Wednesday, November 17

trey's TVO Interview on Bullying

If this is a subject that you feel your students would benefit hearing me speak about, please call my office at (416)546-6080 and book me as a speaker.

Wednesday, November 10

No you hang up...

I CHALLENGE you —Today CALL someone you really like!!!

“ No, you hang up.”
“No. You hang up first.”
“No you hang up.”

Wow! I miss those days of a good old fashion phone call, snuggling under the blankets, talking for hours to my latest crush. Remember those days when you liked someone and they actually asked you for your phone number, and you wrote it down on a piece of paper or even more romantic they would write their number on the palm of your hand and you wouldn’t wash your hands for days because every time you looked down at that number you would smile. Remember?

Remember those days when your phone would ring and you would jump over furniture to answer it nearly breaking your neck in the process?

How the sound of their voice on the other end would make you think indecent thoughts. And you would hold your pee for hours because you didn’t want to get off the phone and it would be too embarrassing for them to hear you flush!

Oh, those were the good old days when you actually picked up the phone and called somebody or even better yet they took the time out to call you! What happened to good old fashion phone conversation? Now I’m asked for my BBM number, Facebook and e-mail addresses. I’ve had my share of far too many email romances that lead absolutely nowhere! And even if they ask for my number they never use it, baby, it’s texting all the way!

And I know I’m not alone in wishing for some phone etiquette and the return of some good old fashion phone courting. I’ve spent many hours with my single friends dissecting people’s lack of phone manner. Our conversations usually sound like this.

“Well he hasn’t called even though I gave him my number two months ago, but he does text me every day to say have a great day! And he did send me a Facebook message yesterday! trey, do you think he’s interested?”

I’m at a lost for words! I just can’t get into this new behaviour. I think it’s impersonal. Honestly- quite rude! And I know that we all lead busy lives but I believe if someone is TRULY interested in you and wanting to really get to know you, they will take some time out of their busy day too just say “hi.” And maybe my standards are too high but I’m sorry, a quick note on Facebook to arrange our first date is not sufficient!

Yet, I’m a hypocrite. Most of my friends and anyone who even wishes to remotely communicate with me, knows the best way to reach me is to either text or e-mail me. I’m notorious for not returning calls. Five years ago, after reading that most successful people never answer their phone during the day because it lessens their productivity. I immediately stopped answering my phone. I listen to my voice mail about every other day.

Yet, when I’m REALLY interested in someone. I take time out of my day to spontaneously call to just say “hi”-- I want to take that time. I need to talk to you.

And my assistant will know that she can interrupt whatever I’m doing so I can take your call.

And I know you’re “The ONE” because I’m always dying to hear your voice so I will find the precious time at the end of my busy day to dial your number to just tell you goodnight. And my heart beats faster when I see your name on my call display and I will high jump over furniture just to answer your call.

And I will hold my pee and we will talk for hours and hours until someone eventually fall asleep on the phone…

Saturday, October 16

Living, simply: a life-changing roommate

One writer remembers her days with a life-changing roommate

Trey Anthony
Special to the Star

He moved in. A small cardboard box, neatly fit under his arm. Two sticks of celery, a loaf of brown bread and a jar of almond butter. I asked him what time his moving truck was coming. He calmly expressed that this was all he had. All that he wanted.

This was my new tenant/roommate, David. He explained to me that he was a minimalist. He believed he didn’t need to have tons of worldly possessions to make him happy. And happy he was.

With great curiosity I watched him as he meditated in the morning and evenings. He read many books. Burned incense. He had deep and insightful conversations with friends who showed up in long, flowered skirts and Birkenstock sandals with wild flowers or jars of home made jam. I thought they were weird, silly hippies. They tried to engage me as they questioned the true meaning of happiness. I would have none of it: I was on a quest to conquer the world! Be a millionaire! Climb the ladder of success!

They could not possibly be a part of my world, where all my friends were striving to buy a bigger house, more brand-name clothing, a Mercedes, another computer. . . We were never satisfied. Never full.

With envy I watched David prepare simple yet delicious raw food meals. He chuckled as I reacted in horror at reading my credit card statement, realizing I spent nearly $185 on a meal at some fancy restaurant of which I couldn’t recall the name.

And as I stared in frustration at my over-stuffed closet and complained that I had absolutely nothing to wear. David would breeze by me in his simple white T-shirt and brown cords. An outfit I had seen on him many times, yet each time he retrieved the outfit from the dryer he would smile and pull the T-shirt over his head, eager to start a new day.

I would come home to find him humming softly to himself as he chewed on a piece of celery while reading a book. Me, stressed and tired from another day of long meetings, talking to people whom I really didn’t care about, battling rush-hour traffic.

But I wanted to buy more things, have more zeros in my bank account, so I took on a night job that I told myself I needed to make ends meet. I felt proud that I had bought my first home and I was only in my mid-’20s. However, I realized that I spent more hours in my car than I actually did living in my brand new fancy suburbia home. I expressed this to David and he stated quietly, “Trey, we all make choices.”

I stomped up the stairs thinking to myself, it must be nice to do nothing all day!

Why would he want to live like that? Doesn’t he want anything out of life?

One day he packed up his little cardboard box and said he felt a desire to leave. Maybe travel a bit. Hitchhike across Canada. Maybe see the world? Maybe work on a farm. He and a few friends were thinking about perhaps getting a place somewhere.

Where? He wasn’t sure where he would end up, but he knew it was time to move on. And then he was gone.

Ten years later I still think of David. Now as I fight the desperate need to try to slow down my life, simplify it, I think about him as I try to respond to my growing desire to move on, go somewhere. Where? I don’t know.

I think of him as my friends and family shake their head in disbelief and talk quietly among themselves that I must be crazy to want to give it all up to just move somewhere quiet, buy a small little house, get out of the rat race.

I think about him as I realize that I now have all of this stuff. Things that I thought would make me happy.

I think about him as I examine my simple desire to have a small room by a lake with a window, and more time to write. I think of him when I admit to myself that all I really want is more time to see my friends. More time to laugh with my brother. Maybe go visit my sister? See my cousin’s new babies? More time to read. More time to write. More time to prepare home-cooked meals. More time to burn candles, light incense. More time to question the true meaning of happiness.

Wednesday, August 25

Mission: Be a better dog mom

Published On Wenesday August, 04 2010

Trey Anthony
Special to the Star
If I thought there was a chance that my dog might read this, I would never ever write this.

I've never been a dog person. I'm even surprised that I have a dog! Yet, in one of those stupid lovey dovey moments with my partner, I decided to accept a cream colour bundle of fluff that we affectionately called Samara. We promised that the dog would bind us to each other for eternal life and we would never ever break up!

Six months later I was partnerless and two chocolate brown eyes stared up at me, questioning if I had a clue what I had just signed up for. And that's how dog life started with Samara and me.

I worry about Samara and all of my inner conflicts play out with her and are magnified. I worry that she might get fat, and what her fatness would say about me as an owner. When the other dogs don't play with her in the dog park, I think she may lack social skills or maybe she has really bad doggy breath.

I constantly compare myself to other doggie mommies. One encounter with a friend who's one of those “crazy dog people” left me feeling that sooner or later someone was going to turn me in for being a lousy dog mom. My friend who has two dogs revealed to me that she cooked all of her dog's meals, organic meats and brown rice. Lovely. She also baked them their own treats!

I was grateful that Samara would never know anything about the dog life she really should be leading.

Had I let Samara down by giving her plain old chicken-and-rice dry food?

And treats? When I remembered to buy them, they were usually on sale or if she was lucky enough, a piece of my peanut butter sandwich. Who has time to bake treats? Some people really don't have a life. I tried to conceal my bitterness at my friend's obvious doggy hierarchy and smiled weakly.

However, she decided to kick me while I was down, revealing that she took her dogs out for 45 minutes three times a day. Separately, so they could have one on one time with her. My guilt played out as I recalled Samara's hurried walks packed between my need to write, attend meetings, go out to theatre, check Facebook, pick up groceries or watch Oprah.

I wanted Samara to be able to brag about me some day to her friends in the doggy park. A change was on the horizon.

My mission was to be a better dog mommy, a decision that changed Samara's life and my own. First, better dog food. As I became more conscious of the food that I was giving Samara I also became more aware of the junk that I was putting into my own body. I started reading labels more. I bought more fruits and vegetables, and started eating more salads

I scheduled a veterinary appointment for Samara. I then promptly booked a physical for myself. I figured I didn't want to kick the bucket before Samara.

I scheduled longer walks and cut out Oprah. These walks gave me time to think and be in the moment. I started to appreciate the morning air, birds flying, butterflies singing... you get my point.

On one of our walks I discovered a small deserted park with a set of swings. I haven't been on a swing in about 25 years so I jumped on. It was so liberating. Samara looked at me like I had just lost my mind and started barking and nipping my ankles.

I also threw in some patience. I vowed I would give Samara the time to stop and sniff nearly every blade of grass that she came across. I would not pull on her leash or tap my foot impatiently. I then applied the act of patience in my own life as I tried to be more patient with others and myself.

I also decided to love her more, really love her, like I wanted to be loved. With patience, kindness and appreciation. No more “Miss Critical.” This big love spilled over to myself. As I spoke lovingly to Samara and appreciated her efforts to be a good dog, I used that same voice to validate my attempts to being a good human.

I also learned to cuddle with her. I learned that I liked having her close by, I liked having her count on me, and I learned that I loved having her around because she is always happy to see me.

Most of all I love having someone who thinks I'm the best even if I still give them discounted treats.

Tuesday, July 6

Not quite ready to be a dyke with a tyke

When I was 21 I made the huge declaration that I was going to be married and have a house in the suburbs, two kids, and a wonderful husband who loved to cook!

Now fast forward a few years — okay, fast forward quite a bit — and life looks a lot different. I have the property, not in the suburbs, but a cool, chic downtown condo. No husband — by choice . . . and no kids.

And when you hit your mid-30s you are bombarded with the question. I know many of my straight friends in their 30s are in a panic about not being able to pop one out or even being able to find a man to just do the damn deed with!

For years, being queer has allowed me to bypass the annoying baby bullet question. Because when I announced I was queer, that announcement pretty much confirmed to my family that this womb was now out of service. But a few baby-happy lesbians messed that up for me, and I am now surrounded by endless gay friends popping out babies by the dozen or taking a trip to the local Children’s Aid Society to adopt. The single, queer, independent, happy, funky, cool, artist (i.e., me) is now a dying breed.

Of course, this baby-booming epidemic in the queer community has not escaped my grandmother or my mother. They now have a renewed sense of hope that my queer womb can be saved and restarted. My grandmother has taken out the baby starter cables and happily chases me around the house. Upon seeing the new bundle of joy of my two favourite lezzy friends, my grandmother declared, “Trey why don’t you just go tomorrow to where they went and go and get a baby!”

So last month I found myself in a wonderful two-day intensive course called Dykes Planning Tykes — a workshop for queer womyn planning on having children. I must admit I felt a little out of place, being that I was the only single womyn there and everyone else was partnered up in lesbian couple bliss. However, the course did not disappoint. Every mystery on how to have a child without having the convenience of a hot-blooded male partner beside you was discussed.

I learned more about ovulation and what goes on down there than I cared to know. I learned about good sperm, bad sperm, swimmers, known donor and unknown. I was thinking I could actually do this until the last day, when they brought in gay couples, singles . . . and their children.

My academic baby bliss was abruptly destroyed by the reality; the noise, the chaos, the baby poop, the frayed expressions on the mothers’ faces, the children running around the room screaming at the top of their lungs — that was just a bit too much for me. I had to take a deep breath and wonder whether I was really ready for this and was this something that I wanted to do alone.

As much as I present as a strong, capable, independent womyn, I’m scared to have a child on my own. I want to have a partner to share the responsibility with. I want us to read bedtime stories together, attend school recitals together, and take turns staying up when little Johnny has the flu.

I want partnership.

And yes, in so many ways I have thumbed my nose at tradition, but deep down there is something in me that wants that, wants it more than I know. And maybe it’s because I’m the product of a single parent household and have romanticized what a “family” is, but I know for me that’s what I want.

So for now I will just revel in the role of being cool Auntie Trey, who lives downtown, rides a scooter . . . and doesn’t push a stroller.

(Published in the Toronto Star on July 3, 2010)

Monday, April 19

The girl with the big nose and the zit at the end of it.

Grade six. A group of James Town girls ganged up on me and told me that I thought I was better than them and that I was a stuck up snob because I actually did my homework and because I spoke with an English accent. I was never invited to sit with them at lunch, got teased in the cafeteria and resorted to going to my only friend’s house for lunch. At her place we watched Young and the Restless, ate our lunch in silence and tried to not fantasize too much about what it would be like to actually be one of the pretty popular girls allowed to eat lunch in the school cafeteria.

Grade seven. My growing enormous breasts became the running joke for all the young boys. Boys would grope me without my consent, pull my bra strap and ask me if I got a black eye when I ran. I prayed daily for my breasts to just disappear.

Grade eight. I got nicknamed taco bell because I had a “big” ass and every time I walked by the boys would make the sound of a bell, and everyone would laugh. Ironically, I now do 100 squats per day trying to get this so called “big” ass back!

Grade nine. Five girls came to my school to kick my ass for dating the most popular girl’s “boyfriend”, a guy who never called me back and took me out on a “date” which I ended up paying for.

Grade ten. A popular boy stated to anyone that would listen that I would be pretty if my nose wasn’t so big! It didn’t help that every time I got a new zit it would appear at the end of my “big” nose. I promised myself I would get a nose job as soon as I turned eighteen. My Grandmother agreed. I still secretly worry about my “big” nose.

All of these things happened to me in school and I remained silent. I never told. Suffered in silence. Never once did I come home and share with my family what was going on. I never complained to any teachers. I had little faith that the adults around me would view me as worthy to protect. School for many years was not a safe place for me. And I’m sure many of you can relate to my stories and have even worst stories to tell. And now I’m in my thirties and can laugh at how ridiculous it all was, but back then there were moments that I felt my world was coming to an end. When you’re a teenager you can feel so alone, things can just seem so life shattering, just so hopeless. In high school, tired of the alienation, tired of not “fitting in”, and throw in some good family drama, I had had enough…suicide became a viable option.

She came home and hung herself.

I am in disbelief. Saddened as I read about the death of fifteen year old Phoebe Prince who hung herself because she was taunted daily. The headlines read she was bullied to death! What does her death mean? And why does it mean so much to me?

I think I relate to Phoebe even more because she was from Ireland and had recently moved to the U.S. She spoke in an Irish accent and I remember how embarrassed I was about my accent, how kids made fun of me. How I hated to sound “white.” And moving from England and coming to Rexdale was a culture shock that I was not prepared for.

I think about Phoebe, her face haunts me. I think about what she could have become. Maybe she would have found the cure for cancer, I think maybe she would have done something really great…maybe she would have had her own TV show.

I read every news item about her, research her on the internet. Feel a sad kinship with a girl I don’t even know. A girl I will never meet…

My sadness multiplies when I read about the death of Carl Walker Hoover, eleven years old who hung himself after daily taunts of being called a faggot, and a homosexual. And the facts are the facts. Gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterpart. I wonder about my own gayness…queerness. If I had “known” or even attempted to come out in high school I wonder what that experience would have looked like for me? And I shamefully think about my own silence when the obviously effeminate gay boy was teased in my high school.

So now in my role as the “confident” mature adult, I feel compelled to not be silent. I feel an urgency to really talk for those who are so often silenced. I go into schools to teach a lesson of compassion, respect. Letting the misfits, the nerds, the queers, the uncool and the unloved know that I was one of them. And now I’m here. This too shall pass? It passes, but you never really forget…

We need to be more vigilant about our children. Make schools safer. Parents, teachers, adults need to be more aware of what is going on in our schools. And yes I know it is easy for us to be dismissive and say kids will be kids. NO! School should not be a war zone for some and a safe haven for others.

So within the safety of my adulthood I think about Phoebe. Daily. She haunts me. I feel my anger rise as I think about little Carl. I feel helpless and it reminds me of how I often felt in school.

Sunday, April 11

my return to blogging!

My fellow blog followers I apologize for my absence.... will explain in my blog. Thanks so much for your love and concern. I promise now to blog every week!

Superwomyn took off her cape and fell out of the sky.

I am back in therapy again. As a black womyn this is something I feel I need to share yet something I feel I should not. There has been great shame in the community about asking for help, seeking help, acknowledging that one needs help. Just recently I felt I was running on empty, feeling stressed to the max. When I finally found the courage to ask a close family member for help she responded by accusing me of always complaining and being selfish. Wow! So, you can see why I have a fear of asking for help. Asking for help is not something I do lightly. I have been deeply, personally invested in portraying an image of the womyn who has it all together, has all the answers, the superwomyn, the go to girl, the girl who seems to have it all....

Yet, in my lonely hours when i was by myself and had to look at myself in the mirror, I found it harder to look myself in the eye. The things and people that were supposed to be making me happy didn't anymore. The friends that I used to love to be around now felt as if I had outgrown them, or did they outgrow me? My family now got on my nerves even more than before and even my guilty pleasures of my favourite comfort foods didn't quite hit the spot. And the womyn, " Ms "trey anthony" " whom I had so skillfully constructed, had become someone I didn't like very much either. I knew then it was time to go back to therapy. Its been a four year absence from therapy. But I'm happy to be back!!

I am reinventing myself again. Apparently this reinvention is beyond my control. My deep spiritual friends have shared with me that based on my birthdate, numerology states that apparently I am in a year 5. A year 5 predicts that one goes through major changes in their life. One usually moves , ends a relationship, changes careers, meets new friends and gets rid of old ones. A year 5 is full of many changes. I have no doubt that I am in a year 5!

So back to therapy? In therapy, I'm learning a lot about this new "trey", the new me who I would like to be… and of course this means truly examining the old trey. I realize i suffer from a complex that i will call, " The no one will love me or show up, if I ask for help or really ask for what I truly want." I'm sure some of you suffer from it too :) A simple request as asking my friends to help me move reduced me to a crying bowl of jello in my therapist's office and had her calmly question why I felt I couldn't ask my friends to help me. I explained to her that i have a fear of people not showing up for me. A fear that my friends won't support me. A fear that if i ask for help it is a sign of weakness. A fear that if I ask….No one will come!

My therapist encouraged me to ask and to carefully note my friend's responses and take stock of what it meant to me. Take stock of what I was feeling. So I took a breath and with baited breath wrote an email asking for help. I gave my "friends" four options on dates and times that they could come and help me. I sent it out to five friends. One immediately responded and congratulated me on asking for help and acknowledged that she knew this must have been hard for me. And she promised to "help" me with my move. I was very happy that she acknowledged this but was very disappointed when the actual moving days came and she never showed up! Two of my other friends wrote back with dates that they were available and showed up for the move. Another one proclaimed she was busy on all four dates! And the last one I haven't heard from..... Yet there were some people in my life who I didn't even think about asking for help who upon hearing about my move, came by and offered their services and chastised me for not asking them for help! This really made me feel love thank you. And my wonderful little sis I owe you big time!

So overall my request for help was bittersweet. It showed me that I have people that I can truly count on, and some that I can't. In that I also felt it was necessary for me to look at my own actions. Do I have "friends" in my life who are really acquaintances? Also, what sort of friend am I? Would I be the friend who others would think to call if they needed help? And to be honest, I couldn't really be sure. To some of my friends I know I'm a really great friend and to some not so much but I'm really working on being a better friend.

Yet I also realized that there was a need for me to do some spring cleaning. My "move" was a physical and emotional one. I needed to move around things and people in my life that no longer were serving me or me serving them. I was holding on to some "friends" as I would a pair of favourite jeans that used to fit me in high school but I knew now as a grown womyn I had no business trying to squeeze myself into!

And it was much more than just getting rid of my friends because they didn't help me move, it was about really taking a stock of what I now want. What types of friends do I want to be around? Who do I want to count on? Who do I want to count on me? What fits new trey. And it doesn't mean that my old friends were bad or mean people, not at all. I just want something different. I now have a New Priority list and some people made it on and some people didn't. Some things got shuffled around and some things got crossed off. It's my list , I would suggest you create your own.

Before it was a priority for me to have hundreds of people around me and calling each one of them my "friend." Before it was important for me to have a centre and a huge downtown space. Before it was important for me to gain the approval of my family, friends, partner, people on the bus, strangers, the taxi driver. Before I loved crowds and being the centre of attention. Before my health wasn't important. Before I wanted to be so "busy" that it stopped me from feeling, thinking, and dealing with my emotions.

Now I am busy slowing down. Taking stock. Going to therapy so I can remember what it feels like to feel again. Now I'm reading more. Trying to eat healthy. Going to the doctor regularly. Calling my closest five friends regularly. Visiting my friend's new baby. Going to a play with my BFF. Driving to Niagara on the lake. Eating breakfast in bed. Listening to my grandmother tell stories. Feeling so much that I cry regularly for no reason. Crying? Me? Yes, everyday! I like to think that my tears represent a new birth, new life, water, tears, water, tears. And somewhere from deep in the water a new me will emerge.....

Wednesday, February 3

Talk dirty to me

Lately i've had this uncontrollable desire to ask many of my friends intimate questions about their sex lives. I've been participating in really uncensored, intimate conversations with various womyn and men about their sex lives. Men have been really eager to share the goods, without hesitation they will tell me what they like in bed, what turns them on, what things will let their toes curls etc....
Womyn well... another story. It amazes me how so many of us are embarrassed to talk about desire and what we like in bed and don't like. I'm also amazed at how many womyn share that they feel embarrassed to share with their partners how to effectively "deliver the goods." Some of us were raised to be "good" girls hence we do not talk about sex and we especially don't talk about sex with our partners! And don't let me start to tell you how many womyn have shared in hushed tones that they have never experienced an ORGASM. sigh....
And as my birthday approaches I begin to think about what I want and desire out of my life and some of those things is to be able to have healthy intimate sexual relationship not only with a partner but also with myself. A quiet delightful moment with myself....
I really want to know what turns me on...what curls my toes. So I'm learning to really love my body, be proud of it, explore it, listen to it. Be sexually free. Learning to say without shame that I have desire. And I need to satisfy this desire. And as I approach my up coming birthday I have recently learnt that I'm apparently in my sexual peek zone, women reach their maximum sexual velocity between35-40, men at 18-22 years old!

Wow! And while I'm in this so called liberating sexual zone I have decided I want to not only have moments of mind blowing earth shattering raw sex and dirty dirty talk! i also want to learn how too truly be intimate. Vulnerable. I want to be held. Held? Yes held. Held before and after sex. And this is something that I have been ashamed to admit. I have been wary of intimacy. Scared to be truly intimate. Scared to touch and to be touched... And the reasons for my deep fears are too many to list. Too personal....
And, I think many of us are scared of true intimacy even though it is something that we claim to desire. Yet how many of us know how to really obtain it or even know what to do with it when it comes knocking at our door? Myself I have been guilty of being a "flight risk" anytime intimacy shows up at my door. Whenever someone feels like they are getting to close, want to love me deeper, or need me to love them deeper I'm gone---emotionally and physically. And too be really honest I must admit intimacy scares the f*&^% out of me!
So in my need to address my fears and also to liberate not only myself but also others, I've decided to go back to therapy and I will continue to publicly share some of my breakthroughs. I feel it's important to continue to work on one's self and carefully look at the cycles we continue to create. So I want to dig deep, no pun intended but I also want to address my fears with intimacy by having a little fun! Hence, my birthday party~ Talk Dirty- I like it, a birthday bash that will be fun, sensual, intimate, and really really good! Yes that good! I'm hoping that maybe we can all have a big O in our chairs! lol! So come out and join me, eat some free cake, laugh and let loose. It's going to be a dirty fun show! Just you and a few hundred of my most intimate friends.......Lets celebrate!

Monday, January 11

The black Rapist next door!

So it's Monday evening 6pm, it's dark outside. I'm alone on a quiet dim lit street in a middle class neighbourhood. I'm walking my dog. I'm black. Female. Five feet two. I'm about ten feet away from my friend's home who I'm house sitting for and I notice footsteps behind me. They are getting closer. Rushing footsteps. I turn around. I notice a young black guy about six three, with a hoody on. Head down. Maybe he's trying to shield himself from the cold or maybe..... something more. Something more sinister. My heart begins to beat faster. Maybe he's trying to hide his face i wonder? My heart races. I quicken my step. He quicken his. step. I'm getting nervous no one is around. I'm now about five feet away from "home."
There's a young black guy with a hoody on, his face down. Steps behind me. I race to my door, keys out. I try to remember everything that i have learnt in self-defense class. Oh but it was so many years ago! Yet, I'm prepared to scream, kick, yell. I will gouge his eyes out with my keys. I will kick him in the nuts! He won't take me down without a fight. I'm ready! I race to the door. Running. Hands shaking. He starts running as well! I open the door slam it shut. I'm safe! I think~Yet he runs towards the house, I think he's going to try and smash through the door, yet he abruptly runs down the adjoining alleyway between my "home" and the neighbors. I know what he's going to do! He's going to smash the side window and break into the house. He's going to rape me! I'm in extreme panic. I don't know who to call! I grab my phone quickly my first instincts are to call my friends. No one answers. I glance out the window I don't see him, yet i know he's there. I sense him. I'm going to call 911! I need the police! As I'm about to call my phone rings, it's my friend who owns the house. She had just seen my number on her phone, is everything ok? I quickly explain. Describing my would be "attacker," should I call the police! She laughs. "Oh that's the neighbour's son he lives next door he uses the side door because he lives in the basement." My heart stops racing. My hands stop trembling. Shame overtakes me. My friend laughs. More shame. She responds. "Man you don't want to be the black girl who calls the cops on an innocent black guy!" Shame washes over me. An innocent young black guy just going home and yet he had become the "rapist."
Me, who should have known better, Miss, black feminist, social activist. The person who just produced a play called Secrets of a black boy which deals with the stereotypes of black men! I feel shame. I think of all the great black men in my life. The ones who have loved me and I have loved them fiercely back. Defending their honour viciously to anyone who wants to label them anything but good black men!
At the top of my "good black men list" is my brother whom I love dearly, probably the same age as the "rapist" next door. My brother wears a hoody when it's cold, wraps his scarf around his face. I wonder how many times women have mistaken him for a rapist when he's walking down Landsdowne, probably around midnight on the way to his night shift job. Maybe he's walking a bit faster because he's late for work or maybe he's just cold.....
I also think of the worst possibilities, what if i was a white woman who called the cops and described exactly the scenario of what happened, a black young guy, "following me", rushing down a dark alleyway, would they rush over, pin my "rapist" over the hood of a cop car, arrest him.... I don't know.
Yet as I sit with these thoughts, I also wonder, would I have reacted the same way if he was a young white man "following" me? What if he was a young white man in a business suit? Would I have felt just as threatened? Would I have felt threatened if he was a young white kid in baggy jeans and a hoody on? I want to believe that my reaction would have been the same....but I'm not so sure. I'm not certain. And this uncertainty bothers me. Doesn't sit well with me.
I can't help but think about the countless black men who sit behind bars, for being so called "suspects." How many innocent black men have been jailed. I recall the case of James Bain. A florida man who spent 35 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. James Bain, who is now 54 years-old, was convicted of kidnapping and raping a nine-year-old boy in 1974. The young boy recognised Mr Bain as his attacker, but there was no technical evidence.
Bain's alibi that he was watching television with his twin sister was dismissed. Through out the years Mr Bain always maintained that he was innocent. Recently a DNA test has proved his innocence! There are so many other cases like James Bain. How many of the wrongly convicted just happen to be black men?

And to make myself feel better I want to truly believe that I reacted from a place of fear and self-preservation as a young womyn trying to protect herself. I want to believe that race didn't factor into this at all. I want to believe that I wasn't influenced by the daily media diet, of black men's faces sprawled across newspaper headlines and t.v stations that label them "rapist", murderer, BAD ~someone to fear did not affect my reaction. I want to believe this I do! I want to believe that I know better! That I would never fear a black man! I have no need to fear black men!
Because I have a brother a black brother. A brother I love fiercely. A gentle giant. A good "kid." Six three, who sometimes wears a hoody. And sometimes covers his face when it's cold. I have a brother. A black brother......

* I welcome your feedback on this one....

Saturday, January 2

it was the "perfect life" except it wasn't mine!

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2010! So much has happened!

Ten years ago I called off an engagement to my high school sweetheart. He was a wonderful, kind, loving man. Sexy as hell! He was the "perfect guy." We had bought a house, we were in the middle of planning a wedding. Our family and friend were excited! We had our entire lives planned out the only problem was, I wasn't sure if this is what I wanted for my life.... The more excited everyone got about my so called "perfect life," the bigger the knot grew in my stomach that something wasn't quite right... I knew I wanted more. I wanted to live my life with passion. I wanted to really live! My desire to really LIVE kept me up at night. Had me on the phone with my best friend late at night questioning the true meaning of life. Left me on a therapist couch once per week trying to figure all the S^%$ out! I went to everyone for answers until I realized that the only person who could provide me with the true answers were myself.....
So I made the agonizing decision to leave my very traditional, perfect planned life, I abandoned "good girl trey" and I took the road less travelled....
My decision to leave and choose to live my life~ my way, left many people hurt, devastated, disappointed and many questioned my sanity. I even questioned my sanity! I was scared. Yet I stepped into the darkness with just a small hope that somewhere I would find some light. I prayed for guidance and I knew that I had to have faith because there was a part of me that knew if I continued on the path that others wanted for me I would die before I completed the journey. So I followed my gut. Believed that I had to be willing to "disappoint others to remain true to myself..."
This decision to leave and disappoint others was one of the most bravest things that I had ever done in my life. Yet, this decision later turned out to be one of my most fruitful, life changing decisions both professionally and personally. It showed me my worth, allowed me to truly live with passion. l learnt what it meant to truly love, laugh and cry. Too actually be ok with my feelings and desires to want MORE.... and to believe that I deserved MORE....

Ten years ago I learnt....
  • "This too shall pass......" Time does heal all wounds and sometimes you have to sit with pain, disappointment and hurt so you will know what true joy feels like when it comes through your door!
  • Sometimes you may hurt others but the worst thing that you can do is hurt yourself by staying in a situation that does not serve your highest good.
  • People will get extremely angry when you mess up the order that they have planned for your life because when you truly start living your life it forces others to really take a look at their own lives and start living it accordingly.
  • When you hit rock bottom the only place you can go is straight to the top. But be willing to take your time to climb slowly to the top and the views up there are amazing!
So, as I write down my goals for 2010, as I make plans to make some huge shifts both professionally and personally I now sit with the same thoughts that I did nearly a decade ago. I sit with the same fears... And again others are already questioning why do I desire more? Again, I'm questioning my sanity.
Yet i know it's time again for me to take the path less travelled. It's time for me to walk through fear, get out of my comfort zone. I must be willing to disappoint others to remain true to myself. I must listen to my gut. I must remain TRUE to myself.
I wish for you in 2010 what I wish for myself to live your life with passion, Truth, and lots of love and laughter.

I also wanted to take this time to thank you for "following" my life, my thoughts, and working through my issues with me. I also wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback with me. This blog has really been therapeutic and I love having this connection with so many of you. Someone to work out the &*%$! with. I see my blog as a community support group~Even an international support group! A big shout out to my followers in India, South Africa and Ireland! And from many of your responses, personal emails and stories I realize that I'm not alone in some of my many "issues!" lol. Make 2010 your big tings year!