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.
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.
As I get older, I’m finding that my personal brand of feminism is getting more radical. Now I’m not talking about kill all the men or any nonsense like that, but as I age, I just don’t give a fuck about the opinions of men anymore. Regardless of race, regardless of their socioeconomic status in life. Dirt poor or filthy rich, if you are a man, your opinions of womanhood don’t mean a heap of merde (French for shit) to me.
I can’t speak for all women collectively but for me, getting older has been a blessing because I did some foolish things as a younger woman and now my mind is clear as freshly cleaned glass. When I look back, I just shake my head and thank the ancestors that I’m still alive to tell my tale. The most foolish thing I did as a young woman was live with two men (not at the same time☠️) and it’s two of my biggest regrets as a woman. No woman should live with a man that she’s not married to because it’s not worth it. Why should a young woman waste her youth, energy and resources cleaning, cooking, and sexing a man who is not her husband? It doesn’t make any sense and I’m not even a big proponent of marriage these days but shacking is an exercise in futility. He’s getting the best without having to do anything. Marriage is a legally binding contact that brings certain privileges for both parties. Particularly for women when it comes to children.
But marriage is still very important for a large portion of women and that is why they be jumping through hoops of fire, trying to prove their worthiness to men who in some cases, aren’t worth two dead flies. Moving in with men that they barely know, auditioning to be wives. Just foolishness all the way around.
If I ran society, I would encourage women to concentrate on themselves and stop listening to the voices of men. Tap into their femininity and I’m not talking about this soft and meek shit thats being sold to the parched masses by shysters. I’m talking about that Kali femininity. Kali is an Indian goddess who’s a bad chick. She’s considered the goddess of death in some circles and others, the epitome of womanhood. She’s a wild woman and women of today need to aspire to that wildness. This is a patriarchal society that we live in and in order to survive as a woman, you have to be strong and cunning or you will become prey for these wolves. So stop serving yourselves up on a silver platter to men who look like roadkill y’all.
Today the world was shocked and saddened by the death of actress Betty White who was loved by all. She was an integral part of my childhood experience because I’m a total television junkie and I literally grew up watching her. Her career spanned over 70 years and she was the living definition of The Crone.
I watched her on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mama’s Family, and my favorite comedy of all time, The Golden Girls. The episode when Rose and the crew went on a game show and competed against each other was a study in comic genius.
She was funny, talented, and so much more. When I learned of her passing, I broke down and cried like a baby. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t cry on the last day of year because I had cried so many tears this year but I couldn’t help myself. So many people from my childhood have crossed over from relatives to celebrities that I loved and it’s been a bitter pill to swallow. No one told me that the worst aspect of aging is losing people because it forces you to think about your own mortality.
So rest easy Miss Betty. You gave joy to millions of people from one end of the world to the other and you will be missed. Knowing that you really didn’t blow up until you were a Crone gives me hope for the future. You were loved and revered Tee Tee Betty.
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.
Before I joined the social media, I used to read articles from the website Salon.com and debate folks in the now defunct comment section. At one time, Salon had a website named Open Salon for the readers who were writers and yours truly won Editors Choice a few times. But I’m digressing as usual so let me tell this tale.
What fascinated me the most about Salon is that whenever articles from prominent feminists were posted, the men would be foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs in the comments, writing barely coherent paragraphs filled with rage against them stanking ass feminists and spewing how the world was a much better place when women knew their “place.”
And the vast majority of these men were white men. It wasn’t a lot of Black folks in the comments during that time period and I was just amazed at the anger from these men who are on the top of the economic and social totem pole in America. Even with all this power, they felt threatened by women having autonomy over their lives.
I’m really not surprised. Feminism which can defined as women being able to have the same rights as men drives normally sane people batshit crazy. Because you know women are supposed to stay in their place, cooking and cleaning, having babies, and shutting the fuck up. Women are supposed to walk in the shadows, never basking in the glory of their own sun. How dare these bitches think they have the right to control their own destinies and bodies without male interference? Shame on them!
But I hadn’t seen nothing yet until I joined Facebook and saw the venom that so many Black men have for the ideology called feminism. These men blame feminism for kicking Black men out of their homes by giving poor Black women access to welfare. For allowing Black women to become educated and have careers. For breathing. For weave. Makeup. Everything that’s wrong in the Black community has been placed at the feet of feminism. And it’s the most pathetic shit in the world.
Feminism makes the world a better place because it gives women options. The option of not having children or ten children. The option of being a career woman or a stay at home mother. And the option of doing absolutely nothing at all. Freedom to live without a ton of societal rules, expectations, and regulations just because you were born female. It’s nothing wrong with women being free to control their lives. Nothing at all.
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.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been both terrified and fascinated by the specter of death. I became obsessed with death after spending the summer with my grandmother in 1980. She had moved to Wichita, Kansas to reside with her daughter, Aunt Annabel, and we spent hot summer days together with her telling me tales from her youth.
She was a Southern Baptist and believed that the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was going to happen in the year 2000. So I analyzed the situation, well as much as a nine year old girl can analyze and decided that it would be cool for everyone to die together at one time. Although I would only be 30 at the time, at least I would die in the company of my family and friends. The thoughts that children have.
In the years that have passed, I’ve learned a lot about death unfortunately. I’ve lost so many friends and family in the past five years that it’s surreal. Especially the deaths of my original family, the family I was born into. My brother Randy died in 1994, my mother Gertrude in 2006, and Larry in 2020. My father wasn’t a part of my life so it was just myself, my brothers, and my mother. Now it’s just me and it’s been one of the most difficult journeys I’ve taken. Although I have children, a grandson and a new grandchild due in the spring, and a ton of cousins and friends who love me, I still feel so alone at times. I’ve come to the realization that this feeling of loneliness and despair will never go away but it will always be a lingering bitterness.
Now I’m obsessed with dying these days. Worried about leaving my children motherless. Worried about what would happen to them if I should die. Wondering who’s going to love my babies like I do. My mother had three children and I’m the only one who is left. What kind of shit is that? Why am I still here? And how does it feel to be dead. Is there really an afterlife and a place where souls go when their journey on Earth is over? Will I see my dead loved ones again? Totally morbid as fuck and unhealthy but it is what it is.
Just a little note to tell everybody to embrace happiness this week. It’s become quite popular to be unhappy and wallow in misery all the time, but that’s not normal boos. Life ain’t easy and it’s going to be some rough patches. You’re going to experience the deaths of people you love, job and money losses, relationships that end but that’s life. And life is not a fairytale. So be grateful that you woke up this morning and pray that you wake up tomorrow. Because it’s not guaranteed.
I didn’t discover bell hooks until I went to college in 2002. I majored in sociology and minored in history. Took two Women and Gender courses and it was then I was introduced to her works. And my life changed.
Her writings made me think deeply and I learned to fight for myself as a Black woman living in a white patriarchal society that despises all women but has placed the Black woman on a special rung in hell. Learned to fight for my dignity and autonomy in system that wasn’t set up for my advancement but my demise.
And as I’m getting older, due to her works, I have learned to have grace for others who weren’t as fortunate as me to have access to her writings and the writings of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Assata Shakur and others. Black writers who reveled in their Blackness and wasn’t afraid to show it. Ignorance is cultivated in American culture these days so some people are doomed and all you can do is pity them and move on.
So Rest in Power bell hooks. Although you are no longer here in form, your works will continue to educate and transform, encouraging folks to improve their lives and elevate their minds. Folks like me.
My mama left this world 15 years ago today and it hasn’t been a day in those 15 years that I haven’t thought about her. Especially now since I’m getting older, going through perimenopause and it’s many questions I would love to ask her.
Like did she cry like a broken hearted woman one minute and then be ready to beat someone’s ass the next minute? And after crying and raging, find herself giggling madly like a teenager? Because that’s me on a regular basis and I wish she was here so we could giggle together.
Like how did she feel when she became a grandmother? Did she look at her grandchildren with so much love and awe that her heart literally jumped for joy every time she saw their faces? Because that’s how I feel about my grandson. I wish she was here to see his face because I know she would have loved him to pieces.
And how did she feel about aging as a woman in a culture that hates all women but has a particular vicious venom for older women? All these questions I can’t ask her because she’s no longer here. That reality has saddened me for 15 years. That reality has left a bitter taste in my mouth, in my heart, in my soul.
I have so much to live for. My children, my grandchild and the new one who’s scheduled to be born on my mother’s 90th birthday in May but it’s a piece of me that was lost on December 6, 2006 when she became an ancestor. And that’s okay. We live in culture that shames people for grieving if it goes beyond the allotted timeframe that’s deemed acceptable. But I don’t give a fuck. I have the right to grieve for my mother forever. And I will.