Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Do You Want?

And what are you willing to give up to get it?

Those two questions have been popping up alot lately in my life and in conversations with my friends.

Intellectually, most of us get the fact that sacrifice is necessary for achievement. But, most of us don't practice it. This concept applies to every single facet of life too.

Me? I want to get more toned up and lose about 10 pounds. This desk job, stress and long hours have taken a toll on my body. Intellectually, I know that I have to schedule my workouts into my day, no matter how burned out I am.

However, on a typical work day, I'm unwilling to give up my 3 snooze bar presses each morning. I've tried to make excuses and rationalize why I 'NEED' that extra hour in the morning. But, when I had to buy new jeans in a size 6, instead of a 4, and the 6 was TIGHT, I had an epiphany.

Would I rather sleep or be tight? I hear people saying

'I can sleep when I'm dead.'

My mantra is going to be 'I can sleep all I want when I'm tight again!'

Last night I was talking to one of my girls and the questions popped in my head again.

Her boyfriend of several years is taking her for granted and she's unhappy. I don't think the guy is a bad dude. I just don't think she's told him what she wants.

I know she wants to see him regularly, meet his peeps, have a consistent and comfortable rapport with the dude. But, I also know that's she's never told him any of this, let alone voice her wants out loud to herself.

I asked her, "How can you get what you want, if you don't even express it?" And the follow up, "What are you willing to give up, to get what you want?"

I just think a guy has to know that what you want is so important to you that you will let him go if he can't meet your expectations. Guys are really good at setting their expectations, we need to take a page from their book here.

Another friend of mine owns a company that regularly hires security guards and cleaning crews for different sites. He has so many stories each week about his employees that either don't show up for work, or get there and do a crappy job. These are the same people that practically begged him for a job and pulled the 'Help a brotha out' card to get my friend to consider employing them. So, he's always astounded when they just 'fall off'. It seems like these folks want a job, but, are not willing to get there on time and make any sacrifices to keep it.

I understand the excuses and the denial we get all wrapped up in, when achieving our goal seems just a little bit more involved than we expected. But, I'm going to snap myself out of it.

I'm tired of hearing myself complain about squeezing into those tight @ss jeans and I've invested waaay too much in my winter boot collection to have the zippers not make it up over my calves. (What's the deal with the calf size being related to the shoe size anyway? Just because I wear a 6.5 my calf has to be smaller than 12 inches?) I'm just done!

And now that I've posted about it, I'll really feel accountable. I hope you ask yourself those two questions whenever you hear yourself taking a tour of Whine Country.

LMAO - Ok, I'm near Napa, I had to get in one corny wine joke.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Travel

I'm out on the left coast this week, well not really the coast...I'm in Sacramento or Sac to those in the know. I thought it would be alot easier to find pescetarian food options out here and that has not been the case. I'm bummed and hungry!

There's nothing like a long flight to come up with some good posts. I'll try to get at least one up while I'm out here. Otherwise, see ya next week!


Monday, October 06, 2008

You Look So Familiar

So, last week, I told you about this woman in my training class that thought I looked so familiar to her. I asked her who I reminded her of. Now, I'm thinking,

"this chick knows she doesn't have any black friends, who is she kidding?"

She says maybe its an actress or someone she's seen on TV.
(Told y'all she didn't know any black people personally.)

Then, the next day, she said, "I know who it is, one of those kids from the Cosby Show!"

Immediately, I say, "Vanessa?"


I knew it HAD to be Vanessa because Denise is too light and too 'alternative' to be me and Rudy was just a little kid.

"So, I remind you of a bratty middle child?"

uneasy chuckle..."No! Maybe its your hair."

"Really? I've been wearing my hair in a bun all week. I don't remember Vanessa wearing her hair like that."

Now, she's starting to get that look on her face like, 'Damn! How do I get out of this?'

"Right." she says, "Maybe its your voice." I just chuckle and nod. "Yeah! I'm sure that's what it is. I've heard that before."

And I'm not lying. If I had a dollar for everytime some white person thought of the Cosby show when they looked at me, I'd be rich.

If you're not picking up on the association, let me break it down for you.

The Cosby show represents the rare 'special black' for white people. If you are 'articulate' and 'well dressed' you probably remind some white person of one of the Cosby kids. Especially those whites that don't know any black people personally. That show was their glimpse into the world of the 'uppity' black person. Now that I think of it, part of Barack's appeal probably comes from the fact that he could've been cast on that show, maybe as one of Theo's friends.

So, never mind the fact that I look NOTHING like Vanessa Huxtable. I am doomed to forever be compared to her. I remember when Sex and the City came out, there were these t-shirts that read, 'I'm a Carrie' or 'I'm a Charlotte'. I bet if I got a t-shirt that said, 'I'm a Vanessa' and walked through Reston Town Center, I would get at least 5 -10 white people that would get it, half of which would have the ballz to actually approach me and express agreement...that yeah, I do 'look like Vanessa' even though the shirt would not have the words, Huxtable or Cosby Show written anywhere on it.

That's just what it is...

Classic Cosby Clip


Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Latest Encounter With Becky

All week I have been in a training class for my new role at work. There are about 10 people in the class but we’re from all over the country and Mexico. Tonight the director took us to dinner at Morton’s. The food is good and the wine is flowing, then she says, “I have got a story about a time when my life was in danger.” We all turn towards her with our ears perked up.

You see we had just finished listening to Paulo tell us about the two times he had been kidnapped in Mexico. Then my boss asked if anyone else had been in such a life threatening situation. Cue Becky.

“I woke up one night with a black man in my bedroom!”
Instantly, I made eye contact with the other black person in the group.
‘Get ready for some bullshit!’ is what my eyes said to her.
She nodded back in affirmation.
I said, “So your boyfriend surprised you?”

“No!” She said with a dismissive chuckle.

The she proceeds to tell us how when she was in undergrad at some university in Akron someone, correction, ‘A Big BLACK man’ broke into the house she shared with some other little Hasselbeckites and tried to rob them.

Now, let’s break this down.

Becky was very specific about what was scary about this man. His BLACKNESS.
Now, let me describe her to you. She’s blonde and about the size of Serena Williams sans ass and with that Olga-ish square body type that some Becky’s have. The point is, this is no delicate flower. But, because she is white, she believes two things:

1. That every man wants her body.
2. That she deserves to be protected at all

The robber never touched her and when he realized that she might not be sound asleep, he left the house without stealing anything. The police showed up lickety split, comforted her and her housemates and even CAUGHT the guy shortly thereafter.

When the airbags were stolen from my car last year, while it was parked in front of my house, I was told to just call my insurance company and chalk up the costs as a hazard of living in the DC Metro area. Nobody hugged me, or commiserated with me about the thousands of dollars I’d have to spend to get a new car. But, maybe, that was because my life wasn’t in danger.

When my mom was carjacked at GUNPOINT a few years ago, the police asked my then 50-something year old mother if she could’ve known who would do that. You see, because my mom is black, surely she knows carjackers and maybe this time she just got caught out there.

‘It’s probably your own fault black lady’, is the message she received right off the bat.

Meanwhile my mom is shaking, crying and for a long time afraid of going outside at night. The only person that protected her was her husband, a black man. Nobody else really cared. And, if it wasn’t for the fact that they stayed on the detective’s ass, they probably never would’ve arrested the guys that terrorized her.

Getting back to the dinner, Becky Big Bones wrapped up her story and everyone else at the table just oohed and ahhhed over her triumph over such a ‘scary’ situation. Don’t get me wrong, I would be scared too.

But, it would’ve been different for me. I’m more scared of white people. I live in a predominantly white area and I worry about some psycho MFer kidnapping me and enslaving me in a well in a field way out in Leesburg. And the worst part of it would be that nobody but my family would realize that foul play had occurred. I’ve taken to clutching my purse when white people get on the elevator with me or when I’m walking to the parking lot at night and see one of them jogging by. That freaks them out and I must admit to a enjoying that a bit.

I remember after my mom’s carjacking, I took off some days from work to help her get her papers in order, new license, calling credit card companies, just consoling her. But, when I got back to work and told them what happened, I didn’t get the oohs and ahhhs.

I got the racist side eye.

People asked me if we knew who did it. They said things like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve heard there are certain areas in Baltimore that you shouldn’t go to at night.’

My parents live on a quiet tree lined street in a detached single family home with a front and backyard on the northern city limits. She doesn’t live in the hood. I was just really pissed.

I guess my whole point in sharing this story is two-fold.

1. I know I’m not the only one that works in an environment where there are less than a handful of blacks/minorities. What do you do when these kinds of ‘stories’ are brought up?

2. If you don’t work around only white people, you need to know what and how they think. Do I think this Becky was a malicious racist? No, not really. But, I do think that she is blessed with white female priveledge and entitlement. Her type is scary to me because her blissful ignorance to these inherent racist ideals almost never go unchallenged.

I didn’t jump in her shit at the dinner table because, my message wouldn’t have been well received AND I would’ve been seen as the problem. Not her. Especially if she burst out in tears like the real Hasselbeck is prone to do when exposed. In addition, I’ve been jumping in her shit, in a very professional/non emotional way, all week because as you probably realize, these types of comments don't just come out at dinner.

Oh and get this, she said to me at dinner. ‘You look so familiar to me. I think there is an actress that you remind me of but I can’t think of her name and it’s been bugging me all week.’

*cough* Yeah, cuz we all look alike *cough*