Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Have A Secret

I have been a little reclusive lately. I have been writing, but not posting; flaking out on my friends and not keeping appointments. Essentially, I have been a mess. There is a reason. I have been busy... keeping a secret. For the last seven and a half years, life has been... consistent.

On January 1, 2005, I moved to the Chicagoland area and almost immediately fell in love. I love the food (not shocking for those of you who know me) and the access to the city. On certain days, I even love the people that live here, shocking, I know. I've grown to accept that February through April will probably be so cold that the first couple of breaths I take when I walk outside will make me question whether my trip is actually necessary; that trips to the grocery store will be ridiculously expensive; and that any sort of traffic ticket will likely aid in putting you in the poor house. I don't bat an eye when a drink costs as much as a ticket to the movies or there is "free" entertainment on the el. I don't think it is 100% weird when someone on a street corner tries to sell me socks or ice cold water on very warm days. I just think it comes with the territory. These are the things that make the city consistent.

For better or worse, this secret is making me break out of the consistency of my life and begin anew. The most consistent thing in life is the idea that life is consistently changing. By the time you read this, my change will already be in full swing. My secret is that I am leaving Chicago. For the last two months (almost) I have been making plans to move back to my hometown-- closer to family, best friends and all that comes with that. Chicago has been my home for the majority of my adult life. I will miss the friends that I have made. I'll miss my favorite haunts in the city and more than I would like to admit, I will miss the city. With all her faults there is no other place that I would have wanted to spend these years. This Queen on Lake Michigan has given me tons of laughs and even more tears. I bought my first home here; struck out on my own here; and stubbornly made my way... here.

I've had great jobs and shitty ones- same with bosses... same with acquaintances. I've met people that I will be in contact with for the rest of my life, and those whose information won't make the move back to Ohio. I carry some of you in my heart and some of you are permanently on the bottom of my shoes. My love runs deep; my appreciation for the life lessons runs even deeper. As I pack another box, I remember you all- most of you fondly; hoping beyond hope that I have made an impact on Chicago, since she has definitely made one on me. Farewell Chicago. I look forward to seeing you again someday.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just Call Me Captain Save a Hoe!!

So, generally, I am not the nicest person. Especially on my commute to and from work. I just don't have time to be cordial, what with all of my... judging and picture taking. That's right, I said it! If you look a mess, please trust and believe that I have talked about you on facebook, twitter and I may have even taken some pics. You deserve it. There are mirrors all around, but I digress. Today, instead of spending my time taking pictures of the fashionably challenged I took action, y'all!! Story below. I walked on the bus (one of several that lets me off on the end of my street-- hey, don't judge my laziness) and I see them. Two "ladies" of African American descent were at the front of the bus- one was extremely pregnant and they were joined by three children... one of whom was in a stroller. You know I bypassed them as quickly as possible, right? We all know that I cannot stand bad ass kids, so I couldn't chance it! It was a long bus (think two buses, joined together) and I sat next to the back door- far away from the possibility of screaming children. I sat down, turned on my kindle, pretended to read and starting my... eye sweep of the bus, searching for a fashion victim. The bus crept along State Street in relative silence, but just as it turned onto Lake I heard this gruff, weird voice. I swear the first sentence was "What? You just want someone to pay for you? Fucking faggot." Um, guess who shot into action? Yes. He got exactly two more sentences out of his hate filled mouth before I shot out of my seat. There was the random "fuck", "scum"... He might have actually said "I pay taxes so you can do nothing, stupid scum." I had enough. No one was saying anything-- and I think that may have upset me the most. The bus was turning onto Michigan Avenue and I got up and made the voyage from the back of the bus. As I got up, I noticed that an elderly woman also got up from her seat and went to complain to the bus driver. Me? I go straight to the annoying source. Hanging onto the strategically placed straps, I make my way to the offender. He is drooling (actually drooling) and spewing out hurtful shit. I walked up to him and said "Sir, stop talking to them like that before I call the police." That kind of took the air out of his jaws for half a second. He points his finger at the woman and continues to yell. I tell him to shut up and that I am calling the cops. When I tell you that there was absolute silence on the bus at this time... you could have heard a pin drop. He takes his flip phone (OMG- please get rid of all flip phones... seriously) and told me that I could call from his phone because those women were freeloading scum. My response? "Um, no-- I will call from my own phone, which your tax dollars do not pay for." Jeez-- I might be an asshole! :) The bus driver started to slow down. Our voices got louder. He kept talking, I kept countering. He threw down some more "f" bombs... but never at me. My last sentence to him? "I don't care. You don't know her and there are children on this bus while you curse like a moron. Get off the bus." He did. Yeah. As I headed back to my seat a girl said "thank you for sticking up for her." I nodded in her general direction, put my phone back in my pocket and headed toward my home in the back of the bus. As I get comfy again in my seat (still far away from the kids) a guy says "Thank you for doing that. None of us had the guts to say anything." I looked at him and said the most sincere answer I could come up with on the spot: "Yeah, well all it takes is a short girl with a Napoleon complex to control a CTA bus." Today was a good day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Soulful Saturday - Gerald Levert

I am showing some Ohio love this Saturday. Gerald Levert, aka the Teddy Bear. From northern Ohio (Cleveland area), Gerald was born to some serious R&B royalty. Eddie Levert (from the O'Jays) brought up two singers, Gerald and his brother, Sean-- both of whom are deceased. The two Levert boys put together a group with their friend (Levert) but Gerald's solo efforts are in a class all by themselves. Silky smooth voice. Poignant lyrics. Love for family. From Ohio. What is not to love about this guy?

Unfortunately, Gerald was not long for this Earth. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 40. He left a great catalog of R&B goodness. Let's check it out.

Let's start this off with one of Gerald's BEST songs (in my opinion). It was released after he passed away and this song speaks to the small romantic portion of my personality. It is absolutely beautiful and talks about the search for the love of your life. That thing that most of us search for most of our lives. Sadly, some of us never find it. Regardless, a wonderful song- full of passion- kinda like my future husband, whoever that is! :)

In My Songs
**If I could only find the love I sing about... when I sing my songs.**
I wanna be with somebody who can share my ups and downs, & when they're feeling bad I can be the one to make her smile. Make her realize that I'm the special guy I sing about... If I could only find the love I sing about.

 Baby, Hold On To Me (duet with his dad, Eddie)

 I'd Give Anything (aka My personal motto)

I Can't Help Myself

My Body (collaboration with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill) aka HOT, HOT, HOT! :)

School Me (uh, what y'all know about this?!?!)

Wind Beneath My Wings (duet with his dad, Eddie) Note: if I could make it through the song without crying, I would totally sing this to my parents. Over and over. Best.Remake.Ever

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Throwing Each Other to the Wolves?

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a Chicago icon. A true Chicago icon. Someone who makes a difference in people's lives EVERY day. Someone who touches thousands with her story, her struggles with AIDS, medication, and people who misinterpret her message-- Ms. Rae Lewis-Thornton. Now listen, I am not one for blowing smoke up people's asses. I don't really flip out about celebrities (except for Prince, Eddie Vedder, Zac Efron, David Beckham and Ralph from New Edition... you know, all the people I want to have love children with). Generally, I just think that they are just like every day people. They get lost in their own shit, just like I do. They wake up, go to sleep, eat (well some of those hoes don't eat, but again, I digress) all like we do; it just so happens that they get paid (large amounts of money in some cases) to sing, dance, act or whatever the hell they do. I say that to say, I wouldn't call Rae a Chicago icon, if I didn't really think she was.

 Icon status goes to her because she is so crystal clear with her message. The way that she speaks, writes and vlogs is just so... truthful. It is real, y'all. She has no problem tweeting, blogging and telling whoever will listen that she is a Diva with AIDS. She has a no holds barred kind of approach (kinda like my approach) and she shows the faith that she has, her good days AND her bad. She doesn't mince words- curse words, bad words, good words- whatever it takes to get the point across-- You always know what you are going to get with Rae and THAT is the thing that I love about her outreach. You know that no matter what you WANT to see, how pretty you WANT her explanation to be, she is going to give it to you straight and honest. Plus, she is a dog mom (absolutely AMAZING).

Rae is on a countdown to turning 50. (Go girl!) She puts up videos and tells about her day. Right now she is on an IV medication that is slowing her down a bit, so when I clicked to watch today's video and saw a sad face, that is what I thought the topic would be about. Oh no. Today Rae took to the airwaves to say that her honorary membership in a Black sorority has been revoked. Now- full disclosure- I am not a member of a sorority, black or otherwise. Some of my friends are and they absolutely enjoy it. I know the tenets of the Black sororities because I once thought of joining and I wanted to be able to make an educated decision about which organization would be the best fit for me, but again, I am not a member of any sorority-- and I am not going to post the name of the sorority that rescinded Rae's membership (I'll post her video).

 Rae says that the reason for the revocation of her membership was vulgarity. Now, let me say this, as noted about Rae is crystal clear with her message. She meets people where they are. She uses words that I use :) and from speaking with her, the night we met, it is my understanding that she/her message/her words haven't changed much in the 29 years that she has been an HIV/AIDS advocate. If that is true, has this sorority kicked Rae out because of the delivery of her message? If they are claiming that she is vulgar, but she hasn't changed her format, why would they have offered her membership to begin with? If her format has not changed, is it right for them to rescind her membership now? Knowing of some women in their rosters (both honorary and regular membership) who have not always been poster children for pure living, including extensive drug use, several out of wedlock children, behavior that was seen as less than lady like-- have any of those women had their membership rescinded? Has any of their behaviors been categorized as "vulgar"? Or is it JUST Rae? One of this organizations points of interest is Physical and Mental Health... don't they NEED the likes of Rae Lewis-Thornton? Don't they NEED someone like her to teach our children that sex today has consequences, some of which never go away? Don't they need her crystal clear, no holds barred message to be shouted from the rooftops in order to help their objective of bettering the African-American community? Have they used her for all that they could and have now thrown her to the wolves? IS THIS ACCEPTABLE? And if it is- are these sororities and fraternities really working towards the betterment of the Black community? You decide.
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