Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Humblebrag Rant and a Confession

If you never want people to know what you think or read what you write, start a blog. Nobody will ever read your blog. Yes, I'm whining that very few people I know read my blog. But it pisses me off because they always want me to support whatever they're doing.

OK. Seriously. I'm not really pissed about my blog readership. I do have a few regulars and I love y'all. I really do. I see you in my hit logs every time I post and you folks make me feel good. So thank you. It's my closest friends and family who NEVER read while I'm kinda salty with. They always want me to support their latest fly-by-night venture while I've been doing this for damned near 8 years now (accidental humblebrag).

So before I get all full of myself, let m get to what I really came to say today:

I should have probably told y'all a long time ago. Some of my closest friends already know, but it's time I came out and just let ya'll know: I'm fat. My dating profile says BBW and every letter is true.

I've been fat for a while now. Like 20 years. And honestly, I don't give a crap. I'm not just saying that. I'm not on a program. I'm not dieting. I'm not watching my carbs. I'm not juicing. I'm not on anybody's diet pills. I eat what I want, when I want, pretty much when I'm hungry.

Furthermore, I don't want anyone's unsolicited health advice. I laugh in the face of moral judgments about my weight. Like I'm "good" when I'm eating a salad and "bad" when I'm eating a cheese coney.

I'm happy. I'm dating someone. I love my life. I'm not a kid anymore and I'm much bigger than I was in high school. My blood pressure, cholesterol levels are fine. I'm not pre-diabetic. My last colonoscopy was fine for the people who really are that far up my ass.

I just wanted you to know.

And now for the humblebrag rant:

To Ex-Ye Old Matey, who called me with his humblebrag that he's lost so much weight that he can wrap his belt around him three times and none of his old clothes don't fit and can I give him some advice on where to buy some inexpensive clothes to wear for College Arabella's graduation....I'm going to tell you what I should have told you the day I awkwardly hugged you and tearfully sent you off to Atlanta (they weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of relief): Fuck off.

You left me with our unpaid bills and the fallout from your aging rockstar dreams. You left me with the weight of all our relationship angst and the weight of never calling or contacting the kid we raised together. You left me with the weight of your family who doesn't understand why I made you move out and a lot of our mutual friends who think everything was "my fault."

You may have lost some poundage but there's still some weight you need to deal with old friend of mine.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders just writing this. Now I'm gonna go have a McGriddle and take my ass to work.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Microagression Log Entry 15623

"Can I help you?" - racist question number 1. It doesn't mean, "Can I help you?" It means, "You're black and I don't think you belong here. Can I put you in your place or do I need to call security or the police."

"Acutally I'm looking for Amy with..."

Racist interruption, assumption and racist question #2 - "Is she with Pierre Foods?"

REALLY? Did this bitch just go there. Am I dressed like a warehouse worker? I have on very nice office attire, a leather coat and and a briefcase and she thinks I'm headed to the warehouse?

I look her dead in the eye and say, "Actually, no, I'm looking for "XXX Company."

"Oh, I think they're on the top floor."

Yes, I know. I never asked for your help. You just seemed so insistent on making sure the one black person that accidentally got close enough to you for you ask a question of wasn't "in the wrong place" or "lost" that you just had to direct them back to the warehouse where you felt they belonged.

*sigh* Please don't tell me she was trying to be helpful.

I'm sure she thinks was.

She wasn't. It's been four days since this happened and it still rankles a bit.

One day I  may have forgotten about this micro-aggression.

Until the next time it happens.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 3

Women, especially black women, are supposed to manageable, pliable. We are not supposed to think, learn, grow, evolve. That we have a though in our heads beyond the next man, the next welfare check, the next handout is unimaginable to many white people, despite so many examples that black women from the celebrity to the every day woman provide.

There are so many stereotypes about what black people do and don't do. But the main rule of being black is that we're not supposed to ask for any more than what we've supposedly been "given." Because that's the terms we're taught to think of black people in aren't we? All of us, white and black. I can hardly turn on the TV these days without some white Republican politician telling me what he thinks we've been given. We give them welfare, we give them food, we give them jobs - and this is the thanks we get. They just want more.

And so when a black woman gets on national television and tells a black man, who has been deemed perfect by a black woman judge no less- No, it's not enough. No, your love, your devotion, what you have to offer is not enough- it's angering to some people.

It was angering to the judge who used very angry words to put her in her place.
"You don't know what you want, do you?"

"How does one be too nice to ones wife?"

"I cannot conceive of the world you have structured for me here."

The wife does her best to articulate her feelings and to me her feelings are very concrete.
"He was too nice, like, it was scary nice. You know how some people are just to nice? He was stalker-ish nice? It's too nice, it's to good to be true. You can be nice but you can be too nice."
The judge then makes a completely opposite comparison to what this woman is talking about. She goes out of her way to make this woman look foolish without actually listening to what she's saying. The woman knows that what she's saying isn't the norm, but nonetheless it is true.

As it goes on, the more hurt and silent she becomes. This eggs on the judge and the audience.

The judge asks her snidely: "So if I found you a brotha who ran around on you, called you names and smacked you upside the head, you'd be in heaven wouldn't you?"

The wife says no, but the judge doesn't believe her. She makes the classic mistake that many people do. If a black woman leaves a man who is considered by others to be a "good man" then she must be out of her mind. She must like to be abused.

She doesn't know how to be in a good relationship.

The husband explains that he thought he was the kind of man she wanted. Someone who would cherish her, love her, cater to her, cook for her.

And the wife explains that in the beginning that was enough. But she's asked him to cook a little less because she's gaining weight. She's asked him to stop saying, "I love you," all the time because the more he says, the more meaningless it sounds if he's not really paying attention to what she's asking for versus what he thinks he should give her.

She wants to settle into an adult relationship and he wants to worship at a shrine. She doesn't want to be the goddess on his pedestal. She wants an equal partner to walk through life with.

He was too nice. And she wants to be free.

She's not a greedy or ungrateful woman. She's an evolved woman and he's stuck in some romantic comedy version of the relationship he though she wanted.

In society's narrow view this is only somewhat acceptable for white women, but not at all for black women. And no matter what color you are, you will suffer for your choice to be independent.

When I was considering, quite seriously, ending my relationship with Ye Old Matey, a friend of mine told me I should watch a movie: Sex in the City II.

I thought she was nuts. Sex and the City is a fun and sometimes thoughtful show, but it's not where I go for relationship advice. And it's not a show I take very seriously, mainly because it takes place in the fictional realm of White New York.  But my friend was serious. She reiterated that I should watch the movie and that I should pay very close attention to Samantha's story.

Samantha was in relationship with a wonderful guy but it just wasn't what she needed. His wonderfulness and worth had nothing to do with why she ended it.

When she says, "I love you, but I love me more," it's not a laughable moment. It's poignant and another moment of independence for a remarkable and unapologetically independent woman.

We live in a world where women can still be defined solely by the men they choose and this is expected. When a woman refuses to reduce herself to her mate's accomplishment's or her mate's worth she is seen as selfish and greedy. Short of abuse, a woman is supposed to give her partner every benefit of the doubt. Black women especially so.

And when we don't, our worth and our sanity are called into question.

This wife bravely put her case on trial for the world to see. Her husband was too nice. And she left him.

Honestly, I don't blame her one bit.

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part I
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part II

Monday, January 27, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 2

Part II, Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice"
We live in a world that does not encourage women in general and black women in particular to assert their autonomy.

In the realm of living as a black woman, there comes a point where you're simply not supposed to ask for more than what the nearest white person thinks is enough for you to have. And if you expect and have the nerve to ask for more, reach for more, work harder for more- then you're seen as greedy and snatching at something that you really haven't earned. Yes, even if it's something you've worked for.

There are many examples of this happening to black women professionally.

Let's start with the paragon of black professional women, Oprah Winfrey.
"It was 1980. I was getting paid twenty-two thousand dollars and the guy who I was co-anchoring with was getting paid fifty [thousand]. So I went in to my boss and I said, 'He's getting paid a lot more money than I'm getting paid.' And you know what my boss said?

"'Why should you make that much money?' In 1980! He said,'Why should you make that much money?'

"He said, 'Do...He has kids. Do you have kids?'And I said, 'No.'

"'Do you have a house?' (laughing) "And I said, 'No.' And he said, 'So, so tell me why you need the same amount of money?'

"And I said, 'Well, because we're doing the same job.' "He says, 'I don't think so.' And so I thought, 'Hm. I'll show you.'"

Let's also consider the recent events regarding Dr. Danielle Lee noted scientist and blogger of the Urban Scientist at Scientific American.
When A Black Female Scientist Gets Called An 'Urban Whore'
Laura Rankin, TPM

If you haven't heard of Lee already, here's the backstory: She was recently asked by an editor named "Ofek" of the scientific site Biology-Online if she would be interested in blogging for them. When she asked for further details, including how much they paid their guest bloggers, the editor responded that the opportunity could provide traffic and exposure, but no payment. Lee politely declined the offer from Ofek, who penned a horrifying response: "Because we don't pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?"

By calling Lee an "urban whore," the Biology-Online editor was essentially chastising her for not taking what she could get. The editor couldn't possibly understand how this black woman wouldn't jump at the chance to work for free, given that women of color are so rarely featured in publications, scientific or otherwise. This offensive slur reinforces the notion that women of color should be thrilled with the meager scraps they are thrown, and that they should smile and nod while doing so.
Do you see a pattern here? We get to a point in our public and professional lives where someone decides we've simply gone to far. Gotten above ourselves, beyond our station. Gotten too uppity or bougie. We've outplayed the draft status that black skin should have limited us to and we simply shine to brightly.

We must be taught a lesson. We must be taken down a peg or two.

We cannot be allowed to think too much of ourselves because we may become unmanageable.

Give us equal resources and who knows what we could do?

How much more does these false expectations come to play in what we're expected to accept at our most personal core and in our intimate relationships?

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 1
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 3