Today I interviewed a recovering addict in the throes of relapse. She was two years clean for a second time when her mother fell ill, and watching her die was more than she could handle. Several months later she’s still trying to give her a proper burial.
Later on, I’d learn more of her backstory. How, even in her heroin-induced haze, she always found her way back to her safe place, sleeping in a loading dock behind the store. Eventually, she cleaned herself up well enough to get a place of her own and became a volunteer. When she talked about what the organization had done for her and what it meant to her, there was a hope in her voice. A resolve to once again overcome. Even as her old pimp hovered around the front entrance looking for her.
Third time’s a charm, they say.
When someone breaks, you always wonder what pushed them to the edge, what series of events pushed them past the brink and into mid-air, holding the anvil. Perhaps it was someone telling her that he would make her life a living hell, or someone else telling her how he dreaded the sight of her. Or friends turning foe.
The human body may have a high capacity for pain, but the human heart does not. And in the quiet, it will not be the words of love and encouragement you remember but the words of disdain and departure.
And those are the words that will echo in your head as tears stream down your face in a downtown cafe.
“Strange, specific stuff. That’s what makes a nerd a nerd. If you like strange, specific stuff, that’s a nerd, ok? Kanye West is a black nerd. He likes strange, specific stuff. If you go up to Kanye West and say “Hey, what are your favorite things?” he’ll be like “Robots and teddybears.” That’s a nerd.”—Donald Glover (via bastardslacks)
I need more than help getting to Over It; I need a rickshaw pulled by a Savior. And even then, I’ll want to tarry on the bridge. I’ll caress the coins of memory before casting them in the sea. My body will become salt all the way to the thigh before I stop looking back, like Lot’s wife.
But I need to go. It’s imperative. I know what awaits me on the other side.
There is love unlike any I’ve known–love that patterns the work of the crucifixion: steadfast despite inconvenience; enduring regardless of pain; resistant to retreat, simply because it is redemptive to stay, simply because it’s the fulfillment of a promise. There is a trust I have yet to develop, of the type that would allow me to love hard again, even after acquiring such acute awareness of betrayal’s possibility that I feel I can sense it days, months, or years before it will ever occur. There is a reality I can build for my daughter that is different from the one that I’ve known, where her mother can fall in love with someone other than her father and all it will mean for her is additional love.
Harry Burns:Right now everything is great, everyone is happy, everyone is in love and that is wonderful. But you gotta know that sooner or later you're gonna be screaming at each other about who's gonna get this dish. This eight dollar dish will cost you a thousand dollars in phone calls to the legal firm of That's Mine, This Is Yours.
Harry Burns:Please, Jess, Marie. Do me a favor, for your own good, put your name in your books right now before they get mixed up and you won't know whose is whose. 'Cause someday, believe it or not, you'll go 15 rounds over who's gonna get this coffee table. This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale COFFEE TABLE.
A 16-year-old girl is missing after disappearing while she headed to her job earlier this week, South Side detectives said today.
Shayla Baylor called her mother on Monday, saying she was taking the CTA north to her job on the 4700 block of South State Street, Calumet Area detectives said in an alert issued today.
Baylor, who goes to UIC College Prep, 1231 S. Damen Ave, has not been heard from since, police said.
Baylor is described as black, with a medium complexion, and has black hair and brown eyes. She stands about 5 feet tall and weighs about 110 pounds. She was last seen wearing khaki school uniform pants, a burgundy short sleeve polo shirt, a burgundy long-sleeve pullover with the letters “UIC” on the front. She was carrying a gray backpack.
Anyone who finds Baylor is asked to call Calumet Area detectives at 312-747-8274.
The first man who touched me inappropriately was a family friend. I was five. I pretended I was asleep.
When I was eight, a group of boys tried to jump me on the way to the store for my grandmother. If an adult hadn’t stopped them, it would’ve been a wrap.
When I was about 11 or 12, another group of boys—who had decided that I was stuck up because my mother didn’t allow me to hang outside too often—jumped me in the stairwell of our building. Again, saved by an adult before the groping and grabbing escalated.
When I was 14, I was almost raped on my living room couch. I never told my mother because I thought she’d be more upset about me having a boy over while she was at work.
When I was 17, I was running late for 7th period gym when two guys from the football team decided that they wanted a threesome in the back stairwell. My gym shorts were half off when the sound of footsteps scared them away.
When I was 18, I was heading back to the employee locker room of the Museum of Science and Industry when another employee, a guy who had shown interest decided to make a move in a remote part of the building. After I told him I wasn’t interested, he persisted. Got handsy. I can’t even remember how I got away before shit really got real.
When I was 25, and blowing off some steam with a late-night walk when a cabbie stopped to offer me a ride because “pretty girls don’t need to be out this late.” I refused his offer. He jumped out of his cab and tried to grab me. I jetted back to my apartment like my ass was on fire.
None of these boys or men came with “Warning: Potential Rapist” labels taped to their foreheads. They were the kids who rode the school bus with you, the men who offered to carry your groceries to your door. They were The Nice Guys™.
The men who assaulted Lara Logan were probably Nice Guys™ too.
Pundits and experts—all bombast and agenda—have come from the far reaches of the Cable News Universe to weigh in.
"It’s their sexually repressed culture."
"Men can’t control themselves."
"Why did they send a woman there in the first place?"
"If she weren’t pretty and white we wouldn’t be hearing about this."
"How fitting that she was ‘liberated’ in Liberation Square while she was gushing about the other part of the ‘liberation’."
Then there was more talk about her checkered past as an alleged homewrecker, and her political leanings. Because we still haven’t learned that, regardless of past indiscretions, good looks, and “dangerous” assignments, no woman deserves to be violated. No woman deserves to have her humanity stripped away.
As someone on a journo listserv I follow so succinctly put it:
…remember that ultimately, sexual assault is unique to the individual and that maybe, just maybe, this isn’t about us.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”— James Baldwin
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
I don’t know about other people but I can not only read, I write like a mother fucker AND I buy clothes. And I look like a bad mother fucker while I do it.
I would not date anyone spouting all this. Fo sho.
What the hell kinda nonsense is this person spouting? I am throwing some MAJOR side-eye at this.
I’m a journalist. Was a journalist. I have interviewed heroes and villains. Homeless people. Heads of State. I craft words. I shape the narratives of others with ease. Why, then, is it so hard for me to shape my own?
“You deserve a man who isn’t afraid of you, and who isn’t afraid of everything that brought you pain, and who will face that pain with you, no matter how ugly it is…You deserve a man who will tell you when you’re wrong, and who will listen when you tell him he’s wrong, and a man who is going to be just as open as you are, and just as free with his thoughts as you are, and just as willing to struggle with himself as you are…”—Asha Bandele (via mufarosbeautifuldaughter)