Thursday, September 20, 2018

When I grow up I want to be...

If our childhood dreams of what we want to be can point to the careers we
might choose, then perhaps I should’ve been an architect.

I used to spend hours on the floor in front of Scotch-taped sheets of stark white paper and several sharpened pencils to draft my floor plans. Even in the 1980’s, as a 10-year-old who grew up in a quaint six-room home, I knew I wanted my new house to have at least four bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms. I also went as far as design the interior, drawing in fixtures and furnishings: always a washer and dryer, a sectional and a fireplace. And my home needed to be situated right on a beach and have a huge sunroom to house all the lush greenery that I’d eventually kill as an adult.

I vaguely remember the brown beach house I drew on poster board and submitted to a school contest accompanied by a short “poem” on why I wanted to live on the water. Oh, yeah, I wrote stuff back then, too. I recall that it placed – maybe first or second – in the competition and ended up in the home of a classmate.

When I applied to college, I indeed declared architecture as my major. I excitedly filled the list of required supplies and was well-prepared for the first day of class. Or so I thought. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was ill-prepared for the demographic and actual coursework.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Story time: Give me two pair. I need two pair.

Other than a fly pair of mint green mesh and suede pumas, a meh leather pair of pink and brown pumas and a random pair of white Reebok Classics, I’ve never really bought and worn sneakers.

I figured I don’t really need them, although there have been periods where I tried to be athletic and walk the 0.8 miles around my apartment complex. Thank God for the footwear I happened to have. But for the most part I’ve always been a heels and boots, sandals and flip-flops type of woman because I’m usually not that casual.

So this past Saturday was an Old Navy flip-flop day. It was also a sporadically rainy day, partly a precursor to Hurricane Florence, I suppose. I rode with my cousin to our little rural hometown so she could pick up her mom and drive her to Richmond for a weeklong staycation. It was also a little road trip and outing for us, too.

Her mom’s house is situated in the middle of a huge family plot flanked by the woods, some flowery bushes with occasional roses, peonies and figs, tall pine trees and three other homes. On any given day, it isn’t unusual to find any of us crossing backyards to and fro from one house to the next and back again. On any given day except this past Saturday, that is.


I recently had a revelation surrounding the job-seeking experience within corporate America. Perhaps I was spoiled, having known the hiring managers and most of the team members already at the last four companies where I worked. But there was still a search, albeit informal, and interview process. I still needed to know my shit and sell it, too. Either I forgot how to play that game or I was oblivious to how ruthless and calculated it really is. Other than the time when an HR representative mailed me an actual certified letter (back in the late 90’s) to tell me that I was unqualified – to which my immediate reaction was, “Bitch, you petty” – I had never encountered such blatant dismissal.

A few years ago, I applied for a math teacher position at a private school that was advertised in the tiny newspaper back in my hometown. A very eager and polite woman called me within an hour of receiving my emailed resume and scheduled an interview for the following week. She called me back less than 30 minutes later to change the date to a few days after that so that she could accommodate the acting head of the school’s schedule. The meeting sounded promising.

Mad and boujee

I’m pretty sure we’re meant to evolve.

I’m also certain we’re created to explore, learn and grow, not exist solely within the confines of stereotypes.

And I’m absolutely positive we have the right to exercise our freedom of personal choice.

But every now and then I enter some awkward territory with someone who takes those beliefs, crumples them like college-ruled paper filled with poorly written lecture notes and tosses them back to you to rewrite.

It’s a meh weekday morning. I walk over to the stove where a cast iron frying pan is heating up so a relative and I can cook breakfast. I glance towards her while she’s prepping our meal and I think, We’re not eating bacon today. I say:

“I like mine sliced thin.”

She lets out a quick puff of air as the knife strikes the countertop with a sharp echo. One long speckled slice of the pork-grain mix already rests alongside the block. She slams the knife down to coat the hot frying pan with a teaspoon of cooking oil. Her breath was the type of exhale that lets you know that you’ve struck a nerve even though it was the only comment or request you’ve made that day.

“What difference does it make if it’s thick or thin!” she snaps, her tone too indignant for some scrapple.

“Because then it’s mushy,” I calmly reply as I retrieve a small pan and fill it with water to make hard-boiled eggs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fragile like a bomb

"She was not fragile like a flower; she was fragile like a bomb." - Poetry at Most

I like to tell myself I’m slow to anger but that’s an inaccurate statement. The truth is I’m quick to anger, storing that emotion in the deepest of crevices, thinking it’ll somehow disintegrate like compost and recyclables.

Perhaps those feelings take the same amount of time to break down because they sit and pollute my temple for years with their stench.

I oftentimes maintain this toxic internal dialogue, acting and sounding out what I coulda-shoulda done and said. I realize it becomes a continual process because there’s no outlet. There’s no meaningful discussion, no resolution, no apology, no release, no forgiveness. There’s no one to receive my wrath or rather I tend to not unleash it on the appropriate parties because I hoard it. All of it. I allow it to fester until I’m unable to stuff another emotion and then I explode.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Story time: TFW you forget basic division and multiplication

I suspect that the youth complaining about the uselessness of algebra are the same ones who, as cashiers, can’t count the correct change if their registers are down.

I also suspect that basic mathematical skills escape us if we don’t regularly use them.

A few years ago, I went to the fish market to buy $50 worth of clams* for a relative. She was unsure of the cost, but to me that was irrelevant – unless they were like $5 or something outrageous like that and then I’d leave them right in the showcase – because I already knew how much I had to spend.

“They might be $1 per clam,” she says, anyway, “I don’t know.”


I drive to the market, peruse the board for a price but don’t see one and ask the older co-owner how much for her clams.

She replies $3.75.

Per dozen.

And that’s when shit went downhill.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bishop TD Jakes wants us to SOAR: It's not okay to sit on the runway when we belong in the air

One of my cousins sent me a link to the Bishop T.D. Jakes interview conducted by Pastor Steven Furtick. It was part of the Bishop’s SOAR! series – How to Build Your Vision from the Ground Up – about having “big dreams” with “little resources.”

As a creative writer who’s about to tackle her first rather lofty project, I found the topic timely and relevant. So I immediately subscribed to Pastor Furtick’s YouTube station for near-future viewing, which really meant I filed it with the other videos and podcasts on my ever-growing to-watch-and-listen list. Now if only I can find the video that reveals how everyone else is able to watch TED talks and listen to podcasts daily because I can’t manage without sacrificing project productivity.

Anyhoo, barely a week later, the moderator of a coaching group that I’m a member of posted a link to the same interview, telling us it was so good and full of valuable gems.

So that evening, I settled onto the couch half-expecting to only absorb a slew of scriptures that often come across as more cliché than inspiring, which I now realize is simply a function of the beliefs and ultimate selections of the passages a person chooses to recite to me; they’re not always applicable but that’s a whole other blog post.

Instead I was rather surprised to hear words of self-esteem, strength, abundance and worth, contrary to a more familiar message of "the struggle is mandatory." Within a matter of minutes into the interview, I had to pause the video so I could grab my pen and paper to jot down notable quotables in between an occasional yet inappropriate “Oh shit!” Now this is some motivation! Here’s what I wrote: