Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In The Blink Of An Eye....

It starts right about here, with smiles and coos and adoring looks that make you believe it will always be just like this. You will always be the axis on which their world revolves. Though very demanding in acquiring whatever it is they feel they need at the time, a baby, [at least if your baby is anything like mine], has a knack for making everything you do and sacrifice on his behalf end up being worth it. In all the world, there is no more satisfying feeling than the feel of chubby, little arms wrapped around your neck as warm breath that carries the faint odor of milk tickles your neck, and the words that will hold you hostage for a lifetime are whispered, "I Love You Mommy."

For a time, this was my life. But as is the way with life, time passed and things changed. Contrary to many others, I don't happen to think change is a bad thing. I still had the pleasure of smiles and coos coming my way, but in addition, I had the sheer joy of hearing routinely one of the best sounds I have ever heard to this day, my son's giggle. By this time, the prankster in him had shown up. He lived to be funny and thought the most amusing thing on the planet was "to trick his Mommy". If someone had tried to make me understand this kind of love before I was personally introduced to it, they would have landed way short of the mark. There are no words that can possibly describe what it is like to feel the way I felt about this child, especially during this period. It was as if his very existence validated my own. He completely rearranged my priorities and all but eliminated the typical stresses of the twenties for me. Never, did I worry about things that were outside of my control. As long as Ryan was okay, Sharon was okay.

The clock kept ticking [faster and faster it seemed to me], and longer, leaner, more athletic arms now encircled my neck because of all the hours of basketball [then two and a half year old] Ryan played with his cousin Kendall on the Little Tykes goal in Ryan's bedroom. As they say, boys will be boys, and as the boys got bigger, the toys got bigger. The hugs were still plentiful, and the jokes though a bit more "little boy funny", kept right on coming. Little did I know, but I was being pulled deeper and deeper into this child's web and with each passing day, I was being wrapped tighter and tighter around his finger. I think it was Bill Cosby who referred to all the wonderful sensory sensations of dealing with babies as "false advertising". Sometimes I think he might be right. Though typically the optimist, and rarely the pessimist, there is a bit of the "NOTHING CAN BE THIS GOOD" ideology in me.

Skip ahead fourteen years to April 22, 2006. If you have ever spent any time with me, you know one thing for sure, I love a surprise. I thrive on setting up and pulling off elaborate surprises. On Saturday, April 22, 2006, I pulled off one of my biggest and best surprises yet. Here is the look on the face of my son as he appeared upon his very first glance at his surprise. Like I said, as the boys get bigger, so do the toys. You see, I always wanted my son to be independent, and self-reliant. I raised him to be that way. He has a good life, a very good life and that's exactly what I planned for him. It's why I worked so hard, in order to be able to do things for him that my mother always wished she could do for me. As they say, "Each one, teach one!" Well, I have a great mother and she taught me well. The other side of this coin is that when you raise a child to be outgoing and self-sufficient, you owe it to that child to facilitate his/her being able to go out and be outgoing. Until now, that meant chauffering my son all over God's creation, sometimes prohibiting me from doing something I wanted to do or from just sitting around doing nothing at all. NO MORE OF THAT!
But first, an front of witnesses and filmed for posterity on video tape. No, not even an oath, a covenant....yeah, that's it a covenant, a blood oath between mother and son before the keys actually exchange hands. Something like:

I, Ryan do hereby swear to obey all traffic laws and curfews. Realizing exactly how much my mother loves me, I will protect her "precious cargo" and will not participate in unsafe driving games even if encouraged to do so by my friends. I will appreciate the sacrifice that my beautiful mother has made so that I might have ACCESS to this vehicle which is now, and will continue to be owned solely by my mother, until such time as I successfully GRADUATE from high school. Then and only then, at the discretion of my beautiful mother will I own said vehicle. I do hereby solemnly swear that if ever my beautiful mother decides that she would like me to go out and pick up something even as trivial as a Snicker's bar, even if it is 2am, I will do so without attitude and with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. I will refrain from filling the vehicle with riff and raff, and at no time, will it be utilized to transport "bucket-naked scrippers"....I, Ryan enter into this covenant here in the presence of my Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother, three generations of women in my family in front of whom I would never tell a lie for fear of retribution too horrible to be considered in the light of day.

Once the covenant had been completed, the keys were turned over to this young man who it seemed just yesterday was running over my foot with his Big Wheel in our little two bedroom apartment. Where has the time gone? What happened to my little boy; and who is this man that now stands in his place? The hugs are still plentiful, even to this day; though the arms are so thick and muscular now that the hugs are sometimes a little like being suffocated. The time passes before you know a blink of an eye....and once it has passed, it won't come back again. So to the mothers reading this post who still have chubby little arms wrapping around their necks, a word of advice, SAVOR THE FLAVOR! Before you know it, you will have achieved what it was you set out to do....send an adult out into the world.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hell and Home are Just Eleven Steps Apart

(This post was written on Wednesday, but issues with my computer and Blogger delayed its arrival here.)

Eleven steps. I know that most self-help programs encompass twelve steps, but eleven steps are all that stand between me and my goals. The eleven steps shown in the photo to the left to be exact. These eleven steps [currently uncarpeted due to the aftermath of "The Flood"], lead to my basement, which contains in a single room, everything I need to accomplish a goal I have "pursued" for many, many years now.

Now I bet you didn't know that "pursued" is a relative term.
  • Some of us when we pursue something, get very active. We get up, get motivated, and go with all guns blazing after that accomplishment until we finally capture the prize.

Some of us when we pursue something spend a lot of time talking about it, hoping for it, and wishing it to be so; while never actually making any definitive plans or taking any decisive action which might result in our actually procuring what we claim to be pursuing.

Then, there are others of us who make a plan, follow-through on that plan to accumulate the necessary resources to accomplish said goal, then spend a lot of time talking about the goal itself and all we've done to prepare ourselves to achieve said goal. And that's where the buck stops.

Regarding the goal that is the stimulus for this post, I fall into this last group.

The plans have been made. The resources appropriated and ready to be utilized. The goal itself and the how and why behind it have been talked into the ground. Now it's time to just shut up and in the prolific words of the old Nike marketing campaign, "JUST DO IT!"

So, that's just what I'm going to do. I am telling you all about it because I am soliciting the help of each one of you as well as this man...Mr. James K. He, as personal trainer extraodinaire! You all, as either cheerleaders [to keep my morale up], or as naysayers [to give me someone to prove wrong as I love a challenge]!

Ms. Just Write Now was a babe [back inna day]. She was an athlete, a swimmer, a Pom Pon Girl, a virtual DIVA! And she let it all go to pot! Now most women blame their transformed bodies [and I don't mean that in a good way] on the babies they've had. RYAN, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! [*Ms. Just Write Now so proud of herself for being strong enough to swallow her extreme vanity (as in street clothing, she "camouflages" well), and let you all see this before pic as things stand today!*] As a matter of fact, the day after I had Ryan, I weighed less than I had since before college, and the pic shows me when Ryan was just 4 weeks old....he was not as big as the bowling ball I was using....and his svelte Mommy was not bad off herself. During the entire full-term pregnancy, I gained only 9 pounds....that's right, NINE pounds. Ryan being a true lover of his Mommy was born weighing 7 pounds 4 ounces, leaving his Mommy holding no extra poundage for having carried him.

No, I can honestly say, that the body I'm dragging around currently is due in its entirety to my own love of junk foods, and a good, not-so-healthy case of the lazies. For years, I've talked a good game about getting it together again. I made all the clothes: check, gym membership: check, Weight Watchers at Work: check, I even outfitted a gym in my new house last year....check out the Body Mecca just eleven steps away in the basement.... There is a fully digitalized treadmill with a wide based tread and a CD player, a digital stationery bike, an Ab-lounger, and a 3 stack-3 station Universal Weight Gym, all just sitting there waiting to be of service.

This brings me to another point....
I am appalled to find out that one of the things I find most despicable in others can be found inside myself [isn't that ALWAYS the case].....wastefulness. To have access to all that one needs to accomplish a thing and still not make the necessary effort is inexcusably and unforgiveably wasteful. Even more than that, it is something of which we should be ashamed. So many would give all that they have for even a little bit of what I have and what am I doing with it? Well, at least as it applies to this goal and the resources I have access to which will enable me to achieve it, I am making a change....or should I say I am exerting the effort.

I have hired a trainer to get me started and to ensure I am on the right track. I have my first session today. He, [my trainer, torturer, rescuer depending on how I choose to view him at the time] will be back on Saturday and then again on Monday until I can handle this on my own. I will give one-hundred percent effort, heart, and dedication to making my dream a reality.....not quite this [pic courtesy of Leon of "Yeah...I Said It" blog fame], but halfway between here and where I am would be completely acceptable! Today is the day it starts.....when it will end, if it will end I can't say, but I have and will continue to commit myself to making sure that the gift of health [really good health even in this alien body] that God has chosen to favor me with will not be given in vain. I will celebrate my health, I will celebrate my body....this one and the REAL one underneath, and most of all I will celebrate ME! I'm hyped now! I'm ready to rush into the future that is mine for the taking. I'm all over this thing and for those of you who are pulling for me, the ones who've GOT MY BACK, I'm going to do this. For those of you who are waiting for me to fail, eat your hearts out when I don't. The time is now, the die has been cast, and in ten minutes my trainer and I will undertake our find the muscles I KNOW still live somewhere beneath all this fat. Could we fail? As I used to say as a child, "we could might". Nevertheless, we can only fail if we first try, so here we go and let the chips fall where they may.

Before I finish, a word to the wise, IF I WERE A GAMBLING WOMAN, I WOULDN'T BET AGAINST ME! HARK! Somebody's knocking at my door ;)

Remember him? He's been here and gone.
I don't hate him quite yet, but the fact that I can barely support the weight of the body that believes itself to be mine, doesn't bode well for the future of our bond. I will say, the man knows that of which he speaks. I'm still all-in....100% died in the wool true blue....but DAMN!, does it have to be so hard?

Remember these? They used to be the stairs to my basement. Now they're all that stand between HELL AND HOME! Before today, I have run up and down them so many time without thinking, that right now, I'm dumbfounded by the fact that getting up them following this morning's session was tantamount to scaling Mount Everest. Eleven steps....just eleven steps between the me that I am and the me that I want to be. Just eleven steps between the Heaven that is my home upstairs and the Hell that is my Gym in the basement. Just eleven measley steps. What to do? What to do?......The longest of journeys begins with one step...

one, two, three....see ya at number eleven or somewhere in between....check back and be a witness to this historical climb!
(Pic to right is a lil' leg for a special know who you are!)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Who ya wit?

I've got one, I think we all do....that one girlfriend who is always making excuses for why her man isn't with her at this function or on that holiday. You know, that one person in your life who is always trying to convince you [or is it herself?] that things are going to improve in their relationship. My friend has been "dating" a guy for several years who has yet to meet anyone in our circle. He is never available to take her to functions when she needs/wants a date, he doesn't socialize with her family or friends; in actuality, I am doubtful that the brother even really exists except for the fact that she cries over him too much for him to be imaginary.

Another friend has a gift for surrounding herself with people who are simply put, TOXIC! Whether they are family members, significant others, or mere acquaintances, though seemingly normal at first, the majority of people in her life turn out to be just this side of being committed to the local looney bin. She is normal enough I'd say, but there is something about her that seems to attract people who wouldn't ever make it into my inner-circle let alone make it deep enough in to wreak the kind of havoc they have at times caused in her life.

Last but not least, I have family members who have adult children whom they have raised who for whatever reasons, have either never left home, or have returned home to live off their parents. Some even have multiple children of their own that they have brought along for the ride. This in and of itself is bad enough, but these same adult children have the audacity to expect their parents to take care of them even though they don't take care of their own children. These adult cousins of mine cuss out their parents, as well as disrepecting them in other ways, and in some cases, they even steal from their parents. Now what the hell is that about?

Even I, the great and powerful Ms. Just Write Now! did my own tour of duty trying to hang in there with someone for whom I was never a priority. On again, off again, I dedicated almost fifteen years to trying to make it work with someone who spent those same fifteen years doing everything and anything but trying to make it work with me. He loves me and I love him I'd tell myself....just give it time, he'll come around.

While blogging around the other day, I stopped in at one of my very favorite blogs, David's "Parrish, The Thoughts" , and in his comments section I stumbled upon the following:

Oscar In
".... if you can't change the people around you then
change the people around you..."

So simple....yet so very hard to do. NOT! Now many of you have probably seen or even said these very words before, and subsequently are thinking "big deal". I, on the other hand have never seen or heard this most valuable concept put quite so simply but eloquently [So please allow me my wonder].

"If you can't change the people around you then change the
people around you!"

How comprehendable, how precise, how very do-ABLE! So many times, we find ourselves caught up in situations that we know are not good for us. We spend precious time and expend tremendous energy trying to ""tweak", mold", "work with", "be patient", or just "out and out change" things, people, and situations that have absolutely no motivation for changing. We tell ourselves things like:

  • If I can just give it some time
  • If I can just be patient
  • He/She will come around
  • If only I had tried.....
  • Maybe if I.....
  • Things will get better when.....

The list goes on and on. The reality of the situation is that it probably won't get better! In fact it will most likely get much worse. The fact of the matter is that someone who cares so little about us that they would put us in these or similar situations to begin with has no reason to change. Peep it from their perspective, "Why change? What's in it for me?" As they are already controlling the situation and obviously not at our mercy, why should they change? What would be their motivation?

In every life, there must come a time when healthy self-interest takes over and makes us stand up for ourselves, protect ourselves, even claim a little piece of the universe just for ourselves. Every once in a while, we need to give ourselves permission to go on and be a little bit selfish. For me, that meant ending my dead-end relationship, getting my own place again, and investigating things that I loved doing like blogging, happy hours, and enrolling in school where I could exercise my brain cells and broaden my circle of friends. To me, I say "Hey! You only get one shot at this and you're wasting it here, doing this, with him? Your decision, but I never figured you for a damned fool!" Put more reasonably, "If you can't change the people around you, then change the people around you."

In the case of my aunts whose grown ass kids have obviously lost their minds, I say "Throw their grown butts out! You raised them. You fed and housed them and did what you were obligated to do. It's your turn to live...take it!" Put more reasonably, "If you can't change the people around you, then change the people around you."

In the case of my gurl whose people are toxic I say "Gurl move on. Let those people go! They do not have your best interest at heart and why you are giving them any part of your heart I don't know. I love you and I'm close to normal which means that other normal people can love you to! Go find them and kick these knuckle heads in your life to the curb!" Put more reasonably, "If you can't change the people around you, then change the people around you."

As for my other gurl...with the "Invisible Man" I say "Drop him like he's hot! Afterall, you don't even spend enough time with him to really miss him anyway." Put more reasonably, "If you can't change the people around you, then change the people around you."

Life is short. Change happens. When it happens, change happens used to do it this way, now you do it that way. Its that quick. It is immediate. It is now. Nothing gradual about it. If you are waiting patiently for change, you will be waiting a long time, as change doesn't take time. Change takes one making up one's mind to change and then doing it....JUST LIKE THAT!

Check out who you're with....If they're not the kinda people you want to be with, don't waste time trying to change them,


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Do You Believe In Tinkerbell?

"....I know you're going to say that you're just speaking the truth, and I'm
sure you think it's elementary for me to criticize you on this, but I've noticed
that people today like to be mean for no reason. Why? This is just something
that has been bugging me lately..." -- Reese the Law Girl

I clipped the above quote from the comments section of a fellow blogger whose site I read routinely. I had posted a comment to a post on this site, and the blogger's response to my comment was somewhat harsh and judgemental. Reese the Law Girl, another blogger reading the post and my subsequent comment on the blog, posted her own comment in response to the original blogger's post; and then followed up with a second comment in which the above excerpt was embedded addressing the original blogger's response to my comment.

This post is not a commentary on the particular exchange between the blogger in question, Reese, and myself. Instead, it is an examination of a bigger issue that I think this exchange is indicative of....the unconscious, almost automatic meanness we all sometimes display. When I saw the original blogger's response to my comment, [which I must add, though in disagreement with his position, was totally respectful of his viewpoint even as I asserted my own], I too felt as Reese did: His response was mean and for no apparent reason! Like Reese, this is something that has been bugging me lately.

In the course of doing my job, I go in and out of buildings multiple times every day. I enter hospitals, medical buildings, cancer centers etc. and interact with receptionists, gift shop staff, and others that I meet in elevators, stairwells, and various places as I go about my business. I smile, sometimes nod, almost always say at least a hello. If I am going into a building and notice someone coming in behind me or trying to enter just as I'm leaving, I stop and hold the door until they are through. However, I find that frequently, I have not received the same treatment when the situation was reversed. Why not...I find myself wondering?

As I watch television [reality TV in particular], the comments that are made about and to people constantly shock me. From Simon's downright rude and totally irrelevant comments about American Idol contestants to comments such as the one I heard this evening on America's Next Top Model when one of the judges made the comment about a contestant that "if we were looking for America's Next Top Tramp, she'd be a shoo-in because she looks like a tramp.", I often find myself picking up my lower jaw from the floor. I constantly find myself wondering...Why was it necessary that he/she say that? Does the privelege of being an American living in the land of "free speech" entitle any of us to behave in this manner?

Those of you who come here often know me to be an upbeat, optimistic person who typically tries to find the silver lining that exists without a doubt behind every cloud. Even so, I would not say that I am a "goody-two-shoes" whose "virgin ears" are easily offended. I enjoy a good joke as much as the next person, and sarcasm when in the proper context and not utilized to diminish others, is one of my absolute favorite sports [notice I said sport....not bloodsport!]; after all, I grew up in the hood and can "play the dozens" with the best of them. However, increasingly, I find that more and more frequently I am double-taking on things I can't believe I heard or saw. There seems to be an ever-increasing trend which I can only diagnose as an apparent decline in the importance of using what we know.

Whenever I do something that I know my parents would not have been proud of, I jokingly say "Please don't blame my parents for my behavior because though it may not appear to be the case, I was taught better than mother taught me better, but currently, I'm choosing not to use what I was taught!" I often find myself wondering whether this is the case universally anymore or if we are simply failing to teach the basics anymore. As they say, [ALL I EVER NEEDED TO KNOW, I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN]. Is this still true? Are we still being taught everything we really need to know in kindergarten? know, the basics like play nice, share, say please and thank you, if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all...? Are we being taught these things still and simply choosing not to use them? Or, are we simply not being taught these things at all?

I'm finding that people are rude and oftentimes even mean when there is absolutely no reason for them to be this way. It happens home, at work, at name the place, it doesn't's everywhere.

I think it comes down to the possible impending death of "the two uncommon commons" as I like to call them:

  • Common sense


  • Common courtesy.

I can't be sure, but there is a good chance, that they both may be on the verge of death if not already in their respective graves. Common sense always told us that those around us probably want no less than we ourselves want; and to improve our chances of getting what we want, we should make our best attempt to give others what they want. Common courtesy always compelled us to treat others with kindness, consideration, compassion, and respect simply because it was the right thing to do. As we all learned in kindergarten, It is NEVER wrong to do the right thing! EVER! I for one, sure do miss these two uncommon commons and would love to see more evidence of their existence.

To that end, I thought a Peter Pan/Tinkerbell moment might be in order. So, if you're reading this post still, take a second at your earliest opportunity and do something, anything to honor and show your support of the two uncommon commons in the hope that the demonstration of your continued belief and faith in their powers will sustain them through this rough patch. Smile at someone, nod or say Hello, hold a door or pick up the quarter they dropped while trying to pay for their groceries instead of watching them chase it across the something, ANYTHING. Hopefully, this will cause the commons to once again begin to germinate, pollinate, and blossom like fields of jasmine across this great gift called MOTHER EARTH until one day, we will get back to where we once were....incorporating all the things we ever needed to know and learned in kingergarten into our day in day out interactions with the world around us!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Second Guessing...When Does "Responsibly Making Sure" Become "The Obstacle"?

I waited 'til I saw the sun
I don't know why I didn't come
I left you by the house of fun
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come
When I saw the break of day
I wished that I could fly away
Instead of kneeling in the sand
Catching teardrops in my hand
My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind
Out across the endless sea
I would die in ecstasy
But I'll be a bag of bones
Driving down the road alone
My heart is drenched in wine
but you'll be on my mind
Something has to make you run
I don't know why I didn't come
I feel as empty as a drum
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come
From the moment I first heard the above lyrics to Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why?", I was entranced by the song. The clarity of her voice combined with the beautiful melody and these haunting lyrics mesmerized me so much so that I played the song on repeat in my car for weeks. I was introduced to Ms. Jones' "Come Away With Me" CD by way of a Christmas present given to me by my son Ryan. He revels in introducing me to "good" music created by artists of his generation as I'm always telling him that the best that his favorites have to offer is typically sampled from the best of the artists of my generation. No originality I say! Norah was an attempt on his part to prove me wrong...a successful attempt at that! (LOL)
I hadn't listened to the CD for a few weeks, when I popped it into my CD player yesterday, and found myself once again dragged deep into the lyrics. Now, I don't pretend to know what Norah or whoever the songwriter is was thinking when they wrote this song, but for me, it leads to the thought: "What am I really doing? Looking for Mr. Right, or finding excuses for why no one is Mr. Right Enough?" As a 41 year old woman who has never been married but believes in her heart that she would like to be, I find myself wondering why it is that I'm not married, nor even involved in a serious relationship. I date quite frequently, I'm happy to say; though few men impress me as the type of man I think I would like to spend my life with.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, "Through The Fire...", I have been involved in several long-term relationships though none have ended in marriage. I often joke with friends that the one thing all of their failed relationships have in common is their own involvement. As they say, "we joke the truth". Are my failed relationships and my lack of a strong, stable marriage my own fault? Is my own involvement in my relationships the kiss of death that sends them to the relationship burial ground? Are the men I am meeting, dating, and discarding or relegating to the status of "just friends" really unacceptable long-term mates or is that my cover-up for self-sabotaging what I profess to want more than anything else at this point in my life? Is Norah right, "Does something have to make you run?", and if so, "Exactly what is that something in my case?"
I have a friend, [a male friend who I started out dating and sent over to the "just friends" team], who is constantly telling me that I am my own worst obstacle in the relationship quest. He says that though I do have a lot on the ball, my desire to "be sure" is killing any chance I might have for a lasting relationship with a man. He says that when we were dating, I was so "inquisitive" and for me everything was so in-depthly serious that it was difficult for him to respond as he felt that I required too much information too soon. I could argue and say that what he says isn't true, but I would be lying. I am a very "deep" person some would say. I like to really know things and people. I want to know what motivates an individual...what drives them...what do they believe...what do they believe in...what do they live for and for what, would they be willing to die? I feel that I know what I want out of life and to some extent from a relationship; minimally, that would require someone with whom I can be all my deeply inquisitive glory! Thus, when my friend says these things about my sabotaging myself in relationships, I usually respond that when the man who is right for me comes along, this "attribute" of delving so deeply that is so typically me will not frighten or scare him away; it will probably be the thing he loves most about me. I say that anyone who would be scared off by this trait that is so close to being the very definition of me, is more than likely inherently wrong for me. He would be scared away eventually anyway, and for me, sooner is better than later in that case.
Sounds reasonable. Sounds rational. But here in the dark, [Major storms hit St. Louis this afternoon and my home has been without power since about 5pm and it is now 10:11pm as I type this...thank God for back-up computer batteries!], as I lie here alone in my bed typing this post I can't help but wonder: "Is it just a cop-out? " , "Is it what strong, upwardly-mobile, professional, black women who have their so-called shit together say when they are lonely and don't know when or if they are ever going to have the love of that strong, stable, dedicated black man for whom they've waited so long?", or "Is it truly that none of the men I have met and dated are right for me?".
These are the thoughts that sometime come to mind as I [a single queen], lay alone in the king-sized bed in which I sleep and sometimes dream of the king with whom I can one day share it.
"Is Something Making Me Run?"
I Don't Know Why He Doesn't Come...