My lastest HuffPo piece, “I’m Not the Nanny – Darker Mom, Lighter Baby” has received many responses, generated some interesting dialogue and been highlighted in two HuffPo Live segments (The Problem With Calling Mixed Kids More Beautiful http://huff.lv/16Cgjag and Darker-Skinned Women With Lighter-Skinned Kids http://huff.lv/19LltRx). I wanted to share some people’s experiences and comments. Please feel free to check out the different feedback left here on my site as well.
I knew that my life would be forever changed once I became a mother, but I had no idea of how deep it would be. Being a parent has changed me and expanded my whole perspective on life due to this new role. I am black and race is a part of my everyday life whether it is by my state of being me or stemming from someone else bringing my blackness to the forefront. I knew that I would have to address race, ethnicity and class with my son throughout his life but I did not foresee new issues arising for myself. Yes, I guess it was short-sighted to think that I would have seen the majority of significant racial conflicts that would have crossed my path after 35 years of living but I have experienced a lot.
When do you show your crazy flag to the person you are dating? Timing is key, especially considering what brand of crazy you are working with. At the beginning of my relationship, my strategy was to throw all of my awesome at my new man. I figured I needed to build up a big reserve of goodness before I hit him with the flip side. I have these OCD-esque eccentricities, which are my “customs.” Starting with my strengths seemed to be the smart approach, since I knew I needed some cushion for when my customs started to leak out.
Basically, I am a dude in a lady package. My dude-ness really won Boyfriend over. We enjoyed a host of activities: watching cartoons, debating over Superman vs. Batman, discussing comics, playing video games, watching sports, having push-up competitions and wrestling. Now, the wrestling could turn into tussling, which could go the fun way or it could take a different turn, since there are times when I do not know when to stop and there’s the fact that I am… freakishly strong. But everything was really good between us and we were enjoying that newness stage. That newness feeling is just amazing and it’s during this time that we just liked looking into each other’s eyes, just because. The only “bad” thing about that ooey-gooey stage is that your man really pays attention to you.
One day we’re eating some M&Ms and he gives me three. I asked him if there are any more and he says, “No.” So, I proceed to put one on the right side of my mouth, one on the left side of my mouth and then bite the third in half, equally distributing the last one. It was yummy and even! Boyfriend says, “I think I’ve seen you do that before with Cheez-Its and Sour Patch Kids. Have you?” I fess up that this is my “evens” custom and say, “I like evens.” I do: Evens make me feel good. Now I was on his radar and there was no going back.
I am black. I am a woman. I am a black woman. Those are three different things. Truly. Plus they are all things that you can see on sight. They bring different responsibilities and varied challenges. I’m okay with that. Well of course it’s permanent, but I am still really okay with that.
I do not speak for all black women, I do not speak for all black people or all women, athletes, Brooklynites, those under 5’6″, right-handers, etc.
It’s tiring to always represent your race or gender, but I have been successful at it and am happy to do it well, which I hope is most of the time.
Sometimes, I am the first black woman that someone has interacted with, dated or developed a friendship with. At times, I am that “one” that surprised you. And there are times where it doesn’t matter who or what I am, because you knew who I was the instant you saw me.
I love me for all that I have experienced. I wanted to be as tough and strong as my dad and show that I was cut from the same cloth. I wanted to show some that I can do as much as they can and surpass them (I am competitive — very). I wanted to suffocate the hate and doubt that I saw in people’s eyes by my performance and fair conduct with others. I wanted the hateful doubters to either learn from me or be vexed.
Technology – I use it, I love it and cannot live without it. You too right? Words – love them, use them daily and cannot live without them. These are two things that are essential and they go together. However, how they pair and what we do with them is what can lead to the death of our language.
Yesterday, I was typing an informal e-mail at work and had to stop myself from using text shorthand. Just now, I almost wrote txt instead of text, because that’s what I do when sending my SMS messages. While texting, I could surely type out full words, like text or next, which become “txt” and ‘nxt.” Was the subtraction of the “e” really going to save me that much time? Besides shorthanding our words within texts, instant messages and e-mails; we are simply negating the use of words for symbols. Will words lose their power when we cannot express ourselves through their use and we just emote through emoticons? Continue reading
Life has been good to me. So good that I have not had time to write. Wha-what you say? Yes, can you believe that I have been so busy living that I have not had time to write? Okay, so I have not made time to write and the few times I did – it whomped. Definitely. I think I put myself on pause because I did not want to throw up anything to just have a posting. I am aiming for some good content.
I am making my way back and realizing that I have different things to say, but I definitely will have more stories to tell – that’s for certain. ♥
You are always going to get honesty from me, so I must say that I can be an a$$hole (the $s are for my brothers, even though they know what the substitution means – I tried Dad). Anywho, I’m not an a$$hole, but have a$$hole tendencies. I can certainly be an ass, but there’s a difference (to possibly be discussed at a later date).
I’m Bajan, Irish, English, Guyanese, some other stuff with about 1/16 a$$hole mixed in. At the bottom of the barrel of my a$$holery, is my propensity to keep my sunglasses on a little bit longer than 35% of the population. I keep them on while riding the train, occasionally when shopping, at outdoor cafes or restaurants (so long as half the party I am with is doing so – a table worth of sungla$$holes is a little much. Two girls can get away with it though). Continue reading
Greetings and salutations. If you have perused the “She’s Just Not That Into You…an office story” then I want to know: would you like to hear more follow-up, other office stories or something from the mystery pile? It’s your choice. Suggested topics or subjects are welcome and I will see if I have something that fits your submission. I have a lot of stories to tell and as always, I want you to be engaged and entertained. Thanks for tuning in.♥
“Sharing is Caring” is a phrase that I quite enjoy and that I implement in my life. It is also a principle that I have benefited from on many occasions. If people had not warmly encouraged me to start a blog, these words would just be bobbing in my head and not laid before you (thanks Jen & SN).
I am of the sharing ilk and at times overshare in other people’s opinion. I am an open book of sorts and the boundaries that contain others on a wide variety of topics don’t hold me back as much. Providing people with info, anecdotes, advice and random thoughts can go farther than one could ever imagine.
For me, this way of operating has led to being in some interesting situations, awkward instances and lovely moments. On a smaller scale, for instance, I compliment people openly, as the thought forms in my head. I just think that if people put effort into their wardrobe, hair, pursuits, careers, family, friends, etc then why not: commend them, verbalize your appreciation or highlight the admirability of their actions (big or small). At times, this crosses over people’s boundaries. This modus operandi can take people by surprise, make them uncomfortable or infer a deeper connection than really exists. For the most part though, I just say what I genuinely feel. I can deal with women and men thinking that I am hitting on them, even though that can make me blush from time to time. I feel bad when I make someone awkwardly uncomfortable, where the conversation cannot be saved, they’re just too flustered and all recovery of normalcy is lost. Lastly, there are a few instances where I’ve encountered someone and was vested in the moment or conversation and when our paths cross again – they assume that we have some sort of relationship. I guess that’s a hazard that you have to be aware of when you share.
To Do: Check out Charlotte Janssen’s work. Here is a sample from a showing at NYSG Gallery: Can’t Live the Commonest Way On Six Bits A Day.
Left: I Want to Thank Bank of America for my Adjustable Rate Mortgage, (4′ x 6′), Acrylic, Oil, Iron Oxide & Collage
Right: Sue, Farmer’s Daughter, Thirties (2′ x 4.5′), Acrylic, Oil, Iron Oxide & Collage Continue reading