Everything Rhymes With Alcohol

The other day Sarah of Feministe wrote Grandmothers. A bit of a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor and the meaning grandmothers in her life. At the end of the post, Sarah asked, “What do you wish you could ask your grandmothers (whether they’re blood grandmothers or otherwise)?”

I replied with this.

My grandmother & I were never close. In fact, most of the time I didn’t like being around her, especially if I was alone. My first memory of her is her yelling over my protestations, forcing me to drink some V8 b/c she didn’t want to see it go waste.

See, my parents are peaceful people who NEVER yelled at me out of anger–not to themselves, not me. Yelling was the one of the surest ways to make me burst into tears.

When my grandmother’s cancer returned in 2008 (She’d been w/o cancer for 40+ years. It disappeared when my mom was a child) she moved in with us. Which was fine, the house is big enough for everyone. This meant more interaction. I was always nervous about, but she would say things like, “You have to be strong. The world hates fat, black women” or she would ask why I didn’t have a boyfriend and then brag about all the times she had been asked for her hand.

She was demanding, “always right”, and could talk for 15 minutes non-stop. We were not close. Although, she’d ask for “sugar” she wasn’t affectionate. I never went to her with a problem, ever.

Having to help take care of her was really, very hard for me. Not only because of our relationship, but b/c it took GREAT patience which I hadn’t cultivated having never had to care for anyone but myself. And she was having an extremely hard time adjusting to a life of increased dependence (the end of which was certain death) on other people and would try to take it out on us to the point where my sister had to threaten to have her put in a nursing home in order in an effort to make her cooperate. It wasn’t coercion, she was fighting against us and the paramedics we’d been forced to call.

One day, before the days she lost her ability to talk, she asked me, “Have I been horrible to you?” I was so shocked! I just yelled “no!” and hurried up whatever I was doing and got out of there. If I could tell her, I would say that she wasn’t horrible. But our relationship had not been easy at all for me, but that I loved her and admired her so very much. That she had given me the gift the priceless gift incredibly, nurturing, supportive loving mother who always sought to comfort & understand me, but never shied away from discipline!

With out you, I don’t know where I would be, but with you, I have an amazing family I wouldn’t trade for the world. I know that was possible because of her. Even if it was because my mother decided NOT to be like her own mother.

I would also ask if she liked her funeral. If she liked the video I made for her. I would ask what she thinks of me thinking about getting a tattoo in her honor that says “The fat lady is doing just fine”, like she used to say.

This is chat between myself & my best friend Jess. Here I’m telling her some of the recent frustrations I’ve had trying to get medical care at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. A lot of people talk badly about Grady due to poor or what is perceived to be poor service. However, it’s important to note that Grady is the ONLY hospital where I, a long time unemployed individual, can receive medical care. It’s also the only trauma hospital for hundreds of miles. Grady routinely serves the underserved, the poor, the uninsured–all those in need.

As frustrated & stressed as I am–I *NEED* Grady to live. And WE need to improve our health care system. Things like this shouldn’t happen. This isn’t my first incredibly negative experience with Grady, hopefully, it will be the last. Still I would recommend Grady to the jobless, b/c no one should be w/o healthcare EVER.

I need a depo shot to treat my PCOS. Luckily, it’s not  life threatening.

me: And then there was this whole fiasco with the doctor
I had an appointment for my depo, but my “card” which lets them know how much I should pay expired in the meantime
my appointment was at 2
at 2:30 I’m told to go to another office for financial eval
I go
and it’s 2.5 hrs before I get seen
Only to find out I don’t have the documentation they need
I’m told to bring in a bill and proof of income, which can be a bank statement
so no depo shot for me that day!
I make an appointment for a week later
I bring a print out of my electric bill, which has a Decatur address b/c I can get cheaper fees that way, and a bank statement cause I can’t find my letter from the unemployment office about how much I get per week
I get there two hours before my appointment,as recc’d
and am seen almost immediately!
they tell me they don’t accept print outs of bills

Jess: …two hours?!
me: cause I could’ve doctored it
Jess: .

me: and they won’t call the electric company
cause “they don’t do calls”
they said my bank statement wouldn’t work
b/c they need to know how much I get a week, including taxes that might be taken and for how long I’ll be receiving benefits
Also, b/c my bank statement & my license both have Conyers address, they’re going to have to give me an “out of county card” which means I will have to pay MORE
and the woman says to me, “my supervisor says you live where your money goes”
and I ask what that means cause my money goes to my account!
not to my address!

Jess: by that logic i still live in ontario… i wish!!
me: so in order to get the cheaper ‘in county’ fees, I’ll have to change my address on my bank statement and on my license
which will cost money for the latter
so I end up getting an out of county card
instead of paying $10 to see the doctor
I have to pay $25
So, going to this hospital for a doctor’s appointment is an all day thing
which is fine
I can wait
I bought a book “Wiches & Wizards” by James Patterson
it’s fucking awful
but is some how getting a movie made out of it
it’s extremely simple and the kids sound like they live in a 50’s sitcom
ANYWAY
I get my blood pressure done & get weighed
go back out & wait
I see the doctor and it seems like I have to tell every single time that I have PCOS and what exactly was going on with that
and I’m thinking “DO I NOT HAVE A FUCKING FILE? I WAS DIAGNOSED HERE, GODDAMNIT!”
But this doctor asks about work and I tell her and then she asked if I’m depressed and I just about danced, cause no one has asked me that
and I tell her I really was for a while, but I am feeling better lately by trying to set small goals each day, which is true.
so, after all this I take a pregnancy test, go back out and wait
my appointment was at 3pm, btw
so, around 4:15, I finally get back there to the nurse who’d administer the shot
she gives me a form take up to the front desk f
where the woman there tells me that this form is for a different financial evaul and the woman who does those LEFT at 3:30pm
Now, I actually checked in at the obgyn at 2
so I have been sitting here for 2+ hrs and now am told I cannot get the shot today b/c the woman who needs to evaul my finances LEFT nearly an hour ago
and then the woman at the front desk says “Well, if you had told me it was for family planning we could’ve done this earler”
earlier
I say, “I had no way to know I was supposed to tell you that”

Jess: …cuz it’s YOUR fault.
me: ALSO
I bet you my last $5 that it was on my appointment sheet that I put on the front desk at 2pm
at this point I am so mad & frustrated I am crying and just trying to hold it together so I don’t yell at anyone
I go back to the nurse
(I’m getting hot talking about this right now)
and she is very apologetic, understanding, empathetic, sweet
She tells me to come back tomorrow & they’ll get me in & out and apologizes
and I’m telling her, holding my tears in my eyes
that this will be the THIRD appointment I have made for this shot
That it’s 62 miles (102.998 km) round trip from my house to the hospital
That I am unemployed

that this THIRD time I’ve paid for parking and the total for that will be $15
Jess: i really think you should blog about all these visits…
i think it’s good and demystifying shit
and it might help you to have commenters commiserate?
me: Well, I had a screening that evening
I wanted to go home, but i was like NO
I’M GOING TO ENJOY SOMETHING TODAY GODDMANIT

Jess: good!!
i’m so glad
but you can blog it later 😉
me: So I went and ran into some friends at Moe’s and when I was asked about my day it all just came rolling out

Jess: aw 😦
me: and they were like O.O
and I went to the screening and sat next to this woman I see at screenings, Gwen
and I told her about it and a friend of hers at the screening used to work at Grady (the hospital)
and she commiserated with me
I blasted music & listened to Blacking It Up! all the way home
but the stress was in my body
i felt it physically
like I was on adrenaline and everything was tight.
and I couldn’t escape it for too long
because it was in my body
I tried to literally shake it out
it’s hard to explain
anyway. I made some chai & felt better
and I talked my mom and she was sympathetic
she advised thinking of how things could’ve been worse
but I stopped her and told her that doesn’t work for me

Jess: nor does it change how things were bad.
me: cause it doesn’t make thing good NOW. It won’t get this stress out my body

Jess: yeah
me: so I went back on the next day and got the shot
and the nurse asked me about my job situation & I told her
and she said she really hoped something would come along for me b/c she says I look like I have a lot of promise and that she’d pray for me and that was nice to hear
and I feel like I’m about to cry now
yeah
Thursday Chris invited me to go bowling with them
and I went
and I was going to suggest that Chris go to Grady, cause she has no insurance and seems like she is sick ALL OF THE TIME
but I couldn’t do it
I couldn’t talk about it cause it was still stressfull to me
like it is now

Jess: thank you for talking to me about it.
i appreciate you.
me: i appreciate the hell out of you too

I asked her the usual emo, navel gazing questions.

“Why not me? What’s so wrong? Why am I not enough? Have I done wrong? Why am I treated like just another worthless, untrustable stranger?”

She was completely done with my interrogation and refused to engage my mood. Whipping around, short hair in sharp angles, finger poked deep into my chest she seared these words,

“Because this way lies agony. ‘Glow’ will not cover up your perfume of sadness and no one wants to get entangled with that.”

That was it.

It’s a–um, what do they say?  Watershed moment? I’d never seen water shed..But this was more than just the splitting of a stream.

Time seemed to slow, but my thoughts swirled and sunk with the ferocity of a whirlpool. When I finally beached, I was in Oz. It was more like that. The moment Dorothy opens the door and the world goes from dull grays to brilliant saturated multi-colored wonder. That’s what this was.

A complete shift in time & space via F5 tornado.

It was only because I could now see the brilliance of the world before me that I could now turn around and see the drab that had been. There was furniture in there. Dust on table tops, refuse in the bin, and imprints on the sofa.  Undoubtedly lived-in.

You can only live in a place you feel comfortable. No one ever makes a hotel room into a home.

Even now I could feel the pull. The grays where comforting against the brilliance before me, almost lulling.

I will never grow if I don’t get out, if I don’t let go.

I actually wrote this back in 2006, but a post I recently read at Womanist Musings.

Lost Ancestry: I am a descendant of slaves

And I felt so connected to the sentiment expressed, I thought I’d republish that long ago written blog here.

POSTED BY “Mohamid al Goldberg”—African slaves were sold to europeans by other africans. who cairs about relatives in crumby old africa? find out who yours are, go see them and puch them in they nose.

I CARE!!!!
Do you have any idea how painful it is to sit around during Multi-culti month and have absoluetly nothing?

I have no langague
I have no music or song
I have no myths or stories to tell
I have no rituals to explain
I have no dance to dance
I have no knowledge of my people that I can depart or even take part in.

I have nothing. I do not know where my people come from. The majority of Americans (whether they care to or not) can point to at least one place on the world map and know where they came from. They can learn all about that place and take joy in it.

I have none of that.
And what makes it worse is that IT WAS PLANNED TO BE THIS WAY! It wasn’t planned by the Africans this way. The actions of men long dead and unknown have the power to this very day to make me long, make me feel worthless, lost, make my eyes burn with tears, and fill my throat with screams. I have been willfully deprived.

I am so very intensely JEALOUS.

This is the article that sparked these comments.
http://www.topix.net/content/kri/0937326822208824041312895466912884173061

In highschool I began to read Morgan Llwelyn who writes books about ancient Irish legends and historical Irish events. She’s absolutely an excellen author. Anyway, I began to realize how much I did not have. I had no cultural heros, sayings, songs, dances, holidays, rituals…nothing that really reflected me.

Remembering that we do have Chickasaw Indian on my dad’s side, I began to search the internet for Chickasaw websites…I found one that had some language. I learned how to say “Hello, How are you?” (Halito! Chi chukma?)

They wanted me to pay $100 for some kind of package and my internet search ended there. But for a little while I was happy with these little words I knew, because I knew that others knew them too and that somewhere they knew me.

I have held in my hands the papers that state my ancestors as “Chattel”. I have seen it and I have read the names, the ages, the prices. On my father’s side Big Quali and his wife and children where first sold in Lousianna…but it does not state where they came from.

After that, I don’t know….except that at one point, a family member killed a white man, had to flee and changed his name.

But what I *DO* know is that we have white relatives in LA. My cousin, who has tried so hard to discovery our past, found them out. She wanted to meet and invited them to the family reunion. They were game. They wanted to come! That is until they found out we are black. Then they declined all offers and stopped taking phone calls.

For years I dreamed of going there. Walking up to their door, asking for something…maybe to use the phone or directions or a drink of water. I would gaze at them all in the face and try to see if I saw me and then I would tell them. I would tell them who I am, who my father has become, and who they are to us.

It burns me up.

One day, I found Morgan Llwelyn’s e-mail address and not thinking it was her direct e-mail, I wrote her. I told her about how I loved her books. I told her about a classmate of mine, Mark who I had spanish class with. I had told him about her books and how great I thought they where. I asked him if he would be interested, cause Mark’s is (clearly) of Irish descent. He said he didn’t care about the past.

It broke my heart and made me angry. I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t comprehend how anyone who could know anything about their ancestors simply by going to the library didn’t care. The things I would give to be able to do that.

Now, it’s not Mark’s fault. I don’t blame him for anything, but I envied him intensely..and anyone else who had/has this opportunity.

Anyway, I told Miss Llwelyn all of this and how I felt I had no place that was mine, that no place was for me.

SHE WROTE ME BACK!

She told me not to feel so bad. That even though I cannot be sure where on the map I came from, that Africa has such a rich history. She talked about Ghana and Egypt and how one day I would find my soul’s home. It’s not like I didn’t know about Egypt and Ghana (and Shaka Zulu. I used to try to explain to my elementary schoolmates about Shaka Zulu, but they would just laugh at his name and not listen to anything I had to say), but to know that someone could, sympathize, understand and acknowledge my pain and tried to cheer me up (especially my favorite author!) did a world of good for me.

Although it could not (and did not) qwell my jealousy and anger, it pushes me to keep looking. And I will keep looking and I will cry alot.

Your Dirty Answer gave me the push for this post.

FAT is IN This TV Season.

There’s Fox’s romance reality show More to Love where a plus size man dates some plus sized women, bachelor style.

Oxygen’s Dance Your Ass Off

Bringing dance and diet together, Dance Your Ass Off features talented, full-figured contestants who will have to lose to win. Each contestant is paired with a professional dance partner who will train him or her for weekly stage performances — ranging from Hip Hop, to Ballroom and even Pole Dancing! Then they shake and rattle their rolls in front of a live studio audience and a panel of expert judges. The judges score the routines, and then the contestants weigh in to reveal their weekly weight loss. The dance score and the weight loss are combined for an overall score, which determines who is sent home each week.

Last, but so very far from least Lifetime’s offering, Drop Dead Diva

See, I am all for seeing people of all shapes & sizes on tv living their lives like lots of the thinner TV folk do: dancing, dating, lawyering. Cool. However, I’m not optomistic nor hopeful about how these shows will portray them as actually non-freakish, positive, happy, life-that-doesn’t-revolve-around-food, well adjusted folks.

I can’t say too much about the first two. More To Love doesn’t air until later this month & I don’t have Oxygen, but the last video for Drop Dead Diva–are you fucking kidding me? I have no urge to see this at all. Not even for the possible turnaround. They have so thoroughly turned me off with the “fat as punishment” (AND beauty=vapid) what about the fat girl’s soul? did she just deserve to totally die o Read the rest of this entry »

was like a kiss on the collarbone

I had a very sweet dream.

It was set in a high school. I was a girl, 16.  Long wavy hair, shy, bookish w/glasses, but I liked to smile.

Homeroom, at the end of the school day. I was speaking with some friend of mine. They’re teasing me about this guy I like who shares our homeroom. My speech is (typical!) caught in my chords so I just smile about him. A friend looks behind to the side and gestures with her eyes that he’s coming  closer.

I suddenly find myself obsessed with my hands & fingernails. This one needs filing..that one has dirt underneath..would you look at that! A corner of paint there! He sits in desk across from me & is (as usual) effortlessly beautiful.  Where do guys get off having such long lashes like that? Dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin.

He’s being very nice. Asking questions about me. Smiling. Then he starts playing with my glasses, taking them off like he wants to try them on himself. I’m incredibly elated by the close contact, but I keep pulling my glasses back on. I want to be able to see him in sharp relief, not fuzzy imperfection.

Now we’re laughing about it and he’s really close to me.  His fingertips on my frames, eyes inches from mine and his kisses me. Two soft pecks followed up by a slower, sweet (church) kiss.

How sad that all things come to and end

But the dream had me going all day. I could literally feel his lips on mine. Which is odd b/c I rarely have such vivid dreams.

Halito

Posted on: July 10, 2009

Chi Chukma?

Chickasaw for, “Hello. How are you?

This is going to be a multipurpose, non-directional, deeply personal thing.

There will be stories, poems, entries, news, and always opinions. I’m hoping I can truly keep up with it. I need to write.

Here’s some things to know about me

Likes: Atlanta, friends, rockband/guitar hero, fighting games, history, Spanish, bicycles, roller skates, Joss Whedon, Harry Potter, mango, womanism, ginger, cinnamon, writing, reading, calculators, sci-fi, soccer, musicals, fantasy, Monty Python, music, politics, talking about privileges, movies, festivals, cursing, feminism, fireworks, travel, driving, family, love, holidays, accents, fashion, sharing

Dislikes: Inequality, injustice, collard/mustard greens, unemployment, functionalist theory (sociology), being late, cornbread, untethered balloons, douchebags, street harassment, intrusive personal questions from total strangers on the street, French, Cosmo, intolerance, cellphones in the cinema, misogyny, when actors do not watch the road when driving, family, love, inconsiderate people

I think that’s enough. Any questions?

What I’ve posted & when! Handy~

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