WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, December 7, 2007

Homie? Lover? Friend?

Sometimes I think I'm from another world (preach)
When I'm trynna tell a woman just exactly where I stand, that
I want a girl, when I want a girl
And when I don't want a girl, I want a girl who understands that
And that's some hard shit to explain
To a woman that's in love with you, it's a pitiful thing

-Slow it Down, Little Brother

Ladies have you ever heard this from a man: Girl, I wanna be with you but I’m tryna get myself together spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. And if you haven’t heard this, then you’ve heard some variation of this ish: I’m not really ready for a relationship right now…Girl, I wanna be with you but I’ve just got so much going on in my life, you know I got this new job, I’m trying to go back to school, I have to study for the bar exam, I’m going through a divorce, I haven’t traveled the world yet…The list is endless… And if you haven’t heard that, then you have a friend who has. And she’s spitted back these tired lines to you and you’ve wanted to smack her upside the head and be like “he said what?”

So many of us have been told by a man that they don’t wanna be with us. They have said it to our faces, texted us, sent us a postcard, rented a plane and had ‘I don’t wanna be with you’ sky written. And sometimes we still don’t get the message. And that’s mainly cause we fall for the "he might be saying he doesn’t want to be with me but he ain’t acting like it…” Ahhh yes…because men know that they have to do just enough to keep our asses hanging on.

They take us out just enough. They call us just enough. They remember just enough important things about us. Ooooh and then if they put it on us just right or sometimes just enough, we get all possessive, thinking, well if he didn’t want me, he wouldn’t be spending time with me. Oh how wrong we can be. Because when you strip back all the things y’all have "done" together, I think that it all comes down to these somewhat harsh, but oh so telling words by Andre 3000: “don’t wanna meet your daddy, just want you in my caddy. Don’t wanna meet your mama, just wanna make you cumma. I’m just being honest.” Oh yeah Andre also said, “y’all don’t wanna hear me, you just wanna dance.” Oh the nuggets of truth that can be found in Hey Ya…But I digress…

I always took the following lines: I want a girl, when I want a girl. And when I don't want a girl, I want a girl who understands that, to mean that even when he didn’t want an official girlfriend, he wanted to keep a girl around who would perform girlfriend like duties without the official title or respect it should command. You know keep someone in his back pocket, so he could pull her out when things get rough, or he needs someone to talk to, or he just needs him some…you know what I’m talkin bout…

And apparently the girl is just supposed to understand that. But in reality what girl really understands it? We may come off hard in the beginning like ok I’m down with this plan, we’re just kickin’ it, chillin’, “datin”, or what other ‘let’s just be free, we don’t need labels’ mess he comes up with…but then emotions get involved, and we start asking those questions: “where is this going?”, “what are we doing?”, to which he reminds us that he told us he didn’t want anything serious…

And this can lead us to feeling and acting a little crazy. And our actions and feelings go a little something like this: “You have managed to turn me from a woman of substance into a brick flying, calling too damn much...Crying and crying, spying way down down low with flats on from the opposite side of the bar... Easy-Off loaded on top of your car chick... I never intended to be this chick..."© Jill Scott. And even though we may get upset with ourselves, sometimes because we have invested so much time and energy into what has now become a mess, we start thinking, “well if I could just change his mind.” Yeah you can’t. I’m just being honest.

Where do I get this expertise from? Well, Rum Punch was once a student at the ‘I Can Change His Mind’ School, and then I studied abroad at the well renowned ‘Maybe If I Just Wait for Him to Come Around’ University, specializing in these thoughts: If I hang in there with him, do things for him, cook for him, be good to him, be nicer to him than he is nice to me, look good for him, rock those stilleto pumps for him, put it back on him, then he won’t go anywhere. He will want to be with me. Hmm…This didn’t really work for me. Anyone else?

Yeah I had to come to my senses. I mean who is really going to be financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically complete at the same time? You will always have to get some aspect of your life "together". And so as my friends and I get older, we have learned and recited this motto: people make time for who and what they want to make time for. And I finally realized that those “reasons” for not wanting a relationship were actually excuses. And that it wasn’t that he didn’t want a girlfriend, he just didn’t want me as a girlfriend. And while it hurt at the moment, in the end when it was all said and done, that, I could understand.

That's my time y'all! Happy Rum Punch Friday! Leaving you with a little something extra:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

memories of a former band geek

This past weekend a friend and I attended the Big Apple Classic. Hampton and Howard’s mens basketball teams squared off in Madison Square Garden, giving New Yorkers a taste of Black college festivities including a college fair, Greek step show and battle of the bands. I’m personally not a fan of either Hampton or Howard but having spent many a Saturday growing up glued to BET (remember when they showed Black college football games?) or huddled in the cold bleachers watching games live, I was jammin’ right along with Hampton’s pep band. And with every new song they played, my face lit up with recognition.

Hampton made Weezy’s confession bout never having ran from nan’nigga and that today was not the day to start sound like a passionate love song, using the brass horns to pick up on the tune’s melodic undertones. It really did! And dammit if they didn’t pull out the classic…

Heeeeey……heyyy……heyyyy……you talking out the sida ya neck… (ok, that sounded betta live but my real band heads feel me!)

My friend looked over at me and asked how I was able to pick up which songs the band was playing so fast. I gave her that girl-don’t-you-know-who-I-am look and said “I am THE band song decipherologist!”

I had to break it down for her. It’s a well-known fact that Black college bands choose their musical selections from a few specific categories:

1) your local dj’s top 8 at 8, what you hear on the radio 20 times a day, both ballads and hip hop joints alike; or
2) a three song melody comprised of hits from The Elements (Earth Wind & Fire for the uninitiated) or Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder

Now you will occasionally get the adventurous band that strays from these two categories but 9 times outta 10, this is what they go with. And then I asked her, have you never been to a Black college football game, caught the Bayou Classic on Thanksgiving Saturday, the homecoming parade, something?!?

And her response…That just wasn't my experience!

Note: said friend once confessed to me that she used to be afraid of Black people and large gatherings of Black people. Despite being African-American and growing up in a major northeastern city she somehow got it into her head that she should avoid places where lots of black people congregated, you know that extra hood shopping mall across town, high school basketball games, rap concerts, etc. because of the inherent dangers in such gatherings.

Damn Gina!

I looked at her with sorrowful eyes and wished at that moment that the De Lorean would pull up and take us both back to the fall of 1998 and my most memorable Black college band moment. I can remember it like it was yesterday (cue the music).

We had traveled all night on that charter bus from our little high school in our little city with hearts full of excitement and anticipation. We were on our way to the mecca of Black college bandum…Florida A & M University’s Homecoming.

In my teenage mind, we had made it to the big time. For this was where all things band sprung. Where our drum majors came for band camp every summer, where we got our drum cadences from (duckmouth, papa was a rolling stone, P-Sec, you know!), every formation, every drill, every arrangement was certified gold from FAMU. Even our band leader had gotten his chops on the trumpet section there and came back to the hometown to groom us up in the way that we should go.

We all hoped that one day, we too would be lucky enough to get a band scholarship upon graduation and join the ranks of the Marching 100, riding off into the sunset with our oh-so-sexy boyfriend who just happened to be on the trombone line or if we were especially lucky, a drum major! A girl could dream.

We marched our little hearts out up and down the country streets of Tallahassee and tried to act all grown walking through the yard, imagining ourselves as one of those girls, wearing one of those jackets, having the times of our lives, free from parents and restrictions enjoying homecoming weekend with our gaggle of girlfriends.

And when we finally made it to the stadium, spent from the cheers of the parade onlookers, we couldn’t contain ourselves. Black people as far as the eye could see were taking up every seat in the house, waving orange and green pom poms. Yelling, cheering, and laughing with delight. Just having the time of their lives, eagerly anticipating the halftime show.

And then the signal…

beeeeeeeeeeeeeep beep, beep beep beep beep.

The figures appeared. Tall and proud, the Presidential Nine, busting those 90’s slowly, precisely without dropping a knee. Swinging their batons in hand, tall white hats, sparkling clean uniforms with orange and green tassels swaying with every movement, shiny black boots, and that deadly rattler snaring at you from across their chests.

They death marched, clicking off time with short whistle beeps, reaching the middle of the field, and in a flash of caps, they spin, leap and fall into elaborate splits.

Let the show begin…

Man, somewhere in my friend’s fear of Black folks she missed all this…

In loving memory of my cuzo, a proud Rattler!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do Not Disrespect the Craft

Lately, I've received an earful from folks I keep company with about how folks always want a hook-up. My folks are artists and they have thier hustle on -- they are selling they're art for the masses in addition to working that 9-5. These folks believe in themselves and so do I. In the process of word of mouth/referrals they are able to expand their clientele base and bring in the extra dough, except when they meet a buster.

See buster is that one person, who actually respects the craft but won't admit it, they seek services from the artist but don't want to pay. You know who they are, you got some of n'em lurking in your family, they're your best friend, etc. . . They can't believe such and such charges that much, requires a deposit, charges per hour, the list goes on and on. . . Better yet they're trying to adulterate the artist services and pare down the rate to accommodate their budget. What is their budget you might ask, guess -- you know it -- it's a big fat 0. For those $0 dollars they want the supreme package, they're gonna come late, and still bitch and complain about how the artist produces their craft. And the artist who desires to please the potential customer first, rearranges their schedule to accommodate busters', pares down the rate to the point they can barely cover gas in their vehicle -- they didn't charge for overheard, their premium products used, and most importantly their time. As a friend of mine will say "they'll pay Nordstrom, but won't pay me". You know what Bellini says, "let their asses have it" -- but then again don't -- 'cuz you pride in yourself in being that uberprofessional.

The irony about busters is that they are supafly, stay gettin' their hair did -- every Friday @ the beauty salon or visits the barber once a week -- you get my drift. . . got the nerve to drive a gas-guzzler of a vehicle, oh -- the attributes are neverending. In this day and age, where the cost of goods have exponentially increased beyond the value of a dollar (a dollar ain't worth shit unless you're a dollarmenuaire), please don't expect individuals to break bread with you 'cuz you think you're special -- you're not.

Here's a classic scenario of buster: buster informs a mutual friend that they will seek the artist services and requests their contact information -- well that was over 2 weeks ago-- now the date is approaching and they call the artist assuming (a) the artist will drop their schedule and cater to them, (b) since both parties know the mutual friend -- the rate will be smaller vs. larger or just non-existent. . . huh? Don't make me hurt somebody. Unfortunately, what buster doesn't realize is that "nobody needs you", you're really a thorn to the backside.

So, to all the busters out there:DO NOT DISRESPECT THE CRAFT.



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Season of Sacrificial Hearts

Turkey has been eaten. Lights have been hung on houses. Parties are being planned. I’d say it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Which also means it’s giving time! No matter the motivator, be it compassion, traditional obligation or tax write offs ‘tis the season to give, and give abundantly. It’s just a given that November and December are earmarked as our opportunities to volunteer in soup kitchens, give a dollar to the homeless man that we’ve ignored all year, and stroke out checks to our favorite charities. And at my good ole gov’ment job we have the annual combined federal campaign that takes giving to another level complete with contribution goals and participation quotas. And when the campaign is over-a big official can proudly profess that his organization cares about the community because we donated X million dollars.

So much for the warm and fuzzy feelings of giving right?

It’s hard not to feel some type of way about this office giving campaign when the coordinator is demanding contributions thinly veiled as opportunities to give. I know, I know it doesn’t really matter how the
money got got as long as people are being helped. But as I look at the goal thermometer that shows my office is only at 36 percent of our financial goal, but nearly 80 percent have participated…I wonder what good is giving if it’s done grudgingly?

One of the biggest fights I had with my best friend in high school was about
giving money to the street homeless. Yeah, we were progressive that way. Anyways, I asked her what was the point of giving her dollar when tomorrow he’d be there again, asking her again. She didn’t know if he was going to use it for beer or if he was really a well to do person just panhandling in the daytime. She acknowledged my position but she wasn’t going to use my logic to find an excuse not to have compassion. She said it in a less eloquent way of course-we were 16 at the time-but it was still a “Damn, don’t I suck as a human” moment!

…And it got me to thinking about my own attitude towards giving then, and I still wonder about it today.

I give regularly to church, but outside of that there is no consistency. A Tsunami Fund here, a Hurricane relief drive there, a Save the Children payroll deduction when the mood strikes. But on the daily basis am I using my resources to help someone other than myself, friends or someone I’m related to? If its April 23rd am I down with fixing sandwiches? And if I do go, will I go back on April 30th or the following week? My inner Scrooge already knows the answer to that one.

And it was that same Scrooge who was mumbling when the coordinator was asking me to participate in the campaign. As I was shaking my head at what the others in my office were willing to contribute, the folks that make a lot more money than I do, I realized that it doesn’t matter what they are moved to give, it’s about me and my heart. Even in this season of giving I’ve been keeping my fist closed. And throughout the year I haven’t been willing to make a grave financial sacrifice either. And that’s a sad revelation to have about oneself, especially when they’re supposed to be a Christian...

...To whom much is given, much is required. No matter the season.

See You in Seven

Monday, December 3, 2007

Red Light, Green Light

Or maybe we can see a movie, or maybe we can see a play on Saturday
Or maybe we can roll a tree and feel the breeze and listen to a symphony
Or maybe chill and just be or maybe…
Maybe we can take a cruise or listen to The Roots
Or maybe eat some passion fruit or maybe cry to the blues…

- A Long Walk, Jill Scott

I’ve done all that and then some. Basketball game, drinks at happy hour, live jazz show, shooting pool… Dates. That’s what I’m talking about. Lots and lots and lots of dates. Most of them have been enjoyable. Every once and a while, I’m interested enough to agree to a second (or third) date. On occasion, I have to flex on a brotha for not coming correct. But up until this very moment, they all eventually end up the same way.With me still being single.

I’ve been single for about 15 months now. What bothered me most about when ole’ boy and I broke up was that I’d have to get back “out there.” Back out there again fishing in that damn sea. Where I never know what my hook may catch… A dead fish, or a rotten one, a baby fish, or maybe one that’s too heavy to reel in. Got to be careful ‘cause every fish ain’t meant to be fried.

I started off in a rut but lately my dating life has picked up speed. I could attribute the change to many factors but I think one is most prominent. My willingness to be more open minded about the offers for dates I receive. In the past couple of months, I have basically said yes to every guy who asked me out. Within reason, of course. There’s always the occasional no-brainer no nos. The dude who lives with his baby mama but proclaims they’re not together, they’re just saving money by sharing household expenses. [Riiiiiiight]. Or the man who’s living with his parents and he’s over the age of thirty [I just can't do it]. Sorry but they get no chance. But by taking a chance on going out with men I might not usually consider attractive (physically or otherwise) or my type, I have had the opportunity to discover new things about myself while sharpening my definition within of a suitable partner. A realistic one.

Now for clarification, I am talking about dating not gettin it on. Every date need not end up back at my crib or his. They ain’t all worthy of this here lovin. And that’s a lil too much risky business for me anyhow.

I fell upon this blog and thought the author’s idea was quite nifty. A young black woman in her twenties starts a year of yes – saying yes to every guy who asks her out and sharing her dating escapades in her blog entries. She was inspired by Maria Dahvana Headley’s book The Year of Yes. Now though the young lady did not maintain posting on a regular basis, I thought that the idea was hot. It takes guts to step out of the comfort zone and switch up your routine with something new. One day recently, I told Rum Punch about the year of yes and how I seemed to have inadvertently adopted this practice.

And then Amaretto’s post last week made me revisit this thought. I understand her position on dating and I’m trying hard to keep hope alive for myself, Amaretto, and the rest of my sistren. Therefore I have decided continue on this "yes" path that I have chosen. It may work and it may not. Only one way to find out.

In the weeks (or months) to follow, I will include brief updates on my experiences and encounters during my year of yes. I am already laughing hard as I think of the possibilities…

Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy