Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is it ludicrous to reblog myself?

Oh well. I think Baby Duck Maya reared her fluffy innocent little head to bite me in the ass again here. I want to spend some time trying to readdress her (read: figure out how to get rid of her once and for all).
Image is so perfect. Click the link if you're confused.
"An abstract idea should be a tool; it represents a conception which may be used in a great variety of situations. If the individual cannot use it as a tool, he is used by the idea. The abstract idea may be a very dangerous tool." --George Herbert Mead,  1914 Lectures in Social Psychology

I May Not Have Been Loved...

...but I have been


The distance between the two is great,
but not terrible. 
It's not a bad thing to have been.
In fact, I rather enjoyed it.
So no regrets, no what-might-have-been's,
no boxing my heart up never to try again. 
Who can be mad at romance? 

INSANE WHIRLWIND OF EMOTIONS cannot begin to accurately describe the past two days.

Extreme sadness. Hurt. Fury that almost scared me. Fear separately. Deep confusion, or maybe simply a profound lack of understanding.

All of those feelings are done now. Well I'm still sad that it's over, because I wanted to snuggle into this and stay there for a long while, but I feel nothing like the overwhelming _________ I was feeling. I feel surprisingly good right now. I feel like nothing was as bad as I'd thought/imagined/suspected/worried/feared. I am not a bad judge of character, and I would like to come out and publicly say to all of you who know me in real life and know the other person involved in this situation--he is not the villain here. This situation doesn't have a villain. It has two good people who made some bad choices and that's it. #theoppositeofpubliclyflaming

I'm not gonna list out all the terrible things that have been running through my head. They don't need mentioning, as they're all either flat out wrong, unwarranted, invalid, or have been deconstructed to the point of my being content. It may have felt at first like the world was ending, but up is still up, down is still down, and I don't think anything permanently damaging happened here. 

I have, however, learned a lot. And the things I have learned can be listed:
  1.  It is entirely impossible to undervalue honesty, especially when you know the truth is going to hurt. 
  2. Wanting to mean something is entirely different from meaning it. Changing your definition of something so that you can mean it isn't being honest either. 
  3. Relationships are based on a lot of assumptions. It's probably a good idea to talk about things rather than assuming you're on the same page about X issue.
  4. It actually shocks me that these words are about to come out of my mouth, but maybe it really is the thought that counts. Intentions mean something, even when they lead down unpredictable and hurtful paths. Sometimes people deserve the benefit of the doubt even in the most unfortunate situations.
  5. Anger is actually an essential part of the healing process. 
  6. My friends are awesome. But I already knew that.
  7. Pain does not automatically negate all the previous joy a situation gave. Hurt does not erase prior happiness. I'm not saying "don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened," because I think that crying is a healthy part of LIFE in general, and it's important to be unabashedly sad when something makes you sad...but when it's all said and done, everything good that happened still happened. And that's what you should focus on. 
  8. Your world should always be bigger than one person. I think I forgot that mine was for a little while until the support came rushing in from every direction while I was freaking out and I remembered that I have a whole network of people who love and care about me. 
  9. Love is a nuanced, nuanced thing. It has so many layers and components and meanings and strivings. It varies from person to person and situation to situation. There are lots of things that love is. There are also lots of things that love isn't. And I'm still learning the differences, I think. Maybe we all are. 
  10. Don't underestimate the benefits that can come from actually talking to someone who hurt you, instead of just festering in your own emotions. Every story has two sides. 
  11. Analysis of every tiny detail of a situation is pointless and futile. Analysis of what major mistakes were made and what should have been done differently in those specific instances is an opportunity for growth that should not be overlooked. 
  12. It is evidently possible for me to open up to my father under times of complete and total duress. It is also evidently impossible for my mother to let me open up to her during such times. This is unsurprising. Maybe I should be less freely open with my mother and talk to my dad more. 
  13. I have no regrets. None. I might even want to change everything I've ever believed about exes and want to try to be friends. And on that note, I will pick a song:
And I'd choose you again...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I wore a green shirt today. Subconsciously channeling:

The two artists I have the most music by are India.Arie and Eminem

As such, the two feelings I'm torn between are:

"And if he ever left me, I wouldn't even be sad, 'cause there's a blessing in every lesson and I'm glad that I knew him at all." --India.Arie, "The Truth"

"when someone seems too good to be true, they usually are. But see, when you're in it it's too hard to see..." --Eminem, "Spend Some Time"

Not sure I'll ever make a decision between the two feelings. Not sure it's even possible. I am not sure how I'm not supremely angry or if I'll stay that way. I'm not sure what to believe about the past four months, except that for the sake of my sanity it can't be nothing. Not sure how long it will take to shake this sick-to-my-stomach feeling or to rebuild the ability to trust. Not sure you ever really know a person. Not sure how to make myself stop caring about him. Even less sure than I ever was before (not including the past three months) about what love ostensibly is. Not sure I'll ever really understand what happened here. 

I am sure I'll waste lots of time and energy trying to. I am sure that I feel humiliated, like I have been made a fool of. I am sure I'll throw myself into my independent work like nobody's business in a thinly veiled attempt to hide the fact that my life doesn't make sense to me anymore. I am sure that I was happy (albeit a different kind of happy) before this and I can be happy again after it. I am sure that there's a lot to be learned from this situation.  I am sure that I will never again undervalue the importance of complete and brutal honesty, especially when the truth hurts. I'm also pretty sure that I am (un?)fortunately too good a person to repeatedly flame him on this blog, because like I don't deserve this, I can't make myself believe he's a terrible enough person to deserve that, so I will try to avoid it (after this).

A DirectTV blimp just passed overhead saying "Change your life." My first reaction? I don't want to. But sometimes you don't have a choice. 

I will leave you with an excerpt from my favorite play, Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls who've Considered Suicide/ when the Rainbow is enuf:

"My love is too beautiful to have thrown back on my face. [...]
My love is too sanctified to have thrown back on my face.
My love is too magic to have thrown back on my face.
My love is too Saturday night to have thrown back on my face.
My love is too complicated to have thrown back on my face.
 My love is too music to have thrown back on my face.
And you remember that the next time some man tries to walk away with all of your stuff. 
I know that's right. Or says I'm sorry a million times.
 It's ok. I asked myself how I could let that happen and I realized that I was missing something. Something so important. Something promised.
I suppose what I'm left with now is me time. More than time to analyze what happened here, I suppose I should go find what I'm missing to make sure it never happens again. Not that I'm blaming myself--mistakes were made on both sides--but something needs to change.

How did I get here?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On the Road Back to a Scholarly Attitude

The conversation addressed in the previous post helped remind me why the work I want to do is important. This quote just posted by a friend on Facebook makes me want to get to it. 

"I don't really think about you as being black, Maya."

Dear friend,

I know you meant well. Or at least, that you didn't mean me any harm by what you said. I must admit, it was slightly amusing watching you struggle to dig yourself out of this hole you realized you'd inadvertently dug.  It led to an interesting discussion about the differences between "white culture" (after questioning what exactly white culture is and whether it can be separated from mainstream American culture more broadly) and Jewish culture--you tried to draw an analogy between my personality:blackness::Jewishness:whiteness, and really, I want to commend your effort. I guess majoring in Psychology, Philosophy, and Economics makes you more attuned to the reality of cultural sensitivities and how to handle them with finesse more than most of my non-ethnic-minority friends.
And don't worry, you're far from the first person to say this (or something similarly-themed) to me. I just a) hoped I had embraced my blackness enough in college to dispel such observations, and b) can't help but feel as though I should be offended, either on my own behalf, on that of black people as an amorphous group, or both. I cannot blame you--and am not trying to--for your statement because, as I learned during the Black Solidarity Conference this year, even [at the very least some, a concentration of whom I interacted with at Yale in February] of my peers and current race scholars don't see me as fitting into the larger overall picture of blackness either. But don't think for a second I'm condoning this, because I'm not. The fact that lots of people, even insiders, do this, does not in any way make it any more acceptable, or any less racist. So, friend, peers, scholars, larger world, I must again beg you to reconsider the apparently negatively themed definition you give to blackness. Who are you excluding from that group, and why, and what do you presume gives you the authority to make those cuts? I ask you to remember that race itself is a social construct, an idea that our forefathers made up to promote white privilege and deny persons with whom they were uncomfortable (or did not even consider to be persons) the rights of citizenship or even simply the rights of man--sure, it's one made visible by the color of my skin, the texture of my hair, the breadth of my nose, but again, these are all things that human beings themselves defined as fitting the construct of blackness, not inherent distinctions.

We struggled to define white culture when trying to establish Jewish culture's distinctiveness. I would like to raise the challenge that black culture, and (though I know little about it, everything I know about the world as a sociologist or even as an observant member of society leads me to believe that) even Jewish culture cannot be limited to one narrow definition against which to pose some other narrowly defined cultural group. Every mainstream culture has a counter-culture, usually multiple counter-cultures. There is always an underground, a counter-movement, even the smallest of revolutions. There is always someone who is unafraid to open their eyes, see their surroundings for what they really are, and say, "Hey, wait, this isn't what I want. This isn't correct/right/fair/justified/appropriate/normal/what-I-should-be-striving-for." There is always someone pushing for change. 
So, I have more rock on my computer than hip-hop/rap. That doesn't mean I can't spit a T.I. verse back at you, and it doesn't mean I'm not black. I will never fight someone because they scuffed up my sneakers, most likely because I'm in a cute pair of flats. That doesn't mean I'm not black. I have owned exactly two pieces of clothing from a "black" clothing brand in my lifetime, and they were both from JCPenney on clearance. (I can't turn down a good deal.) That doesn't mean I'm not black. I'm not a great dancer--I learned how to two-step less than two months ago and I cannot (and may never be able to) pop or lock (though I can drop it). That doesn't mean I'm not black. Enunciation and complete complex sentences define my natural linguistic structure; while that might make my 6-year-old cousin interrupt Thanksgiving dinner to start the following exchange:
V: Maya, why do you talk like that?
Me: Talk like what?
V: All...proper.

it doesn't mean I'm not black. I am and will continue to become highly educated at very elite universities, where my study of blackness and black peoples should not separate me from them. That doesn't mean I'm not black. I disdain of the use of the word nigg- by any and all persons, much in the same manner that I disapprove of faggot and cunt and a lot of other entirely inappropriate derogatory terms. It doesn't mean I'm not black. I don't like collard greens, but I won't eat macaroni and cheese that hasn't been in an oven and trust me, your sweet tea isn't sweet enough for me. This doesn't mean I'm not black. I don't have fake gold hoop earrings with my name in them, but again...I think you're getting the picture here. 
I guess the more significant way to approach this is to examine what means I am black, besides my aforementioned skin, hair, and nose. 1) My recognition of the history this country tries to hide and the havoc that history and its hidden status wreaks on the black population even in 2011. 1b) My disdain for the term post-racial, no matter how you're defining it. Like my homeboy Brother West says, Race Matters. 2) In my house, Santa and Baby Jesus were both black, and though I didn't grow up to believe in either of them, I learned to see the world from a black person's perspective. I learned about the black tax (which I still believe in), and I learned the importance of remembering where you came from, because no one else is going to. I learned Kwanzaa and sweet potato pie and the foods you have to eat on New Year's to bring good fortune. I learned everyone from the Temptations to India.Arie. So I would like to take this time, world at large, to throw your assumptions about my cultural background back in your face. 3) In line with your mainstream negatively-themed ideas of blackness, world at large, which I do not agree with but feel the need to address, I am no stranger to struggle. I know what it is to be on food stamps. I know what it is to have the electricity/water/cell phone cut off due to nonpayment of the bill. I know what it is to not have food in the house. But knowing all those things taught me to dream, taught me to work towards a goal, taught me dedication and resilience, and combined with a lot of luck, those things have made me successful. Fact: either success nor lack of it are definitive of status as a racial minority. 4)  R&B/Neo-Soul is my favorite genre of music, which is just as rooted in the black community as hip-hop. 5) My ideal breakfast features grits. 6) AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I am black because I SAID SO. Honestly, that's the only reason you should need. Because this is an identity I have adopted as belonging to me and people like me and lots of people who aren't like me in many ways EXCEPT for their adoption of this same identity. If the work I'm just beginning on racial identity and college students has taught me anything, it is that beyond being a social construct and a category that people will try to place you in no matter what, race and your identification with your race is a choice. Whether that choice is manifested through organizational involvement, circles of friends, or something as simple as being the little guy's advocate in a classroom debate, it is an active decision. It is a decision I have made, it is an identity that is important to me, and while I certainly don't want it to be the only thing you categorize me as, I do want you to stretch your notions of blackness to include me. In fact, today, tomorrow, and every day until you concede, world at large, I will do nothing short of demanding it. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day 12: Letter to a Sibling You Didn't Write to Last Time

Dear Kids A and W,

First off, I'm sorry I still think of you as kids. At 16 and 17, going into your junior and senior years in high school in September, you're not anymore. I remember when I was that age, soooo many of my daily struggles were to be treated like I was a real person, and so I promise you that I'm going to do my best to remember to treat you like real people, because you're not children anymore.  That doesn't mean I won't still try to give you advice or check in on you--that's a siblings thing for life. I am always going to care about you (even if we go weeks without speaking sometimes), and I'm never going to stop acting on that caring--that's a promise (please don't see it as a threat), but I will try to be less patronizing/seeming like I'm on a high horse.
Now, I'm going to be honest: I'm worried about you. I have this vague sense of danger whenever I think about you, like something is on the verge of or in the process of going horribly wrong. Part of that worry I can address to you both simultaneously: college is right around the corner, you guys. I know college is the last thing you guys like to listen to me talk about because I raised the bar to this ridiculously high level, but fact: I don't give a fuck if you guys don't go to schools like Princeton. Neither does anyone else in our family. I am an exception, we all know that. I don't care if school isn't your thing like school is my thing. I don't care if you don't want to go to graduate school. I don't care if you want to major in something that will turn directly into a job and then do that for the rest of your life. I just need you to understand that you have to go to college to make it in this world. Hell, in this economy, even going to college can't secure anything, but you're damn sure not going to get anywhere without it. And, another fact, just in case you somehow weren't aware, our family does not have the money to pay for you to go to college. If you don't qualify for scholarships, you're going to be either a) unable to afford school at all and wind up at community college, b) in debt up to your eyeballs for the rest of ever, or c) some unfortunate combination of both. I don't want to see that happen to you, but you are the only people in any position to prevent that, and I need you to see that. I don't know what's going to happen to you if you don't see that. It terrifies me.  You both seem to be so oblivious to this process and the fact that you're running out of time, and that scares me.
Okay, now for the separate parts: A, I'm entirely uncomfortable with this boyfriend of yours and the fact that our mother doesn't know about him. I'm entirely uncomfortable with the fact that he wakes you up out of your slumber to talk on the phone at damn near three in the morning. I'm vaguely uncomfortable with the fact that he's up then--what has he been doing? Mostly, I just want to meet him, or at the very least for our mother to meet him. I feel like you're hiding him and this relationship and that worries me to my core. I also want you to know, however, that I've thought long and hard about this, and I'm not going to rat you out. But I'm not ratting you out on one condition: I want you to know that you can come to me and talk to me about things, things that have to deal with him or anything. You seem to think I'm prudish and boring sometimes, but I have more experience with these sorts of things than you'd probably expect. I don't want you to feel like you're alone in our family. I remember those days. 
W, I want to know what's going on with you and school. Well, okay, school is actually probably a symptom of a larger issue and not the issue itself. What's the issue itself? My mind instantly jumps to these hoodlum friends of yours. I hate saying that, but it's true. The vast majority of them are just no damn good. Whether or not you recognize that is not the issue I want to dwell on right now, though...what I want to dwell on is the fact that you don't have to be just like them to be their friends. If their friendship is contingent on your conformity just based on you being the same as them, then you can do better than that. I remember when you liked school. I remember when you came home with the star-studded report cards and A was the one I had to worry about. But W, you FAILED a marking period in Honors Biology. Brought an F home to our mother's house. I don't know what I believe less, that you did this or that our mother barely punished you for it (in comparison to the punishments I used to get). But again, I don't think the root issue here is that her standards have softened since I left the house; a) they were near-impossibly high to begin with and meeting them stressed me out every second of the day for 10ish years, but more importantly b) there again seems to be something larger here. I want you to talk to me, I want to know what's wrong. I don't want to call this acting out, but it's a significant change and I want to know what is causing it. 
Back together again: I've had enough of this you-two-against-me shit. We've been playing that game for about 14 years, it's time to do something new. Especially now that you're not a united force anymore regarding anything else. I would like us to try to have conversations like adults. I would like us to try to not let the smallest things blow up into the biggest arguments. It has recently come to my attention that other people, normal people, people I know and love and am convinced aren't crazy, are friends with their siblings. I would like to give this a try. 
But I guess first that would require feeling like I could ever, in a million years, say any of this to either of you. I don't think there's much hurt I could do to our relationships by trying, though...we barely interact when we're not in the same physical space anyway. So, #declaration: I'm going to try. Maybe I'll start small, maybe I won't say it all at once, but I'm going to call you and try to talk. Please do me a favor and try to listen.

This is all to say I love you,

Big Sis 

"I don't read books. I devour them."

An interesting character on the train today (actual real-life character, not one from the book I was reading) reminded me today that we, readers, bookworms, bibliophiles, are a rare and perhaps dying breed. Maybe we're just being replaced by these newfangled Kindle/Nook e-book readers. [Sometimes I wonder if an alien who was coming to observe our planet would think humans derived their energy from portable electronic machines, the way we're all so dependent on them--myself included. (Think about it, our headphones are chargers. Music on, world off, *regains strength*. Anyway...)]

So I'm sitting on the train, I put lipstick on and then pull my book back out of my bag. [Currently reading How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu. I read his first book, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears last summer and loved it, so when I saw this at the library, it had to be mine for two weeks.] Out of the corner of my eye I notice this guy (middle-aged, overweight, semi-broke-down looking black man) drinking what appears to be a 1.5ish L bottle of Arbor Mist straight from the bottle alone on the train at 4pm, half roll my eyes, then open my book and continue reading along. A few minutes later, I have the distinct suspicion that I'm being watched, so I cautiously raise my eyes at the next page turn, and sure enough, Mr. Cheap-Fruity-Wine-o [I can't hate too hard, though, I love Arbor Mist, haha. Fruitiness+alcohol=my favorite] is looking at me. *does not acknowledge him in any way, returns to book* Minutes go by, and the next time I happen to glance up to see where we are in my journey to Princeton, I notice that Mr. Cheap-Fruity-Wine-o is speaking, and looking in my direction...oh, is he trying to talk to me? *cautiously takes out one earbud* 
This is a paraphrase of his spheel: "I was just looking at your book there. I was just saying how nice it is that you're reading. Don't think I'm some pervert, it's just, that's not something you see everyday on the train, a young girl reading. And I know you're actually reading too, cuz you're turning the pages, that's how I know you're reading. Otherwise you'd just be sitting there on some stupid shit. *realizes I might be offended* Oh I just--that's just how I talk. These just my words, man. Yeah, but you readin. That's, that's what's up." Me, interjecting in my faking-being-sincere-voice: "Thank you!" *tries to put headphones back in* He beats me: "I could tell you some real good books to read. Books that'll flip your mind. Cuz I read them a long time ago and they flipped my mind..." His phone rings. It's his mother. I escape back into my book.
First off, what is it about me that makes strange men think they can just talk to me? Is there an invisible sign above my head saying Open to Conversation? Someone teach me to turn it off. 
Secondly...he's right though. I take the train to and from Princeton everyday, and I see lots of people on their cell phones. I see lots of people listening to music. I see people on their laptops. I see people sleeping. I see people chatting and drinking coffee. But I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone else reading. I even have friends at Princeton who simply do not, under any circumstances, read things that aren't for class. And I mean, okay, guys, we are the raised-by-TV generation, but come on now. I love movies and music just as much as the next girl, but I've never reacted to any tangible object the way I react to a good book. I love the chance to be inside someone's or someones' head, to have their thoughts presented to me as if they were my own. I love wrapping myself up in their relationships, applauding their successes and dreading their downfalls. I love both being able to predict what happens next (because real life rarely works that way) and being surprised by a plot twist (because real life works that way). I have learned not to read series, because when they come to a close I feel almost as though I have lost a group of friends. I may never travel to India, or Pakistan, or [insert name of some random small Midwestern town here], but I can know the lifestyle and culture and feel of these places and their inhabitants from the comfort of my...wherever because a book is entirely transportable and will never run out of batteries or overheat. I love the ability to get lost in someone else's life, even if I'm in love with my own--no other medium of entertainment can give me that. 

Long story short: read. Evidently it sets us apart from the train-riding masses. Maybe it says you, sir/madam, are an intellectual. Maybe it says you're a thinker or a dreamer. Maybe it just serves as an icebreaker for sketchy middle-aged men. Regardless, read. It will serve you greater purpose than solely being interpretable, I promise. 

This link is simultaneously why I was really excited for Undercovers at the start of last fall's TV season, and most likely also why it failed so spectacularly that the producers didn't even let it carry out the season. #IwannaseemoreblackpeopleofcoloronTV

Wordles are fun

Wordle: teh bloggg

Interesting Developments

So I may not have mentioned that my father has a new girlfriend. (Boy/girlfriend is a weird word to use for senior citizens, lol. I feel like there should be a more grown-up word. Except, I'm fine referring to my mom's boyfriends as such. Maybe I'm just being ageist. Anyway.) This is...weird for me. I know, I know, I should be used to the whole parents dating thing now, as I can basically recount the various stages of my life according to who my mother was with at the time, but something about this just I suppose that I have simply come to think of my father as a person who is alone. My mother and I both describe him as hard to live with (though I think he would say that other people are the problem,  not him); she calls him (and anyone related to him, myself included) a kook. He has never been particularly social--he doesn't have many friends, loves sports but doesn't go over to like, bars or live games with "the guys". My dad, Mr. Solo Dolo. 
Whereas my mom has never been man-less for any substantial period of my lifetime, as far as I can tell, my father has dated at most four people (both my mother and his current booskie included) over the last 21 years. My mom left my dad when I was just a few months old. When I was a kid, maybe 6 or so, we used to go over to my dad's friend K's house, where should would let me bring all my stuffed animals over and my teaset for tea parties. She had nieces whose stuffed animals she'd let me borrow, and I thought she was awesome because she gave me real (iced) tea for my tea parties, whereas my mom made me play with water. [Lame.] It has recently come to my attention that they were most likely dating...didn't cross my six-year-old mind. When I was twelve and he was living in Detroit, he was seeing some woman who was a figure skater. I never met this woman, but I absolutely hated her for a while, because he was supposed to come back to NJ to visit me for my 13th birthday [it would have been the first time he'd come home since having moved when I was 9] and she went and broke her fucking ankle like three days before my birthday and he stayed in Detroit to take care of her instead of coming to see me. I was furious. (And now I'm wondering regretfully whether my fury influenced their breaking up at all, hmmm.) And now, all these years later, he's started dating again. He was even on an online dating site (but met his current girlfriend in real life). 
I suppose it didn't strike me until recently that my father was probably very lonely. I figured he was used to it, being the only child of only children and having lived alone for all but maybe 8 years of his adult life...but just because something has become a habit doesn't mean it's the way you should keep doing things. I'm glad he decided he need something in his life other than sports (which don't give anything back for your time, dedication, and anxiety...especially when your fantasy team does really well in your league for the vast majority of the season and then tanks in the end losing you lots of potential money/bragging rights) and two grown daughters who live thousands of miles away from each other and him. I'm further glad that beyond just deciding/accepting this, he actually went out of his way to act on it. I really hope she's good to him or I will go to Florida myself to smack the shit out of her. #that'sapromise 
It's just weird to be on the opposite end of the hey-I'm-kind-of-busy-with-this-person-who-is-actually-physically-present-in-my-life-right-now-and-I-don't-wanna-rush-you-but-I-actually-do-kind-of-want-to-rush-you phone call. Since I became a teenager (a period of my life that ended a year and a half ago, wow), that's always been how I feel talking to him. It has always been a chore, something that is interrupting whatever I'd rather be doing. It's...both offensive and amusing to recognize those same patterns of trying-to-end-this-conversation-asap-in-as-friendly-a-manner-as-possible-ness coming from him. I guess it's cute. I'm glad he has someone. ...And somewhat also glad that this someone is taking up all the empty space in his life he used to try to fill with talking to me, haha.   

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day 11: Letter to your Future Employer

Dear ___________ College/University,

This letter is hard, because I've never really thought about what I want from you before. That probably isn't good, so I'm going to try to rise to the occasion. 

First off, I suppose I should thank you for taking a chance and hiring me. I was just one more in a sea of eager grad students waving their dissertations in your face trying to show you that I was just a little more interesting than the guy next to me...and you believed me! For that, you have my eternal gratitude. I hope this works out well for us. 
I work best under loose structure. My hope is that you'll provide assistant professors with a mentor, a higher-up in their department who can show them the ropes and help us make the transition from being a student to teaching them. [My work deals with the sociological social psychology of identity in the midst of transitions, so I expect that I will feel a little lost  during this shift. I would like a professional shoulder to lean on, if possible.] We're going to get along great if I can pick what I want to teach, or at least choose from a list of available options. I would like to design my own syllabuses, or at least have the opportunity to modify established ones. I expect the freedom to come to class as I am, curly fro and all; I don't want to be one of those stuffy old professors who wears a suit every day. Again, my work is on identity: I hope we can find a way to let me be me while still representing you. 
I can't tell you how excited I am to have an office. As a student, I was always fascinated by those professors whose offices mysteriously contained just the right book/journal to help you, young grasshopper amidst countless volumes and mountains of paper. There was always something to be inferred by the condition of one's office: the carefully organized shelves professor v. the precarious stacks making the floor a maze professor, the comfy chairs to sit and chat in professor v. the two wooden chairs in front of his/her desk professor. I'm thrilled at the prospect of decorating a place of knowledge, even of having a physical space of knowledge to call my own. 
I hope you're the kind of school where professors precept and office hours are widely attended. I want to get to know my students. I want to help them. I'm not sure yet whether I want to be a PowerPoint professor or a chalk-stains-on-my-pants professor, but I want to inspire them. I want to teach an intro class and an advanced one--I want to reel students in the way I "caught the SOC bug" at Princeton, and once they're in I want to make them ask the harder questions. I won't be afraid to ask the harder questions. I hope that's why you hired me. 
I hope you're an institution that favors interdisciplinary work. I want to be friends with social psychologists (yes, even though I'm a sociologist!). I want to work for (or even in) your African-American studies department. In your Gender and Sexuality department, too. I don't want to be put in a box; I hate boxes. I hope you're a fairly liberal institution...I don't want to be afraid that I won't get tenure because you're scared of what I have to say. I hope you're not scared of controversy. I hope we serve each other well. 

I'm really looking forward to working with you,



I was young and naive once. Don’t laugh too hard,
we all were. And when I was, I equated intimacy with, well, sex.
Or the clandestine touching and kissing that may or may not
have been leading up to it. The rushed whispering of “Can I”s
and “Let me”s. The relinquishing of clothing.
The offering of oneself piece by piece. 
You have taught me that intimacy does not come in pieces.
That it is neither the desire for or the act of nudity, not its touch or taste.
It does not, in fact, even necessitate these things.
It is, perhaps, the feeling of nakedness, of wanting shamelessly
to lay myself bare before you. It is wanting to shout the boldest of “Let me”s,
“Let me give you all of me.” 
It is seeing that gift appreciated fully. It is learning the true meaning of the word
acceptance. It can play, like tickle wars in between bouts of kissing,
but that play has purpose--intoxicating, stimulating, your smile is the highest high
It is your tongue in the gap between my two front teeth, your words saying you
love even this hidden part of me. It is not caring whether I’ve shaved.
It is bed head and morning breath after the best sleep I’ve ever had every night with you.

It is wanting to spend every night with you. It is embarrassing stories from
elementary school and the tenderest of teasings. It is both talking freely and
having comfortably quiet time. It is knowing the weight of your head in my lap.
It is honesty. It is never needing to put on a brave face.
It is pure unadulterated fascination at the wonder that is you.
It is “I need us” over “I need you”. It is “Share my life.”
I used to believe that love was an impossible dream.
I once thought happiness was an emotion rather than a state of being.
I didn’t know growth could stem from joy.
I was blind to the difference between frenzy and fervor.  
In the past, I mistook physicality for intimacy.


The struggfest between my inner academic and my inner couch computer-chair-potato is madddddd real. 

I have a describable and achievable goal, the means by which to get to my end, the time to do it all without feeling rushed...and yet I'm not being productive. I feel...uninspired. I need to refocus. Someday in the not-too-distant future, books and notes like these will be one of the biggest chunks of my life. Remember that fervor we had when we first started our JP readings, Maya? How we devoured article after article and book after book and carried that giant tote bag of library books just to show Alex how dedicated we were? Get that feeling back. Or at the very least, learn how to progress in its absence. #ValuableLifeSkills 


2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day Ten: Letter to Someone You Work With

Hey girl heyyyyyy!

You do happen to be someone I work with, but you're also a good friend. In fact, you're a surprisingly good friend respective to like, the amount of time we actually spend together. I always know I can talk to you about any issues I'm having (and visa versa), even the stuff that sometimes embarrasses me to talk to other Princetonians about like my family or money, because I know you feel me on stuff like that. On being black at Princeton and not religious. On being natural. On gender normativity. On...anything. And you're one of those people that I know I can count on when shit is rough. I will never forget how you SAVED MY LIFE when I left my wristlet (contents: student ID, government ID, debit card, insurance card, dorm keys, house keys, about $60 cash, random other important things) at the movie theater at the mall--running into you walking across campus while I was freaking out was the best thing that could possibly have happened. 
You're one of those good people in my life that makes me wonder whether I'm a good enough person/friend. I hope you feel like you can count on me in all the same ways, even if I don't drive or can't do some of the more practical things. I've got your back the same way you've got mine. 
As much as I do enjoy having gotten moved to a desk where there is a computer to keep me occupied as we "work" (#Ihopemybossneverfiguresoutthisisn'tarealjob), I miss getting paid to sit and chat with you. I feel like we got a lot closer that week we guarded the double doors together. I might start randomly taking "bathroom breaks" to come visit you out there. 
Long story short, I wanna spend more time with you. I'm excited for our roadtrip to AC to see Erykah Badu next weekend. I'm excited to just like, randomly chill with you over the course of the summer. I guess you got hired late, or whatever, because your email address wasn't in that original list our boss sent out (which I scoured looking for people I was excited to be with), but working with you is a wonderful surprise. Let's make a pact to keep this going when the school year starts again, okay? 



Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Sometimes things change.

...Shocking, I know. Even more shocking:

Sometimes they change in ways we are not happy with. 

Sometimes the changes make it seem like new-chunk-of-life-you're-entering won't feel normal. Sometimes the anticipation of that impending lack of normality will fill the pit of your stomach with a nasty feeling that can only be called dread. Sometimes you will want to stick your head in the sand and hide from that feeling...that will never make it actually go away. (It knows you're under there.) Sometimes you will sit at "work" for hours trying to imagine ways to make this new-chunk-of-life-you're-entering feel more like the old/current-chunk-of-life-you've-come-to-adore , what can be done to approximate that comfortable sense of normality you don't want to part with under any circumstances. Sometimes you will become exceedingly frustrated as that seems less and less possible the more you think about it. Sometimes you will overanalyze and become unnecessarily worried about things that will not matter in the long run, even if the short run seems so overwhelmingly significant right now. 

...Sometimes you need to just breathe. Sometimes you need to calm yourself down and take a moment to remember who and what you are and note that if you've made it through x, y, and z, then this isn't going to kill you. And look back over your life and realize that whoever said that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger had a point. And remember that things that don't accept change don't last long--we must accommodate when accommodation is due. So if the old normal has to go, let it. Don't think of the change as a change, think of it as a new normal. Get just as comfortable in it. Love it the same way. It's the only way every moment of a less-than-ideal situation won't be the worst thing ever. And honey, your life can't be the worst thing ever--it's far too fabulous. 


2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day Nine: Letter to the Last Person You Hugged

Hmm...I'm not sure which of you I hugged first and which I hugged second, so I'll write to both of you, I guess. I'd just met both of you a few hours before and your hugs were within ten seconds of each other, so it seems appropriate.

Dear J and M,

You're both pretty cool guys. I was surprised by how much I meant it when I told you it was great meeting both of you. Usually that's just something you say because it's socially normative, but it actually really was a pleasure meeting both of you--and not just because you bought us shots, M. (Side note: a round is totally on me at some point in the future.)
I feel like our time at Corner on Friday night might well be my first like, overwhelmingly positive being-at-a-bar-with-strangers experience. Hailing from a magical place called the Princeton Quadrangle Club where the liquor flows free (read: is included in the gazillions of dollars Princeton spends for me to be a member), I haven't spent a huge amount of time in bars since I turned 21 in January. In fact, the number of times I'd been out drinking in my entire life more than doubled in the two weeks I was home between Princeton and New Brunswick, making me wonder what I used to do when I was home (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING). 
Anyway, two of my going-out-drinking experiences when I was home included strangers. One was pretty neutral, as the strangers seemed nice enough but had been going for a while by the time my friend F and I joined, and basically left us to our own devices. One of their dad's bought us all a drink, though, so that was nice and canceled out the fact that we were being ignored. The other was like, a pretty good experience with my best friend from forever and some of his new friends, who I'd been dying to meet, but Idk I guess I just didn't click with them as much. We sat down and had dinner and talked and stuff over our drinks, but it still wasn't anything special.
But you guys...J, when you came from across the street, picked T up, and carried her inside the bar, I knew it was going to be a good night. M, when you said J was supposed to meet you two hours before, and you'd had a pitcher and a half to yourself while you were waiting for him, I knew you were going to be fun people to hang out with. J, you made your smartphone's 1001 Cocktails app readily available to satisfy our whims. M, you bought us delicious colorful Kool-Aid flavored vodka and gracefully (lol) lost two games of pool to us girls. J, you wrote T a message in the sand on the shuffleboard table as we struggled to figure out how the game was supposed to work and made her smile. Neither of you made a big deal about the fact that I go to Princeton, like a lot of people I meet do (+2 awesome points), and talking with you guys just seemed easy and natural. There was none of that weird I'm just gonna talk to the person I'm actually friends with like I experienced at other bars-with-strangers outings; I felt really included and like we could all be good friends. 
I'm really looking forward to getting to hang out with you guys again. I feel like Quad would love you, haha. T and/or I must have a party for you both to come to. And M, I'm seriously taking you up on your parent's pool if your offer was serious. 

Here's to a fun summer, guys!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Today I finished reading a wonderful book called My Name is Memory

Ann Brashares is on the road to becoming one of those authors I read everything by (like Jodi Picoult) because of her ability to be taking me along through a beautiful story that I can get lost in, developing characters whose pain and joys I feel as if they were my own (or, at the very least, those of someone I'm close to), and then all of a sudden hit me out of nowhere with a line or a phrase that brings me up out of this delicious book-world and back into the real world and makes me question something major in my life and the world at large. 

All her descriptions of the eternal undying lasting love and devotion between the two main characters nestled warmly into the depths of my heart like someones snuggling under a blanket, but they're not what I want to talk about. That happens a lot these days. 
Example A

The little tiny afterthought-like bit that blew me away was as follows:
"It took a half-dozen of those lives for me to recognize the difference between a means and an end." --Ann Brashares, "My Name is Memory" pp. 154
I suppose I first wondered some semblance of this towards the end of high school, when Student Council president came around to ask the Top Ten graduating seniors to fill out this sheet with some questions on it for little blurbs about us that would be put in our yearbooks. One of the questions was "What is your favorite memory from your time at Oakcrest?" or something to that effect. The 8 other members of the Top Ten who were sitting in AP Calc with me started laughing and remembering awesome times they'd had in this club or at that party or whatever, and I was struggling majorly to come up with anything worthy of eternal glorification in the pages of my yearbook. It dawned on me then that these people, my friends, had legitimately enjoyed high school to some extent. Particularly after my personal life exploded at the beginning of junior year, I had been treating it and my experiences in it like a means to an end. It was one more thing I was ready to get the hell away from, til it was over and I realized I had never really experienced it at all. 

And so I made a vow to myself that I was going to start living my life differently. I was going to stop taking my life and my day-to-day experiences for granted, I was going to treat each day like an adventure, I was going to do x-thing and y-thing and become an awesome person. And to varying extents at various times, I have done those things, I think. But although I pause to look at my life with wonder more often, and I meditate, and I occasionally walk around Princeton just to look at its beauty and marvel at the fact that I'm here, and I tell my friends just how much they mean to me, and I have begun to take chances...just like college was the end-goal of high school, grad school has been sneaking up as the end-goal of college. Professorship as the end-goal of grad school. And yes, these things are my goals, they are what I want to do with my life, and I'm okay with that. I like them. I actively chose those goals over the other options and am happy with my choice (for now, at least). This is what I want. 

...But what is the end-goal of professorship? Can that be the end-all be-all of the end-goals? Should it be a means? What end would it serve? #BigImportantLifeQuestions  

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day Eight: Letter to a Food You've Been Craving Recently

Dear Home-Cooked Meals,

I suppose you're technically a bending of the rules for this letter, because you aren't a particular food, but nevertheless I've been craving you recently. It's not that I particularly enjoy cooking, because I don't (no offense), but a) I'd like to show the skeptics that I can make you, that I have the ability to make real meals from ingredients instead of from bags in a freezer, b) I want the satisfaction that comes with eating something that I spent the time making, as opposed to a-glorified-version-of-defrosting-ing, and c) because I somehow forgot to purchase much frozen food when T and I were at ShopRite yesterday (possibly a function of how much of a rush she was in to get off the frozen food aisle because she was cold due to a lack of appropriate clothing, which happens to her often, haha) which means I need to start actually making you or I will starve.
And so I came home last night, took a quick shower followed by a leisurely bath (don't judge me), and once I was feeling all clean and pampered, I made my way to the kitchen to cook you. And I got out a pot and a lid and began searching the cabinets for a measuring cup to measure out the water to boil to make my rice. I found more pots and pans than I can ever imagine needing, a George Forman grill, a colander, a mixing bowl, lots of ice trays, a blender, a cookie sheet (which was good since I bought cookie dough yesterday), lots of solid measuring cups, etc....but a liquid measuring cup was nowhere to be found. It was a disaster! My basic understanding of cooking is of it as a science (sadly, I am neither skilled nor interested enough to view it as an art), and science needs measurement. I hung my head in disappointment, and ate a sandwich.
Then today I embarked on a mission to find a dollar store, from which I could purchase a measuring cup and maybe some other make-my-life-easier household objects. I wrote down my walking directions from Google maps and set out to walk a mile in the near 80 degree weather, determined to find a measuring cup and cook you at last, dear home cooked meals! On the way there, my had-been-dying-for-about-a-week-now headphones finally gave out, which I should have taken as a bad omen. I got to step five of my directions and was perplexed because I didn't remember thinking that there would be much distance between steps 5 and 6. I persisted, I was on a mission to find what I needed to have you at last! Then I eventually realized I'd been walking for about half an hour, on a trip that should have taken 18 minutes, and I relented and admitted defeat. I hung my head again, and turned around to go home, comforted by the boyfriend's desire for me not to get lost. 
It turns out I had forgotten to write down a step, and had been walking parallel to the street I needed to end up on for about 15 minutes. THE MEASURING CUP WAS WITHIN A BLOCK OF ME AND I NEVER FOUND IT. But now I know where I made my mistake, and tomorrow, MEASURING CUP WILL BE MINE. AND THEN SO WILL YOU.

So simple, yet soooooo elusive.

That's a promise.


You know that moment where you can sense something bad is about to happen to a character in a book...

...and you don't realize how emotionally invested you've gotten in him/her until your heart is pounding and you want to scream out a warning? When this collection of words has somehow become a friend that is near and dear to your heart and needs protecting?

I live for that moment. 

So the blogosphere has been touting the benefits of olive oil for a long time

and I have been reluctant to try for reasons I can't really even identify. But after I manipulated it a lot to come up with some pretty cute styles involving hideaway combs last week (including a fro-hawk that actually looked like a hawk according to my friend B and a half back look with cute side bangs) my hair was pretty frustrated with me today. I cowashed in the shower like usual BEFORE going to the beach, and even then it was dry and frizzy and like it was not in a good mood, so I promised it an overdue deep condition post-ocean and left for ShopRite. I knew my hair needed some good moisturization, but the new products I just bought from CurlMart won't be in til Wednesday and I was not about to spend dinero on something to tide me over from CVS. Then at ShopRite T was checking out olive oil for pasta, and there was some on sale for $2 and I said...this might be worth a shot for my overworked hair. 
So I came back from the beach with sand like, visible in my curls and before I even cooked dinner I decided to treat my hair because it deserved some love and affection. I showered and applied my DC, then ran a bath, poured some OO into the water too because the random foreign lady on the aisle at ShopRite reminded me of the wonders it can work on skin too, and relaxed with music playing and the awesome book I'm reading for a 45 minute soak. I could feel the OO coating my skin in a delicious silkiness like really good lotion, and when it was time to rinse the DC out I just slid farther back into the tub til my head was underwater, letting the conditioner come out and the olive-oily-water take its place. Then I poured some OO into my palm and worked that into my scalp, then spread another palmful or two sparingly from roots to ends. 
AND LET ME TELL YOU, my hair feels so soft and bouncy and luscious right now! Rarely have I ever found a product that can take me so dramatically from dry mess to tight curls, and it was TWO DOLLARS. Even if it is working in conjunction with the DC, DAYUM. 
Long story short, olive oil is going to become a part of my regular stash. I might go back to ShopRite to stock up while it's on sale. And I don't think I smell like a salad, so it's all good.   

Stuffed Animal Roadkill

I saw something so sad today it almost made me want to cry. As T, E, and I were driving back from the beach in Long Branch (side note: SOMEONE PLEASE REMIND ME TO NEVER EVER EVER SPEND THE WARM MONTHS OF THE YEAR AN HOUR FROM A LARGE BODY OF WATER EVER AGAIN. WHY HAVE I DONE THIS TO MYSELF?!) this evening, we passed what can only be described as stuffed animal roadkill. 

It was an adorable little stuffed monkey. He looked like he was soft and fun and would be nice company on a desk or a bookshelf...he was so small that he could get lost in a bed and not be very conducive to snuggling. But he was the cutest thing ever. So brown and fuzzy. And he was lying on the side of the road, discarded like some ungrateful child tossed him out the window. A seam had opened on his back and fluffy white stuffing was spilling out. IT WAS LIKE HE WAS BLEEDING.

If we hadn't been in the middle of a superbusy highway, I would have screamed for T to stop the car so I could run out and save him and stitch him up and give him a loving home. As it were, I could only tell T and E the horror I had just witnessed, prompting T to comment on the irony of the fact that we have been entirely desensitized to actual roadkill but my heart had gone out to this poor stuffed animal. He didn't seem to deserve such a cruel fate. Kids can be so mean. Whatever child abandoned that poor monkey is the second person I wish I could have slapped today.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Older black women [or any other person of any other race and/or gender, for that matter] who think they can touch me without permission. This most often happens with regards to my hair, which often beckons the touch of complete strangers (I welcome touches from those I know and love, but randos are a whole different story...). Today's situation, however, went a little something like this:

Me: [approaches register with very full shopping cart at ShopRite. Doesn't notice tank top riding up to expose her lower back.]
Random older black woman: [Reaches over and pulls my shirt down while saying] You should pull your shirt down, okay? 
Me: [stiffens noticeably at the feel of strange fingers on the small of my back, turns around to glare at her]
Her: Okay?
Me: [decides I don't have time to give this woman a propriety lesson. Storms off.] 

What gave this woman the right to think she could just touch me like that? I have two words for her: PERSONAL FUCKING SPACE. If the fact that MY shirt is riding up to expose MY lower back is somehow offensive to YOU, the appropriate thing to do is to keep it to yourself. The also fairly appropriate thing to do is to discreetly mention to me that I might want to fix my shirt. The absolutely inappropriate under every possible circumstance thing to do is to fix it yourself. 

If I hadn't been in a rush, you would have gotten smacked, fyi. Consider it my good deed of the day that you didn't.

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day Seven: Letter to a Band/Singer

Dear Peter Gene Hernandez (aka Bruno Mars),

I can't believe T wrote to you too. She totally lives inside my head. If other people couldn't see her/be driven to the beach by her, I would sometimes doubt she existed anywhere else. <3 
I contemplated writing to someone else after reading her post, but what I want to say to you seems important, so I'll keep going. 

You seem so much more like a Peter than like a Bruno. Bruno sounds like a) a name I'd give my dog, and b) like you're trying to reinvent yourself into being the cool kid now because like Bowling for Soup taught us, High School Never Ends. I'm glad Mars is the end of your stage name, it's appropriately spacey. I think I'm going to call you Peter throughout this post, if you don't mind. Peter, you won my musical allegiance within the first 30 seconds of the first time I saw the music video for "Just the Way You Are".  

You hadn't even started singing yet, but the sneaky smile you gave the girl and the first of the tape-drawings clued me into the fact that I was going to love this song. And love it I did. It was so obnoxiously cute in all the ways I've always openly criticized/condemned/judged/scorned but secretly harbored intense desires for. (Really secretly...I would admit to any perceived hypocrisy, you have my word. I really don't think I knew how much I wanted that cuteness and those feelings until they were suddenly in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.) This song was adorably sappily over-the-top cutesy perfect in the way I then thought only songs could be (I have since been proven wonderfully fantastically wrong), and I was hooked. I had friends that made fun of you when Grenade came out, over-analyzing the lyrics and calling it stupid, but I stuck up for you because I liked that song, too. I had once felt a warped semblance of the feeling and the situation you were trying to express, and I couldn't have expressed it any better.

After that, I decided to go on a little internet-hunt to see what other good songs you had. And then I basically went on a Bruno-binge, listening to and downloading song after song, even the ones I thought were a little weird, like Liquor Store Blues (which has a video now, I didn't know), because I could still identify with some of it, empathize with all of it, and above all it just made me want to give you a hug, Peter. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I downloaded a song that would later (read: has now) become the unofficial theme song to my life:
It's evidently a Brandy cover and was never released on Doo-Wops & Hooligans or your EP (not that I'm really sure what the difference between an album and an EP is. Maybe something to do with the fact that It's Better if You Don't Understand only has a few songs on it? Note to self: seek further enlightenment.) but I have a feeling that its appearance in my life at just the right time will lead it to always be my favorite. It's so perfect. If I were a pre-angsty preteen, I'd say it's like you understand my life. It's really just like all of our lives are part of the same great big story and though everyone's pain is different it's also all a little bit the same.

There was one song, though, that I just couldn't bring myself to download, Peter. In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to listen attentively to the whole thing. (My little brother loves this song. Go figure.) This song is the same song T wrote about, because we shared the experience of watching your video for it for the first time together last night. If the song itself wasn't bad enough, your synchronized-swimmers/90s-boy-band-esque backup dancers were monkeys, and the entire video is you dancing around the room with them. I feel like this could be reworked into a children's cartoon. It was like undiscovered-wannabe-Youtube-sensation plus friend-who-does-some-light-choreo plus other-friend-who-is-into-computer-graphics-a-bit maybe part of the point, too lazy to make a real video?). Maybe you're going for a difference audience (like my little brother, whose musical tastes I generally disdain) here or something, but I want you to know that I disapprove with every fiber of my being. Some days I just want to be lazy too, but that song...makes me wanna get up and do anything else but listen to it.

So this letter is to say that 95% of your music makes me happy (even the songs that remind me that I'm a little sad). And we can just pretend that other song never happened. It was a Bruno moment. I won't talk about it if you don't, Peter. 



Saturday, June 18, 2011

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge--Day Six: Letter to a Store

Dear Charlotte Russe,

You have been T's favorite store for quite some time. I was getting fairly sick of you recently, though. I've drooled over your shoes for a zillion years, but you consistently only carried shoes up to a 10. Strike one. You have the cutest bras I've ever seen, both don't carry them in big enough (or supportive enough) sizes/styles for the girls. Strike two. Your clearance section has been getting less and less cheap, which is unfortunate. And last time I was there, there was a small clearance rack, a medium clearance rack, and a large clearance rack--no love for the extra larges. Strike three. 
But then, you had a little change of heart, Charlotte Russe. You have made a serious move in my favor, and for this I applaud you. The last time I was there, as I was lamenting over the lack of an XL clearance rack, I noticed a collection of fall boots on a rack in the middle of the store, with a large sign advertising that they were on clearance for $4.99. I shook my head at the fact that I had purchased a very similar pair of boots elsewhere for almost $40 this past fall, and rued the day my feet grew past a size 10. And then T ran over to me with a pair of flats that were a size 11. And my shock and curiosity provoked me to inspect the boots on the rack...ALL OF THEM WERE AN ELEVEN. EVERY SINGLE PAIR. 
Confused as to what was happening, I bought three pairs before someone could pinch me and wake me up from this dream. Then, as I was casually windows-shopping (my term for browsing the websites of various stores I frequent without really intending to buy anything, aka a cure for boredom) I clicked on Shoes on and discovered that LO AND BEHOLD, SIZE ELEVEN WAS NOW AN OPTION ON THE DROPDOWN MENU. The world is a changed place.
So I thank you, Charlotte Russe, for recognizing that large-footed women wanna be cute too. Now if we could get the same thing going for large-breasted women, you and I wouldn't have any more problems...


Friday, June 17, 2011

2nd 30 Day Letter Challenge: Day Five--Letter to the Last Person Who Hit on You

Dear It's-Not-Like-You-Had-the-Manners-to-Introduce-Yourself, 

First off, don't go thinking you're special or anything because you got a Facebook status and a blog post, that's just a matter of circumstance. I was halfway hoping someone else would hit on me before today so I could write to them, but I can't say I'm really disappointed it didn't's a little uncomfortable. Like, part of me likes the attention and goes Mhmm I know I'm cute/sexy/fly but thanks for pointing it out, but another (larger?) part of me disapproves entirely of the manner by which you (and guys like you) choose to make your opinion known, and yet another part of me wonders if I really want to be considered attractive by the kind of guy who leans on sides of buildings/sits on front stoops and calls out to women as they pass by. That almost feels like I'm doing something wrong. But then I take a step back and remember that no, sir, YOU are in the wrong, and I'll be damned if you make me feel like I've made a bad decision by wearing shorts or walking with confidence or generally being presentable. So there.
Let's review what happened here, shall we? I was minding my own business, walking home from the train station after a long day of "work", not really demanding or even inviting your attention in any way. I certainly wouldn't have minded a compliment, but I feel the need to inform you, sir brotha, that "Brown Chocolate, Whassup baby?" is NOT a compliment. Let's dissect that statement: I am brown-skinned, yes, okay. Chocolate? Like you wanna eat me up? A) That's pretty damn forward, and B) I got that handled already, tyvm. Most importantly, I am not your "baby". You don't even know my name, and I'm supposed to answer to that? You and I both know I walked the hell away without the slightest hint of a response. I heard laughter after that, not sure if your boys were laughing at you  because I ignored you or if y'all were laughing at me because you said something rude in response to my ignoring you (which would just further prove all the points I'm trying to make here), but frankly [stranger] I don't give a damn. 
See, you don't know this, but the guy before you got a response, at least. It was a shut-down reference-to-my-boyfriend response, but it was a response. Why, you may ask? Well, situationally these events weren't much different, but he said, "Hey, come here and talk to me for a minute." That's...less intrusive. It seems more like I'm being offered an opportunity and less like I'm being reeled in on a line you've been casting all night. I felt like a person and not like a thing (you called me chocolate). I mean, granted, that other guy probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere either, but you could learn a thing or two from his approach. 
But really though, I would like you, and him, and other men who engage in this practice to sit down and think for a few minutes about "holleraing at" women. Because it just does not make sense to me that I'm expected to respond positively in any way to being halfway yelled at while I'm walking home. My advice: I can see myself hypothetically appreciating a line in a proper setting (aka not calling out to me while I'm walking down a street) and if it seems, Idk, sincere, like the guy is embarrassed about using the line because he thinks it's cheesy, instead of like hes been standing there all night calling out to every woman who walks past. I don't like when it seems practiced. Introducing yourself and saying you couldn't help but notice me from across the bar could be acceptable. Tell me your name. Don't call me baby when you don't even know mine. And don't yell at me.

This has been a public service announcement in the guise of a letter.