Stripped Down and Here I Am

Let’s shed some light on a few things.

I do an awful job of describing how people look. I desire to have blind friends, just as I desire to have a friend who is in a wheelchair, but I know I’m unworthy of having one. “Is she cute?” my blind friend would ask, and I would turn to him and spend my time delving into my feelings on home hair coloring kits.  He would never know if the woman he had just met had long hair, neat toes, or a firm butt, but rather, would only know her race. Race I can do. But again, not well. I reduce my own grandfather to rubber, literally, when describing him. “Oh, he’s the nicest man ever. And he’s the color of the tires on a car.”

A cup dropped by my feet, and I followed its trail to the doors of the subway concerned that if the lid had come away from the body, Hennessey would get on my feet. I stood with my roommate, and looked down upon the woman who owned the cup. She was—here goes nothing—black. Very black. She was very black and very chunky, and had a nice round face. (How am I doing so far?) And when I say she had a nice round face, I really mean that. She could have been pretty, but it was hard to tell because her face was scrunched together, and her head was resting on her chest.

The woman I just described was more than drunk. She was beyond intoxicated, dangerously so, and completely passed out amongst strangers. She first dropped the cup, then a large mirror, and finally her purse. I picked her things up from the ground, and placed them back into her hands. I slapped her aggressively on her soft, chunky arms until she opened her eyes and told me what station she was going to. She was able to mumble a few words, and then dropped the whole lot again. So this next time, I lifted her arms high, put them through the straps of her purse, which I noticed also contained some cigarettes, fake hair, some pennies, and a cell phone, and then folded her arms back down so it would not drop again. I checked to see if there were other people who were willing to watch over her, and there were. The last thing I did before stepping off of the train was slap her again, and pull her dress over her nipples. They were the color of tires on a car.

Why are we better to strangers than we are to each other? Never, not once, did I stop pitying her. It was her own fault that she was so drunk, and high, and whatever else she was, but I cared for her. I gave her mercy. Sure, I slapped her, a slap her father should have given her years ago that would’ve prevented this sort of this thing from occurring years later, but it was a slap of love. Done out of care, and done with the best intentions. I cared for her because she’s a child of God, and she’s worth caring for, not a piece of garbage. And I just wish—when I should be praying, I wish more people did the same type of caring when they see others stumble. You ain’t nobody to be judging somebody else. Help them instead.

Of course I know y’all aren’t those types of people, and if you are, then I give you plenty to judge.

But the footprints where I have made mistakes aren’t there anymore because I live for a God that forgives me, restores me and reassures me that I am indeed a masterpiece. One who doesn’t take my breath away, but breathes more life into me. And if He approves then that’s all that matters, right? If you have been hard on yourself, raise your hand. And if you have been praying like He doesn’t already know everything about you and what it is that you want, please click the ‘You Hungry’ button at the top of the page because I updated it with you in mind.

So I say Hallelujah! I have a clean record. The only footprints, the only signs that there are areas in my life where the mark may have been missed, are in the wax on the floor of the building where I live. No really, they’re in the wax. I can literally see my size ten New Balance sneaker marks in the wax of the floor that our landlord just put a shine on. I see mine, and a bigger one too that probably belongs to the new boyfriend of our neighbor. He looks like they type of guy who’d walk across a newly waxed floor. At least my footprint is a little muddled, which proves that I did my best to hop to the stairs while screaming “Got-dangit!”

I am so happy the project our ambitious landlord started is nearly over. We had a thick coating of dust on every surface of our house while he sanded, stained, and then re-sanded the wooden floors. Want to borrow a dvd? Then be prepared for it to come with some sawdust on it. I don’t dare complain though because the project is all part of his plan to make sure that Brandon and I live here after we get married. He would hate to see us go, and I think the re-modeling is his way of giving us no excuses to turn our backs on this place that feels as much like home as the houses we’re going to visit in Alabama next week do. If Brandon still insists that we move next year, the landlord will have done all he can.

“After you’ve done all you can, you just stand”. It’s an expression you hear quite frequently in the Black Church, in gospel music, and just among old souls in general. It rang so true for me on Friday. I remembered to send the old friend an email on Thursday to confirm the place where we were to meet the following day. My emails were short, polite, and I wanted them more than anything else to just convey peace. In fact, that’s exactly what I suggested. Let’s meet so I can return your property to you and “restore peace” I wrote.  The fight that caused us to stop speaking had gone on long enough I felt, and if nothing else, I thought a pleasant sit-down might at least offer pleasant closure in return. Even a former friend is a child of God, worth caring for. Not something you just throw away like garbage.

I could tell you that I’m not sure what I expected, but that wouldn’t be truthful. I expected something good because I had decided that only good would come of this meeting. Not necessarily a tearful reunion, but something truly, truly good. And peaceful. And it just wasn’t. It was challenging, and perplexing that I was the one apologizing. At one point I sat on my hands and inhaled sweet, syrupy air to speak from my diaphragm and avoid crying. I didn’t recognize my former friend, and I wasn’t used to seeing such cold and callous responses. But I was relieved in some way when I stood up to walk out because I knew that I had done all I could. I offered peace, offered a heartfelt apology for something that I don’t believe was wrong but was wrong if it had hurt her, returned the property I owed, and—and!– had brought along extra cash to buy her ice cream. Who buys their enemies ice cream?

I do. And dear God, don’t ever let that change. To prove that I meant the apology, I even erased the hurtful agent the former friend was upset over. And now I feel even better about it. I did all I could!

I want to walk down the aisle to “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home” by The Cars. I want to learn how to dougie. I want to be one of those people who gets up at the crack of dawn to read the Bible, and actually wants to be awake. I want to stop making excuses for cleaning the shelves of the refrigerator. I want to be twenty-three percent body fat. But I no longer want to be a forgiving person. I am . I AM.

And that is why I’m staying on top. I’m so blessed, and one monkey don’t stop the show. Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

I went directly from there to meet my cousin. I adore her. I mean, j’adore for a full nine innings and then some in the game of life. She’s a bag of fun. Too much at times, but I can’t blame her for that. We stopped by Bocca Bar before joining our other friends for a true ladies night at the 19th Street movie theatre.

These nights out with a respective sex are crucial I’m starting to believe. Only my fellow women (roar!) can understand what I’m going through when it’s hot as hades outside, I’ve got seventeen pounds worth of wedding magazines in my purse, and my hormones are raging. Not to mention that Brandon can’t think of any ways to help with wedding planning, and only ways to aggravate me where the process is concerned. He even scoffed at having a “Jack and Jill”.

A Jack and Jill is a modern-day joint bachelor party for both bride and groom. Though I’ve heard close friends use the term innocently enough, Wikipedia says that it originally started as an experimental sex party for the soon-to-be-wed, a last hoorah of sorts with close friends and strangers. I did further research and it looks like those who aren’t determined to make everything into a “Fifty Shades of Grey” moment outweigh those who are, and having a “Jack and Jill” no longer means you’re inviting people over to watch you get spanked and bound by a man wearing a leather catsuit, thank God. And for the record, I haven’t read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and don’t intend to, but only because I hear it has terrible grammar and the characters use a vocabulary beneath most adolescents. It wouldn’t matter how much sex it has in it because nothing turns me off faster than poor English skills.

And while we’re on the topic of sex, I admit!—that yes, I saw “Magic Mike”. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

The only thing I feel ashamed of is that it took me so long to actually look up the definition of ‘righteousness’, as in “I’m the righteousness of God”. And once I did I got a word from the Lord. In it He explained the heavy weight I’ve been carrying in my Spirit can be fixed with some disciplinary action. I thought that sounded a little harsh, like He’d show up and beat my behind with a belt, but upon looking up the definition of discipline, I found out that the root is ‘corrective’. Let’s get correct, let’s get straight in every slacking area. Let’s make Him the priority, and make His will the only thing that matters. Let’s get correct. Ready?

On your mark. Get set. Go.


Written to: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship, “Who’s Gonna Drive You Home Tonight” by the Cars, “Somebody I Used To Know” (dance remix!) by Gotye


2 thoughts on “Stripped Down and Here I Am

  1. I love you! I smiled and even wanted to cry while reading this. I think the tears came from joy. They came from the joy of seeing God move in my friends’ lives. I think back on where we used to be, what we used to do and realize that God is so awesome. In all his majesty and splendor, he decided to save some wretches like us. Haha! You have a beautiful blog here. It perfectly displays your beautiful spirit. Let the Holy Spirit continue to use you, Jasmine. I’m excited for you and happy about this glorious life that you are living. Congrats on the wedding! Love – tash.

    • Hey lady! Thank you. And thank God, right?!

      I can think back to many, many fun memories with you and I can also think back to many when we were so far removed from the women WE’VE become. I’m grateful for my “BC years” as I like to call them, and even more so that He allowed me to hold onto some really unique and special people in my ne walk! I love you!

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