“Take Several Seats, Modern-Day Pharisees…. We’re Not Here For You”

“In fact, to a certain group of conservative Christians, the emphasis on tolerance represents an assault on the hate-fueled status quo they cling to. The results are a scared, heavily armed group of bigots who are watching their influence on America’s culture dissolve before their eyes.” -from “Pastors Eye a Move from God’s House to the Statehouse” (www.npr.org)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an increase in “righteous indignation” amongst Christians. This anger seems to be directly correlated to SCOTUS’s decision concerning same-sex marriage. People who I’d never suspect were Christian suddenly invoked the piety of Old Testament priests. I was certain that I was going to see photos of levitical sin offering ceremonies of those asking God to forgive America of its sudden sin of gayness. I thought I was going to start selling sackcloth and ashes online for the impending lamentations from the now-outed Christians. This was the last straw I guess, the one that broke God’s proverbial back. He’d managed to turn a blind eye to the rape and murder of the Natives to found the country. He bypassed the 246 years of using human capital to fund the venture. He sat by unbothered after freedom papers were issued but racial segregation continued for another 100 years. He gave zero [insert expletive] about the lives of sharecroppers, the Natives confined to reservations in their own land suffering from alcoholism and depression with minimum support from the government that disenfranchised them, the 127,000 Americans held in internment camps on American soil during WWII because of their Japanese ancestry, Black citizens in the South being sprayed with high-powered hoses and attacked viciously by police dogs during the Civil Rights Movement, the systematic profiling and discrimination of Muslim Americans after 9/11; no, none of these events evoked a sense of anger in the Almighty, well, if we are measuring His lividity according to the aforementioned conservatives. In my 31 years I have seen quite a few injustices in this country. 2015 alone has me in constant anguish. However, nothing has catalyzed this sect of Christians to call for war in the name of Christian morality like marriage equality. Oh, and the removal of artifacts that celebrate the treasonous Confederate states. Conservative Christians are having a collective coronary episode about this so the heavens MUST be displeased.

My first question is this: what morality are they attempting to protect or restore? Frequently I’ve heard the phrase “this country was founded on Christian principles.” No, it wasn’t. Who told you that? Follow me for a moment. Both murder and theft are forbidden according to the 10 Commandments, correct? What about coveting your neighbor’s possessions? Well, early Americans journeyed to this land, saw the possessions of the Natives, and in a covetous progression killed them so they could steal said possessions. Stop me if I’m misguided in this brief history lesson. All of this sounds like sin to me. Ok, now a few of the cult members (read: Christian extremists) would say these acts were well within the boundaries of the faith. God allowed the Israelites to overtake many countries in the Old Testament that did not serve Him. Assumedly, the Natives did not worship the Christian God so, you know, same concept. Alright, point 1 for the extremists. I don’t agree, but your misconstrued view of the Bible may uphold this one.

Hmm, what about capitalism? This is a capitalist nation, correct? Let’s give an elementary definition of capitalism according to Dictionary.com- “An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” When I read this definition, I am reminded of the saying “every man for himself.” Is that a Christian principle, that each one is responsible solely for his own care? Let’s see what Jesus says in Matthew 25- “…for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me;I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. As you did unto the least of these My brethren you did unto Me.” What Jesus is saying here actually sounds like the social programs such as universal health care and SNAP, the programs these conservatives are always trying to disassemble, claiming it is not the responsibility of tax payers to fund such efforts. These programs, amongst personal efforts, essentially are how a Christian worships God. Capitalism inherently contrasts this behaviour. Capitalism is self-serving and devalues those who are unable to care for themselves. So, if service to others (including sharing goods) is how a Christian worships God, how can we claim this American system is founded on godly principles if it doesn’t follow this basic one?

It is my assessment that many American Christians are frustrated by the changes on the sociopolitical front because they are unfamiliar with the guiding principles of Christianity, only knowing “Christian” traditions passed along to them. For generations we have distorted the faith to justify our way of living, from slavery to patriarchy. This wreaks of pharisaic living. The Pharisees had their form of godliness, but they lacked an actual connection with God. Jesus was with them on numerous occasions, yet they did not recognise Him as the Messiah because their focus was on religiosity- on rules and regulations for which either had no foundation or no longer applied according to the New Covenant. They cared nothing about truly loving God or His people- the two greatest commandments according to The Christ. They were excellent at playing the part, but they were utterly ineffective at being a driving force in the kingdom of God. Here are some of their characteristics (courtesy of sermonindex.net)

(A) Glorified external righteousness; did not care about the condition of the heart;

(B) Didn’t desire interactions with unconverted people, only wanted connections to those who thought like them;

(C) Boastful in their faith- for example, made a spectacle of fasting in order to receive praise from others;

(D) Careless in their speech. They were merciless in their contempt for the unconverted, but boundlessly offered themselves verbal affirmations;

(E) Hypocritical in preaching one thing and not living out what they preach or keeping their word.

Current Day Translations:

(A) People who go to church every Sunday and even serve as clergy but are racist. Or, for example, The Duggars.

(B)Saying “You can’t shop at my establishment because I don’t support same-sex marriages. It is against my faith.” The implication is only Christian heterosexuals such as them are welcome.

(C) The judge in Texas who forces couples that desire to marry sign a waiver outlining his personal beliefs, which includes a statement specifically opposing same-sex marriage. (If that’s not boastful and self-righteous, I don’t know what is.)

(D) The Christian who, in a comfortable setting, uses or doesn’t oppose the use of words such as “nigger”, “beaner”, “fag”, “chink”, and other oppressive slurs, but also refers to himself as a “good Christian”.

(E) Almost all politicians in this country. Start with the Tea Party. They are drowning in self-righteousness.

I have a message for these so-called Christians. You are not a Christian; you are a cult member. You have taken elements of the Christian faith and declared jihad on the American public. Yes, I said jihad just for you, Islamaphobes. For the same way Islamic extremists misconstrue that concept of ‘holy war’ in the name of Allah, you domestic terrorists are doing the same in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus does not support you. In Revelations 3:16, He says that He will “spit you out of His mouth” for being lukewarm (hypocrite; not living what you preach). YOU are the abomination to Him, while you’re going around using that term so freely.

My advice to you is to go back to Sunday School, you misguided soul. Sit at the feet of a rabbi and learn Christian precepts instead of swearing by and living according to this terribly diminished form of the faith. SPOILER ALERT: Americans did not found Christianity, therefore we cannot define it. Our lives should be conforming to a faith that was set before us, not us attempting to manipulate the faith to fit our own self-interests. Get to know Jesus for yourself, not the one we proclaim the [hypocritical, murderous, covetous] founders followed. Once we start living like Him, we won’t see the need to try to legislate our faith because wisdom will tell you it is futile to try to legislate morality. The law is to maintain order amongst the people. It doesn’t make you a better person (hence why the laws are constantly broken). Get off of your pedestal, close your mouth, and learn. Otherwise, stop telling people we serve the same God. My God is merciful. He is benevolent and welcoming. He chilled with the fringes of society. If this is not you, you are not a Christ follower. Take a seat, please. Real Christians are tired of being embarrassed by you.

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Not So Disguised Angels

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-For B.J., from Grille Master Flashe

 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”       Philippians 2:3-5 

There’s this guy in my class. Just a regular dude. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to him when the class first started. It took almost two weeks for me to learn his name….. and we have to sign our names during roll call! 

We started talking because of a group activity. Every time I would tell someone where I was from, they’d tell me that he was from the same place. The odds of that aren’t great. A class of 13 people at a community college 4 hours from home; home being a city with approximately 70,000 people. We met against all odds. 
We started practicing for class together, which afforded us the opportunity to delve deeper into each other’s lives. Now, if you know me, you know that I am affiliated with some pretty impressive people. My friends are activists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, professors, engineers. With that friendship track record, it is difficult to impress me. Impress me he did. And my respect for him grows each day. 
He told me of a troubled past, one that had him on the path of destruction. He decided he didn’t want that life, but not before being in a predicament where he may be incarcerated. I was in disbelief and grieved concurrently. There was just no way this well-spoken, kind, and uplifting young man could be in trouble. I felt (and still feel) helpless. 
Truthfully, I may have ulterior motives for not wanting him to be locked away. I’m not saying that the aforementioned attributes are not true; they are. I think though that I want him to be around for more personal reasons. You see, I am naturally an encourager. If you tell me you can’t do something, you will get a lecture on how you can and why you should. You walk away feeling like you own the planet (as you should!). Maybe because I am this person, others rarely offer me encouragement. One may feel that I am self-encouraging. I am for the most part, but I get stuck just like everyone else. Even the most confident person needs to hear that someone believes in who she is trying to be and what she’s trying to do. 
It’s difficult to put into words what this person has meant to me, even after this short period of friendship. Some feelings don’t have words to describe them. It’s like this- you know how you have your ride-or-die friends? These people have been with you through it all so they know what you’re capable of. They speak confidently about your ability and effectiveness as a human being. That’s what your squad does, no? 
Now, take that same level of confidence and put it into someone who barely knows you. They believe in you the way your squad does, but they don’t have any tangible proof of your ability or effectiveness. Essentially, this person speaks in faith that you are a person worth knowing. 
This young man of whom I speak has his own life, his own troubles. He has no reason to spend energy on my issues or on building a relationship with me. Yet he does almost on a daily basis. Even when it is obvious that he isn’t functioning at his highest capacity, he still manages to speak life into me (and make me laugh while doing it). There is something extremely divine about this type of person-the one who refuses to wallow in self-pity, but takes whatever opportunity he has to make a positive impact on those around him. It is our nature to think of our best interest above all else. It is the embodiment of the Divine to be able to consistently consider others above oneself. 
I guess the closest word to what I’m feeling is grateful. I’m grateful to know this man. Looking back, if my life had gone the way I planned we would have never met. I’d already be in some remote part of Africa. God knew. He knew I would need to see this particular representation of His love, His patience, His gentleness, His steadfastness, His humility. He knew I needed to see it in the form of a man as well. I don’t know too many men these days with this type of heart. I’m not saying they don’t exist. I’m saying I don’t know them. He is truly a man of God. I know that term has become tightly associated with church clergy, but they are not synonymous. In this regard, he is a man that displays the characteristics of God constantly. He manages to be godly without being religious. Man what a concept. 
So, today I celebrate this man. He knows who he is. No need for names. He’s a low key type of dude. I just want him to know that someone sees his life, and the path he had chosen is not in vain. In the short time I’ve known him, he has planted seeds of success in my life, and for this I am thankful. *fist bump* 

My Brother’s Keeper

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Well hello there! I’ve been promising folk that I’d blog for ages now, but nothing ever materialised. I’d started at least 10 different posts on my phone, but nothing ever felt right. What I think it boils down to is there are still aspects of the last year that I’d like to believe didn’t happen. If I write about them, it makes it real.
I can’t say everything has been bad. It hasn’t. I’ve met some heroes and heroines along the way, people I hope to know forever at this point. I’ve also encountered some familiar faces that became not as familiar as time passed. The paradox of feeling extremely isolated and concurrently made into a heroine is quite difficult to explain. The one thing I know for certain is that I’m still here. It doesn’t seem like much of a victory, but when you spend countless night wishing you weren’t, simply being alive still is everything.
Another reason I’ve been avoiding the blog is because I wanted it to start off a cheery note after my anticipated return. I figured it wouldn’t move in this direction, not with the heaviness I feel about a certain matter. Maybe I won’t be able to tell about the sunshine until I talk about the unnecessary rain. What I say may offend some. Some may believe that I don’t have the right to speak on such a matter. That’s ok. You’re free to feel this way. I will continue forward in the face of probable offence. I don’t need to be vindicated. My survival is vindication enough for me. I will write about it because I don’t want anyone to ever experience what I have in the way of compassionless living, especially involving those who claim to ascribe to Christianity.
”Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” –John 15:13
Don’t get scared. I’m not about to go into a profound exegesis about this scripture. This isn’t a sermon, but instead a letter from my heart about the condition from which it is trying to recover.
My family taught me that scripture as a young person. I have lived by it religiously ever since. There isn’t much I won’t do to help my fellow man, even if it leaves me at a deficit. I have the faith that if I give everything that God will in turn replenish everything so there is no need to be afraid of lack. I also believe in the principle of reaping and sowing. If I plant goodness into the world, I’ll have an abundance of it when I need to cash in.
I was in utter dread when I got the phone call from my physician last June saying that I had an invasive ductal carcinoma- a rapidly growing, malignant tumor in my right breast. I remember being frozen in place. Not only did I have cancer at age 30, but my family did not live in the same city as I did… not even close. I was going to have to depend on the love and kindness of friends and strangers during the most critical time of my life. My life was literally in the hands of strangers. As I’ve said, I’ve always been one to lay my life down for others, but I’d never been in the predicament where I needed people to make that type of sacrifice for me. Honestly, I didn’t think it would happen. In some ways, I was right.
I won’t go into many details, but I have had to move from 3 different “Christian” households since last September. My first move came after my first round of chemotherapy. I received a letter from the church that I attended that I needed to find a new residence (the church owned the apartment). Apparently, I was making my roommate uncomfortable in her own space. This translated to she wasn’t willing to clean up after herself in the kitchen (I always cleaned) or not use my bathroom. That became a trend. People became exhausted with my presence in their home because it required them to be clean so I wouldn’t get sick. Seems petty? Well, I don’t think the cleaning was the issue. I think it was more about accountability. It was about having to live the words they preached. It is easy to say you are a certain person when you never actually have to prove that you are.
I can’t remember who said this, but there is a quote that says, “Faith isn’t faith until it’s tested.” Congruently, I am hard-pressed to believe anyone who professes to be a Christian until they are challenged to be such a person beyond their level of comfort. In each situation, things started off well. As time progressed and these minor changes actually pointed to a need for lifestyle changes, things got ugly. We can withstand just about anything as long as we feel like it is temporary. Lifestyle changes hurt. They challenge you beyond comfort. It isn’t easy to have to suddenly have to face some issues you’ve buried, never to ever be fixed. It’s like dirt under a rug. Nobody comes to your house and looks under the rug. They will compliment that nicely woven Persian accessory and go about life. You’ll know the truth, but have to do nothing about it because nobody else knows. Then sometimes someone comes and accidentally moves the rug. All hell breaks loose. Now you feel obligated to explain why you’ve been perpetrating this whole time. People really, really don’t like that. Really.
I didn’t know that everyone didn’t grow up like me, having to change whatever I needed to change to care for others. You see, Mum told me that it was a great blessing and responsibility for God to entrust the lives of other people to you. I know that I have the power to encourage and discourage people. No, I can’t control anyone, but I do recognise my ability to do some major damage to others if I do not understand my relation to them. I am my brother’s keeper. My words and actions can and do greatly affect the people around me. Therefore, I must always be cognizant of who I am as a person, and make the necessary adjustments to be a true servant to humanity.
My compassion grew from my indignation of the treatment I’ve experienced, from the words I’ve endured. I can remember the worst thing I heard was, “You better not commit suicide after all we’ve done for you.” In the moment I was in disbelief that someone was telling me that I needed to not kill myself solely because of the MINIMUM sacrifice others had made for me at that point. Oh, don’t think yourself so important, my dear. As much as I have wanted to curse people out that have had this overly righteous attitude toward me, I haven’t. What would it have changed? Nothing. Instead, it is more beneficial for me to remember the pain and let it shape how I treat others. I am extremely conscious of the compassion I have for others. I was aware before, but now I can see how it can bring a person to the edge of destruction when we choose to be fair-weather Christians (which, by the way, isn’t a real thing. You’re just a hypocrite).
Many of us will help others… as long as it isn’t an inconvenience to us. Our charity towards our brothers and sisters seems palpable when we are free to give from our abundance. That’s not sacrifice. Giving $5 to a beggar that you were going to use on a frappuccino is not sacrifice. It’s mildly inconvenient, and that’s a stretch. You never NEED a frappuccino. Sacrifice can be giving up what you want to keep but also what you feel you need to protect or need for yourself in order to help someone else. This can mean material things, but it’s actually pretty easy to give stuff away. We can always acquire more stuff. Giving yourself away is an entirely different ball game. Why do I have to give away part of my essence to help someone else?
If you aren’t Christian, this may not be a part of your belief system. You can be out for yourself because you make the rules for your life. I’d still admonish you to give of yourself, but that’s as far as I can take it. However, if you profess Christianity it is not an option to give of yourself- it is a requirement. Jesus said there are 2 commandments that we MUST follow: loving Him with everything we are and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Do you give up on yourself? Don’t you keep moving even when you don’t feel like it? In the same manner that you fight for your own life, you fight for those around you. Your life, your biological family, your 2 friends that make you feel good about yourself are not your only responsibility. The same way you fight to protect your children is the same way you go hard for the stranger under the bridge. Or even more so for those who may be rubbing you the wrong way but need your kindness. That, my love, is what shapes your character. Giving in spaces and to people that are seemingly disposable.
My point is that whatever point you think that you should end your charity to others, you must go 10 steps beyond this. Your stopping point is based on the strength you imagine you have. When you push past this point, you allow the divine to activate in you, which is what the end goal should be for a Christian. Every day we should look more and more like The Christ. It isn’t an easy life to live, for it costs you everything. Then again, you gain everything simultaneously. And that which you gain is imperishable.
I hope this inspires you to love beyond selfish ambition. Someone’s life could literally be depending on your charity.

Return of The Flashe

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Happy New Year! Ok yeah I know I posted over a month ago saying that I was going to blog, but stuff happens. Like Netflix. Netflix is like a super sexy yet overly obtuse spouse. Pleasing to the eyes but you lose brain cells in their presence. Eh, let me not speak ill of Netflix. They have documentaries. And of course that’s my source for free Korean lessons (subtitles free with a $10 purchase). So as you can see, I have a good reason for procrastina… I mean waiting to post. Let’s just move forward. We’ll be a dream team in 2014. I’ve been waiting MONTHS to use a church slogan. Flow with it.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what to post for a while now. If I’m going to spend hours critiquing myself, I better like what I’ve written. No particular topic has stuck so whatever comes to mind is what we’ll have. Not one of you should write in the comment section about this post not possessing a specific theme because I’m warning you now about how incoherent it may become. If you are presumptuous enough to still comment on the lack of rhythm, be aware that during my sabbatical I trained in the martial arts. I am willing to use my body as a weapon. Jillian Michael’s Beginner Yoga has made me into the expert I am today. Words like “magnum” and “arms of steel” are frequently used to describe me. Granted, I am the only one using these terms, but it still counts. President Obama said that my vote always counts.

Well, there are some things that I plan to change this year. I think it’ll work because I started before resolution time. I’ve been exercising. Dancing gives me life indeed. I used to dance when I was younger, but I quit because I cared a lot of what others thought. Back in December I did a solo dance to Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant. It was my first time dancing alone. I still haven’t seen the video of the performance, but it felt good to be that free. Not saying that it was perfect. I was supposed to be dressed like a 14 year old Jewish girl. For the most part it was ok, but 1/4 of the way during the dance my scarf slid down, exposing my not combed hair. Pretty sure that took something away from the desperation of Mary’s prayer. At least I didn’t dance out of my clothes altogether like King David did. The congregation would have been shocked. I wasn’t wearing my good drawls. It makes a difference. All in all, dance is bringing the change I always knew it would. I was afraid to do it because I was afraid to change. Changing for the better can also be scary. If you know better, you are expected to do better. If I danced and lost weight, my most challenging feat, it meant that I could never make an excuse for not succeeding in other areas as well. Hiding in plain sight is my forte. Guess I have to let that go.

On a lighter note, I’m still single lol. Recently I realised that this doesn’t bother me. My singleness bothers others so I play the part. I’m so convincing that I’ve started to believe that I’m ready to turn in my singleness card. Crying while reading love stories and everything. Then it dawned on me that this only happens ever so often. It wasn’t my heart crying out; it was my misguided hormones. The truth is I am selfish. I want to move around, see the world, feed the hungry. You know, all the stuff you’d seen on a UNICEF commercial. Not long ago a non-Christian friend asked why hadn’t I tried to be a missionary yet. Yeah….about that, sir. Topic of a whole other conversation. The point I’m making is when I think about being in a relationship I automatically think about marriage. Marriage makes me think about mortgages and lawns to cut and family trips to Costco to buy in bulk. This leads to my bronchial tubes restricting. That’s never a good sign. Toting a family around just seems so burdensome. I don’t WANT a minivan, Jesus! I have a seething disdain for the minivan. DJ Jazzy Jess says that she doesn’t think that the domestic life will never be for me though. It’s just now I desire to roam the earth. Once I have a few more adventures under my belt I’ll be ready to settle down. But not before I see Parliament in London or frolic in Tuscany.

Even still, I am enjoying these random “romantic” encounters I’ve had lately. They are WEIRD, but make great stories. There are 2 worth mentioning. The first is back in the gap (read: about 2 months ago) when I was hanging with my homies in East Austin. A gentleman sitting at a bus stop (not to be mistaken with actually waiting for a bus) waves fervently as we cruise by. I had a sneaky suspicion he thought I was cute because his eyes almost fell out of his head when we finally walked by. He had an intense admiration for the luscious locks I was rockin’. I was quick to let him know that I bought my hair at a shop near 290 and I-35 and Jess turned me into Black Goldilocks. Probably you shouldn’t fall in love with someone’s weave. Anyway, he swooned on despite my admission- an act leading to his inevitable marriage proposal. Although I found him sweet and appreciated his bravery, his was no less than 55 years old and possessed about 3 teeth. Now, don’t immediately discount me as shallow. My greatest reason for declining is I imagined me having to take care of both of us. I’m almost positive he didn’t have a residence and, I don’t know, I just can’t support someone who sits at a bus stop for long periods of time and is not waiting for a bus. I like strange, but that is on a whole other level of misunderstanding.

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The freshest “romantic” encounter comes to us courtesy of HEB in Hancock Center. You will find, as I did recently, that many of my stories start with “Well, I was at HEB and…” For my non-Texas residents, HEB is a grocery store. But in places like Austin, it becomes an experience. You can spend the afternoon with your family at some of the HEB locations. No joke. They have a cafe with live music. Welcome to Austin. Anyway, Leah (mi morenita) suggested that we sit in their cafe area so I could say my goodbyes to her BFF. Of all the places to meet, Leah,…a grocery store. I went along with it. It was close and I didn’t need to spend money. I catch up with the ladies as they are checking out. There is an assumed African American male standing behind them but I ignore him. It’s 10 pm. I’m not trying to talk to anybody I don’t know at this point. So, as always, I say something to Leah in Spanish and the guy stares at me. Nothing new. Texans still don’t know Black people speak Spanish. But alas, he starts speaking to me in Spanish. Wait, what? Yeah, I’m a hypocrite. Sue me. So within 1 minute I find out he is from The Bronx via Puerto Rico. Now y’all know I was all over that. An AfroLatino guy who is above the age of 30?! Yup. I ended up getting his number and told him I’d contact him about some business. I texted him the next day and he got really comfy really fast. Now, bro was sporting 2 tear tattoos on his face when we met,which, according to Leah, could mean either he was a redeemed soul who’d come to Texas to start a new and beautiful Christian life (possibly with me) or things were gonna escalate quickly… and not in a good way. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Your standards lower themselves (you have no control over this process) when you get to a certain age. It’s true. You may still be in denial. I’m aware. Plus he was tall, thug sexy (my career path has had a negative impact on me), and spoke Spanish. When I found out the position of the tattoos meant he hadn’t killed anyone, all was well… or so I thought. To make a long story short, here’s what happened: he said he had a dream about me but didn’t want to share because it was dirty; he mentioned the dream the next day so I said JUST TELL ME; he tells me that I performed oral sex in the parking lot at HEB; I tell him I’ve NEVER done that in life; he conveniently loses my number; I invited him to church. Still waiting on his visit.

Here are my issues: (1) You having a suggestive dream isn’t bad. We are sexual creatures. However, the act wasn’t reciprocal. That made me salty. How is it that I don’t even get lucky in someone ELSE’S dream. That’s not right. (2) Did you tell me this dream because you were hoping I’d make it a reality? Sir, for one, I’m not as young as you thought. You let the UT hoodie fool you. I was cold and that was a gift. Number B: I am a germaphobe. Something you’ve inhaled apparently destroyed every reasoning brain cell you have because there ain’t no way I’m touching a stranger’s reproductive organs with any part of me. I’d have to set myself on fire to get rid of the Ebola germs you’re probably carrying. I’m not willing to torch myself for your pleasure. Call me selfish, call me a prude. You from NYC, son. Ain’t no telling what you are hosting. I’m not willing to find out either. (C) The parking lot at HEB?! Really?! No date, nothing. Just went to the very not private parking lot, huh. Boy bye. You better be glad my daddy is dead. He would have shot you.

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What else is going on? Oh, my soror wrote a book! It’s called Where Love Has Been by Shenise L. Sampson. She has me tearing up with this storyline. That’s going to have to stop. I am SOOOOOOOO proud of her though. She’s inspiring me. I’ve thought about writing a book for some time, but I let the idea fizz because that means I’d actually have to write it. I don’t like working on extended projects, especially when it comes to writing. If I can’t finish it in one sitting I’m over it. That mentality needs to change like yesterday because I plan on getting a PhD. You don’t finish a dissertation in a few hours. I feel like Someone is telling me I need to work on my endurance. I don’t endure well when it comes to things concerning my personal life. I can endure for others, fight for others. In a way I feel as if I’ve given up on myself because things don’t look anything like what I imagined in my youth. Thank God for the visionaries around me though. They can see where I’m going and help guide me through this swamp fog. Swamp fog is scary. Stuff jumps out at you when the fog is coming off the swamp. That’s how people get eaten by alligators, I imagine. My point is I’m going to write books.

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Well it’s about that time. Time to get to work. If I’m not asleep, you’ll get a double feature because tomorrow we have another SNOW DAY! In Texas that means it’s going to sleet and if anyone drives there will be 560,321,745 accidents on I-35. Until then, stay warm my friends.

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Flashe’s Awkward Archives: Pt.2- Hashtag Epic Fails

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epic

…and we’re back! Sorry for the interruption in programming. Life started getting real so I’ve been away for a while. I have some type of cold right now though so I’m temporarily home bound. I had a choice. Slowly fade to black as I watch reruns of Martin or write. I actually chose to just watch Martin, but my bladder made me get up so I was like hey why not head over to the reading corner and do something semi-productive. Maybe writing will take my mind off this old man cough and the fly that’s hunting me in my own home. I feel insecure at the moment.

So recently I was thinking about life. All types of things inundate my brain when I’m out for a walk by myself. I feel like most of it is pretty sane, but I could just be trying to convince myself that my level of normalcy is higher than it actually is. Come to think of it, when I did the adjective thing on FB, two people who’ve never met one another described me as “different”. Albeit a compliment from both, it made me realize that you really can’t hide strangeness, lol. But I digress.

One this episode of Flashe’s Awkward Archives, we shall account a few epic fails where I’ve gracefully played the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your worldview lol). My favourite stories usually include me falling in some kind of way. There aren’t many times where I’ve fallen because, you know, I’m a swan and everything, but when I do fall, I FALL HARD. You know my motto- “Go hard or go home.”

1.) Broken and Contrite Before the Lord….. Literally
A few years back, I was invited to a quaint family church in Port Arthur to witness the beautiful baptism of one of my little cousins. A few of us got to make it out to cheer him on during the life-changing event. This being an important step in one’s Christian journey, it should be a sacred and celebratory time. But it just wouldn’t be something I was a part of if something ridiculous didn’t happen. My other cousin, her friend and I chose a row toward the front so we could have a good view of the service. Here’s the thing- maybe you remember me describing the church as “quaint”. That’s a euphemism. It was old. This means the wooden pews were the same exact ones in the church that Harriet Tubman attended. Now, I am a deliciously voluptuous woman. So is my cousin. So is her friend. All 3 of us aligned the same archaic bench. I feel like you can guess where this is going. At this point I am sitting in the middle of the row. I turn to my cousin and say, “Missy, is it just me or is this bench getting really low?” So low that my crossed legs were almost flat on the floor. We were all concerned, but nobody wanted to disturb the service. Too bad. Before I knew it, I hear “crack, crack, creeeek….SNAP, BOOM!” Yup, in the middle of the service the bench BROKE. Of course EVERRRRRRRRYYYYBODYYYYY turned to look at us! My cousin and her friend were closer to the ends of the pew so they escape with minimum injuries to their bodies or egos. Me, on the other hand, I was LITERALLY sitting on the floor. An usher rushes over and “discreetly” tries to help me up. He failed. To try to lighten the situation, we all snickered with the people around us. Oh but it gets better. The First Lady of the church rushes to our aid…..NOT. She came back there alright. She came back there to SCOLD us for being too loud!!! Y’all know me. In my head I said, “LADY, if it wasn’t fo yo old raggidy church this wouldn’t be happening!” But I held my tongue for my little cousin’s sake. My big cousin and her friend then tell me they are going to the restroom. I move to the end of the row of the ultra broken pew and wait….and wait…and wait. Them heffas never came back! I got a text to meet them outside. I reached into the rubble to retrieve my purse and awkwardly sashayed out (in my pointy red stilettos, no doubt). I’m still pondering sending that First Lady a really mean letter expressing my saltiness at her blatant disregard toward my sore wrist  butt pain.
church

2.) Child’s Play

If you know me pretty well, you know I am pretty reserved. Ok, not really but I do try to come off as such to solidify my identity as an adult. When I’m with children though, all bets are off. Those germy little buggers turn me into a different person. I more or less forget about the adult world around me when I’m interacting with them… unless they get disrespectful. I become an adult again QUICKLY. Anyway, I’ve been caught making strange animal sounds, skipping (and I’m not in an elementary school gym), turning cartwheels, and making funny faces with arms flailing in the air all for the sake of the mini people. Children have been found suffocating themselves in my hair and sleeping between my boobs. It’s a strange relationship but oddly it works quite well.

Two of my favourite kids are the Devine children. We’ll call them J and S so Ngozi won’t say I exploited her children on the Internet lol. Well, one day they were sitting in their highchairs when I got ready to leave. Of course I forgot my purse since I don’t need my wallet or anything. When I return to Casa de los Devines, I see them sitting there spaced out as they wait for dinner. Here’s my opportunity to entertain. I decided to do a run/ballet leap combo (I can see you. Wipe that smile off your face). Although the house is drenched in hardwood flooring, I didn’t imagine this going wrong in any way since I was completely barefooted. Why am I always so gravely wrong. Before I continue, I need to take a moment to raise your sympathy level. I was feeling sick hence why I was leaving early. Let that touch your heart. Ok, moving forward.

I prep like Usain Bolt and then take off in a blaze of glory. Eh, more like Yohan Blake. He’s cuter. Don’t look at me like it’s not true. So, I’m going and going and I get ready to leap. What I hadn’t calculated was how dangerously close my take-off foot was to the plastic circle Gozi put under the highchairs to protect her beautiful floors during meal time. I went airborne alright. Too bad I wasn’t upright. I slipped into a perfect horizontal position and then the unforgiving force known as gravity reached out and pulled me straight down. In this moment, as Ngozi ran toward me concerned and laughing at the same time, I did what any other self-respecting adult would do- I lied there perfectly still, wondering how my life had reached this low.

The good news in all of this is the kids were thoroughly entertained. #NailedIt

yohan  <—– Yohan Blake, my fantasy husband.

3.) Ridin’ Dirtay

In this account I don’t fall, but it’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t end up on the news, or worse, COPS. If you’ve seen my car, you are fully aware of the pride I have in my POTUS tint… tint so dark it could hide President Obama himself. In fact, I actually gave him a ride to UT’s campus one time. He said parking was too expensive and he’d already gotten a ticket for having his meter sticker on the wrong side of the windshield. It was my reasonable service to my country. Congress still owes me gas money though so they need to do something about the debt ceiling cuz I want my money.

Bueno, last Thanksgiving break I was traveling down Highway 73 trying to get back to PA. Now in the past I was one to exceed the speed limit. I’m ashamed to admit it, but MJ’s hit “Speed Demon” was written about me. I’m changing, I promise. So, with my new found respect for speed limit laws (or probably me just not wanting issues with the law in my new car), I made SURE I wasn’t speeding. I knew the speed limit to be 70 mph on this particular stretch so I set cruise control to 70 on the dot. I see a State Trooper stopping someone, but don’t flinch because I’m good- not speeding, no warrants (separate but interesting storIES), updated car insurance. NOTHING could get me pulled over. Why do I keep being so painfully wrong?! The Trooper takes off and looks like he’s about to do a U-turn. Lo and behold, I see light in the rear view mirror. Me being me, I move over because I think he’s trying to catch someone else! Nope..he’s after me and my car, Chula. Not my baby!!! He says that he stops me for speeding. I say I was going 70. He says the speed limit is still 65 in Chambers County. Imagine my face. I am tired from driving from the H and I have to get home and cook then drive to Beaumont for Bible Study. I did NOT have time for this and it was written all over my face. I say to him, “If that’s the case, then yes I was speeding so we can move on to the next step.” Again, if you know me, when I get real, I get REAL. He starts asking all types of irrelevant questions.

My response: “Sir, is this the proper line of questioning for a routine traffic stop? To be honest, you are perturbing me right now. Why do you need me to get out of the car? I’m letting you know now- you do NOT have a search warrant, therefore you will NOT be searching my car.”

I get out and we go back and forth. Then the real reason for the stop surfaces: he suspect me for drug trafficking. DRUG TRAFFICKING.

I. Just. CANNOT.

My response: “What in the world?! Do I look like a drug trafficker to you?! I teach HIGH SCHOOL SPANISH.”

Him: “Well ma’am, if you could tell me what a drug trafficker looks like you’d make my job a lot easier. I don’t mean to perturb you.”

Did he just get snide with me?!

Me: “At the end of this I’m going to need you name, badge number, and the name of your supervisor…. no I didn’t go to school in Houston…. I went to THE University of Texas at Austin.” Translation: Don’t mess with me. I’m an educated Black woman and I know my rights!!!

At the end of this foolery fest, he let’s me go with a warning (duh..). I was so HEATED. But a few weeks later it hit me. I had not been racially profiled. He couldn’t even see me. I’d been ethnically profiled based on my ASSUMED ethnicity. Not only was I driving a car with barely legal tint, but my license plate says “CHULA”. That explained why he didn’t come after me immediately. He turned after he read my plate. I still would have reported him for negatively profiling my Latina life, but not long after I walked by the car I said, “Gah, this does look like a drug dealer’s car.” Hypocrite.

ridin

Stayed tuned for more #EpicFails and other adventures in the Charismatically Awkward Life of Flashe Gordon! Believe me, there are plenty. I wouldn’t be me without these life hiccups to keep me on my toes. Hmm, no wonder why I always need a pedicure.

I’m out.

-Funkmaster Flashe (thanks Jess for the cool DJ name!)

Pandora’s Box Detox: Substandard Relationships

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"I'm addicted to you; don't you know that you're toxic."                    -B. Spears

“I’m addicted to you; don’t you know that you’re toxic.”
-B. Spears

All week I’ve been contemplating which blog topic I’d discuss. I wanted to go with something a little lighthearted after my rant about being an old virgin (haha). However, 2 days ago I woke up, got on Facebook (whatever, you check your FB app in the morning too), and there was a slew of status updates about being respected, dealing with arrogant people, and not tolerating trifling people any longer. I jumped on the bandwagon, discussing the false humility people display as a tactic to get you to keep focusing on them. Seemingly everyone is getting fed up with substandard relationships.

My decision to write about these types of relationships got the stamp of approval after reading my homie E. Reed’s blog “The Torture of Toxic Relationships” (http://edotreed.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-torture-of-toxic-relationships.html). Inspired by real life, E. documents the emotional trauma of staying too long in a relationship (platonic or romantic) with a toxic individual.

Not sure what we mean by “toxic”? Give me a moment; I need to open my dictionary app.

Ok, according to Merriam-Webster, toxic has several definitions. I’ll list a few relevant to this discussion:

1.) Containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation..

2.) Extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful…

3.) Relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market….

Flashe’s definition: Something so poisonous that it causes severe debilitation to the point of causing someone or something to lose all value, even to the point of death.

Translation: Toxic people cripple, devalue, and eventually KILL you! 

I’m pretty sure this is what Kelly Clarkson meant by “a beautiful disaster”. Things look appealing on the outside, but will jack you up in the long run.

“Beautiful Disaster”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtmDISgztJM  

So, E. Reed and I had a discussion after I read his post and he posed a question- Why is it that we make such an effort to gain the approval of such people to the point of endangering our own lives? (abridged version)

This question really hit me hard. I just recently started drifting away from my own Pandora’s Box. For those unfamiliar with the Greek mythology reference, Pandora was given a box (really a large jar) by Zeus that contained all the evils of the world. When she opened it, all the evil was released. Today, “to open Pandora’s box” means to do something seemingly innocent, but ends up have severe and far-reaching consequences.  <—- Thanks, Wikipedia!

I had a real life Pandora. Pandora seemed to be the perfect puzzle piece to my awkward life of twists, turns, and jagged edges. Cultured, fun, friendly, and intelligent. Intelligent….. intelligent. It is a well-known fact that I am a sapiosexual. It is INCREDIBLY sexy when someone is highly intelligent. I was completely intoxicated.

At any rate, I knew Pandora had a set of personal issues to deal with, but that isn’t a deterrent for me. EVERYBODY got problems. Heck, I was seeing a therapist. Who was I to turn away because someone was still learning how to navigate life. Plus, I never back down from challenges. It isn’t in my nature. Flashe Gordon, remember?

flash_gordon

Things were going well…for the most part. A fight… I mean intense disagreement here or there, but that was because Pandora and I are both passionate, head-strong people. We always got beyond the bumps in the road. They weren’t bumps though. They were warning signs, ones that I ignored because when I love people I’m there for better or worse. Just as loyal as my cutie dog Sofia Patrillo. This makes me a good friend. Didn’t seem that much different from how I fought for my friendships in the past.

Then Pandora’s inner box of uncontrolled anger and festering emotional wounds from yesteryear began to open and the war was on. More frequently I was on the receiving end of verbal assaults: “You’re insincere, unkind, hypocritical, bipolar, think you’re so much better than other people, …the kind of person you burn bridges with…” The longer we knew each other, the more comfortable Pandora became with unleashing anger in the form of verbal daggers, knowing how forgiving and understanding my nature is. Me being me, I’d stand up for myself, but never return the daggers. I gave up cutting people down with my words in middle school when I saw the lasting effects it left on people’s hearts, souls, and self-esteem. Plus I was bullied with words growing up. I couldn’t bestow that type of pain on someone else; not if I was claiming to be a true Christian and a good person.

pandoras-box-2k3ifby

I took these things to heart. When my “friends” give me feedback I pay attention because of course your friends only want you to get better. Right? Right, your friends do. But your friends ALWAYS offer loving critiques and constructive criticism. They don’t have you crying in the dark, wondering if you are worthy of anyone’s love, attention, or company. They do not appease their own insecurity by raping your self-worth.

My epiphany came when my home girls came to Austin recently for our sister’s wedding. These ladies have been with me for over 10 years. If anybody is going to be real with me it’s going to be them. During the few days of our reunion, I was on Cloud 9. I heard so many good things about myself. I was amazing, inspirational, loving, devoted, loyal, kind…. words that never flowed from Pandora’s box of insults (unless Pandora needed to be on my good side). As I paid more attention, I realized other people in my community were echoing the same sentiments as my sisters. I just hadn’t realized it because I let Pandora’s opinion weigh in more than the majority. For some reason, I needed Pandora to love me. In good times, Pandora could mimic the love of my dad. I had to come to grips (again) with the reality that nobody was ever going to be Robert. Only God can fill the paternal void and soothe me as my heart still aches for his love. The desperation is what has left me vulnerable to accepting this counterfeit concoction.

daddy

My other theory for this ludicrous behaviour is I’ve always wanted to be accepted by those closest to me. I don’t care if strangers approve or someone who is obviously against me. It is a different story when you love someone deeply. It only make sense for them to love you as unconditionally as you love them. You hope beyond hope that one day, if you are convincing enough or reform yourself drastically, that the toxic individual will sober up and start to celebrate you. It rarely happens.

The reason, beloved, is that the problem was never you to start with. Your Pandora is projecting. If you are a sucky person there will be a consensus. Lots of bad press. If 95% of your feedback from credible individuals is positive, then Pandora is the toxic entity in the relationship, not you. This time is really is THEM, not you. So now I’m offering you the motivation to break the ties. Let go. Starve the need to be accepted by everybody, especially those who are”killing you softly”. Your heart may sting because you’ve invested so much, but if you keep your heart invested in toxins, it will slowly but surely deteriorate. A reaction with a toxin is a chemical reaction. It cannot be reversed.

Pack up Pandora’s box and send him or her off in a blaze of glory. Let Pandora exist in that word of insecurity, jealously, hate. spite, malice, cruelty, and negativity alone. You, my love, have too many important things to accomplish to have someone trying to snuff out your flame before you have a chance to leave your legacy. As Sweet Brown said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

sweet-brown-joe-dragt

In closing, I’ll quote myself from my Facebook status (that vanity is showing again… church cloth, STAT!):

 …it’s imperative to evaluate the toxicity of your relationships. I… am very loyal, forgiving, and understanding. If you cut me, I probably will smack you, but all is forgiven with [frozen yogurt]. But when someone constantly assaults your character, shows blatant disregard for your feelings, and is an expert at pointing out your fallacies, you need to let go. This individual is projecting his/her insecurities on you and will ruin your self-worth. And you, my friend, are priceless.

Your friend in the struggle to get rid of substandard living,

Flashe

Flashe: The [Almost] 30 Year Old Virgin

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“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

– 1 Corinthians 6:18

For almost 30 years now I have lived my sex life, or lack thereof, based on scriptures such as the aforementioned…. and frankly, I’m ready to set them on fire.

Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh. You can get indignant with me and start your pharisaic preaching. Call me sacrilegious if you must. Whatever. I’m horny and I’m tired of acting like this life of piety/purity isn’t difficult. It is downright hellacious. There is just no other way to say it. I think I’m starting to black out occasionally because every now and again I come to and I’m singing songs that I don’t even like- like “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera. You just have to rub me the right way. *thinking* Come to think of it, I probably should avoid too much touching. I may start to melt. Or end up on a spinoff of Snapped called Snapped: Virgins Unleashed. I would shame my mother and the memory of my father.

All I’m saying is years ago when I took the purity pledge with my youth group and married Jesus (can you really do this?) with my ring engraved with “True Love Waits” in Hebrew, none of those ragamuffin youth leaders bothered to tell us that this pledge didn’t serve as a force against raging hormones or natural desires to be connected to someone on a physical level. They failed to mention that my devout, Mother Theresa-like adherence to these biblical truths didn’t make me any less susceptible to wanting to be touched, held, and everything else you hear in a R. Kelly song. Ok, maybe Jagged Edge. R. Kelly is a wee bit too questionable, even for me (you know, with my reputation as an alleged ex-stripper).  Maybe 112…. hmm. *drifting* Sorry, a song is on Pandora. Maybe I should skip this one. My shower head doesn’t even work so the song’s not applicable. ANYWAY, somebody lied via omission. I’m going to send them a voicemail with a recording of Liam Neeson’s famous line from Taken- I will find you…and I will kill you. Because of you, I’M STRUGGLING something serious.

[shameful admission intermission]

For instance, when I worked for Girl Scouts as a program planner/ cookie pusher (which is a separate, unrelated story), I had so many close calls of almost offering myself to attractive strangers. There is a vast difference between “Hello sir, would you like to sample OUR cookies” and “Hello sir, would you like to sample MY cookies.” It’s more than semantics. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit managed to correct my phrasing every time, lest I be mistaken for the Whore of Babylon (see Revelations 17).

Sidebar- While I’m thinking about it, if you are not a virgin, PLEASE stop giving me advice on waiting. I know that you mean well and feel like you are saving me, but honestly you just make me want to push you into a bedpost and make you hit your baby toe on the hardest part. Waiting as a teenager just makes sense. Waiting as a functional adult who desires a family, has never been kissed, or even been on a date is a ballgame you will NEVER be in or understand so you have no authority in the matter. If you want to avoid my misguided wrath that results from my sexual frustration, you may want to sit in the stands and pray for me. And be ready to just remind me of the promise I made to God if you see me stepping out of bounds. That type of support and accountability is helpful, not motivational speeches from your sexually-active self. Don’t get kicked in the clavicle. And believe me, I can  kick that high.

No but for real y’all. The struggle is extra real. Back in my high and mighty days, I would judge the MESS out of someone engaging in premarital sex, ESPECIALLY if you took the purity pledge with me. You weakling! You were pretty much a failure in my tunnel vision. But now? SHHHHIIIIIIIIII. Bay-bay. Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t believe in premarital sex. But since we’re like old friends now with me telling you all my bedroom dirt (or lack, haha), I can be honest. There is a crevice deep down that’s a little envious of you. I silently and shamefully cheer for you even if you’re fornicating because you’ve made it to the figurative promised land. Not to be confused with or compared to Canaan, the Israelites’ Promised Land… even I’m not THAT crass. Now don’t start with that “Oh Flashe, sex isn’t all people make it out to be” malarkey. To date, I haven’t met anyone who has said this and then took an oath of chastity after one experience. Ever. It may not be what the movies make it, but a grip of folk are still participating in this pastime so there is SOME clout there.

What I guess I’m going for at this point is learning to acknowledge and appreciate my sexuality while CONTENTLY honouring my vow to stay a virgin until married. I don’t want to just not have sex. Right now, my primary deterrents are pregnancy and STD transmission (y’all know good ‘n well I’m a germaphobe). This doesn’t make me any more committed to God or pure before Him. I’m sure that time I didn’t accept an invitation to go back to the hotel with my friend’s FINE cousin after a wedding doesn’t count as sexually moral. I didn’t go, but I wanted to. I was about to do a Swan Lake dive into his car had it not been for divine intervention. I shouldn’t be upset when my friend tells me that I am the poster child for abstinence. To her, it was a compliment. She was saying that I was motivation for others trying to hold on. I, being the vagabond I am, was UP-SET. I’m like is GUILT the only thing keeping me out of someone else’s 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets (hey, even if I sin, I’m still bourgeois)? That’s not enough.

At the same time, I want to be comfortable in having feelings and that includes sexual ones. God is not going to smite me for wondering what a tender kiss feels like or the warmth of cuddling with someone or even which senses physical passion arouses . It’s not lust and idolatry unless my mind is inundated with these thoughts. Did you read that church leaders?! Stop trying to SCARE people into sexual purity by saying stuff like even thinking about sex is a sin. It isn’t. DWELLING on sexual thoughts is. There is a difference and y’all need to learn it before you have another youth/young adult/singles conference. Because your faulty teaching is messing up our lives.

As I was saying before I went on a tangent and started going hard in the paint, this time of solitude should be spent developing myself as a person and serving humanity, not plotting how I can get someone to bake my cookies (ok, I’m done with the cookie euphemism). Even focusing on NOT having sex is idolatry. My best guess at how to navigate these waters is to acknowledge the feelings and thoughts when they come and then just continue living! Don’t beat myself up for thinking about sex or its affiliates, but at the same time not marinate in their presence or I’ll end up pregnant for some random blonde hair, blue-eyed Norwegian guy at a black club named Sven (again, a separate but maybe tangentially related story). The baby would be cute though. Probably that’s irrelevant huh.

There you have it; another chapter in Flashe’s archives. Charismatic, awkward, and a horny virgin. The depths of this existence is starting to even shock me. Should that be happening?

Let’s go out with a bang…. or a ring with Ring My Bell by Anita Ward. See, no more cookie euphemism. =)

http://youtu.be/URAqnM1PP5E 

…and for my courageous souls who are still crazy enough to believe sex is sacred, a song for us by John Waller called “While I Wait”:

http://youtu.be/o9DTwLOxzhE

‘Til next time. may the [nonexistent] purity force be with you….

-Flashe

Flashe’s Awkward Archives Pt.Uno

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My nephews stole my phone one day. They’ll be our poster boys of awkwardness.

So, over the past few days I’ve had a burning desire to write about singleness because, to be honest, most of us have a pretty skewed interpretation of that word. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but I frequently want to play dodge ball with those who try to define MY singleness…except they don’t get balls. Or head gear.

But my friend Ty brought up some great memories of our time together in undergrad and I got to thinking. Today, a day that has stressed me out a bit, would be a good day to share some awkward moments in time. Hopefully they will make you feel as awkward as they made me.

1.) “Secret Lovers?”

That time when I became fast friends with a Latina at a group meeting. We had so much in common and quickly began girl talk in Spanish. She was telling me her secrets so I decided to run something by her. No harm, right? Wrong. I mentioned that a friend of mine had been telling me about a great guy she knows and I was weighing whether it’s something I should be open to. Well, turns out the guy was one of her BFFs. Still not a big deal since she said she wasn’t interested in dating anyone. But then she starts to ignore me. Come to find out she is more likely than not secretly in love with him. What are the ODDS that she even KNEW HIM?! *sigh* We were only friends for 30 min. That has to be a record.

2.) “I Keep on Falling”  <— (did you get the Alicia Keys reference? Ok, moving on…)

I was invited to Lyrics Poetry Lounge in the H (shout out to my Houston folk!) one fateful Friday night. I’m telling you, you couldn’t TOUCH me that night because I looked so good. I walked in that joint late and sparkling like bourgeois Cinderella. The night was young and I was sexy the whole time. Well,except for this one hiccup in the timeline. I was rocking my gold Coach wristlette vs a large bag b/c I didn’t need any distractions from the outfit. So, I’m sitting at the table and I need to regloss (lip moisture is pertinent even in dark places). Something falls from my bag, but I don’t see what. The sweet young gentleman next to me hurries to pick it up. I realize he’s used extra discretion in passing it to me. Why, you ask? Turns out my tampon, which was awesomely wrapped in LIME GREEN plastic, is what fell. Of all of the things that could’ve fallen, why that?! Thanks a lot, Kotex, for making sure my feminine products glow in the dark.

3.)”I’m in Love with a [Mythical] Stripper” (cue T-Pain)

Once upon a time in a land of burnt orange (also known as UT), a rumor started that I used to dance at a strip joint off Lamar called The Yellow Rose. Now, it completely evades me how this rumor came about, but it officially turned into an urban legend when my dear, sweet mother told a group of my friends it was true (now y’all know why I go to therapy). At any rate, it is a running joke amongst my friends and one day I decided to share it with one of my newest friends. Now, the response I expected from him was: “Haha! Wow, you must really know how to work it!” or something comparable to this. This is what I got instead: “A stripper? Why would anyone ever believe that you were a stripper? Strippers aren’t fat.” e_e (side eyes) At that very moment, with make-believe crickets chirping in the silence, I wanted to prove myself by dancing like Candy in The Best Man then following up with a Judo chop to his throat. Instead, I stared, blew out air, and went back to reading my book. Jesus saved him that day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udIMe67PxvY (Candy’s Dance)

4.) “Me and Mr. Jones….Ain’t NOTHING Going On!”

Back in the gap, I worked at an institute of learning..if that’s what you want to call it. Anyway, I had good relationships with a handful of my coworkers. One of them, who happened to be male, agreed to run an organization with me. We were good friends, but because of my personal ethics and convictions I kept a safe distance since he was married. At least that’s what my naive mind was telling me. I felt relieved when I discovered he was married to a childhood friend. I looked forward to connecting with BOTH of them. Well, one day just out of the blue she makes a snide comment on a FB post of mine about a game I was playing with her spouse (amongst many other people). Her complaint was he didn’t like to play with her but always with me. In my mind I’m like “Chick, I don’t live at yo house! How would I even know that? And frankly, I don’t care. BLOCK!”, but I handled it graciously…until the accusation came in. A few days later, him and I were chatting and come to find out she thought we were having an affair!!! ME?!!!!!! I don’t even remember how to flirt! How could I be booing it up with yo dude? When was this alleged affair occurring, during a union break? Girl please. I may try to keep to myself, but if I’m going to do something that ridiculous, you better believe I’ll come to your house and take him off the porch so you’ll know exactly where he went. Ain’t nobody got time. And when I did see her, she rolled her eyes at me. I almost threw a box of Shipley’s Donuts at her head. But I didn’t because no donut deserves that. And I’m classier than that….I think. Nah, I just didn’t want to waste good donuts.

5.) “Pimp Juice” <—– (does ANYONE remember this song by Nelly?!)

Ok, other than being accused of being a stripper, it is a widely known non-fact that I am also a pimp. I could see that. I did tell Ty that I wanted my bachelorette party to be based on the aforementioned Nelly song, sort of a farewell to my nonexistent pimp ways. Anyway, I don’t know if this is awkward or just plain ridiculous. One morning during first period, I was teaching passionately. Not really, it was too early. We were all looking bored in there so it was pretty uneventful. Except for this one kid. He hated me. I made him do the most horrendous things. Like complete classwork and act his age. Inhumane, I know. On this particular day he decided it was time to take out the Wicked Witch of the East[side]. He couldn’t take the tyranny of having to achieve in a language that he already spoke fluently (Spanish). Now, one of my rules was if you fall asleep and I wake you up more than once, you lose your chair for 5 minutes. Of course he went to sleep right in front of me. I ask him to stand, proceeded to take his chair, and then suddenly he’s on the floor (wait, what?!). He storms out of the room angrily. Apparently he didn’t know that I don’t chase men. I kept teaching. 10 min later, the SWAT of the school was at my door. What in the WORLD? This little (insert word substitution here) went and told the office that I SMACKED him, he fell and hit his head and neck on the desk and then fell on the floor. Now, I know my reputation proceeds me, but I am a lover and rarely a fighter. If I physically attack ANYBODY, it means that you came at me first and I felt like my life was in danger. Point B- If I smack you, you ain’t gettin up, bro. I got thug sumo wrestler in my DNA. Automatic TKO. But bro, they investigated me like I was on The First 48. Took statements from my kids and everything. Luckily, nobody else in 1st period had a vendetta against me (lol) and all that happened was they took that (sub appropriate term here) out of my class. Still, pimp slapping a student? C’mon son. You know that would’ve been on WorldStar Hiphop.

That’s all for now! Be on the lookout for the Awkward Archives Pt. Dos, coming soon to an office computer (because you know you only read my blog when you’re bored at work) near you!!! I’ll probably be talking about dysfunctional moments in my family. Probably I should start a whole other blog for that.

https://i1.wp.com/www.womansday.com/cm/womansday/images/Fe/07-family-kiss-Awkward-Family-Photos-1.jpg

-Flashe

PS- Don’t forget to follow me and leave awesome comments! Leave topic ideas too that you want me to discuss!!

Bienvenidos a mi mundo (Welcome to my World)

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Image <———– That’s me, before I realized I was awkward. Maybe I knew subconsciously and that’s why I’m not smiling. Maybe I’m not smiling because I had on a short set and church shoes (shoes not shown). Thanks a lot, Mum.

How am I supposed to start this? Blogs are an enigma to me. I still can’t figure out why someone would be so vain as to start a blog. Are you that important? Apparently I fall into that category now because here I am… blogging it up. Is my vanity showing? Someone get me a church cloth and cover that up.

Now, let me start with this disclaimer. This is my blog. On my blog, I am allowed to write what I think. That’s the whole point. You are free to disagree with me on my blog, but if you disrespect me I will digitally zap you. You’ve been warned.

Here’s how I want you to keep me accountable. I am supposed to be relaxed when I blog. For me, that means that my language should be relaxed. Things happen a certain way in my mind, but don’t always end up in print that way. It is because I am a member of the Grammar Police Force. I am horrified of being judged for poor syntax or any other abuse of language (because this is what I do to others, lol!). It’s like there is a force makes me immediately begin to use esoteric verbiage that adequately expresses the faux bourgeois person I am. Do you see what I mean? We can’t have that. You should never need a dictionary to read someone’s blog unless it’s Maya Angelou. She is a heroine to the English language. She can write whatever she wants.

Anyway, last night when I decided to write this, I had some wonderfully witty ideas about how I would wow you. I even made myself laugh a few times. They were that good. Then I went into a comatose sleep. Now those ideas are  resting in peace and I’m sorta just staring at the screen. The truth is I’m not really good at talking about myself. I think it’s a bit weird. It’s like singing lead and backup at the same time (cough, cough Brian McKnight). I’ve been told that you should let other people honor you and if you are a good enough person, they will. But I want to try something new. I want to see what I’m like from the 3rd person point of view. It’s a stretch, but what else do I have to do? I’m unemployed, it’s raining, and I have allergies. Let me make it, ok?

Oh I know. You may ask yourself what I mean by saying that I am charismatically awkward. What it means is that I’m finding that I think and do awkward things. For example, I don’t have a stopper for my tub but I love bubble baths. So now I just sit [in an empty tub] and read. This made sense when I started it. Looking back, I’m judging myself for this one. This is the kicker though. I wrote this as a status on FB and I was CERTAIN that people were going to proverbially (nerd word alert!!!) stone me for the extreme weirdness of that whole situation, BUT NOBODY DID. Instead, I got suggestions on how to make my bath time a real bath.

This is where the charisma kicks in. I have you all fooled. I do really strange things, but because I was blessed with the gift of charisma I am able to convince you that it isn’t strange at all. Like on ALF. Nobody thought the furry alien was strange? Or E.T. He was an alien riding a bike. What about the Gremlins. I’m not the only one who wanted Gizmo as a pet. Cute and cuddly and all, Gizmo is still a gremlin. Sorry to break it to you. Wait, are my references showing my age? Could I not think of anything strange and mesmerizing that wasn’t made in the 80s? *sigh* I need an upgrade (insert clever iPhone joke here).

So what motivated me to embrace this awkward life, you ask? The MisAdventures of an Awkward Black Girl! Issa Rae got it right. That’s really how it is. There is this whole dialogue you have in your head about the world around you as you try to decipher what’s acceptable for you to do, what’s just a little bit odd, and what will have you committed. You have NO IDEA how many times I’ve wanted to go in a store and just knock stuff off of shelves just to prove I’m a thug. But I don’t because I like thug life on the outside, not locked up. I’m not that real. I don’t look good in orange, especially not an orange onesie. Netflix lied. Orange will never be the new black. Maybe if inmates wore that glitter outfit Rick James had on in the Superfreak video. That might accentuate my bosom. I could do that….maybe.

So here’s what we have: I am an awkward, charismatic, thug wanna-be, African-American Christian who is in love with Spanish (and other sexy languages). In what world did God think any of those things went together? It’s like when normal people sit and enjoy a cold glass of milk with their donuts. What do I get? I get orange juice. I’m the oddball with orange juice and donuts or water and Oreos because I will turn into a pod person if I drink milk. Heaven wouldn’t let me assimilate to the world around me even if I wanted to. It’s one big cosmic joke I tell you. The good side is I think everyone else appreciates the comical fruit produced on this oxymoronic tree that is me. Don’t misunderstand though. I know how to act the part of normal. I’ve seen it enough to mimic it. It’s just that I can’t always maintain it. Like when I’m sleepy. Or sick. Or when stuff just doesn’t make sense. I’m bound to say or do something that will make you sigh but then laugh vigorously on the inside.

Did I also mention the fact that I’m a bit sarcastic? And vain. I think we had a run-in with the vanity at the beginning. The sarcasm shouldn’t surprise you. The vanity, however, surprised me. How is it possible to struggle with inadequacy in beauty and be vain at the same time? That’s the foolery I’ve been trying to tell you about. Maybe YOU can make sense of it. If you do, send me a message explaining it. Don’t call though. Introverts don’t care much for phone conversations. Unless you’re the Argentine husband I’ve been waiting for. Podemos hablar, papito. No hay problema. =) Sí, se puede. Yo quiero Taco Bell. C’est si bon (wait, I think that’s French). It’s a joke. A poorly constructed joke, but a joke nonetheless. But I really do speak Spanish así que……

[Random link insertion]

http://awkwardblackgirl.com/

Well this brings us to an abrupt end because, well, Matlock is on and I can’t multitask. Here’s Rick James to make you smile.

 

Thanks for putting up with the randomidity (don’t use that; it isn’t a real word) as I try to figure out this blog life. Until next time… viva México and Asta Llama Lainkum (someone do a spell check on that).

-Fl(Ashe)