And speaking of hair.... I don't think I've ever done a hair post, have I? What self-respecting natural has a blog with no hairposts? They ought to take my black card, huh? Anyhoo, allow me to introduce...my hair. I am natural. No chemicals, no color (unless it's the spray-in kind that was favorited in the 80's), nada. I'm not sure I subscribe to the whole "hair typing"thing, but if I did, I'd say my hair is about a 4ZG. My tougher-than-Nigerian hair is really course, kinky, and coily. Let me be clear, however: it is the love of my life. Yep, I'm talking about my hair. Let me say it again: My.Hair.Is.The.Love.Of.My.Life. It is super-thick and grows easily, and when I wear it free in it's natural state, I feel like a freakin' superhero.
Note: It's the flash, but I have not 1 grey strand (no husband or kids :-)
Pardon the smoker's lips black lipstick.... I'm kidding. I don't smoke. You may surmise from this photo that may hair looks a little stay-thirsty-my-friends dry. Natural hair has a tendancy towards dryness, as does thick hair, if you don't stay on top of it. Well ladies, I have found the answer to that in the form of 2 dream products....and 1 dream stylist extraordinaire, who I visit occasionally. I'll talk more about thoseand a product review in the next post. Stay tuned for that.
* What song (or verse) would you use to describe your hair?
I saw this picture of this little girl on Facebook and thought "what a pretty child." My immediate thought thereafter was "I hope her parents tell/teach her that she is beautiful before the media tells/teaches her otherwise". That same day, in fact, I posted that as my FB status, which brings me to this post.
This is not another "team lightskinned vs. team darkskinned" post that we've all seen on way too many a blog or Youtube video. I mean really folks, it's basically 2013 - can't we all just get along? This photo resonated with me because I grew up the same brownskinned little girl with the big, kinky hair. Only then it wasn't chic on trend to say "kinky", unless of course you were talking about...something else. Anyway, I wasn't dark enough, if you will, to be ostracized by my complexion or called vile, complex-inducing names like "tar baby", "nappy-headed monkey", etc. And while those comments weren't directed at me personally, I did hear them thrust upon the classmate standing to the right of me....who was a mere 2 shades darker. And as an often card-carrying member of the "Invisible Friend Club", I have watched with abashe envy more times tha I care to count a boy nearly knock me over to get to my pale-skinned friend. "You light-bright!" " You RED! You sexy, Red!" Now don't get me wrong, I got my share of male attention as well, but it was often prefaced with the requisite "You're cute for a darkskinned girl!" Ugh!!! That was the worst! Was that supposed to be a compliment, my equally pigmented dumb brother? I mean, that has got to be one of the biggest backhanded compliments you can give a person. Right up there with "For acripple with one leg, you sure can dance, girl!" As if my richly-hued skin somehow automatically disqualified me as being attractive. (Like, awww dang...now I will never be Jet Beauty of the Week!) And then there was the matter of my hair. It was not naturally straight nor blonde. It was black. And poofy. And to add insult to injury, I was shy. That was the main thing that haunted me - I couldn't shake the shyness. I have 2 siblings that have very outgoing in-your-face personalities, and you will know it when they walk into a room. We should have been cut from the same cloth, coming from the same 2 parents and all, but I walk into a room....and I'm already looking for the nearest exits. I'm not so much like that now - I had to really work on overcoming being shy. I had friends, indeed, but I also had trust issues. I also had self-esteem issues.
As a young girl, flipping through the pages of "Seventeen" and other magazines where the faces smiling back at me didn't look like mine, the whole issue of beauty was very sensitive for me. I never publicly made it an issue, but when I looked in the mirror, I cursed that my skin was not 2 shades lighter, and the fact that I couldn't threaten my hair into submission. And then it happened....
One day I had a talk w/ my aunt who was visiting from New York. Complexion wise, she was light, bright, and.... you know the rest. Anyway, with sandy brown/blonde hair and green/blue-ish grey eyes in tow, she was often told she looked like the-beauty-queen-formerly-known-as-Miss-America Vanessa Williams. We stayed up late one night talking about education, colleges, and sororities. My aunt, a longtime card-carrying member of the AKA sorority, was giving me her recruitment spiel thehistory of the AKA's when I asked, "Aren't I too dark to become an AKA?" After her 2-HOUR REFUTEMENT, she let slip the insecurities that she herself had had growing up as a lightskinned Black woman. Not just the often-heard stories of jealousy from others, but her own personal issues and insecurities. I specifically remember looking at her like she had 2 heads! Why on earth would she, in all her lightskinned glory, have self-esteem issues? I had never heard such a paradox before! Well, we ended up comparing notes and that's when the EPIPHANY came:
We ALL have issues as children. Black, White, Team Darkskinned, Team Lightskinned, Red-Haired ("It's a GINGER KID!!!" Thank you SOUTH PARK), Tall, Short, Fat, Skinny....that is what youth is all about. Being insecure and having issues and self-esteem problems. But eventually outgrowing and overcoming them. Turning what you perceive to be a weakness into a strength. My parents also helped me greatly in this regard so that by the time I got into 9th or 10th grade - girl, I was loving myself some me. I now described my skintone to people by referencing my favorite childhood crayon in the 64-crayon box: "You never heard of Burnt Sienna? It's the color of skin kissed by the Caribbean sun, yo!" That was an actual quote. From me. That was how I described my skin. And as for MY HAIR? Sure, I now wore it relaxed, like every other Black girl in that era, but I was so appreciating my hair. The thickness, the length,...and by then I had discovered Denise Huxtable (remember the "Gordon Gartrell" episode?), who I believed to be my long-lost fashion twin. And my inner fashionista came to the fore, meshing with my outer geek. So now I was the still-shy-weird-girl-with-the-even-weirder-but-cute-clothes in the corner, talking to my 5 friends and ignoring the male attention that I too was now getting. When classmates walked by and said "Hey Chicki!", I didn't shrink back and attempt to disappear in my locker. Shoulders straight and head held high, I responded, though admittedly in a much softer decibel than necessary, "Heeey! How are you?"
You see, I guess the point of this painfully long, hard to read, ramble is this: sometimes you have to be taught how to love yourself. And sometimes you have to teach others to do the same. For some, self-love isn't always innate. In today's world of airbrushing, plastic surgery, and all things Kardashian, we may have to help our young ones accept and own their beauty. And their talents. Even their weirdness. The media for sure will tell them that they do not measure up and are not good enough. They will learn that for whatever reason, they are inferior to the next guy. That is what they are being taught. We can teach them otherwise.
* What self-esteem issues did you have to overcome growing up?
That's it! I'm writing a how-to manual on Black Friday. There are some people out there who have absolutely no clue how to participate and partake in the "opening ceremonies" of Black Friday - the painful, dreaded tradition of "Standing Online" (also known by it's southern cousin, "standing INline"). Allow me to educate any of you out there who are walking around all willy-nilly and clueless, thinking you can just walk up on any given 2-mile long line outside any given store on Black Friday and just.start.speaking to folk. Gangnam Style! This is not so much my personal Black Friday manifesto, but there are unwritten rules that should must not only be respected, but followed. To the letter. Lesgo:
1.) Keep your personal conversations at a lower decibel. I know. Right now you are thinking "who does this heifer think she is? A person's conversation is their business." Exactly my point.Your business, and no one else wants to hear it. People have waited all year long for Black Friday, and have gotten out of bed early, or in some cases (as was mine) never went to sleep at all.....just to stand outside a store's parking lot...in the dark...in the cold...mentally strategizing their game plan for when they actually get inside said store. All of this requires concentration. Please don't muck it up for them with your endless barrage of insipid anecdotes - they do not amuse. Keep your Black Friday energy raised, but your voice low.
2.) Please keep your conversations to yourself. I know. Sounds like the same as rule #1, right? Not quite. This rule is not about talking low - it's about talking to me. Or should I say "please stop talking to me." Listen, we are all here to SHOP, not make friends. So besides the requisite exchange of pleasantries, do.not.attempt.to.chat.me.up. Please limit your conversation(s) to the person you came with.
And the last and perhaps most delicate rule of all.......
3.) WHO FARTED????????? This one is self-expanatory. Control your bodily malfunctions. Plain and simple.
I told guys I have a sister, didn't I? Yeah, I introduced you to her in a previous post some time ago. Anyway, I was on the phone with her while surfing the net, and came across this "sister tag." And since I already let slip that I secretly love don't mind tags, I decided to do it with my sister. So here goes:
Describe each other in one word? H.U.S.T.L.E.R. "Put it all together, what does that spell? Mia.
Do people ever get you mixed up? No. She is 5'9 and I am almost 5'2.
What is something that annoys you about each other? Her Jedi-Mind Trick game is strong. She can be very convincing when she wants something.
Do you ever argue? Uh, you mean do we ever not?
What's the best thing about one another? Even when she's strong-arming me or getting on my last nerve, I know she has my best interest at heart and will always have my back.
Dish the dirt (on the sister). Well, my sister is a bit of a drama queen. And she will know that I mean that in the best possible way. She is an A.C.T.R.E.S.S. thru-and-thru. If she ever got her SAG card, she'd be deadly.
Fave inside joke. Can't. So many jokes, so little time. We are always speaking in code and quoting movie lines when talking about referencing people.
Fave memory together. So many memories, so little time. But if I have to name 2, here goes: My parents went out of town when I was about 13 and Mia was in charge, of course. I had a friend spend the night and we were renting movies. The friend wanted to see Eddie Murphy RAW, but we weren't allowed to watch rated R movies. So we rented it anyay without the big sister's knowledge and snuck it into the house. When the sister walked into the room and saw what we were watching, I tried to show off in front of my friend and gave the sister lip. Well, the sister (fave tag line: "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry") is several inches taller than me and has a mean Lennox Lewis reach - she balled picked me up and threw me out of the window slammed me against the back door. I was limping for 2 days.
Full sisters/half/step? 100% FULL, baby. At least that's what we've been told, though I've always had my suspicions.....
Guess each other's fave singer? Her's is MARY J. BLIGE or KEISHA COLE
Who takes longer to get ready? Well, I'm often late and she's always early, so I'm going to say...HER. Though I'm the late one, it doesn't actually take me long to get ready. It's all the other crap I'm doing that sidetracks me......
Heels or flats? For me, HEELS ALL DAY LONG, baby. For her, flats or a lower heel. My God, the woman's already an Amazon Glam-azon.
Pants or dresses? For me, DRESSES ALL DAY LONG, baby. For her, pants. (Cause you know, you can't really fight in a dress....Just kidding Mia. please don't beat me up.)
Favorite animal? We aren't really animal people, didn't grow up with pets. But for me, it's SHARKS ALL DAY LONG, baby. Loved sharks and fish since childhood. For sister, it's all about the TURTLE/TORTOISE. She loves loves loves them...even has a silver turtle ring.
If your house was burning down and your entire family was sure to be okay, what would yousave and why? I would save my Bible, my journals, fireplace picture of my parents, 2 DVD's: JAWS and ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY, my recent favorite purchase- my purple SNUGGIE (because if I'm going to be homeless, I can at least be comfortable, right?) The sister would save her pet turtle/tortoise Bernie.
Comedy, horror, or chick-flick? I DO NOT watch horror, despise most chick-flicks (let us not count "The Notebook") and I love love love comedies. I love foreign flicks and documentaries as well. The sister is all about the chick-flicks.
Blackberry or I-Phone? FLIP Phone. You heard me right, I said flip phone. I've never had a Blackberry, I have no interest in the I-Phone as I have an Android, but I just want a regular phone phone. Out of all the cell phones that I've had, the flip is still my favorite. No bells and whistles to sidetrack you. I'm running going back to my flip phone. The sister might say Blackberry.
Favorite movie? For me, hands down.....JAWS. All day long, baby. The sister might say "Emma", "Sense and Sensibility", "Pride and Prejudice", etc. etc. Basically anything Jane Austen-ish.
What is something weird that you eat? Hmmm, I love most ethnic foods so the sister would say everything I eat is weird. As for what she eats that is weird,...chitterlings. Chitlins. Nag-ty.
Do you guys have anything matching? Not sure.
Favorite tv show? Sister's favorite is "Scandal", I cannot narrow mine down to just 1 but I rarely miss (whether live or taped) "SNL" (Saturday Night Live).
How old are you both? She is 4 years older than me. I am 4 years younger than she.
Sometimes we complicate things for ourselves. We create chaos in our own lives, and then wonder where it came from. Especially when it comes to our personal relationships. Sure, we all claim to want to live drama-free existences, but then we seek relationships with others that are anything but. Opposites attract. Absolutely. But really, how long does that attraction last? How long do opposites stay together?
When looking for someone of the opposite sex, why don't we look for someone who will balance us out? She's the party girl who always wants to go out and have a good time. He's the bookworm in the corner who somehow mistakenly ended up at the party. Sure, that might be an instant attraction, but how long will that connection last? How long before she tires of him never accompanying her to the next soiree? How long before he realizes that he just wants a nice girl that will settle down with him and enjoy the alone-time togetherness? That is not balance. That is opposites attracting. Balance is the bookworm helping the party girl to realize and appreciate the intimacy that only a party of two can bring, or the bookworm himself realizing that sometimes it's ok to push beyond your comfort zone and just enjoy strangers with candy at a social gathering. Because with balance comes growth, and both parties are better persons because of it.
Having had a whole two relationships in my adult life (no that was not a typo, and yes I did say two), I'm definitely not offering up any sage-like counsel, so that's not what this post is about. When it comes to matters of the heart, I'm only qualified to speak on my own. And sometimes I'm not really qualified then, either. But I can say, unequivocally, without a doubt, I am a person who does not care for a lot of chaos. I like peace. "As far as it depends on me", I try to pursue peaceful relationships in my personal life. When drama or issues do come up, however, I do not run and I do not avoid them. I tackle the issue head on ("HEAD ON FOR HEADACHES....HEAD ON FOR HEADACHES.....") and try to move on. Move on as in continue the relationship with that person, wheels in motion. But.....sometimes you can't move on with that person. Sometimes you just have to move on from that person. Specifically when said person asks you to move on from them.
See, we as women like to talk about how men are such complicatedcreatures who are always playing mind games. Sometimes that may be true, but oftentimes it isn't. Men are just like women when it comes to relationships. As women, we typically don't have any problem vocalizing our concerns or expressing our needs in a relationship. But just because we speak louder doesn't mean that our partner doesn't have a voice or use it when deeming it necessary. We just don't listen. Oh, we hear what's being said, for a certainty, but we choose not to listen. We hear what we want to hear. And therein lies the problem, ladies and gentlemen.
We've all heard the witty colloquialism: "When a person shows youwhat/who they are, believe them", right? But how many of us actually heed this a gospel? Your man says "I don't believe in marriage." YOU HEAR: "I've never met anyone I've wanted to marry...until I met you, boo." Your man says, emphatically, "I don't ever see myself getting married and I'll remain a bachelor til the day I die!" YOU HEAR: "Thus far, I've never met a woman I've wanted to spend forever and ever and ever with. Until, of course, I met you, boo." Your man says "All men cheat, yo!" YOU HEAR: "While it does seem as though an inordinate amount of my brethren are grimy scumbags, you should be aware that I am not of that sort. Not even a little bit." Classic case of a womanediting a man's truest thoughts to fit her needs. What she should have heard was this: "Listen,.....I won't be committing to you anytime soon because you are one of many women that I am seeing. I am not leading you on so don't even think about making me look like the bad guy cause I'm telling you this outright." And he would be correct. He is not ready. He may never be ready. And perhaps the hardest and most painful to admit: You are are not The One. You are not His One. You are the weakest link, goodbye!"
I get it. No one likes failure. But failure is not letting go of something or someone that doesn't want to be there. The real failure is attempting to hold on to something or someone that asks to be let go of. They say "nothing beats a failure but a try." Some (or Yoda) say "there is no try - only do." Whatever the case may be....whether you tried....or you did....there is no shame in admitting accepting defeat. You heard what that man said, and he meant what he said. Now put on your big girl panties, take your bow, and exit stage left. The show must go on. And it will. Perhaps just not on this stage.
....and what about LOVE? Live, Learn, Love are usually used inseparably. Looking at this picture, I couldn't help but notice that the leaf is slightly heart-shaped. As humans, we were created in God's image, so we were created with the ability to love. To give love, and to receive love. We crave love. We need love. Maybe that's why my eye went straight to the greenery and saw a heart. I guess subconsciously, that's what I wanted to see. I guess. Now, I don't wanna get all 'sappy' here so let me throw out this disclaimer: I'm not big on love poems, romance movies (though I'm not gonna lie - I loved "The Notebook"....and even cried. wow.) and the like. However, one of my favorite poems is called "Love Is Not All" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. An excerpt:
"Yet many a man is making friends with death,....for lack of love alone."
I have loved this amazing poem for years and I implore you to google it if you've never heard of it. Basically, the poem speaks of the irony of this.thing.we.call.love. All of what it's not, yet all of what it is. Love is not tangible, there is no sustenance nor salvation behind love. Or....is there? Love is not everything. Or....isn't it?
Love is a paradox indeed, and I, like many people, am not sure how I feel about love. I am human, so I guess I do want it. To give it and receive it. But crave? Ehhhh......
I guess the point of this random rambling is: How do you know when you've found love? When you met your husband/wife/significant other, how did you know they were the One? How did you know it was this.thing.we.call.love?
Can a square peg in a round hole result in love? Who knows. Who cares, really. I guess you learn as you go, and maybe that's the whole point of life. You live and you learn. And maybe love isn't everything. Love is not all. Or....is it?
Let me stop COMING AND GOING like this!!! I feel so cheesy. I have been away too long and we all know that absence usually does not make the heart grow fonder, despite the popular saying. I've come to see that I SUCK at blogging. I can admit that. When I first started this blog, I started off strong, posting every day or so with fervor. I'll do a blog post, go away for 1 month, come back and say "I'm back" - only to disappear for another 3 months. I'm like that. A friend once called me a submarine. She said "you rise to the surface for a while, and then submerge for 2 months...but I still love you girl. That's just you, Chicki Tee, and I accept that." I was mortified. What an awful trait to have, albeit true. The problem is that while I'm not a loner, I am more than comfortable being by myself. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and I enjoy their company, but sometimes I definitely prefer my me time. Truth be told, I'm actually kinda over my me time and I'm ready for some we time. As in,...well, we'll save that for the next post.
So anyway, I do love blogging, but I keep getting sidetracked with other things. Namely LIFE. I don't process stress well, and what started out as a fun way to deal with stress and document my weight-loss endeavors ended up being thrown aside. I have a hard time maintaining focus - I did tell ya'll way back when that I'm ADD, right? You thought I was playing? But I am back and thistime for good. I bought a new laptop, a new camera (Nikon DSLR), and I got a new attitude ("oohooh ooh ooh ooooohhh"....cue Patti LaBelle) and so I'm ready to roll. I've vowed to start blogging a minimum of 2-3x's a week because I really want to show you more of who I am and what I('m trying to) do. I also want to start interacting with readers and with other bloggers, so feel free to hit me up if you have any questions or comments.