Tag Archives: Relationships

Driving Me Away!

15 Mar

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzMost of us are excited when we purchase a new car or even a used car. We make sure it’s always polished and clean inside and out. The maintenance is done without delay, and we’re overly conscientious making sure there are no scratches or dings on its exterior. The car takes care of us, and we take care of it. As time goes by, however, regular wear and tear occurs, and no matter how much effort we put into maintaining our vehicles, problems, some unforeseen and some imminent, drive a wedge between us and the car we once loved.

I’ve had my present vehicle for a little over eight years and am grateful for all of the many places it’s allowed me to go. It took me on my interview at the college where I now work six years ago. It took me to the hospital to give birth to my daughter almost a year ago. Without it, I would have missed some of the best moments of my life. For a good while, I’ve been driving without a car note which has been wonderful. Unfortunately, within the past year, my car has had one problem after another causing me to put  a substantial amount of money into it as though I’m paying a car note. Lately, I’ve begun to question if it is worth it and if I am better off getting a new vehicle.

The more I deliberate over this decision, the more I connect it to relationships. Most start off where everything is wonderful, just like a smooth ride. We’re happy, do what we need to do to maintain those relationships, yet regular wear and tear occurs. This is typically where some of us are ready to “trade in” the relationship while others are willing to invest a little more time since the relationship has had good moments. Then there are instances where some major problems occur that require much more than basic maintenance.  Some problems may be so costly that they’re not even be worth fixing. Nevertheless, we hold onto some relationships for longer than we should because of the wonderful moments we had in the past,  they are convenient, we’ve invested a lot of time or even money or we are just hesitant to start new ones. Of course, people are not cars and have more value, but I do wonder how many of us keep relationships going when so many issues in them are driving us away. I know I’m guilty of doing this. Are you?

All the best,

Tanya

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My Favorite Costume

31 Oct

Tanya H. Franklin HalloweenWhat did I want to be for Halloween?
I HAD a favorite costume
Every year the same concept, slightly modified.
I couldn’t wait to try it on.
One year, a cowboy…not a cowgirl.
I’ll take the trousers, not the skirt.
Another year, an Indian chief
No Pocahontas for me!
After that, let’s try half man half woman.
Watch their eyes widen when they see me comin’
Ain’t that somethin’

So fascinated with dressing up like a man
But can’t understand why.
Was I showing early signs of being transgender?
I remember always being called a “tomboy.”
Did I have a affinity towards the look of a man?
I can admit that I’ve always found comfort in loosely fit clothing.
Looking back now, I think I have a clue.
Too many people to count, even strangers,
Which makes it stranger…
Remark about how I resemble my dad from his features to his gestures,
But these gestures enhanced the mark of resentment
My father had for having a female child in his likeness
Like this was something I could control,
Told on occasions, “Stop lookin’ like me!”
How frightening it was
To feel unloved at times.

But instead of shoving me in the other direction
with hatred festering
I sought out a way to fulfill his dream,
Or so it seemed.
I mean…I gleamed with excitement
as I looked at my reflection
knowing that I’d get my dad’s affection
with me hair tucked under my hat,
I just knew he was gonna like that!
Checking out my painted on mustache
And thick side burns

Took me years to learn that all attempts would be abortive.
Though my mom seemed supportive…
Shaking her head…
“You look just like your dad!”

By Tanya H. Franklin aka Anonomz

Sonnet #9: The Truth

10 Jul

Tanya Harris You are everything I want in a man.
In truth, you transcend what I imagined.
Let me satisfy you all that I can
take you on journeys you cannot fathom,
continually display what true love means
even if you may not often say it.
Reflections of you, my countenance beams;
many methods you use to convey it.
You genuinely care about how I feel.
Minds’ connected: my thoughts you complete.
To me my love you’re a wonderful thrill
I’m here to stay; I refuse to retreat.
Will still be in love beyond year ten;
married life I want with you to begin.

By 
Tanya Harris aka Anonomz
Written for and Inspired by SPF

Profound Hip Hop Quote #25: Rappers Need Love Too

25 Jun

“Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
But I love a whole lot more than I hate about them.
They look good feel good and smell even better,
So why you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?
B word this H bomb that.
And in the midst all of this I wonder where your moms at?
Cause if she ain’t one, then tell me where the hate from.
You just calm down and maybe you can date one. 


—Murs, “Love & Appreciate 2”


MursMurs is by far one of the best lyricists and storyteller style rappers that I’ve heard in a long time.  Even though his hair is a bit much to take in, I love how he does what he wants to do and doesn’t get wrapped up in having the “perfect” image.  On numerous occasions, Murs has paired up with Ninth Wonder, a producer I’d love to work with one day, and released classic albums that belong in any true connoisseur of real hip hop’s collection.

Love and relationships are two themes that have made appearances on most of his albums.   In 2008, Murs included “Love & Appreciate 2” on his album “Murs for President,” which is actually a follow-up to “Love and Appreciate” on his album “Murray’s Revenge,” released in 2006.  In these particular lyrics, Murs speaks not only for himself as a man but for men in general.  We’ve all heard the cliche phrase, “Can’t live with them, can’t live without them;” however, Murs admits that “he loves a whole lot more than he hates about them.”  Men may groan about what their women are doing to aggravate or frustrate them with their male friends occasionally, and women are definitely known for doing the same, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the love and appreciation you have for one another.

However, Murs, does take it a step further by indicating that there does come a point where some men do cross the line with how they treat and interact with their women or women in general.  He juxtaposes the mothers of these men and the women with whom they are involved or wish to be involved and questions how men treat women .  The implications is that women should be treated with the same respect these very same men would give their mothers. Even though Murs is speaking directly to men, this stance also reigns true with women.  I’ve heard women who often refer to men as dogs or bums even when they’ve done nothing to substantiate being referred to as such.  Is this love and appreciation?

It is necessary to not only show love but appreciation for one another, and how can this be done when you use derogatory words to represent the person you are with or would like to be with.  Is it ever acceptable?  Some people may say, “Well, I only say those things to her or him when I’m angry.” I say that it’s never acceptable, even in anger.  In order to have love and appreciation, one must give respect at all times.  Remember, you get what you give, and if you are still in pursuit of that special person, if “you just calm down and maybe you could date one.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Even though I love rap music, if a person was attempting to learn the English language or grammar rules, a rap song would definitely not be the best place to start.  One of the reasons is that several rappers include not just slang but dialects which usually contain blatant grammatical errors throughout their lyrics.  Murs is no exception.  In the following lyrics, Murs has a very common grammatical error which is actually a dialect with the “to be” verb as been dropped from the sentence.  He says,   “So why you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?”  But if this sentence was put into standard English it would say, “So why are you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?”  I love slang and dialects, but keep in mind that there is a time and place for standard and what is considered non standard English, a dialect or vernacular of some kind.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #24: Rappers Need Love Too

18 Jun

“Back when I was nothin
You made a brother feel like he was somethin
That’s why I’m with you to this day boo no frontin


—Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige, “You’re All I Need”

Method ManThe Wu-Tang Clan is one of my favorite rap groups of all time.   These guys were like the “Justice League” of hip hop during the 1990s and 2000s.  Each member has a special power such as lyrical ability, producing skills or just stage presence.  I have always resonated with their grungy, diggin’ in the crates, raw, passionate sound, especially Method Man’s.

Of course, I could not help but think about my affinity for Method’s song “You’re All I Need,” featuring the talented Mary J. Blige, as a meaningful and heartfelt rap “love” song.  What initially draws listeners in is the chorus and sample from the original classic performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell–bridging the gap between past and present generations.  However, instead of selecting the memorable chorus to represent this song, I decided to go with lyrics from the song that echo the importance of being supportive towards one another unconditionally within a relationship.

Most women expect a lot from their men, and men have the right to expect a lot from their women as well.  Nevertheless, from my observation, there appears to be an imbalance.  Oftentimes, most women are willing to give their men the support they need; unfortunately, they are rarely acknowledged by their men for their unyielding encouragement.  In “You’re All I Need,” Method gives praise and appreciates his woman’s actions, “Back when I was nothin you made a brother feel like he was somethin.”

Sadly, I also have  witnessed some women tearing down and even emasculating their good, caring, hard working men.  They utter scathing phrases such as, “You ain’t nothing!” “You can’t do nothing for me” “You’re such a loser,” etc. right in front of family and friends without hesitation.    It’s much easier to be there for somebody who has everything than to be there for a person who is striving to obtain the better things in life and to accomplish concrete goals.  Would you be more indebted to a person who is only there for you when you can give them all that they want or with a person who works with you and supports you even when everything may not go as planned? “That’s why I’m with you to this day boo no frontin.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing to drop the “ing” sound on a word to demonstrate use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. In this instance, Method Man drops the “g” from “nothin,” “somethin” and “frontin.”  Also, he uses the all too common slang word “boo”  as a synonym for his “lady.”  Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #23: Rappers Need Love Too

11 Jun

“I just want you to know
Your whole being is beautiful
I’ma do the best I can do
Cause I’m my best when I’m with you


—Common featuring Mary J. Blige, “Come Close”

I love hip hop music and culture! The raw passion of some of the artists, their lyrical finesse and swagger is what ultimately captivates me.  I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with rap music from the days of Pre-K to present day; however, one attribute has remained constant: the love!

CommonAs I continue my month long tribute of the best rap “love” songs, I must acknowledge that I’ve had a multitude of crushes on different artists, but one that continues to persists is my enamored feelings for Common.   I have been following his career since he appeared in The Source under “Unsigned Hype,” seen him in concert on numerous occasions and am still an avid fan.  It’s not just his urbane look or swagger that attracts me but his humbleness and sincerity that comes across in his lyrics.  Common has released many rap “love” songs over the years, but one that I really resonate with is “Come Close” featuring Mary J. Blige.

Though Common is a strong man, his song displays his gentleness and vulnerabilities as he exhibits the necessity to have a strong woman by his side.  Wow, how often does a rapper do that?  He acknowledges that this woman of interest is not a mind reader by explicitly stating, “I just want you to know your whole being is beautiful.”  Sometimes a woman needs to hear what her man is thinking and not just assume.  Such a statement also helps to make her feel wanted, that is considering that the comment is sincere.  Furthermore, Common does not simply say, “You are beautiful,” but “Your whole being is beautiful.”  When is the last time you complimented someone of were complimented on your whole being not just your looks alone?

In two months I will be starting the chapter of marriage in the book of my life.  Quite frequently people say, a relationship or marriage is a lot hard work and requires dedication and some give and take.  Common also provides some terrific advice by stating, “I’ma do the best that I can do.”  Do people really put forth their best efforts in relationships or just get comfortable…maybe too comfortable over time?

When you “Come Close” to experiencing love or are immersed in it, do you think about what makes your relationship so sacred or special?  Have you thought about what that special person has done or will do for your life?  The media often uses the term “power couple” to describe the hollywood elites, but cannot common day people be power couples.  The ideal situation is to be in a relationship where you both bring out the best in each other.  Can say to the person you’re with, “I’m my best when I’m with you?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Common often incorporates poetic techniques such as slant and assonance rhymes, and this song is no exception.
“I just want you to know
your whole being is beautiful…”

In this instance, Common uses the “Oh” sound as part of his rhyme.  Some people may argue that this is not a rhyme; nevertheless, this is a common practice among past and present poets and allows that writer to manipulate and play with the language.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #22: Rappers Need Love Too

4 Jun

“When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall
and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call
Telling me I need a girl who’s as sweet as a dove
for the first time in my life, I see I need love


—LL Cool J, “I Need Love”


There’s no denying that rap music and rock n’ roll are both synonymous with sex, drugs and money, so it is quite refreshing when a rapper pours his or her heart out on an abstract topic from time to time.  In a little over two months from now, I will be getting married.  With the feelings of love and excitement increasing, I thought, “Why not put together a compilation of some of the best rap love songs of all time?”

LL Cool JOf course, I must start off with a classic from my childhood when I first starting having crushes on boys and thinking about how it would feel to be in love.  Any female who was around during the late 80s who was into rap music more than likely had a crush on LL Cool J, and I was no exception. Enormous posters of him, along with a few of my other crushes, covered  my bedroom wall, and when he released the song, ” I Need Love,” I would often gaze at his pictures totally mesmerized and  fantasize about being the girl in the video.

LL’s song presents a thought-provoking revelation that most people will have at one point or another in their lives.  To begin with “When I’m alone in my room…” may involve some deep meditation.  In 2011, nearly 25 years later, there are a plethora of technology and media outlets to distract us from being pensive and thinking about what we really want and need out of life.  LL is “staring at the wall…” not texting, tweeting, updating his facebook status or checking the status of others.  When is the last time you had some “alone” time to think about what you really want or need in your present or future relationship or life for that matter?  It’s extremely difficult to “hear your conscience call” if there are too many distractions let alone brain chatter.

Even though I am no expert, as a result of being in a long term relationship and observing the relationships of others, I’ve learned that everybody is not looking for the same attributes in a significant other.  Over time, people may even realize that what they previously wanted is not what they presently need in a relationship.

Studies have shown that love is a necessity, and it actually plays a significant role in how healthy people are and even their ability to recover from illnesses.  It does not necessarily have to be romantic love, but being in love, feeling love or even giving love can add years to one’s life. Have you experienced love or being in love?  When is the last time you displayed love to those who matter most in your life?  We all need love!

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
LL Cool J experiences an epiphany in his rap song “I Need Love.”  He proclaims,  “For the first time in my life, I see I need love…”  An epiphany is a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

Mission Accomplished! Acting on my dreams…

14 May

“You should be an actor!” is what family, friends and even some of my students tell me.  I used to act when I was younger and loved being on stage, so I have been exploring my theatrical abilities by taking a college level acting class during the spring 2011 semester. Considering that I am an English professor at the college where I was taking the course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Interestingly, it was a great experience!

Signing up for an acting class was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.  I’ve learned so much and have truly enjoyed every moment.  I’ve performed a monologue from “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” written a drama analysis on “The Cherry Orchard,” performed a radio story, which I plan on posting as a podcast in the near future  and ended the course with the ultimate challenge for me.

My professor assigned me and my classmate a scene from John Patrick Shanley’s play, “Women of Manhattan.”  Bille, played by Lisa Claypoole, is a native New Yorker, and Rhonda Louise, played by me (Tanya Harris), is from the Deep South.  The setting is a Billie’s apartment and an evening without men. They are both “slightly” inebriated as they tackle friendship and relationship issues. I’ve never been drunk let alone had alcohol before, so this was a major undertaking for me.  My character also has no filter when in comes to how she feels, so she uses some profane language, which is absolutely out of character for me.  I had a lot of fun with this role and am saddened that the semester has ended.  Nevertheless, I am looking forward to taking a future acting classes and developing my skills.  There’s something invigorating about acting and being on the stage; time to set a new goal!  I wonder what it should be?  Got any ideas?


Please check out my scene performance on Youtube.  Keep in mind that my scene partner and I are both novices, so please be gentle with us yet provide constructive criticism.  Thanks

Best regards,

Tanya  aka Anonomz

Sonnet #7: Hooked

1 May

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzYour resplendent nature leaves me enthralled
out of the ordinary one might say.
Came to me without a trawl
Unfaltering love for you every day.
Warm-hearted, chivalrous and caring too,
call me your committed doting lover.
You continually make our love feel new
promise me we’ll always have each other.
Boundless: my devotion towards us growing
can’t imagine tiring of your face
all of you, absolutely engrossing
There’s not one moment with you I’d erase.
Thinking about you leaves me elated.
Hope that you are just as captivated.
By

Tanya Harris aka Anonomz
Written for and Inspired by SPF

Profound Hip Hop Quote #11: Special Women’s History Month Edition

19 Mar

“Truly when I get involved I give it my heart
I mean my mind, my soul, my body I mean every part
But if it doesn’t work out, yo it just doesn’t
It wasn’t meant to be you know, it just wasn’t”

—MC Lyte, “Paper Thin”


Relationships can be wonderful and even magical at times, but they do take a lot of work and must have a solid foundation to be everlasting.  Do you play games in relationships, or do you take them seriously.  Perhaps the person with whom you are in a relationship with is playing games as you give it your all to make it work.  Sometimes we give everything to people who do not deserve it at all or are simply not ready for it.  When this occurs, do you stay in the unhealthy relationship or move on with your life?

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge a spectacular female lyricist who not only paved the way for female MCs who preceded her but also held her own in the presence of many male contenders.  MC Lyte aka Lana Michelle Moorer is one of the most powerful female rappers of the 1980s and 90s.  Even in 2011, many female artists aspire to have rhyming skills and a stage presence that she has.

In “Paper Thin,” MC Lyte raps about a predicament that several people find themselves in all too often: a relationship quickly unraveling because of infidelity.   Even though both men and women cheat, it is usually the woman who decides to stay in the relationship and work it out despite witnessing all of the signs that suggest his cheating ways will not be a thing of the past.  MC Lyte refuses to tolerate such behavior and proclaims that she will not be in a relationship where it is not an equal partnership.  She is willing to give her all, but she is also willing to walk away from a toxic relationship if it just is not meant to be.

Perhaps we all need to be more discerning when deciding to give our mind, body and soul to that “special” someone.  Have you ever tried to force a relationship to work when it apparently had run its course?  As MC Lyte says, “But if it doesn’t work out, yo it just doesn’t.  It wasn’t meant to be you know, it just wasn’t.”  If you find yourself in this predicament, why not use this time to feel more comfortable with yourself and know who you truly are before giving all of yourself to the next “special” someone.  As a result, you could eventually find yourself in an everlasting relationship with not just that “new” someone else but with yourself.

Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
MC Lyte use the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.