Short Story: Family

The weekends were always a source of fun and intrigue when I was younger. My cousins and I would usually stay the night at our grandmother’s apartment, we always loved her cooking, and the only way we could guarantee that we would eat some was to stay the night. Whenever grandma would cook it was an event. There were family members that we never knew existed coming to get some of her cooking. My favorite thing that she would cook was anything southern, I did not care what it was I just knew that it would be good.

Grandma lived in a one-bedroom apartment, it had almost everything that anyone would need and more. There things that she collected throughout her life, from stuff animals (that were mine) to at least five Nativity of Jesus sets spread out over her the living room. There was one thing everybody knew when you came to grandma house it was unspoken but spoken, and that was DO NOT SIT ON THE FUNTI URE! If anybody wanted to sit, they had to use what we call lawn chairs, she had them scattered all over the house. Most of her neighbors were senior citizens like her, but on occasion were a few younger people living in the apartment complex also. Our grand- mother had a rough life growing up, her father was abusive, and her mother died in a car wreck when she was younger. The one thing that was guaranteed when you see grandma was that she would be wearing a skirt.

Grandma was proud of one thing in her life and that was her kids, thought they never listen to her she was always proud of them. When my aunts and uncles were younger, they never liked to listen to anything that she

had to say. As time went on, they learn that she was right about almost everything.

When we would stay the night at grandma’s house, on occasion one of our aunts Pig or Jean would stay also. Nobody really got along with Pig, she was mean, and we all thought that she was crazy. For me, she is my favorite aunt to be around. Every time we would see her there was always something wrong with her.

It seemed that the weekends that we stayed down there something would happen. It could be an entertaining game of spades or domino’s, to a big blow out between our aunts. We always had a great time down there.

When everybody got done eating whatever grandma had cook, it was time for us to clean up. Nobody liked to do it, but since she cooked, we had to do it. When we got done cleaning the kitchen, we would all head out to the front porch and sit, or some of us would walk to the end of the driveway. The conversations that we would have were always entertaining, from a playful conversation about who was dating who, to having a serious conversation about the bible.

Me and my cousins would sit and watch in amazement at how quickly things would change between

them. When this would happen some of us knew not to say anything, but there were a couple cousins that would have to chime in. Then everybody would attack their parents for not raising them right.

Out of all of grandma’s kids, my mother is the only one that went to college degree. When our aunts would argue they were always filled with passion with everything they would say. Some of their biggest arguments were about the bible, they all had their own opinions and they were all right.

When they would get done arguing each one will start leaving one by one, and they would ask are we sure

we are staying and we would say yes. After they all left except Pig and Jean, we would try to find something to do. What we normally would do is seen one of grandma’s neighbors to the store for us to buy alcohol. Every time we would ask, he would do it.

The nights were the most fun, after grandma has gone to bed we would sit outside on the porch, and she always hated that. Grandma was always afraid that something bad was going to happen to us, but nothing ever did. While sitting out on the porch, we would see everything. The late-night shenanigans of her neighbors were always entertaining.

It was never the young neighbors that were entertaining, it was always the older ones. The things that we saw shall never be repeated ever again. That was the best part about staying down grandma’s house was watching the neighbors. We saw so much that it is hard to believe that those things happen.

Ever since grandma died things have not been the same. We hardly ever see each other now, but when we do it is like old times. Family is something that we will always be, but friends are what we became.

 

Care

The last couple of days have been a lot of self though and figure out worth. That could mean a lot of things for people. I was trying to figure out what I was doing, and is it worth every thing that has been going on in my mind, and trying to care. There are times where we tend to care more about others than we do for ourselves. That is a dangerous situation to be in, the ending is never good.

I have learn over the years that I do not know how to care for myself that well. When I say care I mean my mind and soul. I do not care for them well. I tend to think that over time they will be okay, but in reality you have nurture them because over time they will start to deteriorate. Your mind and spirit are like any muscle that you want to get better. You have to work on in constantly, but don’t go overboard with it. Growing up I remember always hearing that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. That is true,  you have to take care of it.

I have always said life is not easy, and if it was easy it won’t be worth living. There will come times where you will think that you do not have the strength to do it, no matter what it is, but you have to push through it no matter what. It will be hard, but you have to look at the bigger picture. You think that you have to do this and that, but deep down you know that something is not right, that is you mind telling you to stop and listen to me. I am trying to tell you something.

You have to take care of yourself, and cannot let a job, friend, or thing ruin your peace of mind. You are know good for anybody if you are not good to yourself first. Learn how to love yourself, how to treat yourself, and most important how to care of yourself.

Book Review: I am Not Sidney Poitier

If you were to ask person today who Mr. Sidney Poitier is, most might know who he is, but Poitier is the first African American man to receive a Best Actor Academy Award, for his work in Lilies of the Field. Percival Everett is a Professor of English at the University of Southern California, and the author of Erasure, Assumption, and Percival Everett by Virgil Russell. His 2009 novel, I am Not Sidney Poitier, tells a story about a person who is living in Poitier’s work. Everett who grew up in the south uses his experiences with racism to tell a story that sometimes goes unnoticed.

The novel I Am Not Sidney Poitier, is about a boy named Not Sidney Poitier. The book opens with how he got his name, and how he becomes an orphan after his mother’s death, and the impact of what happens to him after she dies. Not Sidney is originally from California, but moves to Atlanta to live with Ted Turner, (yes that Ted Turner). He was an old friend of his late mother. This is the beginning when you will start to notice some of the iconic roles of Sidney Poitier throughout the novel.

The characterization of the South is important throughout the novel, from the language in which they speak, to the idea that they are not well educated, are played up tremendously throughout the novel.  As mention earlier, Everett also uses real life people throughout the story. There is Ted Turner and his wife Jane Fonda, and he also inserts himself Percival Everett, into the novel as well, as Not Sidney’s college professor. The fictional character of Ted Turner is almost a comic relief throughout the novel, as is the character of Percival Everett. Turner, the billion-dollar man, is something of a babbling idiot throughout the novel.

Throughout most of the book, Not Sidney is compared to Sidney Poitier through some of the characters he played, and with real life people like Ted Turner to Gladys from Morehouse college. The real Sidney Poitier is not directly in the novel, but he plays critical roles throughout. The purpose of Poitier being in the novel, is to almost to trick the reader to thank that it is Poitier. Though we know that it cannot be true, there are times that the story does seem to imitate life.

There are a couple of scenes in the novel that resembles several of Sidney Poitier’s films. There is one scene from the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Unlike the movie, the family is an upper-class black family. This upper class black traditional family does not think that their daughter should be involved with somebody of Not Sidney’s skin tone, until they realize that he is rich. There are some black people that believe the lighter the person skin tone is the better or more successful the person. Race is a factor throughout the novel, but it mostly involves whites against blacks, and this is the rare occasion where blacks are pitted against each other. The time frame of the novel is confusing at times, there are times in which you think you are in the 60’s and 70’s (which Poitier had his great success) or in today’s world.

If you are not familiar with any part of Poitier’s work, then you will get a bit confused at some of the scenes. The novel tends to jump around a lot, especially with time. Everett has a way of making a person think that they are in one period, but in the next second, they are not. There is one scene where Not Sidney’s is on a farm plantation, but though it is explained in the book as a dream, it still is very confusing.

 

The beginning of the novel, Not Sidney is arrested for being black. As it turns out in today’s society, that is a common occurrence for black people. Being black and living in the south can be a person’s worst nightmare. A majority of the novel, Not Sidney lives in Atlanta, but the minute he steps over that county line outside of Atlanta, he learns what it truly means to be black in the south.

In Everett’s fictional Peckerwood County, where being black is considered a crime. “This here is Peckerwood County, boy. And you’s a nigger. And it’s a crime if I say it is.” This was said about officer George; this is also where the time frame of the novel can get a little confusing. The way in which the officer is speaking makes it seem like they are in the 60’s, but they are not. As it turns out, Peckerwood is not a real county in Georgia, but Smuteye is a real town in Alabama. It is located in Bullock County which is west of Montgomery.

Thus I would declare that I Am Not Sidney Poitier is a great novel.  It, not a typical novel to start with, the use of real life people and the satire of it all, but Everett has a way of making the reader think that they are in one place, but then he takes you a whole other direction. If you are a fan of Sidney Poitier and his work then this book is for you.

Racism is poignant throughout the novel, and it comes in from all angles. Not just from whites against blacks, but also blacks against blacks. Racism is a hard topic for some people to talk about, and Everett doesn’t shy away from it. There are times where racism can cut deep, and Everett tries to show how blacks can discriminate against by their own, just as bad as whites can.  Thought one of the underlining things throughout the novel is the power of money. Money can solve a lot of people’s problems. For example, in the novel, when Not Sidney wants to go to college he buys his way in. Then when he runs into the Nuns, he uses his money to get away from them.

With racism being what it is today, this would be a perfect time to read this book. There are a lot of senseless acts of violence that is going on this book can help shed light on. From the Eric Garners to the Trayvon Martin’s of the world this book can help that. There is a scene in the book, in which Not Sidney’s character is accused of murdering someone just because he is black, and since he is not from the area, they try to send him to jail.

Something that can take away from reading this novel is the conception of reality. There are times in which we can get lost in our lives. We tend to let people think that we are something, but in reality, we are not. Everett plays on that for a majority of the novel. It makes you think is he not Sidney Poitier or is he? Identity is not just someone’s name, it is who they are from the inside, it is who we are.

Moving On

In life there is one thing that we have to learn how to do, and that is when to move on from something. That could be from anything, a relationship, a job or even a friendship. The hardest part about that is knowing when to do it.  There are time sin which you think you should leave and move on, but something holds you back, and you end being in a situation that you should not be.

I believe that people and things comes into you life for a purpose, and you can find out what that purpose is right away, or towards the end of it. The only thing is you don’t know what or how to learn from that situation and move on. A person would only move on from something until there is no other choice. Some people would hold on to everything they can, and try so hard to stay when deep down they know that they should leave.

Things comes into you life for a reason and a season, but sometimes they tend to crossover into another season, and you do not know how or when it will end. There are always sign that be right in our faces, but we never notices them until we barely can see them, and it almost too late. The most important thing is that you see them, and learn to deal with the situation head on before you can not.

I must say that I have been in those situations time and time again, a I never know when to leave because I am a people pleaser. I don;t like to let anybody down, and I go up and out of my way to make sure that everything is okay no matter the situation. That is one thing that I need to work on, I need to learn to make myself a priority, and not anyone else. That is easy to say, but it is so hard to do. Deep down in my gut I feel like I am letting them down, but when I comes to them I am just tack on a board.

You have to learn to do what’s best for you, and sometimes doing what’s best for you meaning hurting someone that you might not tend to hurt. You have to hurt in order to heal, and it takes time seasons are meant to change, and not everybody is mean to go into a new season with you. They are meant to stay in that season and they are always searching for that season.

With all that I am saying is learn to leave life on your terms, and when something end let it. That does not meant that is the end for you. There is so much more that will come out of that situation, sure it may be hard for a minute, but think about it like this. I been here before and I did alright. This time you may be down little longer, but that only mean that that lesson that season taught needs a little longer to grow.

Past and not Present

How many people can say that they find themselves living in the past when they should be living in the present? I can honestly say that I find myself doing this a lot recently. I don’t why, but the past just seems so much better than the present at the moment. You get so used to things going a certain way that lately they have not been going the way in which I wish they would go.

I have learn that living in the past all time will make having a future hard to come by, or close to. As i have learn and said lately life is too short, and you have to learn to go for what you want, and be willing to fail. I think the best thing that can happen to someone is to fail. It may seem strange to say, but without failure how can you grow and change things that you don’t need to change. I know there are a bunch of things that I need to change, but the question is do I have the ability to change them.

That was not something I should have said. We all have the ability to change things that about ourselves, but the real questions is do we deep down want to change them. If there is something about yourself that you know needs to change, then you need to have the will power to do. Life is short as we all know, but you need to make sure that you are living to the best of your ability, and not in the past but the present.

I cannot say that within the next few weeks that I am going to be living in the present more, but I am sure is going to stop living in past I have so much more to look forward to.