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, September 5, 2008

I Hope That You're The ONE, If Not...

Lately I have had the strangest feeling. Cue Stevie Wonder. And then K-Ci and JoJo. Ooo yeah. Ok seriously. Lately I have had the strangest feeling on this whole thing about finding the ONE. The thought is everywhere I turn. And it’s not all on my own volition. It’s just the way things go when you get around your girlfriends. I mean the conversation just sort of veers in that direction. What kind of wedding do you want? What kind of man do you see yourself settling down with? What do you think marriage is really, really like? Next thing you know you’re planning a trip to the bridal expo just to look at stuff. Or you’re thinking about your exes, convincing yourself that such and such wasn’t all that bad… And then it gets even harder what with all these wedding shows galore on countless channels. Then that one person in your crew you never thought would get married does. And then you top that all off with getting older and having no children and no main squeeze in your life, and people start to examine you like you’re standing on the auction block, eyeing your uterus like it’s going to waste, parents talking about their imaginary grandkids, church folks, old folks, yo' folks get to questioning when you’re gonna find someone to settle down and have kids with. F what you heard about living life the way you want. It’s all about following society’s rules. Or not. You know cause it really all depends on the kind of person you are and how you wanna live your life. Or not.

But back to the ONE. That ONE person you are supposed to click with, have a spark with, always get butterflies when they’re around, talk about any and everything with, realize y’all are soul mates, argue with but stay in love with, and then finally lock it down, on some foreva, foreva EVA, FOREVA EVA, till death do y’all part stuff… Or until someone decides they can’t do this no more. But you hope it’s the former. That ONE. That ONE mothafucka. In my travels across this land or just walking around my house in jammies, I wonder if such a person exists for me. And if he does then how will I know that he’s the ONE? Will the hair stand up on my arms? Will I just get some spidey this man right here, oh yeah he’s the ONE sense? Will it just be a natural, instantaneous type feeling? Or will it be gradual? And then the thought that it could be all of this, some of this or none of this. And of course there’s no telling if it will ever even happen. And so I was reading my girl Carolyn Hax one day (I like to say it like I know her personally) and I came across the following question about the ONE. Carolyn summed it up quite nicely. Still has me thinking. Read, enjoy and discuss.

Hi, Carolyn:

How do I know if someone is "the one"? I've been with him five years, and the answer isn't coming to me. Marriage is obviously a huge step in life, and it's important to me not to make any missteps. It would be great news if there was a "The One" checklist.

1. If you're asking me, he's not it.
You're not marveling at your luck in finding this guy. He deserves that. You do, too.
End of discussion? Maybe. However, some people feel lucky just to have someone rich, or pretty, or breathing, so it's important to calibrate your concept of luck.
2. Do you love, not just like, each other?
3. Do you like, not just love, each other?
4. Do you talk to each other easily? Sit in silence easily?
5. Are you both past the point of comparing yourselves with or seeking approval from your parents? Peers?
6. Do friends and family approve? (Trick question.) Do you respect their opinions? Should you?
7. Should you respect your opinions? Can you spot abuse and control? Have you outgrown any need to delude yourself, can you admit when you're being shallow, stubborn, immature? When you're scorekeeping, holding grudges, shifting blame, undermining, told-you-so-ing, abusing substances or otherwise making suspect decisions?
8. Do you refresh, not exhaust, each other?
9. Are there no major objections, recurring arguments, unhealed emotional wounds between you? Do you two handle conflict well enough not to fear it? Are you free to be yourselves, where others seem to walk on eggshells?
10. Everyone has insecurities. Does each of you respect how the other handles them?
11. Can you share anything, whether you actually do or not? Does your mate know you as well as or better than friends do? Are you free to confide in both?
12. Finish this sentence: "S/he's wonderful, but . . ."
13. Do you understand that the only person you can change is yourself? And even then, only to a limited degree? That "potential" is fiction, it's as-is or nothing?
14. Okay, s/he's wonderful. But is s/he wonderful for you?
15. Have you purged the excuse "All relationships are work" from your lexicon?
16. Is pleasing each other a pleasure? ("Compromise," good; "compromised," not.)
17. Are you confident that, if you broke up, s/he would take it like an adult?

18. Would you be with this person even if you couldn't marry or have kids -- i.e., if there were no societal ticket to punch? (The silver bullet against settling.)
19. Has time -- not months, but years -- confirmed what you're witnessing and feeling?
20. Honesty check: Brutal yet?
And finally: 21. Do you understand that you can get all of this "right," and get everything else "right," and be raised by parents who got this "right," and still have things go wrong? That cosmically, practically and mathematically, the whole concept of "the one" is ludicrous?

This is sounding like an argument for serial monogamy. But operating from a fear of missteps is itself a misstep. Have the guts to accept life without guarantees, and to let good fortune speak for itself. Oh, and if you're wondering where sex is, it's covered by 1-21.

-Carolyn Hax

And now some jump off discussion questions for the class: Have you found the ONE? Believe that there is or is no such thing as the ONE? Waiting patiently (cause you know you can’t go “looking”) for the ONE? Think you let the ONE get away? If you found the ONE, does the mean you have to get married? Living a fuck the ONE, I’m the ONE, so I'm doing me type lifestyle? Do tell then!

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

Thursday, September 4, 2008

trouble in the water

Imagine if the place you knew as home no longer existed? The town you grew up in was wiped off the map. That church where you were baptised razed to the ground. Your high school alma mater abandoned and neglected. Pretty disturbing thoughts.

While perusing the internets, I came across this over at The Breaking Point. Lord Hannibal asked "Is New Orleans Habitable?" It is a valid question, especially since I'm chillaxin on a week-long evacucation from New Orleans due to Hurricane Gustav. He raised some interesting points to consider:

Much of New Orleans, which was all but destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, sits below sea level. While it’s debatable that the city is sinking into the Gulf of Mexico, what can’t be debated is that it’s highly vulnerable to the potentially devastating effects of hurricanes.
. . .
I appreciate that New Orleans, with its rich culture and unique history, is the literal and figurative home of some people whose roots can be traced to the migration of 1809, but at what point does reality trump sentiment?

Now since I'm a New-New Orleanian, I'd quibble with the notion that "much" of the city "was all but destroyed" by Katrina but large parts of it do indeed lie below sea level. While Katrina's devastation was widespread, especially in areas like the 9th Ward and the Lower 9th Ward, other areas only sustained minor damage, like the Garden District, Uptown, and the Westbank. Nevertheless, I fully appreciate the devastation that hurricanes can cause on coastal cities and towns.

I grew up riding out hurricanes with candles and battery operated radios in a Georgia city prone to flooding because of its low lying location along the Atlantic Ocean. We'd watch the newscast with diligence and listen as the grown folks of the family assessed whatever storm was bearing down on us based on David and Hugo. Evacuating or at least considering evacuating at the end of every summer was a part of our lives in the same way that my cousins in Brooklyn got snow days when the city experienced a particularly brutal winter storm. In elementary school, we had tornado and hurricane drills where we huddled in the hallways with our bodies pressed against the wall with faces between our knees.

But is there a point at which this "reality" will ever trump "sentiment"? People's connection to a place is more, in my estimation, than mere sentiment. A place represents culture, history and home. A home that many families have known for generations since a time when this "home" was nothing more than a brutal surrogate for a no longer knowable home-land. It would be hard to imagine an abandonment of such a place. My great-uncle who refused to leave his home when most everyone else evacuated would have waved away any talk of the uninhabitability of his home. Not the one that he had labored for years to earn by putting aside every week and sacrificing the now for the rewards of the later. No reality could trump that.

So then what is the reality? New Orleans and many of America's coastal communities sit at or below sea level. An undeniably dangerous place to be. But perhaps these places have become more dangerous over time. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the "sea level is rising more rapidly along the U.S. coast than worldwide." Global warming may very well be contributing to the rise of sea levels and the level of danger facing cities like New Orleans. The reality is that with the level of scientific engineering skills that we have within this country, we can do more to help protect first human life and second our cultural properties through planning. Planning that slows and ultimately stops the effects of global warming on our coasts. Planning levees that will withstand the strongest categories of hurricanes. Planning that will get people out of harm's way at the threat of a hurricane.

I just can't imagine no longer visiting Saint Peter Claver Church or listening to the Rebirth Brass Band on Tuesday nights at the Maple Leaf. Sentimental maybe, but living in New Orleans is my reality and the reality of a lot of folks, something not given up lightly if at all.

What say you?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

they're tried, true, and tired

The cowboy party is on a roll or so they think. I don’t even know what their identity is anymore? Abstinence-only, pro-lifers, fidelity, infidelity—not to say the Dems don’t have their own shit to contend with, but the Reps have always been so feisty about their way or the highway. Now, you have the alleged maverick in John McCain selecting PWT (you guys are smart figure out the acronym) Sara Palin… oh he’s made the rednecks proud. But, I think it’s going to take more than the rednecks to win the vote.

So, McCain is gambling on burned Hillary voters to still feel singed and not whole-heartedly accept her speech. But, Sara Palin is no Hillary and he’s undermined the utility of his ticket with his VP selection. Furthermore, the ill- timing of it all adds to its farcical nature. McCain, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Obama was going to bring a white man to his ticket. So, if you wanted to buffer the ill-effects of choosing Palin, you would have announced Palin as VP awhile ago if you were a bold, visionary and all.
Memo to McCain: The problem with Palin is that we know too much and yet we don’t even know her ass. And with one vice-presidential debate scheduled (and my girl Gwen Ifill is the moderator –so watch it on her behalf) and 9 weeks remaining to election day—time is not on your side.

Since, Hillary played her part in Denver, this election will be determined by wooing white men and independents. Sorry folks, but I got to give it to you straight no chaser. The polls have yet to tell us what is the composition of these independents, but my hunch is the economy preoccupies their mind. I for one, am an independent and when I see the McCain/Palin option on the ballot I will need to muster the strength not laugh at the caricature in my mind while in the voting booth. Hilarity at its best!

Although, last night was Day2 of the Republican National Convention—it felt like Day1. America’s First Lady spoke in red feigning defiance but whatever she was selling… I ain’t buying – claiming she’s behind Governor Sara Palin—Laura Bush doesn’t even look she would invite the chick to the ranch in Crawford. No matter what the GOPers are doing they’re down in the trenches fighting to get up. Hurricane Gustav ravages through the Gulf Coast like clockwork –as if it’s Katrina part deux divine intervention if you ask me—definitely casting a pall over McCain’s ticket. If you believe in signs than that was an ominous one, poor McCain I don’t think he’s temperament can take any more shit. Can't wait 'til the debates.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Fairest One of All

The other day I had brunch with a friend, and for the sake of story I’ll just call him Buddy. Buddy and I get together from time to time to catch up and reminisce about our past lives. Buddy is a friend I acquired a couple of years ago in adulthood through a series of random events that didn’t include a class project, a social networking event, or a church group. Buddy and I met in the trenches of a call center part time hustle, and while soliciting the opinions of good old Americans, we bonded over books and twenty-something brokeness.

So anyway, we are eating and having a time that’s good, when he updates me on the plight of his best friend who has recently experienced a devastating breakup. Her former dude has caused her to go all “Crazy Chick” because he essentially broke up with her without rhyme or reason. And in her breakup grief she has been on suicide watch. In anger has driven, with a female friend in tow, to his job…all without resolution to their three year relationship. Buddy then explained that now she is convinced that there is something wrong with her, and therefore there is something that she needs to change. And no, she isn’t thinking of the let this all go and let God variety… More like the “Doctor, more tits and ass please. And could you also throw in some lypo for good measure?”

Oh no! Hell Naw!

I said Buddy, did you tell her ain’t no nigga worth that?! He nodded, then shrugged. Because really what could he say, she’s already decided that is her solution. *Sigh* But the whole thing got me thinking about plastic surgery and how the idea has crossed my mind as a solution, but the outcome weighted against the needless risk I pretty have decided I'm not trying to undergo surgery just cause.

Looking back at childhood photographs I can say that I was one funny looking kid! I am so thankful for time and new gene expression because things weren’t looking so good for the home team! My older male cousin once told me that when comparing me to my other female cousins, he and my grandma (that mean old lady) had concluded that it was a good thing that I was at least smart. And that conversation led me down the rabbit hole of recollection where I don’t ever remember my parents fawning over my looks or even saying that I was beautiful. My father, and extremely intelligent man, told me that he believed that I was much smarter that he…and I remember being extremely pleased with that.

And so I don’t know what the lack of praise in my youth has done for my outlook on all things vain. It stands to reason that I should have a complex of some sort. But I will say that as my hair grew, and the braces came off, and the breasts grew bigger than my belly it was a pleasant shock as the old ladies started to say I was looking more and more like my mother, and less and less like my father. Thank the Lawd! For real ya'll!

But I’m aware that my outcome could have been different and my transition from a funny looking kid could have been to that of an ugly woman. And as a woman it’s difficult to exist in America if you don’t think you are beautiful. A few years ago I remember MTV had a show that allowed youngsters to undergo plastic surgery to look like their favorite pop culture idol. And I often wanted to know if they thought it was worth the pain and the risk, and how they feel about their decision today?

I think about what Buddy’s friend will do when ole boy still doesn’t want her or even to give her a reason to why they didn’t work out. What then? When I’m not looking in the mirror I feel like I’m pretty much the same smart little Amaretto who enjoys reading and puppies. And of course there is plenty of room for improvement but as cliché as it sounds, I am really of the thinking that it’s what folks got on the inside that's beautiful, and so therefore I am.

See You In Seven

Monday, September 1, 2008

Private Little Secrets

Happy Labor Day y’all!
Hopefully everyone is enjoying the day.

For my first post, I thought it was would be nice to share a little about myself, divulge one of my little private secrets. I can’t really take all the credit for this fun little ice-breaker so I will share my sources.

A while ago…I came across this book called Post Secrets. The book is published by Frank Warren and authored by anonymous individuals. It is compiled of homemade postcards that are sent with little private secrets on them.
From the first day I heard of this book, this concept has always fascinated me. It is so addictive. I started reading and I just couldn’t stop. It is one of those books where you don’t have to read it in any particular order. You can just pick it up, turn to a page and read—read for five minutes or for five hours. I love it!

WHY am I so amused? I guess, there is some comfort in knowing that we all have secrets and
secrets could be as simple as…

“Everyone thinks I drink coffee…I hate coffee. It’s really grape kool-aid.”

Or as disturbing as…

“When my husband cheated on me, my best friend told me if I was meeting all his needs, he wouldn’t be cheating on me. After my divorce, I had sex
with her husband.”

(All of these are quoted from Frank’s latest book.)
Made me think…what would my postcard say?
I kno…

“When nobody is home…
I put on one of my funky pumps And dance naked in the mirror”


I told you one of mine…it’s your turn to share one of yours.
(Maybe we will make the next book.)