Law of the Jungle
NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own.
Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.
When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.
When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.
If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.
Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!
If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.
The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.
The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.
Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.
Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.
Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.
Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.
Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Let it find YOU!
To Love without Condition…
To Talk without Intention…
To Give without Reason…
To Care without Expectation…
Remember without Regret…
This… is the Heart of a True Friend.
Letter to LJ…
We’ve never met but you are important to me for the simple fact that you are important to “O” someone I love very much. She is so proud of you, wants so much for you… and loves you so much, therefore I… as a friend to her… have some love for you also. THAT in addition to over a million other reasons should be a good motivator for you to keep that Crazy, Old, Smart Azzed, Crusty, Puerto Rican FOOL around.
A little background on me: I was born and partially raised in one of the toughest cities in the world; I’m an Overweight, Lesbian, Black… Woman that didn’t go to college, someone who needs her job in order to ‘get by’… any one of those things BY ITSELF is a recipe and open invitation to be Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected on a daily basis. Since I graduated High School I have been working in white, straight, size biased, gender biased, homophobic, racist, male dominated Corporate America. Please know I am Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected REGULARLY. I am self-taught in almost everything and I have to prove myself over and over again EVERY day.
Growing up there were years my family did really, really well… house with a pool… 4 car garage, three family home… Catholic Private Schools, family businesses, a cheating husband/dad, an indifferent mother, a crazy sister and an extended family that overall makes a pack of vultures seem tame. Kind of a Haitian version of the Cosby Show meets the Black American version of Desperate House Wives. There were also years my family did really, really badly… living in the projects, sleeping on the floor, eating Ramon Noodle Soup (all day, every day because they were 10 packs for a $1.00), having no furniture and going to GoodWill for ‘new jeans’, with an absentee deadbeat dad, an oblivious mother, a bully for a sister and an extended family that makes enemies seem like old friends. Kind of like a Haitian version of Good Times meets the Black American version of All in the Family/Jefferson’s BEFORE they ‘moved on up’ (maybe before your time sorry lol).
My point… I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth… but I’ve eaten my ice cream with it. I wasn’t born in the ghetto but I survived it and it taught me how to handle the people, circumstances and situations that I have had to deal with every day. My Senior Year we had little to nothing. The only reason I managed to go to Prom was because my mom and older sister with the help of some of my friend’s mom’s… pulled together some money so the group of us could have that memory. However… there was no one to pay my senior dues, no funds for the senior trip and no class ring. I didn’t get to go to my High School Graduation… no cap and gown for me… I never walked down that isle. My diploma was mailed to me 2 months later and I got a copy of my year book when I joined my High School Alumni Association 5 years after the fact.
I’m giving you this background so you can better understand where I’m coming from… I’m not someone with money falling out of my azz… but when you are filling out your college applications or need to pay for your SAT’s… If you need help paying for your senior trip, I’ve got you. Just make sure you catch me on payday. If you decide you ever want to visit, (or escape Cleveland lol) I will help you in any way I am able. If you need a letter of reference or sponsorship for a program I will hustle up whatever I can. Your life has not been… and will continue… to not be easy, but your efforts are recognized. You are surrounded by people who pray for amazing things for you and people who believe in you.
I’ve been on my own since I was 19. On my own as in… working to pay my own way… full time job, my own apartment… bills in MY name. College was not an option for me; I had to work in order to live. There has never been anyone, and there is still no one… I can ‘call’ for help. That is not a life I wish on you, it’s not a life I wish for anyone. So I try to help… hoping that maybe in some way it will make a difference, and pave the way for someone else’s life to be BETTER than mine was at certain times. I give… hoping to make things a little easier for someone else and maybe take some of the pressure off. I read somewhere once: “The world is full of givers and takers. Takers will eat better… but Givers will sleep better.”
That having been said you are an intelligent young black man with dreams… a sense of decency, aspirations… a good head on your shoulders, and common sense… the Holy Grail, so there is a point to this letter. Being a black man is an obvious open invitation to be Discounted, Dismissed and Disrespected EVERY day. You will always need to be Stronger, Faster, Smarter… BETTER than everyone else. For the things “O” says you want… in life you will always… always need to make smart choices; the circles you run in, the schools you go to, the jobs you take and the habits you form. You will have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You will compete with others who have an advantage; more knowledgeable, more experienced… better connected etc. it is up to YOU to make those tough choices in order to build the life YOU want. Always remember where you come from. Let your roots be the foundation you build upon… in order to become the MAN you were BORN to be. We are molded by the circumstances of our lives… not defined by them.
You have people you can count on to support you and be in your corner, “O” and I among them. You are every BLACK Mother’s dream; a son… with a brain, a good spirit and a future… shaping himself into being a GOOD MAN and NOT STATISTIC. I didn’t have a consistent father figure… my uncles weren’t really in my life and I don’t have any brothers. So please know this care package and my offers are not charity. They are an investment in YOU and an investment in your future… because I don’t have a son yet… but I will… and when I do… I would want YOU to be someone he could look up to… and help me… teach him… how to be a man.
Please… ‘call me’ if you need me.
Always with Love – NovaCSA
Series of Unfortunate Events…
“Summer seems so cold without you, winter is even colder.”
When we make the same bad choices over and over again…
it is not a mistake…
It’s a DECISION!
One Life to Live…
“Hi world my name is Nova, and I… am a Nomad.“
And the world says… “HI NOVA!!!”
HOME was Queens, the big house with the front yard, the side yard, the back yard and the detached garage. The 3 family house with the basement converted into an apartment for extra income (making it 4 HAITIAN families living on the premises). I was born in Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica Queens, New York. I had always planned to visit for some reason, to walk down the halls… never happened. They shut down in 2009. My mother was alone when I was born, my dad didn’t bother to come to the hospital. She named me Sammantha Carlyn, but apparently at some point between my birth, and her leaving the hospital my dad went in and changed it. So I’ve been dragging around a variation of his name as my first ever since… Carlyn.
My Dad left when I was 11, he married his mistress and started a new family. I saw him once when I was 12, he popped up at my school. I was heading for the bus and there he was… this man I had once loved more than anyone. He was smaller than I remembered. He’d lost weight and I was taller than him. He was with my God Father, a friend of the family… someone I hadn’t seen since we’d moved to Florida.
Hi face was shiny and his nose was split across the top like it had been broken recently and was healing. His shoulders were hunched forward. This wasn’t the man I remembered. He had a new family… I guess the old one didn’t matter to his new wife considering he was a married man with a family when she met him. However the new wife ‘got him’… my dad’s health was failing. The man I saw that day was broken. There were rumors of course… rumors that his new wife had ‘gotten’ him with Voodoo. Rumors that his health was failing because my mom had ‘gotten’ him with Voodoo… Rumors that the new wife’s method of ‘getting’ him was eating him alive… three different forms of ‘getting’… the end result the same I guess. He was gotten. See the thing about love spells is they ultimately destroy the object of your affection. People become obsessive, obsession leads to jealousy, jealousy breeds anger, anger births insecurity and insecurity makes people abusive.
I came out of class that day and made my way over to where the buses were parked. The students would line up waiting for them to load up. I usually met up with a friend of mine and we would ride the bus together… we lived in the same apartment complex… Pier Club. I was searching the crowd for her, not aware of anything but the sound of the school students… hundreds of kids milling about the parking lot getting picked up by their parents and being loaded onto buses… “Carlyn…” that voice… HIS voice, he never called me Sammantha. At first I froze, then I turned around and we looked at each other. I looked down at him, and he looked up at me.
My God Father hugged me, I loved that man smh but I barely noticed him. My dad and I just eyed each other for what felt like an eternity then he asked, “You don’t remember your father?” and I… just looked at him. My God Father was speaking to me… from the corner of my eye I could see his lips moving but didn’t hear anything. It was like all of the light in the world had gone out and all I could see or hear was my Dad. A thousand things raced through my brain, how much I’d missed him. How much I loved him. How lost I was when he left the family, how hard things were since he left my mom, how different my sister was since he left her, how hurt I was because he left… me.
“You’re getting big.” He said while reaching into his pocket. He tried to hand me some money. “Here take this” and I looked at him. He waved the money at me and I just looked at him. There were so many things I wanted to say to him. So many questions I wanted to ask. I’d worried I’d never see him again. I had dreamed of happy reunions, dreamed of hugs… dreamed of kisses. I needed to hear him say “I love you”, I just wanted my dad… like any little girl. What I got was a stooped shouldered shadow of the man I loved, waving money at me… a stranger. A little more than a year had passed since he left and I realized something. That was all I would ever get from him, and so I answered the only way I knew how, “I don’t want your money.” Like all little girls, all I wanted was my dad.
He looked at me kind of shocked; I looked at him kind of amazed. He put his money away and I stepped away from him. He looked at me… I looked at him, and then I turned and walked away. I walked away from the father I remembered. I walked away from the dad I imagined. I walked away from the dream dad I invented. I walked away from the only father I had ever known… AND HE LET ME. That was the last time I ever saw him.
I got on the school bus, sat in the back by myself… silent. I taught myself something that day. If I sit very still, and stare at one object… take very shallow breaths and think about nothing… just focus on thinking about NOTHING… I can bear any pain. It becomes a part of me… deep… persistent. I learned if I sit very still and very quiet I don’t cry… I can bear it.
When I got home I made dinner for my mom and sister as usual. I didn’t eat though, I had no appetite. When they got home I told them what had happened. My sister didn’t have much to say other than, “Of course he would come to see YOU. He just wants something.” My mom ranted and raved about how he had come to kidnap me, and how glad she was that I didn’t take his money. That was the first time I got sick. I spent the next three days home throwing up with a headache and fever. I’ve gotten sick when extremely upset ever since.
I guess I’ve come to realize a few things. My Dad is the reason I love my loves for themselves and not for what they can ‘do’ for me. My mom is the reason I assumed all men were grimy for so many years. My Dad is the reason I NEED for my loves to NOT walk away, to STAY… with ME. He’s the reason I need my loves to WANT me to stay… to NEED me to STAY. My mom taught me to rely on myself… because no one ever does.
I loved my father. He was amazingly flawed, and beautiful. He taught me to respect someone who works with their hands… he taught me to analyze everything… see he was all about ‘the con’… all about ‘business’. As a result I’m all about ‘understanding’… all about ‘business’. I was angry at him for so long I had forgotten how much he was some of the best parts of me.
I spent years afraid to speak his name or acknowledge him in any way that wasn’t insulting. My mom, sister and I took to referring to him as ‘Doo Doo Head’… all the time… in public and everything smh it reached the point we didn’t even realize we were doing it until people looked at us funny. My sister destroyed every picture of him in the house from every album except MY ALBUM. I used to hide it… it was mine, given to me by my mom to do with what I wanted. I had my own personal stash of pictures of him… OUR pictures… things like my first communion, Christmases, Birthdays… etc… my last and only connection to him. One day when I was missing him terribly I opened that Album… and he was gone. Each photo where he had been was carefully destroyed… his face cut out of every single one. Devastated I ran to my mom and confronted my sister. They both laughed… it was extremely funny.
My mom was curious as to why I was keeping pictures of him anyway. That day I figured something out. If I was anything but derogatory… or insulting when it came to my dad… my mom took it as a betrayal. So I stopped speaking about him at all. I only chimed in on the insulting stuff… ‘Doo Doo Head’ and all that, oh I was still very much angry with him but I never stopped loving him. I still believe Karma took a big bite out of his azz for the grimy things he did… but still… I never stopped living him, but growing up in that house… survival meant I had to pretend that I had. With every move I hoped he would pop up… with those hugs and kisses. Never happened…
Just so you understand… these are the moves…
February 1979 – June 1987
- 3 Family House Hollis Queens to Mom’s cousin – Miami, FL
June 1987 – November 1987
- Mom’s cousin – Miami, FL to Embassy Blvd – Miramar, FL
November 1987 – June 1989
- Embassy Blvd – Miramar, FL to Mom’s sister – Miami, FL
June 1989 – September 1990
- Mom’s sister – Miami, FL to Pier Club – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
September 1990 – May 1991
- Pier Club – Ft. Lauderdale, FL to St Charles Place – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
May 1991 – June 1992
- St Charles Place – Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Dyckman St. Housing Projects – New York, NY
June 1992 – September 1994
- Dyckman St. Housing Projects – New York, NY to Vermilyea Ave – New York, NY
September 1994 – August 1995
- Vermilyea Ave – New York, NY to Fox Meadows – Maple Shade, NJ
August 1995 – August 1996
- Fox Meadows – Maple Shade, NJ to Bishop Terrace – Stratford, NJ
August 1996 – December 1998
- Bishop Terrace – Stratford, NJ to Sister’s – Philadelphia, PA
December 1998 – April 1999
- Sister’s – Philadelphia, PA to Vine St (on my own) – Philadelphia, PA
April 1999 – February 2001
- Vine St. – Philadelphia, PA to Ludlow St – Philadelphia, PA
February 2001 – April 2001
- Ludlow St – Philadelphia, PA to B’s Mom’s – Brooklyn, NY
April 2001 – March 2002
- B’s Mom’s – Brooklyn, NY to Jefferson Ave – Brooklyn, NY (me B)
March 2002 – July 2004
- Jefferson Ave – Brooklyn, NY to 150th & Broadway (just me) – New York, NY
July 2004 – August 2006
- 150th & Broadway – New York, NY to B’s House Macon St – Brooklyn, NY
August 2006 – October 2007
- B’s House Macon St – Brooklyn, NY to Warner Ave – Jersey City, NJ (me and B)
October 2007 – March 2009
- Warner Ave – Jersey City, NJ to Clerk St. – Jersey City, NJ (just me)
March 2009 – August 2011
- Clerk St. – Jersey City, NJ to Claremont Ave – Jersey City, NJ
August 2011 – December 2013
- Claremont Ave – Jersey City, NJ to well… figuring it out as we speak.
This move in December is going to be my 10th move as an adult… meaning a move by my own choice and not because my family is dragging me around all over the place. So I need for it to matter… it matters to me. I’ve spent so many years planning for a family that has not and may not ever happen. I’ve spent too many years trying to make the family I have feel like the family I want. This move is for me… it’s for myself… no more… no less. For the first time in my life I’m embracing that expression… “It’s all about me…” and while I’m not entirely comfortable with that. I’m working toward a home that I want, with no room for anyone but me… the cat… and the dog.
I’ve started at the bottom and I’m still working my way up. I’ve worn so many different hats that multitasking has become a second skin. Pick any 5 year span of my life and realize I’ve started over more times in that single 5 year span than most people do in their entire lives. So no… I can’t compare myself to any other woman. There will always someone ha has better, who does better, and who is probably just BETTER. I can’t help that, I do the best that I can. I’m the best I can be… a constant work in progress. I had both of my parents in their own way… and yet… I grew up feeling like an orphan.
We only get one life, one opportunity to live it to the fullest. I want my existence to be relevant. I need to matter to do things in this world that matter. So I’ve decided to put going back to school for the life-coaching on hold. I have wayyyyy too many issues. I need to work more on myself. As much as I’d love to help other people… I have to admit these days I can barely help myself.
I’m definitely a work in progress. I need to be a better person.
I need to be a better woman. Not for anyone else. Just for me.
Yes… I’m selfish that way.
Is this year over yet?
This morning I replied to a friend’s FB status about how she was feeling about love and relationships. I was honest and shared my view based on my recent experiences.
This has been a year of deep heartache, disrespect, humiliation and BS. I’m surviving it. Love, women, relationships… I’m not really sure what the point is anymore. Love has become subject to approval based on things that have nothing at all to do with actually LOVING someone. Women are evil to each other in ways men could never dream of or imagine and disrespect runs rampant because let’s face it… deep down most people don’t really have any respect for themselves… so how can they have it for anyone else? In the end take those things that make you bleed and learn from them. Wear your scars with pride because they are a testimony to the battles you have fought and SURVIVED. Be who you are, because you are beautiful and love yourself because… in this life right now in this world… treating yourself well has become a good idea instead of common practice. Be good to you! Anyone new in your life will have 2 options. “Get on board” or “Get the f*ck out of the way”. I had to learn these things… I’m still learning them, and I will continue to re-learn them EVERY day for the rest of my life, because the alternative… that parade of false love, the self serving, disrespectful women… is just NOT acceptable. (((Hugs))) – the end
Since this response I’ve been thinking. .. 2013 was a year of extremes… things were either really really bad… or really really good. I’ve had no buffer… and I’m over it. I was recently told I’m a dissapointment… oddly enough by someone who has disappointed me my ENTIRE life. Perhaps maintaining the current relationships in my life is more important than expanding my circle. Let’s face it… my friends are in fact awesome… we take care of each other. I’ve learned that not all offers of friendship are genuine. Now when someone speaks I weigh their words against their actions… because it is a fact that a healthy dose of suspicion does not necessarily translate to paranoia. Sometimes… folks REALLY are out to get you.
So I’ve been re-evaluating, I’m not the person I was this time last year. In some ways I’m better… in others… worse. I could apologize but I won’t. Life does not apologize. God has his plans and I can say in my times of deepest darkness and crippling heartache he has been consistent, and I knew I was loved.
I would be a liar if I said I’m NOT ready for this year to be over. So many new beginnings on the horizon. New year, new job, new home, new love, new friends, a new start, a new me.
This year I’ve been bent to the point of almost breaking, wounded by people I loved deeply, bloodied in ways I never experienced before , used for the things I can offer, abused for the things I can’t and discarded like used up toilet tissue. All by different people and different circumstances… creating one big ball of “I deserve better…” Kind of a “life punch in the face”. Smh when they say “life’s a b*tch” they are not joking, but I’m a fighter, and I punch that b*tch back.
My theme for the new year… like the Phoenix in the picture above. I’m a survivor.
Thank you and F*ck you very much 2013.