This was on my mind ...

My Mo-ments

img_3057-3It took me 40 years to learn how to really enjoy people.  I am predisposed to panic and am often immersed in irrational worry.  When fear drives you like that New is typically a problem. And I mean anything: places, situations, expectations and, for me, people, in particular. They’re the most unpredictable and dangerous kind of New I usually run into. Solitude beckons me every moment of the day.

 

Happily, I have worked my way out of the depths of that kind of dysfunction. Though by no means a devil may care adventurer, I am now at least a lean-in and get through it, active participant in life. I can now step off my fear and enjoy the depth and breadth of most people that I meet.

 

So now to Mo.  Monique is my fashion guru, a woman 25 years my junior who has it so together, I just watch what she does and try to recreate, in some small way, all of the things she does so well.

 

Mo is a woman who lights up a room with her positive attitude, while taking no crap – at all. She’ll tolerate a little nonsense but she has defined limits and she can shut down all manner of ridiculousness with a few cool, uncluttered phrases uttered without attitude or anger at all. 

 

Her fashion sense is inimitable so I don’t try with that at all. I just let her guide me slowly as she tries to rock me out of my old, staid, don’t care about clothes attitude one outfit at a time.

 

Breezy, but incredibly structured, she is a model of efficiency. I could do with two good helpings of both ease and organization, but I haven’t adopted any pieces of those yet because they’re so very far away from who I am. That said, I’m watching her like a hawk, looking for some small thing I can pull off now, then working my way towards the rest over time.

 

Since meeting her I’ve had many “Mo-ments,” times when I just sit back, appreciate who she is and try to adopt a little of what she’s got going on. I like people who sparkle.  I just wanted to let her know.

 

 

 

 

You, That Dude and Your Self-Esteem

I got a question from a woman hurt by the fact that her man (of 4 years) left her for another woman and married her within a year. She’s having a hard time coping with the fact that he moved on so quickly and is now so happy.
To Ms. B who wrote that she dated this guy for 4 years. He cheated on her with another woman, who he eventually left her for. They then married. (She also says that she thought he was selfish and a bit of a narcissist) She’s upset that he seems to be happy now and finds it to be a big blow to her confidence. She’s having a hard time with it.
HEAR ME. His being happy with another woman is no reflection on you. It just means they were more compatible than you and he were. That’s it and that’s all. You say you thought he was a narcissist … so clearly he wasn’t your dream companion. Now you have the opportunity to find a man that suits you better. One that is not selfish.
LADIES, quit defining your worth based upon whether or not you have a man. Please stop wondering why some other woman got the guy you wanted as if you lost a battle for the last man on earth and that it means you are not lovable. It means he wasn’t the guy for you long term. Your value is based on your heart, your spirit, your soul, your accomplishments.
I have been left by a number of dudes. After a couple of days and a new pair of shoes or something I kept it moving. I knew my value. I also knew my quirks. Everybody’s not going to like what I bring to the table. Some guys got sick of me and my need to be alone and my fears about going out or whatever nonsense I was dealing with at the time. I believe at least one simply met a woman he liked better. I don’t know for sure because I didn’t inquire.
Next thing you know I was “Involuntarily emancipated” Unintended, to be sure, but free nonetheless. My friends still loved me, my degrees did not fall of the wall and my employer kept paying me. I remember one guy who left me in Law School at the end of the year. After the summer, when we got back to school I hugged his new girlfriend and told her they were a cute couple or something so she wouldn’t feel weird every time she saw me.

 

I got a new guy over the next summer who dumped me after 6 months. By phone … long distance. He called a year later while I was reading a really good book. I said “Hey, how are you?” He said, “fine,” then started talking about I don’t know what. Five minutes in he realized I wasn’t listening and said, “Well I’ll let you get back to what you were doing.” I said, “okay, it was really good hearing from you though.”

 

I don’t know why they didn’t want me because I never asked why and never let them explain. What difference would it make? They didn’t want me. What was I going to do? Beg? Tell them why they’re wrong?  Ask them what’s so wrong with me? Offer to change? Please. They all moved on to new women. Often, I found that I liked the wives of some of my exes more than I like them. But what’s that got to do with me? It freed me up to find Eric. Took almost 30 years but I got the right guy.

 

LADIES, BOSSUP, please.

Virtually Ignored

 

Paradise Remembered

Paradise Remembered

 

On the east side of Columbus, Ohio, just south of James Road, there are three small streets accessible only from Livingston Avenue. Each street has four to eight houses. They are nice homes, larger than the majority of houses in the surrounding area. This, in and of itself, is not remarkable. Who built them, when and why, however, is. Livingston Heights came into being in the early 1940s, when two black men – a small businessman and a physician – bought land on the outskirts of Columbus in what were then little more than cow pastures. They developed this plot by selling individual parcels to other black professionals they knew.

Unwelcome elsewhere, the twenty or so families who settled there took land that was of no interest to others and built themselves a community. They held regular meetings to discuss issues of common interest: the building of roads, the construction of sewers. They presented a united front to the City of Columbus and managed to successfully integrate the area into its surroundings as the city grew out to meet it.

They named their community Livingston Heights.

I was born into that oasis in 1959. And every July, or as long as I can remember, all of the families in Livingston Heights got together for the annual picnic. We all congregated in someone’s backyard to eat, talk and enjoy one another’s company. The children in the neighborhood would put on a show for the adults. We were a spunky, if not a particularly talented, group of kids. We got rave reviews every year.

The women planned and cooked and made costumes for our show. They talked about cleaning ladies and colleges. The men made boasts about barbecue sauce and disagreed on how to light the fire.

They also spoke more quietly among themselves about the things they were trying to change for the children they watched play in the streets they had created. We kids played kickball undisturbed in the street, since all three were dead ends, and anyone who would ordinarily travel them was already accounted for in someone’s backyard.

The picnic would last well into the night. We kids all got to stay up late, since it was summertime. Toward dusk, as Johnny Walker and Jim Beam made their presence better known, the jokes began to roll, and the Richard Pryor albums came out. Our parents left us kids on our own to carry on as we pleased, content in the knowledge that we were firmly ensconced in our a safe haven conceived and built by black men and women who were told they couldn’t live like that.

As time went by and my world grew beyond the confines of those three small streets, I began to comprehend with greater clarity the significance of was happening there.

I now know that what I took for granted as nothing more than a rollicking good time on a warm summer afternoon, was more accurately a celebration of achievement and vision, the memory of which I will always cherish, along with the men and women who made it so.

PEACE.

At Twenty: To Gabby

At Twenty

At 20, I had neither the talent nor the perseverance, the dedication nor the ability to be among the top 10 people in the world at anything.

At 20, I could not have borne the pressure of coming back from being the best in the world at 16, trained, worked and waited for four years and tried to do it again.

At 20, I did not have the magnanimity to embrace, without jealously, a new 16 year-old who would step into my arena and dominate the sport I once did in a way I never managed.

At 20, I would not have been able to maintain my composure when criticized for my inability keep the natural state of my hair from emerging around the edges of my head while I did some of the most difficult things in the world.

At 20, when I failed to do my best and lost the chance to revisit the possibility of getting any medal in an arena in which I won gold four years ago, I would have been visibly distraught. (When it happened to Jordyn Wieber, she cried right then and there. I would have, too).

GABBY DOUGLAS IS A CHAMPION.

Did a hint of disappointment surface on her face while the cameras followed her non-stop at one of the toughest moments of her life, yep. Did she put her hand over her heart at the National Anthem? Nope, not every body does.

GABBY DOUGLAS IS A HUMAN BEING.

We saw extremely small snippets of the entire competition. And from those minuscule moments people have bullied that young woman mercilessly.

GABBY DOUGLAS IS TWENTY

What were you doing at twenty?

GABBY DOUGLAS …. A CHAMPION …. A CLASS ACT

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My Mo-ments

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in This was on my mind | No Comments

It took me 40 years to learn how to really enjoy people.  I am predisposed to panic and am often immersed in irrational worry.  When fear drives you like that New is typically a problem. And I mean anything: places, situations, expectations and, for me, people, in particular. They’re the most unpredictable and dangerous kind […]

You, That Dude and Your Self-Esteem

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in This was on my mind | No Comments

I got a question from a woman hurt by the fact that her man (of 4 years) left her for another woman and married her within a year. She’s having a hard time coping with the fact that he moved on so quickly and is now so happy. To Ms. B who wrote that she […]

Paradise Remembered

Posted by on Aug 20, 2016 in This was on my mind | No Comments

Paradise Remembered   On the east side of Columbus, Ohio, just south of James Road, there are three small streets accessible only from Livingston Avenue. Each street has four to eight houses. They are nice homes, larger than the majority of houses in the surrounding area. This, in and of itself, is not remarkable. Who […]

At Twenty: To Gabby

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in This was on my mind | No Comments

At Twenty At 20, I had neither the talent nor the perseverance, the dedication nor the ability to be among the top 10 people in the world at anything. At 20, I could not have borne the pressure of coming back from being the best in the world at 16, trained, worked and waited for […]