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 28, 2007

Doin' Me

So there is a song out on the radio by someone named Rocko (yeah not really sure who he is) titled Imma do me. Well actually when I googled the song (because I am getting old and out of touch), I found out that it was titled: Umma do me. Lawd! Please save the babies...

So the chorus to the song is as follows: you just do you and Imma do me…Never mind that the rest of the song is filled with the usual boasting and braggadocio of having money, platinum and other things us regular folk can never have… let’s just focus on: you just do you and Imma do me. Not too profound is it?

Well I am reading renowned theologian Howard Thurman’s book The Search for Common Ground and he writes: I have always wanted to be me without making it difficult for you to be you. Profound and insightful is it not? And dare I say the complex, philosophical version of: you just do you and Imma do me…And if I may add, way easier said than done...

When I first read Thurman’s line it gave me pause because I thought about how difficult it is to let someone be who they are or who they want to be without bringing all your own shit to their table. Parents place extraordinary expectations onto their children, friends have unrealistic demands of friends, spouses project their uncertainties onto spouses, etc, etc. At one point or another we have felt the need to tell somebody about themselves, about how they were living, about what they need to do: go back to school, leave that man alone, take that job, don’t take a risk and move to a different city… And if we haven’t said it to their faces, we’ve thought about it or gossiped with our other friends about it. We have brought our own fears and trepidation about our lives into someone else’s life and tried to stop them from being who they are and who they want to be.

Recently, a friend and I had tête à tête. I told her all about herself and what I thought about a certain situation she had been in, not in a mean way per se, but in a matter of fact, I think I’m being helpful and being a friend kinda way…And she retorted by telling me all about herself, her real self...Who she was at the time and who she is now. What she believed then and how she has grown from that situation. She revealed parts of psyche that I never knew (and I mean was I really entitled to knowing the inner workings of her mind) that left me like “oh is that what you been thinking all along? Well I ain't know all that…”

It was days after our exchange that I read Thurman’s line and I had one of those ‘doh’, I coulda had a V8 moments. I realized that I had brought how I would live my life into my friend’s life. And how many of y’all know that doesn’t work? I mean like ever. I had to really accept that just because we're friends, just because we share a lot of the same values, hopes and wants in life, doesn't mean that we approach situations the same way. I had put a brought a little too much of me into her life...

As 2008 approaches I have been thinking about ways that I want to improve, not resolutions that can be broken in a few weeks or a few months, but slight alterations or improvements that might take years of work to see results. And I have decided that I’m committed to doing me. I am ready to examine parts of me that may make it difficult for others to be themselves: my nosiness, my judgmental ways, my refusal to let some things go, my 'I know what's best for you' attitude... I’m committed to living my life and my life only, committed to emitting my inner fabulousness for all the world to enjoy, committed to being the best daughter, sister, niece, friend that I can be without purposefully encroaching on the lives of others.

Now this isn’t to say that I won’t provide sage advice to those who ask (tee hee, tee hee), but it does mean that I’m going to resist telling people (or spend a huge amount of time worrying about) what they need to do to get themselves together. As we get older, I see some friends growing up and getting themselves together, some remaining seemingly stagnant, some making decisions that I question and wonder how that’s going to work out later on, but I am really accepting that we all have our own path to take. And while we need all the support and encouragement as we walk down that road, when it's all said and done, no one can do it for us or make us do anything differently. So you just do you and Imma do me. For real this time.

That's my time y'all! Happy Rum Punch Friday! Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

conservative views in Black face

I don’t really consider myself a political junkie like bellini. I don’t even consider myself one who loves to talk about politics all that much. And when someone starts a conversation with so…are you into politics? I know whatever follows can't be good. especially when these words are spoken by a Black republican.

This past Saturday night, one of my homegirls from the hometown* was hosting a small Christmas party for a group of young black professionals about town. surprisingly everyone is pretty down to earth…except for this one dude, I shall call him Black Good Ole' Boy ("BGOB").

Picture it...black male, mid-twenties, new lawyer, suede blazer, loafers and a button up shirt. a chocolate covered good ole boy. no, seriously he talks in that folksy how ya'll doin? way. think matthew mcconaughey in a time to kill except way less down for the people.

So as a group of us are sitting around the dining room table enjoying our drinks, BGOB starts in….so who’s ya’ll’s favorite candidate?

crickets crickets...
the rest of us kinda look at each other and then finally this other dude, the Representative, takes the bait….oh obama’s my guy. I like him, I like what he stands for, and what he’s about. Cut to BGOB, he gives a smug little smile and says obama huh? well why do you like him? What about him do you like? What does he stand for?

Whoooa brah…we are not in the court room, the Representative is not on trial here. But the Representative sticks to his guns and goes head to head with BGOB, explaining quite well why he has put his support behind 'bama. I sit quietly not wanting to jump in but wanting to jump ya know.

So then BGOB spits out this little gem that I can't resist seeing as how I consider myself a defender of people's rights and all. all these democrats talking about universal healthcare with no real plan on how they will implement it. I can't get behind such half-cocked ideas. I don’t want anybody telling me what doctor I can and cannot go to, blah blah blah…

Whooooaaa brah….here you go with the exaggerations, you know good in hell well none of the democrats are calling for that kinda plan. And I say to him: They are starting the dialogue and saying hey…every person deserves healthcare no matter how much money they make. The democrats want to make healthcare affordable for all. I think everyone has the right to be healthy. None of the republicans are saying anything close to that….

And then BGOB hit me with the kicker…

BGOB: Well I wouldn’t say healthcare is a right per se. I mean just like everyone doesn’t have a right to an attorney... I don't want the government compelling me to give my services away for free...

Mint Julep: Uuuuuhhh yes they do, it's in the Constitution [dumb ass!]. Every criminal defendant no matter how much money they don’t have is entitled to a defense…. and you have an obligation to do pro bono work as a member of this profession... [black republican bastard!]

And we went back and forth some more with him saying stupid shit about doctors’ profit margins going down, doctors not being able to survive under a universal health plan (I later found out his stepdad is a doctor). everything he said made me throw up a little in my mouth until I finally excused myself to go get another drink.

BGOB is the reason I can’t get down with the black republicans. I mean i'm not super liberal by any means, in fact my views are a bit conservative on some issues but if you can come out yo mouth talkin bout people don't have a right to be healthy and you can't recall one of the fundamental rights deeply ingrained in our legal system, the right to competent legal representation, then something is terribly terribly wrong with ya. i mean really how does one get to be this way? has his little bit of privilege in upbringing, getting a professional degree and entering a profession heavily populated with old white conservative men so deeply polluted him, robbed him of his concious mind? republicans just lack the ability to feel for others, to understand the plight of others, to help others...
and that's just crazy to me.
*the hometown is in the South if ya didn't know.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You got to have balls!

For the past few days I’ve been able to catch up on television. As a professional, my bedtime limit is supposed to be 10 p.m. so I can get to the office at a decent hour the following morning. All the good shows and the night news come on at 10 o’clock or later. . . Now I understand why one of my favorite professors swore by TiVo. So, with no new programming coming on this week all my favorite shows are on instant rerun status and that’s fine with me -- I can play catch up. So, the other day I watch E! News and they discuss memorable moments for 2007. Imus and the Richards guy come up and they have Roseanne Barr give her 2 cents and she says “It takes balls to go after people with more money than you, that’s what I do.” Ha! Well, go on Roseanne– ‘cuz Bellini is totally feeling you.

Roseanne’s quote then led me to ponder whether the blogosphere is justified in going after celebrities. Just because they make more money and operate in the public sphere – should celebrities be game? I know you guys are aware of the cybertiff going on between some celebrities and bloggers of color – check December ’07 Essence for a recap. If we apply Roseanne’s logic the bloggers are justified for going after the celebrities. Does it make a difference if the bloggers and celebrities all happen to be black women? – the cattiness of women “meow”!

The rumormill has the women linked to various men all within the same week, impregnated, etc. . . Now, it appears the bloggers feel they are doing the woman a service by suspending their name and image on the minds and tongues of the people. But I’m not sure if the Hollywood adage rings true “all press is good press” – is it? I mean look at Britney she could use a few months without being mentioned in the press – no lip service at all.

Could it be argued that black bloggers are leveling the playing field for black celebrities? Then again, just because white Hollywood has relegated black actors and actresses to the “other” category, does this mean that black folks must feel compelled to operate in the paradigm that the mainstream has established? Couldn’t we operate in a different fashion, so that it’s not the typical Hollywood business as usual?

Food for thought?



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Saying it Loud, I'm a BLACK and I'm Proud!

For the entire month of December my beliefs have been challenged. At the office potluck and during my strolls in the mall my sensibilities have been assaulted forcing me to reach and pull out my BLACK card. A card carrying member since I learned to reason, I am proud to be a Black Lady Against Christmas Knits. I believe wool should never be used to weave Christmas sweaters. Being a BLACK gives me the authority to let folks know they are wrong! Oh these weapons of fashion destruction...who da hell thinks Christmas sweaters are nice?

If you got,
gave or are currently wearing anything that looks like these you are contributing to the naughty things of Christmas.

You should also know that this naughty category includes fruitcakes, the terms Xmas and Holiday Tree and the other general removal of Christ from Christmas...

Excuse me while I segue into a brief sermonette: But whether you believe in him or not, JESUS is the REASON for this SEASON.

Remember that while you partake in the nice things about Christmas today. Be it time spent with family. Or with friends who've adopted and loved you like family. The gifts given and gotten. That big 'ole spread on the dinner table. Or however you choose to celebrate. And I think most of ya'll would agree that one of the nicest things about Christmas is the music!

Give me my Handel's The Messiah, O Holy Night, What Child is This or even Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer and I start to feel more in the Christmas spirit. And I am so sorry
Elliot, Joe and newbee Chris, but the truth is that Donny sang, one of my favorites best! Only Mr. Hathaway has gotten my 79 year old grandma-who believes that feet should only move for walking, running and doing the work of the Lawd-to dance against her religion!

Enjoy This Christmas Ya'll!


See You in the New Year

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree,
For me.
I've been an awful good girl,
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.
- Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
It's that most wonderful time of the year. Trees and houses decorated with twinkling lights, red bows, and holly. Mall parking lots jam packed with angry drivers cursing and beeping. School Christmas pageants and Hallmark movies made for TV. Honey baked hams and spiked egg nog that will be the catalyst for an argument between Uncle Ray and Cousin Mike (well maybe that's just Christmas with my family).
And the star of the show: Santa.
What? You thought I was gonna say Jesus? Ha! It's not PC to mention Jesus or any other religious component of the holiday. Even if the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. If folks actually celebrated that, then who would pay $500 for a Nintendo Wii because every store is sold out and they're willing to pay double the amount just to make little Timmy happy on Christmas morning? Who would stand in line for hours out front of the Apple Store to get the newest nano for their ungrateful teenager who barely even speaks to them? Who would torture their toddler by forcing them to sit in Santa's lap for a cute photo op even though the baby is scared shitless, screaming at the top of its lungs?
Maybe my cynicism stems from my upbringing. I grew up being told the truth from jump. My mom was like "The Story of Santa is a lie. He does not exist." Some would say she robbed me of my childhood. As an adult, I disagree. I'm glad she was honest. Plus I've always asked too many questions... I probably would've picked the story apart at age 5.
As a kid, Christmas was my favorite holiday. Yes, even sans the myth of the jolly one. Every year, we would go out and pick a real Christmas tree. I always liked the tall 7 footers. My grandma would come to visit and stay for about a week. She would bring her own pots and pans and take over my mom's kitchen. We would decorate the tree while singing carols with all our might. Grandma and I would make cookies on Christmas Eve. That evening, Grandma would set aside a plate of cookies & a glass of milk for Santa. My mom would go "ain't nobody gonna eat them cookies but Dark & Stormy." Grandma would be UPSET! She would tell me Santa is real and scold my mother for saying otherwise in my company.
At first I would ask questions like how does Santa know what I want since I never sent him a damn letter. And how will he get in the crib when we live in an apartment. And I know he and the elves can't make an Atari game system by hand. But afterwhile, I started playing along because it made Grandma happy and I enjoyed watching her smiling with joy in her eyes knowing I was the cause. I always knew that my mom hid the gifts in her bedroom closet. But I wouldn't peek because I preferred being surprised on Christmas day.
Once I grew up, moms better explained her reasoning for not lying to me about Santa. She said she'll never forget how she felt when she found out Santa wasn't real. Sure she wasn't scarred for life, but she felt so betrayed by her parents and family. Moms also said she'd be damned if some random a** white man took the credit for the gifts that she purchased with her hard earned money. I think her exact words were something like "they stole enough from us already."
And the most important reason being that she felt I deserved the truth.
Now that's just Dark & Stormy's interpretation of the sitchyation... I will say that I miss the days of hearing 'Away in a Manger' and 'We Three Kings'. When Christmas wasn't complete without the airing of "The Little Drummer Boy." When people didn't get into fist fights over the last talking toy on the shelf. My mom and I both had the privilege of knowing Christmas as the birth of Jesus with a little Santa sprinkled on top. But nowadays the little youngins are like Christ who? That's all good it you're not of Christian faith. But don't celebrate the holiday without celebrating the holiday. Stop fakin. CHRISTmas is its name.
So, do you tell your kids about Santa? When did you find out Santa wasn't real? Would you tell your kids the same or raise them differently?
I do wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Feliz Navidad, Habari Gani, Happy Hanukkah, and Ho Ho Ho!
Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy