Hello Darkness You Ain’t My Friend

For the past couple of weeks when I stepped out the door to head to work, I’ve been mostly greeted with the dawn. On the clear days it has been wonderful seeing seeing the warm twilight colors on the way to the station of the elevated train I take. I have enjoyed it through the above ground stations until the train plunges into the ground below becoming subway. When I emerge at my destination the sun has fully risen and it is officially day time.

The weather was lovely and the girly in me won out: I wore my white. yellow and black graphic print skater skirt, a black lace blouse with yellow underlay, my black leather boots with gold trim and my short leather jacket. I was looking and feeling so good as hell, Lizzo would have been proud.

Thus I was quite taken aback, and truth be told more than a little miffed this morning when I walked out into darkness. What?

I mean hello?, all this goodness I had going on needed the spotlight called El Sol. Never mind that in another hour and change I will emerge from the subway like the phoenix in all my glory; that was not the point. My four block strut to the train station could not be equally enjoyed by the half-dozen faces encountered in passing. What was this sapphire sky nonsense?

I had forgotten about daylight savings that sprang me forward in the day, yet bounced me back into night skies for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, if some of the Venus Envy I observed was any indication, a few of my fellow train riders were honored by the privilege of seeing Le Raivenne feathered so gaily. I was a Rai of snark-shine in this COVID-19 environs, and knew it.

At least the strut home was more enjoyed, better luck next time morning peeps, see you in a couple of weeks where I will continue to be modest as I am petite. (Note: I am NOT petite.)

Day 9 and was slicing fine!
Slice of Life Writing Challenge– let’s see what my fellow slicers are up to:

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries – As Cute Does

“I bet you think you’re cute.”

This coming from a young woman in her early thirties to me because I, a grown-ass woman almost twice her age, beat her to a seat on the subway.  I’m sure she only said because she saw I had earbuds on and likely thought I could not hear her. Wrong.

Let’s see…

I.  I’m in a bodycon dress where this body is throw all kinds of conscious attitude, the boots are cute, the mane with it’s deep purple highlights is shining and glorious, the gold mirrored, clear trim sunglasses are fierce and the face is done.

II. A woman does not step out of her home looking the way I looked  and don’t know she’s got it going on – no apologies or *bleeps*  given.

III. Oh dear Lord, it’s 2016 – catty females still say “she think she cute”? I thought that was as played out as “jive turkey”. So disappointing.

Being called out on cuteness traditionally is supposed to tear a female down. It’s a chastisement. Because heaven forbid she should own her beauty. She should be modest and demur respond with something along this lines of “Oh no, I don’t think I’m cute”

Pssshht! This is me we’re talking about – addressing someone who is likely ten years the junior of my own children. Modest? Demur? Me?–Never going to happen.

“Let me explain it to you this way – both of my parents brought nothing but beautiful children into this world and I’m an only child.”

She said nothing else to me, but from the murderous look that crossed her face, I think she got the point.

N’est-ce pas?

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Let’s see how others are getting through this 10th day  of the challenge:

sol

Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Day 10 – Two Writing Teachers

 

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: Open Mouth Prove Stupid

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: Why I try to keep my earbuds in as long as possible while riding mass transit so exchanges like this are less likely to happen when I forget I’m not wearing shades to hide my eyes:

1. Every fat, black woman whose name you don’t know or can’t remember is *not* “Precious”.

2. The actress’ name who portrayed Precious is Gabourey Sidibe.

3. The name of the character Ms. Sidibe portrays on “Empire” is Becky.

4. Clearly you’ve forgotten that “Precious” was raped by own her father.

5. Therefore it was “Becky” having consensual sex on the show. Not Precious and not Gabourey.

Thus your exclamation of “Oh gurl, you shoulda seen Precious gettin’ it on like she think she be the real Precious like you know” displays ignorance on multiple levels and why I’m “lookin’ at choo like youse stupid.”

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Yes, the entire mini-tirade above was my response to being asked “Why you lookin’ at me like I’s stupid?” by the young lady who made the statement. I don’t think she actually expected me to answer her when I caught her off guard and responded with “Do you really want me to answer that?” and then took her to school Julia Sugarbaker style.

Let’s see how others are slicing it this week.

Slice of Life writing Challenge: Two Writing Teachers

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

 

That’s A Dress?

A new plus-size clothing store opened in my area. I came to check it out, visually peruse the wares. With most of the clothing brightly colored, patterned and blingy, the store clearly catered to a customer base much younger than myself.  While the styles were cute, most of their skirts and dresses were much too short for my tastes, even if worn with leggings as is the current trend. It’s just not my style, but I keep looking because you never know, every now and then you strike gold and I did. I spot a semi-muted leopard print skirt with a pleated sheer black overlay hanging high on a wall. I am actually surprised by this skirt for a couple of reasons. The muted tones of the print together with the overlay was a considerable level up in comparison to most of what I had seen so far. Above all it was the only skirt in the entire shop that reached my knees. Bonus – it was on sale, so I had to have it. I catch the eye of a sales girl, point to the skirt on the wall and ask if it is in my size. She looks befuddled not seeing the skirt I’m speaking of until I point it out by describing the shorter skirt next to it.

“Oh, you mean the leopard mini dress!” She smiles finally understanding to which item I refer; only now I am the one who is confused.

“That’s a dress?” I look at it again, not seeing it all at.

“Yeah, let me take it down for you, you’ll see.” She finds an extender hanging hook and brings it to me. “See? It’s a dress.”

I dubiously took it and held it against my body.  To be fair the tube dress likely would be cute hitting mid-thigh or lower on someone who is 5’3″ or shorter. However, at my 5’8″ frame, worn as designed, it barely reached past my hips to my upper thighs and that is just holding it against me. With my body shape it would be even shorter when put on.

“Please tell me, where on earth would I be going at my age in something like this? Me?” I shake my head. It honestly was a sarcastic, rhetorical question, but the sales girl didn’t know that.
“Yes, you! It’s a club dress. You could easy rock that!” She nods as she visually appraised the dress against me.

“I’m fifty years old and there’s no way in hell…” I begin and then stop, seeing that she is about to cut me off with the standard tripe. “I swear if you’re about to say “age is just a number” close your mouth now before you lose a sale.” She closed her mouth so hard and fast I think I heard her teeth grind. “You’re new at being a sales girl in a clothing store aren’t you?”

She nods self-consciously in response. “That obvious?”

I take a mental breath and smile at the girl, hopefully taking some of the sting out of my words.  She is just trying to do her job, I reminded myself. “Just a little. It takes time to learn to read customers. Someone younger, you might be able to get them to buy it as a dress anyway. But I’m not that young. You saw that face I gave you a moment ago? That was the face of a woman who knows what she is about.  What her style is and what works for her. You can’t sway her. You don’t want to push too hard on a customer who’s set like that. She can have five items in her arms that she loves, but may walk away purchasing nothing because of that. In your case you’re lucky I have imagination and am buying this to wear as a skirt. So what do you think you should do next?”

“Ask you to show me how you’re wearing it as a skirt so I can show someone else how if they don’t like it as a dress neither.”

I mentally cringed at the double negative, but nodded approvingly, “Very good. And…?”

“Now that you have this skirt, we have a belt I think would go great with it. Let me show you, it’s this way.” She turned barely waiting for my response, knowing I would follow.

“Perfect.” I laughed.  “Show me.”

I’ve worn that skirt twice now with different tops and both times I received compliments on my dress.  Especially when seen  in pictures. The irony of it makes me giggle.

dress - skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a dress?

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Check out how other lives are slicing today….

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

 

 

 

 

 

Slice of Life – Two Writing Teachers

Nothing To Fear? Want To Bet?

Please – read this first —-> Unseen, Unheard, Unvalued, Unimportant …

Now hear (read?) me out…

The fear of such an encounter is in nearly every woman’s subconscious, whether we want to admit to ourselves, let alone openly, or not.

Maybe it is not to such extremes in smaller towns, but in cities big and small, each day we as women who deign to step out past our front doors is consciously unconscious prepared for battle. We walk the streets constantly scanning faces and spaces, making as little eye-contact as possible, to keep from bumping into people and people from bumping into us. We walk the streets wondering was that brush against our backsides just the happenstance of crowded streets/bus/train/bar or was it something else? We walk the streets knowing that to hold eye-contact with a stranger too long can garner anything from a “were you looking at me?” stare with them quickly looking away, to a “what the f*** you looking at?” glare that makes you quickly shift your eyes. For extended eye-contact can turn into a simple one head nod of acknowledgement one human to another that is forgotten faster than the air refills the vacancy formed in passing each other  or it can escalate into what happened to GirlGriot. Or for the wrong woman caught by the wrong man on the wrong day with no knights, white/black or otherwise, to come to the rescue – something worse.

And all of this for no other reason for some than our having a vagina.

This daily battle is amplified pound for pound exponentially for us bigger gals. Where a look can also be one mere disapproval for taking up more space than some other person or outright disdain for our mere existence on this planet. Where a woman can strut down the street in haute couture, but can be brought down and made to feel a hot mess by the  hateful words and/or actions  of an (im)perfect stranger, because she appears to be over XYZ  pounds over some presumed benchmark of beauty.  If a cell phone is held up in our general direction, is the person just trying to read their texts in a better light or are we about to be photographed without our permission only to someday find ourselves subjected to the likes of Tosh 2.0 or “People of WalMart” type of vile and viral?

Now add being  a woman of color to the daily strategy, because unless we are already acquainted with them in other some way, the ones who could become a danger to us do not see the individual. The questions then become – is the guy looking at me seeing a Sapphire (the Angry Black Woman stereotype to challenge) or a Jezebel (the Promiscuous Black Woman stereotype to fuck)? While no one is ever mistaking me for the third stereotype a Mammy – the maid/mother/church woman/crone, I know for certain that the potential predator/s may look at me through any one or all three stereotypes and only see one thing – prey. This battle crosses every class, social and economic lines from roun’-the-way girls through to the upper echelons grande dames. The daily battle of our self-pride that says “Keep your head up,” against our self-preservation that says “but, keep your eyes lowered” because any day could turn into that day.  Just as no mother of black sons wants her child’s name to follow behind the comma of the latest victim of senseless violence, we have no desire for it to be our name behind that comma either.

We women are well aware that millions of women will go through their lives and never encounter anything that may challenge her safety. Still, if we have not lived it ourselves, we all know someone, or of someone, who has. Thus we all go through our lives knowing that on any given day it could. We either live in the grips of this fear, or in spite of this fear, or some combination thereof, but this fear is a subconscious part of our day, every single day.

I know most of you can’t, won’t or refuse to comprehend this, so I’ll repeat it.

Every. Single. Day.

And we do it in relative silence. Why? Because what’s the point in complaining? No ones listening anyway, as the saying goes.  It’s one thing to surmise that our well beings can mean so little to some. It’s a bitter pill to swallow down in our cores in the face of the truth of it. Had she been a white woman accosted by a black man in such a manner, someone would have quickly intervened. Someone else likely would have been taking cell phone pictures/videos for the police.  She would not be deliberately unseen by passers-by. She would not be unheard by those she called out to.  If silence equals consent, then the silence of each person that ignored GG’s plight in effect gave the man consent to harm.  I do not dare to ask what would it have taken for them to acknowledge her potentially dire situation and intervene. I am just grateful for the young heroes who did come to her aid, that we won’t ever have to find out.

But what of the next woman who encounters a man like that?

I read GirlGriot’s post. And re-read it. And read it yet again. I want to focus on the positive of the young men that came to her rescue, but I can’t get past the boulder sized lump in my throat that rescuing was needed in the first place.

I keep coming back to this: I shouldn’t have to fear men messing with me in the street. And I shouldn’t have to fear the people who are supposed to protect me from men messing with me in the street.
— GirlGriot Unseen, Unheard, Unvalued, Unimportant …

Nor should we have to have fear for the good Samaritan/s who do reach out to protect us, that their actions to help could put them in a different kind of harm on our behalf.

We should not have to fear…period.

But we do… Every. Single. Day.

No Apologies

So Linda Kelsey posted an article on the Daily Mail, a UK publication. In the article the self-proclaimed “unapologetic fattist”

Oh Linda Kelsey honey, let me begin with these wonderful words from the incomparable Mary J. Bligh:

So I like what I see, when I’m looking at me,
When I’m walking past the mirror

And yes it’s a full length mirror, showing all of me from my cankles, through my “bulging bellies and billowing pillows of back and shoulder stuffing, punctured by flabby arms and lardy legs” to my massive mess of curly hair. And I adore every ounce of it!

I am not going to go through the various fallacies in your pseudo medical proclamations solely equating fat with a litany of potentially fate medical conditions. We’ve all been on that not-so-merry-go-round and rather leave that to those who are better versed in that debate handle it. My focus is on your inability to understand how women of a certain size can dare to be happy. I do not know about you, but the source of my happiness is not attached to the size of my waistline.

You don’t like fat on yourself, that’s fine. You don’t like fat on other people, that’s equally fine. You are entitled to your opinion on both counts. However, your issues with the fat body are not mine. And certainly are not the Happiness Police. My happiness is not reliant upon your opinion -there’s that word again- of my fatness. My happiness cannot be validated or unvalidated by anyone but the crazy woman I face in that full length mirror each day.

I suppose a part of me is somewhat grateful that unapologetic fattists such as yourself at least recognize that not all of us fat chicks are miserable beings, hiding ourselves from the world, crying into a (insert fatty foods of choice here – I don’t want mention specifics and accidentally trigger anyone). After all we fatties are clearly so sensitive with no self control that even mentioning food could set us off on a feeding frenzy <– that was SARCASM in case you missed it. I am not grateful that you and your fellow unapologetic fattists feel that we should be just that though, hiding behind our own for walls until we shrink down to a size the lot of you deem no longer a blight and acceptable for public viewing.

Not gonna happen chica. You want to call me a fat girl, oh please do because guess what? I am fat and that’s that.

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers
Slice of Life Challenge: Two Writing Teachers

If I Read One More Thing About Weight Loss I’m Going To Throw Up!

Do you know how sometimes you and/or your friends come across something so WTF?, so  – I don’t even know what to call it – that it must be shared just so the burden of knowing this exists is not yours bear alone.

This is one of those times….

The Device
To begin Aspiration Therapy, a specially designed tube, known as the A-Tube™, is placed in the stomach. The A-Tube is a thin silicone rubber tube that connects the inside of the stomach directly to a discreet, poker-chip sized Skin-Port on the outside of the abdomen. The Skin-Port has a valve that can be opened or closed to control the flow of stomach contents. The patient empties a portion of stomach contents into the toilet after each meal through this tube by connecting a small, handheld device to the Skin-Port. The emptying process is called “aspiration”.
http://www.aspirebariatrics.com/how-it-works.html

Where a standard catheter processes food removal after digestion. Here, the person has a type of catheter attached to his/her stomach that allows a portion of  food to be removed from the body before digestion is complete. This medically sanctioned bulimia is calories in, calories out without having to stick one’s fingers down one’s throat. Good, because I imagine that must be murder on one’s manicure.

Now, as a medical procedure for those who would need to do such to save their lives, I understand. I fully understand that there are those who can’t, and I do mean cannot, make use of the socially accepted methods of weight loss – dieting-exercise-Weight Loss Surgery.  However, let’s be honest. Never mind all the verbiage on the website that this “therapy” is used to assist in one’s “lifestyle modification”, and requires careful monitoring by one’s doctor.  We know a good portion of those who will volunteer to use this are going to be the ones who won’t (not can’t – won’t) be so bothered with those sociallyaccepted methods.

Considering the ‘aromas’ involved during a normal body waste removal and/or auto purge response. Never mind what’s involved scent wise with the use of catheters when things go wrong – and they occasionally do go very wrong.  I do not want to even think about what charm would emanate should that valve and/or pump ever fail.

And So…

  • If it comes down the front tube it’s urination.
  • If it comes down the back tube it’s defecation.
  • If it comes up the esophageal tube, though not necessarily out the mouth, it’s regurgitation.
  • And if it’s sucked out the inserted plastic tube on the side it’s aspiration.

They liken the process of expelling the contents of one’s stomach to the process of drawing one’s breath.  I know aspiration is the technical name for that part of the process medically speaking, the drawing of air or liquids through suction. Still, I’m betting, if the standard definition of the word were a person, s/he would be appalled and highly insulted by such.

And ooh, when it comes to sexy time, I bet that ‘poker chip’ must be so lovely to kiss to lick to gaze upon. Talk about redefining let me stick it in your port baby, ugh!I don’t know about you, but this is not something I will ever aspire to.

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: Callipygian Earnestness

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries (a.k.a. the shit that comes out of my mouth):

So, while holding a bag  that clearly contains my lunch in hand, I am about to enter the revolving door of my office building when I spy a colleague exiting. I stand to the side and wait for him to exit.

Seeing my bag he inquires of it contents.  I tell him it’s “poison”.  I have no idea why, but I can tell by his expression that he doubts the veracity of my statement.

“What?  You were warned years ago to never trust a big butt.” I say as I make it a point to smile broadly.

He’s stumped for all of .1 seconds before he starts grinning.

“I can’t play with you.” He throws up his hands and walks away, shaking his head while laughing.

Was it something I said?

– blame Bell Biv DeVoe!

Feeling Good

.

I’m feeling good…

Good like the cool rain taking the heat out of a sultry day
Like the breeze causing my skirt to gently sway
In that zany, loopy fun kind of cray

Good like finding a long-lost favored ring
A walk in the park the first days of spring
On a hot day, a sip of some cool fruity thing

Good like cutting with the Little Joker in Spades
Knowing I still have the big one to be played
Hiding the gleam in my eyes behind some shades

Oh, I’m feeling good.

For I’ve  spent way too many days with my smile lying
Fake laughing to cover how my heart was crying
In a world not even close to caring how my soul was dying

And too long I let others tell me how I should be
But never was it ever what I knew I could be
So now I only work on what is it good to me

Now that’s not saying I’m not feeling for my brothers set adrift
Or lost my empathy for my sisters getting the short shrift
Or that I don’t care about our socio and economic rift

Because sometimes the world makes me wanna holla from that stress
And like Marvin I want to know what’s going on with this mess and…

Excuse me, I digress…

Where was I?

Yeah, but right now? I’m feeling good!

Good like looking the mirror and loving the sight
Whether in silks by day or leathers by night
When I know I’ve got it all together so tight

Good enough to wear a mini in a skinny crowd
Not hide my beauty in some mumu or shroud
Head high, gut forward, loud and proud

And yes, sometimes it comes to pass
That there are those who chose to lambast
For they have a problem with my fat ass

But I’m not the one that’s going to obsess
And with each bite of food reassess and…

Oh excuse me again, I digress…

I am feeling good!

Good like having a day that started with doubt
But then proving I do know what I’m about
And later catching someone fine checking me out

That kind of good that can only come from within
That sneaky good I feel when I’m about to sin
With the one that gives me more than just a grin

The good of being in the zone
When my voice takes on that tone
Like the sound of a pleasured moan

Good like when I get that feeling of that special caress
From the hand slipping slowly under my dress and…

Damn, did it again, huh? My bad… Excuse me… I digress…

But no, y’all just don’t understand! I’m feeling good!

The giddy with friends that’s fondly tolerated
The kind of good that’s always celebrated
Where those near can’t help be feel elevated!

Feeling like Joy has answered my speed dial!
Good like not a thing on this earth can cramp my style
Good like the strength of my strut, the gleam of my smile

Good for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m able
To handle the crap still left on my mental table
Feeling a  good, that’s so good, that I a poet can’t even label!

Umph –  that kind of good!

And yeah I know I can’t sing it as Nina would, but

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun up in the sky, you know how I feel
Leaves drifting on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and…

I’m feeling GOOD!

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Feeling good about dVerse ~ Poets Pub’s | OpenLinkNight : Week 104

The Weighing In Of Opera

Buzzfeed.com had an interesting post on “What Happened To Opera”.  True to Buzzfeed’s style the article, while somewhat tongue-in-cheek, makes a damn good point  and gets extra kudos for the Bugs Bunny reference.

While the opera productions have become bigger, grander, the singers themselves have not, at least not size wise.   Here in America, as well as in other Western social minds,  the fat body is considered unhealthy, abnormal, something to be ashamed of, not the socially accepted form of what is sexy.

Many opera companies, especially the smaller ones, struggle economically. And apparently think the solution is to behave like popular music labels and play up the sexuality of their leading stars.  Singer Deborah Voigt, a leading dramatic soprano, was famously fired years ago for being too fat to portray a role as the stage director at that time had envisioned it.  Voigt was eventually reinstated after she lost the weight through gastric band surgery. Yes, she states it was for her own health reasons, but no one can be blamed for the unspoken wink, wink, nudge, nudge  that goes with it.  Erstwhile mega operatic superstars such as Norman and Sills and Pavarotti would likely be hard pressed to keep their standing in this new aesthetic. This goes beyond mere fat-phobia into an analysis of appearance in music and theater that is depressing.

If the saying “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings” were to held to its truth, it would likely mean the death knell for opera.  As with everything else there are exceptions to the rule, those whose amazing voices transcend the benchmark.  Still,  even those exceptions are growing smaller and smaller and not just in size.

It’s sad, but unfortunately true. Opera used to be solely about the singing.  Now not only must the singers have the most amazing voices for the parts, they now must have the looks to go with them and therein lies the rub. There was ad campaign which queried  “What is sexy”.   And let’s face it, in this climate, the de rigueur definition of  sexy = skinny.

The beloved image fat, horned-helmet Valkyrie, belting out Wagner, pretty much synonymous with opera, will eventually be as obsolete as the Beta-max.  There are such amazing singers out there whose voices  may never be heard because of this downsizing and we will never know our loss.