#9 – Don’t act crazy over a man

When I was 23, I met a man. A true “man,” as I saw it.

He was 5 years my senior and the first guy I’d talked to seriously since college.

We met in downtown Detroit in front of the storied Renaissance Center. Hundreds of thousands of visitors were in town for the Super Bowl. Detroit was hosting it that year even as we fought through budget issues and political problems.

He was standing in front of the building with a group of men. They were suspiciously inconspicuous. Turns out they were a group of police officers working undercover during the run up to the big game.

I’d just left a press conference that was filled with many of the performers for the 2006 pre-game show. Traffic and parking were impossible so I had a friend drop me off and was waiting on her to pick me up when he approached.

I remember thinking his facial hair was perfectly lined. What some lesser individuals may refer to as a “Steve Harvey line.”

Anyway, one thing leads to another and soon enough we’re dating and eventually in a relationship.

About 10 months into our thing — I could’ve behaved like a fool. Like a straight, unadulterated, liberated fool. (Technically, I could’ve acted this way at least 2 other times – but for purposes of this list let’s focus on this incident.)

He’d given me a key to his house. I’d had it for months.

On this particular day – it was a Saturday, I will never forget – I’d headed to his home with leftover pizza.

He worked overnights, and I figured he’d be hungry from a long nap so I’d come with gifts.

I’d found it odd he hadn’t called or texted me when he’d gotten off in the early morning hours but I decided to let that feeling go.

I pulled up to his home and noticed his car wasn’t in the driveway. Again, I dismissed any nagging feeling.

I walked up to back door, key in hand and went to put it in the lock when I noticed the door was slightly ajar. Odd.

I pushed it open as he was walking up the stairs from the basement with a bewildered look on his caramel face.

“Hey,” I said in a friendly tone.

I went to close the door behind me when I noticed a pair of magenta snow boots on the lacquered wooden floor. What?

They were at least a size 10.

So it’s a big bitch in here?

Without thinking, I pushed passed him and headed straight to his bedroom. It was a tall, thick woman lying across the bed – wearing child-like pajamas.

What?

She’s talking on the phone; her hot pink Razr Motorola flip phone.

“Come pick me up,” she says.

I launch into a high-pitched, verbal attack.

“WHO ARE YOU?!” I scream – still holding the brown pizza box in my small hands.

“Just come pick me up,” she repeats to the person on the other end of her flip.

I repeat myself; attempting to lower the octave of my inquisition.

She snickers and doesn’t answer. Or maybe she does. But at this point my heart is beating in my ears. I can’t hear and whatever she said or didn’t say wasn’t good enough.

After what seems to be an eternity, I storm out the room. He was behind me and I hadn’t noticed.

I stomp into the kitchen and finally place the cold pizza on the counter.

Then I make my way outside, keenly aware that he isn’t on my heels.

Why isn’t he right behind me?

I reach my car and I notice he’s 30 paces behind. Too far.

We begin to argue. Our yells are heightened because the block is so silent. It was a lazy Saturday – the Saturday before Christmas 2006.

“Who is that bitch!?!” I shriek.

“Why she gotta be a bitch?” he questions.

What?

To this day, that answer makes my blood boil.

The rest of the argument is a blur but for some reason I go back into the house.

Now, we’re arguing in the kitchen. Big Bitch is still inside – hiding out in the bedroom.

He rambles off something about a “Pajama Jam” party he’d gone to after work that somehow spilled over into his home (2 cities away from the original party.)

Suddenly, in the middle of his convoluted tale I see his car pull into the driveway and a dark-skinned woman get out of it and start walking towards the back door. She opens it. She walks in.

What?

“You ready?” she calls to Big Bitch.

My mouth smacks the stark white linoleum.

In the middle of what I’d consider the run up to World War III, he says, “I’ve got to take them home.”

He walks out the kitchen, and then walks out the house. Big Bitch emerges from the back and slides out the back door, too. I’m left standing there…alone…on a Saturday…the Saturday before Christmas…with cold pizza on the counter.

In the silence, my anger was audible. I can still feel my pulse beating in my ears.

I thought about bleaching his clothes.

I thought about cutting his clothes.

I thought about breaking all the glass in that house.

I thought about stopping up the sink and tub and causing a flood on his first floor.

I thought about ransacking his entire home.

But, instead of acting out a scene from a poorly-produced BET movie, I left.

I walked out and I left the cold pizza on the counter.
Rage was standing on my shoulders – but I didn’t buckle under her. I decided I wasn’t going to be his “story.”

I decided he’d never get the chance to sit around with a group of the fellas and share a, “let me tell you what this crazy ass woman did to me once…” – at least not at my expense.

Leaving without destroying a thing ultimately spoke volumes.

Don’t act crazy over a man.

**And I should note we didn’t break up after this. It wasn’t until later that I learned to know when someone’s had enough chances. That’s another story for another time**

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29 Things That Finally Clicked By 29…

  1. Your parents made sacrifices – respect them
  2. If you make a decision that you know can prove to be unpopular – stand behind it & explain why
  3. Record yourself singing — realize  you can’t & enjoy it anyway
  4. Understand that people grow apart
  5. While growing into yourself – stay true to the things you enjoy
  6. When you decide to let a man/boy/guy go – do it with precision and resolve
  7. Understand the bare basics of all (most) sports
  8. Read.
  9. Don’t act crazy over a man
  10. Bite off more than you can chew (just chew slowly)
  11. Enjoy pleasant people and admire them
  12. Don’t get overly involved in someone’s exploits, arguments and problems
  13. Dance and dance hard.
  14. Take risks and prepare for failure
  15. Learn to cook 3 dishes well
  16. Hang out and get to know a person that has a completely different background than you
  17. Be confident
  18. Seinfeld is funny. Seinfeld will always be funny.
  19. Always have wine and whiskey in your house
  20. Drink tea, it makes you feel prestigious
  21. Brush your teeth after drinking Starbucks
  22. Get to know your “friends”
  23. Listen to NPR
  24. Practice holding your breath, you never know when you’ll need to keep quiet
  25. Don’t max out credit cards
  26. Being loyal doesn’t necessarily pay off
  27. Make a new set of friends in your late 20s
  28. Take yourself on dates
  29. Know when you’ve given someone enough chances
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With all due respect, Mr. President, this ain’t 1964

Unlike some folks, I wasn’t counting on President Barack Obama to fix the entire world. I didn’t expect him to fix a crumbling economy, cure sucky inner-city school systems, find Waldo and curb my addiction to Starbucks. So, I believe my opinion will hold a little more weight than others, right now.

This weekend, Mr. Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus. Not only was he rallying for votes, he was – apparently – giving the representatives of the downtrodden a pep talk.  He basically told the room to ‘stop bitchin.’  

 “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

First of all, why are you quoting Mariah Carey? Second, why are you droppin’ all the g’s off your words and third, what?!

 The jobless rate for Blacks is 16.7%. The national average is just over 9%. A disproportionate number of people affected by unemployment doesn’t sound like a complaint to me.

Some in the Caucus and other well-known Black leaders have said Mr. Obama hasn’t addressed issues plaguing the Black community, joblessness being one of those things. So, when he finally addresses it – he tells folks to stop complaining? Ummmm… **I’m literally making this face —> o_O <— as I type, ** what!?

Mr. President, c’mon! If you can address Palestinian statehood to the U.N. and its continuous gripe with Israel, you can surely address the economic impact this non-recession is having on the Black community right now.

According to the Associated Press, the President went on to tell the Caucus that ‘blacks know all too well from the civil rights struggle that the fight for what is right is never easy.’

With all due respect, Mr. President, this ain’t 1964!

Yea, the struggle helped us get where we are, but how long do we have to endure it? And are we supposed to just accept this is the way it is forever going to be?

Not long ago, I saw a story on a local Detroit TV news station. A woman working for the Detroit Public School System was at a meeting where she’d been told she’d likely have to take a major pay cut or be out of a job. She was already making pauper wages, something like $20,000 a year. She told the reporter who was interviewing her that she wanted to work. Back in the 90’s, she’d been on welfare and didn’t want to go back. She said she’d showed her kids before she could get out of the system with hard work and was determined to keep it that way.

Side note: Even if she didn’t mind the welfare system, it certainly would mind her. Michigan legislatures are changing laws. You can no longer be on welfare for more than 4 continuous years in a lifetime and soon, if you own property or have more than $5,000 in the bank you won’t be eligible for food stamps.

This woman, I believe is like many. She doesn’t want a shortcut – but a legitimate way out of economic despair. And wanting someone, a leader, THE PRESIDENT, to address her concerns aka complaints – isn’t a ridiculous concept to me.

I’ve stayed mostly mum about the President and his moderate way of governing, but something’s got to give.

If folks are too busy looking for jobs and “pressing on” in November 2012 and don’t go to the polls, I hope he doesn’t complain.

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America, this is your fault

The Miami Heat basketball team represents the American psyche. The psychological structure of our western pea brains.

If you disagree, then you’re in denial you American, just like most of your smartphone having counterparts.

We’re all in denial; I’m just the first to admit it.

If you rooted for the Dallas Mavericks to win the  NBA 2011 title, you added a plus one to this hallucinogenic society. And let’s be clear, you didn’t want the Mavs to win. You wanted the Heat to lose. And it seems the consensual reason many wanted that loss was because you felt LeBron, and the Heat in general, took a “short cut” to win a championship.

I bet these are the same folks who didn’t muster a word of distain when LBJ went straight to the pros out of high school; namely my main man, Dan “Comic Sans” Gilbert aka @cavsdan. Yesterday, he tweeted: “Congrats to Mack C.&entire Mavs org. Mavs NEVER stopped &now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all:There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE.”

*scratches head*

Huh? You got LeBron when he was just a man child. You didn’t wait for him to develop whatever skills he would’ve honed in college. You wanted him when you wanted him and you got him. Isn’t that in essence a ‘short cut?’ Or at the very least subscribing and benefitting off one’s short cut?

And to put it quite painfully simple, we all want it and we want it now. And in our quest to get ‘it,’ we sometimes take so-called “short cuts,” either vividly perceived or fashionably cloaked.

In this Twitter-laden society, we only get 140 characters to make it work. Anything more and someone has to click the ‘twit-longer’ link or some other 3rd party url – and let’s be honest, how many of us really do all that?

My point though – being in the ‘right-here-and-nowness’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just different from what we pretend we’re used to and we’re too nervous to actually take a look at ourselves and what we’ve become. We manifested this destiny.

We (Americans) are quick to claim victory and give a toothy grin before we should. Remember this?

 What mission was accomplished, exactly? The mere hanging of the sign?

More to the point, remember this? I see a lot of pearly whites and broad, entitled shoulders emerging from that smoke.

But at the core, is there anything wrong with these examples? Aren’t they/we just doing what we’ve all read about? What millions of us subscribe to?

“The Secret” is one of the top selling books in America. According to an article by The Christian Science Monitor in 2007, book stores literally couldn’t keep “The Secret” on shelves. About 3.75 million copies of the book were in print 4 years ago and 2 million DVDs were sold (probably mostly bought by newly converted Dallas Mavs fans.)

Aren’t we supposed to speak positive babble into the Universe? Say what we want in advance and we shall receive it? Let your pores gush positivity and it will come your way, right? So millions of us were right to speak positivity into the Universe about ourselves but we can’t stomach 3 Black men doing it at an overpriced pep rally?

((**sidenote – many expressed dismay about the pep rally and the boisterous way these dudes acted when they first joined together to make the ‘Big 3.’ But, let’s be honest. Humility is overrated, especially when you’re raking in millions. Why must I be humble when I have superhuman ball playing abilities and I’m playing alongside dudes with equal or almost equal skills? Why must you be “humble and meek” about the things you’re best at? Why act sheepishly about wanting to win a championship?))

We claim to be dismayed and taken aback by those who take a “short cut” to get somewhere but in reality we support them. And honestly, that’s the culture we helped create. We are “them.”

And the Heat was just trying to live in our world.

Before you get on your moral high horse and tell me you don’t take short cuts because you spent 4 years in college, another 2 in grad school, work overtime, are in a union, have a savings account and blah, blah, hush. You have a DVR. This means you’re guilty too.

We want what we want when we want it. We record our favorite shows because we want to go to Jimmy John’s at 8 p.m. Monday and grab a freaky fast sub. We don’t want to miss the first 8 minutes of “Basketball Wives” so we DVR it, then have the nerve to fast forward through the commercials so we can get to the fight – that we’re positive will happen. Short Cut.

We watch American Idol (or at least we did.) This past season, just last month, 38.6 million people tuned in to watch an amateur singer get a recording contract. Short Cut.

Oh, you off that? Well, now you tune in to “The Voice,” along with over 12 million other Americans. Short Cut.

Millions of Americans play Powerball, hoping to get a piece of that millionaire pie. And several working class folks have recently won. Short Cut.

Rent-A-Center brought in $43.7 million in the 4th quarter of 2010. Americans aren’t saving to get what we want. Just get that 89” inch flat screen now. Short Cut.

Men and women both say things to get what they want when they want it – whether it’s sex, money or designer hand bags. Short Cut.

If we want to go back to the days when folks “earned” things let’s go back to 1994 when we actually earned our allowance for taking out the trash and scrubbing the baseboards along the stucco walls in our childhood homes. But then again, this is what we looked like in ’94.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going back to the high top fade and Kente cloth garb look for NOBODY!

Because I’m not in denial, I can appreciate and embrace this instant gratification attitude. And I’ve realized it’s led to a better world. We’ve developed apathetically hip and innovative shortened phrases, words and jumbled letters like #FML and #oomf.

But I digress.

The Miami Heat not only represents our incessant need to cater to our egos, capitalistic whims and golden desires, but also our honest dreams that we have every right to dare to want and achieve.

Just like the housing crisis and the collapse of Wall Street, which both led to the Recession, the Miami Heat is your story America. It wasn’t just LeBron, D. Wade and Bosh who didn’t get that championship. This is your loss and quite possibly a foreshadowing of what’s to come. But I bet you aren’t going to blame yourself and act accordingly. That’s awfully hard to do when you’re in denial.

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Yea, let me get 3 scoops with that

Years ago, when I saw this Gucci Mane character I was drawn – albeit it in horror and dismay – to his lips. They’re an odd mix of worn rubber and a crudely healing scab. Also, they have a patient zero-esque quality as well.

So, this morning when I noticed he had another tattoo (near his rubber, scab-like conditioned lips) I was drawn to him again in an incorrigible, nauseating yet fascinating way. I knew I had to TwitPic his new art work. And in the midst of attempted e-ssainations, I stood strong and even made Gucci Mane my avatar.

Gucci rolled up in an Atlanta tattoo shop and actually told the artist he wanted ice cream (a triple scoop at that) on his face AND a lightning bolt shooting out of it.

The tattoo artist, Shane Willoughby tells reporters he doesn’t ink people who are drunk or high and said he did the work because The Brick Squad CEO seemed completely sober.

“When [Gucci] said he wanted to do the ice cream thing I said, ‘Well why don’t we do it somewhere else?’ But he was like I don’t have anywhere else. He said ‘I want something rock ‘n roll.’ There’s nothing more rock ‘n roll then lightning bolts,” Willoughby told Vibe.

“I don’t think I’ll ever do [that] again… no matter how successful [the celebrity]. He was stoked, had no regrets… was jumping up and down. That’s the way he rolls,” he added.

Ok…

I think it’s pertinent to point out that Gucci got those scoops (which kind of look Superman flavored – check out the iridescent coloring) after spending some time in a mental institution.

Gucci Mane, whose government is Radric Davis, was there just 10 days ago.
His mental condition was evaluated after filing a “Special Plea of Mental Incompetency” in a Georgia courtroom early this year. Apparently he violated his probation.

He said he was unable to “intelligently participate in [his] probation revocation hearing.”

If he’s building a “crazy case,” then he’s doing a real knock up job. But I honestly think he’s insane.

This January visit wasn’t his first stint in a rubber room. Last October, members of the 30-year-old’s entourage, presumably the Brick Squad, were involved in an hour-long stand-off against Gucci outside the Riverwoods Southern Regional Psychiatric Center in Riverdale, Ga.

Gucci is apparently losing his faculties as the state of Georgia is readying to close all of its mental health facitlies and privatize them.

With the new tat in tow, Mane is said to be working on his fourth studio album, ‘The State vs. Radric Davis 2: The Verdict,’ which is scheduled for release later this year.

I won’t be purchasing it nor doing my signature motorcycle hand moves to it in the club.

Oh yea, and you already know some woman is going to be photographed licking the side of his cheek pretty soon. I probably won’t TwitPic that.

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Don’t let the smooth melanin fool you, I do have a brain (and apparently I like colder ice)

Like most women similar to myself between the ages of 18-35, I tuned into BET’s resurrected dramady, “The Game” on Tuesday night. While watching, of course TweetDeck was up and running and provided even more comedic relief on a snowy night in Detroit.

After “The Game” ended, (with a whopping 7.7 million viewers) with Melanie in a comprising spot – of course – Black Entertainment Network slid in its newest sitcom “Let’s Stay Together.”

DISCLAIMER: Since Kelsey Grammar’s “Girlfriends” was snatched off the air in 2008 (a victim of the writer’s strike) I haven’t felt as if my story, and that of my girlfriends, was being told. So I desperately (okokok sort of) wanted “Let’s Be Together” to not be hot garbage.

Despite my fervent prayers to the TV Gods, this show was worse than H.A.M. It was like eating liver and chitterlings stew, then having to share your most intimate self-secrets with Julian Asange.

The plot line wasn’t actually that formulaic. Man loves woman. Woman finds out man was once engaged. Woman finds out she has a re-gifted engagement ring.

It had the potential to be ok. And because I so desperately want to see my story, I  watched. I watched the entire uncomfortably bad half hour.

The “jokes,” if they can even be called that, weren’t funny. It was almost as if the writers were penning for people who hadn’t watched a sitcom since the end of “Good Times.”

As I commented on Twitter, the laugh-track must have been aged. It kept skipping – playing at incredibly low points in the show that couldn’t garner a smile from the Kool-Aid dude and he was even given a shout out in the show.

My distain, and apparently plenty others, on Twitter prompted one of my followers to say, quite poetically might I add: “According to my timeline other folks ice is colder…go suck on a piece

**takes colder, oblong- shaped ice cube out of mouth, pulls out fashionable soap box & hoists myself atop**

Just because I’m Black doesn’t automatically mean I’m going to support every “Black” show.
Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns” is tremendously terrible. If perhaps one day I’d like to punish myself for past sins, I’ll tune in.

We, as African Americans, have already fallen victim to “Black loyalty.” You know, when we support anything or anyone – in somewhat of a powerful position – just because they/it are Black.

The example that comes to mind is, “Don’t let them talk about yall’s boy!” the mother of ex Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick yells to a revved up crowd.

She made this poignant and shrill speech and back in 2005, while Mr. Kilpatrick was running for re-election and being investigated by the feds. Now, Mr. Kilpatrick along with his father, friends and a business man, are facing a litany of corruption charges.

The case against these men, all black expect one, is said to be the largest political corruption scandal in Detroit’s history.

I’ll hear you out. I’ll give you a chance. But once I see what your producing is garbage I’m done.

Now, I’m not saying that “Let’s Stay Together” is a morally corrupt show that needs to be locked up in sitcom jail (aka cancelled) but if that network wants to win witty, professional, powerful consumers like myself; it’s going to have to do its homework and stimulate me.

My loyalty lies with recherché and descent shows, ideals and people – blessed with melanin or not.

**puts ice cold cube back in mouth, gingerly steps off box**

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