Electronic front porch or something else….

I will admit I am an internet junkie, I spend way too much time online. It started almost 10 years ago when I was contemplating going natural (translation, no more chemical relaxers in my hair), at that time I knew no one in my day to day life who was natural and needed some support. Since the first time I tried to dread my hair at 18, it was a failure since I didn’t know at that time that dreads on relaxed hair don’t work. (I basically was just washing and going with no combing…it was a hot mess)

So almost 10 years ago I came across an online community of women of African descent who were either natural or also contemplating the move. It was a great little community and allowed me to also connect with women who lived in Chicago as well so I could get some live examples. At that point in time, my internet usage was still pretty tame since I was in Chicago and not relying on the net to fill any voids in my life.

Then 7 years ago we moved to Maine and a sista was lonely with a capital L, starting all over 1100 miles from family and friends is no joke, despite daily calls back home, the only person I talked to daily face to face was the spousal unit…it was a rough time.

A year after the move was when my Mom got diagnosed with cancer and thus started the journey that ended with her death 8 months after being diagnosed. By then the sistas from my online discussion group really did become my support, after her death the women from our board organized and sent a gift to help my family out since they knew that my Dad was out of work and I had been helping my folks out.

It was after my Mom’s death that I truly knew the women in my group were not just online folks but many are indeed friends, I know that I can travel to anyplace and if there is a sista from our group, I won’t be alone. In fact early in my time here in Maine, a sista came through and we got together.

That said as my time in Maine goes on, I reached a point where clearly I needed to find some real life buddies and in 7 years I will say that I have built a decent support group, though sadly one of my dearest friends is getting ready to relocate to southern New England. She is one of my few Black girl friends here and to say I am dreading the day she leaves is an understatement.

Now I shared all this to say that I clearly see real value in using the internet as a sociliazing tool, even Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends, so despite the many changes even Facebook serves a purpose.

However I must admit that as of late it bothers me how may folks use the internet to connect with versus face to face interactions, actually a dear real life friend admitted she sees Facebook as an electronic front porch of sorts…I don’t know but I don’t quite see it the same way.

I fear that as we gravitate to using text messages and mediums such as Twitter and Facebook, that it has the ability to take away from the human experience of connecting. Lately I have noticed that on Friday and Saturday nights I find myself online chatting with folks who are only 10-15 miles away from me and that just seems strange. No one can find the time to get together for a coffee or drink but we are all sitting in our respective homes on our computers chatting and while there is nothing wrong with that, I remember as a child that on weekends my folks had friends over or we went to visit others.

I sense we are losing a piece of our humanity by reducing ourselves down to digestable soundbytes to the point that even I have noticed my attention span is not what it used to be and that scares me.

While I realize I would never want to go back to life without this amazing technology, lets also not forget the value in really reaching out and connecting to one another.

Have a happy weekend and welcome Spring!

Too much information?

It seems that my most recent post discussing my marriage has created a buzz, since Sunday I have heard from a few real life friends who felt that I either went too far by putting the Spousal Unit on blast or the flipside has been a few of my girls who told me they are in the same place and never felt like they could talk about the issues I brought up.

I won’t lie, truth is I was very hesitant to publish that post yet at the same time, there was a real need to say what I did and not necessarily  to just one or two folks. In the past couple of years, I have watched several good friends get divorced and in all cases the divorces even the “nice” ones are still messy. I have been divorced and its not a pleasant thing, families fracture, kids get bounced around and the list goes on.

No, when I remarried years ago, I knew it was important to marry someone I could always be honest with since truth be told had I written what I wrote about the Spousal Unit about my ex-husband, there is a chance that well, it would not have been good and I will leave it at that.

Yet in the age of the internet, are there times when one can reveal too much information about themselves online? The answer is yes, but at the same time I think that while so many of us stay connected 24/7, I think the sad reality is that most of  that “connection” is superfical. We are living in a time and space, where we can facebook, twitter, and use a vast array of tools to tell folks how we are doing, yet let’s be real who states in their facebook update “I am facing a moral dilemma”? I have yet to see that and I suppose if I did, most folks who would reply would do so in a cute and superficial way.

Nope, we do a lot of talking these days and sometimes reveal way too much about ourselves but at the same time we don’t reveal our true selves…instead we reduce ourselves down to cute and digestable soundbytes. I will be honest, I am at a stage in my life where I am all about being real and honest and recognizing that my quest to be real and honest may at times cause folks to go WTF???

There is something about getting older and seeing society shift from a place where we talk a ton but say nothing that has me wanting to get deeper, I neither want nor need to be nice or stay only on the surface. I think about how in recent months as our nation faces the worse economic crisis in years, we hear about tortured souls who decide to take their lives rather than face economic uncertainty. After these folks kill themselves and in some cases their families, inevitably we hear that they were nice folks…no one saw it coming. Of course not, no one wakes up and says today is a good day to kill myself, after coffee and an Egg McMuffin, I think I will finish it off with a taste of bullet to the head.

Nope, these folks are often stewing and brewing for a while yet for many of us we no longer are able to connect in a meaningful way that might prevent such tragedies from happening in the first place.

So while I do think there is a line we can cross as far as going too far when it comes to revealing ourselves in a public space at the same time by dropping our masks we can create opportunties to connect with others in a meaningful way.

You, your man and porn….

I must admit that until I started hanging out with white women both on-line and IRL, I really did not know that so many women have issues with their man looking at porn. Now before I begin, I know there are women of color who also have issues with their partners looking at porn, but my unscientific conclusion is that white women seem to get bothered by it way more than the sistas do.

Me personally, it doesn’t bother me and nor do I feel disrespected by it. Shit, the reality is for months after our daughter was born a sista was not in the mood, shit I was tired and if the spousal unit needed to get his jollies off looking at some air-brushed babe, didn’t mean he loved me less or was being disrespectful to me. I didn’t feel his looking at the occasional nude pic meant he loved me less or had issues with women. Shoot, the mister is one of the kindest and gentlest men who is in touch with his feminine side but at the same time he is a man with needs and for me him handling his business was preferable to him pestering the shit out of me while I was recovering for almost a year after giving birth. Yeah, it was a serious drought around these parts.

Yet I am continuously amazed when I hear my white friends say if they caught their man with porn it would be a betrayal… um, no for me a betrayal would be if I walk in my bedroom and there is another woman on my bed, now that is some betrayal. A while back a good white friend confessed she and her husband only had relations once in a blue moon and that she had not given her ole man any special treats in about 5 years. Can I be blunt? As I heard this story and nodded my head, I thought to myself, are you sure your man is faithful? Now I know her husband, he is a nice guy but I know having had 2 husbands that if I only wanted to kick it every now and then, that would not make for a happy man especially since this same friend is anti-porn, in other words she don’t want the mister wanking off to images that are not her.

Um, I am ole school..reared by a Black woman and the one lesson I always got from my Moms is take care of your man and if your man handles his business correct, do not tell your girlfriends? Why, you ask? Simply put, you start spouting off about how your man makes your toes curl, you will learn who your true friends are.. shit, I learned that lesson back in my 20’s when a so-called friend stepped to my man. No, some shit you don’t share.

That said, back to the story at hand, seriously men and women have different needs, many of us women like to cuddle and have that quality time.. men, they like that too but at the same time, they like to blow off steam if you know what I mean and IMO if you are in a committed relationship, you need to take care of each other or else there will be a disconnect.  I am not saying have sex when you don’t want to, hell nawl to that but damn by laying down rules like no porn if that’s what your man likes, seems to me you are creating tension where there need not be tension.

I know that many women feel pornography is degrading to women, that many of the women are being taken advantage of but these days there is also a lot of quality women made porn, so I would think a couple could meet in the middle and find something acceptable.

One thing I have learned after 2 marriages and 2 kids, men do not like to be controlled anymore than we do and silly rules like no porn do not help a relationship. However if you feel your man viewing porn is fucking with your self-esteem then I suggest checking out Katt Williams in the sketch where he talks about how esteem is a thing of YOUR self, not anyone else. Men are smart, chances are your honey would rather have you than the woman on the screen, so keep that in mind.