Reality check

Somebody recognized me in the mall once. 

 It was a long time ago when I was still married and my children were still in elementary or middle school.  I was coming out of the bathroom of Freedom Mall (affectionately known as Freedom Hallway) and these two smartly dressed twenty something females kept staring at me.  Now please understand that I’d gone to the mall to get away from home which was just down the street and around the corner.  I wasn’t very happy at home.  On the surface it would appear that I had everything to be happy about.  A nice two-story house on a corner lot in a bougie neighborhood, 3 smart and talented kids, a working husband and 2 more than adequate vehicles.  I had all the plastic a woman could spend and a job of my own that wasn’t too bad.  I wasn’t happy.  Inside I was broken, hurting lower than low.  My mother had recently died, my marriage was on the rocks and I just didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. 

When these young ladies continued to stare at me I looked down at my feet to see if perhaps I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe.  Or worse if I had toilet paper hanging out of the back of my pants.  I didn’t.  I kept walking with an awkward smile I as the young ladies  approached.  Perhaps they were from out-of-town and needed directions or something. “Aint you the Diva?”, they asked.  Well you coulda knocked me over with a feather.  Here I was walking around trying to escape my reality and these two young girls were looking at me like I was some kinda celebrity or something.  “We saw you at The Vault.  We always go to hear you read.”  Back then I did performance poetry at open mics.  I featured a couple of times. 

Diva was my stage name that kinda evolved from an email address that I had when I first ventured into the world of cyberspace.  I was a cake deccorator  at the time and I had aspirations of becoming a “true cake Diva”, and I was soon to be 36 so I adopted the email address Cakediva36.  It was on an AOL poetry board that I first revealed my poetry to the world(wideweb).  I got feedback that was positive for a change and interest.  My poetry gained some popularity in some circles and it gave me the confidence to do spoken word.  I’ll never forget the first time I stepped on stage.  It was at the now defunct Moon Room downtown Charlotte.  I was so nervous, I didn’t know what to wear.  I had also just cut my hair because I’d finally made the decision to loc.  I put on a little black dress with a shimmery gold oversized button down blouse, and open toed shoes.  Not too casual not too dressy.  I was a nervous wreck.  I sat in the back in the corner against the wall as the MC, Curtis McCornkle, gave the safety briefing.  Curtis was an interesting fellow.  Rust colored dreadlocks that mushroomed from his head covered by a brown cap that was unable to reach his skull, freckles that danced across his nose betraying his afrocentricity and revealing his white father.

After what seemed like an eternity he called me to the mic.  I had to squeeze by people because it was standing room only, and people were standing everywhere.  I walked to the mic, cleared my throat and said, “This is my first time, please be gentle with me,” which elicited laughter and applause.  And then it began.  I did two poems Woman? and Turn me out.  Woman was delivered with all the passion of a Lauryn Hill song and politicism of Angela Davis.  And then Turn me out, the sultry ballad of a woman in love offering herself to her man without reservations.  I dropped into my deep sultry, slow, deliberated delivery and at the last word, the room exploded with applause, and I…was…home.  For the first time in my life I found a place that I didn’t have to try to fit in because it fit in to me.

And so I left Freedom Mall feeling good about myself.  My gift was validated, somebody had recognized me in the mall.  I drove home and got out of the car greeted by my children who were playing in the yard.  Smiles and hugs all the time.  My son used to call me Pretty Mommy.  I went into the house and up the stairs to my bedroom, our bedroom.  There he was where I left him sitting in the chair in front of the TV, with his hand in is shorts like Al Bundy and the remote control on his thigh.

“Guess what?  Somebody recognized me in the mall.”  No response.  He didn’t even look in my direction.  I was used to it.  I just went into the bathroom, gathered my composure and came back out.  I sat on the edge of the bed near him.  He still ignored me.  I tried to make small talk.  Finally he said “What you been eating?  Your breath stinks.”

So much for thinking I was something special…


~ by Diva2de on March 1, 2011.

One Response to “Reality check”

  1. That is so sad. I know what that feels like. Needing and wanting but getting starved out! I am learning to get these needs supplied by God so I won’t be dependent on man because man will let you down everytime. I thank God for that though because if it weren’t that way I probably wouldn’t have taken the time out to learn God the way that I do now.

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