Saturday, December 24, 2005

Emotional Responsibility; or "I am Not Sweet"

peace, y'all

I've really been putting myself through it this week, and I have no one but myself to blame. I don't want to get into specifics b/c it involves me doing some things I knew I would (mischieviously) enjoy but also knew I shouldn't have done. And through having done so and then sitting back and really looking at the way I feel and the results of my choices, realizing that I can help how I feel.

O sea: My internal emotional reactions are just that: reactions. I can feel them. But as someone who is deliberately (please GOD) advancing in maturity day by day I can also choose not to act on them, and I'm realizing something that I really did not know: I can change how I feel when I want to do so.

This is such a revelation for me.

I grew up with the concept that I could help what I do but not what I feel. Which meant that I gave myself permission to let feelings and not thoughts dictate what I did when I felt very strongly about something.

Problem with that is that ultimately it let me off the hook. I could do something and justify it by my emotions. I'm gradually learning that that excuse is dangerous and not to be used as lightly as I have been.

I'm also figuring out this process of actually changing what I think, my thought patterns and emotion patterns. Not easy, but so rewarding subhan'Allah. First learning not to go up in arms when someone else does something I 1) didn't expect 2) don't like 3)repulsive or emotionally contradictive. I'm dramatic. I like to react. So it was and is haaaaard work LEARNING to NOT react and just sit there for a second with what I feel.

Then feeling what I feel and taking it apart and asking myself, "Why?" So that I can have a reason. I figure if 95% of what people do is emotional, that's cool, but then I need to realize that that is what it is and not come up with a logical reason for it. "I did it cuz I felt like it" has become a completely legitimate response to the question "Why did you do/say/think/feel that?" since it's the TRUTH. When I come up with a 'logical' i.e. unemotionally driven reason for things I do in retrospect, why that's when I start getting into untruth and covering up my feelings. Which leads me to...

Being responsible for me and me only. I'm beginning to realize that a lot of times my reactions, things I say, and the way I keep myself from doing things or push myself to do things are based on predictions of what others will do or say. And that a lot of the time, what I think they'd do or say could be wrong. I'm not Houdini and I can't read minds. So unless I take the time to ask others what they think, I can't base my thinking on another person. On what I've learned of God and faith and education (education being what I've read and learned through life experience as well as schooling within reason), yes, absolutely. But not based on fear of someone's censure or 'adverse' reaction. And not based on my trying to manipulate, however well-intentioned I may be, the reaction of someone else. They gon' do what they gon' do regardless, so I might as well give them truth from jump street. That's what I want when I interact with other people. So I need to quit with the real or pretend falseness and come with it EVERY TiME, not just with certain people or when I feel I won't be judged. My reaction should always be, "Judge This!" And ALlah is the Ultimate Judge. I gots some 'splainin' to do any way I look at it, so at least I can say I have learned this much. And that I truly regret the cost of the learning.

And lastly, admitting that I'm not sweet. No one has used the word sweet to describe me in the last 12 years or so. I'm not sure why gaining that word and image as accolade has meant so much to me recently. Maybe because I identify as a southern belle from my upbringing and reactions, and because a certain side of that image is that of sweetness. Doesn't matter- I'm done. I can be sweet at times but I am not sweet. Not retiring, not deferential. Not blushing and always good and kind and fluffily feminine. I'm just not sweet. I'm bold, I'm assertive, educated, not shy about much and I think that's good. I'm choosing to leave sweet behind in my childhood. I know there are many people out there who are sweet and deserve to be such. And I'm not knocking that. I'm just saying that I know it's not who I am most capable of being right now, and to admit it is like leaving a weight behind on the Path.

For me, the past week (and probably the next portion of my life) is about being much quicker to accept reality and not deception. Masha'Allah I finally got it. Thanks to all those who understood this from git go and have helped me to it. Thanks also to the knocks I had to take to understand it. I'm applying the lessons every single second now.



peace, y'all

I don't know why I was expecting something different. Y'know, sometimes different quizzes give different colors? Well, I am truly a Red Chica.

You are the color red. You are the most
controversial of all the colors. You are often
easily angered, but as easily as you got
excited, you come down. When angered, do you
have the tendency to be malicious? Afterwards,
do you end up begging for forgiveness? Maybe.
But you're incredibly generous, and, odd
enough, needy. You love to hate, and
sometimes, you hate to love. This color
describes you as generally edgy. When in a bad
situation, you're pessimistic, and when you're
in a good situation, you're extremely
optimistic. You're painfully tempermental, and
sometimes it hurts the ones you love. But with
an exciting and stimulating attitude, you enjoy
talking to people and being social. But aside
from your bold and outgoing attitude, you're
attention-needing and attention-getting. This
color is associated with lust and desire--and
you are both lust and desirous. You're a
protective person when it comes to the people
you love. You're incredibly sharp-witted and
powerful (not to mention intelligent!).

What color are you? (Amazingly detailed & accurate--with pics!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun

peace, y'all

I just recieved word from Isa and Pepe. Their first son, Diego, was born Wednesday. He died the same day.

My prayers and tears are with you all.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

At least I'm not twennytwo anymore.... even if I am actually Ms. TwennyTwo

You Are 28 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.


Why Kids get farther into the future every day...

peace, y'all

Follow the Black Feminist link, or check out slate here to see why I may just not have kids 'til I'm thirty or so.

I can hear the Groomes family in the background, going: old eggs... ooooollldddd eggggsss.... In my mother's maternal line, and I don't know why, the older the woman is when the child is born the farther the child is from normal on an intelligence spectrum.
The child is either super and I mean way high IQ, great social skills, mega-talented smart, or no-talking, socially inept slow.
I don't know why but I wish someone would find out before, oh, say, 2011.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This sister has a point.

What do y'all think?

If the so called justice and penal systems are meant to rehabilitate criminals, then why do laws hardly allow for such a redemption?

The laws should be changed. They should either truly allow (as God does, hamdulillah) for change and redemption that do (escasamente) occur, or change to reflect the reality that redemption and rehabilitation are myths propagated to make us feel better about correctly punishing people for crimes.

think about it.

hug someone you love.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mr. Bush, you heard incorrectly...

peace y'all

...what Kanye said was, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people..." not that ' Bush didn't respond because of race_ because he's a racist,'.

And let us talk about the fact that YOU'RE ALMOST FOUR MONTHS BEHIND THE BALL HERE.

Seems like if someone were to call me something as provoking of indignance as a racist, I'd 1) pay attention 2) respond immediately if it were true and I needed to CMA or 3) respond with such timing as to make my critics look foolish.

If you were aiming for number 3 above, you're a bit behind. I personally think you should've done 1 and 2, but hey, I didn't vote for you; I only have your best interests in mind because I'm a citizen and what you do reflects on me, like it or not. Oh, and I teach 4 blocks from your place of official residence. If you push too many people into being slightly irrational I have a high probability of feeling the effects on my own person. Y'know.

And this brings me to another question- why are you pulling out the race card now?

Could it be that Iraq is going badly enough and you think Katrina far enough behind to want to presto-change-o switch everyone's focus away from the *ahem* 'conflict' in Iraq/Afghanistan?

You almost did it. That 52.whatever% who voted for you might actually turn their heads. Oh, wait. You lost almost half of them when Katrina was actually happening. Hmm. Might want to re-think that strategy, sir. Focus on classism instead of racism, cuz you're going to lose that battle. I personally accept that you're not intending to be racist. Are you seeing that many people see unintentional racism AND CLASSISM in the malfunction of a really important governmental agency? Do that, please.

Mr. Bush, your genuine feelings cannot change the facts at this late date. Not all US citizens are unintelligent. And we're watching. And we're listening. And we're thinking- or just feeling- before we speak. Are you?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Consider The Hijab- Read this!

Feministe: 'Consider The Hijab'

Thanks to Leila for alerting me to this. EXCELLENT article. A student-teacher witnesses what hijab really means through a student's reaction to an awesome assignment.



Oh Yeah

peace, y'all

It starts with a stuffed nose and ear, then proceeds with fever, chills and a sore body. Oh yeah. Either a real nasty cold or the flu. And, because my body is just like that, I never get anything that stays in my upper respiratory tract. So it has spread to my throat and is trying to do a cough thing. I KNEW I couldn't manage to work a whole semester with kids and not get sick! AUGGGH ! I have one who is ALWAYS sneezing and coughing and then acts hurt when I send him to wash his slimy little hands. I could just cough. I am NOT a good sick person.

Yeah, so I spent the fake real snow day sick in bed.

I've been meaning to post about the book I'm currently reading b/c I like it and would like my friends inside the computer to read it. It's called "The Success Principles" and John Canfield wrote it. He's one of the creators of the chicken soup books, which is why I almost didn't pick it up- they're too sappy for me. But this book is akin to the Seven Habits books, with the (great wonderful) difference that they make the principles actionable and connected to reality a bit better. Still really happy at points, but more optimism and less sap.

The book is part of the reason I've been pushing myself through this illness; that and personal, hard experience. I lost one heck of an opportunity one time when I had bronchitis and stayed in bed instead of doing something potentially huge and then going back to bed. I have learned my lesson. If I do all I can even when I'm sick then there are no excuses. I don't like to have regrets, and taking action is a good way to get rid of those suckers.

Friday, incidentally, was also the day my mother had her operation, and she's doing well, masha'Allah. Thanks to everyone who was praying for her and wishing her well. She's still in the hospital, but up to complaining about the operation:

Mama: Hey, Twenny, you remember when they operated on your eye, right?
Twenny: Yes, Mama.
Mama: I didn't even remember it! The lady said, "Breathe" and then they were telling me it was over!
Twenny: Yes, that's generally the way it happens. After umpteen operations, I should know.
Mama: Well, I wish they had told me! I wasn't ready!

So, yes, masha'Allah, she's feeling much better already and I'm soooo GRATEFUL!

hug somebody you love.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

by definition I am

Faithful but not a blind follower
Degreed but never done learning
Proud but not boastful
Sassy but not sour
Eclectic but not flighty
Defied but never defeated
Feminine but not frivolous
Kind but not weak
Healthy but not skinny
Evolving but not changed
Anticipating but with a plan
Amiable but not easily befriended
Black, Tall, Charismatic, Aware...
(this is an original creation. Toast but not heist.)

I went to sleep thinking that I never thought I'd mss the coqui chirps. I woke up from a dream of a sweet sunrise and I missed la isla... and then I went outside and I missed the sweet warm humid air...I put on my gloves and coat while memory revisited a place where heated nights make one layer too many... and then I pushed through the crowds to the train and remembered gente who always smiled... then I ate some school food and remembered a place where even comedores escolares serve arroz con habichuela y calabaza, bistec encebollado, y ensalada de repollo...I jingled change in my pocket and remembered that I met people who have less and share twice as much....and as I crossed over a muddy river I remembered driving to La Perla at sunset with beautiful blue waters disappearing at my right shoulder. I've left the island but it'll never leave me...


Submitted to the Radical Women of Color Carnival :

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Essentiality of Mirrors

peace, y'all

Well, we're definitely into the time of winter that I did NOT miss when I was in portareeco. Snow is forecasted for tomorrow and I own neither boots nor thick pants. Ay por un dia bajo el sol de la isla otra vez.

Anyway, Umm Zaid made a point earlier that I wanted to touch upon, that of losing voice.

I, for one, could really relate to what she said just because the more I tell people about my blog, or say EXACTLY what I think, the more I self-censor. It's part of what I feel is part of being a female in society, to please others and also to grease the wheels of what I say. It has to stop, of course; otherwise I'm not being true to myself in the purest sense of what that truth is supposed to be. And I am the only one to stop the pandering, the mask wearing. I have to talk as if the only audience is myself.

That's painful, though, and one reason I have self-censored or just not said anything about what's on my mind. It's a reason I haven't blogged nearly as much in the past month as I had in the previous months. It's because I know I'm a decent writer; and when I look at myself while I'm writing, and talk out the wrongs and the few rights, it hurts, yo. I'm acting as a mirror but one that magnifies things that I normally shy away from seeing.

Incidentally, I don't look in real mirrors all that much. That started when I was a teenager. And there are very few pictures of myself that I really enjoy seeing. Read into that what you will- I know for a fact that some of my friends think that that dislike of pictures and mirrors is a lack of self-esteem.
Please. It's not that, but a sort of distancing and enhancing of reality. I don't like most pictures of myself because they don't fit the way I see myself. It's startling to see a quick, non-careful snapshot of myself (in Any mood). It literally takes me a second to figure out who the heck that person is. That's supposed to be ME? But I don't feel like the way that chick looks...

And yet, though it is painful mirrors- real reflections, not distorted or amplified but just there- are very necessary to improvement. A glance leading to a real long view in a floor-to-ceiling mirror convinced me to get on the road to physical fitness and (heck, I'm honest here) easier fashion. My friends have acted the same way. I'll never forget the one who said, "Man, for a Southern belle, you sure don't say 'please' very much." Which was a shock to me but true in that I didn't say please to that person hardly at all, even though I say it to just about everyone else. It helped me see what I was doing in real time and then decide to fix it.

Mirrors- clear sight- some kind of way to see reality without too much distortion, are real and needed in order to see what's there, appreciate the good, and find out that I need to work with the bad. In a way, this blog has been the only journal I've had since I filled my last written one in early 2004. And I've slowly let it slip into mist and fog. But a clear mirror is essential, no matter what someone else may think of me when they see it. It is what it is.

So. I'm taking some time to clean the smog off, and then I'll be back to reflecting what's real.