I am Changing . . .

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self, in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned.” ~James Baldwin

At my core, I am who am.  Throughout my life, I felt like perhaps my outside did not match my inside. Typically, I am only able to express my creativity, my uniqueness, and other intracacies through my shoes.  In the words of my godmother “My ego is in my shoes.”

Recently, I have decided to upgrade my health by getting to a healthy weight, making healthy choices, and revitalizing my healthy lifestyle.  I guess with success in weight loss (I am down to 215), comes the desire to change other things. For me, that is manifesting in a new interest in fashion, make up, and projecting my inner beauty everyday, not just on special occasions. I find myself reading fashion blogs, wanting to hit up the thrift store, Ross, TJ Maxx and other low cost fashionista options to change my wardrobe.

My co-worker is very thrity, but very fashionable. I’ve informed her that we will be taking a trip to the Smithfield outlets in October to spruce up my winter wardrobe.  She is on board.

When I first got my job, I was consumed with paying off debt, getting my finances on track, etc.  While I still have a little ways to go.  I think I have gotten to the point where doing something for myself a few times a month is required.  The past few weeks, travel has been at the top of that list.  Over the next few weeks it will be WARDROBE and MAKEUP.  Que . . .

 

 

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Movie Review/Rant: The Help

August 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” ~Aibileen Clark

People have a lot of things about The Help.  Most of the comments surround the movie adaptation of a book of the same title by Kathryn Stockett.

On one hand you have the reviews of outrage: http://www.thefeministwire.com/2011/08/12/kathryn-stockett-is-not-my-sister-and-i-am-not-her-help/#.TlHRcj1fnb0.facebook

On the other hand, you have the “tell it like it is” reviews: http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/movies/the-help-spans-two-worlds-white-and-black-review.html 

And on the other hand, you have the reviews of most of the women of color in my sphere of influence who say “it was great!, I loved it!, It was a tear-jerker!, and I can relate to _______ (insert character here).

But I have my own thoughts. I read the book. I watched the movie, and I enjoyed them both!  There are times when I adamantly will oppose fiction presented as fact.  Namely, in the teaching of future generations. For instance, telling your 3rd grader that the Holocaust never happened.  However, when it comes to fiction, masked in veils of truth, can I really get mad at how the storyteller chooses to tell the story.

History always has a slant as told by the historian. I am not sure why some intellectuals of color are so outraged that a white woman told the story of black women through the lens of a white woman. That is her experience.  No one will ever be able to tell the story of Aibileen, Minny, Constatine and the other maids of The Help better than the African-American maids of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s.  Unfortunately, those women did not write a book about their experiences, or maybe they did and I have not had the pleasure of encountering those yet.

My recommendation to everyone is to read the book. Allow yourself to get wrapped up in what is nothing shy of a good story. Go see the movie. Laugh, shed tears, and tremble in fear as you watch the story unfold.  Enjoy this piece of fiction. And if by chance it is based on some truth as Ms. Stockett’s brother’s former maid alleges in the article above, then let that play out in a court of law!

Amazing! Just the way I am!

August 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

“When I see my face, there is not a thing that I would change, because I’m amazing just the way I am. And when I smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while because I am amazing, just the way I am!” ~Bruno Mars (with my spin).

This weight loss journey is just as much for my spiritual health as it is for my physical help. Some days, I look in the mirror and say horrible things to myself. “You’re too fat,” “you’re too dark,” your breast are too large,” and a host of other “you’re too this or that.” On those bad days, I tell myself these flaws are the reason I am single. Then there are other days, good days. Days when I love my dark skin because I rarely have a blemish. Days that I enjoy the way my hips fill out a pair of jeans. Days that I love that my cleavage puts every other woman in the room in envy.  Those are really good days!

I’ve decided the good days should outweigh the bad days. I have taken to writing little inspirations on my bathroom mirror. Every morning, I make me tell myself “I love my . . . because . . .”  I don’t allow myself to leave the bathroom until I come up with something.  Standing in the mirror left to my own criticism and praise can be very challenging, but it is catapulting me to the land of self acceptance.  And what can be better than learning to love yourself.

BTW, I am down 8 pounds since the beginning of July. Jennifer Hudson, watch out!

My name is . . . and I am OBESE!

July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

Your past does not equal, nor does it dictate, your future ~ Unknown

Today, I made a life changing decision. I decided to commit to become healthy, and fit for the long haul. In addition to my regular 3 day, 60 minute a day workout routine, I have now joined Weight Watchers.

I stepped on the scale for my initial weigh in. 224.5 lbs. How did I get here? I remember when I would get damn near suicidal over the thought of being over 200 lbs, and now . . . well, 200 sounds great!

I have never really had a problem with fitness.  As long as I could afford the gym, and had the time to go, I was golden. Of course, I spent the last 25 years in a state of poverty, and the last 3 of those were clogged with all manner of things law school. Needless to say, the stress, poor eating habits, and lack of movement caught up to me.  Now, my BMI classification is OBESE. Lawd, why me. Overweight I can deal with, but obese . . . come on!!

Speaking of the Lord, I know that his desire is for his children to have long, happy and healthy lives.  The old saying that “God helps those who help themselves” is as true in this situation as any other. That being said, this is HIS temple, and it is time to clean it up.

I weigh in weekly on Tuesdays.  I plan to hire a personal trainer in September. I will do my absolute best to keep you updated weekly. Positive energy, good vibes, prayers and word of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

I Don’t Like You As a Person . . .

July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Happy belated 4th of July folks.   I hope you celebrated with style and class! 🙂

Yesterday, I sent the following text to a “friend” – “I don’t like you as a person. Lose the number. Thanks!”  Harsh, right. I know, but it summed up my sentiments quite nicely.  Of course, I was hit with a slew of text messages and a voicemail in response telling me my “words were strong,”  “I thought our ‘friendship’ meant more” and essentially questioning why I sent the text when the only thing that happened was a broken arrangement to see one another for the first time in nearly 5 months.

This “friend” is someone I was very interested in for a time. We met November 2010.  We immediately hit it off a spent every other weekend or so together. He lived in Winston, and at the time, I was in Charlotte.  And while all of the visits then were to my home, it wasn’t for my lack of trying to visit him at his home. It seemed as though I was never invited, even when I attempted to invite myself. So, he became the primary driver, and I became the primary provider. . . that is, he was never hungry, thirsty or bored in my presence.  Let’s keep it funky fresh and call it what it was, a FWB/mock-dating relationship.

When I got the job offer in Fayetteville, his first words were not Congratulations, rather “really, that’s so far away.”  I have been unemployed and struggling for months. Working temp jobs and babysitting just to stay afloat. Trying to treat all number of illnesses from home because I don’t have insurance. I get a job, with a decent salary and great benefits and your first thought is how I won’t be close to you any more?  If you were my best friend or someone with whom my relationship wasn’t primarily carnal with a dose a friendship in between, that comment may have been flattering. But, your concern was not that my quality of life was about to drastically change from the better, rather that you wouldn’t have anything to practice baby making with. Strike 1.

The move goes down, and per usual when moving to a new town, I spend the first few months a little lonely and trying to make friends. I haven’t spoken to my “friend” that this post is about much, and when I do, it’s all about when I am coming to see him.  The invitation was extended only when the drive increased by an hour – interesting. In any event, I have an alumni event and asks if he would like to accompany me to the event. He says sure. I bought his ticket, ask if he minds if I stay, he says sure. Cool beans. The event went well. His attire, sucked, but whatever. Sidetrack. After the event, we went to a wine bar and had what was probably the second most meaningful discussion of our “friendship”. . . that is the discussion about what we want from one another, where the relationship should go, if distance is a big issue, should we end it now, etc.  I left the bar feeling like progress was made and that my patience paid off. The next day, he parted his lips to say the following to me “You can never let a woman know what you are up to all the time. You can’t answer all her calls.  You have to call her when you are ready. You have to make her wonder what you are doing. Make her cling to you, don’t cling to her. If it’s the other way around, like if a man is wondering what she’s doing, she holds all the power. .”  Thank you sir, I think you’ve just given me a wonderful life lesson, and explained that as a man in his 30s you are more interested in the game then finding someone who you enjoy spending time with. Strike 2.

Incidental moment, he once told me he believes the government should offer a one time tax incentive for women on welfare to become sterilized.  Economic sterilization – Foul (not quite a strike because he seemed to understand the flaw in his theory after some heated arguments from me).

After strike 2, I stopped talking to friend for a while.  I needed time to asses whether the “friendship” was worth it.  I did invite friend on a beach trip, but withdrew the invitation after deciding I didn’t want to field questions about who he was to me when I wasn’t even clear.  I explained this to him.

And the straw that broke this camels back. Memorial day, “friend” calls and says he wants to visit. Well sir, I am in DC visiting an actual friend, so no.  Maybe some other time.  A few weeks ago, he asks what I am doing 4th of July weekend. I tell him I am going to Charlotte to visit my mom, another good friend, and spend the 4th in Carowinds.  He tells me he will see me when I get there. Fine. I am en route to Charlotte Saturday and I get a text asking where I am. I tell him I am on the way. The response, “you gonna swing through Winston and ride it.” WTF!!! I haven’t seen you in months, haven’t talked to you in a few weeks (and even then it was very superficial) and that’s what you say to me. My response, no.  A few more texts arrive, when can we hang out, blah blah effin blah. I suggest Sunday evening. He asks if I am coming to Winston.  Seriously sir. I just drove 2 1/2 hours to get here, why would I drive another hour to Winston.  After that, nothing. No calls. No text. No other indication that we can hang out during the time I’ve indicated that I am free.  July 4th, I get a smiley face. Hummmmm.  I simmered on that throughout the day.  While waiting at the bumper cars, I had an epiphany, “damn it, I just don’t like him.”  – Strike 3.

You sir have just been voted off the island!

Now, having read the 4 most prominent incidents in our “friendship,” peppered by the occasional movie, a conversation or two about ideologies, and the fact that we’ve known each other less than a year . . . was I harsh? Do I owe him an explanation? Is ignoring and allowing self reflection my only obligation at this point? Thoughts?

 

Now What . . .

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.” ~Barack Obama

All Americans of age will remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  Now, all of them will remember May 1, 2011.  I was doing my nightly routine of watching Adult Swim on cartoon network when something popped up in my Facebook news feed.  “Presidential speech at 10:30. Wonder what it’s about.”  If you know me, you know that I am all about some Barack Obama.  “What speech?” I thought.  Surely I would have known if the President of the United States was going to address the nation.  Then it hit me. 10:30? An unprecedented hour.  As I flipped though all the networks, ABC, NBC, hell, even FOX, and saw nothing at 10:40, 10:50, I begin to worry.  Something is wrong.   I log back into Facebook to make sure that I read the time right. 

My entire news feed read “Osama bin Laden Dead” or something of the sorts.  Initially, like others, I breathed a sigh of relief.  It wasn’t bad news.  Our country wasn’t going to war.  The government wasn’t shutting down. We just finally got Osama bin Laden.  I turned to CNN and listened as Wolf gave me the limited details available.  That’s when I saw the crowds at the White House chanting “USA,” and singing the National Anthem.  Just like I did nearly 10 years ago, I thought “Oh shit! This is not going to end well.”

September 11, I cried. I felt empathy for my country for the first time.  I was angry.  I saw extremist chanting “Death to America.” I cursed them. I listened intently as George W. Bush told me that the United States would find those responsible, and punish them.  I cheered for the bad-assery of my president. Then I realized what that meant. All my friends who joined the military simply to finance college were now in danger.  Our country was no longer a safe haven.  On Sunday night, the same occurred.  I took solace in the fact that we finally found who we were looking for.  When I saw my countrymen acting in the same manner, rejoicing in death, I knew this was not the end. 

Osama bin Laden is dead. His body was buried at sea to prevent martyrdom.  But a martyr he is.  Those who ascribe to his philosophy will not disband because of his death.  Sure, there is no place to mourn him, no grave site to visit and make a shrine.  But his spirit, his legacy, his ideologies live on.  I don’t know what happens next.  My emotions are all confused.  I sincerely hope that September 11 is the worst attack that will ever occur on American soil, but the uncertainty disturbs me.

To Barack Obama I say, thank you sir for making a hard call.  To our Armed Forces I say, thank you for protecting me.  To my fellow citizens I say, I understand your sentiments, I understand the desire for justice to be done, but let us not forget how we felt as we were searching for our dead as others were chanting death to our country.

I will pray for my country, and this world a little harder from now on!

These are a few of my least favorite things…

April 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

“Never neglect an opportunity for improvement”

~Sir William Jones

There are things about myself that I just don’t like:

  1. I am overweight.
  2. When I have a disagreement with friends or family, I assume that “they will need me before I need them” and seldom make efforts to “make it right.”
  3. I am a horrible listener.
  4. I like to be right. If I am right, I will go to extraordinary measures to make sure you know I am right. I will research to prove I am right. If I am wrong, rarely will I let you know.
  5. I curse like a sailor.
  6. I sincerely believe I am incapable of forgiving my father for what I deem as sub-par parenting.
  7. I am horrible at keeping up with friends, even the ones I love the most.
  8. I rarely finish what I start.
  9. I hate passive aggressive behavior directed at me, but will often direct it at others.
  10. I am very judgmental.

I have recognized these flaws in myself.  I have adopted a mantra of sorts that I will “Be a 1% better person today, then I was yesterday.”  In my mind, that means, if I say 1 less curse word today, I am making progress.  I have decided that I will use the remainder of my 20s to correct behavior that I have been getting away with since birth.  I don’t want to live the rest of my life with incomplete projects, interrupting others while they speak, or judging others. I want to live a life of love, friendship, and happiness. 

I have to start getting the debris of bad behavior off the island. After all, sunshine only illuminates garbage, it doesn’t make it prettier.