If you are looking for something else to watch on television besides the debate on why George Zimmerman an adult got away with murdering Trayvon Martin a black child, I urge you to turn on the Oprah Winfrey channel OWN. OWN dubs Sundays as “Super Soul Sunday” and promotes inspiring messages from a variety of faiths, philosophers and motivational speakers. For that, I respect Oprah’s Sunday programming. It honors everyone’s spiritual core no matter what you believe, how you believe, or if you believe, or not.
As a writer of fiction novels I avoid watching a lot of television. But, when I do, I find the time spent watching OWN on Sundays uplifting. I am reminded of my purpose, which helps me to see myself and the world in a whole new light. It gives me hope that out of darkness the light will soon shine through the madness of yesterday’s verdict.
In the Diary of Tippy Ellis, readers will be introduced to a few different faiths and beliefs. However, the Diary of Tippy Ellis is not a faith based book where my heroine – LaTonya “Tippy” Ellis – will eventually be inspired to act on a particular religious message or join a particular discipline. My intent is to remain neutral when it comes to religion and how it affects my young heroine’s life. Tippy is a teenager, and like other teenagers, she struggles with who she is and what she truly believes.
In that vein, the way in which I depict the introduction of religious beliefs hopefully won’t offend people because that was not my intent. Tippy’s experiences were inspired by how religion impacted my life as well as the many people around me.
An excerpt from the Diary of Tippy Ellis.
CHAPTER 42: Big “B” Ain’t no joke
I knew this girl at school who got mixed up into voodoo. She once was a member of our church. I ran into her one day at the grocery store. She had on this long white garb with a white head wrap. So I figured she joined the Muslims. I don’t get why American women choose to wear archaic, oppressive head dress. Let Muslim men treat them like 2nd class citizens like in those Muslim countries. Paleeze. This is America – home of the brave, land of the free ladies!
When I ask her what’s up, she started talkin’ in some strange language, which didn’t sound like any foreign language I’m familiar with. So, it struck me kinda funny. I don’t know what made me say it, but I said, “Girl are you mixed up in voodoo?” She says yes and she’s getting ready to marry some high priest named Usari. Now I didn’t say nothing. I couldn’t. I thought I’d better be careful so she wouldn’t hex me or somethin’. She was looking kinda strange about the eyes, like she was lost.
I remember thinking, you crazy ass fool. Do you need a man that bad?
She was 30, single and I think a virgin. She always said she was praying for God to send her the right man. If God sent her Usari, I think he musta been joking. Maybe testing her or something. Whatever the case, all I could think of is how do I get the hell away from her?
Before I could walk away, she invites me to her wedding. I didn’t say yes or no. I just tell her, “Good luck” and turn to leave, but she tries to hug me. When she extended her arms I say to myself “Uh, uh” might be a trick. They touch you and you hooked like crack – the one hit wonder. So I wave and high tail it outta there.
I mentioned this to TiAnna and Tommy Crumbs.
TiAnna says “Ooo girl.”
But Tommy, huh, he had a lot to say. He says at voodoo weddings they have snakes, rats, ferrets and other strange animals around on display. He says they drink blood and sacrifice one of the animals. Now I may not know a lot about voodoo hoodoos, but I think Tommy was referring to something he’d seen on television. I think I remember the movie he was describing.
At any rate, I did feel for the girl at first, then I thought why should I? Her choice. No need of me feeling bad. Just wouldn’t be my thing – to each his own.
Daddy would say, “Who are you to judge? Mind your business.”
Shonny’s waving too us…
Wanting us to join her in the back of the room. To get to her, we have to step around folks sitting in chairs.
When we reach her, she motions for us to sit. I hesitate. I just came to show her my hair and have no interest in sitting with the Buddhist people. Now I may be mad at the Big G, but I ain’t interested in following the Big B with the big belly.
Over the past several years Jesus has gone from looking like a long haired white hippy to a curly haired black man with a beard. So, when I’m ready I may go back to following the black guy – gotta support the black man.
But to chose between I’m a Christian or I’m Buddhist would be tough. My black friends would think I’m wacked. Now Daddy would say, “here she goes rebelling again.” He’d definitely call Dr. Ryan, and say, “Yeah Dr. Ryan, it’s so bad she ran all the way to Buddha.”
Lucinda sits in the empty chair next to Shonny who’s pulling on my wrist to sit down. I give her one of my irritated, “What the hell looks.” I hate it when people change the script and pull this kinda crap. We’ve gone from “Hey girl come show me your hair” to “Hey girl let’s chant to Buddha.”
So I sit on the floor but plan to leave real soon. I whisper in Shonny’s ear on my way down to the floor. I gotta get ready for my outing with my white boo. She smiles and nods.
I turn my attention to the group. This really dark, heavy set black guy is asking questions. His name is Paul and he looks to be around Unc Rae-Rae and daddy’s age. He says he’s not Buddhist and like me he’s irritated. He says Rosie begged him to come, who’s Buddhist. She’s been chanting for a year and has had good experiences.
Sitting next to him is this girl with black hair – wearing it long down to her chin on one side and shaved on the other side; her skin is white, white, white. That’s probably Rosie. She put her hand on his knee when he spoke while looking at him sideways, as if she wants to say something like, “I understand, but please don’t embarrass me.”
Rosie’s wearing a nose ring like a spike dike and a black tank top. It’s almost November for goodness sake. And those tattoos up and down her arms. She could be twins with the girl who played in the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can tell she’s younger than him and it kinda reminds me of daddy and Luanne. Like my daddy, he looks like an old fool, trying to be young. Look at ‘im with those Derrick Rose sweats and Tennis shoes – same outfit Jayden has. I guess he’ll be chanting soon so he can keep her.
He wants to know if they believe in God or Buddha? Good question I think and one I would’ve asked if I cared.
Carole answers Paul’s question with a question, “What does God mean to you?”
Paul hunches his head back, surprised by her response. He shrugs. Carole doesn’t say anything, giving him time to answer. No one else says anything either. It got real spooky quiet there for a moment, until a little girl about five years old, who had her head down on her mama’s lap sleeping, woke up. Her head pops straight up.
Uh-oh. The sleeping giant awakes. I bet we’ll get some action now. She’s probably one of those bad kids like Jayden and Brittany, who whine and talk back to their mama. This little girl’s mama is white too. White kids act up and talk back to their parents. All their parents say back is “Now little Johnny, now little Sarah I’m gonna give you a time out” instead of whooping that ass.
Ha! Who am I to talk. Mama never spanked me. But I was an angel. Daddy did slap me – once – not too long ago because I got at his wifey. The devil had got in him, so I told Unc Rae-Rae. Daddy never hit me again.
The little girl decides not to act up and lays her head back down. Dammit. I was hopin’ for a show. Instead her mama begins to rub her hair and the side of her face. Mama use to rub my head and face to help me get to sleep at night. She’d sing me a song while she was doing it: Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my baby child. One little horsey, two little sheep, go to sleep my baby child.
Ugh! It’s getting stuffy with those damn incense burning. Shonny must’ve read my mind; she gets up and switches on the fan. Shit! Just my luck! It’s blowing from behind me, messing up my flat iron. I grab the back of my head shielding what I can of my hair from the monsoon. What is wrong with the girl? Just ‘cause she decides to wear her hair in an old school afro, doesn’t mean she should hate. I mean, didn’t she just have braids?
I get up and move to the far side of the room furthest from the door. Better than having to kill somebody over my $150 do – without the tip.
Paul say something. Be a man. Aw paleeze. This is way too much.
So I blurt out, “God is suppose be omnipotent be there when you need him, when you can’t fight the battle yourself. Not abandon you in your time of need. Allow your mama to be murdered and the person who did it get away. Let someone you just meet who has a heart of gold get gunned down in front of you and get away again. Your BFF gets kidnapped, raped, drugged and left for dead and God lets the person who started it, get away. When the man you love disappears and doesn’t tell you why but God let’s you suffer and wonder. When your daddy’s suppose to comfort and protect you but he allows himself to be controlled by his devil wife. God lets it happen again and again.”
I end my speech with, “So what does God mean to me? Nothing!”