Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She Said Chronicles, Part One: the Insecure Woman.

Since the moment I realized boys weren't so detestable, I've warred with the Other Woman. Each day that I look into my mirror, I hope that my curls fall distinctly in the right places, that my teeth are unrealistically white and toes perfectly polished, and that I can manage to go through the day without completely embarrassing myself. It's hard work, because I feel like I have to keep two steps ahead of her. I have to be uncomplicated, single-minded, and confident. Fun and mysterious. Sexy, but not slutty. I have to ensure that the carrot I dangle in front of him today isn't too close (because once he dines on it, he'll lose interest), but not too far away (because he'll see me as a lost cause). I can't let the other woman slip her way closer towards his heart, or I'll have to start all over. Walking to class, driving to work, or lounging by the beach I am constantly thinking and observing. Both him and her. I'm afforded the great task of sizing him, my potential, up. Not with too much scrutiny, because being picky certainly won't help. But also, I need to keep an eye on her. Funny thing is, she's a worthy opponent. Out of necessity and survival, I study her. But just when I begin to know somewhat her tactics or her movement, she switches something up. Her clothes, status, or motive.

She could be the cute Spanish secretary at my job. Or my cousin's summer fling. His ex-wife who can't let go. Or even his close friend that almost became his girlfriend. She could be my roommate. Or the co-worker that goes out of her way to listen to him. Or the random girl at the party that he had a great conversation with. The shapely White girl that sits behind me in class that eyes him when he comes to pick me up. Or some girl he went to high school with.

She could be anyone, appear at anytime. And the closer I get to him, the more I have to watch out for her. Our comfort could produce his complacency. And that's usually when she'll make her move. It only takes a moment; one swift, intentional move to realign the course of destiny. No matter how hard I try to make him won't make a difference in whether or not he leaves me for her. Or dates us at the same time. It's his decision, ultimately. And it's all because I am no longer enough. I'm lacking something. There was a bit of small print that I missed when I signed on to fall in love. There are certain stipulations that I did not see...and it makes all the difference, I guess. The difference between finding a man and keeping a man.

No matter how many men I lose to her, there is always the chance to lose love to The Other Woman again. She's like the perfect women with a set of unquenchable hungry eyes and soft lips that I can't seem to compete against. Because men chase her, not me. She is their greener side. Their dream woman. The one that can turn the head of any man, no matter his relationship status. She is the woman that is a valuable commodity in this world of high divorce rates and commitment-phobic lovers. Basically, I'm driven by gaining victory over her.

Honestly...What is it that I truly want?

Peace. Emotional security. And time to learn how to give him what he's secretly searching for.... in her.
My god, why won't he give me time to evolve? Extend his attention span to notice that past my weary face is a pair of shoulders bearing the weight of his world and mine. I get up at least 30 minutes earlier (on average) than he does, just so I can prepare to give to him....and anyone else who'll need something from me that day. So, the last thing I need is him leaving me for a falsified, care-free woman who is bound to turn into someone like me anyway...

Ugly Truths. (Smile & Let it Go)

  1. We are all self-centered. Even the most selfless person is actually self-centered. We cannot help it, because we're human. The sooner you realize that it is in your nature to think of only yourself, the less surprised you are when others put themselves before you. Well..actually...the act of you being appalled that others aren't thinking of you is pretty self-centered, don't you think?
  2. The world will never be a better place. It's not supposed to be. As long as we are civilized (in the economical sense), then there will always be poor, dying people in this world. Guess what? Your purpose shouldn't be to make the world a better place, anyway. Make your world a better place. Many of us don't get that far (see number 1 for explanation). I know people who spend their lives putting humanitarian effort into other countries but fail to impact the people that exist around them everyday. You live where you live for a reason. Ignore your world, and you're life won't make much of a difference globally.
  3. Guess what will happen when you die? Not to you, but to the rest of us...still living, I mean. We will go on living. Without you. Great things will happen once you're gone. God still has a purpose for the rest of us, and yours will cease to exist. So, while you're here, stop acting like your purpose is the only one that matters.
  4. There is an ultimate truth. There has to be. If you believe in scientific fact, then you've already opened yourself up to the notion that Absolute Truth exists. But, everything simply your perception. Never. Ever. Mix the two. 
  5. Kindness trumps self-righteous virtue, any day. The moment you start to think you know better than another human being, the moment you become an enemy of God.
  6. FOX News is a cesspool for bigoted, conservative bullies. And they do not represent the Christian stance. Since when does standing up for ''Christian'' morals make you a Christian? No matter how you slice it, we are not on the same side.
  7. Technically, there is no such thing as love at first sight. Maybe love at first hearing...or like at first sight, but there is no way you can love (in the true sense of the word) by simply seeing another person. Any person who believes in it is slightly misguided.
  8. Even in the smallest part, we all end up like our parents. Whether you believe in either side of the Nature or Nurture debate, you'll still get the same result. Get over it...there's still so much of you left to figure out. 
  9. Marijuana makes you an idiot. And if it's legalized then that will kill the 1.7 billion dollar underground marijuana industry that's keeping urban America afloat. So, if I were a weed man/connoisseur ...I'd keep my indignant rants to myself.
  10. Nothing, usually, is ever as serious as you're making it in the moment. There are nations of people around the world, at this very moment, that are surviving hunger, poverty, attempted genocides of their nation, oppression, abuse, societal rape, natural disasters, etc. Surely, you have all that you need to get through this as well. Just take a second. Do your brain a favor, and give it some extra oxygen. Breathe.
  11. God's given us all the choice to invent & reinvent ourselves into whatever we want, but knowing your Creator intimately is like saying hello to yourself for the first time.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    Style :)

     I've been attempting to transition into another style for about 2 years. I've succeeded for the most part. The journey I've gone through with my style says as much about my growth as a person as any other facet of my life. Mind you, I'm no "Devil Wears Prada" drone. Vogue is not my bible. But, fashion, like any other "art" form, makes a statement. 

    Fall 2008
    Fresh from summer camp, I had gotten used to rocking headbands and ponytails. I remember reading my first blog on the "Natural Hair" movement and I was appalled at the rituals of African American hair care. So, I began to transition. I consciously decided to go natural in August 2008. Granted, I was afraid to chop it all off. So, I embraced the ponytail for as long as I could. With the pony, came the tomboyish look that I embraced in my young teens. Bermuda shorts and Converses in tow, I settled into the lowest level of maintenance that I could. Plus, as a first year RA, and a senior in college, there wasn't much time for long bouts in front of the mirror.

    Winter 2008/Spring 2009
    A close friend of mine introduced me to the Flat Iron; which I embraced whole-heartedly. I stopped being afraid to let my hair down. However, I noticed that my hair was completely broken off in many places due to all of the ponytail action. My hair was extremely short in the middle of my head, embarrassingly enough. But, my friend took caution with my hair, and I decided to make my style more comfortable than low-maintenance. I started wearing corduroy vests and sweaters, and began experimenting with colors. I resurrected the "fake spectacles" to add a hint of "serious student" to my style.

    Summer 2009
     No camp for me this summer. Around this time, I'd started flat ironing my hair myself. This is all that I figured being "natural" was all about. I still used all the same hair products, but at least my hair was starting to grow back. I started focusing on my semi-formal look; experimenting on different accessories. Here, I took a vintage dress of mine, and spruced it up with my favorite cream scarf. I already loved funky jewelry, so I gave it a permanent place in my fashion regiment. I was starting to get bolder....slowly, but surely.

    Fall 2009/Winter 2009
    I'd completely settled into my "chic bohemian" style at this point. I was struggling with my hair, because I'd been natural for over a year, and its thickness made it hard to manage. I came really close a number of times to putting a relaxer in it...but I never caved. I continued to flat iron it as much as possible, and work with the products that I still had. Basically, I was at a stand still with my hair care, and was searching for something drastically different. I began wearing small bits of make-up more often; settling into my womanhood around my 24th birthday.

    Spring 2010
     I remember there was a huge snowstorm at my college, and my roommate and I decided to have a photo shoot once it stopped snowing. So, a few of us trekked out into the snow and had a day that I won't soon forget. I remember coming in my room from the shower and taking the towel off of my freshly washed hair. I teased it with my comb, jokingly at first, and looked up into the mirror. Making a few adjustments and parting it in the front, I remember being astonished at how pleased I was with my hair. I smiled at the few ringlets of curls on my ends. I looked down at the blow dryer in my hand, and after a moment, I put it back on my bed. Afraid to death, I went outside and did our photo shoot. For the first time, I was truly natural. I had to go back to my natural state before I could progress any further in developing my style.

    Present (Summer 2010)/Future
    I threw away over $150 worth of hair care products. I haven't blow-dryed/flat ironed my hair in over 5 months. Out of the 6 products I regularly use, the first (greatest) of them is water. I plan on continuing many of the trends that I love, but my style is currently under transition again. 
    And here's a sneak preview: eShakti

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    They Call Me Southern Belle. (An Essay)

    I was born in a small hospital in Newberry, South Carolina. My mother tells me that she was able to walk up the street to give birth to me. I was raised on grits, cornbread [sweet like pound cake], collard greens garnished with pork, and tea sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. My form of public transportation growing up was the back half of my cousin's bicycle seat, and I felt the grip of death if I didn't make it indoors before my street lights came on. We had water hoses, not fire hydrants to use for instant water parks in our backyards. I knew the first name of my Ice Cream Truck Man, because he was usually one of the neighbors. I played My Car, Your Car on my front porch, spent at least 1 1/2 hours on the yellow bus to school every morning. I didn't speak when grown-ups were talking, and I said "ma'am/sir" as the periods to my sentences. I smile when I smell ribs and fried catfish in the air during the summer (At Cookouts...not Barbecues) and see the school cancellations on the news due to signs of frost. Slamming the screen door is a sign of disrespect, and so is not bringing a dish with you when visiting someone's home. Fried chicken is considered a food group, and I've seen my family members prepare, cook, and eat every part of a pig's body.I grew up wearing frilly dresses to church and pink foam rollers to bed. Adults are automatically given respect and the elderly are given your seat. We had porches, not stoops. Soda, not pop. I spoke stretching my vowels and smiling at strangers. Church was not optional and I said grace as soon as I could learn to speak full sentences. My first instrument was the tambourine, and my cousin and I fought usually over my mom's church fan. Family did everything together & it was my older brother's duty to hold my hand in public when we were small. I learned to fear Whites more than I was taught to hate them. I started going to the shop (not salon) when I was 10 years old. I learned that community is as much as your family as your own kin. And I never received a single time-out in my entire life....unless you mean the time it took to go get my own switch.

    Laid back & friendly. Generous & charming. True Southern women are more than their portrayed scantly clothed bodies & round, rotund behinds. We are more than "ya'lls" and huge church hats. Crazy hairstyles & kool-aid. The women who raised me taught me in the Southern tradition: family, dignity, and grace. I am deeply southern-bred, and it is one of the facts about myself that I am the proudest.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010


    So, I'm trying a new blog template out...
    I'm sure you're used to the deep brown background that I love so much, but I thought I'd try to spruce the place up a bit. Hope your eyes aren't hurting too much. (smile)
    Kudos to Blogger for finally stepping their game up, because I've spent a good bit of my blogging time on Tumblr. (gasp)

    I'm feeling a bit reborn these days...going through the fire (metaphorically speaking) will do that to you. 

    Thursday, July 15, 2010


    The wonderful fact about True Things is that your belief in them cannot make them any more true, and your disbelief won't take away from their ability to be True. I seek Jesus in order to be True. That way, affirmation from others becomes appreciated, but optional. --Me

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    How I Feel. (July Photo Edition)

    I only pretended I didn't need anyone.
    You, with a Love as gentle as a whisper, found a way into my heart.
    Now, I'm not so afraid to let them in anymore.
    {1 John 3:16}

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Dream Girl. (A List)

    I am 24 and are still considered an unmarried woman.  I've made plenty of mistakes, but have gained a bit of wisdom in the process. Granted, some of this list is pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how often we've/I've intentionally did the opposite.
    1. Keep your priorities straight. Despite popular opinion, a relationship for an unmarried person should be at about 4th or 5th on the list. With God being 1st, family 2nd, academics 3rd, and work/life goals 4th. A man can tell if he is too high (or too low) on your priority list.
    2. Don't reveal too much, too soon. This applies to anything regarding intimate pieces of your Self. I can't tell you how many girls I've known that were heartbroken over a guy they've only known (not dated, known) for 6 months. Enjoy the process. And if you're trying to keep up with other couples, then you're probably going too fast.
    3. Value yourself, completely by yourself. Solitude is a beautiful thing, and is valuable even in relationships. If you're waiting for a person to make you feel whole, then you're setting yourself up for consistent disappointment. Plus, the time spent away will rejuvenate you and enrich the time you have with the other person.
    4. Learn to let your hair down. First of all, this requires you to be comfortable in your own skin. Many women make the mistake of over-primping themselves when they know they'll see their significant other. If you are serious about this man, show him you AS IS. This applies to the soul, as well. I know that you're a strong, powerful woman, but learn to let that wall brick at a time.
    5. Do some revision of that "must have" list. Sometimes our high expectations can be any relationship. Be wise, but gracious of others humanity. A man who feels safe to be himself is sure to give you the love you desire.
    6. Learn to cook. (If you're not much of a cook, at least master the basics.)
    7. Be competitive, not docile. Meaning, don't just let him win the basketball game. A man, though his ego may be bruised, loves it when his woman makes him step his game up. And engaging in any physical or competitive sport is always a good thing to share in a relationship.
    8. Have a sense of humor, and a hearty laugh. Those cute giggles will get annoying because they're not genuine. Stop coaxing his ego by laughing at his wack jokes. Instead, use a healthy amount of sarcasm. He'll be pleasantly surprised at your wit...because it keeps him on his toes. Which men like.
    9. Have a hobby or skill that he doesn't. It's good to share talents, but he'll appreciate that you're cultivating some other passion a part from his input. 
    10. Have an open mind. You don't know don't pretend you've got all the answers. This attitude will turn you into the classic "nag" that helps make a loveless marriage.

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Best Romance in Cinema (My Comprehensive List)

    Many romance movies borderline a pointless pornography theme, and others dupe the consumer with emotional propaganda that, in no way, represents True Love. However, in my lifetime I've come across many films that stand out. With its genuineness, creativity, and heartfelt message on the love that exists between two people. Granted, I appreciate a good "romp" film or chick flick like the next female 20-something, but only those mentioned are what I classify as Romance.

    {Idea taken from my friend, Don.}
    This list is in no particular order.

    1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    This is one of my favorites. The premise of being able to try and literally erase one's ex from your memory, but then attempting to reverse the process, is such a creative concept for a love story. Many of us would like to permanently remove hurtful memories, conversations, and circumstances from the brain. But it gives me a really good feeling when the heart seems to defy the mind and choose to cherish the memory. Jim Carrey is brilliant in this too, and the scenes allow you to vividly travel with him as he fights to get her back.

    2. Love and Basketball
    I'd say that Brown Sugar is a close runner-up to this movie, but I'll choose this one because of its sentimental value to me when I was a teenager. Classic tale that depicts real circumstances of a young, Black couple that everyone seemed to relate to. This movie struck a cord with me because I was in love with a ball player in high school too (who wasn't, for that matter?). I sort of lived vicariously through Sanaa's Monica because I hoped one day that he'd recognize how amazing I was and we'd both fall madly in love. Eh not exactly my story. Regardless, it was still heart-wrenching to watch the moments after she'd lost that final game and Quincy (played by the gorgeous Omar Epps) said, "Hey...double or nothing." This movie showed me that what is meant to be, truly will be. And this movie has an AMAZING soundtrack, by the way.

    3. The Notebook
    I'm sorry, this movie still makes me cry like a newborn. It's story is too beautiful to be ignored, and it stays with you long after you've finished watching it. In typical Nicholas Sparks' fashion, where one or both characters die, he still manages to promote the theme of Love that is truly selfless. This principle is a gem in the the midst of movies where women leave their boyfriends for flings had abroad or formed through some great, but short-lived adversity. Many movies show how quickly people are to forfeit commitment for excitement, but this movie emphasizes the opposite. At first viewing, I cried because of the thought, "This is so unfair! How can this happen to two people who love each other and fought so hard to be with one another?" After watching it several times, I realized that their Love was strengthened by her disease, not crippled by it.

    4. Moulin Rouge
    Another movie that never fails to leave me surrounded by wads of tissue. Not only is this movie a musical (which I absolutely love), but it's beautifully made. It's theme of "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and to be loved in return" is promoted as a philosophy in life; which is what is left with the viewer...rather than a mere feeling. It carries the same realness & transparency as Pretty Woman (which deserves an honorable mention on this list, if I had the room): True Love is able to help a person desire the best out of life. Nicole Kidman's Satine is a woman of ill-repute. Nonetheless, Ewan McGregor's Christian helps her fight to choose a better life for herself. Love makes you want to be your best; for yourself and for that person.

    5. Away We Go
    This is one of my recent favorites, because it is a straight-forward portrayal of a young couple and their struggle to find their place in the world; together. The movie is hilarious, but has an element of intelligence with its characters (who are all portrayed by great actors with memorable characters). This movie isn't well known, but the fact that it slipped somewhat under the radar makes it special to me. I could heartily relate to Maya Rudolph's Verona and  fell in love with the charm and kindness of John Krasinski's Burt (which is an awful name, but actually adds to his lovableness). Ultimately, you grow to care about the couple and pray by the end of the movie that they find as much happiness in the world as they've found in each other.

     6. Slumdog Millionaire
    First off, Bollywood movies are the best. I was pleased to find out that this movie followed in the Bollywood cinematic tradition, and was not let down while watching it. Beautiful film! It has a rich historic feel that gives as much emphasis on the life of Dev Patel's Jamal, as his struggle to rescue his long lost love. This movie, more than any other movie I can think of, is so much more than a romance.

    7. Shakespeare in Love
    I adore this movie, because I'm a huge fan of Shakespeare. In my opinion, it is the best explanation of Shakespeare's relation to his Romeo & Juliet. I believe all stories are written from some part of the writer's experience, and I'm sure Shakespeare had a muse to inspire Romeo & Juliet. Combine a beautiful storyline, great actors, and a script that would make Shakespeare proud, and you have a solid romance film. My favorite character is actually Judi Dench who brilliantly played Queen Elizabeth.

    8. Titanic
    C'mon. This is one of the greatest love stories of my generation. I've never had my heart broken while watching a film before....until I dared go to the theater (Yep. And that's a long time to sit in a theater chair, too) with family to view this historic tragedy. I'd never even learned all about the Titanic prior not only was I (at 12 years old) faced with the grave fact that so many people senselessly died on that ship, but that there is the realization that a potentially great love was cut short in the process. And these lessons are still with me to this day.

    9. Beauty and the Beast
    Yeah, it's a cartoon. So what? I remember watching this a child, and desiring to have a heart just like Belle: kind and selfless. She was portrayed to me as a heroine that ended up being rewarded for her character. Despite her seemingly disconnected nature with those around her, she still possessed the noblest view of life and love. Quite a pair of shoes to want to walk in; despite the fact that they were first drawn on paper. Magical, be it may, it still resounds an important truth to kids and adults alike: Love is only as powerful as it is unconditional. For that, Disney got it completely right.

    10. Forrest Gump
    Laugh if you want to, but I've never seen a man love a woman as much as Forrest loved Jenny. Not only is this one of my favorite movies of all time, it's a favorite romance movie of mine. He traveled the world, and found himself in the center of history a number of times. Yet, in the midst of all that travel, he never mentally left his back yard...which is this place where he protected his love for the only woman he'd ever loved. The relationship Tom Hanks' Forrest has with Robin Wright's Jenny is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Love's known to be like that sometimes...