Friday, August 21, 2009
For all the talk of “momma knows best” this time, I can say, I certainly agree, as celebrity recording artist Khandi Burris and character on “the Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is slowly, but surely, finding out. Not for the obvious of course, i.e. the fact that her soon-to-be husband (so we think) has 6 kids by more than one woman, or because her fiancé won’t “man up” long enough to have a conversation with his future mother-in-law just to set the record straight but because it’s just plain stupid that a woman with everything going for her would make such a hasty decision to say yes to marrying someone she hasn’t even known that long. Notice I didn’t say stupid, because many of us have taken that trip in more ways than one, fortunately we were able to get off that cruise ship and make our way back home. Earth to Khandi..it’s time to come home now sweetie….Royal Caribbean has ended that tour. Nevertheless, I find myself feeling more and more sorry for her as I watch episode after episode, as she pleads for her mother to accept the fact that she’s happy with this man. And I can’t help but wonder why she can’t for one minute see the other side. Happiness is fleeting but peace is everlasting and right now it looks like they’ll be no peace in the foreseeable future. I’m not being a pessimistic I’m just calling it as I seem em. Although, I’m not a mom or married or dated enough men with children to make a completely solid case on this, I do know one thing for sure and that, is that, if I had a child he/she would have to be completely, 100%, on board with our union. I also know that my family: Mom, Dad, Aunt Betty, Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Smoothie, Uncle Lester, Aunt Boobee, Cousin Frankie, Sister Susie and the rest of my crew would have to be on board too if family meant that much to me. Does that mean that every bit of that person has to be loved by family, probably not, but there would have to be a mutual respect going on in order for me to walk down that aisle or else….we ain’t getting married! I also look at the future implications, that should they just happen to divorce (God forbid) how it would affect all of his kids, not just her daughter, but re-routing an entire family from one location to another to be with yet another woman or how seeing daddy fathering children with several different women looks (another topic that I know will cause a stir) or the fact that this young woman could very well pay child support or/alimony to this man (get a prenup please) or what this whole situation might do to her own family unit is what I question most. Again, I’m not a pessimist, just a realist and a woman who knows that no amount of great “wa wa,” money, or loneliness wouldn’t make me think twice before I, say, “I dew.”
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
For the past few days I’ve sat silently, as I watched replays on CNN of a dog and pony show taking place during the town hall meetings over one of the most serious issues our country has had to face in a very long time. And right now, I can no longer hold my tongue. And since this blog is about life, lessons and truth, I will try my best, to share my truth, without offending anyone. I cannot speak for the masses, I cannot speak for your truth but what I can do, is share my reason, for wanting health care reform. Perhaps if we listened to the bitter words of a woman’s family who had to bury her because she died from cancer simply because she was unable to pay for medication or have radical surgery to reverse her circumstance. Perhaps if we listened to the cries of young child suffering from a bone marrow disease but unable to receive a blood transplant because his parents couldn’t afford to pay for hospitalization. Or, perhaps if we saw the tears of a woman who no longer had a job because the small business she worked for, for over 10 years, could no longer afford to pay her and now she struggles to pay healthcare on her own even though she had always managed to stay healthy by grace along with her 3 kids. No longer can I stay silent when just a few years ago, I had to face, a similar dilemma. I was unemployed but was fortunate enough to have received a contract sales position that lasted all of 3 months. I was grateful for the opportunity but knew in my heart that I had just enough to eat, pay for rent and fill up my gas tank. There was absolutely, positively, no way that I would be able to afford healthcare. Before this time, I was like any other hard-working individual. I had a job that paid well and a healthcare plan that paid for everything. Yet, when I found myself being wheeled away on a stretcher after being told I had to have emergency surgery my glory days of healthcare security became just a memory. Not having insurance meant that I would be responsible for paying for everything and everyone. The doctor, the nurse, the transporter, the radiologist, the bed, the wraps, the meals, the swabs, the person who wiped my backside and I could go on and on. Fortunately, there was a plan in place for the “uninsured” and that plan was called “Charity Care.” Had it not been for this, I probably would have asked them to keep me on that stretcher because I truly had no way to pay for the $50,000+ surgery they stuck me with. Am I saying that people shouldn’t be responsible for paying their bills if service is performed, absolutely not, but if it wasn’t for programs like these, for special circumstances like this one, what would people do? They would do, exactly what so many others are doing; lose their homes, file for bankruptcy, take out second mortgages, borrow, plead, beg and steal or, simply, doing nothing at all. Ultimately, they are caving into the pressure and stress of not being able to take care of their health. I cannot speak, and will not speak on whether this issue is about “the haves or the have nots” or someone who is Black, White, Asian or Latino. But what I know for sure, is that it’s about people, simply expressing, a lack of compassion for anyone other than themselves. And a lack of wanting meaningful dialogue to discuss both sides of the coin which really is what matters most. Not what you’re gonna lose, or how much political leverage you’ll gain but what you and your family, and your family’s family, and your children’s family can treasure most. The most important resource we have, which stands above the dollar and above any color line…is what we call LIFE. Perhaps in dew season, or this season, some folks will get that part right.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The other day I stood quietly by my locker as I watched a coworker speed pass me like his life depended on it. I managed to catch his eye briefly, and in that moment I saw him carefully wrap his hands around a bottle that he held ever so tight. He was visibly agitated and when I asked if he was okay he responded softly then replied “I will be, just as soon, as I take, my meds.” I tried not to see what “meds” he was talking about because this was no business of anyone else but him. But before I could turn away he stuck the bottle in my hands and all my eyes could focus on were the words D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N. It was as if they were superimposed not just me, but anyone else who was listening. And then I froze. I was unable to think of what to say next. It was awkward and I had no real way to recover? So instead of responding with some sort of generic response my mind starting flashing back to previous conversations I’d had with him. He was 26-years-old, black, good-looking and the father of a beautiful baby girl. I know none of this really matters but what it showed me was that depression had no labels and its ill effect can strike any of us. He and I flirted with each other months before this, until I reminded him that I was "old enough to be his momma” speech, every time he asked me out. I was flattered, but what I felt, that day, was an overwhelming sense of “what if?” What if I had chosen to go out with this young man. Or what if I had entered a relationship with him. What would it have meant for us? Would I be able to handle the momentary episodes that often come with this crippling disease? Would I continue to be the strong woman that I so often profess to be and love my friend through what could be many rocky roads ahead? Or, would I simply walk away without trying to understand? I also thought of my own family, the cousin with bipolar, another who is no longer with us but was drawn to a state of confinement unable to leave her home for fear of what might be outside her door or the grandmother I never met. The one I’d always heard stories of, the plain woman, the talented yet meek woman who died in a sanitarium or crazy home for those who knew differently back then. And when my journey was over, I thought of all the other friends, family, coworkers and strangers I’d had conversations with who proved themselves brave enough every time they woke up or walked out their own front door. Beating the D….beating the stereotype that depression can sometimes hold against them, the stigma of the D that many fight to break free from everyday. And in that moment I smiled to myself, not because I was grateful to God for allowing me to be spared from this but by allowing me to be in the path of that young man to simply say “It’s okay.” “Pray.” “It’s going to be okay.” Whether we know it or not, perhaps dewing, or saying something, just might be enough.