Monday, July 28, 2008

Blind Date Horror

So ya’ll know that I use this blog as a bit of a journal. Some of the things that you read are things that happen to me that I post almost immediately. So here’s another entry. A little over a year ago, I was set up on a blind date by a friend who thought that I needed an escape out of a situation I was in. It’s funny how people think getting over someone automatically means meeting someone new. That’s not always the case – especially not with this instance. I wasn’t ready to “move” but I agreed to go on this god-awful date anyway. I tried being positive but there really wasn’t anything to be positive about. We didn’t mesh well, had nothing in common, and he had absolutely no drive or ambition. Friendship is one thing, but we were introduced romantically and there was no vibe. After a few dates he decided to act like he wanted to get serious after I honestly expressed to him that I wasn’t ready for anything with someone else. I think the last time that I saw him was July of last year and the last time we spoke was October of last year. After that last conversation I stopped answering his calls and prayed that he’d either forget I existed or accept the fact that friendship was all he was going to get. Needless to say, ya girl wasn’t interested, at least not in anything more than friendship. Skip forward twelve months and I get a phone call out of the blue from you know who. I ignored it at first and then I figured he wanted nothing more than to say “hello” and call it a day. So I call him back, so as not to look like a complete bitch. We had a pretty good conversation and he informed me that he’d be in the area visiting family and wouldn’t mind us having dinner to catch up. I didn’t see any harm in us having dinner so I agreed and we met. For some reason something didn’t feel right about our meeting. All day at work I was dreading seeing him. He’d left me several messages on my phone during the course of the day. I wanted to back out but he’d already arrived and was waiting for me at the designated meeting place. I went with my gut and drove myself. I didn’t want him to pick me up and drive me anywhere. Those funny feelings we most often need to follow and foolishly ignore. Fortunately, he didn’t know where I lived. So we had dinner and I talked about my love life and how things were going with me. I asked him about his and he instantly began complaining. I tried coaching him (like a friend would do) but he constantly veered the conversation to the far left and tried to make “this” a date. I corrected the waiter when he assumed we were married. An innocent mistake but I made it clear that we were just friends. I was so hell-bent that I think everyone in the restaurant knew we were . . . JUST FRIENDS! It was a meal between FRIENDS. But after a while buddy wigged out on me. He jumped off of the subject of career ambition and onto the subject of sex. He found it shocking that I hadn’t had too much “experience” and thought it only proper for the two of us to . . . ya’ll know what I’m getting at! Our “relationship”, even with the few outings that we’d been on together, was never physical. Well, nothing more than a tap-tap hug. The ones that say, “Let me go before I come out of my skin” all the while you’re constantly tapping them on the back and giggling nervously. I was appalled at the gall of him to suggest such a thing after I’d made it plain that we were JUST FRIENDS and I was happy with my life as it was. I tried to explain to him that I’m not one of those women that has the desire to try on partners like Manolo Blahniks. I like the one pair that works and I’m happy with that. He wasn’t satisfied and continued to mock me and my experience as a woman. Let me just say . . . lots of experience does the opposite of make you a good woman but I digress. Okay so maybe I have to eat the fact that I shouldn’t have agreed to have dinner with him. I really thought that he (being 9 years older than me) was more mature than that. I mean damn. It was the Hand of God (no lie) that got me out of there. I got a phone call concerning a family emergency and that was my ticket. I haven’t heard from him since Friday and I want to keep it that way. Ugh!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Black In America: The Black Man

Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve grown to adore Black men. There’s nothing like them! I’m proud to be a Black woman but let’s face it . . . we’re nothing without our brothas. Even though we share the same skin (in a myriad of hues) we’ll never understand (as Black women and white Americans) what being a Black man is really like. They bear much of the brunt of our struggle. In last night’s installment of BLACK : IN AMERICA: The Black Man, we were given an inside look at the plight of Black men in America - the land where freedom rings, so to speak. But how free are we? How free are they – our Black men? I’ve done what I did yesterday and listed a few of the segments covered in Soledad O’Brien’s documentary on CNN. You can comment on as many of them as you like and I honestly don’t believe you have to have seen the airing to be able to comment. Let me just say that on top of the love that I already have for them, I’ve developed a concrete and unmovable appreciation for the men that . . . hold us down. There’s nothing like a Black man.

The affect of single parent (fatherless) homes on Black men . . .

Two Americas (for Black men): The [Black] America of Opportunity and The [Black] America of Demise – How can our Black men excel in a world designed to instigate their failure?

Racist Laws (Laws conspired to hold US back) – The same laws drafted to “protect” are the same ones that keep us below the majority. Crack cocaine (the Black drug) bears more of a penalty than “powder” (cocaine in it’s purest form or the “White” drug).

Are we lazy or did we teach YOU how to work? – Black men combating the “lazy” stereotype.

Are you a “sell out” because you want to better yourself? (i.e. speaking “too white” – code switching and wanting to better yourself)

Need for family – The rise (and apparent need) for gangs among Black men.

75% Blacks compared to the 44% of whites treated harshly by law enforcement.

Prison University – The Alma Mater of majority of the minority.

Where are the Black fathers?

Black in Corporate America.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Made for BLACKNESS (poem by ME)

This is a poem that I wrote a couple years ago and I wanted to share it with you guys. I thought this was appropriate for this week's discussion! So . . . enjoy! Peace out (until tomorrow)!

Made for Blackness
Poem by: Ashley McCann

What have I done wrong?
I guess I was born
Born Black
Held back and held down with the iron hand of my oppressor
You pickanini, tar baby, skillet, porch monkey
Nigger – ugly and less than
Ignorant and just plain stupid

But mothered your children and taught you how to season your food
My ignorance was my ticket
My ticket out of the hell you put me through
When I was hangin’ them clothes on the line and singin’ “Meet Me Down By the River”
I was organizing my freedom
My freedom to be black and to love it
‘Cause baby, I was made for BLACKNESS

For so long my skin was my sin
Something unfortunate; deemed a bitter end
But it became my fortune; my pride
I can look at my skin, and the texture of my extra-extra curly hair, my round lips and thick thighs
With honor, dignity, and love
This is who I am
A beautiful black woman

Looking at the old post cards, figurines, and statuettes of Aunt Jemima and black women made to serve their “superiors”
I fume, ache, and my eyes tear
Knowing what she went through just to survive
To survive
Then I look closer and I see the strength in her back
So that I could come along and stand on her shoulders
I look at that smile – plastered and fake
But behind that smile I read
If your dumb a** only knew how intelligent, clever, sage, and astute I really am
And if I got, you know my babies gon’ have it
‘Cause dey was made for BLACKNESS too
And don’t take my dialect as stupidity
I got away from you didn’t I?
I was made for BLACKNESS

And I come from good stock
Women that taught me that my being was necessary
Women like – Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ella Baker, Mary McCleod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Angela Davis, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Augusta Savage
Articulate, proud, and BLACK

Joann Harriet McCann – my mama
Hannah Belle Butler – her mama
Viola McCann – my daddy’s mama
Strong, resilient, and BLACK

We were made for BLACKNESS
Yet you still inject your lips, lay out, and resort to silicone to make yourself look like me
All I can say is – I got it!
We’ve got it
And you don’t
Beautifully, fearfully, and wonderfully made for BLACKNESS

Being black is no longer my stigma
But my staple
My symbol that I’ve overcome
And will keep coming until you recognize who I am
I’m a woman
Intelligent, resilient, black
Strong, prideful, beautiful, and BLACK
A BLACK woman

Black In America: Black Women and Family

Ugh . . . where to begin!?!?!?! For those of you in the know, the first installment of the Black in America documentary overwhelmed us with a wealth of information. Black Women and Family was an incredibly eye-opening journalistic experience. Soledad O’Brien did the footwork and compiled a two-hour long “wrap-up” of what it means to be Black in America. For those of you that did your Life or Something Like It . . . homework and watched this documentary you know that there was so much information covered that there is no way for me to make this a succinct summary of sorts. So, I decided to list the segments covered and have you pick one, two, or a few and elaborate on your views of the issues. Oh and you don’t have to be black to voice your views, concerns, or feelings about what was discussed. I actually believe that that would make for added dimension in today’s chop-up. But if it’s just us, let’s make it good. Give it to me. I want to hear it! All of it! EVERYONE should have something to say today. Talk to me. You can do me one better and cut and paste this into emails and forward it to your friends and co-workers. Email me their responses. The series will only impact us if we work it – the right way. Acknowledgement equals progress and we’ll only progress if we take hold of what’s going on with and within us as a culture. Let’s get it!

Segments covered:
Interracial Intimacies – “You said you got a white cousin?” The Rand Clan (Segment enlightened us on the prominence of slave owners taking advantage of female slaves; we’re not 100 proof)

Drop out rates among African Americans – 50% of African American’s will receive a high school diploma

Exploited Education – Should incentives be offered to children for them to have a desire to learn or does this teach them to work for success?

Poverty’s impact on Education

Healthcare and African Americans in America

Fatherless homes – The single Black mother

The Black Single and Successful Women – Do we get married anymore, is success all we need to keep us “satisfied” or are we being forced to date outside of our race to meet compatible men?

Racial Boundaries Exposed – Can we raise our interracial children properly while teaching them to appreciate both (or all) of the races that make them human or are they destined for a life fueled by hate and confusion?

AIDS and its effect on African American Women (Blacks account for nearly 50% of the AIDS cases in America and among women diagnosed with the disease in this country, 2/3 are African American)

Black on Black Crime – Our inappropriate comfort level with the violent deaths of Black men in America

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black In America

What's up guys? Yes, I know I was supposed to post the NAs review yesterday but I'm going to give the review on Friday after the Black In America airings have been discussed. Which brings me to one VERY important announcement. Black in America airs tonight at 9:00pm on CNN. Please, watch it. Better still encourage someone else to watch it as well. I think it will not only open our eyes but the eyes of white Americans as well. Tomorrow . . . we begin our deep discussion about being BLACK IN AMERICA.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Topics - July 22-25

I figured since you all are enjoying summer and all I'd give you a bit of a break for the next couple of days but we're going to pick up on Tuesday and here are the things we'll be discussing:

Tuesday July 22 - Week In Review Nas Untitled Album - Discussion based around the deeply controversial Nas album (Nigger). I'm listening to it now and let me just say . . . this is going to be a great discussion. The album was released Tuesday, July 15 go cop it, listen and listen good! Then we'll chop it up. Can't wait!

Wednesday thru Friday July 23-25 - Black in America - This will air on CNN Wednesday and Thursday of next week. We'll begin our own discussion Wednesday, watch the first airing Wednesday, discuss Thursday and so on . . . Watch it! this one is going to be a good discussion too!

So get your minds ready for some intelligent conversation. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say about next weeks issues. Be safe, be as good as you can be, have a great week and I'll holla Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One F.I.N.E. Day

It’s rare that I open a discussion with a question but here goes. Have you ever noticed that when someone is having an “emotional breakdown” and you ask them what’s wrong they quickly answer “I’m fine!” The two words alone exude an emotionalism that represents the opposite of what’s been said. All of us have experienced someone like this (even if we’re the basket case on the other end) but have you ever taken the time to consider what the word FINE actually means in the mind of an exceedingly emotional person? No? Well, you know I’m about to tell you. One of my best girlfriends (yes, this is the same chic I’ve referred to on more than one occasion) and I had one of our deeply theoretical and analytical discussions a few months back. Allow me to set the stage. The two of us are not your typical emotionalists. We cry when we’ve “had it” – more so out of anger and frustration than sadness. Our tears are mere manifestations of us not being able to name and place all of the shit that’s going on in our heads. We think first (and this thinking isn’t always logical – at least not for me), we analyze, and then we wear it rather than release it. We make it a part of us. Our favorite phrase . . . you guessed it . . . “I’m fine!” One particular day we were both having one of those days. You know the ones. The days when nothing’s going right. You call the ones that are supposed to care simply to vent and you don’t get an answer, you feel overlooked, neglected, slighted, and forgotten, co-workers are constantly pissing you off, money’s funny and you can’t think straight (or in our cases – we’re thinking entirely too much). The first circumstances mentioned are usually the reasons that the latter instances become too much to handle (if you need a refresher go back and read the list of “make me crazy” instances). One thing always seems to make everything else appear damn near unbearable. Now picture the two of us going through this and trying to help each other through this emotional whirlwind. Too funny. So instead of explaining what we thought we might be feeling we decided to take a different approach. I think the first thing that she said was . . .uh huh . . . “I’m fine!” and I think we both started thinking about the adjective – FINE. I believe I asked a question similar to the one that I’ve opened this post with today. Long story short, we turned it into an acronym and she mentioned it to me earlier this week epitomizing the type of day . . . no, the type of week I’ve been having. This is our definition of FINE. Ready? Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. Now, tell me that’s not the most accurate definition you’ve heard for that “I’m fine!” phrase in a while. Oh and you can’t forget the exclamation point which punctuates that “hostility”. “I’m fine!” I don’t have a question today. I’m just taking this opportunity to get this off my chest but needless to say, I’ll never look at that word/phrase the same again. So, I’ve just given you all a little inside track into the world of two very analytical and emotional people who are probably more sane than we may come across to people that don’t necessarily “get” us. The next time you’re having one of THOSE days and someone asks how your day is going, just say . . . “Oh I’m just having a FINE day.” The beautiful reality of that is that they’ll assume one thing but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve explained your day on so many levels without having to say too much at all. You’ve also acknowledged your four possible issues to yourself without suppressing them and then blowing up later. “I’m FINE!” You didn’t lie. You’re day was . . . .FINE. Yeah, I guess I just needed to vent. If you’re having a FINE day or week (in my case). . . join the FINE club. If not . . .offer some insight to the rest of us as to how to deal. “Oh Ashley’s having a FINE week!” Be good ya’ll. I’ll holla tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Satire = Insult

Okay, so I've decided to take a bit of a break from my usual relationship banter to indulge in some current issues that have been going on in the media. I guess it goes without saying, that Barack Obama is taking a great deal of heat from the media, which happens with any political campaign. The first instance that struck me as peculiar and down-right disappointing were the comments that were made by fellow Aggie Jesse Jackson. If you didn't know about this . . . just type JESSE JACKSON in any search engine and you'd be surprised how many hits you'd get about this one subject. Then The New Yorker, a magazine published in the city bearing the same name, released it's most recent issue with an interesting depiction of Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama. If you haven't seen it, I'm going to describe the images to you. The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. The main argument for this cover image was that it was political satire and that was all it was meant to be. Hmmmm. In the satirical cartoon the senator is clad in a turban (a blatant image to satisfy the accusations that he's a terrorist) and Michelle Obama is rockin' an afro, army fatigue, and a shot gun. It appears that the husband and wife team are "dappin' each other up." Oh and did I forget to mention that there is an American flag burning in the fireplace and portrait of what looks like Osama bin Ladin is hanging over the same fireplace. No matter how much the media tries to make this out to be "funny", it really boils down to blatant insult and a bold attack disguised as comedy. Even though the magazine is based around the satirical cartoons, they're making a serious statement and they always have. I'm not really sure what I want to ask today. I guess I just want some feedback and your thoughts on these recent instances. Feel free to share your thoughts on both. I'm just curious to hear what you all have to say . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Strength Made Perfect

Most of the posts that I share with you all are drawn from personal experiences or experiences that friends and acquaintances share with me. Today is no different. Yesterday a close friend of mine and I were chatting online and we had a pretty profound conversation (as always). The conversation started with us chopping up our flaws. The things that we struggle with in relationships. The things that we have a hard time letting go of and the things that often times pose as hindrances in our dealings with men. (Sidebar: she’s in a pretty serious situation with a great guy that adores her) So we talked for a while and we both came to the conclusion that it all comes down to vulnerability, letting go, and embracing our strength in different ways (Tuesday’s post). Sacrificing who we think we’re supposed to be and be what we need to be for whomever it is that we’re with. The two of us are both pretty independent and have a hard time coupling our independence and self-sufficiency with dependence on whomever we’re dating at a particular time. This issue first arises when you’re trained in unhealthy relationships NOT to depend on someone that’s NOT dependable, but I digress. It’s almost as though dependence becomes a weakness in our eyes and it’s a hard thing to shake. We’re trained to be women as little girls but we’re not always trained to be women in relationships. That’s something we have to teach ourselves through trial and error. Because the two of us are so used to rollin’ dolo (for lack of a better phrase), we own it, and are comfortable with it, when we are with someone we don’t know how to switch or perfect the balancing act of being the independent woman and the woman who has dependence on the man that she loves. Please, don’t misunderstand this as meaning we are weak but in all honesty, there is a level of dependence on your partner that has to be present. Men need to feel wanted and needed. We know this yet we continue to struggle with allowing ourselves to need. I made this statement, “We train ourselves not to need (in this case a man) but in all actuality it’s the need for them that’s the only thing that feeds us.” Now as I’ve said before, I don’t claim to know it all as far as men, women, and relationships are concerned. That’s not the case at all. I think I’m just struggling with the dependent and independent thing and am looking for a little advice from my fantastic readers. Ladies, do you view dependence as evidence of your weakness? Is showing weakness in relationships a negative thing or is this further evidence of the soft strength that we as women have? How can we balance the two and be what we need for both our selves and our significant others? Just a few questions that I honestly don’t have the answers to.
P.S. I love quotes and one came to mind that aptly fits into today's discussion. 2 Corinthians 12:9(b) - For my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Help me out!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shortie's Buggin . . .

So I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine yesterday. He’s married and enlightened me on an issue that he and his wife have been struggling with for the past few days. This past weekend the couple spent some time in Richmond with family for the holiday and his mother prepared dinner and had some friends over. One of his mother’s friends brought along their daughter (college age) and from what my friend told me she was cute. Long story short . . . his wife noticed him admiring her “cuteness” and accused him of staring, being gross and disgusting, and being aroused (to put it mildly) throughout dinner. He denied the accusations and the two haven’t said more than a few words to each other since this weekend. Before posting this I offered some insight into the world of women and told him that this just may not be about him at all. I said, and I could very well be wrong, but I said that his wife could’ve very easily felt insecure because of the presence of another woman that she knew for herself was attractive. Instead of being secure in the fact that she had a wonderful man on her arm that loved her and just happened to find another woman attractive. After saying all of that I told him that I was going to get some advice from you all and forward what you say to him. So make it good! I will say that when I’m with a guy and I notice him notice another woman it can be annoying but it isn’t enough for me to blow anything out of proportion. Not if he’s just looking. I mean I’m with him and I notice other men as well. It’s the way that we’re built. Just because we may be in a relationship that doesn’t mean that we instantly go blind with the onset of commitment. However, I think there is a difference in the way that men versus women look at the people that they find attractive. Some men have a tendency to gawk while some women have a tendency to be more subtle with their appreciation of a good looking brotha. It’s all in how we do things. So, I’ve said all of that to say or rather to ask . . . Is there a need for an apology here or is my friends wife just buggin’? Personally, I think it’s the latter but help me out guys.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Too Strong?

Today's topic is pretty simple and straight forward and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say . . . as always. Being the type of person that loves to stir controversy and coupling that with the fact that I'm a passionate writer, I've developed a love for the Bad Boy of Radio, Michael Baisden. I listen to the show when I can and last night, one of his topics came to mind. He posed this very simple question and the discussion was enlightening, to say the least. Is there such thing as a woman being too strong? Now, my main audience is African American so feel free to apply ethnicity to the question of the day. I'll draw from my background to stir the pot of today's conversation . . . the women in my family are strong by nature. We can be loud and overbearing at times but there's a not-so-quiet strength that we all have (shot out to the Aiken women!!!) and some of us more than others. But I will be honest as much as I see this as being an asset, I've found it to be a liability as well. I've found myself in situations where I flew off the handle too soon, acted rashly, made some impulsive decisions (Ashley's "I refuse to be a doormat" mentality) and then "blamed it" on my strength as a black woman. A black Aiken woman. I guess I'm straddling the fence today but I really want to know . . . Is there such thing as a woman being too strong? Tag question: Can a woman's strength be a turn off to men? Just curious . . . Help me out!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th

What up guys! No deep thoughts today. I just want to wish all of you that are traveling this weekend safe travel. Those of you with sense enough not to drive ANYWHERE for $4.00 a gallon . . . kudos. LOL!!!! Independence has a new meaning for me so YES! I will be celebrating. Enjoy this long weekend, rest your minds, celebrate responsibly, be safe, be good and we'll pick up on Tuesday with the deepness! Love you guys! Smooches!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

MENtality - Mistake #3

I didn't leave you all hanging with the third and final mistake. Here it is and it's a pretty self-explanatory one. This one we can all contribute to and give feedback and personal experiences on. I will say that I have definitely made this mistake at least once. There really isn't a lot to preface this one with. So, here it is - mistake #3.

Mistake #3 - Not knowing how to size up a man's relationship potential.

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say and thanks to all of you that participated in this discussion. Peace out, homies!