Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pearl Cleage places her archive at Emory!

My mommy wars

wake up
sorta kiss my husband
brush my teeth
make breakfast for five
take a shower
make three lunches
put out two snacks
brush hair
braid hair
put vaseline on legs and elbows
say-get your socks, wash your face, wash your face, brush your teeth, go put that car back in your room, WHAT ARE Y'ALL DOING UP THERE! IT IS TIME FOR SCHOOL.
Kisses goodbye at the back door
Watch Gayle for 10 minutes
drink cold coffee and cold turkey bacon (back on weight watchers, counting points)
brush teeth
stare in mirror (wonder if I did IT right this morning)
put on yoga pants and sandals (comfort, not diva this morning)
wait for ride to work (Plot out my novel while my cupcake is sitting next to me playing a video game-guilt mommy says..."should she be playing that at 9 in the morning?)
Desk games
work on manuscripts that aren't
still at work
have to figure out what my family is going to eat and still maintain my weight watchers points
check homework
help with homework
sing a song
think about lunch
RSVP for the kindergarten orientation
make the car payment
braid hair
fold laundry
be married
think about the work at "my desk"
find clothes for tomorrow
think about the kids' lunch
think about my lunch
kiss my husband
think about sex
fall asleep two minutes later
wake up

Friday, March 23, 2012

For Nathaniel….and Trayvon.

For about a week now I have been holding back on responding in anyway (at least publicly) to the Trayvon Martin killing. Mostly because I have friends of all races and nationalities and I was concerned about what they would think of me if I spoke out. Would they think that I was a supremacist of some kind because I was angered over the death of a black boy at the hands of a white man? Would they think I was a radical if I started spouting out how we don’t live in the post-racial society that everyone thought we’d have after President Obama was elected? Would they avoid me?

Eventually the little person in me said, “Who the hell cares?” And I started thinking about this tragedy differently …I started thinking of it as a mother. A mother of three, as well as a mother of a little boy. An energetic, mischievous, active, smart little boy, who gravitates towards my husband’s orbit and wants to emulate everything my husband does or says. He’s observant, witty in the face of fierce opposition from his sisters, and just downright funny. He’s a video game, comic book hero enthusiast, with a love of cars, trains, and Legos. He’s clearly his father’s boy.

But every morning, no matter what….he comes downstairs and kisses me good morning and hugs me fiercely, then goes on with his day. At night it’s the same, he has to kiss me before he goes up to bed. I didn’t realize how much those kisses meant until recently. Two nights ago he fell asleep without giving me my kiss and I went upstairs to see if he was okay. I stared at him sleeping for at least 15 minutes. I ran his life through my mind: born 4 weeks early, he became a thriving energetic child, who giggles, wants to read passionately, and continues to believe in himself even when the outside world and his first grade teacher don’t.

Then I thought about Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon’s mother). She would never be able to look at her baby like this again.

Then I started getting angry, angry because as a black parent I have had to spoil my children’s innocence in order for them to survive. I’ve had to tell a 10, 6, and 5 year old that the world outside our door will not always be kind. Mediocrity will be looked upon as ignorance, and strength will always be a requirement.

I am angry too, because every day my husband and I get closer to having “the talk” with Nathaniel. Always have ID, don’t run from law enforcement, when it feels wrong it is wrong, don’t talk back to law enforcement, sometimes it will feel like there’s a target on your back, always have money in your pocket, and don’t make any sudden moves.

And when I think of that moment, I get angrier knowing that Trayvon’s parents gave him that very same talk…and it didn’t matter.

So for the last week, my hugs and kisses have been multiplying. My tone before they leave the house has been more serious, and heart has been heavy. Even as I write this I have tears in my eyes.

But ironically, it is because I have these wonderful, amazing, talented little people in my life…I continue to have hope.

I hope Trayvon’s parents still have hope too.

Just in case…I’ll be sending my prayers to them for a long time to come.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Revolution? isn't televised

I’ve been home sick for two days. Not being mobile is a problem for me. I like to have the option to sit around the house and not do anything. When I’m forced to just sit it’s awful.

So in between the TheraFlu haze I’ve been watching a lot of television. A LOT of TELEVISION. In Raleigh Maury comes on at 11 and at 5. Judge Judy comes on twice, The People’s Court comes on a lot, and Gloria Allred is a judge? There are also some other shows on Fox that have me thoroughly confused. (Apparently there’s a British guy who’s a really aggressive Jerry Springer). Then of course there’s the Price is Right.

I think much of the daytime television has determined that the American Woman is just a pile of bricks that need to be molded shaped and created. According to television, we (women) are in bad shape! (I really had no idea!) Everything in the American woman’s household needs repair: her house, her clothes, her kids, her health, her reading selections, her music, selections, and even the way she cooks (if she doesn’t cook she should, and if she does cook she needs to know how to do it better). I am SHOCKED!

I know that these types of shows are not new. My mom watched Dina Shore, Julia Child, and later Ms. Winfrey. But these new shows seem to be telling American women (especially those who work from home daily) that they’re lives are abysmal and the only way they can survive is to do exactly everything these “experts” tell them to do.

The newest entry into the Nate Berkus, Dr. Phil, The View, and the Chew entourage is the show the Revolution. The show has an Ob/GYN, a therapist, a stylist, a home makeover guru, and a personal trainer. The website describes the new show promises to:

“be an exciting, inspirational template for transformation for women all over the world."

A template? I don’t want to be part of a template. If there is indeed something wrong me, I don’t want what you’re giving the other woman! What’s wrong with the template I have already? And who decided that you guys were the one to create the template?

Don’t get me wrong. I would love a Ty Pennington makeover of my bedroom, and a Tim Gunn makeover of my wardrobe. My question is: Do American Women need a makeover? And whose fault is it that American Women are usually the “victims” (I use this word very loosely) in television today.

There seems to be two versions of shows for women. In the morning shows that show you how to get yourself together (usually getting a man is somewhere in there) and in the evening reality shows that show you how to get out of your 4-inch stilettos quickly in order to beat the crap out of some woman in the room who has said something about a man (you date, used to date, married, divorced, had a baby with, a fling with, or just looked at lustily).

It amazes me that on television we’re still supposed to bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never forget a man is a man. But yep that’s it. Even on one of my favorite shows Body of Evidence, the main characters were fighting over a man (Dana Delaney’s ex-husband)….in 4 inch stilettos! In the coroner’s office! Yikes! (That one has been bothering me for a while now!)

Television has reduced women into proper ladies, who will always be a size four no matter how many babies she has, who is a gourmet chef, and knows all the posh restaurants in all cities of the world. We also know how to fit in a pilates class and throw a right hook when needed.

Look, I don’t think that being a size 4 is a problem, but just stop asking me to be one in order for you to accept me. Also don’t think I’m going to wrestle in the mud in a wet t-shirt with no underwear for some man’s entertainment. It’s too much.

My body is just fine thank you.

I don’t want to do pilates, or run a 5K and get my phD at the same time while balancing my checkbook, having my fourth child in a temperature controlled bathtub with rose petals while I organize my interior designer, landscaper, and party planner. I don’t want to shop in a really trendy lingerie shop a week after having my child and then satisfying my man like no one can with a huge steak!

Come on.

I’m not where I want to be with my weight goals, but their MY weight goals. I’m happy with my relationship and my kids are kids. My house could use a makeover, but I like it the way it is. I don’t have nightstands yet, or lampshades but that’s my business. Eventually I will. And things in my life will fall apart. They always do, and I will ALWAYS come up with a solution. I’m okay that it will take me venting, accepting, daydreaming, and then finally taking care of the problem. That’s how I work. So I think for everyone's sake I'm going to stop watching daytime television, because there is nothing wrong with me.

At least I don’t think there is. But maybe when Steve Harvey’s daytime show starts next year he can tell me what do about it.