jt stop

The interesting and sometimes tough thing about being a blogger or blogging is that if you do it well you’re usually injecting a significant deal of your personal feelings, perspective and experiences into it.   When you’re writing a blog that is poetry or essay based it’s typically based on the cathartic qualities.  Holding back doesn’t help.  The downside to all of this….other people.  You write and throw it out into the internet atmosphere without fear because your intention is to share but it never fails that you come across the one person that you cut in front of in the elementary lunch line, dumped her brother, or heavens forbid, date the husband she didn’t want and voila, all of your posts must be a swing in their direction well….TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY!

You! Yes, You…person that thinks that every blog post, poem, or picture (via Instagram or otherwise) is about you.  Let’s talk about what your obsession with my creative musings says about you:

 1)  You’re not spending enough time on self-improvement.  Brooding is meaningless.  It’s “active anger” with zero results (kind of like working out for an hour without burning any calories)…seriously, it’s pointless.

2)   You have made ME more important than YOU and that shouldn’t be the case in YOUR life.

3)   I write some pretty inspiring shit…for real…but you’re not finding positive inspiration–so wouldn’t it be better to just stop reading?

4)   You’re self-centered.  I’m no Joni Mitchell but you probably think everything I write is about YOU and unfortunately you don’t create enough inspiration for this to be the case.  I write about love yet I don’t love you.  I opine about pop culture and you’re not a public figure.  I create lyrical haiku’s and you don’t happen to add any melody to my life.  I promise except for this post, you have never been an inspiration.

5)   You’re not brave or you would be confident enough to confront me (in the comment section at least)

6)   Writing about you is boring….trust me, getting past #6 is a struggle….hence the fact that #6 is clever but brief.

7)   You need a mission…goals…and none of them need to be focused on anyone but…wait for it….YOU!  Here’s a link to another faithful blogger who actually wants to help “us” with that…..

8)  You’re out of control.  I know, I know, you disagree, and truth be told, that’s a subjective statement.  To you, various forms of stalking on social media may be within reason and a perfectly controlled demeanor, so maybe I should strike that remark from the record.

9)   Self-centered might be your strong suit, self-awareness is not.  While you seem to have a knack for picking others apart you don’t seem to apply the same spectacular insight to identifying how you can get better or where you’ve gone wrong.  Don’t worry, life will point it out via a swift kick in the ass. (by the way, I’m not wishing that kick on you unless it kicks you farther away from me).

10) You’re not very smart.  This is proven by the fact that you want to engage negatively with a blogger.  Yes, anyone can throw a website up and attack but not many could do it passively, passive-aggressively, aggressively, directly or subliminally.  A briefly delivered “PISS OFF” or a gentle middle finger.

That’s about all there is to it.  Nothing left to see here since there won’t be anymore dedicated posts on your behalf, although, based on #9 this may be the one post that you don’t think is about you.  Trust me, it is.

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Hater Culture…Why Bother?

When it first became popular I wondered when the usage of the word “haters” would go away.  Sure it was catchy, and which one of us didn’t use it?  It seemed to put you so above it…acknowledging your haters without engaging in a battle of words.  ‘

And who didn’t have haters?  Of course rappers from Lil Wayne to Lupe Fiasco had their fair share.  As a matter of fact T.I’s latest hater acknowledgment, Hello, performed on Jimmy Kimmel the other night was to “wave” and Jay-Z’s homage of brushing the dirt off your shoulders became the ubiquitous sign for dismissing your haters.  It hit its overused phase when it became popular among soccer moms and in cheer music….yep, I swore it was time to retire it but the phenomenon continued.

Everyone was brushing off their shoulders for EVERY REASON!  People who didn’t have shit to be jealous of but had a lot to work on were now claiming that any constructive criticism was coming from haters.  Got an acquaintance living in the hood, struggling to feed the family but driving an overpriced car with a payment–not a good idea–but please don’t say it or you MUST BE A HATER!

That’s the world we live in.

So, when is it okay to acknowledge your haters?  I ask this question because of a recent single by Beyonce that is drawing a lot of attention.  The title of the track is called, “Bow Down/Been On”.  In the track she admonishes who most would reference as “her haters”(she doesn’t use the word) by letting them know that the Queen is here and the rest can bow down.  With lyrics like, ” I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world, don’t forget it, don’t forget.  Respect that! Bow down, bitches”, it’s obvious that she’s not above addressing the buzzing around the Beyhive.  The question is why?  The image that is put out by this undoubtedly talented woman is one of positivity, encouragement and all out girl power.  Why bother addressing the people who critique you, unfairly or otherwise?

Ignoring negativity is harder for most people than accepting a compliment.  Someone tells you that they love your dress and you respond with “I got it on sale”…minimizing the compliment.  Not so with a criticism.  Many of us don’t lack for a witty retort or blazing feedback…even in lyrical form.  We come up with scathing ways to address those who view us negatively, our haters and tend to focus less on the positive vibes sent our way.

Getting to it…when is it okay to address the naysayers?  Never.  It’s not a valuable usage of our time.  Am I guilty of it? Of course, I’m human.  I have the innate desire to address what I feel may be unfair portrayal of my decisions, abilities, or person.  You don’t have to be a celebrity to have experienced the feeling of being made a caricature of.  Every date someone with a venomous ex? ‘Nuff said.

Whenever you stop to engage with these people you invite them into your circle and enhance their credibility on you as a subject.  That’s right!  You make them a subject matter expert just by responding.  Their word is reviewed; their tweets are retweeted more frequently because you took the time to address it.  You gave them “press credentials”.  In Beyonce’s case she was most likely addressing another artist that recently critiqued her Destiny’s Child band member via Twitter but also the people who judged her talent post inauguration and I’m sure the entire less than devoted fans who take time to listen to her music and track her movements for the sake of something to talk about.   It’s what people do!  Unhappy people find flaws in others and bring public notice to them, if it wasn’t Beyonce it would be another star.  Your best bet? Stay above it.

On the other hand, know when you’re facing constructive criticism that could be helpful to your development and recognize when it’s coming from the right parties.  If Maya Angelou is reviewing your poetry and making suggestions, it might be the right time to listen up!  Don’t be so proud or egotistical that you begin to feel above reproach.  We all have room for adjustment and growth, even the writer, so if you have issues with this particular piece, I’m glad for the criticism even while recognizing that a little mental motivation isn’t for everyone but it doesn’t make you my haters.

Thanks for the critical eye; I promise it will keep me focused on my craft.

Emotionally Unavailable

We all do it…check out.  You know that non-committal fashion of doing the necessary or “phoning it in”.  We’re all guilty.

A friend of mine (sidebar: I know people say that when they’re talking about themselves and don’t want to disclose but if you read my poetry you know that I disclose plenty so this is really a true statement with me), now about that friend….she was discussing the distance between her and her fiancée.  Her biggest feeling was one of disconnect.   An even greater feeling was in how they perceived the demonstration of love.  She thought that love was grandiose gestures, constant connection and verbal emotives.  He thought it was being a caretaker.  Your hedges are trimmed (not in the sexy figurative way), your lawn mowed (yeah, again not that way) and appliances in the house were never broken.  Her determination was that he was emotionally unavailable.

I don’t know that I agree with her definition of emotionally unavailable because I’ve been there.  I’ve been in the position of trying to figure out if someone loved me or even cares and it wasn’t because he wasn’t doing things for me or saying the words but because he had closed the emotional passageways in our relationship.  I could no longer be sure that I knew his intentions or understood his desire to be with me.  Was it just to fill space and time?  Was it because it was easier than knowing I was with someone else?  And, while expressing all of this to him, my love, I got responses that lacked passion.  The right words without the warmth.  No matter how I pushed he wasn’t responding to my gestures.

You know the moment in Dreamgirls where Effie (Jennifer Hudson) is singing I’m Not Going?  There is a point where it is only she and the man she loves, Curtis (Jamie Foxx) left in the room and she says “Please stay and hold me, Mr. Man, Try it mister, try it mister I know, I know, I know you can”.  It is a painful moment!  As she is grasping at his suit jacket, and looking at him pleading musically for him to STAY AND LOVE ME, he is battling his emotion and works to steel himself against her (see the pic below).  I’VE BEEN THERE!

I’ve been there and I’ve been scared.  I’ve been terrified of my reaction.  You see, it’s not the hurt that is the worst part of having a partner become emotionally unavailable, it’s the result.   I become emotionally available.  I’m not embarrassed to admit the powerful feeling of knowing that someone loves you and only you.  That he isn’t looking anywhere else because you satisfy his wants and needs.  I’m being painfully honest when I divulge how emotionally available I become when I’m pushed away.  I’m a love seeker and passion is my drug.  Put it in a syringe and I’ll shoot up.  Offer it in pill form and I’ll develop a 20-pill-a-day habit.  Love with the right person is a high that you can’t find anywhere else until you have to find it somewhere else.

I like to call it Google love.  I’m getting all of the results with one search engine.  My tabs are maximized and no other tabs can be opened in this session.  I can’t function for any other user because the current user has the browser all wrapped up and I like it!

So that’s where it is.  I don’t want to be involved with an emotionally unavailable spirit because it forces me to seek life’s other possibilities.  Besides, you can only win in love if you make yourself vulnerable to the journey and all its bumps, scrapes, bruises as well as it’s hugs and kisses–OPEN IS AVAILABLE and no one likes a “closed for business” sign?



While sitting and leisurely enjoying time, music, and the latest overpriced coffee drink in my local book behemoth, I overheard an interesting conversation. Granted, I only heard one side of the conversation but it was enough for me to realize that: We spend too much time justifying our actions and decisions, even when they are right for us.

The young lady was obviously in a conversation that should have been taken “offline” as they say in the business world. The first portion was basically to paraphrase, ‘I think you spend too much time with other girls, I don’t find it appropriate and I believe that you are encouraging it’. She proceeded with reasoning for her feelings and actions that she perceived as challenging to her relationship with the person on the other end.

Her next words spoken after moments of quiet (again paraphrased): ‘I’m sorry for my attitude, I regret how this is coming across’ and then the words that prompted this article….”I do want kids at some point, when I’m settled, have a comfortable lifestyle, and things that I need…please”. She continued to justify what sounded like her reasoning behind being level-headed to someone who obviously questioned why they couldn’t have what they wanted from her now and therefore were more comfortable exploring their options (most likely while keeping her engaged).

This is when the curious side of me overpowered my etiquette and I turned to observe the individual having the conversation that now included all lounging patrons. I had to see the body language of someone in the midst of apologizing for their principles. There she was….young, vulnerable, beautiful, and brown. Sadness etched in her brow, shoulders lurching forward, hand on chin…unsure. Repeating words that she had heard before, that she was convinced were right, but that she still hadn’t learned to say with full conviction.

Our eyes met, hers cut at the “older” woman taking her in. Wanting to ask me “what you looking at?” but just enough aware of her elders to halt at that level of indignation. My eyes said, “hold fast, I hear you, make sure he does”. I gave her a half-smile, slight nod and turned my head.

As I watched her leave with a less aware friend in tow (based on the encouragement of the friend to call him back), I knew that I had missed the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The opportunity to help her understand that she never has to justify her decisions to do the right thing, to live a better life, to be a woman of principle. The other opportunity to congratulate her for the small step that she was already making toward that end.

When you justify morally sound principle and conviction, you devalue self. There is no other way to put it. I say to all of you young women, embarking on a collegiate, career, or relationship path…be of sound conviction (this is applicable to all areas of life). Start now, there will be plenty of times as you mature when you realize that a concrete foundation has to be given time to solidify. The longer it sits the greater you are able to withstand the vibrations of life that will surely reach out for you.

Dear Young Sister

Dear Young Sister,

I have read your status/tweets/and texts and realize that you have gotten so many things wrong even though you had the opportunity to begin so right. I know that the time to address you is now because while you are on digital overload your mental gain is underwhelming. Your blackberry’s, I-Phones, and IPods have stunted your growth. Your laptop vision is clouded inhibiting your ability to see beyond the video girl image of grandeur and the fifteen minutes of fame. THIS IS NOT WHO YOU ARE.

Your mistakes have become your badge of honor, a sense of pride, a moment for braggadocia… instead of the chance to learn and grow. Your ego has forced you into a narrow perspective, one that will lengthen your path to success and shorten the one to failure. I don’t fault you for your mistakes but I am stunned at your inability to recognize them with humility. Your sentence for this crime will most assuredly be long term as it will not change until you change. THIS IS NOT HOW HOPE IS CREATED.

The respect for the women who have come before you is no longer there. Their mistakes are laughed at and trivialized. Their triumphs are no longer recognized as monumental….why have they struggled on your behalf? You speak through a flailed hand, a turned head, and teeth sucked as though there is no lesson for you to learn from others and so the old folks say “a hard head makes a soft behind”. You will experience what could have been avoided and pick up consequences that are of this time, they most assuredly will have names that you can not pronounce and acronyms that you will not want to utter—HIV, AIDS. THIS IS THE PATH TO AVOID.

The perceptive sense your sadness and pray for you while the sly detect your weakness and prey on you. When will you be truthful about what you are…WORTHY, who you are….GOD’S CREATION, and what you can do….ANYTHING.

I see you Young Sister as the proverbial Phoenix, life’s ashes are scattered about you and as famously stated, still you rise. I see you as what you are meant to be as opposed to what you have been digitally told you are.

I will still read your tweets/status/and texts with the prayer that it will eventually provide me the opportunity to celebrate your success because THIS IS HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

Rise Up,
The Community

© 2010 Breeze