Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Yes, I'm Black. No, I Don't Have an Attitude.

I had this problem once, when I was waitressing at IHOP, during my master's, of finding myself "on guard" , I suppose, or irritated, when customers would come over to me, quietly take me aside and say .. "You are SUCH a good waitress". As if I have reached some pinnacle of a very respected career, as if I didn't have bigger better things brewing in my life. It always seemed to me that it was always older white people who'd actually take the time to give me, what I assume, what they thought was an compliment.  I'm not sure what it was, if it was some perceived racism on my part, "Good little negro girl, you're doing great serving masta!" or if it was my disdain for being belittled into just a "good waitress". And let me be honest, I wasn't that great of a waitress, I was just polite. Although most people would be happy with such a compliment, I, however, I found myself countless times telling them, politely of course, some  variation of a thank you and how I enjoyed my job and tactfully add in there the fact that I was in school had my bachelors and in the middle of my masters, blah blah blah... etc etc. It was fun watching first the confusion then their surprise when I told them. My sister thought I was being ridiculous, but really I just hated the fact that it was so easy for people to accept me as a "good waitress" but weirdly surprised when I turned to be more. I guess I felt that, as a black person, I had something to prove.

I suppose I told that story to make a point about how I feel, sometimes, I'm prejudged by the color of my skin. Am I? I dunno. Maybe I am, Maybe I'm not, Maybe it's all in my head.  Over the last 4 years working in the pharmacy, I've noticed an interesting occurrence, where people are more apt to be "on edge" with me, snippy, or argue, although I was as polite as can be... or accuse me of being rude or having an attitude, when I wasn't. I use to chalk it up to it be an ornery patient, however, in the course of serving some of these patients it was interesting to see how their attitudes switched up when another co-worker interacted with them. First I thought it was me, but when someone else witnessed the scenario and commented on it, I knew I wasn't crazy. Unless you have EVP and can read my thoughts, I'm a genuinely polite person, I have no reason or desire to be rude to people, or give people an attitude, but I'm accused of it far too often. It really is hilarious cause I have co-workers who clearly have an attitude yet they never get a complaint... but then again, they're white.

I'd like to pretend that in this day in age racism doesn't exist. That people don't automatically make assumptions about me before getting to know me. But considering a good percentage of people I now call friends thought I had "an attitude" before they even gotten the chance to say hello to me, or even know my name. I have to admit to myself that on some level, it does. So much so that I cannot have a regular day and god forbid, a bad one without being accused of having the stereotypical "black sass" or "attitude". You know one day in my life I'd like to walk into Macy's or Nordstrom's and not have to smile sweetly and make sure I say hello to the store clerk just so I can try on a pair of shoes, or get some service in Ann Taylor, or not being accused of having an attitude at work. I mean really... who smiles and is happy ALL THE TIME?! I think we can all agree that people who smile all the time are weird and creepy.

My IHOP days are far behind me, but I remember  thinking, yeah.... when I make it, I won't have to prove anything to anyone... Wrong. I love the color of my skin and everything else God gave me. I wouldn't want anything different. But it doesn't stop me from wishing that strong, successful, black females aren't always left having to go above and beyond in normal, everyday activities, just to not be considered "ghetto" "sassy" "bitchy"  or having an attitude. And it's not limited to just people of different races, black people are some of the worse offenders of this, but that's a whole different post.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Single Because...

So I go on twitter today and I see that for maybe the 2nd or 3rd day in a row #SingleBecause is a trending topic and honestly it amuses me a little. Its funny to read all these tweets of people justifying why they're single. I love most the "I'm single because I want to be." or "I'm perfectly happy being single". As a member of #TeamImSingle all I have to say is let's be honest people, those are BOLD FACE LIES. We are human, God or nature (whichever you prefer) has made us into creatures that group together. We are not completely fulfilled alone. That's why we have friends and family and why our biggest holidays are holidays that bring them all together. But our friends and family only fulfills so much of our need for connections to others. I guess that's where that thing called love (romantic) comes into play. We all desire it and I'd might argue that we all need it. So no one WANTS to be single... instead, what I believe people really mean is that they haven't found a person who fulfills that need like it needs to be fulfilled. That person who's weirdness matches their own weirdness. That person that convinces them not being single with them is better than being single.

As a member of the "singles club", to be fair, I can't go in on this without addressing why I'M single. I've been asked this question countless times by countless people. Admittedly, at one point in time I asked myself this very same question and convinced myself that just maybe I'm just not attractive enough to attract guys, maybe I'm too skinny, too dark skinned, too natural, too tall, too smart.. lol... (We women tend to have our own mean girl in the back of our heads whispering such awful things)... but no, my numerous first dates within this past year dispels all the things My Mean Girl whispers to me (And the fact too many people ask if I'm a model to believe that to be true, lol). So I really had to ask myself... considering the number of first dates I've gone on.... WHY AM I still single??

Am I just content being single? Oh I'm perfect happy being single... as in I am a happy female that is single, there's always more room for more happiness.

Do I want to be single? Um. No. I would love to have that fulfilling connection with someone.

My problem isn't that I'm too comfortable being single or prefer to be single. I'm actually quite ready to not be single. I'm a movie buff and I tired of trying to figure out which friend I need to call and convince to go to the movies with me. I'm also sick of putting together the IKEA furniture in my house and lugging my groceries up the stairs. Although, it's is a money saver come Christmas and February... but my problem, I suppose, is the Men I've been meeting.

I recently went on a twitter tirade not too long ago, comparing men to books. See, I'm avid reader and I can read a 1000-pg book in 1-2 days if I had the time and wanted to. However, despite my love for books, I find that I cannot pick up a book and read it the second time. The characters are all the same, the plots are the same, the ending... the same. I will even put down a book if the story resembles other stories I've read previously. Boring! So yeah, it seems to be the same with Men. I'm BORED with my options... Well more accurately, my options are BORING. I'm bored with what I've seen and what has approached me. They have all been a variation of some story I already dated, or seen my friends date, and I'm just not interested. Of course I'm sure many would say, you can't judge a book by its cover, that I should put my pre-judgements on the shelf and try to get to know some of these Men. I do go against my better judgement a lot of the time and do exactly that and so far I haven't been proven wrong, thus my numerous first dates. I suppose I'm single because I'm waiting for the Pulitzer prize winning novel to land in my lap. Unfortunately I believe this city is full of awful authors. Maybe when if I move....

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Year, A Year in Review

Every year, unlike others, instead of making resolutions, I like to open up my personal diary and take a look back at my year. I suppose you can say that I like to critique myself. What changes I've made that I loved, what old habits need to go, what habits I may need to implement. I don't make resolutions, not because I never keep them or believe in them, but mainly because I don't like ultimatums, even those that come from me. Resolutions, for me, are too much like ultimatums.

In my yearly review, I've noticed that the area of my personal relationships need work the most. It's become clear to me that I have either forgotten or don't trust the strength of my own two feet. I have depended on other people, in various ways and on various matters, in order to accomplish or participate in something.

We all have our metaphorical mountains we have set to climb and in reaching its summit we team up with other people, either for their good company or for the healthy ( or not so healthy) competition they provide. For me, it's usually for the good company. When the a friend's company suddenly isn't enjoyable or its become competitive, or down right parasitic, I've never had a problem striking out on my own. But always, soon after, I'd find another unlikely friend for that much needed good company. It's almost like that girl who cannot stay single for too long, just with, friends.

This past year I have lost friends, I have made numerous "don't trust them as far as you can throw" friends. I have realized the draining, smothering nature of some friends and strengthened the bonds of other friendships. But now is the time that I have a friendship with myself. That I be my own best friend. Trust my own two feet and climb closer to the summit in silence with my own thoughts for good company,

I have come to realize through these 26 years of being me, that I give my all in whatever it is I take on and friendships are no exception. I live to love and in the pursuit of that, if it is within my power, I provide exactly what friends expect of me, need of me and often time surpass it just to see them smile. I know it's crazy but its really are these acts that fulfill me. However, my plate is filling up and I found that friends aren't there for me as I am for them, yet they still expect more and more of me. I just don't have the energy in me to be happy for my friends endeavors... At least to the point they want me to, while I'm trying to pursue my own. I simply don't have it in me to be happy for someone else while I'm working on being happy for myself and the things I'm doing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's time for a little selfishness. Giving less of myself to others and more of myself to me. Drown out the white noise and listen to the inner voice, a time for a little solidarity. 2013 is the year of Me, a year to see, a year breathe, a year to be.