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, July 18, 2008

Great Expectations

I usually don’t dip my toes into the political water as I try to leave that up to the professionals like Bellini. LOL! But during this political season, several things have given me pause, especially when it relates to Obama. But in an effort to be brief I will just focus on two of them. And what I’m about to write isn’t really about the O man himself (since I’ve been there done that), but more about the public and its perceptions of him, his policies, his commitment to the people, his ability to feed the masses with five loaves, two fishes, a smile and jazz hands. So here is what has baffled me the most:

1. Some Black Folk
If I hear another Black person talk about how they thought this country had come so far, or they never thought this country could be so racist, or those days are supposed to be over, or it’s not fair how Bracky O is getting treated, I am seriously, for real, for real going to scream. I have heard it from Black folk of all ages. And it leaves me with a where did this Black person come from feeling. I mean I know the man has gotten farther than many of us ever imagined, but let’s not forget this is the good ol’ US of A. Somewhere in all of our excitement at the idea of history being made, we done lost our minds.

I don’t know how things went down in y’alls households, but here’s what my mama would say to me and my brother when we were coming up: I don’t put nothing past white folks. Now what does this mean? Does this mean that we didn’t have white friends? No, of course not. Does this mean that we were taught that there are no “good” white people in the world? No, of course not. Does this mean that we were taught that all white people are the devil? Well... No, I’m kidding, dear white readers (all 3 of y’all), we were not taught that white people are the devil. But like I recently heard Diamond aka Neesee aka LisaRaye on an All Of Us episode say, we were taught, “to watch our front, back, and sometimes they come from the left.”

Of course this doesn’t mean I live my life full of suspicion waiting for some white person to come twist a knife in my back or take my land, but, um, er, I ain’t no fool. Nothing white people do surprises me: good, bad or evil. When they dress up in “ghetto” costumes and black face for Halloween, while so many of us are getting upset I am not shocked. I am mostly amused. But mainly at our reactions. When they use the "N" word, I am not astonished. I’m wondering what took them so long. When they use scare tactics like having a blonde haired white woman tell Harold Ford Jr., to “call her,” on a television commercial at the height of his historic Senate race, that recall old school fears and stereotypes, I am ready for it. I don’t like it. But I’m ready for it. And I’m not ready to let my guard down. Call it paranoia. Call it a refusal to let go of the past. But whatever you call it, I won't be surprised at anything that happens in the Fall.

2. Everybody else
Recently on the Tom Joyner Morning Show a Muslim American from some non profit/non partisan group was being interviewed saying that he took issue with the way Obama is denying that he is not a Muslim. The man said, “He shouldn’t just say that he’s not a Muslim. He should also say, ‘But if I were there would be nothing wrong with that.’ He’s making it seem like it’s not good to be a Muslim.” Now as I’ve expressed, I’m no Obamaholic, but man heavy is the head that’s trying to wear the crown! You want him to do alladat? You realize he’s running for President of the United States, right? Heh, heh. That line works on more than just Black people I see.

So the guy was talking bout Muslims might not support Obama now. And of course Joyner and Co. were on some but what about how McCain thinks/treats/supports Muslims? Ok if I remembered anything from my argumentation class I would know exactly what kind of argument this is, but since I don’t, I’ll just say that this is a silly argument to me because McCain is not running on the Hope/Change/There are no red states or blue states just purple states/We all in this together Express. You pretty much know what you’re going to get from the Republican Party: White men, their wives, and a few “special” minorities who have lost their way. I kid Black conservatives. Obama has been stamped as the inclusive candidate which only leads to trouble because then everyone thinks they’re, well included. Until they find out that they’re not. Because in reality no one can be all things to all people. And when that reality is finally revealed those people want to go get all get mad and act betrayed. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that someone was going to come up with the short end of the stick. And it’s usually minorities: in terms of race, religion, and economics. But maybe they never thought they would be the ones who were going to be forced to pick that short stick. Sucks doesn’t it?

Now some people (cough Bellini cough) might label me a cynic. I prefer to call myself a realist. Maybe it's because in my voting lifetime I’ve never been fully ride or die for a candidate, so I don’t know the thrill of hitching my wagon to someone’s star, and taking that magical carpet ride to victory. But I do know that I recently read that every movement begins in idealism, turns into a business, and ends up as a racket. Chew on that. And as I watch and hear some people become slightly disillusioned with yo' mama's favorite candidate, (I’ve even heard some use that clich├ęd well he’s the lesser of two evils line-now when did he become that), I like this New York Times writer wonder what everyone was expecting. Cause I'm still waiting for this water I'm drinking to turn to wine!

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

Thursday, July 17, 2008

let it all go

I’ve never been one to hold a grudge (for too long). In part because my memory tends to be a bit shaky and I’m liable to forget what the heck you did six months from now. Partly because I like to think happy thoughts, floating along in a semi-comatose dream-like state. Reminiscing on the past, the beautiful rainbow-colored memories of happier times. Or fantasizing about the future and what joyous things lay in store around the next bend. Somewhere in there I try to come back down to earth just long enough to function and carry out my mundane tasks with a semblance of normalcy.

Oh yes, grudges were what I was talking about. Like I said, I don’t too much care for them. They get in the way of me being my idealistic happy-go-lucky self. Cause there is so much work in schlepping that grudge around from day to day. Not only do you have to remember the wrongs done, but you have to paint a sour face and disposition over an otherwise rosy demeanor, you have to rehash the sins of said friends and family against whom you're holding that grudge to anyone who will listen and declare how wrong the person was for doin’ you dirt.

You have to actively forget all the good times that went down. The countless occasions ya’ll laughed till you cried, waited 5 minutes and laughed again about the same silliness. All the times ya’ll rode bikes around the neighborhood and explored new cul-de-sacs, the houses that you picked out as yours when you got grown enough to be buy it for yourself. You have to think the worst of someone, when thinking the best may come so naturally. You have to believe that people are out to get you instead of understanding that everyone has a slip in judgment every now and again.

I can readily call to mind the times and ways I felt I’ve been wronged, had an “oh no that be-yotch didn’t!” moment and thought to myself why even bother, I mean really why even have friends if they will disappoint you and destroy the faith that you had in the goodness of them. If they will wash away years of trust, as if they have no idea about your character such that they would think the worst of you or do the suckiest stuff to you. Why get close to people if they won’t allow you to do you in a way that doesn’t harm them, instead silently judging you or doing things that "force" you to judge them?

Why indeed?

Cause sometimes your friends can be worse than your enemies, straight hatin’ ass, not worth a damn mofos, making you just want to cut a sucker from ear to ear. They know all your secrets and all your business. So when your friends f’ you over, it is especially hurtful. But like I said, I don’t hold a grudge. I let it marinate for a day or two but I get over it cause I know I’ve done some not so nice things in my life and I would hope that others would forgive my transgressions as well. Of course I don’t forget either, keeping things stored in my memory bank and be quick to send a "bitch please" with a side of "hell naw" your way the next time you step outta line.

But if you don’t let it go, at least releasing that deathly chokehold you have on that grudge, then you’ll soon find yourself with no friends since everyone will make a mistake at some point in time. You will be one lonely bastard with no one who loves you and a grudge the size of the Grand Canyon preventing you from loving others. Life would suck for you because you’d have no one there to tell you that dress is not a good look for your body type. No one to travel across the country or across the world with, just you, yourself and you in a five star hotel cause you couldn’t pay a friend to travel with you since you'd have none. No one to escape the plantation with when the time came for freedom cause no one woulda clued you in to the revolution.

We reach out to others in friendship, in love, as an attempt to be connected to some thing in this world other than ourselves. –mint julep

We love as soon as we learn to distinguish a separate you and me. Love is our attempt to assuage the terror and isolation of that separateness. –Judith Viorst

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. –1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Show some love today and let go of that grudge!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

chronicles of the generational divide, vol.i

There was a 50/50 chance that I would write this post. But after reading an op-ed from one of my favorite and respected journalists, Deborah Mathis – I felt compelled to clear the air so to speak. She rationalizes that there is logic to the words Reverend Jesse Jackson Senior whispered. The generational divide is deep and wide and I know MLK Jr. is restless in his grave.

For starters, who the hell says that they want to castrate somebody? Men do you all talk like this? The whole statement sounds awkward to me. It is irrelevant on which program it was said – for those of you that are more irritated that the comment was said on Fox News you are clearly missing the point. And the fact that Jesse Jackson, Jr. had to give Dad a public lashing… Hope is alive and well after all.

There is a generational divide that is undermining the resiliency of our communities. Mathis asserts that the Reverend is justified in his rebuke of Barack Obama’s speech on personal responsibility be’cuz the mainstream is cupable in the lack of opportunities for black men . Deborahhhhh… We will not absolve personal responsibility of an adult and perpetuate the acceptance of that behavior running amok. Folks, when we will say enough is enough. Do you know how many friends I have that were reared fatherless? They are bitter, confused, indifferent by virtue of that experience. This goes for men and women. And for many all they desired was their presence, interaction, communication—basic tenets of fatherhood. What the hell does white folks have to do with that?

I have much respect for the ole’ guard, but the ole’ guard must admit they are complicit in the problem. You can’t point the finger when you witnessed your birthright dismiss their responsibilities. Now we can’t rewind the clock – time wait’s for no one, but we can decide to move forward and learn from our past. And in moving forward we must share the history: the good, the bad, and the ugly. What I tend to hear in the ole’ guard’s dialogue to us is that we come from nothing, Jim Crow, sharecropper evolved to boycotts, sit-ins, marches, water hoses, integration … and now the future is ours. That recount is true but share the mistakes and lessons learned along the way. And Barack is correct when he states, "So yes, we have to demand more responsibility from Washington... And yes, we have to demand more responsibility from Wall Street. But we also have to demand more from ourselves."



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

There are a lot of things that have shocked me about this adulthood thing. Like how much stuff costs-especially toilet paper! And subsequently how soon you have to change that roll. Now I totally understand why it’s often difficult to get more than one square of paper in a public bathroom! And after being conditioned to about 15 weeks of vacation thanks to my schoolin’, now the expectation is that I work through the summer and I beg for time off during that week between Christmas and New Years because someone needs to be in the office?! Oh, it’s hard ya’ll. So until senility kicks in and I can’t really remember my youth, I’m learning to cope with some of these aspects of being a girl in a grown up world. But what has shocked me the most has been how many stupid people have made it pass go and have been allowed to roam around in the same world with me! Where did all these idiots come from?!

Now I’m not talking about people who occasionally say or do stupid things. I mean I for one have called that dude I wasn’t supposed to and paid handsomely for it later (read: STUPID). But I’m talking about these people I work with and people I just happen to encounter that really can’t put 1 and 1 together to get any kind of sense, common or otherwise. Well…let me correct that, they get nonsense quite well. And it’s the nonsense that I can’t tolerate living with. I’m thinking that it would be nice if all the stupid folks could get together in a centralized location and meet and stay there…forever.

Am I being too radical? Hmmmmm. Maybe.

My mom is a property manager for public housing. Oh the stories that she tells about her residents…truly there is a different moral compass in Section 8 communities. Yesterday, Mom told me how she took one of her resident’s daughter to the doctor to treat a cough that would clear up for a time and then return. Now you might be thinking, why oh why was your mom taking this child to the doctor…well I’ll tell you. It’s because her mother is a stupid person! And the reason her mother is stupid is because her daughter (who is sixteen and a straight A student) spoke out against a man who was living in their house and beating on them…her mom included. So when it came down to choosing between “her man” and her child…mom dukes told the girl she needed to find another place to stay. Why? Short answer…because she’s stupid! But long answer was that she’s never been without a man, and well she wasn’t about to start that day. Lawd! Seriously? And so on the way to the doctor's office yesterday this young lady told my mom that she would hang out at friend’s house until late at night and then sleep in the neighborhood park. For three months this occurred! I mean there are just too many stupid people, slash so-called adults who should have been aware that this child was sleeping outside. Turns out this child has a serious thyroid condition and my mom and a social worker had to move hell and high water just to get the mother to sign consent papers to allow for them to take her daughter to treatment. This mother had a stank attitude about it too! What. The. Hell? How can a mother keep her life moving for three months without concern about where her child was? Why wasn’t this mother thankful that people were willing to step in and help when she didn’t feel like being bothered? This was just too asinine for me to understand.

But people like this "mother" our out here, walking among us!

So I seriously propose (and maybe if Bracky becomes president he can help me with this) that all of the idiots who walk among us should be branded with scarlet DAs on their foreheads. Then we (the intelligent citizens of America) round them up (a la Bellini style) and let them live someplace together, maybe in middle America. We could just put them in a place where they can live their lives like they're golden. A place that we can stop by on the way to the Grand Canyon on our summer vacations with our children. And when we get there we can all laugh and point as stupid tries to outwit a box of rocks. Oh, how nice it would be in a safe place away from these people, to stand back, watch and wonder how stupid a person can actually be.

See You In Seven

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life Before Death

Yesterday my homegirl called me and we engaged in one of our usual discussions about what's going on and what you been up to and so forth. Midway into our conversation, she calmly says to me "Today I realized that I am going to die alone." I'm like why are you talking like that? She told me that she reached this "aha moment" while choking on her sandwich and having no one around to rescue her. I knew that her kids were home at the time; I'm sure they would help her in such a situation and suggested she make sure they learn the Heimlich maneuver. But my girl was not amused. She said that when she meant alone, she meant not having that special person to grow old with. And she went on to say that even if she was apart from that special person at the time she died, she would not feel alone because she'd know that person loved her wherever they were. I reassured her that her concern was a bit premature given that we're barely thirty yet and still have a lot of life to live.

Or so we hope.

As easy as it is to acknowledge that tomorrow is not promised, it is just as easy to take today for granted. The truth of the matter is I have no idea how much life myself or anyone else has to live. We hope, pray, and plan for longevity without knowing if we'll ever achieve it at all. And even though death plays a huge role in all of our lives, most of us do our best to tiptoe around the subject for as long as possible as if that will keep it further away or stall it for some time.

Unless you have a terminal illness, there is no way of knowing when your time will come. So how can we prepare ourselves for such an event? Some folks purchase insurance policies and have wills drawn up to protect their assets and secure financial support for their families. That's all good but I'm more concerned with the mental and emotional aspect.

Stick with me here... I promise it ain't as dark and stormy as it may seem thus far.

Ten years ago, I had to engage in an exercise where I was asked to write my own eulogy. I could make up whatever I wanted... D&S dedicated her life to social activism and fighting for the rights of those less fortunate in her community. She also became the first female DJ to bless the airwaves of commercial radio in the DMV. She leaves behind a devoted husband, three loving children, and five precious grandbabies. You get the point. The purpose of the exercise was to identify how you want to be remembered so that you could start taking the necessary steps today to live that life.

That was one of the most eye opening experiences ever for me. It made me realize that we truly only have one shot at this life we've each been blessed with and we never know when our time will run out. As a chronic procrastinator, I have to remind myself from time to time that I won't always be able to put something off until tomorrow. I would be more devastated by dying without accomplishing certain things in my life than I would be by dying alone. But that's just my screwed up way of thinking.

I wish I saved a copy of that eulogy from ten years ago but it's never too late to start on a new one. I plan on starting on it today so that I can get to working on it today. Tomorrow is a beautiful wish that I always hope will come true.

How do you want to be remembered?

Tumultuously Yours,
Dark & Stormy