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A Poet A Day…(someone likes me)

Many thanks to Deb at Poet A Day blog for featuring one of my poems for NaPoWriMo!

Here’s what she said about me:

Today’s Poem-A-Day pied-a-terre — Shed Ink.

The poet has a cat named Van Gogh, crochets stuff, and once worked at Long John Silvers in spite of being allergic to fish. Any one of those could be a subject for a poem, but her NaPoWriMo Day 2 poem shows her painting and music background — it’s a lovely little piece about trying to play a song of hope on a harp made from strings of silver lining. I don’t do it justice. Go read it. Really.

 

A Poet A Day…

…makes your whole world brighter. Each day, Poet A Day features a different poet’s blog or web site. It’s my way of giving back to the many communities and poetic people who have enriched my life with their words. Know a poet you think should be featured? Email me at deb@poetaday.com and I’ll add them to my list of sites to check out.

NaPoWriMo 3 Shed Ink.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in poetry and writing

 

NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo is short for National Poetry Writing Month.
The task is to write one poem a day in the month of April.

I really just found out about NaPoWriMo last year and I think it was a week in already so I just said “next year” and kept it moving.
I’m going to do this because NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was too much for me to undertake, especially in November and this is more my speed.

NOW, I’m a day behind because April and Poetry ninja-attacked me.

No problem though. I’m on it.

national poetry writing month

Click the “poetry/pose” tab to see new poems each day. Feel free to leave a comment!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

‘Hardy-Har Hard’ – My perspective on Rihanna’s new video

This past Thursday Rihanna’s new video, “Hard” debuted for all the world to see, and boy was it a sight for my four eyes. The latest single from the album Rated R features Young Jeezy who Rihanna has been noted to say adds an element of “thug” to the song and video.

When I clicked the link sent to me from my twitter account, I was a little shocked to see Rihanna pouting with bright red lips, posing seductively in a military helmet.  The song opens with the star yodeling “Ah Yea Yea Yea!” to the ‘troops’ as a call and response that oddly reminds me of a little girl singing badly along to the beginning of  “Day-O”.

From MTV.com

“It’s couture military,” Rihanna explained. “Everything is surrounded around the idea of something military. We have tanks, we have troops, we’ve got helicopters, we’ve got explosions. We’ve got lots of cute outfits, lots of bullets. It’s crazy.”


The seemingly forced and contrived nature of the video combined with the Full Metal Jacket meets Clueless theme startled me as well. I guess I just wasn’t expecting to see one of my favorite pop divas peacock around in her panties and military gear while bombs exploded all around her. I wonder if the fact that 30,000 more troops being sent to Afghanistan has anything to do with the direction of Rihanna’s latest. Probably not.

I totally understand one purpose of the video is to let us all know that she is tough, hard and in control, because it is so blatantly drilled into the viewer’s head. I will always applaud any Sister recognizing her power before I hate on it but I know this video is about more than that.

If I were to put myself in Rihanna’s shoes, I can think about being a famous 21 year old woman. Constantly in the spotlight, having little time to really settle in and mentally deal with the effect of the assault against me. Being both under a contract and the expectations of everyone surrounding me. The Dream says “I wrote a hot track for you” and its simple lyrics put to a hard-driving beat. I have to look good always. I have to make this music. I have to make this money. I have to be a role model. Oprah, her best friend Gayle and all the little girls in my hood are watching. I gotta come out on top.

And she will.


From MTV.com

In the interview, she was asked who helped her get through the trauma of the incident. “Nobody,” she answered. “Really, just the music. And working. ‘Cause I really didn’t want to be around anybody, for them to stare at me and stuff, and feel sorry for me. So I just stayed in the house a lot. Then I started to get cabin fever. I was like, I’m going crazy in here.”

So, who is available in this young woman’s circle to help her deal with those feelings of embarrassment, anger, fear and loss of control?

My concerns fall upon what I see as violence and confusion dressed up as feminism being fed to the masses. This heavy-handed manipulation of Rihanna’s image is almost sickening because I know that young girls are indeed watching her. My opinion is that RiRi need not roll around in mud, blast Uzis, make fun of Chris Brown’s penis size nor grab her crotch and straddle a pink phallic symbol all for the sake of showing strength. She’s in a position to do so much more.

Links:

Rihanna Now

NYdailynews


 
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Posted by on December 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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How to haymaker punch the Holiday Blues

beat the winter bluesFor many of us the winter is a time for hibernation, big wool socks and hiding under heavy warm blankets.  Last Tuesday felt like 20 below in Chicago with the wind and snow beating against my face.  It amazes me every year just how well The Hawk can snake its way through every hole in my favorite knitted hat. When that cold wind hits me I just want to cry like Florida did when James died and run back to bed.

If you suffer from seasonal depression or SAD like some half million people in America then take a look at some things I’ve learned can help.

1. Exercise

Exercise increases endorphins and lowers cortisol. Meaning it increases those feel good chemicals in the body and lowers the stress hormones.

I know gym memberships can be expensive so if you don’t belong to a gym consider getting a couple of DVDs and popping them in for at least 30 minutes to an hour a day.  Amazon.com has used DVDs that are priced relatively lower than new discs.  Also, cable television has channels dedicated to dance and exercise routines.  Keep moving so when the summer comes you’ll be ready get out of that Cosby sweater and flaunt your sexy.

2. Watch your diet.

When depressed, your body will naturally crave carbs since these foods help to raise the levels of serotonin in the body.  Try not to smash that bag of potato chips in one sitting though.  Do like Mom said and eat your fruits, veggies and drink lots of water.  Foods such as bananas, milk, chicken and green leafy vegetables also trigger the release of endorphins and subsequentially, dopamine.

& take your Vitamins!

3. Let the light shine in

If its sunny out, take advantage of that time and soak up some rays by either sitting near a window or going out into the sunlight. Light therapy boxes and lamps may also help subside the winter blues.  They can range from $80.00 to $400.00 depending on the size. Drugstore.com has some moderately priced lights.  Please read more on your own about the effects of light therapy and the body’s chemical called melatonin.

4. Laugh and Take Pleasure!

This may seem simple but sometimes folks just forget to laugh. Personally, SNL’s What Up With That skit has provided some much needed comedy for me in the past week. It just never gets old.  Tune into your favorite comedy or pull up that Youtube video that makes your stomach hurt from laughter. Going out with friends and family always helps me since I have some hilarious people in my life.

Eat a piece of chocolate. Have sex. Play some good music. Sing. Hug someone. Take a hot bath. Rub yourself down in oils. Burn peppermint oils. Okay, you get the point. Just take time out to do what makes you happy.

::

With Christmas being less than 11 days away, many of us struggle with not having the money to buy presents like we hoped.  Although Obama says that the worst is over, the unemployment rate in the US still remains high at 10.2% (since October). A few years back I was buying my mother diamonds and emeralds now none of that is possible.  What can I do?

Be grateful.

If you’re like me, you will probably think about what goals you’ve set out to achieve as well as the ups and down 2009.  This year, I didn’t learn how to swim like I said I would.  I did start though. I say learning how to float around in my gym’s pool has to count for something.  I figure if I keep it up (positive thoughts!) I’ll be swimming like Shamu by the end of 2010. Focusing on what I’ve done rather than what I didn’t do helps me.

This year I’ve lost some people who were like family to me.  Once I allowed the initial grief to pass, I took time to observe and honor those feelings. I came to realize that although these people were connected to my childhood and a sense of security at that time,  death is indeed a part of life.  I observed the love they exhibited towards each other and learned from their mistakes.  Death can be a reminder that life really is beautiful.

If for whatever reason you can’t be with family, consider volunteering at a shelter.  This past Thanksgiving a friend volunteered at a homeless shelter. He mentioned one sweet little boy giving him a big long, hug thanking him for the help in feeding him and his mother.  An act that pretty much moved him to tears. My friend does not celebrate Thanksgiving at all but I get the feeling that day was one he won’t forget any time soon.

Shout out to my twitter friends who helped me with this subject.  I appreciate your candor so much!

Links:

* National Institute of Mental Health

NAMI

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2009 in health

 

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Red Flags V.S. White Flags

A couple of days ago I went on a trip from Chicago to Iowa with a friend.  He had some business to take care of involving his work and wanted a buddy to ride along.  While on the trip,  we got a chance to talk about family and relationships.  When I eventually vented about some of the things I’ve recently been going through, he did what friends do and just listened. Granted, he’s been happily married for quite some time so whenever he hears about relationship weirdness/drama I imagine it’s tough for him to relate. I think he’s mostly amused and shocked by how things can go down sometimes.

During a lull in conversation on our trip back home, he came out of nowhere with this:

“Question!..

“Yes?”

“What made you get with _______?”

He basically wanted to know what were the deciding factors in our decision to be with each other despite the red flags and various warning signs.

My answer was extremely sentimental. Something about feeling connected and blah blah..more flowery bullshit.. blah blah…  Of course he remained silent after my reply.

I’m glad he asked.

I’ve observed other people’s dating style and wondered if they gave up too easily or have too many expectation.  I’ve  looked at men and women who are easy to cut off another if the person they date don’t meet a certain requirement.  I can say that I have silently judged that as a shallow act but is that fair?

For example, I really don’t care too much about how much about money a man makes or the title of his job but should I? Aren’t these things linked to motivation, goals and sense of self? Granted, one major reason why I don’t worry about this sort of thing is because I’ve never made alot of money myself. I don’t expect something from a person that I cannot give to them.

However, I do hold a mental check list.  I am a Scorpio woman so we tend to keep a keen sense of what’s going on even if we don’t communicate that.  The problem is that sometimes we all sense trouble ahead but we don’t act to protect ourselves from pain.  Why that is, I can’t say for sure.

The warning signs I’ve seen often have to do with integrity or lack thereof.

Here are a few red flags that I’ve encountered and learned from:

:: Inconsistency

If he shows up late often or makes promises that he doesn’t keep. That’s a red flag for me. How can you be confident that the person will do what they say they will if they’re sometimesy about you and just life in general? Do what you say you’re going to do!

::They’ve just gotten out of a relationship that ended badly.

I’m too good of a woman to be the rebound chick.  Don’t you need time to process and heal, brother? My name ain’t Soy so don’t try to use me for filler. You should never rush in and out of relationships. That shows me that you really don’t know how to deal with your feelings and it’s really unfair to use a person as a cover for loneliness. You’re headed for drama because usually the other person is being led to believe they mean more to you than what they really are .

::They talk badly about their ex OFTEN.

I’ve found that when a person brings up their ex too much and talks of what a horrible person they are, there’s a couple of things going on.  Firstly, I have to wonder if they have gotten over that previous relationship. Talking badly about someone you once loved is just unattractive and clues that there’s baggage.  If you’ve been away from that person and not attempted to leave with peace and resolve then I have to keep my eyes open.

Secondly, there’s always two sides to a story. Don’t just tell your side and what she did to you. Tell the entire story. When you’re bad- mouthing your ex you have to not be oblivious about your role in the decline of the relationship.   It doesn’t comfort make me want to save you from all these horrible, ungrateful women out in the world that did you wrong. It just makes me wonder if you’re playing the “woe is me card” as I call it.  You’re going to always run into a person who will talk as if they’re the helpless, unknowing one. That’s game (even if they don’t know it). Don’t fall for it.

::Avoidance of intimacy

I want my hugs and kisses. We don’t have to be hugged up in public but I need to know that I am desired and loved. Hold my hand sometimes. Be expressive.   Cuddle!! I am not going to smother you or be like “Hiyeee! Whatcha doin’?!” while you’re trying to take care of business but I better know I am enough for you.  Once I feel that you can pretty much have the world of me.

::They make assumptions about you and others.

I read something by the author Eckhart Tolle about  a year ago that really resonated with me.  He basically said that when you assume something about a person, you’ve actually blocked yourself from getting to know who they are.  I’ve had things be assumed about me that were completely untrue. For example, I was getting dressed for a dinner date and the guy noticed that I changed my shirt. He took that to assume that I was vain  and carried that false judgment  of me with him for quite some time. How crazy is that? I changed my shirt because I wanted to look good out in public with him.   On the flip side, I’ve had a guy assume that I was “an innocent doe in the forest” .. Dude, get real. We’ve all been through things that has caused us to form an opinion but I make it a point now to be aware of my mess, baggage and assumptions.

::They hate their family

I’m sure many of us has been disappointed with family. Some of us have that one drunk uncle or drug addicted jailhouse brother.  It’s true that many Black families carry a pain that we often do not talk about.  My own family has issues but I love them. I think that the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve learned to love and understand them more.  I can’t imagine hating them to a point where I will hold a grudge for all of my life.  As angry as I can get, I can’t hold that anger for long because I know for a fact that those feelings do create illness,  stress and just a general malcontent. & One thing to consider is how that person will handle being the head of the household that you could possibly create with them. Our families need to remain intact as much as possible and heal.

::They show lack of respect to others

I don’t want to be with some uncouth jackass who goes around disrespecting people.  If he’s rude to the waiter or yells at the customer service rep on the phone why would I think that he wouldn’t treat me the same way? Show some manners and appreciate the lives you encounter.  You never know how you may brighten another person’s life just by offering a compliment, saying “thank you” and “please”. That’s a big part of what life is about!

::They tell me that they’re f*cked up from the very beginning.

I’m pretty awesome but I’m not capable of creating miracles. I don’t think that I am so special that I can change a broken, womanizing man into a healthy, faithful, kind and loving guy. He has to want that for himself. Thank you for your honesty and self awareness, brother. We can be friends now.

So, these are just some of the things that indicate red flags for me.  When I see them I just have to throw up the white flag and surrender to a different train of thought.

What are some of yours?



 
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Posted by on December 9, 2009 in relationships

 

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Skeletons, Closets and Pry Bars

For he who shares with his people their sorrows & agony will feel a supreme comfort-  Kahlil Gibran

I’m no angel but I am a horrible liar.  My body language gives me away, I can’t get the words out quickly and convincing enough. When I lie, I think I sound like the only child that broke her mother’s favorite flower vase. The last time I tried it my friend saw right through me. “You lyin!”.. He said. “Yeah, I am.” I replied. There was no use in even keeping that up.

Lies (this includes omitting information) takes effort, weighs on your conscience  (that’s if you’re not a sociopath) and blocks a bond of trust. I don’t lie because I want the people surrounding me to know where they stand with me. I don’t want them to guess because often times the guessing goes wrong and we’re communicating under a false accord. If I’ve done something messed up, I have to tell them. This is not to make myself feel good but to let them know that I am not perfect and I have some things I am working on within myself.  Now, of course that can lead to judgment, hurt, anger and a slew of other negative emotions but at least I am known for who I am and not what is perceived of me. &  If the person I am connected to wishes to work with me, then I can be grateful.  I want and need the people who I care for to be able to trust what I say to them. And who can say that they’re perfect anyway?

Does everyone have to operate like me? Of course not.

With Tiger Woods in the news concerning his extramarital affair(s) and plea for privacy, I have been wondering if his decision to not speak on the matter is such a wise one.  Normally I would say a resounding YES, and proclaim that what happens between Woods and his wife is their own business but lately I’ve been wondering.

Personally, this isn’t  about us snooping around in another man’s business. He has the right to not answer any questions or to only answer choice questions. What it’s become is a question in my mind about freeing oneself of the burden that secrets and lies often carry.  To quote a Facebook pal, “Shame is a killer.”  And I can only agree with him.

The cycle of deception can only end badly. You begin the lie, then there’s the need to top that lie with sprinkles of more lies.  You cannot have a genuine bond, a genuine conversation .. and it eventually shows. Now, once your body language gives you away the other party’s suspicion grows and they do things like check through your phone, IM chats and the sort. Once you’re caught, you’re pretty much ass out and vulnerable to what happens from then on out. But if you decide to come clean, take that mask off and show the world and your loved ones who truly you are, well then you can begin fresh. It is possible to be trusted and respected again. It is possible to gain a real love but not if you’re ashamed of yourself and hiding those skeletons in the closet.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2009 in relationships

 

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Can you ever really know a person?

When I asked for suggestions on topics to write about @younghgoesin suggested one of our favorite subjects to vent about. Relationshits. Specifically, the complexities of warming up to know all of someone when dating.

The question that many ask is “How well can you ever really know a person anyway?”

When you first meet someone you can only hope that they present themselves to you genuinely and follow their lead.  The issue is that a person isn’t one thing at all times. We’re often contradictory and multi-faceted beings in one body.

Things to remember:

Your energy is felt. I know this may sound like some hokey boho crap but think about it for a minute. Have you ever felt like someone is holding back so you hold back too?   If you want a person to let their guard down then be an open and positive person to be around. Don’t make them feel as if you’re going to judge or reject them. Assure them in your words and actions that you’re aware of all the things that a person can go through in a lifetime and that you realize that life happens to us all.  Your true energy is often felt, no matter how much you may try to disguise it.

Give it time. Why do we need to rush and gather all these expectations in such little time? If your biological clock is ticking then you need to snatch the battery for a little while. Folks can smell desperation and desperation stinks.  John Legend made a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it go!

Don’t become so dependent on texting, emails and other forms of online communication. These aren’t viable ways to really get to know a person.  Texting and online chatting is an illusory way to make people believe that they’re really getting to one another.  If you can’t see the person, pick up the phone sometimes and make it a point to let yourself enjoy what resonates from that person’s voice. Pay attention of the tones and flow of the conversation he or she is giving. Learn something new from what they’re saying as well as what they’re not saying.  It’s too easy to misinterpret otherwise.  And don’t you sometimes wonder if they really are laughing when they type LOL?

Ask questions and share. My favorite game to play with someone I’m just meeting is ‘ask me and I’ll ask you’.  & Even in my last “relationship” I introduced the game of  ‘Tell Me A Secret’ which was always fun and interesting.

Most importantly, be honest about your intentions. Not only with the other person but also with yourself.  Do you want to be with this person to boost your ego and feed off how how they make you feel? If so, refer back to my first point and evaluate your own self worth. It’s important to be happy with one’s self because we are all we really have. We alone are responsible for whats happening in our spirit. Take it from me,  no one wants the pressure of having to attempt to fix a broken man/woman. & Often times I’ve met men who know these things about themselves so they either push too hard for a relationship or hold back while in one.

So, what do you think?

This is all  just my opinion coming deep down from that good (and bad) personal experience.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2009 in relationships

 

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