She’s Gotta Have It

The 2017 Netflix Series Cover.

Spike Lee has a new show on Netflix, “She’s Gotta Have It.” I’m researching polyamorous relationships and pansexuals.  I was excited to see a free-spirited black woman in this Trump era.  The trailer made a lot of promises.  I loved that the lead actress is brown with thick hair.  I loved that she was an artist.  She’d have to be to be evolved enough to live free.  I think polyamory, though I am not is a type of freedom that requires a higher level of responsibility.  Freedom is responsibility.

Not long after I pressed play, I wondered if Lee knew any polyamourous pansexual people.  The Lesbians I know swore him off after “She Hate Me,” even after I tried to save him by saying, his sister is a lesbian.  It was like saying, no that man can’t be sexist or patriarchal, he has a mother and sisters. It didn’t go over well. I thought “She Hate Me” flipped the script and made men commodities.

More importantly, he seems to be a cool person with good intentions. I’ve been to one of Lee’s talks.  He’s the kind of person you’d love to catch dinner with and just hear his thoughts on politics, religion and the economy.  He feels like family.  On top of that, he supports black artistry and introduces unknown actors and musicians.  I love that he employs black people and gives us an opportunity to see our complexities.  Crooklyn is still one of my favorite movies.  What he did with Malcolm X made me forget what the real Malcolm X looked like for a while.

Chi-rock… Lawd.  As an artist though, you have to take risks.  Most filmmakers use what they’ve learned about motion photography to tell a story.  Lee uses his own interests, passions, heritage, family, and friends to tell his stories. I can’t tell what film directors made certain films and that’s their skill set.  I always know when it’s a Spike Lee Joint and that’s his genius.  Still, with all the love I have for Lee I couldn’t make it through the first episode.  Disappointed with myself, I’m thinking I didn’t have the right context or mindset.

I forget that Spike Lee’s films are art.  Most of his projects feel like stage plays with the world as its set.  The mood is set by black and white stills, amazing music, and monologues.  I looked up “She’s Gotta Have It,” because it sounded familiar. It is.  This Netflix series is based on Lee’s 1986 movie with the same title.  Now I want to see it, maybe first.

Original 1986 “She’s Gotta Have It” cover.

Based on previews, Lee’s series is following the movie closely.  Except Lee had some regrets about the 1986 “She’s Gotta Have It,” that he addresses. I hope he uses his freedom to imagine Nola Darling as an actualized individual.  I am looking forward to seeing the 1986 version to see what has changed now that he is older and has a larger budget.  I’m interested to see if it would have been weird if there was more showing than telling?  If instead of having Nola start the series narrating, she was speaking in her head the way we all do.  Let us hear her thoughts as she lives her life, rather than have her narrate… I’ve always felt narration was for books written in the third person or where the character isn’t’ honest.  It’s difficult to do this well, it’s a skill.
Without any background and forgetting Spike Lee’s style, my initial feeling was… This is so heavyhanded. It insults the audience’s abilities to follow the storyline.  Still, maybe after both Spike Lee and I am long gone, people will recognize and celebrate Lee’s genius.

I plan to come back. Maybe let it play in the background and hope it will pull me in. Some of my favorite musicians have collections like this.  You fight getting into the groove because it’s the wrong vibration for that moment.  Sometimes, we even fight parts of ourselves and then we realize we are flawed and that’s why we’re beautiful.


Give Voice to Your Pain

Give voice to your pain.

My heart is heavy. It hurts when racist bullies play the victim after being called out. It’s difficult for me to grasp this isn’t the Twilight Zone, where some people don’t have to take responsibility for their behavior. Even worse, they have the power to force people of color to console and comfort them while victimizing us… This is another kind of trauma.

This trauma grinds the spirit. It demands you smile and interact under attack. Forgiveness doesn’t need someone to take responsibility or even less just acknowledge they’ve harmed. Forgiveness is for the forgiver more than the forgiven. Forgiveness allows us spiritual freedom. For me, the spirit grinding has to stop so I can find peace within myself. I need space to grieve the reality of who these racists really are and the death of my own false perceptions. They’d bullied me, but I thought they were just mean. I need to be allowed to be silent, hurt, angry, disappointed and frustrated without being vilified.

I need to feel my own feelings without being told they are inconvenient, immature or unprofessional. I need to feel my own hurt without being told someone else is hurt or uncomfortable. Especially when they are the cause of all of our suffering. Telling me to make someone else comfortable while I’m hurting feels like their humanity is valued over mine.

I want to move into forgiveness, for myself. I am a crying mess. The initial behavior was far more tolerable than the results of addressing them. I have regrets. I understand why people of color remain silent. Silence is self-protection in a system where you can’t win.

Another thing, our false beliefs about how racists and racism manifest undermine our ability to recognize and acknowledge destructive beliefs, language, and behaviors. I include myself in this. I inadvertently defended racists. I didn’t want to believe people who I would have called allies to people of color were racist. I didn’t support a person of color by whitesplaining why their feelings, hurt wasn’t valid. I know, I’m shitty. I feel hella guilty, as I should.

To be clear, if you are consciously protecting a racist hurting people of color out of loyalty to that racist, you are also racist. Protecting a person from the consequences of their racism is… ding ding ding supporting and perpetuating racism. Inevitably, you’re part of the systematic racism crushing people of color.

Racism is spiritual violence. Character assassinations to alienate or vilify the person or people your behavior harmed is spiritual violence. Disconnection feels like armor. Speaking the truth feels like retaliation. When it’s normal to draw back from being burned, scowling and saying “that’s hot!”

I’m tired. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel like I did something wrong. I’m afraid. I am broke. I am struggling. In fact, me saying I was starving and broke somehow opened me up to a racist discussion. One meal, one discussion has changed my life.

Today, I’m heartbroken by white privilege. Period. I wouldn’t even call an elder for advice. They’ve learned you can’t win in this system ages ago. They will probably say this is my own fault. They will probably say this is why people of color must wear a mask. They will say this is why they never get too comfortable with white people. White people see this separation as “reverse racism.” I’m starting to fully understand how it’s self-protection in a system where we cannot win.

I’ll probably be punished, for not smiling while I’m hurting. For not masking my scowl of frustration and disappointment. For not being open while feeling defensive. I don’t know how or want to learn how to comfort racist while tending my own wounds. So, I’ve decided to go down in flames. I will not be silenced.

This is… I guess… my own revolution.

Book Release St. Louis Missouri

Nicholson’s third book and second collection of poetry.

My third book and the second collection of poetry, Even Deities Evolve: When Me and God Were Atheists will be available on August 4th. I am being published by a small press out of St. Louis, called Apple and Pear publishing. I’m really excited (nervous).

What does one serve? What does one do? I’m sick just thinking about it. This will be my first official release. Looking forward to sharing and reading… and loving on folks.


2643 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, MO 63118


I was looking up a list of different indigenous people globally.  When I came across a few new vocabulary words… This are copied right from the site. If you are anything like me, you would only come across these words looking for specific things. So I thought I’d share. I’m always open to new words in our language.

An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (where the name of the ethnic group has been created by another group of people) and autonyms or endonyms (self-designation; where the name is created and used by the ethnic group itself).

As an example, the ethnonym for the ethnically dominant group in Germany is the Germans. This ethnonym is an exonym used by the English-speaking world, although the term itself is derived from Latin. Conversely, Germans themselves use the autonym of die Deutschen. Germans are indicated by exonyms in many European languages, such as French (Allemands), Italian (tedeschi), Swedish (tyskar) and Polish (Niemcy).

I never knew that Germans, French, Italian, Swedish and Polish people had a different name they preferred.  I spend a lot of my own time being confused by all the different names black (debatable) people in America have been called and have identified as. I thought we were the only group being named.  We often talk about the identify crisis of our people, all of us answering and identifying different. It’s kind of cool to learn it’s not unique.  It also helps me put in better perspective how I identify in contrast to how I am perceived and named.

On Second Thought

What I think God looks like sometimes.

A friend posted on her own status in response to my previous post on religion.  We had a conversation there, which when I woke up the next day I felt needed to continue.  Mostly because from her perspective, since we don’t share the same friends, it appeared she was being personally attacked on Facebook by my posts.  I didn’t tag her and it was specifically something on my heart.  We talked it out on her post.  She made some great points, that made me ask her why she deleted her initial response on my post.  I think conversations are important to be had and witnessed.  If you know more than me, I want to know what you know.  Anyway, I want back to talk to her on her post.  When I went back, she’d deleted the status.

I thought about letting it go, but I think it’s important for religious people to know one, they are in the majority and two, they are privileged.

Everywhere I go someone is offering to pray for me.  People knock on my door and leave pamphlets pushing their religion and their God with fear mongering.  I don’t actually mention God or faith as I’m subjected to other people’s beliefs.  It’s weird to have someone tell you a grandparent is going to hell for being in a faith.  It’s even worse for someone to say you are condemned because you don’t believe exactly what they believe.

Sometimes, I’m moved to say what’s on my heart and I post.  I respect people’s right to believe however or whatever they want, the problem is this isn’t reciprocated.  I was minding my own business at a family church, when my cousin did an entire sermon about me while I was sitting there. Man, he tore me down.

Whenever people do well and I say congratulations, you really worked hard and deserve it. The person will stop me and say, “all praises to Jesus I can’t do anything without him.” Which is cool, but then they take it a step further.  There is a shaming that they are use to in their faith/religion that must happen if they take any ownership for the good that has occurred in their life.  So they tell me, I’m wrong for acknowledging them.  There is always this denial of power.

We are all powerful.  I am not sure how acknowledging someone’s sacrifice or hard work could be offensive.   Still, I’m often told, because I don’t believe what they believe I don’t understand how God works.  Maybe in their mind, God will punish them for being responsible for their own triumphs and failures.  I don’t really understand their faith.  See, I’ve read the book they are basing their lives on but a lot of what they say and practice doesn’t actually come from the Bible.

A great example of made of scripture was the definition of marriage law.  There was fight to keep marriage defined as ONE male and ONE female.  Biblically, a man can have as many wives as he can buy and afford.  A man can even have concubines.  So I’d argue, I have a pretty good understanding of what the Bible says, but not what people who claim to follow the Bible actually believe, or where they got their belief system.

In the past, I’d try understanding what someone believes by swapping scriptures. Eventually we’d reach the conclusion the person hadn’t actually read the Bible in its entirety and then, they didn’t actually know what to believe or what they believed.  Which just made things worse.

I am always seeking to be connected.  Debating religion with a closed minded person afraid of going to hell is the best way to make someone angry and end a relationship. People who are open to learning and evolving are usually already on the same page with me.  If they aren’t, they are NOT debating to win or reaffirm what they know… They are debating to test what they know.

I’ve abandoned some ideas I’ve had and I’ve helped people change perspectives, or clarify a point.  We are more comparing notes to see who has done more research in a specific area.   Most people who are spiritual like me, say they’ve never read the entire Bible.  They’ve read enough of it to understand it isn’t real and that satisfied them.  They are moving in their spirit and allowing God to inform how they should live.  Funniest thing, spiritual people tend to believe the same thing without a shared text.

I believe I’m open minded.  My friends span the spectrum.  Some are religious zealots while others are atheists.  I had atheists join me in blessing and saging my house.  They took it very serious and I felt honored.  I don’t make assumptions.  I say the same shit to my atheist friends I would to believers.  I’ve found them to be very spiritual people too…

And about atheism… One of my friends who is Atheist said he hoped God would forgive him for not believing if there is one, because it doesn’t make sense to him.  I told him God isn’t changed by our perspective.  I told him about the sham of condemnation.  He’s a good person and a lot of people argue it isn’t enough to be a good person.  I’d argue, you aren’t actually a good person if the only reason you are doing the right thing is because you are afraid of going to hell.

So I post about religious superiority, just like I post about racism. I don’t talk about racism to harm white people and I don’t talk about religious superiority to harm religious people.   I post to have conversations.  I post to share what I know and to learn what other people think.  I post for support because a lot of my friends are pretty open minded.  I post to test my theories.

When I was eating in Barnes’ Hospital’s cafeteria, while my dad was in surgery, a really sweet older woman joined me.  She said my respect was refreshing then invited me to her church. I wasn’t in the emotional space to get into why I wasn’t interested. She was so insistent she asked me to take out my phone and look it up.  I respect my elders.  I did.  And honestly, I’ll go at some point because I gave my word.

I know her heart was in the right place, but I always have to deal with being gay.  I worry about rejection because it’s real.  I fit societies social norms for how a woman should look.  If I don’t come out, people perceive it like I’m living a lie or hiding things from them.  So I always have to decide if I am going to come out, which is a very vulnerable thing to do with a stranger, so I don’t.

On occasion I use my fem gender privilege.  I don’t  worry about folks staring me down at church.  At the same time, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to church with a masculine presenting woman and people just sat staring.  On one occasion a woman made a huge show of  going back out of the bathroom and checking the door to make sure it said women’s.  Then the other woman on seeing her, told my girlfriend at the time, this is the women’s bathroom.

We joked about it.  But we were at a funeral.  I’m sure it was painful for her, but she says it happens all the time.  Another time, I want to a church a gay singer invited me to.  After we sat down, a woman placed herself two rows up on the opposite end of the aisle and just sat looking at us the whole service.  There were others staring too, but unlike them, she didn’t pretend she wasn’t.  She didn’t look away when we stared back.  We were trying to figure out if she was down and trying to hit on my girlfriend or trying to fight us.

I talk about it because it is happening daily. It’s been a struggle to find a therapist who isn’t put off by my orientation. My last therapist said she was ok with LGBT folks.  Then in our therapy session she confided she struggles helping lesbian couples.  Explain, she knows they are having problems because their relationship is against God.

What I didn’t understand is why she was helping lesbian couples in the first place.  Or why she was talking to me for that matter.  Especially after I specifically asked if she had a problem with LGBTQ people.  When I confronted her about this, she said she doesn’t have a problem with gay people, she doesn’t judge.

I personally don’t believe you can assist someone getting to a healthy space, when the majority of what LGBT people are dealing with is rejection and abandonment.  Like why would you even take lesbian couple’s money if you don’t share their relationship goals? How is that level of dishonesty “Christ like?”

People don’t respect my position. They tell me I’m atheist because I know the Bible is myth. They can’t separate the Bible from who God actually is. In fact, a lot of atheist friends use the myths of the Bible to validate their disbelief.  I kind of see that as a different side of the same coin.

Most atheist say they don’t believe in God because God doesn’t meet the expectations they think God should, based on myths.  I often wonder if they don’t believe in God or don’t believe in the Bible but having got to a place where they can separate the two.  I went through a period of atheism, but God was still being God and talking to me.

If a church is not affirming I’m not going. I don’t want to deal with the fall out when I come out.  I want to be in a space where people are accepting and loving.  Not looking for reasons to condemn others.

I am not joining any church where the Bible is NOT being taught in proper context. Proper context is… This is a great book to learn some life lessons.  Like, let your yes be yes and your know be no.  You don’t have to validate your position.  You don’t have to swear.  Let your word be your bond.  Not to mention, the Bible has some of the best poetry I’ve ever read.

Howzeneva it’s racist, elitist, genocidal, patriarchal, sexist, victim blaming (raped women are actually killed), fear mongering, rape condoning, incestuous, hypocritical, contradictory and outdated. Oh, and it condones slavery.  I’m black. Nah, son.

Sometimes, I’m like why am I even going.  Then I remind myself I am allowed to feed my spirit however I choose.  I remind myself that it’s ok to go to worship services.  I mean, I’ve gone to Buddhist sits. I love all kinds of religious practices.  Meditating helps me get centered, clear and free of over thinking.  Prayer allows me to be in a place of gratefulness.

I miss gospel music. I miss the energy of church and congregating with people.  It soothes my spirit to hear a choir.  I love people all singing together and feeling their connection. I love the rhythm and energy of seeing someone holy ghost dance.  I love seeing my elders playing their hand instruments, singing and clapping.  If I want to worship in a church setting I’m going to go.

I’m tired of people asking where I attend church, or if I have a church home.  I find that to be a really intrusive question on an initial meeting.  When I tell people, I’m not interested in church they start trying to save me. I don’t even believe anyone is going to hell or heaven. There are nine planets, none name heaven. There are earth boring machines being created.  They’ve already got some in operation.  They travel long distances, in shorter times than planes, right through the center of earth. So there is no hell beneath us.

They tell me I don’t understand what’s going to happen to me. I abhor fear mongering. I don’t want to be GOD FEARING. I don’t want to love anyone I’m afraid of. I don’t believe anyone loves me who uses fear to control me. I don’t think anyone loves me who seeks to control me. Come on somebody!

When my Buddhist and Muslim friends announced their religions, the person interrupting our lunch focused on me. I’m spiritual. I’m ok with it. They proceeded to tell me I was going to hell.  You don’t have a monopoly on God because you choose suffering and fear. You are not better than me.  You are not going anywhere I can’t go eating pork.

God is always God, no matter who I am. The God I know is unchanging. The God I know isn’t petty or insecure. The God I know, isn’t a narcissist always concerned about me loving someone else. The God I know, would never ask me to abandon or kill anyone I loved to prove my loyalty. Loving self includes acknowledging God. Acknowledging a spiritual reality calls me to make decisions based in that awareness. When I make decisions in spirit they don’t always work out well in the flesh.

Think of the people who freed enslaved people and were caught.  Think of Jesus if you believe in him or Paul, both killed. Didn’t they deserve FAVOR? Think of the people who lost their lives during the Civil Rights Movement. Doing what you are compelled to do because of your spirituality doesn’t always lead to a reward. You may lose your life. Your life might be a living hell. So this idea that if you are favored by God, life is awesome is ridiculous. People compelled to walk a spiritual path may find that path more challenging, illegal, alienating etc. You are not spared you are often given a greater responsibility.

My calling feels like this, writing right here.  Having to speak uncomfortable truths. Mine feels like, having to create safe spaces for spiritual people.  Which just so happens to give me a break from the craziness of false teachings. Mine feels like respecting that God will be God no matter what you believe, but knowing you will be freer knowing the truth.

My task often feels impossible, but I have faith.  My faith is challenged by people who only respond to threats and fear.  I’m loving, saying God is loving and that no one is condemned.

I am saying there aren’t any set rules but what is put on our spirit.  What is put on our spirits is as unique as each of us.  We all have  different struggles, callings and gifts.  God hasn’t condemned any of us.  Many of us are choosing to condemn ourselves and others.

Hell is not a place, it is a way of being after transitioning.  I pray people forgive their own selves and walk in their light.  Because I’ve seen that suffering and it is real.  Without flesh as a distraction, you can’t over or under eat, medicate, overwork, workout or all the other ways we escape the spiritual work.  Some spiritual work is required to transition in peace and exist in peace in whatever is after this.


The Pledge of Allegiance


I remember being in awe of this child who didn’t stand for the pledge. I’ve always been super curious and slightly in love with different ways of being. Until he got different coloring sheets, before Christmas break. He joined another class during other classmate’s birthdays.  We never celebrated his.  Now I know it isn’t because he was born during summer like me.  He sat in the nurses office during Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween or any other school wide celebration. This kind of made parties a little painful. It would break my heart watching him collect his things… It almost felt like a punishment.  Then a teacher in my family explained it was because of his religion.

As a kid, I’m like what kind of god doesn’t let kids have cupcakes? I mean, I’m cool with a god flooding the earth to kill people… but no cupcakes, no masks on Halloween, no walking the streets with all your friends knocking on strangers’ doors and getting candy? I felt his god had to be a monster.

Halloweens were some of the most memorable moments of my young life.  Sitting on the floor after walking the entire military base, it seemed, sorting through our candy.

No birthday parties?  No cake of your own with your name on it?  Where you get to pick your piece and eat as much as you want and then take it home?  No opportunities to have everyone sing to you? (I’m a Leo) This no birthday thing seemed like torture.

I swore then, I’d never be a Witness. Now I see how religion is dividing us, lying to us and failing to teach us to fulfill our most basic responsibility, to look out for each other.  Which means doing the right thing for us all. A millionaire wouldn’t take million dollar bonuses and lay off hourly workers, if their heart was in the right place. If they considered all the families affected by their decision.  We’ve moved away from what’s spiritually right to what’s legal.  Everything legal isn’t fair.

This is why the Bible says the spiritual man can not be judged, but can make judgments about all things.  Spiritual laws are above what is legal and they are easier to follow because they are written on our soul.

If religion did it’s job, we’d learn to follow our spirits. Which sometimes means doing what we’re led to do whether it be within or outside of the law. Doing what our inner knowing tells us.  Religion seems to be against God, most of them teach us to follow dead patriarchs in all of their human limitations, hatred and inhuman moral codes.  Instead of listening and heeding a living God, who is still speaking.

Religion teaches us to do what’s right or else we are going to hell.  Instead of doing what’s right because we are created in the image of God and knowing the full weight of our power. I came for you because I am not waiting on someone else to save you. We are all here to save each other.

Religion is, robbing us of an opportunity to develop a moral compass not rooted in fear. I only tell the truth, help, volunteer, pay tithes so I won’t be shamed, feel guilty and ultimately go to hell. Religion, not God, is keeping us from celebrating our lives by teaching us to live for death and the after life rewards. Religion is teaching us superiority over others… If I read one more post about someone being favored by God, or how favor isn’t fair. Not favor, LIFE is not fair. Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down.

Anyway, I said all this because a friend’s post was discussing The Pledge of Allegiance. Which just by name sounds scary… What am I pledging allegiance to again?… AND because I’m considering making cupcakes.  Every day I wake up is a holiday… Anyone want to call and sing to me?

#PerishingWithCupCakes #SingToMe #GodIsNotPunishingYouOrME #HowCanGodBeJustAndPickFavorites #AreYouListeningToYourself


Elders On Obama

Tonight, I began watching 102 year old Alice Parker, seeing herself during the Harlem Renaissance as  a young dancer.  My heart was heavy. I’m trying to escape my  thoughts.

Yesterday we officially entered a war with Syria, by bombing their airfields.  More than 460,000 people have already been killed in their civil war.  It doesn’t even look like there is anything left to bomb by pictures.  This, after Russia warned us not to intervene in Russia.

My heart has been heavy. My father taught me about cycles.  100 years ago, America entered the first world war.  So, in a hundred years we still haven’t learned enough to settle our differences without killing each other.  We are still no better than people who thought the world was flat. We’ve got all this technology and we are poisoning babies in their homes.  We are dedicating energy to making chemical weapons instead of curing all of the cancers, aids and autism which seems to be on the rise.

I am heartbroken.  People often ask me if I’ve seen different shows.  I started to follow some on Netflix.  Before this I didn’t see a television for months at a time.  Real life politics has enough twists and turns.  I don’t need to watch death and destruction for entertainment.  Mourning all the people forced to fight, fighting without knowing exactly why, all the secrets of my own government we are still held accountable for internationally and the people dying who look just like me.  They are still doing mass rapes in Darfur, there’s the Israeli and Palestinian conflict… A civil war in Syria.

I was watching Scandal recently, and was upset to see the treatment they gave to the Mike Brown and Ferguson issue.  Mainly, because Judy Smith, the real life Olivia Pope came here to handle other black people outraged by police brutality.  There were so many issues, Mike Brown was just the tipping point.  I couldn’t even finish the episode.

Scene from Scandals version of Michael Brown’s murder.

I had gone to see Judy Smith give a talk a few months after Ferguson.  People asked her, as a black woman how she felt and she… Said she couldn’t comment on it because she was involved.  Soooo… My heart is heavy.  Every time something bad happens that involves a person with money I wonder if she is the person they call to get out of consequences.  Caitlyn Jenner as her former self hit and killed a woman in California.  The news demonized the murdered woman’s family.  It hadn’t even been two months, I think, and it was as if it didn’t happen.  Everyone was celebrating Caitlyn’s coming out.  She was getting an award for being a woman.  It was crazy.

I mean the best fiction writing happens on the local and national news. Seriously.  We are lied to or not given all the information.  Not having enough of information makes it seem like other countries are just wild, when it’s us…

We’re still looking out for our best interest economically.  I don’t know when we will start operating in spirit and stop treating people like dollars.  I’m on a tangent, but the term “human capital” objectifies and dehumanizes us all.  Anyway, I choose to read international news or independent news to get a full picture of our place in the world and conflicts… Our place, being America.  I don’t like news programs, I prefer reading what’s going on.  I don’t trust people to tell me anything these days, I need to see everything for myself.

Sooo… I went seeking a distraction to focus my energy somewhere else.  I needed to get out of my head. I was on a downward spiral, as you can see.  Alice Parker was a beautiful distraction. I love my elders. I loved seeing her come to life as she sings along with “soundies” they are called, from the Harlem Renaissance.

I also love that people took the time to write her, send her cards, flowers and balloons.  She was humbled by all the love.  Which moved me immensely. My great grandmother once told me that as you age, you become invisible.  People treat you as responsibility rather than someone they love.  I try to always be in awareness of this when I’m encountering my elders. I rub their heads. I talk with them bout what’s going on in their life, not just about their health.

Some elders get conditioned to sharing their health for attention and to get some compassion.  So I listen.  Then I ask about other things.  My grandmother use to call me and tell me what she ate and whatever information she had.  That’s how I learned everybody’s business.  She was always home when not at work.  Her own life was pretty routine.  So when she’d run out of routine things, she’d tell me all the happenings. LOL!!!

Who’s pregnant, who’s getting a divorce, who got kicked out, who got promoted, who got a new car and who got fired.  She loved to talk about what people were wearing.  What color their dresses and hats were.

I  don’t think my grandmother was a gossip, I honestly believe she didn’t really have anyone to process with.  When my grandmother talked she spoke nothing but FACTS.  I couldn’t even get her to give an opinion. She’d just stop talking.  If pushed she’d get off the phone.  I don’t know why I liked messing with her.

She taught me not to judge.  She taught me that people are all different and beautiful in their differences.  She also taught me when you acknowledge and celebrate difference you free a person to live their purpose.  I’ll have to write about her and that last lesson one day.

In between keeping me updated on family, she taught me how to cook. I grew up on the West Coast, so I couldn’t learn in her kitchen.   As an adult, raised on take-out and the highest in fine dining, because of my dad’s position, I didn’t really know how to cook.  Well, I cooked Mexican food, being from Vegas, it was my thing.

I didn’t actually start cooking Soul food until I moved to Atlanta, Georgia.  I’d never heard of sweet tea, only tea sweetened.  I learned to cook an amazing pot of beans.  So good, my mom asks me to make them for her and my dad compares it to his own mother’s cooking.  I learned to make a spaghetti sauce from scratch with chopped bell pepper, celery, tomatoes and all the onions, chile.  People ask for it all the time… I plan to make some later today.

My mother’s mother, Shirley taught me to handle tragedy…  By phone, on speaker phone in my kitchen while I followed her strict instructions, she helped me become a better woman.  So I love hearing from my elders.  I once read this African quote, that said… Every time an elder transitions it’s like a library of rare books is burned to the ground.

In my thoughts, reading about Alice Parker, because I didn’t initially catch her name I let the videos play.  All of them about the Harlem Renaissance, Parker and the Savoy.  Until another video followed with Mrs. Parker talking about Obama.

By then I was reading history, so I had to come back to my Youtube screen.  Mrs. Parker wasn’t alone, there were other elders all of them in their nineties. I loved hearing them speak.  The video was recorded in 2008, they were in their 90’s.  They’d lived through the Civil Rights movement, Jim Crow, Black codes, lynching, people being forced to work before there was a minimum wage.

Black people could be pulled out of their own fields or home and forced to work in a white person’s home, for pennies, literally.  So it was amazing to hear how they felt about going from sitting in the back of the bus, walking miles through hostile rural eras to and from work, having the police also be open klan, segregation and arriving at the possibility of a black president. Obama hadn’t won his first term yet.  Hearing their thoughts were sobering.

My grandmother, Shirley, died the year after Obama was elected.  It was her dream.  She never thought he could win, she’d seen so many things in her life.  The burning of black churches, lynchings, beatings and the killing of children.  All done by people who called themselves Christian.

She’d seen the Black Panther Party fall.  Before that, King, JFK and Malcolm X killed.  She was afraid for Obama’s life while he was running.  Sometimes she’d get lost in her concern.  To bring her back, I’d tease her and say, “I know how much you love John McCain.”  To which she would say “Tuh!” the official black woman “get on call.” LOL!!  I’d tease her until she got irritated and present.  Then she’d say out loud, “he better be careful.”

For a moment, I imagined how powerless a person must feel to have leaders fighting for them assassinated by their own government.  In my life time, I’ve learned the Kings won a case in 1999.  During that time period in the 1960’s more Kings would be killed.

In my life time, one of Malcolm X’s daughters attempted to assassinate Louis Farrakhan.  As a result, we learned that the government killed him too.

I read in the last few days, that CIA and FBI agents were infiltrating Black Lives Matter.  I won’t get on the media slander of a group of people just saying stop killing us and treat us fair. I keep hearing people say, why don’t black people get their selves together… There are so many external sources fighting to keep us down.

Back to my elders in this video.  I loved the grandmother at the end.  I loved her singing. It reminded me of being in church with the mothers.  Her singing is stirring like African drumming.  I watched it on repeat several times.

My heart was heavy because so many people had such high expectations for Obama, and he turned out to be another president.  He did an amazing job facing the challenges he inherited.  I loved when he said Trayvon Martin could have been his own son.  At the same time, I felt abandoned by him.  Some days I would blame the system, some days I would say I don’t know what he has to face and other days I wondered if I expected too much.

Some days I would blame the system.  That first term, I never expected him to start walking around the White house with his wave cap on.  Obama had to use a wave cap.  Even though he is biracial, them waves though… I wondered weird things, like how long was he up before that forehead print left so he could meet the press.

I also realized, being black in America and working different kinds of jobs you can’t be yourself. I thought about all the times I was passionate about something.  Shit, Black Lives Matter came to my job and did a die in.  The drumming, them chanting stirred my spirit.  I wanted to join them on the floor.  I felt all kinds of on the wrong side of things.  But I had bills to pay.  I couldn’t stop adulting in that moment.

I also felt guilty.  There was a lot going on personally when Mike Brown was killed.  It was like there were two different worlds.  There were the people protesting.  Then there were the legal maneuvers our elders were engaged in.  Where I saw none of the protesters.  I fluctuated between feeling like I wasn’t there enough and trying to be in my own life.  We did eventually get a citizen’s oversight board.

Some days, I would hear people coming for Obama.  I’d think, I don’t know what he has to face.  I never talked about my job at home.  Whenever someone asks me how is work, I would say nothing really changes.  Meanwhile, it was the most racist experience I’d ever had.  I couldn’t quit.  It paid well. I had recently moved to a city where it’s about who you know, more than what you know.  I liked the freedom of my job.

I also felt like it was the pulse of the city.  I meet tons of cool people. I wouldn’t know half the artists I love without this job.  Not to mention, I’ve had 9-5’s where I carried a lot of responsibility. It’s nice not taking work home or having folks call me about anything.

But it was hard being watched more than white coworkers. It was hard being hired for less and having to fight for that less while the other woman was offered more.  Which especially ticked me off because she lived at home an didn’t have any real responsibilities.

I’d go through periods of applying for other places, but I was tired.  Shit, it’s hard as fuck being black.  The emotional work alone… All the battles you have to sidestep to stay employed.  I’m not allowed to have feelings.  My coworkers can come in and say, hey I’m hungover or I’m having a bad hair day and everyone babies them.

I am quiet because I just witness someone being raped (which I don’t tell them) I’m still being friendly, just absent and working mindlessly.  I’m told I need to smile more. I’m told I need to adjust my attitude.  White people can literally yell at others and me.  If I am just quiet it is treated with greater importance.  I’m like shoe shine Jimmy in this mutha fucka.  And I can’t see this changing.

There are different expectations for black workers.  I have to always be moving, working… They tell me to walk with a purpose.  Meanwhile, my white coworkers go stand in the back for 45 minutes without any interference. I mean, I’ve had people talk to me on the toilet through the bathroom door.

Knowing what I deal with, and I’m not running a country… I know Obama’s shuck and jive game has to be real.  I hoped in his second term he would wild out. I wanted him to come out and support Black Lives Matter. I wanted him to walk on the front lines.  Honestly, he still could.

I wanted him to move for a global change of how people of color are treated.  I wanted him to do some of the things Bernie would later propose.  I wanted to be saved from all the persecution we receive just for being black.  That’s a lot to put on anyone.

Anytime you wait on someone else, or expect someone else to speak for you, you’ve already abandoned yourself.  Then Obama drank that water in Flint and said it was fine.  Which shot his integrity for me.  I mean, just last week, Flint’s water system was being replaced.  It wasn’t fine.  I don’t believe he actually drank their water.