DeadBeat

Let’s cut the cord
of discord
since I’m bored
with you
never having
never giving
because you’re living
beyond your means
and child support payments
are few and far between.
“I had a dream,”
that one day
you and your child would remain
connected
despite our defection
but instead of your affection,
there were only false hopes, disappointments
upsets and rejection.

Let’s cut the cord
of discord
since you can’t afford
to spend time or even spare a dime.
Goodbye.
No love lost for a lost love,
in our case water is thicker than blood.
“Depart from me,”
I never knew you–
I got half a mind to sue you
the cord is cut.

Shout!

SHOUT

“I’m gonna tear down those walls,” he whispered

and I wanted to shout.

I’m tired of being restricted and oppressed– beyond my control

I lust for freedom to explode like a cannon ball.

“I’m gonna to tear down those walls,” he teased

and I wanted to burst.

I’m made stronger when tossed and turned

within a swelling storm–spurred to hold on.

Tear down these walls and build again in soil firmer

and more fertile than ever before.

After the seventh time, Jericho fell to the ground.

But I only need one ride on this merry-go-round

to shout…

and have these walls come tumbling down.

Meet Fonzie

The marketability of feline fodder is apparent with the recent movie premiere of Keanu; a comedic romp about a kitten who is dangerously coveted by gangbangers and rescued by comedy duo Key and Peele. This farce inspired my own tabby tale of mishaps and adventures.

I have always been a cat lover. Hence my nickname Kat. My fetish for all things leopard print includes,   scarfs, sunglasses, purses, shoes, sleepwear and throw blankets. It has become my signature style. Even the front covers of my writing journals are graced with images of cats to reflect the stages of my life’s journey. Demure, coy, sassy, bold and most recently regal.  But of late, I have begun to reevaluate my relationship to these fur balls and ask myself what do I really know  about cats?

Meet Fonzie. The feline formerly known as Cosmo. The wretched cat owners before me chose the name Cosmo keeping with the weird behavior patterns of similarly named television characters such as Cosmo Kramer from Seinfield.  But I didn’t want a crazy cat. I wanted a cool cat. So I changed his identity and the Fonz was born.

 I agreed to pet sit for a colleague who was set to vacation in California for a week.  At the end of the 7 days, she told me via text that she would not be returning and hoped  the cat could stay. My ex said I should be honored that the woman left him with me, it proves that she believed I have a “good heart.” But my relocation to China was, in part, an attempt to shirk all semblance of responsibility. Caring for a pet does not fit that mold. It’s like having a perpetual infant at home who you need to feed, bathe, and clean up after for the rest of its life. I am not interested in such a burden. Especially since I find him unusually odd. But my 20 year old thinks he’s a genius and declares his un-catlike antics “cool”. So what to do?At present, my role is to grin and bear it like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. But at times, I want to fling him off the balcony and watch him spiral 23 floors downwards. I could also kindly open my front door and let him venture into the wild (otherwise known as my residential community) and pray that some poor bloke adopts him or skins him for dinner.  These are suggestions from well meaning friends equally appalled at my  newfound chore. But I’m no animal cruel-tist, so to avoid PETA protests and animal rights activists, he remains an unfettered member of my family. However, unlike them, Fonzie waits by the door when I come home from work and sits at my feet while I eat, watch TV or just lounge around the house. He also enjoys getting sprayed with running water in the shower before I get in.

Despite his affection, the evidence of a cat is quite troublesome.  The shedding hair, the smell, the constant meowing, the rip roaring through the house in the wee hours of the morning and the scratching of furniture despite the existence of two scratching poles.  Far worse, was the fact that he was unneutered upon arrival.  As a male cat, he has a tendency to spray his foul odor in designated areas to mark his turf. I dreaded taking him to the vet to pay for an unforeseen procedure that was not in my budget.  But I realized, despite the expense,  I could not allow cost to outweigh comfort. 

 On our first trek to the vet, I stuffed Fonz in a knapsack to get him snipped. But I ended up at a vet that spoke zero English.  So,  I called a Chinese acquaintance to convey my message. At the end of the conversation, she told me to leave because the procedure was too expensive at that location. She referred me to an animal doctor  that was far cheaper and more foreigner friendly.  The second trek brought me to a clinic whose English was limited, accused Fonzie of being a stray and told me that the doctor would arrive in over an hour.  My frustration grew. Once again, I called my pet liaison who clarified all matters and I waited impatiently for the doctor to arrive. It was a whole day affair.

Poor Fonz was not fond of all the attention he received. The poking and probing was too much for him to endure. He literally became a scared-y cat. I watched as they gently gave him a manicure (the proper way) and laid him upon the operating table. He was weighed, then had blood extracted to determine if he was healthy enough for the operation. He was.  While he was anesthetized, I was taken to lunch by the vet’s assistant who also helped me shop for a traditional cat carrier; which I bought in leopard print. For five days, Fonz was forced to wear a cone of shame to prevent him from licking and irritating his wound. But his spirit was beat and he moped around miserably unable to do what he enjoyed best…drive me mad and wreak havoc in my house. It was then, that I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to care and nurture him out of his depressed state. I cooed and cuddled him and reassured him that soon, he would be free from the strait jacket attached to his head. I waited with anticipation. I don’t know who was more excited.

Like Keanu, the story has a happy ending.  Both kitties, are adopted into homes with caring humans who give of their time, love and money to keep them safe.  It’s not the path I would have chosen to acquire a pet, but its the hand I have been dealt. For now, from the Kat’s eye, I am the new wretched owner. Fonz is my cool and crazy cat  and I love him.

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Cosby didn’t rape me, but this guy did

Updated July 7, 2015

So it hits the fan. Sworn testimony from 2005 records Bill Cosby admitting that he used Quaaludes to drug women and have sex with them. Yet, he has never been charged criminally. And with all the women that have accused him, it is criminal that charges were not brought against him then to stop his predatory nature.

Eight months later as the hidden truth unfolds, I stand by my original post. It never condoned rape or violence against women. Neither did it support Bill Cosby and whatever improprieties he engaged in. Luckily, I’m not Jill Scott on a Twitter recant, or “I don’t care,” Whoopi Goldberg from The View  with millions of fans and media trolls hanging on to my every word. But I aim for  my blog, From the Kat’s Eye to always be responsible and honest.

Original Post

As a naïve and unsuspecting virgin, I willingly accompanied him to his apartment in our neighborhood. I was fearless in my journey with the older, most popular and cutest guy in our neighborhood. I was delighted that he had invited me to his home. It was a dream come true and nothing compared to the nightmare that later occurred.  I did not realize that what I considered innocent petting was to him foreplay to more involved physical contact. I had barely started junior high school so sex was not on my to-do list. But it was on his. I was not plied with drugs or alcohol, all it took was a fierce and sudden slap across the face to silence my protests and force me into submission.

Shaken, shamed and sorry I ever went to his house, I walked home after he callously dismissed me. Aside from this present public disclosure, only my dearest and best friend at the time was aware of the incident. She did her best to comfort me as I sobbed deep pangs of uncontrollable regret. But being young and inexperienced, we did not know what to do.  I suppose our thoughts were what could we do? It was over.

National statistics for sexual violence are alarming. According to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN), every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted, 60% of these crimes go unreported and just like my circumstance, 38% of the perpetrators is either an intimate partner or an acquaintance.

Shortly after the incident, I avoided my perpetrator at all costs. I hid my face if he walked past my apartment window. I strategically planned where not to go in the neighborhood to reduce the chance of meeting him face to face.  But as time went on, I became, stronger, wiser and I realized that what he did was wrong. It was then that I made a conscious decision that I would no longer give him the power to control me as he did that dreadful day. I stopped ducking and dodging him. Instead, I began to taunt and heckle him when I would see him in passing and he said nothing. He too had decided to keep our secret.  I remain loosely connected with my then friend who may or may not remember the incident or the culprit. But it doesn’t matter because I remember the day and the dude.

28 years later I can say, “Bill Cosby didn’t rape me, but this guy did.” There’s no fear or compulsion to protect his identity. So, unless I were to learn today that yesterday, last month, or sometime within this current year he has continued to lure young girls into his home and take advantage of them I will not mention his name. 28 years later, he could be married with daughters of his own and strive each day to protect them from men like he was. He could be a pioneer in his field, well respected in his community and give generously to charities or people in need. He could himself have been a victim of a tragedy or suffered a heartbreaking loss that caused him to reflect upon his life, realize his gross mistakes and desperately act to change his behavior. 28 years later, I do not need to name him or blame him. Although he robbed me of the precious gift of purity that should only be shared between your beloved, your betrothed or your significant other, I no longer feel the need to hold him accountable for his unspeakable act towards me.

In a sense, I escaped unscathed because I did not deal drastically with the trauma as some do. I was not overtly sexual or promiscuous, I did not engage in a string of abusive relationships nor did I resort to self medicating through alcohol or drug abuse. Did I deal with emotional turmoil? Could the rape have caused me to fear rejection, be distrustful towards men, become more dominant and aggressive in relationships, fear intimacy and be non-committal? In retrospect, it is all very possible. It is only by faith that I am able to cope with personal “issues ” of the past and present to propel me towards the future. Today, I am thankful to be healed of emotional hurt. I am healthy and happy to forgive the man who stripped me of my virginity and dignity at such a young age. I am thankful for the LOVE in my life and grateful for the life experiences that have allowed me to grow and continue to become stronger and wiser. Harold Herring tweeted, “If someone has hurt u in the past…leave it there. Don’t harbor any resentment or add painful memories to ur mental play list.”

From the Kat’s eye, I would go even further and say, don’t wait to address the pain that someone has caused you. Your recovery is in your response. If you are a victim of a sexual assault, don’t wait. Immediately call the National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE for help, support and guidance because even though you may feel naked and ashamed it is in that moment that you regain your power and your strength.

Proud Mama

It is very important as parents, that we nurture and encourage the passions and gifts of our children. In order to thrive, they need our love and support to feel empowered and inspired.

As Hodding Carter said,  “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”  This proud Mama, is watching from the stands as her #1 soars!

Frenemies in the Workplace

Dashant and I met at the welfare office. 16 years later we are still friends sans the government assistance. I often reflect on our relationship and ask myself how we have managed to maintain such a lengthy long distance relationship despite lapses in communication and contact, marriage, kids and work loads. But I have not come up with any clever reason or excuse other than it is what it is.

We used to work together at  DreamWeavers, a wedding planning company in Queens, New York.  I was pregnant at the time and she needed a job and like a good friend, I put her on, so to speak. Yet regardless of the fact that I helped get her foot in the door, she never took it for granted. She came to work, did what she had to do and we had fun in the process. At the end of the day, our friendship did not interfere with our professionalism on an otherwise dead-end job. I wish I could say the same for my current place of employment in which the majority possess bachelor’s, master’s and even doctorate degrees.  There is backbiting, gossip, slothfulness, deviance, and frenemies in the workplace.

I act in a supervisory role and directly oversee a department which comprises about 12 people. Of those 12, at least 2 would be considered friends. We have spoken with each other outside of work, have traveled together and one has even visited my home. So I suppose, this explains their on the job attitude towards me. It is my estimation that due to our “off-the-job” relationship, there is an underlying expectation that I will let certain things go on their behalf and/or offer special treatment. Yet that could be further from the truth. I believe in being fair and balanced and operate under the premise that everyone should be treated equally. By the same token, I believe that those whose work performance raises a standard or exceeds expectations, should be rewarded, recognized and revered. Sadly, this is not the case for my two colleagues masquerading as friends.

Admittedly, this is a troublesome matter for me, especially since I took a risk in befriending individuals that I felt shared similar values and ideals with me. There is nothing more miserable than to go to a job everyday and walk on eggshells around people who do not appreciate gainful employment. Sure, I understand that the culture of our society would have us to believe that it is not what you know, but who you know that advances careers. However, my current position was obtained by my own merit, therefore I owe no man nothing but to love him as the good book says.

As I look at my colleagues who grapple and grope for status, make unholy compromises, and form jaded connections, I take pride in my professionalism and the ability to make clear distinctions on what I do for a living and how I live.  Since I do not go to work to be validated, those semi-friends who neither respect my authority or appreciate my friendship must be dealt with accordingly. Therefore, I embrace them as frenemies at the workplace and recognize that Dashants are once in a lifetime encounters as you climb the ladder of success.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

My son was in utter turmoil.  As a parent, it is difficult to watch your child wrestle with the nuances of life which you can’t control. Instinctively, you want to smooth your child’s feathers and settle their nests. Unfortunately, the public disclosure by  R & B/ Hip Hop sensation Frank Ocean that his first love was a man did not make my list of things to nurture him through. In fact, my immediate response was “so what, who cares; get over it.” But it was easier said than done, because I realized that subconsciously my son was questioning his own masculinity and the perception of his peers if he continued to be a fan and avid listener of Frank Ocean’s music.

I remember watching Set if Off as a teenager. I loved the female gangster “bank robbers with a heart” movie and my favorite character was the no-nonsense lesbian thug played by Queen Latifah. She did a superb job portraying this role, so much so the rumor began to circulate that she was in fact gay. I dismissed the gossip and chalked it up to Queen Latifah being a talented actress whose acting range was so incredible it accomplished what all good acting intended…to make you believe.  16 years later,  Queen Latifah’s sexuality remains a topic of discussion; is she or isn’t she?  With great tact and consistency, she lets her adoring and intrusive public know that she will not share the details of her personal private life; nor should she.

Quite frankly, I am not the pillow or the sheets and have very little interest in what celebrity types do in their bedrooms. It has no basis on whether or not I listen to their music, watch their news commentary or cheer them on in their respective sports.  As a public spectator, I just want you to be good at what you do. In fact, I  want you to be really exceptional. Entertain me, educate and empower me with what you can “do” not who you “do.”  All I truly want, is to be provided with the service that you are getting paid to perform and unless you are a Kardashian your sex life is of non-effect.

But in this current climate of accept me for who I am, our identity is tied to what’s between our legs instead of what is in our hearts, mind or abilities.  There is this frivolous need to proclaim to the world that  “I am gay and proud” and in contrast no similar inclination to declare “I am straight and happy.”

Is it possible, that the degree of bullying would decrease if we teach our children that they are not defined by their sexuality but instead by their humanity? As a result, the notion to be kind to your fellow man would not be a foreign concept. But since we make an issue of sex, sexuality, sexism, and every other variation of the term, our kids feed off the energy and their reactions are generated by the  climates in which they live.

I firmly believe that we should teach tolerance, embrace diversity and celebrate differences. But on the other hand, we should not impose our beliefs, force-feed, broadcast and exploit the intimacies of our personal relationships with our significant others under the guise of civil rights, acceptance or personal freedom. For the same is true for me, a vibrant heterosexual female, committed and devoted to my childhood sweetheart. I could shout from the hilltops the struggles we face, the duress we endure, the injustice we have experienced. But we made a personal choice between “us” free of outside influences. Our love does not need to be validated by public opinion to be relevant. So when it comes to our relationship, if you don’t ask, we don’t tell because frankly… it’s none of your business.

Enjoy…