Fifty-Seven

Southern Mom was born in 1957.  In 2014, I kept telling her that it was her “Golden Year” because she was TURNING 57, and she was BORN in 1957.  Little did I know that less than two months after her birthday, she’d be gone. Whenever I see the number 57, on an interstate exit in particular, I always think of her.

Doug Banks, my FAVORITE radio DJ of all-time, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 57.

Yesterday, we lost my boo, the ultimate performer, the greatest musician, an icon. How old was he?  Fifty-seven.  Prince Rogers Nelson is the ultimate instrumentalist.  I say “is” because it’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.

I have loved Prince for as long as I can remember.  One of my first memories of Prince is “Purple Rain”.  As young as 8 or 9 (probably younger) every time I would go to my uncle’s house, I would ask him if I could borrow his “Purple Rain” VHS tape.  I would watch that movie multiple times a week before I took it back to his house.  It got to the point that one day he just told me he would get me my own copy.

For my 10th birthday, I got the tape of “Diamonds and Pearls”.   I was SO happy to get that doggone tape.  One day, I took it to daycare so we could dance to it.  And my BFF lost it.  I went SLAM OFF on her.  I was so upset!  I had it less than a week, and she LOST IT!  Thankfully, it was recovered, but I learned then not to let anyone mess with/hold/borrow my stuff.

One of my bucket list items was to see Prince perform live.  Despite the circumstances, I was BEYOND thrilled to see him perform in Baltimore last year.  My linesister B and I had floor seats!!!!  It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  And while I missed his DC show, I didn’t worry too much when he announced he was going on tour again in 2016, because I just KNEW I would get to see him perform again.  Alas, that is not to happen in this lifetime.

It’s still surreal to me.  I just can’t believe that he’s gone.  I feel like there’s so much more he has to do.  There’s so much more the fans have to see and hear and do.

Prince was unapologetic about who he was.  He was about the music.  He was about living your truth.  He wasn’t the biggest man or the tallest man or the most masculine man, but he could have any woman (ANY WOMAN) he wanted.  Even guys respected Prince because he was a bad-ass.  As my friends on Facebook have said, “he was the original Mr. Steal Your Girl”.

While I am upset that I won’t get to see him this summer, I will remember how his music made me feel.  How I still dance and sing to the “Purple Rain” soundtrack (heck, really any Prince album).  How amazing it was to see him on stage last year.  And how he changed the music industry.  Prayers to his family, friends, loved ones, and fans.

Prince Rogers Nelson, you were one-of-a-kind, ahead of your time, and you will be forever in my heart.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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I Should Have Stayed On My Hiatus

Awhile back a dude approached me.  He seemed nice, was attractive, and said all the right things.  Despite my reservations, we became official.  He talked a good game – he was older and divorced but stated he was tired of dating and wanted to re-marry.  And was open to having more children (he already has one).  So, I decided to be open and give a relationship with him a go.  After not hearing from him for 72 hours (yes I called and left a message), I decided that I was done and whatever we had was over.  Which apparently was on his mind as well, because he decided to tell me that I could date other people…via a text message.  (I swear I can’t make this stuff up.)  I feel like he took the coward’s way out.  He’s a man of a certain age, so he should at least have been ballsy enough to pick up the phone.  Yes, I understand that this may not seem like a big deal to some, but it was for me.  Despite the fact I let my guard down and opened up to this man, I told myself that 2016 was the Year of Elle.  No dating, no relationships-just focusing on myself and school.  They always say that love comes when you least expect it, and please believe I was not expecting this man to walk into my life.  However, I should have known to trust my gut.  And if that leads to others thinking I’m cynical, I don’t care.  I’d rather protect my heart than to look like a fool.

Oh, and the guy from this post….GREAT conversation last night!  Because long distance relationships have not worked for him in the past, he will not date me because we live 6 hours apart.  Which I’m totally ok with.  I said we could just be friends and that would be fine by me.  However… he ended the conversation with, “Good night, beautiful”.  I had to let him know that that was not acceptable; we’re not dating, and we’re just friends, so there’s no need to blur the lines with terms of endearment.

No more dating for Elle in 2016.  I mean it.  I am TOTALLY going to focus on me and getting my stuff together for school, my physical health, and my mental capacity.  I just don’t have the energy anymore to put into “potentials” that may not go anywhere.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

 

Moving Forward

It has been almost 6 months since Southern Mom passed.  Some days are great.  Some days are not so great.  Last week was rough since I had to go to home to handle some business on her behalf.  (I took the shortest trip home I’ve ever taken this weekend.)  And while it was rough, especially Sunday, I am moving forward.

There have been some upsides and positive things that have occurred-I presented at a workshop this weekend related to education.  I received an email earlier today about speaking at an engagement this weekend.  I started a book club.  We’ve met twice so far, and these ladies are a trip!  We have so much fun together.  And, most importantly, I bought a house.  In DC.  (My soror/friend/road dawg Original Najeema suggested I blog about that.)  Let me say that was not an easy process.  And I definitely thought it would take me at least a year to do it.  But I did it.  And I love my house.  Now, I will be brutally honest with you-while I LOVE my house, I was hoping that the seller would have assisted with the closing costs, but that didn’t happen.  And while I definitely could have walked away, I didn’t.  And for a number of reasons.

One, I love that house.  It is completed renovated and has the amenities/updates that I wanted.  Two, I was tired of house hunting.  Sure, it was fun in the beginning.  But every house, with the exception of one, that I put an offer on or was interested in, someone beat me to the punch. (LONG on that first house…)  I got tired of finding gems that other people found before me and watching them take possession.  Third, it was EXACTLY what I told my realtor I wanted.  So why wouldn’t I keep it and move forward???  Lastly, I had to tell myself that while I was putting up all of the money upfront, it would still be MY money, going towards MY house, and benefiting ME in the long run. So, earlier this month, I became a homeowner!  My realtor took a picture of me at the last walk through (where I was VERY animated), and of course, I celebrated with a happy hour.  What’s super funny is that Southern Dad called it.  His words two days before I closed?  “Ok, Elle, when you close, it’s not the end; it’s the beginning.  And don’t think you have to go out and celebrate with a happy hour.”  O_o Color me shocked!  How did he know my life???  Needless to say, I didn’t tell him until the day I closed that he was right about the happy hour and that invitations were sent the previous week.  We both got a good laugh from that one.

While I’ll always mourn my mother, I can’t become stoic.  I have to keep moving forward.  I know that’s what she would want.  And I thank God everyday for my family and friends for their continued support.  I know I couldn’t do half of the stuff I need to do without them willing to lend a helping hand.

I read an article this weekend when a friend shared it on Facebook.  While I don’t like the term “Motherless Daughter”, it was SPOT ON with all of the thoughts that I have when it comes to my mother and how to deal when people ask about my parents or how to deal with a potential mate in the future.  And even now, certain things happen that make me think of memories I have with my mother (that time we would sing Sisqo’s “Got to Get It” just because of a particular lyric in the song, that time I heard her curse for the first time because I spilled Dr. Pepper in her car (I was floored!), how she would tell waitresses to call her by her name and not “Hun” or “Sweetie”).  She was such a dynamic person, and I hope that I have made her proud.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Where is 2015?

That’s right, I’m rushing 2014 to end.  And we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet.

This year was a rough year for me.  Starting with losing my job in March (I was looking to leave anyway).  Three weeks later, I lost my grandmother (my mom’s mom).  High notes?  I spent 2 weeks at home and celebrated my birthday and my aunt’s wedding.  Super high note?  I got a job.  A job I LOVE!  Still love it.  It’s absolutely amazing, and I am able to use all of my skill sets.  Then, the bottom fell out.

My mom died.

That’s the first time I typed it.  And explicitly shared it on social media.  Sure, I’ve posted pictures of her and me.  I’ve shared when I’ve had crappy days.  But I never stated on Facebook, Twitter, or any other forum that Southern Mom is gone.  It only took me 6 weeks to share it.  And I feel some type of way about sharing it.  Like if I didn’t say it aloud or share it with proverbial strangers that means it wasn’t real.  To go from talking to someone everyday for 32 years, and then to not being able to talk to them unexpectedly, it’s just…I can’t describe it.

The great thing is that since Southern Mom retired last year, she and I were able to pretty much keep true to our word of seeing each other at least once a quarter.  Last summer, we went on a family vacation with our extended family.  Then she came to DC when I competed in the Exquisite International Pageant in August.  I spent all of my Christmas vacation with her.  I spent two weeks in April with her.  She came to DC for Mother’s Day, and I went back and spent a few days with her in SC.  The last time I saw her was in September when I went home for my linesister’s wedding.  When she dropped me off at the airport, we actually sat and talked and spent quality, quiet time together.  She said she would make my favorite cake (key lime) when I came home for Christmas.  (My cousin and I made it when I was home.)

Less than a month later she was gone.  Suddenly and unexpectedly.

Some days are great.  I can smile when I talk about her.  Not choke up.  Still keep a sunny disposition and happy demeanor.  Other days, I cry.  I can barely get dressed, and I want to stay home.  I can’t talk about her, because my eyes start to water and my throat tightens up.

I’m sure these roller coaster of days will last until God decides I’ve served my purpose on this earth and calls me home.  Until then, I plan to make sure I make my mother proud and ensure she has left behind a positive legacy.

So, yeah, even though great things happened this year, the ultimately worse thing happened, too.  I’m super ready to see January 1.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Haven’t Blogged in Forever

I haven’t blogged on a consistent basis in a long time.  Many factors are to blame.  I lost my last surviving grandparent in April, which hit me much harder than I expected, and for the better part of the summer I was chilling.  I haven’t dated since “The Potential” got stationed to Hawaii, and that has definitely been by choice; I needed a break.  And my life has been somewhat boring….well what I consider boring.  I’ve purposely been laying low trying to get myself in order.   Most important, and what I consider to be exciting and fantastic, is that I have a new job.  And it’s in education.  And it’s in DC.  Although it’s still new, I love going to work everyday.  Seriously.  My commute is SUPER short (well, compared to where I’ve been going for the past two years), and I can finally do stuff in the city after work.  I was pumped at first because I was able to metro and walk and get a little exercise.  But then it dawned on me that when it gets cold and starts to snow, I’m going to have to walk in that…and that’s when I decided to drive.  I may metro next week since it’s the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference…we’ll see.

Oh, I’m super excited that “Scandal” is coming back in 5 days…but I’m super sad Harrison won’t be there (Darn you, Columbus Short!!!!).  I have been keeping my eye on this Ray Rice situation.  Now, while I do not condone domestic violence in anyway, Ray was honest with the NFL in February when reports first came out about him hitting his then fiancee’ Janay.  And the league decided to suspend him for the first two games of the season.  Now since there’s a tape, they changed their tune.  As a friend on Facebook pointed out, it’s double jeopardy, like getting charged twice for the same crime.  I truly hope Ray and Janay were/are getting the help they need.  I’m not going to even touch Adrian Peterson and all these other NFL players that are coming out of the woodworks for being charged with domestic violence disputes. And no one wants to talk about Judge Mark Fuller who was arrested last month on a battery charge for assaulting his wife.  Well, some people do.  Three U.S. Senators are asking him to resign because he violated the trust the people of Atlanta put in him.  (Bravo to you guys!) I mean, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Back to me-now that I feel like things are falling into place for me, I’m starting to take stock in my life and work on the areas that need improvement and updates. I’m purging my house (it’s a slow process, but I’m getting there; I have WAY too much stuff), and I’m rejoining a few organizations that I left by the wayside for a few years.  While I didn’t become a complete hermit, it’ll be good to enter the land of the living again and to start embracing the Social Butterfly I naturally am. 🙂  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

I Have Awesome Friends

I had a birthday party when I turned 16.  Southern Mom made me invite an old friend…we’ll call her Alicia.  We had been friends for about 3 years, until about two months prior.  I’m not sure why I didn’t care for Alicia anymore, but my mom made me invite her because she included me in her birthday plans, which was about three months before mine.  At my party, I didn’t really talk to her too much, and she ended up spending most of her time with my “crush”, Anthony.  Anthony was my middle school boyfriend and ended up being my prom date two years later.  But at the time, I was too…teenager-y to admit that I really liked Anthony.  In any event, my two best friends Shayla and Carmen had my back at my birthday party.  As we huddled up and watched Alicia and Anthony, I distinctly remember them not liking Alicia even more because she was all over “my” man.  We did what girls tend to do-being snarky, petty, and vicious.  I’m not sure if Alicia felt our eyes on her and Anthony for most of the night, but I felt awesome since my girls had my back.

Southern Cousin is probably one of the people I’m closest to.  Yes, we’re family, but I honestly feel that if we weren’t related, we would be friends. (Hopefully she feels the same way.)  Even though most times when I reach out to her, she always thinks something’s wrong, her first concern is that I’m always ok.  She indulges me when I need to vent, she always offers great advice, and she even laughs at me in all of my ridiculousness (which is actually a good thing).  Southern Cousin brings me down to earth and reiterates that the stuff I think is pseudo life or death really isn’t that serious.

My linesister, Vanessa, and I have always had a great relationship, before we even pledged.  But I think our sisterhood has solidified our friendship.  As I was taking her to the airport a few weeks ago, I was relating how a person really close to me kinda did me dirty…and how I’ve always done nice things for them, not because I was expecting something in return, but because that’s who I am as a person.  I also told her how Southern Dad was kinda annoyed at the situation as well and how he kept reiterating that I needed to be sure I’m not taken advantage because of my nice, kind nature.  It was funny how she felt the same way he did-she was PISSED!  And I so appreciated it.

Over my life, I have been blessed with having awesome friends come into my life.  They support me, the entertain my wacky ideas, and they always have my back.  Hopefully, you’ve been blessed to have great people come into your life.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Names have been changed to protect the guilty. 🙂

I Need To Diversify

Over the past few months, I’ve realized that most of my friends think and/or look like me.  But I shouldn’t be surprised.  I went to an HBCU.  I’m part of a predominantly African-American sorority.  And most of my closest friends come from those two communities.   I’ve come to the realization that I need more non-Black friends.

Growing up, most of my friends were white.  It wasn’t until I got to high school that my best friends were black.  In middle school, I remember praying for black friends when I got to high school.  And that’s what I got-for the next 18 years.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining.  But when you have friends that think like you and agree with you on pretty much everything, it sometimes gets old.

Of course I’m Facebook friends with a number of the white kids I went to elementary, middle, and/or high school with, but we don’t hang out or do brunch or have dinner together.  (I actually take that back. I do have a white girlfriend that I have known since 6th grade and every time I go home, we see each other.  And we even did dinner when she came to DC last year with her students.)  I did reach out to one of my high school classmates that lives in Northern Virginia for brunch about a year ago.  We weren’t necessarily friends in high school, but it was great to see a familiar face from home in DC.  And there is another friend that I went to high school with who was my buddy.  He lived in DC for about a year, and we went out to dinner (with his now ex-girlfriend) while he was here.  And I’m happy that he came out to help me celebrate my birthday when I was home in April.

At the end of the day, one off dinners and lunches, and friends that live 8 hours away, don’t necessarily count.  Well, they do, but I want more.  I want non-Black friends in DC that I can hang out with on a regular basis.  Those that I can talk to about my life and who have a genuine interest in getting to know me.  And I want to take an active role in their lives-celebrate their monumental moments and do fun things with them.  I also truly believe having a diverse group of friends will make me a better person.

But, for now, I will cherish the friends that I do have.  And look for opportunities to expand my DC circle.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!