SC Trio

The Space Between.

When you become a parent, you'll get a lot of unsolicited advice from people. Ninety percent of that advice will come from your mother, who will call numerous times throughout the day for baby updates. Being the impatient girl I am, I usually feign sleep and rush her off the phone. As she's enjoying her second stint as grandparent, she's too excited to notice the indifference in my tone after the third or fourth phone call.

Some of the advice has been solid. Some, not so much. Like when I asked if she'd be willing to babysit while I went in for a post-partum checkup.

"You know, Jamie, a lot of single mothers usually have to take their children with them."

"...yeah, but I'm not a single parent. And who's gonna watch him while my I'm being poked and prodded on the examination table?"

"If you were in Africa..."

I look up from my cell and stare at her in disbelief, searching for words that will command respect but not wound her.

My sister-in-law interrupts the exchange, announcing that Langston had smiled before spitting up on her shirt.

A few weeks prior, she's sitting in my living room, quizzing me on L's feeding habits. She asks if I've given him any water. When I tell her no, she launches into a lengthy lecture on the importance of flushing out his system. When I tell her that his pediatrician made it clear that he'll get enough water from the formula and breast milk, she counters with "Well, when I had you I gave you water, milk, and juice and you turned out just fine."

I silently wonder if I'd been switched at birth as I pour her a glass of water.

As my mother has grown older, she--like most folks her age--has long abandoned the filters that bind us in our youth. Diplomacy and tact are no longer necessary because she's old and doesn't give a fuck. Trust, no group embraces their id more than old folks. And there's nothing you can do but suffer through it.

I wish I could say that Langston's arrival has brought us closer. It hasn't. But it has made me realize how hard it must have been for her to raise me on her own. It has made me appreciate her sacrifices and her love, even when she seems hellbent on working my last nerve. It has made me examine (and reexamine) my own choices as I navigate new terrain. And I'm quite thankful for that.

me&mah bish

...and then there were three.



He's fascinating to watch. One minute he's looking at his hand, the next minute he's looking at you in bewilderment, still adjusting to life on the outside. He farts like a grown ass man and when the light hits him a certain way, he sorta looks like one. I tell people that it's only a matter of time before he's yelling at cats to get off his lawn. He eats, he poops, and after a little fussing he falls asleep in your arms and it's the best feeling in the world. And oh, that new baby smell. I submit that you have not lived until you have smelled a new, fresh-off-the-assembly-line baby.

Of course, the delivery wasn't what I expected. A routine check-up turned into a labor inducement, with the husband and best friends taking turns holding my hand and rubbing my back. My packed bag was still at home, I hadn't gotten my braids done as I planned, and I still didn't have the adapter for my portable iTouch stereo, so I was a little miffed at this last minute call. Contractions were mild at first, but--once the resident broke my water--became intensely painful. I may have proposed to my anesthesiologist after she gave me the epidural. Ok, not "may have." Did. DID. I totally proposed to that woman. An hour later my OB arrived, fresh from her weekend vaycay, to perform the cesarean. Once in the OR, the all-female staff moved around me with the precision of a army unit. After 20 minutes of rummaging through my stomach like grandma's purse, there he was. He and the husband locked eyes (or eye, since he came out with one eye open like his mama did 33 years ago) and dashed him away to the nursery for check-up and bath.

Four days later, we were home. Our new roommate took to his new environment as most babies do--by sleeping everywhere. On the couch, in the bassinet, in our bed, on top of us. He seems most partial to the bed. He sleeps in it more than we do.

After ma's last stint in the hospital, she told me that Langston was the reason she wanted to live, the reason she's willing to change her life. The power of love is, indeed, a transformative one.

There are days when I wake up in total disbelief that I am someone's parent, when I fully expect Lang's real parents to show up and be all "yeah, we'll take it from here!" But he's ours. From his fingers, to his toes, to the two little dimples in his cheeks that only come out when he feeds. He's ours. And amazing.

  • Current Mood
    peaceful peaceful

The Misanthropic Pregnancy.

So here I am in the month 7, still alive and kicking. Well, he's doing more of the kicking than I am, which was great the first hundred times he did it but kinda lost its charm in month 6. His name's Langston, by the way. Yes, after that Langston. A suitable name, according to The Village, who rejoiced so loudly that--to be honest--I'm still lightweight tempted to throw in a Tyquan or a K'james just to piss folks off. Because I'm one of those progressive types who believe that a kid should be judged by his character and not the crazy number of apostrophes in his name.

That said, this journey has bee one big fucking pain in the ass. I don't see how some women do the multiple pregnancy thing. The scrutiny alone would be enough for me to swear off getting knocked up again. What are you doing? What are you eating? Are you sure you should be eating that? I read in BitchesDon'tHaveNOBusiness Monthly that you really shouldn't be doing that... Add to that the perfect strangers touching your belly without permission and a high risk specialist with the bedside manner of Gregory House and you've got a woman on the verge of a "Falling Down" moment. But then I'm sure someone would bitch at me for carrying a heavy ahotgun. You shouldn't be killing people in your condition! Yeah, yeah. I know.

The upside, though, is that you will never score as much free food in your life. Friends will come bearing lasagna and chocolate, or take you out to your favorite restaurant JUST because you're knocked up. It's kinda awesome. Sadly, the resulting heartburn and acid reflux isn't. But I'm lucky to have such a great support system. A lot of women don't.

I'm anxious. I dream about him, and wonder what type of man he'll become. I hope that he'll be the best parts of us. I can't wait to meet this kid.

And I can't wait to get my fucking body back.

  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful

When a woman's knocked up...and there ain't nothin' she can do about it.

Hi, folks. Long time and all that.

So, as the subject title indicates, I am officially with child. Four months and two weeks, to be exact.

I'm so excited. No, really. I can't wait to get this effing parasite out of me so my body can return to normal. Don't get me wrong; I already love the kid. But I'm sure I will enjoy him (or her) much more once it's on the outside. The body changes fucking suck. I went from spending the first month on my ass to spazzing out over lint traps and empty Miracle Whip jars. I can't have alcohol, coffee, Pepsi, hookers, or blow. Strange people now feel free to touch me without invitation or permission. And EVERYBODY is a fucking expert. I cannot go a day without receiving some bit of unsolicited advice (with 70% of it coming from my mother). So the only two things I'm really getting out of this deal are the kid and remarkably shiny hair.

Oh, and then there's the whole "high risk" thing, as my blood type and uterine fibroids make me a prime candidate for complications. And today I learned that I'm hypertensive. My OB told me to lay off the salt and stop stressing. No salt? No problem. Stop stressing? Problem.

Prenatal yoga DOES help, though.

In the meantime, I'm doing all the responsible mommy stuff, like researching birthing centers, midwives, and doulas. I'm reading out loud (political blogs, mostly) to baby, and talking to him/her. I'm checking out daycares and preschools. I'm buying child development books. We've already picked out the names. I am officially consumed with all things baby.

Of course, I can do without the preggers jokes. And the friends gleefully rubbing in the fact that I can't drink while downing cocktails. And monitoring everything that goes in my mouth. Hell, I could do without a lot of shit but it would be too long to list here, and I do have to sleep eventually.

But when the kid gets here, it will have all been worth it. At least that's what they tell me.

SC Trio

"If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation."

Don Draper sounds

History always repeats.

Whenever a black leader emerges--one who tilts a little too far to the left--the Red Scare Brigade™ comes a-knockin'. When Ida Wells-Barnett dared to fight the wholesale lynching of black men, her reputation was attacked not only by the mainstream press (Hi, NY Times!) but by her own government, who sent operatives to her appearances in hopes of digging up dirt. When Paul Robeson decided he was tired of watching people being disrespected and disenfranchised, he was put under surveillance until his death. In fact, pick any "radical" black activist with a little shine from the last century and chances are he (or she) was intimately acquainted with Johnny Law. Because in America, challenging racial and economic injustice = not only getting in bed with pinko commies, but having all types of deviant sex with them.

So Van Jones becoming the latest casualty of the Red Scare Brigade™ shouldn't have been a shock. A cursory glance at any history book would've prepared us for what was coming. But even those of us who didn't use our books to level our gun cases were stunned. I was in the middle of a family barbecue when I got the Color of Change email announcing the news. I threw my phone across the table and released a level of invective that would've made my foul-mouthed grandmother blush. Hell, I was disgusted. The lunatic fringe had won another battle. And this time it was someone I'd actually admired.

Last spring, I chased Van Jones around for months in hopes of following up the piece I'd done on Majora Carter and her ongoing quest to put green jobs on the map. (I think I've blogged about my girlcrush on Carter here before. If you don't know who she is, Google her.) Anyway, we never got a chance to connect because dude was prepping for a gazillion things, including the first annual Green for All conference. His personal narrative was great; a quiet, geeky kid who idolized the Kennedys, propelled into activism after the Rodney King verdict. How can you NOT like a guy who decides to put his ivy league degree to use in the hood?

Jones' ascent to White House adviser was supposed to be another great chapter. But, thanks to Glenn Beck and Big Business™, it's a Wikipedia footnote. This is what happens when the Fourth Estate drops the ball. While everyone seems to be lamenting the death of print journalism, or engaged in heavy debate over the future of journalism, there seems to something key missing from the conversation:


You remember ethics, right?

...ok, maybe you don't. But once upon a time, before infotainment became the new journalism, before rich, bloated talk show hosts were considered the arbiters of truth and justice and the American Way, real journalists (with the exception of Robert Novak, RIP) were required to report facts, in full and in context. That what I was taught, at least. I'm not going to kid myself (or your guys) into believing that the profession was ever noble, because we all know what a crock of shit that is. But at least there were STANDARDS, and more people in the MSM willing to call out the bullshit, even if it cost them their careers. This is what the game needs more of.

Meh. Tired. Ending it here.

don't like you


Now that International Blog Against Racism Week has come to a close, I can stop banging my head against the wall. Yay!

The problem with having the attention span of a two year-old is that your moments of brilliance are easily forgotten. There is always something more important to do, like work. Or laundry. Or grand larceny. Wait, pretend you didn't read that.


I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Some of it has been good. Most of it has been awful. I force myself to read the bad stuff because I have an almost pathological need to torture myself with the ill-informed bleating of mediocre bloggers/pundits/academics. My masochistic tendencies can't stop, won't stop, nah uh, yeah. So, after sharing my frustrations with friends across several time zones, here we are. I'm only going to say this once, so pay attention.

You cannot have a conversation about race without CONTEXT.

You know what context is, right? Ok, maybe you don't. Usually I'm not big on the whole "my dictionary definition, lemme show you it" but I'll make an exception in this case:

1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning
2: the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs

So when I'm watching a program that supposedly highlights "solutions" in The Black Community™ it would help if said program explored the what/where/when/how/whys of the problem. You know, like journalists used to do, before news became more about profit and less about well, news. Because if you dug a little deeper you'd discover that Tinequa's fried chicken addiction and the appalling lack of supermarkets in her neighborhood are symptoms of a much larger problem, a problem that starts with an "R" and ends in "acism." And Racism, being the "hands on" kinda dude he is, likes to have a hand in EVERYTHING, including economic development and health care, something else CNN's Favorite All-Purpose Minority™ failed to address in the "breast cancer" segment.

Or, when a world-renown professor's arrest becomes a country's "teachable moment" it helps that, in that teachable moment, we talk about the long, storied and painful history POC has had with law enforcement. And when the inevitable name-check begins, we include those felled by the hands of cops black and white, because it's important to point out that the "thin blue line" can sometimes supersede race. But while we're talking about this, it's also important to not get carried away with comparisons of Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell, because not only are the analogies inaccurate, they are pretty fucking insulting. This isn't to say that there was no police misconduct involved; of course there was. But the difference is that Skip's power and connections saved him from becoming the next Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell.

Context is important in discussions of intraracial issues as well. Because when you start attacking single mothers under the guise of "black female empowerment", maybe--just maybe--you're undermining your own cause. Getting hung up on the nomenclature of an organization that actually works to improve the lives of women and children, trotting out unwed childbirth stats, lamenting the death of "black marriage," and categorizing those who dare question or disagree with you as "Damaged Beyond Repair" (all the while screaming "OMG BLACK PEOPLE ARE IN CRISIS!") doesn't...really...advance the conversation. Because if someone took it upon herself to delve deeper, not only would she find that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) actually attributed the uptick to an increase in people in committed relationships, but she'd also discover that the number of black teen pregnancies has gone down in the last 20 years. Then she'd realize that the "marriage as panacea" argument was just as empty, because for some self-styled internet activists it's more about page hits and less about speaking truth to power.

So, this is it. That's all I have. All I ask is--before you decide to engage in race-related discussions--that you

1)actually know what you're fucking talking about
2)not ignore or dismiss the context involved
3)be willing to listen to opposing views without coming off as a condescending twatwaffle. (Unless the opposing view is really, really stupid. Like, Michelle Malkin stupid.)

Because without those three things, the conversation will be about as productive as a beer summit.


Adolescent Primetime Sitcom Star.

So. The end to a pretty awful week. I welcome it gladly.

I have no reason to be up this late, but here I am. Writing. And maybe writing will make me feel better again, like it used to before everything got weird. I hold things in because because in my head it is better to suffer in silence than on repeat for the entire world to see. But, fuck it. Sometimes you just have to lay yourself bare. Besides, I'm too old to give a fuck about appearances. For the last eight years this show has been about ME, flaws and all, and that will not change.

Which means the journaling will most likely remain sporadic. Because if I ain't feelin' it, I ain't feelin' it.


A week ago from yesterday, I took a pregnancy test. After three minutes, two lines appeared. I emerged from the bathroom, hugged my husband, and from there we took turns contacting friends and family. Three days later I was in an emergency room, grotesquely splayed on an examination table with a bedpan shoved under my lower back and a speculum in my hoo-ha. A "poor man's pelvic exam," the attending doc called it. So much for my fancy-pants insurance.

After four hours and another pregnancy test, we learned that I was no longer pregnant. The tears started. They have not stopped.

The idea of motherhood, however brief, was something I actually welcomed. I loved that he fell asleep rubbing my tummy like a golden lamp, enjoyed debating whether it would be a boy or girl.

I know it's not too late, and that we can try again. But I can't help but think about what might have been.

How ironic that the champion of the childfree set completely loses her shit upon learning that she is, in fact, not with child. Pretty fucking ironic, I tell ya.

And four days later, he we are, still in pain (but not as intense) and still bleeding like a horror flick victim.

I want to tell you all that I'm ok, but I can't, because I'm not. But I do appreciate the love and the thoughts and the visits and the cheesy YouTube clips. The simple act of compassion can make all the difference in the world. If only more people were like you guys.

Several hours before the emergency room, I'm at my best friend's house. As our men fall asleep on her couch we are laying on her bed like the younger versions of us used to many years ago. It is our first real conversation in a long while, and it is beautiful and painful and cathartic.

I didn't want to sound like a broken record, she told me. She, the best friend of 20 years who has listened to variations of songs in the key of heartbreak, angst and woe composed by yours truly.

We're all broken records ravaged by time, abuse, and neglect. To some I might be a well-worn copy of Bitches Brew. To others, a damaged Weird Al Yankovic b-side kept for nostalgia. Sometimes you need to break it out, run your fingers along the grooves and scratches and let the tears fall as you clutch it to your chest.

Bad metaphor? It's 3 a.m. and I'm hopped up on ibuprofen, so you'll have to forgive me.

The point is that pain will demand your attention and get it any way it can. Sometimes the message is subtle. Ofttimes, it's not. Nevertheless, heeding the call is important. Imperative, even. Because when you don't, it's only a matter of time before the slow-singin' and flower-bringin'.

Which brings me to...a pizzeria in Madison, Wisconsin, where I met a woman named Lori back in May.

The meeting had been a few years in the making, I suppose. It's not every day that you get a chance to meet the other other woman of your married ex-lover. [Ok, could that sentence be any MORE soap opera-y? Eeeik. "Married ex-lover"? Great. My life has now become a fucking Danielle Steele novel. Please shoot me now.]

Sorry. Anyway, the visit lasted a few hours. It was weird. Pleasant. A little cathartic, even.

To be honest, I doubted her pain. Her blues were not like mine. How could 18 months compare to SEVEN years, I told people.

And then I saw her face.

There is a moment when you can look at a person and see a reflection of everything you went through, of everything you saw and did not want to see. I saw the arguments, the emails, the instant messages. The declarations of love, the promises broken, the clandestine hotel sex, the image of him walking away. All there, etched in the angles of her smile, her eyes, entangled in the bitterness of her laugh.

And on the way home the next day, sitting in the backseat of a rental car with "Pretty Wings" blaring from my iPod, I unraveled. The weirdly intense Wiscon experience coupled with the meet had broken me.

I think what bothers me most, in post-meet conversations with a few trusted friends, is that I will never get an apology. Because at the base of whatever we had was supposed to be friendship. That after so many years he could walk away unaffected and unscathed...still hurts, several years later. That this situation still has an effect on how I handle relationships yet he continues on without even attempting to atone for the damage done, because he does not care. Those years of crying and sleepless nights did not mean anything then, and do not now.

And then the conversation turned to sociopathy.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the friendship, if only because that part seemed genuine. At least I want to believe it was. I want to believe that I did get the chance to see the real him, if only in brief glimpses.

But we are strangers now.

A few months ago when I stumbled upon his Twitter I considered forgiveness. Blame the nostalgia of the holidays. Even added him to my list. Ten seconds later, I took him off. I cannot force forgiveness on someone who is not interested in it, and I cannot make him care enough to seek it. And it is not up to me to extend the olive branch, anyway.

I've played "Pretty Wings" over and over and over because in my fevered imagination, it is the apology he will not make, the validation he cannot give.

I came wrong, you were right
Transformed your love in to a lie
Baby believe me I'm sorry I told you lies
I turned day in to night
Sleep till I die a thousand times
I should have shown you better nights better times better days
And I miss you more and more

...and I have to live with that, even if it isn't easy.

Oh look, the sun has arrived. I suppose I should lie down now.

  • Current Music
    maxwell | pretty wings

Giving people their moment.

I was about five years old when I heard "Beat It" for the first time, seven when I performed "Rockin' Robin" at the neighborhood talent show. My mother still remembers the gold glove (YES, gold!) I refused to take off and the poster of him in the yellow sweater vest that would be replaced with another MJ years later. I practiced the Moonwalk everywhere--in my room, at the playground, during open gym, at family barbecues. The other girls wanted to marry him; I just wanted his moves.

We know the man was troubled. We get that. But that doesn't make his music any less meaningful or relevant. It doesn't make him any less human. And it doesn't make what some of us are feeling any LESS real. For most of us born in the age of music videos, he was our very first glimpse at the beauty and absurdity of pop iconology. So feel free to wrap yourself up in the nostalgia, crank up your favorite MJ song and throw a hand in the air. It's a celebration.

Sometimes you've just gotta let people have their moment, their memories.

  • Current Music
    MJ + Heavy D | Jam
SC Trio

(no subject)

  • 14:49 So how long before Sanford checks into rehab? Five bucks says two weeks. #Gov #
  • 14:59 aaand now I remember why I stopped reading LJBlackfolk. SweetMintyJesusOnAPogoStick. #
  • 15:05 @isitis Cats jumping to conclusions like they always do. It's squashed. #
  • 15:16 @Relly__ReLL lol I think it's a prerequisite. #
  • 17:34 Show support for democracy in Iran add green overlay to your Twitter avatar with 1-click - #
  • 17:41 @cjcollier LOL. Like I said, be prepared for Sanford's "emotional" Oprah interview, b/c it's coming. #
  • 17:45 *wonders if she mentions Idris Elba will he start following her* **crosses fingers** #
  • 17:48 @jayare20k Did Megan Fox make it bearable, at least? #
  • 18:08 Reading Sanford email exchanges btwn him and Argentinian mistress. Yowza. #
  • 18:36 @HumanityCritic If this governor thing doesn't work out Sanford can totally be a romance novelist. #
  • 18:49 @lashonp bwahahahahaha! That's why my mother will not be getting on the internets. #
  • 22:33 Watching The Girlfriend Experience. Sasha Grey is...interesting. #
  • 22:34 @elbowknee lol. Dare I say I was moved by his emails? #
  • 22:55 @cjcollier I dig it. I was just curious to see what the hype was. #
  • 12:30 I need people to stop effing up. That's what the eff I need. #
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