Bitter Betty Gets Demoted

If you’ve been keeping up with Talk About It, you know from the latest episode that I’m a love hater. I find PDA repugnant. I outwardly rebuke that false sense of contentedness that being in a relationship is supposed to give women. I would probably be the chair of the Who Hurt You? committee of the Bitter Betty Club. It bothers me none.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean much to me. It’s still nice to get little messages and notes to know that you were thought of, but it doesn’t end my world. Somehow, I managed to get my feelings hurt by walking into a bear trap full of hypothetical situations that turned into real questions. Why must love and its demon angels toy with me on the most raggedy of holidays?

The man I’ve been dating chose today to express the fact that he’d just like to be friends. Perfectly fine. We barely have time for each other as it is and really its unfair to both of us. It was his presentation of the dilemma (which was his alone) that annoyed me to my core. He knows me well enough to know that he can be direct with me, yet he chose to pull me in with a hypothetical question knowing that I’d dig deeper.

Would you leave your boyfriend to be with me? -That Guy

I spent a solid five minutes pondering on everything, but an answer for the question asked. Where does this stem from? What’s the significance of this question? Would he leave a relationship to be with me? Hell, is he in a relationship that he’s been keeping a secret? A million and one questions came to mind before I finally answered.

Simple questions and simple answers were traded until we finally got to the point. Why do we still talk? And then it happened.

I got friendzoned.

I got friendzoned by a man who asked me to be his girlfriend within three weeks of knowing me. I got friendzoned by a man who plainly told me he doesn’t know what he wants. I’m in the friendzone. Here I am, standing in this grey, jello-like purgatory with red lipstick on, wearing the “good” date outfit looking around like someone who wasn’t invited to the party.

I won’t wait for a pink slip. I’ll just take this cue to exit stage left because this show’s over.

Thank you, Universe. 2014 is shaping up to be something special.

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Smarter Than Your Average Bey

If you’re constantly hearing the sound of buzzing, that’s because the BEYhive has erupted and is in constant clamor about the “surprise” album that Beyoncé released on Friday, December 13th.

I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about it and further saturate the subject, but here I am and here you are. So, here we go!

Like a lot of little Black girls growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I was a fan of Destiny’s Child and later on Beyoncé as a solo artist. She’s absolutely beautiful, gives you vocals for days, and can most definitely can outperform your current favorite pop artist into oblivion. I watched DC3’s episodes of MTV’s Making the Video, appearances on 106 & Park, and interview after interview. After indulging myself in all things Beyoncé for years, I came to the conclusion that I truly enjoyed King Bey as an artist, but she was definitely an empty-headed pageant girl. I was convinced that she was a robot from Japan trained to kill (the stage).

She gave me cookie cutter. She was faux shy in interviews, giggling with her hand over her mouth, and saying all the right things. I was bored, but I didn’t know that she was, too. As she developed as a business woman, I thought to myself, “ah, she has a smart team.” As she released more music, I thought, “okay, she’s definitely more interesting a person than I ever credited her for.” I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I had the epiphany that she was an intelligent, business-savvy woman, but the method of the release of BEYONCÉ and the content of the album have solidified much more.

Beyoncé is calculating and aware and sexual and strong. She’s a complex woman. I thoroughly enjoy it when she curses out of that proper, Southern belle mouth of hers. This project not only keeps the dunce-cap off of her head, but completely destroys it. BEYONCÉ showcases feminism, the acceptance of imperfection, eroticism as intimacy, and the struggles of a long-term relationship all wrapped in fun. The empty woman I saw in those interviews is long gone. I truly believe she’s emerged as some phoenix-butterfly hybrid, as a creative. There is a reason her fan base is almost incomparable.

The use of Chimamanda Adiche’s TEDxtalk “We Should All Be Feminists” and the French-version of The Big Lebowski samples let me know that she’s wide awake. The fact that the albums individual tracks are not offered up as singles for purchase forces the listener to experience the project in its entirety (Also smart for business. Skip the track if you want to, but you already paid for it). Speaking of business, hashing out that deal with iTunes and creating exclusivity? Brilliant! And adding this element of surprise was deity-level marketing. Bey must role with a genius squad and has taken a tip or two from her husband.

If you don’t like the music, you’ve got to respect the work, the artistry, and the courage.

#NewRules

Do what you feel passionate about. It will always be your best work. And if it’s your best, they will come.

I need to get my life.

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Daddy & Madiba

My dad only watches news networks, documentaries and ESPN with the occasional movie tossed in the mix. He only wears his glasses to read the paper and my introduction to public radio happened during rides in his car. I don’t think he knows that he sparked my interest in current events and my obsession with the 20/20-era Barbara Walters (Diane Sawyer was great, too).

He unknowingly introduced me to Nelson Mandela, his life and work, through media. I don’t think kids that grow up with parents that emigrate to America have a choice but to be exposed to international news on a regular basis. I can still hear the staticky broadcasts from Radio Soleil circa ’98.

“KC, don’t you know who that is?” He would quiz me to make sure it stuck.

I grew up knowing that Tata Madiba was the first black leader of his nation, that he sacrificed his freedom as part of a stance against injustice and that he was someone to emulate. A revolutionary by all definitions of the word. Mandela was a household hero before I could truly come to grasp what the man stood for and what it means to be part of a movement.

Daddy taught me about Mandela who taught the world about telling the truth. Telling the truth and standing by that truth even when it’s uncomfortable for you and those around you.

Rest well, Tata.

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The Importance of Having Hangers

Walking through the Crown Heights neighborhood in post-Labor Day parade excitement, my best friend and I spotted some discarded hangers in a Lord & Taylor shopping bag sitting on a stoop.

She sighed, “I need hangers, too.”

I sort of chuckled and glanced over at the stash. “Why doesn’t anyone tell you that you need hangers?”

The question triggered a conversation about how no one ever tells you that you need hangers and oven mitts and a trash can and that your apartment only comes with the keys. It’s like there’s a secret handbook on surviving your twenties after college and no one has a copy. You get the oral history, if you’re lucky. But there are no hard notes.

I’ve always been one to learn things via experience rather than being told. Some people call it “the hard way,” but whatever. It’s gotten me this far and somehow I managed to always have toilet tissue stocked. No paper towels. Just tissue. And they don’t teach you this stuff in school, either. You learn the Pythagorean theorem, but not how to tip appropriately or how much money you need to save to upgrade from Ikea furniture.

I think that it’s important to tell people not to move into an apartment that doesn’t have on-site laundering available or a dishwasher.

I miss dishwashers.

When I recall the days of waking up and having my lunchbox packed and my school clothes magically ironed, I call my mother and apologize for taking her for granted. First, she laughs at me. Then, she tells me that I can always call her if I need help. How Clair Huxtable of her. She’s always there, but the need to be independent and a “grown-up” that can do it all by herself tends to overpower me. Umm, pride. Right?

Adulthood has its perks, but there’s nothing like having your turkey sandwich cut diagonally with the crusts removed and a closet pre-stocked with hangers.

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