Monday, December 21, 2009

The Magic Lamp

A great friend shared this song with me today...I needed it.
But she's always on point like that. 

Some things don't make sense...but this beautiful mess is life. is love.
Remembering that makes me smile.

Riding the subway to visit this same girlfriend I found a seat next to a teenage couple.  They were standing but both huddled affectionately together holding the bar attached to my immediate right.  Their puppy love was radiating.  It made me smile, and remember that feeling of being young, fearless and in love.  I remembered those moments, feeling as if time had paused, and nothing else mattered or moved but the two of you. So brave, so sweet, and so innocent.  You would think that by now, I'd be a love scrooge, but amazingly I remain a hopeless romantic. Seeing happy couples inspires me to believe that the fairytale does still exist.

So real talk, like finding a magic lamp in the least expected place, I rubbed.  Seriously.  I deliberately (but inconspicuously) rubbed my knee on the back of the teenager's leg in hopes that their fearless love would rub off on me.  I don't even need three wishes.  One wish is all I need...and I promised to keep that part private :)  But, if believing in true love carried me this far, I'll still hold on for a little longer.  My magic carpet still has some miles left, lol.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stop This Train

It seems that so frequently ended relationships are likened to transportation. The funniest is "Girls are like buses, miss one next 15 one coming."  Ok, I admit that was Gucci Mane, and really isn't a coherent statement, but you get the gist.  Lately, my friend's declaration that "this train moves forward, not backward" has been resonating through my mind.  I wish it was that simple for me.  To move onward to new faces and new places without glancing back at the past.  Even though the train moves forward, every other boxcar has seats facing backward.  Everyone knows facing the opposite direction can give you motion sickness...I'm just not sure why I always end up with the wack seat.

Perhaps it's so difficult because in my world, stalkers keep honing devices charged up on their hip. Is it just me?  Why do these characters (of all people) always come back STRONG when I'm single. Every time I'm having a Beyonce me, myself and I moment, the phone starts ringing with those familiar old catastrophes?  Whiskey tango, big brother are the cameras on?  Why are THEY all of a sudden calling, NOW?  We all can use a beautiful distraction periodically...and it's nice to have familiar folks remind you that through it all they'd still ride out with you (ha, another one)...but I'm sick of the same tired cycle.  So (insert stalker names here), I know how things used to be, but I'm heading in a new direction (I'm on a roll, lol). Forget switching seats, just stop this train. I'm hopping off.  I think I'm going to walk for a while until I figure out a better way to reach my destination.

Hijab Hotseat

We'll call him "Mr. Officer". And although he was below my height preference, he looked awfully good in uniform. *sigh* Yes. Yum. Well, shortly after our first meeting he texts "so I guess you don't cover?" Wow...for the record I do "cover" thank you very much. Despite my affinity for tight jeans, I do try to keep my goodies tastefully covered. I'm sure my mother would argue I could be more modest. Don't tell her, but she's right. I'm working on it. But I knew Mr. Officer meant my hair. I did cover my hair, once. It was my last year in college, and although my attempted style was more J-Lo tie-back or Lauren Hill remixed with a hat and scarf...I did it. For me. For God. For a year. I'm sure to many the decision was strange, but for me, it was a protection from vanity and unwanted attention. It saved me, and helped me graduate...and for the first time in my LIFE I made straight A's.

I uncovered my hair for graduation, and made the decision to assimilate to the norm of Corporate America. Religiously, I studied the schools of thought on hijab (click to Wikipedia it), the Qur'an and sunnah (reports on the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad, may God be pleased with him) and perhaps for my own convenience accepted that the decision remains with the woman.

I responded to Mr. Officer, deliberately clarifying "My Hair? No. Does your mother cover her hair? Is that your preference?" Initially, I was caught off guard, but just as I WOULD PREFER that he were 3 inches taller, he has a right to prefer a hijabi, especially because his mom covers as I suspected. Now one thing is for sure, although I tend not to tout my knowledge of my religion...I'm no slacker. I know what I believe, why I believe it...and if you give me a minute I can also authenticate it with doctrine. Don't play me. However, this was only our second I'm giving Mr. Officer a pass for attempting to school me on what "God obligates" for women. Out of respect for him and my sisters who do cover their hair I concluded the convo stating this isn't about right or wrong, but two different understandings. I even said I would keep him in mind for any hijabi friends. It ended well...but truthfully the discussion got under my skin.

I immediately started researching the issue, poised to "school him" on the really real. But realized my issue was with me, not him. I deleted the email. I spent the next few days in the mirror putting a scarf on, then pulling it off... figuring out if I could wear one for the rest of my life. I have always loved what it represents, and the strength of the women who cover their hair for their beliefs, especially in the face of present day hostility. I think the conversation with Mr. Officer got to me because the real reason I don't cover is because I haven't found the inner strength to be so different. I love what I believe, and do long to be identified for who I am and how I've been raised. I wish I was brave enough to be the friendly, familiar face to work against the picture of insanity and extremism that has infected the image of a beautiful faith. But the truth is, I'm not. However, something within me has changed, thanks to Mr. Officer. One day I do hope to have that strength....not for him (absolutely not) or because I think I have to. But for God and for me. Because I'd much rather escape my vanity and be admired for my actions, words and my faith than anything else. Wow...message, lol. Throw a "ping." on that b...

Friday, December 18, 2009

To eat, or not to eat?

This seems to be a lot of folks' question this holiday season.  But for darn sure I know the answer...EAT.  New Years' resolutions were created to help you plan to get rid of the lil bulge that accummulated since Thanksgiving.  I've watched people pass up on baked macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie because they're counting calories.  Are you serious?  Being healthy IS a lifestyle that involves proper diet and exercise, BUT that doesn't mean you gotta suck the pleasure out of eating your favorite meals!  Let me just go ahead and say it: If you are worried about the holidays adding on a little extra, you've probably been living with "a little extra" all year.  Get over it already.  Stop stressin' and obsessin' over only draw excess attention to the fact you've already needed to be in the gym (real talk).  Loosen up your Michelle Obama belt, and go grab that extra piece of cornbread, with glee.  I can't eat it all myself.  Tis' the season for good eatin'.

Obviously, I do indulge, but I don't overeat...nor do I recommend that you become gluttonous.  But I do implore you to eat what you enjoy, and eat well this season, unapologetically.  Most athletes in peak physical shape, eat (much of) what they please, but exercise to maintain their physique. If consuming your favorite holiday food leaves you feeling guilty, go for a jog or walk before and after your meal.  I'm no nutritionist, or gym rat, but I do know when my butt needs to holla at a treadmill or a spin class...and I will.  But until January 1, 2010, imma holla at some of that apple pie, pecan pie, sweet potato bean pie, my mama's moist and delicious butter cake, and corner piece of her pineapple upside down cake. *dead serious*  They say you are what you eat, so I strive to stay sweet, good people...that's all.  Hope you do too.  Merry eating to all, and to all a good meal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I knew there was a possibility he'd be reading...but not seriously.  He just came out and said it.  "I've been reading your blog...and it's (actually) really good."  After I realized I wasn't actually speaking the thoughts swarming in my head, I managed to shove out an awkward chuckle, followed by a sincere "Really?" I can't remember what was said after that...but slowly my shock (whaaa?) evolved to embarrassment (omg, what have I said?) to confusion (why are YOU reading?) to absolute unwavering irritation (you really have some nerve).  Slowly my awkward half smile became a hard middle-school lip curl.

Besides the fact that I (emphasize the singular responsibility) decided to write a PUBLIC blog, can a girl get some privacy?  But who can blame him, if the shoe were on the other foot, I'd read too...and so would you, good people.  Wouldn't you read a private card or letter of a past/present beau if left wide-out in the open?  Hell, give you a password and you may even read a few emails and check a few voice mail messages.  Moms read their daughters' diaries, girlfriends turn Snoopy, and boyfriends (cyber) stalk. It is what it is.  But who is to blame?

Blame STUPIDITY.  I can think of at least 13 STUPID mistakes explaining Tiger "Cheetah" Woods' revoked privacy privileges.  Mashonda and Swizz Beaks? Stop being STUPID arguing on Twitter and save that dialogue for the courtroom.  Finalize the divorce already, so we too can move on with our lives.  But celebs aren't the only ones prone to an occasional dummy-move.  We all have had a moment when a lapse in judgement has resulted in something personal ending up on Front St.  

So chalk it up as a lesson learned, and accept that we choose how many windows we open into our world, and to whom.  It is impossible to pry something open that isn't already partially ajar.  All we can do is guard our words and actions, so when life thrusts us into the spotlight, we can hold our heads high with dignity.  So admittedly, my lip curl has lessened to a smile.   I haven't written for two weeks agonizing if my words would be clever enough.  Fagedaboutit.  I'm back like Ma$on Betha and thankful you're still here to listen (read), good people...even if you-know-who is eavesdropping, lol.  Guess he still can use just a little ping. in his life too. Priceless.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love & Basketball

First Mike Vick. Then the World Series...and now *long sigh of relief* Allen Iverson is back home! Way to end the year with a bang Philadelphia! On my drive home today I was listening to the press conference on the radio and 3 minutes in, tough guy A.I. was in tears saying how this return was such a blessing. I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear. Well, actually not just A tear...a girl was straight boo-hooing. In the car, on Lincoln Drive, I was SOBBING because I was overjoyed. I felt like my family, my baby boy was home to stay.

As I flashback to the days when Nike was my Louboutin, and there was nothing greater then when my name and stats were in the paper, Allen Iverson was my basketball love. I remember watching him play at Georgetown, and cutting out pictures of him in magazines to paste on my wall. In 1996, he came to Philly and gave this city exuberance. Yeah, he was cocky, but he was Philadelphia's bravado personified. He was the MAN...and eventually as I grew older, nothing was greater that to see him in Olde City. I remember one night at the M Lounge passing him seated at the bar. There was no obnoxious entourage, or braggadocios was just Allen. He was one of us. And for that reason we loved him.

But the relationship wasn't always easy. We watched A.I. grow. We cheered with his mamma nem (yes, hood style) in the stands, remember when he got married and the marital drama that ensued. We were there when children were born and practices were missed, and charges were filed. We were there when he led us to the finals in 2001, and watched in the agony as he butt heads with Coach Larry Brown. It was bittersweet to see him leave in 2006, but like an unruly, ungrateful, and disrespectful teenager...sometimes love isn't enough. Sometimes despite their amazing potential, and your fear they may never return, you just have to let them go in hopes that being unsheltered will help them get it together.

I don't think Allen or Philadelphia ever thought he'd return. We let him go and watched painfully as it appeared he'd never find the balance between his star and his team. But despite all his accolades and undeniable talent, Allen Iverson has never won a ring. After flirting with retirement, the opportunity for Allen to come home and play again has become a defining moment for his career. Hell, we know it ain't the money. Not for a one year non-guaranteed contract for $1 million! Shoot, there are people with the franchise pushing paper making $1 million a year. Allen Iverson is back and playing for love. Love for the Game. Love for his fans. Love for Philly.

I feel like this is a Love & Basketball moment when Sanaa Lathan is playing one on one with Omar Epps for his heart. I am sure when A.I. steps on the court Monday to play his former team, the Denver Nuggets, he will be playing to win back the hearts of Philadelphia. I applaud his humility, his courage, and believe he will be greater than ever before. Not defined just by steals or number of 3's hit, but by character, and leadership. I truly hope (at least once) that we all gain the chance to be so humbled by an opportunity, or by the possibility of love, that we are so inspired to shed a tear, thank God, and play our hearts out. That by experiencing loss, we learn to appreciate the things or people we once neglected. We may not be able to guarantee a win, but at least when the day is done, we too, like Allen Iverson, will retire proudly in the company of those who have loved us along the way...or like the movie, ante up for double or nothing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stop eDating Hating

I should be paid for this plug, but some things are worth doing for the f-r-double e. After having the identical conversations with several girlfriends, I realize the jury is still out on internet dating. If my ex read this he'd DIE...but the truth is, we met through (drum line) *kanye shrug* I only share this because the stigma around internet match sites is that you have to be desperate, or have nothing to offer. Not the case anymore. I mean, COME ON. You already know what I think of myself (ha. I kid...a little), and I know my ex and I broke up and all, but he's still FINE, and a hell of a catch for someone (else)...and HE was on there. So it's not too far fetched that there are others out there also.

If you're turning your nose up already and you are SINGLE, check yourself! Because whatever you have been doing isn't/hasn't been working. I'm sorry...brace yourself for this: ALL your past relationships have failed (harsh, but true). So, really, what do you have to lose? I'm only suggesting you re-evaluate your strategy.

During the time I ran across my ex's profile, I too was anti-internet sites, but was using my (super fly, successful, beautiful, fitness junkie) girlfriend's profile to periodically search. Granted my demographic (ethnicity+religion+interests) is uncommon, however, it was so worth it. Even if it only lasted for a quick second. Ha. But I digress. I can't tell you how many people shared stories of their MARRIED friends who met the same way. Now, no system is 100% and yes, I am still single, however...I am still a fan of the sites! And anyway, this is about YOU right now, not me.

I don't want to belabor the issue, but I do want to challenge those of you on the fence, to take a leap of faith already. So what if someone that knows you, sees your means they're in on the game too. Unless you want to limit your options for meeting the love of your life at the gym, club, gas station or work, fix your face, re-frame it and put your pride aside. JUST TRY IT! Keep an open mind and heart and give it a shot. Trust me, you have nothing to lose, and it only takes one (the right one) to make it all worth it. Plus...those weekend marathons to see how many Bravo re-runs you can watch in a sitting isn't a good look. I'm just sayin. Have some fun.