Thursday, July 31, 2008

Congress says.... I'M SORRY BLACK FOLKS

The week the United States Congress issued an apology for enslavement of millions of Africans. Honestly I don’t know how I feel about this so called apology. I am not happy, I am not sad but mostly I’m indifferent. It’s like when I was a kid; I used to make all kind of promises and apologies while secretly crossing my hands behind my back.

I mean really folks do you think America is sorry for slavery? Have you heard the apologies from corporate entities like Chase, Aetna, FleetBoston Financial Corp, J.P. Morgan , and New York Life, all of which are multi-million/billion dollar companies say …Opps I’m sorry. What’s sorry about virtually free labor guaranteeing profits for your company? Even today it’s hard for blacks to rise to the top while working for these companies, so you know they are not sorry about slavery.

Slavery is still relevant today in America. Yes the chains were removed, there are no whips and every black man woman and child can roam free. But the effects of slavery has reared is ugly head in all forms of discrimination. Hurricane Katrina proved the value of black lives. Black men are beaten and killed by police and it’s no problem, the jails are filled to full capacity with black men and women, schools in the “urban” areas are underfunded and it’s been proven that the federal government was aware that foreigners were flooding black ghettos with crack.

I am not so diluted in the blame the white man game that I do not understand personal responsibility… because I do. However, a simple I’m sorry will not do. There is still so much to be done and the words I’m sorry doesn’t begin to mend all that is broken. I am not sure if I support reparations. But I do support things like more social services in black communities or companies that benefited from slavery offering scholarship programs specifically for African Americans. Don’t tell me your sorry……show me you’re sorry.

We were promised 40 acres and a mule, but today blacks (and Latinos) are the primary people affected by the mortgage meltdown. I hope one day this country can heal from all the affects of slavery and maybe saying sorry is the step in the right direction. I just hope that it transcends more than just an apology.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bon Voyage Fallopian Tubes Pt 2

Although I respected Dr. Kumar I could not accept this information as truth. How could this be, I’ve always wanted to be a mother, I’m a little over weight but I am healthy. I decided that it was a fluke there was no way I was deemed infertile. My heavy bleeding continued, but I lived with it because I did not want to think about blocked tubes and scar tissue.

A few months after seeing Dr. Kumar, my job transferred me back home. The heavy cramps became unbearable and the blood clots were getting bigger and bigger. I thought it was a good time to go back and see Dr. Thomas. I trusted Dr. Thomas; he always seemed to know what to do and what steps to take. Also he was spiritual and comforting, but I decided to keep my previous diagnosis to myself.

I told Dr. Thomas about my bleeding, cramps and blood clots. He recommends the vaginal ultra sound……again. I reluctantly agreed but prayed he would find something different than Dr. Kumar. I feverishly prayed for a miracle. However, that was not the case. The next week Dr Thomas pulled me into his office and explained that I had an extremely bad case of endometriosis.

If you are not familiar with endometriosis please visit

He verified that my tubes were blocked, one of ovaries had a cyst and that my uterus had a lot of scar tissue around it. Because he had already performed laparoscopic surgery four years prior he felt another procedure was needed. With great regret he recommended the removal of my tubes, the ovary, and a DNC to remove all the scar tissue. However, he wanted me to be prepared for a full hysterectomy if he found damage to the uterus.

I signed the papers consenting to surgery but I felt numb the entire time. I kept wondering why my body turned on me. Did I do something wrong and would men look at me as a whole woman? All of my friends have kids…. Heck even my baby sister have kids (we are 10 years apart). God I really did not want to deal with it.

I finally broke the news to my mama. She took it kind of hard at first. I did not realize how she was looking forward to me having kids. But my mother is a cervical cancer survivor and had a hysterectomy 12 years earlier so she was very supportive. I had the surgery on April 22nd, 2008. There was no hysterectomy, but the tubes and ovary was removed. I’ve accepted that I will not have children in the traditional way and know that it has no bearing on my womanhood.

I decided to tell my story because there are so many women suffering with issues of fibroids and endometriosis, that results in infertility. Many of us suffer in silence because we are ashamed to let people know what we are going through. This affects millions of women but affect Black women in larger numbers. If you notice blood clots, severe cramping and excessive bleeding during your menstrual cycle please bring it to the attention of your doctor. I ignored the signs for years. I thought my cramps were just a normal occurrence and never knew the difference between a cramp and a severe cramp. I waited too late to … but I hope this will prevent others from experiencing my misfortune.

I am not down or upset anymore. Thankfully I’ve moved on. Life is still a beautiful thing, even with its ups and down. Nobody ever promised all rainbows and sunshine.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bon Voyage Fallopian Tubes Pt 1

For many years I suffered with painful cramps, sever bleeding and large clots. Most of the time I did my best to ignore the pain. However, after soaking pads and tampons in record time I knew something was wrong.

In 2004 I changed to a male gynecologist. Dr Thomas was well into his sixties but seemed to listen and give great advice. When I told him that I experienced severe bleeding and cramps during my menstrual cycle he recommended a vaginal ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed fibroids and lots of scar tissue. Dr. Thomas felt that a laparoscopic surgery would be the remedy to my problem. The surgery consisted of removal of the scar tissue and fibroids.

The surgery went well and my period became tolerable again. Unfortunately, four years later the symptoms returned. This time it seemed as if it came back with vengeance. During my menstrual cycle cramps would appear out of nowhere. I would be just fine then a sharp pain would hit without warning. It almost felt like hard punch in the stomach. I would wear tampons and pads and still soak through them both in record time. Blood stains in sheets, cloths and chairs were a common occurrence. By this time I was living in California and could not get back to Dr. Thomas.

I tried to ignore the signs, but something in my spirit kept telling me, something is wrong you better get it checked out. Well after turning 30 and being unmarried I was beginning to fear if I could have kids. So I went to a fertility doctor to make sure everything was working properly. Dr. Kumar was warm and friendly and seemed like a good match for me. The doctor wanted to do a vaginal ultrasound…..again and a dye test. The dye test consisted of the doctor shooting dye into my fallopian tubes to make sure there was no blockage. After the tests were performed the Dr. Kumar told me that I had severe blockage in my fallopian tubes, a cyst on my right ovary and that my scar tissue had returned.

Dr. Kumar looked me in the eye and said “It would be very unlikely that you will be able to have children naturally. The best thing to do is to remove the scar tissue, the ovary, and both tubes. Invitro would be the way to go for a person with your condition.” I sat there with a crazy grin on my face, nodding up and down trying to look very intelligent. I told him I would think about what he said. I calmly walked out of his office, but broke down in tears while walking out of the building. As a matter of fact, I did not make it to my car; I sat down on the curb and just cried until no more tears would come.

*** Check back Weds evening for part 2

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Black In American vs. Black in CNN

In case you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t have cable/satellite, CNN is doing a six part series called Black In America. This series discusses all the things that ails Black America, such as HIV, dropout rates, infant mortality, unemployment, incarceration rates, ect…. They do throw in a few niceties for good measure. Of course I will watch the program, but I am an expert on being Black in America so I am sure nothing they say or present will surprise me.

My issues is with CNN it self. I love CNN and because I just recently decided to get cable again after going on a ten year hiatus, I watch it quite frequently. But what I noticed is there are no people especially women that look like me on CNN. Take a look at the pictures above whadda’ya think?

I mean I can’t watch it 24/7, so unless the sistah or brother comes on during my work hours or in the middle of the night, I’mma say there are no dark skinned sistahs or brothers working at CNN. No really… it looks like they did the paper bag test before they hired their reporters/anchors. They all are fair skinned with a good grade of hair. In fact if look at the pics above in some cases it’s hard to tell if some of these sistahs are black, white or a combination. Trust me I know we come in all flavors and colors and that is cool. But don’t hate me because I want to see a lil mo chocolate on CNN.

I was watching the first installment of Black In America and as I looked at Soledad O'Brien I thought what the hell do you know about being Black In America. This woman could pass for White. As she was asking questions to the panelist she seemed to be clueless as to why black men are locked up at disproportionate rates. This woman seemed totally clueless to the plight of black people.

It just seems like an oxymoron to me…. How are you doing a Black in America series and no dark skin people work at the company, well at least in the primetime hours? I don’t know maybe all the dark skinned brothers and sisters are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever the case I just wish the media would show the entire spectrum of Black, instead of their own interpretation of beautiful Black people.

This is not a light skin vs dark skin post. This is me saying all black people are beautiful; we are not a carbon copy of one another. We come in shades like ivory, olive, red, cinnamon, bronzed, yellow, brown, chocolate, and ebony. We are the work Diaspora and we ALL are beautifully and wonderfully made.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AKA Turns 100… I Remember When I Gave A Damn.

I can’t front on the AKA’s I attempted to join their organization many moons ago. Prior to going to college I was not exposed to Greeks or the significance of their existence. In my neighborhood the only thing close to this was the Bloods, Crips, Gansta Disciples and the Vice-Lords.

My first few weeks of college I noticed how fraternities and sororities dominated our college campus. I made note that all the popular people belong to Greek organizations. I was captivated by the stepping, calls, gear and appearance of black sororities. On my campus there was always some beef between the Deltas and the AKA’s but it was all taken in stride.

Most of friends wanted to pledge Zeta, some wanted Delta, but me I wanted AKA. At that time AKA’s represented what I thought of myself. They were girly girls (such as myself), very business focused (another attribute of myself), community minded (me too!) and hated on by other black sororities.

My sophomore year came around and I was ready to pledge the pink and green. I went to their informational and was greeted with very professional women. They made me feel welcomed and suggested I would be a great candidate. However, the cost to pledge was $ 350.00. I was a little put off by the price, but hey this was apart of the process.

After filling out some paper work the next week I was officially on line to become a skee-weeing AKA. I was so excited I did not know what to expect but I met my line sisters and they seemed to be nice people who were just as excited as me. We were told from this point forward not to wear pink or green until we crossed over.

My first assignment on line was to meet my line sisters at a soror house. Once we arrived, we were told to clean her house from top to bottom. All the sudden these nice sorority chicks had become our pledge master and were screaming at the top of their lungs. WASH THEM DAMN DIRTY CLOTHS, SRUB THAT FLOOR ON YOUR HANDS AND KNEES, POLISH THE SILVER, CLEAN THE TOLIET WITH A TOOTH BRUSH, WIPE DOWN THE WALLS AND CLEAN ALL THE CEILING FANS!!!!!!!

Hell, I had never cleaned my own house that good. Finally after a 6 hour cleaning session we were told to do the soror’s homework. After a full 8 hours of being subjected to cleaning and homework we were told to meet at another soror’s home at 11:00pm. After doing my own homework and working a few hours I was dead beat tired but I was ready when my line sisters showed up at my dorm room at 10:30pm.

That night we were told to wear white shirts and jogging pants. We lined up in front of a wall in a dark basement. Immediately we were hosed down with cold water. We were yelled at and humiliated as much as possible. They kept us there until 4:30am doing silly songs, dances, eating horrible concoctions and reciting AKA history on demand.

In the coming weeks the sorors made us babysit every weekend, pay for blunts and marijuana, pick kids up from school, do their homework, make breakfast in bed and drink tequila til we could barely stand up . As the weeks went by the insults hurled at us while on line got worse. “Do ya’ll really think ya’ll AKA material cuz ya’ll look kinda ugly to me”. “ Lil sista so in so , you can stand to lose at least 20 pounds.”

Then finally the wood came. The sorors began to hit us with wooden paddles when we did not answer questions correctly. Towards the end every mistake required someone be given wood. At some point someone reported the hazing to the University and they closed down the entire induction process. The AKA’s charter was kicked off campus for two years and could not pledge anyone at the school. During my senior year I was asked if I wanted to pledge again. I answered a resounding HELL NO.

Sorry I just did not like the hazing part. I just did not find it amusing to be cursed at, talked down to, and made to feel undeserving the entire time I was on line. Plus I knew the process from hell would start all over again. Not, to mention during that time I had matured greatly and no longer needed the Greek letters to feel accepted or important. My friends told me if you join without hazing you will never get any respect from the other sorors. I believe they were right, it just was not a right fit for me anymore. I do believe there are some benefits to joining a sorority, but I don’t know if it’s worth your dignity.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Life Reflected In Dreams

Have you ever had a bad dream that scared the crap out of you? Well this morning I woke up remembering a horrible nightmare. I dreamt my nephews (who happen to be 1 and 4) were a bit older my (5 and 7) in the dream got into my car and placed it in drive. In the dream I noticed the car was moving and jumped in the car but could not prevent it from crashing and hurting a lot of people. In the dream my nephews were hurt and the car ran over a lot of people.

It’s funny how dreams seem so real. I remember feeling hopeless and wanted to personally apologize to everyone that got hurt. I also remember feeling like I did not do a good job looking after the kids and how disappointed my sister would be.

I don’t know if this dream meant something or not, but once awake I immediately began praying for my nephews. I asked God to protect them and keep them in perfect peace. I felt a little better after that.

I personally believe dreams are meant to incite and evoke action. Of course every dream may not have a purpose, but there are some that virtually takes your breath away. You wake up feeling every emotion that you had in your dream and you vividly remember every detail.

I don’t have children so my nephews are very, very important to me. It is my goal to protect them from harm as much as possible. I’ve slacked off of “Auntie Time” and this dream just reminded me what the consequences are when you take your eyes off the prize.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tune Up

Lately I've felt off base. Like I've just been living but not quite paying attention. Ya know just getting through the day. Sunday I was at church and I felt more or less entertained, but truly not in a worshipping mood or spirit. My spirit has been on life support. I truly try to live a life that represent the true essence of God, while maintaining a balance in my life. But lately I've let life with its ups and downs get the best of me.

One of the demons that snatched my joy was complaining. I found myself complaining a lot and not being truly grateful for my blessing. I tended to focus on the things I did not have, and the things I had not achieved and took all that I had for granted.

Then I began to tolerate bullcrap. Dealing with people and relationships that I would have normally cut loose or not bothered with. It was getting really stressful.

Well now I am tired and ready to get back in tune mentally, spiritually and physically. This requires me to take my big girl pill and let some people out of my life. I also have to make up with my creator. Let him know I am sorry and that I miss our relationship.

Being out of tune with your spirit makes life hard and it makes a person resentful and full of hate. My goal is to life a GOLDEN life, free from unnecessary drama.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Obama.... Obama... Obama....

As many of you know I love Barack and Michelle Obama. To me they are the quintessential couple and would make a wonderful president and first lady. I also love what they represent… which is family and support of one another’s dreams and goals.

I am intrigued by this great man and woman and desire to know more about them. I was excited when Access Hollywood announced they scored an interview with the entire Obama Clan. Wow.. the girls would be given an opportunity to talk and show their personalities. It felt like an informal introduction to the family.

But haters will be haters and when change is in the air people will criticize. Some people felt it was inappropriate for Obama to allow his children to be interviewed. Today Show website states,

“The interview, conducted by Maria Menounos, prompted criticism of the candidate, who had said that he wanted to keep his family life private, but now seemed to be using his family to advance his candidacy.”

To this I say….HELL NAW. How can this man’s family advance his candidacy? Please tell me how a 7 and 10 year old can sway a persons vote. McCain’s family is on the campaign trail with him and his daughter has a blog devoted to his candidacy. I’m not hearing anything about that. Nor should I.

Actually I am not sure why some people have a problem with Obama allowing his children to be interviewed. This is the man that possibly will be running the country. I want to know as much about him as possible. Yes, there are some things that should remain private and out of the public eye. However, what they discussed was life for them on the campaign trail.

And for the haters that stated that Malia sounded like she was 19, should be shot. How can you condemn a child that is articulate, smart and well versed? In that case I need to see some 19 year olds act more like they were 10.

The only problem I have is Obama stated he would not let his children be interviewed again and he regretted his decision to allow them on television. To this I say… bullshit. He is feeling the heat and instead of defending his position he is cowering down to the naysayers. I know when one is attempting to be elected you place yourself in the people please business. But this does not change how I feel about Obama and I for one was glad to see his beautiful daughters on television.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gas The New Luxury

Every trip to the gas station is a mini reminder of the economic down turn this country has taken. How many of you remember the good ole days when gas was .99 a gallon. How about when gas “skyrocketed “to $1.99. I thought I had seen it all during that time….. but never in my wildest dream would I have imaged that gas would be $4.00+ a gallon on regular basis. Stupid me, I always assumed that gas was a commodity that would always be affordable and readily available. Hell, years ago I never paid attention to the price of gas, all I needed was a couple of dollars and I was good to go.

Well now is a different time and gas is more precious than gold at this point. To fill up my car for a month would cost me the equivalent of one days work, a full 8 hours. If you think I drive a Escalade, Tahoe, F150 or Silverado….. think again. I drive a simple 4 cylinder Hyundai Excel, that takes 12 gallons to fill the tank. Unfortunately, for me I drive 60 miles round trip back and forth to work everyday and I need to fill up every 3-4 days. A fill up usually runs me $48.00 (in St. Louis gas is 4.00 a gallon, 3.89 on a good day). This is putting a hurting on a sistah’s pocketbook. It’s literally taking food out of my mouth. Instead of spending freely at the grocery store and buying specialty items (such as the delicious deluxe cajun crab dip, behind the seafood counter) I must stick to the basics. I am even considering using coupons and shopping based on what’s on sale… forget my taste bud and food preference.

Gas prices have touched the lives of everyone. Last week my local news reported that car lots have been hard by gas thieves. The thieves go to the car lots with cordless drills and drill holes in the gas tanks. Then they sell the fuel at a lower cost than the gas stations. Of course this left the dealership with $30,000 worth of damage… but it is the sign of the times. To save a few dollars people in California have resorted to driving across the border to Mexico to fill up the tank!

People that make their living driving are feeling the pinch more than others. Diesel fuel cost 4.59+ a gallon. It takes approximately 500.00 to fill up an 18 wheeler commercial truck. We all know that ultimately the consumer will pay for the spike in transportation cost.

I guess we all thought gas was our friend and would never betray us. As we watch places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries get filthy rich off the skyrocketing oil prices we know the good times have come to an end. With developing countries like China using more oil than ever before and Americans greedily consuming every drop of oil we can get, don’t count on gas prices dropping too soon.

I get the feeling that driving as we know it will change. Soon the days of cruising will be a luxury and public transportation will be the way to go.