- Me: I've never been in a fight, but I had to become a shit talker in like elementary so people wouldn't try me.
- My big sister, Adrienne: What? You were a shit talker? I mean, I know you are now, but in school?
- Me: Yep. You never knew because we were a few grades ahead... but I was. It kept people from messing with me.
- Adrienne: No one ever ran up on me because they all wanted me to do their homework. I've never been in a fight either.
- Me: There was this one girl, we were friends but she kept joking about me being the "token black girl" in our group. One day after school, I pushed her into the lockers and told her she better stop it. She didn't mess with me again.
- Adrienne: What!?! You slammed someone into the lockers? WHO ARE YOU?!
- Hispanic Cici's Pizza cashier lady: Bye! Thanks for coming.
- Jojo: Adios!
- *we walk outside*
- Jojo: Mom, do you think she can understand the language I was speaking?
- Me: Spanish? Yes...but...
- Jojo: She looks like she could. She looked Spanish.
- Me: That's true, but you don't just SAY that.
- Jojo: Well why not?
Today marks 9 years since Aaliyah tragically passed away. She was, and still is, one of my favorite singers. I think all her fans can remember where they were when they got the news.
I was at home that Sunday, we skipped church. My sister got a call from her best friend who told us. We didn’t have cable, and it wasn’t on the regular news that night… so I wasn’t sure if it was true. The next morning I went to cross country practice before school. That day, we were to run the mile around the school, and then run it back. A light workout. As me and my friends starting running, we talked about her death, and how much she meant to us, even though we never met her. How we looked up to her. Then we started singing her songs (I don’t remember why). In the midst of running and singing, one by one we ALL broke down in tears, and had to stop the run. I don’t remember who explained to the coach why we were all crying, but she let us stop and go to the locker room. In the locker room, as I had been doing the past few weeks, I played my new “Aaliyah” CD as we got dressed for class. We broke down further.
Why did I just tell you about the dramatics of 14, 15, and 16 year old girls? Because Aaliyah touched our lives. Her music is forever a part of the lexicon of our generation. And because we don’t really have stars like that anymore, music that touches our lives, positive female role models that we can (and should) look up to. On the anniversary of her death, 9 years later, most of female celebrities are famous for their sexual exploits and not their talent. How have we allowed the image of the black female to become so skewed?
Remember in the 90s when we had Aaliyah, SWV, MC Lyte… a seemingly endless list of female musicians to look up too. They may have had their raunchy lyrics, but they commanded respect. We had shows like Living Single and Martin who showed professional black females living, loving and working together. Somehow we’ve let the narrative be changed to work-a-holic, self-centered black women who can’t find love unless they are on a Vh1 show showing their asses for a celebrity to give them “love” and worth by making them some sort of pseudo-celebrity. How have we regressed so much in just the matter of a decade?
Aaliyah represented a time when black females were at their peak, and we dishonor her legacy and those who got us there with our glorification of bullshit like Bad Girls Club and Kat Stacks.
Ladies, where is your worth?
- Adrienne: It kills me that ya'll never talk on the phone.
- Me: I like it that way. I'd rather g-chat or text.
- Adrienne: WHY?!
- Me: Because, on the phone I might mess up what I say, I can't backspace and correct my shit.
- Adrienne: Umm...
Every one knows the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Talking to people in new and old relationships and marriages, I’ve gained a little perspective on the matter.
In relationships, people always say, “give to the person what you’d want to be given back.” In terms of time and general feelings, I’d say that this is pretty standard.
But when you’re dealing with the specifics of what you’d like the other person to do for you, whether it be send flowers or cook you meals, call every morning or give you space when you’re working, everybody wants to be loved differently. If I you love a person the way you want to be loved, you may indeed be overshadowing the way that they need or want to experience love.
You want someone to wash and press your dirty draws, so you wash and press their dirty draws hoping they’ll catch the hint; meanwhile they’re making you steak and potatoes in hopes that they’ll get a meal out of it. While it all seems well-intentioned, it is honestly selfish. Go make their steak, not because you’ll get something in return, but because you care for them. Maybe they’ll get to starching your undies, maybe not. The true happiness in giving should be there regardless of reciprocity, no matter how hard that concept may be.
This pertains to family, lovers, friends, etc… but when it comes to matters of the heart, thinking of how the person you’re loving wants to be loved is indeed more important than how you want them to love you back. If both parties are focused on the other person, then everyone is covered (a little something I learned in my own relationship).
Just a thought…
Tomorrow, my daughter, Jordyn, begins 1st grade. I’m excited. And for the first time in her educational career (Pre K4, Kindergarten and now), she is excited too. She met her teacher before hand (which helped a lot to ease her apprehension about a new school) and everyone at the school so far seems really nice.
Every school year, on the first day of school, my sister and I wake up and sing “School’s starting, school’s starting, school’s starting!” We were and still are nerds, and we loved school. We did this from grade school through grad school (for her… and we’ll do it for me when I go for my post-bacc degree), every single year, without fail. We even started doing it for our first day of a new job - changing the words, of course.
The past two years, Jojo has been too angry or scared at the prospect of a new school year to enjoy in our song. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to call my sister, and we’re going to get Jordyn to sing the song with us.
- Me: Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
- Me & Crystal: G.I. Joooooe!
- Crystal: *wisper* army noises
- Kid: Dad! Daaad! I'm still in the pool! *to his dad who just got out of the water with his girlfriend and left him there*
What’s wrong with being sprung and having your heart on your sleeve if the other person is doing the same? Not a damn thing. If you and your mate are on the same page (communicate people), give your ALL. Quit playing “Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Go love and be loved. Simple as that.
- Jojo: Are you an alien?
- Me: Whaa? No.
- Jojo: Where is my real mother?
- Me: I'm your mother you crazy little girl.
- Jojo: *series of random tests*
- Jojo: Ok, that proves it, you're my mother.
- Me: Umm... Ok.