i don't know my secret name
blog by D. Elaine Fields
I'm still working on my name . .
I have two words. I am. I'm also toying with: light, angled, refracted, and dawn or dawning. But I know for sure that; I am. SN: I've realized that my job, my one true purpose, is to let my imagination run wild and to see where that takes me and everybody else. . . . / Lucid. That's another good one. . .
musings of a unicorn
Once upon a time I apologized to my best friend that a particular rant I was on maybe sounded like man bashing. He said that I shouldn't worry about it. He said that he knows "these niggas ain't shit" (and mind you he was raised in a household that DOES NOT consider the "n" word a term of endearment so much as an AFAM translation of "white trash") He offered as proof the realization of a certain idea that he found in his own head. And it was thus: He realized that whenever he saw a woman our age out and about, in a mall perhaps, walking along with pre-school aged children he felt confident approaching her because if the child was old enough to walk their dad was probably pretty much out of the picture by then. The woman would be single and ready for a change. Well dayum.
In hindsight I can't argue with him. He's now been married to a woman who had an eight year old daughter when they met for seven years. Never blinked at assuming another man's responsibility. He loved her so he loved them. Period.
This dated conversation popped into my head today when I saw a woman pushing a cart with a brand spanking new baby in a carrier perched on the top and a three year old by her side. She may have had a husband at home anxiously peering through the windows wishing she would hurry home, mentally scolding her for being out at night with the kids in the dark and the cold just to get something that could have waited (that's what I got from my husband when I got home) but in reality what's the likelyhood of that? Since we were in line together that would have been like finding two unicorns standing side by side. I wondered what it is about Black women that leaves us in such a desolate space so often? For those of us who are already tied to men who don't snuff up there's no way to go back. We've just got to make the best we can of the mess we got ourselves into - but HOW do we save the next generation from our own hard beds?
Wow wow wow. I have so many feelings about this. How is a Black girl from the South to continue to love being Southern? There are so many things that I love about our culture and yet so many heavy hearted truths that can really get you down.
Paula Deen doesn’t love iced tea and front porches any more than I do. Shade trees and men with drawling Southern accents make me melt too. Seems like we have enough in common not to say hateful things about each other, but we are both Southern, and we both fail. My grandmother grew up in middle GA about the same time that Paula did. You would not BELIEVE the things that come out that woman’s mouth. I don’t love her any less. Must I love Paul less? If Eda got the short end of the stick all those years ago does that give her more of a right to be racist now? To have been then? They both suffer from the same brand of ignorance, don’t they? What about the children and grandchildren who didn’t go through any of the things she did and yet talk worse than she does? I mean dang! When is all this going to stop? We’re all in this todamnedgether aren’t we? White people like fried chicken too. Shouldn’t we all be on a perpetual picnic by now? You know what I’d like to see? Someone from “Black Leadership” to step forward and say; You know what, Paula, if you’ll forgive me for all the times I called you a cracker – and really meant it – I’ll forgive you in turn. We wayward arsed Christians down here need to get together and practice some of this forgiveness we’re always telling people about. I forgive you, not because I understand or because I don’t think you meant it or that you’re really even sorry. Not because you deserve it or even because every now and again I’m wrong too. I forgive you because I want you to know what Love looks like, in the hopes that maybe those watching us will know what it looks like too. I know it sounds crazy but we’ve got to try something different. All this impotent outrage – what will it get us? How will it help? It’s just more fodder for the long burning fire that is racism. Paula says nigger and black folks use it to underscore their mistrust of White folks. Paula loses everything and White folks holler that it isn’t fair, it’s “reverse racism”. They use that to underscore their own issues with race. It’s a never ending mess. We American’s may not use the same methods to war against each other than people in other countries do, but we can be just as cruel of spirit. I think Dave Chapelle might have said it best “Ohh, this racism is KILLING me inside.” I feel that shit. I’m tired of it though. Done had edamnednuff! On the count of three let’s all cut it out. 1, 2, . . .
P.S. I forgive you and I friggin love you, Paula. Just the same.
I hate: Wayne Carter, Fox, and people who scream at their kids in grocery stores…
Well maybe hate is too strong of a word. As a child in my Grandmother’s house there were two four letter words that’d get you in more trouble than the F-bomb; CAN’T and HATE. So now I’m grown and I’m still scared to say either one but . . . . I think I hate you Lil –Wayne … I really think so. Today I hear that you actually recorded an album on which you referenced sexually abusing a woman to the point where her vagina might resemble the lost child, Emmett Till. It brought to my mind the idea that you’re a thoughtless ignorant fuck. Your obsession with violent sexual perversions allude to either some sort of mental illness or latent homosexuality which I’m sure we’d all be happier if you’d just learn to live with. There’s nothing wrong with a grown man choosing to be w/ other men, Wayne. There is something wrong when you cover these feelings with hatred and violence toward women that other young men (and young women!) misunderstand and misidentify as normal behavior. But that’s not it. That’s not why I hate you. What’s really bothering me is that I know the process that goes into creating art of any kind. There is much contemplation. There is writing and rewriting, recording and rerecording. This is not something you said in a tweet or in a moment of anger. This is some shit you planned to say and then said over and over and over again until the track was right. (It’s not even original. Doesn’t anyone remember the last time someone referenced Emmitt Till in a song? I do.) Then you let someone put your name and likeness to it and called complete. Called it art. A song. You can’t apologize for some shit that you did with that much intent behind it you asshole. I’ve always disliked you. In the past I hated when you glorified being a “hot boy” a life style you escaped with your millions while young men and women all over the world got lost in it with your voice as a sound track. I disliked the way you marked up the beautiful Black skin God gave you with pictures – but hey that was your choice. No reason to get mad. But now it’s official. I effing hate you, Wayne, and I wish on you reduced sales and poor returns on all your investments you rich son of a bitch.
Fox. I hate you fox. But not because of the reasons everyone else hates you. Your unfair and unbalances “news” programs don’t mean a hill of beans to me because I understand that they are meant to be a form of entertainment and that these programs exists to sell themselves and your network to whomever wants to buy in for whatever reason. I’ve always disliked you for your callous application of capitalism because I believe that you spread ignorance and perpetuate hate as a means to your own financial ends. It would be better for me if the top executives at Fox believed the ridiculous things that some of your front men/women say but I know that in reality the average network exec at Fox wouldn’t be associated with the wild-eyed yahoos that buy in so literally. But that’s not it. That’s not why I hate you. What’s really got me upset is “The Following”. I hate that show and could probably muster disdain bordering on hate for all those who supported its’ creation and those who perpetuate it. Why? For the same reason I hate Wayne. Does anyone know how many man hours went into this hateful shit? The Following is a show that takes all the gore of an hour and a half horror movie and stretches it into hours and hours of programming. Somebody please tell me why the American populous manages to produce at regular intervals shock and dismay whenever some loon takes it upon him or herself to murder/mass murder/terrorize when this is the kind of filth we entertain ourselves with? Why are you surprised when people behave this way? Clearly we are a nation of violent people with dark hearts and twisted minds. I know this because when I turn away from the violence, when I insist that I will not watch programs that open each episode with a dead body (usually a woman), when I protest – I’m the one who “doesn’t get it”. I’m the wacko who didn’t think Django was funny, hasn’t seen any of the SAW movies, and doesn’t watch Law and Order. Crazy as hell, I know. . . Nonetheless I hate you Fox because while the country was mourning the babies in Newtown and trying to figure out why some crazy decided to shoot up a theater full of people and fighting a war abroad, you decided that what we needed was a show about a cult of serial killers.
Lastly I hate parents whose behavioral problems so exceed
those of their children’s that they find themselves in the supermarket screaming and cussing at babies that they clearly didn’t teach to behave any better than they do. WTF? Why don’t you try setting a better example? If you throw a tantrum every time you don’t get your way, Biotch at the Kroger, how can you expect a baby to do any better? I have three babies and 10 nieces and nephews and I have never felt the need to call any of them names or humiliate them in public for some simple shit like not keeping up w/ me in the store. Here’s an idea, skank; why don’t you get off the damned cell phone and hold the children’s hands. That way they won’t fall behind.
Sigh. .. One of my girlfriends likes to joke that I go around trying to sprinkle “pixie dust” on everyone and trying to make everyone be nice. People ask me how I’m doing and the answer is usually a heart-felt “Wonderful!” or “Fantastic!” She calls my personality bubbly (I disagree) and when my nature isn’t plucking her nerves she thinks it’s funny. Trying to keep everyone in a happy, cheerful mood is in my nature but I swear some days some of things that go on really get me down. Don’t worry about it though. Tonight before I go to bed I’ll pray just like my Grandmama taught me, ask for forgiveness for saying the “H” word and tomorrow I’ll don my fairy wings and be right back at it!
I wonder how much easier life would be for some of us if we could just confess our vulnerabilities. Not to the world mind you. That would be asking for too much. Just to ourselves. To the people who love us the most. This comes to mind because today I heard for about the millionth time the expression “strong Black woman”.
I’m so tired of being strong I could quit. Really. There’s a lot of doing that goes into making a life for yourself. Raising children. Being a single parent. Maintaining a marriage. Perhaps Black women might be a little better off if we’d just take the damned cape off now and again. Maybe we should admit that we could use a hand. I know it’s hard. And I know that sometimes it feels like if you acknowledge that you need help with a load, you’ll be that much closer to dropping it - but that’s just not true. You know what could happen if you’d admit that you need some help raising a child after all? You might get some. I know you’re a hustler and a scrambler, but do you know what might happen if you admit that you don’t really like handling all the bills on your own? What will happen if to admit that you do expect a man to do his share? You might be able to hold out for a man who will do his share. Admit that you’re lonely sometimes. That you get tired now and again. That you don’t like living in the city. That you don’t like working in a cubicle. Confess to whatever it is that you’re grinning and bearing because you think that your show of strength is what’s getting you through. Just be honest about it. I’m not encouraging anyone to wallow around in self-pity and complain. But I am saying that a little honesty might go a long way to relieving some of the burdens you’ve been holding on to.
WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO LOOK PRETTY FOR?
This was the question some little girl asked me the day I found myself trying mascara for the first time on the bus en route to one middle school field trip or another. she was one of a group of girls who'd decided that I thought I was cute and needed to be brought down a notch or twenty. I don't remember what I said in response but I do remember handing my friend Erica back her mascara w/ one eye done and one eye undone just to get the girls' attention off of me. Erica was totally disgusted. Erica was one of these kids with an "old soul". I'm sure she thought it was totally perposterous that I should let a snide comment from someone stop me from doing anything. She handed me the mascara again and said, "So you're just going to walk around with one eye done?" like that would have been the dumbest thing she'd ever heard. Maybe she was right. Anyway, all that to say that, even though I went ahead and did my other eye, for a long time after that I found myself trying not to make waves. trying not to have people think that I thought I was better, smarter, or any other superlative. I was constantly wary of drawing attention to myself.
Then I grew up. The things that fucked up your mind and sense of self as a child need to be a part of the PAST. You're not to hold onto them until they make you a crazy under developed nuerotic adult. I had a conversation recently that made me wonder when a certain individual was finally going to get over all the things that bent him/ her into a socially awkward child. We're in our thirties now but the bell doesn't seem to be sounding for him/her. I know that it's hard and I know that sometimes it still hurts but the bottom line is that unless you were really abused or suffered some sort of trauma growing up, you just need to GET OVER a lot of that crap. You're an adult. Your path is your own. and while the past can inform who you are, it can not control you. Let's not get so hung up on the new "stop bullying" fad that we start writing excuse checks for those who endured even the smallest amount of teasing as a kid.
I learned an important lesson this weekend. Don't drink that whole bucket of soda you got at the concession stand while you're watching Django. That movie is long as hell! Your bladder will be bout ready to burst by the time it's over!
So ...What did you think about it? How did it make you feel? Myself, I missed whole chunks of it hiding my eyes from the brutality and all the blood spattering everywhere. Violence just isn't my thing. I was also disturbed by the amount of laughter in the theatre. I mean I know it wasn't Shcindler's List - but it wasn't Men in Black either. I kept asking myself, "What's so funny?" Maybe I missed the jokes while I was shielding my eyes. And was anyone else a little uncomfortable watching the movie while sitting next to some 17 year old white kid who seemed to be just as uncomfortable with the seating arrangement? We two strangers sat there in the dark watching Quint try to make a happy ending out of the tragedy of slavery. The kid was as stiff as a board the whole time which was really noticeable and only made sitting next to him worse. Still, I thought Jamie did a good job. I loved Keri Washington and Christopher Waltz really did deserve the Golden Globe he won. Everybody did a great job. The story was well put together. Terrantino is a great director. Can't take nothing from any of them. But shit. . . Slavery still hurts my feelings. I don't think it's funny and like I said, violence just isn't my thing.
WHAT THE H--- IS SHE TALKING ABOUT???
I know that people will be wondering what the name of the blog means so here goes. In Ancient Egyptian religion there exists a concept that every person has a name that truly defines them. It can be one word or it can be several but it is not your common name and it is a secret because it is said to have power of you. That's an old old idea but think about that. What are the words that define who you are at the bottom of your soul? Not the words that describe the roles you play, like mother, wife, sister, etc. Your secret name goes beyond that. It is conprised of the words that describe the whole of what you are, what you desire, all your fears, everything. I stumbled upon the concept and I realized - I don't know mine :( that made me sad. In the old myth/legend/truths not knowing your name wasn't a good thing. After all you could fall for anything if you don't even know yourself.
Now you don't have to believe everything that the Ancient Egyptians did - they were into some weird stuff! But the concept of knowing and understanding the whole of what you are is defintely something we can bring with us into the future. I'm still searching but this much I've figured out already; my secret name does not include the following words: data, entry, specialist, customer, representative, clerk, MS Office, or proficient. I bet yours doesn't either. That doesn't mean you can't do all those things and be happy and be very very good at them. What it does mean is that's not who you are. God has bigger ideas than what's printed on your resume I'm sure. All that to say, whatever you end up doing to make the ends meet and keep the bills covered make sure that you don't lose/forget about yourself in the process. And if you haven't found yourself, keep searching.
ACK! GROWTH IS AN ARDUOUS AND PAINFUL PROCESS!!!
I mean just those words too. Look them up, don't take them for granted. Take arduous for instance: requiring great exertion, laborious; difficult - using much energy and vigor - in fact using it ALL. Our attempts at growth can leave us withered, tired and confused as to the POINT of all this growth. I mean, aren't I just fine the way I am? Jesus loves me after all and I have this from no less a source than the BIBLE. Perhaps I needn't struggle this way. Maybe the little voice lingering in the back of mind when things get too tough is right and - it's just not worth it.
It can be tempting to give in but for myself I've found that the wet blanket of mailaise that settles over the mind when you give up smotherings creativity, squelching promise, and blotting out all the finest points of the person you are is far worse, far heavier and much more unbearable to endure than the pain of growth. Knowing this, instead of giving in I think I'll hold fast to my potential and strive to realize it. I think that if I attain my potential I might one day look around and realize I've also attained my dreams.
A Message of LOVE to ALL Black men.
When are you ass-holes going to stop dressing like this?
And don't go getting all offending by me calling you ass-holes either. After all we all have one and I'm not the one hell bent on showing mine to everyone who happens by.
I'm sick of it. The pants have gone from too baggy to too tight and the only thing that seems to have remained constant is your over all reluctance to actually put your entire behind into your jeans. I know, I know, I could just avert my eyes blah blah blah but really in a Black neighborhood in a Black city aren't I bound to just run into some other brother's ass crack if I turn my head? Wouldn't it be easier if you guys, all of you, would just cut it out?
You'd be surprised by what other men, White men, Asian men, Mexican men, Indian men, BLACK men, gain by doing all of society the common curtesy of not expoising their behinds or the tops o their drawers to the general public. Oh and you just would not BELIEVE what they get for having the decency to put a damned shirt on and not run around town in their under-clothes. People are more courteous to men who dress respectably. They take them more seriously and listen when they speak. Most of all they get that which is often time illusive to Black men, even those who deserve it most, RESPECT. Try it and see. I promise that the simple actions of putting your whole behind into your pants and wearing a shirt - every day - will change your life. And PLEASE all of you men out there who would never dream of dressing this way and are concerned that you and your dapper selves will be included in a blanket statement that Black men dress like street thugs - DON'T START. This message is for you too. Like many Black women, I love you and think you're the most beautiful men on Earth. That said I wish that you'd do more to set an example for your wayward brothers. I know! You don't feel like you need to tell another grown assed man shit. Especially about the way he dresses. I feel you. I really do. I don't want to have to tell another grown woman dreessed up to look like a character in a rap video just to make groceries that her ass crack is out either. Still I can find it within myself to say "Oooh Girl, your cookies is fallin OUT!" Then the two of us can share a little giggle, she can pull her damned pants up and we can both move on with our lives. Think of it like the "broken window" theory. There are so many issues in the Black community that our problems can seem insurmountable. If we start with this one small thing; encouraging our people to carry themselves out into the world with decency and self-respect, the other things may start to improve as well. Another analogy is the old notion that if you pinch pennies the dollars will take care of themselves. Perhaps if Black men are not dressed more like suspects than citizens it'll be eaiser for more of them to become employed (what might that do for our community???). Or if Black women don't look like video ho's then they'll garner more respect in their day to day dealings (*shrug* works for me . . ) . Who knows? I think it's worth a try. So what do you say brothers? Let's pull together and do this - one ass crack at a time!