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, April 25, 2008

Real Talk

Disclaimer: If you’re an Obamaholic, you may not want to read any more of this.

So last Sunday, me, my mother, my grandmother and Amaretto journeyed through the rain and a tornado watch, to my mother’s friend’s house to discuss the 2008 political season with a multi generational group of Black women. I went hoping for a healthy, substantive discussion on how Black women were being completely left out of the political equation, but it quickly turned into a ‘WE LOVE OBAMA, THAT MAN CAN DO NO WRONG!!’ fest.

Disclaimer #2: Now for those of you still reading, I should stop right here and tell you that I’m not an Obamaholic. I’m not on the O train. Admittedly, I’m at the O station, but I haven’t bought that ticket yet. And so that is the place from where I write.

So we’re sitting around the living room dining on fried chicken (go Obama!) and pasta salad (go Hilz!) when all hell broke loose. Ok maybe not literally. But basically once Amaretto and I expressed our displeasure/hesitance/question marks about the O man, we were pounced upon, trounced on and damn near held down for an exorcism to be immediately followed by a baptism in some Obama holy water. Not that we didn’t see it coming. Everywhere we go, Amaretto and I are the only ones who have the audacity to raise our eyebrows at all the Obamaholics. On occasion we are met with some like minded people; shout out to that cool chick who said “for real change to happen, there must be blood in the streets and heads must roll!” But I digress…

What pissed me the hell off about this group discussion was that there was a lack of actual discussion and analysis. These women had a myriad of excuses for Obama’s gaffes, mistakes, half truths. Yes, I said half truths. Now, this is not to say that other candidates, i.e., Hillary haven’t lied, we all know that Bosnia sniper story was pure lies and madness. But I focus on the Golden Boy because that was the main focus of the Sunday round the living room discussion. Every misstep he has made was “reasoned,” explained, or justified. To the point that I had to throw up my hands and ask, “When will this madness end?”

And by madness, I mean the lack of questioning of what Obama is gonna do for us, Black folk. Uh oh. Did I take it too far? Now, I’ve heard the argument that Obama is running for THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, not black america. True, indeed. When he speaks he is addressing all the needs of America. As someone said that night, he’s “Keeping us all in mind.” Or is he?

The fact that as a race of people, we have not dared ask “whatcha gonna do for us when the chips are down” bothers me because we are ignoring and exchanging our interests for the momentous occasion of seeing a Black man elected President. I know that it would be an amazing feat, believe me I would love to tell my kids that I voted for the first Black President of the U.S.A., but I fear that too many Black people are hoping and assuming that our needs will be met.

Yes, I believe that Black people have a different set of needs, issues and problems from the rest of America. And since I know that we’ll never receive reparations, someone has got to address our concerns. And while I do believe that some of them need to be addressed and handled within the community, but let’s not play ourselves, if we’re gonna play this game of living in America, then government intervention and action (at all levels) is also necessary. And so I think it’s only fair for us to ask all candidates, “What is you gon’ do for us?” Just like that. Other groups do it. Other groups ensure their needs and demands are heard. Jews. Cubans. Indians. Gays and Lesbians. Shit, Canadians even. They have no shame in using their clout or exchanging their vote for deals and favors.

But right now so many of us are being swayed by a nice smile and flowery rhetoric. And as one woman said at the discussion, “Obama has a nice butt.” Lord have mercy. That Sunday, my thoughts were confirmed, because I feel in my soul that Obama pimped the Black vote like any other Democrat would. He put in the obligatory “work” to get us: attendance at the NAACP & Urban League conferences, recitation of speeches at Black churches, visitation to the local barber shop. He pimped us. And once he won South Carolina and he knew he had won us over, he put us in the corner and told us to be quiet, because he had to win white folks over now.

Think I’m wrong? Yesterday on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Tavis Smiley, Black America’s favorite man we love to hate, talked about how the National Newspaper Publishers Association (i.e., Black newspapers) had to have a “come to Jesus meeting” with all three candidates because they are not advertising in our publications. Tavis said, “One doesn't have to spend. [We know who that is] And the other two figure why spend?” And why should they spend money to reach Black audiences? 1. Because they get “free” media by appearing on every Black radio show, where Obama is fawned over and Hillary is invited because of those pesky government rules and regulations. 2. They don’t have to spend money and advertise to us, because they know they have us in their pockets-Obama especially, since we have given Billary the proverbial middle finger.

But on this particular Sunday, all of this was ignored. Hillary was constantly regarded as a she devil. I’m sorry, a lying she devil. Two snaps and a neck roll. And Obama. Well, you would have thought he was about to walk on water, feed the masses with just a two piece and a biscuit and then raise some people from the dead. People were visibly upset that we did not agree with them. At the end of the evening they approached me and Amaretto and said, “We hope we changed your mind.” Hmmm… I never said I didn’t or wouldn’t vote for him. I merely questioned him. Nothing wrong with that. I looked at his whole. I examined everything about him. I mean these women already assumed that McCain doesn’t have our best interests at heart merely because he’s a Republican. Then they ripped Hillary up one side and down the other and called her everything but a child of God. We aren’t gonna treat all candidates equally? Or is this affirmative action politics? Cause when I asked if they would vote for Obama if he were a white man delivering a hope, change, jazz hands message, I was met with silence.

I had to bite my tongue, but I so wanted to say to them: I’m sorry I can’t be one of Obama’s ride or die chicks. Because I think that at the end of the day, when the cameras have been turned off, the screaming crowds have gone home, gymnasium lights have been dimmed, and the fa├žade of campaigning has been removed, Obama is just a man. And more importantly, he is a politician. (Rev. Jeremiah Wright said it this morning-holla!) Through and through. With his own motives. His own dreams. His own hopes (that have nothing to do with us). His own eyes on the prize. And I know that we want him to get that prize. But at what cost?

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

stop in the name of celibacy


A while back Rum Punch blogged about celibacy by happenstance and celibacy by choice. At the time, I wasn't sure which one I was going through but since then I've been working to convert happenstance to choice for my own "get yo self togetha gurl and yo man will come" reasons. ummmm yeah that was a lie. More like I am celibate just because I want some quality time alone with my tanky (as my mama calls it) and haven't found anyone with whom I'd like to share.


But my celibacy by choice has been my own personal decision, one which I have not divulged with others, except my Ace and Duece Boon Coons. Because usually with this type of goal you don't really want to shout it from the rooftops, "I'm celibate, hear me roar!" Kinda in the same way that you don't go telling everybody that you're on a diet. Cause as soon as some hater or even a well-meaning family member asks you how much you've lost this week when they see you stuffing a piece of star.bucks lemon loaf into your mouth, you start to feel all guilty and stuff. Or you just keep eating that star.buck's lemon loaf like whatevs, at least i'm not as fat as...


Such is the way of things with celibacy. If you slip up and backslide into the land of gettin it in (i love that phrase for absolutely no reason) and somebody finds out about it (like that hater ass girlfriend of yours) you feel all guilty and slutty or all disappointed in your inability to commit to no relations. So I've kept it to myself (well until 1.4 minutes ago when ya'll started reading this), working through my daily struggle to stay on the sex free path with dedication and meditation. I can't speak for men but as a woman, staying celibate is pretty easy for me and should be for most women. Granted we get approached by men at least twice daily and if we wanted to partake of certain activities, we could easily find a willing male participant. But you just have to remove all temptations from your life. Stop taking calls from your old stand-by call in case of emergency brotha and take lots of showers under that really really forceful showerhead. Get involved in civic activities and do things to occupy your mind and you're straight.


Until...


You get presented with some goodies you always wanted! Or maybe I'm the only one with a list of men who I find *uckable and would seriously consider if given the chance? Last week, I just happened to be presented with the possibility of the chance at maybe getting a little closer to a "platonic" friend of mine. I've known this friend for a minute and I've always found him sexy, especially his body, his muscles, his...., yeah but we've been just friends. And for most of the time that I've known him, he's had a girl or I had a guy. ...


I won't go into the details here (a girl should have some secrets) but let's just say there was alcohol involved, words spoken, lusty looks given and I pretty much walked away from the possibility when I realized where things might be headed. And it wasn't because I didn't want to ruin the friendship, cause I feel like friends can make the best lovers. I think it's especially crazy when women hold back from pursuing something with a good male friend because they don't want to ruin the friendship. wtf? So you'd rather be alone or out here dating these fools who aint bout nothing when you have a perfectly good male friend who knows you and likes you and wants to see if ya'll can build a relationship. And I didn't walk away because of my celibacy commitment, at least not at the moment when I called a cab to take me home. At that moment, it was more because my head was spinning and I was pretty sure that if I stayed things might get ugly, in a head-over-toilet-bowl way.

In retrospect I'm alternatively kicking myself for passing up the chance and thanking God that I didn't go through with it. With a clearer head, I remember the months I've put into this celibacy thing and I've been wondering would it worth it to wash away all that time built up. But since I'm mint julep, I've also been imagining what it would be like and how much I'd really really really like to! And I mean really, have you seen this guy, hot sex on a platter ya'll!...


For sure, that moment when I almost stepped over the line from friends to friends who have kissed, touched, etc. has passed and who knows if it can be recreated. I want to but do I, should I?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

the joneses vs. quality of life

It's Bellini's take that folks have miscontrued the joneses to be equated with quality of life. Folks that's a fallacy -- so please don't believe the hype. So, I'm here to lend my perspective. See, the joneses are all about appearances. These hollow values manifest a certain illusion. Folks who embody such foolishness falsely believe they have attained a certain quality of life. Not true.

The joneses is to "frontin'" as quality of life is to "just being".

Perhaps, a story will better expound on what i'm trying to say. So a former collegue of mine returned to the states after living in Germany for 2 years and prior to that he was in Atlanta for 4 years. He decided he would settle in the suburbs of (formerly) Choclate City. In this market, he only scoped foreclosed properties (*smart fella -- wanted more bang for his buck). So, he bought the house and it's time for him to retreive all his belongings from storage that have been housed overseas and stateside. As a good friend, i had volunteered to help him get settled.

This past Saturday was beautiful and early afternoon i received a call on my mobile as i'm cruising around the city. It's my colleague and right away i think about the services i offered to him damn Bellini's word is on the line, so i committ to helping my friend. After a couple of hours i find my way to his home. Ironincally, he lives across the street from my best friend's home -- so i knew how to get there. He wasn't joking about the need to get settled, he had boxes everywhere. So i decide to work the kitchen to bring some additional order to the home. Besides your bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen should be tackled first when moving into a home -- these rooms give you the sense of home immediately when complete (imo). So eventually, he gives a mini-tour of the home and I see the office and I questioned why he chose this particular room and he informs me it's the smallest room in the home. And then i look up and i see the pink border with designs and then it hit me -- this was a bedroom for a little girl. I gasp!

Right then and there it became crystal clear, a couple actually gambled in the housing market and bought a home to settle their family in knowing they couldn't afford it. What makes the situation so uncanny is i remember a few years ago when the development was being built and i knew the going rate for the homes. Clearly the person who sold the couple their future forclosed home walked away with 100K at least. In many ways, i don't get why people would jump out there with no parachute. Whom are you trying to impress and why? You f***ed your credit to go to great lenghts about how much of the American pie you could own? See, that's how the joneses will f*** with you. Folks are gettin' caught up in the appearance of shit. Maybe i need to dig deeper and suggest that the joneses has much to do with a lack of self-worth.

Quality of life dictates that you buy what you can afford and not a penny more. Quality of life folks value piece of mind above all else. Quality of life requires that you accept everything ain't for everybody. So, there's no need to front. You can live and let be.
Just being is to keepin' it real = quality of life.

cheers,


Bellini

*P.S. shouts out to the smart fella, i'm sure he's reading this

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trite and Truancy

Okay, so before I get all Happy Earth Day, hemp is great and rainforests rock-I must share the greatness that was the play that Rum Punch and I caught on Saturday. If you are in the DC Metro eurra you should check out “Am I Black Enough Yet?” We laughed, cried and cosigned on most of what the actors said. Typical black folks in a sea of white folks but we didn’t give a fcuk and laughed out loud anyway! So I say see it! It’ll be worth the 25 bucks.

And now back to the planet. This post was originally going to be about why Black folks aren’t buying into the whole Green Movement thing…or at least, why I don’t see them hugging trees on tv. I mean for most of us, we’re just happy we are able to finally afford that nice car. So we are going to drive it. Everywhere. Corner store and all, because, hey we deserve to shine. Shoot, some of us are just happy to be able to afford groceries, who cares what type of bag I carry. But since Stormy touched on some of that yesterday (read: I’m too lazy to come up with another clever view on the subject) I'm moving on.

To be honest, I’ve “celebrated” many an Earth Day, but I don’t recycle consistently and I still ask for plastic at the grocery store. And so sometimes this “holiday” feels a little trite because on the other 364 days what am I doing? Or what are other folks doing after this day of awareness? I will say that I do get a little misty eyed when I see a seal covered in oil or a baby duck with a plastic six-pack ring around it’s neck. So I try to do my part and cut those plastic rings before I trash them. But Al and ‘em say I need to do more than that, and that is the truth.
Inconvenient as it may be.

When I was in seventh grade my school (read: everyone but the students) was pumped and excited to show their love for the planet by allowing us kids to select how they wanted to spend Earth Day with the Earth. So that year I chose to go clean up a lake (read: the boy I had a crush on was doing it). The environment was complete with smells, garbage, a nasty bagged lunch and salamanders (a minus before I knew how cute salamanders were). I was upset that I spent a day with nature with no cabin or car to separate us. And ire only increased the next day at school when all the kids who went to the
zoo talked about the great time they had had. Looking at animals, making out in front of the monkeys, and other general tomfoolery. They didn’t pick up trash or plant a thing.

So in eighth grade, the school was exciting again and the same Earth destinations were offered and that year I was going to the zoo! So there I stood at my locker getting myself ready for a day with the Earth when Rum Punch came up to me and launched her master plan of not going on the field trip and going to the mall*. Rut Roh. “But Rum Punch” I said, as I was dusting off my halo, “that’s wrong, I’ve never skipped school before”. She called me all sorts of names**, and you know how it is when you’re 13, you’ll believe anything. And so away we went. At least we did our part and took the bus to the diner (Earth-1 human selfishness-0). We ate our breakfast there and didn’t get nasty styrofoam containers or plastic bags (Earth-2 human selfishness-0). We didn’t use hairspray from aerosol containers (Earth-3 human selfishness-0). We had a good time at the mall and ensured that we threw our trash in the bins and not on the streets (Earth-4 human selfishness-0). And then we hung out at our friend’s house because her momma wasn’t home and we could watch cable (I’m sure something about saving the planet) for the rest of the day…when we could have been cutting trees down with our chainsaws just because (Earth-5 human selfishiness-0).

But I don’t have to state how important going green is. Even though I think this day can be trite, and I skipped school and went to the mall, and I’ll probably be dead when the next generations are roasty and toasting; I think if everyone did a little bit a big difference could be made. As for me, I volunteered to pass out the tree seedlings to my co-workers, they all had WTF expressions as I handed them their tree, but no one can say I’m not doing my part (Earth-6 human selfishiness-0).


*It wasn’t solely Rum Punch’s idea to skip school that day, she was blamed solely for entertainment purposes
** Also added, well made up for entertainment purposes


See You In Seven

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tidy Up

Oh mercy, mercy me.
Ah, things ain't what they used to be.
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

- Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), Marvin Gaye


She is Mother Earth and she tired as hell right about now. Hanging by a thread or two, you know what I'm saying? Any mother can tell you a story about a time when one of her children, to whom she gave life, had the nerve to be ungrateful towards her. Imagine the story of a mother to billions...

Tomorrow is Earth Day; a day observed around the world to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth. Maybe I should call her Home. If people called Earth "Home", would they treat her better?

One spring day sixteen years ago, a young bright eyed innocent girl rushed home to share with her mom all that she learned in school that day about Earth Day. She ran down a list of all sorts of stats about the ways that humans were destroying our Home. The young girl shared with her mother solutions for stopping global warming and cleaning up our environment by starting with our individual communities. She then asked her mother "why don't we recycle"? The child took an empty paper bag, sat it next to the garbage can, and instructed everyone to put all recyclable products into the paper bag.

The following week, the young girl brought home refrigerator magnets that the student government association was selling for a quarter each. The students made the magnets in observance of Earth Day and proceeds from the sale would be donated to an organization that support the cause. The magnets had slogans like "We breathe the air, so let's take care."

She proudly purchased four magnets and strategically placed them on the fridge for all to see.

I was that child. The recycle station that I set up in my mother's kitchen did not last very long. I quickly grew tired of finding glass bottles or aluminum cans in the garbage can and having to pick them out to be rinsed and properly disposed of. When I would ask my mom why she wasn't recycling, she would ask me to leave her alone.

She still doesn't recycle.

The magnets are still on her fridge.

Since the day I moved into my own crib in 2004, I recycle daily.

What the hell is my point you ask? Everyone does not care about our environment, our Home. As much as I care, my own mama never gave a damn... But that should not stop me. Nor should it stop anybody else who has realized that we're headed for self-destruction. It is too easy for us to do the right thing. So why is it so damn hard to get folks to do it?

I present to you Dark & Stormy's Earth Day challenge: Every day, do one thing that will protect and improve the world around you. Just one. Don't try to get fancy. Keep it simple and easy.

  • Recycling is one of the easiest things you can do. All you're doing is separating before you dispose.
  • Carpool with a friend or family member the next time you plan a group activity.
  • Walk or bike when you know driving ain't really necessary (i.e. you want to grab an ice cold beverage or snack from the neighborhood convenience store).
  • Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
  • Pick up a piece of trash that you see laying on the sidewalk or in the grass.
Here are some other ideas for keeping our Home clean and going green.

Just keep it simple. One a day, like a damn apple.

How would you treat your mama's house?


Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy