I’m up late. Or early I suppose, depending on how you look at it. I just finished rereading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I’m feeling some wordless emotion. There is this one part where Sam and Charlie are talking and she says to him:

“It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me. And if they do something I don’t like, I’ll tell them.” She was starting to cry a little. But she wasn’t sad. “You know I blamed Craig for not letting me do things? You know how stupid I feel about that now? Maybe he didn’t really encourage me to do things, but he didn’t prevent me from doing them either. But after a while, I didn’t do things because I didn’t want him to think different about me. But the thing is, I wasn’t being honest. So, why would I care whether or not he loved me when he didn’t really even know me?”

Excerpt From: Chbosky, Stephen. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

And I thought, yes, that is exactly it.

I googled ‘Carrie Bradshaw pearls’ because I am looking for inspiration for my birthday outfit. I ran across a fashion website counting down Carrie’s worst fashion mistakes. Her visible bra, her short shorts (which they called ghetto–which made me cringe), her hats…and I thought “they missed the point of her.”  Carrie, and really every woman, is beautiful because of her so-called mistakes. They make up a significant portion of who we are, I think. And for someone to want to clean Carrie up…means they don’t know her. Like Sam and Charlie.

Then, I thought of how many people know me. A handful maybe. I used to be a lot more self righteous. I thought I knew better. It took my friend and a suicide scare for me to realize how wrong I was. I have another friend who’s pregnant right now and lies a lot. To everyone, but mainly herself. We all know she does it but its not hurtful so we never say anything about it. But I wonder if she thinks we want to clean her up. I wonder if she thinks we don’t really get her. Maybe we don’t.

I guess sometimes in our heads we have reasons as to why we hide parts. Reasons we tell lies or stay quiet or omit. Sometimes its easier. You feel like people don’t really want to know how you are. They are just being polite. But what if they do?

I think people get uncomfortable when they can’t help. Like when you tell them a story and they start giving you advice or feedback you didn’t really want. My married friends do that. So do mom friends. And it always cycles back around to them and how you don’t understand because you’re not a wife, or a mom. But that’s an excuse too.

I’ve been an insatiable sleeper lately, very quiet and very contemplative. Also, selective of how I expend energy. I don’t feel melancholy, exactly, but I do not feel as exuberant as usual. That never felt like a lie. I guess the best thing is that people are letting me be. Maybe that speaks to the quality of relationships here. My classmates are the best people on earth. People who can love your sunshine and your rain. Those are good people.

I had a friend who’s husband was unfaithful. I was one of the few people who knew and when they stayed together she stopped talking to me. Because I knew, I think. I told her that I don’t think she’s a bad or stupid person and we started talking again. Sometimes people can’t look at you because they see too many things they’re trying not to see. And sometimes its because they think you see something they don’t want you to. I try very hard to “zoom out” and see the person. Not the stuff. Because we’re not our stuff. Truth or lies.

I got my fill of holding my tongue when I took Terri’s class. But when I spoke, my voice had too much magnetism and it kept bringing people to me that I didn’t want. I didn’t really get it then. I think I get it better now. My honesty, truthfully my vulnerability, sounded a lot like permission. Which is what a lot of people are waiting on. That its safe to come out.

I’m like Sam now. I don’t want to be a crush or some eloquent being you’ve deified in your head. I’d much rather be me; the mess. Not in a self depreciating way. But in a way where you know you don’t have to be anything other than you. Because I’m nothing more than me. The god in all of us makes us all equal, I think. She just wanted to be seen clearly. Honestly.


I’d like to do that. Be more honest. Not worry about people thinking of me differently and just being. I’d like to give myself permission to do that. Because I thought Carrie looked great no matter the outfit. Bra showing or not. There’s a lot that’s beautiful about loving yourself past other peoples insecurities. They try to give them to you, you know. I loved that she never accepted them. I think Carrie is a lot like Sam.

Racism in California

Last night in a bar over bourbons, I got what Terri would call “hooked.” I was talking with two friends of mine about the difference in racism as it is in the south versus here in southern California. I explained that in my experience, racism in the south was a lot more open and overt whereas here in California it is quiet and secretive.
One of my friends argued that because it is not said, that perhaps I am jumping to conclusions about the stares/looks/whispers being because of my race. I retorted back with, “as we haven’t had a conversation, what else would it be?”

Since I have lived in California I have been stared at, belittled (though this, I feel comes from being black and Southern more than anything), and subject to more “colored” and “gal” speech than I ever was at home. I explained to them that even walking into places you can feel eyes on you. And because there are so few Black people in San Diego, it can feel lonely and cold. My friend asked if I had been to Southeast SD and I said yes, but it pissed me clean off.

As I could feel myself getting angrier I knew I had to back off and walk away from this argument. Even our bartender commented that we got too serious. For me, it felt like my points were not being validated and intead were subject to reinterpretation; as if somehow I was unable to discern racism from any other type of discrimination.

What hooked me was not feeling heard, and having to defend a point I know exists. On the way home CR asked me why conversations about race are so hard, and I responded that its because they go nowhere. I say this even as an educator who teaches the importance of having “the race conversation.” It feels as though often when you try to explain the lived experience of a minority there is so much defense in the rebuttal that it turns ugly quickly.

And I get it, no one wants to be called a racist. Especially white people. Especially especially white people who think they are liberal. But the truth is, we’re all a little bit racist. Sadly. But we don’t have to let that stop us from learning about and from one another, we can work towards unconditional acceptance and love of others. When I say, I was treated this way because I am black and someone says, are you sure? I take it personally, and I shouldn’t. That’s my bad. I feel as though I am a person who does not play “the race card” often if ever and so I really feel some kind of way about being interrogated over my decision to use it.

There’s two things at play there, someone who needs validation of yes! Racism exists and yes! You experienced it. But there is also a person who casts doubt first, empathy later if at all. Work to be done on both sides.

I came home and called My Person because I was angry and needed to vent. Even in her whitness I feel she got it, and maybe that’s all I needed, to be heard and feel understood.

I am sure that people in California and people in the south will never agree on the issue of racism being bad in both places…but that’s okay. Just know this from me, give me the deep South any day of the week over being followed in the grocery store or called a pretty colored girl. At least at home I know exactly where not to go to avoid being called anything crazy.

And I heard….

I’ve seen people caught in love like whirlwinds
listening to they squads and listening to girlfriends
that’s exactly the point where they whole world ends
lies come in, that’s where that drama begins, she like

~The Roots “You Got Me”

Often times your friends do have your best interest at heart, and they are just trying to help…but more often than not, they don’t.  Once we start telling our friends the intimate details of our relationships we then leave it open to outside interpretation when really, the only two people who really know are you+partner.  We seek advice solely to confirm what we already believe. So when you tell your friend a story about your man that mad you mad, you aren’t going to paint him in a good light…which means you can’t help when they harp on that thing and give him side eyes everytime he comes around.  Sure you may have moved on, but if you’re only divulging the bad stuff to your friends, they aren’t going to like him. Period. Girlfriends can make you feel so bad about your mate that you will seriously wonder “why” you even fool with him, when you were not even questioning your relationship…beware of outside opinions on inside relations. GossipGals_retroinside

I get that its ‘important’ to vent to your friends and talk to them about things going on in your life. I do find-that as that friend who gets talked to-its VERY important not to have an opinion one way or the other.  Sure I can agree that a certain behavior is foul, or that something was sweet, but any further comment? In general, you won’t get much.  SATC lesson: You never tell your friend to leave her husband (or boyfriend) because if she does then her divorce (or break-up) is your fault and if she doesn’t then she’ll always know you think she should.

And its not just females…I dunno WHO started this rumor that guys don’t gossip, but it is a L.I.E. My guy friends talked about people ALLLLLLL the time, and couldn’t wait to share what they knew. However, in a serious relationship, they get the hush mouth about themselves. Women are a tanch more loose-lipped.  I hesitate to tell people things at least in great detail and its always after I’ve made up how I feel about the situation.  That’s not some great lesson I learned over the years, chalk it up to my INTJness but it works lol. My friends are always last to know about a decision, and since I’ve made up my mind about it, its not presented as debatable…

Bottom line, you are in a relationship with only 1 other person.  1ne. You+Him|Her are the only two who have a say in the course of your relationship and while others may have opinions, they are making educated guesses based on subjective and circumstantial evidence.  Of course friends and family matter, but in the long run your happiness is whats on the line. Will you listen to your heart or the opinions of others when making a decision that affects YOUR happiness?   And think about what you tell your friends…how does that make your partner look? Bad? If it does you only look like a bigger idiot for dating someone like that…Practice cognizance habitually.