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Monday, August 29, 2011

Things in the game done changed.

I've been a lot more deliberate in my writing these days. I used to do themes for everyday just so I would have something to blog about but after a while; it seemed cheesy to me. Now, I blog as if it is the only blog anyone will ever see that I write. That's why I've been a tad quiet these last few weeks; I've been working on the book more intensely and getting things together at home.

My daughter starts school in a week; I'll have a full time kindergartner on my hands and, believe it or not, this will help to simplify my life in a lot of ways. I will no longer have to commute 30-40 minutes out of my way to drop her off at my parents' house in the morning, while passing by my house in the evening to pick her up. Her school is 5 minutes from my house! (Awesome)

Add to all of that, that I'm getting married in March of next year. My hubby to be is awesome because he understands that I'm just as serious about my writing as he is about his music and he's fully supportive of what I'm doing.

I've been telling myself that I am a writer. Not 'I like to write' or 'I write creatively'. Writing is not a hobby for me anymore, it's a habit. Telling people I'm a writer used to feel like I was coming out to them. Because it is so personal for me; telling people that it's what I do, and furthermore letting people read what I write, has been, well... weird.

Putting it on my facebook page for all of my coworkers and customers to see has been both frightening and gratifying. They like me, they REALLY like me! The comments and the constructive criticism keep me going; it's what drives the creative process at times like this when I've been up since 2:30am and have to get up at the same time again tomorrow.

When it's all said and done; I love it. I don't have a choice. There's so much going on in my head that the only way for me to stay sane is to get it out. I'm just lucky that people actually like reading what I have to say.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Who I am... But why should you care?

I've always been good at writing. It's one of those things that comes naturally to me. I think that because of this, I've taken being a writer for granted and I've never given it the attention that it really deserves.

For a long time, I didn't know what to do with it. I always knew I had something to say, but in the back of my mind, I would ask myself, why should anybody give a shit what you have to say?
The truth is; I don't know. Why SHOULD anyone want to listen to what I have to say? My story isn't that different from everyone else's is it?

Actually, it is and here's why.

How many people you know that are products of a broken home? A lot, right?
What about the child of a crackhead? Still more than a few, I'm sure.
Grew up in the ghetto?
How many divorcees?
Single moms?
I'm sure you know someone from each category.
How bout an ex-gay?

I am all of these rolled up into one.

Statistically, I don't know where I should be in life based on all of these negatives. Looking at it in writing, I feel extremely lucky to even be able to say that I'm still here.

My crackhead dad and I are the best of friends now.
My mom is remarried (twice over) and living in a nice suburb.
I haven't lived in the ghetto in more than a decade.
I've been happily divorced for almost two years and next year, I'm getting married to that awesome boyfriend of mine that I talk about all the time.
And, I haven't been with a woman in nearly a decade and though I am still very much the tomboy; I no longer get offended when a woman gives me the twice over trying to see which team I'm on.

At the end of the day; I feel blessed for all the things I've been through, even the stuff that was self imposed. I'm a better person for it. There's something to be said about being a writer. You have to expose yourself to the world and that is not easy, lemme tell ya. Being a non-fiction writer is especially tough because it calls for more self analyzing than any one person should do.

I've questioned my sanity at times because I hear myself, talking to myself, about myself ALL the time. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I write; to express all of those things that me, myself and I are talking about up there.

But the big question is; why should you care? I got a little insight yesterday from my aunt:

My daughter had her 5th birthday party yesterday. Everyone was there. My Aunt Nita; the family matriarch, commented on how Shey was soaking up being the center of attention. I laughed like "who did she get that from?" Aunt Nita looked at me like I was stupid and said "Her Mama."
I shook my head and laughed. "Just because I command attention doesn't mean I'm trying to be the center of attention."

She smiled sweetly, impressed with my answer. I was serious. I've never tried to be the center of anything. I'm introverted and actually pretty shy. Over the years though, I've had to get over it. Mostly because of the types of jobs I've found myself in or because when in a group setting; people naturally defer and let me take the lead. I've gotten used to it and now, I'm trying to embrace it with the hope that whatever it is that people see in me will translate into people who will like my writing. The way people like reality TV shows... Yeah, that's kinda what it's like; reading reality.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You Won't Find a Better Woman... Or a Bigger Fool.

Eight years ago today, I got married. My now ex-husband and I have been apart for three years, divorced for almost two.
In 2003, I was in my homegirl's wedding in March and attended another friend's wedding in September. Of the three of us who married that year; only the one who got married in March is still married.
Marriage is hard. I think that because people make such a big deal about getting married; they don't realize that after the wedding and honeymoon; it takes work to cohabitate, procreate, and build a life with someone.
I was probably a part of that group. Thinking that because I was in love that everything else would fall into place.
I'll be the first to admit that we were too young to get married. I was 22, he was 25. Although we were mature for our ages; we weren't ready. I think I needed more experience in being an adult before getting married. He needed more experience on what it meant to live in America.
My then husband is an African immigrant. When we got married; he'd been here less than two years. Looking back; I know that our culture differences played a huge part in our downfall.
I was a submissive wife; he was looking for a wife who would be subservient.
(Supposedly) both of us were Christian so I naively thought that that fact by itself would take care of the obvious gaps that kept us from really bonding.
It didn't help that Paul and I only knew each other six weeks before we got married. We met mid to late June and got Married the first week of August.
I remember that day well.
We got married at the City-County Building in a civil ceremony.
Looking back; it was really random; it was a Thursday in the middle of the day. We had seen each other earlier that morning and I told him not to be late since we would be riding separately to the ceremony. He got mad for me saying what I knew would happen; he would get there late and we'd miss our appointment.
While I was waiting for him; I remember sitting in the corridor thinking back on everything. Realizing that my life was about to change in a major way. Thinking about how much things had changed over the past few months and how much they were going to change once Paul and I were married.
I sat there for a long time; I really don't know how long because I wasn't wearing a watch and, I left my cell phone in my car.
In my mind, Marrying Paul solidified my transition into being straight. It was a miracle for me to no longer desire women. Getting married would be beyond miraculous. I was ready, willing, and ecstatic!
Paul was intelligent, employed and in love with ME! What more was there to consider?
Eventually, he showed up with his brother, apologizing for running late and smiling big because he liked my dress. We wanted to wear black to signify that we were dead to our old selves and that our marriage would be a new beginning.
Paul and I with Juan

Paul and I with my Mom and [would be] Step-Dad

Even though we eloped; we had an audience. Danny; Paul's Brother, my mom, brother Juan, my sister and my mom's would be husband all came to witness the ceremony. 
Unbeknownst to me; Paul wanted to get married in the mass ceremony, but because he was late; we had to pay for a private ceremony with a judge that was held in a courtroom.
When it was over; there was no honeymoon, we just bought some Chinese food, went home to my apartment on The Boulevard and ate it in front of the TV.
Calling our wedding day/night anticlimactic (no pun intended) would be an understatement. We took three days off of work pretty much for nothing. 
In truth; that would be indicative of what was to follow in our married life. 
Our first argument upset him so much that he slammed the door to the office in my face and called his ex-girlfriend. He made sure that he told me who it was and why he called her. I'd made him do it. If I hadn't pissed him off; he wouldn't have needed a reason to call someone who would be happy to hear from him.
Within a few months of us being married, he began seeing someone that he met while out playing basketball. 
She would be the first of countless inappropriate relationships that Paul would have while we were married. Most of which I knew about; all of which I dealt with.
I meant what I said in our vows. "For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, til death parts us (I do)." The problem was, he didn't.
And in truth, I wasn't doing it for him. I was doing it because I had made those vows to God. 
When I did leave, I was sure that I had exhausted all of my energy. I had given him every chance that I could muster. I left at the 3 1/2 year mark. By then, we'd had a daughter and the stakes were a lot higher. 
I didn't leave for me; I left for her. 
They say a father is a daughter's first love and a son's first hero. I refused for my daughter to grow up in a home with the example of manhood that her own father was putting in front of her. 
I not only brought home the bacon, I cooked it, served it and washed the dirty plates. He contributed so infrequently that it didn't really count. 
Looking back, I....
Truthfully; I don't look back. If and when I do; it's only to reference how fortunate I am now to be away from that whole deal.
When I see him, inside I shake my head thinking "Wow... you used to sleep with that dude? Gross."
I learned a lot being married to him though. Because of him, I know what men are thinking when most men would be smart enough to close their mouths to avoid hurting someone's feelings. Because of him, I am a much better cook. Because of him, I have Asheley.
And because of him, my next husband is gonna hit the jackpot. 

Anita Baker - "Fairy Tales"