Related DOES NOT mean friends

I know I know I know…. family is all you have right? WRONG! A lot of the time family can be your worst enemy. They can cut you down, kick you when you hit the bottom, and shovel the dirt on you even though they see you're still breathing.

I was watching Iyanla Vanzant's show on YouTube and she talked about family being forever relationships, the relationships that you will never, no matter what be able to end. And guess what folks? She is so right, you can't end it but oh you can separate from it.

With that being said what you have to learn to do is love from a distance. You don't have to go to every family gathering, cookout, or get together. And think about how much fun is it really to go somewhere out of obligation. That doesn't mean that you don't love your family it just means you're not friends. There is no secret treaty that says you have that you must be around those that you're related to simply because you're related. You are not required to sit in the negativity of others and allow that mess to seep into your pores. And even if you end up going, if the atmosphere becomes too heavy for your positive vibes it is okay to get up and get gone. You're grown you don't owe anyone any explanation.

There is a saying that I use to this day… "blood only makes you related it does not make you family". In life you figure out the difference between relatives and family. Hell I'm not even related to the majority of my family.


Soooooooo I turned 38… What’s Next?

This past Saturday I turned 38 years old. So a few days before my birthday I decided to evaluate my life. I thought back twenty years prior and I was fresh out of high school, attempting to get as far away from my family as soon as possible. I wanted to be a successful lawyer, own a mall complex, be married with at least one child. Well, I have only ONE of those things accomplished. For me that was pretty depressing and I almost allowed my crushing thoughts to minimize the fact that I have been blessed with another year of life.

So instead of concentrating on all of my "Don't Gots" I decided to focus on the amazing things I have in my life. I am married to an amazing man who loves me flaws and all, I have a bachelor's degree in legal studies, I am working, though not in my field of study, and I have a great circle of loved ones who accept me for the woman that I am. That should be enough right? NOPE!!!!!!!

But what I can do do the work to make some things happen. I am not going to allow all of the things I don't have to hinder me from getting things that are still available to me. I realized, while having plenty of money would be great it isn't everything. I also realized that I can't be afraid to live my life, my way and blending in is boring. I am going to step out of faith this year. I'm going to speak some things into existence and not be afraid to be great. I'm not going to spend time with people who don't like me in real life because I don't want their drama rubbing off on me. I am going to seek the life I deserve and work hard to obtain all things my heart desire.

So I turned 38… what's next????? EVERYTHING!!!!!

You Can’t be Serious (Chapter 15)

So he woke up with her beautiful face buried in  his chest. It took everything in him not to make love to this woman, his one true love, his happily ever after. But, he didn’t want to be used to get over the hurt and damage she just suffered. She snored softly and he painted kisses on her forehead as she slept. She whined and whimpered as if she may have been reliving the mornings festivities, and he pulled her in closer, just enough to allow her to feel him, but not to wake her. Soft 90’s R&B played in the background and at that moment he knew he was in the right place. He smiled, which he had not done in a very long time and he just knew.

What are you smiling for, Austin’s sleepy voice broke his train of thought. This just feels good. Yeah, I know right, I just know, she agreed. His eyes bucked, and he attempted to gather himself. She giggled, yeah that was so smooth Ravel! What do you know, he went straight in, no need to play games, he sat up and she made the necessary adjustments to look him in his eyes. I know that I’ve loved you since I couldn’t stand you, I know that I’ve compared every man that I’ve ever been with to you, even the one I almost married, and they never could compare. The crazy thing, she went on, is that I didn’t even know what I was comparing them to until today. Guys would tell me I was too clingy, or needy, or spoiled, or my mouth is too fly, and I’m too independent, and/or I was too quick to be like yeah I’m done with you. But today, I realized, you set the bar babe. Even at the age of 14 these grown men can’t compare. I do love you back, I am in love with you back, I just didn’t know it until today. She moved closer and the charge of their energy sparkled like diamonds in the rough. His eyes were closed but tears seeped out of the creases. Austin, you don’t have to say that if you don’t mean it, he choked out. She kissed his tears but I do, I mean it with my entire all. The right side of his lip curled up into a smile, he shook his head and pulled her to him. No sex until we are married Angel, okay? And without hesitation, she said okay.

A few hours later the two woke and went downstairs to be apart of the rest of the world. Ladies, Caesar said entering the living room area where the Carrie and Toni watched television. They both looked down at he and Austin’s fingers intertwined with one another’s. He paid them no mind, now like I was saying a few hours again, he continued on, hair, nails, make up, shoes, I know y’all got major work that y’all want done, so what’s the move. Toni took the bait, I do need to hit the mall for shoes and to find a bomb lippie! Oh and I think I’m going to take my dress back and get something else, plus I have to go get my sisters from the airport. Carrie’s eyes widen, they’re coming, well where are they gonna stay, she said with disgust in her tone. All of this mess is because of them two heffas, they ain’t… They can stay right here, Austin cut her right off. They are family and it is our job to make sure they become great women. Yeah okay, Carrie stated oozing sarcasm, until one or both of them are all up on your, your, your him. Damn, you’re just going to talk about my sisters like I’m not standing right here, Toni blazed out. They are all of our sisters, we have to sit them down and talk to them. It is our job to help Toni raise the into women. They have been through a lot, let’s try to do our best to keep them from making the dumb ass mistakes we made. Now am I going to let them have it? Abso-freaking-lutely! But we are three women, that have overcome some crazy issues and obstacles to be about to walk that stage and get those diplomas. They need to see us do that, graduate from college and walk into the world as successful black women. I’ve forgiven them and I love them and it’s all because I realized that I love him. Toni and Carrie snapped their laser focused eyes from Caesar to Austin, but she did not falter.

I know it may sounds crazy, but I’m seeing things so clear now, you two could only imagine. Caesar gently tightened the grip on her hand and smiled. So ladies, are you ready to roll, because I know this is going to be a long day and then only one day of rest until the big day. As they rode in the car to the mall a silent peace fail over the group. When they pulled up to the mall Austin and Toni decided to go shoe shopping. Well ladies, Caesar sighed, I am going to leave that adventure up to you. He went to go the other way, ummm new brother, I think I will go with you if you don’t mind. Sure, actually I would enjoy some one on one time with my new found family. Ravel do not go off spoiling her, okay, Austin shot a fake mean face at him and she and Toni disappeared out of sight. So, what do you want, Carrie said straight-faced, in momma bear mode? Like, you come down here and for what? She told you what was going on and you came down here to play captain save’em, you needed somewhere to stay, you running from something or what? He was taken aback, but so smooth with his response. Listen Carrie, I am not broke by any standards, I own several poetry cafe’s across the U.S. and a few in the Virgin Islands, before then I was a marketing consultant and I still do some marketing and advertisement independently. At that moment he turned to her with a kind of smug look on his face and said Google me and kept walking. She stopped dead in her tracks, but he kept going. Carrie doubled timed it to catch back up him. She fell into step with Caesar, so why does she call you Charles Ravel? Because that is my name, Caesar is the name I gave to myself, I decided to reinvent myself  because of some things I did growing up. But whether I am Caesar or Charles Ravel, I love her, I have loved her since I was 14 and I don’t care who she is with or what she is going through I will always love her. Though I plan on being the last one she is ever with. So how do you plan on doing that, he looked at the mother cub roommate and said, like this. She followed his eyes as they stopped in front of Bvlgari. Can you help me pick out her ring?

He Can’t Be Serious (Chapter 14)

The ladies and their knight in shining armor sat at the table eating in silence. IT had just went down and no matter how hard they tried to ignore it a million unanswered questions hung in the air, lingering like fog on a rainy fall evening. However, the only sounds that could be heard in the lady cave was the sipping of drinks, forks clinking on plates and breathes in between swallows. Austin attempted to secretly glance up at Ceasar, but her plan was foiled because when she looked up he was blatantly gazing at her. She ducked her head quickly and he let out a tiny snorting giggle. Okay okay okay, Toni blurted out with inpatients. Yo my main man Caesar, my homeboy, my new found brother ummmmmm, do you love her? Of course, he said smoothly with no hint of hesitation. Nah man, I mean are you in love with her. I mean of course you love her you guys have been friends forever. He slowly sipped his orange juice, dropped his fork in his plate, grabbed his napkin, suavely wiped his mouth and stated matteroffactly, oh I knew exactly what you meant. Austin’s head jerked up and her beautiful eyes were as wide as a dear caught in headlights. Tears gathered at the tips of her eyelids. I’m sorry, what now, Austin inquired. Caesar made a quick motion to get up from the table and all the girls jumped. He was visibly tickled. What’s the problem ladies I’m simply clearing dishes, everyone is done right? All three of the sister mates spoke at once, oh yeah, umm here, their voices bumped together. 

So what’s on the agenda today ladies, I know graduation day is in two days so y’all need to get hair, nail, toes etc done? Oh yeah so we are just gonna abandon the fact that you’re in love with Aussie, momma bear, aka Carrie, stated with an inquisitive tone. OMG let it go, Austin rose from the table. Her reddish brown skin tanning to show the spot where her ex had just assaulted her. She was visibly upset, tears softly flowing down her face, her hands shaking and her lip quivering. She turned and walked towards the stairwell. I’m just going to lay down, she called back as she forced herself to take the stairs one by one.

He loves me, like what in the hell, she thought to herself. Austin flopped down across her bed. Why had he never told me before? I’m so confused. Austin reached for her cell phone and returned to her 90’s RnB playlist. She loved music, it always took her to her peaceful place. She closed her eyes and thought back to when she and Caesar were kids. They lived on the same street only a few houses apart and honestly they despised one another when they first met. She giggled as she reminiscing about  their first encounter. 

Hey girl, yo hey girl. The chocolate young man zoomed past Austin as she opened the front door to her place of residence. She was 13 and her family had moved yet again. Austin’s mom, Regina, never stayed one place for too long, but always in close vicinity of the same neighborhood. She stepped out on the front stoop to see who he was talking to. As if he was reading her mind, I’m talking to you girl. Yeah you standing on the porch. Austin pointed to herself and began to curse him out like a grown woman. She dropped every F bomb, called him every name except a child of God, and threw her bowl of cereal that she was having for dinner at him as he blazed past her on his mountain bike. She looked at his face, he was a cutie pie, his skin was like smoothe milk chocolate, he had a thick afro, perfectly shaped and everything, long athletic legs, making the statement he played some sort of sport, and the most perfect set of full lips she had ever een. After a few more laps he stopped in front of her fence where the rest of the neighborhood kids had begun to gather to meet the new kids. Why y’all sitting around here at her feet like she’s somebody, bye girl as he rode off? 

She was yanked out of her daze by a knock at her door. She sat up on her, come in, she hummed through the door. Her childhood bestie slightly cracked her door just enough  to peek his head through. Can we talk angel face? He still had the perfectly milky skin, full lips but he wasn’t a cutie pie anymore. He was now simply just fine. Yes Ravel, she blushed as she spoke his name, knowing only she called him by his middle name. It slipped from her lips so sweet and gentle that you could see it land on his heart. Listen lady, I didn’t mean to embarrass you, but you know me and if I’m asked I’m answering… truthfully he stressed the word. When I called you that day it was because I decided that in that moment I wasn’t living by my own standards. I was with a woman for 3 years, living a lie. I couldn’t love her as she needed and deserved to be loved, because I’ve loved you since I was 14 years old. I called you to confess and to come and get what’s mine. Her brows rose and her breath hitched. His, what the! Ravel. No, he cut her off, I need to say this, I’m not expecting anything from you. He lowered his head and continued on. But you were going through it and I heard it in your tone. I knew then that I had to tell you face to face. I needed to look into those big beautiful eyes and tell you that I love you. He inched closer to her, I love you Austin and even if you don’t love me it won’t stop me from falling in love with you more and more each second. You are my perfect 10, the song my heart dances to, you are. Austin kissed him, a light sparked in her heart, her body, her soul. Austin, he pulled away from her kiss, what does this mean? His hands were shaking as he caressed the small of her back. Don’t over think this Ravel, she stated breathlessly. She needed to feel him on her, in her, over her. She leaned in seductively, if you love me make love to me. Take me, please, if you love me make love to me she attempted to persuade him. Ceasar quickly wrapped her in his arms,  attempting to shield her from her own pain. He covered her bruised cheek in healing kisses. Not like this. 

He Can’t Be Serious (Chapter 13)

Are you out of your entire damn mind, Nori looked at his cousin with rage in his eyes. The two stood eye to eye, toe to toe, for what seemed like an eternity, but it was really only seconds. Just time enough for Ceasar to take four or five silently calculated steps, moved Austin behind him and struck  with the force of 100 men. He punched Vaughn so hard that it echoed throughout the girls condo. He landed another punch to his ribs that folded Vaughn like an old flip phone. Fight me, hit me, slap me, you punk ass boy! You’re  no man he said as he slammed Vaughn out of the house. Don’t you ever in your life, he punched Vaughn so hard that he fell towards him as the punch landed square in the jaw of his target of fiery!

Charles, baby please no! Austin stood in the walkway as the two men clambered to their feet in the parking lot. No, I’m okay, I promise. Caesar heard the voice of his angel on earth and it broke him out of his violent trance just as he headed towards Vaughn. Aussie, he said with a low throaty groan. He looked toward the sound of her voice. Are you okay? He saw the tears rolling down her face and stalked towards her with a look in his eyes that she had never seen before. Are you okay, let me see your face. He softly reached for her, brushing his thumb over her bruised cheek. I’m fine, I just want to fight, but I’m too close to my goals. The two of them stood there gazing into one another’s eyes as if nothing and no one existed. Austin, you are so amazing, so strong angel, so everything. Austin saw his lips moving and with every word her heart pounded in her ears so loud that she couldn’t hear him.

Nori, Toni and Carrie stood in the walkway separating their condo from their neighbors and everyone felt what was in the air. Nori walked towards the parking lot, where his cousin was leaning against his car. Look at this broad, all cuddled with this thug! Is that what you like, corny thugs, he yelled in the direction of the two caught in one another’s gaze. Man open the door so I can get my stuff out of your damn car. I can’t believe you put your hands on her. I told your dumb ass we should not have come over here. You’re not about that life! You better be glad we didn’t jump you! I should punch you in the, Nori trailed off as he grabbed his keys and cell phone charger from the passenger side door. I’ll call a taxi, Nori stormed away. He had returned to their apartment after his blow out with Vaughn a few days after. He figured since they were family they needed to talk it out. Vaughn man I really can’t even believe you. Come on man, we could… Oh hell naw, Nori cut Vaughn off. I’m done fighting your battles! You talk tough with nothing to back it up. Nori walked away from the chaos.

Are you okay, Toni broke Austin away from Caesar’s arms, snapping them out of their trance. I’m okay, Austin rubbed her hand up her cheek. I wasn’t talking to you heffa, and just that instance they four of the burst into laughter. Come on ladies, lets go in and finish brunch. Vaughn backed his car out like a mad man and clearly broke the speed limit leaving the complex.

He Can’t Be Serious (12)

Austin instantly felt like the wind was knocked out of her. What the hell are you doing here? Vaughn stood there chest heaving up and down like a wild animal ready to strike. No what the hell are you doing here Vaughn, you have some freaking nerve to come up in here like you pay bills, Toni stated matteroffactly. And then you’re  questioning our house guess, you better hope I don’t start throwing dishes at your head. You can turn around and exit, you’re not welcome in our home. GET OUT, Austin began to scream as tears streamed down her face. GET OUT, GET OUT GET OUT. Aussie please, Vaugn headed towards her attempted again to explain himself. You’re not answering my calls, my text, my email, they won’t even let me in the club. Then I come in here and you’ve moved on huh? Nah that’s not happening. Caesar barricaded the route to Austin but never even changed his tone. My man, you need to leave, they don’t want you here and that’s that. I’m not trying to beef with you your or ya boy but y’all gotta go, it’s that simple, feel me? Toni and Carrie got up from the breakfast nuck and stood on either side of Caesar. Nah ladies, I don’t need help. Take my angel upstairs she’s been through enough.

Vaughn rushed Caesar in that moment, but Caesar was ready and grabbed Vaughn and slammed him into the wall. Nori attempted to sneak Caesar from behind but the sister mates jumped in his way like security. It won’t be none of that Toni said as Vaughn stepped backwards from Caesar’s release bumping into Toni and Carrie. Austin was sitting on the steps with her head buried in her knees. But, Caesar, he didn’t even break a sweat. The girls closed in on Vaughn. Man today I will swing on females he said, breathing heavily. You have the nerve to be mad at me but you’re the whore. You got a new boyfriend real quick, whore. Must be one of your groupies from the club, whore. Each statement he threw at Austin ended with whore as if the word was a period. Nori let’s roll, but we will be back. Caesar was just about fed up and set his sights on Vaugn. Still calm, yet slightly angered Caesar moved towards the cousins. We can take this outside. You talking about hitting females, but I just pinned you up on the wall, why you ain’t swing then? Caesar cocked his head to the side, with a sinister grin on his sexy lips, let’s go, let’s take it outside. Nori grabbed at his cousin, come on Vaughn you’ve got too much to lose, it’s over let’s go. Nori secretly knew that his pretty boy cousin would fight but wasn’t really the best at it. He don’t want no nasty stripper, she’ll cheat on you too, whore! Say whore one more time in the presences of these ladies my man and it’s going down.

Carrie sat next to Austin on the steps. Are you okay, Carrie questioned as she rubbed her back. GET OUT! GET OUT! Austin could no longer hold back the girl she used to be. GET OUT she yelled and just that fast she was off the stairs and throwing whatever she could get her hands on and Vaughn and Nori. I’m a whore huh, she punched Vaughn square in the nose. Nori grabbed her wrist to keep her from hitting Vaughn. Come on Aussie, Nori attempted to plead with Austin, we’re leaving, let us leave. You’re just as bad get the hell out Toni said attempts to grab her friend. Caesar standing square ready to strike, Nori still holding Austin and just that quick with everyone entangled  Vaughn reached out and slapped Austin.

He Can’t Be Serious (Part 11)

Wow, actually slept through the night. Austin slowly rolled over and realized today was the day. Graduation was in two days, she had been talking to her bestie for the past three weeks and had not really had to deal with Vaughn. Yeah he called and left some messages, texted her a couple of times, and even popped up at her job, but all of that has finally calmed down because she wasn’t feeding into this time. All of his normal is not working with her, she was totally fed of with his mess and sleeping with Toni’s sisters and getting Shyra pregnant, had done the trick, yeah I’m so good, she thought to herself. 

Okay Aussie, Charles Ravel is just your friend, don’t go looking to jump right into some mess when you still got crap swirling in your life. Austin knew her true feeling but, hey these are childhood emotions and you two are grown Austin reached on her nightstand to grab her phone. Her home boy was flying in today and she was a blazing ball of emotions. She had a few missed calls from a private number, DaVaughn no doubt, and two text messages from Charles “my flight is landing at 12:25pm, how long will it take you to get to the airport” and two minutes later another text that read “never mind I’ll come find you 😘”. Austin never thought to look at the time, she glanced up, OMG! Toni! Carrie! She called out for her sister mates and no one answered. It was almost one o’clock, what am I going to wear, my room is a mess, my hair is a mess, Lord I’m a whole entire complete mess. Toni, she scrabbled out of the bed, Carrie, grabbed her pj pants and slung her bedroom door open. Where the hell is everyone. She almost tumbled down the stairs. No one was there. What the!?!? She ran back up the stairs to grab her phone. She dialed Toni, Carrie never answers her phone. Whadup though? Toni giggled as she answered her phone. Where are you guys, he will be here any minute, why would you leave me here by myself? Aussie why are you yelling at me, I’m bout to bang on your behind, she giggled again. What’s so funny? You are freaking out like I’ve never seen before. I think you love him, I think you love him, oh girl you love him, Toni sang to her friend. Girl bye, Austin pushed the touch screen so hard she almost broke her nail. Such a freaking jerk, ugh. 

Just forget it, I’m getting in the shower. She grabbed her towel, face rag and rob, turned on some 90’s RnB and got into the steaming shower. Pretty brown, you know I see you, it’s a disguise the way treat meeee, keep holding on to your thoughts of rejectionssss…. I see that still your jam. She froze in mid song, her heart stopped, her eyes widened, she peeked out the shower curtain and there he stood. Ravel, she shrieked, how did you, where did you, boy get out. He chuckled and said your breakfast is waiting for you downstairs, so finish your song and let’s eat.

She waited until she heard the door snap shut and slide down the shower wall. He’s here, my Ravel is here. And my hair is getting wet, she jumped up and quickly exited the shower. She threw on a tank top and some yoga pants, brushed her hair into an Afro puff and went downstairs. So you guys are just letting random strangers come upstairs while I’m in the shower, she scowled at Toni and Carrie. Who Caesar? He ain’t no stranger, he’s been here for hours, we’ve gone grocery shopping, he cooked breakfast, I mean I think I love’em, Carrie giggled as she kissed Caesar on the cheek. Austin’s nostrils flared and everybody laughed as she tried to catch herself.

 He looked her up and down. My angel, my poetry in motion looking all grown he said as he glid across the floor. He was so smoothe and before she knew it she caught up in his arms and overwhelmed with his essence. Please don’t ever let me go, she begged him in her mind. He slowly loosened his embrace, kissed her nose and forehead and completely let her go. There was no way she could hide how much she was blushing. Eggs scrambled medium with spinach, bacon and coffee, that’s still your fav cooked breakfast, right? Those sexy lips slightly parted with a smile. 

Toni and Carrie are both mesmerized by him they forgot to lock the door and no one realized Vaughn and Nori was standing in the doorway. Who’s this corny dude, DaVaughn questioned. That’s not a question you want answered, Charles Ravel replied with no hesitation.