husband and be the perfect wife.  They did her a huge disservice and the fall- out from that is playing itself out among millions each week.

All I can say is this; do not let Porscha become you.  Intelligent conversation is a must.  We all want to be examples to others.  Just not like this.  Never like this.

A child with out an Education, is like a football player without a helmet.  Porscha left her helmet at home and this is the end result.

Enough said.

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Bah….Hum….bug…( Tis the season)

Like many of you, I waited until my hands were forced before I even looked at what to do about gifts for the Holidays this year.  No, I am not Scrooge.  Just was not feeling the  spirit of Christmas and because my sons are much older, had no need to go scouring stores for anything.

Interestingly, neither one of them had or delivered a wish- list until I told them to send me the links to things they may want to have because I was not one to hang out in crowded stores with impatient people.  Takes one to know one right?  I was sent one link. Yes, someone loves me. This should be a walk in the park.

I woke up  today, armed and ready to order this thing , run three errands and  had myself timed because I  just knew all would be completed by noon.

Uh huh.

I went online and it took 45 minutes to order and process one thing. Oh heck no. Seems I was not the only last-minute-lassie and the server was so slow, it may have stopped all together. Several times.  I had had  enough of that, so I  took to the streets because surely, things would be much easier.

At my first stop, two women were consoling each other about the horrific relationship one was in and after a silent prayer for them, dropped off my package and left.  Not bad. I think I may be ahead of schedule.

Uh huh.

I am back on the highway to  destination two,  only to find myself stuck in rush-hour-times-ten traffic.. took thirty minutes to go less than 3 miles.  Got there and they did not have what I wanted so I figured I would grab lunch  and look in another place before heading home.

Got to the market in search of lunch and there in the seafood section, was a woman using a magnifying glass with a light attached to read a jar. She looked up and asked for help . Told me she was legally blind, so we located what she needed, I paid for my purchases and was feeling better  until I saw  flashing lights in the parking Lot.

Cops stopped a man who had just left the store with bags of groceries.  He was accused of stealing something. He pulled out his receipt to show them and there they were, combing through every item he had in his bag for the world to see and I could feel his hurt seeping from within.. I locked eyes with him, titled my chin and mouthed ” keep that head up.”  There was an immediate but subtle shift in his carriage that said ” Yea, I did nothing wrong, so search if you wanna” and I left after another silent prayer.

At this point, I was ready to call it a day and go home but I soldiered onward.

I got to my final destination and as I am trying to locate my item, I passed a man who was asking for directions to an item of his own.  He struck me because he was leaning on his cart with an oxygen tube flowing into his nostrils. I walked on by assuming he was being helped so imagine my surprise, when I rounded that corner on my way out the door and there he was in the middle of the store, still asking for this item and talking to himself.

Sigh.

Cake pan in hand, I flipped around and said ” Tell me what you are looking for and between us, we will find it.” he looked up and said ” alrighty then!  let’s go!” Turns out, he was seeking a  little rug to put by his wife’s computer table so that her feet would not get cold on the hardwood floor and she had been asking for a new Iron.  His thought was to make those a part of her stocking stuffers and we hooted about what size that stocking had to be to fit these things.

I loped through the aisles until I found what he wanted, brought several choices to him so he didn’t have to roam around the store and when he made his final decisions, I told him have a good holiday and began walking away.  He stopped me, went into his pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill because I was the only “sales person” that helped him.  The look on his face when I told him I did not work for the Store was priceless indeed and he walked right up and said ” May God bless you in ways you cannot even begin to imagine, coming and going. May your Holidays be all you ever wanted and more and may others see your light just like I saw today.”

I told him to put his money away as I thanked and wished him a very Merry Christmas for him, his wife and family..

I had such joy in my heart from that exchange in a way that the best gift in the world could not compare.  In the midst of my annoyance, I was reminded that this Holiday is not about us, but the giving of ourselves and bringing joy to someone who may need it.

And just like that, I forgot all the angst I was feeling and drove home a different person.

Merry Christmas, Happy kwanza, Happy Holidays!!

Enough said.

The Red Cross, The Cucumber and the health care system…

A seemingly routine visit to donate blood to the American Red Cross, turned into a ” Lawd I’m going to die” conversation in my head,  after my blood pressure was taken. The darn thing was so high according to their numbers , I could not give blood and  I immediately made an appointment to see my Primary care physician the next day. In the mean time, I called my parents who emailed a list of natural ways I could lower my pressure like juicing cucumbers and ginger daily.
  Armed with the knowledge they gave me, I felt much better but it  was not without some trepidation that I bounced into the waiting room and cooled my jets thinking about what would happen if I had to go to the hospital. Mind you, I had no symptoms at all that would give me an inkling that I may be sick..
Anyhoo, as the nurse took me back and stopped in front of the scale, without breaking my stride, I walked right past that thing saying ” today your holiday gift  will be to not let me step on that scale because I just ate 7 days of my mother’s cooking and it’s popping up now like a bad pimple!”
I heard this guffaw and to my right, was my Doctor laughing hard and shaking his head at the usual antics he has come to expect from me.  When he walked in and sat down to chat, we began discussing in earnest the new health care law that was passed and how it would affect his profession.
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In a candid discourse, he tells me this is long overdue  and says his concern is they may not have enough Doctors to cover the amount of people who will come into the system for preventative care. He scoffed at the suggestion that it would be drain on the system to have this law and said what is draining it( system ) now,  are the people who can’t afford preventative care that end up in the E.R .which creates a much larger bill that has to be absorbed by those who can pay.
“When people can afford well visits, we will drain the system less” he says  ” But in true political fashion, the folks that can’t stand the President has created all kinds of false statements scaring people and it didn’t help that he had some idiots working for him who knew the website for enrolment  was going to crash and said nothing because it was not equipped for the traffic it endured the minute it went active. Three years from now, this will be a good thing but right now, it’s just easier for people to point fingers.”
As a small business owner, the fees I pay  for health care  now is criminal, so I look forward to this new law helping many like myself.
As I sat talking to him, he took my vitals and blood pressure, looked up and said ” I don’t know whose blood pressure reading they gave you but today, you are just slightly elevated.  It is safe to say, you will be around to torture us a tad bit longer.”
As he adjusted my medication,  I asked him if he remembered the first day I walked into his Office.  ” Sure,” he replied.  ” Here I was this barely five feet tall man and there you stood, all five feet ten inches of purpose . You told me you fired your other a doctor and if I wanted us to have a good working relationship, I had to understand that you knew  your body and should be listened to, or I would be fired too. That was 20 plus years ago. I have spilled more coffee down my shirt laughing with you and clearly, I did my job.”
 I clutched my pearls and  said “I don’t remember any such a thing!! ” *Blink, Blink*
He smiled and replied, ” you were a force of nature but I liked you instantly for taking ownership of your own health. More people should question what doesn’t feel right because Doctors do not have all the answers.” At the end of our visit, I jumped off the table, looked at him and said ” So essentially, I could have just juiced my cucumbers and ginger and saved myself from paying your exhorbitant fee huh?” He looked up a coyly replied “Yep, and your colon would have thanked you profusely!”
we hooted and parted ways like only old friends can… I guess it is safe to give my blood after all….
Enough said

May I have your liver please?

A few weeks ago in the midst of a large conference filled with 7 thousand women who glowed with the energy around us, I ran into the wife of a dear friend and mentor who I had not seen or heard from in a while. We hugged effusively and I jokingly quipped that is was lucky for me he wasn’t able to attend and torture me in his usual fashion.

You see, he has the driest sense of humour and was not above telling people among other things with not a smile on that face, he was my” Parole Officer.” Lord, I can’t count the number of stunned faces we received until he laughed and they realized he was joking.  Suffice it to say, he helped shaped a few important decisions in my life over the years and holds a special place in my heart.

I was stunned when she ( wife) informed me that he needed a lung transplant and could I please check on him? In that instant, all the noise around me receded as we looked at each other, eyes brimming with tears and I could feel the gravity of what she had just imparted.  My friend developed a  lung disease seemingly out-of-thin-air as he was not a smoker and the doctors could find nothing environmental that he had been exposed to that would cause such a rapid deterioration of his once healthy lungs.

I called him and as usual, he began cracking jokes and making me scream over the phone, all while saying he was on oxygen a good portion of the day, he was in the beginning stages of being tested as a viable recipient for lungs so he could be placed on a waiting list and the things he learned as a direct result.  So in my naiveté, I said getting  lungs should not be  not be more than a few years from testing to transplant to which he replied, I would be surprised.

He went on to tell me, not enough people have signed up to be organ donors for one reason or another but the numbers were astonishingly low for African Americans. He said there were a myriad of reasons, the biggest one is the fear that if they ended up on life support in the Hospital, they would be allowed to die so that their organs could be harvested.  Say what now?  I listened intently because this is a man who is absolutely brilliant and would not make such a claim if there was no truth to it.  We got off the phone with a promise that we would stay in touch but that conversation haunted me.

In a talk with another dear friend a couple of weeks later, I mentioned this mutual friend of ours and told her what he said.  Not only did she agree wholeheartedly, she made family members who had organ donor on their license remove it for that very reason.  What she said was this; ” Think about how many young black males are shot daily in large cities and too often, I have heard stories from parents who felt their child was allowed to die instead of the most vigorous techniques to keep them alive being employed.  If they see “Organ donor” on their identification, it is worse because they know how many lives can be saved from the harvesting of one young person.”

I sat there stunned because I have ” Organ Donor” on my  license and I plan to keep it there so I can help to save lives if I can, but those two conversations, left me feeling  more than a little disturbed.  Then, I read an article today about a young 17 year old who died under mysterious circumstances in Atlanta Georgia and when his body was handed to the parents, his organs were replaced with tissue paper.  The explanation went from the ridiculous to the sublime but it brought right back to me, those last two conversations I had.

Here is what I believe despite all the things that are floating around and some of it may very well be true; we are in desperate need of more organ donors in this Country. desperately. So many people die on waiting lists each year, month, week, day and hour. If we know our organs will help to save a life, can you please help? Chances are, you are going to live a healthy existence but if Tragedy strikes and you are not able to be among us anymore, please give the gift of life. For those among us who are illegally harvesting organs, may the law deal with them as they are caught but I implore you, do not let the actions of a few, allow so many more to die.  One thing; since I am a woman of colour, when my “time” comes, be certain they have exhausted all the means to help me live then harvest the heck out of my organs. Take everything you find useful.  What am I going to do with it in the ground?

Give the gift that will keep on giving long after you leave here and help to save a life or two or three. Become an Organ Donor.

Enough said.

It’s our ACTIONS not our Words..

A few days ago, while in a  place where I never expected this to happen, I ran straight into the adult child of  someone who, for all intents and purposes, should be my friend some almost three decades.

But we are not.

That friendship ended abruptly a few years ago.  It broke my heart, but it had to be severed at the root. Here’s why.

Her values did not align with mine and I started to see things as our children were growing up together that I had willed myself to ignore by  saying things like ” people are different” etcetera and while I was in no place to judge, my gut told me that I was in a vortex with someone who believed the world owed them something, blamed everyone but themselves for every thing that went wrong in their life and allowed the children to do things that just did not sit well with me at all.  The only time I heard her take “responsibility” it came in the form of being a fool for getting caught up with such-and-such or her life would be better.

The children being disrespectful? Someone else’s fault

Not doing well in school? Excuse after excuse.

Where she lived and how she lived? Yep, you guessed it, that was the problem of any number of people.

Here was a bright person, with a quiet demeanour and a sweet smile, who carried around a darkness quite unlike anything I have ever seen and to this day, I know she has not accepted responsibility for her behaviours.  What she essentially taught her children was the following;

If someone is doing better than them in life, those people were LUCKY.

It is easier to sweet-talk people into helping you find a place to stay, buy whatever items you may need ( because that is what REAL friends do.) When they stop agreeing with you, move on to the next person.

Life owes you something not the other way around.

They are a mess because ( name the litany of things their father and everyone else in their circle is responsible for.)

You get the gist.

One instance I will never forget:

her husband bought her a brand new car with less than 10 miles on it and as we were test driving this spanking new thing and I was jumping for glee, she looked forlorn. When I said” aren’t you thrilled?” she replied” I like it but it should have been a top model car like a BMW because such-and-such Husband already bought hers…”  The alarm bells that went off in my head that day…. it stuck with me too. took me a few more years to sit up and see just what was in front of me and that our values did not align.

I walked away when I spoke up about her children and their behaviours towards adults among other things. Of course, she did not like it one bit and that was the end-of-that after years of friendship. So, when I ran into this young person, and started to listen, all I heard was the same “tape” playing and she sounded just like her mother.  I do not blame the child as they only emulated what they saw for years.  On a whim, I called another long time friend and what I was told, sealed for me that the right move was made on my part years ago.  The level of atrocities only got worse and we are now beginning to see the results in the children who are not doing well in school, have very little respect for authority and they are bouncing around with attitudes.  When dad tried to intervene, she allowed them to curse at him and cried in a corner about how he ruined all their lives.

We now have among us in society, young adults who could have been different if only they had someone responsibly guiding them to find who they were.  I still think about this person from time to time as we had some fond memories but the Universe in it’s infinite wisdom, knew we would not remain close forever and so I treasure the good memories but keep my distance.

I have said this time and again and I will continue to say it; our actions, not our words are what we pour into our children and lord do they ever speak volumes to others in the general public, good or bad.  Many among  us had horrific childhoods and it behoves us to do the work or we will see the pathology repeat itself in our children for generations to come.  When and where does the buck stop?

What is the story that our children are speaking about us?

There is no manual for raising children but some things never become stagnant like good manners, responsibility, character and respect.

It was not my intention to write this post until I saw this video below…. SHARE until your fingers hurt… please and thank you…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHi2dxSf9hw

Enough said

The “Scandal” of it all..

I am not a fan of television so when folks around me began moaning and gnashing their teeth about this new series called “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington, it was summarily ignored until the final episode of season 1 where I saw it accidentally one Thursday evening.  I was so floored by what I was watching, I decided to take another peek the following season.  I was hooked like a fish to bait.  Many follow it for the illicit affair between the President and The “fixer” Olivia Pope but I was fascinated by the politics behind the scenes and the levels of depravity people will go through to attain power and keep it.

Follow the bouncing red ball and take a ride with me…

There is the President who hated his father but allowed himself to be put into an arranged marriage with a woman who is considered a “blue blood” so that he could increase his chances of becoming a politician that would be taken seriously. He is placed in the path of two people who are there to be great publicists, guide him and “fix” any scandals that may surface from his past.  He fell in love with one young lady on the campaign trail and that is where most of his troubles began. I never knew there were so many places in the white House to have dalliances but it clearly proved what lengths people will go through to do what ever they want.

There is the blue blood wife, who fell in love with her hubby despite the circumstances surrounding her crazy marriage and after her father-in-law raped her, decided she would keep the pregnancy and her ‘payment’ would be her spot in history sitting beside the most powerful man in the free world.  She has found that was not such an easy decision as she has been running around trying to stop the relationship her husband is having in one breath, while encouraging it in another ( to keep him happy) so that he will win a second term in the white house.  Are you confused yet?

There is the president’s right hand man, who  happily calls himself a monster because he will got to any lengths to keep his power as the ‘king maker’ in the White house and that included putting a hit-man out to kill his lover who was about to leak a story that could destroy them all. They adopted a little black baby that I barely saw but lord knows, they need someone to comb that child’s hair.

There is the “fixer” who runs a business to help people manage their scandals. It has been indeed a profitable one for her but her private life needs some fixing of it’s own.  Her daddy runs a secret organization in government that is so powerful, it takes orders from no one, including the President of the U.S. Added to her woes, she fell and bumped her head by falling in love with the President himself and cannot seem to stay away from him despite the war within her that says she shouldn’t be with this man for a million reasons.  The people in her business are dangerous with secrets of their own.

The craziness of the last episode, made me write a recap here https://www.facebook.com/groups/442371479122210/permalink/777743435585011/

What you read above  is enough to make you cringe each week but that is just the tip of the madness in the plot around these folks.  I sat back after watching that episode a few days ago and began to really think about why do so many tune in to watch this each and every week without fail and literally have a serious dialogue for days and weeks after. It dawned on me after some soul searching:

What they are watching allows them to not focus, at least for a few hours on their own lives such that it is and makes them feel their level of  ‘hell ‘ is nothing compared to what they are seeing.  Let’s face it, life is never how we fully portray it on social media. No one in their right mind, would let all their baggage hang out for the world to see and they shouldn’t.

In the limited scope that is called my life, I see things like long-term friendships ending badly, people who are smiling and making a life in what they know are really bad relationships, others who are struggling with their families and childhoods that would make you fall to your knees in tears, The Public Education system imploding as each school district hold tightly to their corner of the universe, Politicians, Pastors and Police officers making deals and doing things in secret that is seeping through their tightly woven shrouds of confidentiality as the public gets tired of being abused in a system they trusted and the list goes on.  It is called in simple terms, the human condition but for one hour every Thursday evening, I get to watch  in morbid fascination, a show that emulates real- life more than many are willing to admit, and forget just for 60 minutes, the real scandal of it all called our daily lives……

With that thought in mind, seek with intention, the things you can be grateful for, enjoy the simplicity of life( like the hug my 21 year old dispensed upon me with no provocation on my part) and if all else fails, be thankful for being able to take one breath at a time. Just above the clouds of darkness is light; breathe long enough to see it break through and  when it hits your face, enjoy it for life will eventually bring you to a place of test again.  Fortify yourself in the good times and when you find it difficult to breathe, go ahead and lose yourself in the show that reminds us that things can ALWAYS be worse..

Enough said.