Give Her a Break

Can we please give the Cincinnati Zoo mom a break.  I’m really tired of hearing about this incident.  It’s a shame Harambe was killed but the boy is alive so I would call that a happy ending.  I think the Cincinnati Zoo mom is a first class space cadet.  I don’t know what the heck she was doing while her child approached the fence to the gorilla habitat, climbed over it ran over a patch of grass and the jumped into a moat.  She definitely needed to be paying more attention to her child.

I don’t have children and haven’t spent a great deal of time with them so I don’t have any stories about losing children or having them destroy things while I’m not looking.  But I was a child myself once and I have memories of my own childhood mischief.  I guess all of these people that want the Cincinnati Zoo mom prosecuted have ideal parents and were ideal or non ambulatory children themselves.

I remember as a child going grocery shopping with my mother.  I got lost in the grocery store every week.  I would walk around crying until a store employee saw me and then they would walk with me to the register and announce that Shannon was looking for her mom.  I also got lost at an amusement park once.  I was much older but I still walked around aimlessly crying and amusement park employees had to come to my aid.

I was a fairly mild mannered child and I would consider my parents to be reasonably responsible people but I started my fair share of drama.  I remember smoking cigarette butts at my older cousin’s house when I was around seven.  I drank Bacardi rum at my dad’s house when I was around ten.  I found a gun under my dad’s bed when I was around thirteen.  I nearly electrocuted myself when I was three or so by sticking tweezers in a light socket.  I had wet hair at the time.  Instead of frying myself I blew a fuse in the house and the lights all went dark.

I also remember nearly setting the house on fire with a Christmas angel when I was around the same age.  I put the cardboard angel on a lamp lightbulb which was hidden with a lamp shade.  My parents and I left the house for the evening and when we came back our little angel was smoking because the lamp was left on.  I also chewed on a glass thermometer once and nearly ingested mercury.

So please stop with all the self righteous criticism.  Your parents were not perfect and your younger self was probably just as naughty as the child that ended up eye to eye with Harambe.

People That Love Animals

People that really, really, really, love animals have always freaked me out a bit.  People that have more love in their heart for animals than human beings are creepy and weird.  I’m talking about the type of people that talk about their pets constantly but you know them for months before you find out they have a spouse and children.  I’ve read Facebook memes about people that prefer animal company to human company.  If this is you than you have a problem.  If you are unable to maintain satisfying relationships with human beings on any level then you my friend are lacking something.  If you value the lives of animals more than you value humans you need a nice, tight hug from another human being.

This has been on my mind because of the recent events in Cincinnati, OH.  I’m talking about the boy that got in the gorilla cage and lived to tell the tale because the gorilla was shot to death.  I’ll admit that when I heard the story about the incident the first thing I thought to myself was that it was a shame that the animal was killed.  Then I wondered what the boy was doing in the gorilla enclosure.

Shamefully, my afterthought was about the boy and his well being.  I’m not even that into animals but I was briefly caught up in the frenzy too.  The zookeepers had no other choice but to kill the animal.  Regardless if the boy was ill behaved or if his mom is a space cadet they couldn’t have just let the boy be manhandled by a gorilla.

I am bothered at the way the media reported the story.  The story was about the animal not the child.  The headlines read something like “Gorilla Shot at Zoo” not “Child Falls into Gorilla Exhibit and Lives” or “Zoo Officials Save Child’s Life”.  Supposedly there is controversy over the decision that zoo keepers made to shoot the gorilla in order to spare the child any harm.  But we live in a country where children, even toddlers and infants are shot to death regularly.  Why isn’t there an outpouring of grief for them?  We seem to be complacent with the amount of violence in this country that is perpetuated against humans even the very young ones.

I really do feel bad for the likes of Harambe the Gorilla and Cecil the Lion but animals are not more important of valuable than people.  Infants that are killed in inner city drive by shootings don’t receive the same type of recognition.  Mankind was made in God’s image and God gave us dominion over animals.  There is something so disconcerting about people that love animals like they are human and view humans like they are disposable.  I think it’s great to have a soft spot in your heart for animals.  But there should be a bigger, softer spot for human beings.

 

 

Happy Birthday Cam Newton – Shannon in Kansas City

Yesterday was Cam Newton’s 27th birthday.  Glory be to God for that marvelous creation.  I hope he enjoyed a great birthday.  I absolutely love that man and I would probably marry him if given the chance.  He is incredibly handsome, sweet natured, big hearted, outgoing, friendly and prosperous.  God Bless him.

This may sound a bit strange but another reason that I love him is his choice in female companionship.  His girlfriend,baby mama fiancé or whatever is a single mother and she worked as a stripper at some point in her life.  I pass no judgment on anyone that makes that career choice.  Heck, life is tough, bills need to be paid and the baby needs shoes.  I’m glad to see that Cameron isn’t judgmental towards women either.  It’s a refreshing change.

Social media is a hobby of mine and I am shocked to see how many men, particularly Black men, pass judgment on women based on their sexual history or at least their perceived sexual history.  Black men and their sycophant Black women love to degrade Black single moms or anyone that they can label a slut via social media.  They put modest women up on a pedestal but these men probably don’t have modest morals themselves.

On Mother’s Day Cam posted a really sweet message to his lady.  It’s really nice to see a man praising the woman that he chose to impregnate.  I’ve been privy to  conversations where men have nasty attitudes towards women they once love or were at least found to be attractive but now they ha

Their attitude is that unvirtuous, single mothers are not deserving of love once they’ve made choices that they deem as foolish which lead them to be unmarried and pregnant.  Meanwhile, Black men are not held to any standards of purity whatsoever.  These Black single moms didn’t get there by themselves.

I think it’s lovely that Cam Newton fell in love with a stripper and I hope he marries her.  I think it’s great that Cam Newton does not judge women based on puritanical standards of sexuality and purity.  It’s nice to see a man fall in love with a woman’s character, intellect and beauty as opposed to choosing them based on how many lovers they may have had in the past.

I wish Cameron and Kia the very best.  I’m hoping that their story will become a Lifetime movie one day.  I’m not a fan of Disney, Prince Charming type movies but I would certainly watch that one.  If things don’t work out between Cameron and his son’s mother I hope he will marry me.  I’m quite a bit older than him but hey, he seems like an open minded guy that doesn’t judge women by society’s harsh standards of what makes a woman worthy of love and attention.

untitled

Happy Mother’s Day – Shannon in Kansas City

Happy Mother’s Day to all you fabulous moms out there.  I respect and admire your capacity to love and your devotion.  I know that there are exceptions but I am going to take a minute to focus what’s positive and typical.  Everyone loves their mom.  If you win an Oscar you thank your mom, if you get on the “Price is Right” you say “Hi Mom”, if you get arrested most of us will call mom.  Your mom is a constant throughout your life.  She’s been there through everything, even things you were too young to remember.  Moms are a real blessing.

I am so fortunate to have Lillie Mae Patrick French as my mom.  She’s a great lady.  No one has invested in me or believed in me the way she has.  My mom is a rock solid woman who’s word is as good as gold.  If she says something you can trust that it is true and that promises will be kept.  No on has ever stood up for me or protected me the way my mom has.

My mom is truly one of the nicest people in the world.  She is generous, not only with me but with other people too.  I am very blessed to be a witness to her life.  My mom has taught me to work hard, to stand up for myself, to be a lady, to be independent and to love God.  If I had to be born again and pick a mom again I would pick the same one.

My Prince Memories – Shannon in Kansas City

I found out that Prince died on Thursday morning.  I was working in my restaurant and a customer told me the news.  I was absolutely shocked.  Prince hadn’t seemed to age in about fifteen years.  He seemed to be the picture of health to me.  Many people are thinking about retirement at age fifty seven but Prince seemed like a person that still had a lot of passion and things to accomplish.

I grew up listening to Prince’s music.  I remember when “1999” was a hit and it seemed so far off in the future.  I was eight or so.  I did the math and figured out that I would be twenty four in 1999.  I couldn’t even imagine myself at that age or what the future would be like.  Now I’m forty one and the year is 2016 and 1999 and being twenty four is a distant memory.

In the 1980s there was an urban legend that if you played a Prince record backward you would hear a satanic message.  I couldn’t resist giving it a try.  There was no message to be heard, just unintelligible words and ugly sounds.  I failed to summon the devil or any demonic spirits in my bedroom.  I can’t remember if I was relieved or disappointed.

“Purple Rain” was released when I was in the fourth grade.  I didn’t see the movie until many years later but I became familiar with it from my classmates.  They reenacted scenes from the movie on the playground and quoted the movie whenever they could work it into a conversation.  I do not remember when I actually saw the movie for myself but I thought it was awful.  The plot was weak and Prince was actually a terrible actor.  But the soundtrack was fantastic.  The movie was the star.

I remember when Prince decided to have a concert tour in the early 90s.  He came to the FOX theater in Detroit and I tried desperately to get tickets.  I think tickets went on sale at 10:00 a.m.  I arrived at the Harmony House at the local mall in the town where I lived at around 10:05 a.m. and the clerk told me that tickets were already sold out.  I was shocked but I was not going to be denied so easily.  I spent the rest of that day desperately trying to win tickets from the radio station.  I never got through so I gave up.

I’ve seen Prince in concert twice.  Both times it was in Kansas City, MO.  The first time I saw him at Municipal Auditorium downtown with a lady that I knew from my job at the time.  I wore a purple bobbed wig, a purple tank top and jeans.  I have a photograph of that ensemble somewhere but I haven’t taken the effort to locate it.  It was pretty sexy if I must say so myself.  Take my word for it.  The second time I saw him at Kemper Arena with my mom.

After missing out on the chance to see him in Detroit I jumped at the chance to buy tickets to a Prince show.  Both shows were fantastic.  He was a true musician and a purist.  His shows were simple.  His act didn’t involve magic tricks, pyrotechnics, or a dozen back up dancers.  I was just him and his incredibly talented band.

There is a Facebook meme that has been circulating that asks what your favorite Prince song is.  I was up until 3:00 a.m. Friday morning listening to his songs on my mp3 player.  I can’t decided.  I really can’t.  But I think I’m leaning toward “Raspberry Beret”.  I’ve always liked those lyrics.

I admire Prince’s creativity and passion.  He was incredibly accomplished and was ahead of his time.  He was 5’2″, wore high heels, ruffled shirts but had more masculine swagger than many, many men.  His music was sexy without being vulgar.  At least he wasn’t vulgar to me.  Prince seemed to be a man that loved, admired, respected and valued women and that makes the difference between sexy and vulgar.

Prince will be missed but we will have his music forever.  If the world survives another few centuries I wonder if his work will be among the ranks of Mozart, Beethoven or Tchaikovsky.  I hope so, his music is a sign of our times (pun intended).

“Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last.”

 

 

My XXX Experience – Shannon in Kansas City

I’ve been reading testimonials on social media lately about well known people and their experiences with pornography.  I’ve considered writing about my thoughts on pornography in the past but I chickened out because I was ashamed to admit that I ever indulged in on line erotica.  I’m still ashamed that I ever used pornography but I feel that shame binds people into keeping secrets which only exacerbates problems that can be overcome.

I am a single woman that is not a virgin but has been celibate for an extended period of time.  One day several years ago it occurred to me that I really didn’t remember what sex was like.  This made me feel deprived, sad and out of touch with other adult people.  I was stupid for feeling that way because I was actually blessed.  I had returned to an innocence that I had lost but I didn’t appreciate that at the time.

One night I typed the word horny into the search engine on my computer and I came in contact with internet pornography.  It was not the first time I had seen pornography.  When I was a child growing up I use to see my copies of Playboy at my dad’s house.  I also saw a copy of Penthouse at my aunt’s house when I was young.  It was the issue that featured the disgraced Miss America Vanessa Williams.  I remember those images vividly.  I was about eight years old.  I’ve also seen soft core porn on HBO late at night and I saw an erotic movie at a friend’s house when I was a teenager on a VHS tape.

The first thing that struck me about internet porn was the sheer volume of it.  You will never get to the bottom of the porn pit on the internet.  I was not initially aroused or appalled.  I was mostly just enthralled and shocked by it.  It was fascinating.  I couldn’t believe that so many people were willing to perform these acts in front of a camera.  I had no idea that people behaved this way.  I had one hundred questions for the people in the videos.

Watching porn became a habit over a three year or so period.  I didn’t watch it every day.  My visits to porn sites were sometimes quite infrequent.  I would become aroused and experiment with masturbation.  I told myself that I was preparing myself for my future spouse.  I told myself that I was practicing safe sex.  I told myself that I was learning about my own body.  I no longer think this way.  Even if these statements were true I was selfishly taking advantage of other people that are probably disadvantaged in some way for my own benefit.

The more I watched porn the more I questioned why I did it.  Honestly, it is very corny and not sexy at all.  It’s not really sexy because porn is purely sex.  Porn films have nothing to do with flirtation or chemistry.  There is no story to be told about two humans connecting and nurturing a relationship.  It’s just sex.  It’s just two people fucking like animals.  After a while porn wasn’t even arousing anymore.

Before I began experimenting with pornography I really had no problem with it.  I thought that it could be useful for people that did not have a sexual partner, or people that were incarcerated or unable to have sex for whatever reason.  But as I watched porn I realized how degrading and sometimes violent it was towards women.  I’ve seen porn videos where the women were clearly drunk or high.  Perhaps that what they needed to do in order to perform.

I don’t consider myself to be a feminist but I am in favor of women having equal opportunities and respect.  I couldn’t in good conscious continue to watch pornography and consider myself to be an encourager of women.  I also didn’t feel like I could call myself a follower of Christ and continue to use pornography.  I can’t find a scripture that directly speaks against masturbation or being a passive viewer of immorality but I’m pretty confident that it is not in God’s will for us to spend our time watching strangers have sex like stray cats.

I wrote a blog posting in the past about the benefits of being a Christian.  A benefit that I didn’t mention about the Christian life is that if you believe that the Bible is the absolute word of God you have an unwavering standard about what is right and what is wrong.  If a Christian takes a wrong turn in life they have a road map on how to get back on track.  It is such a blessing to have an absolute like the word of God in your life.

Breaking my porn habit is probably similar to what smokers go through when they try to quit.  I had to pray my way through it and ask for strength and forgiveness.  I would go long periods of time without watching porn and then something would inspire me to watch it again.  I had to repeat the steps of asking for strength and forgiveness.  I saw a public service announcement once that told smokers to never quit quitting.  I had quit watching porn several times.

My experience with porn showed me that porn is degrading to women.  It is not about enjoying sex at all.  Most of it is based on domination and humiliation.  Women are almost always placed in a subservient position in XXX films.  Porn is not empowering or liberating to women in any way.  It is the exact opposite.  I have no research to substantiate but I have a strong feeling that the availability and heavy usage of pornography is responsible for the aggressive attitude that American culture has toward women.

I became involved with pornography out of loneliness.  I was longing for intimacy and I tried to use masturbation and sexually charged images as a substitute.  It didn’t work.  I wasted a great deal of time and nearly destroyed a computer because I exposed it to a virus through a porn site.  Pornography is degrading to women and men and it reduces human beings to our most primal instincts.  Those primal instincts are not what make humans great.  Our minds and our souls are what make us different from other life forms.  Pornography does not explore the mind or the soul.

Once the initial shock and awe of pornography wears off you see that it’s not even sexy.  It’s very corny and unrealistic.  There is no way in the hell I would do most of that shit.  Pornography has absolutely no redeeming value for any man or woman.  I’m glad that I know the Lord and His standards.  Once again God’s standards saved and the Holy Spirit guided me to a more righteous path

 

Russell Brand on Pornography

Terry Crews on Pornography

Ted Bundy on Pornography

 

 

 

 

Waitressing While Black – Shannon in Kansas City

I have had several customer service jobs in my life.  My career has mostly consisted of working in retail and I have had restaurant jobs as well.  I have learned a lot about the human race while working as a public servant.  Some of it is good.  Some is just matter of fact.  Much of what I’ve learned is disappointing.

I am a Black woman and I’ve noticed that some customers treat me differently than my non Black counterparts.  I have had retail sales jobs where I greeted a customer and asked them if I can help them find anything.  They would coldly tell me that they were just looking and barely make eye contact.  A non Black store employee would approach them a minute later and the customer’s entire demeanor would change and they gladly let the non Black store associate assist them.  I have witnessed this scenario time and time again.

The world has a coldness and condescending attitude towards Blacks.  I have often felt that a lot of non Black people have a hard time interacting with Black people without trying to correct or dominate them in some way.  A lot of non Black people feel like it is their right to dominate any interaction with a Black person.  Sometimes they try to dominate through subtle hints which express disdain for the Black party and sometimes they are more aggressive.

I currently work as a server at a chain restaurant that is popular across the U.S.  I had a string of customers over the weekend that were very course and rude over the weekend.  Now I’m sure you’re saying all servers have dealt with rude customers and you would be right.  But I’ve been Black a long enough to know when I’m dealing with the passive aggressive “You ain’t shit nigger” type of rudeness which is pervasive throughout America.

These particular customers had harshness in their eyes and were very coarse with their words.  If I said something to clarify their order they would snap back in a snotty way in order to imply that I was stupid.  Some of them avoided eye contact all together when speaking and talked down into their plates.  They were very cold, distant, dismissive and rude.  This type of behavior is common in Missouri.  I’ve never thought that people here are very nice.

People love to find and excuse for racist behavior so I want to say that these particular customers had nasty attitudes as soon as I approached their table so I know it was nothing I did.  It was the way I looked that made them so hateful.  Some may tell me to just suck it up sister.  Believe me I have.  Sucking it up and toughing it out gets tiring.  So I’m writing about my experiences as a creative outlet and to let my voice be heard among the handful of people that read this blog. (Thank you)

I want to encourage any other Black public servants out there to keep your head up and be professional.  It’s not your problem my friend it’s theirs.  Keep working hard.  Don’t let the prejudice and hatred on someone else’s heart affect you in anyway.  Like Beyoncé said “Always be gracious your best revenge is your paper”.

Sugar Diary – Shannon in Kansas City

When I was a child growing up outside of Detroit I existed on a steady diet of sugar.  In the Detroit area we have a local brand of pop called Faygo and I drank a liter of it a day.  Red Pop and Rock and Rye were my favorites.  I remember walking to the drug stores and gas stations and buying candy, pop sickles, ice cream and snack cakes as treats.  My mom was a single parent and didn’t have time to cook so McDonald’s, Burger King and the like often provided dinner.  There were no parental restrictions on my diet.  It was a lovely childhood.

Over the last few years I have cut back on the sugar in my diet.  I haven’t imposed a prohibition of sugar on myself but I’ve definitely made changes to reduce how much sugar I consume.  I’ve read many articles about the harm that sugar does to the human body over time and I want to be youthful and healthy for as long as possible.  I’ve also found that if you are trying to be thrifty sugary snacks and drinks are easy items to eliminate from your shopping list.

I think the easiest way to reduce the sugar you consume is to reduce the amount of pop you drink.  I think of pop as liquid candy and I don’t want to eat candy with every meal nor do I want to graze on candy all day the way people sip on pop all day.  When I eat in restaurants I usually order water because I only want a sip of pop but most restaurants serve large glasses with free refill for about $2.50.  To me that’s a fairly expensive indulgence so I just skip it.  Plus I don’t want the “free” refill.

I can’t say that I feel or look much different now that I’ve cut back on sugar in my diet.  The only way I can tell a difference at all is when I eat something sweet like a piece of cake but now the taste of sugar is overwhelming.  I will still enjoy the piece of cake but the confection is almost too sweet and it leaves behind a strand after taste.  I’ve lost my child hood sweet tooth.  There is the result of abstaining from copious amounts of sugar.