Father’s Day—it’s a day that I do not recognize as a holiday. Matter of fact, I call my mother every year to wish her a “Happy Father’s Day.” This year I did not—not because she doesn’t deserve to be called and honored on this day with flowers, cards, etc, but because I delved a bit deeper within myself this year.
Why do is father’s day preceded by “happy” when I call my mother? While there were many happy moments that I experienced with my mother growing up, it was difficult to say the least for her to have to raise 5 children on her own without any help least of all from the human being who provided the sperm. There were many nights when my mother sat up crying and praying…praying and crying. Life was not easy for her and while she made a conscious decision to my siblings and me, no woman embarks on the journey of motherhood expecting to do it alone. So what word should be my opening liner when calling my mother to thank her for her unrelenting perseverance in light of sibling rivalries, arguments, and words shouted out of anger, tears of sorrow, etc when the list could go on and on if I wanted it to???
Commercial Break: Shout out to all of the real fathers out there who have been there with their wives, girlfriends and mothers of their children during the rearing years. You think before you speak to your women because the last thing you want to do—regardless of whether or not you and she work out—is disrespect her. I mean she is after all the mother of your child. Big shout to these same fathers who teach their sons what it means to be a man—to hustle and provide for your family. You teach your sons to go to school and pick a profession or start your own business. You teach your sons that nothing in life comes easy—you have to work for everything you want in life, including the heart and affection of a woman. You earn what you want and you learn to appreciate it so much more. You teach your son how to respect a woman and treat her like a lady by respecting his mother and you teach your daughter to expect respect from a man by respecting her mother. You teach your daughter that a man should always walk on the outside of her when walking down the street and that he should always open the door for her and pull out her chair. You teach her to ignore the cat-calling and whistling of any male. No real man looking for a wife finds her by behaving in such a way. A real man runs up, asks to talk to her for a minute and introduces himself. You teach your daughter that daddy knows best. While no man will ever be good enough for your daughter, you put her on game and you recognize when a young man is wholly and totally committed to her. Real fathers take the time to build relationships with their children. Work is necessary to keep the lights on and food on the table, but juggling the entire father role takes some mastering…but like work, he is dedicated. A father is 100% devoted to his family and teaches his children the most important lesson in life—to appreciate everything life and take nothing for granted. It’s not the appreciation for what you had once it is gone that is damaging, but the reality that you knew what you had and didn’t appreciate it upfront that kills. You never thought that you would ever be without it that is the eye-opener. Big ups to all you fathers out there holding it down and making a difference. Double fist pumps for the fathers out there playing both roles—mother and father. 🙂
Now back to the regularly scheduled program already in session: This year I decided to do something a little different. In fact, this will be the only time I will ever do this in my life. #NoLOL I’m taking time out to thank the individual who helped bring me into existence. There used to be a time when if I was given the opportunities that Harry Potter was, I would have banished him to some underworld. But that’s not me today. I’ve long since accepted the fact that you aren’t shit and never will be; however, there are some things that you taught me that were right for lack of a better word. As I spend more and more time delving into the dynamics of the LeBlanc side of the family, I am thankful for my upbringing in this regard. You instilled in each of us that you ride or die for your family. No matter how much my sisters and brother and I may get into it—less now that are becoming older—at the end of the day none of that matters and it all goes out of the window. At that very moment, we’re suiting up to kick ass…even if it’s someone who we all care about.
My temper—I get that from you and while I’m working on having a 100% firm grasp on that I’m thankful for it. I don’t take shit from anyone or anything. You taught me that rules can be broken and should be broken/amended when the rules are detrimental those involved and whom it affects. There is no sense in forcing a square peg into a round hole when you can cut the hole into the shape of a square. It may be hard to do that at first, but if you keep at it, eventually it will give way.
You raised me to always to be a fixer. I’m the oldest and it’s my responsibility to make sure that nothing happens when I’m around. It taught me to be responsible and as much as I hate to admit it, I know that no man is an island. It doesn’t matter what needs to be done or what kind of trouble may be going on with one of my siblings or even my mother for that matter. I always find a way to get things done even if I am borders away…and it’s nothing for me to hop in my car and drive there or take a flight. Family trumps everything that can be touched or seen. I am learning though that sometimes you have to let go and let God and that in itself has been a tough pill to swallow. I’m a take action kind of girl, but with all things moderation is key and so is the wisdom to know when you have done all you can do.
Lastly, thank you for being you—all of you. As a result, I’m able to appreciate “him.” No elaboration needed here. Over 90% of communication is non-verbal.
And…since I couldn’t find a fitting word to place before “father’s day”…Mom—Happy Parent’s Day! Muah!!!!
This is a “duet” poem that I was blessed to write, recite and perform with none other than Xero in Baton Rouge, LA. The guy is master with words and it was truly a pleasure. –Ms.KeepingItReal
Pouring Out Some Liquor
by Ms.KeepingItReal and Xero
Both: We dedicate this poem to all the lost poems
Xero: To the imagistic lines that bent
and swirled around in my preoccupied noggin
and got soaked up into
rusted pipe dreams and magnetic memories
Ms.KeepingItReal: To magnets on the fridge two lines long
That were pushed around with letters missing
Both: Yearning to release and roam
From isolation to liberty
Xero: To the half-free verse, half-prose rants
that found their way
under the stove
to escape my cold fury
Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poem scribbled on homework
The teacher obliviously gave back
Both: Never saw us
Xero: To the seldom seen 1998 spoken word
crowd pleaser that only Jason or Keith
would ever request
Both: just to show how far back we go
Ms.KeepingItReal: Back to the poem that was to kill you softly
Eradicating your previous thoughts
Both: Beautiful had it not flown out of the window
Xero: To the sappy, cliché jumble
of doggerel that I handed to my ex-wife like…
Ms.KeepingItReal: To the words whispered in the dark
As he invaded my…
Xero: a barb-wire infection,
when neither of us were concerned
with line breaks or…
Ms.KeepingItReal: territory, made me an expert at freestyle
Words flowing like my love til it’s over
Ms.KeepingItReal: To poems written in notebooks lost
Left on the seat of the bus
Xero: Left on a stool of the stage
Ms.KeepingItReal: Rushing to get off
Xero: To get out
Ms.KeepingItReal: and inside my house
Xero: my head
Ms.KeepingItReal: Took later to realize
Xero: To block it out
Ms.KeepingItReal: Hundreds of secret thoughts now gone
Xero: now murdered
Ms.KeepingItReal: I betrayed them
To the poems of only four lines
Both: Loitering on the pages
Ms.KeepingItReal: Incomplete due to my neglect
No urge to finish what was started
Xero: To that first poem I wrote
Ms.KeepingItReal: I wrestled with
Xero: inside the birthday card
Ms.KeepingItReal: love note
Xero: my fourth grade class gave to Mrs. Claverie
The one that made her say,
Ms.KeepingItReal: made her etch in marble
Xero: “Chancelier, never stop writing.
You have a gift.”
Ms.KeepingItReal: To answer present
Xero: To the lost inspiration
that I couldn’t have written
Both: better myself
Xero: that made me
Both: better myself
Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems written on
scraps of paper, napkins, sticky notes
Both: long gone
Ms.KeepingItReal: Mixed with trash inside my purse
Never to grace my lips—your ears
Xero: Here’s to the poor poems that
never survived my hard drive
deleted from my laptop
Both: for my failure
Xero: to give them adequate electricity
Xero: To the poems that aren’t poems yet,
but will eventually be lost
because it’s taking me so long
to find a way to write them free
Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems savagely
ripped from my journal
No words to tattoo minds
Xero: To the poems I printed out at work,
folded into thick rectangles,
Xero: into my back pocket,
Xero: around all day,
Xero: on my dresser, and
Xero: back behind the dresser
with other rectangular experiments
Ms.KeepingItReal: To the poems I rehearsed in my head
Desperately-over and over
No paper to record this
Pen pressed to my palm
Words staining my flesh
Carefree—I with errands to do
From here to and fro…where are you?
Smeared blue blur
Xero: I am here
attempting resurrections with recitation
over and over
no memories to remake you
palm pressed to paper
careful – I with errors to fix
from here, on and on…what are you?
Seared blue heart
Both: We are vessels of misplaced trust
learning only now
that waste is precious
and treasure can be stapled
Dear Little Miss Missy,
Learn not to let people use you—family, friends, co-workers/bosses, or even a man. Often times you get so caught up in being the person who knows everything or has her hand in everything that people begin to count on you to do everything.
It’s okay to offer your help now and then when the help is really and genuinely needed, but learn to be able to discern between the two—really needing the help and just being plain lazy. You are a perfectionist and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that…well there is on caveat…but we’ll save that for a later time.
Family—learn that just because you are the oldest does not mean that you should shoulder everything. At some point, people will have to realize that they will need to accept responsibility for their own actions. You need to learn early that you cannot save everyone. You’re not Catwoman or Wonder Woman. You’re just plain ole [insert government name here]. Stop trying to the barrier between a person and whatever bed they made. While it is okay to be there for your siblings and mother, etc, learn know that you cannot save everyone. God gives us all an internal system that gives us an inkling of a feeling, if not more, when something is amiss. You have to let people use their own wings…and if they fall learning to fly…well, that’s just a part of life. You get up and try to fly again. The point is that eventually they will learn their way…as long as you remember to pray for them.
Unfortunately, I have some sad news. The world is going to become a crazy place to live and life will be short. Learn how to develop an ear and a mind for God now.
Friends—everyone cannot be trusted. Period. Friends can sometimes be the ones that hurt you the most because you generally trust them and spend more time with them than you will your own family as you get older…especially during the teenage years. You’re a smart girl and you have a way with words. People will use that to ask you for help with homework or to actually do the work for them. Family and a man may try to pull this card too. Learn to put your foot firmly down and flat-out tell them “no.” While you like the praises they sing for the grades they get and to hear how wonderfully something was written, the fact remains that your name is not on it. You’re a ghost writer. Why do that when you can put your own name out there? Furthermore, you’re only enabling that person. They will never learn to stand on their own two feet because you’re their crutch. Get from under their arms already.
Co-workers/Bosses—thankfully, you won’t have a problem with bosses so much. You’re pretty much able to set the tone during the interview process and you’re pretty much headstrong so when you decide you have had enough…you’ll move your feet. However, learn ahead of time that your boss may be great, but their boss may be a pain in the rear. Learn not to let them use you by using a very powerful word. NO. N-O-. Let them know that you will come in and do your job, but that you are not doing salary work on hourly pay…in your case, “Director/Manager” work. Understand that your quality of life is more important than any job. Unless it is your career, they can step off. When you let employers use you, your unhappiness only leaks over into the parts of your life that are happy—the parts of your life where roses grew from concrete. If you let that happen, your job and the associates become some pharmaceutical drug that was supposed to cure one thing and then has drastic, unwanted side effects on everything else. It’s so not worth it.
Man—eventually, there comes a time in every person’s life where the significant other attempts to use them. Recognize the signs early. A man should never expect something of you that he wouldn’t expect his mother to do for another man. Men, as the world gets older, become what others refer to as “losers.” They expect a woman to take care of them or in even more prevalent cases, be a ruse for the buffoonery that he really delights engaging in. Either way…never let a man use you. When you’re older, we’ll discuss this in more detail.
Until we write again,
I was doing some thinking…well reflecting…over my previous employer while in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend of mines. She was talking about her job and a promotion she had recently received. While congratulations were most definitely in order as always, that old crypt keeping job finds a way to rear its ugly head in the midst of our dialogue. However, this was for the last time.
During the talk though I began to discuss how I always gave more than I should have at my old job. I became some disrespectful, sub par image at best of my true self. I dedicated more hours to the success of a multi-million dollar corporation and did not even see anything close to a million dollars. The president of one section of the company knew my name. I was called upon to help train hundreds of new employees for the startup of a new department. I often times came in early in the morning and left late at night. I was the go-to-person for everything no matter what it was because everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I, and I alone, could and would always get the job done.
Everything in my life began to take a back burner to my job…
Job—something that has to be done; a specific duty, role or function
Career—a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life; a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.
…everything took a back burner to my job…a j-o-b. I began to avoid phone calls from family because I was too annoyed, too tired, maybe even too depressed to move my lips let alone use my ears. Lateness became synonymous with my government name. I was late showing for any engagement that I had committed myself to. I would stay inside my apartment all day and never come out and if I had anything to do for myself like grocery shopping, I was late for that too. I dragged ass with everything that I did. If anyone asked me to do something, I would take forever to get to it and it eventually the people who I cared about began to feel neglected. I had nothing positive or happy to say and I pretty much didn’t want to talk about anything. My responses became terse to say the least.
And yet…I still gave a damn about my job. I still felt the need to go above and beyond to prove what? I was taken advantage of for my failure to cut the head off of ugly Medusa and put my New Orleans street degree in taxidermy to use for the Devil. Point blank, I cared too much about what the people at my job thought about me. I felt like I had something to prove and had to do the right thing although I hated that. I always said that I wanted to do the right thing because I believed that it was the right thing to do, not because it is the right thing to do.
The New Year came with no positive, self-fulfilling changes and that was the beginning of me taking over my life. I began to let my unhappiness spill over into the workplace…barely clocking in on time…leaving my house at the last minute…arriving to meetings without a notebook or a pen to name a few.
And I say all that to say this…while I was on the phone with my friend I began explaining how we, as human beings, get so caught up in doing the right thing for a job, a family member, or even a friend that we forget to do the right thing in terms of how God may view us. In the end, His viewpoint of our life will be on the only one that matters. We spend our time going above and beyond to win someone’s affection or to keep them in our lives when we should be doing all that and more for God. We fail to treat our relationship with Him like it is a priority. In the end, He is the only person that we need to love us. He will never fail to love us and show us with affection and let us know that He cares about us and give us recognition for being a faithful believer. He is all-knowing and all-seeing. He never offers us a promotion and then fails to put us in the position. He never calls on us to take on more than we can handle and He will never judge us for the mistakes we make. I’m not ostracized because I have put my foot down and decided to live my life a different way.
This is my rambling for the night.