Reclaiming Joy in Your Life

The Sociological Imagination

I majored in sociology while in college because it made sense after reading the first paragraph of the textbook I had been assigned. I had been a sociologist my entire life but didn’t know it.

When I was a little girl, I used to go to work with my mother during summer vacations and we would take public transportation. I always noticed that everyone would go through the same exact turnstile when we got to the train station, although it would be several that would be empty. That never made any sense to me because why stand in line when it was another turnstile available? Ugh humans but despite of their flaws, humanity is utterly fascinating to me.

Due to sociology, the social media, and aging, unfortunately I’m noticing that people are pathologically unhappy and that makes me sad. Because life is so short and it’s precious. Everyday you wake up is a new opportunity to start over again. Who wants to wake up mad and miserable all the time? Not me.

Childhood memories

For this new year, I’m hoping that everyone claims their right to happiness and joy. I would have thought that living through a pandemic would have awakened some people but it hasn’t. Be happy and love the people in your life. Love them with all your heart and soul. Because at times, life can be rough as hell and you never know when the grim reaper will be knocking on your door. Reclaim your life from misery and have a grand old life.

Diddy the Fat Black Kitty

My buddy

Almost 13 years ago, an eight weeks old black kitten came into my life. He didn’t have a name for several weeks and then my eldest daughter named him Diddy. Because he loves the spotlight and women.

Diddy is a naughty critter. Fuck it, he’s bad as hell and although he is considered a senior cat, he still be running around starting shit. Yowling like a damn fool, doing the crab walk although he’s 17 pounds, and taking off running like the hounds of hell are chasing his bad ass. But I wouldn’t have him any other way.

During the almost 13 years he’s been a part of my life, we have had many adventures. When I moved to Minneapolis eight years ago, he rode in a carrier on my lap. We have lived like Gypsies over the years and not one time have I thought about leaving him behind. Well except one. I was going to be living with my sister friend Trena when I moved to Minneapolis and I didn’t know if she was going to welcome Diddy so I started looking for a no kill shelter but when I talked to her, she told me that he was welcomed too. My boo is an ancestor now and I wish she was here so I could tell her how wonderful she was for allowing me to bring my critter with me.

I got Diddy from my girl Angela. Her cat Silver had a set of kittens who were born May 17, 2009 and when they got old enough, they would be given to loving homes. And I put my bid in because at the time, I was living in an apartment complex with a mice problem. Those mice were some bold fuckers too. Straight squeaking and partying when the lights were turned off at night.

He became a part of my family officially on August 1, 2009. I went to her home to pick him up and he was laying in a box with his sisters. His mama was laying on Angie’s bed looking at me anxiously because she knew I was coming for one of her babies. I rubbed and comforted her, telling her that he would be loved and would always have a home. For almost 13 years, I’ve kept my promise to Silver because as long as I have a home, Diddy will always be there.

We have gotten old together, Diddy and I. I’m 51 and he’s 64 in human years and sometimes, we be fussing and fighting with each other. And then we be chilling out on the bed. He’s my booga cat, my fleabag. I know that cats don’t live as long as humans but the little girl that is in me wants him to be the world’s oldest living cat because I’m not ready to let him go. But as long as he’s here, he’s going to be loved and cherished.

Me and my fleabag

Merry Christmas🎄🎄🎄🎄

Merry Xmas Y’all💋💋💋

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas to everyone but in particular to everyone who has suffered the loss of loved one this year or previously. The holidays are rough for those who are grieving and it’s hard pretending to be happy when you’re not.

While on Facebook, my memory feed popped up and I saw a picture of my brother Larry who died last year. The picture was taken seven years ago and he looked so happy and I was so happy to see him. We ate good, drank good, and had a marvelous time commiserating with my children. And now he’s gone and all I have left is memories and it’s so hard for me to believe that he’s gone.

There are many like me who are experiencing this sense of loss, loneliness and confusion during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. So get some rest and chill out my fellow grievers. Don’t let anyone work your nerves. Brighter days are coming.

Memories, Memories, Memories

I’m sure that any folks who come across my blog and read my work is probably thinking “Man she morbid as hell!” And I don’t mean to be but so much has happened to me in such a short time. Loss of loved ones, health issues, all kinds of shit. But someway, somehow, I manage to persevere. The way I go about it might be puzzling to some but it makes perfect sense to me.

American culture shames people for having emotions outside of being constantly happy all the time. Even through times of immense grief, people are expected to put on their best faces and pretend that they aren’t hurting in order to not offend anyone. How selfish and inane is that mentality. How cruel and heartless. And utterly American.

So as I dwell in the valley of the emotion called grief, I’ve decided that the best way to deal with it is facing it squarely in the face. I look at pictures of my lost ones, laughing on some days and on other days crying. But I have to see their faces so I refuse to stop.

I’ve started a collection of pictures on my Facebook page called “Blackness Personified” and it’s filled with pictures of Black people from various decades. Some of the pictures are of celebrities and some of the pictures of regular Black folks. I chose those pictures because they reminded me of simpler times, when I was a little girl and my family was still alive.

I reread books that I read when I was a much younger woman and marvel at how much I’ve grown as an individual. Certain passages in those books I didn’t get in 1989 I understand totally now in 2021.

I talk to my ancestors too. I’m not a religious person. I’m downright heathenish for the most part but I do believe in the power of the ancestors and that they watch over us from wherever they happen to be.

I talk about them constantly because I have to keep them alive, if not in body but spirit because if I don’t, they will truly be dead and I cannot face that. It’s enough that I will never be able to see them again in the physical but to pretend that they never existed just because they died is beyond cruel: it’s sick.

So I will continue to tell their stories. Like the time my mother and I beat up my older brother because he was drunk and ignorant and we had to let him know the true power of Black Girl Magic by whupping on that ass. My memories is all I have left of them and I will continue to tell their stories. And when I become an ancestor, my children will do the same for me. Or I will haunt their asses.

In Honor of Boogie Woogie – My First Cat

A black cat

The first man who broke my heart was a black cat named Boogie Woogie. He became my cat in February of 1980 and he was my first pet.

Back in the 70s and 80s, the schools in Chicago stayed on strike and it was during one of these strikes that Boogie came into my life. It was a snowy day and I was outside playing in the snow with my friends Rosalyn and Derrick when we saw a man walking down the block.

He was a tall, dark skinned Black man wearing a black wool trench coat, a black fedora hat on his head, and a black cat wrapped around his neck (I swear I’m not lying). Derrick asked the gentleman,”Can this little girl have that cat? She loves cats and need one because her house has a mouse.” And we did. The fucker had chewed up one of my dolls.

The gentleman took the cat off his neck and gave him to me and strode off down the street, never to be seen again. I took my new cat into the house and fed him some lunch meat and when my mother came home from work, she was greeted by the sight of me laying down on the couch with my new pet that I christened Boogie Woogie. Can’t remember why I gave him that name but he was Boogie Woogie for then on.

Boogie was in my life for just two short years but during those two years, he became my little buddy. He would walk me to school and would be waiting on the porch when I got home. He slept with me nightly under the covers and would sit next to me when I read to him.

My mama wasn’t a cat person but she tolerated him and would toss him the innards of the whole chicken she cooked every Sunday. I can see them right now with him waiting patiently to get his weekly treat and her rolling her eyes but still feeding him.

He was an outdoor male cat who wasn’t neutered so sometimes he wandered off for weeks but he always came back to me. But one day he didn’t and I never saw Boogie again. For years, I dreamed about him and in those dreams, he came home and jumped into my bed purring like crazy because he missed me too.

During the years since Boogie left, I’ve had many cats and currently have one, a bad ass cat named Diddy but Boogie will always have a special corner in my heart. My first pet. My buddy. And if there’s a place where souls go after they cross over, I’ll see my Boogie Woogie again when it’s my time.

Those two years he was in my life were very special and he made a little Black girl happy although his absence brought pain. I will cherish those two years forever and will always remember a black cat named Boogie Woogie.

Self Love & Why It’s So Important to Black Women

All The Time

It’s time sisters. It’s time to love yourselves and stop worrying about men who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. The same group of men who spend their days and nights on the social media defaming your character and calling you bald headed, ugly, Black ass bitches. I know it’s hard living in a culture that hates you because you were born Black and female but take this advice from a middle age Black woman: fuck them.

Love yourselves and your children if you have some. Concentrate on making your lives better and easier. Make some money and don’t be dependent on anyone because financial dependence is dangerous for women. Go to school, get a degree or a trade. Go to brunch with your friends, eat good and straight get fucked up in the words of DJ Quik.

Travel the world and go to all the places that you have wanted to explore since you were a child. All the places you read about, watched on television and films.

And love yourselves. Love yourselves with all the heat and passion in your souls. Some folks think that self love is selfish, especially for Black women because Black women are considered the mules of the universe but it’s nothing selfish about loving yourselves ladies. Because if no one in the world loves you, you have yourselves and never forget that❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Love Yourselves Boos💋💋💋💋💋

A Rough Season

This summer was supposed to have been a great one but unfortunately, I lost two childhood friends that I loved like sisters in two months. Most people lose contact with their childhood friends as they get older but I have been fortunate that I’m still in contact with the majority.

I spent my teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s with these ladies and was hoping that we would grow old together, sitting on the porch with our canes cussing folks out but it wasn’t meant to be. But as I write this, I’m sitting here smiling through my tears, grateful that I had the privilege of knowing them at all.

So many sisters complain about the lack of friendship amongst Black women but I was truly blessed to have known these ladies. I hope that the ancestors greeted Genial and Mikki with love and I promise to keep them alive with my memories. Because what memories they were❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Art of Aging as a Woman

Being a woman ain’t no cakewalk at all, especially in a society that deems a woman old and washed up at the age of 30. But someway, somehow I have managed to survive turning 50 years old.

I was depressed in the months leading up to my birthday. I was grieving over the loss of my brother, coping with the pandemic, and getting diagnosed with epilepsy. I cried literally every day from February to December. But that isn’t healthy at all so I managed to find some ways to keep me calm.

I started watching the cartoons of my childhood. In January, Me TV started showing episodes of Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Bugs Bunny and Friends every Saturday morning and I haven’t missed an episode. Watching those cartoons brings me so much joy because they bring back memories of the little girl whose biggest issue was whether she should eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast or nag her mother into making her some scrambled eggs.

I also started creating Tiktok videos featuring me singing (howling) along to some of my favorite music. Music that makes my soul sing and body move. I cackle madly when I watch the videos, knowing that singing is not a talent of mine at all but it’s good seeing the happiness in my eyes.

And most importantly, I decided to embrace my age. So many people I know and loved didn’t make it to age 50. So I will be strutting around like I’m the baddest bitch in America. Yes I’m fat, my hair is turning gray, and I have some funky ass dark circles under my eyes that won’t disappear but I’m still here. And proud as fuck about it. So ladies, embrace becoming a Crone and stop giving a fuck about the opinions of others, in particular, the opinions of men. It is in their best interests to keep women insecure and filled with self loathing, groveling for crumbs. Fuck that dumb shit girlies. Live your according to the standards that you have set up for yourself and keep rising to the top.

The Howler

Memories

In the months since my brother’s death, my emotions have been a kaleidoscope, ranging from the deepest of grief to fear.  My mother gave birth to three children and I am the only one left. That’s real deep isn’t it? I have no one to grieve with: most people don’t know how to deal with emotions, particularly the emotions that come with death and at times, I have felt so alone. Even with being a mother who has children living in her house.

Back in December, I learned that my brother was missing. Then he was in the hospital and then put in a nursing home. In January, I learned that he was dying and on February 10, 2020, he crossed over. Just like that. That quickly, that quietly, and with that, my brother became an ancestor.

Randy, my second oldest brother died February 7, 1994 and February 10, 2020, Larry died. Our mother died back in December of 2006 and now it’s just me. Notice I did not mention a father and I will not. At this point, it doesn’t matter but many would disagree.

My little family is gone and all I have is memories and pictures.  Like the time Larry came over drunk and rowdy and my mother and I beat his ass. Or the time Randy had some Sea-Monkeys and I poured a cup of sugar in the fish bowl to see what would happened (they died naturally and he was mad as hell). Or memories of going to work with my mother during school breaks. Memories that have made an indention on my brain that I cling to. The memories that keep my people alive in spirit if not in body.

Currently, the world is experiencing a pandemic and for 2 ½ months, Chicago was under quarantine. During that time, I had nothing to do but think and grieve. And that it is what I am currently doing now and will continue to do so. Only a demon will pretend to be blowing sunshine out of their asses when deep down in their heart, they are hurting and I’m not a demon. Will I be showing my entire ass, no, but if you see me lost in thought, smiling or teary eyed, I am thinking about my people.

Sex and the Single Lady Generation X African American Style

single-black-woman

Often on the social media, when discussions about the dating game comes up and how it truly sucks to be an African American single woman in your forties, marginally attractive black men are quick to chime with “You need to choose better or expand your circle.” Negro please.  A lot of these niggas ain’t worth two dead flies and what is so pathetic is that these men know that already because these two bit niggas are their friends. But these dudes spend their time trying to convince women that it is our fault for not choosing this fabled, little seen creature who is allegedly in abundance but we are too choosy and like thugs to find one: The Proverbial Good Black Man.

I have an eclectic mix of black lady friends on the social media who expand from California to New York. From London to Barbados and all these ladies are saying the same exact thing: it sucks to be a single black lady of any age but in particular for a woman of a certain age because of the social stigma that makes women in their forties crones before their time and because of the lack of quality black men in the dating world.

And it is not just on the social media where black women in their forties are complaining about the availability of black men in their age bracket that are financially solvent, emotionally stable and ready to commit to something as simple as a movie date but offline too. I have friends that I have known for years who are single and fed up with the games, the utter lack of accountability and have surrounded their hearts with a wall of stone.

Two years ago back in August, I got myself out of a long term relationship that was going nowhere because he irritated my soul and made my ass itch. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with him, let alone another month so I walked away with zero regrets. But like always, people do not like the idea of a black woman being single and free because a free woman is a dangerous bitch.  So my best friend and my daughter suggested that I try online dating and see what happens.

I am very open-minded so I conducted some research and decided that OkCupid would be the best online dating service for me because for the most part, it’s free and I was not about to spend money that could be spent elsewhere on internet dating services. Shit, I have a child and makeup habit to support.  And Lawd have mercy on my soul why I do that because I have met some characters on that bitch.

Let’s talk about the horny white men who fetishize black women sexually like the old ass Grandpappy that was in my inbox. Looked like a walking skeleton with hair. Old as Methuselah. Old as mummy dirt talking about how he likes “the sisters.” If you don’t go sit your old ass down somewhere Pop Granddaddy.

Or the cute ass white fella around my age who actually could hitch a word or two together and wrote a magnificent paragraph about my beauty, charm, blah, blah, blah but when we actually talked on the phone, told me I asked too many questions. I guess he thought I was going to be discussing how black women suck a better dick than white women. Like I wasn’t going to question a strange man I met online about his life.

And now the brothers oh my goodness. Those horn dogs.  Constantly sending sexually explicit pictures and messages, trying to come over my house for a meal without offering to spend a dime on groceries. Never suggesting so much as a date to a coffee shop because they are some cheap bastards. Always trying to get some coochie and come up on a meal at the same time.  Some basic motherfuckers.

But eventually through all this garbage, I eventually met two cuties but they wasn’t shit either because these men expected me to chase behind them. In this new world of dating, Black men consider themselves the prize and the women are supposed to chase behind them whether these men are blind, crippled, crazy and look like an old sock; they have dicks and women are automatically supposed to drop to their knees and worship the mic, literally and figuratively. These two men in particular never wanted to communicate with me via the phone except for texting and that shit irritated me. I am a relic from a forgotten era: a time in which men asked for your phone number, called you and you talked for hours, having mentally stimulating conversations about life, music politics and all kinds of deliciousness. Not today. These men didn’t want to talk to me on the phone; they just want to text and these fuckers couldn’t t even text properly. Misspelled words, sentence fragments and quick to ask for a nude picture, all kinds of foolishness from complete strangers.

So after all of this, I have taken myself out of the dating game for now because at 46, I do not have time for this bullshit. I will not be chasing complete strangers. I will not be deciphering text messages from grown ass men who should know how to spell. I will not be allowing strange men into my home around my 15-year old daughter because they are too cheap to take a woman on a date. But according to some black men and their band of thirsty Pick Me heifers, I just need to choose better or switch up my circle. Yeah right. To quote a beautiful sister from Facebook name Phoenix Renee, “BM over 40 are tired, emotionally bankrupt, and relationship illiterate and lazy. They’re right where we left them 20 years ago. Only now time (and in some cases, drugs/alcohol) is catching up. Too many didn’t do their “work” for decades and now we’re not settling. So now the cry is “no good women”?”   Yeah right motherfuckers.  How can single Generation X black women who want love and companionship form normal, functioning  loving relationships with a group of emotionally stunted men who are  intent on living a second adolescence? Men who refuse to be held accountable for anything? Who blame black women for everything? Naw bruhs it ain’t happening. So stop pushing this tired ass narrative about choosing better and admit that a large portion of your brethren ain’t shit.