Friday Euphony: V.S.O.P. – K. Michelle

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these posts. A long time since I’ve posted anything, really. But K. Michelle’s V.S.O.P. has been stuck in my head all week. I can only say I miss the person it’s dedicated to.

You know this ain’t an ordinary love
We got so much history in the stories about us
So come on over, baby

We gon’ light some candles tonight
Very special
We gon’ do whatever you like
Very special
Got some Henney chillin’ on ice
Very special
Hope you make the rest of my life
Very special…

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And This Christmas…

“Hang all the mistletoe, I’m gonna get to know you better…”

Nothing starts my Christmas like Donny Hathaway’s velvet-voiced “This Christmas.” A beloved song since my childhood, it reminds me of tossing and turning with anticipation in my bed until I could finally run to the tree at 6 in morning to see what my parents Santa brought me. Seeing that new Cabbage Patch doll or Fisher-Price tape recorder brought me endless amounts of joy that day, as well as the joy of being with family.

Anyone who’s seen their mother jam out and get “happy” while listening to The Temptations while wrapping gifts hasn’t lived. Ahh, memories.

Now, as an adult, Christmas songs take on a whole new meaning for me. The fact that my father passed only six days before the holiday a couple years ago, I can’t say there aren’t some that don’t make me cry, wishing he were here. Mariah’s “Most You Most (At Christmas Time)” gets me every time.

“Every other season comes along, and I’m all right. But then I miss you most at Christmas time.”

But I’m choosing to focus on the magic that is a well-sung carol. Holiday songs bring love and a certain hopefulness with them, that it’s hard not to get into the spirit. Some of my favorites:

  • This Christmas – Donny Hathaway
  • All I Want for Christmas is You– Mariah Carey (Kill Justin Bieber for his remake.)
  • Silent Night – The Temptations
  • Let it Snow– Boyz II Men
  • Angels We Have Heard on High– Christina Aguilera
  • Every Year, Every Christmas– Luther Vandross
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town – The Jackson Five
  • What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas – The Emotions (for you 🙂 )
  • Christmas just Ain’t Christmas – The O’Jays
  • Joy to the World– Mariah Carey
  • Santa Baby– Eartha Kitt
  • Honorable Mention: 8 Days of Christmas – Destiny’s Child

When I play these songs, and dreams of family, love, laughter, food, and gifts dance in my head.  I feel this Christmas will be no different.

Enjoy these Xmas gems.

Memoirs of a Borders (Books)

Several weeks ago, my favorite bookseller in the entire world closed.

Borders Books was my sanctuary, my home away from home. I spent many weekend mornings there, camped out in the cafe with my laptop, iPod, a stack of magazines and the current book I was reading.

It was where I went after a long day at work to fondle the new arrivals and graze the African-American fiction section.

It also helped me to mull over writing and ideas at times when I needed peace but desired to have the comfort of people around.

The people-watching factor was another advantage, seeing folks of all ages share the same love for books (or free reading) like I did.

Not to mention the pastries and frozen drinks were delish.

Even though the demise of Borders had long been predicted, the closing of its doors still hurt. The only big-chain book franchises left here are Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million (which, by the way, I’m surprised outlasted Borders). Of the two, I don’t have a definite favorite. Both are no Borders Books, and there several reasons why:

Barnes & Noble (BN) and Books-A-Million (BAM) are on other side of town ? The Borders I visited was only 5 minutes from my job and 5 minutes from my house. Being Housed in an oh-so-convenient location was the best. It was so easy to swing in, do some browsing, and know I would be home like that *snaps fingers* with my new book. The “other” stores are much further away, and popping in after work is no longer a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am experience for me. So my weekend sessions have been few and far in between.

BN doesn’t have a dedicated African-American section ? Though racial segregation ended about 50 years ago, I’d prefer my books to live in the past and be separate but equal. Having a dedicated African-American section makes things easier to find and easier to riffle through, in that I can see E. Lynn Harris hanging out with Zora Neale Hurston without worrying about Ernest Hemingway getting in between. Also, by not having a dedicated Af-Am section, it also camouflages the fact that our titles aren’t plentiful in these stores.

BN and BAM don’t have the same ambience ? I’ve had my laptop in both places. Neither felt like Borders. I mean, BN comes close, with its free wi-fi and addictive Starbucks cocktails, but there are no windows in the cafe. Borders had these big picture windows at the back of the cafe that people coveted for the view (and also because of the precious electrical outlets). I can’t gaze at the sky like I did at Borders, a lovely inspiration and distraction to my writing. And BAM, *sigh*, doesn’t have free wi-fi unless you’re a member of its pricey discount membership club.

Neither stores sell Curve magazine ? Where they do that at? Apparently at BN and BAM. Not selling the ever-popular lesbian magazine Curve hurts my heart. Last time I checked, I didn’t spy too many gay and lesbian mags around, which I love to peruse at my leisure. I need BN and BAM to get it together.

Speaking of ?family? reads, BN and BAM’s gay/lesbian section sucks ? Though both have dedicated sections, neither of them have the greatest selections. Mostly it’s old stuff, and things I’m not interested in reading. Borders gay/lesbian section wasn’t extremely big, but it had better titles that I didn’t look like they had been sitting there since the store first opened its doors, pages all yellowed and dusty.

So, with all that being said, I need to find a book home. The only other option is I’ve found is the public library, which does have picture windows and free wi-fi, but the rambunctious kids checking constantly their facebook pages ruin the mood. I’ll visit BN again, which really does try, bless its Starbucks heart.

Anybody got gas money?

Diary of a Mad Black Lesbian: The Company You Keep

imageThe headline in my local newspaper caught my attention, but what saddened me were the circumstances: a Florida A&M University female basketball player was murdered by her lover over Labor Day weekend. The couple, who had been in a three-year relationship, had been fighting all day, and eventually tempers escalated to the point where Shannon Washington found herself stabbed in the neck by Starquineshia Palmer. She later succumbed to her injuries. 

Both women were only 20 years old. Shannon, an an All-American honors player from Illinois Valley Community College, had just transferred to FAMU when the fall semester began only two weeks before. Starquineshia was visiting for the weekend with plans to eventually be with Shannon.

It hurts my heart that this deadly incident occurred, more so in my hometown. The fact that this was a young woman in her prime, poised to be shooting guard at her new school, has been taken away…and at the hands of the woman who loved her. Why this had to happen is what I want to know?
From the newspaper articles I’ve read, the pair had more than a tumultuous relationship. If Shannon could have foreseen the night she died, would she have ended the relationship earlier? Or would she have stayed with Starquineshia, never believing that her girlfriend would put her life at risk? 
Shannon Washington

Maybe. Maybe not. According to what Starquineshia told police Washington choked her several times and antagonized her by saying, “If you’re going to do it, just do it. Both of us are going to die tonight.”

And Starquineshia knew what she was going to do, allegedly calling her mother to ask if she would take care of her two children prior to killing her girlfriend. 

This violence has to stop. About 25-33 percent of same-sex relationships experience domestic abuse. Being in an affair where there’s frequent violence can only lead to heartbreak and tragedy. Now a mother has to travel 283 miles from Sarasota to say goodbye – not to see her daughter win her first game. 

If you’re in a similar situation, please get out.

No one, whether in a gay or straight relationship, should have to endure abuse – whether physical, verbal or emotional. 

Easier said than done, I know. 

Gay and lesbian  couples sometimes often find themselves between a rock and a hard place when the abuse begins, not wanting to speak out because of their family’s rejection of the relationship or, worse, if their families don’t even know they’re together. Along with the breakdown of one’s psyche and self-esteem, it also creates a dependency that makes her cling to a partner more than she would normally. 

But again, if you’re in a similar situation, make a plan and find a safe way to leave.

Shannon’s murder should teach us that life is precious and should be surrounded by a partner who loves and nurtures us. I just wished Shannon – and Starquineshia – had figured that out sooner.

Blessings

I read a blog this morning that reminded me of the blessings in my life. What I’m truly grateful for is everything, from the close relationships with my family to even the hassles at work. I know eventually those headaches will lead me to the path I’m meant for. And with me along the way, there’s that special someone in my corner. That is also a beautiful blessing.

Love…

I’ve been blessed when it comes to relationships – whether because they simply existed or because they finally ended. Every experience teaches you something.

I’ve far from mastered this thing called love. I can only tell you what I’ve learned so far.

Love….

Love… Is reciprocal. Do your best to take care of me, I will do the same for you. That means everything from respect to affection to security. Love should be based on trust, and I have to feel secure in your love for me to give you everything and more. It’s a Capricorn thing, what can I say.

Love… Is not a power struggle, and not about roles. Who’s right, who’s wrong, who runs things, who has the upper hand. Femmes vs. Studs. None of those things mean a damn thing. Being hard or playing games to prove your studhood, or trying to use the femme upper hand in a relationship is not where it’s at. When I’m weak, I need you to be my strength, and vice versa. I’m not afraid to show you that, and you shouldn’t be either.

Love… Shouldn’t be harsh. Truth means tact. Remember that. Calling your woman out her name – don’t even.

Love… Isn’t love if my heart isn’t in it. One song, R. Kelly’s “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” rings so true when it comes to a female’s heart. A woman will endure a lot when she’s in love, but there’s always a breaking point. When she hits this level, there’s nothing short of a miracle that can make her –  femme or stud – get that love back. Once the bloom is off the rose, what more can be said? That’s why you should never take her for granted.

Love… Should mean my lover is my best friend. You laugh, you share, you make love – but on a deeper level, it should be built on a foundation of genuinely liking the person you’re with. How can you share intimacy with a woman that you wouldn’t be friends with outside of the relationship? If you wouldn’t, that’s a problem.

Love… Should last longer than the honeymoon. Here’s where love gets tricky. In the beginning, two people always put their best faces forward. Flaws may surface, but we’re blinded by the admissions of love, the spontaneous gestures, and the orgasmic sex that allow us fall deeper. This passion should continue after those sweet nothings become fewer, after you see her in the same undies over and over or she knows you drool on the pillow, after bills and work play a bigger role in your day to day lives. Which leads to my next point…

Love… Is craving her. If you’ve watched Kissing Jessica Stein, one of my favorite movies, there’s a pivotal scene where Jessica and Helen are breaking up while Helen packs her stuff.

Helen: I wanna be with someone who wants me.

Jessica, crying: I want you.

Helen: I wanna be with someone who craves me.

Jessica: Well, I crave you.

Helen: I want to be with someone who wants to rip my clothes off.

I must admit, there are going to be times when the clothes-ripping isn’t necessary, but I want someone who sees the sexiness in me, along with all my other good (and bad) qualities, of course. In other words, it’s the zsa zsa zsu, what Carrie Bradshaw refers to as “that butterflies in your stomach thing that happens when you not only love the person but you gotta have them.” Theoretically, when you’re with the person you feel is truly meant for you, that feeling should be there, even if it fades over time. Lust built on love is the best feeling.

Love… Is between two people. What goes on between two women is nobody’s business. Though Twitter or Facebook statuses permit you to see what is said between a “happy” or “dramatic” couple, it only paints a diminutive picture of their relationship. What someone says about their significant other is just as important as what she doesn’t say.

Love… Means making you and me happy. While I believe in sacrifice and unconditional love, one can’t compromise her own happiness to make her significant other happy. No one wins in that situation. The things I do for you are because I love you, but also give me some fulfillment. It doesn’t mean that I have to totally change myself to be with you.

Love… Is responsibility. Taking care of another person’s heart is a huge task. Ensuring that you have a future together is also a ginormous job. Be sure the one you’re with is worth this undertaking.

Love… Should always involve humor. What is love without laughs? Boring as hell.