Tuesday, December 29, 2009

8 things that made me happy today:

1. Coffee and a turkey/egg white breakfast sandwich

2. Responses to my Facebook post regarding how I like my men like I like my coffee

3. Organizing my store without interruption

3. Replacing the obligatory Christmas music with Teena Marie and Chaka Khan - Can I come back as Chaka (circa Rufus) in my next life?

4. Having my student's enjoy my Pilates' class

5. Hearing about Sadye's silly self from Ana

7. Organizing my life on paper...crossing things off the checklist

8. Looking forward to tomorrow night's plans...(why am I still bracing myself?)

25, Black and Terrified?

Oh my, if I have watch/read/listen to another piece regarding the fact that I will probably end up alone with a great job, a great Fendi handbag and a dozen cats I just might [fill in the blank].

So, Black women's marital status has always been an interesting cultural preoccupation. First, we couldn't marry (we were property), then we should marry (we were welfare queens), and now we can't find people to marry us. 42% of Black women have never been married and the percentage just keeps getting higher the more educated and successful we are. It's rough.

Everyone seems to be getting in on the discussion - most recently, Nightline.

Scarily, one of the women in the feature was only 28. At 25, I'm close on her heels, so I guess I should be getting worried. Right? Well, I refuse. In an act of defiance, I will not allow the these "revelations" get under my skin. Although I ultimately want a partner, as a feminist/womanist/humanist, I won't let myself be defined by my marital status - that's not where my value lies.

However, even as I'm not getting my VS panties in a bunch, I am willing learn from what I'm what I've (or what we all have) been observing. So, what are the lessons?

- In dealing with our "bottom-of-the-totem-pole" position in society, we have had to do a lot of self 'uptalk.' Our successful Black girl mantra has been something in the vein of us being wonderful, beautiful, valuable, virtuous, worthy individuals and that's great. And although many Black girls never internalize this (or even really hear it), those of us that have need to be careful not to take it too far into self-absorption. Asserting our worth is an important part of enacting self-esteem, but we need to be careful to remember the worth of others - particularly the worth of men. When I'm talking worth here, I'm not talking about bank accounts, 401Ks or real estate, I'm talking about that which makes that person who they are.

- Yes, we don't need a man. However, maybe we should get better at being able say that we really would like one; that perhaps our lives would be richer with someone to share it with. Being able to confidently state our desire for companionship and intimacy is as important has our declarations of independence. I'm working on this...

- There's more to a man then his credentials (and his biceps). A checklist of "dealbreakers and dealmakers" may be a good place to start, but at the end of the day, people are complicated. Not everything can be accounted for, both good and bad, and we are probably overlooking some great men while overestimating some others when we rely on rigid externally imposed standards.

- Despite the daily recitations of our mantra, are we really okay being ourselves? No, the carefully groomed exteriors...are we really okay with whatever lies underneath. The good, the bad and the quirky. If we want intimate relationships, we have to be willing to let the "perhaps unrespectable" parts of us show....yeah? I think so. Ladies, let's work on being the most genuine versions of ourselves possible.

Hmm, what else...? There's more - I'm sure of it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


This came up on Pandora tonight and I'm feeling it tough...cause I'm Reneggggade.

"See, I'm a poet to some. A regular modern day Shakespeare..."

Okay, so I'm an Eminem fan. And?

Friday, December 25, 2009


Today's love horoscope. For kicks, but no sh*t...I like this one.

The celestial configuration may bring you closer together to a certain person with whom you have recently become romantically involved. Neither of you has exactly rushed into the relationship, yet you both have the intuition that you are meant for each other, and so time is not really an issue. You both feel secure in each other's company, and are very content to deepen the bond between you.

Christmas musings and another New Year's resolution...

Christmas time can be a very selfless and/or a very selfish time of year. It can bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in us. Maybe it's all about 'togetherness,' it's a tricky interpersonal pool to wade through and it got me thinking...

I resolve to appreciate people for who they are and not what they can do for me.

People are so cool. What you see is almost never what you get - which is what makes life exciting right? So, I'm resolving to have self-less relationships this year. I want to enjoy getting to know people without expectation or objective - other than to find out who they are. I don't need to worry about how they're treating me, what they are or are not doing for me or how I am otherwise affected, because honestly, if I am enjoying getting to know them, they are probably pretty cool people.

So, I probably have a tendency to do this anyway. But this year, I am going to do it mindfully. It's frustrating to me that our society produces us to walk around engrossed in ourselves and only look to others for what they can add to our wealth (in a variety of areas). Do they make us happy? Do they treat us right? Are the good enough for us? What have they done to deserve me? Ladies, self-esteem is important and fantastic. We all need to feel beautiful, worthy, and valuable...but not at the expense of someone else (yes, even men). We are beautiful, wonderful people and so are others. We cannot ever realize the richness of the humanity in ourselves if we cannot see it in others - even others that are not doing anything for us.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The New Year is coming, so...I resolve

I'm not sure how I feel about New Years resolutions, but hey - there are always things to improve on, so why not start on 1/1?

First off, I can't believe we'll be closing out a decade in less than dos semanas! So, what is it I want to be different this year? Here are my resolutions, in no particular order.

1. I resolve to write consistently...I can only use the frustrated writer excuse if I'm actually writing.
2. I resolve to be kind to my hair and my skin...learning to take better care of both because I ain't getting no younger
3. I resolve to only purchase clothing that I love and that looks amazing on me...no more "potential pieces" in my wardrobe.
4. I resolve to "do me" even when me doesn't fit in.
5. I resolve to work on identifying and addressing my personal relationship pathologies...and similarly identifying those things I feel bad about but that are not really pathologies at all.
6. I resolve to view men as potential investments not purchases...
7. I resolve to work-out at least 3 times a week in whatever form I want
8. I resolve to continue taking opportunities as they come...and making sure I am reading for them when they do
9. I resolve to be comfortable and confident in red lipstick

Hmmm...what else. I'm sure there's more.

What's really behind this "Experience" thing?

It's coming down consistently and there's more to come. Shop is closed today, so no work. No metro today either, at least nothing I want to contend with. I'm effectively snowed in and bored - and it's only noon 30. Ehh...

Some of my roomie's folks came over to chill with us (literally, it's cold out) and I found myself sitting a room with three smart, passionate, educated Black women - all complaining about being under or un-employed. Bottom line: It's hard out there for us colored girls.

I think our convo today is a testament to the fact that racism persists - albeit in subtle ways. We were all complaining about not getting the jobs we wanted due to a "lack of experience" but is that the bottom line? What does it take for a woman of color to get this experience? What realities have prevented us from getting what we apparently need, but are lacking? And, maybe equally important, is our rejection really all about experience? While the latter is something that we will never find out, the former provides the opportunity for some interesting and important musing.

Maybe the financial restraints on many of us pursuing higher ed? In short, unlike many of our more affluent (white) counterparts, I would confidently assert that most of us have had to work jobs that actually pay - as opposed to experience building internships - in order to complete school.

Perhaps not having the same connections in regard to internships, first jobs, etc..., puts us in a position where 'experience' matters more.

What else would you add to the list?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hair Resolutions, Relationship Games and Lipstick...

Today is henna day, so I'm stuck in the house with a thick brown paste plastered to my head for the next 1 1/2 hours (I've already passed 5 of them). Just me, myself and my thoughts - which I'm not doing a very good job of keeping track of. Perhaps spending so much time alone, doing not much of anything makes it hard focus. But anyways, my thoughts are all over the place today. I need to write and have spent the last few hours trying to decided what to write on and have finally drawn the conclusion that this afternoon's post will be a brainstorm of sorts. So here is me, streaming my consciousness....

I've been reading up on my natural hair blogs (there are some great one's out there) and it makes me proud to be one of the brave few. I'm hopelessly lazy with my hair though, so I think my 2010 New Year's resolution will be to learn more about caring for it. My hair is aight now, but it could be magnificent with a little more TLC...

Moving on...

Relationship games. I don't like them. Hate them actually. But if you don't play are you just, in essence, benching yourself in a game that you have no choice but to participate in? Why can't we all just be up front and honest? Why can't we just say what we mean, mean what we say, and ask what we want to know? I don't know why not. But apparently even I can't, so instead I construct a litmus test like game to determine where a certain someone stands - as to not have to ask the question (or have a discussion) outright. WTF?

Maybe (probably) games are just our way of navigating the murky waters of human relationships (particularly romantic ones) where there are so many rules and so many pre-constructed/conceived notions of gendered behavior. For example: so as not to appear clingy aka needy aka crazy I, as a woman, am wary to bring up questions that could be interpreted as wanting to define a new relationship. Supposedly compulsive relationship definition is a 'pathology' women in general are supposed to suffer from, right? In reality I know I'm not clingy, needy or crazy (quite the contrary actually) and I am pretty much okay with the non-definition that's going on and just simply want to know the answer to the question "are you into me, or not?". Why can't I just come out and ask it?

Oh, so many reasons...

1. I'm lame
2. I'm chicken and my ego is fragile
3. I don't really want to know
3. I'm afraid of being perceived as the "typical woman, always tryin' to trap a man" or otherwise overbearing or pushy because...
4. Direct woman are often misinterpreted as controlling, bitchy, dominating, etc...
5. I don't want to change the dynamics of the relationship - it's good now and a formal conversation on the matter might make it awkward
5. Games are easier and seemingly less risky

Jumping off...

I really want to find a flattering red lipstick. I'm in a red lipstick kind of mood. I wish MAC were closer, because I'd absolutely go and get a consultation today.

To me, red lipstick signals an easy and natural sensuality that I'm working on embracing. Red lipstick is less about putting things on than it is about rooting yourself in, because when you're wearing red lipstick - that should be pretty much it (on your face that is). It is simple in a way that a carefully constructed 'face' is not, yet much more assertive and much less apologetic. Bold. Daring. Classic. Feminine. Seductive. Blithe.

It's on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Henna Adventures

I'm really, really lazy when it comes to my hair. I experienced a profound sense of disconnect when watching Chris Rock's film "Good Hair" because, as a Black woman, I am utterly and completely atypical. I spend about $10 to 20 a month on my hair and today, I decided to splurge a little bit on some Lush Caca Marron henna dye and I'm kinda excited about it.

I'm not expecting to get a whole lot of color from it, but it's suppose to give your hair a little bit more weight and shine. So, tomorrow (my day off), I'm going to embark on the labor intensive process of chopping, melting, applying, waiting on, washing out the henna.

Results TBA. I'll post an "after" pic.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More than a virtue, patience is a necessity...

I've spent the last six months as one of the many, many DC job seekers. Most of us being new-ish grads, we were welcomed out of the college, or in my case, grad school hallways with substantial student loan debt and dismal job options. When I got here to The District in June I was optimistic and the possibilities seemed endless, right? There were non-profit jobs, think tank jobs, Hill jobs, corporate jobs, small start-up jobs. And yes, there were (are) jobs. However, there are so many more of us.

I searched and searched. Interviewed and was let down again and again. I was frustrated. So, so frustrated. I'm smart, I'm educated, I have enough work experience to give me a good foundation, I'm personable. So, WTF?

I got a call on Friday morning from the president of a non-profit working on Black women's health issues, which has a lot of programs geared towards Black women's sexual and reproductive health (jackpot!). She had remembered my resume from a position I applied for over the summer and wanted to talk to me about a short-term contracting position with them. Yay!

Well, today was the day. I went into interview with the programs director and walked out the happiest girl alive. Although it's just a short term contracting position, it's a position in the exact field and area, doing substantive work I really want to do. Although the last several months have been frustrating as all get-out, what I felt today while talking with the director was amazing. Having the opportunity to get my hands dirty doing the work that I am passionate about - the work that I would like to make a career out of - may just turn out to have been worth the wait.

Not every story needs a moral. Sometimes a story is just a story. But in this case maybe patience isn't just a virtue, maybe it is what facilitates us doing exactly what we should be doing in this world. Perhaps if we were never patient or if we never took the time to be still and wait, would be miss that which is being prepared for us...

Just thoughts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

*Swoon* Of the Day: Travis McCoy

Okay...I like a man with tattoos. At least I like this man with tattoos. It's the playful bad boy thing that makes Mr. McCoy so damn sexy.

Just saw his new solo video and he's all do-goodie and stuff...hehe.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Kindness...

This afternoon I was emailed an article from the Washington Post on single Black women in DC. Sooo much to say about this one, really...it was a hot mess. But what it really got me thinking about was the seemingly simple concept of kindness.

What is it? What does it mean? Why do we employ it? Why don't we? Does it need to be genuine? And most importantly...WHAT'S UP WITH BLACK WOMEN WHO THINK IT'S OPTIONAL? Not okay.

Kindness makes us human. It's the logical progression and natural expression of human compassion, sympathy, empathy. It is NAMASTE, Ubutu...recognizing and deferring to the humanity in another. So, without it...we become less than human. We become machines.

Isn't kindness the foundation of any kind of healthy relationship? Yes, Black women have had to put up with a lot of shit - but in the end, losing one's ability to be kind, compassionate, and selfless pretty much bankrupts the possibility of finding or having fulfilling relationships.

I think many have forgotten that Black women's strength lies not in our ability to play "Super Bitch" or to bust balls, but in how we've overcome so much and managed to keep our humanity in-tact.

So, I'm hopelessly domestic and I want this apron...to cook in

'Tis true. I'm terribly domestic. Not only am I okay with this...I would like to be domestic in this overpriced Anthropologie apron.

But make no mistake...I'm still down to f*ck the Patriarchy (and no, not like that...)


I am now the proud owner of this very apron c/o DW... Going to be baking in it on Thursday (Christmas Eve). Yay! Merry Christmas ya'll.

Oh How I've Missed Corinne Bailey Rae

Her first album, "Like A Star" was my Summer 2006 soundtrack...so good. I'm so, so, so excited she's back with new stuff. And goodness, she looks splendid...and her hair...*sigh* I'm in love all over again.

I've listened to this song over and over for the last hour and like it more every time...deep sh*t.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Night Women

I was never assigned Toni Morrison's "Tar Baby" in school...ever. But because Morrison's work has always left me both emotionally and intellectually spinning, I decided a month or so ago to read what I had missed. In doing so, I've stumbled on what has been for me, her most compelling piece.

Unlike "Beloved" or "The Bluest Eye," "Tar Baby" is distinctly subtle. The images that Morrison uses to tell this story are violent in a different way...they depict a internal, intimate violence that lies deeper and more pervasive in the (Black) human psyche - and then again, perhaps within us all. As a Black women, the novel hit a particularly contemplative note with its dealing with the relationship between the two central characters and then, their relationships to the novel's other actors and their representations.

However, most striking were the images of the night women that Jadine (our protagonist #1) conjures up in opposition to her own identity - a collective representation of women or feminine identity that challenges her own constructed sense of self.

Jadine is a model and learned woman of the world who has been educated abroad and who is, at the outset of the novel, relishing the new seal skin coat given to her by her White lover. She is the orphan daughter of poor Black parents and the niece of Black domestic servants who have loved her enough to convinced their employer to become her patron (and now to whom they are seemingly indebted), but her self-identity is wrapped up in who wants to relate herself to, not to who she is actually related to (via blood or history).

The night women represent all that Jadine opposes; they represent the backward, the rural, the uneducated, the laboring, the hairless, the toothless of women that Jadine views as her adversaries. She imagines that the night women are judging her, her lifestyle, her decisions, and her sexuality as incongruent with the collective history of Black women and perhaps she is right. In living her life and in constructing her identity, she has forgotten the sweat, blood and tears shed by the Black women that came before her. She has forgotten to incorporate their pain and has thus, has created a polarity that need not and should not exist.

The novel ends with an old local Black Caribbean women telling Jadine's lover (our protagonist #2, who is in search of her) to forget her, because she has forgotten her 'ancient properties' - she has forgotten her essence. Without too many plot details, the lover mentioned represents Blackness or the essence of Black identity. He is the tar baby set to snare Jadine and pull her back into...[complexity still to be determined].

In my mind, this last paragraph the novel begs both a question and a position. The question: Have we as modern, educated, middle class Black women forgotten our ancient properties? Are we fighting our own night women that we should be embracing? The position: I (because I can only speak for myself) will not forget the night women, I will embrace them and remember my ancient properties.

But who are our night women? They are the baby's momma's in the welfare offices. The video vixens on BET. The homeless Black woman begging for change on the sidewalk. They are those women that society deems undesirable or even generally unassimilated into dominant culture. Those women that remain too close to the historical realities of Black womanhood (albeit not the only reality) for most Black women. In the quest to show ourselves worthy recipients of our degrees, our positions, our material gains, and in general, our status as "respectable Black folk," are we willing to throw other Black women under the bus - creating ghostly night women of our own?

It is a theme, is it not? Black women are notorious for their hostility and vicious competition with each other. My offering is that Toni Morrision has a lot to teach us in 'Tar Baby' about the complexity of the Black feminine identity, both in relation to other Black women and in relation to Black men. Like tar, her message is thick and her prose laded with the intense truth of our denials/betrayals of our own. I am learning. I am remembering (think of rememory). I am acknowledging the night women as an inextricable part of myself - my identity as a Black woman in tangled up in theirs/ours...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I don't like when I feel that I am not being taken seriously, but I hate feeling like I'm being taken too seriously.

There really isn't a significant difference between 25 and 30...

Music snobs annoy me...being one of 10 people listening a particular band/artist/genre does not, in itself, make you cool.

Sometimes I seriously doubt my own maturity level. I think I'm probably okay with that.

With regard to romantic relationships, I have no idea what I want other than a partnership that "fits." Should I have criteria? Should I make a list?

I have a hard time understanding people who voluntarily, and seemingly unnecessarily, put themselves on restrictive diets - I think I love food too much.

I think I should put on 5lbs.

Found the most perfect black leather clutch today at Urban Outfitters...On clearance for $10. Definitely a good investment.

I am really digging Nicki Minaj at the moment

I respond well to a healthy aggression.

Ode to City Life

Buses that come every ten minutes

Trader Joe's on the busline on the way home from work

Neighborhood bars next door without signs but with board games

Dance parties in pizza carry-outs at 3am (I do not participate)

3am Pizza carry-outs

Meeting all kinds of folks from all kind of places

Good reggae bands on Wednesday nights

Cupcake bakeries


To Be Continued...