Sunday, January 31, 2016

bitterSWEET. ☾

A common archetype that we see in Black movies and television is the bitter Black female. She's constantly angry, frustrated, and resentful towards anyone who appears to have the happiness that she wishes she had. There are certain traumatic experiences--infidelity in a relationship, loss of a child, sexual abuse (as a child), rejection--that are promoted as the causes for how this typical bitter woman acts. In many films, she somehow comes to terms with those particular causes and finds peace finally. In other movies maybe the outcome isn't so positive. However, no matter the ending of the story, this overarching archetype of the bitter, Black woman lives with us. It lingers with us. It lingers with us because for some women it rings true.

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a school event with fellow classmates and faculty. I'm a true introvert but I actually enjoyed socializing for once. Talking and interacting with people is fun sometimes. In fact, I ended up being a volunteer at the front door of the building so I was able to greet everyone in attendance as they arrived. After a few "good mornings" and chipper "How are you?'s" I was pretty warmed up to the whole talking-to-people thing. I was having a great time.

Well in walks this lady.


She's probably in her mid-forties, African-American, tall, and attractive. You can tell she's healthy and takes care of herself. Just by the way she was dressed and presented herself, I'm sure she'd be the type of person you would want to get to know. From afar.

As she walked up to the table I was posted near, I proceeded to hand her a note card, pen, and some other information while giving her a warm smile and greeting--just as I had done for every other person that morning. I couldn't even finish. She snatched the papers out of my hand and just walked away as if I had said nothing to her.

Where I'm from, that's called



What makes this all so interesting is that this isn't my first encounter with this lady. She's been in attendance to a few other school-related events I've been to and each time, her attitude is just the same. Disgusting. She doesn't have a warm presence about her. She doesn't invite people in; in fact, she shuts them out. She evokes this attitude of arrogance that is just downright repulsive. And it's all extremely pitiful because she's topping fifty soon! As Black women we are already vied against one another from birth. Who's the prettiest? Who has the best body? Best booty? Best boobies? The longest hair? The straightest hair? The best boyfriend... The list goes on. Women in general are vied against one another constantly but the competition is even grimier as a Black woman because society already puts us at the bottom of the social ladder. 1. We are Black.  2. We are women. We have double strikes against us. Which is why I am a strong supporter of movements that promote unity of Black women-no matter the age, skin tone, body weight, etc. We all have things in common. I feel like I should be able to look up to an older Black woman and have a sister, a role model, someone who understands where I am because she was once there. But since meeting this particular woman I have never gotten that vibe.

Because this wasn't my first rude experience with this lady, I was a bit aggravated on Saturday as she walked away nonchalantly. I was ticked. But I quickly reminded myself that whatever it is she has going on psychologically or mentally has nothing to do with me. It would be selfish of me to even think that. I can't take it personal. There obviously have been some things happening in her life that have molded her into the person she is with the personality and mannerisms she possesses. I cannot fault her for that because I too am human. My own experiences have crafted me into the individual that I am today.  I know that she couldn't have just simply been born with a spiteful, bitter attitude. We don't live life in a vacuum. Things happen. And because of these things we have women that become angry and resentful towards everyone around them. I believe that in many cases these women don't realize the connect between past hurt and present hurt. They are so afraid of even dealing with the pain of it that they'd rather continue living in oblivion and playing the victim role. 

I don't like to make excuses for people's bitchy-ness. However,  I do attempt to unravel situations and understand what's lying beneath the surface. I've discovered that when I do this I'm less inclined to become angry and bitter myself because I understand why people act and react in the manners that they do. And oftentimes it has absolutely nothing to do with me. Maybe it has something to do with bullying in the third grade. Sexual abuse at sixteen. Being lied to. Being deceived. Losing trust in everyone around. The list could go on and on and on... The possibilities are endless. There are millions of things that can happen to a person and leave them with a bitter, resentful heart. It is frustrating to deal with but the least that we can do is just be good to one another regardless.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

#SelfCareSunday ♡


(image courtesy of Buzzfeed.com)

"Self-care."  Self-care. These words take on a different meaning depending on who you're talking to but I believe that's just the beauty of it. 

I find it uncomfortable to refer to self-care as a trend because I value it as much more than just that. However, it's sudden presence across various blogs makes it seem like such. In fact, I was not even aware self-care was a thing until it happened to come across my Tumblr dashboard (which I no longer have as a matter of fact). It was listed with an extremely long compilation of activities one can do (or choose not to do) to engage in what one calls self-care. Some of the things on the list didn't necessarily resonate with me but I overlooked it. As I mentioned before, the phrase takes on a different meaning depending on who you're speaking to. My idea of self-care may be different from yours, your best friend's, your sister's... And that's okay.

I believe a great majority of us spend so much of our time each day forcing ourselves to believe we're okay because that's what we want. We want to feel that we are in the right place spiritually, emotionally, or mentally so we force ourselves to think continuously, "I'm okay. I'm alright." But in the back of our minds, there is a voice reminding us that there is something there and we need to tend to it. 

I believe self-care is a means by which we tend to that lingering voice. 

It doesn't matter what you do necessarily, as long as it is soothing to your soul. It sounds cliché but once you begin the process, experience the serenity of it, and reflect, you can easily understand how valuable it is. We try so hard to continuously be strong for our children, siblings, parents, and significant others that in the process we lose sight of just being strong for our own sake. To be aware of and tend to one's on emotional and mental needs is not selfish by any means. (If so, I'm selfish as hell.) Any person that attempts to guilt you into believing that your own needs don't matter deserves none of your time nor effort. 

In listening to other ladies and reading various stories from some online, I've found that Black females in particular are the ones that commonly neglect to self-care. This neglect of the spiritual and/or emotional self can be just as traumatic as the neglect of the physiological self. As they say, where the mind goes, the body will follow. 

Deep psychological care heals those old wounds and tends to the new ones. It does not make you weak to have sensitivities and to be fully aware of those sensitivities. Some of the strongest women I have connected with in life have been people that are aware of their talents and strengths, yet they also understand where they need to increase that strength and improve. As a WOC who has been sensitive since I was a child, I'm very proud of my sensitive nature because it improves my ability to connect with others. I'm well-tuned to my own emotions and tendencies. And because I understand myself, I understand others better. Not to say that I can befriend just anyone, but I am less hesitant to judge other individuals based on preconceived notions. I give everyone a benefit of the doubt. Some people may call that being naive. I'll take that. 

    

How I self-care:

  • Writing. Just making this blog post is refreshing for me. I write hand notes on scratch paper, I keep a running journal in my cellphone, and I tweet like crazy
  • Cleaning. Anytime I organize my closet, toss away old clothes, or just deep clean the bathroom I feel so relaxed afterwards. Maybe because it's such an easy process that allows my mind to wander as it pleases. Maybe...
  • Painting my nails/doing my hair. As of late, I have stopped going to nail salons as much and just choose to save time (and $$!) by doing them at home. The process is meticulous, for me at least. Helps me clear my mind so quickly. I'm a natural with hand-in-the-head syndrome as well so watching Youtube tutorials and experimenting gives me a natural high. 
  • Taking solo walks. I live in a noisy city so anytime that I can find peace and quiet is valuable. Typically a walk through a park helps me recharge. 
  • Having a bubble bath. It seems so simple. And it really is. Typically I'm on the go so much between classes and work that showering is the most efficient option. But being able to just take time and relax for a moment is well worth it. 
How do you self-care?



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Melaninaire.♛

If you've read my previous post (which you should), then you know that I'm a fan of a cute little application named WeHeartIt.  It's handy if you're an insomniac and appreciate wholesome entertainment until you knock out. Or, if you're constantly searching for makeup and outfit inspirations and Pinterest isn't doing the job. 

As I mentioned before, I've been searching African and African-American art, fashion, photography, etc. lately. I love images that capture natural beauty, whether it be in a human being or nature. There's just something extraordinary about a person or landscape that's untampered. Close-ups of people of color are my favorites because they capture the beauty of ebony skin--something society is just now starting to appreciate (somewhat). 

Here are a few of fav's just because I love you... a little bit.  ❁◕ ‿ ◕❁


I do not own any of these images. All images are courtesy of WeHeartIt.com. 

















Sunday, January 17, 2016

Little She. Big Me. ♡

(photo courtesy of WeHeartIt.com) 

She is elegant.

She is sweet.

She is powerful.


During unnecessarily long bus rides, extra time between classes, and bouts of insomnia every now and then I like to peruse this app called We Heart It (which you can check out for yourself right here). It's a plethora of pretty wallpapers, outfit inspirations, and hipster quotes but there's a ton of beautiful artwork on the app as well, which is what I usually prefer to browse. Just like any other search engine, it allows you to plug in whatever tickles your fancy and it'll load images related to the word(s) or phrases you use.

Recently, I searched for "African art". It was fun.

It's actually when I came across the photo above and I just fell in love with it. It reminded me of myself as a little girl and how I viewed myself. Not the self that my family, teachers, and friends told me belonged to me. But the self that I manifested, the one that came naturally to me. And I wondered how we differentiate between the two as young girls, particularly young brown girls. What happens to that self as we grow older and encounter people and experiences that challenge it? 

I've found that there's something really comforting in hearing (or reading) life experiences of other brown girls (and women) because it affirms that I am not alone. Or shall I say, I have not been alone. The ways that I have come about to know and understand myself are similar to the ways of another person even if we never speak of it. Oftentimes we may be embarrassed to speak of it because it summons up memories we'd rather forget. But that doesn't heal any wounds. It's a metaphorical bandaid. I'd rather discuss it. 

How did you view yourself as a little girl? How did you develop that view? How did others receive it?