Hear My Call

On Jill Scott’s Light of the Sun CD is a track titled “Hear My Call”. It spoke to my spirit during a recent morning jog. It begins:

Here I am again asking questions,

 

A few Saturdays ago I awoke around 6:20 a.m.  No, it’s not exactly normal for a Saturday. But then again, I’m not exactly “normal”. Still dark outside, I attempted to go back to sleep for at least another hour or so. But something kept me up. So I began talking to God, praying for those near and dear to my heart, and asking God questions: Lord, why do I keep compromising? Why is it that I seem to be unable to stay the course? How is it that I find myself backpedaling? Why do I keep settling for men whose intentions are temporal and not directed towards permanence? Why do I move so quickly? Why can’t I hold out? When God, when?

Once again I wondered how I had found myself in a situation that I had sworn I’d never return. It’s amazing how life provides us with exactly what we need despite our best efforts at fleeing and evading the lesson(s).    

Waiting to be moved.
I am so unsure of my perception,
What I thought I knew I don’t seem to

 

There seem to be too many instances when I thought I knew what I wanted or needed. I thought I knew better than God who and what was right or wrong for my life. And then a revelation would come and I would once again realize that I was deluding myself, or worse, delaying the inevitable—and perhaps delaying my destiny.

 

 

Where is the turn so I can get back to what I believe in?
Back to the old me and

 

I am yearning to get back to the old me. I long to be that woman who wasn’t afraid to ask for exactly what she wanted. I want to once again be that woman who was bold enough to stand alone—confident and secure in my womanhood—with or without a man in my life. I yearn to be that woman who didn’t allow life’s circumstances to callous and harden her spirit. I want to get back to the old me who smiled more than frowned—the old me who laughed so robustly and without regard. I want to get back . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, please.

[Verse 2]
I am such a fool
How did I get here?

 

There have been too many instances when I’ve played the fool—by my own hands mostly. I cannot in good consciousness blame others for my shortcomings. Sure enough, they played a role in the “experience”, but inevitably, I have to own up to my own actions. I, like Jill Scott am asking, “How did I get here?” Yes, here! Here as in–a place where I complain more than count my blessings. Here as in—a place where I allow life’s setbacks to disrupt my mood.   Here as in—a place where I stopped believing in my dreams and my ability to actualize them. Here . . .

 

Played by all the rules
Then they changed
I am but a child to your vision

 

It seems that I too “Played by all the rules [or at least what I thought were the rules]/Then they changed”. The dynamics between men and women have drastically changed. One minute I question whether I’m too aggressive; the next minute I can’t decide if I’m not aggressive enough. And here I am though. Here I am persevering. Here I am fighting against adversity. Here I am–desiring more than the life I’ve been living. Here I am God. Here I am . . .  

 

Standing in the cold and the rain
Lost here in the dark
I can’t see my foot to take a step,
What is happening?
Oh, this hurts so bad. I can hardly breathe.
I just want to leave so…

 

When it comes to this “dating” thing I am standing in the cold and the rain—wondering.   And then sometimes it seems like I’m lost in the dark and I’m questioning what is happening. What aren’t things working out despite my best efforts and intentions? And again God, “What is happening?” The sting of disappointment hurts so bad I want to leave the pain behind. The result: I’ve lost my ability to breathe. And again . . .

 

[Chorus]
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please,
God, please hear my call.
I am afraid for me.
Love has burned me raw
I need your healing
Please, please, oh, please, please.

 

God, if you’re there, please hear my call . . . I need to feel your presence; I need your healing.  Please . . .

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A Thin Line Between Submissive and Dominant: The Plight of the Independent Woman

“Men seem to be intimidated by me.”

 

“I feel you girl.”

 

“They see my car, where I live and they get in their mind that I’m some kind of way.”

 

“Yes, they say they want a woman who isn’t draining their pockets, but at the same time they don’t know how to vibe with a woman who’s got her own.”

 

The conversation fades to black and suddenly I hear Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabulous in the background singing “She Got Her Own (Miss Independent Remix)” . . .

 

“I love her cause she got her own/She don’t need mine, she said leave mine alone/There ain’t nothing that’s more sexy/Than a girl that want, but don’t need me/Young independent, yes she work hard/ . . . She don’t expect nothin’ from no guy/She plays aggressive but she’s still shy/But you’ll never know her softer side, by lookin’ in her eyes . . .”

 

There is an obvious paradox to what these three men were expressing as they sang the song and what we, Independent Women, have experienced, are experiencing, and may continue to experience presently and in the future. Me personally, I will be the first to spout out that I don’t need a man, but I certainly want a reliable, honest, devoted, and caring man in my life (just a few of the stellar qualities I desire in a mate). I don’t mind paying for dinner; I don’t have a problem spending my own money in the presence of a man. For me it doesn’t negate his manhood or his being a “gentleman”; it just means that I recognize the shift in cultural norms and I’m not above being fiscally responsible in a dating scenario. Much like the lyrics note, I don’t expect nothing from a man, I got my own, I work hard, but . . . many a man has missed out on my softer side because I tend to be aggressive—or at least come across as aggressive.

 

And that’s a problematic paradox. It’s as if independence and docility cannot possibly inhabit a woman’s personality concurrently. If there is some measure of truth to the aforementioned lyrics, where are the men who agree with Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx? Where are the men who desire an independent woman with a softer side that she reserves only for her man, girlfriends, and family?

 

The day of the above-paraphrased conversation, I was hanging out with a couple girlfriends, and as usual, the topic of men surfaced in our conversation. We talked about how we kept happening upon men who weren’t aggressive in their pursuits to “woo” us. With voices laden with frustration at many a failed effort in experiencing a bliss-filled future with a man whose interest and devotion to us matches that of our own, we soon dropped the topic and made a day of enjoying the sights and sounds of a local festival—just us girls. Nevertheless, what stayed with me after our conversation and the festivities was that our independence—while oftentimes is received as virtuous—has also been internalized (by the opposite sex) as a vice. I’m not sure who made the exact comment that followed me home and has been pestering me the past couple of weeks, but this I do know: this world is overflowing with absolutely beautiful, intelligent, captivating, and loving Independent (and single) Women.

 

A few years back a similar conversation surfaced amongst a different circle of friends and I remember penning the following words, “I will ‘submit’ for the right man.” I place the word submit in quotation marks because I mean to say that I will let the right man lead. Yes, the right man. I know how to take charge of a situation; yes, I know how to take care of myself; yes, I too can be aggressive, but there comes a time in an independent woman’s life when she wants to rest assured that she doesn’t have to be the one holding it down all the time. I recognize that I am a bit rough around the edges, but like a Caramel Hershey Kiss—I am gooey on the inside (don’t misconstrue that analogy). But don’t get it twisted; I’m no doormat.

 

Oftentimes it feels as if we (independent women) are misunderstood. We come across as brash, but in reality, we are powerfully loving creatures who have much to offer to a man who proves to be loyal, dependable, and loving—to name a few.

 

“Where are all the good men hiding?”

 

“That’s a great question. I can tell you that it ain’t in church.”

 

“They are the worst.”

 

“Girl, don’t I know.”

 

We scan the crowd. Suddenly, my mind drifts and I hear Katy Perry in my ear . . .

 

“I knew you were/You were gonna come to me/And here you are/But you better choose carefully/’Cause I, I’m capable of anything/Of anything and everything/Make me your Aphrodite/Make me your one and only/But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy/So you wanna play with magic/Boy, you should know what you’re falling for/Baby do you dare to do this/Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse/Are you ready for, ready for/A perfect storm, perfect storm/Cause once your mine, once you’re mine/There’s no going back . . .”

Much like Katy Perry has pointed out–we, Independent Women, are capable of anything and everything.

  • We are capable of loving a deserving man without condition—we all have limitations, but they don’t define us, or our man.
  • We are capable of holding down a job and still coming home to fulfill the domestic needs of the household.
  • We are capable of raising our children alone, but prefer to take on that responsibility with our man.
  • We are capable of speaking our mind when the situation calls for it, but we are also capable of being quiet when no words need be spoken.
  • We are capable of taking care of our man’s needs because we want to, not because we feel obligated.
  • We are capable of honoring our commitments regardless of life’s circumstances.
  • We are capable of this and so much more; we’re just waiting on the right man to recognize ALL the good that we are capable, and desirous, of extending.

Man—don’t sleep on the Dark Horse!

Manhood MMS

Author’s Note:  What follows is the first installment of what will be a weekly fiction piece I’ve chosen to title The Misadventures of Sister Girl.  Truth be told, I haven’t dabbled in writing fiction since my senior writing project at Denison University (’98).  But one of my current students inspired me to “pick up my pen” and write.  So here I am, returning to my first love: fiction.  I am not completely certain how Sister Girl’s story will unfold, but I am definitely having a great time developing characters, conflict(s), and dialogue.  I hope you enjoy this piece and those that follow.  If you have suggestions for plot development or anything else, please drop me a line.  And, as always, happy reading!

from The Misadventures of Sister Girl: “Manhood MMS”

You Sleep?

The next morning I awoke to the image of his manhood staring me in my face–literally.  If I’d acknowledged that as I sign, I may not be in my current predicament.  The joker who sent me a pic of his manhood doesn’t call me; he texts me and calls it “talking”.  He’s delusional.  And so am I for that matter—at least to a degree.

My apologies.  I should introduce myself.  My name is Olivia, Olivia Washington.  Most of my friends call me Liv however.  Liv—the irony.  I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking irony.  I’ll let you keep reading to determine if my irony is situational or dramatic.  Live.  I suppose you could call what I do live.  I like to think that I live to the beat of my own drum.  I’m not much concerned with how others view me—at least that hasn’t been the case as of late.  I make attempts to live my life in a way that pleases me.  And then there are those moments when I seem to just be existing—accepting the crumbs from the Master’s table instead of demanding a full plate.  And therein lies my dilemma.  My mother probably wouldn’t approve of the myriad of things I’ve seen and done, but I’m living for me and not her.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my mother.  She is the strongest woman I know.  Really.  Any woman who can stand tall after her husband of twenty years walks out on her is a lioness.  She is my SHERO!  But she is old school and I’m what you might call new school.  But enough about that.  Let’s get back to this business of texting and the manhood MMS.

Like I said, I should have acknowledged that MMS as a sign.  No, it wasn’t a sign that the stars had aligned and I had found my sexual equal.  It was a red, hot, shiny STOP sign!  But I wasn’t thinking stop when I saw it.  I was thinking . . . yes, you know damn well what I was thinking.  Any virile single woman with half a brain was thinking what I was thinking.  Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking.  And the look on my face said it all.  It’s a good thing no one was around to see me lick my lips, bite down on my lower lip, and shake my head from side to side.  Because that is exactly what I did.  What I needed was for someone to shake the shit out of me—not literally—but figuratively shake some sense into/out of me because after I looked at that image long enough I had lost all sense of reality.  And I’m pretty sure you know exactly what transpired after I took a long (pun intended) look at his manhood—yes, that’s exactly what happened.  But before we get to that, I’ve got to tell you how this Joker, Mr. Manhood (Davis Reed), and I came to be acquainted.

Davis and I grew up orbiting each others social satellites.  It just so happens that we grew up in the same small town, but never had the pleasure of being anything other than acquaintances in our younger days.  I dated friends of his which only allowed us to come into contact for instances of small talk over the years.  But it wasn’t until we found out that we lived in the same city, over 2,000 miles from home, that our paths crossed again—nearly fifteen years later.

Despite the fact that I believe social media platforms (one in particular) are the spawn of Satan, one in particular has at times been beneficial for communicative purposes.  In the case of my reconnecting with Davis Reed, this one platform had a redemptive moment.

Davis Reed:                                                         6/16, 10:22pm

How have you been Liv?

Liv Washington:                                               6/16, 10:23pm

I could complain, but I won’t right now.

Davis Reed:                                                       6/16, 10:26pm

True dat.  So when are we gonna finally hang out?

Liv Washington:                                              6/16, 10:31pm

IDK.  Call me sometime and we’ll figure it out.  555-555-5555

Davis Reed:                                                               6/16, 10:33pm

I will.  Thanks.  BTW, here is my number 111-111-1111

I figured we would do our regular song and dance and I wouldn’t hear from him until he caught me online again.  I’m really not sure why I gave him my number anyway.  I had no intention of seeing him.  After all, he and his buddies had probably already talked “shop” about my high school misadventures, and that was reason enough for me to evade him to infinity.  But I underestimated Davis.  I had hoped he’d forget about me and my phone number.  He didn’t.

Liv, why haven’t I seen you yet?

Sorry Charlie!

I suck at keeping in touch—

among other things.  LOL

I shouldn’t have gone there.  But I’m a work in progress.  Living at an emotional low during the transmission of his text, I was in need of some attention, any attention.  I baited him, just like he would later bait me with that Manhood MMS.

I’m waiting.

How can I make it up to you Mr. Reed?

Meet me for lunch.

Okay.  Pick a day.

Now.

But it’s not lunchtime.

It’s ten at night.

It’s lunch somewhere.

LOL.  Good point.

I’m already in my pajamas though.

Perfect.

Ha!

You’re cute.

I know.

Yes.

We’ve already established that.

Seriously though.  How about tomorrow?

I suppose I can wait another day.

You’ve only blown me off for the past four years.

 

I haven’t begun to blow you off; I can show you better than I can tell you. 

Ouch!  That hurt.

You throwing jabs already?

Not fair.

My bad.  I heard you liked it rough.

What does he know?  What has he heard from his buddies?

 

Really?

I don’t know where your “intelligence” is coming from,

but that is only partially true.

LOL

LMAO.

You ain’t changed a bit.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

The texting back and forth persisted well into the night.  Not once did he take the initiative to call, but I didn’t press the issue either.  I kept right on texting . . . until I fell asleep.

You sleep?

The next morning . . .

Does President Obama know about your WMD?

LOL

LMAO.  Umm . . . no.

Just saying.

That’s a nice piece of equipment you’re working with.