Coffee in my Left Hand, Year End Musings in my Right

I, too, join the world in reflecting on all 2019 meant to and for me.

Breaking my ankle may have been the most dramatic thing to happen, but even that had joy and meaning. My friends and family rallied around, over and underneath me during a very difficult time. When I tell you they fed me, visited me, called to check on me, took me to my appointments, helped me travel, had patience with everything it took to get me out the house for even the simplest of tasks; I want you to know I was loved in every way possible. People I didn’t expect came through for me. So in all the ways that count, there were balms in my Gilead.

This year I could afford to travel a bit more (thank ya Lord!), and was able to laugh with and hug my far away friends.

I worked harder this year than years prior, and though tired, I didn’t mind. I appreciated the opportunities and tried to do right with them.

I said yes to things I wanted, said no to things that didn’t serve me, and felt very little guilt about it. Still some guilt, but I’ve come a long way; trust. I also spoke my truth more than usual, and without any prompting from my BFF. I hope she can witness having more “let me tell you what I just said ” conversations, and a whole lot less “is this ok to say” ones with me in 2019.

I knowingly made some frivolous choices because; grown. I’m good with those too.

I achieved some of the things I set out to do, others not so much. In my success was God opening doors and nudging me through. In my shortcomings was God holding me up, nudging me to do better. God and the nudging…whew!

Through everything there is coffee: warm, soothing, understanding elixir of joy, coffee. And you. Thank you for being a part of my year, and I hope to see you more in 2020.

Coffee in my left hand, New Year dreams in my right…

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, quit texting so d**n much in my right

So I’m talking to my good girlfriend, and she’s telling me about this guy. A guy who previously she’d been open to getting to know. Optimistic even. She’s telling me why she’s about to block him on her phone, SM etc. Why? Because all he does is text her.

Good morning beautiful. How was your day? Tell me about yourself. Wait, what? What exactly do you want someone to tell you in a text? Anywho…nothing but texts.

I’ve had similar experiences and so have other women I know. Handsome, decent, well meaning men getting blocked left and right, or worse yet, friend zoned to the pits of hell, for thinking they can text their way into some…relationship.

Before we get into “well, what about…”, save it for the comment section. I’m here to discuss grown ass men, men who were not raised having cell phones. Men who attended at least one ‘set’ in someone’s basement in their life. Men who know the terror of calling a land line and having a girl’s Mom answer “Lisa can’t talk right now!” Men who asked a girl “to go with them” either by folded note, or a rushed request during recess or gym. I’m talking about men who had a pager. Grown ass men.

Why do these beloved brothers think at 40-50+, it’s acceptable to exchange numbers with a woman and then text her for weeks under the misguided notion of “talking?”

Men, hear me clearly: All the good clean girls at the Black Awareness Rally of life expect you to pick up the phone and call them. Now, every man isn’t like this, but I hear this enough to know that more men than you think are exactly like this. And relationships (yes, many men desire relationships) are being thwarted before they even start because of not moving from texting to calling.

You cannot learn if you like a woman, if she’s got a good sense of humor, if she’s a woman you want to spend any time with or if she’s nutso, without talking to her first. Texting may be easy, but the men we’re interested in survived dating BEFORE texting. The women (unless you’re trying to date women 15-20 years younger) you’re texting are bored with texting after the 1st 2 days. Or, we assume that you are married or have a live-in. Believe me.

Texting as information (who what where), flirting, etc., is great, but that’s after a connection has been established. If you’re a man and are texting a woman as a primary means of getting to know her, you’ve been advised; call. Women, text the man “I really would rather talk than text” right before you’re ready to delete/block him. Otherwise everyone risks passing up on something potentially wonderful.

There, I’ve done my part to advance the community; you’re on your own now.

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, Queen and Slim review in my right.

**There are spoilers in this review**

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Ok, good. I finally saw Q&S last night. I didn’t write anything then because I 1) wanted to process, and 2) by process I mean I was exhausted from being out and went straight to bed.

I really enjoyed this movie. I’d read so many bad reviews, I half went in expecting not to like it; it takes a lot for a movie to overcome your predetermined dislike of it. Q&S did just that.

It’s shot beautifully over a few states. I initially thought the Ohio scenes were in Chicago. There was a discrepancy in the direction they were traveling at one point, but the beauty outshone my C level geography knowledge.

Many themes stood out as so realistic: the bad first date, the community (in several forms) supporting alleged retribution to the oppressor, Slim’s dedication to his family. But what stood out most were the purposeful messages left by the screenwriter. All the scenes in Uncle Earl’s house (masterfully played by Bokeem Woodbine) were Sunday school lessons: the after effects of war, treating a man differently at home because of the way he’s treated in the world, the humanization of sex workers. All well acted and scripted. Other themes such as the longing to be immortal, regret and sadness being worn as anger, were present too.

My friend Shawn whispered at one point that he knew many “Queens” (that is not how he said it, and I can’t type my gut laughter reaction). I think the entire point of the movie was to see ourselves or maybe someone we knew, and unravel the pain beneath the snark (whew, Queen had snark for daaays) and the beauty beneath the ordinary.

There were many criticisms about the ending. I thought it was drawn out a little long, but I did see it coming: once a bounty was offered, the ending wrote itself.

Overall I enjoyed it and thought it a worthwhile film. I’m sure there will be many more Twitter debates, and I’m thinking of hosting a table talk about it myself. Go see it and support this artistic, contemporary film. Let me know your thoughts.

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, Thanksgiving gratitude in my right

Hey Y’all. Today is the day we gather with the family we were given, and the family we have chosen, in the spirit of thanks. Before you start drinking because of the family you were given, with the chosen ones, below are the things I’m thankful for:

I’m thankful that this ankle is on the mend, and I’m starting to envision one day wearing two shoes again.

I’m thankful for not having gained too much weight during this 10 week mandatory sitting on my arsh fest. The thicc is still in order, Hallelujah.

I’m thankful that my Mom and my Son both have their drivers licenses. Jesus hold the wheel for both teenage and senior citizen drivers.

I’m thankful for my twenty year old Daughter who came home, and during the moments she passed by me on her way out, asked if I needed anything and kissed my forehead. Kindness, even in transit, means everything to me.

I’m thankful for everyone who brought me food, drinks, supplies and just stopped by while I’ve been benched. You’ll never know how much it meant to me. I’m sorry I didn’t wear any makeup and looked like a sad, ghostly version of my normal self. I’ll make it up to you.

I’m thankful for Instacart, Postmates, Amazon, UPS, FedEx and Hello Fresh for helping me get the things I need for my home. It’s hard going from Superwoman to “could you please put it inside the house, I can’t reach the porch.” God bless your tires and backs; Ase.

I’m thankful for you, who stop by to read my rants, insights and occasional funnies. You have a million things to do, and blogs way more popular than this one to entertain yourself; that you peruse this one fills my heart with love and questions. 😏

Enjoy your family and friends today, and know that this 6 hour overeating, stress filled day too shall pass.

And don’t take more than 1 plate if you didn’t bring anything; Big Mama did not raise you to be greedy.

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, things I’ve missed most most during my injury in my right.

Here they are in no particular order of longing…

Crossing my legs

Driving

Cooking

Working (yep, it’s true)

Wearing high heels

Wearing 2 shoes

Pedicures

My own bed

Flopping down on my bed after a long day

Wearing my real clothes, not ‘easy to put on over my ankle’ clothes

Singing in the shower (there’s no joy when you have to shower seated and super careful)

Having everything in its place instead of down low where I can reach it

Having access to all my things and not just the survival few

Independence

Control

And lastly, I miss moving through the world blithely unaware of how important 2 good ankles are to my everyday of life.

Alexa, play ‘Miss You’ by Aaliyah…

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, things we don’t get judged waiting in line for in my right

Popeye’s brought their famed chicken sandwich back to the masses, and with it came long lines, long waits and sometimes short tempers.

I had the sandwich before social media blew it up (Black Twitter remains the dopest movement ever) and it was good. I didn’t have to wait any longer than when Popeye’s usually tells you “15 minutes on spicy, you wanna wait?”

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of judging, think pieces and out right shading of folks waiting in line to buy the sandwich. “They should register to vote out there, “stereotypical behavior fighting over chicken”, “I would neeeever…” Assigning all types of negative tropes to wanting to buy the latest craze. But no one was shamed for standing in line to buy:

Air Jordans

iPhone anything

Concert tickets (I waited in line for hours for Prince tickets before Ticketmaster). Think Lollapalooza.

Walmart and Target for Black Friday.

People camp outside, and wait in lines all the time, and yet we’ve assigned negativity about the sandwich. What could be the reason a $4 chicken sandwich upsets us more than the latest $1200 iPhone?

And, incidentally, the fights are more about the people who gather, than the reason they are gathering. If you are prone to fighting, you’ll fight in the Jordans line, the iPhone line or the Black Friday lines over relatively anything.

Let’s ease up on the folks buying chicken, okay?

Vonn

Coffee in my left hand, ankle-gate insights in my right

A funny, tragic thing happened to me on the way to my basement. I fell down the stairs, dislocated and broke my ankle in several places. When I tell you it was more gross and painful than childbirth, I need you to believe me. Every time I looked at it my stomach turned and I nearly vomited. At one point my son was like “Mom, please don’t look it at, please”.

But this isn’t about the details of the accident, or ankle-gate (believe it or not it still makes me shudder to think about it). Today’s post is about the statement that kicked off my healing process.

I’d been home about 2 weeks, still very much in pain and very high on pain killers. I’d been putting on a brave face for most, leaving my tears to the nighttime. Depression set it quite quickly; pain, helplessness, and narcotics will do that to you. Friends were surrounding me constantly with offers of help, food, visits, calls, etc., but the sadness was always lurking below the surface.

I got a call one day to check on me, and during the chat the caller said “well, at least you didn’t lose your leg or anything. You’ll heal”. Now, as well intended as that advice was, it landed on me like a knife and at the time I didn’t know why.

Fast forward later that week, another friend called to see how I was doing. I went on and on about being blessed in spite of, by His stripes, the sun’ll come out tomorrow…

She stopped me in the middle of my gospel stage play and said, “I don’t know why Black women always feel like they have to be strong, and can never just admit that things aren’t going well. Sometimes you get to say ‘this shit sucks.'”

This. Shit. Sucks. Those three words fell on me like hugs, kisses, therapy sessions, old fashions and rainbows. In that moment, she gave me permission to release 2 weeks of trauma, sadness, worry and fear. Just giving me permission to feel what I felt with no need to spare anyone. My situation didn’t have to be less than or greater than anyone else’s pain; it was happening to me and it sucked. I wept on that phone, and I mean snotty, heaving weeping, until it felt better.

And felt better it did. That aforementioned knife was removed (which was never really a knife to begin with), requirements I’d placed on myself were lifted, and the sun finally did come out.

I’m generally a bright side, glass half full kinda person. But I needed to acknowledge what I was feeling, give myself permission to, as my BFF says “roll around on the floor” and not be perfect. To simply say “this shit sucks”, and then move on to healing. Because sometimes the holding on, pretending everything is okay, and that nothing phases you, is heavier than the actual burden you’re carrying.

And yes, this is a temporary burden. And it could’ve been worse, but wasn’t. And 8-10 wks of not being able to walk or work isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person.

But it does, in fact, suck. And that’s okay.

Coffee in my left hand, ankle-gate insight in my right.

Vonn–