A Hustler’s Wife… In Theory

Okay, so I’ve recently rejoined Netflix and it’s been great, making me fall in love with TV all over again. My newest addiction is a canceled A & E show called “Breakout Kings,” about two U.S. Marshals who put together a special task force using criminals to catch criminals on the run. It’s my kind of show, kind of fast-paced- but makes you think. Anyway, one of the convicts on the task force is a convicted “gangbanger” named Shea Daniels (played by Malcolm Goodwin). Shea is the head of an entire outfit called the Syndicate- he’s your typical hustler, confident, arrogant, street smart. Even though he’s locked up- he’s the boss- and he knows it. He thinks outside the box, knows the criminal mind, knows how to get in your head and make you respect him- whether you like him or not. He’s both a boyfriend and a businessman- and seems to manage both with the same intensity. And as you can probably already tell- he’s my favorite character.

As I watch the show, I’ve been trying to figure out why I like Shea so much. At first I thought it was just that he was so attractive (he is, you know). Anyway, the more I watch, the more I realize that it’s his character I love. I love that he’s confident, that he’s the man, that he doesn’t take shit from anyone, convicted felon or not. I love that he’s a hustler… as strange as that sounds… he’s powerful (in his own way)- and I like that too. Now I don’t want anyone to think that I have a fetish for drug dealers, or convicted felons- because I don’t (at least I hope not). But I have to be really honest- I swoon a little for a hustler’s confidence, for his swag (for lack of a better word) – I LOVE  it. I can’t help it.

Most people would say that it’s the typical good girl/ bad boy complex, but I think it’s more than that (for me, anyway). Now, for sure- that’s where it starts. Danger is a bit more attractive to me- I call it my inner Kelly Kapowski reaching for Zack Morris- but that’s just where it starts. I love the fact that guys like that have a goal- and they stop at nothing to reach it. They fight hard, for themselves, for their lives. They’re strong, and sure- and even though the daily lives they live may be dangerous, for some reason you can’t help but feel safer when they’re around. Guys like that are protective- they’ll take on the world for you. And you know it. It’s like Michael Ealy said in Barbershop, “She gotta know that at a moments’ notice, you will put the pimp hand to Jesus himself- if he ever made the mistake of disrespecting her.” I don’t know if I got the quote exactly right, but that’s the general idea.

They’re problem-solvers- and they’re doers. They don’t waste a lot of time talking. Another thing I love about them is that above all else, they value respect- and loyalty. Maybe it’s my Leo coming out, but loyalty is everything to me. If I feel like I’m down for you in a way that you’re not down for me, it’s a betrayal of the worst kind- and I don’t forgive betrayals. I don’t hold grudges, but when you’re not loyal- you get kicked out of my circle- and you don’t get invited back. For guys like that, the unloyal are eliminated- I respect that.

I’ve often wondered if it’s my super-independent, self-sufficient, stubborn nature that reaches out to this man. Maybe subconsciously, I feel like that kind of man is the only one with a personality strong enough to handle mine. Maybe I think that man is the only one who will be able to stand up to me. Whatever the reason, I think that this swag I love so much is also what prompts my fascination with mob and gangster movies. Those movies have the basic themes that I connect with: Family is everything, Wrongs are righted, Loyalty is valued- and Betrayal is punished.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m pining after actors, living in a fantasy movie set world- I’m well aware that Shea Daniels is just a character on a show, like Michael Corleone, Frank Lucas, and Sam Rothstein. But they all represent something that I love, something that I want, something I identify with. My dad is this guy (with a legal job, of course). He’s been around a while- so most people in his corner of the world respect him. If they don’t, then they fear him. He always speaks calmly- but seriously. He won’t take your shit- ever. And I feel safest… when I’m with him. I have cousins who have had their run-ins with the law, and kind of live that street life, but when I’m with them, I feel like I don’t have to be afraid of anything. It’s that confidence, that arrogance. It’s their assurance that nothing’s going to happen that I don’t want to happen. It’s a kind of power that on a non-related guy, I’m extremely attracted to. 

Now I know someone’s going to point out that the attitude I love so much usually gets the hustler killed or jailed in the end (like Shea Daniels), but that’s why I don’t want the actual guy- just the personality. But can I get that personality on normal, law-abiding, citizen? Lol. That’s a ten million dollar question I don’t have the answer to today. Until I get it, I guess it’s back to “Breakout Kings” and fantasies about Shea Daniels. Maybe I’ll switch to mobsters for a little bit… I haven’t watched “Once Upon A Time In America” in a while…

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My Anxiety

My grandfather died two weeks ago, and as I think of him, mourn him, I can only think of mortality in general. My logical, practical, sensible self knows that no one lives forever- we all have to die. But I realized that even though I’m 32 years old, something deep inside me, something irrational and completely emotional has never accepted that. Something in my soul pushes that away, so much so that when I am confronted by death, I have extended periods of abject denial, followed by a series of anxiety attacks. These little episodes make me silently hysterical, make the tears flow- make me absolutely positive that I can’t lose anyone else. The other day, the thought of having to mourn my grandmother made me burst into tears. The thought of losing my mother gave me visions of rocking back and forth in a padded room- that’s how scared I was. And don’t even get me started on my last moment. The idea that I won’t be with the people I love, that I won’t get to see them, and talk to them makes my hands shake on this keyboard. But I have to get this out.

The other layer to this is that I am not an avid churchgoer. I believe in God, I try to be a good person, I pray as much as I can. But I’m not what you would call a typical Christian (whatever that means). The reason I bring that up is that people who identify themselves that way, go to church, and bring God into all their FB status updates- don’t seem to have any fear of death at all. Their faith is so strong that all they think of is the afterlife- the part where they live with God in heaven. Even Jehovah Witnesses have a calm about them- they don’t believe that you go to heaven- but they look forward to the resurrection. This leads me to question my faith, such as it is. Is my faith lacking because I have this fear? Is my lack of faith the reason that my fear is so strong? People have told me that my fear doesn’t signal a lack of faith on my part, but it seems logical that if my faith were stronger, I would be less afraid because I would be more sure of what happens after death. Right? And uncertainty is definitely a part of the fear

I’m honestly at a loss. I’ve never known anyone as afraid as I am. People talk all the time about their death- whether they want burial or cremation, what color casket they like, where they want their ashes spread- I don’t know any of that because I won’t even confront that. I can’t even begin to imagine being nonchalant about it. Maybe other people are able to keep the fear at bay because they think death is so far off; maybe they don’t worry because they know they can’t control it anyway. Maybe my fear comes from the fact that I won’t be able to control that moment. All I know is that right now, when death was just too weeks away, I can’t stop thinking about it. So along with being sad that I lost my grandpa, every morning I’m afraid of losing someone else… and every night I’m afraid when I lay down. It doesn’t help that my overly-analytical self tends to turn things over in my mind constantly until I make sense of it. This fear is crippling, and someone as self-sufficient as I am doesn’t like the idea of being crippled by anything. And to think, I thought that pesky fear of thunderstorms was bad.

I know what you’re going to say. Concentrate on living. Tell my family I love them. Make my dreams come true. Life is not about worrying over death. Make the most of every moment. Believe me, I’ll try. Meanwhile, I’ll have a prayer and couple glasses of wine. Good night.

Self-Contained?

A few days ago I tweeted that helpless girls made me sick. Then I tweeted that what makes me even sicker are girls who pretend to be helpless because they have insecure men who need the ego stroke. As I board this train of thought, I find myself asking the same question I’ve been asking for years… Am I destined to be alone longer because I’m not one of those helpless girls?

Now, the short answer is no. I know quite a few independent women who have a man in their lives, women who think, and feel and definitely do for themselves. But I know just as many who seem like independent women… Right until their men come along. Then they become simpering, baby talking, weirdos who ask him every question like he’s Google and stare at him adoringly no matter what comes out of his mouth. Or they pretend that they can’t do something just so they can ask him to do it and make him feel good. It’s a little disgusting to tell you the truth. The worst part is, I don’t know if they’re doing it because they want to keep him and that’s what he likes- or because they THINK this is what he wants.

I always hear that men need to feel needed- that you have to figure out how to make him feel like a man. That we as women forget to need our men. I will be the first to admit that This sentiment gives me a little struggle- as I am not comfortable feeling “needy.” I had a very close friend tell me once that I act like I don’t need anyone- and that this is why I don’t attract very many guys.  Whoo! Thanks friend! Now I know what my problem is. What a fucking relief… I was beginning to think it was my weight. (insert sarcasm here). Anyway, after she told me that, I started to wonder more and more if it was true. I thought about how I’ve always viewed myself as an independent woman- and how I’ve always thought of it as a good thing. It’s how my parents raised me to be- and I do mean BOTH parents. My dad always taught me to go get what I want- “don’t wait on nobody to do nothing for you in this world.” He said this with a complete seriousness- there was no punchline at the end of that sentence. My daddy was a huge fan of having your ducks in a row- because as he always said, “you never know what can happen.” He never wanted me to be dependent on anyone- and I’ve tried not to be because of that. But does that make me less attractive? It’s been a well known observation of mine that a lot of men like women who let them swoop in for the rescue all the time. Guys brag about not being Captain Save-A-Hoe but they secretly like it when you need to be saved. This furthers my nausea because this makes women believe that “wanting” you in their lives is not enough. And it is. Isn’t it?

A sensitive girl I am- but a helpless girl I am not- and I don’t want to pretend to be. I’m not saying that I don’t “need” a man; I’m saying that if the disgusting displays I’ve been seeing are the ways to make men feel needed, then I’ll never get one because I’ll never need one that way. When did the male ego become so fragile that only weak women will do? Instead of sending the subliminal message that women need to dumb it down, why cant we ask men to step it up?

Now I know I’m speaking in generalizations and I probably shouldn’t, but I’m seeing this more and more and it bothers me a lot. I know that society’s gotten all out of wack and as a result gender and relationship roles have too, but I still intensely dislike the idea that my man can only feel strong when I’m pretending to be weak; it just doesn’t sit well- and it doesn’t give me any warm fuzzy feelings about relationships either.

I may wax philosophical about my Superwoman complex but deep inside, in the core of me, there IS something basically feminine that wouldn’t mind curling up in some big strong arms and letting him shoulder the world for me every once in a while- but I’m not hardwired to be like that all the time. Usually when it happens I blame PMS and wave it off and go on about my business. But even if it happened more, I’d be screwed because I’ve yet to find a viable option for the job. I don’t know if guys like that just don’t exist anymore – or if I’m scaring them off with my independent attitude (as my friend suggests). Either way, there are definitely times when I wonder if I’m standing in my own self sufficient way… if there is a man strong enough to handle the independence my parents gave me- and whether he’ll be too busy rescuing hoes to find me…