Thursday, September 09, 2010

real {morbid} talk

My dad once said something to me, and boy did it resonate: “From the time you take your first breath, you start dying.”

Well, damn. If I was living with my head in the clouds, that sort of woke me up. But I forgot it, and kept living life conservatively, afraid to take risks and step out on faith.

And then, today my cousin posted a Facebook status that, again, startled me: “Live life like you’re dying. Because you are.”

Alrighty then! Sobering thought.

Bestie’s mom passed away a few weeks ago, and that totally hit home for me also. Her mom wasn’t that much older than my mom and was, in fact, younger than my dad. And that got me to thinking… my parents won’t be around forever, which then got me thinking, that even I won’t be around forever. It’s a scary thought, and makes me wonder what I’m doing to justify my birth.

I am a true believer that everyone is placed on this Earth for a reason. There is a mission that you are supposed to carry out once you get here. For some people, their mission will be to effect change on a small scale. And, for others, they’re put here to change and influence the lives of many. Bestie’s mom was a teacher who had been touching the lives of students for more than 40 years. She had an effect on the lives of hundreds of thousands of students over the course of her career. And, post-teaching, she affected the lives of countless others through her kind heart and generous spirit. At her funeral, a line of people gathered at the podium to speak respectfully of her, and every good thing that was said was also true. Not the case at many funerals where the preacher stands to say the eulogy, says all these wonderful things about a person you knew was not always so wonderful, and you wonder whether the preacher actually knew the person at all because clearly if he did he wouldn’t be saying all those nice things.

It’s morbid to think of your own funeral, but it’s inevitable. In life, it’s the only party you’ll have a guaranteed invite for. Yikes! But I know I want to be known for good things. I know I want to make lots of friends and influence people… positively. I know that I want to have gotten all I can get out of this here life, so that when it’s all said and done, nobody will regret that I didn’t get to fulfill my dreams or accomplish my goals.

I know my life won’t be perfect, but my plan is to work toward being the best me that I can be, and to ENJOY life in the process. How many times have I sat around stagnant in a place I didn’t really want to be because I was too afraid to take a chance or try something outside of my comfort zone? Waste of time! How many times have I given the side eye to the person having too much fun in the club, judging them because I thought they looked silly? And in my attempt to look “cool” and/or “dignified”, I definitely didn’t have as much fun as the “silly” person. Well, no more of that. The primary reason behind all of my “holding-back” tendencies has been FEAR. I’ve been too afraid to think/act/live outside the proverbial box. But now that I am able to put things into perspective and realize that we’re all going to check-out of here one way or another and we don’t know the day, nor the hour, why be afraid? None of us have anything to lose.

My mission now – I won’t just live… I will THRIVE.

P.S. Tell those who are dear to you that you love them now, and continue to do it often. LOVE is all that matters in this world. When you have nothing else it will carry you through.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

what a girl wants

First up, can I get a handclap of praise for the fact that I actually posted twice in one day?! That’s more than I’ve done in most months. How awesome is that?! I’m going to try not to be lazy and claim these as my two posts for this week. Hopefully, I’ll come up with something good for you by Friday at least. *fingers crossed*

I had no clue when I started writing this post that it would turn into a profession of affection for my dad. But as difficult and frustrating as he can be, I do love the man! So I guess it’s only natural that my love for him would shine through in this post. He’s great and has a lot of wonderful qualities... and, after doing this list, I realize now that his good qualities far outweigh his “bad” ones. Huh. Go figure.

A few weeks back, a friend and I were chatting about our fathers. Our mothers and how much we love them are a daily discussion, but every once in awhile, one of us will bring up our fathers. Well, this time the conversation was more interesting because we were talking about how our relationships with our fathers are the foundation for all other relationships we develop with men in our lifetimes. I was talking about my own dad and made a comment about how there are things about my dad that I love and will seek in a mate and things about him that I find incredibly annoying and will likely end up being deal-breakers for me in my romantic relationships.

My friend, always thoughtful, decided to write a blog post about what she wants in a man and how those wants relate to her father's personality/character, and she recommended that all her readers do the same.

This will be hard, but... Here goes!

Spiritually Grounded: I know that some men cringe when they see God-fearing at the top of a woman’s “list”. They are afraid that the woman might beat them over the head with a Bible and – God forbid – be a prude in the bed. I get those concerns. I really do. But lemme just say that I think a man that has a genuine and legitimate relationship with a higher power is incredibly sexy! The fact that a man can admit that there’s something out there greater than himself, to me, is such a manly and mature thing. My father has always had a relationship with God. My father’s oldest brother always marvels at the fact that my father, as a teenager/young adult, would get on his knees to say his prayers every night and every morning even if he was dead-tired and, in some case, drunk. And there’s something to be said for the fact that every night before my parents go to sleep, they get on their knees to pray. Even though my father has had both of his hips replaced, he still kneels and shows reverence to God. I love that about him. When he doesn’t know the way out of a particularly sticky situation, he prays his way through it. When he needs answers, he consults the Word, and asks other men and women of faith for their advice. And when he’s being insufferable (more about that in a later post), he gets himself in check by reminding himself of the spirit behind WWJD (what would Jesus do?). I can remember being afraid to sleep in the bed at night and my father getting his big Catholic Bible with the renaissance art illustrations, and reading me verses to help strengthen my faith. I appreciated that even then, and I know that in his heart he is a good man guided by principles and a finely-tuned moral compass. I’m looking for that same passionate faith in my partner. It doesn’t have to be MY God that a man chooses to acknowledge (although that would get him brownie points), but a belief in a benevolent and superior spiritual being is certainly a requirement of mine.

Loyal: My mom once told me that despite the fact that she and my dad have had their ups and downs in their relationship that’s spanned more than three decades, the one thing she has NEVER had to worry about was infidelity. My father is a loyal man. He never once spent a night away from us without our knowing where he was and what he was doing. He didn’t keep secrets. He didn’t maintain inappropriate friendships/relationships with other women. He just might be the last faithful man walking this planet. I have been betrayed by so many men in my lifetime and I just don’t want to feel that ever again. I can deal with any other challenge, but don’t dog me out behind my back. I hope that really, if my future mate can’t live up to anything else on my list, my father’s unwavering LOYALTY will be the one thing he chooses to emulate.

Intelligence: My dad has to be THE most intelligent person I've ever encountered. And I'm not biased. Ask anyone who knows him - he's damn there a genius. And he, of course, knows it. Which can be annoying. But he instilled in me a love for intelligent people. As a result, I'm allergic to dumb people. They make my skin crawl. Education is important (I'll touch on that later), but innate intelligence – even in the absence of formal education – earns a place at the top of my list when it comes to my ideal man.

Educated: Now, look. Before anyone jumps down my throat about this, please recognize that for most people in this country – except in the case of athletes, models, rappers, and actors (see Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy Dirty Money for reference) – being educated is the key to success. It just is what it is. And in my house, education was a priority right up there with godliness and cleanliness. And, no wonder. My father was the youngest of 10 kids. My grandfather died when my dad was 4 and he probably had little to no schooling in his lifetime. My grandmother, a domestic worker, didn't make it past 6th grade. Out of his 9 brothers and sisters, my dad was the only one to make it to college. But not only did he make it there, he made it there on a full scholarship (obvi my grandma couldn't afford college tuition off her $32/week salary!), worked the ENTIRE time, pledged a fraternity (which was nothing but distractions and shenanigans even back in the olden days when he was pledging!), got a master's degree, and then copped a Ph.D. And he did all that before he was 28 years old. So, when dudes come to me talking all that riff raff about how school is “not for me", and/or, start making excuses about how they didn't have the "opportunity" to go to college, I look at them like they're buggin. I'm not buying it. If my black "underprivileged" dad could do it during Jim Crow, then you can do it now. No ifs ands or buts about it.

Disciplined: I am not a disciplined person. It’s something that I’ve been working hard at my whole life and I haven’t managed to master it, but to my father, it comes naturally. My father was a drinker, smoker, and heavy eater. He found out he had diabetes when I was in high school and decided he didn’t want to have to be on meds, so he went into healthy-eating mode, got his diabetes under control, and was able to cut his medication almost completely. Both of his hips were replaced and he even surprised his doctors by how quickly he was able to heal, but the doctors recommended that he do certain exercises daily, and he did them DAILY… without fail. He became anemic and needed to up his iron intake. Someone suggested that he eat plantains to increase his iron naturally, he ate plantains every single day until his doctor told him his iron was at an acceptable level. He flosses his teeth EVERY SINGLE NIGHT before bed, and he kneels to pray in the morning and the evening every day without fail. That, folks, is called discipline. And it’s something that – once you’ve perfected it – permeates every aspect of your life. It’s why you don’t take sick days, why you pay your bills on time, why you’re able to afford that thing you’ve been wanting (because you consistently put away money for a rainy day and are determined not to touch it until it’s time), it’s why you’re faithful to your spouse, and why you’re successful in your career. That discipline is something I need my man to have. I won’t say that your partner should “complete” you (because you should already be complete when you come to your partner), but your partner should complement you. Where you are lacking, s/he should have abundance. Discipline is one thing I don’t have enough of and I hope that my partner will have enough to spare.

He's Gotta LOVE the HUSTLE: So, yeah, my dad was a professor for 30 years and that paid the majority of our bills. But my dad was fundamentally opposed to being late with bills, being cold during the winter, and being hot in the summer. There were also a few things that we just HAD to have as a family – a nice house in a safe neighborhood, decent cars in our garage, good schools, and vacations. But all these needs required one thing - MONEY. So you know what? My dad did what he had to do to make sure we could afford those things. That meant that he ALWAYS had more than one job. And he found JOY in going to work and providing for his family. He would NEVER dream of sitting at home and forcing my mom into being the breadwinner. And even if my mom insisted that he stay home while she worked, he would refuse. In his mind, that’s just not what a MAN would do. A MAN provides for his family. Plus, my dad just liked being busy. From the time I was a kid, he did a variety of things to bring in extra income. In addition to being a professor, he got published in newsletters, magazines, and newspapers; he opened a therapy practice with my mom; he owned a contracting/handyman service… and, yes, my dad with his Ph.D. and tenured professorship was tearing down drywall, and on his hands and knees fixing plumbing in other people’s homes just to make sure that he would never have to hear his kids say “I need…”. We had all of what we needed and most of what we wanted ‘cause my dad loved the hustle. It would be great if I could know that my man cringed at hearing me say “I need…”. If I could be certain that he would hold us down if need be, that he would find a way to make a dollar out of the proverbial 15 cents. Is that too much to ask?

Heart of a "Thug": Alright, now I KNOW that somebody is going to have to say something about this. But as much as I looooove a polished and professional man, he needs to know about “the streets”. Plus, I’m going to need him to NEVER be shook by another man. My dad is not tall… he’s actually only about 5’8” or 5’9”, but I never noticed that he was of average height because he never – and I mean NEVER – cowered in the face of another man. He's aggressive, no-nonsense, and fiercely protective, and to this day he can walk into any situation and demand respect... if not for his intelligence or business savvy, then for his ability to relate to people on all levels, from the dope slingers to the dignitaries. I always felt safe and protected when I was with my father and knew that he had my back in any and every situation and if I went to him with any issues, those issues would be handled. If I was afraid of anything he would always say "I won't let anything happen to you"... and I believed him, because I knew it was true. Today, my pops is the Chairman of the Deacon Board at my church, and that means he’s second in command, only behind the Pastor. He’s definitely a holy and dignified man, but to put it plainly, there was a time when my dad was a bit of a roughneck. As my maternal grandmother once said “Your daddy and Jesus weren’t always friends.” Bwahaha! But what she meant is that my dad, at one point, was not a man to be played with. He wore suits and cleaned up nicely, but in the streets, he was quick to let you know who’s boss. I’m not gonna go into detail because those of you who know my father don’t need to know the nitty-gritty, but just know that in his heart, my educated, God-fearing daddy is a thug... and I need a little bit of that from my future man. ‘Nuff said.

Pretty Boy Swag: Sorry for invoking this term, but just go on and blame Soljah Boy Tell ‘Em for this requirement. If you look at my dad now in all his gray haired glory, you might never know that my daddy was fly in his day, but he takes great pride in his hygiene and appearance. I remember at a band concert of mine in elementary school, my parents arrived a little late, and when they walked in, my daddy was wearing a white button-down shirt, navy blazer with gold buttons, a pocket square, slacks, and hard-bottom shoes. Now, mind you, he was a professor and called himself dressing for the classroom. And NOW I think that outfit was on point! But, back then, I wondered why he wasn’t rocking the golf shirt and rumpled khaki pant look all the other suburban dads were wearing. Today, I want a man that knows how to put two pieces of clothing together, a man that is neat and clean, a man that stands out from the crowd. All my exes have had their own unique personal style… good or bad (you be the judge), they owned it and I liked it. Personal style is important, but low on the list because it’s not a deal-breaker and, let’s face it, it can be developed over time.

Strong Features: This might sound crazy, but I love a prominent nose, strong facial structure, broad shoulders, thick eyebrows and eyelashes, full lips, etc. And, yes, my daddy (and my brother) has all that, too. Skin color, hair type, height (to an extent), etc., are a non-issue, but give me some thick eyebrows and a pair of full lips and I’m good!

This took a lot longer than expected, so I’m forced to pull a to-be-continued on you. I’ve told you all the qualities my dad has that I want in a man, and next up, I’ll share the things about my dad that NO man better come with a.k.a. DEALBREAKERS.

i am not my hair

You might luck up on two posts today. I forgot my Kindle (so no subway reading) and my iPod is dead (so no subway tunes). And, in order to survive my trip to and from work, I have to have something to distract me. There's just too much drama on the subway. Not my cup of tea! So to manage my transit issues, today, I wrote the whole way to work, and I'll likely write the whole way home.

I was talking with a friend this weekend and she told me she posts to her blog at least twice per week. I'm going to try that. Twice per week is not unreasonable and work has slowed down considerably now that I have an assistant again (!), so I think I can handle that... Stay tuned!

It's been over a month since I did the Big Chop and swore off relaxers forever. And since that day, I haven't looked back ONCE. I haven't taken a look in the mirror and wished for my shoulder-length hair back. I haven't thought "oh damn! I hate my nappy hair! Lemme throw in a relaxer really quickly."

So far, I've received nothing but compliments, but even if that weren't the case, I don't think I'd feel any differently. I just have no regrets. Or... I HAD no regrets. But today, I was speaking to my mom about the fact that I'm exploring new career options and she asked me whether I thought my hair would be a problem. I tried to play dumb I mean, why would it be a problem? *sarcasm* But all things considered - the fact that I'm applying for mid- to high-level positions within very conservative corporate environments, as much as I don't want to give that concern any credence, she just might have a point.

"I'm NOT going back to a relaxer for a job," I insisted.

But, she had an answer for that also, "You don't have to go back to a relaxer, but you may want to consider a press & curl."

Yes, I'm sure she has a point now. This would be temporary fix, and once I was actually offered any job, I could go back to my 'fro. But, I have no idea how a press & curl would turn out on my very short hair. AND, I'm worried about the damage heat could do to my curls also. I would be super pissed if all of a sudden one side of my hair was permanently stuck between straight and curly. I worked hard for these curls, dammit!

It's funny, when I was "transitioning" from my relaxer, I overheard a conversation between two natural-haired women. They were talking about recent job interviews one had been on and whether she felt pushback as a result of her hair. She said shed worn a wig to her interviews. A wig!! I know that some people are all about the wigs/weaves/braids/etc., but I just can't get with it! I've done the weave/braid thing several times and within a week or two was (literally) itching to touch my "real" hair stuck underneath. So I'd take it out. All that money on hair and manual labor to "install" it, meant to last for weeks or months, and within days it'd all be wasted.

Wigs... Wigs, I don't understand. Even the most expensive ones look HELLA fake! So not cool. And I'd be worried that the people interviewing me wouldn't be able to concentrate given "my" new hairdo.

Then again, most white folk don't know real hair from fake. So, perhaps I could get away with it afterall, and when the interview is done, I could pull the wig off and keep it steppin. Hmm... It's a thought.

But it pains me that I should even have to consider all this. My hair grows out of my head just like this. The blonde chick with long straight hair doesn't have to plot and plan about what she's going to "do" with her hair for a date, job interview, etc., so why should I? Seems unfair to me. But, then again, LIFE is unfair and sht happens and people have to make decisions that are way more serious than how to rock their hair for a job interview.

I'll figure something out. I guess...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maybe someday...

This week I had to make a really hard decision. For the last two years, I've chronicled the saga of my relationship with Mystery Man. And throughout it all, despite all my worrying and conjecture, he's remained elusive. So I decided to cut communication with him altogether. I had been holding on for so long because I truly at one point believed that he and I were friends. But then I realized that our interaction was sporadic. We barely spoke, and when we did, it was via BBM or text or something, we never really hung out or spent time together. After I did a quick rundown of our "relationship", I realized that I might've been a bit delusional in thinking that a "relationship", or even really a "friendship" ever existed between us.

And I also started asking myself why I would continue to run TOWARD a person that spent our entire "relationship" running AWAY from me. I wanted him, he didn't want me... it was a waste of time for us both. I got tired, and I realized that it was time for me to move on. But, in order for me to truly move on, I needed to stop talking to him. I needed to foreclose any opportunity to have access to him. So, I de-friended him from Facebook and deleted him from my Blackberry messenger contacts. When I write that down, it doesn't even seem like that big of a deal. Who cares about Facebook? Why do people even use BBM? I mean, so what, right? But, by me closing off those lines of communication - our primary means of contacting one another - I have basically closed the door on that chapter of my life. Without those means, we won't be in touch. That "relationship" is likely over for good.

I was tearful as I clicked "Remove from Friends" on Facebook. I didn't want to let go, but then I realized that if I was ever going to stop wasting energy on someone who expended NO energy on me, and eventually end up with someone who saw my value and worth, then I was going to have to go cold turkey, and end this thing once and for all. So that's what I did. I think...

I feel sad about it, but I also feel like I spent the majority of those two years chasing him, and ultimately never caught up. I feel like life is unfair because if you love someone THAT MUCH, they should be forced to love you back. I feel like a failure... like maybe I didn't try hard enough. Or maybe I wasn't pretty enough, or funny enough, or smart enough (although, this last part is not likely 'cause I'm damn smart! ha!)...

And most of all, I worry that I'll never find anyone to treat me the way I want to be treated or love me the way that I want to be loved because, up to now, it seems like my entire romantic life has been one big disappointment.

I didn't want to delete him from my life, but honestly, I just can't take being continually rejected. I can't take being largely ignored.

I'm better than that, I'm worth more than that.

What I want is someone who will give me their all. Who will love me at my worst, and deserve me at my best. Someone who is loyal and consistent. Who understands that I might not be the smartest girl in the room, the prettiest, the sexiest, or even the most congenial (doubtful! hehe!), but still looks at me with a twinkle in his eye because - to him - I'm as good as it gets.

I am into posting songs lately, and every time I hear this particular song, it makes me smile because THIS is precisely the way I wish someone would feel about me. I'm gonna let Kenny sing to ya for a bit so you can see what I mean. Maybe someday... maybe. Someday.

Here's hoping, girlies!

And to reinforce the words, check out the lyrics:

For you I give a lifetime of stability
Anything you want of me, nothing is impossible
For you, there are no words or ways to show my love
Or all the thoughts I'm thinking of
Cause this life is no good alone
Since we've become one,
I've made a change
Everything I do now, makes sense
All roads end, all I do is for you

For you I share the cup of love that overflows
And anyone who knows us knows
I would change all faults I have,
For you there is no low or high or in between
Of my heart that you haven't seen
Cause I share all I have and am
Nothing I've said's hard to understand
All I feel I feel deeper still, and always will
All this love is for you

Every note that I play, every word I might say
Every melody I feel
Are only for you and your appeal
Every page that I write, every day of my life
Would not be filled with without the things
That my love for you now brings
For you I make the promise of fidelity
Now and for eternity
No one could replace this vow

For you, I'd take take your hand heart And everything
And add to them a wedding ring
Cause this life is no good alone
Since we've become one you're all I've known
And if this feeling should leave, I'd die
And here's why, all I am is for you
Everything i do now makes sense
All roads end, all I do,
Is for you

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

It's not easy bein' me...

Lately, I've been having a really hard time just... being me. I guess all women have some insecurities about their outward appearance, but I think I have a harder time than others. I am short (and now... so is my hair!). I am ordinary. I am plump. I am plain. I am brown.

But, as the name of this blog suggests... I am also lovely. Inside and out.

I know it, but sometimes I forget. And on those days, this song helps me put it all into perspective.

So... sing it again, Kermit. I'll just sit here and reflect on the fact that being short, plump, plain, brown... ME... is exactly what/who I wanna be.

It's Not Easy Being Green by Kermit the Frog
It's not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It's not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
'Cause you're not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green's the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder why wonder
I am green, and it'll do fine
It's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be

Monday, July 26, 2010

My HAIRstory

There was shouting, there was crying, there was fussing and fighting. My dad peered through the door and shouted out, “What are you doing to my baby?” To which my mother responded with a roll of her eyes.

I was about eight years old at the time, and this scene could’ve been snatched out of any given Saturday afternoon. Because Saturday afternoon in my house circa-my elementary school era, meant Hair Day. The day that my mother and I engaged in our weekly war against my hair, which included washing, conditioning, detangling, blow drying, and hot-combing. It was a vicious battle that usually ended with my irritated mom sweating buckets, and poor little me crying buckets of tears. My mom, she felt for me (she really did), and Lord knows my father – who cannot stand to hear me cry – used to find reasons to escape the house on a Saturday afternoon, so he didn’t have to take part in the nonsense.

My mom was of the old-school camp that believed that little black girls should have neat little braids and pigtails with bows and bells and whistles, and a hair shouldn’t be out of place. Unfortunately, my hair didn’t get that memo, and it took a nasty struggle to get it to cooperate. It took a few tries for my mom to get the hang of doing my hair, but in the end, she was able to come up with some really cute styles and I got compliments about how “neat” my hair was. That’s because my mother believed in the hot comb. And hairgrease. Lots and lots of hairgrease.

Now, you might wonder why my mother had to overcome a large learning curve before she became adept at doing my hair. Well, you see, that was because my mother was born (some would say blessed) with beautiful hair. When she wanted straight hair, just a few moments with a blowdryer and her hair would flow down her back, all bone straight and shiny without the assistance of chemicals. And if she didn’t feel like styling it, she’d splash it with a little water, and voila! Her jet black, silky tresses would roll into springy curls almost as soft and sweet as her disposition that would dance and sway around her head like a halo. Much like all the other women on her side of the family who were also born (blessed) with similar locks, she couldn’t walk down the street without hearing someone comment – positively – on her hair. The irony is that she could’ve cared less about it. It was not a point of pride for her. Mainly because my grandmother rejected her own soft, curly hair that at one point during her 20s and 30s, hung to her waist. She saw it as a reflection of the raping and pillaging that white men had done to black women, and didn’t feed into the believe that “straighter is better”, and passed that down to her children.

Well, needless to say, I wasn’t blessed with the same hair texture as the rest of the women in my family. I didn’t hold the winning ticket in the genetic hair lottery. Instead, my hair was coarse, kinky, and not quite curly or straight. A gift from my unmistakably black daddy, that brought my mama nothing but trouble. But despite the fact that my mom was forced to relive Mama vs. Kinks, she never gave any indication that she thought my hair was “bad”. In fact, when I was a kid, and would be emotionally and physically spent at the end of a long day of washing, drying, and straightening, and I’d look up at her with tears in my eyes and say “Mommy, why can’t I have hair like you?” She’d say, “Because you have your own hair, that’s unique to you and only you… and it’s beautiful! It’s tough and stubborn and lively and beautiful. Just like YOU!” I’d giggle and she’d hug me, and then pull me away to hold me out at arm’s length, and she’d say, “In fact… I wish that MY hair was like YOURS. You can do SO many things with it.” She’d pause to tap me on the tip of my nose. “You’re lucky!” she would say with a wink. And for a minute, I’d forget the battle that had just occurred, and I’d actually feel lucky.

I’m saying all this to say, the relationship that black women have with their hair is a complicated one. It may be almost as complicated as black women’s relationship with black men.


So, on Saturday, when I sat down in my stylist’s chair and told her to cut all my hair off, well… that was a big damn deal! But, I’d had it. After two decades of relaxing my hair, I became completely natural. And I have never felt so light, so free, so HAPPY about a hairstyle. I’d forgotten my natural texture, and didn’t have a clue what it would look like when I did it, but I must say I’m thrilled with the end result.

By the time I sat down in the chair, I just wanted my hair off. It’s been so freakin hot and humid in New York this summer and dealing with two hair textures has been a challenge – to say the least. I had been setting my hair on perm rods and wearing my hair curly during my transition, but that was getting old. I’d been invited to attend a pretty high-profile and glamorous party, and I wanted a straight look, so I got the bright idea to flat-iron my hair. I stayed up late one night and washed and blow-dried and flat-ironed my hair, and when I was done… it looked great! Considering the fact that I hadn’t had a relaxer in over 8 months, I was definitely surprised by the results. But by the time I woke up in the morning, my hair looked a hot-damn mess. So I was late to work because I was in the bathroom running the flat-iron through my hair again. I fixed it, thank God… but what did that matter, because by the time I made it to my office, my hair was all over my head yet again. I ended up skipping the party, which was being held in Midtown on a rooftop, because I was so unhappy with my hair, and I’m glad I did because it ended up raining on the party. Not a good look for relaxed chicks. I spent the remainder of the week flat-ironing my hair two times per day. It was hot, stressful, and stupid! So by the time the week was over and I made it back to DC and into the chair of the woman who cut my hair short when I was 16, I told her to skip the style and get straight to the cutting. I did not flinch, I did not cry, I had NO remorse.

And my mama, with her beautiful curls (which are short now), was right there beside me cheering me on. When I was done, she clasped her hands together and looked a little teary-eyed when she cooed “It looks beautiful!” And I believed her… because I agreed!

Of course, there will be those that don’t like it. When I told my grandmother I’d cut my hair, she screamed. She doesn’t prefer one texture over another, but she’s 82 years old, so she’s not from the generation that embraces short hair on women. She said she’d do her best to get used to it, though.

And, then, there’s my doorman. He constantly flirted with me prior to the cut, but this morning in the elevator, he stopped me.

“You changed your hair,” he said.

“Yep,” I nodded in the affirmative.

“It’s an afro,” he said.

“Yep,” I repeated.

“It looks alright,” he said.

Um… thanks, Mr. Doorman. But I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s an idiot. And then, that was confirmed when 5 minutes later as I walked down into the subway, a man stopped me to tell me that I was stunning. Not cute, not adorable (these are the two annoying and completely unoriginal compliments I always get), but STUNNING (which I NEVER get). So, eff the doorman. I could get used to the subway guy’s comments.

Of course, this haircut will take some getting used to. And I’m surprised to find that my hair – underneath the remaining relaxed portion of my hair (she didn’t get it all with the first chop) – I have little ringlets all over. So interesting! I never thought my hair had a curl pattern… the things you learn when you let go of what’s “easy”. I am also surprised to find that I have some heat damage in the front and on the sides of my hair from too much straightening. Once heat damage takes over, you basically have to just let your hair grow out or cut it off because it will never be the same. So I will just continue to let it grow, and go from there.

Oh yeah, I think that’s important to mention. I have no intention of my hair being short for long. My plan is to grow it out into a fierce afro, so that I, too, have a halo of curls surrounding my head. Not curls like my mom’s, but curls of my own. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Well, I'm back, b*tches!! I promise to never leave you like that again. I don't really have a lot to say about my absence, but maybe this post will give you a glimpse into what was going on inside my head (along with a million + 1 other things!) over these last six months. This post is a doozy, and it was written awhile ago when I was so heartsick, I could barely sleep. Sometimes love knocks you down, but I'm back up again! I've let go of a lot of the hurt and pain I was feeling because I realized that I was likely overreacting about a lot of this. My most rash decision was to stop blogging, but, as you can see, I've given up on that attempt. I cannot be silenced! I've got too much to say. Anyway, here you have it - this is where I was a few months ago. My feelings back then - straight... no chaser.

Tonight, I literally felt my heart break into two. Nothing in particular caused it, but it was devastating just the same. Now, I’ve felt heartbreak before. In fact, I’ve felt it many, many times before. I point that out to let you know that I KNOW what it feels like. It’s a feeling with which I am, unfortunately, very familiar.

I think more than sadness, heartbreak consists primarily of disappointment. Feelings are hurt, hopes dashed. It’s a lonely place to be. Even though everyone has experienced it, when you’re going through it, it seems like you are utterly alone in this world. And every time you feel it, it feels like the first time. Although you recognize what it is, the feeling is fresh, raw, harsh. People compose songs about this shit. They paint pictures, write novels, give speeches. And despite all the effort, I swear it seems that nobody has adequately captured the mix of emotions I’m experiencing.

So, anyway. This is how I feel. And honestly, I thought I was over all this. Enough time has passed. But everyday the wound is re-opened. And, why? Because we’re still friends on Facebook and Twitter and IM and BBM. The PSEUDO-distance has taken its toll. You know, even when we’re not communicating directly, I know what he is doing, thinking, feeling. Where he is. And what hurts is that the things that he is doing, thinking, feeling – have nothing to do with me. And where he is… well, it’s everywhere – and anywhere – that I am not.

Likely, he will read this. And he will pass judgment. But at this point, I really don’t care. He ran me away from my blog with a few words and… well, I guess it was a tone. A tone that really upset me and made me second-guess myself, which I have come to do more now in my old age. As a child, I was fearless and could not have cared less what anyone thought about me. That was before I realized that not all love is unconditional.

But, as usual, I have digressed.

The point is that I am no longer afraid to write my feelings down and share them on my blog. MY blog is MY safe space. And if you don’t like what I have to say, well… the thing is, YOU don’t have to read what I say. It’s that simple. And, besides, I tried to verbalize my feelings, but no matter what I said, there was no resolution. Despite the passion behind my words, the intensity of my feelings, it was never sufficient. No matter how hard I vehemently argued my side, he wasn’t buying it. Talking in circles, I felt like I was emptying my soul and the receiver was a brick wall. Now, if you saw me chatting up a brick wall on a regular basis, you’d probably begin to doubt my sanity, right? And you’d be justified! That is the definition of crazy. So, I’m done doing that. I am not crazy, but this whole thing was driving me there. Wasting my breath is no longer a favorite past time of mine. I give up. You win.

I think the reason this has affected me so is because I’ve come to the realization that I was in love. This was the first time in quite some time – possibly ever – where I loved everything about a person. In fact, the only thing that I didn’t love about him, was that he didn’t love everything about me. And Lord knows that was my sign to high-tail it. All those great things about him added up and multiplied didn’t make up for the fact that he didn’t love me back. Such a horrifying realization that wasn’t really a “realization” because I knew it from the beginning, but had hoped for some magical transformation that would change the circumstances. I waited and waited, and tried all combinations of magic words to no avail. And, now, let’s just say I no longer believe in magic.

Someone once told me “rejection is God’s protection”. And I’d like to believe that. That as a result of this rejection, God is saving me from some other horrible experience, romantic or otherwise. But it still hurts so bad. The wound is fresh. Raw. And I don’t know why. I don’t hold grudges, but this – right here – certainly is becoming a grudge. Never before has it taken me this long to move on. To let go of the anger in my heart. To trust again. I’m getting there. But I’m not there.


I am not dumb enough to believe that there will never be another that will cause me to feel the way I felt, or even something more intense than that. But I’m sure that in the history of the world there have been plenty of spinsters that were hopeful about the future, and ultimately… they became spinsters anyway.

And technology is such a lie! Given the history, there’s no good reason for us to “follow” each other on Twitter, to be able to send random IM messages to one another in the early morning or late at night, or to be Facebook “friends”. We used to be REAL friends. Now, we don’t even have that. But I don’t want to let go of that. Once that’s gone, there will be nothing. I’m not ready for that.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m good and hurt. More than anything, the rejection has damaged my pride. Imagine encountering the one person that knows your bad parts as well as he knows your good parts, laying your heart on the line over and over again, and still he doesn’t think you are enough. The grip this reality has on me is frustrating. I don’t want to be haunted by the memory of our potential, but it literally lurks around every corner, waiting to jump out and startle me at the most inopportune moments, and it casts an ugly shadow over all that I do.

A wise person once said, “Even though sometimes love dissolves, you can still taste it.” Well, it’s slowly dissolving, but the cold, bitter taste of unrequited love mixed with hurt feelings still flavors every little bit of my life. I’m waiting for something sweet…

And as another (not-so) wise person said, “there’s an icebox where my heart used to be”. But, again, I’m not foolish enough to doubt that another will come along and melt this frostiness. A new love that will get me so open, I’ll grow a set and take another risk. Throw caution to the wind, live dangerously, fast and furiously, until I’m back in this place again. Waiting to forget the new memories that I’ve made with that man.

Until then, though, I just need to get over it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not really a goodbye... more like "See you later"

I have some things to think about that I'm not keen on sharing. As a result, the blog will be on hiatus indefinitely.

Here's hoping that whenever I decide to return, you'll still be interested in what I have to say...


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Catching up...

It’s been three months since I moved to NYC. These last few months have just been dedicated to adjusting to the change. I’m homesick already, which I didn’t think would happen! I was in such a rush to leave DC, I didn’t stop and think about what would happen should I actually miss it. And miss it, I do. I miss the people I left behind every single minute of every single day. I have some great friends and DC and though I celebrated them often when we lived in the same city, now that they’re so far away, I am appreciating them so much more.

I was walking around saying that I miss the people in DC, but not so much the city itself. But now, I miss that too! One morning, I was lying in bed remembering Georgia Avenue. I have driven down that road so many freakin times, I know it like the back of my hand. I can conjure up near perfect images of it in my head, but not seeing it live everyday is tough. A lot tougher than I expected. Speaking of driving, I miss that too! I never EVER thought I would say that, but some mornings when I’m waiting to get on the overcrowded subway, there’s nothing I want more than to hop in my moderately-priced mid-sized sedan and roll the eff out!

And then, there’s the cleanliness issue. I never noticed or appreciated it before, but DC is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been to. New York, while lovely, beautiful, trendy, and fabulous, is a dirty cesspool of a place. For a germophobe like me, functioning here has been a real challenge! Riding the subway everyday and getting coughed and sneezed on by all manner of sketchy people, I’m basically living out my worst nightmare! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve nearly fallen when the train accelerates because I’m trying not to hold on to the poles on the train. Those things are a breeding ground for germs! It’s been rough on the kid!

The thing is, despite all of this, I am loving this experience! Getting out of DC and living in the one city that I have found so intriguing for my entire adult life is a dream come true (even if that “dream” is sometimes a “nightmare”!)! But I must admit that the situation would be even better if I lived alone. I love my apartment… like, it is THE best apartment that I’ve seen in New York. Well, with the exception of Jack’s apartment… that thing was sick! But other than that, my apartment takes the cake. The only thing is… it’s not MY apartment. I live with a roommate who actually owns our unit. And even though I pay rent here, and I suspect that I probably pay the majority of her mortgage when you really break it down, I will always feel like a guest in this house. That’s why the last couple of weeks I’ve been literally obsessed with finding my own place.

I’m sure you were wondering what I could’ve been doing all these months that was so freakin important that I couldn’t be bothered with updating this blog? Well, I couldn’t focus because I literally spend all of my free time searching for apartments. And what’s the best way to find apartments in New York City? Well, I polled a bunch of people and they all assured me that, these days, everyone uses Craig’s List. I found this unbelievable, but no matter who I asked, I was directed to CL, and so I finally decided to use it. That’s how I ended up in my current situation, which is not “bad” by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just not “good” either. I am looking for the perfect NYC apartment, and what I’m discovering is that the perfect apartment is as elusive as the perfect man… is hard to locate than the Holy Grail, is more difficult to secure than an Olympic gold medal or a Super Bowl ring. Yeah, it really is that serious. Ask anyone who lives here. It takes WORK to find the “right” place. I don’t have a ridiculous list of criteria that this place has to meet either, so I really don’t see the big deal. I mean, basically, I’m looking for a studio or 1BR apartment, in Manhattan (preferably the Upper West Side or Southwest Harlem), that’s close to the train, with a doorman, an elevator, and a convenient laundry situation, and that won’t break the bank. Doesn’t sound hard, right? Well, guess what? Apparently, that shit is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to find. I look everyday, and the things that I come up with are always subpar.

I did find a really nice furnished 1BR apartment in Soha (South Harlem… and, yes, the real estate folks really call it that! There’s also SpaHa, which is short for Spanish Harlem – a place I am trying to avoid!) for a great price, BUT even though the unit was nice the building itself was a dump… AND you had to take your clothes to a Laundromat. But, um… I don’t do the Laundromat. That’s not a part of the deal. So, I had to scrap that. The highlight of that trip was that the owner and I had been going back and forth and he seemed like a decent guy. His name was Sal and he was a nice older Italian man who was always available when I called to ask questions… or so I thought! I woke up early on a Saturday morning to meet Sal so that I could view the apartment. When he showed up, I was surprised to find that he was an uber-tall super fine really sweet Dominican dude that was around my age! Of all the luck! But after we talked a little more, he explained that he was renting his apartment because he is moving in with his long-term girlfriend. Of course he is!! Again, of all the luck… BAD luck! Argh! Anyway, it was nice to see that there are fine professional brown male homeowners out here in Harlem. Gives me a bit of hope, I suppose.

I’ve met a few other really cool people as well, but those are stories for another day. Right now, I’m faced with a dilemma that I’m having a hard time solving. So, basically, I found an apartment that is damn there perfection. The only thing is, it’s in the same complex where Mystery Man lives. Oh yeah… I suppose I should also tell you a little about that. We’ve actually spent quite a bit of time together since I moved here. We’ve had some really great times, and, again, those are stories for another day. (Hopefully, I’ll get around to writing them all down sooner or later!) At any rate, despite all the great times we’ve had and wonderful memories we’ve made over the last three months, we’re no closer to being together than we were when I lived in DC. That’s disappointing. But what’s worse is that now we might end up living literally around the corner from one another. That could be a very good thing, but it could also be a very bad thing… a thing with numerous repercussions… some that aren’t even foreseeable at this point. This worries me (cue Tim Gunn).

Prime real estate in NYC, especially Manhattan, is a rare find and, should it present itself, must not be passed over under any circumstances. So should I consider giving up an apartment that basically meets all of my criteria to keep from creeping Mystery Man out? I mean, he knows that I’ve considered his apartment complex before, but I wonder if he’s considered how he would feel if I actually moved in there. I mean, whatever… I am seriously considering it. Teresa made a good point – what would I do if I happened to see Mystery Man around there with another woman. Well, basically, it would kill me, but maybe that’s what I need to see so I can move on! My thing is, the community is HUGE… there are like 11 buildings. And I refuse to live in the same building as he does, so that’s not even an option. But a surrounding building shouldn’t be off limits. I have every right to move in there. It’s a free country and I can do what I damn well please… but I also don’t want him to feel weird or to feel as though I’m a stalker. It could get weird! Honestly, this place is just the best fit for me, and I’m drawn to it for some reason. I’m gonna go for it!

But if it’s such a great idea, then why do I feel so strange about my decision?