Health or Pleasure? That is the Question

I can longer grace my local Red Lobster with my presence. Once inside I cannot be tamed. I can polish off an entire basket of their warm, buttery, savory, garlicky, fluffy biscuits with no help from other patrons. My Goodness. Thinking about that batch of buttery obesity makes me want to drive to the Miamisburg location right now, and devour them like a python with an unhinged jaw around a plump field mouse. The same goes for Panera and their moist, perfectly confected shortbread cookies. I swear, if these were the last thing available to eat during an apocalypse I would have to make some hard life decisions, i.e. other may starve. I just might fist fight, Brad Pitt style, with anyone who comes between me and my sweet.

However, since diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and all other un-fun, unhealthy risk factors involving weight gain exist, I must resist. I must remove these delectably divine goodies from my memory bank. I must drink my fluoride tap water, slice up my jolly green granny smith, and toast my low fat, low carb, low in all things pleasing, whole grain wheat bread. No more scrumptious flour based baked goods. No more mouth watering, gluttonous gluten. Whole grain life for me now.

It’s so unfair. Why can’t I have the metabolism of skeletal Kendall Jenner (the only member of the K Clan I have minor respect for)? Why must my body retain every ounce of fat consumed through my lips? Why must my arm jiggle with every wave and reach, reminding me of the extra three double, jumbo chocolate chip cookies I tore to shreds two weeks ago? Why must my stomach bubble over the rim of my jeans like the muffin edges of that brazen cinnamon and raisin muffin I scarfed down last Sabbath?

Everything has to be slim now. Your waist line, your phone, your computer, your television, your glasses, everything. Don’t get me wrong I want to be healthier. I want to be a decent size. Based on my own recent research, I believe a size ten would suffice. At this size I can go into any department store (preferably Forever XXI) and ball out on all the sexy, adorable clothing I want. At this size I can go into the fitting room happily, and confident the clothes won’t suffocate my figure or tear at the seam. Thankfully I’m not far off, maybe forty pounds to go, which is a way better number than 80. Yeah, I’ve been working hard for the last two years.  But honestly, can I have a cheat meal with my favorite non-grain items and not regret it the next day when I’m at the gym doing twenty more crunches because of that indiscretion? I don’t mind vegetables, I love fruit, but sometimes all grain drives me all the way bananas. Mmmm, bananas. Banana bread, yeah . . . No! See the dilemma?

If I could put a little butter on the grain bread, then we’d be in business. But, no, butter clogs arteries. Damn-it!

I’ve heard of the alternatives. The butter made with olive oil, and the baked treats with sugar substitutes, or soy, or other miscellaneous foreign objects. Some of them taste ok. I’ve eaten a decent vegan macaroon, but I could taste the fake all too well. I want my goodies back. Yes grain is healthy, but why does it have to be so . . . blah.


Can I Please Choose What I Inherit?

No matter how hard we try, are we genetically designed to follow in our parents footsteps? Our grandparents footsteps? Our great times eight grandparents footsteps, even if we never met them? Or are the habits we develop a product of our environment? Is it possible to pick and choose from a catalog of characteristics and personalities so that I can stand out from the woman I grew up around?

I don’t dislike my mom entirely, only 99.88917 percent of her ways. As a child, I adored her. My mother was the most beautiful woman in the world to me and I wanted to look just like her. Light beige skin with soft, speckled, brown freckles. She always had her hair done in this curly, short bob that landed just above the nape of her neck. Never allowing a gray hair to survive longer than a week. She did this thing with her rose red lipstick where she’d only apply one thin layer of color on her bottom lip, then swoop quickly across the top one with one flip of the rod. I never fully understood why she did this. Why even take the time to apply it? No one can see it. Her paper thin lips still looked the same shade of pink they were when she got out the shower. I guess in her mind, a subtle hue enhancement that only a magnifying glass could capture was all she needed.

Then, my mom rubbed the tip of her middle finger on the edge of the lipstick rod and gently smoothed the color into her cheeks. She had multiple blush shades in her paisley make-up bag, with a hundred brushes for application, but I guess the lipstick suited her cheeks better. When it came time for eyeliner, no one could talk, move, or breathe throughout the entire house. Even though her hands weren’t the steadiest for this activity, we were still blamed for any near missed eye gouging.

My mother had a million articles of clothing crammed and shoved into her closet, so naturally it took her three hours to dress for a thirty minute event. Many of the clothes were never touched and remained plastic wrapped or strapped with tags. She’d say,

“Oh I’m not getting rid of that. Look how cute it is.” She’d hold the garment up to her body and model a few poses. Her attempt at making it easier for me to image her strutting her stuff down the streets of Dayton. If she actually had the nerve to walk down the streets of Dayton, let alone strut. My mom would then follow with,

“This is what the young people your age are wearing.”, which was my favorite response of hers. As if I didn’t know what everyone in my school wears.

My mom never left the house without a hair astray or a button unloose, and she made sure our appearance was tip-top and in sync with her. She told us to be quiet and to only speak when spoken to. We represented her; her look, her personality, her parenting style. When around outsiders, everything had to be perfect. My mom needed to portray this image of ‘perfect single black mother of the suburbs’ and if we messed that up for her . . .

As a child you don’t think you’re doing anything bad as long as you follow the instructions, and as a child I took instructions literally, broke them down word by word, and anything outside of those rules were free game. You tell me to be quiet when it’s time to be quiet, fine. No peep out of me. You tell me to say “please” and “thank you” when prompted, I’m your girl. However, nothing in the instructions excludes me from touching things. Things are so much fun to touch, so I’m going to touch. You never said anything about tapping my fingers and toes. I’m  tippity-tapping ’til my heart’s content.

In my mind I wasn’t breaking the rules. I did exactly what she told me to. In my mom’s mind, however, I disobeyed the hidden exclusions. The unheard of, miraculously new, hidden exclusions that I should have been privy to because I was a mind reader at 6 years old. Apparently she knew about this random talent of mine, and failed to inform me.

Nothing was ever said in public, cause again, appearance was everything for my mother. Mrs. Hyde never showed her colors in public. Her children were the only ones blessed enough to grace the presence of her horrifying second personality. In public Mrs. Hyde showed herself through my mother’s eyes only. I’d turn to her and everything in my body went cold. No joy, no kindness, only fury and anger seeped from her pupils. Her eyes didn’t even appear brown anymore. The creature lurking within changed shape with each new occasion. How bad is it going to be this time?, I thought. I knew I was going to pay for something, but what, I had no idea.

I’d say, “What’d I do?”, ultimately regretting that I even asked. Without a word she continued staring, and staring. Staring so hard at me my bones were too afraid to keep my body standing. I’d cower and shrink, and turn my attention to my feet, then she’d return to herself for the remainder of the event until we were alone. Any time after I received that look I dreaded the walk to the car. She’d grab my hand with a strong clench, sinking her nails into my flesh. If I flinched, she grabbed harder. If I cried, she grabbed harder. What the hell did I do to deserve this? I wasn’t causing any problems. All the outsiders adored me. They complimented my clothes, my hair, my way of behaving, yet somehow my mother found offense in something I did.

Once in the car she strapped me in with force, nearly pinching the skin under my pants with the buckle. I was afraid to cry out, fearing she might do something else to make it worse. My mom remained quiet with pursed lips, furious eyes, and blood red cheeks. That smidge of lipstick smudge had nothing on her naturally, contemptuous cheeks when they flushed with fire. I waited with trepidation for her next reaction as she climbed with ease into the driver seat, strapping herself in with one gentle motion. Her facial expression remained unchanged. My mom started the car, adjusted her mirrors, reversed out of the parking spot and started down the road.

Through the first couple traffic lights I thought, Is this a trick? Is she waiting until she gets me home? Through some cosmic magic, am I free?  Or is she going through the change my granny mentioned at dinner last week? Maybe this is that hot-flash thing. But wait, her hands were ice cold. Maybe she’s just–

Before I could finish my thought, hell’s gates opened. To this day, when I think back to past screaming matches I had with my mother from ages 6 to 16, I can’t remember what she was saying or where her anger originated from. I will always remember the sound her mouth made. I can’t even use the word ‘voice’ because this was not her everyday voice. The screeching of her tone, the shrill pitches and overbearing volume that cascaded me like a straight jacket, pulling so tight until I couldn’t even move eyes it was so tight. I was confused. Did I really do something bad enough to deserve to be screamed at like a prosecutor would a murder suspect? Whether I tapped my feet one too many times, did the dishes one hour later than she wanted me to, or stood up for myself whenever she was wrong, I always got the same treatment. Blood curdling screaming to trump my voice, until I gave up and went to my room.

To this day I hate arguing about minute things because my mother loved it so much. In her eyes this was good parenting. In my eyes this was a way to play the victim, and add extra stress and issues where they weren’t needed. I was always to blame for something. She never specified what, but stood strong on the justification for her misguided anger.

All my life, as I got older and older, closer and closer to thinking about finding a boyfriend, allowing him to be my husband, and creating children of our own, fears of the kind of mother I’d be crept into my mind. Will I be fair? Do I even know how to be fair? I’ve never seen it up close. Will I be loving? Will I be caring? Will my children want to come and talk to me? I pray they want to come and talk to me. Second to God, I pray I’m the person they always run to. I don’t want them to fear me,  or hate me, or curse my name when I’m not around, or feel helpless in this world because they can’t talk to their own mom.

The worst feeling in the world for a child is not being able to confide in their parents. It’s a caution I still have to this day, because I don’t trust her with my emotions. I don’t trust her with my secrets or my fears.

I don’t mind being beautiful like my mother, just as long as I remain beautiful on the inside as well.


Relationship for the Relationless: Assistance Required

After two and a half years, you would think I’d be used to this relationship. That I would be used to his way of talking, behaving, eating, thinking. Nope. Every day he surprises me. . . or aggravates me. Somehow I’m still not used to putting up with someone else.

For the better part of the first twenty two years of my life, I’ve been alone. Sometimes lonely. When you’re a multiracial, over-weight girl living in a suburb of predominantly white, close minded, size two figurines, blending into the background comes natural, and at times necessary. You see, most of the residents from my old town only saw a brown skinned girl when her mug shot was plastered on the evening news, or when she guessed starred as an obnoxious bus driver or teacher on their favorite sitcom. So to see me, a soft spoken, intelligent black girl, baffled many and pleased few.

The ones who didn’t know how to “deal with me” chose to ignore me or insult me, and like falling apples, their kids followed suit. I remember one day while minding my business on the playground a group of attitudes found their way on my side of the hop scotch. The girls’ glitter painted hair and pastel clothes distracted me from their villainous eyes, so I was clueless as to why they came to see me.

Are they trying to talk to me?, I thought, Do they actually want to get to know me? The thought of finally turning strangers into friends was exciting. I was eager to learn about them, and in return, school them on the art of me. The ring leader steps forward and says,

“My dad said they have roaches in the ghetto. I bet you saw a lot of roaches at your school right?” Her posse giggled triumphantly, desperately waiting for tears to fall down my cheeks, which was their way of knowing the deed was done.

My blood was boiling. I clenched the stick of chalk so hard I felt it’s thin powder shavings mingle with my sweat and seep into the pores of my palm. If her and her thick headed father wanted to see the “ghetto” so bad, I would gladly show it to them. I wanted to shove that chalk so far down her throat, so far that I could write my name on her colon and she’d never forget what the “ghetto” bred.

However, I thought for moment. What would that solve? Besides, I’d be giving the hell brats what they wanted. They wanted me to “act hood” and flip out, or cuss at them. I was truly fed up with this degrading treatment, but I would not let them see. I swallowed the pain, put on the mask I taught myself to wear well, turned to those half wits, smiled as grandly as possibly and replied,

“No. I actually didn’t see my first roach until I starting going here. Do you guys ever clean up after yourselves?” (Side note: this was actually true. That school was disgusting as hell. As high and mighty as those white people behaved they should have had the environmental maintenance taken care of. Remember, don’t throw stones when your house is filled with pests and rodents.)

My heart leapt with joy as their gleeful faces turned sour and their wishes burned to ash. I couldn’t believe it. I’m never usually quick with the come backs, let alone good ones, but this felt so good. It was perfect. Like a snarkier version of myself inhabited my body for the benefit of revenge. Unfortunately the elusive effects of my mask were beginning to fade. A depressed child can only pretend to be happy for so long.  My true emotions were bubbling at the surface, and before they unloaded on the grounds below I raced for a classroom. The teachers were the few that enjoyed my company, since like the nerd I was, I paid attention in class and raised my hand when prompted. It may not seem like it, but teachers actually want  students to participate in class discussions instead of sitting  like mindless drones. They quite enjoy it. Who knew?

Teachers gave me words of advice and encouragement to boost my confidence when it fell so hard to the ground, it cracked the foundation. A day when I felt particularly shitty and secluded, my fifth grade homeroom teacher pulled me to the side and said,

“If you choose to ignore all the petty, childish insults thrown your way, twenty years from now you won’t even remember half of these kids, let alone how they made you feel. If you hold on to the negative, it will hold you back and eat at you. Your choice.”

This definitely empowered me, but shocked me even more. Even though the teachers cared for me, my experience with compassionate people was limited, especially with strangers from this strange land.

Although I took her advise and lived more for myself, I also became more closed off. I built walls thick enough to contain a country and limited the amount of information I told people. Having personal thoughts and feelings used against you is never fun. Believe me. Any friendships I developed were created out of sheer luck or true kindness when the individual approached me first. Case in point, my friend Kristine.

During freshmen year Kristine was new to the school. After the teacher conducted his embarrassing introduction, he left the seat choice to her. Based off her look: white girl, long brown hair, semi-preppy clothes, I was certain she’d chose a seat with the rabid pack of ferocious cheerleader terrors huddled around their male prey in the middle of the room.

Oh well. One less person I have to get to know, I thought.  In my experience most people feared being genuinely nice to me, terrified their clique of friends wouldn’t approve. They’d berate me in public, but humor me in private. Once I found out I added another layer to my wall in their name. Because of this, the only time I knew a friendship was real was if they approached me first and talked to me in public without insult or sneak digs. When this happened I perked up like a book worm in the middle of a half price bookstore because I knew I finally had a real person in my life.

Anyhow, Kristine completely bypassed the lipstick zombies and made her way to my dim side of the room. The terrors mugged and cursed her name, but she could care less. I’m glad I didn’t let my preconceived notions about her cloud me because her personality did not match her look. She turned out to be funny, brazen as hell, bold, and smarter than the terrors. Since then she has been honest and loyal, which is hard to come by.

With this new addition to the roster I slowly tore away at the wall, but there were still days that I spent by myself. No longer because I was lonely, but because I finally realized the beauty of having alone time.

Single is under-rated, and it’s only lonely if you let those feelings creep in and take root. I didn’t have to worry about someone criticizing me or controlling me. I was never on someone else’s clock, never hassled. I never had to consider anyone’s feelings but my own. I would treat myself to movie dates, with an over priced margarita and large popcorn from the concession stand. I would rent movies, buy all the food I shouldn’t and binge watch five Tarantino films in one night. I immediately regretted the outrageous amount of calories ingested the night before, but I didn’t have anyone to look fit for so I burned fat when I felt like it. I went to clubs and danced with friends from work, with friends from school, with random creepy Russian guys, with random gay guys, hell, by myself. When the music was on you couldn’t tell me nothing.

Even though I adapted to single life, I wasn’t dead. I wanted some companionship. I wanted someone to dance with, binge watch Walking Dead and Tarantino films with, someone to dine out with, someone to travel with, cuddle with, kiss with, have sex with. No reason grimace or hide it. We all want that in a relationship.

I would not rush it though. I wanted it to be right. I wanted it to last. I knew the only way I’d find the right man for me, is if he approached me first. As I showed you before, real people only come into my life when they present themselves to me and show me their true colors, and from there I can make my decision to keep or toss. It may not seem like the best system, but it’s protected me this far when prior methods crashed and burned in my face.

So like most fun loving, single girls, I waited, and waited a little longer. Finally he showed, and in the most unconventional way possible. I’ll release the details at a later date because that’s not the point at the moment. The point is he showed and I couldn’t be happier, and he is by no means who I thought he’d turn out to be.

He doesn’t dance, unless he’s trying to make me laugh. He cooks the most delicious food. His mashed potatoes and fried chicken . . . Oh!

He’s not the tidiest person, but he’ll clean if I drop subtle hints. He’s hilarious and his laugh makes me laugh even harder. We have so much fun together whether we’re doing something or nothing. My walls started breaking down even more until they were mostly a pile of rubble. He’s also smart even when he doesn’t know it. He’s so handsome that sometimes I’m shocked he chose me. He’s self conscious about his appearance so much that he’s kind of a label whore. Only Levi’s and Nike’s can grace his body, and he scoffs at lesser fabrics. He’s very family oriented and is one of the most caring men I’ve come across.

Two winters ago when I had my beat up ’98 Accord, through a series of unfortunate events, I locked my keys in the car while pumping gas. Mind you it was 10 degrees outside with a wind chill of two degrees, so needless to say, my ass was cold. I just left my grandma’s nursing home down the street and thankfully my mom was still there. I called her to come get me since she was only a five or so minute drive away. In her worried, frantic mother tone,

“Oh my gosh, ok. I have to give something to the nurse. I’m leaving in a minute.”

So I wait. Then, I wait a little more. When it’s cold outside, you begin to literally count the seconds until salvation arrives. I continue to wait a little more, then my imagination takes hold.

I thought, well it probably takes her one and a half minutes to leave the nursing station and walk to her Jag outside. Then it takes approximately 1.2 minutes to get settled, start the car, put the heat on, and strap on her seat belt. Probably another 2.4 minutes to warm the car a little so the oil can do it’s thing on the engine. Another 1.8 minutes to leave her parking space, drive to the edge of the lot leading to the street where the gas station is located. Forty seven seconds to look both ways and wait for traffic to clear before making a safe right turn onto said road. Then finally, 3.9 minutes to travel down said road, make a right turn into the parking lot, and a slight left to the designated pump where I wait with frozen breasts underneath folded arms in a poorly sewn gray hoodie. No worries.

The thought of just walking there had crossed my mind, but I figured, why should I? Mom will be on her way faster than it would take me to walk. Plus my purse was on the front seat and I did not trust that to wandering eyes of strangers. So, I waited.

After waiting 15 minutes I was cold, pissed, and I had to use the bathroom. I thought damn, I would have been there by now. The phone rings. I answer gently with numb icicle fingers.

“Alright, I’m on my way”, she said. She hung up. I would have done the same if blood flowed through my digits and allowed movement, but I had to let technology take hold and hope the android was smart enough to disconnect without a babysitter.

After 20 more seconds of blistering cold hitting my cheeks, I decided to call my boyfriend. I didn’t think to call him first since he was 35 minutes away at home. Plus it would have taken him 10 extra minutes to warm the car since he hadn’t drove all day. By my calculation my mom seemed like the more viable option, but in hind sight . . . no.

After two rings he picks up the phone and I unload,

“My mom was supposed to be here 11.2 minutes ago. My boobs are cold, my ass is cold, my face is coldest. I’m hungry. I gotta pee. Can you please bring me my spare key? I know it’ll take you time. I don’t care. She takin’ forever and she’s just down the street. Please help me boo.”

“Alright. I got you.” He disconnects. Now I must wait.

Ten point three more minutes later I finally see a familiar face. It’s my boo. I was ecstatic. My heart started beating again. Blood returned to my limbs. Hope returned to my life.

“How in the hell did you get here so fast?” I cried with joy.

“Shit, I was speeding. It’s cold as f*** out here”, he chuckled. “I’m not gonna leave you standing out here while I warm the car up. What kind of s*** is that?”

“Oh, you didn’t warm it up?”

“Hell nah.”

We both laughed. He gave me the key to my salvation. I started the car and happily headed for home behind him. Halfway home my phone rings.


“Ok, I’m leaving now.”

I smacked my lips with distain. It was my mom of course, but I had to mess with her for taking to long. I replied,

“Who is this?”

“Your mom, what the– ? You said you needed me to come, right?”

“Girl that was two hours ago. Dre been came and got me. You good. Might as well stay with granny now.”

This is just a minor example of his affection, but I knew if he would risk a traffic ticket just to rescue me from Mr. Frost, then I finally found a keeper.

Things were excellent for a while. I never had a real relationship before, so I wondered what people complained about because ours seemed awesome.

We both love going out to the movies if a new suspense, action or comedy came out that looked interesting. We both love Mexican food and drinking, so El Toro became our spot. I got him hooked on Tarantino and the sadistic world of The Walking Dead, and he introduced me to Spaceballs and Little Shop of Horrors. We’re eager to travel the world and make money so we can support ourselves and our families. Our personalities slightly differ, but all our goals were in line and our love seemed strong and capable of conquering most obstacles.

Now. Now I don’t know. We teeter back and forth. I feel like we argue about little things too much sometimes. We could spend days mad about who said what, when and how. Barely looking at each other. Barely saying more than two words to one another. Sometimes even after we talk it out, it makes things worse because more issues surface. I struggle to pull out what he’s thinking and feeling, and it makes me feel like he doesn’t trust me. Like he’s afraid I’ll judge his emotions, which I would never do. At times it feels like his walls are thicker than mine were, and just when I feel like I cracked the surface, he adds another layer.

Once we finally cool off and move past the bull, we’re great. We’re loving on each other like nothing happened. At times I’m confused. I don’t know how to deal with my own emotions half the time, let alone someone else’s. I guess the question I’m trying to ask is, are most relationships like this? Are they normally up for a while, then down, then back up again? Or is this just us? I used to worry so much about keeping him. I love him so much, but now I’m to the point where if I keep him, then I keep him. If it ends, then it ends.

Is that bad? My granny always told me I’d fine with or without a man, and I know this to be true, but for some reason I feel guilty feeling this way.

To My Students Out There, Be Better.

I did ask for this. Although, I did not ask for all aspect of this. No one told me once I graduated college I’d need to meet certain expectations. I knew I’d have to pay student loans back, I knew I’d have to find a high paying job. However, no one warned me of the intricately, stressful expectations I’d have to meet as a degree toting adult.

Your hair has to be perfectly flat ironed and tightly wound in a chignon. You have to shop at Dress Barn and New York and Co., and learn how to wear and effectively strut in heels. No one takes an intelligent woman seriously when she arrives in comfortably broken in Converse and a pink and black striped blazer. You must have good posture. No tattoos, no acrylics, no scars, and nose piercings are the devil’s jewelry. No more slang. Full annunciation at all times. Your resume is your story and it must be perfection. They don’t care who you are, your personality is of no consequence to them. All that matters is that piece of paper. You must network with local industry representatives to find a respectable career, not a job. Jobs don’t make you wealthy. Jobs don’t offer respect. Jobs are for dropouts and blue collar citizens with technical certificates.

With the networking comes the schmoozing and brown nosing. You must give it all you have until your face is so far up the CEO’s rectum you can taste the flatbread Panini he/she scarfed down for lunch. You must obtain and maintain a size six waist or less, preferably less. If not, all your co-workers will assume you’ll gobble up all the honey ham along with Meredith’s homemade sugar cookies at the Christmas party before anyone else can lay eyes on them. For that reason, Meredith relocates the food to the conference room by the department manager for monitoring purposes.

You can never text again. Emails are now your sole form of communication, therefore you better have enough money for a laptop. The ultimate laptop. You have to be comfortable wearing a head set. You must be willing to do office work on your off time, especially family time. You must be willing to come in 30 minutes early and stay three hours late. If not, you’re not the candidate your managers assumed you were. You’re not committed to the mission unless you eat, sleep, shit, and breathe quarterly quotas and annual metrics. You must smile and nod in agreement at everything. No “resting bitch face” . You must allow your boss to placate you, disrespect you, demean you. You must go “above and beyond” for the corner office Bob left behind when he transferred to the Phoenix location. You must print the reports, you must review the reports, and you must repeat this process every Monday for the variance meeting. Print, review, repeat. Print . . . review . . . repeat.

You must buy a new pair of heels, since your three inch ten dollar ones are starting to crumble under the pressure. You must purchase a gym membership. The clearance priced workout videos from the thrift store are no longer cutting it now that your skirts have become a steel grip vice for your ass cheeks. Now, you must purchase new pant suits and a dozen little black dresses, since the lack of healthy balanced meals are aiding you in your weight loss.

Now you’ve been promoted. New salary, new title and now a new car. That ’98 Accord isn’t going to last forever. You must train the newbies and the college interns. The ones itching and fidgeting in their discount, polyester suits, praying they make the cut so they’re prepared for the termination of their six month deferment. Their sweaty palms and forced falsified smiles brings back beautiful memories. Now you must host with the most, now you must answer all the questions, now you can bend over, spread ’em wide, and let the brown nosing commence.

No one told me this is the life I should lead as a Bachelor degree toting adult. Had I known in advance that this piece of paper would open up a world of mundane corporate bullshit, I would have took my free Associates and ran. Only kids without car payments, without credit card payments, without federal loan payments can cut and run. Only people who weren’t talked into pursuing a Bachelors degree, can joins Jules and walk the Earth.

I’ll admit, I fell for the scare tactic. The one high school guidance counselors and college recruiters use, coercing students into borrowing thousands of dollars to earn degrees society wants them to obtain. Society wants us to be nurses, teachers, business managers, scientist. Unfortunately, it takes until after the loans have been processed and the degrees have been printed, that we realize we don’t need a degree to survive. I know a woman who could be a biochemist, but she currently sells mortgages. I know someone who could teach mathematics at any high school in the state, but prefers collecting credit card payments.

For me I could have just stopped at my Associates in Communications. During that time I learned a lot of helpful writing techniques from my English teachers and I didn’t pay a dime. After graduation I could have gotten started on my book as opposed to worrying about where my $150 monthly loan payment would come from. Instead, I allowed the promise of five and six figure salaries seep into the cracks of my steel trap mind, poison my common sense, and distract me from the truth. The truth that surrounded me every day outside the walls of my school, which is, any job can lead to a career and can lead to five and six figures as long as you work for it.

Don’t get me wrong, the degree may get you in the door faster, but by no means does it provide job security. If so, thousands of degree toting adults would not be delivering pizzas and ringing up groceries while arguing with the local crazed cat lady about her expired kitty liter coupon. Any academic advisors reading this are probably calling me a cynic, but let’s be real. You and I both know I am undoubtedly correct.

These recruiters and counselors hook you by forcing you into believing your occupation will determine your status in this life. That your degree will elevate you above the crowd of “lowly blue collar employees or homeless city dwellers”. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t. You can earn all the degrees your heart desires, and you can employee and supervise 1,500 people at the world’s largest Fortune 500 company. You can live in the most expensive five story mansion in Beverly Hills and attend the same parties as Kanye West and Madonna. However, if you distribute nothing but hate and a self righteous attitude upon this world, and if you do nothing but torment and mistreat people, all that knowledge and money you’ve earned is meaningless. People will cringe with disgust at the thought of you and your presence on this Earth will be worthless.

Don’t let people’s expectations turn you into a money chasing, intolerably rude, self hating schnook. Strive for moral excellence. When you wake up every morning look in the mirror and admire yourself. Admire the skin you’re in, admire your waist size, admire your hair (once it’s combed), admire the qualities inside you. Your wit, your humor, your intellect, your charm. Love everything about yourself. Love others. Love the old beater car you drive. As long as it starts when you turn that key, you’re ahead of the game. Love the house the Lord blessed you with to keep you warm and sheltered. Nourish the ground you walk on. Take care of our Earth. Love the job you’re in. Never let anyone diminish your worth solely because your check has one less zero than theirs. Never let your manager treat you like a child especially if you match or beat him/her in age. Demand respect. The title your boss holds by no means indicates they have a hold on you. On the other hand, if you truly hate your job, hell, find another one. Someone, somewhere is always hiring. You are never trapped or stuck. Don’t let anyone stifle you. There are always options and if you can’t see that, then you’re standing in your own way. Surround yourself with empowered people. A wise person once told me “empowered people, empower people”. If the people around you don’t fit the bill, find better replacements. The world is big for a reason, explore it the best way you can.

I’m glad I learned this before it was too late or else I’d be as miserable as the co-workers sitting next to me. Everyday they complain and gripe about their situation. They hate the way they’re treated by management, they lose sleep worrying if they’ll keep their job for one more day.

In our daily meetings I watch my co-worker’s expressions as the manager speaks. A bit of their spirit dies every minute, the more he berates and belittles them. The women complain about their weight, they complain about the heels suffocating their toes and corns. The men complain about the wickedly irritating fabric blend of their button-up. They hate their jobs but afraid of making a change. They believe they have no other options. They ignored and continuously ignore the truth, and now they suffer for it.

Never settle. Be better.


A lot of things pass through my mind on a daily basis. I have a tendency to day dream a lot as well. I think that might be the reason me and my aunt don’t get along. She’s the kind of woman who demands results and thinks dreams are for preschoolers and mental patients. When I graduated high school and told her I didn’t want to go to college, but that I wanted to write novels and screenplays instead, she shook her head in the same disapproving manner as a math teacher would while passing out failed exams. We never spent much time together as I was growing up, so her strong objection to my career choice shocked me. To this day she doesn’t even know my favorite color or my favorite food, nor did she spend the time investigating it.

After a long sigh she peered at me through her prescription tented Raquel Welch shades and said, “Writing doesn’t make money. As a young, black woman you need to educate yourself and make money. That’s all that matters. Reserve your hobbies for your down time. Don’t make the same mistakes your mother did.”

My mother is not a writer, but it’s safe to assume my aunt was referring to my mother’s general education degree of choice she obtained from the cheap community college downtown back in the good old ’70s. English was one of the courses my mother enjoyed the most at that time, which must explain my flair and love for witty word play. You would think, because of this, that my mother would have sided with me and would have told my aunt to go to hell for saying such inappropriate, soul crushing comments to her impressionable niece.

If that was the kind of family that raised me, you would have been spot on with this assumption. Unfortunately that’s not the world I live in.

All of my four friends have family members who believe in their passions and endeavors to the end and back. Even if the careers my friends seek are not financially profitable ones, their families remain by their side 110 percent.

M, for example, initially enrolled in the Business Management program at the local university and hated every single, little thing about it. The accounting classes made her want to gauge her eyes out with a Texas Instrument, and her dance elective focused on contemporary forms with a minor concentration on twerking. Nothing about this program fit her passion. It was the guidance counselor at our high school, sharing the same sentiment as my aunt, who frightened M with a painted picture of poverty at an early age if she didn’t pursue a degree that generated six figures. Life without sew-in weave and bi-weekly manicures nearly gave M a heart attack, so naturally she enrolled for the first “adult” program she spotted in the catalog. After four weeks of building finance reports on Excel and shaking her ass cheeks until they numbed, she cried to her mom that she wanted to be an artist.

That night Mrs. G came back home with an easel, several canvases, and the most expensive paint she could find from the art store and told M, “You should have said so from the jump.”

Over time, M perfected her craft and eventually enrolled for the drafting and design program. If M continued to let our guidance counselor’s scare tactic influence her, she would have wasted four years and $60,000 in financial aid on a degree she would have never used. Which leads back to my previous comment on college. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to go at all. To be honest, I love being in class. Any and everything I can learn, give it to me. Fill me with American and European history, discuss the mysterious meanings in Robert Frost’s poems with me. Please, indulge my curiosity with communication techniques and how important non-verbal cues are. I’m a disgusting nerd that way. My only issue was I didn’t want to go until I figured out if I needed to further my education for writing purposes. There are dozens of novelists and screenwriters that never laid their hands on a college textbook, unless it was for research on their new story. I was not going to waste my time, the instructor’s time, and I definitely was not about to waste all that grant and loan money if I didn’t need to.

However, one thing you need to know about me upfront, I’m a stubborn little bitch. And when someone tells me what I “need” to do or “should be doing”, especially when it’s coming from the mouth of a woman who has only celebrated 3 out of 24 birthdays with me, I will do the exact opposite . . . on purpose. It’s just my nature. I think I get it from my dad. My mom told him he could come around freely and never did. I can’t check with him on that, so it will forever remain a mystery.

Anyhow when my aunt protested with strong conviction, ” You better go to college.”

The natural brazen asshole in me retaliated with a firm, “Nah.”

Three months later my aunt got her wish, but not by her doing and not on her terms. While me and my mom were out shopping, a woman over heard our college discussion. The woman smiled at me and said, “You know. I’m currently enrolled downtown for English and I love it. I initially didn’t think I’d learn anything different from what I was taught in high school, but my teachers taught me a lot of helpful writing tips that have improved my style.”

This seemed staged. The way this woman talked, she sounded like a college recruiter. I checked on my mom out the corner of my eye to make sure she wasn’t egging the woman on or holding up cue cards. The woman gave us the number to the college and left. With my years of experience on the receiving end of deceptive acts, I no longer take what someone says at face value. A quality that annoys my boyfriend immensely. I investigated the legitimacy of her comments by going to the school and was actually pleased. Surprisingly, I didn’t go for the English program, Communications interested me more. Seeing as how I already don’t trust people, I thought it would be interesting observing and dissecting human facial expressions and movements before the lie even comes out. Catch these dicks in the act. Yeah, Communications for sure.

Adulting . . . I guess

I was worried my first title would be too long.

With this being my first post, and with me being twelve feet away from my manager’s cubicle, I’m going to keep this short.

To be honest, I’m a little nervous being honest with complete strangers. Although, I want to be more daring with my writing so I promise the posts after this will be much more . . . intriguing. I think . . . By the way I enjoy ellipses a great deal.

I wonder if I should sign off. How does one end an introduction post to a blog site?

Until next time, I guess. No. That felt . . . no.

See, I don’t know everything.