About Me

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Philadelphia, PA, United States
I suck at bios. Am horrible at telling interesting things about myself without embarassing myself at the same time. So I stick to the basics: My mind is forever active; always thinking and asking questions. I enjoy reading. Love writing. But if it were up to me, I'd love for a lifetime because love, is an animal that as untamed as it is, it's perfect.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Waiting (for)(me) to Exhale

Imagine: a boring "apple-sugar-spice" Saturday afternoon full of nothingness and empty of excitement. You're a 23 year old woman, with half of a job, mind full of dreams, wants, and desires, an unkempt apartment that's yours to which needs to be straightened up by the way - but you feel weak. You pray daily, throughout the day and wake up sometimes at night when the only thing lighting the skies are stars you can't see from your bedroom, just to speak and talk with your God. Feel like you're living day-to-day - waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the life you know you deserve to stop skipping and just play - smoothly.

Rewind 15 years - Waiting to Exhale, circa 1995. I remember my mom took me to see the movie when it first came out. It was a date. Andorra Shopping Center - the best movie theatre in all of Philadelphia! At least that's what my 8 year old self thought. Unbeknownst me, that film would be pivotal to me, as a young girl. Waiting to Exhale is the film that ushered me into the realization that "Damn, I'm a girl!"

Fast forward 15 years. To now. That 8 year old girl is a 23 year old woman who now, fully understands the innuendos and adult comments and content made throughout the film. That 8 year old who is now a 23 year old woman, not only understands, but has been in some of the shoes filled by the women who played these pivotal roles. These, classic characters.

I remember watching it in my 8 year old skin, during the part when Robin and Michael have (horrific) sex. He looked like a fish in dry land, dying, but then he came to life - in minutes. I remember Gloria being the overbearing mother. And Angela Bassett's unforgettable role as the wife who sets her husband's clothes, jewelry and car ablaze after he leaves her, for a white woman. The rest of the movie, the little things, I didn't remember. Until this Saturday. This boring "apple-sugar-spice" Saturday!

But I realized and learned some, well, a lot of things as I watched this crucial film, from beginning to end. From opening scene to rolling credits. I watched that film beginning as the 8 year old girl I originally viewed it in, and slowly, grew into the 23 year old woman I am now.

Bernadine wanted to call her husband's new woman - the white woman, his secretary, to "talk" to her. Robin, egged her on. Savannah (Whitney!), shook her head. And Gloria, protested and subsequently snatched the cord out the phone. Bernie broke down. And I noticed, no one, not even Gloria or Robin who was on her side, consoled her. No one took her hand and said sweet words that we want our girlfriends to say. No one cusped her face into their brown, worn palms, and whispered positive words to her. They all sat (or stood) in place and watched her break down. And question why.

I sat at the edge of my bed, pouring, drying, and peeling Elmer's school glue from off of my hands. I sat there, seeing myself with my sister and my best friends. Watching us talk about what's to come - our fears and excitements. We're all excited to become mothers and wives, to buy our first homes and take vacations that women only takes with her girls.

I sat, waiting for the play button to be pushed in my life. To hear the "on your mark, get set *gunshot!* GO!" I sat, and watched this movie, and noticed that none of these women took care of themselves. But they took damn good care of everyone else. To please, everyone else - whether spiritually, emotionally, or sexually. Took exceptional care of their children, homes, and careers. But, they failed at making sure that their self, their person, their beings, were their #1 priority.

So, after the credits rolled, and I peeled glue from my hands one last time for the day, I made myself a cup of herbal tea. Started a simple dinner for one. And began this piece. Googled the benefits of yoga. Vowed, to myself, that while I wait for life to stop skipping, the least I could do is take care of me. To put me first. To take care of myself whether it meant eating more vegetables or meditating before bed. Whether it meant not answering the phone when I know I don't want to be bothered, just to have or to get a peace of mind, or randomly texting a friend I Love You.

Adulthood and I have a love/hate relationship. We've had this devastating relationship since I started college. It isn't fair and surely does what it wants to - what it sees fit. Doesn't give me what I want, when I want or what I feel I rightfully deserve, and damn sure doesn't give a streak of good luck!

But, as I sat on my bed, watching a cast of actresses whose careers let alone their lives span and double my own, I realized the key to this game of adulthood isn't to wait for it to do you right. The key is to do yourself right. The key, is to find a space or moment in time to call your own. Find a some peace of mind even when you're sitting in the midst of chaos. Appreciate the glimpses of sunshine regardless of the category 7 hurricane that's ripping through your life. Find peace. And breathe. Exhale.

At 8, I thought it was all about love and being angry. At 23 and an adult, I realize the problems were and are deeper than sex, more passionate than making love, more severe and detrimental than holding on or not wanting hold on tight because you've convinced yourself you'll lose the battle anyway. It's about carving a niche in this superficial, self-centered and self-absorbed, narcissistic, emotionally drained and oversensualized society we call home.

Since re-watching this flick for the first time in its entirety in 15 years, each day, I carve a niche for me and my existence. Whether it's sitting at my computer and working on a blog or feature piece, or sitting cozy in the corner of my sofa with a cup of tea, or even, sitting on my bed, naked, and in my skin, eyes closed, heart beating steadily, I breathe. I take time back for myself, whether 5 minutes or for 10 minutes, and I take it for myself. And myself alone.

For some people, this lesson, is never learned, let alone taught. Lucky me, I learned it at 8 but understood and comprehended it at 23. The sooner we get this simple fact about life, quite possibly, the sooner we all can individually and drastically change our lives, for the better.

So, moral of the story is: take back your life and claim it. Re-name. Appreciate it. Make it yours and give yourself the life you deserve.

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