Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moving Forward... (2011)

I trust that we’re all enjoying the beauty of the holiday season….. I just wanted to post on last thing before 2010 was just a memory.

The title of this most consists of two words that are used mindlessly and all too frequently in corporate emails. No one really thinks about what they’re saying.

A couple Tuesday nights ago, I was in the process of conducting my last dance rehearsal of the year with my dance team of the most precious little girls in the world. Yes, I’m partial. They range from ages five to eleven and talk about being full of personality. Sheesh! I could be having the worst day and walk into our dance room and they have this way of turning it all around. I guess you can say I’m the play mama to eleven little girls. Hey, at least I can send them home.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is concerning the impending New Year. I’ve said this, as most of us have, every December 31. “This is about to be my year! Things are gonna change this year!” Yadda, yadda, yadda!

I won’t deny that we may mean it for the first few months but things happen, unfortunate relationships take place. We make some bad decisions and we wish we could redo a couple of things. We had poor judgment or used that perfect vision too late (hindsight is definitely 20/20). We can’t discount the wonderful days that found us this year either. We try our best to bottle those moments in hopes that the bad things will be obliterated by good memories.

So at the end of the year we find ourselves weighing the good and bad. What to leave behind and what lessons to carry with us into the next twelve months of promise.

I don’t know about you all but 2010 was a rough one for the kid. I mean rough but I believe it was rough for a reason. I’m hoping those reasons begin to reveal themselves shortly after midnight on January 1st. I’ve been asking God, “Why did you let them do that to me?” “Or Lawd, why don’t I have those testimonies about mysterious money falling into my mailbox.” I could go on and on and on and on……

Well, that’s where my babies come in.

In class two Tuesday’s ago, one of my youngest, five years old, raised her hand as I was giving instructions and asked, “Can I sing you a song.”

I mindlessly, almost flippantly, answered and said, “It’s not time for that right now. Remind me at the end of class.”

The end of class rolled around and of course her singing me a song had totally slipped my mind. The girls were spending the rest of class time preparing decorations for our Christmas party that weekend. She politely raised her hand and asked again, “Can I sing my song now?”

“Yes, sing your song now.” I sat in a chair close to her to better hear her tiny, little voice. She turned to me and I began to prepare myself to hear a song that Dora or The Wiggles or Hannah Montana might sing that I wouldn’t be able to get out of my head for the rest of the night. When she opened her mouth to sing to me, these are the words that fell from her lips.

Not going back I’m moving ahead
I’m here to declare to you my past is over in You
All things are made new surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forward
(Moving Forward/Hezekiah Walker)

Yes, I was crying! I guess I gave that long story to illustrate how minimal the past really is. And how the innocence of children can make the most “complicated” adult things seem almost microscopic. The past can’t be undone but if we use the memory and the lesson effectively, it can shape our future in a positive way. I have a really old post entitle TODAY (just poke through the archives. It’s from April 2008.) but don’t waste this year thinking about time lost, what you didn’t do, who you let take advantage of you, who messed with your emotions, who lied, the job you lost, the friend that passed, the loved one that walked away without explanation. Go into this year carrying the lesson and the hope that eventually you’ll get it right and with the knowledge that, in spite of what you didn’t get…. When that clock strikes 12 on January 1, remember you got yet another chance.

I want to wish you all the most prosperous of New Years! I love you all to pieces and can’t wait to see you next year! Be good!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soul Mates Revisited

“You only get one. Two tops.”
“One what?”
"True love.”
“True love my a**, man. Love is what you make and with whom you make it. That’s it.”
“Yeah, well. I think I messed up twice. You’d think by now I’d have a little more insight. I don’t know, man. I don’t know what to think….”
“THAT, my friend, is your problem right there. Physics this sh*t ain’t. It ain’t supposed to make sense. Love. Passion. It is what it is.”

Anyone who’s heard this conversation knows that it comes from one of my favorite movies, Love Jones. As many times as I’ve watched the movie and recited the script blow for blow, this discourse stood out to me last night and I began to think.
At first, I began to recant some statements that I’d made in a post a few months back. If you don’t remember, it had to do with the topic of soul mates and a question a friend raised to me about the possibility of such a thing. I don’t know, I think I began to straddle the fence and began hanging more on the side of Darius (the one struggling with having lost the second woman he’d ever loved).

Is it true? Do we only have one (two tops) opportunities in our lifetime to experience the pristine occurance of falling in love and falling hard? The more I thought about it, the more I believe it to be true. Yes, a lifetime is a long time but when it comes to building something lasting with someone, it’s not that long at all. So, if my hypothesis is correct, I guess the idea of a soul mate isn’t that farfetched.

Who knows, a soul mate and a true love could very well be two different things, which could turn this post into another discussion in itself.

But maybe, just maybe…..

What if the heavens opened up and dropped someone wonderful in your life. Like the piece to jigsaw puzzle, it was kismet. Not perfect but you’re perfect for each other.

Now, in Darius’ case, he allowed true love to slip through his fingers because of selfishness and a lack of willingness to work. And granted love is work. Hard work. I always say, it’s easy to fall in love, but staying is the hard part. If you haven’t seen the movie, a year passes and he gets her back. Typical Hollywood ending.

Now I can also relate to Ed’s argument. It’s not rocket science. “Love is what you make and with whom you make it.”
I think both arguments can be married in a sense. You fall in love but it has to be nurtured. Who knows? I’m just “spit balling” or “shootin’ from the hip.” I think it’s a pretty good question though.

I guess my main question is: Are soul mates and true loves synonymous or two entirely different entities?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love's Timetable

Love’s Timeline

An interesting summer it’s been. So much so that my approach to love and love politics has drastically changed. The next series of blog posts will be along the lines of LOVE (which is nothing new), love’s timing, love’s appropriateness, and whatever else keeps me tossing and turning throughout the night. These days, slumberless hours are commonplace.
One of the topics that has me by the reigns right now is love’s timing. Yeah, that’s what I said. Believe me, I never thought I’d question such a thing but lately I’ve begun to wonder. Does love ever have bad timing?
It kind of makes sense when you think enough about it.
But to reiterate the question at hand, does love have a tendency to have bad timing? Ashley, what in the world does that mean? How can love have bad timing?
Just think about it. You’re in a position that isn’t favorable for loving another person. You’re tied up with certain life issues, situations, isms, and schisms that have you bound in a way that loving someone else [right now] seems to be too much….
Let me give you all a scenario.
You’re going about your day-to-day as you always have. Life isn’t the best but you’ve promised yourself and the people in your life that you’re going to work through all these “things” before you consider yourself and your own happiness. What we like to call the “brave front.” Then one day you happen to meet someone. Neither of you is looking to date or have a partner but you hit it off. Because both of you have a lot going on, you resolve to remain friends until things blow over (however long that may take). Friendship proves to break down some emotional barriers. You learn a lot about each other - internally and externally – and feelings begin to flourish. Before you know it, love has lugged all it’s baggage into your heart’s front door and you’re feeling things and wanting things that – for a period – you never thought you’d have. Everything is perfect. They may not be perfect but they’re perfect for you. But time….. time is a funny thing. You’re both put in a position to weigh what’s going to happen. If circumstances are extenuating enough, one or both of you has mapped out the next few years (before having met each other) and you or they were never on the map. All that love stuff was supposed to come later. When life slowed down , thinking was easier, and weights weren’t perpetually on your shoulders. So, now what?

There’s a rift. Breaks are pumped. Tires screech and feelings are capped tightly forced to be stunted. Everything wonderful comes to a screeching halt. “Let’s just figure this out. This is too much right now.” Things have to change quickly because this wasn’t in the plan. Time apart? Probably a good idea but love continues to grow. As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow…. Fonder.” So, how do you keep things in perspective? This isn’t wrong but it’s totally not…. On time. The right timetable, so to speak.
I guess my second question would be, if love’s timing is off and you consent to taking time to figure it all out, is it worth the wait or should you keep it moving? Waiting, however, doesn’t imply standing completely still but more or less, living your lives separately until you can live harmoniously together. I know what I think but really want to know what you all think.
Can love have bad timing? And if so, if that love is earthquaking enough, is it worth the wait?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unfit to Wed - Why Did You Get Married?

Hello my beautiful readers (if you're still reading this blog - lol!!!),

As you can see I only write when something really poignant grips me or makes me think tremendously and the last couple of weeks have been interesting and trying. I've learned some interesting things about myself, about life, a lot about love, and about how complicated the simplest things can be. I spend a lot of time in my head and it can be a pretty dangerous place. With the way that things have gone emotionally for the past few weeks, I'll be writing a lot more so you guys (hopefully) will be reading some more.

What am I thinking about right now?

I've found myself over the last couple of months repeating to myself and to a few significant people the same phrases over and over. "I know what I have to offer." Or I'll preface sentences with, "As a woman with a strong desire to be married...." I started thinking about that and the fact that I think I'm a pretty good catch. I know that I would make someone a wonderful wife. Not just with the given physical benefits of living under the same roof but with supporting and loving my husband, fighting for him, loving him some more, maintaining a house, cooking, taking care of babies, basically the 24 hour job that a wife takes on when she says "I do." I've come to realize that that's what "I do" means. I do and do and do and do. lol!!!! But I digress.

With the willingness that I've found in myself to be a good wife (this isn't to say that I don't have flaws) but with that willingness, I find so many women unwilling to do all the things I've listed and somehow, wind up with wonderful men. Dedicated men that love their families and stick it out for the sake of that.... FAMILY. With the knowledge that broken homes are difficult places to live.

Why is that? Or is it just me? Am the only one that sees this kind of thing a little more frequently everyday? Men that don't want to go home but have to because they made a promise and because they need to keep a sense of normalcy for the children.

Women that don't speak a positive word to the men they married. Women too independent to do laundry or pick up a pot and boil some spaghetti. Women whose priorities far exceed their address and being at home (especially at a decent hour) is too much to ask. Why is that?

I would venture to ask why the men stick it out but I've already answered that question.

My mother was just on the phone with my brother a moment ago and I was in a different room. She speaks loudly so no matter where I am, I'm always in earshot. lol!!!! But from her tone over the phone I could tell he was upset. She said, "Let me tell you somethin'. Any woman that doesn't adhere to the basic duties of a wife and taking care of her husband's needs, should've never married in the first place." Of course we live in a new era of family but I'm a little old school as far as this topic is concerned.

Granted, people get married for the wrong reasons and I know once children are thrown in the mix things get far more complicated but is there a right way to end a bad thing?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Soul Mates?

Good morning you guys! I've been on break from dating and even giving my phone number to anyone for a few months. I guess out of the frustration and disappointment of empty promises and relationships on roads to nowhere, I needed some me time. Serial dating had caused me to literally forget my desires for dating. What I wanted out of it or rather who. The break's over (lol) as of very recently but I'm leery and a lot more careful than I used to be.

One thing this testosterone hiatus has given me is bifocals and a hearing aide. I feel I've matured a great deal and my senses have been heightened in a positive way. I know what I don't want but I really know what do want. I can honestly say that I never really did know what I wanted. I knew what sounded good though.

I guess I've said all of that to say that a friend of mine (male) sent me a message this morning. He was on his way to the gym and said that he was thinking about this concept and wanted my insight. I felt so important! (lol). I've edited some of what he said and left the meat of the question. Here goes...

Q: Before I go, let me drop this on you, I'm kicking around this thought in my head about the term "soul mate" wanted to get your take on that. I mean, have you every encountered one? Do you believe it exists?

A: Good morning. Yet another incredible question that I do think a lot about but never really discussed with anyone. (I apologize in advance if this gets lengthy lol) I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to glue the concept together. But in all honesty I do and don't believe they exist. I guess I can begin with why I believe: Well I think once you've fallen in love, really in love. Sickening, selflessly in love, you couldn't see yourself with anyone else. Nothing else matters. The end of the world is your destination and you couldn't see being without your "one true love". They have to be your soul mate. At least that's what the hysteria and irrationality of being in love tells us. But then something happens and we maybe get hurt, love begins to dissolve, and we see things we don't want to see. Who we thought was our soul mate isn't anymore. Which leads me to reasoning why they don't exist: Love is work and I believe it takes falling in love for real AGAIN to really know that. The first time (I can only speak from my experience) you're a buzz with emotion and the notion that "love conquers all" is misconstrued and you think you don't have to put forth the effort to make it last. Love takes care of itself. So I guess what I'm saying is "soul mates" are partly kismet and the other part is strictly what the two people make of their meeting and if they really want their souls to mate and stay together.

So what do you all think? Is a soul mate a soap opera fantasy or are our relationships really things we have to work for?

I hope to hear from you all soon! Love ya!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The State of Black Literature

Anyone that knows me well enough, knows that I don't just write. I have an obsession with books. Not one of those collect too many and only read a few. I read everything I purchase. My reading isn't always because of interest but because I like to see what people like to read. Because I haven't broken the market yet, I like to be familiar with what I have to contend with.

Monday night, I had a book club meeting and it happened to be at a bookstore. When the meeting was over I stayed behind and poked around in my favorite section. Because, I'm an African American writer, I like to see what my colleagues have been churning out. Needless to say, I was gravely disappointed. I don't want to list titles because said authors are in a place that I look to be in in the near future.

However, it's disheartening when publishers won't give you a chance but manage to put garbage on bookshelves. The title tells the whole story so why would I buy that? I mean really. How many she's a hoe, he's a dog, I'm cheatin', I'm a stripper on the side but I have a family at home crappy novels can there be? When does it end? When do the newbies get a chance to shine.

Starving artist is an understatement. I used to think it referred to lack of money and in turn, a lack of food. That's not what it means. Starvation comes from the hunger of you (the artist) NEEDING your voice to be heard.

This particular entry doesn't just apply to novelists or poets but any artist that is frustrated out of their minds because they know "they've got the goods" but can't seem to catch a break.

You know it's love when you'd you'd do your craft whether you got paid or not but you know it's magnified passion when you're willing to fight to be heard.

That's all I have to say today, guys.

Love ya!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Black Church's Dilemma

As a woman (in church) I’ve made some observations. Now, these observations are nothing new. I’ve always noticed this and always vowed that I would NEVER date a man that was in church. As illogical as it may sound, I lived by the reason that I’d get him saved but I didn’t want one that was already there.

Huh? Ashley, that makes no sense. Allow me to explain or first pose a question. Is it just me or does it seem that the men in the Black church are on either end of the spectrum? They’re either promiscuous heterosexuals or feminine and confused. I’m serious and not at all trying to be funny but I guess with 30 getting closer and closer, my desire to have a godly husband to govern over my beautiful family (as figurative as it may be), and wanting to be in ministry with my future husband, I’m purely speaking out of sheer frustration.

I was raised in church. Both my parents were devoted to raising us to love God and to (no matter how much we hated it) learn to love church and to build our relationships with God. However, we stray and are determined to find our way in our own way and I dated nothing but “unsaved” men. Not simply because of my lifestyle but because I couldn’t see myself with that type of guy.

You know the ones. Let me give you some examples. Eyebrows arched. Dressed better than me (and I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of fashion). Around nothing but feminine men or a boatload of flashy women. Hands like cotton and he has little to no aggression with approaching a woman to let her know that he’s interested in her. Here’s a better example: When you’re talking to them you have to catch yourself from saying “Girl”. Am I the only one? “girl, let me tell you!” It’s this or the men in church who find the weak-minded women, the ones they can manipulate, turn out, and leave high and dry.

As badly as I hate to admit it, single and saved Black women are at a loss. The men in many of the Black churches are not interested in us and we don’t have white women to blame in this scenario. No, no. We have the other men in the congregation to contend with. They’re the ones that get the men. How disheartening is that? A church full men and void of men at the same time.

Since re-dedicating my life to the God I love, I pray daily that He continues to work on my husband. I pray for our disadvantage. I pray for the shortage of men in church. I pray that God breaks the bond of confusion that has the minds of our men. Now this is only for the women who seek a godly man to love God first and then to love them. It hurts my feelings every time I see it.

Both my sisters are married and one of my sisters recently admitted to me that she never thought she’d get married because of this dilemma. She knew she’d be single because Christian men aren’t interested in Christian women. They don’t seem to be interested in women period but I digress.

I know that God has something and someone wonderful for me in the near future and my hearts cry isn’t simply for me but it’s for all my single sisters in Christ (and even the married women in Christ who later learned what they didn’t want to about their husbands) that we all receive the desires of our heart. A man that loves God and loves his WIFE as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Amerykah Pt 2: Return of the Ankh

It's been a while since I did an album review and I'm nothing close to a music guru but I know what I like. I've been anxiously anticipating the the second installment of New Amerykah since the first one was released two years ago. If you aren't familiar let me give you a briefing. New Amerykah Part 1 4th World War, to me, is strictly funk. Drawing from the legendary inspiration of Parliament Funkadelic and Jimmi Hendrix. The second installment, however, is nothing but soul. It's hard to critique something when I'm partial to the artist. Everything she's ever released is in my collection and if you're a true fan - as I am - I implore you to download or pick up a copy today!

Window Seat is the first single (released on February 5, 2010) and I've attached a link to the official video. The message is insane and the song is.... Just listen.


My favorite track so far (aside from Window Seat) is Turn Me Away (Get Munny) on which she brilliantly samples the classic Notorious BIG song "Get Money."

All I can say is this just might be the sound track for my second book. Perfect chill music. So if you were wondering if it was worth it to purchase the answer is DOUBLE YES!!!!

P.S. If you download the album you'll get the bonus track Jump Up in the Air (featuring Lil' Wayne and Bilal)

Thanks for reading.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Visually Displeasing

So today was another rough "beauty day" to say the least. I felt okay at first. Mainly because I spent majority of the day around infants and their biggest concern is either their next diaper change, bottle, or why-in-the-world-haven't-you-picked-me-up-yet? My hair was pretty much the last thing on my mind. Then I went to church this evening and came home and most of my twists in the front had unravelled. I have pretty soft hair so this is to be expected. I mean, yeah it's been two weeks but my patience is being severely challenged. I guess it's true what they say about us living in an instant generation and society. Everything has to be right now and automatic. Process is foreign to us and this process (for lack of another word) is trying.

I love the encouragement and the connection that I feel with other people with locks (whether they're newbies or seasoned) but this first two weeks has been rough. I do not feel attractive. No matter what I do, how much make up I put on. Sunday my hair was doing what it wanted to do so I decided to put on the most frilly, girly frock I could find in my closet just to feel the way I'm used to feeling and it did nothing. Although I received many compliments I still felt awkward and untamed. It must be all over my face because yesterday, I was in Trader Joe's and a young lady in the elder stage of her journey smiled at me as she took the shopping baskets back outside. When she returned she asked me if I needed a bag and then asked, "How long have you had your locks."

I chuckled and answered, "Almost two weeks."

And she replied, "I know this is rough but you gotta go through it. I promise it's gonna pass and it's gonna be worth. But it suits you."

I smiled and asked a few questions and headed on my way. I felt good for the moment but I find myself staring at myself all the time. Excited about the end result but not thrilled about what I have to do to get there.
As I'm typing this, I'm getting a revelation and am looking at this far beyond my hair. I'm being taught some things and it's really uncomfortable but as the young lady said, "It's gonna pass and it's gonna be worth it."

I don't want to call it the ugly stage. It sounds demeaning. Almost as though I made a mistake. But what seems to be more ironically appropriate is the grooming stage.

Ironic because, I look unkempt by my standards but am being groomed for something much bigger than long locks. If I can sit through this process then.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Long Lock Walk

I've never been so excited and so terrified in my life. I guess now I kind of have a feel as to what my wedding day will be like. Jitters and the preoccupation with the way I look. Wanting everything to be perfect and wanting the forever journey to be RIGHT NOW. I guess you can say I've already performed a sacred union. I'm married to my hair and we've started a beautiful relationship. I mean yeah, it's only been a week but I've learned a lot about myself.

Lesson number one was my level of vanity. Yeah, I'm a tiny bit vain. But aren't we all? Don't we all struggle with acceptance, wanting to look a certain way, blend a certain. I've always been a bit of a "sore thumb" as far as personality and interests are concerned but this is my HAIR!!!!

One of the most truthful things I've heard in the past seven days is, "Wow, that takes courage." Mind you this fell from the lips of a sistah that looks like me and was born with hair curled tightly like mine but she'd just made the decision to alter its behavior. I remember being like that. I remember being natural and not being as comfortable with it as I pretended to be. Things have since changed.

I've developed an uncanny obsession with my natural hair. The way it feels. The way it responds to these starter locs (or nubs as I like to call them). I've fallen in love and I'm finally loc'ed up and free. Pun absolutely intended.

I get tickled about the fact that I've started locs around the same time that I want to settle down and meet my husband. "Who in the world wants to take Buckwheat on a date?" I asked myself on the second day that I unveiled my babies. But to my surprise, my "courage" has become captivating somehow and I've learned that any man that is disgusted with the way that I've chosen to nurture my hair isn't the father of my children. It's just that simple.

I wake up every day, more and more in love with the process. Although at first I thought I may have lost my mind, I quickly remembered everything that I've heard other loc'ed individuals profess. "The Buckwheat phase is short lived. You'll be surprised how quickly it passes."

So that's what I'm holding on to.... and I'm loving this....

I'm finally committed to who I was made to be and what I was made to look like and I'm proud of it.....

Until next time....

Love, love, love