“You have better s*** to do with yourself than to linger on with mess [black girl]! You can’t make people see things the fair and just way or however you think they should. That would be way too easy. You haven’t lost anything so stop bitching about it and let it be.”
I was in my bed. On my back. Trying to count the number of times a single blade in my ceiling fan passed a certain point. I just wanted to go to sleep but couldn’t, so I figured a therapy session with my long time friend C. would be a viable option. I knew she would blast me for the recent chain of events concerning something I’d chosen to leave behind, but I needed a good reprimand from a native Brooklyn hard ass that takes no prisoners when it comes to business, family and just plain old life.
C. and I went to middle school together in DC. She was always the popular flashy girl that had all of the latest trends and pretty jewelry. She was always put together. I, on the other hand, was a habitual fashion offender: hammer pants, turtle necks, patent shoes with ribbon laces, Malcolm X t-shirts long enough to be dresses, cut off shorts that my mom wouldn’t let me cut above the knees (does that make them shorts or capris?), blue glasses big enough to set an entire city ablaze if used to reflect sunlight… I – WAS – A – MESS. I’ve never been the fashionably obsessed type. I just go with what’s practical and keep it simple for the sake of reputation lol. The way C. and I met was kinda funny now that I think about it…
Does anyone remember trapper keepers? If you don’t than you’re too young to be reading this anyway lol. You’ll find out why I asked that in a second. C. and I linked up in the 7th grade through her older brother, a dream boat eighth grader whom I’d had a horrible crush on since the 6th grade. He was the only cat in school with a full mustache and ‘real’ gold rope chain. One night my friends and I were at a basketball game where my sole purpose was to be seen by this guy. Not knowing who she was I chatted with other members of the nerd crew about my crush…giggling like banchees within her earshot. Later, at half time she caught me in the bathroom messing around with my 3 layer, 3 color slouch socks and brand new Keds I’d saved just for that night. Making sure my bangs were perfectly feathered and the lipstick I’d stolen from my mom’s prized Chanel collection hadn’t smeared , C. came behind me in the mirror, stood there and just stared at me smacking gum like a hungry cow.
I thought she wanted to fight lol. Balled up my fists by my side and said, “Can I help you?” Forgot to mention that C. is a little 5 foot Latina firecracker that tells it like it is without caring what anyone else thinks. A mouth that got her into plenty of fights, C. could have cared less and used that hustle to her advantage as I would later find out in our adult years. Each brawl she had made her foul spanish cursing mouth 10 times bigger just to spite her enemies. I secretly wished I could be like that.
“My brother aint gonna like you with those big ass glasses,” she said. She leaned in close and whispered this tidbit of unsolicited advice in my hear. Her breath smelled like Big Red gum. A scent mixed with some weird smelling perfume to create a concoction I’ll never forget. Shyt stunk for real. Before I could turn around to say ‘what the hell’ she’d snatched my glasses off and unraveled the scrunchie that held up my then shoulder length hair.
“Get rid of these. Take down that hair and take off that red ass lipstick.” Needless to say a few weeks of coaching and advice got me noticed and granted me the title of the ‘7th grader to be envied by the entire school for dating her brother , Milton.’ A puppy love short lived because I was tired of the hate notes and stalkers. lol I’d gotten into two bathroom fights and another in the cafeteria where I beat the begeezies out of a girl named Myrna with my trapper keeper for saying something slick. Myrna was six feet, captain of the girl’s basketball team, and the only reason I won the fight was because I was standing on a table and fought dirty. Needless to say I was tired of spending my days in ISS and detention and decided I would lay down my title. I can’t fight worth a shyt.
Although the ‘steady’ status was short lived, C and I remained close friends until I left and moved to Atlanta when I was 14. We stayed in touch by phone and letters and eventually email before losing touch for a years. We found each other on facebook! She’d come a long way since middle school and her mouth and willingness NOT to take shyt from anyone got her into high places in the entertainment world. She now lives in L.A. with her husband and three little boys where she holds a highly coveted executive position at one of the largest record labels in the world. Our friendship was rekindled at just the right time in my life. I needed that close circle of folk around me to keep it real and not sugar coat their thoughts on the often times dumb shyt I do despite my inner wisdom. Fast forward to last night’s phone call…
Because C. knows all of the major cities in the states by the back of her hand I thought she would be the best person to consult on my future move to Los Angeles and how to make it as a writer there.
“I aint moving until I know I can do it 120%,” I said.
“Why the hell you wanna come here? These people are CRAZY!” Her youngest son was screaming something mad in the background, “You can write from anywhere.”
“I just feel like that’s the best option. I gotta get the heck out of Atlanta, been here too long and need a change,” I said.
“Change from what? Atlanta’s budding with new things. Get your ass in the swing and make your moves,” she said.
I hesitated. Still watching the ceiling fan before looking away. I was getting dizzy.
“Ahhh…that shyt again. If I told you once I’ve told you a trillion times, (something in Spanish goes here lol).”
“Let it go.”
“Oh.” I just closed my eyes and prepared myself for ‘the speech’.
“You always hold onto things that you’re not supposed to. Just like you held on to my brother even after every crusty lipped girl in the school wanted to fight you over him. You have to ask yourself when enough is enough and its time to walk away chica.” She always talked to me with authority…same way she did the first day we met. She didn’t know but I looked up to her a lot. (well I guess she knows now! Lol)
“I know I know I know.” Honestly I wasn’t in the mood to hear the speech but I’m glad I listened without tuning her out. C. is a very wise woman.
Her advice was so uplifting that I asked her to type it in an email and send so I could share it with you guys. Here it is..
“[my name]. Learn to move on and stop going back to what is familiar. You’re going to keep running in circles and you need to stop doing this to yourself. I hate to say it but everything you do after you’ve made a decision to let something go is totally your fault. You keep opening the door to old s**** and causing yourself unnecessary grief!!!!!! If I were there I would smack you just to make you see straight. If you say things are in the past, why are you still communicating with [them] or even writing about it? Live by that and stop being sissy girl. Why are you checking up on [them] when you know their point of view is only going to upset you? I don’t want to hear about you being angry or wanting to run to another city because you don’t want to be around things associated with your past. Newsflash: your past is your memory. You cannot run from that so no matter where you go it will be there. Stop worrying about what [they] or anyone else says or thinks and be comfortable knowing that you are wise and gifted enough to make the right decisions. Like you said people are only going to see what they want to whether it is from an objective point of view or not. Stop holding on to s**** that’s not intended to be in YOUR LIFE!! That means cut off all ties and swaddle your ass right along. [they] are just one tiny sliver of the life that you have lived and are living. I read your last blog and yes you need to stop being so f**** nice to everybody. I’ve told you about this and you have to curb it now if you ever wanna survive in LA. If it’s one thing that Latinas have it’s our pride and loyalty. Have pride in you and cherish your talents by only being loyal to those things that deserve your energy and attention. I don’t even think you realize how powerful you are and how your words affect people. Once you do and start walking in that [them] will be a distant memory and you will care less about what they or anyone else says about you. Who gives a f**** about the shit their on? We’ve talked about that ‘truth behind it all’ stuff before. You know and see the truth and that’s what matters. Take it and move on. You’re allowing things that DON’T MATTER to take you from what you’re supposed to be doing with your talents. [they] was only a vehicle to jump start and get you to the position you are in now. You always do this and you have to avoid those distractions at all costs. Leave it be and leave them be also. Let them silently wallow alone while you do what’s needed to continue as planned. Stop letting stuff and fools affect you like you allow them too. I hate to break it to you but sometimes you have to throw up the middle finger and the peace sign and say forget it if you know you’ve done your best. And send me your resume heifer. We need writers and I know you can do it. Love you. Keep up the blog…it’s a working portfolio ya know. People in high places are watching you. Besos.”
I have friends that give me a lot of advice on a lot of things as I do for them. A fair exchange of encouragement and openness is what all we need to keep things moving. Right before I got her email I’d sent one to someone that I probably shouldn’t have but what’s done is done. Guess some things are just better left alone.
Gots ta let it do what it do baby! (Thank you C.)
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