From my heart to yours

I finally did it! I am now officially a natural hair wearing girl!! And I am so happy! I litterally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel liberated and free.

Natural ME!

It is amazing how distorted my perception of my hair was. I thought that my natural hair was this ugly, nappy,  jungle of knots and tangles that would never be tamed. Turns out, my hair is beautiful natural. Its curly, not nappy and it’s not a jungle of knots and tangles but is actually very manageable. I think that I will actually be able to handle being natural. And what’s funny is that no one in my family, myself included, knew that my hair is naturally curly. Turns out, my hair is almost exactly the same texture as my mom’s. And now that it is short, I look so much like her.

The cut was met mostly with compliments and praise, some from my fellow natural friends, some from friends who are regular relaxers and some who are not black at all. There was some opposition of course, though. My own little brother said “so….you’re gonna let it grow back right?” and another friend asked “where is all of your hair?” Im still trying to read my grandmother who seemed to say it was a nice cut with a bit of a tone. And my aunt who apparently told my nana it was a shame that all of my long beautiful hair is gone. The funniest reaction though was from my granddaddy who upon seeing me said “oh you got you hair done.” Followed by him doing a double take and yelling, “Oh my God! Oh my God! You cut all your hair off! Betty! Betty! Betty come here! Oh my God!” All of this was said as he retreated from me as if I punched him in the gut. SMH is my only response to all of the extraness that was my granddaddy in that moment who is normally the strong, silent type.

And as usual, I must also say my own pros and cons about my hair. I am happy to have such a low maintenance hair style. And I am loving having healthy hair. I am appreciating learning about my hair and because it is starting short I will get to explore new and different ways to style my hair. The cons, I can’t wear hats, I’m gonna have to always be on point with the eyebrows, makeup, earrings and cute headpieces. And I must say that I do miss my long hair a bit. It kept my hands busy when I was talking to cute boys. It blew in the breeze when I drove with the windows down or went for  runs, walks (who am I kidding, I don’t run anywhere except in my dreams) on the beach. And sadly I will no longer be able to whip my hair back and forth like little Miss Willow Smith…although this is probably a good thing, as I will no longer have to wake up with neck pains after a night out.

The bottom line and my own lesson learned is that natural hair and relaxed hair are both beautiful.

I'm not quite here yet, but I am happy that I finally gave it a try

So it’s a process, and it is beginning with this first challenge: finding products that make my hair soft and keep it conditioned. Suggestions are welcome, especially if I can get a sample size of the product. Originally, I was gonna set ground rules for myself about how long I would have to keep my hair natural before deciding that I hate it. But I don’t think I need those anymore, because for once I don’t feel like I’m having a fight with my hair. I am very excited for it to get longer so that I can actually play with different styles, but for now I’m just taking it easy and enjoying the extra 10-15 minutes that I’ve gained in my morning routine!

Too Cute!

I have been thinkin about writing this post for a while, but haven’t wanted to because I didn’t want to upset anybody or piss anybody off. But after a series of recent annoyances I don’t really care about it anymore, cause I’m tired of being the one who is upset. I’m gonna say this now: If you are upset or pissed or feel some type of way at all, then you’re probably guilty. And if you’re one of my friends, understand that I love you, but I’m so tired of this shit.

So here goes:

Yes I am FAT! OBESE! Whatever you want to call it. I know this. You know this. My momma and my daddy know it and so does Joe Blow who lives on the corner. What I don’t know or understand is why it is any of YOUR business. I am so sick and tired of people who have never had a weight problem being so judgemental of those of us who do. And the crazy thing about it to me is this: when someone has anorexia or an alcohol problem or a drug problem or some type of mental illness, people are scared to say anything to them and walk around on eggshells. But if someone is fat they literally are fair game for any and everyone. Nevermind what underlying diseases and/or mental problems they may have. I understand that a lot of you believe that all fat people are fat because they are lazy, but that is not always the case. There are many possible causes of obesity, do your research before you judge.

And here’s another tip. If you have a fat friend don’t make fun of other fat people in front of them. It’s only going to make them feel worse about themselves. I cannot tell y’all how I am so close to closing my Twitter and Facebook just because I’m so tired of seeing this happen. If that’s how you feel about fat people then that’s how you feel about me and telling me that you love me cause I’m your friend won’t make me feel any better, trust me.

Oh and here’s another thing. Don’t offer advice to us if we don’t ask you for it. Why? Because you don’t know SHIT about my problems! I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. Have 1 conversation about obesity and suddenly everyone is an expert. I’ve had a random woman walk up to me in the parking lot of my gym telling me about a diet pill I should take. Oh and the man that held the door open for me on my way out of the gym, told me exactly how my workout sessions should go. And my favorite, the random lady who approached me in the locker room as I was changing my bra and asked me how much weight I want to lose before telling me how to lose it!

Seriously people?! This is out of hand! You can’t tell me what will work for me because you are not me. Sure you can tell me the general principles of weight loss, I know those too: Exercise keeping your heart rate between 135-145 for more than 30 minutes to burn fat. Do weight lifting exercises to gain muscles and help burn the fat quicker. Eat 5-6 small meals a day to quicken your metabolism. Thanks for that wonderful information, now can you tell me how to deal with the fact that I can’t eat when it’s convenient for me because my grandparents judge everything I eat? Can you explain to me why I don’t feel the positive aspects of exercise like elevated mood and feelings of success that everyone else feels? Oh and here’s a good one, can you tell me how to eat a perfectly balanced diet, while exercising and dealing with all of the problems that I’ve had with my weight for the past 15 years? No? So then why are we having this conversation?

Oh and while I’m at, shoutout to the cashier at the Publix who felt it was necessary to give me commentary on my groceries. Thanks for letting me know that the candy in my basket isn’t healthy. Guess the fact that I only ate 2 pieces of it doesn’t matter to you.

Here’s the bottom line folks: Don’t make fun of fat people around me or your fat friends. I’m tired of holding my tongue, so I’m not going to anymore. I will call you out on it and make you feel just as uncomfortable as I do when you say it. And for anyone who is not friends with me. If you make fun of fat people in front of your fat friends and they just smile or laugh and go along with the joke, it’s not because they are ok with it, trust me. They might just feel uncomfortable about speaking up for themselves. And seriously guys, if you’re not asked for help then don’t comment on my weight, what I’m eating or my exercise regimen. Cause that’s not gonna make me feel any better either. As a matter of fact, if I don’t bring up my weight then there’s no reason for you to be worried about it at all. if you are so concerned about my weight, then have a conversation with me about why its a problem, I have no problem talking about it to people who ask. It’s better than feeling like I’m being judged.

And for your information: Yes I’m angry. Maybe I’m bitter. No I’m not just being sensitive.

Starting at the end of last year, I really started thinking about what I consider my definition of beauty for me. I wanted to start working on changing the things about myself that I feel need to changed and enhancing the things about myself that I like. Some of the things on my list included my skin, weight and hair. I actually love my skin so I have started exploring new makeups and things to enhance it. My weight is always a work in progress, but I have been working with a trainer regularly to help me toward my goals. As far as my hair is concerned, I decided to go natural.

Now for anybody who may be reading this who is unaware of what “going natural” means, the shortest explanation is that I will not longer be chemically straightening my hair. I am making this decision for several reasons, first, because my hair was extremely damaged. Second, because I was sooooo tired of gettin those disgusting scabs on my scalp after every relaxer and finally because deep down I’ve always envied girls who were able to meet the mental challenge of being natural.

Natural vs Relaxed (and vs weaves)

Some people don’t understand how going natural can be mentally challenging, but I assure you it is. I’ll explain: I’ve had long, thick hair for literally my entire life. I was born with a head full of hair. I have a picture of me when I was three with an afro that would make most grown women jealous. I was forced to get my first relaxer when I was 7 because my hairdresser refused to deal with my thick curls. Before relaxers we used the dreaded hot comb to straighten my hair. I was constantly asked if my hair was a weave/wig. I took pride in my hair because it was beautiful and made other girl jealous. In high school I wanted to change it, but was scared  to cut it because of how my family would feel, so instead I just got highlights and kept it long and straight. It wasn’t until my second semester of my senior year of college that I got up the nerve to cut my hair. And when I say cut I mean chopped. And I got mixed reviews. My best friend didn’t want me to cut it (although she’ll admit now that she thought it was a good look for me) and a couple of friends (mostly males) wouldn’t even compliment the change. 1 friend ran his fingers through the back of my hair and said “you can’t even put it in a ponytail” before walking out of the office. My male boss told me that if his wife ever cut her hair off it would be a huge problem. I had other reactions like this.

Multitasking gone wrong, smh

Long, straight hair has always represented beauty to many members of my family, and therefore to me. To this day, when my nana introduces me to a church friend of hers she says, “this is my granddaughter ____, she’s Frank’s daughter. She used to have long pretty hair that went down her back and then she cut it all off.” Every single time, this is what I hear. When I told her I was getting braids last year, she yelled at me. She freaked out completely about how she doesn’t understand why I want to put something so ugly in my hair. And when I told her I was going natural I received no support. When I got my second weave (that’s how I’m transitioning) she said “oh that’s beautiful, you should grow your hair out and dye it just like that. You just need a good hairdresser to give you a good relaxer. I’ll ask one of my church friend’s for her hairdresser’s number.” And today I got a new weave and she told me that it was nice. Then a couple of hours later, I overheard he talking about me to someone on the phone, she’s never been a good whisperer. She told that person that “I got that “mess” in my hair again and she doesn’t understand why I cut it to begin with. If I would just leave it alone it would grow long again. She doesn’t understand why I’m paying to have hair like what I naturally have.”  The funny part about all that is, my hair is not naturally straight the way she loves it. It is forced that way in a torturous manner that is uncomfortable and sometimes painful for me. She’s not the only person I have met resistance from. The problem of black women hating their natural hair goes way back in history. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna give a history lesson here. I just want you to understand that I, like so many other black women, have been trained to hate a part of me.

So I am going natural, with the support of my friends and somewhat of my mom. I am trying to accept that the hair that I was God given is good enough and beautiful enough. I am tired of forcing a part of me to be something different. I know it’s gonna take some work for me to change my thinking, which is why I’m making this a gradual process. But I look forward to the freedom of not being tied down by a certain perception of what is beautiful. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day hair matters are small matters in this life.

And in the meantime, I am enjoying the fun of being able to play with different hairstyles along the way!

Today and tomorrow are my grandparents birthdays. Today my nana is 78 years old. Tomorrow my granddaddy will be 80 years old. They have been married for 62 years.

I’ll say that again…

THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 62 YEARS!

Now I don’t know if it’s because of my age or because a lot of my classmates have recently gotten married or engaged or are talking about getting engaged, but my grandparents birthday’s are causing me to think about my future a lot. Not to say that I’m lookin to get married anytime soon, cause there are a lot of things I want to get accomplished before I’m ready for that. And besides I don’t have any potential future husbands lined up anyway. But when I think about the fact that my grandparents have been marriend for over 75% of their lives I can’t help but wonder in amazement. With the divorce rate so high now-a-days and with people just not gettin married, I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t know couples who have been together for extended amounts of time or who do not have a divorce or two under their belts.

It would be irresponsible of me to pretend like their marriage was perfect. I’m sure that you can imagine that 62 years of marriage is quite a rollercoaster ride. I don’t know all of the details of the downs and the ones that I do know I’m not gonna share. What’s important is that no matter how many lows they hit, they always survived. And 62 years, 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren later they are still perfectly meant for each other. They bicker all the time, my granddaddy loves pickin at my nana because she makes it so easy. My nana can often be heard sayin “oh shut up Ed!” But at the end of the day they don’t even have to say “I love you” to each other because it is always seen in their actions toward each other. On a flight that the three of us took this summer they sat next to each other. Nana looped her arm through granddaddy’s and held his hand. Her head was on his shoulder as they fell asleep. I looked over and thought to myself, “that is what love looks like.” When nana fell and I had to take her to the hospital, granddaddy came and stood by her side. He just looked at her, held her hand and didn’t have to say a word. Again, I thought to myself “this is what love looks like, even after 62 years.”

I can only hope to have a fraction of what they have. 62 years is a long time and at the rate I am going, it’s not something that I can easily obtain. But what I do hope to obtain is having a man that looks at me the way my granddaddy looks at nana. I want a man to love me as much as I love him. I want a man that I can build a strong family with. I want to break the current cycle that my mom and I have of fatherless daughters. I can say that I’m enjoying bein single and enjoying the freedom that comes with being able to travel and learn more about myself.  But a part of me is still lookin forward to bein courted (old fashioned, yes I am a bit, lol).  No, I am not in any rush to get married, but I am excited to think about the possibility of that being in my future.

And hey, maybe for now, I can get my cute boy to take me out on a date ;-p

This...I Love!

I’ve been sittin on this for a while! I didn’t know if I really wanted to talk about this or I guess HOW I wanted to talk about it. But I finally got something down. I’m not sure that I’m in love with it, so I might make some edits to it later.

So who is THAT girl, you ask. Well we all know her, she is the girl who didn’t get enough (or good attention) from daddy and therefore seeks attention from any man she can get it from. I mean lets be honest, many girls who spent the better portion of their lives sleeping around or dealing with no good men just for the sake of having a man, had a bad relationship with their father. And it makes sense, those of us who have daddy issues don’t learn the things that those girls who have good fathers (or father figures) in their lives did. We don’t learn what a good man is. We don’t have the example of how we should expect to be treated by a good man. We don’t get the attention that we should. We are never “daddy’s princess” or “daddy’s little girl”. We don’t get doted on when we get dressed up for our first formal dance or have our dad there to threaten our first date (although I’m sure that some of you girls hated this the first time it happened, in hindsight I’m willin to bet you are thankful for having a daddy who cared). I could continue on, but I’m sure you are starting to get the point. Those of us who didn’t get the desired attention from our daddy’s can end up being pretty screwed up.

I guess it's like that for some of us :-/

 

I was like that (and by “that” I don’t mean the picture)  when I was younger. Starting in 7th grade up through let’s say 10th grade I sought all my attention from guys. Walkin through the mall, at basketball games, the movies, it didn’t matter, all I cared about was how many guys looked at me and more importantly how many tried to talk to me. If I felt like guys didn’t notice me, then I felt worthless and ugly. I fed off of the attention of guys and it controlled my personal happiness. Now what I can say, is that gaining a shit ton of weight does have it’s advantages (yea, I know it sounds crazy…bear with me!) You see, when you get to be fat, you stop getting so much attention from the opposite sex (or the same sex, whatever floats your boat). Since I wasn’t gettin the attention that I so desperately sought from boys, I had to start finding other ways to build my self esteem. This forced me to to really examine the things that I like about myself, giving you the much more well adjusted lady that I am today. Now I’m not saying that gettin fat is the best way to deal with daddy issues, but I am saying that bein forced to give yourself the attention that you need helps.

I suddenly found myself thrown back into a state of needy frenzy a few weekends ago. It started with a salsa dance/lesson at the club from my very own sexy Puerto Rican (as he shall be known for the rest of this post). As the song went off and the music changed he said he would be back when salsa came back on and to my surprise he stuck to his word. Unfortunately, the music changed right as he got me, but we still managed to get a dance in and then several dances up until 4:30am when the club closed. After spending the beginning of the night watchin my friend get tons of attention from a slew of guys, it was refreshing to have attention of my own. So I slowly felt the craziness come back. I felt some type of way when my sexy Puerto Rican danced 1 song with my friend. I found myself lookin for him high and low when he said “I’ll be right back.” And when he asked me for my number so that he could text me the next day, I said “Are you really gonna text me?” I was desperate for his attention, I needed it to make myself feel good after not feeling so great earlier on in the night. And did he text me the next day? Absolutely not! And deep down I knew he wouldn’t, but of course that didn’t stop me from puttin myself down all day. Because, just like that, my source of attention was gone back to New York where he was visiting from.

I noticed recently that when I don’t get the attention I want from a guy that I like, I get a little crazy. I mean, I guess it’s not a recent development. My craziness contributed to the rollercoaster ride that was my “relationship” in high school. I also know that I completely blew an incident out of proportion when after spending some time with a guy, I felt like he didn’t pay enough attention to me. After a long convo with my cuzzo, she simply looked at me and said “I don’t understand what the problem is ____! You sound crazy!” And I realized that she was kinda right.

yea it be like that sometimes

I am a firm believer in not playin the victim, so I don’t blame this on my father. After a certain age, that exscuse isn’t cute anymore. I’m an adult, who is responsible for my own actions, including kissing a random guy visiting from New York. I could blame it on my daddy leaving when I was 3. I could blame on the a-a-a-a-alcohal (in my best Jamie Foxx voice). But really the only thing I can blame it on is my own self-esteem issues. I know that some girls would have gone a lot further than kissing, personally I think that was out of character enough for me. I can thank having the mom that I did have for that. I wasn’t in a position to whore around when I was growing up. If my mom hadn’t been as strict I probably would have been one of  those girls that we all know too well.

So in my usual resolve, here’s what I have concluded from writing this post. First, it is certainly ok to desire attention from those you are attracted to, as long as that attention isn’t the only source of positive self esteem. Second, I shouldn’t let any man (father included) have so much control of my self-worth that I lose sight of myself and my sanity. Lastly, the father of my kids ain’t goin nowhere, because I don’t want my kids to have daddy issues cause they are the opposite of a good time.

But one of the most important things I’ve realized growing up is that little boys aren’t the only ones who need strong male role models. Us little girls need them too.

I think I’m a little overdue for a post, but I haven’t really felt the need to write about anything…until yesterday that is. I had a convo with my older cousin yesterday that gave me some inspiration. It went a little somethin like this:

Cuzzo: I wish I was pretty.

Me: What? What makes you think that you aren’t?

Cuzzo: Because I don’t feel pretty.

Me: Well that’s your own fault! (Now let me interject by sayin that yes, I tend to be very blunt at times. I am workin on finessing the art of not havin to constantly put my foot in my mouth! Ok back to the convo…)

Cuzzo: Really ____? You are so mean to me!

Me: Well it’s true. If you constantly put yourself down and make yourself feel unpretty (or ugly if you want an actual word) then that is your own doing. Don’t get mad at me because I’m bein honest with you.

Cuzzo: Well how do I change the way I feel about myself? Teach me how to feel more confident.

Me: Uh…*Ma’am are you serious? Get your shit together! I can’t teach you to love yourself!*

Now I’m gonna end the convo there, but I will tell you that it continues on and she resolves that maybe she should go to counseling and that I don’t love her because I’m mean to her and so on and so forth.

I guess I should tell y’all a little about my cousin. Like me, she’s a fat girl. Unlike me, she lets bein fat run her life. I’m talkin extremes here: She won’t walk through the mall unless I force her because she is constantly worried about people lookin at/makin fun of her. She obsesses when we go out to eat, sayin things like “Look ____, all the skinny girls are eating salads. And my fat ass is eating this.”  I’ve seen her drive to the other side of a gas station to avoid standing at a pump next to a guy. And the worst thing, in my opinion: she equates beauty (and therefore, confidence) with thinness. This is sad to me because she is beautiful! I mean gorgeous! She has a great shape, you know that coca-cola bottle shape. And to top that off she has a great face. Beautiful skin, great hair. I’m just sayin, she’s a great lookin gal, but she doesn’t see that because all she sees is her size.

And so my beautiful cousin looks to me to help her find confidence in herself. She doesn’t understand that I don’t have the answers myself. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m ADORABLE and I’m FABULOUS, you can’t tell me otherwise. But that’s not to say that I don’t have moments where I feel less confident in my abilities. I think everyone has these moments, I mean even cockiness is based in hiding some insecurity, right? But I don’t think confidence should be based only on looks. I think it’s a combination of things. Even though physically I might not be completely happy with where I am, I refuse to believe that is all that should make me feel good about myself. But even as I’m writing this, I can’t articulate what it is that makes me feel confident. Nor can I say how I went from bein a girl who couldn’t look in mirrors and who based my entire self-worth on the number of guys who did double takes when I walked past them to bein a girl who can say I’m fabulous and actually BELIEVE it.

Shortly after the aforementioned conversation one of my friends posted this on twitter: “You can’t teach someone to be confident”. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that, I’m sure it won’t be the last either. But it summed up everything that I was thinkin. All I could say to her was “uh…” because there was no way for me to answer her. There is no way to understand what makes someone confident. I mean look at T.I., Lil Wayne, Ne-yo. None of them are particularly good lookin guys, but we always praise them for their, dare I say it, “swagger”. (Again, I must interject. I personally am sick and tired of this word and apologize for using it in this post. Nonetheless, I feel that it is the most fitting word of choice.) They walk around like they are the best thing since sliced bread, the shit and whatever other cliche sayin you can think of. Bottom line is, their confidence is on point and I’m willin to bet no one “taught” them to carry themselves that way.

So I guess what I’ve concluded by writing this is that you have to make your own definition of confidence. You have to make yourself realize your own worth. And you can’t rely on others to tell you or show you how to be confident because no one else is like you. Now I just have to convey this to her.

Thoughts?

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago. We talked about whether we would rather tell a close friend that we had intimate feelings for them or not. Would we be willing to risk losing the friendship because we confided our feelings to them or do we just suffer silently as they talk about other love interests and go on not knowing how we really feel.

This is a tough one for me. I  lost a close friend because of a situation like this. We were friends, in fact, he was my closest guy friend. I told him I had feelings for him. At the time he didn’t have feelings for me, but it was out on the table. Eventually we went out on a couple of dates. But the problem was that we were both too immature in our own ways. He needed the approval of his friends, at my expense. Whether this meant makin fun of me, not standin up for me or lyin on his dick to make himself  look good (why do guys do this? Do they honestly think we won’t find out or care?) I needed to be loved and cared for at his expense (daddy issues made me a very needy girl and when I didn’t get what I needed I took it out on him). But when it was all said and done and we realized that “we” wouldn’t work that was it. And so I lost my friend. The same friend who I used to talk to for hours at a time. The same friend whose mom loves me and whose family I adore. The same friend who I don’t even think I can consider an acquaintance at this point. The only time we talk is when we randomly (and very rarely) find ourselves in the same place.

So what is one to do? Do you tell your friend that you have feelings for them. Then hope that they don’t completely weird out and put a strain on your friendship if they don’t feel the same way. Or maybe they are willing to try the relationship but it turns it that maybe you aren’t as good together as you thought you would be and things end badly. But it could turn out that they were harboring the same feelings and were also worried about your response. Perhaps you could end up bein soul mates and spending the rest of your lives together in your perfect little house with 2 kids, a dog, a cat and a white pocket fence (or whatever your ideal may be).

I think the point here is that anything can happen. That’s the beauty of life: we live each day as explorers in a world of unknowns. All we can do is evaluate and make the best decisions for us. Maybe the best decision for you is to not say anything and spend life wonderin “what if?”. Maybe the best decision is layin it all out on the table. Maybe it involves analyzing the value of your friendship. Maybe it’s about learnin to read your friend to see if maybe he/she feels the same way. Maybe it’s about discovering things about yourself and your willingness to take risks.
I took a risk and lost a friend, but it is not a decision that I regret because in losing him as a friend I learned a lot about myself. And while I miss having him as a friend, I don’t miss the low self esteem that consumed me before. That decision worked for me. I’d like to think that my friendships could stand this situation. I’d also like to think that the decision to confide in your friend is the best decision a person can make. I’d like to believe that you build these relationships with people and that they don’t fall apart because of changed feelings. Chances are that any decision will work for you, but would it be so bad to take a risk? I will say that I may have feelins for a friend. And I haven’t said anything. And that decision has been workin for me. At least for now, maybe one day i’ll think that the timing is right and then who knows what could happen.

Thoughts…