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, April 4, 2008

Five Dope Girls In A Cadillac

Someone (I like to think it’s a fan) asked me how the five of us women know each other. And I realized that we never explained our relationship on this here blog. I don’t know if it would add or take away if I gave the history, but um here it goes…

I suppose you could call me the anchor, I am friends with all of the four, and I introduced them to one another over the years, collecting these ladies like the treasures they are. I met Dark & Stormy in 2nd grade. We were part of the handful of Black students in our magnet program. We met, we bonded (over who knows what-a game of horseshoes, a game of horseshoes?) and we’ve been tight ever since. I met Amaretto in 7th grade, again we were one of the few colored faces in our program. We may have first bonded over the difficulties of being the ‘minority’, but over the years a genuine friendship grew. I met Bellini in high school. I’m not sure how or when or where, but somehow we became friends. I introduced her to Dark & Stormy and a high school clique was formed – and a friendship between the three of us still remains. I picked up Mint Julep in college. I guess we started off as peripheral friends (because we had a mutual friend), slowly feeling each other out. And when we became roommates Senior year and had our year of culture as we like to call it – going to concerts, seeing foreign films (City of God!), trying new restaurants, we found we had more in common than we realized.

I can say that the blog was my idea. It came to me during the summer of my discontent. I was working a job I hated (I’ll have a post about that some day, but thinking about it is akin to a Vietnam flashback) and praying for something new. One day I said to my mom, “why is life so hard right now?” And then I thought well if I feel this way, surely there must be others. And then a thought: what if x amount of young women who seem to be the same but are actually “different” started a blog? And everyone took a day and wrote about what was happening in their lives?

I approached the other four ladies with the idea. We were all in different places in our lives – most of us hated our job, some of us still do, we were all trying to find ourselves, get to that level of understanding of what makes us tick. And we were all taking different approaches to getting there. We had been through our own trying and fulfilling relationships with men. We all had different upbringings. We had different levels of education. On the surface, for instance if you saw us sitting and laughing at restaurant, you would think there go five Black women, eating and having a good ol’ time, never taking the time to think of us as individuals. Because you would seem the same: Black, woman, intelligent, funny, driven, loving, friend. But if you were to stop at the table, and ask a few questions to each of us, dig a little deeper, well then you would find our differences. And that’s what I wanted to highlight.

And so on Labor Day Monday, our country’s official farewell to summer, we all sat on my mama’s porch and decided to blog. And blog about shit that mattered to us – what was happening not just in the world but in our lives, our individual emotions, feelings, views on our present situation, whatever that may be. This time in our lives seems to be filled with such angst, wonder, question marks, and I hope, God willing that when I read this at 35, I’ll laugh and say, “what the hell was I so worried about?”

But for now, it serves its purpose. Over the past six months we have shared our lives, stories, viewpoints with the world (ok with whoever is reading) and we’ve reached the 10,000 hits mark. It may not seem like a lot to y’all (considering there are blogs that get 10,000 hits an hour) but we are talking about five very busy women who take time out of their lives to write what we hope are meaningful posts, digging deeper than just rehashing our day’s events.

This post is not meant to be self-congratulatory; I mean I understand that we are bloging, not curing cancer. But it is a thank you note to the other four ladies who carved out time from their world to help make my idea a reality. I know some famous person, (and I’m too tired to look it up right now) has said something about being proud of your friends. I am proud of these ladies. I am proud that they are in my life and that we are taking this journey together, wherever it leads. And I’m proud that we are writing about it every step of the way, chronicling our story, for the “masses.”

It warms our hearts when we get positive comments about people feeling our blog. Or when my younger, college-aged cousin sends me a text that reads, “that blog you sent me is amazing.” It feels good to know that we are connecting with other people who are going through their own quarter life crisis. And we can all talk about the struggle together. At first we wondered if anyone was going to read this. If anyone was going to care. And sometimes we still wonder. But as we watch the hits counter go up, it's continued confirmation that people are reading and we hope enjoying what we write... Who knows where this will lead or how long this will go on, but I'm glad that it's here now. And I'm glad/proud to blog with four of the best women this side of the Mason Dixie line: Dark & Stormy, Amaretto, Bellini & Mint Julep - who's world is this? The world is ours...

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

Thursday, April 3, 2008

why are you still single?

At a recent birthday dinner for a law school classmate of mine I stumbled upon the answer to why some black women who make six figures might be single.* Let me explain.

the place: A cute jamaican restaurant/lounge in the city where working class and professional black folks come after work to get a bite to eat, unwind and maybe meet a cutie or two.

the company: 5 black women, all young associates at corporate law firms in the city.

the characters: "The birthday girl" - late 20s married. "Ms." - on the verge of 30, been dating a guy who she complains about on the daily for the past few years. "Lauren from the black Hills" - late 20s single wanna be BAP doing way too much to seem high class and always ballin outta control. and "lil Pumped (full of water)" so named cause she's gained the first year associate 15 and then some eating way too many free late night dinners at the office also single mid 20s. and mint julep of course, but you already know me.

The birthday girl, being the happily boo'ed up black woman that she is, proceeds to ask the rest of us woefully (to her) un-boo'ed up black women at the table so how's the love life ladies? Any prospects?

*collective sigh*

Ms. throws out a cursory, oh Boo gets on my damn nerves and were gonna break up any minute now. For real, ya'll. Mint julep thinks, Yea Ms. we heard that shit before.

Lil Pumped: ughh I'm done

Lauren: I'm so over the whole thing. Enough!

mint julep: Well I for one am single and actively looking. and in my head i think: done? over it? stop playin bitches. mint julep aint goin down without a fight...i loves me some d... errr... never mind, tmi. instead i continued, ladies ladies it can't be that bad out there can it. There are good men! My homeboy, who happens to be once such good man, says he goes out all the time and never sees black women like us out. He told me black women oughta come out more. You know what I really wanna know? Where do all the good girls go? What club they be at? (c) Andre 3000

Lauren: where does he go? we try to all get together but someone always has to work late and can't commit to come out or cancels at the last minute because of work.

mint julep (in my head): Uhhhhh.... (1) we don't have to all go out together in a gang on the prowl and (2) tis why I giveth not a fucketh about my job because I will cut out on the work shit to go out and meet some men.

And when I replayed this convo over in my head the next day, I picked up on a collective theme, partly from the words spoken and partly from what I know about these women. like how they hardly ever go out except to the occasional birthday lunch/dinner, how they live in outrageously expensive apartments (it's the city, but still), buy fantabulous outfits, take trips with the girls and spend all kinds of money on hotels and dinners, and have basically washed there hands of being about the business of getting out there and meeting new men. they've given up before the race has even started. but i say contrary to popular belief, the 20s are when we should be out there meeting folks and enjoying life. that's what my mama did and she didn't have me till she was 34.

yeah i know times have changed. and in some interesting ways. from my humble perspective, these women are content with their money and their suckey jobs. they've made it in the traditional sense, making 6 figures, can live any where and go any place and buy any thing they want. so what could a man bring to their lives? they got they girls who are also single (or unhappily boo'ed up) and their nieces and nephews and their careers. hell, there aint no good men out there any way so why bother?

shhhhiiiitttt! i'm sorry, i like my friends, i like women but I NEED the comfort of a man (c) stephanie mills. i need a man up and through the mix sometimes, i need a deep bass voice, a husky laugh to give me that tingle up my spine.

of course, the ladies at the table laughed and smirked at my single and actively lookin comment.

mint julep (in my head): just keep laughing, especially when i send ya'll the wedding invite!

*this post is limited to my experiences with a small pool of black women who make six figures. miss me with the "oh stop generalizing" comments. thanks!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Everything ain't funny.

Over the weekend, I went to Broadway to see a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof featuring Phylicia Rashad (Claire Huxtable ala Cosby Show), Terrence Howard (Best Man, Hustle & Flow), James Earl Jones (Roots, Verizon spokesperson), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), and Carlito Esposito (Do the Right Thing).

Now, Bellini attended the play with a blank slate meaning I have never read any of Tennessee Williams' material (playwright behind Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Glass Menagerie, and A Streetcar Named Desire). So, it was very liberating for me to attend the play and draw my own conclusions and figure it out by myself. For those who haven’t seen the play – it is a tragedy. But the way black folks were carrying on – you couldn’t’ tell (now granted I chuckled here and there but damn). We're just laughing and carrying on while there is an important discourse being said and an additional revelation about the characters being illustrated. You folks are gonna make me adhere to Field Negro’s 12% rule.

Every day since I’ve seen the play, my mind drifts to the characters – I think about Brick (played by Terrence Howard and will intermittently be played by Boris Kodjoe [Showtime series Soulfood] ~3 weeks) and how he is still a manifestation of many black men who can’t just be due to family’s expectations, society’s dictations, and the specter of hypocrisy. And so they live a lie or become an enigma which is just as dreadful. And ladies, what if you married to such a man?
And you do everything your mama, grandmamas, aunties, cousins, and sistafrieds told you about keeping your marriage intact, making sure he’s happy, and keeping that figure tight and doin’ right?
What do you do?
It’s heavy ain’t it? So ain’t shit funny.

I mean Maggie “Cat” played by Anika had my ass thinking and still does to this day. Anika Noni Rose worked it – she is one not to be slept on – she has been added to my list of people I have to support just be’cuz their extraordinary talent demands it. And now 36 hours after the show, I can’t relive the soliloquy, mull over her words, inflections, or articulation of speech. That’s the thing about Broadway, I can’t rewind the DVD or pay transportation costs to get back to Manhattan nor the ticket price again [~100/pop]. On Broadway the show must go on and it did.

Now, I won’t ruin it for folks who have yet to see it. But, what I will share with you all is that this drama conceived in the (1950’s) and the original movie featured Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, etc. what do you notice -an all white cast. Moreover, if you know a thing a two about Tennessee Williams then it is not farfetched to believe the play is semi-autobiographical.

To know that in 2008 we can take movies that were not intended for black folks and mold it to our own kudos to Debbie Allen (director of play). Unlike my critique – earn your keep, vol i.—for the television debut of Raisin in the Sun, Allen stayed true to the original spirit of the play and retained the significance of presenting a play set 5 decades ago. And all these subtleties make a difference when you evaluate art. One thing Allen was skilled in doing was preserving the flavor of the original script and yet still making it relevant – although I haven’t seen or read the originals it was evident that Allen kept the setting intact. I received some criticism about my impression of Raisin, but I think people were stuck on the original performance by Sidney Poitier and the novel; when you insert a Diddy (definitely not a seasoned actor, but he wasn’t halfbad either) there is a different flavor brought to the art form. Not so for the Cat. And that is the genius of Debbie Allen, the director, she restaged the play and transformed its meaning.It was brilliant and that’s all I’m going to say.Go see it, support Broadway and black directors,actors,and actresses-the good ones at least.



Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Here, Have A Dollar

I invited myself to my friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I just kind of told her to set a place for me at the table and then sealed the deal by making wide and watery eyes. It’s ignorant I know, but that’s just how I roll, especially when the “man” won’t give you the day after Thanksgiving off so one can’t sojourn to see their own family. But anyways, the family is gathered around the table, holding hands, thinking about their greens to sweet potato ratios (or maybe that was just me) and the patriarch starts to give thanks. Something is said about blessings, and joy, and then the homeless man he sees everyday on his way to work asking for change. And I just lost it. No I didn’t start weeping, that would have been too much like right, instead I start laughing, uncontrollably, during a prayer, at someone else’s house…

Will Amaretto even be able to get her big toe through the door next year? Imma try…stay tuned folks.

But in my defense, I laughed because he used the word of the day “Homeless”. No, I don’t think homelessness is a laughing matter, but his prayer made me think of my own homeless crew I see on my way to work every morning. Sometimes it's comforting to have certain routines. It makes life a little bit more manageable before it makes it boring. So yeah, I enjoy some aspects of my daily grind, like starting my day with a Mickey D’s sweet tea. 32 ounces for one dollar! Hollar! It is that serious ya’ll-to me it’s like nectar from Heaven (cue angelic chorus). So much so, that one morning the paramedics were tending to a man who had slipped and fallen in front of the door-he was bleeding and everything-and I was telling EMTs to excuuuuse me as they tried to maneuver the gurney. But my trek to get my tea also includes being asked on my way into Mickey D’s and out if I have any spare change. Change to spare. Could I help a brother out? You know just hearing requests similar to Bellini’s

And everyday, as politely as possible, as I sip on my straw, I say no. I mean these are some persistent and consistent, and I’m also going to say, annoying folks. It’s slightly funny to me, ergo why I was laughing at Thanksgiving, because it’s like the homeless didn’t get the memo that no one carries cash anymore.

I know it’s messed up on my part to say someone needs to school the homeless, but hey, 1993 it is not so-Cash Rules Everything Around Me-is no longer a true statement. Ya’ll have seen those Visa commercials where the people are moving and spending by swiping their cards and joyous music plays in the background…but the moment someone pulls out cash or a check the wheels on the machine stop moving. I mean I won’t tell you the shame I personally felt pulling out a check at the grocery store after my checkcard was stolen. The looks I got were enough to make a girl cry and voluntarily explain why I had the audacity to pick up my checkbook…aside from the fact that check writing allows you to get, even when you don’t have the money in your account just yet... But still, when did checks and cash stop being
negotiable instruments?

I will say that sometimes I feel bad about not being able to spare change. I mean it’s not like I don’t have it. I’ve got some money, even after
the bank takes my leftover change and puts it into a savings account so they can pay for wars and make investments while giving me .002 percent interest. I want to help people out. But it would just be too ignorant to tell a homeless person that I could hook them up, but only if they took Visa.

Happy April Fools Day!

See You in Seven

Monday, March 31, 2008

SBF ISO Dr. Scholl

I enjoyed a great Jill Scott concert a couple of weeks ago. She was rockin a hot pair of golden-colored shoes with a high heel (approx. 3 inches high is my guess). About an hour into her set, Jill changed shoes. As Jill and her back-up singers sang "Pinky toe... pinky toe... pinky toe", a stagehand brought homegirl a pair of flip flops. Jill changed shoes while exhaling in sighs of relief. And the show continued.

Every woman in the house screamed and applauded. We were not only tickled, but pleasantly surprised to see a sister of such fame keep it real while in the presence of the public. I know this is Ms. Real Thing I'm talking about, who always gives it to ya straight, but this was still unexpected. It was a special moment for every woman in the audience...

'Cause each of us wanted to do the exact same thing.

I have read countless articles in newspapers and watched numerous news segments reporting on the negative effects of wearing high heeled shoes. Half the shoes we wear squeeze our toes, scrape our heels, hurt our soles, make us cry on the inside. Yet we continue to torture ourselves.


For years, I had one or two pairs of high heeled shoes. I wore them when I went to a party or club hoppin or sometimes if I had a hot date. Or maybe if the ladies and I had reservations at a nice restaurant... basically special occasions. I've always been a sneaker head anyhow. Sneakers prevailed in my closet. Outnumbered girly shoes 4-1, easily. I also have the worst feet to try and shop for. Really. They're flat with no arch, narrow (AA width), with a skinny heel. Try fitting that perfectly into a shoe. Strappy shoes don't fit because there aren't enough holes on the strap to tightly secure the shoe around my foot. Pumps are a damn obstacle 'cause my heel slides out. When I add heel pads, it pushes my toes further into the shoe causing friction and pain. Even flats don't fit well- most of them are too soft to support my arch, allowing my feet to fall inward. This makes flexible rubber soles and shoe laces my best friends.

Shoe shopping with my mom as a teenager was like a Wrestlemania match. We'd walk into the store. I'd tell my mom let me pick what I like and ask her not to make suggestions (because I never agreed with them). After trying the 4th or 5th pair with no luck in sight mom would start coming over with ugly shit in her hand, saying "what about these". I would reply in a not so nice tone, frustrated and pissed. And the match would be on! She would later tell me I need to keep a good job 'cause places like Bakers and Payless would never be an option for me.

So when did I become the chick who wears dresses (sometimes with flowers- yuck!), with a nice pair of heels and a clutch to match? I haven't purchased a pair of Nikes or Pumas or Asics in over six months! My inner rebel is screaming for help. I don't recognize this woman in the mirror anymore. I still rock my Jordan jersey, the Redskins caps, the rare two-toned Air Force Ones that I haven't seen on anyone else's feet... But they haven't been getting the same love as my shiny BCBG heels with the square peep toe. Or the brown distressed boots that tie in the back. And the metallic pumps with the wedged heel.

My feet cannot take it anymore.

I have become one of those women. The ones who read In Style and Vogue magazines. Who spend an entire day or weekend on a shopping trip. And watch What Not to Wear on the TLC channel. Well, not quite, but you get the point... Basically a "girly girl".

I am disgusted.

And in dire need of a foot massage.

Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy