Monthly Archives: August 2012

26

Forgiveness,

I think,

Means giving up control.

I say this because it has recently been brought to my attention that I am not a very forgiving person. And by recently, I mean this past summer. And by brought to my attention, I mean that I have been experiencing situations involving forgiveness and they have shown me to myself.

I have had multiple situations involving friends where we have left FURIOUS at each other, and then some time later the relationship seems to repair itself–usually, they extend their hand in a display of forgiveness of some sort.

Through these multiple (no seriously, multiple) situations, I have slowly developed the ability to look at myself and my reactions in relation to them and theirs.

Were we both angry?

Yes.

Did we both feel that we had the right to be angry?

Yes.

Did we both say fuck it and write each other out of our lives forever?

Y–wait. 

No.

That was just me.

I realized something on the drive home just today and that is that I am a control freak.

Pause for laughter from everyone who knows me well.

Yes,

need like to be in control of things.

Take, for example, my upcoming semester schedule.

I am doing my Practicum (student teaching) through a place that, up until about 3 hours ago, hadn’t let me know what dates and times I’m expected to be there with my mentor (outside of stuff like “just plan to be there a lot).

This. Was Driving. Me. NUTS.

It wasn’t the fact that I’d have to be there a lot. I’m fine with that. 

It was the fact that I didn’t know my schedule–I couldn’t plan how I was going to spend my days; I couldn’t RSVP to any meetup activities; I couldn’t give my boss a for-sure work schedule; I couldn’t get a set-in-stone mental picture of the requirements of my weeks–I felt like I didn’t have any control.

And somehow, this idea of control jumped from my schedule to my relationships, where I realized that in them, too, I need like to be in control.

But perhaps for someone like me, who has been hurt a lot in a variety of relationships from a very young age, being in control of relationships means being the one who controls all of the negativity, since somehow my understanding of relationships apparently hinges on the fact that they are fundamentally things that have the power to hurt you very much.

So for someone like me, who believed that she must hold all the hurt cards because she must be in control,

Forgiveness was not really possible. 

And being forgiven was not to be trusted.

Which makes being forgiven a very curious sensation. 

OK.

Downright uncomfortable.

The first thought is always suspicion. “What the fuck is this person texting me for like we’re cool? Is this some kind of trick?”

The second thought is…well…suspicion.

“I don’t need anyone’s fake forgiveness. I’m going to hold onto my anger even tighter now because they need to be punished.”

The third thought is pretty much confusion.

“What the hell do they keep calling for? Are we friends for real?”

The fourth is something along the lines of begrudging acceptance. But beneath it is still suspicion.

“Well OK. Long as they keep playing nice I’ll play nice. But I’m out at the first fuckup!” (in these types of situations, fuckups can be either real or perceived).

I realized this past year that I was holding onto these grudges in these situations as a way to maintain control of a relationship that I was in some way hurt by, and that I was withholding forgiveness in these situations as a way to try to punish the people involved for hurting me.

Sometimes this works and you can manipulate someone into being your emotional footstool.

Me,

Try as I might,

I just suck at manipulating folks. I think I am just too damn dramatic or something, I don’t know. It doesn’t work like that for me.

But on the drive home today, I thought about all of the relationships that are repaired around me every day. Relationships that happened between people where people were hurt, 

But they somehow worked it out,

And I asked myself why, years after the relationship went in a direction that I found to be hurtful, do I STILL have some people blocked on my facebook. And why I continue to block out people who I feel have hurt me.

And I realized the answer was control–if I couldn’t control a thing going “right,” then it would be wrong on my terms. 

 And then I realized that seizing control of a broken thing to that degree completely removed from it the option to heal itself, 

Like it were a garden that didn’t blossom and so in my anger I dug up the seeds and roots and put them in a jar in my closet,

Instead of just leaving them in the ground,

Turning them over to the soil and the rain,

As I go about my days.

 

 

P.S. I’ll be 26 in a week. I think this is what I learned this year, and what I will take with me into the next.

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Sunday Funday Style

Yesterday a classmate and I got together for lunch (read: mimosas and a very tiny bowl of bean soup to make room in my budget for more mimosas) and reiki, and I wore my dried spray-paint T-Shirt.

She was kind enough to photograph me, as the issues that I’ve been having with my phone for the entire year are as-yet still unresolved and apparently have spread to my point-and-shoot, so now neither my phone nor my point-and-shoot will take photos.

After some goofy outtakes, we got a couple that are cool (enough).

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(Although in the one above I still think I look pretty goofy)

My favorite part about this outfit is that it is suuuuuuuuuuuper cheap. Someone gave me that necklace. I think the jeans and jacket both come from the thrift store. I made that shirt out of a 3-pack of men’s white tees. The scarf I picked up from Wall-Mart for $5 when I was getting the tees. The boots were the most expensive part and I’m pretty sure they, too, were from like rack room shoes. 

I really like that now it’s OK to mix and match colors and prints. I’ve always been into the bold colors, but I’m really enjoying seeing what all can be done with prints.

And swag.

Things You Probably Shouldn’t Do on Other People’s Property

 

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Image…but the fence is better now, isn’t it?

Did I just do graffiti?

I’ll style it once it’s dry.

…and once my military boots come in from ebay

 

 

Muffins: The Redemption

Sunday night I was broke and bored.

I have been spending a lot of time by myself lately due to that strange lull in a student’s schedule called “summer break” where one does not have classwork, yet is still only employed part time. From June to last week, I was taking this crazy-intense summer class and while I was doing that my friends who live down here all collectively either moved, or we just drifted apart.

Which brings me back to my opening statement: Sunday night I was broke and bored.

For a while now, I have been thinking that I should get into baking, but I just never took the time to do it. Learning to do anything new is rough; I remember when I was learning to cook–my old friends can attest to the now-infamous “sabatasseurole”–lasagna before I knew to pre-cook the noodles.

Unpleasant.

I didn’t want to start all over again now that I possess a level of competence in cooking that makes me reasonably certain that anything I cook will be edible, and possibly even palatable.

But Sunday night I was bored and broke.

I emphasize the broke because I really need y’all to understand why I decided to make blueberry muffins sans eggs. Or milk. Or applesauce. Or the knowledge that you can substitute mayonnaise for eggs and oil (uh derh! it’s so obvious once you think about what mayonnaise actually is e.g. eggs and oil). Or any type of measuring utensils.

And why in my mind I figured I could substitute coconut oil for, like, everything.

You’re laughing, so I’ll just show you the photo:

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Naturally I decided to post this photo on facebook because I am a person who believes in sharing the successes and the failures.

And naturally I got ate up.

Here are some of the comments I received:

“YO I CAN”T STOP LAUGHING”

“LMAO LMAO LMAO LMO…i imagine theyre cookies?? what did you miss?”

“brady. wtf”

“haha!! wow. that is hilarious. thanks Bryoney! :)”

Now at first I was laughing too, but as the comments continued, I realized I would have to redeem myself.

Hence tonight.

Muffins:

The Redemption.

Step 1: Deceptively Simple.Image

Have all of the necessary ingredients.

Step 2: For Good Measure (Know Your Fractions)

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Unlike cooking, which is approximately two parts art and one part science, level-1 baking is exactly 2 1/2 teaspoons science, 1/2 teaspoon art. Make sure you have teaspoon-measuring devices, and for the love of GOD don’t confuse teaspoons with tablespoons.

Step 3: Back-Up Plan

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Make sure you actually substitute stuff for stuff that you can actually substitute stuff for stuff for. E.G. applesauce = vegetable oil = yummy muffins. Coconut oil =/= eggs = what you saw above.

Step 4: Use a recipe.

I didn’t take a photo of this one, but seriously guys.

Use a recipe.

Unless you can just feel it out…you can’t just feel it out. I refer you to step two for confirmation.

Step 5: Mix it up!Image

Mix up your stuff. Then gently fold in your berries. In this photo, you’ll notice strawberries and not blueberries. As I decided to do this redemption on the day of a downpour, I went to one store and one store only and that one store did not have blueberries. They had strawberries for $2.99 (too expensive) and raspberries for $3.99 (way too expensive). But I was on the road to redemption, and nothing was going to stand in my way.
 
Step 6: If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen
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Note: putting flower in your muffin pan instead of oil makes you look like a level-5 baker since I vaguely remember my grandmother telling me that putting a little flour at the bottom of a pan makes the dough not stick.
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Step–wait. What step are we on now?
 
Step whatever: Wait.
 
And take an artie photo of your footprint in flour because you somehow managed to get flour somewhere where you would normally step.
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Just a few feet (choice of word deliberate) away from the vacuum–but no. We don’t stop to clean. We trek on, for the road to redemption is arduous. And messy.
 
But persistence pays.
 
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And redemption is so sweet.
 
Oh, and the most important step.
Step final:
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Ignore the fact that your kitchen is now a complete disaster.
 
 

Strange Reaction

I have a confession.

It is something that I only just realized was wrong.

You guys may have heard of the whole Evelyn Lozada/Chad Ochocinco (8-5, NOT 85, which is Ochentaycinco, which has too many syllables and doesn’t rhyme and is therefore not remotely as catchy) headbutting thing?

Well in case you haven’t, let me back it up. Evelyn Lozada is the star of some loud-mouthed over-aggressive make-black-women-look-terrible reality show (pick one, there are like a zillion on TV right now) and Chad Ochocinco is her newlywed husband/a professional footballer. And apparently they got into some kind of domestic violence dispute that resulted in him headbutting her after a month of marriage. Now she’s filing for divorce and pressing charges. Because of this dispute, Vh1 dropped their soon-to-premiere reality show and the Miami Dolphins dropped Chad.

And this is where my confession comes in.

When I first heard about this story…

I didn’t care.

I mean seriously. I just didn’t care.

But as the ramifications of this incident began to unfold…namely those of Chad being arrested and losing his job,

I noticed within myself a very strange reaction.

I blamed her.

To be honest, the part of me that cares about this story at all still is resentful of Evelyn for ruining this man’s foreseeably bright future, rather than being mad at Chad for, you know, the violence.

My brain understands that this is wrong. Really really wrong. I have grown up surrounded by domestic violence–I am very familiar with it, and I resolved early within myself that I would never fall victim to it.

Victim.

Because in my mind, domestic violence is a victimizing crime, whereby a man who is larger and stronger than a woman uses his physical advantage over her to remind her that she is the weaker sex. Now in the case of a professional footballer and his whatever-she-does-wife (model? socialite?”ye-ain bout dat life-er?”) this is especially true. He uses his brute strength to overpower people down a field for a living; she is professionally pretty. 

So why do I blame her?

I look at this case and I think “damn. There goes another black man who let a woman ruin his career and arrest record.”

What is it in me that is allowing this thought?

If Evelyn Lozada was my friend, my relative, even my neighbor I’d be like “You wanna kill him? Fuck it let’s kill him.”

I’d be like “There is no excuse.” and “He deserves everything bad that’s coming as a result of this.”

I firmly believe that you never put your hands on a woman. As Peter Parker’s aunt says, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as a man if you feel like it’s getting to that point it’s your responsibility to leave/diffuse the situation.

As a man, using your strength against a woman is never excusable and nigh-unforgivable. I should be thinking forget losing his job–he’s lucky Evelyn’s he’s not dead. And it is the responsibility of the NFL to send a message to the public and its other athletes that using the same strength they use to power 250-lb men down a 100-yard field is not tolerable to settle a dispute about where some condoms came from–kudos, NFL.

So what the fuck, emotions? Why don’t I feel sorry for this woman?

(although after writing this blog, I can say that I think my mindset has shifted from victim-blaming to aggressor-blaming. I guess I really just had to parse out the facts in my mind)

I need a roommate

 

I dreamed of selling daisies,

but instead i was in school studying linguistics, which isn’t that bad because at least it’s not a business school right?

but i dreamed of selling daisies

and meeting a man who would be my man and handing him a daisy in perfect love and trust and he would get it he would dig it he would feel me and we would hold hands

but instead i’m in school studying linguistics and there are only two men in my program and one is married and one is a player,

if you can believe that sort of thing exists,

an applied linguistics player

who has his pick of single women in a program with no single (straight) men.

i dreamed of sun shining and lava lamps and peasant blouses and French braids

and bare foot back pack travel

you and me, man

you and me…

but what i got is an awareness that i’ve spent too much time alone this weekend because i’m writing poetry and poetry means melancholia and melancholia means that i dream of daisies…

but what i need is a roommate–

and healing to six of my seven chakras

 

Zones Pt. 1 (Short Story)

Gabby couldn’t believe how quickly things had changed. It started with avoiding companies based on owners’ views.

If a CEO supported gay marriage, you either went there or boycotted based on how you felt about that issue.

But then the riots started and the cities stepped in, and knowing a company’s affiliation on controversial issues became a matter of zoning. Support abortion? You build in this part of the city. Tax breaks for the wealthy? That side.

They argued that it was safer.

Keep the different-minded people separate and there will be peace.

Some thought there would be a second civil war, but the band-aid of separate-but-equal seemed to work.

That is, until people started infiltrating.

When it seemed like people weren’t just going to leave each other alone, the state stepped in, and then the federal government.

Now every person had a barcode on their arm that was loaded with their views on current issues, and every building had a scanner, which was really kind of arbitrary since cities were sectioned into zones: “liberal” and “conservative.” To change zones, you had to go through a long bureaucratic process that involved extensive background checks and voting pattern analysis. Any inconsistencies brought you a denial, and any denial effectively labeled you a Person of Suspicion.

Something you did not want to be.

People who refused to register as either “liberal” or “conservative” were Persons of Suspicion, and they were shuttled off to camps in the middle of the country. They said the camps were voluntary, and that Independents could leave as soon as they picked a side, but Gabby had heard that Independents’ paperwork was always denied. Gabby could think of only one thing worse than being a Person of Suspicion, and that was being a Level-Two Person of Suspicion. At level two, the camp was no longer voluntary, the rights of citizenship like voting or a fair trial were stripped and family members were no longer allowed to visit. Not that they did anyway, with trans-zoning passes being so hard to obtain.

 Plus it was illegal to procreate with anyone of a different zone, and children who declared a side different than their parents were ostracized; photos of those children were taken down, their clothes, shoes and any personal belongings were thrown out and their parents’ shame forbid them from ever being mentioned among the family again.

Gabby shook her head and looked at her sleeping granddaughter. She was 15—nearly voting age. Gabby shuddered. Her granddaughter, Lily Ledbetter, had never known a world outside of this regime. She thought this life was normal and she dutifully hated all things conservative with a vehemence of someone who has never known choice. It made Gabby sad.

It also made her tired.