Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear God,

I do believe I have stumbled upon my next step.

I am enamored and daydreaming about this program in connection with this one, and officially have reason to believe that London is calling. I think, for now anyway, New York may have run its course in my little adventurous life. Is it serendipitous that I've already booked a ticket and plan to visit this very city where the university resides, before having even an inkling that such a program existed for me???? Or that I have not published my own works just yet because it simply has not been the time. Or that I've been wanting to move abroad for quite some time now (read: all of my life), and perhaps, on all fronts, professional and personal, the time has come?

Swoooon.

All things Children's Literature.
could very well lead to ------> internationally renowned author,
Dr. MK Perkins.

it's just a daydream, at the moment.

But.
Perhaps, more.

I mean,
once the application is sent, it will be a plan of action.
Now, won't it.
(that's how my journey to Sarah Lawrence began!)


*grin*

........
so, Dear Lord, I am trusting you to lead the way.
In your name,
amen

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

and i love him

esther phillips by way of the beatles.




and the even lovelier studio version:

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

With sympathy, a country mourns

Not just the passing of a public figure, but merely a wife who has become an icon for what every wife (or spouse) desires from the person they married:

"I am imperfect in a million ways, but I always thought I was the kind of woman, the kind of wife to whom a husband would be faithful. I had asked for fidelity, begged for it, really, when we married. Leave me, if you must, but be faithful to me if you are with me." -- Elizabeth Edwards

Her trials have been manifold, having mourned the loss of her 16 year old son. Devastation, untold. Fighting multiple cancers while supporting a husband who decided to put his best interest as an individual forward above hers/theirs. Her story is not singular; for me, it puts a very universal stamp on the realities of life and marriage. The realities we've seen countless times and will continue to. Sometimes you don't get the upper hand of being taken advantage of. She didn't get to divorce her cheating husband and go on to find love with a man who would honor her (as far as we know).... but maybe that doesn't matter. She went on to have two more children after her son died, and while not replacing his presence, I'm sure they added joy unspeakable for the past twelve years. Her husband wronged her in the most despicable of ways, but perhaps, as friends and confidantes, her breaths getting shorter in recent weeks and days, it's not unreasonable to consider that maybe they made peace with the life they've shared together and the wrong that has taken place between the two of them. Her husband rationalized his decisions which affected his behavior (maybe) because of/(certainly) despite his wife's terminal illness, and must spend his remaining days carrying that load along his journey. I'd like to HOPE that the recent past few weeks or months allowed for them to gain closure and even, maybe, re-kindle a feeling of togetherness (in ways that the public will never know) before she passed from this life. She also had to rationalize and evaluate her involvement with him, and perhaps, even with planning to carry out a divorce from her husband, still was able to ultimately honor him and their marriage by passing away a month before the divorce was to be granted. Til Death, did they part. Not without pain, but a full life lived. Unconditional, it seems from my bird's eye view peeping in (as I know very little about the Edwards beyond headline news).

Though.... Having endured it all, I surely hope she's resting in the Lord's peace now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

in the middle of my thirtyfirst year,

and at the end of this two thousandth and tenth year a.d.,

i can say with much accuracy and conviction that

(though i truly enjoy the company of a companion i adore
and who tickles me from the inside out

and though the attraction of and to certain people make life worth living,

and though i fully and completely believe in the kind of precious unconditional
love that i see others existing in,

and though-perhaps-
there really happens to be some guy out there
who prefers-yearns, even-
to find out all there is to know about the bizarre bird that is me
and who is compelled to avail himself to
build some kind of existence together)

i am,
currently,
the furthest away from
-wanting-
a committed significant other*
(or desiring to have offspring of my own
with said unwanted s.o.)
than i've ever been in my adult life.


progression?
regression?

who knows.
but. it is what it is.

que seh-ra, seh-ra.


*or the idea of a significant other

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What does it say about me..

that i'd rather get home at six, shower, get under the covers with my lappie, eat left over takeout, sip shiraz straight from the bottle and flip between centric and lifetime.... than go on a second date with a guy?

..................................................


in other news, i think i missed my calling as a soul train dancer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Relocating to NYC from LA and other thoughts (Atlanta Post interview questions)


Earlier this month I got a phone call from my homegirl-turned-publicist, Farrah Parker, asking me to answer questions for a journalist in Atlanta for a piece that would appear in the Post. I thought it would simply be about relocating from the west coast to the east, but it turns out the article, published on 11/23 and entitled "Is it Where You're From or Where You're At? Black Demographics and Creative Economics", had a more in depth look at the inspiration for professional opportunities that people of color find in various parts of the country. It's a great piece that I was happy to be a part of, by all means.

Meanwhile, since I took the time to compose my answers to the original six questions, I thought I'd post them here for posterity's sake. They have everything to do with what I prefer about both cities, why I think certain things are as they are, and other random things of interest... ;D

Enjoy!

1. Can you describe your experience moving from coast to coast i.e. what brought you to the east coast and what areas of New York did you reside in?

I actually left LA when I was 17 to attend college at Howard University in Washington DC. I always thought the world was bigger than Los Angeles and knew that by the time I went to college, it would be out of state. I’d visited Hawaii with my mom in the 8th grade and was convinced that I was going to attend the University of Hawaii! But being a kid of the 80s and 90s, I grew up with A Different World as the standard, and since I’d had other family members and friends of the family attend Howard, I decided I would go to an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). In 11th grade, my parents sent me on an HBCU college tour where I saw a number of colleges including the AUC, Tuskegee, FAMU, Southern, Xavier, Dillard, Hampton, Virginia Union, and Morgan State, but I ended up visiting Howard on the first day of school in 1995 and the vibe was so electric that I decided THIS is where I wanted to be. So, I ended up in Washington, DC before I ever knew I’d come to reside in NYC, and really enjoyed my time. I loved that the cities and states on the east coast are in such close proximity to one another and within hours you could be in Atlanta or North Carolina. I actually thought I was going to relocate to Atlanta once I graduated in 2000, but circumstances prevented that from happening; then I had plans to leave for the Peace Corps in 2001 until the September 11th attacks, but once that happened, all plans changed again! In re-evaluating my plans, I’d been interested in doing an MFA in creative writing, and after some research decided on Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. As it turned out, that opportunity wound up being the on-ramp to my life here in New York City!

Originally, I moved to Harlem World, living in a beautiful area on the west side called Hamilton Heights, just two or three blocks north of City College, on 144th and Hamilton Terrace. It was a quaint block that I still love to this day, but a year later I got the opportunity to move to Stuyvesant Heights Brooklyn onto Stuyvesant Avenue where I very well may stay for the next thirty years! (Of course assuming I get the cash to buy a brownstone on this block before it's all said and done!)

2. How did you feel NY was different from LA in terms of the Black presence and culture?

In Los Angeles, there is an area not far from my parents’ home, between Crenshaw and Degnan called Lemiert Park, which is celebrated as the district of Black culture. Here you have a weekly Sunday drum circle, African shops and vendors, Black-owned and operated establishments like Eso Won Books, The World Stage Jazz Club, and Marla Gibb’s Vision Theatre. Every year, this is where the Kwanzaa Parade and festivities take place. Aside from a few of the museums designated for the celebration of Black history and culture, this is it in terms of concentrated presence and culture as it relates to ethnic history. Although, I do appreciate driving through certain neighborhoods and seeing wall murals that reflect Black presence and culture. But, it feels more filtered in Los Angeles than in New York. In LA, there are plenty of Black people, especially those who are in middle class and affluent Black areas, OR those who are in the working class and impoverished areas, and they represent a different kind of Black presence and culture than you will find in NYC. Perhaps, as I think about it, the differences in Black people in LA have more to do with economic differences than ethnic and cultural differences that you’ll find here in NYC. I believe you have a more concentrated area of Black artists and musicians in New York than you have in LA as well, which changes some of the cultural dynamics in NYC. I really believe that when Black people from LA move to New York, they are certain to encounter a bit of culture shock, even if they’ve been around Black people in LA their entire lives!

3. What were the differences you noticed between Blacks in LA and Blacks in New York?

It’s a common misperception that people in New York are a lot more “real” or grounded than people in Los Angeles, with the support coming from the fact that Hollywood is in LA which is where you’ll find a good majority of shallow individuals. I don’t entirely ascribe to that train of thought. I actually believe both New York and Los Angeles has its fair share of shallow, self-centered poseurs as well as warm, grounded and sincere people; having said that, there are measureable differences between east coasters and west coasters. I smile a lot and generally speak to or, in some way, acknowledge any person who makes eye contact with me, regardless of where I am. Apparently, “I’m from LA” tends to explain that part of my personality as it’s widely believed that many women from New York don’t entirely offer warm smiling greetings to people they don’t know. My brother just moved to New York eight months ago, and he’s still trying to get acclimated to the differences between New York and LA women, especially when it comes to the simple interaction of meeting someone out in public. However, I will say that New York people, Black or otherwise, as more direct and cut to the chase than west coasters, and I’m getting to cut my teeth in that sensibility! A girlfriend came to visit once, and someone was encroaching on her personal space demanding that she speak with him and she didn’t exactly know how to take command of the situation. Being here for some years though, I was very comfortable in telling him to back up and leave her/us alone. I don’t think I would’ve done that in the manner in which I did if I were still living in LA. There are other times when I’ve seen myself be more confrontational than I ever would have been in the past. However, I definitely know when to turn it on and turn it off!

Another difference tends to be in style and hair choices. Whereas in LA you do have a large contingency of africentric individuals who wear natural styles, I still think it’s more prevalent in New York. I knew in 11th and 12th grade that I wanted to grow locs, but it wasn’t until I moved to DC and went to Howard in 1996 that I figured out it was actually an option. Yet, my mother has always had a sophisticated africentric style of dress and has worn hairstyles ranging from a natural to fingerwaves! So, again, it’s never been an issue of feeling that I couldn’t express myself culturally. However, when I look at some of the African American teenagers coming up in LA right now, I don’t know how much they value styles and choices that are centered in African tradition like perhaps a lot of the youth in New York do. I’ll attribute that, though to the fact that the Black population in New York City is significantly more diverse than the Black population in LA. In New York, you are the minority if you are African American; when I meet people, their first question to me is which African country or part of the Caribbean am I from? I firmly believe that every person of color God has ever created from every part of the world is represented and accounted for here in New York City! I can’t say that of Los Angeles. So, because there is a greater degree of cultural diversity, and because much of that diversity comes from immigrants from the African continent, you will see a lot more representation of that culture among the general population of Blacks, as opposed to an “I’m Black and I’m proud” sensibility born of the Civil Rights era for those whose parents and grandparents were born in the US on the west coast.

One last, and perhaps major, difference is the attention Black women receive from brothers on the east coast/NYC and on the west. I don’t want to and will not feed into any preconceived or media-heightened ideas that Black men aren’t interested in Black women, because I don’t believe that at all! However, I will say the way I am approached by Black men here on the east coast is all together of a different intensity, fervency, if you will, than brothas on the west coast! I remember when I lived in LA, I would be interested in guys, but there seemed to be a discrepancy between my feelings for guys, their feelings for me, and actually going out on dates! I had plenty of guy FRIENDS though, but I can’t say that I had a lot of dates! But I moved to New York, and the guys were coming around with a whole ‘nother mode of operation! I remember I was at a club the first year I lived here, and I’d garnered the attention of a guy (probably just my smiling and acknowledging him!) but I was standing talking to another guy. Yet, within minutes, the second guy came over, excused me from the first brotha, and spun me into his arms to start dancing with him! It was very arrogant of him, of course, but sooo smooth! So I’ll say it seems that I get more attention from guys on this coast than in my hometown, but I’m not mad! A close friend move to New York the same year I did, and she and I have so many tales of random good times we’ve had with various guys we’ve met out here, yet she moved back to Los Angeles a couple of years ago and is always remarking that her social life as it pertains to meeting men is not what it was in NYC. I’m not saying the LA brothas don’t like black (darker skinned) women at all! That’s NOT what I’m saying because my parents and aunts and many of my cousins have Black significant others…. but, I just know what my experience is within both coasts!


4. Which city felt more diverse to you? Which city was more conducive to you feeling inspired?

During one concert here at Central Park’s Summerstage, Cassandra Wilson made a comment that I thought was so applicable to the City’s diversity; she said, “California has landscape, New York has PEOPLEscape!” Though I’ve been in New York for close to seven years, I’m still enchanted by the variation of people of color I encounter here. And not only people of color from around the world, but diversity as it pertains to being able to deviate from whatever general ideas people think you should be doing as a Black person. I love people watching as I ride the subway because I can observe people who are confident in their own crazy, weird, different, eccentric, celebrated existences and, for the most part, are not being questioned by others about why they are different. The same, perhaps, may be said of LA, but I think it may be questioned there a bit more instead of just understood to be the way it is. I definitely believe New York has Los Angeles beat when it comes to diversity, but as far as acceptance, it probably has more to do with the circle of influence you come out of (the specific family, community).

I am most certainly more inspired in New York, but that is because I wasn’t born and raised here. Even though I’ve been here for a few years, I am still very much enchanted with learning the beat and rhythm of New York City. The energies are very different. There’s a kinetic energy here that keeps everything moving; New York’s pulse will propel you forward whether you’re ready or not. Los Angeles is slower paced and often mellow. The sunlight and palm trees can be very calming! Sometimes stagnant. By comparison, you get car horns and an earful of someone getting cursed out on any given day in NYC! But even in that, New York inspires me to find the adventure of the day; if I’m leaving my house to get on the train and walk around the City taking care of my business, I’m sure to encounter adventure. In Los Angeles, things are so insular at times, especially when you leave your house, get in a car, drive to your destination for your scheduled activity, and drive back home. No real adventure there! But LA is comfortable because it’s home. It’s where my parents, childhood friends, and extended family are. I know LA like the back of my hand; comfortable, yes, inspiring, not in the way that propels my life forward.

5. Which city or coast fits your career aspirations better in terms of resources and access?

I often reflect on this fact: In New York, I am currently living a version of my life that I only dreamed of living when I was in Los Angeles. What I mean is that there are things I get to do here professionally that I hadn’t exactly figured out how to do or gotten the nerve to do while living in LA. Granted, I’ve cultivated more of my adult years in New York, but when I was in LA, my ideas about what I would do professionally were more traditional (well, aside from wanting to go to the Peace Corps). My parents have always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, so it wasn’t an issue of what I was supposed to be doing over something else, but had I stayed in LA I just wouldn’t be fashioning the life there that I live here. For starters, I spent time working in, both, education as well as marketing and advertising before I got my Masters and for some time afterward. However, I never felt like I was on the right career path while working in marketing or working in the department of education. I’ve always been a writer, I’ve always enjoyed entertainment, I’ve always hated nine-to-fives! So, in 2008, two years after completing my Masters, I decided that THAT was as good a time as any to quit my job and take on jobs as a freelance ghostwriter and editor. Unfortunately, I made that decision just as the economy was taking its downturn! So, I ended up finding gainful employment as an adjunct professor with the City University of New York where I currently teach courses ranging from remedial writing to African American Literature. I didn’t mind joining academia in this capacity either because I’d been contemplating working on my doctorate degree. I still haven’t decided that I’m going to do that, but I was reflecting to my father last night that I really am enjoying my life as it is unfolding right now; I make my own teaching schedule and appreciate that every day on the campus is different. I’m also left with enough time for freelance writing assignments, to sing with a band (which is probably the most surprising life change since moving to New York), and get to travel at whim! I’ll take that kind of professional freedom any day, and I really think that being in New York and seeing people living and thriving outside of conventional standards has really benefitted my personal and professional trajectory in ways that would not have been realized had I remained in Los Angeles.


6. Finally, please include more information about yourself. How long you've lived in NY and what you're up to now.

I moved to Harlem, NYC in the summer of 2004, and to Brooklyn, which I now consider home, a year later. I’ve been an adjunct professor with two of the campuses of CUNY (College of Staten Island and Kingsborough) for two years and counting, which I consider my “day gig” (which most New Yorkers have!). In addition to helping my students become better writers, I also write and edit for clients, and finally incorporated my business, Mai:Content, LLC, this year! I work with a wide range of people from non-profit directors, to grant writers, doctoral candidates completing dissertations, PR & marketing execs, basically any person or organization that has need for a writer, ghostwriter or editor. I also work on my own artistic writing ventures with projects that I intend to publish soon. When I’m not in the classroom or in front of my laptop, I sing with a local band in New York City and consider it a privilege that we’ve performed at some of the City’s most renowned venues. I love that I’m performing on a more regular basis as well because there really is room and opportunity to thrive on any of the stages here in New York City. For me, the best part of living here is that on any given day, you get to decide what you want to do, and really figure out how to make it happen because there are so many people here who are willing to give you a chance and work with you. I’m learning that if you have a desire to do something, anything here in New York City, there is really a way to get it done. That’s not to say it will be simple, easy or just provided for you to take at whim, however, you learn that connections make the world go round, develop the relationships with the right people, learn from your mistakes, as they will be made, and stay on top the City’s energy, because moving forward is inevitable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being featured in The Atlanta Post makes me grin!


Is It Where You’re From or Where You’re At? Black Demographics and Creative Economies

by R. Asmerom

Mai Perkins remembers attending a concert at Central Park SummerStage with Cassanda Wilson, partly because of an observation the jazz singer made about Perkins’ new city. “She made a comment that I thought was so applicable to the city’s diversity. She said, ‘California has landscape, New York has people-scape!’” It was a sentiment that the native Angeleno could relate to.

Perkins is no different from the millions who migrate across the country for school or for a new job. She moved to Washington DC over ten years ago to attend Howard University and ended up in New York City to pursue her career as a writer.

So what makes New York a more complementary fit for her than her hometown? Maybe that has something to do with the creative economy, a concept much discussed by “urban expert” Richard Florida in his book “Who’s Your City: How the Creative Economy is Making the Place Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life,” which explored an interesting pattern of how one’s city environment influences productivity and creativity.

“I really think that being in New York and seeing people living and thriving outside of conventional standards has really benefitted my personal and professional trajectory in ways that would not have been realized had I remained in Los Angeles,” said Perkins. The Brooklyn resident and adjunct professor at City University New York believes that the high level of diversity in New York fosters creativity and comfort with one’s personal identity.

When applied to the Black experience, will analyzing the creative economies explain why cities like Brooklyn or Philadelphia produce so many musical artists or why Atlanta has such a high percentage of Black entrepreneurs? According to the social theory, location is critical whether you know it or not. It’s not only about infrastructure and city government but also about the atmosphere created by people themselves. For many Blacks, just having a presence within a city is a major element.

“A majority of Blacks have a strong racial identity. If a person has a strong racial identity, it matters whether they live in a city that has a sizable percentage of that racial group,” said Rashawn Ray, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland. “Cities that have a thriving Black middle class, Black political representation or politicians clearly invested in issues that affect African-Americans, stable housing prices in black neighborhoods, public spaces conducive to physical activity, and an educational system that has a track record for graduating Black youth and assisting with college attendance are positive places for Blacks to live.”

And what about the impact of living in a city where there’s not much Black representation? Growing up in either Atlanta or Brooklyn/Harlem is a far different experience than living in a California city where Blacks only represent 6.6 percent of the state population according to the 2010 US Census Bureau Results. Although cities like Los Angeles have a Black population of nearly 12 percent (2000 Census), New York’s black population exceeds 26.6 percent (2000 Census) and Atlanta boasts a large 61.4 percent Black population (2000 Census).


Perkins, who appreciated her Los Angeles upbringing, admits that the East coast seems to be more conducive to various self-expressions. “I knew in 11th and 12th grade that I wanted to grow locks, but it wasn’t until I moved to DC and went to Howard that I figured out it was actually an option,” she said. “My mother has always had a sophisticated Afrocentric style of dress and had worn hairstyles ranging from naturals to fingerwaves. [It was] never an issue of feeling that I couldn’t express myself culturally. However, when I look at some of the African American teenagers coming up in LA right now, I don’t know how much they value styles and choices that are centered in African tradition like perhaps a lot of the youth in New York do,” she said, adding that the composition of New York cannot be ignored when discussing its impact on individuality. “The Black population in New York City is significantly more diverse than the Black population in LA. In New York, you are the minority if you are African American; when I meet people here, their first question to me is which African country or part of the Caribbean am I from.”

As Harlem, Brooklyn and Washington DC represent Black meccas of the East Coast, Atlanta is the Southern mecca, representing upward mobility, prosperity and of course, the Buppy culture.

Akiim DeShay of BlackDemographics.com, who is a native of Rochester New York, said that Atlanta made a positive impression on him after having lived there for a short time in high school. He witnessed the stable and middle class life of Atlanta that encapsulates the city’s image as a destination for many looking to start a family, take part in the burgeoning Black Hollywood, or just live in a stable African-American community. Maybe it’s unintentional but Atlanta has definitely reaped the rewards of being branded as the place to be for successful African-Americans.

“Atlanta has its problems but it also has a reputation of opportunity and prosperity,” said DeShay, who now resides outside of Dallas. “So even those who are living in poverty, high crime areas, and segregation continue to hear from others or the media about how booming the city is. They see folks from all over the country who broke their neck to move there with horror stories of places they escaped from.”

Despite the fact that Atlanta has its negatives like any other big city, much of its leverage and reputation comes from the fact that African-Americans can see themselves reflected as engines of everyday business.

“Go to any of Atlanta’s business centers and it is normal to see African Americans working in all sectors of the economy at all levels,” said DeShay. “Ask for a supervisor, manager, or even the CEO, and don’t be surprised if a Black man or woman appears. Majority Black middle class neighborhoods surround the city’s southern half. In an environment like this, how could anyone fail? Well of course it happens but don’t tell that to any of the thousands of African Americans who move there every month.” The attraction is evident; the Atlanta area gained 445,000 African Americans between 2000 and 2008 which is by far the largest Black population gain of any metropolitan area in the United States.

While the city has long been a destination for Southerners, California only began to experience Black migration in large numbers in 1940. Many Black residents of Oakland and Los Angeles will tell you that their parents or they themselves moved to California from various locations in the South for job opportunities in the aftermath of World War II. The period between 1940 and 1970 is known as the Second Great Migration, in which the state of California absorbed about 5 million blacks.

The longer history of Blacks on the East coast has dictated the dominant nature of East coast culture in music and history. Don’t we often wonder why certain cities over-represent when it comes to producing notables? “Cities such as New York and Philadelphia have historically been large markets for the culture and the arts. After all, the Harlem Renaissance and Du Bois’ classic Philadelphia Negrooccurred in these cities,” said Dr. Ray. “The legacy of these triumphs still lives on. These cities have also historically had a thriving Black middle class and Black political representation. These dynamics set the tone for allowing equitable opportunities for Blacks to be productive, creative, and upwardly mobile.”





Thursday, November 18, 2010

i don't need to wait until 12/31

to acknowledge that,

while having some incredible highs
strategic placed throughout the course
of each month,

THIS YEAR

has surpassed any other year
in my life
with regards to facing head on

the challenges and emotional hardships and choices and decisions and
all the things that keep your mind up at night,
doing everything from processing to racing,
questioning,
trying to accept,
not wanting to accept,
refusing to accept,

figuring out what can be changed,
how i can possibly affect that change,
how i can move forward,

what if i stand still,
should i stand still,
what if i move backwards,
is it ever necessary?

what about the ill moves,
some, questionable at best,
the rules that were bent
far enough to snap clear apart,
what do they reflect about this
heavy year
in its entirety?


it's not even over yet.
and yet, for every day that i wake up,
i thank God for his new mercies every morning,
even on the days when morning has long since passed
by the times my eyes creek open.

even in all heaviness and lonesomeness and triflingness and uncertainty and heartbreak and grief and all that stuff --that makes me question the degree of my sanity on any given day, but that i would feel even crazier not acknowledging-- and that has me convinced that each of us human beings inevitably become progressively worse with each passing year,

no one of negates of cancels God's love for me, and us all. because even in the middle of the most emotionally wrenching of days, i still hear a quiet assurance that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. even on days when i'm asking myself "why the heck am i even doing this" i hear, his mercies never come to an end as they are new every morning. on days when i'm lonesome over the loss of a friend that should be here, either in this world as we know it, or in my world as i'd like it, i am reminded that great is His faithfulness to us.

the peace of truth does not equate resulting happiness in a moment of personal crisis. but it does keep you from the despair that may be prevalent without the faith, hope and truth of God's love.

so, it's been a heavy year. simultaneously joyful and mournful on many given day. but i know that if i keep living, the highs have a way of outweighing the lows, and that's alright with me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

after years of listening to it online,

i've finally purchased the mp3 of this favorite BH song of mine.




and my repeat function has never been so pleased.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

....if i tried.

before i even really knew what this meant, i've loved this song.



I couldn't love you more
If time was running out
Couldn't love you more
Oh right now baby
Take me by the hand come on
Be my darling be the one
I wouldn't want to lay or ever love with another
If everyone in the world
Could give me what I wanted
I wouldn't want for more than I have
I couldn't love you more if I tried

I couldn't love you more boy
I couldn't love you more boy

'cos darling I'm on your side
I really am on your side
My love I'm on your side
Oh right now baby

I couldn't love you more boy
Stay exactly how you are
I couldn't love you more boy
Couldn't love you more
I couldn't love you more boy
Stay exactly how you are
I couldn't love you more boy
Couldn't love you more

If everyone in the world
Would give me their treasure
I would not want for more
Than I have right now


Sunday, November 07, 2010

...in my dreams...




Haunt me
In my dreams
If you please
Your breath is with me now and always
It's like a breeze

So should you ever doubt me
If it's help that you need
Never dare to doubt me

And if you want to sleep
I'll be quiet
Like an angel
As quiet as your soul could be
If you only knew
You had a friend like me

So should you ever doubt me
If it's help that you need
Never dare to doubt me

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

and to this precious little brown dollbaby

....who lived a short but significant existence, the talented Ms. Shannon Tavares, who lost her battle against Leukemia on Monday, I say rest in the light.






i might be a little out of control right now...

i'm mad tired... and emotionally all over the place... with so much work to do... and i'm sure a rehearsal or two or three coming up very soon....

but I can't stop thinking about how my friend is gone, and my group of friends in LA are grieving over our collective loss. SO, i got a ticket to LA... leaving around 9pm tonight, to attend the service tomorrow afternoon, and head back to nyc by midnight... arriving in time to drop my bags, maybe close my eyes for a moment (or not), then head to SI for class at 12:20.

...yeah, that classifies as being out of control.

i haven't really been talking about my whole feelings surrounding this tragic turn of events. it's a really different space i'm in than when Shay Shay passed. of course, she was a friend as close as a sister cut from the same cloth who'd been in my life since I was a tween..... but it is still very unbelievable, unsettleable, ...still very questionable... like, a how could this happen, kind of questionable, even though i understand that, it just happens.

last time a friend died, i had a "someone" here to definitely lean on. and i truly needed it at that point, as distraught as i was. this time, i somewhat mentioned it to my brother in passing, letting him know i'd be gone, yet again, for a day or so. he asked the details, and that was that. everything else related to existing in this moment, this experience, has been very solitary. maybe the most solitary i've experienced something to this degree. So, it almost feels like it's not real. like it's something I've made up. a dream or something of the sorts. nightmare that certainly isn't true (the absurdity of it all) but i remember the details so vividly. and i want to tell someone about the dream, but i've decided it's not exactly necessary since it's not real. i need no superficial conversation or condolences from anyone. but a below the surface heart to heart or checking in is always something i benefit from (and i engage in enough of those to keep balanced). and prayer, prayer is always remedy.




....but, i guess this is me still learning what it means to live in a city so far away from many of your loved ones. this is me still learning that though tough times without a significant person/other by your side can be emotionally taxing to extreme degrees, it's just another day, if you keep living. this is me still learning that we just never can tell how long our individual journey will be, so if it means flying across country for hundreds of dollars to spend just a few hours, yet it ends up being a significant moment/memory of your life as a whole, a life that's not guaranteed to be longer than a few years-- no matter how old you live to be, then it is worth the time and money. this is me still learning about the precious and complex elements of life.


i'm learning just how much life is a crash course.
often times there really is no dress rehearsal on this side.
As MJ said, THIS is it.

scene 11, act 31.
(or something like that.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

rest in the light, sunshyne.


sunshyne
1980 - 2010

i was on the bus headed to dc for howard homecoming, enjoying the ride, listening to my kind of music, drifting in and out of sleep, literally reflecting on how lovely the sunshine was permeating the view of the horizon as we motored forward when my phone rang the first time. i noticed it was spencer, but since i was more than halfway sleep and on the bus, i didn't want to have a long conversation, so I didn't answer. i figured if it were important he'd leave a message and i'd call when i got off the bus, but there was no message so i kept gazing out into the sunlight. dozed some more. then my phone lit up again, this time, khyle. again i didn't answer but there was a message. i still didn't check it. but after a few mins, i thought it was strange that both spencer and khyle would call me from LA within minutes of one another... could their calls be related? was it urgent that i speak to them both at this moment? i sent a text back to them both saying that i was on a bus to dc asking what's up. spencer responded, "can you talk? can i call?" so i woke all the way up and dialed him back immediately.

he answered on the first ring, and did not beat around the bush.




"It's Sunshyne. She passed away today."

of course i asked him what he could possibly be talking about. couldn't really comprehend it. he said that she'd had a diabetic seizure that morning. i asked if he's sure she's gone. he said, "yeah, she's gone." my heart started beating so quickly and i asked for more details, which he couldn't provide other than one of her best friends and our mutual friend was a wreck. he said he and khyle were going to go be with her. we hung up and i called khyle immediately. "hey. what's going on?" he kinda says some things that amounted to confirming what spencer said. our friend, the beautiful Sunshyne, was gone. i asked if nikita knew, but they both had not been able to reach her. she was in DC for homecoming as well.

so, i hung up with khyle and called her. she said she'd just awakened and was getting ready to get dressed to go to up to the yard on Howard's campus. i said, sit down. she said she was sitting. and i just said it: Sunshyne passed away today. it was soooo surreal to be saying this. her response: i don't think i believe that. i said, believe it, honey. she asked what happened, i told her what little i got from spencer and khyle, she said she was going to call melva. so we got off the phone.

i sat there for a moment, still about an hour or more outside of dc, stunned. at this point, it didn't matter if i was having such intimate discussion on a public bus ride. i needed to talk. i called my mom, told her because knew Sunshyne as well. she was shocked with sorrow. i called Daddy next. he didn't remember her by face, but remembered me speaking of her in earlier years when i lived at home. i asked what a diabetic seizure is and how someone could pass away from one. he told me how when Gran Gran's sugar was too low, she'd go into a diabetic coma, so perhaps a seizure was caused by the opposite, and her sugar was too high. in our heart to heart we talked about a number of things.

when i asked how to make sense of this, he said there's nothing to make sense of when a person dies other than we will all pass that way. when i said that perhaps it is easier for people who have experienced a lot of death to accept such things, he said that it doesn't make it easier no matter how many times you go through it. he said even in Gran Gran being ill for so long and him being at peace at the fact that she is no longer suffering from her ailments, her passing was still a very difficult grieving period to go through. still is, i imagine. he said though, that as it says in scripture, the Lord knows the number of each of our days, so there is no passing away before you are supposed to. he mentioned how the day before he'd just reflected on how there's a dash between the 1925 and the 2010 on my grandmother's gravestone, which indicates that no matter how long you live, it is still a dash in time, just a moment, when it comes to reality of eternity. and furthermore, as Christians, it is certainly alright and appropriate to grieve, but we have the added hope of seeing our loved ones again in eternity who have passed away in Christ. we don't grieve with the hopelessness of the world, he said, believing that we are forever separated by death. the real tragedy, he reminded, is when a loved one dies never having accepted Christ and lived a life reflective of their loving relationship with God. all things i know, and things i think of when it comes to Shay Shay and Prince Jones, Gran Gran, Mommae, and Daddy Albert. and now, Sunshyne. i know i will see them again. but it's still so................ surreal. strange. unbelievable.

and still such a tragedy. as melva explained to me the next day, Sunshyne was about three months pregnant, with a baby boy i believe, and had developed gestational diabetes in her first pregnancy with her daughter, who is now two years old. she's been married for two or three years as well, and it appeared storybook. you know. she and her beloved seemed made for one another, he a youth pastor, she a mentor to youth girls teaching classes on purity. pictures of their wedding day reflect and ebony princess and ivory prince off to live an enchanted happily ever after. she was an extremely attractive girl, but being bred in north carolina, was the epitome of down home southern charm. she worked out often, running marathons, watching her diet. she was an actress getting commercials here and there, doing stage work. and with a new baby on the way, a precious toddler running around, and a husband who adored her as God's precious treasure, it seemed her entire life was to unfold for years to come. it seems SHE did everything right. Just like Shay Shay. THEY did -EVERYTHING- RIGHT there is to do. They loved God with their whole hearts, were the vision and role model for other women and girls, friends, etc. Model wives with coveted relationships with their spouses. Ministers for the youth with their husbands, doing the Lord's work. Sunshyne enjoyed motherhood for a couple of years longer than Shay, who passed when her baby boy was two weeks old, but they were both 30, and both died from complications related to pregnancy.

THIS is a horrible reality to face, for everyone involved. her husband and mother, God bless their hearts and comfort. i remember the days following Shay's passing and the things her husband would say in terms of the Lord preparing him for this moment, when she expressed that she was in pain and didn't know what was going on. he called paramedics but it took so long for them to come, he could see in her face that she was leaving here and the Lord was preparing him to be able to handle it. six months later, for whatever reasons that are still unclear to me, he disappeared with the baby boy, and her family has not seen him since he was six months old. i can't imagine the Lord told him to do THAT, but, what do I know. so............................ in this bad situation, i really am praying that the Lord will place people in sunshyne's husband's life to hold him up as he's weary with grief, that there will be mother replacements for the two year old baby girl, and that everyone is made whole who feels broken by this tragedy.

Though a tragedy.... everyone that knew her has been comforted by the fact that Sunshyne LOVED THE LORD, utterly and completely, more than herself and any other person; so, we are convinced she is doing better than any of us in this moment. ..........but still. this is pretty surreal.




Monday, October 25, 2010

i know there's supposed to be this whole school of thought

that you shouldn't "care what people think" about you, however, in reality, i think in general it sucks just a bit (if not to great degrees) realizing that someone very well might not like you as much as you thought they did. and that doesn't pertain to the amorous kind of "like", crushes and loves and such, but like i said, in general, overall indication that someone who's feelings you regard's showing disinterest (or decreasing of such) in your overall value.

i don't know what made me think of that. actually i do. and i'm not bummed out. but, you know. still sucks, a bit.

anyway. back to these papers that, apparently, will not grade themselves.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

crush:

easy come, easy go.



love:




even with surgical removal, may never go away.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just booked my first international trip to Europe!


So, I'm finally headed to London. And maybe that's not such a BIG big deal since I have friends that bounce around the globe at whim and are in the UK as often as I am in Cali... And maybe it's all relative considering I that I meet people who are in awe that I go to LA so often, sometimes just for the weekend. I always explain that it's really simple... just book a ticket and go, as there are ALWAYS deals and ways to make it to Cali. But then again, I never have to worry about accomodations... which is probably why people just don't up and go to LA, and why I'm just getting around to making plans to go to London.

But, the point is, I'm going! I booked a ticket, using a voucher I acquired for giving up my seat the last time I was traveling from Cali back to NYC on an overbooked flight. So my flight to LDN will come to a total of $300 and some cents. Lower than what it is to fly cross country! And I'm really very excited. My friend Chaney is there. We've been friends since freshman year. We have been confidantes and supporters of one another, and have gotten to spend time in DC, LA and NYC. So he's been insisting for years that I come and visit him there. Plus, my younger 2nd cousin? Ben is there. His grandfather is my grandmother's younger brother, Uncle Cleo. And when I moved to NYC, I developed a relationship with him and his father, Cousin Clint, in New Jersey. Ben and I both lived in the city and would kick it from time to time, even though he was very busy with work as an investment banker and sometimes worked 90hrs a week as a recent college grad. The UK called with opportunities for career advancement with the Barclays bank, and thus, he's been living there for the past two or three years. He also has extended the invitation for me to come and visit anytime, and is looking forward to hosting me when I arrive.

So, I'm thinking of how to make the most of this first trip to Europe. I think since I'll be there for five days, I'll take at least two of those days and head to Amsterdam. It looks like the train ride is 2 hours, though I'm not sure what the cost is yet.. That'll take some converting of number my brain doesn't feel like sorting out right now... But I'm loving how easy and simple it's seeming to be able to start the continent hopping stage of my life!! 2011 is my year!! I am going to London, I plan to parlay that into Holland... I'd like to also visit Paris and West Africa. Right now fares to Paris are around $730. Very affordable!!

My mom called me to ask if I'd been watching the news and was aware that Americans are being advised against travel in Europe... well, no. I don't watch network news. I do, every few days, read the Google News aggregate to see what's going on in the country and world according to headlines... but perhaps I'll look into the BBC and Al Jazeerah to see what they think of Americans visit hotspots throughout the continent of Europe. Anyway, even if it's not the best time, I don't particularly know that there will be an increasingly GREAT time to visit different parts of the world... I wish I'd done so already and was able to already reflect on my world wide travels at this point in my life... but, I have to believe, NOW is a great a time to get started as ever!!!! (Well, in four months, anyway!!)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

meanwhile regarding my 3am snack:

red apples and natural peanut butter
is a combination the Lord
would be pleased with.


{yum}

Brilliant! Babies.

I'm almost asking myself why I waited so long to see this, but I'm glad I watched tonight! This was such an insightful and entertaining look into how babies are conditioned throughout the world by simply adhering to traditional and popular customs. The Namibians, hands down, seem to answer on lock as to how to produce and rear peaceful, independent, happy offspring within their tribal haven ... while the Mongolians are neck and neck as runners up with happy babies running around the grasslands amongst the cattle and roosters sans clothed bottom. As for the American and Japanese babies... I kinda felt sorry for them a little bit, considering the "advancement" of these two cultures and the way children are raised accordingly.

But, by all means, I'm glad I finally watched it. I'm also glad that I am no closer to actually wanting one of these of my own, but I did feel warm and giggly at the precious moments, but who wouldn't!

PS SHOUT OUT to the big brother of the Mongolian baby... I hope that baby whoops his @** when he gets big enough to get that brother back!










pick up your crazy heart, and give it one more try...

......this ain't no place for the weary kind, this ain't no place to lose your mind, this ain't no place to fall behind, pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try........



(i hum this so often, without even having the song in my collection, that i thought i'd give it a home.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've always loved the song from these verses:

numbers 22 and 23:

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New International Version)

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.


24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.


A friend reminded me

that when you are feeling like there is so much that you want or feel like you can't change or have any control over, or just feel emotionally taxed from the world of circumstance we exist in, to do as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane and pray that the despite what you desire in that moment or at that point in your life, you want the Lord's will to be done. And in asking the Lord to do his will, and simple believing that this will take place, circumstances will begin to reform as a result. And that ultimately, that we are to seek first the kingdom of God, and in doing so all other things will be added unto us.


It's not that I didn't know it. I totally do. But, sometimes circumstances and emotions are blinding enough to cause you to overlook these simple truths.

So, I am reminded, and I am thankful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"...things are never as bad as they seem..."




i really feel good about

pulling off my brother's 40th birthday in a way that will be a happy memory for him. And without my even knowing it, the party ended up being a wonderful celebration for one of his boy's who turned 40 this year as well, a day or two before him. I had no idea this dude spent his birthday by himself in a very low key way. I'm not sure if it was because of choice or circumstance, but I looked at his facebook page today and realized that he told someone that his boy's sister threw "them" a birthday party and he had such a good time... It made me smile, because you never really know what you are doing for other people that ends up being significant to them. I may have my moments when I'm consumed with whatever I'm feeling in that moment, but I'm thankful to be able to look past myself and look at the bigger picture. It's dawned on me that two people I consider friends are so self consumed and wrapped up in themselves that, it's really becoming hard to engage them on a regular basis. One, I hadn't talked to him in about a month as we've both been busy. He called me a few weeks ago and I missed the call, and today I decided to go on and hit him back. He talked about himself and what he's doing the entire 7 minute conversation. Yet, in between he'd ask me what was going on, how was I doing, what guy I'm spending my time with now... But before I could really even answer any of those question with any substance, within the beat, he was talking about himself again. It was painful to listen to because he doesn't even realize it. So, I decided it wasn't even worth it to try to tell him anything, I told him that I was glad things were well, and that I'd hoped to see him soon. The other person, I'm learning that she processes information so differently than I do, and many other people. I don't even feel like going into details, but the I have a feeling our friendship as it is may be turning a corner that leads to a bit of a separation or break, even. Which is funny, cause we all know that I'm not the person who knows how to make a clean break from people. So, maybe that's not what's coming.... But, it's just interesting watching life unfold right now.

This was a happy post though, when I began, so I'll bring it full circle. It is really interesting watching life unfold right now, but I'm really excited and pleased at writing these new chapters with my brother. His life is good, and that is priceless.

i wish

i was doing a little bit better right now.
for once, i'm not worried about money.
but, the weight of everything else emo is pressing.
sometimes, anyway.

i'm so glad it will be 72 degrees today,
even if i will be in the house asleep for most of it.

i didn't sleep last night after editing 57 pages of document and watching two Grey's Anatomy episodes. In the second episode, one of the circumstances warranted the statement:
"Love isn't enough anymore..." and the person left, though acknowledging that she and the dude still loved one another. The circumstance was just too much for her and she left. That's a bit of an interesting thing to filter and rationalize. Anyway, it's a show. It's written, I know. Life is not scripted, but the scripts are based on real life experiences. .......well...
I'm... tired isn't the word.... heavyladen, perhaps.
that is my problem right now.

i was just gonna watch Fred Astaire and Cyd Carisse until I drifted off. but my eyes are already closing.
and maybe my dreams this time will be a lovely musical
starring me in Paris headlining a cabaret with Audrey Hepburn or Julie Andrews.
i mean, if i'm gonna conjure up scenes that will never actually happen, they might as well be with my favorite entertainers... maybe i'll drift into a scene of the Cosby Show this time, or Living single, or Fraser.... and have a really pleasent dream with a laugh track.

....................and when i wake up, it may be time for
a Nora Ephron film. I think I'm overdue.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

i wish i was more regular

sometimes....

whatever that means.

.....................



yeah.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dream (10/4/10)

This one I attribute to the having stuffed my face full of Tara's bountiful cooking on Sunday night. You know, kinda like when Heathcliff Huxtable ate the meatball sandwich before it was bedtime, and wound up having a wild, muppet caper of a dream.... Yeah, like that, only there were no muppets (well other than myself):

I was sitting in my room, in bed kind of sleep or maybe just resting, reading or something of that nature. It wasn't my room in this house on Stuyvesant Avenue. It was a smaller bedroom of an actual house, and it had french doors that opened into a backyard patio garden. The doors were open though screened, as it was a sunny spring day, and so a warm breeze filled the room. And then, entering from the garden, a group of people started coming into the room. I was so startled though I didn't feel at danger. They weren't intruders and seemed to know what they were doing coming into my room. They slowly filed in, and it seems I figured out they were actors because they started acting out a scene, right there in my bedroom. I don't remember what the scene was specifically. (Considering that the night before I'd gone to see a reading of eight or so monologues with people confessing secrets to the audience, it feels like this was the nature of the scene going on my room.) At first I tried to get someone's attention to ask why the heck they were in my room, of all places, doing theatre. Though none of them looked familiar they felt familiar, so I became fully engrossed in the scene.

I can't determine how long this went on... because it wasn't a long dream, but I know sat on the edge of my bed, slightly confused yet captivated by these actors in my room. The doors were still open, and I didn't notice the next person to slip into the room as my attention was focused on the strange scene taking place. And then, I felt his presence close behind me and get closer as he began to kiss me allowing me to fully recognize who he was. When I did realize who it was, the tears started to stream, overwhelmed with surprise, joy and, most of all, satisfaction. The satisfaction came from the look in his eyes as they mirrored exactly what I was feeling - and have been feeling for years. It was also a satisfaction of the me in the dream having moved on from this person, yet he had somehow moved back around to me. In the dream, it wasn't an illusion that this was the first time I could see how sure and deliberate his actions were in that moment. Within seconds, he was on his knee in front of me.

I woke up before the rest of the scene unfolded into some kind of precious romantic proposal. I woke up but continued lying in my warm bed thinking about what I'd just experienced in my dream. It was only a dream and therefore didn't excite me, nor did it make me sad. I moreso wondered why on earth I would conjure up such a scenario, and was a bit disappointed that I would [still] be dreaming about this person, especially in that capacity. Because I already know this is not a foreshadowing of anything of this sort taking place with this person. And that's something I purpose to accept more and more each day, week, and month of my current life.

At the very least, it was a warm, sweet representation of the kind of experience of love I believe in, even if never have experienced. I saw a scene in my life that has yet to happen, yet at some point can be a reality -the circumstance, if not the details.

I'm not waiting for a proposal from anyone. I don't even have the kind of connection with anyone at this point in my life that would yield a man asking for my hand in marriage. I think it's fly to be a freebird right now, and I swallow the melancholy of being companionless while chasing it with the enchantment of weaving the wonderful life I want without answering to or for a significant other.

I guess you start to dream about proposals, or being married to someone, or having youngins (which I've not dreamed about the latter two, or at least I don't remember, Thank God) once you reach a certain point in your life, whether they are something you have a strong, active desire for or not. But, I suppose, in the same way that I accept and re-accept....... and re-accept... that significant-other-type of love is just not available for me right now, I understand that such a dream is just that: a dream that cannot, will not, and should not be attributed to anything going on in my reality.

(....feelings of any kind of destiny-related connection to any one man, notwithstanding.)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

If you were a 90's hip-hop artist

And you met a girl at a party late one night in Brooklyn, would you make a big deal to make sure she knew that you were THAT mc from THAT group if she didn't recognize you?

:D yeah...... to be a fly on the wall of my life!

So I was hanging out with my homegirl at her husband's party (...or was I at my homeboy's party hanging out with his wife? anyway...) and there was a guy there with the couple of other people I knew... We said hello earlier, then as the night went on and I kept getting my dancing machine on, my homegirl suggested I dance with ole boy. (Actually, she was trying to keep me away from this other fella who was vying for my attention.) So, of course I oblige and in the meantime of dancing, we start chitchatting away. Some kind of way he asked me how old I thought he was, and I threw out, thinking surely I have no idea, that he was 42. He was like, Why did you say that? because it turns out that he was, infact, 42! After asking me what I thought the Lotto numbers were (hee hee, funny!) we talked some more and I aksed him his name again. He was like, "Wait, how old are you?" and I told him I am 31. So he used that to assess that I just MAY know who he was based on the height of his career taking place during my teenage years... and that was.... cute... a bit presumptuous or even arrogant, maybe, but cute because I did recognize the name. So we talked a little bit more, but I knew I'd have to come home and actually Youtube one of their songs so that I could put a frame of reference with the name..... So, here's to the guy from the 90's group Nice'n'Smooth who really tried to holla tonight, and who I gave my number, ..............just for fun! (I don't know if he's still trying to be a rapper, I don't know if I'll see him again- especially on a one on one basis-, I don't know if he even cares... but, it was randomly cool to meet him!)