Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bad Tan

One of the unfortunate things I walked away from hearing President Obama speak at graduation is a tan. A bad tan. I wore this French Connection halter style maxi dress:

with this statement necklace (courtesy of Banana Republic):

While it was a beautifully sunny day it wasn't very warm, initially, so I wore a blazer. When I returned to my hotel room on a full Obama high, I noticed that the area of my cleavage not covered by necklace, dress or blazer was red. But since it is well documented that I take FOREVER to tan, I thought nothing of it. Until I woke up the next day.

Not only were "the girls" about 3 shades darker but I had an outline of the statement necklace etched into my skin!! What the deuce, global warming?? It wasn't even that hot out that day.

Two weeks later and its just as prominent. I've been camouflaging the discoloration with other statement necklaces and/or higher cut tanks and tees. On Saturday at a day party, I commented that I hadn't even started to peel when someone noticed the 2 tone (sidebar: I went to a day party at 4 in the afternoon and got home after 2 in the morning....different spin on day party...hahahaha). Usually, I peel in a week. Now, I feel like I'm permanently stained.

Monday, I was in a good mood. I woke up feeling like that damn Black Eyed Peas song. I had a feeling oooooh ooooh.....Until, I heard from Bubba - the idiot moneyman of my former company. And of course it wasn't good thus smashing my ooooooh ooooh good good feelings into a pile of shit.

To say that I was pissed is the understatement. I understand why people lose it at work. Not saying that I would do that, because I wouldn't. I realize these motherfuckers ain't worth it. BUT.......I understand. Its so easy to make these decisions from hundreds of miles away and not to my face. I often speak of the end of my time with the company as a corporate divorce. For the first time, it felt like a divorce,the underhanded sneaky kind where a spouse is hiding money in an offshore account in his momma's name. I'd been duped to believe I'd be treated with kindness in a fair manner. WRONG!!!

Since I couldn't smack a bitch Wayne Brady style, I cried. I cried out of the sheer frustration of it all. It's like a line from a Lauren Hill song: "It could all be so simple/but you'd rather make it hard." I cried until I thought couldn't cry anymore. And began to cry again. Big raindrop tears sliding down the contour of my face.

In an effort to stop crying about this, I decided to take a shower and wash my hair. There is something infinitely relaxing and calming about having water streaming from my hair to my skin. I slathered conditioner in my hair and just let the water hit me until my skin was pruned and my tears seamlessly blended into the water. I have no idea how long I stood there in the shower.

Eventually, I grabbed my loofah and body wash and began to lather up. Scrubbing across my chest area, something felt odd. I opened my eyes and looked down. There, on my chest,were tiny rolled up somethings. Upon inspection I realized, my skin was peeling!!!! I've never been so happy to see such a disgusting sight. Instantly, my tears turned to laughter. There I was, in my shower, laughing like I was watching an episode of Modern Family { Sidebar: Hands down, this was the funniest show this season. I don't know if we can be friends if you disagree. LOL}

In that moment, it hit me. Nothing lasts forever. No matter how permanent it may seem. My tan. This bullshit with my ex-employer. Eventually, they will all fade to distant memories. I realized that I would be okay.....shit, I'd be more than okay!! Who knew that somewhere in a bad tan, there was a lesson I needed to be reminded of. I stepped out of the shower and proceeded to hum:

I got a feeling..........oooooooh ooooh

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rant: The Last Hoorah

Over the past couple of months, a few things have occurred that under different circumstances they would have been an instant blog, letting my fingers do the ranting. However, the corporate divorce became a tenant in my mindspace. But every time these lil' things happened I would think "I soooo wanna blog about this." And since the corporate divorce has been officially evicted I think its time to evict these rants from my mindspace as well.

About a year ago, a guy expressed interest in me and I wasn't sure I could date him. He seemed like a nice guy, was quite attractive, and always pleasant when I would run into during the work day. So what was the problem??? Well it wasn't a problem, it was more of an issue. He was younger than me. He's in his twenties and I'm........well I'm not. I've NAYVER dated a guy younger than me. EVER. Not even a year younger. Truth be told, I've always preferred a guy at least 2 years older. So once I knew Youngin's age, I built up a wall faster than the US-Mexican border patrol. But he was persistent. And eventually I agreed to hang out with him (see I won't even call it a I must admit, I had fun that night. But I still couldn't get past the age difference and our schedules never seemed to mesh. I rarely had a weekend free and he never had a weekday free.
So fast forward to March, the birthday month. I invited Youngin' to my birthday party and he accepted the invitation. Trust and believe, I was way to occupied (errrrr....... read: tipsy) to wonder whether he would show up or not. However, the following day I received a text message from him basically stating that he was way too drunk to make it to my party but wanted to make it up to me. Ummm, okay? (Insert *shrug* here). I saw him a few times after and he continued to apologize and wanted a chance to make it up to moi. By the end of March, I relented and said "Okay, you can make it up to me. Better yet, I'll even make myself available on a weekend. Just let me know when. "
A few weeks passed and I didn't hear from him. Again insert *shrug* here. No big deal. No worries. The corporate divorce had become my boo by then.
One late night, I happen to log onto the book of Face. While scrolling through my friends and their silly status updates, I come across a cryptic message from him (full disclosure: he requested me as a friend after I told him he could no longer read the blog if he was trying to date me. He stopped reading and I got a friend request. LOL). I clicked on his page to read the previous status to understand the one I saw and that's when I saw it. Right under his name:

Relationship Status: Married to XXXXXXXX
WHAT. THE. FUCK????????? MARRIED??!!!

As my curiosity caused me to scroll down the page, I noticed this status had changed sometime in March. Soooooooo, let me get this straight. In the same month he vowed to "make it up to me" he was making a vow to someone else to love, honor, and cherish 'til death they part????? Get the fuck outta here, man. Seriously.

I wish I could say this is the only time this has happened to me but sadly/comically it's not. A dude I know from childhood was trying HARD to get at me but I just wasn't interested (and yes he met the age requirement...hahahaha). I could never pin why I didn't want to meet him for drinks, go out for dinner or any other request he sent my way. I just wasn't interested. A couple of months go by and I find out that he is getting married to a girl I know. Granted I haven't seen the girl in years but I know her and he KNOWS that I know her.

These 2 situations have bugged the hell outta me. First of all, I AM NOT YOUR DAMN LAST HOORAH. Seriously, if you've committed to MARRY someone, you should have sown your royal oats PRIOR to asking for her hand in marriage. You will not use my time, energy. mindspace, and damn sure not my body as your bachelor party. Secondly, stop thinking with your dick! Okay, you find me attractive. So fucking what??? You're already committed you and your dick to another chick. And quite frankly, I don't want it. Finding me attractive is a compliment. Thank you. Trying to talk to me when you're en route to the altar is an insult. No thanks. Lastly, how do you know I wouldn't pull something like this:

photo credit: JaxonPhotoGroup (c) 2010*

Seriously, men complain all the time, "chicks are crazy" (and to be fair, vice versa). But with a different chick (damn sure not me), this could be a photo in their wedding albums, complete with the above drama (this is a staged photoshoot, by the way). However, where's his responsibity for her "crazy"? What role does he play in what drove a woman to that point of "crazy"? Just as I didn't know of their altar destinations, they didn't know what I could have been capable of. Is getting with me, really worth that risk???!! I mean I'm aiiiiiight, but damn, really??

I actually saw Youngin' twice after the book of Face notified me of his relationship status change. The first time, I was quite rude, which is typically not me. But it was late, I was tired, and I'd been trying to hail a cab in midtown for over 20 minutes, all of which combined, does not not make for a cheery Butterfly. The second time was my last day at the plantation. He did me a favor. While I was grateful, I did tell him "um that's the least you can do" and that's all I said on the matter. We said goodbye, I wished him well and I ended the convo with "take care" - the quintessential "there's nothing more to say and I doubt you'll hear from me".

I guess the writer in me wants to know the what ifs....what if I rationalized my way out of saying no to these dudes? What if I'd spent time with them? What if I started to care for them? But thankfully, I'll never have to know. Another chapter of drama I can leave to the imagination.

(whew! just one or 2 more rants to go. clearing out my mindspace one toxic tenant at a time. WHOOOOOOOSAH)

*photo by a fellow Hamptonian, Jack Manning III. Check out his amazing work, here. If our schedules mesh (and I lose a few), hopefully we'll shoot soon before he gets too big time! LOL

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Indelible Date

On Saturday, at 2:30 in the morning, I found myself in one of the seediest place in New York City , Penn Station. At this time of hour its usually filled with drunk kids who've missed the last trains to Long Island, homeless people trying to catch a few zzz's, and lets not forget your garden variety weirdos/junkies/drunks who amble throughout the spacious transportation hub. And there are also your travelers. Of course I was part of the later group.

There's a train that leaves New York at 3am. And there was no amount of junkies, weirdos and such to stop me from boarding that train. I had a date. A date with history. A date with Obama.

During the tornado storm of my corporate divorce, I was notified of an opportunity of a lifetime. President Obama was speaking at the commencement ceremony of my alma mater, Hampton University on Mother's Day, and there was a lottery of 1,000 tickets given away online. Prior to the announcement of the lottery, I'd secretly wish there was a way I could go but hid it under the nightmare of it all - traffic, people, stress.. So when the lottery was announced it was as if my secret was laying the smackdown to my doubts. And then I won. I happened to score 2 tickets in the lottery. I was sooooo excited - greater than a kid in a candy store, more than a pig in shit. I was over the moon 10 times over.

When I boarded that train, my fatigue was greater than my excitement. The long work hours, the actual corporate closing, the constant on the go of the past couple of weeks finally caught up to me. I fell asleep way before the rocking of the train had a chance to lull me to la-la land. I have no recollection of dreams. I just slept. For hours, I was comatose. When I woke up, the sun was shining brightly, and the country side greenery had replaced my urban concrete. And just as quickly as the scenery had changed in my consciousness, my fatigue gave way to my excitement. I went to the bathroom to remove my headscarf and uncoil my hair (the ONLY time I have EVER left my house with the headscarf) to give myself something to do, a distraction if you will.

Finally, an hour late, my train pulled into the train station. And there he was. Baskin Robbins. Waiting for me. It felt like a scene from a movie. The warm breeze billowing my maxi dress and sweeping through my hair as I descended the train with my travel bag and walked towards him. He stood by his car, with his hands in his pockets, looking for me in the crowd. Since he's so tall, I spotted him first. I tried to hide my smile, rationalize that it was my excitement of finally getting here and one step closer to seeing Obama. Maybe I was right. Or highly delusional.

My excitement quickly gave way to pissivity. I arrived on campus to pick up my tickets to be told that I was on some waiting list and that I would have to come back. WHAT??!!! Stop the press!!! I came allllllll the way from New York to be told I was on a waiting list and that I needed to come back later in the day to pick up my alleged wait listed tickets on a first come first serve basis. That's not what my email said. It read "Congratulations" for goodness sake. This ladies and gents, is what I like to dub "BCBS" - Black College BullShit. Don't get me wrong. I LOVVVVVE MY SCHOOL. But as any attendee and/or graduate of a historically black college or university can tell you, there are some things that happen that you know is some bullshit that your counterparts at white institutions don't have to deal with, whether its a computer glitch (as in this case), the crappy food (Gourmet Services is an oxymoron), or the quintessential run-around, its all BCBS.

Luckily for me, my girl KP was able to pull some influential strings and secure a ticket for me. I couldn't thank her enough. As a matter of fact, days later and I'm still thanking her. Unfortunately that meant Baskin Robbins was without a ticket. I felt bad because he was my plus one but not so bad that I would give him my ticket. But I must admit, just between me you and the internets, there were times during the ceremony that I wish I had someone sitting there right beside me. Someone to share the moment with. But I digress. And if you repeat this I will deny, Deny, DENY. But I digress.

Earlier than I ever want to get up on a Sunday, my alarm goes off. While I was uber excited to head over to campus to see OUR president, my body was not having it. Especially since I was wrapped in chocolate. Being single doesn't offer many opportunities to cuddle. So when the opportunity arises, its like.....heaven. Seriously, I realize that I'm gonna need a cuddle clause in my pre-nup. But like Chuck D, I had to fight the powers that be. I had a date.

The commencement ceremony was outside on the football field. Since you could feel the excitement blowing in the wind once you arrived on campus, there was no way any building could contain all that positive energy. The graduates began to march in and there was a swell of pride rippling through the stadium. But every couple of seconds everyone kept looking towards the right side of the field.

And then he arrived.

The standing ovation paled in comparison to the standing of our pride. There he was, the President of the United States of America gliding into the football stadium with the same confident stride you've come to expect of the President. I saw grandma's batting their hankies at the corner of their eyes, little kids jumping up and down like Santa Claus arrived or Yo Gabba Gabba took the stage. The graduates??? Mannnn, I'm surprised no one fainted and had to be carried off the field. I could compare it to the hysteria of Michael Jackson fans, but this IS HAMPTON UNIVERSITY so it was way more dignified but the emotion was still the same.

Before I went traveled down to Hampton, I had to essentially ask my mother's permission to miss the holiday dedicated to her for birthing and raising me. After her initial sarcasm ("I don't recall Obama writing a tuition check to Hampton"), she said, "I have a feeling you need to be there and I don't want to stand in your way. This will be good for you." I wasn't so sure about needing to be there as opposed to wanting to be there. My mother is never dramatic (she leaves that to me) but I just nodded and said "Uhhh okay, Ma". But as I listened to President Obama speak, I must admit, she was right. I needed to be there. Not only his speech, but the experience has touched me in such an indelible way. Its hard to describe how I felt. Challenged, inspired, optimistic, renewed all come to mind. Every single step, everything I'd been through up until that moment was worth it because it all let me to this moment.

After the ceremony, I went to meet a friend who was there in a more official capacity, one of the photographers assigned to cover the event. I walked across the football field to find him and giggled because in all the time I've spent at Hampton and all the football games I attended, I'd never ever walked across the football field. As I got closer to the stage and podium where the President has stood just moments before I felt like Armstrong Field was my own personal field of dreams. In that moment, I felt there is nothing that I can't do. As I enter this new chapter of my life, a chapter where uncertainty and doubts will sometimes rear their ugly heads, that moment, that speech, that spot on the field reassured me that I will be just fine.

For those of you that want to see OUR President speak at MY school: