Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Cleanse

In my previous post I kind of went ballistic about gaining 10 lbs in less than 2 weeks, but as I was  "expressing" how I was feeling, I recognized a couple of the reasons why this 10-pound abundance happened.  First, I have to say that I have always been a slim woman with curves, so I have no problem admitting that I freaked out when I stepped on the scale a couple of hours ago because I have never been this weight when I was not pregnant (and I've only been pregnant once!).  So, here's a list of things that I need to undo:
  • Not working out - I didn't work out for 2 weeks (although I did do a 20 minute Zumba workout 2 times in that time, but I was not consistent, so I consider it the equivalent of not doing anything during that time
  • Flu - for the past few weeks I'd been fighting something.  I'd been sluggish, sleepy, thirsty, but not really hungry... just feeling all types of ickiness, but it did not hit me until the day before Christmas (and when I say it hit me, I mean, I had no voice and when it did come back I sounded like a dude)
  • Bread - damn you white flour!  One would think the gallons of peppermint tea I ingested over the past week would have helped!  Whenever I would eat, I ate cheesy biscuits.  Was I hungry? No.  But why did I eat them? Because I didn't want to go days without eating.  What will I do next time?  Not eat and lose weight like I usually do when I get sick! (hey, I'm not an expert so I hope no one was expecting me to be Dr. Oz here!)
Interestingly, I didn't drink any wine (but that has more to do with the fact that I was so freaking miserable, being unable to breath properly because of the flu and my asthma, the fever, and just sheer exhaustion).

So, what's the initial game plan you may or may not ask?  Well, the night before day 1, prep night, starts with a cleansing (laxative) tea, so I can sort of start anew. Day 1 - 2: I will concentrate on getting the machine working properly by cleansing with the lemon juice drink that includes cayenne pepper and maple syrup.  I used to drink this every morning as a diuretic, but I fell off, I admit it.  My meals will consist of soups, health shakes (Lean Shake from GNC mixed with water, fiber, and including strawberries and/or bananas), and more of the lemon cleanse drink. And last but not least, ice water.  According to Dr. Oz, ice water makes the body burn more calories because it has to warm the water, so I'll see if that's true.  The main objective in these beginning stages, is for me not to feel so sluggish, especially since I'm over the worst part of the flu.  After seeing how I feel after these next two days, I will report back and determine, bu then, how I would like to proceed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I need to throw away my scale (after I lose 20lbs!)

I've never been one who was a scale watcher.  I've stayed in my lane, only flip flopping at + or - 5lbs for over 20 years.  During my pregnancy 10 years ago, I gained 30lbs and immediately dropped 20 of them right after I popped that bad boy out, while the last 10lb took about 9 months to drop.  I had to preface this post with that brief intro because I just stepped on the scale, after not doing that for at least a month, and if there was a point that read HELL NO, that's what the pointer would be directed. I normally don't shy away from just putting it all out there, but I won't even share what the scale read.

The past week I have noticed that the boobs have gotten a little bit fuller  I know my frame has started to look a bit fuller as well - especially in the core vicinity - but I thought it was a part of the monthly routine of bloating for one week.  Well, that week came and went and dammit if I'm not looking around wondering what the hell (I really want to say 'fuck') is going on.

Interestingly, before I got on the scale and got slapped in the face with the results, I'd decided that it was time for me to do a cleanse because I hadn't since the summer.  I'm just getting over being ridiculously sick (lightbulb moment: I ate a lot of bread during those 5 days I've been sick - dammit! Biscuits and tea, for days.  SHIT!!!!) That, not working out for 2 weeks, and the Chinese food the past 2 days has not helped.  OK. So I know what I have to do.  Will device a plan and post.

(BIG SIGH) Great! (insert sarcasm)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hair Growth Progress: Update

It's been a while since I've posted photos of my hair growth progress so here are a few that I have taken over the past four months.  With the help of my homemade buttercream, protective styling (aka, my Aunt Jemima hair net and head band hair style aka laziness), this is where I'm at!
One thing that I had to do in this process is stop following all of the suggestions of so-called experts out there with regard to the care of my hair in it natural state. I've been natural since way before it was cool and in the process of ingesting so much more information from various sources, I started to become overwhelmed and paranoid about what I should and shouldn't be doing.  With the exception of the few months right after my son was born, I have always had a whole lotta hair!  And I had no problem growing it either.  Since my high school years I was always cutting it to chin length for some reason, but I always knew it would grow fast because I was always cutting it. Now I want to go a different route, grow it out and just be.  If the earlier photos of my journey this year is review, from back in May when I chopped it OFF, one can see that I have definitely come a long way in the past seven months!

Pics from the earlier part of my hair journey this year (May/ June comparison):
Next up, I have to start adding pics of styles I create.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is it a Crime... be single?

Forgive me if I come across as a little annoyed, but when was it a crime to be OK with being single?  When was the rule established that a woman needed to get herself into (and maintain) a relationship by any means necessary? 

I'm not old, but I'm not young either and it has taken the entire decade of my 20s and half of my 30s to be OK with being alone.  I'm not saying I don't get the occasional pang of loneliness, and I am not about to preach about not needing a man and all of that other pseudo-women's lib stuff that is shouted from the rooftops by women who are trying to overcompensate for not wanting to admit that they are a little lonely.  This is simply my opinion on my own experiences, so here are the facts:
  • I think it would be nice to be in a "healthy" relationship
  • If I never got married (or maintained some kind of long term healthy relationship) I would be disappointed (in myself) but shit, life goes on and needs to be lived, not mourned
  • I have no freaking idea what it is like to be in a healthy relationship. I have not had much practice
  • Relationships are a lot of work, so I am actually more comfortable not having to do all of that work (although I would like to be inspired enough to do it for the man for me)
  • In my home I make the rules... I'm in charge.  It's exhausting, but easier for me. I don't have to check with anyone else when making decisions (see, easy)
  • It may very well never happen for me, and it's not the fault of men, but me.
  • I like me, but clearly not sure if a man will like me enough to stick with me through the 'trials' part of a relationship
  • I don't know what I want, but I know what I don't want

That's not everything, but it's enough to share with the world, and for me, it's my truth.  So I wonder, why is it that others feel they can impose their own ideas of where I should be in my life with regard to my relationship/ marital status, or lackthereof?

Recently went to a wedding, and with the exception of a specified color scheme, the theme was 'you're cool if you're in a relationship.'  That made it very uncomfortable for the couples who I shared a table with because every little activity was for 'couples.'  One couple even felt so bad for me that the wife suggested that her husband dance with me so I wouldn't feel left out of the festivities, lol!  Never in my life have I ever felt paranoid about being dateless - until then.  And the experience made me realize that I really need to think about rsvp'ing to weddings should I be asked to join such important festivities.

Also recently, I ended a "friendship" with a man. Knowing from the beginning that the sparks necessary for a real romance were absent, I made it clear that we could only be friends.  Didn't work, and after being asked one too many times if I were seeing another man (even though I wasn't seeing this one), I decided that we couldn't even be friends (well, I could, but he couldn't) and I ended up having to cut off all communication as well as test my pepper spray just in case dude continued to express the "special" behavior I'd witness on the phone, via email and text, in person (as far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no reason for him to be in my neighborhood, so if I see him around here, and I happen to be behind the wheel of my car, I'm running him over first and asking questions second).  And in all the meelee, what does ole boy tell me?  "You really need to stop pushing men away, we're not getting any younger and no one wants to be alone." That pissed me off because I wasn't pushing men away, I was pushing his crazy ass away, and if he'd checked out my list above, sure not many people want to be alone (myself included), but it's damn easy not having to answer to someone (like him).

I should be given a pat on the back for no longer putting myself in situations where I try to force something to work.  I'm not wasting the time of a man who I have no passion for, and most importantly I'm not wasting mine.  I'm not trying to change some man into what I want him to be, and I am way too set in my fundamental ways to change for someone else.  For the dude who is right for me, none of this would even be an issue, but I clearly have not met that dude.  So what does all of this mean?  It means, I know myself probably better than I ever have. And if I know something isn't going to work for me, or I'm not going to work for it, why in the hell would I even bother?  And what the hell is wrong with that?  If you ask me... not a damn thing!

My Favorite Recipes: Buttercream Souffle

I have been mixing concoctions for hair and beauty products for a very long time, and with this new 'natural hair movement' it's nice to be able to share with others some of the things that have worked for me over the years.  Whenever someone would mention some sort of ailment or something or another, I was good for saying "you need to go to the health food store, or a fruit stand and buy A, B and C, mix in, boil it, stew it, whatever, and rub it on your elbow and in 2 days it'll be better" lol.  So, here we go (as I recall more things, I will add them)

This recipe is my version of hair buttercream.  I used to purchase Miss Jessie's products, but it was just too expensive to maintain, so I researched ingredients and over the years finally came up with a recipe that has worked wonders for my son's hair as well as my own.  My son has a lot of hair but a couple of years ago it looked like his fro would not grow past 3 inches.  I found this weird considering my hair was always thick and had some length.  With my son's biracial heritage, I also had a hell of a time figuring out which products would work best for his curly dome (I was so grateful that his hair is closer to my texture that his father's because I wouldn't have known what the hell to do with fine wavy hair, lol!).  So after years and many dollars spent searching for the right products, and a lot of trial and error, I made the perfect moisturizing and hair growth cream for him and eventually myself, so I present to you, Elijah's Hair Buttercream:

1 1/4 - 2 cups raw Shea butter (depending on the type of consistency you prefer)
3 tbsp Aloe Vera juice or gel
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tbsp Castor oil (some folks prefer vegetable glycerin, but that stuff dries out my hair!)
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp sweet almond oil
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp jojoba oil
1/6 cup or 3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp melted cocoa butter
20 drops tea tree essential oil
20 drops rosemary essential oil
2 tbsp honey

Mix ingredients with an electronic hand mixer and there you go.  This recipe makes about 20 oz. of buttercream which I usually split and store in old hair conditioner containers.  The recipe was originally used simply as a hair moisturizer, but I soon began applying it lightly to my son's scalp when he decided he wanted to grow his hair out, and within a month he had an additional 2 inches of hair growth.  I also used this buttercream on my scalp after I big chopped in the beginning of May and have since regrown the 5 inches of hair that I cut off 6 months ago.

With the winter here, and the super dry air, I am trying to think of ways to improve on the recipe.  When I do I'll keep the cyber world out there posted.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Taking Flight

Life is pretty decent.  Hey, I'm actually alive, which is one of the bigger blessings of all, but I have to take a moment to kick myself for not living to my highest potential.  Interestingly, I got on my son's case for not doing that very thing, and within 2 weeks he has already upped his game, so imagine how painful my own little epiphany was when I realized that I, in fact, have not been doing the very thing that I preach as a parent.

I am stuck in a rut career-wise.  There is some truth to the fact that, in my attempt to change careers, it has been very difficult.  Some employers simply don't understand that I person really can want change and I personally got tired of trying to get them to understand that what I had been doing all of these years simply is not working for me.  And then I see people near and far from me who have gone out there are at least attempted at their dreams, and although I still dream in my mind, I don't think I have put much of anything into practice and have existed in the world of "getting by."  Well, "getting by" ain't cutting it anymore.  For the first time in my life I feel good about myself as a person - except for this one thing, so this is my lecture to myself to get up off my ass and do the damn thing because right about now I feel like I am all talk when it comes to the goals I set for myself so many years ago.

I know that there are challenges in my situation - a single parent, living check to check, no real physical support as well as this condition that I have to take care of everything (because I've been conditioned to ever since I was a kid).  Then there are the health problems - which I think I am finally managing quite well.  But this work situation is not cutting it for me at all.  I am not fulfilled in any way shape or form, and while it would be easy to point the finger at those who sign my time sheet every week, it is all my fault.  Actually, let me use a different word or words: this is all my doing (or lack of doing).  Somewhere along the line I must have started to believe subconsciously that I am only worth just "getting by" and that simply is not true.  I have so many talents that I do not exploit.  Granted, I think I do have talents that serve me well in my current situation, I feel as though I am past the point in my growth as a human being where those talents are impressive anymore, specifically to myself.  I have high expectations or myself, but this is not the case right now.  Right now I simply have expectations that I am not actively meeting.  I try, but I can try harder.  I can try smarter.  I can be more innovative, because for the most part, what's happening now is not working anymore.  This way of life for me has expired and it basically time to buy some new milk.

This plateau that I find myself on was supposed to be a layover in a bigger journey, and yet I find myself still hanging at the terminal, sleeping in an uncomfortable seat with my bags still packed in a bag on wheels on a path that is supposed to lead somewhere, but I'm simply not moving.  Well, it's time to move, so I'm oiling my joints and the creaky wheels of my bags because I'm ready to take flight.  Question is, which terminal shall I head to?  Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advertures in Fitness-Land: 1

I purchased 5 pound ankle/wrist weights today - yay!

I've always like physical fitness.  My fitness history include my running days as a child, my dancer days in high school, followed by dabbling in a slew of fitness options: weight training, belly dancing, kick boxing, circuit training, yoga, pilates, strength training with exercise bands, balance ball, stepper, swimming, cycling, basically 'you name it.'  Let me put it this way - I have a stand alone heavy bag in my living room and both boxing and heavy bag gloves... I don't play!

I never really worked out to lose weight until an attempt last year.  I'm 5'4", 154lbs (I was 150 in high school) and fluctuated between wearing a size 8 - 11 over the years.  Thing is people actually think I'm skinny, lol!  Well, I'm not, but I'm not obese either.  I fall in the Beyonce, Ashanti body-type range (and Ashanti, if you ever want to give away most if not all of your clothes, I'm right here sister, right here!).  I have a body.  The boobs aren't spilling out over my turtle necks or anything like that, but I look like a woman, and I love that.  But I am getting older, and my metabolism will start to slow down, especially as my son gets older and starts doing even more for himself, so I figure I need to get my body on a path that will indicate how I live the rest of my life, however long that will be.

Last year I purchased the Wii and the Wii Fit software, including the balance board.  I worked out 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours daily from November to April, and I lost 2 friggin pounds.  That, my friends, pissed me off.  Even though I did feel stronger, I didn't lose any weight.  As I mentioned earlier, I never really tried to lose weight, with the exception of the time period after I gave birth (and even then, the first 20 pounds disappeared in 2 days, and those last 10 pounds seem to take forever to melt away).  Now I want to try something different, especially since the weight on me is acting differently.  Now I have a little something going on in the ab area that doesn't include the idea of hand washing clothes there.  And there is a little bit of a jiggle thing going on at various points on my body. So even though I still wear my clothes well, I know what is behind the curtain and, ummm, hell no!

So, I purchased some 5 lb ankle weights to add some more resistance when I workout on my mini stepper.  My apartment isn't large, especially large enough to have a separate work out room, but it's like I need workout gear around me.  Here's a list of the workout  equipment I own (that I remember):
  • hand weights (2lb, 5lbs and 10lbs)
  • mini-stepper
  • exercise bands (various resistances - I LOVE these things)
  • balance ball
  • ankle weights
  • heavy bag with the appropriate boxing and heavy bad gloves
  • Pilates stretching band thingy (I don't remember the exact name)
  • Yoga mat, blocks and band
  • Jump rope (another great workout)
  • about 20 workout DVDs including a boxing workout with weighted gloves
  • Will Fit plus w/Balance board, as well as Gold's Cardio Gym workout
  • Upcoming: the Zumba workout for Wii (that should be coming in the mail this week)

And the interesting thing about this ridiculous list is I use it all!   I love it, but I'm not manic - I don't look like some thick-neck-vein covered, steroid using health nut.  Plus I'm a Gemini, I get bored easily so I need variety, but now I'm going to take things a step further.  I'm going to attempt (this is my safe word, just in case I end up not doing this), to count calories burned - I am not disciplined enough to count the calories I ingest.  Actually, it's not that I can't do that, I just don't want to!  It takes the fun out of eating!  Eating is supposed to be fun, not homework, so I choose to count calories burned, especially since I already exclude so many things from my diet anyway.

So, right now I am creating a profile on the SparkPeople website (check it out here)
I am just completing my profile, and at this time there are groups being recommended to me as a result of the goals I checked off in the process.  I have chosen to enter the following groups:
  • 30-somethings with 10-24 pounds to lose (my goal is 20 - I don't know about this, but we shall see)
  • New York Team
  • Parents of school-ages children (6-11 years old)
  • Women of Color Unite

I can also start my own team, but I am in no way an expert so I will hold off on that.  Only if I see some long lasting results will I go that route because I am a big 'work in progress.'  Right now, I'm off to do 30 minutes of cardio/strength (mini-stepper w/10lb ankle weights and intermittent bicep curls with exercise band).  Anchor's away!

EDITED LATER: I did about 45 minutes on the stepper with the 10lb ankle weights, and I feel good but I need a freaking shiatsu massage!  I'm not breathing like I'm a second away from an asthma attack, which is good, but I am sweating like a runaway slave (I never sweat in high school after 3 hours of daily dance practice, so this sweat thing on me is a bit unnerving).  The competitive part of me wants to continue with a boxing workout (I feel like hitting something), but I'm going to stretch a bit and then stop because I never know if I'll end up having to roll out of bed tomorrow morning as opposed to just sitting up like a normal human being.  I feel some ache in the lower back, but overall I feel good.

On the road to Ab-ville

I'm gonna do it.  I'm going to attempt to achieve an ab or two.

Really, the goal is to tone overall, but since it's known that any extra fat around the waist increases one's chances of having heart disease (and since I'm 10 years away from the heart attack that a doctor predicted for me because of my low red and white blood counts) I think it's past due to get a move one.  Granted, I am in relative good shape (I do 10-15 minute strength and cardio before work, and I've started spending some time on my mini stepper - that reminds me, I have to create a workout playlist on my iPod), I also need to add a spiritual/ meditative aspect to this new goal of mine.  And the end result that I hope to achieve is the absence of jiggle.  Granted (there's that word again... I know), I have a pretty nice shape a.k.a. I look like a freaking woman and not a prepubescent boy, I want to build my strength and tone these curves.  Hopefully incorporating meditation into the mix will not only enhance my physical strength, but my emotional stability as well, lol! 

Anyway, once I figure out a true strategy I'll share it.  Or maybe I'll just try different things and give my review of said workouts and relaxation methods.  Either way,  it's on, so bring it! (p.s. I'm a little scared, lol!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family is all Relative

My son and I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday with the family of a friend of mine who I know from work, and the past few days just confirms what I've always believed, which is family is all relative.

To be welcomed into a family of people whom you've never met, and even better for me, to see my son embraced so lovingly (especially since he was a bit nervous beforehand) is something that any person would want and cherish should they be blessed to have such an experience.  I have not necessarily given up on one day having the big family dinner with my own blood relatives, but I live in the hear and now and I am not going to waste my time holding my breath, or tricking myself into believing that I can break bread with a 10 ton pound gorilla in the room.  And since I also have no desire to wallow in any type of self pity with regard to our 'family' situation, I will continue to go toward a place where love is being offered and where I can return it as well.  Family is not supposed to keep score.  Family is not supposed to vilify.  Family is not supposed to take sides.  Family is not supposed to ostracize as if we were in a high school cafeteria trying to figure out which table to sit at.  Family does not always have to agree, but family is supposed to be about respect - in both directions.  Non of this do as I say not as I do - grown ups should be held just as accountable for their actions as we do the children.  Family is the one place where one should be within a hair's reach of "fair."'m still supposed to be one of the kids.  Sure, with a bit more life experience, and maybe I should be setting some life examples for the others to be inspired by and maybe even follow to some degree, but I am still one of the kids.  I get tired of having to remind people of this  Anyway, going off on a tangent, sitting under the hair dryer will 500 rollers in my hair, the heat is burning my neck a little and this blog entry has no real structure, but at the end of the day, it's all in the title.  You can't choose your family, but actually you can :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Getting SexyBack!

Ok, I never really had 'sexy' in the first place, but I think ya'll know what I mean.

My sister has inspired me, as she is going through some major transition in her life, to find and acquire her 'sexy.'  Let me explain.  My sister and I were raised during a time in my mom's life when we were taught to take care of things.  It was like going to independent college during my entire childhood - this while other girls' moms were priming them for things like 'marriage' and the notion of being taken care of.  Me being the oldest of 7 to parents who had me at ages 18 and 19 respectively, I think we all see where this is going.  I did a lot of taking care of people.  It is literally in my blood to take care of something or someone...except myself, lol!  My sister was no slouch in the 'taking care of business' business as well, and so we kinda just automatically handle things.  On a totally superficial level, my sis doesn't really have to put as much effort into achieving her sexy as I do - real talk - but as we are both moms, I totally understand how working women in our positions just go into autopilot when it comes to ourselves.  So, for a couple of months she's been on her 'getting my sexy on' kick, and I hear that.  And it just hit me - where is my sexy?  Did I ever have it?  Can I achieve it?  What are the steps?  Is there a book out there?  A website? A guru? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

So, since I am the perpetually single, younger, thinner Aunt Jemima self, I propose the possibility of setting out on a journey to get my SexyBack (I'm gonna pretend that at some point in my life I actually had sexy and just lost it on the side of the road somewhere!). And I'm gonna compose my own syllabus to achieve this goal (please note, this syllabus is a work in progress).

Steps for me to get my SexyBack:
  • Work out more.  I actually work out pretty moderately, but I have no qualms about going a week or two without lifting a finger.  Even if it's so much as walking on my stepper contraption while watching TV, I have to keep going.  It's good for my muscles, good for my heart, and good for my asthma, especially with the weather change that we're experiencing right now.  Plus, ain't nothing sexy about a chick who's out of breath and she didn't just finish doing to do - ya know!
  • The old island woman hair has to go during the work week.  This is a difficult one for me because I have learned that there actually is a positive to being a little lazy, lol!  Being lazy has allowed for my hair to just grow wild.  The lack of manipulation has been great - especially since I had a Britney moment back in May and chopped off  my hair (I have since regained the length that I shed all those months ago).  Thing is, this headband and hairnet thing - although cute and less time consuming, is not sexy.  But I offer myself a compromise - I will use more hair accessories, because I am really not feeling the whole being late for work because my hair won't cooperate (and I damn sure ain't waking up earlier just to do some hair!  This ain't Easter Sunday, shyyyyytttt!).
  • Clothing.  Ugh, clothing.  Here's the deal.  I definitely downsized since the move a few months ago (and that was totally necessary), but now I have to start replacing pieces.  Regarding the physique, do I think I could be more toned - of course.  But for the most part, I am definitely digging the body on this 35 year old!  Now how do I jazz it up without looking like the old lady trying to look like a 20 year old?  I'm thinking more tailored clothing, especially tops.  I wear the hell out of a skirt so I just have to get more skirts.  More pants suits - I have the ability to rock those too.  And smaller t-shirts (still trying to figure out why I have a bunch of -shirts that are so big I can fit 2 of me in them). 
  • Teeth.  I have nice teeth, even though I have a small gap in the middle, but I have had serious teeth-envy ever since I saw Bruno Mars' teeth.  They are un-freaking-real!

  • State of mind. TBD.  I seriously don't even know how to 'think' sexy.  If it has anything to do with just being comfortable with oneself, then I think I'm on the right track, but I see chicks who exude it, they do some weird shit with their eyes and lips and cheeks and whatever else - they throw the kitchen sink at MFs.  I don't know how to do that (and still not sure that I want to - refer back to the fear of being an old lady trying to be a 20 year old). 
I know there's a lot more to add to my list, but I'm gonna let these first items marinate for a moment.  Damn, I have a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If his dad were here, would he be acting right?

I'm going to do something that I would normally advise against, and that is blogging when one is very, very pissed off.

My son is not Damien from the Omen movies - just to get that out of the way- but he is a boy who does stupid shit sometimes.  He is a boy who doesn't listen sometimes.  And he is a boy who, despite who his mama is (and many who know his mama know that if they were her child they would not screw with her chi), knows that when he screws up royally that I will be up his ass like an alien probe.  Yet the boy continues to do what I have classified as "stupid shit."

My boy is in the top 10% of his school, although this most recent report card would not reflect that.  My boy is already intelligent beyond his years and will very well surpass anything that I have ever achieved - if he doesn't continue on this lazy path.  Off a tangent now: I am not one of these mothers who will get on camera talking about how good their boy is even though he's spent countless years in Juvie halls, and has a knack for robbing old ladies - not ME!  My ass would be on television talking about how he better be glad the authorities got to him before I did.  Back on topic: my boy knows better.  But apparently that don't mean a damn thing when you're living the life of being a non-rent paying, live off they momma, Nintendo DS, own TV and DVD player in the room having unemployed little person.  So check this - TV and DVD player is packed up along with those ridiculous fucking Pokemon cards, Transformer toys and other BULLSHIT that I only purchased if they were on sale.  Keep things out of my path literally or else I'm liable to kick the shit across the room.  I am on a WAR PATH.

My boy isn't robbing folks or hot wiring cars at this point in time and I would like to keep it that way, which is why my foot is always a centimeter near his ass just in case shit happens.  And I was real good today.  I didn't beat him down 1980s style...I took his shit away... actually my shit.  So now I have a DS and another TV and DVD player and a shit load of Pokemon cards that I can make bank off of it I hit the internet.

But the messed up thing out of all of this is for the first time in his 9 years and 9 months on this Earth I wondered, "if his dad were here, would he be acting right?"  And the fact that I would even go there makes me even angrier than the stupid shit he's been doing.

When I think of the relationship between a parent and child I always think of the scene between Sydney Poitier and the gentleman who portrayed his dad in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and the argument they had in a private room.  The speech Poitier gave his pretend-dad was so freaking poignant - he said "you were supposed to do those things (this, when daddy wanted to lay a guilt trip on his son in an effort to sway his son's desire to marry a woman who happened to be white).  I am supposed to put a roof over my child's head. I'm supposed to feed him.  I'm supposed to clothe him.  I'm supposed to offer moral support.  AND.  I'm supposed to kick his ass when he ain't acting right.  But then again I wonder - if his dad were here, would he be acting right.

Sure, this year I gave him the PC explanation about how his dad's absence has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me (long story short: it was OK for an Italian dude to screw his black momma, but it wasn't ok for her to get pregnant and have the baby).  By the way, I was cornered when asked by the little one "Was I a mistake?"  Shit, I get it.  My own dad was so horrible, we ended up calling him "Mister" - like from The Color Purple, so I freaking get it... but give me a freaking break.  SHIT! I'm not a crackhead.  I'm not an absentee mom.  I'm not a stupid mom.  I'm involved - hell I freaking assistant-coached Little League for 2 freaking years! I'm a fucking cool ass, hard ass, keep it real, rub your back when it hurts, prop you up no matter how tired I am MOM... and we gotta go thru ridiculous BS that affects the grades and behavior write ups over some BS??????  CHILD, PLEASE!

(P.S. - I DON'T THINK SO!  Not on my watch)

I would like to apologize for such a foul-language laced rant, uhh, excuse me: blog entry.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Taking Myself to the Pawn Shop

I'm watching part 2 of Oprah's show that has an audience of 200 men who are victims of sexual abuse, and I've been going through what I will call an emotional boat ride (just a little bit of up and down on the waves) because I have been trying to find the words to explain how I feel about where I am at this point in my life.  I too am a victim of sexual abuse, and had the misfortune of finding out that something similar has happened to my own child, so it could have been easier all of these years to continue coping with what has happened, as opposed to healing and hopefully growing and learning.  But, to get back on topic, I recently found myself trying to offer a good explanation whenever I've been asked "how are you?", and it finally hit me as I was watching part 2 of these special Oprah episodes...

I am past the point of trying to prove to anyone that I am worth something BECAUSE I already know that I am - FINALLY (dammit!).  And it's not to say that I don't and won't have my bad days, but there is something in me that knows that when I go through those moods, it is only a slight detour off the road of where I'm really headed.

That's it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Cyclical Discussion of Blaming Single Mothers for being Single Mothers

I know the title is a mouthful, but it is what it is.  I was on, and read an article about the 72 percent unwed black mothers statistic and thought, geez, another article on why I'm a fuck up. Granted, this particular article wasn't as inflammatory as some others that I have read in the past, it just irritated me be being force-fed a fate for myself and my child that has not happened yet.

Apparently my son is more likely to end up in prison, perform poorly in school, use drugs, be poor as an adult and have his own children out of wedlock.  Great.  Thanks.  As if I didn't have anything else to worry about on top of finding a sitter to watch my kid after 6pm versus letting a 9 year old come home and stay in the apartment for the few hours before I return home from work.  I suppose having a husband would alleviate those problems huh? (I should note that I am not against marriage.  A majority of my friends are in loving marriages as I type, however I must also note that I am in my mid-30s and never been on the receiving end of the love that I have bestowed to some of the men in my past.  My problem, my issue of course, understood.  But end of the world?  Really?)

Basically I'm trying to look at this from a practical standpoint.  Remember those friends of mine who are in loving marriages... well the shit is hard too (even more so when I think about the fact that any decision has to be compromised with another adult).  The scheduling, the getting everything done in a timely manner, the career (since it's damn near mandatory to live in a 2-paycheck home in this economy), the loans (mortgage and college), establishing savings (for retirement, your child's education, your own if you want to continue your education), etc.

Basically (there's that word again), the grass isn't greener on either side, with brown patches sprinkled every couple of feet, so instead of articles constantly being written about how much I done screwed up for getting knocked up, how about some encouragement?  How about people - who decide to give their unsolicited opinion regarding my boy's deadbeat daddy with that 'how could you' look in their eyes step off?  What about the fact that my son's dad isn't even black (that stumps a lotta people when they find this out) - oh, you thought that us unwed, single black women only got knocked up by rolling stone black man?  I experience verbal diarrhea on purpose to show that this "issue" is neither black or white.  Because my boy, he's a good  student for the most part.  My boy is respectful, and if I even sense that he isn't behaving appropriately he gets a raised eyebrow and he corrects his behavior immediately.  My boy is still in that 'girls are yucky' state so I can't comment on whether he will be sprinkling his seed (I hate the use of that word - seed - by the way) and be a repeat of the absentee Y chromosome that helped create him. My boy doesn't like to spend his money (mine, well he's cool with that, until I give him the aforementioned 'eyebrow' again), because I gave him a nice little lesson when he wanted to purchase every toy in Target - I asked him how much of his saved money was he willing to spend in order to get those toys.  He cried, thought about it, cried some more, and left Target- toy-less.  My boy is my boy and even though I know I cannot teach him how to be a man, I can teach him how to be a good person.  Is he being short changed?  In some ways, yes.  But what am I supposed to do then, sit back and let him raise himself?  (I would think that those are the kids who are likely to end up in prison and use drugs)

I also share all of this to say that my son is not the exception.  I believe he is one of many- many of whom I know.  And I figure if there are statistics out there ready of willing to show me how much I'm a fuck up for having an unplanned child out of wedlock, there have got to be some statistics out there that show that despite the absence of a two-parent childhood, one can rise about that and go beyond even one's own expectations... right President Obama?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Inspiration in the most unlikely of places...

... yep, I can't believe I'm about to admit this myself, but I was inspired by something that I saw on (clearing my throat): B-E-(friggin)-T.

Now I will admit that I did not see this live, but I received a link to a performance to my Twitter handle for a performance of Four Women, the powerful song by Nina Simone.  I have been acquainted with this song for I don't even know how long, and my love for the spirit and passion and voice of Nina Simone is borderline obsessive so I really wasn't expecting anyone in the current generation of music to give a damn about her music much less perform it the way it's supposed to be performed.  But then I was surprised, not so much by these performers, who I have been a fan of for many years (I'm talking Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, Jill Scott and Ledisi - this woman's voice gives me chills all the time!), but by BET who, if they had their own button on my remote control, well the button would have dust on it because... well, that's a whole other post.  Anyway, I share this with the 3 people out there who read my ramblings, lol, and I hope you enjoy.  I was feeling real low today, and this somehow lifted my spirits.


Friday, November 5, 2010

I hate romance novels

I will admit, I had a lot of them, which means I've read a lot of them, but my affinity for them was always cyclical - I would read 2 books in a week for months, and then go months without reading any of them.  Why?  Because I would always get to the point where I would feel like stir fried shit before I even finished the epilogue.

Don't get me wrong - I love that people have love, fall in love, etc, etc.  Heck, I'm even going to a wedding tomorrow, and I love those (I love seeing my friends share their bliss with the rest of us out there).  But sometimes I get into a funk.  It's not jealously, because I'm gonna be real frank - I wouldn't know what to do with it if I had it, and even proclaimed to a friend of mine recently that I'm not equipped to be any man's wife (to which she immediately accused me of copping out, and to which I didn't deny), although I welcome being pleasantly surprised.

I guess I write all of this now, so late in the day (after having these thoughts marinate in my head all day) because I'm hoping that admitting that I am a mess when it comes to 'love' will somehow help me release that very deficiency into the universe and thus allow me to feel open and free enough to welcome said affliction.  Either that, or I'm nervous about attending another wedding dateless and knowing that all of the people who I already know are attending are attending with their significant others and I'm not looking forward to the "now we have to get you married" comments... or maybe it's just the sangria talking. 

Who knows. But what I do know is that romance novels are hazardous to my health.  Arriba, arriba!

Mean Girls... whatever

I just had to post/ rant about this.

I am 35 years old.  I'm a mom.  I'm well educated.  I work. I pay my bills. I do my thing just like millions of other folks out there maneuvering in a country full of economic and political upheaval, i.e. Important shit.  So why did a supposedly 'grown woman' feel the need to make fun of my hair yesterday? (lol and smh)

I was at a middle school orientation with my son.  We were broken down into groups for a tour and there was an interracial couple (the woman is Latina and the man Afr. American, which is not a big deal to me at all having been in the same situation and now raising a biracial child, anyway...) in our group, with their son.  All is well, and when the tour is over we all get into the elevator to leave, the couple is positioned right next to me.  I gave a nod and a smile (we'd chatted a little bit during the tour) and set my sights on stopping off at Mickey D's before heading home.  So then I hear the woman say to her man "Psst, look at her hair" and then she laughs.  And my immediate response was 1-eyebrow raise, and then 2- "Really?"

First of all, these folks were about in my age range, if not older.  Second, 'perdon chica, pero el pelo de tu esposo y tu hijo es mismo de mio' (in my broken Spanish I wrote 'Excuse me, but the hair of your husband and your child is the same as mine), and third, uhh, how old are you?  And fourth, 'screw you bia-tch because my hair is big and fabulous.

I found it really interesting that a grown woman would resort to that type of behavior as we were both at a school open house for our kids. And I also got irritated because there are still people who have an issue with big, curly, non-processed hair.  I've said it before and I'll say it again  - if my hair isn't grabbing small children, and as long as it's clean and there are no bugs hopping from my scalp to yours, step off (I actually wanted to write something a bit more vulgar, but I'm trying to live by example by taking the high road).  What is it with woman being so critical of other women?  I, personally, am so past all of that, but she instigated a flashback to those times when very few people (because a lot of kids were scared of me) bumped their heads on the kitchen sinks and came to school thinking that that day was a good day to f**k with me.  (Note: despite the previous line, I really am a nice person - but I'm also from the Bronx! lol!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Product Big Up!

My name is Shak... and I am a recovering product junkie.

I didn't start out this way, but my hair is special in that it has split personality.  Sometimes, it wants shea butter.  Sometimes, it wants aloe.  Sometimes, it wants to be blown straight. Sometimes it says "ahh fugg it, we just gonna curly up and chill!"  As a result of such Sybil-like behavior I have had to sample various hair care and styling products over the years.

Now, I am not a big fan of straight hair.  Even when I was younger and had my hair permed, I would always style it so that it was big to the point where it would defeat the purpose of getting my hair chemically straightened.  So although I am a big: Cree Summer/ Freddie Different World Tracee Ellis Ross hair, there are times, when I feel like taming the beast.

Back in the day, I used to press with a curling iron, hot comb, flat iron, whatever.  Now, I will use a hair dryer and maybe even roller set under a hood dryer. So one day I went into a hair supply store and ask for a little advice on how to blow out my hair to an almost press-like state without perming it, and La Senorita pointed me to this:
Pantene Extra Straight Comb-in-Cream (keeps hair straighter for up to 18 hours).  Ok, so I used this thing a few times back when I was trying everything to change up my style.  It was also at a point when my multiple personality hair was PMSing.  Since I'd chopped off half my hair 6 months ago (and regained almost all of the length I cut back), my mop has been healthier than ever.  I've adopted a less is more attitude about products and have even gotten rid of a bunch of stuff.  I pressed my hair once in the past 6 months (and then immediately washed it out because I couldn't get with the flat hair look).  I even stopped using a blow dryer over the summer months, and the times when I have used a dryer recently, it's been once a week and on a medium heat setting.  So I got a lot of virgin hair on my head that been in protective styles - for the most part - for over 6 months.  Well, this weekend I did a quick wet and set and wanted to stretch my curls out a bit without applying any heat, and I saw the bottle of Pantene.  So I tried it.  And. I LIKED IT!  Now I'm in the second day of doing a braid set.  Today was a little scary because I haven't worn my hair out in months and wasn't sure if it would cooperate or not, but with the absence of humidity, my curly set mop stayed in place for the most part, and has gotten me a bit excited about doing something different from my usual protective styling, so thank you Pantene Extra Straight comb-in-cream for hooking a sista up.  Big ups!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Movie "Diary of A Tired Black Man" (sigh)

Oh. My. Gosh.
I am looking at this movie titled Diary of a Tired Black Man and Oh My Gosh!  Pardon me, but I'm going to have to take a couple of deep breaths in between each paragraph I write - heck, maybe even every sentence.

OK, here I go.  I happen to be flipping through the channels and fall on the channel with this film that I'd heard about many years ago.  Usually I am a strong supporter of films by people of color, especially independent films, but I'd seen a few clips and figured I'd see if eventually and wasn't in a rush to purchase it.
If there were ever a place to find a whole lotta stereotypes, ding-ding-ding... here it is.

Personally, I hate getting into there 'men ain't shyt, 'women ain't shyt' arguments that's on every Steve Harvey Morning Show or monthly cover of Essense magazine, but I felt more than compelled to speak on this documentary/drama. The narrator/ director - Lord Have Mercy - apparently he is married with kids now but at the time he made this movie, well, I suspect he may have needed to talk to someone as well. 

Well, here are some quotes or paraphrased statements by some of the participants
  • women need to seek help and they refuse to do it 
  • "all men want is respect and peace" 
  • "all black women have an anger problem"
  • An African dude says that most of the problems are with African American women ("they fight!"), and blames black women on why there is less marriage amongst us and why so many of the kids have problems.  
  • "they mad just 'cause they can't get they way" (it's not grammatically correct, but that's what he said!  
  • "women will wear your ass out!"  
  • "women want a power struggle"
  • they test you just to see how you react (a dude did this to me, and I ignored his a$$)
  • "they trying to break you down."
  • "enough is never enough, no matter what you do"
And then some of the things the women said:
  • One chick says "there are no good black men out there" followed by "well, I haven't met any." 
  • "a man is gonna do something to make a woman mad"
There were about 3 voices of reason (how generous of the filmmaker).  One particular brother said that we cant hold all black women accountable for the bullshit that one black woman brings into their lives (interestingly, the filmmaker/ narrator tries to throw several scenarios to get this dude to change his tune and he doesn't, and for that I say THANK YOU BROTHER).  I need to send him some flowers, because the majority of the people featured in this movie are miserable, are not to blame for anything that happens in their own lives, and according to them, black women are the devil.  And the female "character" who "represents" all black women in this film... wow, umm, yeah, ok....(honestly, I wanted to slap the heifer myself, not because she was an angry black woman, but because she was a pain in the a$$).

So now I'm going to get subjective.  I did not have the love of my father.  I have never been in a healthy relationship, and I have tried.  I even went so far - once, no, actually twice - as to compromise my needs in an effort to make it work, but that didn't last very long. 

When I get to know a man I don't put on my interview voice, I'm just me.  And while being me I have found that I'm the chick who doesn't show up at your job and act a 'fool for love' (I'm actually the chick who the other woman comes to her job to let me know that she has my man while he waits outside across the street, lol - which means I never really had him in the first place).  The same dude used the excuse of me working so much (40 hrs a week) as the excuse to cheat (instead of just saying 'this ain't working out no more').  I was told by another ex, "we don't argue" (that was a complaint).  Another walked out on me when I refused to get intimate minus him wearing a condom (literally walked out, like got dressed and left and didn't talk to me for 6 weeks).  Another "friend" who was initially cool with our 'friends with benefits situation" got mad at me for not calling him everyday, and at one point proceeded to call my cell, my land line, text, and email me constantly until I answered.

Now, it would be so easy to allow these instances to taint my view of men, but I think I've taken the mature approach by looking at past experiences and accepting the real reasons why those situations didn't work out.  It is what it is, and who knows where I would have ended up (or who I would have smothered with a pillow in his sleep) had I stuck those situations out.  In the grand scheme of things, and at the end of the day my first goal was to like myself - flaws and all.  And second, it is to get to the point where I am inspired enough to get pursue and work hard to stay in a healthy relationship.  That hasn't happened yet - for various reasons - but my life isn't over yet.  If it happens, great.  If not, well, I'll just knit, lol!  (And not watch this damn headache inducing movie again).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is an antibacterial antiseptic that is a popular natural agent for curing all three types of infectious organisms: fungus, bacteria, and virus.  Here are just a few things that Tea Tree oil treats:
acne, abscess, oily skin, blisters, sun burns, athlete's foot, warts, herpes, insect bites, rashes, dandruff and other minor wounds and irritations

Couple tea tree oil with pure Aloe Vera gel/ juice and you have a seriously powerful combination.

In my skin care regimen, I use a benzoyl peroxide based cleanser but I always follow up with pure tea tree oil (or a little recipe of 1/4 cup aloe vera, and 5 drops each of geranium and lavender oil each and 15 drops of tea tree oil).  Whether hormonal or stress related, I go through periods when I have break outs and at first I panic, thinking I need to purchase the next best big thing off the pharmacy store shelves, but then I remember to keep it simple and go with what works - tea tree oil (and its compadre aloe).  I have not gotten into the habit of using my concoctions daily instead as a preventative measure.  It usually takes about a week or so for the infected skin to turn over (a very stressful week which requires a lot of patience because I want the effects to be immediately complete, lol!), but once my skin gets the nourishment that it needs, it looks and feels great.  I just have to not fall off the wagon of this cleansing and treatment routine.  Once I get back on the wagon I may be able cut the benzoyl peroxide cleanser from the regimen.  I'm in no rush, but I'm on a 'less is more' kick.

Tea tree oil is also included in my hair oil and shea butter cream recipes.  I big chopped in early May, and cut about an inch again a couple of weeks ago.  When I first cut off all those inches back in May it was about getting my hair healthy again because of all the heat and styling damage.  I didn't care about length then, but that is the focus of this next phase, as I work to really treat my scalp/ skin in the hopes of getting back the hair length that I sported growing up.

Is all of this vain?  Maybe, but as someone who grew up battling acne and the scars it constantly left behind, having clear smooth skin is something that I never thought I could achieve without having to take very expensive medication.  Let's call it one of my biggest wishes for myself.  And as for my hair - I've always had a lot of hair, lol (my poor momma), and once I hit high school was always cutting it.  Now I want to go back to that length, and just continue forward on that 'less is more' kick that I mentioned previously.  Overall, my goal is to achieve a simpler way of life in as many aspects as possible, and incorporating tea tree oil into my beauty regimen has been tremendous!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Late Bloomer

I had an epiphany (actually several) and I think I can officially say that I am on the dating scene.

Sure, I've had a couple of boyfriends in the past, and sure I've engaged in more than just "talking" since I am the mother of a 9 year old boy, but I don't think I ever really "dated."  It's amazing how experiences from one's past are so powerful that they can affect one's future.  And I think that at the age of 35 I finally got tired of relinquishing the power over who or what was going to shape my future. 

Before, when it came to dating, for me it was all about finding a mate, a partner, someone to grow old with.  And I'm not saying that idea isn't something that I would like to be a reality, but I had to pull back a bit and explore why I haven't been a  'dater' in the past.  Luckily there were a few things that helped me to revise my thought process and approach when it comes to tangling with the opposite sex.

1. Reality checks kick ass! (in a good way!).  Age, health, circumstances, personal and professional growth (or lack of) - all of these things made me stop and look at my situation as objectively as possible (luckily I'm pretty hard on myself so it's never difficult for me to realize and accept when I am doing something wrong, lol!).

2. Past experiences are today's lessons.  Every time something doesn't go our way it's so easy to SAY that 'I'm never gonna do that again,' but DOING it is a whole other issue.  I'd decided to question whether something that felt good at the moment would last, or was it just a temporary high?  Was I being honest with myself because maybe it isn't good at all?  Or, am I repeating past actions that did not lead me to a good place?  As a result of asking myself those questions, I have found it easier to step away from situations that I knew deep down inside, would only lead to heartache for myself and others.

3. I really like me.  I never hated myself, but I never thought I was extra special either.  But despite all of my personal flaws, I really like me.  I like my own company and think that anyone who is willing to enjoy life would enjoy my company as well.

4. Don't work on anyone but myself.  I never was the kind of woman who wanted to change a man into what I wanted him to be (especially since I don't necessarily have a type).  He either has to be someone who I want to be with, as is, or he just isn't the one (or the two, lol!).  I don't want anyone telling me what I need to change about myself, so why would I be interested in being a hypocrite?

5. Let a man be the man.  I am so used to taking care of everyone that I forgot that, at least in the types of relationships that I strive for, I have to allow myself to be taken care of as well.  That, my friends, was one of the hardest things I've had to face thus far.  My excuse has always been 'I'm used to no one doing anything for me' and I think that mindset has blinded me to situations where (maybe) there was someone who actually wanted to do something for me and I did not allow it.  Maybe that has or hasn't happen, but I'm real and clear enough with myself to know and admit that although I like taking care of others, I had no clue as to how to allow someone to take care of me.  But I'm learning.  On a recent date I actually allowed the man to hold the door open for me each and every time we came to a door.  That's big for me, because in my experience there were men who walked ahead of me, didn't even attempt to open a door for me, or if I held the door open for them - walk thru and not say a word of thanks, so for me, this truly is a big step (even though I had repeat in my head over and over again: "do not race him to the door!" lol!)

With those, and probably a few more, things in my arsenal, I am taking chances again on finding men who are interested in dating me (and vice versa of course).  And when I say dating, I literally mean sharing experiences (outside of the bedroom) when we can enjoy ourselves and get to know each other at the same time.  It's not about sex.  It's not about love.  And I am digging that big time.  Finally, when I think about the dating world, I'm not asking myself what's wrong with me.  I'm sure I'll have a "moment" or two (or more) down the line, but right now my eyes are on the prize.  I am ready to have fun.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Single Friend

I'm at an age - in my mid 30s - where I find myself surrounded by friends, co-workers, family who are all either involved in long term relationships, including marriage, and I wonder when did life continue to be high school for me even as I got older.

I once attempted to take part in what I thought was a mature discussion on a blog about relationships and how bad girls and bad boys always have someone while the nice girl/guy was home alone.  One poster felt the need to state that I couldn't have been all that lonely since I have a child.  I ended the convo right there because unlike some people I know the difference between getting knocked up versus being loved... but that's a whole other discussion for another day.

Anyway, and I hate to do this or even admit that I am - but it just popped in my head. I wonder, when is my time going to come?  I'm not completely unattractive - physically and emotionally - so what's the deal.  There has to be something wrong with a woman who hasn't been in a semi-loving relationship in over a decade.  And why am I not in love with those who show even a little bit of interest in me (old, nasty men way beyond their prime don't count).   I keep telling myself several things like:
  • it's not over for you 
  • you are a cool person 
  • you look nice
  • you will find someone who moves you 
And then I end right back at "just get over it" and knit more. 

And don't get me wrong - I love that my son loves me, but I'm feeling a little greedy.  I don't know a lot of things, but one thing I think I know for sure is that you can miss what you never had. 

I hope one day this post will be words that I end up eating because I would like to be wrong about living a life while never being the object of a man's love.  Anyway... whatever... random post... I'll get over it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Can you be half turned on... and is that enough?

'Expect the unexpected' is a statement that is true many times, especially when it comes to romance and sex and relationships (I believe these words are not synonymous by the way). A lot of times we may meet someone and have instant chemistry (even if that chemical reaction is one-sided), and other times we may meet someone and think they're cool, but not feel that spark that pushes you toward attraction, lust or love.  But what about the times when there is something about someone that turns you on, but it's not the whole package?  Is that enough? 

I've had the experience of trying to force a relationship to work because I started to believe that a) I was too picky; b)no man would be interested in a single mother; c) I still wasn't attractive enough to land a man (moreso of the "I'm not walking around with my tits and ass hanging out" in the hopes of scoring a dude; d)I just wasn't meant for "all that" (my nickname for love and 'healthy' relationships).  So when I met this one man, there was an interest (I think we both said all the things the other wanted to hear, but putting it into real practice seemed to be difficult for some of us  - uh, not me, but anyway...), and I tried to make it work, but I knew that it was going no where.  After that relationship ended, I detoxed from "all that" for about 4 years.  And now I find myself standing at the same crossroads that has me asking 1) Can one be half turned on? and 2) Is it enough?

I already know the answer to number 2 - hell no it's not enough.  I know that from experience.  But the 'half-turned on" thing - I think the answer may be yes.  I also know that trying to make a relationship out of being half turned out can only lead to massive heart ache either for myself or the gentleman.  It's amazing how one person can see something and another person see something completely different, and yet still connect on so many other levels.  Anyway, since I prefer to only watch repeats on television and not in real life, I'm going to have to walk away, but it's so unfair in general (to not be completely turned on by someone, to be on the receiving end of someone who isn't completely turned on by you, and for one of the parties to make the adult decision to cease and desist before drama ensues).  I've never been one to have a line of dudes trying to get my attention so being in this position is weird - to walk away from opportunity - but I think it's growth to actually know when to step away.  Life is indeed strange.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What I Luv...

... I noticed that there hasn't been much "Luv" on Luv My Texture, and I thought I would take a moment to remind myself of the great things in life.  I'll try to be brief, even though Yoda said "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try".

  • I luv my remote control (though I have no problem getting up and actually changing the channel - as long as the TV works)
  • I luv peanut butter - alone, in ice cream, with jelly, as cookies
  • I luv cheesy romantic films. 
  • I luv the Yankees.
  • I luv sleeping (if only I could get paid for it, "sleeping", not that other stuff that some people call "sleeping" - just to clarify!). 

  • I luv my family, despite everything, I want them to be happy too.  
  • I  luv the work I do - even though I won't be paying off student loans for this particular career, I'm good at what I do because I enjoy it (it's the other bs that people like to bring into it.... ' I'm digressing' lol!)
  • I luv bags.  I don't know why. 
  • I luv hats too.  I also don't know why. 

  • I luv food.  I luv to cook it, serve it, learn about it (I could never be anorexic because food is so darn good!) 
  • I luv my toolbox (Home Depot, to me, is like Toys R Us to my son). 
  • I luv men.  Same as the bags and hats - I don't know why (that was a joke.  I know why and it's private, lol!) 
  • I luv music.  I hear it when I write, when I walk, when I relax, when I'm upset.  When I hear a piece of music, I choreograph to it in my head... which leads me to...
  • I luv dance.  Don't know why I believed that a 5'4" dancer wouldn't make it professionally.  I still luv it.
  • I luv to write.  Haven't written as much as I used to, as much as I should... I know, I know... 

I luv my son.  I luv my son.  I luv my son.  Not that kind of luv where I want to suffocate him and stifle who he is, but the kind of luv where I want to do whatever I can to help him soar above any and everything.  I luv his spirit.  I luv his humor.  I luv his compassion.  I luv his inquisitiveness (most of the time).  I luv that I can be silly with him and still be deemed cool.  I luv that to him I'm a cool mom.  I luv that he understands that I am tough and he luvs me anyway.  I luv that we talk all the time.  I luv that he makes me talk to him.  I luv the way he sleeps (in his own bed!).  I luv that the only thing I know for sure is that his presence in my life has made me a better person - even just a little bit.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Single. Mom. Me.

I find myself thinking back to the mindset I was in when I learned I was pregnant 10 years ago.  I was a couple of years into my career, finally living the kind of freedom that I didn't have growing up being the oldest of 7 and then working full time and going to school full time (at the same time) and a baby was not on the agenda, but we were irresponsible by not using contraception, and I eventually ended up giving birth to a son. (I know the option of abortion was available, but I always said to myself that once I decided to become sexually active, I would take responsibility for whatever happens, and at that point, I just couldn't see myself getting an abortion.  That was 10 years ago - who knows what I would do if the same thing happened to the older me).

When I told the 'father' about the pregnancy, all of that "we'll always be friends" thing went out the window. It was like I flipped a switch and this maniacal person appeared. Funny thing is, all I asked was "do you want to be involved in the child's life?"  There was no "I-think-we-should-get-back-together-and-be-a-real-family" plea from me because we weren't in love (at one point I was in love and he never was, so there you go), and I couldn't even fathom being in a loveless marriage IF that was something that he would even agree to.  But that never would have happened since it was then that I learned he already knew he was having a baby - with someone else (different story for a different day).  And so it was then that will mark the beginning of the past 10 years where I still get the words "selfish," "bitch", or even "low-class" thrown at me -- but nothing will ever erase the words "I told you to get up on the table and have it yanked out of you" (an actual quote).

Going through a pregnancy alone is not something that I would wish on anyone, and I have a strong suspicion that I'm still not completely over it because I wasn't supposed to let something like that happen to me (naivete at its finest). BUT, today my son is a little straight-A brainiac like I was at that age, loves dinosaurs, is funny, and an all around great kid - if I were a kid, I would hang with him, so now I just pretend to be a kid so I can hang with him, lol! It was difficult - but despite all of this, I don't regret the outcome. I'm a good Mom - not perfect - and I love my son (and on a completely selfish note, he loves me!).

I put all of my energy into my son and not into myself - I've been told that's not a necessarily good thing, but I am still trying to figure out if I have learned anything all of these years that will help me to be a better person. 
Everyday I ask 'why can't I just get everything to click into place?' And I never have an answer - at least not yet. All I do know is that I don't want to be asking myself the same questions 10 years from now, so I'm going to roll the dice again and continue to make a go at it until I get some answers. 

There are so many other people out there in pain or just feeling a void that they want to fill, but I figure that - for all of us - the tide must change and progress must be had - it must, I insist.  I don't know if that's courage or strength or arrogance, but it is hope.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can Guys F*ck Hair?

I have been wondering the answer to that particular question for at least a decade and a half.  And I don't mean to be funny about it, but I legitimately want to know if guys can f*ck hair because over the years I have heard and seen some things!

I have heard of women with boyfriends who threaten to end the relationships if the woman either  a) cut her hair to chin length, and/ or  b)went natural.  And then I think of the numerous pro-black, dashiki-wearing, Africa medallion slanging, loc-having guys I knew back in high school who would call a black girl in boarding school a sell out in a heart beat, but only dated girls with super silky straight, fine hair (no offense to my silky straight sisters out there - we all need love).  And then there are the compliments I would get when I was younger, ONLY when my hair was pressed (and a side-eye when I wore my Freddie hair [an "A Different World"* reference for those of us over 35!]).  Or the ex-boyfriend who would always tell me how he missed long ponytails like that of his Puerto Rican ex-girlfriend (don't worry, the first time he said those words I was already planning my escape!).  Those are just a couple of a bucket full of 'situations' that I have witnessed, but I surely won't list them all.

I know there are foot and shoe fetishes, lingerie fetishes, heck, there's probably even armpit fetishes (there's just something about curling up under a guy in that armpit area that.... sorry, haven't had a date in years... anyway, lol!).  There are also submissive fetishes with dudes wearing pampers and being spanked and sucking on pacifiers (hey, don't act like you never watched any of those HBO "Documentaries at 3 in the morning!)... all kinds of obsessions, but hair!  Some dudes actually threaten to leave their women because of hair!  Dudes, who I am sure have photos somewhere in a vault where they rocked the 'Gumby' hairstyle!  Dudes who at one time or another, recreated - on a daily basis - the scene in Coming to America* when Darryl's parents and Grandmomma got up from the couch and left those three jherri curl juice stains on the couch!

Look, I know we all have physical preferences, and we have a right to have those preferences, but when you criticize and threaten the women that you supposedly love (?) about their hair - and she hasn't shaved everything but an Alfalfa (Little Rascals)* curl, stuck a piece of metal through her nose and started chanting in Dutch - I think we can call that behavior a little bit of an overreaction.  So tell me guys, can you f*ck hair... and is it good for ya (just curious!),

*Sorry for including references to A Different World, Coming to America, and The Little Rascals, but there was nothing to draw from in today's current media!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Horrible Truths

The term "horrible truth" can almost be looked at as an oxymoron.  One word - horrible - has a completely negative connotation.  When one thinks of "horrible" I would guess things like hurricanes and layoffs and losses and even death come to mind.  But when one thinks of the word 'truth', one can easily assume that it is supposed to be a positive word because the 'truth' is supposed to set us free, right?  And freedom is supposed to be the ultimate status, right?  I think it's is a positive word, but that doesn't mean that 'the truth' always feels good.  For instance, if someone is a bitch, and it's a truthful assessment of one's behavior, then that's a good thing, right (the assessment, not the bitchiness)?  (As opposed to walking around BS'ing and saying that Sally is the nicest person in the world when really she's a heifer PMS'ing to the tenth power, 24-7.).

I think we are so protective of our feelings that more often than not, we want to force the truth to be positive just to make ourselves feel better.  I used to be that way.  It was my 'the glass is half full' force field.  But why can't the glass be half full with the truth, even if it tells us something that we dont necessarily want to hear?  Well, the new me just tries to take 'the truth' on the chin like a good (supposedly tough) Bronx girl.  Doesn't mean it don't hurt (it hurts like hell - that kind of pain always surprises me), but I'd rather skip going through months (sometimes years) of denial - a failing effort all to avoid 'being real with oneself.'  All the term 'horrible truth' means is 'this is the truth that you don't want to hear' and  I got the message.  It is what it is.

On another note, my son didn't like the after taste of the tzatziki sauce I made from scratch.  Well, what does he expect - I'm not Greek, but if he wants some rice & beans, or a southern or Caribbean dish, I can hook him up.  I'm good, but I'm not perfect, a fact proven every day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A thought occurred to me today as I prepare to make some changes in my life.  All anyone wants in life is a little security.

A kid wants the security of knowing that no matter what he or she does, his or her parents love them and has their back.

A tenant wants to get their darn security money back when they move out (and a landlord wants to hold onto that security "in case shit happens" -- quoting Chris Rock from one of his comedy specials).

An employer wants the security of knowing that even though they are in charge, they have a team working beneath them to make them look good (and then there are those who want reliable employees so they can go off for hours at a time knowing that the machine is still running very well without their presence!).  Meanwhile, an employee wants to keep their job, benefits (if they have them), and (at a distant third) receive appreciation for giving 150% each day.

I'm guessing that men want the security of knowing that despite all that society, women, their children, etc, expect of them, that they are doing their best, and to not give up on them if something isn't done exactly the way someone else wants it (I'm guessing, because there are also those who want the security of knowing that they can go out and do whatever they want, damn the consequences, and still have a home and a hot meal to come back to - I'm guessing, lol!).

And then there are women who want the security of knowing that they are loved or appreciated for who they are without the various masks she wears in order to conquer a given situation.  And that the love, respect, and support that she gives others will be returned in some way, shape, or form.   It's a hope, not an expectation (but maybe it should be... who knows).  For those women who are hoochies and users  - I don't know what they want, and don't want to.

I write in circles to say that at the end of the day, everyone simply wants the security of knowing that some one or some thing in the universe has their back.  Ya dig?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"When the lights go out...

...we're all the same color!"  I'm paraphrasing a line from an old episode of Martin where the guys were sitting around talking about interracial dating.  Yes, yes, I'm going to chime in on this whole "Black women should date white men because there aren't enough good, straight, non-incarcerated, tall, muscular, educated, home-owning, chivalrous, six-figure earning, funny, goal-oriented, summer home owning, six-pack abs having, strong black men out there."

So here it goes... ready?  Okay... Love who you fall in love with, and hopefully he will love you back in a way in which you could have never imagined.  (Notice the absence of adjectives that lean toward the superficial.  Also know that I'm not naive.  We all have physical preferences that we seek in a mate, but as I told a friend just yesterday, also allow yourself to be open to the possibilities) 

As a black woman who was involved with a white man, and had a child before this whole "movement"  I will say that yes, there were a whole lotta people who were not happy, (and don't even get me started on the shit I had to go through having every stranger question whether my white looking baby was actually my son), but when I met "he who shall not be named" I honestly didn't know what the hell he was, and you know what - I didn't care.  And that's what it's all about ladies.  If you meet your guy, be more concerned about what kind of "man" he is, and not what color he is.  You wouldn't want to hook up with a white man who all of a sudden proclaimed in every month's issue of GQ Magazine that "now I'm gonna date black women!"... right?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I don't know why I am doing this while waiting for some 4th of July barbecue, but I am going to attempt to discuss "love" (with the disclaimer that I a not very good at this).

Ok.  So, this is what I think about romantic love.

It's being in the presence of your significant other and feeling easy breezy, even if things aren't necessarily so, because if there 's a problem between us two, even if we don't have the answer right away we will work together to figure it out.

It's wanting to take care of you 'honey' when they don't feel well. You want to take the day off, not answer the phone, not sleep a wink until you know that they are ok.  When your sweetheart isn't at their best you want to build them up.

It's 'wanting' to take care of their every need, even if they don't need you to.

It's being able to sit in the same room in a comfortable silence.  You can give your partner one look from across the room and the love is confirmed all over again.

It's about being able to express your feelings without feeling like you're giving your partner ammunition to throw back at you in a negative manner.

It's about when you are feeling your worst, and your partner being able to point out your best, just to remind you should you forget.

It's about giving to your partner (whether it's time, assistance, support, whatever) without keeping score.

It's about looking at your partner and thinking, 'my life is already great, and you make it better.'

It's about not feeling bad about giving so much of yourself because you are receiving just as much in return.

It's about being able to hug your partner and feel like you are HOME.

I am not an expert at this particular topic, and I haven't been in love in about 12 years (and that was unrequited), so maybe the things I listed is some outdated wish list of a girl and not the reality of a grown woman with a child.  The one thing I think I know is that these listed things touch on some fundamental basics when it comes to relationships. I guess my justification for this list is, even though I ain't never had it, don't mean I don't know what it is!  I don't know, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it (for now, lol)!  It's not poetic and I can definitely write more eloquently, but my contacts are bothering me and my food is ready, so I'm out, for now!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh what a day... what a day, what a day!

I had to quote Erykah Badu's "On and On" in my title because what a day it has been.  Actually, what a "2 weeks."  I lost my wallet, it delayed me submitting an application for an apartment that I really wanted, and of which I lost out on, the lock on my door broke and I ended up fixing it after 4 hours, I can't find a new apartment, and then this morning some butthead knocked my passenger side mirror OFF MY CAR.  I repeat OFF MY CAR!  I guess I should say it was nice of the culprit to put the mirror up on my car so no one would run over it, but the didn't even leave a note to say "my bad" or "I'll pay for it (or at least half of it)".  Basically, I'm feeling like Charlie Brown, on the ground wondering why everyone keeps kicking me.

There is the 'glass is half full' part of me that believes that all of these little bad things will lead to one big good thing.  We'll see.  I believe it, but at one point I also believed in the existence of an actual boogey-man, so, we'll see.

Anyway, thinking of future posts and I will attempt to broach a topic that I am in no way, shape or form an expert in: love, romantic love specifically.  Hey, Naomi Campbell can write a novel, I can write a blog post on about love.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homemade Acne treatment with Essential Oils

I have chronicled some of the plights I was having with my skin since I broke out a little over a month ago.  The acne came back as well as the blemishes, and I was at a loss and trying not to get extra upset.

Well, I did some research and also realized that I needed to replace my fresh aloe more often.  Another things that I am doing is incorporating more essential oils into my skin care routine.  Sure, of course I've been doing the oil cleansing method, but I looked into other oils and found a recipe that I have only tried once, but I am liking already.

This recipe calls for 1/4 cup aloe gel (I used fresh aloe from the leaf), 10 drops each of geranium, tea tree and lavender oil.

I cleansed my face and used a mild exfoliate before steaming my pores with a hot wash cloth and applying the mixture to my face.  Moments later my skin felt significantly cleansed and refreshed.   My pores looked nourished and the texture of my skin looked and felt stronger.  Since aloe had done such a great job with my skin in previous months, I will continue with this method in place of the oil cleansing method (which includes castor and extra virgin olive oil) and see what happens.  With that method, the results were to be witnessed the next morning, but with this aloe/essential oil mixture, I saw and felt results right away.  We'll see if this helps with the blemishes that have begun to reappear.  Stay tuned!

Here's a quick overview of these essential oils, from a sampler guide that I got from Whole Foods.

Geranium, Rose (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • excellent for all skin types, especially oily and acne prone
  •   anti-fungaland antiviral
  • blends well with rose, lavender, neroli, patchouli
Lavender, Spike (Lavandula latifolia)
  • anti-infectious properties
  • specific for acne, oily skin, and burns
 Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • antibacterial with excellent anti-fungal and antiviral properties
  • use directly on burns, abrasions, abscesses, acne, or wherever there is a sing of infection

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Big Chop - 1 Month Later

Last month I was so disgusted with my ends that I started to give myself a trim - key word "started" - but ended up giving myself a cut.  I cut 3 inches - at least - off my hair and when I was done and looked in the mirror I was startled, and not in a good way.  But then I thought 'patience is key' when it comes to hair and since my wild, thick hair has a history of growing fast I calmed myself down and when I looked in the mirror, tried (hard) not to concentrate on the length.

I have always had super thick hair, and I always loved that.  There is something about big thick wild hair that I love.  It fits my face, my personality, everything.  When my mom made me get a perm when I was 11, it was because she just couldn't handle it anymore, I 'm guessing with the addition of having to do another girl's hair (my sister) and handle my 2 brothers.  Luckily I didn't grow up thinking my hair was bad.  I never wanted super straight hair, I just wanted to have a head full of curly, bushy hair (crazy, huh), and when I decided to go perm-free more than 12 years ago, it was one of the best decisions.  My sister also sports natural hair, as well as my niece, and their hair is so much stronger than if it were chemically treated (note that I am not hating on people with perms at all, and I have seen many women who rock it like those who rock their natural texture and I think it's all good).

So, here is a photo that shows the difference in my hair from May 17, 2010 - when I chopped off 3 inches (at least - I just couldn't stop) to June 24.

Right now I use Mane & Tail shampoo and conditioner - I actually co-wash every couple of days and I don't remember the last time I used the shampoo because I want to go back to an all natural shampoo (I used to mix baking soda and water and use that as a shampoo, but I may start experimenting of including some essential oils.  I have also tried used the natural shampoo that my cousin makes from his Jewel of the Isles natural product line which includes essential oils like rosemary and neem).

I also use Alter Ego's deep conditioner and this is one of my favorite products.  It has peptides and all this other stuff (like garlic and minerals) and it really shows a different in the hair after first  usage.

I've been using raw shea butter and Pantene's moisturzing cream like I did a couple of years ago (even though I have some homemade butter cream, some Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding, Garnier Fructise's Soft Curl Cream, and Kinky-Curly's Knot Today).  There items always served me well for braid and twist outs, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I'm also going for the 'less is more' approach, especially considering the Summer heat and humidity.

On my scalp I use a mixture of essential oils (including rosemary, tea tree, sweet almond, coconut, jojoba and vegetable glycerin) and I also have a separate mixture that I store in the fridge that include Aloe juice.  I'm trying to remember to oil my scalp at least every other day, and I am putting raw shea butter on my end (just a little bit) every night before I go off into dreamland!

I personally wanted to transform a bit this year and it's been a while since I wore my hair long, so that is my goal - to wear it long, big and wild - and I think I am well on my way!