Sunday, November 1, 2009

Blogging For Confidence
And Other Random Thoughts
About Family Dynamics & The Sexes

If you missed it yesterday or today, it's gone for now. Several people who caught it enjoyed it immensely, and I thank them for their comments. I'm speaking of a short story I wrote about the monstrous horror of what went wrong in one family.

People blog for many different reasons and cover a seemingly infinite number of topics.

Well readers, I've been blogging for confidence.

I was given the gift to write well long ago. Luck would have it that I had a wonderful Catholic school education through 7th grade, and my public school English teachers for 8th through 11th were excellent.

I loved reading and could spell my azz off. I had a clue on how good I was in 8th grade, when my teacher had the class do a spelling bee. I was one of the last two standing. My classmate missed the word, but I sounded it out and used the weird rules that I somehow know without knowing and got it right. Even the kids who took little interest in English watched to see if I'd blow it. You could hear a pin drop. I got it! The teacher looked astounded, and dropped her head down with one of those, "damn" expressions, as in, damn, how'd she get that?

Boy that felt good!

My 9th grade teacher saw my book of poems and encouraged me to enter one. I was shocked with I won 1st place in that DC citywide poetry contest.

The thing is, my parents weren't into my poetry. They really didn't understand it. Left me feeling like it wasn't all that important.

It's kind of weird because my father wrote and sold poetry to white men just so he could see it published. Wouldn't be in his name, but at least he saw it in print.

I wish the hell I had a list of those guys now, not to sue them, but just to know who those fuckers were.

Maybe he didn't want to see me get hurt like he had been. Instead, he encouraged me to study journalism in college since I liked to read so much and could write a decent essay.

Well fuck, that field had a very low glass ceiling too, so low that a dwarf might bump her head.
Like my father in the 1940s or 50s, I couldn't break the racial barrier in the early '80s. I managed to get two gopher jobs - "go for this and go for that" - in black media places, but sexism was rampant.

I got fired by one old fart (old as in his 40s, which was old to me back then), because I wasn't interest in getting with him, and he got jealous because I started dating a guy my own age who worked the technical end of radio, who quickly became one of my best boyfriends ever. He was fired a week after me.

The degradation I saw a number black women go through, and the racism black men and women had to put up with, made me think long and hard. I gave up on journalism and pursued social work, and shortly after that, mental health. It was a rewarding career, financially and mentally.

At the end of some days, I went home feeling like I'd done God's work. And I had.

In 2006, I began writing again for the first time in years. My parents were dead, but none of my family members were supportive.

I'll never forget when I read an excerpt to a novel that I
knew was great writing, and this relative said something really cruel. The way he did it reminded me of the little cruel acts my father would do to me after I learned I was infertile.

He would say, while grinning, when I'd tell him that I was going out on date, "Don't get pregnant!"

Mind you, he was the number one person who pushed me day and night to get an abortion when I was 19. The men in my family are mixed bag. They can show you love and support - usually in areas that interest them - or they can say the cruelest things just because they're assholes.

So this time, with this relative, I confronted him.

"Why did you say that? Do you really think that?"

He became uncomfortable.

"No. I don't know why I said that."

He really didn't.

It hit me then that he was jealous, and his poisonous words were a knee-jerk reaction. He writes very well and should be doing his own thing in that area, but something holds him back. My success will trigger his insecurity and make him feel like he's wasting his gift.

Plus, he had wanted to edit my work after reading the first chapter because he said he liked it - but he wanted a huge cut off any profit... something crazy like 25 percent, rather than my paying by the hour for his help. Suddenly, my story wasn't good anymore.

Jealousy is so destructive. Even when you know the person is jealous, if your confidence isn't 100%, you might feel uncertain and insecure. I was getting demoralized by own family at their lack of interest.

Not everyone had the green with envy issues. Two close relatives simply didn't like the point of view of one of the characters. They'd scan a few pages, hone in on one, and start ripping the whole story apart. For one it was over religion, for the other, the character was too ghetto.

Folks can real pissed if their own values or beliefs are challenged by the thought processes of someone who thinks differently than they do.

"Do you believe this?", one demanded.

"Nooo, but my character does."

"Why don't you write about nice people with happy endings?"

"We all start out nice at birth," I explained. "For a bunch of folks, it goes downhill from there, and there are reasons for this. Read the story and you'll see."

"That's okay," he said dismissively, "it's not my cup of tea. By the way, I read a really good book recently that you might like."

Fuck you too, you unsupportive son of a bitch, I thought to myself.

Not a single one of my friends would take time to read my stuff. I know if I was their damn boyfriend or some nigga they wanted, they would. I got no dick, they had no time for my dumb hobby.

They'd yap for hours and in multiple phone calls over how some nigga done them wrong. I can't tell you how much those conversations bored the crap out of me after the age of 40.

If ya ain't happy with him, ain't you learned by now what to do? And don't you know the warning signs when shit
first starts going downhill? Ain't like he's gonna marry you anyway so stop sweatin' the man.

Oh damn, how my girl friends hated hearing that.

That wishful thinking shit causes more heartbreaks than reality. Reality is raw. Only 30% of black women will ever get married, and we can expect half of them to divorce, so enjoy your kids if you got any or get a dog if you don't.

If you prefer cats, resist the urge to get more than one. My past two never wanted to share the litter box, and who wants to be over 40, unmarried, and thought of as the cat lady? Having one cat instead of one dog does have one great advantage - you don't have to rush home after work to walk it.

(Anyway, I got a little off track here. My bad. Told ya this post would be somewhat random.)

So I got into writing fiction three years ago, and lots of it. Posted one on-going story on the Internet and got 500 hits each time I added a new chapter.

Problem was, racism reared it's ugly head. My characters are black, and they had a lot to say. The cyberhate was mind-blowing. I still can't even talk about it, it was so bad.

But what was also upsetting was the poverty of black support. I know they were reading the shit because I'd see their user names in the 'room' where the story was posted, but proportionally, they were stingy as hell with the comments.

I mean, what's up with that?

I learned there really is truth that black male writers (and bloggers) get more attention from readers than black women.

Some bro can write some half-assed shit in one paragraph and get ten comments - or worse, write stuff that is sooo fuggin' wrong that if a woman wrote that shit, half of her readers would bail.

We got sistas out here in Blogland who routinely write quality stuff, but get far less attention. And it's not that I resent the kudos good male bloggers get, it's that I resent that women too often are not treated equally, even by other women.

I often think we're all starved for black men, even black men.

We hunger for their voices, opinions, and guidance, so much so that a woman can say the exact same thing but it not have the same impact.

It's not just a black problem either, it's a human problem. This is why male preachers will always dominate houses of worship, no matter what religion. Same goes for the political arenas. It's like everyone wants a daddy-figure to tell them what they need to know.

I can't complain too much, though, my male readers have been very good to me, and I have as many of them as the ladies. I attribute this to trying to be fair and looking at both sides of an issue, and being nurturing to them as well.

All of you together, the brothas and sistas, and my white readers too, have given me a sorely needed gift: confidence.

The few comments on my short story, which was only up for 48 hours, were so nurturing.

Last night, my son had four friends over, all between 20 and 23. I read it to them and they were mesmerized. Their excitement, like that of my readers here, was genuine. I got from you and from them what I could never get from own friends and family, with the exception of my beloved son, Xavier, who has always been one of my biggest fans.

Collectively over the past 18 months of my blogging, you have healed my soul.

My next step is to submit that story and some others, with the hope they'll get published in a book. This is why I switched it to 'private view - invite only' on my other Keep It Trill companion blog.

I don't know if I will succeed, but after blogging for confidence and succeeding in that, I'm ready to try - again, and this time, eff the haters.

Tonight I want to thank all of you. Here's a toast to you. Cheers.


P.S. - Please excuse the excessive bold highlighting and earlier typos. This unusual post was so long and filled with randomness, that I figured highlighting the different shifts in thought would be helpful.


  1. Deep comments about jealousy. And I love everything you said about starting out good and decent and getting effed up along the way.
    Ok, I'ma go back to look for the short story--I got stop reading the posts!

  2. Kellybelle, email me.

  3. KIT, baby, help KB find the story--what is the title?

  4. KIT, fwiw, I love reading all that you write. I'm a writer too and the lack of support is disheartening at times. It seems like only other female writers are interested in what I write. No family support here either. I wish I had more time to read and comment on your posts. Finding your blog was like finding a jewel. I read the first few paragraphs of your short story in my reader and wanted to get back to it when I had a chance. I hope you put it up again.

    Oh and my deepest gratitude for referring me to Wildflower. Thank you.

  5. Kit, I have been reading without commenting for a while now... female and white, but from Germany, and therefore possibly more insulated against black vs white views (or just immune to it? Would like to think so...but I don't really believe I would be strong enough to fully evade racism all around me.)
    You do write wonderfully, and above all honest. All my fingers are crossed for you to find a good publisher :).

  6. Trish, Thank you so much. Keeping it honest about the others we read about isn't too hard, but keeping it honest about me sometimes makes me go ouch. I've done this anyway in ways that I think might help others from repeating my mistakes.

    Chi-Chi, You're more than welcome. I'll self-publish on amazon if something doesn't come through by the summer. And yeah, Wildflower's blog is awesome.

    Kellybelle, Thanks, and we've connected by email. Sorry about the confusion b/c you read the post minutes after I uploaded it, and I'd written so fast that I ended up fine-tuning it over the next hour.

  7. Kit,
    Negativity can come at you from all angles. You have to insulate and take comfort in the fact that jealously and success go hand in hand. Just keep your eye on seeing your name in print.

  8. I think when India.Arie said "no one has the power to hurt you like your kin" (and then "friends" in a later verse) she hit the nail on the head.

    On a slightly different wavelength, trying to get my friends to help me edit my personal statement for graduate school apps has been like pulling teeth. It AMAZES me how suddenly busy they've all become, but I couldn't count up all the hours I've spent helping them with their projects. I don't get it.

    The quickness with which we will spit venom towards people we love because of our own issues but withhold compliments and love with that same quickness also astounds me. It's also why most of my friends know nothing about my blog or all the short stories I've written. I'd rather not risk our friendships because of their insecurities...

    I didn't get to read the short story, but based on what I have read from what you've written, I'm sure it was awesome.

  9. A.Smith, Wonderful comment, thank you. Yeah, same here. My hardest-to-heal wounds have come from close ones where I assumed they'd be as supportive to me as I had to them. Took me a long time to learn to not assume shit, lol.

    Devon, Thank you too. I don't think it's all a matter of jealousy; there's something else there that deserves a post in itself. And I ain't hardly Jesus, but I understand why he left town.

  10. I love your writing style, its raw with emotion and its engaging. That said, like you at time, I get pissed about how little respect sistas get even in the blogosphere. Its one of the reasons I spend too much time online reading blogs especially written by sistas. ;-)

  11. I didn't get around to commenting on the story because it was so mind blowing that I needed to get my thoughts together. That being said, it was very intriguing. The pacing was great. I especially appreciated that even though the characters had unfortunate circumstances they weren't written as caricatures or stereotypes of black youth who live in the hood. The main reason that I don't read a lot of black authors is because, beyond being unable to personally relate to the characters I can't even empathize with them because they're so trite. So don't let the haters get you down!

    Also, today's post made me realize how much of an impact family has on a person, but this comment is long enough so I just wrote a post on my own blog about it:

  12. Brownbelle, Wow, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I read your post, too. Indeed, you are as lucky as your friend is not.

    Black Girl In Maine, Thank you, and I noticed that. As I said in the post, there are some great black male bloggers out there and I don't begrudge them one bit.

    I'd just like to see the sistahs get as much blogger love - particularly from other sistahs. You and I, and a number of other female bloggers already do a nice job of this.

    *group hug, ladies, you too, guys*


  13. I read your story and thought it was very creative. I've thought you were a talented and wise soul since I read your first post!

    I think it's wonderful that you are now exploring something that you've wanted to do since you were a child! It was wise of you to get feedback from many different people, especially since some of the members of your family were not too supportive.

    The feedback from your fellow bloggers and someone you know who would tell you the truth (Xavier) should confirm what you knew when you were child: that you do indeed have a gift for writing!

    You've displayed a lot of courage by posting these personal and inspiring stories. I just want to encourage you to continue on your journey of self expression. Also, when self doubt stops by and messes with you again, come back to the comments page of this post to remind yourself how many people think you're a talented writer!

    Peace be with you and good luck!

  14. Truth, Thank you. I will take your advice on those cloudy days when the sun just won't shine.

  15. KIT,

    like i told you i love your writing really enjoyed your story. It is very hard out here for writers, even for ones with immense talent. I'd like to share some info with you if you are interested. I have a small publishing compay, and have published several writers...if you don't find what you are looking for out there, check me out.

    or email me directly at

    best of luck to you!

  16. Kit, you say that we have healed you. I know that by reading your insights, I have grown in my thinking. Also, seeing your confidence has given me confidence at a time when I sorely needed it. In reading your work, I have gained confidence in who I am and what I can do.

    Isn't it blessed when we can give and receive at the same time?

  17. Mountain Laurel, It's so nice to learn this, and I'm glad it worked both ways. Thank you so very much.

  18. Mzreprepresent, Stunned is hardly the word to express how I felt when I read this. Guidance from those who've been there and are there would be helpful, and I'll contact you today. Thank you.

  19. Way to go, Kit! Good luck with your story.

    I also have a story blog and get zero comments.

  20. I know I've said this before, but I want you to know that you are very much appreciated and loved. As many other have stated before me. :) You are very prolific and we love you for your honesty and wisdom. THANK YOU for your courage to keep on sharing. I keep on singing
    your praises on my FB page and your witty, engaging writing style continues to inspire me to push thru my own issues around blogging and sharing my words with others.

    Happy you are healing and ignoring the haters. :)

    Family is family, and we got to remember it really isn't about us, but their own wounds they are responding/spewing venom out to you mentioned, their own insecurities.

    Really sad that even in virtualandia sistas can't get a break. I know you don't embrace the radical sista title, as you impart a balanced, rational perspective. I however, embrace you as a powerful role model for us younger sistas, and think your experience and wise reflections help us come into our own definitions of self. To me you are one powerful sis, and that makes you radical. Thanks again for sharing, and please keep us informed on where/how you choose to disseminate your work.

    I'd love to support in anyway, possible. Even if it's just donating a couple of random reais or whatever...

  21. This is awesome. I have been running around with my hair on fire, so haven't been able to get to your blog. I hope I can read it though.

    I have lots to say about the racism in's prevalent and breathtaking. Not a place where any black person can rest easy.

    But I wanted to take a second and add my voice to the chorus, telling you your words are appreciated and so are you.


  22. Admin/Wildflower, Thank you, and for all the guidance you give to me, and others on your blog.

    Claudia Veronica, Your comment touched me deeply. I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but the warmth and caring from you and others has been overwhelming - in a good way, but still stunning, as in too stunned to know what to say. It's like my saying thank you is nice but feels insufficient. Not knowing what else to say, I'll just say thank again.

    Miriam, Thank you, and maybe you can let more people know...

  23. you know i have mad love for you. :-)


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

My old blogger friends (you know who you are) are welcome to email me.

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