Unwatered Flower?

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Writing 101: Day 18 – Don’t Stop the Rockin’
On this free writing day, remember the words of author Anne Lamott: “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

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I read somewhere that “the black woman is the most unprotected, unloved woman on
earth…She is the only flower on earth that grows unwatered.”

Well I say we are not unwatered because we make our own water. We may grow
crooked and sometimes we have stunted growth, but we are the only flower that
waters herself!

We are strong and stable because we have to be, not because we want to be. We
have dreams to fly, but will set them aside so our children can live theirs.

We raise those same children often times alone…. no man of our own. Playing
the role of mother and father puts a strain on the resources of our community
and causes a shift in the quality of care. Forced to work or starve, we are
hardly there…to raise the ones we love the most.

In our attempt to be the head of the house we lose our true selves, but still
manage to survive. We know we can’t raise a man so our sons suffer in the
process. What choice do we have?

We water ourselves with tainted water, but we are watered just the same. It’s
called doing what we have to. Say what you want about us, but one thing stays
true, us sisters always keep up with our dos.

Sharp as a tack you see us walking, riding the bus or rolling in our whips. And
don’t forget that swing in our hips. We’re known for having some junk in our
trunks. Fashionistas at heart that keep it crunk. Our haters are always looking
to us for inspiration.

Black women are one of the most BeaUtiful creatures on the planet
We just don’t know it.
Too busy worrying about the next one
Instead of lending her a hand
We talk about her because she has
Something that’s missing in us.

We need to complement each other and validate
Our worth before anyone else will.
We are missing out on a huge opportunity
To build the self esteem in our sisters

Brainwashed by the world
Never seeing our own value.
Leaders, innovators and admirable souls
Regal in our natural state
There’s no need for disguises.

I believe if we use our powers for good
That is; stop hating on each other
We can become super heroes we were always meant to be
And save the world!

Save the Black Woman, Save the World!

Lost and Found

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Writing 101: Day 15 – Third Time’s the Charm (Part 3 of 3)
Today, imagine you work in a place where you manage lost or forgotten items. What might you find in the pile? For those participating in out serial challenge reflect on the theme of “lost and found,” too.

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Imagine you are a child and you are lost in a big department store. It is one of the most terrifying feelings you have ever felt. Now imagine you’re taken there and left on purpose by your parents. When you realize that you are all alone you hide in the clothing department under a rack of clothes and wonder what will happen to you? No one is looking for you and no one wants to find you. You think your mom does not care that you are gone because you are one of seven children she is struggling to feed and clothe. You annoy you older sisters and brother so they are happy you are gone.

You fall asleep crying when your fear gets to be too much. In your dreams you are floating on clouds and eating marshmallows. There are puppies and kittens to play with and you are the happiest you have ever been. Angels come down from heaven to play games with you and everyone is laughing and having fun.

Suddenly you are jolted awake by a loud scream, I found her! You open your eyes to see a tall strange lady standing over you looking relieved. Then your mom rushes over and hugs you until you can’t breathe. She is crying and very upset. You realize your imagination was running rampant and your mom actually loves you and was looking all over the store for you. She is relieved and happy to hold you in her arms again.

***Note***
This was a real life scenario of something that happened to me as a child. I thought because my father left me, there was a good chance that my mom would too. I was never reassured that this could not happen and was too afraid to ask.

A child’s imagination is large and very active. If parents do not find time to communicate with their children, they will dream up their own reality to fill in the blanks. When a child asks you a question, please give them an honest answer so as not to breed fear and lies. When a child goes through a trauma like being abandoned, talk with the child and let her know she is loved and the other parent will never leave her.

Living in a Fantasy World (Part 2 of 3) (Continued from Day 4 Post)

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Writing 101: Day 13 Serially Found
(Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.)

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Sometimes living in a fantasy world is the only way for a young girl to cope with pain. In my instance I used this escape as a coping mechanism to keep my pain of loss at bay. The day my dad left was a very shocking and degrading experience. Some things went down on that day that I never imagined existed, yet alone were happening in my own home. I won’t go into details because, as my husband says, it will not help anyone, but the things I saw were frightening. This day was a point of no return for my mom; He had to go and I was in agreement.

Just because I agreed with my mom’s decision doesn’t mean I stopped loving him and since he was very close to me, I had to find a way to deal with my emotions. My trust in people was shaken because if the one person who I admired was totally different than who I thought he was, how could I trust myself to be a good judge of character. As a child I did not understand that some people are good at wearing disguises and that it does not reflect on my ability to have good judgment. All I knew was my dad lived an alternative life and my family had no idea. By this time my oldest of my sisters were adults and no longer lived at home. It was just my sister Karen, my brother James and me. Because they had their own things going on and because I was afraid to express myself I chose to retreat into a world of reading and fantasy.

When I read it gave me solace from the real world and I could imagine people and places the way I wanted them to be. My imagination began to grow and I daydreamed a lot. I never thought about it before, but I now realize being abandoned by my father caused my distrust in people. It takes me a very long time to trust people with my thoughts and feelings and as a result I come off as disinterested and cold. In truth I am not standoffish, I am analyzing people and trying to figure out if they are being genuine or fake. Reading has helped me in this aspect because it introduced me to several different types of personalities and the way different people’s minds work. Yes, I realize they are not real people, but they could be and that is the coolest thing about reading. That spy in the book could be my next door neighbor, or the boy sitting next to me at school could be a real super hero. OK maybe I took it too far, but you catch my drift.

My love for reading has endured over the years and one of my favorite ways to find new people, places and things. As an adult I realize that I am somewhat of an introvert and as I get older I see it more and more. In my early 20’s I was introduced to the writing of Octavia E. Butler and I lost my mind! I was fascinated because not only was she a black writer in the genre of fantasy/science fiction, she was in fact a female! Her mind was amazing and she remains at the top of my list of favorite writers. Her novel Kindred really spoke to me and I was thrilled to attend a lecture she did for the Charlotte, NC library system. Her words and experience touched me and when I met her at the meet and greet she was kind, but she seemed introverted as well. It made me realize it was possible to do things outside of the box. I could be something other than what was expected of me.

As wrong as it may sound, I now realize the absence of my dad allowed me to find a love for reading, writing and fantasy worlds. The universe noticed that a major love was taken from me so it provided a new type of love as a filler. I am grateful…

Is The Truth Too Real?

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Blogging 101: Day 12 Truth Serum
You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) – and what questions would you ask?

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If I had the use of Wonder Woman’s golden lasso to interrogate one person I would ask my dad why he abandoned me. I’m sure I would have a few follow-up questions as well. No matter how hard he struggled he would have to give me the reason he never kept in contact with me after he left. I know the story behind why my mom made him leave because I witnessed it, but what I don’t understand is how he could leave and never look back. Sure I received a birthday card almost every year, but there was never any correspondence inside; just a simple “Love Dad”.

All I knew was he lived in the Bronx in New York near Yankee Stadium nothing else. If it had not been for my desire to see him again when I turned 21, I never would have seen him. I have always wondered if he forgot about me or if he simply replaced me. He has lived with a lady for well over 30 years and helped to raise her son and calls her grandchildren his grandchildren. Why did he give the love that was supposed to be mine to another woman’s child?

I wonder….do I really want the answers to these questions? Will it really matter in the grand scheme of things? Maybe the truth is too real.

Big Thel’s Kitchen

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Writing 101: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!
Today, be inspired by a childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice – even if that makes you a little nervous.

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Imagine living in a home where the lady of the house is a glorious cook and everything she cooked was super duper yummy. She could cook the best soul food on the planet and insisted that her children would never go hungry so we were encouraged to eat as much as we wanted. Growing up in this environment, as I did was joyous; however it makes this assignment very difficult. There is no way on earth to determine my favorite meal when everything that came from my mama’s kitchen was the best food on earth.

Just thinking about the wonderful smells that permeated from Big Thel’s kitchen makes my mouth water. I don’t know how she did it, but every day after working a back breaking job as a maid in someone else’s house, mama always had a home cooked meal on the table. Keep in mind this was back in the day when there were no short cuts to cooking. We always ate dinner as a unit and in our family that meant 8 people nightly. How in the world did she decide what we were having each and every day? Hell, I have trouble deciding our menu now and it’s just my husband and me. Sundays were extra special because we usually had 2 or 3 meats in addition to collard greens, fresh green beans, cabbage, baked squash, potato salad, mashed potatoes, yams, a cucumber tomato and onion salad, and corn bread. That sounds like a feast in itself, but we always had dessert which usually consisted of some sort of homemade goodness. The menu varied, but some of my favorites were sweet potato pie, coconut layer cake, rice pudding, corn pudding, strawberry shortcake, pecan pie and the list goes on and on.

Sitting at the dinner table on Sundays was a treat. First and foremost mama cared about appearances. The white linen table cloth had to be pressed to perfection, as well as the linen napkins and place mats. From the time I was an itty bitty girl, it was my job to iron the linen for Sunday and it had to be perfect or I had to start over. The table was decorated in different color schemes depending on the season of the year. I am the baby of the family so I usually got whatever I wanted much to the annoyance of my siblings. They still harbor ill will toward me when we reminisce. I really don’t care, it wasn’t my fault I was born last and as they claim am mama’s favorite. The truth is I am not the favorite; I just spent the most time with mama. Whenever she was in need of a steward, I was her man. I have peeled countless pounds of potatoes and chopped numerous onions at my mom’s side while learning her trade secrets in the kitchen.

Now when I cook for my husband or a larger crowd, I have that feeling of home in my kitchen. I have a much easier time because of technology. I have learned from other TV chefs along the way, but be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Big Thel’s home.

My Rose Colored Glasses (Part 1 of 3)

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Writing 101 – Day 4: Serially Lost
Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

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Let me tell you a story about how I lost my Rose Colored Glasses! As a young girl I was a daddy’s girl. I absolutely lived for just the slightest glimpse of my father. He wasn’t the tall, handsome stud that fairy tales are made of, but I did not care; he was my daddy and that was all that mattered.

My father is a Vietnam Vet and I am in my forties so I have few memories of him before the war. I do remember him being a big source of love. I remember missing him terribly when he left to go overseas and I remember the smell of his cologne. He wore old spice on occasion and I still get nostalgic when I smell it. When he returned home he was changed as anyone would expect. However, as a child I did not understand his moods. My daddy has always been a kind-hearted gentle man and he hated to discipline me when I did something wrong. There were times when I was in trouble with my mom and she insisted my dad spank me. He would take me in the room, shut the door and talk very loudly while hitting the bed with the belt. We had a secret agreement that I would scream and cry while he hit the bed. I was very good at crying on demand back then.

Those are my memories of my dad when he was sober. I have come to find that alcohol is the doorway to Hell! When my dad drank he was never violent, but he was definitely a different person. If he wasn’t lying in the floor in a drunken stupor, he was urinating on himself. He also thought of nothing but how to get more alcohol. My dad was responsible for picking me up from school because my mom was at work. He was always on time waiting for me outside and most days we would walk home together. He usually had a treat for me and as a child this bought my silence for whatever mischief he wanted to get into. Sometimes he would pick me up in his car and we would go to the store and get candy. One day in particular he purchased a sack of penny candy and some ice cream, the price for my silence, and then proceeded to take me to a liquor house. Now don’t panic, he would not let me go in, I was told to stay in the car. Time went by as I ate my ice cream and played in the car. After a while I heard loud popping noises and then I saw my dad come running out of the door and down the sidewalk. It turns out he was gambling, lost and in his drunkenness tried to buck on his opponents who retaliated by shooting at him. He got into the car and sped off all the while saying don’t tell your mama. She found out anyway because we live in a small town and the neighbors saw the whole thing. Needless to say, I started thinking differently about the first man I ever loved.