Time wasters

Okay, I’m procrastinating big time right now. I have this paper deadline and I really hate it. I’m going to get started on it, for reals. But a new curse has entered our household. It is called basic cable. So, I’ve read all this stuff on slavery in Africa, the Sokoto Caliphate, and trading diasporas. I have 15 pages to write and about 25 hours to do it. I think I’m going to miss this deadline. I was really busy. We had this Barbecue on Saturday, house guests all week. And then, like I said, tv channels.

But that is not the kind of time wasters I’m talking about. I mean the real time wasters. Time wasters are those dead end relationships. People who are up in your face because they want to hear themselves talk. People who need constant attention in meaningless interactions. Looking back at the past two years, I think about some of time wasters who have monopolized my time. I’m really jealous of my time too. I sometimes wonder why some men want to be all in my face wasting my time. Maybe its because I’m pretty laid back and pretty open. Do I look and talk like I’m some fun-loving, adveturish air-head?Maybe I should act a little bit more diva-ish or something. I dunno, but I’d like for the time wasters to keep moving on. I’m making it my next mid-week resolution to swear off time wasters. I have proposals and exams to prepare for. Plus I need a side job tutoring rich brats. I can be far more productive if I avoid this breed of human beings. You know the time wasters I’m talking about. The people who message you and ask: “How are you doing this evening?” Or they ask for my IM address so they can chat up my precious spare time.

What about the men who want to fly in like they are on some kind of vacation and have me show them around? Look man, do I look like a tour guide? Dude, this is not your fantasy vacation. Creepy out of towners who write me that they want to meet me. Meet me for what? Because long distance poonanny has less strings attached than local poonanny? Anyways, what do I get out of it? I could have male attention to affirm my feminity, a meaningless interaction, or maybe some temporary physical gratification where I’m left wondering if the feelings were mutual or was I just being used.

I find local dating hard enough. It is often a cat-and-mouse game. Sort of like how long can I maintain his interest and avoid getting boned or left for someone else who will get down with him. I personally find dating obnoxious for all its games. And because I don’t like the game nor do I play by its rules, I really am unfamiliar with all the protocols of dating.

Anyways, there are tons of admonitions against Muslims dating. The whole halal-style meeting leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Plus I don’t have that good old reliable ethnic network where you can find out if a brotha is shady from word of mouth. And brothas are real quick to secure a marriage before all the dirty secrets come out. There goes the more natural, un-artificial way of getting to know someone before jumping into a relationship. Anyways, I’m not really interested in dating in the conventional sense. But at the same time, I’m not interested in hook-ups. That doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in getting to know people. It is all about bringing It with the right intentions.

Since few men are really approaching me with a realness and depth that I think I deserve I’ll substitute it for some other needs in my life. For instance, I could use a really great free translator. As far as the interactions I could really use, would be someone who is well read and a sharp intellectual. I would love to run into another academic who can help me in those intellectual quagmires I find myself in. Do they understand what the hell the subaltern school people are saying? Do they understand the shortcomings of World Systems Theory? Can they give me a break down of Heidegger? Can they help me through the murkiness of post-modern theory. More than anything I need a reliable editor who has a good turn around time. Often, I am let down by people who offer even the most simple feedback. Their follow through has left something to be desired. I resolved myself to not to turn my writing it its most vulnerable stages unless I am sure that my reader will help nurture my ideas and thoughts. So, I substitute real interaction and even real writing for this blog stuff. Now that I have wasted 50 minutes writing this blog…I supposed I can get back to writing these crappy papers.

Sensitivity

Since I was a little girl, I have known I was the real sensitive type. I was quick to anger (still am) and slow to let go of an old grievance. I would always ask, “Why they say that?” when someone would make an off the cuff remark. It would stay in my head all day like some skipping record. If somebody told me something that I could improve upon, I’d beat myself up for days on end. As a youngster, I developed this pattern of seeing everything people did wrong to me. I then rationalized all of my responses based upon what they said or did. This meant, I ignored my contribution to the negative relationship.

I remember the first time I took responsbility for a wrong doing. I didn’t understand something my best friend did. And I started talking about it with other people. One day, one of my fellow male gossipers blabbed some stuff I said. Of course, not mentioning what he said and how that conversation opened up. One day my best friend confronted me on something I said. She was like, “I heard you been talking shi*t.” I admitted it and said I was wrong. I should have came to her, this was my gurl. She was like blood, anybody that had beef with her I wanted to kick their ass. So I felt real low after betraying that bond. I knew I hadn’t taken the high moral road. By that time, I didn’t like who I was and what I was doing with my life. What we discussed that day made me question all this victim-hood which I had embraced. It made me want to be a better person and at that time I didn’t know how. I began a spiritual journey trying to find a place where I could feel like my actions reflected the kind of person I wanted to be.

I find that everyday in life, there are numerous circumstances when I have overlooked someone’s feelings. Most of it was unintentional and most of the lapses occured because I get so pre-occupied in my day to day tasks. There are people I forgot to call, waiting for those anytime minutes. There are thank you cards I forgot to send because I’m absent minded and couldn’t remember where I placed the stamp. There are friends I need to visit, but am too busy procrastinating on this research project and now the deadline is looming. I remember meeting a new friend and she was so mad at me because it took me several days to call her back. We were never able to repair our friendship.

I have some friends who were mad at me for one reason or other. And as a sensitive person, I can say they have reasons to be upset. I have one of those overly analytical, skeptical, judgmenal minds and I think while I talk. And this means that I have said a lot of stuff without thinking it all the way through. I have said hurtful things about people and done hurtful things. I’ve snapped on some folks and remained silent with some who really need to be snapped on, or just plain beat down.

There are people on myspace mad at me because I was slow to add them as friends or my comments are not as frequent as theirs. Some people think I am judging them because of how they choose to represent themselves. In actuality, I am not. To each their own, as long as they are doing their thing and doing it well.

A friend shared an experience over this weekend that reminded me how easy it is to offend people by being swept up in our own lives. The point is how do we reconcile that after we recognize we have wronged a friend. I am so over thinking aboutall the wrongs done to me. Yeah, there are some twisted, manipulative, and vindictive people, I’ll try to avoid those. But knowing that I have f*cked up in the past, makes me more forgiving. My sensitivites have brought me to a point where I can be empathetic to the pain I cause other people. In that light, I can be more empathetic to the poor soul who walks around oblivious to the pain that they cause others. Without that level of development, how do you expect to grow emotionally and spiritually? I hope I’m making baby steps and opening up room in my heart. I pray that people I hurt will come to forgive me and that those who have hurt me, I can forgive them.

Wedding Bells

I went to a beautiful wedding this weekend. A classmate of mine married her boyfriend of six years. They are an amazing couple, perfect fit. It was a dream wedding, the kind you see in movies. Everything was well done, with the kind of class and attention to minute details that only the affluent could buy. My friend has told me about some of the snide comments other grad students made about her background. Sure, her father is a wealthy lawyer who’s worked some high profile cases. And sure her new husband comes from a wealthy shipping family. But they are not the Onassis family, dammit!. A lot of graduate students take on this air of poverty, as if they become the long suffering proletariat. Though this was not a proletariat wedding, I have an admiration for my friend’s realness. She also has a sharp mind and a great sense of humor. She’s also not full of the pretensions that mark a lot of academics. Though they envy the world of my friend’s parents and in-laws, almost all of them come from privileged backgrounds. Their parents are lawyers, doctors, professors, and business men. They all exist in a world that seems to operate parrallel my own. When you see the mating habit and partnering customs of your peers, nothing hits home more than the trials and tribulations of being a single (and trying hard not to be bitter) black woman.

As I was cleaning up my hard drive, I came across some scraps of articles I pasted into a word document:

“African-American men are much more likely than white or Hispanic men to engage in polygamous relationships, the scholars found. About 21 percent of the African-American men had at least two partners at the time of the survey, compared with 6 percent of men overall in Cook County.”
“Furthermore, the researchers found that polygamy is more common among better educated black men, who presumably have more income. As a result, the number of men available for stable marriages in the African-American community is reduced, leading to the large differences in marriage rates between African-Americans and whites, the researchers pointed out. About 57 percent of black men have been married, compared with about 72 percent of white men, according to census figures.

from article: “Urban areas organized in well developed partnering markets,” University of Chicago research shows
http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/04/040109.sex-market.shtml

“African Americans marry at a significantly lower rate than other racial groups in the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that by the age of 30, 81 percent of white women and 77 percent of Hispanics and Asians will marry, but only 52 percent of black women will do so.”
from: “Marriage rate low in black community”
http://www.suntimes.com/special_sections/marriage/day2/cst-nws-black09.html

The numbers of “Blacks who marry whites is still small, just 6 pecent of b lack men and 2 percent of b lack women. “source unknown

This data are like bombs leaving lots of food for thought. There was a movie that came out in January that sent a message to black women which basically told us that our problem is that we aren’t open to dating outside our race. I know a number of black women who don’t, but then again I know a number of black women that have never had a man who isn’t black approach them romantically. Maybe they missed the signals. I also know from experience that black women dating outside their race is looked upon disapprovingly (even at times by black men who themselves are in interracial relationships).

Last year, there was a discussion about serial polygamy organized by the Black Graduate students. I bounced out of that meeting because for some polygamy was a theoretical issue, but I had dealt with that on a real level. I don’t know that stats for how many black Muslim do it, but it is a rather common phenomena, much like our high divorce rates. (These viewpoints are mainly on sunni Muslims, as I don’t know much about the marriage and divorce rates in the Nation of Islam) A number of my second generation immigrant Muslim friends commented on the instability of marriages in the African American Muslim community. They also have noted the tendency for out in the open polygamous relationships among African American Muslim men. Brothers are real quick to be like, “I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee!! Three strikes you’re OOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUTTTTTT!!” My friend’s husband divorced her three times, and then she had to get married to someone else and then they got back together. He married someone else on the side, then divorced her, but then somehow after their third child they got back together again and are living abroad. Last thing I heard was that they were happy.

Well black women, maybe you found a group who has worse stats than you. Black Muslim women, yeah. We’re like 2 percent the population. Muslims do heavy recruiting in the prisons, meaning that brothas who are unable to secure stable jobs are over represented. And if you’re married to one who is doing well for himself and is attractive, chances are that there will be sistas out there willing to fill in three of the empty slots (he is allowed four under Shariah after all). Also, Muslims do not recognize a marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man. But a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jewish woman. Not fair? Who said life is fair, the issue is how you navigate the constraints, disparities, and inequalities. Sigh, I guess I shouldn’t complain about the statistics. I am one of the lucky 52 percent thirty year olds. I got married. Sure, I am divorced but the cup is half full, right?

(Disclaimer: This is not to say that all African American Muslim men are naturally inclined towards polygamy. There are some really great families out there and really great husbands. The only problem is that suitable mates for an educated sista are in low supply. )

Cat Lady

So, I’m writing this brief blog at the behest of my roommate. I went to the Mo’Rockin Project’s record release show at Yoshi’s on Monday. I came in about a 1/2 way through the first show and stayed for the second. I had a great time at a fabulous show. After the show, I was out in the lobby. I ended up there way too long. There were a lot of nice people, but my encounters were strange, if not at times strained. Men are a lot more aggressive in the East Bay than the Peninsula. I will just one word of advice for the fellas, be upfront and try to avoid pretentious or overly creative pick up lines. Maybe, “I’d like to get to know you, are you available?” or “I am interested in you…would you be interested in getting to know me?” Simple stuff no need for

I was waiting for the rain to slow down because I didn’t have my umbrella. And one of the guys comes up to me and strikes up a conversation. So, he asked me where I was from. I tried to stay as vague as possible. Then he started talking about ancient Egyptian art and that I reminded him of some piece of art that he saw in a book. He was like, “Your eyes and the hair….I’m not trying to say you look like some animal…but this picture was so intriguing….it was a picture of cat…”

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What do you guys think? Do I look like this? This isn’t new, I heard the cat thing before. I’m not anti-cats. In fact, I used to have two cats, one with a tail and one without. But, I had to give them up so I gave them to a good friend who has taken absolutely great care my overweight babies. My friend knew some guys who used to live down the street from my mom’s house. Everyday going to highschool I’d walk by their house. We never spoke, but they gave me a nickname. They used to call me “cat.” Yeah, they thought I looked like one too. Hmmm…

cat_4.jpg

Well the Egyptian cat goddess thing didn’t work. I told him that I’m a monotheist and am not really into the whole Rosicrucian-Egyptology stuff. Eartha Kitt was great in Batman and all, but I ‘m still not quite sure how I feel about being nicknamed after an animal that licks itself all day.