Black Enough

Is my baby black enough?

It’s not her fault I married a man who is Vietnamese and white. It’s not her fault she’s the color of a file folder. It’s not her fault her hair lacks the curl pattern that forged a permanent alliance between my hair and my no lye relaxer. Every time I look at my beautiful little girl, I wonder how often she’ll be judged for not looking black enough. I wonder how many people won’t look beyond her complexion and hair to realize how wonderful she is, and still would be if her skin was the color of coal and hair the texture of wool. If she dates a black man, will women smirk and think that he only wants her because she’s an LSW? If she dates a non-black, will those same women look at her in disgust because of her obvious shame of her African roots? I’m afraid she won’t be able to win, no matter what she does, it won’t be good enough please the legions of I’m Black and I’m Prouds who denounce those who aren’t black enough and those have to prove their blackness. During the Superbowl last year, my child ran around naked with her freshly unbraided hair flying all over the place before taking her bath. I tweeted that she looked like Troy Polamalu (during the Superbowl in which he was not only playing, but starring in multiple Head & Shoulders commercials) and I was instantly assaulted by two SBWs [the s is for either strong or stank, take your pick] insulted by the mere mention of a black woman’s hair that didn’t include #teamnatural. “Do you want a cookie?” was one of the responses. I blocked both bitches and went about my business but to this day, I can’t help but to still be concerned that my child’s future relationships with other black women may be determined by their annoyance that she doesn’t look black enough. She’ll always be amazing, and not because she’s “light-skinded with good hair,” but because she’s smart, funny, sensitive, caring, and downright extraordinary. I teach her that beauty is only skin deep and that her looks aren’t what make her a star. That she IS black enough, and her complexion and hair have nothing to do with it. That she doesn’t have to tolerate or accept someone else’s judgement based on what she looks like. That she should be proud of her heritage and ancestry, all of it.

Beat it, Deadbeat

My child has a deadbeat dad. It’s not because I don’t like him, he’s an actual genuine deadbeat with all the trademark deadbeat markings. I thought it was just my ex-husband, but apparently, they all do the same things letting the world know how ain’t shit they truly are. At first glance, they seem to care about their kids a great deal til you realize it was all a front, and he’s a loser, just like the rest of them. If you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, I’ve identified the top characteristics of a deadbeat dad. (Appearing on Maury didn’t make the list.)

Portrait tattoos of their offspring 97.3% of all men with their kid’s photo tatted somewhere on their body haven’t paid a dime in child support in five years. The other 2.7% have never paid child support ever.

Refer to their child as their “seed” They do this mostly because they don’t remember the poor child’s name.

Holiday Heroes Deadbeats love to show up on Easter, Christmas, graduations, birthdays, and Halloween, any day a camera might be out so they can sneak into a picture. That way, when the poor, confused child looks back, they see pictures of their father at important events. How much you wanna bet that fool don’t show up at the important event of paying for groceries?

Save texts messages These idiots will hold on to a text message of you cussing them out for being ain’t shit as “evidence” of them trying and you being difficult.

Ask for full custody 57% of men claiming they want full custody of their kid do so after they get a new girlfriend to help them take care of said kid. 38% of them plan on leaving the kid at their mother’s house 89% of the time. 98% of them don’t know what full custody actually means.

Quote Jeffrey Levin statistics Get your father’s rights ass all the way out of here. The statistics are startling and like any other statistic, used to prove the point of the statistic espouser. What?!?! A child is 50% more likely to be a drug addict without a father?!?! #minus well let her drug addict father have full custody.

Babysit their kids Real fathers never babysit their own kids nor do they refer to it as such.

Never have their kid I was “seeing” a guy who said I never had time for him because I never had a sitter. I wondered why he always had time for me because he had a kid, too.

Never has a kind word about their child’s mother At one point, he loved her enough to insert his unsheathed penis into her vagina. I seriously question a man who forgets that once upon a time, he used to love H.E.R. If he never did, then I question his judgment.

Deadbeats can be easy to miss if you don’t recognize the signs. They like to blend in amongst the real fathers doing shit like showing you pictures of their ten year old’s kindergarten graduation picture or proudly explaining that their kid is named after their grandma, God bless her soul. Luckily, I have a trained eye and can spot those fuckers a mile away.

So You Mad, Huh?

Last night, a man who had been refused entry to a westside club returned with a gun and opened fire into an innocent group of bystanders awaiting entry. Rejection is some serious business. A bouncer enforcing an establishment’s policies – or exercising professional judgement – can become a victim of an angry asshole who can’t deal with someone telling him no. As a result, individuals who had nothing to do with the incident are slaughtered because an idiot is unable to pop bottles of cheap moscato and nod his head to loud ass music…cuz you know niggas who shoot folks don’t dance. Far too many people become unknowing victims of someone else’s rage and seriously, this shit needs to stop…like right the fuck now.

I’ve been called all kinds of stuck up bitches by men I’ve turned down. Alcohol and testosterone provoked one man to attempt to physically assault me in front of a group of police officers outside of a club. He didn’t give a damn that they were there, that I obviously knew them AND that I was carrying a gun in my purse which belonged to the off-duty officers I had gone to the club with. They had to arrest this nigga to get him to stop following me down the street screaming profanities at 2 AM in the got damn morning. He spent a drunken night in jail because I told his ass no.

I get road rage all the damn time. Usually, I yell obscenities at the offending other driver – because it’s never my fault – from inside the safety of my car. One afternoon, while driving down North Avenue, a man in a truck cussed me clear the fuck out because I made him miss the light two blocks before. He sped up to me and through my open passenger window, with my kid in the back, told me “Just cuz you a bitch don’t mean I won’t whoop yo ass.” I insulted his mother, rolled up my window, got his plate number and called the cops. He sped off – and into Home Depot…because those nails needed him right away. I calmed down, then realized it could have ended far worse. Road rage incidents sometimes end in violence, even death and I was pissed that driving too slowly could have ended my life.

I had a fight at the club. Actually, a bitch threw a bottle of beer at me and I hit her. That ho fucked up my Halloween. They “escorted” her out. My friends made me leave. I was pissed. Halloween is my favorite holiday, besides my birthday. I was pissed. She also got my fresh flat iron wet. I was pissed. Oh yeah, she threw a bottle of beer at me because I looked at her funny years ago. Like three years ago.

Maybe it’s just that I’m a bitch who invites violence because of my bitchiness. Maybe I need to work on my poker face and not look at bitches funny. Maybe it’s me. These were all isolated incidents that happened years apart so maybe it’s not me. Maybe people need anger management. Maybe they like holding grudges. I just can’t do it. I pissed those folks off, and while their anger was extreme in comparison to the infraction, at least it was directed in the right place. Last year, my youngest brother’s best friend was shot in the head. He left behind a wife and two young children. He was shot by a man who was apparently angry about some old shit that had nothing to do with a young man I’ve known since he was eight years old. He wasn’t a thug. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend. He didn’t deserve to be gunned down by a nigga who was mad. Folks need to get their anger in check because being mad about some shit that doesn’t matter can make people behave in a manner they will live to regret…or ruin the lives of people who didn’t deserve to be the object of their wrath.

Dear Ms. Black Woman

Dear Ms. Black Woman,

I do not have HIV. I do not have AIDS. I am 100% STD free and for that, I am 100% lucky. I won’t even sit here and lie to you and say I’ve never had unprotected sex before, because I have. It was never a random encounter, always with a long term partner, but nonetheless, I didn’t use protection on more than one occasion in my life. I’ve done some really stupid shit in my life and not using a condom each and every time I had sex is the stupidest shit I’ve ever done. Heat of the moment and all that good shit but very, very stupid. I will never do it again. I can say that under no uncertain terms will I ever have unprotected sex with a man who is not my husband. Wanna know how I know this? Because I am in control of my body. I choose who I have consensual sex with and so do you. I choose who I allow to enter my body and so do you.

“In 2009, black women accounted for 30% of the estimated new HIV infections among all blacks. Most (85%) black women with HIV acquired HIV through heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women.”
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/)

Celibacy is the only way to prevent sexually transmitted disease. THE ONLY! I’m not about to sit here and advocate celibacy, because A) I like having sex and B) I believe sex is a natural expression of desire. Ain’t nothing wrong with fucking. We have been shamed into believing that expressing our sexuality is wrong, therefore, we take unnecessary risks with our lives because we don’t want nobody thinking we’re hoes. In my safety bag are tampons, Advil, a toothbrush, and some condoms. I am not ashamed to be carrying three Magnums in my purse every single day. I would be ashamed to carry a disease I could have prevented. We spend so much time getting preachy and high horse about natural hair and light skin yet utter nary a peep about US being infected at 15 times the rate of out white counterparts. Instead of concerning ourselves so much with protecting our hair, let’s do more to protect our bodies.

Love,

Jen

A Letter To My Future Husband

Dear Future Husband,

They say no experience is a bad experience if you learn from it and vow never to repeat the same mistakes. I got married in May 2004, was separated in January 2006 and finally divorced in May 2010 and since my very first boyfriend in 1998, I’ve had a lot of experience. *take that how you want* Those experiences have caused me to laugh, cry, throw shit, and wonder if I could handle a life sentence…sometimes all at the same time. I’ve met men that I thought I loved, a few (one) that I wanted (want) to spend the rest of my life with, and some I refuse to admit ever existed…nigga, who are you. But over the past 13 years, I’ve learned enough from those relationships to make some vows. There are things I will never, ever do. I promise.

I promise to never go through your personal property to seek answers to questions that I should be asking you. Seek and you shall find. Ask and you shall get something accomplished. I’m not naïve believing that you will never lie to me, but I do believe that trust is a two way street and once someone starts snooping through cell phones and pockets, trust is gone. If you’re cheating, you’ll be found out because baby, I’m smarter than you. You will never put one over on me. You see, I’ve been single for quite some time for a reason: I just haven’t met anyone I trust with my heart…yet. I haven’t opened up completely to anyone in a while, and before I make a commitment to you, you should know that full disclosure is a requirement on both of our parts. One thing I can not stand is a liar, and if I get the impression that you’re not being trustworthy, I won’t go through your shit to get the truth. I will ask you, like an adult, and fully expect you to tell me the truth, no matter how hard it may be. The truth may hurt me, but I swear your lies will hurt you more. I will cut your dick off if you lie to me…mutha fucka.

I promise to give you your space, because I will for damn sure need mine. Since we’re a couple, chances are, I’ve told you how much I hate that McDonald’s commercial when the dude punks out and agrees that Sundays isn’t for football. I don’t want you in my face all the damn time and I know you don’t want me in yours. I’m okay with knowing that there will be times when you’re sick of me so long as you understand that I left the house before you woke up because I was tired of hearing your loud ass snoring. One thing people fail to realize is that if they spend every waking moment together, togetherness isn’t that important. It becomes mundane, routine, and downright annoying. Sometimes, I want you to help me pick out my new shoes. Most of the time, however, I don’t want you near me and my sales associate. When I need your presence, you’ll know because you’ll need mine, too. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those call you when I need and that’s it types. But if we’re planning on spending the rest of our lives together, I’ll be damned if we drive each other crazy in the first five years because we’re sniffing each other’s butts all the damn time.

I promise I will be mad at you and sorry won’t fix it. Neither will flowers or jewelry…although shoes might do the trick… Unfortunately, no one is perfect. You’re not, I’m not, our relationship won’t be either. You’re going to fuck up. You’re probably going to fuck up bad. I’ll eventually forgive you, because that’s what Jesus, Jigga, and Jennifer would do, but pretending we won’t have problems is insane. Expecting perfection is the worst expectation to have because it’s impossible and I don’t deal in impossibilites. Marriage isn’t about how perfect we are together; it’s about how we deal with the difficulties that we face. I’ve been married before and there was nothing perfect about it. It wasn’t imperfect either, though. Inability to resolve the problem is what ended my marriage because not all problems can be solved. If our marriage is worth it to you, because it definitely is to me, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to make things right again, and buying me shit won’t always work. Please don’t insult me with flowers when you continue to stay out until 4am with your boys every weekend after I’ve asked you to knock that shit off. I won’t insult you by giving you head to make up for the money I can’t seem to stop spending…although I’m sure you won’t turn it down… Our problems won’t go away with band-aids. We WILL have problems. We WILL make it work….because I swear I’m not doing this shit a third time.

Future Husband, being with me ain’t gone be easy… I’m not an easy person but I promise I’ll be the best wife I can possibly be because I swear to sweet baby Jesus, I’m not getting married again. You’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with you. Luckily, I’m a reflective little something and I try to grow from every experience, good and bad. I’ll try to make our marriage as painless as humanly possible but if I don’t, just remember that I love you and I tried to warn you.

XOXO

Me

P.S. I wrote your mom a letter a few months ago. Can you give it to her for me please? Thanks!

You’re On Your Own: Good Riddance to the Monster-Un-Law

I don’t believe in haters. What I do believe is that there’s a disproportionate number of individuals whose happiness is based on the misery of others. These people are incapable being unhappy alone, and want to drag you down to their unfortunate level of wretchedness. My mother-un-law is the embodiment of melancholy, the personification of despair. I understand why she is the way she is; her father was an abusive drunk, her son is a hopeless drug addict, and her daughter hightailed it the fuck out of Chicago to California, as far away as one could land on the contiguous United States. Sometimes, I feel kind of sorry for her. Her only joys in life are cooking (I think I’d like her more if she did it well) and Jacinda. Unfortunately, she’s found a way to allow her dissatisfaction with life to influence her relationship with me, and as a result, her granddaughter.

She enjoys saying things like, “It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Jay-cinda.” Imagine me saying this in a Vietnamese accent. Yes, it is very ignorant, yet, I am unable to tell a mother-un-law story without the accent. During our last discussion about my requirements and expectations, she let that shit fly about it not being about me and this time, I didn’t let it ride. It is about me, dammit. My mother-un-law is under the mistaken impression that she is allowed to totally disregard my feelings under the premise that she is putting my baby’s best interest first. What she fails to understand is that abiding by MY wishes is putting Jacinda’s best interest first. A miserable mother does not a happy child make and doing ratchet shit to make me mad, then accusing me of being hostile is just pathetic. It took me seven years to conclude that this woman needs a psychologist to rid herself of the sadness she refuses to let go of and I refuse to allow her to drag me down with her any longer. Instead of bitching and complaining to my friends about how miserable she is, yesterday, I very politely and respectfully told her that if she didn’t want to follow my rules, she could take the stick from out her ass and beat her own self in the head with it. I’m done allowing her untreated psychosis to drive me crazy. She’s on her own.

B.O.B.

I ain’t got no job. I am unemployed and about to embark upon a new career completely different than the educator I set out to be 13 years ago. That part of my life has run it’s course and now I get to start over. My income has decreased drastically, but unfortunately, my affinity for shit I can barely afford hasn’t. I’ve often been accused of having foie gras taste with a French toast budget…which will pretty soon be a french fry budget. I decided to put myself on a strict spending plan. No more extravagant shopping sprees in Target. No more rounds on me. No more courtside seats. Then I thought a little harder…I’m way too smart to have to limit my lifestyle just because my funds are limited. Nope! I devised an even better plan I like to call B.O.B or Ballin’ on a Budget. It’s infallible.

Do stuff for people My hair dresser never has time to do anything! Pretty soon, I won’t be able to afford to get my hair done weekly…I am not opposed to pimping myself out for a hairdo and running ALL of her errands. Not opposed AT ALL. People who need things always have their hand out, but are quick to say no when a favor is asked of them. Needy mofos need to be willing and able and being unavailable is a surefire way to have NO ONE help you out when you’re in need (shut the fuck up, getting my hair done IS a necessity!) What helps is being good at shit and I am really good at lots of different shit and in order to maintain my ballin’ ass lifestyle, looks like I’m gonna have to put my talents to good use.

Groupon/Living Social/Old fashioned paper coupons Last week, my friends and I sat on the beach, had lunch and drinks, and jet skied. Ballin’ ass shit, right?! Cost: $55/person. My day was even cheaper since I was able to convince 3 of my friends to also purchase the Living Social Deal. Recently, a friend on twitter tweeted that a chick he knew would be upset if her date paid for dinner with a Groupon. Stay away from her. She’s a future broke bitch. I took Cinda to the movies for $9. Total. Shout out once again to Living Social. Pretty soon, I’m gonna come up with a way to get everything I need and want using some sort of discount. If all I have to do is take online surveys to get points for free gift cards, then dammit I strongly agree. I will continue to ball outta control…especially if there’s a Groupon.

Make friends in high places I had a bowling party for my birthday…about 15 people bowled for 3 hours on two lanes. My cost? $112.50 Actual cost? $297 Guess who got chummy with the guys at the counter? Me!!! They thought I was super and when it came time to pay, they kept hitting the discount button until they hit rock bottom. Being nice to people who work at places where you spend your money pays off. They tell you when stuff goes on sale, give you discounts when you “forgot” your coupon at home, and let you know when they get a new shipment. Some of the good ones even hide the last one in your size until the sale begins. Throwing your money around and acting like you’re the shit won’t win you any fans in the retail world. Please, thank you and compliments work wonders. Remembering names is a plus, as well. My upsized caramel macchiato with free soy at Starbucks is a perk for being the bomb to my barista. Sure, the customer is always right, but it pays to not be a dick about it.

I don’t believe in making lack of money my limitation. Sure, I won’t be able to jet off to Miami on a whim or brunch whenever I fancy, but I won’t be sitting at home crying about not being able to do anything either. I may have to keep my car parked and take public transportation, but my legs are gonna look like a track stars. Not having a lot of money doesn’t mean I have to be poor. It just means I have to spend the money that I do have wisely.

That is all.

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