This weblog is my online journal. You'll find my opinions and general thoughts on a variety of
topics as well as links to articles of interest on the web. When the spirit moves me, I will also include longer essays
which will be posted in the Essay section of this Weblog.
Be sure to check out some of my writings, poetry, and photographs as I'll change those as the mood moves
me to do so. Drop me a line if mood moves you at .
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Commitment, Duty, Responsibility
For five or six consecutive Sundays after Christine's death, I experienced a strange phenomenon of waking
and finding myself piddling around the house until some time after
This past May, on the 26th, I did the same.This past Sunday, I noticed
I did the same and the only reason I noticed it this time is because of an appointment I scheduled for that morning.In fact, I am now realizing I have been doing this quite often this past year.Sunday, I piddled around the house until ,
called the woman I was to meet, set my clock and went back to bed.Unfortunately,
since I work Sunday nights, I need to sleep if I am to make it to or in the morning at the top of my game.The
experience, however, made me realize a personality trait Christine and I shared and helped
me realize the trait is something I need to lose.
On the 14th of April last year, a month or so before Christine’s
death, I was traveling back and forth from her house to the hospital to help her finish taxes for her clients.When it was all done, Christine said “no more commitments.No more responsibilities.”Another woman in the room questioned
her and even I was shocked to hear Christine say those words.Whether Christine was experiencing discomfort with the buildup of fluid in her lungs,
her sleepless nights due to the incredible pain in her shoulder, or just plain tired, she continued to do what she said she
would do; sometimes to her detriment.Later that evening, when we were alone,
Christine began preparing me for her death by saying she felt herself “going down fast.”She continued by telling me she knew she would eventually get worse and would probably
not be able to do for herself.She wanted me to know how much she loved me and
to let me know the woman I once knew was slowly becoming someone else.This was
also the beginning of her “what are you willing to give for your soul” mantra.
I believe the point of her statement and/or mantra had a lot to do with giving
so much of herself for others she found they neither respected nor cared for what she gave in kindness.“The more you give, the more they want and it doesn’t make
a damn bit of difference” she said.In the 11th hour, I found Christine
always wanted to go to Amsterdam, Greece
and Hawaii.She always wanted to
climb the mountain to see the sunrise in Maui.She did
many things in her life that were closely associated with who she was as a lesbian activist:go to gay and lesbian events, attended Nia every year, attended Sistahfest and other events such as these, but she
never did what she wanted to do for herself.Outside of duty, commitment, and
responsibility, Christine never had time to do for herself.Much of her giving had a lot to do with the feeling of not being wanted as a child.I believe Christine tried to give to others what she never received growing up, that
being the need to feel loved, wanted and respected.Many times her giving was
not reciprocated by those on the receiving end of her kindness.
This is what I thought about last Sunday as I grabbled with whether I should
cancel the appointment I made or go through with it.In the past, I would have
gone through with it because I committed myself.I would have returned home afterwards
wanting for sleep and probably would not have slept for fear I would somehow oversleep and would have been miserable the entire
evening at work.I too would have done what Christine
often did “I wish I asked you to call me to wake me up.”If I told her to cancel
and not worry about it, she would say “I promised I would do it, I’m going to do it.I believe in keeping my word.”Keeping her word kept her from Amsterdam,
Greece and Hawaii.
Last Sunday, I was up at
and for the remainder of the time until , when I made the call to cancel
the appointment, I watched three movies in their entirety.Funny, I thought watching
a movie would put me to sleep since that always worked for me, but no, I ended up watching three entire movies and all three
had similar themes – the privileged, or the ones with status believed themselves better and looked down their noses at those
they felt were the underclass and less fortunate.There was an element of prejudice
in each of the movies.Additionally, in each, the ones considered less fortunate,
lacking status and privilege, those who were looked down upon excelled anyway, in spite of how they were viewed, and became
very successful.At the end of each movie, success was achieved not by
following the one way presumed to be the only and right way, they excelled by following their own path and their success and
respect was measured not by status, privilege, or being born the correct race; no, their success was measured by their ability
to cross and build bridges, by respecting all people regardless of their status in life, and being true to themselves.
I have come to the realization I have been going about things the wrong way.I needed a wake up call both literally and figuratively.I need to look at things from a different perspective and follow my own wishes and desires.I need to be true to myself and not follow anyone else’s path or Christine’s
path for that matter and therein lies the truth about it all – I’ve been pursuing the wrong path.Maybe that is why Christine pushed me to go through with FemmeNoir because
she finally understood I walked a different path than she and what she tried to show me was not necessarily right for me.In the end, she was more apart of my world than I hers and I needed to take a good
close look at that one element of our relationship.No, I need to pursue a different
path and that I shall do.To thine own self be true.