Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Good in My Hood

The Whip: Last week when I won my car, I was on the verge of tears, but I didn't cry. I was really just overwhelmed. However, this morning, when I watched the woman receive her car, I started bawling. Life has been so much easier with the aid of my new baby though. My free $15 gas card gave me 3/4 of a tank, so though the gas station ass raping is certain, it will be more Ryan Seacrest and less Lexington Steele.

Hot Steaming Relations: It's been a while since I've had sex. I'm not saying I qualify as a female eunuch, but seasons have changed and shit. But given my general disinterest in dating at the present time, combined the report that 37.5% of HIV occurrences in DC stem from heterosexual contact, I guess I'll stick to masturbation, chocolate, the gym, shoe shopping and, um, masturbation.

Good Ass Television: For those of you looking for good television, now is the time to reacquaint yourself with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." This has been a stellar season. I know that some were getting burned out on Mariska Hargitay, but now that she's finally received her Emmy, they're giving us a break. Additionally, "Life" (Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. EST) is delightful.

The Math Master: Last night, I asked Finge how he was doing in school, and questioned him about math. His reply? "I'm sorry, are you talking to me? Are you asking ME about math? ME? The MATH MASTER?"

Neck Tattoos: Color me judgmental, but I find it hard to believe that one has a serious life plan in place when you have "Sexy Black" tattooed on your neck. Other people's names and Asian symbols are even worse. I'm not taking your seriously. I'm not.

Husband Auditions: My homeboy has opined (and I am inclined to agree) that women past a certain age do not so much date, as they audition husbands. To a certain extent, I have done that. Not that I'm in a hurry to walk down the aisle and such, but I have to honestly weigh out, "Can I tolerate the fact that he always corrects my sentences/scratches his ass in public?" and shit like that. Another homeboy of mine stated that more women would do well to do so. With that, I'm on the fence. When you treat every man like a "prospect" you WILL find a husband. However, this does not guarantee you will find the husband that you want. Caveat emptor.

Being Alive: While in conference with my brother from another mother, I was telling him about my blues. His response was that I've been so busy surviving and I need to start living. And, though that sounds right, I haven't got the first clue where to begin. But I'll be damned of the prospect of beginning that journey in my brand new car doesn't sound positively delicious!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good things come to those who


So, it's no secret that autumn hasn't brought the best of news. I found out some more earth shaking information that makes my other issues pale in comparison, but I'm still scratching and surviving.

So imagine how I felt when this happened to me this morning.

It turns out my homegirl was in on the WHOLE thing. Let me state for the record that old girl was really taking a big chance with the police knock that time of morning, but it's gravy. I've been saying prayers of thanks ALL DAY.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Whoa, that was angry...

"I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin' made me think twice. Now I'm thinkin': it could mean you're the evil man. And I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here, he's the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you're the righteous man and I'm the shepherd and it's the world that's evil and selfish. I'd like that. But that shit ain't the truth. The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd."
- Jules Winnfield [Samuel Jackson] "Pulp Fiction"

So, um, wow, that last post ended on kind of a sour note. I broke my rules and altered the post, for the sake of my own dignity more than anything else. The fact remains I'm still angry. And maybe the anger is unfair, and maybe were one to hear the other side of the story, I would come out looking like a complete bitch. If so, I'll BE that. But I think I have the right to be angry, considering after constant reassurance, I get dumped by email and never hear from dude again.

And maybe he has his reasons, and maybe this is a shitty way to air my dirty laundry. But you know what? That was a shitty and fucked up way to handle me, so for now, I am going to pout and stomp my feet and be angry for a little while.

Admittedly, do I have a million other things going on that are exacerbating my issues? Sure. But this is my blog, and I'm going to say what I want on it.

Part of me is thankful, because if a person can walk away so thoughtlessly, well, good fucking riddance. But it's still hurtful and it's still fucked up and it's still shitty. And SICK. Most of all, THAT SHIT IS SICK AND MEAN. And for the record, I'm trying REALLY hard to be the shepherd. I swear I am. But sometimes, it's necessary to be the tyranny of evil men, just to keep yourself from exploding.

Please note, I'm not posting this for "men ain't shit" commentary (though I don't think my female readers subscribe to that theory anyway) nor do I want sympathy. I really just wanted to purge in my own space and be done with it, because I'll be damned if I'm going to ruin my fucking Sunday sniffling and choking back tears all day...fucking up my pedicure and shit.

You know I got posts!

"It's been a long time, I shouldn'ta left you, without a strong [blog] to step to!"
- Rakim "I Know You Got Soul"

Your favorite blogger (that would be me, you ain't know?) has found herself in some heavy shit these last two weeks, which partially explains my being incognegro. Essentially, I've been engaging in some heavy "scheme, scheme, plot, plot" to handle my situation. Well, I've been doing that and playing Hobo Wars on Facebook. Friggin Amadeo got me hooked. (Usually, I would place a link to his blog here, but he's in my "Must Reads" column to your right, so, I'm going to be lazy.) To him, I can say but one thing for getting me hooked on this legalized crack. KHHHHHHAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNN!!!

So I'll be moving, downsizing actually. I'm not thrilled with the ideas, but I'm short on time and choices, so I'm handling my biz. The icing on the cake is that I lost my wallet Friday night. Fortunately, I rarely keep money in it, so I had my trusty $5 in the zippered portion of my purse. I guess that's good. Of course, now I need to get a new driver's license, wait for my new bank and credit cards to come and put out an alert on my license and credit card. This sucks ASS. Last year this time, I was the shuttle bus headed to my cruise. Happy 31st Birthday? (Well, not yet, next Saturday is actually the day.)

I have decided that next year, I am going on an adventure? Have I blogged about this already? Well, I had tentative plans to go on an exciting vacation this summer, but those plans fell through. SOOOOOOO, next year, I'm planning an excursion of my own. I've always wanted to see Venice.

I've come to terms with happily ever after not being for me, and the whole "domestic" thing really not fitting into the lifestyle of this Maverick, so, fuck it. I've finally got it in my mind that obsessing over a person who couldn't give so much as a fart bubble about me is a fairly stupid and pathetic way to live ones life. Frankly, I was doing just fine before his bullshit.

There. I said it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Do You!

When life happens, particularly to women, it is really easy to let yourself go. I woke up this morning and watched "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style." For the most part, the show is made up of women who ease into their roles of wife and/or mother, and forget themselves. I remember when I was going through my drama toward the end of my marriage, I went through a transformation of Quasimodo proportions. My daughter was only three months old, I was as big as a Buick and I felt as though I had the world on my shoulders. I know what it's like to forget who you are. I know what it's like to lose yourself. I know what it's like to spend so much time catering to everyone else's needs, that you know longer see yourself as a being that needs catering of her own.

But I reclaimed my life. And one of the first things I did to signify reclaiming myself was getting a hair weave. . .down my back. In retrospect, I was still lost, and the concept was slightly silly, but it was a step toward rediscovery. Let me rephrase: it was MY step toward rediscovering MYself.

After taking your first step up, no matter how minor it may seem to the outside world, looking back at yourself and where you were is akin to peering down at the Grand Canyon. That's how I felt.

I'm no expert, but when I feel things are out of control, here are seven things that help me:

1) Stop. Literally. You are not Atlas. The world is not going to collapse if you take a breather, Send your kid to the sitter, go in late to work, call in to work altogether, take a power nap. You'd be surprised a brief respite can give you a fresh eye and the ability to cope with any situation.

2) Buy something. Do not talk about retail therapy like it is a bad thing. Granted, I'm not telling you to spend the rent money on a pair of Jimmy Choo slingbacks (*drool* shoes). It doesn't have to be major. Spending $10 on a book or $5 on a latte can do wonders for your attitude. It's not even about the purchase, it's about the feeling of doing something for yourself.

3) Fuzzy slippers and a terrycloth robe are necessities! This is something that is hard to explain. If you own these things, you know what I'm talking about. If you do not own these things, purchase them immediately, and you will know what I'm talking about.

4) Do something that inspires compliments. If you are a good cook, fix a meal for friends or organize a pot luck. If you've got great gams, wear a skirt while you're running your errands. If you have a great smile, show it. When you're down, sometimes you NEED external positive reinforcement.

5) Go to where the cute men are. When I'm in a bad mood, I like to go to Sexy Mart a/k/a Whole Foods Market. Denzel Washington movies are nice, but something about seeing a fine man up close and in person does wonders for the disposition.

6) Stand naked in the mirror and do affirmations. Yeah, you have stretch marks, or a double chin, or, hell, a double stomach. Running from the mirror is not going to change any of those things. You are still a jewel. If you are avoiding yourself, how do you expect other people to be drawn to you? Be comfortable with who you are. Embrace you. The affirmation can either be something you wrote yourself, or it can be something that you borrow until you are able to write your own.

7) Dress up the windows to your soul. When I'm feeling blah, I like to put on liquid eyeliner. There's something magnificently divalicious about it. I've seen even the mousiest of girls "pop" with a little liquid liner. You can't go wrong when you make it sexy.

You betta work!!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Basket Case

"Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once
I am one of those
Melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone
No doubt about it
Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid?
I'm just stoned..."
- "Basket Case" Green Day

So for the past three months or so, I've really thought that I was slowly losing my mind. Murphy's Law reigned my domain. I thought it was an evil ploy. I thought the cosmos had convened and my fate had been decided. I thought that it WAS as bad as I thought and they WERE out to get me.

It all came to a head Monday night. It was seemingly innocuous. Finge checked the mail over the weekend, and somehow, neglected to return the house key to me. I did not discover it was missing until Monday morning. Thank God for the thug in me, because I had to leave home without the key and break into my house that evening. Monday night, I searched my house from top to bottom. Still no key. I broke.

No. You don't understand. I really broke. Over my fucking keys. I searched my house, for three hours, to no avail. I talked to my younger sister, who basically said, "pull it together before I beat the hell out of you." Then, she sent me to bed. For real ya'll. The only thing I was allowed to do was take my shower and go to bed. I turned on the television. She called me back and asked, with bass in her voice I might add, "You have the television on?"

It was just like everything had finally come crashing down on me, and I couldn't take it. I couldn't deal with my kids, my job, my friends. My heart was breaking into a million different pieces for a million different reasons, and I could get a handle on not ONE of those situations. So I went to bed.

And it was Tuesday morning. I woke up, got ready, did my hair (ravashing) and make-up (flawless). It was then that a remembered a quote contained in an email I received a long time ago:

When you feel that nobody loves you,

Nobody cares for you,

And everyone is ignoring you,

You should really ask yourself...

Am I TOO sexy?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Santa Clause is a Bla...GREEDY BASTARD!!

I would greatly appreciated it if someone would explain the following to me: Last night, on my journey home, I looked to my right and, behold, the strip mall was decorated with Christmas wreaths. WHAT? On November SIXTH?! You've got to be shitting me.

Honestly, I've come to terms with the fact that my connection to Kevin Bacon is probably stronger than Jesus' connection to Christmas, but damn.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

File this along with "Speaks So Well"

Hi . . . clueless white people? Hey. It's Mamba. Oh. I'm fine. What's that? No, I'm not calling to finally tell you how I get my hair to "do that." I was reading the pa . . . yes, I read. So, I was reading the paper, and I noticed an item that I was virtually certain we discussed a while back. To be more specific, this item in particular. Now, it was determined, quite some time ago, that black face is racist and offensive.

Wait guys, Kelly Nantel of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement is speaking. What was that, Kelly? "He was not wearing blackface but makeup that was a darker color than his skin?" So, he was just portraying a racially nonspecific dark skinned male with locks - characteristics typically associated with black people. . .on his face? Kelly - sit your stupid ass down.

So, here's an idea, and this is going to be fun. Since people of your ilk seem to enjoy emulating your idea of the black prisoner, people of my ilk will have no choice but to play white policeman and beat you like you stole something. Because, you know, since you're a black prisoner, you probably have. Equitable? No. Well, what about this? After whatever function you are attending ends (because people of your sort seem to think a party ain't a party without blackface), and you are sufficiently liquored up, I drop you off in the hood so you can be effectively, uh, embraced by your element. Still not working?

Well let's try this: every time you think of engaging in your shenanigans, think to yourself, "In another setting, would this get my ass whipped?" If the answer is yes, make another selection. Pleading ignorance is old, and frankly, we are tired.

Monday, November 05, 2007


When I got to the door, I couldn't push it open. I tried to pull it, and that didn't work either. I saw a woman walk through the other door, so I figured this one had to be locked. I pushed. I pulled. When I realized I didn't even have the strength to open the door, I asked myself how I thought I could get up and go to work every day. I turned around and went home.

Thus goes the tale of my mother's first time giving up and her last attempt at a job interview. In my heart, I believe that is the day she began dying.

Truth be told, my mother was the original Maverick. She had been on her own from the age of 18, and there was precious little she could not do for herself - in 3" heels. Her talents were infinite: she was a teacher, a writer, an artist, a fashionista and a counselor. And of course, since she chose to be a mother, she was underappreciated.

She always felt a pang of guilt for putting me through painful procedures that, at two years old, I could not understand. She said that the first time my pain medication wore off, and I felt the effects of what was going on with me, I gave her a look that said, "You did this to me." But I think part of that was just the feelings of a good mother, a healer, who could not ease a pain for which she felt responsible. Rather than handicapping me, she chose to make me strong.

On the one hand, my mother celebrated my spunk. When I wanted to try something new, or difficult, or even just weird and off-kilter, she let me do my thing. Often, it was a benefit to my family. I cooked at an early age (even tackling difficult dishes from scratch), could help with combing hair (which is a big deal when you have four daughters), changed diapers, prepared bottles, you name it. She would often refer to me as "her right arm."

There was a part of her, I know, that viewed my independence with fear. I believe she partially viewed it as a personal rejection. Advice was dispensed in a manner that indicated she didn't expect me to follow it. "I'm saying this, but of course you know everything, so you can do whatever you want." If I was feeling particularly ornery, I would do precisely what I wanted. Unfortunately, what I wanted was usually to irritate her for presuming what I would do. I wasn't engaging in any life-altering behavior, so it was really no big deal. Hell, nobody's perfect; not my mother, and definitely not me.

She had the same love/hate relationship with my fighting spirit. She liked the fact that I wasn't a pushover, but she was concerned about me having a chip on my shoulder. Once, after picking a senseless argument with a much larger girl, she yanked me inside and exclaimed, "SHIT, you'd fight a circle saw knowing you'll get cut!"

Once I became a teenager, as is custom, our realtionship had it's series of ups and downs and downs and downs. From ages 12 to 16, we lived around each other. We sat at opposite ends of the table. Many times I pretended to be engrossed in some such project or another so I wouldn't have to eat with my family, or more specifically her. We were, to a certain degree, strangers. My mother actually went to her deathbed never knowing that I was a writer. At 16, I tried to run away from home. She tracked me down, at that point from her sick bed, and brought me back. When I got home that night, she tearfully looked at me and said, "I know things aren't easy, but I am not your enemy." At the time, I thought she was being dramatic, but that's exactly how I was treating her. But then, I felt that's how she was treating me as well.

My mother, in her way, was shaping me. See, as much as I felt she didn't understand me (and no one ever completely understands anyone else), she knew me. She knew I would be a maverick. She knew I would be THE Maverick. So she made sure I would be able to pay the cost to be the boss.

The second, and last, time I ran away, it was the day after my graduation. We didn't know it, but we would only have six more months together. When she had my father bring me back home, again, we had what I think was the first real, honest conversation in our lives. We don't spend the beginning of our lives listening to our mothers. We hear them, we may follow their advice, but we don't really listen. She told me that when she saw that I was gone, she felt relief. Maybe the house would finally be peaceful. In truth, I can't think of any household ruckus that I wasn't in some way a part of. Her second thought was, I am her child and this was my home. I left because I was hurting, and if I was hurting, I needed to be in my home where I could heal.

And on that day, we both started to heal. We would wake up and drink tea and watch Law & Order and talk. By this time, she was confined to a hospital bed in our den, and I typically put the sofa cushions on the floor and slept there.

My parents sent me on a trip to the East Coast in October of 1994, and shortly upon my return, my mother was admitted to the hospital. I thought it was just one of her "regular" trips, until the day I called her and she began crying on the phone. Her inability to care for herself was tearing her apart. It was then that I understood my mother, for then, I felt rejected. Didn't she know we would have cared for her forever? That was the last time I heard her voice.

I prefer not to remember the last time I saw her. It was the night before she died. She was gasping for breath and was trying to tell me something. Her eyes said it. "Get out." She didn't want to be remembered that way. On our way to see her the next day, there was a terrible traffic jam. She died shortly before our arrival. Five days before my 18th birthday.

Despite that, despite the hurt of losing someone so precious, so soon, I'm okay with my relationship with my mother. I recently reached some sort of explanation:

"The Mundo have a saying that any real love completes itself. The way that you tell a love is not real is that it is always unfinished. It is just sort of hanging there, maybe throughout your whole life, this ache, this longing.

And why is that? I ask him.

It is because when you truly love someone you wish them no suffering, although they must suffer, just in the course of life. You are always reaching out to them, to heal them. They instinctively do the same for you."*

My mother, through her words, stories, examples, and yes, love, even still heals me.

A family friend told me that very shortly before her death, my mother told her, "M is my child that scared me the most. I was so worried. But now, I'm confident that no matter what happens, she's going to be okay. If she's okay, I know the rest of the girls will be too."

I guess that means I healed her too.

*By the Light of My Father's Smile Alice Walker

Friday, November 02, 2007

Nosy Bastid

"Sometimes I feel like I've lost so much I have to find new things to lose. "
- Mozelle Batiste Delacroix "Eve's Bayou"

Today Grumbles, for some reason, decided to ask me about the Chupacabra hunter. My response was a very cool, "We're not together anymore." *deep breath* I got it out. For the first time. Without crying. Milestone. Then he said, "Aw man, what happened?" Well I had no idea the words, "I don't know," could be so difficult to formulate. Even more difficult than that was attempting to master the ability to stave off the tears that were screaming to escape my eyes. Being emotional is one thing. Turning into a basket case in front of a workmate is something entirely different. The more I tried to insist that it was a part of life, and not that big of a deal, the harder I had to fight my tears.

I said some things that I really meant, but really didn't mean. Make sense? I told someone, who I deeply care for, and who before now, was a heavy presence in my corner, that I couldn't be his friend. And on the one hand, I don't know if I can. On the other, I don't know if I can't. I thought if I could actually make a definitive decision for myself, then I could begin to at least make sense of myself, since making sense of what happened between us seems impossible. Nobody told me it would make me feel worse.

My sister said I believe that to live is to suffer. I don't believe my outlook is that morbid, but I have said on more than one occasion that my struggle is what keeps me alive. It is true that I have become so accustomed to scratching and surviving, I fear contentment, because it can be snatched away so quickly. Within a weeks of appreciating my mother as a human being and coming to an understanding, she died. The very week I found out I was pregnant with Ladybug, the very day my then-husband and I finalized our reconciliation and signed our new lease, and within the same HOUR that I bought our bathroom decorations for our new home, I discovered that he had fathered another child - who was three weeks old. Within days of finally gaining the light at the end of the financial tunnel and believing that I had some grasp on what course my life would take, Katrina took everything away. So, when I realized that I met someone who could really pull me in, I was uneasy. When I came to the realization that he had, in fact, pulled me in, I was scared shitless. And though I invested in it, and threw caution to the wind, and did everything else the scarred, yet optimistic do, secretly, I waited for the "boom."

Be careful what you wish for.

I see why I've battled against this for so long. Love is a bitch. Plus, as a wise man once said, "Even the married folks I know (though they love their sig others) are a couple of dirty dishes left in the sink away from calling it quits."

I just wish I wasn't so damn sad. I've always known that I'm ultra emotional, but crying for 35 out of 38 days is a bit much, even for me.

Part of me wishes that I could just forget everything, and go back to the me I was before, because this just hurts so damned bad. Usually, I welcome all experiences, including pain, because it shapes me. However, this time, it just all feels so senseless, I don't know what the lesson could be other than love just isn't for me, and I don't know if I'm ready to accept that.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


The carpet is a green shag - tres seventies; the stairs seem impossibly high. No one else is around. I want to be upstairs, so I decide to climb. I place my hands on the second step from the bottom; lifting my right leg, I lurch upward and forward. Step one. This process is repeated a second time. I don't have the floor as a balance, so I use my hands to assist my right leg in pulling me upward. On the third attempt, my right leg gets caught in the long Holly Hobby dress my mother made for me, I lose my grip on the carpet and slide backward - back to square one. I try this again with the same result - two steps; slide. I try again, and again, and again. Finally, I scream in frustration. The body cast that begins beneath my rib cage, goes across both hips and renders my entire left leg immobile is truly cramping my style. I am alone. I am fighting. I am two years old.

This is my first memory of myself, and as such, I consider it my defining moment. Whenever I recall this, it is assigned the mental caption "Birth of the Maverick" (who preceded Black Mamba by several years.) I know that my parents were somewhere nearby, because when I screamed, one of them promptly came to my aid; yet, even then, I needed to do things myself. Go take care of those other suckers. I GOT this.

I've always hated to admit that there are things in this world I can't handle myself. This trait infuriated my parents, and I'm fairly certain they believed I did this to spite them. Rather than surmising that I came from self-sufficient stock, they presumed that I was rejecting them, so, in a sense, they rejected me. This wasn't done in a neglectful way. It was actually quite subtle. And also quite understandable. Part of me liked it that way. They had a loose idea of my interests, kept tabs on my friends, made sure I was home on time, talked to me about sex and drugs. The definitely followed the good parents rule book. Most of all, they loved me, which is something I can't stress enough. I live by the rule that I love people in the way they allow me. I think that is what my parents did with me. They didn't exactly quit, but they didn't put themselves in a position where they could be fired either. Ours was a relationship filled with ferocious love, yet casual disinterest.

In order for me to do this justice, get some sleep, and avoid being a terrible bore, I think I'll address my relationship with each of them in my next two posts.