On the Inside: I”m Crying Just a Little

How did we get to September 1st so quickly? I blinked twice and now I’m here…September 1st…again.

Don’t get me wrong I love September and most of what follows…cool Fall days and cozy Autumn evenings. I love the turning of the leaves from green to fiery yellows and reds, I love laughing at the teenagers at the bus stop when its raining; teenagers never carry umbrellas. I love picking out a Fall wardrobe that for me is more structured than my summer shorts and sandals. I love September but for the first few days I feel sadness that I have to wait three whole seasons to get to ninety degrees again. I feel a bit of sadness knowing my home heating hiatus is coming to an end and I will be shoveling out big bucks to warm my house. I love September but why does it have to come so fast…I just blinked twice.

On Cops & Racism: Good Cops, Where Are You?

You can’t keep pissing on us and telling us it’s rain.

I have no words for this. Please, Sr. Maya take the mike…le sigh
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
Maya Angelou

On Natural Hair: These Products Are Killing Me!

I’m still watching in awe as so many African American women have embraced their natural hair. I began my journey about ten years ago. Was a huge fan of Moptop Maven who’s blog showed viewers like myself how to create natural products and take care of our hair. She stopped blogging some time ago due to some scandal but I still pop over every now and then to review a lot of her content.

There weren’t many products on the market at that time that catered to our natural hair. Ms. Jessies was the  biggest at that time and Shea Moisture was a cheaper alternative.

I was never a fan of Ms.Jessies brand because the website, at that time was a bit deceptive in my opinion. They had a ‘silkening” process they advertised that made it seem if you used the product your kinky hair would magically turn into Tracee Ellis Ross hair. I tried very hard to get my curls to look like their pictures on the site before I figured it out. I should have guessed it earlier because you could only get he the silkening in their shop.

Flash forward ten years later and we have a multitude of products for our hair and many in big department stores. One of my favorites, Camille Rose, has been in Target for about two years now, sitting next to Carol’s Daughter and Shea Moisture. I think it is wonderful and the idea of supporting black owned businesses has definitely changed over time. I know L’Oreal bought out Carol’s Daughter and I need to read more on that, but overall black women are making major economic strides in the hair industry.

Now there are black women selling natural weave and wigs. A business we still have not cracked completely but one we need to own 90% of in this day and age.

Since I have been watching what I spend I have cut back on a lot of products and looking at other ways to substitute my product fix. There isn’t one. Le sigh.

Natural hair products are expensive when you are on a serious budget. Looking at a 10oz $15-$30 bottle of shampoo versus a $6 for Aussie Moist or Herbal Essence is kind of a no-brainer. But what about those sulfates and  parabens we are trying so desperately to avoid? I say the hell with it. I do my best but I’m not killing myself or breaking my bank.

I thought about just incorporating the cost into my budget and I have room to do that but honestly, I rather put hair expenses into my business and savings account.  But I’m hurting every time I go into the store!

This has become a staple for my twist-outs.

On Family: Shaun King & Family Secrets

This week conservative news outlet Breitbarts released a story about the misrepresentation of the race of Shaun King, one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter movement. They claimed that Shaun was born to two white parents.  His birth certificate, in their minds confirmed this. Unfortunately, their story opened up for Mr. King family history he would have liked to have kept private. I understand his motivation, he is protecting his mother. His mother is not an outspoken activist, he is and although her life should be private, unfortunately his won’t.

He released this statement:

My mother is a senior citizen. I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment. This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth. I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it.
 

If I were to sit down with King I would tell him shame and embarrassment should not be part of his narrative when speaking of his mothers past. She should no longer carry guilt nor should he continue to bear it. No one is perfect and things do happen and we should feel guilty about some thing but nothing is worth lifelong embarrassment when you have corrected the behavior, learned from the behavior, and made just improvements in your life.

I don’t believe is carrying the weight of others and sometimes its hard because people will try to shame you with the actions of others…I used to cringe when I saw another  black person committing a horrendous crime or acting a fool for a newscaster but I stopped. My back is not strong enough for those kind of burdens, no back is.

I follow Shaun King on twitter and I am inspired by his passion. I’m glad his voice is out here. Lets not be so quick next time a group, conservatives, try to discredit our movement by slandering one of us. They want us to fight amongst each other…its something they could always depend on…us fighting each other more than we wanted to fight their system

This slander story does say one thing…conservatives want him to shut the hell up.

racism

say something

On Black Girls: What is Pretty?

mayaAs Black women we are constantly told via society that we are not pretty. We are told our hair is not good enough unless it is silky and flowing down our backs. We are told our lips, our hips, and our butts are too big and too much. We are told we look like men, are brash and not attractive to other ethnicities. We are bombarded with other people’s opinions about how we should look and what pretty is to them. Our voices sometimes get lost in this, we sometimes lose ourselves trying to be what pretty is to them but we have this seed in us that grows and flourishes and we come up roaring like a lion…we are pretty too!

Our hair, our lips, our hips, our noses, our shape…God made no mistake with us. We are pretty girls too.

I found this series of Youtube videos a few weeks ago. It showcases women of African descent all over the world and their issues of trying to snatch back the narrative that we, they are not pretty.

Please try to watch a few and you will see we are all truly one.

On Match.Com: No Love

About six years ago I set up a profile with Match.com and within minutes had about ten men inboxing me telling me they loved my smile. The initial email was fine but it was clear only one or two read my profile. I responded to all even though more than a few skeeved me out. I was nice because I felt if someone took the time to say hello I should at least say hello back and drop the bomb I wasn’t interested, kinda face to face. A few were shirtless which is such a turn off to me. I wonder if men know this because I have read in countless women’s magazines and polls that we are not impressed by these shirtless pictures. Obviously, these tips need to be put in magazines for men and not women.

A few I could tell were just looking for a hookup and they skeeved me out.

I deleted my profile within two hours of signing on, I wasn’t that desperate.

Fast Forward to 2015 and I’m still single. I’m forty-seven and I might be feeling like a real committed relationship may not happen for me again. I’m not feeling desperate but I am so I let my girlfriend talk me into trying Tinder and Match.com.

I swiped the hell out of Tinder not interested in anyone. In a perfect world I would be dating someone with Idris Elba looks but from the looks of my Tinder Idris obviously was not in my lane because…DAMN! What was popping up for me were the shirtless guys, the old white guys, and the guys who really made me question whether or not I’m even attractive enough to be in the same lane as a broke Kevin Hart (because we know money can get you in a new lane where looks don’t count-Looking at your ugly ass Donald Trump)

Anywaaaay-

After a week of checking back and forth I there were only three men who seemed even remotely interesting . They were not great looking but a witty email gets you a response. One guy, although, honestly not physically attractive was very funny and seemed to have a great sense of humor. After emailing back and forth he asked me out for drinks and I accepted. I was really up for it…and then I wasn’t. He emailed me everyday and when I didn’t respond right away he would ask why.

Him: “Hellooooo are you that busy?”

‘After a week of this I was simply pissed off by his ‘neediness’ or whatever the hell it was. I haven’t even met him and he was wondering about my time. #byeFelicia and goodbye Tinder.

Match.com was no better if not worse than Tinder. The marketing wants you to believe that Match is a site to meet your soulmate but my experience, and I honestly my patience is really short with this stuff, the men in my dating range were so over that soulmate stuff.

Again, in my perfect world I would like to be dating Idris Elba, maybe if I say that outloud enough to the universe it could happen. I think I tried harder with Match than I did with Tinder because there were so many men on the site. I wanted my profile to be a clear reflection of myself without being too corny or coming off prudish.

Creating a profile for anything is the most painful process in the world because in essence you are selling yourself. Whether the profile is for Linkdin, a dating site, or even for your blog, trying to get people to believe you are interesting in a hundred words or less is stressful.

I thought I pulled it off. I tried to keep it light. I mentioned my interests, my political affiliations,my playfulness, and I even mentioned how important the #blacklivesmatter movement was to me…I tried to be clear, very clear on the woman I am. FAIL

Sure, I got a lot of responses. None were what I was looking for. I have dated interracially many times but to be honest I don’t know if I can anymore so when my inbox filled up with white republican males I was like WTF???? Seriously, WTF? There is no way they read my profile.

I was not looking solely for a black man but it would have been nice to have one in my inbox.

I strolled through the site and I saw black men but to be honest, none were appealing to me and I guess I wasn’t appealing to them. I dropped Match after two weeks. Wasted $36 bucks when I could have bought dinner and been more satisfied.

I’m not saying don’t give these sites a try and I would love to hear other experiences even though for me it has been a fail. A co-worker said her sister met her boyfriend on Match and they were together for fifteen years, till he passed away. He seemed like a great guy and its a wonderful story. I wish I had a wonderful story to tell as well but for now I’m still single.

le sigh

On Exercising: How Did I Get Here

I was the skinny chick that weighed ninety nine pounds till I was twenty-five. I never worried about weight gain but I did my best to gain a few pounds. Ya’ll know being skinny in the black community is not winning, especially if you ass is flat and you have no boobs to speak of. Flash forward to age forty-seven and I’d give anything to have that same metabolism even though I never ever want to see ninety-nine pounds. EVER!

I’m currently hitting the scale at 141 lbs. Ideally, I would like to be in the 135 lb range so for the last year I have been half-assing getting in shape.That first day I start off strong, feel my waist and imagine that during one workout some inches melted away. I’m a dreamer like that. I need to constantly motivate myself to do better. Since I started watching what I spend I have started eating much better. The next component to that is excerics.

I don’t want to be skinny I just want to feel better and rid my body of this bloated stomach. I want to feel okay looking at my naked body. With clothes on I look fabulous and people are always going on about how I look in shape. I’m not and I know it so I feel like a fraud. I know I could do better yet I don’t understand why I don’t. Just like with my spending I want to get this under control…for me.

I started a bootcamp class last night with my daughter and daughter-in-law. It was hard but I did feel great after. Not completely accomplished because I did cheat myself a little on the last lap but my body felt cleansed in a way.So, my test going forward is continuing this week. I set a small goal of exercising for thirty mins a day for three days.  It can be a brisk walk/run, cardio, cross-training (last nights class) or anything that gets my heart racing and my body moving…blasting some music and dancing really hard with some calisthenics thrown in works too.

New goal. Okay determination. Fight harder.

Gotta put the work in! Gabrielle Union