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, January 25, 2008

Much More Than They Can See...

Remember when Paula Abdul half way sang, “I take-2 steps forward, I take-2 steps back. We come together cause opposites attract” And you know…the rest… Although in retrospect the fact that she was singing to a cartoon tiger may help to explain her “crazy” outbursts on American Idol. But as usual, I digress.

My parents are approaching 35 years of marriage and to an onlooker they are opposites. My mother grew up in the Deep South, under the heel of Jim Crow, immersed in a family that was actively involved in the Civil Rights Movement. My father is a second generation American who grew up in one of the few Black families in his small Northeastern town. His family does not know the pain that was slavery in America nor relates to the “Black American experience”. And while I’m sure they both experienced that good ol’ 1950s/60s, racism, their approaches to handling these injustices were different. My mother was someone who always challenged the system, the status quo. My father was a studious and diligent student, a hard worker who challenged the system in his own way by being at the top of his medical class, thus proving that he was just as smart, just as good as “them.” Opposites.

They met in the middle, in Chicago. My mother, a true embodiment of the 60s’ revolutionary spirit had traded her marching shoes for a black beret and took my father to a Black Panther Party Meeting to show him her world. My father, who probably quickly noticed and criticized the organization’s structural flaws, was not moved by their passion. While he understood what they were fighting for, he didn’t like their fighting methods. He never went to another meeting. But he never belittled my mother for what she believed in. She continued the struggle and he continued to study. Opposites.

As modern day women making our way in the dating world, sometimes we get caught up in what kind of man we want. We have this image in our heads of what kind of man we are supposed to be with and we just cannot deviate from that… A lot of us want someone who is very similar to us. If you’re a homebody, you want a homebody. If you are a social butterfly, you want someone who likes to go out and have a good time. If you're all about climbing the corporate ladder, you want someone of the same mindset. If you are a modern day revolutionary, you want someone to get arrested with. But then who will bail you out?

Being with someone who is seemingly your complete opposite seems unfathomable. How will the two of you get along? What will you agree on? How will you make things work? Now, to be fair I’m not talking about dating someone who you have nothing in common with... like Chris Rock said, he can’t be a crackhead and you go to church every Sunday. But I am talking about expanding our horizons. I’m talking about erasing that image we have of ‘the guy for me’ and thinking broader…what if you met someone so different from you that they took you to new places (Get y’alls mind out the gutter, I am literally talking about traveling to new places that you may have never gone to on your own), taught you new things, made you love jazz, had you try different foods, showed you the value of working in the community, introduced you to new people when you would normally be in the house, made you see the world in a whole new light? How would that enhance you as a person?

What I l have learned from observing my parents (and living at home in your adult years can give you that extra perspective- you know I have to find the silver lining) is that while they may seem so different, underneath everything, they have their commonalities. They share the same value systems and beliefs and have been able to build a strong foundation from that, a necessity to overcoming being “opposites”. They are friends first who understand the importance of working together as a couple, they have always been and still are enthralled with each other’s minds and they are continually supportive of each other.

My mother has often said that they are “one brain…” And they really are. They will see the same situation, have the same sentiments about the wrongness of said situation but they will respond differently. My mother will want to rage against the machine whilst my father will want to come from a more logical, tactical approach and perhaps work within the system to fix things. But at the end of the day they both agree that something must be done. In watching them I have learned the importance of being in sync with someone where it counts: values, ideals, parenting styles, money management, conflict resolution and love.

Even now, my mother still possesses that revolutionary spirit, she was right there wearing all black to support the Jena 6, calling me at work talking about “Power to the People…” If my father wore black that day, it was probably by happenstance. Opposites. My mother will go to a gathering/function close to the start time, will stay an hour (out of politeness) and be ready to go. My father will always be running late (so you know my momma has learned the necessity of factoring that into the equation when they are going somewhere-and now in their old age she will just go without him and he will meet her there), he will get to that function late and he will be ready to shut a party down. Opposites. They can go to a party together and my mother may speak to a few people while my father works the room. But they always know when to find each other’s eyes and give that ‘I’m ready to go’ signal that every married couple has. To this day, I still don’t know the signal. I don’t even see them giving it. That’s how smooth they are with it. But I know that when it’s given, my parents politely excuse themselves from their respective conversations, meet up and leave together. Opposites. But always on the same page.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

to catch a killer

Earlier this month, I got cable and that’s saying something cause I’d been without it for over 9 months. And I’m so happy to have the first 48 back in my life.

This. Show. Is. The. TRUTH. Literally, ha ha…

For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a case is cut in half if they don't get a lead in THE FIRST 48. dunt dunt.

The show follows around homicide detectives in cities like Miami, Las Vegas & Detroit as they try to solve murders. There are usually two murders per show and they switch back and forth between the cities as the detectives arrive on the scene, investigate and try to catch the killers.

I started watching it in the summer of ‘06 when I was studying for my first bar exam…lol, who knew. Anyway, that summer I tried not to watch any tv but one day after a boring-as-usual bar.bri class, I was layin on my friend’s couch flipping through and this show caught my attention.

A reality show. Dead Bodies. Drama. Mystery. Sign me up. It’s law and order without the filter and I love it for a few reasons.

Sgt. Caroline Mason. She cracks me up. showing up at crime scenes wit stilettos on, her weave swinging, nails and make-up some crazy shade of red, she chats up the folks in the hood using what she calls “her ghetto pass.” and she usually gets the goods. I just love her.

Now ya’ll know I’m more defense minded. Well, very, totally and completely but whatever. For some reason, I find it so fascinating to watch the process from the other side. Of course, it burns me up when people go into the interview room and after a couple of pointed questions, jokers start pouring they hearts out.

Okay okay, you want me to tell you what really happened? I’ma tell you the real truth. This the truth right here. What had happened was…

Damn damn damn suspect, keep your mouth shut. Ask for a lawyer

But at the same time, I’m happy when people tell the truth, that they did it (but they do “deserve” and have a right to a competent defense) because the show is so good at humanizing the victims.

Dude mighta been standing on the corner slanging when he got shot, but announcer guy will say some shit like, Darnell Jenkins, the father of two small children, grew up in the neighborhood, everybody knew him… AS A DRUG DEALER. But still, every person that dies is treated with respect no matter the circumstances of their death and you see that in the back story of their lives, the moments when the detectives go to their families and break the news that they have passed, and the pain and emotion in the detectives faces as a trail goes cold.

Which leads me to my last point. The detectives involved are actually pretty decent. I don’t know if it’s because they are on camera but they do aight. I am by no means a cop-lover and I especially dislike the regular beat cops who often terrorize our neighborhoods unjustifiably. I’ve ridden along with the NYPD so I know of which I speak. They’re glorified cowboys, wielding way too much power and way too little understanding about our communities. But that’s for another day. The first 48 detectives are truth-seekers. I can’t recall a time when I’ve seen them lie to a suspect to get a confession. And that generally goes down on the regular in interrogation rooms around the country.

See for yourself. Check out my girl Mason in action tonight at 10 on A&E.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"chickens runnin' around with no heads"

Upon the dawn of the 2nd millennium, I used that term to characterize the Democratic Party – now the term can aptly be applied to the Republican Party.

You GOPers don’t know what to do with yourselves. You let Dubya suckerpunch you into this war. The hawks were feelin’ themselves a lil’ too much. You chose not to reflect on history and remember what Daddy Senior did not do – but I digress.

We have 4 candidates vying for the Republican nomination: Senator John McCain (AZ), Mitt Romney (former governor of Massachusetts), Rudy Guiliani (former mayor of NYC), and Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas).

So, all four candidates have dismissed the black vote and chose not to show up at any of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) or Tavis Smiley sponsored forums – black republicans you’re not giving me much to feel buoyant about this discussion.

I’ll start with the “Maverick” – McCain. Back in 2000, while still in undergrad, and receptive to a “non-traditional” candidate – McCain I was rooting for you. Until, I caught a reality check from Dr. Ronald Walters – a veteran political scientist, who basically reminded me not to believe all the hype. So, Bellini had to do her homework and realized that although McCain bucked the trend on immigration issues, military tactics during war, and campaign finance reform. . . he is still a HAWK! hmmmmphhh. . . ‘nuff said. Surprisingly enough, McCain won South Carolina.

On to Flip-floppin’ Mitt. You gotta love a true politician to the core – he’ll say anything to pick up vote (he reminds of the 1st black president – you all just love). The only thing I would give him a shot at is reviving the economy a Harvard MBA should be good for something (yes Bellini feels we are in a recession – hold on to your jobs and count those pennies).

Huckabee! I can’t believe you’re still hanging in there. After Tsunami Tuesday, we’ll learn your fate. The whirlwind of activity might just take you under unless Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Virginia keep you grounded.

Guiliani your race may start and end with Florida. Risky strategy. Your claim to fame is that you’re the only one that can beat Hillary. I hope the Sunshine state shows you their behind! Your rap sheet from your mayoral days is too long, all 50 states can't be put in your hands.

Black republicans you should feel bored, you don’t have much to ra-ra about. There's no Newt, Limbaugh is disillusioned with you guys, the sittin' president is cryptonite. This will be a lame year for you guys. The “chicken runnin’ around with no head" syndrome sucks!



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Audacity to Hope

I know it’s January but Dizzzzzzaum it’s cold! Layering is the word of the season when the high temperatures are less than freezing and hot coffee purchased from the shop is lukewarm by the time it’s sipped at your desk. I was seriously contemplating using sick leave today just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the frigid temperatures. Ahhhh, just to stay warm under the covers of my bed, safe and secure from all alarms! Because you know sometimes you just don’t want to deal with stuff...cold things in particular, like the weather, people or even the chilling business of office politics. Ah yes, no matter how much we just try to be gosh darn individuals and just do our job we all become candidates subjected to approval ratings determined by our coworkers…

In 2005 I got me a good government job. Woo hoo! The benefits! The stability! The good times that I was sure to have! Ha! I was surprised to see how many non black folks held higher level positions. So when I noticed that that the mailroom crew, the folks in our plants, facilities and the administrative support staff were mostly held by folks that looked like me, I realized that Masta and his plantation hadn’t disappeared just because folks had marched to get in the doors. And so through a series of events that I’m sure I’ll write about later on in life, I was part of the admin staff, promised that it was a position were I could blossom and grow, a position where I could keep on stepping up the rings of the ladder so that one day I could be all that I could be…

But then I started talking to some of my Sistagirls in the same position. You know how we like to talk whilst we work, just to learn what exactly we have gotten ourselves into. Wow. If ever there were a bitter and sometimes brazen cast of characters in this bunch. These women were quick to tell me of all the glass ceilings that they had hit in their careers. All the managers who had promised them opportunities to grow, just as soon as they finished typing that business letter or made copies for the conference. No one really had a hopeful story to tell except in the one or two who were able to ascend after 10 or 15 years of trying! They basically were telling me I had been a victim of a classic bait and switch.

So I started thinking about what I wanted for me, but I’ll tell you you’d be surprised, but other folks have plans for you too. One manager pulled me in her office and outlined her plan for my life that included five more years of admin support and then maybe a higher level job in her group, because she could recognize my potential. So if I have potential and you see that now, why do I have to wait? (Yes, Bracky O- I understand brother). Ya’ll know I thanked her graciously for having a plan for me and tapped danced right on out of her office. And then I decided to run! I was getting off this plantation; but before I quit I was going to first try to break through the glass.

There were so many tear filled phone calls to my mama who’s down south. Every story about the craziness on my job was met with a warm platitude of hope, or a statement that my situation could be different from the others…”You never know, baby” she said. Arrrgh! I wasn’t trying to hear that mess! I wanted her to get hyped and pissed that her one and only baby was being treated as a second class employee. I wanted her to agree that system was built to keep me down because that’s what happened to the Sistagirls...so surely that’s what was gonna happen to me if I let it! Mommas are wise ya’ll. And eventually my mother stopped saying anything, other than “Okay, Amaretto”.

Well after months of applying for new jobs, interviewing, being told “No, but don’t take it personally.” After months of wondering if I was crazy for thinking I could do more with my life then what I was currently doing. After months of acting how I must and leaving my Sistagirl attitude at home. After months of just being depressed because it seemed like I wasn’t going anywhere and everything on the outside conflicted with what I knew on the inside. After months campaigning and trying to show others that I had what it takes, even though I felt they should have already known about me. After months of getting everyone on the prayer line…I got word that I had been promoted, 7 levels higher thousands of dollars more in my salary! I’m still shocked that I have been able to breakthrough that glass ceiling and to do it in 3 years!

So today is my first day in my new position. Sad that I was going to call out sick right?! I know. It is just amazing to me ya’ll that despite the odds and what usually happens to employees like me, my story gets to have a different ending. My momma was right. That despite what people say or think there is always the possibility. That small chance. That hope in spite of…

Even in my own life I’ve seen the power of a maybe.

See You in Seven

Monday, January 21, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

I have a bunch of random shit on my mind today.

- Are you paying attention to the endless stories about black women being stalked and killed by former or current boyfriends/lovers/husbands? These nuccas are crazy! We (black women) better WAKE UP and take notice. Be aware. Be safe. Be careful. And most of all- pay attention to the signs. Mothersuckas don't turn psycho overnight. When your instinct tells you to run, get the hell outta dodge.

- Pedestrian safety is completely ignored by most motorists. Crossing the street is becoming a game of russian roulette. I'm going to start crossing the street in a shirt that says "Smile. You're on Youtube." That should keep me from becoming roadkill.

- What happened to the terror alert system? It's been yellow since September '07. Not that I ever cared about or payed attention to the whack system... But we used to get regular updates on the news.

- With all the constant talk about the race to the White House, I am wondering how much fuss do you make about your local elections (i.e. Governor, Senator, Congressional Rep., Council & Board members)? We [voters] have a greater impact on our local elections than national. What's your district number? Precinct?

- I do not have IM or Yahoo Messenger or anybody else's messenger service. Call me, text me, email me, fax me, or send a postcard. If none of the above works, then just cross me off your contact list. Please. Enough is enough already.

- Ever seen a black family on Super Nanny? 'Nuff said.

- I am an avid coupon clipper. I never see coupons for condoms. Never. Seen plenty for KY Jelly. I'm just saying...

- Why are folks still not recycling? You bag up your recyclable items just like the regular trash and sit it on the curb or at the dumpster just like regular trash. There are no extra steps. What's so hard about it? I guess laziness truly is self-destructive.

- Did you ever notice that Afghanistan's flag and the Black Liberation flag have the same colors?

Afghan Flag

Black Liberation Flag

Interesting. The Afghan people are most certainly Revolutionary But Gangsta. Lol.

- I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't have cable. Doesn't bother me at all... TV will f**k up your mind, fo' real. The day Comcast stops dictacting what channels I pay for is the day I renew my subscription. I do miss ESPN and TV One.

- Due to my boycotting the devil, I mean Comcast, I've been renting The Wire DVDs from the video store. That is one damn good show! I know I'm late but better late than never, right?

Congratulations to the ladies of The View From Here for surpassing 5000 hits!
I am proud to be a part of this wonderful collaboration.
I am truly grateful for your infinite intellect, wisdom, humor, and love.

Here's a toast to


Mint Julep

Rum Punch

Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy