Body Decorations

I'd like to admit two revelations i had last night:
1. i want to get my lip pierced.
2. i want a tattoo.

There reasons I haven't done either of the above are numerous, but I know the prevailing reason is Fear. That's right. Capital F.

I remember being about 12 years old at a mall with friends. There was a fiery red haired woman with the coolest boots I'd ever seen. She was fluid in movement and her voice boomed. I coveted those boots. Then, my eyes found their way to her mouth -- that source of force and confidence. In her lip was a slice of silver. I fell in love with her then. I also knew right at that moment that I, too, would have silver at my source.

Tatoos are a different story. Growing up in a working class/poor neighborhood, tattoos were an every day occurence. Just across the street from us lived John O, a tattoo artist who worked at the Roadhouse (yes, that was its name). My sister, being much more daring than I ever was, would do odd jobs around John O's house in exchange for tats. She has about seven, including a vine snaking up her side complete with tiny fairies. The first tattoo I wanted was a fairy in a teardrop shape. Now what I want is much more spiritual and connected to the person I am. Both my sisters are tattooed, but i am still harboring Fear.

Fear. Of pain, of social discrimination, of work discrimination, of infection, of pain of pain of pain.
And aren't I too old? I'll be 26 this year. The last person I knew with a lip piercing was 17. I feel too old.


I have made a resolution. I will decorate my body anyway I see fit too. I will conquer my fears one step at a time.

I have decided.

I will get my lip pierced as a reward when i reach my goal weight. If between now and then I decide it isn't something I really want, then I'll abort mission.

I will get my first tattoo on my 30th birthday. Again, that leaves me more than enough to time to be sure it is something I truly want and not one of those "If I were a different person with a different life I'd..." type situations.

These are my revelations. I have decided.

Read more about "Body Decorations"...


Two Years In The Life

Today makes two years. Two years since i last had any contact with my first Big Love.

He wrote me a letter dated 9-9-00 in which he systematically and summarily ripped my heart out and ate it. Of course, that's how i felt upon reading the letter, but only cause it dashed my pride while rubbing a very very sore spot.

Here's the letter. Keep in mind I have not spoken to this man since I received this letter. I hope to never exchange thoughts him again.
Dear Kelly,

Assalamu Alaikum! I don't want to hurt your feelings and I don't want to
alienate you in anyway. I've never been in a situation like this before.

It's not really fair for me to make an opinion about a person based on 1
day. [Your Friend] is captivating. I don't even know how to put it. I felt
sucked into her eyes. It seems like she has a boyfriend though.

It was weird for me because I was happy to see you and yet she was so
beautiful. She's soft and intelligent and lovely and I've tried not to think
about her like that cuz I don't even know her and she's your friend and she's
already taken and if I saw her again would i feel the same? I've been attracted
to girls before that I didn't even know but she reached down my throat and
grabbed my stomach.

I wasn't going to say anything to you because honestly I did not know what
to say. I've tried to explain the best I could. I would like to see her again
only if you're fine with this and she is single. Not one or the other but both.

I don't know how it would be because I don't even know her. The last thing
I need is to go bananas for another man's woman. I'm sure she would make a nice
friend if she did have a boyfriend but how would I handle her playing with my
stomach like that?

I'm tired now and I want to send this off to you as soon as I can. There's
a lot I feel that we need to talk about. You'll hear from me soon. I believe in
you and think you'll do fine wherever you are.

Believe in yourself. You've accomplished so much and your life is just
getting started. Keep your head up!


Did y'all catch how he first let me know that my friend is what caught his attention and THEN let me know I would survive his rejection? Did y'all see that shit? Keep your fucking head up? What the fuck is that?

I decided after reading this that that mother fucker was not operating in the real fucking world. I have said not a word to him. We live in the same town now and I see him all the time and he tries to puppy-dog-eye his way into a conversation with me. I look right through him and go about my business. Fuck him. Fuck the five years I spent with him. Fuck the friendships I ruined because of him and his insecurities. Fuck the memories i have of him and definitely fuck the way he made everyone believe I used him up and tossed him aside.

It's been two very, very good years without his fucking monkey on my back. I hope he found his factory princess and lives a magical factory life, but i'll be damned if he'll do it with any of my friends.

Will i sound even more bitter if I say I hope he fucking rots? Cause I'm not really bitter about not being with him. I'm bitter for ever wasting so much of my life on him. I'm bitter for becoming so dependent on him that I allowed people to see me the way he wanted them to rather than standing up for myself. I'm bitter cause I could've been with my love way back then, but wasn't cause that mother fucker hated my love, hated my friendship with my love, hated knowing how well my love knew me.

Anyway, it's been two years. It's so over and I'm so glad cause I have Real Love now. And I treasure it.

Read more about "Two Years In The Life"...


The blank slate

I composed a whole entry in my head on the way to work this morning. It dealt with loss and the human capacity for sorrow. It dealt with that first crushing blow that snaps back the curtain the innocent keep between themselves and the dirt of this world.

In my mind, a child has a magic carpet of sorts, a blank sheet of unlined pages unfurled across decades and eons. So much potential and hope. Imagine that inverted. Imagine turning that inside out and seeing the huge cavern life can be - a gaping hole with sorrow lapping over the edges. Look into the eyes of a child and recognize the hope there for Something Big. Then imagine those depths being the future holders of grief.

I imagine an American child standing next to children of the same age from war ravaged nations: Rwanda, Palestine, Afghanistan, Israel, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. The blank sheet has burned for them, yet that American child climbs it freely.

The gauge begins at birth and somewhere along the line, we stretch to hold all that we gather along our paths in life. That's our possibility. We live and die alone, yet together we are currents of pain and hope. The yin-yang of human emotion flowing constantly across our shores, yet never quite drowning us.

In my mind this morning, this thought process reminded me of Adrienne Riche's poem, North American Time. The poem is one of my favorites and truly speaks to community. But, this morning, it sang to me of all that we hold now, all that we have the potential to hold, and how different it is from that blank sheet stretching across time.

Try sitting at a typewriter
one calm summer evening
at a table by a window
in the country, try pretending
your time does not exist
that you are simply you
that the imagination simply strays
like a great moth, unintentional
try telling yourself
you are not accountable
to the life of your tribe
the breath of your planet

I can't exactly pinpoint the connection between my stream of consciousness and Rich's stunning verse. I just wanted to share.

Read more about "The blank slate"...


Peel my love like an onion

I cannot even begin to explain how my heartbeat slows and my blood thickens on lazy summer weekends full of direly needed rainfall and long naps between yellow sheets with the fan whirring in the background.

Do you understand how amazingly beautiful it is to wake up beside someone you love and not hear your wee toddler squealing from his crib (because he spent the night somewhere else, of course) - demanding that he be released asap? Can you grasp how deliciously sinful it is to wake up, snuggle closer, and then fall back into thick-throated husky sleep until your body stretches itself into wakefulness and your mind blooms with the possibilities of all the ways these hours can be maximized?

Ungh. How about this for a Saturday: sleeping in; fresh strawberry pancakes with melon on the side (made for you, not by you); reading on the couch with your love opposite you; a long nap with your love curled around you; anxious, rough, explosive afternoon sex; a hot shower and perfectly curled hair; your love staring into your eyes while bowled over by how beautiful you are half naked in nothing but a beaded burgundy skirt and lipstick; a long, weaving drive though rainslick streets; laughing and strolling together; your legs thrown side-saddle over your love on a park bench, head resting on his shoulder as you slide your spoon over a crest of ice cream that becomes liquid heaven in your mouth; long drive home through soft darkness with the sunroof back and the windows down; crawling in bed, wrapped up in your love; falling into luxurious sleep finally aware of the possibility that the rest of your life could be just this beautiful.

Read more about "Peel my love like an onion"...


My Inner Child

Don't you see, don't you see that the charade is over? And all the "best
deceptions" and "clever cover story" awards go to you. So kiss me hard 'cause
this will be the last time that i let you.

I am in a relationship that is revising my entire understanding of trust and (dare I say it?) love. I tried to ignore it, avoid it, fight it, but i gave up on all that.

I decided to allow myself to see past those glaring mistakes that highlight the years since I first took the chance of putting myself in someone else's hands.

I was twelve. Twelve and lonely and shy and filled with self-disgust at my round flabby body. So, I pursued a fifteen-year-old boy until he realized he could do whatever he wanted with me. And he did. All over my mother's house. All over his mother's house. In the park in our low income housing development. On the sidewalk at four a.m.

But he never touched me in front of anyone else. No soft hand holding, no whispered I love yous, no arm slung casually around my shoulders. Rather, he stayed as far away from me as possible until there was no one around me and then he'd have sex with me.

I repeated this scenario until my junior year of high school with numerous boys and a few men. That year I had an epiphany that included sex with women, but didn't exclude sex with men. I even got myself into a relationship that I ruined by being unable to find my way out of the bag I'd wrapped myself in since twelve. So, I'd have casual encounters and serious encounters and claim love and feel pulled in a million directions at once.

In college I decided I didn't want intimacy at all. Too difficult. Too alienating. Too confusing. I just wanted sex and it was my goddess-given right to have it. This attitude lasted through college and grad school and landed me with an inability to see myself as capable of having a relationship. Especially one in which I was valued and respected as more than just someone to have sex with.

So here I am now. Struggling to not fuck this up by reverting to my comfortable promiscuity or safe sardonic wit. I'm trying to hold on to my identity while allowing that twelve-year-old me to come back out of hiding and bask in this sunny spot I've found.

It is warm and surreal here, but can I stand still long enough to enjoy it? Can I allow this glimmer to become a flood of fuzzy yellow happiness?

I must, if only for that twelve year old girl.

Read more about "My Inner Child"...


Phoenix Falling

So many years later and our fists are still clenched, our hearts still caged behind fortresses of iron and steel.

What is it to love your sister? Is it not easier to hate? To hold on to the anger? To build shrines to sanctify your pain?

Sherman Alexie writes, "How do we forgive our fathers?" But I ask, how do we forgive our sisters? How do we bury the jealousy and agony and absolute distrust of those who should have been our allies? How does one walk away from it? How can one possibly establish a relationship that doesn't hold at its core the unbearable knowledge that betrayal comes from all angles, especially those closest to you?

Because betrayal, whether it comes with whispered words or pummeling fists, cuts a trench in your soul. To climb out of it, I must rise from our ashes. But first, I must learn how to burn us down.

Read more about "Phoenix Falling"...


The Downward Spiral

I am fighting old demons. They start in my head and steadily work themselves throughout my body until my breathing is shallow and my hands shake.

During times like these, I wonder why I bother. I'm angry. Because I'm in debt. Because I'm in love. Because I'm out of control. I'm angry and I'm suffocating. I can't get things in my grasp and as hard as I try, things elude me.

Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe there aren't masses of people waiting to watch me fall. It is very possible that I've created my own imminent failure from the constant loss I have learned to live with.

I'm supposed to be the strong one. The smart one. The one who is "going places." Instead, I feel eyes boring into me, ones that mock and cajole and scream You are not good enough. Not now. Not ever.

This must be how it is to drown.

Read more about "The Downward Spiral"...



I wrote this in bot's guestbook, but soon realized the issues could be addressed more completely in my own space.

My comment:

"I have to disagree with some of that. Of course people should take responsibility for their actions, but prisons are full of black men and you can't tell me it's cause other ethnicities don't commit crimes. Actually, studies show that the number of black men in the general population has dwindled significantly, causing some sociologists to call that group "born prisoners." Racial profiling is very much a fact of our judicial system. It's a part of our lives. I think if you ask a person of color if they are ever allowed to forget they aren't white, you'll find that it's impossible. A white woman looks in the mirror and sees a woman; a black woman looks in a mirror and sees a black woman. Color is always there. Don't think it doesn't reflect in the police records or courtroom... Wrong is wrong, yes. But sometimes, wrong is only wrong when color gets involved."

I don't have the time or energy to address all these points, but basically, racial profiling is not a Black versus White issue. "Whitey" isn't the problem. It's our system, yes, the entire thing, that needs to be addressed here.

It's uninformed and defensive to claim that racism doesn't have it's role in our judicial system. Of course it does. Is it really feasible to say that black men are born criminals? And black men alone? The Bureau of Justice states:

"At year end 2000 there were 3,457 sentenced black male inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,220 sentenced Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 449 white male inmates per 100,000 white males."

Does anyone else notice a startling difference in the amount of black male inmates as compared to other males incarcerated that year? And the population keeps rising. One report estimates the population of black male prisoners to be close to 1 million.

It's not genetic. It's money, it's power, it's education, and it's color. The increased likelihood that a male of color will be searched by an officer means an increased probability that males of color will be arrested. It's not that they are running out killing people, either. And it's not that their lighter skinned counterparts aren't committing the same crimes.

It's a social disease. and to deny it is to give it strength and power.

To break it down, the percentage of men 25-29 yrs currently incarcerated is roughly 8.6 % black non-Hispanic; 2.7 % Hispanic; 0.9 % white.

So tell me how sick and tired you are of hearing about racism and racial profiling and "why can't black men just follow the rules like the rest of us" and "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" and "Whitey ain't so bad."

The assumption that black men are the problem is ignorant. Black men are preyed upon. Prison is a metaphor for the "send 'em back to africa" mentality the dominated the ignorant mindset of earlier generations. Prison is a way to segregate our population. Get those black men behind bars and they are no longer threatening to the power structure.

Which is why opponents to the forced "victimization" of men of color should be campaigning for increased legislation against the sort of policies that enable racial profiling to exist. It's easy to get defensive and fall back on your own crutch of "Hey, I'm white, so I get put upon by all those black folk," but much harder to get up and DO something to benefit your community, which invariably contains some black folk.

I do not know what I will do should I raise a black male child. The possibility that I will is higher than any other possibility. I fear for black male children. They are set up for failure by a society that still sees the black population as locusts feeding off what someone else earned. Being a black man in our society is dangerous. You will more than likely go to prison if you aren't killed first.

White mothers don't have to worry if their child is safe due to their skin color. Women of color, especially those raising males (a whole other set of problems is involved with females), have an extremely stressful and tough job when it comes to keeping their child safe cause it starts as soon as they go out into the world and it doesn't stop. And that child is only safe in his home and sometimes not even then.

I don't want to base this argument on skin color. Color isn't what makes the world go round (though it's definitely close). Money and power and resources are the issues that need to be addressed. Racial profiling is a symptom of that disease. Racism is a sickness and it is perpetuated by our judicial system. There's no way around that.

[My sistahs, if i've left things our or you have points you'd like to add, please hit me up in the comments. I'd love to hear what you have to say!]

Read more about "Racism?"...


The Posse

The Posse. (actually, it was The Broadway Posse, but that's not important.)

My entire life (up til I was about 14) was spent on the go. We moved 15 times in the years between 1980 and 1991, which meant I met a lot of people, but had no lasting friendships. No people to say "remember Mrs. so-and-so" or "can you believe She did that?", rather, I was constantly trying to make new friends, constantly trying to fit in.

I remember sitting on the playground at one elementary school desperately trying to learn the lyrics to Heaven Is a Place on Earth cause in order to be friends with this one group of girls you had to be able to sing that song. And sing it without mistakes. That's how desperate I was. I saw nothing wrong with it.

We moved for several reasons, mainly trying to outrun my father's criminal record and my mother's reputation as a result of it. Ever read House on Mango St by Sandra Cisneros? Well, I relate to that book on a very deep level. I was a nomad, and I've yet to feel attachment to any single place so overwhelmingly that I can't imagine moving again. Actually, I have the insatiable urge to move right now.

Anyway, when we finally settled down (have been in the same town since I was 14), it was in a neighborhood full of kids around my age. It was awesome. Now, those kids were mostly boys, but dammit! I had friends. Weenie roasts and hide-and-go-seek games were up for grabs.

Here's a disclaimer about these kids. They were all bad. There was DP (devil worshipper who was in and out of institutions), DK (my boyfriend who spent our relationship in a reform school), Boo & Darryl (brothers who were selling weed as early as age 9), CP (the only girl, nicknamed "droopy" cause she resembled the carton dog and who did not bathe regularly, had many sex partners), EB (looked like a gnat, could skate his ass off, stole drugs for us from his mother), and then my sister and i (girls willing to do anything to get a rise). together, we formed The Posse.

And we had an agenda. No political statement, necessarily, just the pseudo-robin hood complex which allowed us to break in, plunder, steal whatever we wanted under the guises of "they don't need it and we do." This included snack machines, local businesses, a funeral parlor, and even the elementary school, among others. Once we broke into a man's house who was on vacation, made 900 calls from his phone, stole his food and the boys pissed on his bed.

We were bad kids. But, we needed each other. Each of us had his or her burden to carry and all that bad stuff was our way of finding control. DK and I "fell in love" early on and were the Bonnie & Clyde leaders of this group. When he broke into the school and stole all the VCRs, I stood by the window to keep lookout and made sure we didn't break the VCRs in smuggling them out. When I etched the title of our favorite song into a brand new casket, I used his knife and he made sure we didn't get caught. The rest of the group functioned like our children.

DK was the first lover I'd had who wasn't cheating on his girlfriend with me and who didn't care that everyone knew we were together. The Posse was the first group of friends I had who were as fucked up as me and accepted me wholeheartedly, instantly. From these kids, I learned how to have a friend, how to keep a friend, and that loyalty was everything.

The group disbanded a long time ago and we've each gone our separate ways, but I owe them more than I could ever recount. They taught me to love without hesitation, to not flinch at pain, and that a friend can also be your family.

Read more about "The Posse"...