Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I don’t quite know when but, at some point, I stopped identifying as “smart.”  That is not to say that I don’t consider myself to a critical thinker, or intelligent.  What I mean is that I no longer consider those attributes to be points of identity for me.  I would much rather be seen as empathetic, resilient or even affable than “smart.”  When this comes up in conversation with old friends from my overachiever days, they often scoff at this development.  Often times, they feel as I am doing myself some deep disservice by no longer considering this trait to be essential to my notion of self.  I, however, find it incredibly freeing and integral to my personal journey towards authenticity.

As a product of a severely abusive childhood, my sense of self was pretty fucked from day one. Venerable psychologist Abraham Maslow went as far to say that those individuals who lack the very things that child abuse robs its victims of (ie. safety, love, occasionally food and water, family and confidence) are destined to have “a cripple psychology.”   Dr. Mary Ainsworth, another key figure in modern psychology, made it her life’s work to study the importance and life-long influence of parent-child relationships.  Put bluntly, having as shitty parent not only fucks you up during the abuse but, to some extent, for the rest of your life (even with therapy.)  Your essential sense of self is not allowed to form. 

Prevented from forging relationships with others, both directly (being literally locked in rooms) and indirectly (interacting with people in meaningful ways means having to explain why your Mom is nuts), I focused on school.  It was a sanctuary and a battleground where, regardless of what happened at home, I could reign supreme.  Aside from the obvious physical safety it provided, I was also able to escape to lands and lives I’d never imagined through reading.  And I definitely took pleasure in consistently scoring higher than the rest of my classmates, much to their chagrin.  In school, I was finally able to dominate.  

The older I became, doing well in school provided more tangible rewards; extra-curricular activities and summer long “nerd camps” allowed me to escape my home.  These rewards culminated in gaining a scholarship to a school where housing was paid for by my financial aid. 

However, it was also around this time that I realized I had no personal investment in school for…well, school’s sake.  While I was thankful for the knowledge I’d gained, I longed for something else. Something that everyone seemed to have.  Now that I was in college, I was forced to think about what I was going to do with this education – and that was terrifying. 

This ennui, this existential search to find out what the hell I was doing, lead to a very reckless part of my life that lasted years.  Even after graduating with honors, I shunned my past.  I felt that my education was worthless, as it didn't magically make anything better.  So I escaped with drugs, sex, and other self-harming behaviors.  Education didn't “fix” anything.  Being smart didn't make me anymore “me.” 

After years of therapy, I've come to a more nuanced understanding.  I see now that, it may very well have been the critical thinking skills I honed in school that allowed me to overcome my childhood.  The friends I made in college are now who I consider to be my “family” over a decade later.  So, it wasn't all for naught.  I work in a job where , while not setting the world on fire, I am able to call upon my education to creatively solve complex dilemmas on a daily basis.

So…”smart.”   That word is empty, and laced with desperation; both for an identity and some external approval.  So, while it may fit others, that’s a skin I've luckily shed. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time is precious, people!

I can't stand when people insist on telling me the same fucking story over and over again. But what really grinds my gears is when I tell them that they've already told to me the story and they pretend like they didn't hear me and proceed to spend another 10 to 15 minutes retelling me the same wack-ass story I didn't want to hear the first time around. I try to tell them, "you've already told me that story" in my "polite" voice so they don't waste another 10 minutes of my life, Because life is really precious, you know?

But they completely disregard me and it pisses me off like they don't care about my precious life and they want to tell me their story no matter what. Do they think if they tell me again it'll actually be funny or interesting this time and not even worse the second time around?!


I just came up with the perfect solution this may seem harsh but the end justifies the means. The next time a friend tries to do this to me I will simply tell them that they have two choices: they can either stop and refrain from telling me the same dumbass story again, or they can tell me the story but they must pay me for the time I have to spend listening to the same stupid ass story over and over again. Because time is money people and if you insist on telling me what I don't want to hear then the least you can do is compensate me for the time I'm wasting listening to your whack ass words.

Friends, you may find this harsh but I love you. I really do. STFU and have a good night.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beyonce, the Heartbreaker (you've got the best of me)

     I have always stayed quiet about the Beyonce hype... well, "always" is relative. But, I know a lot of people really like her- including the Obamas. And including my dear friend, Kayla, whose opinions I respect. Anyway, I wasn't surprised that Bey ripped out her heart. I kinda think that Beyonce ruins everything. The inauguration, the power grid at the Super Bowl, and the axiom for black women's looks are just a few examples. But, I tried to like her. I like "Love on Top." I don't really like much of her other solo work, but I attribute that to my general taste in music.

      Anyway, back to Kayla's heart. First, she was offended that Bey named the song "Bow Down." I was not too offended because, sometimes Bey is ratchet. eg. "Ring the Alarm," chinchilla coats!?! Ok, Pimps-R-Us frequent shopper!  Second, there was the cussing- especially "bitches."  I was surprised at this. Bey doesn't cuss! (or didnt used to-- but today is her and Jay-Z's 5 year anniversary, and I think a lot of women's language gets more colorful during marriage).  I know Bey considers herself a feminist.  I also know there are a lot of ways to be feminist.  She did write a song about who "Run the World," but it's (Girls), not comment. 

     When I first heard the song, I thought it was nothing I would want to dance to, but I was happy that Mike Jones was working again.  I had just been trying to remember his phone number and here he was!  Then, I realized it's Beyonce the whole time!!  I should have known because Beyonce ft. Mike Jones would've appeared on some headline.  Also, sometimes she doesn't work with others.  She does most of her own backup vocals and, even at the Super Bowl, she did much of her back-up dancing- with those giant screens and her video duplicates.  She did allow Michelle and Kelly to make an apperance--how nostalgic *sigh*

     Then -back to "Bow Down"- to exacerbate matters, Rush Limbaugh got into the mix.**  Beyonce brought Rush into the media's commentary of R&B.  Like I said, she ruins everything!!  He interpreted her song to mean that women should bow down, know their place, and accept a good man when they have one.  Oh, Rush! We already know nothing is too unimportant for him, especially when he can use it to make black people, Obama, women, or anything liberal look bad.  So, it's not entirely her fault.  Bey is just always in a place that has wide-reaching effects.  I guess that is what super stardom and "queen-ality" is.

     So, in conclusion, I am sorry to all those who have been hurt, shocked, offended, insulted by Beyonce.  All I can advise is to let her have her pedestal, but to keep it in the realm of music, and *gulp* fashion.  (But don't tell that to PETA.  She is always angering them because she wears a lot of animals.  Again, no comment)
If you recognized the title from another R&B Royal... all I can say is, Bey is no Mariah! I had a vision of a pop/R&B queen and it was not what Beyonce turned out to be.