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.

SO LONG, FAREWELL...

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, March 28, 2008

Steady on the grind...

It goes nine to the noon
Break
One to the five
Everybody say: wake up, work, sleep.

-Office Manager’s Anthem, The Remnant, aka my Morehouse brother and his friends

So I’ve been in the workforce for a whole two years. And I’m tired already. I mean, I'm wo' out. Ok before you think that I’ve never worked a day in my life, by workforce I mean a 9-5, gotta commute to work on the train at the same time as everybody else, get a real lunch break, an office (Praise Him!) and benefits job.

Prior to joining the workforce, I was a waitress and a bartender. I usually worked the night shift, which left me with mornings of watching Golden Girls, afternoons of going to the post office and the grocery store with the old people and days off in the middle of the week. Ahhhh the good life. But for appearances sake, (and my resume) I finally grew up and joined the workforce. And I don’t hate it. But I’m tired. Why? Because I have my own dreams and aspirations and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day.

For the first time in my life I am doing something for me. I have a dream that is all mine, and it’s not something that my parents “encouraged” me to do or instilled in me, like going to college or working. It’s what I want to do. And I want to see it to the finish line. But there’s fear. Which I’m working to overcome. There’s doubt. Which I’m not letting stop me. And there are not enough hours in the day. Which I have no control of.

I have two major goals for 2008, actually I have a slogan: Getting tight and committed to write. So, in layman’s terms, workout (consistently) and write my novel. Well it’s almost April and I’m proud to report: so far, so good. I’ve been doing boot camp at 5:30 in the morning and I am taking an African dance class with my sights on starting yoga in April. I am taking two writing classes and trying to become a more disciplined writer. I am steady on the grind. And I’m exhausted.

Cause did I mention that I also have to go to work? For 9+ hours a day. And be on time. And do work, work to get paid. And still find energy to do what I want to do. And volunteer at church. And make time to have some fun with friends. And get my eyebrows and toes done on the regular. And try to read this, so I can really start making moves. And try to find a husband. Oh wait that’s right, I’m supposed to be working on me, and my husband will come. I forgot. So, scratch that last part. But dang it, I still got lots to do!

In the song Office Manager’s Anthem (song quoted above), they also say, “clock in, you’re missing the best part of the day, clock out, your dreams get farther and farther away.” That pretty much sums up my feelings about where I am right now in life. Now that I’ve officially committed myself to accomplishing these two major tasks, it’s like now the possibility of completion seems wayyyy over there, like way past yonder and I’m wayyyy on the other side, looking through some binoculars, like I gotta go where? All the way over there? And I'm supposed to get there with just this flashlight and a compass? Lawd! And I feel like I’m making moves but am I moving? How long is this going to take? (Ok, yeah I know I really just got started-but I’m still wondering) And what if it doesn’t even work? I could be “mad” with no one but myself.

For the first time in my adult life, I am throwing everything I got into something, and for me this is a where the rubber meets the road type situation right 'chere. And I’m nervous. And I’m excited. And I’m hesitant. And I’m steadily moving. And I’m exhausted. And I’m slowly settling into (but not loving) the fact that I’m officially in the real world. Shriek! But since I know I’m not a behind the desk, in somebody’s office type for the next 30 years, I’m trying to pursue my own dreams. Squeal! And then shriek! And then deep breath. One day at a time, I remind myself. There are only 24 hours in the day. And I have to make time to work and sleep. But what I do with what’s left of that time is up to me. And I’m starting to see every extra hour as a blessing, and I’m learning not to let this time squander. Cause dammit, I got goals to attain! Steady on the grind…
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday

Thursday, March 27, 2008

i made it!

a year and one day. that's how long i've been at my current job. and i really didn't think i'd make it this long. it has truly been an experience.

see about a year and a month ago, i made the decision to leave my first real job in the real world after only 7 months. that's right 7 months. i just couldn't take it. the work was boring and i was suffocating in my hometown, the small southern city where i was living at the time. i felt isolated and cut off from the things i had grown to love during the 8 years that i had been away. no music shows, no plays about black folks, no traveling museum exhibitions that peaked my interest and when they did come through town there was no one to enjoy them with, although i did become pretty good at going it alone. few friends that i could call to go out for drinks after work or catch that indy movie playing across town. and even fewer like-minded folks in town who wanted to talk about the things i did or cared about the issues that i did, not about who was dating who, or who had a baby from who. most of the young black professionals (a term i use very loosely) were either boo'ed up or ho'ing it out.

so i made the leap to a bigger city complete with shiny new job, more money and longer hours. much longer hours. and almost immedietely i wondered and cried and lamented (to those who would listen) what the hell did i get myself into? this job sucked worse than my first job. granted i was making way, way, way more money but it still sucked. and i soothed my pain with retail therapy, weekend trips and dinners out with my law school friends who were living the same horrible existence.

but i took the time to think through my reasons for entering the profession and my goals for the next 5 to 10 years of my life. i listened as some friends told me to suck it up, keep making that money, fool. and i made it through the late nights at the office, the smug white men who handed out assignments, the drudgery that is corporate law firm life for one year, one day and counting...

but it wouldn't be a mint julep story with out a twist, now would it...you one of them fishes, i know your mind switches (c) common; 2 fish, 1 swimmin' up stream1 swimmin' down livin' in a dream (c) erykah badu

i came up with a plan. and squashed all the voices inside my head that said that i was stuck with the hand i was dealt, that i couldn't keep jumping around, running from corner to corner like a chicken with her head cut off. i remembered what gave me passion in law school, i crunched the numbers and realized that it was just me, no kids, nobody who was depending on me to make it but me and decided that now was as good a time as any to go after my dreams.

so now i'm on my way to a new job. in a new city. in a new area of the law.

i'll let you digest that...

i'm still chewing on it myself. i'm excited and scared all in one. this will be the biggest challenge of my life and i have no idea how i'm gonna make it. but this thought gives me comfort because i'm in a place where i don't solely depend on myself, something i've become very good at doing, i'll have to depend on someone else to make a way...

but in the mean time let's celebrate, I MADE IT! take it away tye!

video

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brotherman, where art thou?

Brotherman.

Definition – a brotha with a hustle … to get something from somebody … aka a beggar; given that he doesn’t know you it doesn’t matter…he has his eyes on the prize…and this weekend it was me!

Damnnnn.

So, I found myself in the Keystone state and no sooner than 5 minutes after I parked my car – Brotherman was standing a few feet away, motioning me to lower my window. Just so you know I was not in familiar territory as James Carville (political strategist) has said “… there’s Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburg in the west, and Alabama in the middle” – yup that sums it up. So, I warily look at Brotherman. I can’t stare, be’cuz staring is a sign of disrespect. He was no taller than 5’ 9 ½, missing a tooth (and I’m dead serious), clothes looked like Tide© at one time had mustered the strength to bring the vibrancy back to colors of the polo – but those days had long been gone… So, Brotherman tells me I shouldn’t park in my current spot, rather I should park on the otherside of the median. Moreover, he questions my whereabouts / destination in a lackadaisical, non-threatening way to evaluate the merits of his recommendation for me to move my car.

After careful deliberation, Brotherman gave me the spiel…and it goes a lil’ something like this… “You know I’m trying to get out of town, but I’m $16 dollars short. Do you think you can help a brotha out?”

HELL NO.

For one, Bellini does not think a man should ask a woman for money.
Two, I don’t know you.
Three, most of the 5 can co-sign this I DON’T CARRY CASH.
Yet, Bellini decides to retrieve dollar from her automobile – you gets no more than a George Washington --and give to Brotherman so he can be out of sight and out of mind.

By the time, I pulled my key out of the ignition, scurried my belongings to my destination – Brotherman had vanished. I assume to prey on the next victim.
Why? Why me? I mean I’m nice, but not that damn nice.
And men, before you give your opinion about I shouldn’t have given his ass shit – please understand as a woman it is very unnerving for a man to come up to you (whom you don’t know of course) and just start talking and/or ask for shit. We have too many people out here with issues (i.e. psycho) that are just waiting for an opportunity to snap on somebody – and frankly I don’t want it to be me. So, I stick to my script (reticient in my speech) and remain pleasant until I take refuge in a safe place.

But do you know, when I left my destination and returned later – Brotherman was still in the vicinity like he never left and had the nerve to have a sidekick is this Tag Team? As Brotherman closed in on my vehicle and I emerged out of the automobile, he says “Ahh.. I seen you earlier.” Yes, and you will not be seeing me again” (of course I said this in my mind). I nodded and continued in the direction I was headed and so slightly accelerated my pace to get to my final destination. The nerve. But I’m back safe and sound.

cheers,

Bellini

P.S. There's a Brotherman in every city waiting for you...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm So Over It

Is it November yet?

My zeal and excitement of counting down the days of Baby Bush’s tyrannical reign is waning under vacant messages of hope, change and tears flowing on cue. Argh! I guess because I don’t feel like anyone is representing the issues of a 20-something black female, somewhat addicted to retail, trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents (a dime and a nickel), I’m not feeling this election thing right now.

But seriously, I want to know if HillBilly is operating on the platform that it isn’t a lie if they believe it? I mean how in da heezy is Hills going to claim that she went to Bosnia, with her curly headed child, and was greeted under a
hail of gunshots? Has Hills forgotten about the miracle that is television and its bastard child of everlasting videotape? Hmmmm. Maybe she’s thinking it’s 1808, back when a politrickian could deceive the masses and no one could raise their hand to object…you know the good ole days, when evidence was hard to come by. And when folks called her on the BS all she could say is “My Bad” and shrug her shoulders! Pimpin’! But still, WTF?! You want me to make you my President? Hills you can never look at Bracky O sideways again. Ever!

But the Clintons fight to da death. Do ya’ll remember
Celebrity Deathmatch on MTV? Oh that show was terrible. Hated it! Besides I truly believe the Playdoh was meant only for eating by five year olds, not sculpting things. But sadly, that show is where my mind wanders to when Bracky and Hills start go at each other, somebody spewing blood in this corner, someone wishin’, and hopin’, and prayin’ in the other.

And speaking of death... This past weekend my aunt showed the family an email about what happens when you are a friend of the Clintons and you want to call them on their shit.
47 people dead. Wow. I’m just wishing I knew 47 people. There were of course varying causes of death, but most folks had gunshot wounds to the back of their heads. Now initially we were like, naw this ain’t true. But my aunt is a police officer and was able to look up the particulars on one of the cases that occurred in her jurisdiction. The death was ruled a suicide, but the media didn’t get the memo from the police report that someone heard several gunshots before the man jumped to his death. Sure my aunt could be lying for giggles sake...but I don't think she was.

All I can say is Pobrecito Guillermo Richardo. Protect your neck! His
endorsement clearly has ruined his friendship with HillBilly, no more Superbowl parties! 47 people prove to me that the Clintons ain’t playin!

But alas, whatever will become of this election thing will be. It’s just hard for me to believe things will be so much more different with Grampa, Hills or Bracky running things…at least on my everyday working, is there still a middle-class and am I part of it, level. I do know that for right now, I just want this all to be over…

video

Sorry, had to groove to Miss Keyshia for a minute.

See You In Seven

Monday, March 24, 2008

Uncle Sam Wants You to "Hurrrry Up And Buy!"



Every person living in the U.S. has been affected by our nation's current economic crisis. Poor, rich, black, white, urban, rural, short, tall... Folks of all walks are feeling the crunch. Some blame the mortgage lending disaster; some point the finger at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan whose costs we cannot afford, ignore, nor deflate; while others attribute our financial woes to the weak dollar combined with this country's shaky relations with various industrial nations. Personally, I'd say all of the above and then some plus a f**ked up karma means we are S.O.L. and will be for quite some time. But have no fear. Congress and resident White House H.N.I.C. are going to help us po' folk by way of a rebate check coming real soon to a mailbox near you.


Basically the idea is to give the people a lil' extra money which they will in turn spend ('cause we clearly don't save), thus fueling our sinking economy. Sounds cool, right? Hahaha... Those of us who've been bamboozled before know better. Well I can only speak for self, but I hope y'all know a rat when you smell one. And this shit stinks to me.

Rebate and Donation are not synonymous.

Since we're such a great and wealthy nation, why can't Uncle Sam dig into his pockets and and throw us some change? Make a list of all citizens (and legally permanent residents) ages 18 and over and get busy? That would be way too easy. Instead a complicated system has been devised which bases your rebate on the amount of taxes you paid in 2007. It is a system that will confuse many and possibly leave out millions of people. Ah yes, the American way.

This quote from an L.A. Times article about the rebate sums it all up for me: "If you are going to give everybody a check and call it a tax rebate, I don't know how you do that without a tax return." Those are the words of Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte & Touche.

So you must file a tax return to receive the rebate. It is payable to those with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 individual/$150,000 married. The exact amount is $600/individual and $1200/married couple OR amount of tax paid in 2007, whichever is less. $300 for those truly po' folks who barely earn a dime or live off small change like social security. And up to $300 per child.

Why hasn't anyone addressed the fact that this rebate will be considered taxable income when we file our 2008 tax returns?

What if you owe the IRS or your local government for unpaid taxes?

What if you're on the IRS Most Wanted list due to unpaid student loans, like me?

What if the majority of this nation's citizens are so far in debt and way too underpaid that these few extra pennies are damn near non-existent by the time they cash them in?

I'm no Mellody Hobson or Suze Orman but I can read, write, and do arithmetic. And I have a great sense of smell. Fishy odor on the horizon...

I could possibly just be paranoid. Which is completely expected from a jaded tax-paying wage earner such as me. But just in case, here's an idea. If you receive a rebate check, write "return to sender" on the envelope and send it back. Tell Uncle Sam we want relief, not a rebate.

The rebate veto of '08.

Whatcha think 'bout that?





Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy