The Day I Looked A Mess...And Didn't Know It!

Many moons ago I had a male best friend.  He was my +1 to everything and I, his.  Everyone who met us thought we would make a great couple.  There was just one problem:  he and I were just not into each other.  He was like a brother from another mother...and father.  As the days turn into years since we haven't had any interactions, the "missing my friend" feelings don't give way.  There are just some heartaches and pains that you just don't get over. You just learn to live with it - redefine your new normal and try to adjust as best as you can.  That's where I am.


The Olive Garden "Never-Ending-Pasta-Bowl" commercial was just on my television.  Like with so many other things, I immediately thought of the him.  This particular time, the infamous outfit I wore when I took him to the Olive Garden to celebrate his 25th birthday.  About a year later, when it was time for his new birthday dinner, we laughed about my horrendous outfit and why he failed to let me in on looking a damn mess.  Hindsight is motherfu**er.

Jennifer Lopez was a huge sensation around the time I wore this horrendous outfit. Somewhere in my head I got the fashion-game phucked up.  I normally don't buy into fashion trends because of two reasons:  I don't have the svelte figure that you need to sometimes wear trendy clothes and I've always just loved classic lines and classic colors.  Some of my ways have carried over.

My mother has her say about a lot of the things that I buy (I'm sorta a shopaholic), but when it comes to shoes...she understands.  She always tells me the stories about the trips to Buster Browns and Stride Rite when I was a little girl.  Starting around 3 years old, we would go in the stores and I would always have to leave with three or four pairs of shoes.  While, I was never a child that threw temper-tantrums or pouted often, when shoes were involved I became another person. 

But I digress...

This is how I looked in my head; but that's not how it turned out.
I should have known my outfit was over the top and ridiculous when I walked outside to get in his car and he said, "Jenny from the Block."  I thought it was a damn compliment.  See this is how you know you are in deep denial - when a man who never makes any comments about what you have on suddenly does and it's not exactly clear as to what he is saying.  But, you couldn't tell me nothing.  I imagine that's how most people are when they think they are doing it BIG.  I had on a pair of white cargo pants that tied at the bottom, black "Manolo Blahnik-Timberland-like" boots, a blank tank top, and "Kangol-like" cargo hat with a ponytail resting to the side.  My make up was still fly - opting for warm classic tones - Orb eyeshadow, Phloof highlight, and C-Thru Lipglass.  I rolled up in Olive Garden, on Rt. 22 in Union, thinking, "This dude should be proud to be seen with me, good as I got myself looking up in here." *smiles* I'm sure he was thinking, "I'm so glad I'm not with this chick and if someone asks I can say, 'this is my best friend and she's treating me to dinner for my birthday."  Looking back, I don't even blame him.  Hell, I wish I wasn't in that restaurant with me.  I'm just grateful that we did not take a picture that night.

Now my question to my 22-year-old-self is, "The boots and the Kangol hat though?"  It might have been a decent outfit had I not done overkill:  no hat with a side ponytail or even a bun and some simple black peep toe shoes.  I learned a valuable lesson about fashion trends and overkill a year from that day... stay classic and stay away from trends.  You ARE NOT that girl that can pull of trends.

So for those of you that know me and wonder why all of my designer purses are black or most of my shoes are classic colors and not over the top, or why I only shop in specific stores, and why I don't wear a lot of accessories, I learned from experience and I'm applying it to my life.  I don't ever want to look a hot mess again...and NOT BE AWARE!

Because knowing is only half the battle....



I could not have been more than 8 years old the first time I saw Sparkle.  I remember the entire scene.  It was winter time, me and my cousin, Danielle, were not permitted to go outside.  My mom was cooking in the kitchen and my Aunt Michelle (Danielle's Mom) was in the living room braiding Kimberly's (Danielle's little sisters) hair with us.  Aunt Mickey was flipping through channels when she stopped at Sparkle.  Because the movie looked like a "classic" Danielle and I protested, "Let's watch cartoons."  Aunt Mickey not interested went on braiding Kim's hair.

I think because the movie begins with a church scene (and we were devout church attendees back then), we quieted down and watched the movie. 


Danielle and I were hooked.  Like, seriously hooked.  Eventually, they bought us the VHS tape.  And every weekend Danielle and I would watch Sparkle.  We took turns each weekend of who would be Sparkle and who would be Sister.  I don't think we ever even took the time to remember the other sisters name.  As time went on, we built up our stage presence living room scene.  We eventually got long gloves and faux jewelry for the music scenes. We knew the words to each song word for word, chord for chord. We knew all the choreography - those hand movements were seriously underestimated.  I would hate the weekends that I'd have to be Sister...because my songs would end at a piece of "Giving Up is Hard to Do" just before the ambulance sirens blared and Danielle would chime in with "Precious Lord" as she played beloved Sparkle.

We had lots of haters/supporters (can't really tell who is who when you're on the verge of a huge success) back then because our family would always talk about us.  They seemed to enjoy it.  But you know you can't tell a hater from a supporter when you're young and doing the damn thing. Nah mean?!
 If you're thinking that we can sing or that we have any kind of tone, then you would be absolutely WRONG!  But I digress because that has NOTHING to do with NOTHING. *smiles*

For "Look Into Your Heart", the one who played Sister that weekend would do Stix's verses. I lived for the weekends that it was my turn to be Sparkle: I'd wear a red shirt so I could be thoroughly prepared for my scene at Carnegie Hall at the end of the movie.

We probably did this entire scene weekend after weekend until we were about 10 years old.  Yes, we rode that play-scene for a long time. Well at least until we discovered Another Bad Creation.  This is why the remake means so much to me.  The idea of it takes me back to a place when my cousin and I were so close.  We had a very amazing relationship for most of our life - our experiences in this life are quite similar and we have always been able to truly empathize with eachother, even as children. 

Yesterday, my cousin Danielle reached out to me--I haven't spoken to her since April--and said, "You know we have to go see this movie together; for old times sake."

And you know what, I could not even imagine seeing it with anyone else.  I believe she and I are the only ones who understands how much we loved Irene Cara, Lonette McKee, Phillip Michael Thomas, and company in the original.

I'm looking forward to seeing the remake (and possibly a remake of our relationship).  Of all the people in this world, don't nobody know me the way she does! Nobody!


Rest In Peace, Common Sense

(My best friend's mother sent me this email on a forward)!

An Obituary printed in the London Times

Interesting and sadly rather true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend,

Common Sense , who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition...

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.. If you still remember him, pass this on.


Raining Pain

Why is rain synonymous with pain and heartache?

Some of the earliest sad love songs that I can remember my mother blaring through her JVC cassette stereo all mention pain, tears, and rain.  Her favorites were obviously marked by my memorization of the lyrics to "In the Rain" by The Dramatics, The Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain", and Milira's "Go Outside In The Rain". 

It is now painfully obvious to me that my mother has been living with horrendous heartache since she was twenty-three years old.  The love of my mother's life was killed in front of her three days after they were married by his baby's momma's boyfriend.  Though she had other relationships after his death and gave birth to an amazing little girl, her heart has never quite healed.  Thirty-two years later every Saturday morning, you can walk into my mother's home and hear plenty of artists wishing it would rain so they could go outside and cry away their pain.

A little more than 8 months ago, I ended a relationship on principle.  The proverbial line in the sand had been drawn.  And I made it clear that he should stay exactly where he is because I was moving forward after 4.5 years. I just wrote that as if it was so easy for me to get over another failed relationship  took some time to figure out the lessons that I obviously had to learn.  Truthfully, it required the use of some a lot of sick days.  The curtains were drawn all day, all night.  I never turned the lights on.  I watched the television with the volume on low or mute.  My phone was on silent or off.  I disappeared from family and friends.  I told no one about the line in the sand.  Or my decision to not cross it.  I was not checking emails, text messages, social networks, etc.  Sadly, each day I hoped that Mike Woods (FoxNY Weather) would promise rain in the forecast so I could open my curtains and blinds.  I needed the weather outside to look like what I felt on the inside and to match the paindrops tears steadily streaming from my ducts. I probably cried for two weeks straight - at work and all.  I believe I was trying to keep my pain fresh...so someway, somehow I was still holding onto or connected to the relationship him. 

As my God would have it, the sun shined everyday for two months while I slowly healed and patched the pieces of my heart back together with Scotch tape.  And while Kelly Price's "The Rain," put some of my pain in perspective, my mother's lifelong battle with heartbreak pushed me onward.

The day it finally rained, my mother and I went out to dinner to get me out of my apartment. In the car she says, "I hate rainy days. The day L**** was killed it was raining and the pain of losing him surfaces with every raindrop. I know you're hurting and I know you loved him very deeply and it doesn't seem like the pain is ever going to end, but it will.  I would have rather broken up with L**** for whatever absurd or disappointing reason, then losing him the way that I did.  Only God knows his plans."

My lesson:  I am blessed that I was able to love as deeply as I had and now having an opportunity to reconcile my pain and my disappointment with my failed relationship.  And getting better prepared for my next.

And with that story my mom led me into Letting Go and Letting God.


Going Home...

Every week, for the last four weeks, I have attended a "Going Home" service for an Uncle. Today, my cousin will be laid to his final rest. And I will NOT be there. I want to go and show signs of support for my Aunt Michelle and his sisters and brothers, but I am just unable to watch him lay so still... We weren't really close, but we grew up together. And every time I take a minute to think about him and his twin (because you can't think about one without the other) I start crying. He was 32 years old. Thirty-two. It really does hurt. A lot. I keep replaying the last time I saw him and the jokes he had...the jokes he always had. Or when we were younger and they (him and his twin) would pick up me and their little sister and walk us to the Boy's and Girl's Club of Newark. I wonder if he knew how much I loved him. And though we did not speak often or see each other often in our adult years, that I did love him. Life is so tentative. I have to make better habits of letting the people I love know that I love them and stop wasting my time with people taking up time. Tough times. Real tough times.


Is Your Relationship Our Business

If I was walking down the street and I saw a man hitting on a woman or vice versa, I would probably call the police. I stress probably. There's a problem with butting into the affairs of others - they don't want you there.

I know there are times when I vent to just about anyone about how frustrated I am when it comes to my boyfriend and the situations we truck through. I don't mind when people give me their input, I just get a little aggravated when people take what I say and then expect me to automatically apply their advice. Life doesn't work that way. People are going to be who they are and people are going to do what they want no matter what society thinks or doesn't. Sometimes people will see the picture that you paint for them, but sometimes no matter how you try to paint the picture a person will interpret it differently because perception is reality. I try not to think too much on other people's relationship. I'm very guilty of it, but trust and believe I'm more worried about "my" him, then I am anyone else.

I was reading Nina's blog about Chris Brown and Rhianna a little while ago. As you can see, everyone that listens to pop music in the world has something to say regarding Rhianna's decision to return to Chris Brown and their relationship. Apparently, her leaked TMZ.com photo gave everyone and their mother the right to tell her what she should and shouldn't do. I don't have an opinion on the matter because I'm not her. As a woman who prays to God daily to give me strength, I can only pray that her decision is based on the same strength I request daily. If I were in a situation where I was being physically, mentally, or spiritually abused by my man I would pray that the strength would carry me away from him.

Although I do have an opinion on domestic violence, I don't let it get in the way and allow me to make comments and/or judgments regarding someone else's relationship. All I can say is, "She's doing what she feels is best for her." I know that everything I choose to do is what I feel is best for me at the time. I may look back at it years, months, even days, later and see that wasn't the best choice...but at least I made a choice instead of having it made for me.

I am a victim of domestic violence...not directly, but indirectly. I have a cousin, with whom I am very close, that has been involved in a domestic relationship for more than 10 years. There have been times after they've argued and fought that I've crawled out my bed at 2:30am and drove into New York to pick her up and bring her back to New Jersey. I've made ice packs and such for her swollen and bloody eyes, split lips, and bruises. I've cried with her because I've hurt with her. At one time, I put a lot of distance between she and I, for several months, because she just refused to leave and I needed her to leave. Unfortunately, she wasn't ready to leave. There's nothing I can do about that. Her situation was hurting her and therefore hurting me. I, eventually, began reaching out to her again and let her know that I would always be there...no matter what. I also told her that if I'm ever around and you and him get into it I'm calling the cops...for both of their safety.

I don't judge my cousin's situation. I don't even give her reasons to leave. She doesn't need anymore reasons. She knows why she isn't supposed to be there. And only she and God knows why she stays. So I don't get into the "You're better than this. You're a beautiful woman. You should put your foot down." She already knows this...but for some reason, that I can't understand, she stays.

I don't know if I could be her. I could be. I'm susceptible to the same ills of life that she is. I'm controlled by my emotions, and not my head, just like her. So I don't judge. I, barely, get involved. I support her. And everyday I wonder if I'm supporting her right to make a decision in the way she chooses to live [or end] her life or if I'm enabling by giving her places to go to heal. But will she ever heal from this?

But how much of their relationship is my business?!? *huge sigh*


Inside, Out

I love backwards and fowards, inside and out, with my heart hanging all out. I prefer it that way. When I do something I really don't like to go half-ass with it, but all the damn way. I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. Usually.

But sometimes I get in my own way. I make potholes, detours, and obstacles in what should be a smooth road. I'm as unpredictable as the weather. More, in fact.

Typically, I know what I want, and I want it when I want it but if for the slightest chance of rejection (pothole) potentially awaiting me up the road, I'll stop my journey and turn my half-black ass around. Quick, fast and in two hurries.

Why do I think I need a road map(it all laid out)? Why do I assume there is always going to be bumps in the road? Why can't I just cruise along and deal with shit as it happens? Why do I plan ahead for it and when it doesn't happen, I make it happen? Most times I create the damn bumps and/or obstacles in the road... My late maternal grandfather used to repeatedly ask, "Why do you always have to choose to take the hard road?" I replied, "Why do you assume that I see two roads?"

I live my life the only way I know how...unfortunately it's not proving to be a great way. I'm very guarded with all the wrong people. I'm all wide open to the people who don't deserve it. It's as if I select the people who I know can and will hurt me and then I give them just enough room and access to do so ... just so I can say, "I told you so!" or validate the misery, pain and misfortuantes battled during the course of my life.

For the record, I found out HE IS NOT ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL HURT ME and I gave him more than enough room and plenty of opportunities. So I let go anyway and now he's on the guarded side. I had to let go. Because what if I turned him into one of them. You know they say a woman has the ability to break a man down. Change him, sometimes, inadvertantly. But because I love him just the way he is - raw, real, undeniable, honest, intelligent, caring, charasmatic, comfortable and secure - I needed to do him a favor and get my negative-infecting ass away from him. Perhaps, I was a good girl once, but an asshole/idiot changed my outlook and my appearance...now I'm just miserable in a beautiful pair of stilettos.

I'm all traveled out. I've ran myself ragged on this road trying to get here - the end. Slowly, but surely I've been dragging his ass forcebly to this place. He tried to stop me, but I am too quick for him. I had to make sure we finished this road nice and early, beacuse I knew it was going to lead to a Dead End.

But now I hope - just a little that God shows me- that we're on a cul-del-sac and someway we can get turned around and get going again... on a different road!! The right road, the one that doesn't end, but splits at the fork and leads us to other places. Sane places.

I think I'm lost on this road especially now since I'm alone. Perhaps I am really lost. I know I'm alone. I don't know how I should go about ... Or getting in touch with ... so I can say .... and he truly know that I really mean what I don't do and not half of what I say, but all of the look in my eyes expresses how I feel. I'll always remember that look on his face... that look of misunderstanding. The where is all this all coming from when you were just in my arms? :::sigh:::

I'll never forget those feelings that emerged that made it hurt to say the words or the tears that I pushed back deep down inside to hide my regret, so I just mustered the courage and I said, "I just need a break from us. Me and you. This."

Then I heard a bump in the road; it was my heart hanging out, backwards and forwards, shattering from the inside, out! I guess I prefer it that way.