Friday, February 5, 2010

New Campaign: Michelle Obama For...Michelle Obama

"you know the things that i am afraid of/i'm not afraid to tell/and if we ever leave a legacy/it's that we loved each other well..."--Indigo Girls

Fact: I love Michelle Obama. Luuuurve her. Obsessively watch and read her interviews and realize I've been smiling the entire time once I finish. I adore her firm-but-easygoing approach to life, love, motherhood, and politics. Her brand of honesty and realism is unparalleled by any of her FLOTUS predecessors. And her Rock Mom steez is sublime. She makes it look easy, all while reminding us that it's hard as nails. She's smart as a whip, articulate but relatable, funny as hell, and refreshingly normal. She wears short shorts to walk the dog outside on the White House lawn for God's sake. There is virtually nobody in the public eye I admire more. But read my lips: I would not vote for Michelle Obama for President of the United States.

It's not a Black thing. There are a number of Black folks I'd vote for--her husband was one of them. It's not a woman thing. I'd vote for Hillary in a New York minute if she ran again. Now, I'd never vote for Sarah Palin, but it's not because she's a woman, it's because she's a sick, sad joke the MMM and Tea-Baggers are playing on the country. To be sure, I don't equate Michelle with Sarah. I wouldn't vote for Sarah because she's an annoyingly plucky climber, whom I'm quite sure could have a serious conversation with a rhino and it would walk away feeling dumber. Former President George W. wants to give Sarah a few points off of his IQ. No, Michelle is not of that class. There are much better reasons why President Michelle Obama would not work for me.

1. Michelle is a mother. A really good mother. And feeling a vested interest in Malia and Sasha's success as young women, I want her to continue to be a good mother. This is actually a two-sided negative because a) the Presidency could take Michelle's attention from the girls, which would be a travesty, or b) it could not take her attention from the girls, which is the more probable reality. I could definitely see a GW Bush-reading-to-kindergarten-class-during-9-11 moment with Michelle, a national disaster, and her children. Michelle would be just as unapologetic as Bush, too. Her official statement would probably be: "My first priority is these girls."

2. Michelle is too street. She peeps game and isn't afraid to call it out. Classily, of course, but call it out nonetheless. She's now mastered political correctness, as she's had to in the past few years, but as President she just might snap. As First Lady, she has the ability to check her emotions because she's not expected to be the initial reactor. As President, Michelle might show her ass. And I would love it, but I would hate the criticism of her that followed.

3. Barack would be a terrible FGOTUS. Barack is a brilliant man--and of late, I'm less displeased with him than I've been in some time, but everyone must admit that he, in the poignant words of Nas "love the attention". Barack isn't a bimbo, but he is a poster boy--he doesn't play second fiddle very well. Of course, that's one of the main reasons that he won the presidency, but standing by and not offering opinions and solutions publicly would be like an appendectomy without anesthesia for our Jerry McGuire-esque President.

4. Michelle is an amazing First Lady. I wouldn't want her image to be tainted by the inevitable stress, strain, tough decisions, bad decisions, and BS that comes with being President. I want to remember her as she is now: a highly effective public figure with a winning personality.

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Guest Post: 12 Red Flags of A NIC

"as i head for the door i turn around to be sure/did i shave my legs for this?"--Deana Carter

My very good, longtime friend, a brilliant writer and ad exec in Chicago, should be married by now. She should at least have a serious boyfriend. Not that there's anything wrong with not being married or having a serious boyfriend, but if anybody deserves and commands a good man, it's her. Smart, beautiful, spiritual, highly educated, hard-working, fun, funny, cultured, real, supportive, and cool. But of course, like so many other smart, beautiful Black (and not-Black) professional women, she is Single. Capital "S" single. And consequently, she is forced to [gulp] "date". Quotation mark "date".

She recently went on one of these "dates", and I'm honored that she thought enough of my lil' ole blog to document the hilarious sad-but-true tale for the rest of us in BICland. Her date was a classic DIC, so DIC that the "D" had to be replaced. You have to feel her. Her story, "12 Red Flags of a NIC", can be enjoyed in full after the jump.

I am not a conceited person. I am very attractive and very tired of guys who think that complimenting my hair, my smile or my boots are enough to make me hand over my number. So it was refreshing to hear a simple comment like, “Sounds like you had a good day”, from behind said as I crossed the street. In my mind I thought,"The least I could do is respond." So I turned and faced a guy – modestly attractive, not like my crush who sends my smile into overdrive, but still in the middle of the spectrum of attractiveness. So we chat which ultimately turns into a one-way phone number exchange. Three days later, he calls and we have another pretty decent conversation and he asks me out to dinner...

So let’s skip all of the hoopla and get right to the date (and the red flags). I meet him at the train station (it’s a public transportation kind of city) and we walk to a Thai restaurant. It’s decent, located on a main street but not much traffic inside. The waiter puts down two menus and an additional “$5 daily special menu”. Red Flag #1: The boy only looks at the $5 menu and then excuses himself. I on the other hand look at both menus and inevitably settle on the safe Pad Thai (because not every Thai restaurant is a good one). He orders an ice water and something from the $5 holla. So he asks, “Who is your favorite musician?” My mind draws a blank, I mean anyone who knows me KNOWS it’s T.I., but I decide that I will hide my crazy, lustful obsession of my little convict til I know this man better. I say, “Umm, I don’t know. What about you?” Red Flag #2: Damn near jumping from his seat, he says, "Maxwell." Let’s pause for the cause; I know guys dig our former afro-ed crooner but never in all my years have I had a man luv Max the way this boy does. He even started singing Lifetime and Fortunate at the table.

So I interrupt and say I also like 90's music. Red Flag #3: He responds, “Oh yeah, me too! Man, Tevin Campbell…” (and breaks into his rendition of Can We Talk). The conversation continues with him (in his mind and visually) thinking 'this girl is perfect, we are perfect,' while my mind wanders to the project I have due for work tomorrow. Speaking of work (Red Flags #4-7), during the course of the conversation his career changed 4 times: when I met him he said he was in advertising sales, then later it became I work at a call center, but I’m only there to save money to go to school in Florida for physical therapy, which later became, I really want to be an actor and move to LA.

So the bill has been sitting on the table, awkwardly for about 20 minutes now. Finally he says we should go. He hesitates then pulls out his wallet. Now, I know I will get flack for this but at this point I know how this non-date is going so I say, “Are you treating me?” as I go to get my wallet. Red Flag #8: He says, “Awkward!” in his best “Men on Films" In Living Color reference-voice. Red Flag #9: He says women only gesture for their wallets to make it look like they will pay, not because they really want to. I said, “Oh no sweetheart, I don’t do anything for show" and then put my $7 down on the table. Red Flag #10: Folks, let’s pause again: the total bill was only like $12 so really…you do the math on this guy. So then he says "You can pay if you want, it’s up to you." I do pay. Then the waitress says something about not being able to do both cash and card (he was using plastic) so he tells her to put it all on his card, then he picks up my money and (Red Flag #11) says, “Should I keep this?” I said "you know what, you go right ahead." He even had the audacity to say that he will always take care of his girlfriend and she will never have to pay a mortgage, car note, etc. (as he’s putting my money in his pocket.) Anyway, the next thing he does is serenade me with his own spoken word poetry for 10 – 15 minutes! As one friend put it, “Don’t you just hate that Love Jones has messed brothers up, got them thinking they can all win a girl over with poetry.” LMAO! This boy was no Darius (pun intended).

I go home (just a polite hug) and my chariot (aka the city bus) whisks me away from that disaster. He calls me, says he made it home, wants to know when we will see each other again. I say, "I’ll call you Saturday" but the more I thought about that date, the more I dreaded communicating with him again. Red Flag #12: He didn’t give me a chance to call him on Saturday. He called me in the morning. I didn’t answer. He called again 8 hours later. I didn’t answer. Three minutes after his last call he sends me a text: "Whateva, I c y you’ve been single since 2004. Peace u flake!” And so ladies, those are the 12 Red Flags of an N.I.C..

--Naturally Twisted (J. Taurin Williams)

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Unemployed BIC

"let the river run/let all the dreamers/wake the nation/come the new jerusalem..." -Carly Simon

Through a series of confusing events, as of Tuesday, February 2, I am now jobless. Although I'd grown to despise my rather impossible, frustrating, taxing job and found that it was becoming a mutant, maniacal source of a different brand of BIC, I was shocked to be unceremoniously fired on Tuesday. Misconduct? No. Not giving it 100%? Not quite. Being labeled a liability in a ridiculous lawsuit my former employer initiated against my current employer like a three year-old brat? Check.

I'm using this time and opportunity to do three things: a) revel in the benefits of unemployment and the clarity it can bring if you're prudent, b) stay up late once again since I don't have to get up at 7:45 AM, and c) rant about disgusting, corrupt cretins with Napoleon complexes...and complexes about God knows what else.

It's been quite a long time since I was jobless. The last time was two years ago; I was 26 and returning to the workforce after a gallant-but-unsuccessful stab at business ownership. I gave the business a year and blood, sweat, and tears--literally. As a sidenote (and a testament and *testimony* that you never know why certain things happen but can come to be so glad they did): it's fortunate that I learned the process of getting unemployment funds, because it's going to come in handy now.

I'm far less devastated than most people assume I am, simply because I'm prepared. I've also been through enough to know that everything that looks bad from the outside can be the source of your biggest blessings. As it stands right now, I clearly hear God saying that I'm being granted time to focus on the really important things in my life. I have a way of making a job my everything, one of my biggest flaws. It's unfortunate in the Waiting to Exhale-esque sense that a job can't keep you warm at night, but it's also unfortunate when your job isn't going the way you want it to go. When despite your best efforts, the business you're running isn't reaching the success you were hoping it would, and daily, nonsensical "bad luck" occurrences keep popping up professionally for you and your colleagues. In a climate like that, a perfectionist Virgo like me can start to go a bit mad. And mad I was indeed going.

While I was pissed with the termination--the reason for which was outlined in the letter I was faxed from my boss' attorney (I've still heard nothing from him, another potent annoyance) as "claims made by _____________ (my former employer)"--I felt an enormous weight off of my shoulders as I walked out of the door of my office 30 minutes later. The sun was a bit brighter, the air was a bit fresher (if that's possible in LA), and the world seemed quite a bit bigger. No more nights in the office until 11PM. No more harrassing phone calls from disgruntled vendors, not one more long conversation with prospective clients with zero intention of retaining our services. I was free to live my life again. And that alone is a blessing.

I'm 28 years old--20 months from being 30, in fact. And life is short; I've been acutely aware of this for the vast majority of mine. It should be grabbed by the horns and ridden like the rabid bull it is. Perhaps because I'm older and increasingly in touch with who I am, this time I'm being careful about my next steps. Who I am is a woman with a colorful vocabulary and creative writing skills I want to use as much as possible. A woman who hears music all the time, even when there's nothing playing. A woman who likes to wear three different nail polish colors on my hands and a totally different one on my feet (I make it hot, though, trust!). A woman who cuts all of her hair off and eight weeks later is at the beauty supply buying some of her length back--maybe in another color. I'm a free-spirit, but the older I get, the more shrewd I get with my Bohemian nature. I finally learned to channel it in a productive way. And it's for this reason that I'm looking up and not down following my major life change this week. It's time for me to start living my life again, for me and not for anyone else.

I realize that not all of this makes perfect sense, but I suppose I'm trying to make more sense of out everything at this time, too. The bottom line is that BIC is back, for real this time. Not saying I'll be posting every day--I've learned my lesson about those kind of claims--but with more of a life and far more colors in the life I'm living, I'll have much more to post. And not celebrity gossip crap--that's all over the web. I want to talk about the things I used to talk about on here: the search for self, fulfillment, and of course, love. Please stay tuned.

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