In this lifetime, we meet many people.
Some of them are up to standard, and others "crash" us and make us feel as if something is wrong with us, when it's really them.
In my 50-some-odd years, I've met the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Megastars, wannabe stars, folks on the streets who are more interesting than rich folks, pastors, preachers, teachers, business owners, lawyers, morticians, children from all walks of life, and I have to say that in more than 50 years of living in Georgia and out East coast way, I thought I had met some pretty gosh awful people, as well as a teaspoon full of good ones.
Until I came out west ... (taking exception to one phenomenal western state, Colorado).
Burned out by a husband whom I was married to for more than 10 years, and only to discover he was living on the DownLow and had brought his filth and germs into what I believed to be a sacred marriage bed, I was literally stripped of everything I owned and had spent more than 30 years of my life working for...to nothing more than the clothes on my back and a bag I could carry in my hand.
I came westward on the invitation of someone I thought was a friend, and when I landed--after getting halfway there on a bus and then having my younger sister's minister husband collect donations from his church in Dallas to send me the rest of the way by plane--I thought there might be a chance that I could pull it together again and be on my way.
But on arrival, I discovered that my "friend" (former friend now), was a bigger alcoholic than I had known her to be back in Georgia, where I'd met her nearly 20 years before our friendship abruptly ended. It was more than alcoholism, she was a pure half-German drunken lush. Beer, bier that is, for breakfast was nothing unusual to her.
After going into some paranoid schizophrenic ideations about "people trying to sabotage her" for her "contacts" (meaning she knew a lot of famous and infamous people and politicians - separating those two types for obvious reasons...), I noticed that in nearly 20 years of knowing her, she had never advanced beyond the level of backwoods immaturity.
Even after becoming a grandmother, she was still in the same place that I'd last known her in her 30s, during the time that I took her and her four daughters in off the streets. I took care of eight kids alone, hers and mine, so she could work and find a place to live, which she did. Having never gotten anywhere in life that was meaningful and mature, even with all of those memorable "contacts", I allowed her drunken state to "get next to me" for reasons I no longer even remember.
I was born a sensitive (according to my mother and older sister) and loving and giving and caring child, and I could not help being myself, for it was the Gift of God. But that one burned me beyond recognition.
Was God trying to teach me a lesson about who I was, or tell me she wasn't good enough to be my friend? I didn't know which; but apparently, she wasn't good enough. The Lord had people He had to turn His nose up on from time to time.
After a drunken fit of hers, I landed in the home of an older couple, two people who turned out to be dear friends of mine and still are. They were from Back East and Down Home, he having even served some time in Fort Benning before retiring from the military. I stayed there about three weeks and then was invited to Arizona by a former friend of 14 years whom I had not seen since she left Atlanta.
I accepted the invitation gladly, and went there with a job I had been hired for by telephone. But then, on the very first day of work, the snake who hired me called after I'd spent one day on the job doing nothing, because he left the office and didn't come back, called to say "I have worked with your kind before and this isn't going to work out."
My kind, indeed ... he didn't even know what "my kind" was, or still is. Then he didn't even want to pay me for the day. I had to call the Arizona Department of Labor to force a day's pay out of the little illicit racist n-word.
It took me a solid nine months to find a part-time job, and when I did, the former friend from Arizona had also invited a friend of hers from California to stay with her some months later. Turned out s/he was of the same ilk as others here, so Arizona turned out to the perfect place for him/her.
Before it arrived, the two of us were getting along just fine except for the fact that I don't watch "Ignorance TV," like pre-retired Oprah, the Kardashians, Dr. Phil, or American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, or anything that doesn't teach or discover or create, and is only for superficial mindsludge. So, when she would watch all of that loud pretentious overbloated nonsense on TV and found it entertaining at that, I'd go to my room, close the door, and read a Bible a little, pray a lot, or try to get some work done or check e-mails and look for work online; or even see if I could earn a few bucks writing, which almost never happens unless you work for a major news industry. But I like to write, and it shows. So whatever...
I kept her company through one season of "American Idol" and it nearly made me gag-a-spoon the whole time. However, I made a sporting attempt to act as if it was "fun" to watch (and only if you're ignorant and don't have a life is it fun to watch any reality or "glitterbomb drama" shows). That was the season some kid (I think it was "Lee Dewyze"?) won who has never been seen or heard of since, like most of them so I hear. I'd rather watch my President on the Internet give speech after heart-wrenching speech and listen to him pour out his untiring love for a country that barely loves him back; and love-stalk his helluva gorgeous wife and daughters (whom I envy something awful) than watch "paint dry" on those wrecked out dramas.
Nine months later, I finally got a part-time job at, of all places, Bank of America.
I received pay for only four hours, but worked ten, because it took me three hours to get there and three hours to get back-including a 45-minute walk to and from the only place in that wasteland to catch a bus.
However, in spite of all of this, the friend of hers from California, would get up after she left for work in the mornings, though I did not get in until one or two a.m. after those long bus trips, and turn radio music up sky high just to irritate me. I could not even go into the kitchen to eat without hearing things like "You people sho' do like your shicken, don't you?"
I didn't get it then, but I get it now. Jealousy and utter hatred. Some gay males actually do have those kinds of issues with black women, who are mostly privvy to something they can never have a serious relationship with.
Of course, by then, being my usual sweetheart of a self and a child of God, I helped him get a job where I was working; and I had just started there myself. But it wasn't the first time I had gotten people jobs in my lifetime. I had even introduced newly graduated lawyers to attorneys I worked for who had been hired by the firms--and I don't have a law degree myself.
I made an attempt to tell the Sludge TV friend about his/her little friend's "antics" when she wasn't around; but for whatever reason...
And though I had known her to be a selfish woman when she lived in the A-T-L (seems that after abortion number three, she'd have had the sense enough to tie the tubes like I did, so as not to be impregnated again; but she went on to have at least three more abortions afterward), but the thought would never occur to me that she, too would stereotype black people the way she did.
From decrying against "infill" in her neighborhood in Mesa when the word was out that low-income housing might be built nearby to get some people off the streets, to declaring the very young African American children of a murderess 'murderers' before they'd had a chance to live their own lives, and just because of what their mother had done and been imprisoned for ... that one threw me for a loop. I'd have never expected it of her; but, whoomp ... there it was.
Arizona: In living monotone color.
Georgia, as racist as it was, was never that bad.
Anyway, I landed in the streets again, and between physical ailments which caused me to be transfused five times just so I could walk straight without passing out, and emotional depths that were so low, I couldn't see my way past midnight most days, life couldn't have gotten any lower. So I thought.
The job I had was lost, so was the local scholarship I had just gotten to go back to college, and there went the money I'd managed to save to find my own place, and eventually return home to Georgia. I never said it, but I wasn't impressed by Arizona on arrival. It kinda sucked and had me doing a lot of thinking about Tampa, Florida; where I'd had a blast at Busch Gardens and Ybor City.
So I ended up staying in this "Rabid Rattler & Scorpion Hole Desert" longer than I thought I would.
From there, I ended up in a few "rehab" facilities, where I didn't belong because I had no addictions; but also only because I had no place else to go at the time. A few of them even turned me down, saying it wasn't a good idea for me to be there, because I was "not like the others" and wouldn't fit in.
Those places are filled with the rattiest of the ratmongerers on earth, and they have the unmitigated gall to go to Twelve Step Meetings talking about a God they can't get close to if they died trying because for the, God is "out there" somewhere and not a living and breathing Being in their souls, as He is for us.
Lowlife drug addicts, drunks, sex addicts and prostitutes of all kinds, and people with criminal records such as I had never encountered in 50 years of living on God's greens and blues.
If the things that had already happened weren't quite enough, here comes all of this despicable noise; especially in Mesa ... and me, surrounded by trash and trash pickers and trash diggers day in and day out as if I were no better than they were; because I forgot who I was and where God had brought me from.
Finally, I was assaulted in one of those facilities, which is par for the course for their kind. One of the addicts who "owned" the facility engaged in a drugged out brawl, which involved calling me a "n-word b&&^^%" over some money she mistakenly thought I had that I had not received at the time. Money: But that's what those types of "Christians" do, especially the Bush and Romney and Reagan kind who claim to be something they can never be because they don't know who God really is and the only God they ever really worship is money.
If they did know Him like the Women of Faith that I have known; they wouldn't live their lives breaking His commandments.
Long story short, this being Aryanzona and all, the courts here did what they usually do with racists like her -- backed her up; and had another black woman who was left with no choice to co-sign the lies.
Now comes another day, and I have been loved on, held, talked to and kissed on the cheek by teen girls who now call me "Adopted Mama", young men about my son's ages who think I'm the bombdiggety and act like they are my sons, and I'm back in the folding arms of the down home 'real deal' black women that I grew up with back East who nourished and cherished me as a young girl; and finally, something is starting to clear through the brush of hatred that I encountered in Hate State ... It's that Alice Walker "Color Purple" moment, I think.
I was never wrong in the first place.
Except for one thing: Trusting folk that I knew from my childhood days not to be trustworthy.
My counselor said "Before you lose it all; check around you to make sure you're not surrounded by A-holes." He was right. They were just that; every one of them.
And the only ones who came clean on the other end were the "Sistah Girls" who had been there all along that I overlooked in my own blindness and pain. All women of African-American descent ... just like me; from the richest depths of truth and love that the world has ever known, or ever will know. The Daughters of (Truest) Eve.
And the words of my Auntie Mabel, and my Grandma Blanche, God rest them both ... came soaring back into my head, telling me that I was born of perfected stock of earth; the stuff only we are made of.
The kind of women who sowed and nurtured heaven and earth and made something bloom from nothing, made America richer than the rest of the world at one time, even though it abandoned us and left us all for dead and now has to pay for its sins; and who built up the depths by the sweaty sun-glossed dew of those who made roses, thorns and all, grow from concrete, and even though they were always the last to pull up to their own tables in this sojourn, to partake of what their hands had produced.
Speaking of "getting stuff for free," three hundred and eighty years of the giving of free labor to build America's very cornerstone from which the nation grew and was nourished and flourished; and another one hundred fifty years of still working and paying to this very day, even being taxed to the hilt in a place where the dues of their foremothers had already paid the bill in full -- thirty-five years in it for me. And, they said to me from their dusty graves where they had worn out, but never rusted out:
Never ever apologize for being who you are.