Sisters Looking For Love Online

Success Magazine, September 2010

::click here to see the full length article:: Sisters Looking For Love On Line

“Sisters Looking for Love Online”

By, Ascellia M. Arenas

She is unmarried, she is African-American, and she does not want to be single anymore. Is her man online? The Online Schools study reports over 20 million people visit online dating websites at least once a month. Also, one and three women have sex on the first encounter with men they meet online. Unfortunately, men frequently lie most about their age, height, and income. Why then would any woman risk her heart with “taking a chance with love” online? Are these “sisters” getting down on the first date? Do the “brothers” know and seek that?

After discussing the topic with African-American men and women; it is clear that the majority of the single females have a high interest in online dating services. Angela states, “Yes, I would and do date courtesy of online avenues. I think dating online opens up possibilities to meet people outside of the traditional places.” Given that today’s successful African-American woman is most likely digitally literate, and spends a great deal of time working and networking online and offline: there is no doubt that she would participate in online dating. The 2006 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project claims that nearly 7 million American adults have gone out with someone they met online.

Cynthia agrees that some single African-American women may feel hesitant about online dating, but are willing to give it a try. She states, “As an African-American woman, I don’t feel like there is a stigma attached to seeking relationships online. My hesitancy comes from wanting to protect my safety and my heart. Niky, who is a single mother of two children, states, “as the years ‘tick on by’, it becomes more of a considered option.” She understands the need to exercise caution.

The African-American male point of view is different about finding “love” online. They view it as a socially interactive way to meet people. William understands that his friends may purposely look online for women who may be interested in dating them. The use of social networking sites like eHarmony and requires a fee and they are willing to pay to play.

Tony offers, “Well, I think that [in] this computer age that we live in, it’s not a bad idea.” Scott sees the benefit in women participating in the selection of eligible bachelors available online. Scott adds, “I feel that dating has evolved just as everything has and will.” David, a single African-American male offers his opinion about single sisters looking for love online. He states, “with the advent of social networking, we are truly all connected in this matrix now, no one is safe!” Interestingly, the men who seek the women to casually connect are honestly seeking true companionship as well.

Many of the single African-American women who participated seemed to be optimistic about the opportunity to meet professional African-American men. Is it about a making love connection or a digital-booty call? How would you know it doesn’t work if you never try it? Wanna chat?

Mama and The Beach

Mama and The Beach

By, Celli Sandz

The beach is a very special place for me. It is where I go to connect with God and nature. There is no greater gift than the ocean, sun, sand, and surf. I was raised on the beach. My mother believed in taking us to the water to celebrate, to feel better when ill, to have family picnics, or just because we needed to calm down and become one with God. That is where God lives. When you look at the water and see that it connects to the sky; that lets you know of His infinite connection to the world and His intimate connection to you.

On a trip to the beach I was being contemplative, thinking about love (as usual) and life (as usual), positivity, spirituality, subconscious connectivity to the flesh world. Then all of a sudden, while playing in the surf with the boys it hit me like a ton of bricks-an epiphany!!!! I had the youngest near the shore with me while the oldest was testing his manhood out in the riptides. I explained to the baby what would happen if a riptide caught you. I said, mind you this was on Saturday and it was choppy out there too, “…stay close to me because the planet earth is 70% water and the seas have more strength than you know. You may think that you are in control but a wave will carry you out in to the sea and you could get caught in the undertow. Mommy is an excellent swimmer, but not even I can save you from the ocean if it wants to get you!”

Needless to say he looked at me like I was crazy, didn’t bother me much, I get that a lot. It was the oldest that worried me. I kept calling for him to come back, there were riptides, the undertow could drown him. He needed to heed my warnings. He like most male children felt his own strength and decided that I couldn’t stop him. I bellowed out to him, “Ahman, get yo lil butt back over here or you gonna have to deal with me, to hell with what the ocean will do!” He obliged fearing the butt whipping that may ensue. Look folks, I rather beat my son’s butt today than have to bury him tomorrow. As usual the threat worked and he made his way back to shore where me and “shawty-do-wop” were singing songs and collecting sea shells.

I could tell at that moment that my baby boy was slipping away. He was challenging me and wanted to go out there on his own and experience life. He wants to fall down and be able to pick himself up. I respect that. I saw he was wanting to spread his wings so I said, “go on ahead boy but you stay in that sand bar right here where I can get to you if I need to!” And off he went karate chopping and flipping his way through the choppy surf. I sat on the shore with a watchful eye. I wouldn’t let him stray too far away…
Yes, of course I cross-referenced this epiphany,

There is a book titled: “Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss and Spiritual Transformation” by, Lama Surya Das…
I found these items to be interesting:

Instead of trying to alter the course of nature to avoid loss and setbacks, we can square off with them with wisdom and spirit…
“Like the Buddha, we want to find the lessons that lie buried in suffering and pain. Questioning is an essential part of the spiritual path: self-inquiry, introspection, philosophy — all involve genuine doubt and skepticism as propellants fueling the spiritual journey. We find meaning in the seeking itself.”
We suffer so much is that we are so attached to ideas, feelings, people, and things in this book Surya Das quotes poem from a a nursery school wall. It’s called “The Toddler’s Creed”:
“If I want it, it’s mine. ”
“If I give it to you and then change my mind, it’s mine. ”
“If I can take it away from you by force, it’s mine.”
“If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. ”
“If we are playing with something together, then all the pieces are mine. ”
“If it looks like the one I used to own or have at home, it’s mine.”

“Letting go means learning to lighten up as well as enlightening up.”
Still a little difficult for me to grasp sometimes, especially if I am fond of something or someone however, he recommends using prayer to reaffirm our intention to keep our hearts open. He shares a prayer from his own journey:
“May my heart stay open and loving even when I’m feeling hurt and frayed.”
“May I learn always to include others in love’s vast embrace. ”
“May my heart remain pure and kind amid the painful details and muck of life. ”
“May virtue and serenity belong to all, even my competitors and adversaries.”
“May my brokenheartedness open my heart even further (like open-heart surgery) and bring forth love and open-hearted compassion.”
Broadway Books 08/03 Paperback $15.00
ISBN: 0767908740

My sons will be with me, under my wing of protection, for a short period of time. I will have to eventually accept that they are men and able to make their own choices. I will not be able to steer their paths as grown men. I will only be able to watch them from the shore. I will soon have to just have to let them go… flipping and karate chopping through the choppy surf. I am constantly praying that I give them enough positive, powerful instruction to swim with the currents of life. I believe that I am making them flexible enough to withstand the pressure they will surely face. I will never completely leave them. They can always come back and join me again, from time to time, where I’ll be… singing songs and collecting sea shells…

May 11, 2008
All Rights Reserved (C)2009

“A Windy Day at The Bus Stop”

This is one of my very first published pieces. I found an old thumb drive and this was on it! LOL.. 😀
I wrote this way back in 2000. It won the award for best fiction at Nova University and was published in the yearly anthology. Hope you like it.

“A Windy Day at the Bus Stop”
By, Ascellia M. Arenas

“On a windy day you can hear the spirits calling”, she said as she sat on the bus stop beside me. She is an old woman, wearing a tattered brown coat and a blue felt hat with a feather in it. Her face wore the lines of a woman who had seen and done many things; her face read of wisdom. My son, Talib, pulled eagerly at my sleeve, he sat between us on this bus stop, on this windy March day. It is 7:30 a.m. and I am already half an hour late for work. I still have to drop Talib off to daycare and this old wise woman wants to talk to me about ghosts, great. “You hear them? They talking bout you…” she said.

“Excuse me?” I asked.
“I say, they talking bout you”, she said indignantly.
“Who’s that Ma’am?” I ask.
“The spirits, they say you running late and you not doing well today. What’s wrong wit you chile, why you always running late? Don’t you know that don’t look good. People start to talking bad bout ya, say you can’t do ya job. You don’t want that, do you?” she asked.
“Well no Ma’am, I don’t want that.” I say. My Mama always taught me to respect my elders, even if they were a little off. Besides, she isn’t really bothering me.

“What about that man of yourn?” she says as she scowls disapprovingly. “Them say he taking up with another woman, he take her to work and make you ride the city bus. Them say you always taking up with a no good man. This man, he not this boy Daddy. Them say you got to clean your house…” she says as she looks me in my eyes. I looked at her cataracts, gray and shining like dimes, and wondered how she could know all of these things. “Ma’am, I don’t know exactly what you mean. I don’t take up with no good-for-nothing men, and for your information, my man has been at work for three hours now. He don’t take nobody to work because he has to be to work at the crack of dawn. Besides, the bus is more convenient for me because it drop me off right in front of my job.” I say. “Ain’t no use in fightin’ me honey. I just brung you the message. Hurt dog will holler.” she says. “I ain’t no hurt dog, and who do you think you are anyway, some kind of psychic? I’ll thank you very much to mind your own business.” I said, feeling that familiar thump in my chest whenever I get excited about something.

The old woman sat silently and looked upward to the sky. Today is bright and crisp as lilac washed linens. The sun shone brightly though not providing enough warmth to break the chill of the winds. My thin yellow cotton shirt-dress allowed each gust of wind to make little prickly bumps rise on my heavy caramel arms and legs. My ears, though cradling my thick black wisps of hair, still shine a bright red partly from embarrassment and from the chilly winds. I know that Caleb is a good man, and I have made a bad choice a time or two. Anyway, who is she to judge me? Caleb has his faults but he does love me. This I know.

The bus creaked to a halt in front of our stop. Talib, warmly dressed and hungry, pulls on my arms begging me for a hotcakes and sausage breakfast. I barely have bus fare for us both. “Mama can I have Mc Donalds?” Talib asks. We board the bus and I reach in my purse to take out the one-dollar bill that is folded and placed on today’s date in my Daily Word. “No baby, not today”, I say. I hate not being able to buy him McDonald’s sometimes. Sometimes I wish I had the extra money so that I could be able to do things with him. The circus came and left, the county fair will be here soon, and Talib will miss out once again. Caleb swears he never has any extra money. I’m just thankful that he helps me pay some of my bills. “That boy is going to be fine”, she said as she crowded on the bus behind me. “You don’t really need him no way”, she confirms. I am becoming annoyed with her, probably my annoyance is coming from the fact that I know she is right and she just keeps telling me things that I don’t want to hear. She sits down next to Talib and me on the bus. The dingy floors and windows are a welcome change from the biting wind. Maybe now that we are on this bus, she won’t be able to hear the “whispers”, maybe now she’ll leave me alone. Her eyes are gray with cataracts; the years have clouded them yet she is still able to see. Her shoes are battered from walking, they are black and the leather is cracked and brittle.

Talib crawls up on my lap to look out the window and he begins to suck his thumb. The bus takes us three, silently to our respective destinations. “Look Mama”, says Talib, holding his puckered filmy gray thumb in the air, making sure it doesn’t touch anything (he is so impeccable when it comes to his thumb), “It’s Caleb.” I look behind me at the lane of traffic beside us and sure enough it is he, laughing and smiling in his car, with a thin woman in the passenger seat. She is dressed warmly, wearing a pretty red and yellow plaid woolen coat, her hair tucked neatly in a bun. Her skin is not prickled with bumps from the cool air. Large black sunglasses that accentuate the angular shape of her face protect her eyes. He looks at her affectionately and touches the knee of her crossed leg as she sips her coffee from a Styrofoam cup from McDonalds. I look at the old woman, sitting quietly in her tattered brown coat, and blue felt hat with the feather; her cataract eyes gazing forward as she continues to sing a familiar tune, “oh the Lord will bless me by and by…” A silent tear rolls down my plump brown cheek and I do not say a word. The old lady reached for my hand and held it; she held it all the way down Third Street.

(c) A.M. Arenas
Reproduction is strictly prohibited without expressed written permission

“We Pick Yam”

“We Pick Yam”
Celli Sandz

Us pick’ney we a go play outside together everyday. Mummy and Daddy have a patch on the other side of the mountain fi growing vegetables. Daddy turn the land over every year this time but now, he is sick. I’m only seven years and I know this is for true. Him never miss. Mummy must take our oldest brother Lloyd to the states so, she leave we with our cousin Daphney. We love fi eat porridge, and dumplings, and roast chicken. Mummy makes sure we have enough food, usually.

It is late in the evening and mi sister and brother and I been gone all the day. We swing across the lake from the rope. We chase Mr. Brown ‘dem billy goat and laugh. We pick mango and eat, only once, early . We walk down the mountain with us bare feet and all, and walk far to see the city. What a day we have! And now, we hungry. We come home and Daphney lay across the bed unmoved. “Cousin Daphney? Why you lay across the bed so, we nuh have anything fi eat all the day”, mi say. She doesn’t speak a word. She lay across the bed and cry. Mi a say, “Daphney, you don’t hear?” She just lay heaving and crying.

The moon light is the only light mi and us children we see. No candles lit in the house. Mi a tip toe across the creaky floor board to look ‘pon Daddy. Mummy say him have fever really bad. When mi touch him, him skin feel cold, and tight. The bed smell of urine and other thing not quite right. I jump back like the cold, it a sting the tip of mi fingers.

“Daphney,” mi say. “Don’t worry, we gon’ get something. Stop crying”. Mi brother and sister all crying, we all feel our belly tight. Mi have an idea. “Let’s go across the way to the Richardson’s patch” mi say.

“Nah gal, Mr. Richardson, he put a barb wire ‘round him patch”, says Cicely. She is 12 years old and a worrisome girl. Never break any rules, always press and clean. She never wan get down in to the earth. She rather stay ‘pon the house and help cook and clean. Not I. Mi run hard with my brother and throw rocks. Mi hair no comb and mi no care.
“You wan go hungry or you wan eat? “You a come wit wi?”, mi say.

We make off toward the Richardson patch. Mi have Daddy shovel from the side of the house and mi a dig. Mi a dig a hole deep enough for we to climb under. Understand, mi don’t like earthworm so, mi send mi big brother Donald through the other side first. Him glide under that barbed wire smooth, not a knick pinch him skin. Then Cicely go next, she too, smooth and clean under that fence. Last I. What do I see? An earthworm, seem like it long as mi arm. I get a knick on my arm from the wire but mi no cry.

Donald take the shovel and him dig and dig. He don’t find nothing in the patch that night. Mi say, “Let me have this tool. Mi gon find something.” Mi dig and dig, but I too don’t find anything. It is late. We dig up Mr. Richardson whole patch. We no find nothing. Us go to bed hungry that night.

The next day, we a wake up and Mrs. Richardson is in the kitchen making porridge. Daphney sit at the table, her face is swollen, she sipping on tea. She look like she cry all night. Mi say, “Daphney, we no mean any harm. Mrs. Richardson, we no mean any harm.” Mrs. Richardson make us each bowl of porridge and sit us down to eat. “You children did such a good job turning over our patch. My husband gone to buy us both seeds for each our patch today at the market. Hurry and finish your porridge so you can go down the mountain and dig your Daddy’s too.” We smile and eat and make merry at the table.

Again mi a tip-toe across the creaky floor board and peep in ‘pon mi Daddy, but him not there. The room smell strong of bleach. New fresh white sheets fit tight across his bed. Mi nuh no.

Donald lead the charge down the mountain. He feeling strong today. We march, like ant down the mountain to go fi work. Mi and Cissy use our hand to dig. We dig and we dig. Mi touch several earthworm that day. Donald dig and he dig. He get tired and wan go for wata. So, mi take the shovel to dig some too. Mi dig a line nice and straight. He smile a big tooth smile as I pull up weed and make a path for the new seed fi come.

All of a sudden mi feel something hard. Mi take the shovel and hit it again.Mi drop the shovel and pull up the earth to reveal a yam so big and pretty with leaves shiny and green sprouting out. Cissy and Donald run over to help me pull this root from the ground. It big! Big enough to feed all of us, and the Richardson’s too.

We carry it home. We all have smile big and toothy like Donald, now. When cousin Daphney see it, she start to cry again. She take it to the basin and she wash it, and she cry. Then she say real loud, “GOD WILL PROVIDE”. That made we feel happy.