Coffee In My Left hand,  Where is the love in My Right? 

Coffee in my Left Hand, Where is the love in my right?

Heeey! It’s me again. Yes, I know I’ve been missing in action lately, but don’t call it a comeback, I never left you.   Life came at your girl real fast and knocked me around a bit.  But if you know any Black women, it’s hard to keep us down.  We are the most bounce back creature God created!

I’ve been thinking about the state of love around me. The series Black Love, featured on the OWN network (check it out, it’s great), profiled several couples and their triumphs, struggles and endearing thoughts on love.  I looked around me, and didn’t see many couples in love.  I was relieved to know a few, but given my age and the ages around me, you’d just assume there’d be anniversaries popping off everywhere all the time. Nope.  I asked some single friends this question “when was the last time you were in love?” and received some surprising and not so surprising answers. Names and identifying details have been hidden, but many had given me permission to use their info.  

  • Male-1991, not since undergrad, I won’t let myself

  • Female -2011, last real boyfriend

  • Male-2007, it’s been 10 years, the time flies by real fast

  • Female-2000, just don’t trust these dudes with my heart, you know

  • Male-1993, I still compare women to her

  • Female-Never, I’ve said it but looking back I didn’t mean it

  • Male- 2015, I was in love with her, but the feeling wasn’t mutual

  • Female-1998, I barely remember what it feels like

  • Male—2016, made love to this one woman and was in love

  • Female-2003, haven’t met anyone worth falling for like ‘him’

  • Male- 2002, I thought I had found ‘the one’

I listed the gender because both sexes tend to feel that the other side has it so much easier.  I’m guilty of that all the time.  Also, we stereotype men as just looking for sex, or saying “I love you” to get sex. Again, this isn’t a scientific study but I promise you, none of the men I spoke to were cavalier in their answers. There was sincerity, and longing and fondness of the loves lost in their responses.  Maybe I just know dope men, but still.

Women also get a bad rap about falling in and out of love with every dude they give their number to. The world would have you think we doodle guys names on the back of the cell phone bill just because he made an actual phone call.  These women didn’t sound bitter, or angry; just still looking for someone to love (hopefully you sang a little Mint Condition while reading that. Yeah, we still do that here ☺ ). And weren’t we surprised that the one person to admit they’ve never even been in love was a woman?  She knows what she wants and is willing to wait on it. Now, she’s not sitting in the house with her 15 cats, but she’s not throwing her heart to the wind, either.

Both women and men are romantic, are open to love (well two were not willing to risk it) and yet still not finding it.  What the heezy is going on, people?!  We’re out here going without romantic love in our lives.  Now, no one said they were going without sex, just acknowledging they aren’t falling in or staying in love.  Why can’t we find love? Everyone is dating, and boning (are y’all old enough to remember that’s what we used to call it?) but relationships aren’t being formed, marriages aren’t lasting, and anniversary bottles are not being popped.  How we do get from DM’s to I do’s? From swipes to snuggles? Do we even believe in relationships anymore?  Have our hurts and disappointments kept us from surrendering to it? Not one single person said they didn’t believe in love, but it seems to be escaping us. Hit me in the comments on why you think it’s escaping us and we’ll make this a twofer. I know I owe you a lot of entries and since that in love thing has escaped me too for the moment, I have plenty of time.  

Coffee in my Left Hand, looking for love in my Right.

Coffee In My Left hand, Goodbyes in my Right

Coffee in my Left hand…

Hey!  Did you all forget me?  I felt like I had forgotten me too.  SO much going on in my personal life, I let the drama, rather the worry about the drama, consume me. Life comes at you fast sometimes! Yeah, I went to work, fed my kids, called my mother; but the essence of me, the me who enjoys writing and reading, that me was consumed.

You hopefully remember enough of me to see that blog about the drama coming a mile away.  But not today.

Last month I joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands who took their very first son/daughter to an expensive college somewhere in the USA.  For me, it was my first born, my only daughter Lex (first name withheld to protect the innocent. And she better stay innocent)!

First some background.  Every parent knows their child.  Maybe not all their secrets, and the things they have gotten away with, but…we know our child.  Lex is a very smart girl, but has always been quiet.  Not ‘afraid to talk’ quiet, but watchful, introspective, and stubbornly quiet.  She was my longest delivery, taking her sweet time to arrive, even though she had to know the playoffs were on and I was missing them!  She finally came at her leisure and what was her first act of defiance?  She refused to cry.  I mean flat out would not cry. In newborn terms, this is a warning sign of large enough proportions to get all the nurses scrambling, eyeing each other and finally taking her away from me. We made eye contact, but still no tears.  That story ends well (it’s a story we share every birthday), but suffice it to say, she was purposeful from jump in deciding when and where to emote. I remember one time I tried to give her a spanking (look, stop reading right now if the term spanking offends you; you missed your window on that one), and she refused to cry.  I mean, held it in until I gave up.  Immediately it took me back to her birth and I realized this is who she is, this is how she defines strength. She takes forever to answer a question, as she calculates exactly how much she is going to share with you. She is the queen of side eye:  you can see her whole thought process in those dark almond eyes. I know my child.

And now it was time to send her off into the world.

I’d read all the articles “how to let go”, “how to prepare for your empty nest”, “how not to act a fool when you drop them off”, and thought I was ready to do this. My friends and family kept asking me, “are you okay? Don’t worry, she’ll be fine” to the point that I fully expected to be a basket-case the entire ride there.   I did all the Mom things: tried to help her pack, pled with her to take at least one semi-formal, bought 4 months’ worth of everything I could think of, buying this and organizing that. I asked her every 30 minutes “did you remember _____”; only to be met with a forced smile and that reality TV worthy side eye saying, “Yes Ma”.  We were ready to go.

We got her to her dorm, and began the unpacking.  Before you start, I did not helicopter her.  I asked, “where would you like this? Can I hang up these up? Is it okay if I put a basket here?” and waited for the responses.  She seemed happy for the help (no side eyes), and we were making progress until…the roommate arrived.  Thank God she was a nice girl with a nice mom!  They shared interests and immediately hit it off; a prayer answered. We went to lunch and left her roommate alone to start her unpacking.  Something shifted at lunch. Long thoughtful answers to questions, side glances, sighs; my quiet girl was back.  I think the roommate made it real for her.  After all, this is her experience right?  Her change of address, change of lifestyle; beginning of adulthood. The roommate symbolized her autonomy. She now had this other mostly adult person to do things with, start this journey with, and Mom just didn’t fit into the scenario (insert sighs and hugs for Mom here ____). Not being one to stick around where I’m not wanted (read that with extra attitude cuz that’s how I’m writing it), I abruptly decided to go.  I got the car, put some boxes and suitcases she didn’t need in it, and prepared to go.  On the porch of her dorm, I hugged and kissed her goodbye. Reminded her that she would be fine, and not one single tear was shed.  

I didn’t get to take her grocery shopping, or help decorate her room, or all the other fun stuff Instagram reminds me daily that the other Moms got to do.  But I did look her in her eyes and see determination to make it on her own.  And for me, that’s decoration enough.

 

Coffee in my left hand, goodbyes in my right.

Get Out…Vonn’s View

Get Out

I saw Get Out a little later than everyone else, but I did manage to see it in the theatre.  And yes, that was purposeful.  A few friends mentioned they wanted to hear my opinions on it after my viewing. Well, when I left the show (in Chicago we call the movies ‘the show’) I was so angry I couldn’t formulate my words right.

I took my daughter, who’s a graduating high school senior this year, with me as a girl’s night out. She attends a diverse school where there’s a substantial population of Latinx, white and some Chinese students as well.  I’m happy for her that she gets to know and learn diverse backgrounds early in her maturation, before heading off to college to further explore this world.

I present that as a foreground to how we saw the movie so vastly different, and not just due to age.

Get Out pissed me off.  I mean, blood pressure raising, headache giving, sho nuff made me mad.  I believe that Jordan Peele’s purpose in the movie was to show the hardships of being African American, in a different venue that may be more readily received by multiple ethnicities. Horror is not genre I watch (at all) but it’s popular enough across ethnicities that you’d get a wide audience.

My whole summation of this movie is:  They want to be us, without the burden of being us.

Darker skin, stronger bodies, coolness, athleticism, creativity; these are straights mentioned by the characters at the “auction”. And make no mistake, you can wrap it up with bingo cards, but it was an auction nonetheless.  One woman had the audacity to touch Chris and I about leapt out of my chair!  And while we may chalk it up to “it was just a movie”, how many African Americans have felt ‘sized up’ when we walked into a room full of whites? Had conversation stop upon entering that same room? Had someone invade our personal space by trying to touch our hair without permission? We’ve had to deal with the micro aggressions of ‘well, they are just built differently’ when their team loses a game to our team. Then there are the macro aggressions of “he probably got in because of affirmative action”, and not his 4.0 G.P.A. and stellar references.

I think this is Peele’s look into the hypocrisy of wanting the attributes of the very people you marginalize and sometimes dehumanize.  As I’m putting it “they want to be us, without the burden of being us”. Taking the best, but remaining in privileged bodies.  I was furious.  My daughter, however, was not as enraged as I. She’s only had good racial experiences in her high school.  Friends sharing experiences going to quinceaneras and back yard bar b ques at each other’s respective neighborhoods.  Sharing coffee and homemade tamales. Bringing each other candy from Chinatown, and those little frosted cookies sold in the hood.  Hers is a ‘United Colors of Benetton’ experience and I’m mostly glad about it.  She felt Rose was crazy, and that some mental illness must run in her family (not altogether untrue). She was able to view it as a movie, not unlike the Matrix or Thor, where there are villains and good guys and you always root for the good guys.  She didn’t internalize it like I did.  She’s attending a PWI in the fall, and I imagine (and simultaneously dread) that her views will change over the next year or two. Maybe they won’t; I’d love to be wrong about that. But I’ve lived long enough to know the world of “they want to be us, without the burden of being us”, and I’ve known the ones of us who so desperately wanted to be them, they put away all semblance of what makes us beautiful in the first place. And I get pissed off about both. Still.

Let me not forget to praise the acting.  The actors were intense and subtle and impressive.  Being able to showcase fear, longing and desperation only using their eyes was Oscar level acting in my opinion.  Betty Gabriel, the woman who played Georgina, should get some special “Eyes Only” Golden Globe because I felt everything she didn’t say the entire move.  Personal love to Bradly Whitford, only because I’m a diehard West Wing fan and it was good to see him acting again.

Get Out is worth seeing. I will take my son to see it, and gage his reactions as a burgeoning young black man to see if it’s any different.  And I’ll buy a copy to watch over Christmas break after my daughter returns home from her first semester at college.  As I said, I’m half hoping she does feel the same, and half hoping she doesn’t.

What did you think?  Post in the comments and let’s discuss!