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What About My Sons?

Am I the only mother who feels like her children aren’t scared enough?

Like I’m not teaching them survival skills?

I have two sons. Twins. One has a socio-emotional learning disability where he doesn’t pick up on social cues. It’s hard for him to get sarcasm or read tones of voice. What happens when the person who he believes is supposed to “help people” approaches him and he doesn’t understand what he’s supposed to do? He is big for his age. And much like #MichaelBrown, described as a gentle giant a lot… Very loving and extremely sensitive. In a stressful situation, he is frequently all over the place emotionally and physically. I know at only 11 years old, he and his brother should have the luxury of being children. I take pride in the fact that my kids are still kids. Adult things and conversations don’t interest them. They play hard. Their play involves lots of Imaginext action figures, castles, Nerf guns, wrestling moves and super hero movies. They are great little boys.

So what do I do? What do WE do? I don’t want to terrorize my children. I do not want to see their eyes fill with fear or wariness when walking down the street. This world snatches childhood away on so many levels and so quickly now. I want them to be able to be little boys, not little black boys, for as long as they can. They don’t see the ugly, they don’t see the injustice, I don’t want that for them. But how can I love them and protect them and not show them how to be? I’m torn. I cannot fail them. But I don’t know the answer. It’s not supposed to be like this. They are children. They are not expendable.

We watch the news in horror at the fighting in Gaza, weep over the slaughter of innocent lives worldwide. Schools full of girls kidnapped, tiny bodies and bones broken in the streets, casualties of wars fought for centuries. What about my sons? What about the carelessness with which police officers sworn to protect and uphold the peace at all times use excessive force to shoot down black children in America? When does it end? What do I do to protect my beautiful brown babies from this unfortunate unnecessary reality? I need an answer. I need a conversation. I need rules and repercussions for this disrespect and disregard for our babies’ lives. It’s basic. My children deserve more than lying dead in the street for hours. Who does that? Where is the humanity in that?

Inboxes from Hell: my life on Facebook

7/14, 6:03am

Strangerdude:

Hello! I would love to add you to my group

7/15, 8:58am

Me:

Hello.

who are you?

and what kind of group?

7/15, 10:31am

Strangerdude:

Hello. The name of my group is called women who only want 3some’s. I host parties both stateside and internationally. I personally hand pick all the members in my group.

7/16, 3:33pm

Me:

Ummmm…

No thank you

3:42pm

Strangerdude:

Aight

I have soooo many questions for this dude.

What exactly was it about MY profile that made you think that this was the group for me?

You handpick all members do you? Culled from millions of strangers on Facebook? Should I feel privileged?

You host parties internationally? So you are a worldwide sleaze?

Un-evolved gentlemen, for future reference? No.

better yet, hell no.

this is not the way grown ups meet one another on social media. If this seems like something that you, or someone that you know, would do stop and seek help. This type of reckless Facebook inboxing must stop.  Consider this your PSA.

 

Daddy

It’s Father’s Day again.

imageMy dad was the greatest storyteller ever. It’s taken me this long to realize I probably get that gift from him. I miss him. There was never a moment in my life, whether I saw him every day or once a year, that I felt unloved by my father.

My father, Anderson Carthel Covington, passed away in 2002. He was a lot of things to many people. He was more than just my Daddy, he was the one person who “got me” from top to bottom. He always talked to me as a person, even when I was a little kid. He never sugar coated stuff and he wasn’t ever mean. And he loved his girls, all 4 of us.

Was he perfect? No.

Was he always there? No.

He had his own demons to fight. He used drugs, he went to jail, he had flaws as we all do. But he was a good man. He had a smile for just about everyone and he was loved so much.

Whenever I go to Orange, the small town in Virginia where my family is from, at some point some vaguely familiar person will walk up to me and say, “You’re Carthel’s daughter aren’t you? Which one are you?” And there’s always a smile and a story and an “I remember when…” That’s something. That’s a memory. That’s love. That’s my Daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to the men who inspire their kids to unimaginable heights by the simplicity of their presence and who make sure their babies know they are loved beyond measure every single day of their lives!

The biting of the dust and such.

imageDear New Dude,

Sooooo. Hey, hey how are you doing? I haven’t heard from you on any regular basis since our first date about 3 weeks ago. Haven’t seen you either though we’ve made plans a couple times.

You seemed nice enough. Funny, engaging, we seemed to have quite a bit in common. We shared dating horror stories. You made a point to ask me if I was an honest person, because you’d had a situation where someone deceived you and we talked about that. You said you were eager to get to know me better. We people watched, had some drinks and laughed a lot. We spent the better part of an afternoon and evening hanging out, even ended with a good night kiss and a plan to go see X-Men at the theater “next time.” I had a good time.

Since that Saturday night, we’ve spoken by phone a handful of times. It was during one of these conversations that you decided to explain your “living situation” to me. UNSOLICITED. You said that you were looking for an apartment because the house you were living in was in foreclosure. And that you had moved in “with a friend to help her out.” Well aren’t you a kind and benevolent soul? But now, “the friend” had not held up her end and you have to move, plus your hours at work have recently changed from days to nights and it’s wreaking havoc on your free time, not to mention your resources. You insist that you are sharing all this information with me because you want to be “honest.” I am baffled at this confession, but I listen and tell you I understand how money can be tight and sure we can go to the movies once you get paid.

About a week went by before you called again, this time to tell me that you saw some pics of me on Facebook that a friend of yours, who apparently knows of me, showed you. You tell me how pretty I am and that tomorrow you want to take me to breakfast. The next morning, I text you, no response.

Another week has gone by. I don’t assume anything. But at this point it’s pretty clear that we had a good time but you’re really not interested. So I shoot you a text, “I’m removing your number from my phone. Just letting you know.” I wait. And 17 minutes later, my phone rings.

I say, “Hello.”
“I got your text.”
I say, “I figured you did when I saw your name pop up.”
“What are you doing?”
I say, “Nothing.”
“Well I was trying to work things out with a previous girlfriend, that’s why you haven’t heard from me.”
I say, “What?”
“Yeah we’ve been kinda off and on but it isn’t working out. You know how it is.”
I say, “No. I don’t. I know you called yourself telling me the truth with all that foreclosure nonsense, you could’ve just said that then.”
“I know I didn’t tell you that part of it then, so that’s why I’m trying to be honest. Tell you the truth.”
I say, “After it didn’t work out? Yeah okay. No thank you.”
“Yeah, I know, so that’s why… Wait what did you say?”
I say, “So after it didn’t work out with the one you really wanted, you think you’re going to tell me that and I’ll be so overjoyed that you are being honest AT YOUR CONVENIENCE that I should still want to talk to you? As in get to know you? Is that what you thought? Seriously? No thank you.”
“Well I see you point, but…”
I say, “I am no one’s consolation prize. Good luck with that. I hope you figure it out sooner next time.”
End. Delete. Sigh.

Love, Maya…

“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.'”

Oxygen (NaPoWriMo day 22)

Breathe.

Breathe.

Her lonely is palpable
Solid
An entity unto itself
A weight pressed down
Nightly
As naked as newborn skin
Supple
Fluid
Void of love
Full of fear
This lonely lies in wait
Vacillating
Until she is in her most
Vulnerable state
Shallow breaths
Body at rest
Heart slowly beating
Beneath her breasts
This lonely knows
The wanton abandon
Of her soul’s true call
Hears the ominous tone
Bearing down
On her beauty
Cradling her throat
As she struggles for air

Three Hundred and Thirty Four Pounds of NO

Me. Circa 2001. About 100 lbs ago.

Me. Circa 2001. About 100 lbs ago.

So two days ago while at the National Air and Space Museum, I got on a scale that tells you how much you weigh on different places in space… Jupiter, the moon, somewhere else and Earth… I don’t recall how much I weighed anywhere else but here.

334 pounds.

Yep.

334. In Earth pounds.

I’m not okay with that.
For all my “last fat girl standing” self-deprecation and “I’m gonna show all my rolls every chance I get” exhibitionism, yeah, no. 334 ain’t gonna fly.
Yes, I love me. And I’m mostly comfortable in my cute, fat, smart, awesome skin. But I need to do better. For me.

Me.

No, not YOU random judge-y person over there.
Nor all you fat shaming ones on THAT side of the room.

Life is short. And gets shorter every day. I’m 41. Sometimes I don’t understand how I got to be this age when I was just 14 years old and running the streets of Anacostia like some hormonally challenged banshee, but here I am, knocking on the door of 42, with a five year old nonetheless. I’m going to need to keep my energy and sanity in fighting shape for at least 15-20 more years, so no.

No to 334.
Maybe 234 I could live with at 5’10, but 334 is a wake up call.

And I guess I’m posting this because
1. I’m not ashamed.
2. I know I’m not the only one with a number that bothers them, no matter what the number represents.
3. To give myself some support and accountability.

So the next time you see me posting about the ice cream that we all know I love so much, say something. You have permission. And I appreciate you all for being all up in my business in advance.

It’s the internet. That’s what you’re supposed to do!

This Is a Play (NaPoWriMo day 18)

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This is a play
On words
A play
On feelings
A play
Relationship
Because this shit ain’t real

This a play
On connection
A play
On affection
A play
On togetherness
Because this shit ain’t real

This is a play
On spending time
A play
On sexual chemistry
A play
With shared history
But this shit STILL ain’t real

This is a play
A performance
A one woman show
Because I damn sure ain’t got no man
And you think
That I can’t tell you’re
Just a fan?
A good time
A happy camper
No substance
No staying power
A flash in the pan
An extended one night stand
Once again, not my man
Good for a laugh
A roll
A tickle
Some fun
Not the one

Because
This is a play
But I don’t need your ass
Putting on shows
Anymore
So go

a bitter cup of disappointment
the cup of coffee I brewed when I got home

the cup of coffee I brewed when I got home

I've said "I need coffee" at least four times since we got up. Together. We stop a Wawa for gas. You come out with a cup of coffee. For YOU. Do you really have an attitude because I don't hug or kiss you goodbye? fuck outta here...

While Sitting in Whole Foods Contemplating Life (NaPoWriMo day 15)

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Why do all the North African cab drivers congregate here?
Ooh one of them has a date today, he brought a woman!
What kind of job does this white lady have that she can sit in Whole Foods and do it for hours?
People probably think the same thing about me.
No they don’t.
I honestly can’t tell if that’s a woman or a man…
Eyelashes and all.
I guess that’s a good thing? Maybe?
Probably not.
I had a slice of pepperoni pizza.
I love pork, but Whole Foods takes freshness to another level.
That pepperoni smelled like a pig.
And it did not make me happy.
My fat ass still ate it though.
I’ve got to do a better job of amusing myself.
I felt insignificant all weekend, that’s not good.
This weather is killing my Spring break week plans with the chirren.
I need to wash clothes.
I need to buy clothes.
I’m am so tired of applying for jobs.
I feel defeated.
Yet I smile.
Laila said her doll’s hair was “bushy” this morning…
Where did she learn that word?
It tickled me.
I’m so nosy.
I can’t even fully listen to my music because I’m always in somebody’s conversation.
I want my hair braided.
It’s almost time to get out of here.
Later.