Apr 27, 2010

Lady of Leisure

About 13 years ago, I took a detour from career path to the less demanding path leading to "just a grind that pays the bills". It is what it is & I don't regret it.

For 12 years, I did kids, jumped from mindless secretary job to mindless, demanding, well paying secretary job before burning out after 3 tax seasons at an accounting firm. So here I sit. The stay-at-home mom. And I'm astonished at my ability to manifest my destiny.

About 7 years in to my non-career, I was bored, exhausted & depressed. I used to say all the time "I'm ready to live life as a lady of leisure". I didn't exactly have a vision of what this "lady of leisure" did (that's not true... she was "Aunt Phoebe" from All My Children), but she was certainly older, whiter, more fabulous, had better credit, more friends, drank more martinis, drove a more luxurious car, rode more horses, visited more spas and shopping malls than barefoot, bluetoed, sweats-&-sweater-wearing, overweight, can't-drive-a-stick-or-ride-a-horse, 3 months-overdue-for-a-haircut me.

And yet somehow, when I take a step back, I see I now have as much leisure time as I ever dreamed.

But it dawned on me today that I have become a cliche. I have slid into the uncomfortable & cliched category of "housewife letting herself go" (or at least I have been for the last 2 months).

So now I'm beginning to wonder about those guys I see checking me out... what exactly are they looking at? Is it my imagination practicing a little confirmation bias & convincing me they might be... flirting... or do they have some sort of 6th "spidey sense" or x-ray vision that let's them peer past the Walmart baseball cap & hoody & into the future & what I look like after HOURS of preparation (pretty darned good, if I do say so myself).

Another thing I still say to this day is "I wish I could know what it's like to be in the body of a man for 24 hours," to have those hormones, that sex drive, that brain, those rules encouraging promiscuity, that tool attached to me, running my life.

For everyone's sake, let's hope I'm not as good at manifesting my destiny as I used to be.

Apr 14, 2010

Love Different

I did it again. What should have been a 30-second purchase turned into a 15 minute history lesson on the Central African Republic at my local pharmacy. I can't help it. I can't NOT ask that burning question of almost every foreigner I meet: "So, where are you from?" Because sometimes - like today - I discover a gold mine.

I describe myself as endlessly curious. Secretly, I love that about me. (It's certainly better than being "intellectually incurious" as one White House staffer described President George W. Bush.) I also love that my appetite to learn about foreign history, culture is so easily indulged. I adore my little multi-cultural suburb. There are so many opportunities to connect with someone from someplace different. But sometimes my ego catches me off guard. And sometimes the little jerk points out that this curiosity only makes me weird because so few of the Americans in my circle possess that same level interest.

So I ask myself: Why do I love different? Why do I feel most at ease in the company of people who live as aliens in a foreign land? (no, not illegal aliens... just alien as in "not native" - as I would be if I moved to China, for instance).

The writer/amateur head shrink in me has concluded that I have always felt out of place & different, as if I didn't belong. So why wouldn't I find the most comfort among people for whom "out of placeness" is a daily reality? Their "out of placeness" reflects back my perceptions of me.

So I ask myself the follow up: Is it healthy to love different? Granted, my love of foreign things is not bad. It's the flip side - the not loving "unforeign" things - that gives me pause.

Fact: My appetite for different goes unsatisfied in typical exchanges with Black Americans.
Fact: Therefore, I often don't enjoy the company of Black Americans.
Fact: Therefore, I'm not interested in predominantly Black environments.
Fact: Therefore, I avoid homogenous Black American groups events.
Fact: Black Americans display an exclusivity that strikes me as closed-minded & rejecting.
Fact: Therefore, I reject many things about Black American culture.
Fact: I am judgmental toward Black Americans.
Fact: I am a Black American.

I married an African man. I guess I was destined to do so. Frankly, I've never been in a relationship with a Black American man who was my intellectual superior (it sounds so conceited to admit that, but it's true... the American guys I dated weren't up to the challenge of fending off the curiosity of the brain inside this dome). Thankfully, my husband is widely read, widely traveled, a decade older, and worlds wiser simply for having lived a "Third World to America"n life. His mind is as appealing to me now as it was when we met 16 years ago. All the "evidence" is pointing to the conclusion that I was never meant to marry an American man. The man God had for me is the man God has given me.

But, there is a part of me that laments never having had this kind of connection with a Black American man (my "brothas"). (Probably the same little jerk that tells me I'm weird.)

Knowing me, I will probably write about the my need to heal my relationship with my "brothas".

But that's a blog for another day...


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