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, August 1, 2008

Black Is, Black Ain't

This post has been a long time coming. And then the special report aired. You know the one. And now Earl Graves is beefin' with Soledad O'Brien. And so I figured I’d get in on the action. Now I never intended to watch the program because I already know what it’s like to be Black in America (although I now know that I need someone to follow me around and chronicle my life story in spoken word so that it can sound deep, profound and rhythmic), but while I was out of town with the five, and we were flipping through channels we stopped at CNN and watched a few segments. Twas just what I expected so I dismissed it completely. And then I heard the comments on the morning radio shows. Some Black folk loved it. Some Black people hated it, but knew they weren’t the target audience. And some Black people just hated it altogether. I hadn’t given it much thought until my friend said, “I didn’t like it because they only showed Black people who wanted to be white or poor Black people, no one in the middle. What about us?” Ahhh what about us?

I grew up in a suburb of Washington, DC when it was truly Chocolate City. I grew up middle class with two professional parents who are first generation college graduates. I was surrounded by Black two parent families, Black lawyers, doctors, teachers, social workers, business owners, corporate America climbers, HBCU graduates, AKAs, Deltas, Alphas, Jack & Jillers, Martha’s Vineyard vacationers, movers and shakers, the whole "talented tenth" as it were. I attended a Black church and was in an all Black Girl Scout troop. Being around "successful" Black people who had advanced degrees, owned homes, and still ate chitlins and collard greens was my world and reality. And while I was in class with mostly white people, my mama always kept us grounded. Always a revolutionary, Mama Rum Punch kept it real. She taught us that Black was beautiful and something to be proud of. She taught us our history, and when I was in third grade during a field trip to the Capitol I argued with the white tour guide about how Lincoln did not really free the slaves. She and the teacher tried to hush me so that I wouldn’t ruin the myth for the rest of the class. But the seed had been planted. And I became outspoken Black girl in class, futilely trying to kick the truth to the young white youth. I then went on to an HBCU where I was surrounded by a diverse group of Black people who didn't fit into one identity. And then I entered the real world and learned how to straddle two worlds.

A couple of years ago I was at a bar in DC. As I was ordering a drink this Black chick asked me where I was from. "Maryland," I said. "You don’t sound like it," she said. "I try not to conform to stereotypes," I said. She was a little taken aback and then… "I love her," she squealed to her white friend. I knew instantly she was one of those black girls who had spent a lifetime surrounded around white people and probably had her "blackness" challenged by Black people. I had been there before when I was younger when people told me I sounded white. I wasn’t sure what that meant. And then I learned. And then I tried to change. And then I said fuck it. And I have been me ever since.
I don't feel the need to try to prove my Blackness, not prove my Blackness, be someone else’s definition of Black, or put all my energy into trying to change people's perception of Black. As a writer I write about the Black life that I know. I don't sugar coat, embellish or exaggerate. And when I present my work to my writer's groups, it's well received by people of all races. But I am noticing that there are some Black artistes who are on some: I don’t want to be the stereotypical Black person I just want to be me, but I want you to know that I know that I’m Black, I’m just not one of those Black people, I’m my own kind of Black person, but I’m still Black. Ok? Watch this and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

The whole thing confounds me. On one of the Black in America segments, one Black man had moved his family to the suburbs and was suffering from the 'white man’s ice is colder’ syndrome. What the hell is this all about, I wondered. What exactly is he trying to accomplish? Doesn't he know he's always going to be Black, no matter how hard he tries to be a different kind of Black person? What exactly is he trying to prove? And who is he trying to prove it to? Looking back at my life experiences, I realize that for me being Black was never this, or that, it just was. And even now, to me, it just is. We can try to bottle it or define it, but there will always be a difference of opinion or an anomaly that proves otherwise. To me being Black is the “worst” of us and the “best” of us and everything in between. The middle.

The middle which is often forgotten, an untold story, because it's just regular, normal, and everyday. It's filled with people who pay their bills on time, own houses and live in apartments, go to work, attend church/mosques/temples, get degrees, raise and marry off their children, get sick, make babies out of wedlock, celebrate golden anniversaries, travel the world, have cookouts, play bid whist, work in corporate America, the community & the government, get profiled by the police, have family members who made it to the suburbs and those still in the hood or the country, keep JET and Ebony on the coffee table, get perms or locs or keep it natural, live in cities and small towns, share inside jokes that the majority will never understand, make individual strides, fuck up, and have personal setbacks. Just trying to live the best life they can all the while being Black in America. Whatever that means.

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

on love

All I am a heart for you

All I am available to you

All I am desperate for you

All I am in love with you

~ "All I Am" KiKi Sheard

This past weekend I went to a wedding. And for all my tendencies toward hateration concerning this union, it was a lovely event. You'd have to have a true heart of stone, be the coldest bitch on earth, ice cold, to not feel a glimmer of something, a tingle of joy perhaps at two people committing themselves fully to each other for life in front of so many witnesses.

Considering all the "drama" that has taken place, all the breakups and makeups, disappointments and betrayals that can (and did) occur behind the scenes of the blessed nuptials, one often wonders how could she pledge her life to him after all he's done, how could he knowingly lock himself in to one woman for life?

More simply put… What is love? Is that really love? and if so, is it possible to have the good love without the "bad"?
From the outside looking in, it's sooo easy to judge, to say yay or nay. To discuss ad nauseum with other non-married, non-boo'd up, non-in-love women whether what two people share is or isn't love. To speculate about what one would and would not take, about what one wouldn't tolerate. You know you've asked yourself, how could he/she possibly love the object of their affection when they do such f'ed up things to the other person or take such gutter treatment in the name of love.

I've even been guilty of going so far as to say...if that is love, I want no parts of "that" kind of love. But I recently had to rethink that statement. For who am I to say, sitting safely in my "not-in-love" courtside seats, getting a bird's eye view of what I don't have, that I wouldn't take the good with the bad in order to experience such deep soul-tingling love, or whatever you want to call it.

Granted, there have and will continue to be some caveats to (it just wouldn't be mint julep without the caveats and the common sense). Some things, some very bad things, we can as a community objectively say are not worth the love. i.e. public beatdowns, death threats, incurable and infectious diseases transmitted without the others knowledge. but then you get closer to the edge of that slippery slope of infidelity, unavailability and brokeassness.
So what pushes a person over the edge, to become and remain so in love that they take treatment that objectively doesn't reflect LOVE? Me no know. I'd imagine love to be, what it means to truly be in love with someone, is to give yourself so fully and completely trusting that the other person will hold you down. But do we have a choice in the matter? Some say love is a choice. Others say that you can't chose who you fall in love with. I'm not sure where I fall in the debate. Cause at this moment I have a few automatic love forfeiture clauses that I can't see myself doing away with.

Yet, like the chicken-egg circular debate, I'm not in love, at least not like the couple I saw get married, so how can I say what is and is not worth the love? Can you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Corporate Takeover

History just loves repeating itself.
Isn' it interesting when soon after nouveau technology infiltrates the masses the corporate stalwarts feel threatened and decide to capitalize that market for thier profit of course corporate takeover.

Well, you see major telephone and internet companies would like to imbue thier corporate capitalism on the internet. If Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T had their way they would determine which websites load fast, slow, or worst -- not at all. Essentially, it boils down to pay to play. They envision taxing website providers to name their price on how bad they want their information to reach the masses. Therefore, the "price is right" if you're paying top dollar. Chump change need not play.

Do you know how many small businesses exist exclusively on the world wide web, because they are able to contain expenses and/or lack the capital to lease space? What about the grassroot organizations that can't afford ad space in the newspapers or on television?

The role of advent technology is to level the playing field so to speak. Allow new entrepreneurs to take risk and express their innovation. Now, I know some of you may not care and some of you care deeply about the issue. My hope is that we won't be ignorant about the issue and when you hear or read the words NET NEUTRALITY -- you know what the hell is going on. For more info check out www.savetheinternet.com



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some Thoughts Towards Tomorrow

My coworker, a white gay man, visits his grandmother who is 100 years old every other weekend. Now he’s from west bubble Florida where mosquitoes and ‘gators run swamps, and people drink from mayonnaise jars…so its not a stretch for me to assume that when Ms. Granny was less wrinkled racism was alive and well. Okay, let me edit that, I know racism still is alive and well, but back then I can assume a Negro couldn’t walk down the street without rocks being thrown at them or even being spat upon. Coworker has never stated that Granny rode with the knights of the klan or lobed rocks at anyone, but he has said that she has a problem with black people so I need to get images of a sweet old lady out my mind…this chick is ornery at best. She currently has a room by herself because she’s made countless roommates cry. At her old nursing home it was common place that the N word would slip as her often black (or even worse Haitian and Jamaican) nurses would come to wipe her butt. And as coworker tells me these tales I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that the very people that Granny hated and despised are now the ones who are helping to keep her in the land of the living. Ha. Ha. Ha. I guess karma is a b*tch!

But his stories about his beloved granny often get me thinking about that future that looms ahead. I wonder who is going to take care of me when I’m old and wrinkled? I’m going to be sharp, or will my family gather around a woman who hardly remembers? Am I putting out good things in the universe so I don’t end up abused in a home some place? Does it even matter if I put good things out there? These things I ask as I contribute to my 401K plan and try to live my life young and carefree.

But the cares are growing.

I hear my coworker share that nurses dropped her father again and now his arm is broken. Another coworker told me about how his mother’s clothes were taken from her room. And just yesterday my mom tells me that one of my grandmother’s sisters has gone blind. The other has just had a stroke. And still another can hardly get out of bed in the morning due to her arthritis is acting up. All three live in one house with only my grandmother coming to check on them and telling them they need to turn on the air conditioning because it’s 83 degrees in the house, but they sat not noticing the heat.

I guess I just worry about what’s going to happen to me. And before then I wonder how I am going to care for my parents? I’m an only child, they are divorced and there is no longer a community of caring people who I could trust to check in on them, take them a dinner plate or even drive them to the doctor while I’m at work or living hundreds of miles away. Something has failed. What happened to that village that strengthened the weak spots in our lives?

Today I can laugh at a racist old lady horrified of being touched by black folks day in and day out… but tomorrow? Yeah, I just don’t know what’s gonna happen then.

See You in Seven

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're on The Way...

Well we aren't going to Hollywood just yet...but we are making our way home from a glorious weekend in Atlanta.

Unfortunately none of us ran into any of Hotlanta's celebrities (Xscape get back together). But we did hit up Justin's for dessert, ate up some wings at Hooters and drank a gallon of sweet tea from various locations to beat that heat. But most importantly we attended the FIRST ANNUAL Blogging while Brown conference this weekend! Many thanks to our host, and the other bloggers we were able to meet, greet and learn from...hope to see ya'll next year.