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 25, 2009

Dam, dam, dam James

So last week Dark & Stormy, y’all remember her right? Riight. Anyway. Last week she sent me this blog post. So basically the writer starts off talking about how beavers "pair up for life and take on the world, with its harsh environment and lurking predators, together." You know building dams and such.

The writer goes on to discuss how her grandparents were married at 20 years old, lived in a room in one of their parents’ home, had kids, saved enough money to buy some land that they leased out and then, "they basically went all beaverish in a rural outpost in the southwest corner of Georgia. They 'dammed up' some land and made a living for generations to come. " And then she wonders if in a day and age when everyone has to have their ish together before they take that big step – will our generation see our golden anniversaries? I mean let’s keep it real, will we see silver anniversaries?

Now anyone who knows me in real life, knows that in an ideal world, I’m all about building dams. So when I expressed my glee over this post, Dark & Stormy said, “but aren’t you doing the exact opposite?” Which is true – I have an undergrad degree, a grad degree, a real ‘job’, bout to be homeowner, etc., etc. And I said, “sure by design. Cause I have to eat. And I’m tired of living at my mama’s house. But if someone I really wanted to marry was like ‘yo let’s get this money TOGETHER,' I’d be all over it.” And I would. But that's not my reality right now.

Now usually when I lament the single life on this here blog, I tend to get a tad overly“bitter” and sorrowful. This is mainly done for effect. I mean it’s like I do be feeling this way, but I don’t stay feeling this way. It’s usually a passing feeling cause something seemingly dramatic has happened in my life to trigger that emotion. And I'm operating on a heightened level and y'all get to hear all about it on Friday! But…

As I get closer to being a homeowner and have been the roller coaster ride that is the home buying process, I realize there’s a reason why people wait til they’re a two to buy a home. There’s a reason why it’s just couples on the HGTV show House Hunters – notice the plural. And why the other HGTV show Property Virgins usually features newlyweds looking for their “dream” home. This house hunting/buying/owning mess is hard. No, it’s arduous. It’s annoying. Frustrating. Oh how I wish I could say, “honey. I have to work. Could you meet the home inspector?” Or, “honey. I’ma need your half of the money for that down payment.” Or, "honey. Can you believe the ish the seller is putting us through? Let's cry on each other's shoulders..."

And when I am going through, all up in, with what has got to be the biggest moment in my life thus far, when I must press on as a one, it makes me feel so conflicted. I’m proud of myself for taking this huge step, but at the same time, I’m like um should I really be taking this huge step alone? Like for real. Do I really need to own a home by myself at the ripe old age of 28? It’s not like I have kids who need a back yard to play. My parents aren’t kicking me out the house. But it feels like, if not now, (when interest rates are low and Obama is handing out 8 stacks) then when? When someone comes to sweep me off my feet and take me away from all this? Ha. These aren't the good ol’ days when people go courtin’ on they porches.

And then I get a little sad cause this is the reality for so many single, childless Black women, who unlike our white counterparts who think them being unmarried is a fluke and the one is still out there – we stop thinking there is a one all together.* And move on accordingly. Climb that corporate ladder. Be that church lady who stay going to everythang. Dress up wayy too fancy to be going out to Friday night dinners with just the girls. Travel the world with our sorors. Become some lil' child's play auntie.** We press on, heads held high, refusing to settle. Still holding out to be wives first, then mothers. Find ourselves dealing with silly nigs on the daily who aren’t ready to build dams together. And yet when we complain about the loneliness/fearfulness/wtf of our situation for two seconds, two seconds, we hear the same, “girl, live yo' life” refrain.

And so we go and do just that. Live our lives. And try to build our own dams alone. The best we can. But sometimes on the hard days, when there's no one to turn to. No one's shoulder to cry on -and daddies don't count. Mamas don't count. Best friends don't count. No one to bring you some wood to contribute to the dam. When you take inventory of your life - and like a never been married 50ish year old woman at Bible Study said the other night, "you go to your empty home on a Friday night and you ain't got no man, no kids, and you working a job you hate. Well..."

Well it's enough to make you want to give up the ghost, put down your wood, walk away, throw up both your hands and scream, damn, damn, damn James! I can't do this no mo'! And then you regroup. Take a deep breath. Return to your senses. And go back to building your life. And take comfort in knowing that you can hire some people to come help you move some of this wood.

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

*My homegirl just told me, "I wonder if I can get used to this, being lonely forever."
** This might be its own post, but I think it's all downhill for single, Black women when we start to be someone's play auntie. Next thing you know 18 years have passed and we're still sending them birthday cards and putting their school pictures on our mantle.

Just cause it's Friday!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

growing out too soon?

this sunday's new york times magazine will feature a story about tweens coming out of the closet. the piece shares the stories of middle students across america who are openly homosexual and accepted by their parents and peers.

Austin doesn’t have to play “the pretend game,” as he calls it, anymore. At his
middle school, he has come out to his close friends, who have been supportive. A
few of his female friends responded that they were bisexual. “Half the girls I
know are bisexual,” he said. He hadn’t planned on coming out to his mom yet, but
she found out a week before the dance. “I told my cousin, my cousin told this
other girl, she told her mother, her mother told my mom and then my mom told
me,” Austin explained. “The only person who really has a problem with it is my
older sister, who keeps saying: ‘It’s just a phase! It’s just a phase!’ ”

the idea of a 12 or 13 year old coming out to the world and proclaiming themselves gay makes me feel ________. i haven't quite worked out what that blank means. for sure, the heteronormative behavior of your average 12 or 13 year old is not examined, critizied or ridiculed. that is to say that when the average 12 or 13 year old has a crush on the opposite sex or becomes coupled up, eyebrows aren't raised quite as high. although on a side rant, i think they should be since kids that age should be focused on scholastic endeavors and not on romantic entanglements. however i think coming out at such a tender age is dangerous. for what do kids at that age know about any thing, most especially their sexuality? in pushing for equality and equal rights have we steamrolled the growth process of young children; the period when youth need the moral standards of their parents to guide them through the times of uncertainty and experimentation that can be the tween and teen years? the article provides some interesting insight.

what say ya'll?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

fraternal allegiance

Enroute to work, as I was channel surfing, I stopped to hear Steve Harvey announce his guest… Toni Braxton.

Now, I am a big fan of Toni… so Toni discusses her debut single off her album Pulse. It is titled “Yesterday”, and it alludes to the fact that her hubby (fomer bandmember of the funkiest band around – Mint Condition) was almost yesterday business. During the interview, Toni informs Steve that she read his book and sought clues to reconciling the 8-year itch (apparently the origin of their problem in the marriage). And Steve, pleaded the fifth on providing commentary because he knows Toni’s husband. Hmmmm…

So, what was going on... the fraternal allegiance. Brothas stick by it… whether the brotha is shameful or shameless. I’m almost in awe. Even if brothas are not privy too the dynamics of the situation… They will stick behind their brother to a fault.

Steve went on to share how he found himself in the same situation with another famous friend, Sherri Shepard from The View. Apparently, Sherri’s husband cheated on her with another woman and impregnated Sherri and the other woman around the same time. And during this time, Steve was a guest on the show, and Sherri seeks Steve’s two cents… fraternal allegiance kicked in … and Steve pleaded the fifth, “ ‘ cuz I know the brotha.” damn so that's all it takes to abstain from communicating?


I remember a few years ago when my friend’s cousin pursued me hard… (my friend and I go back to the tween years). So it was very weird and uncomfortable situation, not only had he been dating his girlfriend for over a decade (they’re married now), but I knew her well enough. It was a totally sticky situation. And the during his pursuit, all he asked, “are you going to tell her?” And I always thought the way his mind worked was interesting. And years later, I have the inkling all his buddies were aware of his shenanigans. And yet, the fraternal allegiance was in full effect. The funny thing is, I have a hunch the girlfriend was aware of the foulness, but she never checked it to my chagrin. Apparently, she held on to the relationship because she reckoned his shenanigans were conducted outside the home and the perks of being in a relationship with him trumped everything else. So, that situation has always stood out as an unacceptable relationship to me.

The concept of a sisterly allegiance is foreign to women; we just don’t get down like that. Maybe for some… we think we’re righteousness and what not…. And for others we’re vindictive and cold-blooded. We just don’t have that happy medium of being content minding our own business (stick with me, I’m playing devil’s advocate here).

I guess my awe factor with men is their moral and emotional detachment more so moral from the situation. Now, I’m not sure how much info Steve was privy too regarding his celebrity buddies, but he was perfectly fine staying out of it. And yet somehow, I can’t seem to reconcile if that’s right?



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wiggedy Wiggedy Whack!

So intially this post was going to be about mental illness. I watched The Soloist and the Maia Campbell video over the weekend and I felt so impassioned to get on my soapbox and ask why Black folks have a problem calling illnesses by their good government names. No, grandma didn't have Sugar, she had diabetes! And Uncle Ray Ray who lived in the antic wasn't just tired from the Vietnam, he was Bi polar! Because Maia wasn’t rail-thin and sweating profusely like some reformed druggies I’ve heard of I am inclined to believe Maia’s family on this one, there is something deeper going on with her and hopefully folks and understand and can respect that.

Anyways, in my attempt to make a point using a compare and contrast technic, I wandered over to Youtube, because when I wrote “reformed druggie” I only had the wonderful, beautiful, talented, incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston in mind! A big ole Boooo Hiss for Oprah not having her interview with Whitney for the general public for free (though I do understand that this is a business). But three cheers for the internet pirates having Diane Sawyer’s 2002 interview posted!

These clips are priceless jewels folks! I spent nearly 20 minutes watching and sopping up the goodness. Ugh. Whit Whit, why couldn’t you just come clean (tee hee) with us then? But everyone’s demons and tribulations are personal. And even when you are rich and infamous, you have to deal with them at your own time and on your own terms. And I am sorry mainstream America I don’t blame the downfall of Whitney Houston on Bobby Brown. I think you have to be a strong person to make it in this life, and even stronger when people are constantly watching and judging you. Anonmity is a gift! I can err in my life and know without a doubt that some blogger won’t be writing about my falls from grace or inviting a host of people to watch
what I did 7 years ago! But since what Whitney said 7 years ago is train wreck "good" I am preempting my post so you can remember just how whack crack was!

Folks do grow and change and thank God that most of us get the time and the opportunity to do so!

See You In Seven

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Conversation

The Conversation by Hill Harper is EXECELLENT!

Like my lady friends would say, “Let’s get all the disclaimers out first”. Despite the fact that I think Hill Harper is attractive and intelligent and embodies some of the characters that I would love to have in a life partner, his latest book is amazing. I was going to read it during a lunch break, just like I treat all the books written on the topic of relationships, love, sex, video whores etc. I wouldn’t be caught dead claiming these types of books were in my collection. But by page 15 of this book it was evident I had to buy it. I got to page 100 and was like “are you kidding me? No way you going to buy this and return it”. And on that note, I walked half a block in the rain withdrew $20 form my bank using my Drivers License. (It is a recession so I am cutting back on spending by only walking around with cash and tokens and today of all days I was low on funds.)

Two days later I completed the book. If I didn’t have a 9-to-5 I would have finished it that day. This book is truly refreshing. To be honest I don’t want to tell you too much about the book because I encourage every African American to read it. (chuckle) I think that men and women will find it refreshing and something to think about. It truly encourages the action of the title, Conversation. The book doesn’t just talk about relationships and all that he this, she that, how to get a man type of over-rated hype it up blah. This book seeks to discuss our relationships with each other. It discusses historically our ideas about family from slavery to present, our fears and misconceptions, our upbringing, childrearing and the challenges we face today. The book is not preachy, assuming or only Hill’s understanding of the various discussions. This book is filled with stories from friends, quotes from our favorite celebrity couples, comments from ordinary people, facts from others who have written on about this, scientific data and most importantly, Hill’s personal experiences.

This book is honest. Take it from me… I am not sure if I was Hill I would have written some of his personal stories or thoughts. (chuckle) It is not only honest but it asks you to be honest. There is so much in this book that I think will inspire conversation and thoughts amongst us as a people that I almost wanted to hold a party for each chapter and buy Hill a short-set. (chuckle) Okay let me stop… seriously but here is how he got me to thinking.

Some of the things mentioned in this book, we know and the cool thing about it is that Hill knows it too so he doesn’t harper on it (No pun intended… chuckle) and neither will I. He writes this book for the intelligent reader.

I read this book, as a young lady recently divorced who is not quite sure what went wrong with the relationship. And what I find so intriguing is that in the book, occasionally Hill let’s you into his inner thoughts about why he behaves the way he does and how he knows it is not the best but does it anyway because it is the way he has already deemed it so. This makes me chuckle because don’t we all. I do it all the time. Throughout the book he mentions his relationship with this lady and he talks about how when he met her, there was this great connection. He got her number but once he left her and was on his own he started to calculate all these things in his mind about even calling or seeing her again. Whether it was worth it, is she just trying to get with him, if she was looking for someone to father her child etc. And oh boy, don’t we do it. I know I do it. I am back on the dating scene and you better believe sometimes, I think people are out to get me. Scoop me up, make me their baby-mamma, pop-out some pretty babies or just make me their side chick. None of which I am interested. Sometimes it is enough to say F-this!

A friend of mine once said, finding someone to sleep with is so much easier than doing the work to make a great connection.” And you know what? He didn’t lie. That is so true. At times you want to just say forget about it I have other things to focus on and we put more energy into those aspects of our lives, neglecting the importance of companionship and true love in your live. Shucksssss, I am doing it now! But a quote I read in this book on page 15, “Well, the truth about life is that we’re all alone, but when somebody love you, right, that experience is shared. Love is the only real connective tissue that allows you to not live and die by yourself. It gives you purpose beyond you.” Will Smith. Say what? Almost had me in tears. Romantic relationships aside, this is so true for any loving relationship, mother-daughter, sister-brother, friend to friend.

Amongst the many topics that he discusses, the running theme seems to be honesty, vulnerability and openness from both male and female. In the book, he mentions a brother Jared who says (page 115) “…we love them enough to not want to hurt them by breaking up with them but not enough to devote all of our attention to them…. It’s very hard to break up with a woman that you don’t hate!” Really Jared? You don’t say. And I will tell you from a chick who can maintain relationships with all her exs, but refuses to, it's hard to except these type of situations also. It takes a lot of strength on both sides of this situation to be honest and upfront. And Hill reminds us that it is getting even easier with technology nowadays to not ‘man-up’ to any difficult situations. Send a quick text or email… no tone delivered on my end and nor do I have to deal with your reaction immediately. For people not looking to do the work, such an easy way out. Again, I know I did last week. :/

Hill runs from nothing in this book, sex, complicated matters such as divorce, dating others with children, crossing the color lines, money, etc. His experience in chapter 14 is a must read!

“Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue… and that, for me is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness” Naomi Campbell. Was this before she attacked her assistant? (chuckle) But yes I agree… a therapist told someone I know very well it was usually a defense mechanism for fear. I will never forget that. Here is Hill’s take on fear…

“FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real”
(Note from Harper’s desk for Part 4… great idea for title pages.)

Hmm… this book left me with a lot of thoughts. For the first time in almost 2 years, I believe I can seriously consider commitment. I am making a harder effort to learn from mistakes and leave the anger behind. I made the ultimate sacrifice of all of 'me' in efforts to make my marriage work and realized I lost me in the battle to save it. Silly me, ‘myself’ is what made it work. This was so much larger than me. We never had a chance at that rate. After The Conversation I am know, now more than ever I am going to be okay as long as I stay true honest to myself. Not every guy I enjoy dating is going to be the there forever or necessarily marry. I will continue to support my mate as I do my friends and assist them reaching their full potential on their own. And most importantly be vulnerable and honest about my needs. Yup... that's tall order to fill but it is worth the wait.

If you don’t read any other pages in this book, just read the last chapter and think about how powerful a party like that would be with your friends.

Much luv until next week… peace :)

P.S. Keys is back… sounds a little like "No one" but I happy nonetheless :)