Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I might have a child one day

if I could get some kind of money-time-body-back guarantee that it would be this little diva:

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...
That right there is everything I wish my childhood could have been. Oh wait, that's right, one of the reasons I'm against children is because I don't want to actively or even subconsciously mold them into the child I wish I'd had the opportunity to be...

I've been wanting to talk about masculinity for a while

Specifically, about changing definitions/cultural understandings of masculinity and how it's becoming slightly more okay in some places to be a man who is not "macho," just as it's becoming okay to be a woman who isn't excessively feminine. I think both of these things are wonderful, but I think that the not-particularly-feminine woman is something we see a lot more often (particularly within the realms of people of color and/or low income groups) than the not-hegemonically-masculine man. But I'm one of those crazy liberals who wants to rip gender norms to shreds and promotes egalitarianism in partnerships and shit, so maybe I'm more attuned to this kind of stuff. I don't know. I know that I want a man who isn't afraid to have and share his feelings. Who can appreciate art. Who can cook and clean and will split these responsibilities with me when we're on that grown shit level. Who reads. I don't give a damn whether he likes sports or video games or if he can change a tire (though I'm not gonna lie, handyman-ness would be convenient). Who is at least somewhat fashionable. I guess what I'm hinting at is that I am attracted to "other" masculinities. Quiet masculinities. Some might even go as far as to call them androgynous masculinities, but I'm not really a fan of the "androgyny" movement because it seems a far cry from simply ceasing to associate certain traits with certain categories of the [far too narrow] gender binary. 
Okay I'm devolving into a tangent. Back to the point here. I've been wanting to talk about masculinity for a long time now, since that Sociology of Gender class I took last semester, and more acutely since a conversation I had with a very dear friend of mine a little over a month ago about what kind of a man he is. This conversation included me listing some of his traits that I think align to "masculine" ideals in quiet ways, and I had the sneaking suspicion that he felt unconvinced. It made me want to do something, because other masculinities shouldn't feel illegitimate [nor should other femininities, other racial identities, other LGBTQQ identities, other anythings!]. And so the day after that conversation I clicked the "New Post" button and stared at the blinking cursor for a while, feeling totally uninspired as to what I wanted to say. I would start typing things and then delete them, and eventually I just deleted the post and figured I'd try again later.
But later never really rolled around, and I have come to realize that I just felt like it wasn't my place to be trying to write about masculinity. And I'm not one to usually let myself be put in places, but it's like, you know, there are few things I hate more than when someone who is not a Black woman tries to tell me about myself as a Black woman. Hell, I don't always take to other Black women telling me about myself as a Black woman. So who am I to try to talk my way around and through something I can only ever be an outsider to? The first rule of writing is to write what you know. So I let the talking about masculinity thing go for a while. It was still something that I knew needed addressing, but I just didn't quite know how. 

This man's thoughts are a really good place to start.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Part of me just wants someone to play with

This is Goapele, whose 2002 hit Closer is a favorite of mine.

I hate small talk.

You've never heard of my hometown and I know nothing about yours. Our majors are like foreign languages to each other. We might have a hobby or an interest in common, but it's probably not going to inspire long in-depth conversation. You will, at best, make me chuckle lightly or do that laugh-like thing where I blow air out of my nose. I will smile at you, but in my head I am giving you major side-eye and wondering how to stop talking to you without seeming rude. The next time I see you, I will give you a high-pitched "Heeyyyy!" and maybe one of those fake hugs where you try to touch the other person as little as possible. Because now you have fallen into my least-favorite of relationship-zones. You are an
I hate acquaintance-ships. I hate the superficiality and the asking "How have you been" when I don't actually give a shit. I will feign sympathy if something unfortunate has happened, or tell you how awesome x-really-cool-thing-that-happened-to-you is, but...again, I just want to get out of there. It's not really anything you did; I just don't know you well enough to really want to have conversations with you. 
The problem, though, is this is a bit of a cyclical problem. I find acquaintance-ships to be so generally awkward that it's hard for me to put enough time/effort into them for them to blossom into friendships. And it's not that I don't like having friends--I love my friends! They are the most important people in my life, always have been. They put up with all my crazy and I <3 them for it. They're also generally pretty great people. But like, I know that other people out there in the world are also probably pretty great, and that I might like to be friends with them. It's just, this whole making-friends process...
"If I could skip the painful small talk and introductory conversation associated with meeting new people and transition directly to comfortable repartee, I would make that happen. If there was a cerebro-type machine that plugged into your forehead and installed a fundamental understanding of every human being on the planet so I never had to meet another person, could know everyone on earth, could merge with the vast collective human spirit, I would purchase this machine obviously." -- Brad Pike, Thought Catalog 
Getting to know someone is generally something I abhor. Before Princeton, it's not something I ever really had to do. I've gotten a little better at it since being here, but it still just makes me uncomfortable somehow. It's easier in a college environment, I guess, where you're around persons X, Y, and Z so often that you can kind of get to know them without a lot of the introductory awkwardness. But my days in this blissful environment are numbered. And out there is the real world, man, where people just have to move to new places and get to know people. So, like Brad, I am going to suffer through this awkwardness so I don't become a ...plant lady, I suppose (I don't really do cats pets). Soon this, too, will be me:
"In the end, meeting new people will improve my social skills and probably my overall humanity as well though I will hate every moment of it the way Voldemort hates love notes and birthday parties. It will be a harsh painful exercise, but I’ll get through it somehow. I have to get through it. From now on, the only people in my life will be new people." Brad Pike, Thought Catalog 


Reblogged from ThisIsYourConscience

Emeli Sande, "Heaven"

Black European artists have a tendency to fascinate me. I really wonder about like, Black British/Irish/Scottish/whatever-ish culture and how it differs from both African-American and various African cultures. Anyway, she's pretty cool: 

Emeli Sandé - Heaven from Pop Labyrinth on Vimeo.

Thanks to addicted 2 etsy for making the introduction.

One thing about Irene really leaves a bad taste in my mouth

I know a lot of places are still under a bit of water, and a lot of people are still without electricity, but I think the Northeast tried to prepare for this as best we could. Buildings were sandbagged and boarded up, people raided grocery/convenience stores for all the emergency supplies imaginable, my local Home Depot sold out of backup generators even though they were going at $900 a pop, and mayors/governors everywhere told people to GET THE FUCK OUT. I mean, they evacuated the parts of New York City that were most likely to be seriously damaged--that has NEVER happened before.

But they missed a spot. No evacuation was planned for the prisoners on Riker's Island. Every other barrier island was evacuated, as well as some low-lying inland communities, but the 12,000+ prisoners--most of whom are low-level offenders, not hardened criminals--who are trapped in cells on an island composed primarily of landfill were not granted the right to a fair chance of surviving the storm (had it been as bad as predicted). Though committing an offense temporarily takes away one's right to liberty, it doesn't mean we can disregard these people's right to LIFE. Even the UN says that prisoners cannot be ignored in times of emergency like this. It disgusts me to see these people entirely neglected--our prison system is supposed to be a place to rehabilitate people, not to abandon them in cages while we protect ourselves. Prisoners are wards of the state, and the state has an obligation to protect them as it protects all its citizens. Their families should sue for like, the endangerment of their welfare or something. And this just goes to show how our prison system just doesn't give a damn about prisoners anymore. Fucking animal shelters looked for people to take the cats and dogs in to protect them from the storm, but these human beings weren't offered that same decency. You can't mandatory evacuate people selectively, that a) defeats the purpose and b) constitutes abuse--there's no other way to cut it. It makes me sick. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Today, make peace with the past, the things you've been through that have brought you to where you are.  Your face, your body, your posture are all reflections of the life you've lived.  Your resilience is a reflection of your beauty.  Reconsider the things you've associated with beauty in the past.  Renew your self-image. 

Today, stop comparing yourself to others and rejoice in yourself.  Life is heartbreaking to each and every once of us.  Since we never know what the next person is going through, we must remember to always be kind.  First with ourselves, then with our fellow man.  Beauty teaches us to see with our hearts." -- GG of Peace Love and Pretty Things

So I'm Taking this Class Called Diversity in Black America

And any of you who has been paying attention knows that recognizing and celebrating diversity within the nebulous group of peoples labeled "Black" in this country is a matter of utmost importance to me. We come from different places (or kind of from nowhere/everywhere), different socioeconomic backgrounds, we have different cultures, we have myriad interests and tastes--we're just as multifarious as any other groups of people. ["Multifarious": adj. meaning "having many different parts, forms, elements, etc. Studying for the GRE is a bitch.] Monolithic representations of our peoples are so last season, you know? 

So when I saw that Imani Perry, who is kind of my academic idol (young, hip, studies fabulously interesting things, gorgeous, fashionable, curly-hair-wearing, social-networking-like-a-boss), was teacing a class this semester called "Diversity in Black America," you know I signed up for that with a quickness expeditiously. I'm more excited by this class than I have been by a class in a long time, and I'm hoping I'm not let down by it. 

I really really wish we were reading this, but as it doesn't come out until two days before the semester starts, I doubt we will be. Whatever, I'm going to read it. Yes, I've become one of those people that reads scholarly works for/by/about Black people out of pure interest/for the fun of it. bell hooks is up next on my reading list, and this will be after that: 

 “If there are thirty-five million Black Americans then there are thirty-five million ways to be Black. There are ten billion cultural artifacts of Blackness and if you add them up and put them in a pot and stew it, that’s what Black culture is. Not one of those things is more authentic than the other.” ~ Touré, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness: What It Means to Be Black Now  

"Post-Black" as a term doesn't sit well with me, but from that tiny glimpse it seems as though he's referring to Post-narrow-conceptions-of-what-it-means-to-be-Black, which I plan to spend every day of the rest of my life fighting for. And Michael Eric Dyson is an incredible orator, very orotund and impetuous (loud, clear, and passionate), as I learned at Yale's 2010 Black Solidarity Conference. Maybe I'll love it, maybe I'll get pissed the fuck off become livid, but either way I'm excited to read this.

New Nickname

Greg called me "Curly Temple" this morning while we were making breakfast. I love it, and no matter what's going on with him and my mom--they were being realllllllll friendly this weekend--I love that I had the chance to sit around the living room with him again like nothing had changed. I missed his teasing. I missed our discussions. I missed Scrabble. I missed...him.

And I really want that nickname to stick, haha. I might start using it as my internet pen-name. If the blog name/address changed, maybe that should change too. 

Advice from Max

"...become a bit of an egomaniac. Just for a little while. Look at yourself in the mirror frequently and often and marvel at how fucking hawt you are. Wear tight clothes that show off your assets and assume that any negative feedback you get is just hating bitches hating. Strut around like your shit don’t stink. Constantly remind yourself how effing awesome you are and don’t let anything that happens convince you otherwise. If a girl looks at you sideways, it’s because she wishes she was you. A man rejects you? Because he’s not man enough to handle you. Just gas yourself up for a little while until you get to a point where your confidence is unshakeable. Because you need that to survive the dating game." -- Max, of max-logic
I think this applies to more than just the dating game--whenever shit is going badly, I just remind myself [okay, okay, with a little help from my friends (and India.Arie)]that I run dis shit, and then I keep it movin. She calls it egomania, Ev'Yan calls it narcissism, I call it loving yourself. Whatever you call it, don't forget to practice it, okay?   

Sunday, August 28, 2011

HAHAHA! I actually think this sometimes...

Reblogged from On the Bright Side
Stranger who pissed me off, you are about to be put on blast / acquaintance who made me smile, you will be recognized

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forreal tho

Reblogged from On the Bright Side

"Now, I love science. I love research. I love when smart people use lots of grant money to discover awesome things. But, I don’t like it when smart people begin with an inherently offensive hypothesis and then conduct a study under the pretense of wanting to prove it right." -- Lauren Wick, Thought Catalog

It's weird how certain situations can bring your family back together again

And make you feel like, well, a family again, as opposed to two teenagers, a twenty-something, and a somewhat responsible for the rest of us woman who can't believe she's going so grey already at 41.

Two such incidents have happened in as many days. First: I went to the beach yesterday morning with my grandmother, my cousin, my mom, and my sister (my brother was volunteering at the high school for freshman orientation because evidently he's a mentor? my brother? my brother who failed a marking period of honors bio? *is confused but pleased*). I hadn't seen my grandmother in quite some time, since January in fact--she was out of town when I came home for two days of Spring Break, and I somehow didn't make it out to see her when I was home at the beginning of the summer. She pulled me into the tightest, longest hug and I was reminded that I am missed. Then I walked into her house to discover that my 13 year old cousin had grown quite a few inches, and his voice had changed, and I felt like I'd been gone for too long. Then I got into the water at the beach, and called out for my sister to join me, and she did. All the fussing and fighting that A and I do was eradicated. There was splashing and swimming and floating and piggy-back-riding. I remembered what it felt like to have a sister. 

And then right now, Greg is asleep upstairs in my mom's bed. He had barely opened the door when I ran down the stairs and spread my arms wide and we shared a hug just as tight as that between my grandmother and I yesterday. I'm pretty sure our hug was longer than my mom's. Then he put his hands in my hair and called me "Afro Thunder". And my brother and sister came downstairs from their rooms and spent nearly three hours with us, the whole family together in the living room talking and laughing and reminiscing about the good times the five of us have shared over the years. Disregarding all the "Wowwwwwww x-thing has changed in y-way" statements, it was like the last two years never happened. Him being here feels so right. My anxiety has been [temporarily] replaced by the simplest of joys--I am surrounded by people I love and who love me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wanted: Snuggles

There's a lot of things I crossed off my hurricane supply list: 9-volt battery for my alarm clock that has a radio, brightly colored duct tape to make safety Xs on the windows, bread, non-perishables like granola bars, chips, crackers, candy, all the bottles of water in all the world. All check. There are flashlights on every floor. I gathered every candle (I think there are almost 40) in my house and piled them on my mom's dresser, along with a lighter and two half-empty giant boxes of matches. We brought in all the random crap from the backyard and put it in the basement. I have all the board games gathered in the living room, my GRE prep book spread out on the dining room table, two fun books to read next to it when I need a break. My cell phone and MP3 player are fully charged. I will fill one of the two bathtubs with water tomorrow afternoon in case we lose water pressure.

...Maya Reid don't play. I am generally a rather anxious person, and when NJ is facing a land-hit by a hurricane for the first time in 108 years, I feel like it's the day before we found out about college admissions all over again. My stomach is in KNOTS. I'm as prepared as I can be, I know. There's nothing else I can do, I know.

But my grandmother and my mom's ex I'm still in I-want-you-to-be-my-daddy with live in mandatory evacuation zones and aren't leaving. *increases worry* My mom is already having some fairly serious car trouble, so the possibility of flooding could do us in transportation-wise. *increases worry* There's a leaky window in my mom's bedroom and our roof has problems from time to time. *increases worry* My area is just entirely unprepared for something like this. *increases worry*  

I read a news article earlier saying Atlantic City Electric is warning people to prepare for power outages that could last for days. *increases worry*

Some official from Cape May County has said on the news [this is a paraphrase], "To all the people ignoring the evacuation, who want to try to ride it out, this is what you need to do. Get an index card, write your name, address, SSN, next of kin, and next of kin's phone number on it, and put it in the bottom of your shoe. We'll need it to identify your body." *increases worry*

Governor Christie said on the news this evening, "Get the hell off the beach." That's a direct quote. *increases worry*

And see, there's one thing on my emergency preparedness list that I can't get [well, okay, one thing in addition to a backup generator, a gas stove instead of the electric one we have, and a landline telephone]...someone to cuddle with me during the whole thing. [My family isn't a touchy-feely people. They give me major side-eye when I even want hugs.] I want to wear the necklace my best friend got me for my 16th birthday because it makes me feel safe. I want to wrap myself in the quilt my grandmother altered for me. And I want someone's arms around me, want them so bad it hurts. But I will settle for my two teddy bears from my father, one given to me the day after I was born, and the second given to me the day I graduated from high school. I know it's stupid to think this stuff will protect me, but...I'm a silly sentimental woman most of the time.

And maybe this isn't the most eloquent way to say it, but I'm scared SHITLESS.


I do actually sleep on my hair on airplanes, but this vid is still hilarious

"I'm not going to straighten my hair for special occasions or for job interviews or on a date. That's not how I feel like I put my best face forward. This *gestures to curls* is who I am. This is how I look best."

Preach, sistagirl, PREACH.

My this-will-be-my-anthem-when-I'm-grown song from childhood:

Minus the mother bit:

Friends, Lovers, or Nothing?

(I hate John Mayer as a person, but I love his music.)

So my friend F came to me today with a question that I have pondered before and will probably ponder again: What exactly is the difference between very good friends with benefits and a relationship? Very good friends meaning you text each other regularly and can talk about things and spend time together outside of one another's bedrooms [disregard the fact that such a situation may not be possible]. 
This relates back to everything I've ever wondered about how to know whether you like someone enough to be in a relationship with them. My friend and former roommate J noted very observantly that I have a tendency to closely befriend guys who fall into my range of "date-ability". I like to surround myself with people who aren't assholes, yeah. And who are smart and funny and whom I can have good conversations with...anyway, this is getting off subject. The important part is, if any of the guys I let into my innermost of circles expressed romantic interest in me, my panties would be off in a second I'd be totally down for that. They've all been pre-screened. They've probably all passed most of my tests. They're good guys. ...But perhaps it shouldn't be so easy for me to cross the line between how I want someone in my life. [Okay, well actually I'd probably be so terrified at the prospect of losing our friendship is shit went sour that I wouldn't want to risk anything by changing things. Because sometimes I'm a pussy.]
A second part of F's question was what's the difference between spending time with someone as a [very close] friend and spending time with someone in the context of a relationship? Is it just the intimacy? I once heard someone describe a relationship as just having someone you know you can hook up with every night, and I don't agree with that. A) Something comes from being emotionally intimate with the person you're being physically intimate with. B) I feel like the person you're in a relationship with all of a sudden becomes your best friend. They start to take on (or at least share) roles your best friends used to claim: the person you eat meals with, the person you text when someone awesome/terrible happens, the person you want to do something with when you're bored, the person you go to events with...but something is different about these things now. Now you're there WITH someone, as opposed to with some people. You and the person you're in a relationship with belong to one another in a way your besties never will. C) Part of that mutual ownership thing is sharing more things about yourself. The person you're in a relationship with has gets to see you with no makeup on and with bedhead and morning breath and explore all the parts of your body even when you haven't shaved. They get to know what your face looks like in moments of extreme pleasure, and also get to calm you down out of panic mode when crazy shit happens, and to comfort you when you've got killer cramps. They kind of take care of you and you kind of take care of them in a more full-time way than besties. D) Relationships are about mutually prioritizing another person, and they are exercises in reciprocity in a way that is not demanded by friendship. E) At least in my experience, you're still not guaranteed to get it every night (or even every night you want it). :\ 
But should there be some way I initially like hypothetical relationship X person that is different than the way I like my closest guy friends? A "spark", if you will? Should time that we spend not physically touching one another feel different than time spent hanging out with a friend? I feel like the answers to these questions might be yes, and given that, I feel like I might be doing things wrong. Except I can't figure out why. People say their spouses are like their best friends all the time, don't they? It's generally considered to be cute and appropriate and damn near ideal. So what separates a friend from a friend you can casually fuck with from time to time from a friend who could also be your life partner? Is something missing from the equation if an appropriate way to describe my relationship with a hypothetical boyfriend is that he's like my best friend AND he sexes me so good! That kind of seems like exactly what I want in life...
K once told me that fwb don't spend the night after they hook up. [Neither did my ex always. Neither did my ex before him ever, but that was high school...] I would like to argue that fwb don't CARE, but that also seems kind of false, if they are decent friends. In fact, isn't that usually the downfall of fwb relationships, that one of the two parties catches feelings? So I think it comes down to the fact that fwb is a relationship of convenience, whereas a real relationship is a matter of cultivating and prioritizing and reciprocity and choice and consequence and sacrifice and real hard work. And fwb will run itself into the ground even faster if you try to do relationship [or friendship?] type things like go out to dinner or catch a movie, right? Can you really be a friend with a fwb?
I suppose the underlying question in all of this is, are relationships worth it [even considering all the pain they can bring]? I think that feeling that you are the most special person in someone's life is priceless. I think being taken care of physically and emotionally and in whatever other ways you might need all by one person and being able to take care of that one person in the same ways is one of the greatest joys in life. I think you get out of relationships what you put into them, and so if your attitude is that your significant other is this cool person you're sleeping with on the regular and hanging out with too...that's not all that significant, is it? Best-friend-ship is probably the most significant relationship I can conceptualize at this age, and so I'm aiming to transcend that in my relationships. Mostly with the little intimate things that my friends and I will never experience together...and by getting naked. XD 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

- Ronald E. Osborn

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Look at this cuteness!

Reblogged from Curly and Young
Oh yes, I will need to experiment with ways to achieve this. (I guess I could just ask her...)
Reblogged from Treasured Tresses

"My challenge to you today: Honor yourself.
Realize that you are beautifully unique & so is your story. Don’t compare yourself to the personal stories & experiences of others. Respect your body, your abilities, your weaknesses. Listen to your heart. Listen to your body. Say No (or Yes) with conviction & proceed with grace.
And while you’re at it, tell your ego to shut its mouth." --Ev'Yan, over at Sex Love & Liberation

Why can't this be my life?

Reblogged from Natural Belle

"Sometimes all it takes is looking back to where you came from to be inspired about who you could be. You’re not a finished product, you have more work to do. And sure that’s hard but it’s hard to keep a soul from getting to its next stage." -- Leslie Pitterson, Clutch Magazine

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I love writing academically.

People always roll their eyes at me when I say that, but it's the truth. I get EXCITED when I have a new project to research. I love the process of scouring the internet and libraries for the background information I need. I love wearing out all my highlighters, scribbling lots of notes in the margins, and marking the important things according to a star-rating system that is far from systemic. I love introductions, setting you up to play a specific part in this narrative I have created--the part of the believer. I love drawing you in and walking you through my argument step by step, with you trailing me faithfully, drinking in my every word and falling farther and farther into belief. I love MS Word's Readability Statistics, switching up sentence structure, thinking of fancier words when the mood strikes, and treating every sentence--no, every phrase--like a miniature work of art. You know those pictures that are made from lots and lots of smaller pictures, but as long as you're standing at a reasonable distance you can't tell anything but the overall picture? That's sort of how I treat writing a paper--I spend lots of time crafting every little part, but in the end I want you to miss the trees for the forest (though I will be very pleased if you stop to comment on particularly beautiful trees). I don't want to sound like a future lonely old academic when I say this, but I find the whole process of writing a paper to be incredibly comforting. It is predictable and familiar and somehow It feels a little like home. Perhaps it's just the safety of knowing it's something I do well.

She feels the same way I do, it seems:
"Most times when people talk about losing yourself, it has a negative connotation: the overworked girlfriend who lives at her job, the head over heels friend whose made her man her life. I consider those kinds of loss to be falling. To dwell in a state of calm in what you love, so much so that you disappear and there is only passion, that- is losing yourself. And after a week of not opening the file, my professor forced me to click on the file and I dwelled there. Any hesitation I had about the future was gone when I was writing. What I was putting together stopped being a paper or a grade, it became a refuge. And whenever I was in that place, I was putting together something that felt like it was more than my problems, insecurities and doubts." -- Leslie Pitterson, Clutch Magazine

I think it speaks volumes about our generation

that as 20-somethings all up and down the East Cost (South Carolina to New Hampshire and evidently as far inward at Cleveland and Detroit) are experiencing their first earthquake, rather than running for the lowest levels in their houses or hiding under tables or whatever you're supposed to do in an earthquake--those guidelines don't really get hammered into our heads as kids in Jersey--, we were updating our Facebook statuses. I was talking to E on Skype and told her my house was shaking and she said someone was walking on her roof and we realized it might be an earthquake?! In New Jersey?! What!?! And by the time we came to that conclusion, it was over. And statuses had been updated telling me it was felt in DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio at the very least. I saw all of this before going outside to see any potential damage. Before calling my mom. Before anything. Potentially life-threatening natural disaster? Lemme go update my status just in case I die...

I can't say it wasn't incredibly convenient and faster than the news, though. Social networking is crazy, man.

Sometimes men I will never meet make me happy:

"How do you feel about women rockin natural hair?
L: There’s nothing like a woman who can look good being exactly who she is." --Reblogged from UrbanBushBabes

Yep, that's pretty accurate.

Reblogged from On the Bright Side

Monday, August 22, 2011

Uncommon Compliments:

Reblogged from Cue Black Girls

Fashion goal

Earlier in the summer, I talked some about thinking about the direction I wanted my clothing to go in. How my fashion choices could reflect this growing up that I'm trying to do. And I have decided that my next step should be to start owning and regularly wearing pants that aren't jeans. I have one pair of cords that I enjoy, so maybe I'll get more of those. I can also move towards trousers that aren't too professional-looking, and...uhm...yeah I'm gonna need some help with this. Stay tuned.


...It has come to my attention that I may be bad at reading people's actions.

Sometimes I really want to experiment with stretching my hair

I need to find a method that wouldn't disrupt my natural curl pattern hair wasn't as shrunken when I did the twist-out, but I didn't like the way the twists interacted with my curls...

Anyway, this is gorgeous and if I could ever find a way to emulate, my life would rock:

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...
Also that necklace. WANT.

I bought a fedora about a month ago

And I haven't worn it yet, though I have pondered the various styles I can put the fro into that would support it. It has this really cool "elasti-fit" band on the inside that keeps it on my head, even through moving and nodding vigorously. Anyway, when I do eventually wear it, my life would be awesome if I could look as fly as her:
Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Oh, or as fly as this vlogger I just discovered courtesy of Pretty is something you're born with:

Relationships are not a battle of the egos

And everyone who comes into our lives changes us in some way. If we are no different at the end of a friendship or relationship or even professional relationship than we were when we started, we're doing it wrong. 

That being said,
"'The words 'love' and 'change' used in the same sentence carries a negative connotation for most people.  'What do I look like changing for somebody else?!'  is the question some people ask.  If I had to give an answer, I would say 'You look like love.'" --Euphoric Ears

Goal: To become a better communicator

I've realized that talking to people scares me sometimes a lot of the time. 
There are like, three people whom I never feel any anxiety about talking to--in my head, these are my ride-or-die peeps. I almost never fight with these people, and I know I can talk to them about ANYTHING and be listened to [even if it occasionally comes with a grain of judgment]. (The girl who currently has the same profile picture as me, something which even my ex-boyfriend wouldn't do, is a good example of this.) 
Then there are the people that used to be in that role, but have fallen or are in the process of falling out of it--I still talk to them when I need someone to talk to, and when we're around each other we hang out and it's like no time has passed at all, but they've lost that daily role in my life. While they would definitely still fall into my "The Important People" circle on Google+, talking to them doesn't always feel incredibly of the key signs of being in this group. There are also three people who come to mind as clearly being part of this group.
Then there are what I like to call my foul-weather friends. This is the opposite of the fair-weather friends people often complain about. These are the friends that are near and dear to my heart, but whom I rarely actually talk to. But if some shit goes down, we are there for each other through the tears and the hug-needing and the serious conversations about our lives. I know they have my back, and I have theirs, but our relationships are pretty low-key most of the time. I'm sensing two people in this group. 
And then I'm starting to develop a new group, which I'm going to call the I-didn't-realize-how-good-a-friend-you-are friends. These are people I've started opening up to more recently, and whom I've realized I really ENJOY talking to. Getting close to them has been unexpected but very pleasant. I look forward to random-ish Facebook/gchats/running-into-each-other-on-campus-and-sitting-down-to-talks with them, and they almost always lead to in-depth discussions. I think there are four people in this group.
And this last group makes it clear how dissatisfied I am with the low-key-ness of my relationship with the people in the third group. Well, how dissatisfied I am with my contentedness concerning that low-key-ness is probably more appropriate. Friendships should never be crutches. And when I was younger, in the days before texting, I used to spend HOURS (a minimum of four daily) on the phone with my friends. We did homework together, watched TV together, sang songs together, talked about random shit, listened to each other breathe...we shared everything. And while I'm glad to be more of an independent person now that I'm semi-grown, I miss elements of that need to be close all the time. I miss feeling like I was actually sharing my life with other people. I've even had some interesting in-depth conversations with strangers this summer via my reliance on public transportation and messages on that dating site, and it has made talking to people I don't know through the safe semi-anonymity of the internet seem less frightening. And I've realized I'm developing this problem where I avoid conflict like the plague, and so will talk to lots of people about something problematic or potentially problematic I'm going through with someone until I feel like I've come up with a plan to resolve the issue...without ever even addressing the problem with that person. And that's just all kinds of not cute. And even when I do have the balls va-jay-jay to handle talking to people directly, I have a tendency to get flustered and downplay how I'm feeling once I'm there. And y'all know deference doesn't come naturally to me...also not cute.
So here's to keeping in better touch with the people that matter to me. And to carrying this self-imposed openness over into more of my real-world relationships, rather than just on this blog. And maybe even to phone calls. But definitely to communicating with other people, clearly and effectively and not shying away from how I feel. I want to have the same level of openness I have in my relationships with the people in Group 1 in all of my relationships. Maybe that's an impossible goal, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't work towards it anyway.

I can only handle so much race-related bullshit in short periods of time

I've had problems with Vogue for a while. In response to criticism about their lack of diverse models, Vogue launched the spinoff "Vogue Black" which is cool and all, and I'm glad to see us celebrated, but Vogue, in case you haven't heard, separate is inherently unequal. I wanna see women that look like me in the pages of your worth-gazillions-of-dollars magazine, not relegated to an interesting corner of the interwebs. 
But this makes that look like a stroll in the fucking park: Vogue evidently thinks large hoop earrings are a throwback to the fashion statements made my my enslaved foremothers. That's right, while we all thought they were out there just trying to work hard enough to possibly not get whipped by their overseers and struggling to keep their families together and avoid legally sanctioned rape, and dealing with the psychological trauma of being an object rather than a human being, they were also evidently totally concerned with the image of beauty they portrayed. I mean, I know they didn't get paid or even get enough food to support their families, but they totally rocked gold earrings. And who cares about the food situation anyway?--the emaciated look is still en vogue. //end sarcasm

Vogue says about gold hoop earrings:
"If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom." 
I'm pretty sure my latest interpretation is pure ignorance and a complete trivialization of history and its lasting effects on your part, Vogue. 


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I just got what is possibly the most interesting phone call of my life.

It involved two good friends of mine, and a situation I was totally oblivious to but should probably have been more aware of. [What can I say, I'm just a friendly person and have a tendency to interpret others' actions as having no motive beyond friendliness unless it's obviously otherwise.] They're sneaky. And I'm blind. And life is funny sometimes. My surprise is a pleasant one, though. That should be said loudly, despite my current state of bewilderment. 

It seems I may have inadvertently done a very good thing. 

What can I say: Maya Reid, bringer together of cool people everywhere. They flock to me. ;)  

Something E and I [and evidently my friend M] agree upon

Reblogged from On the Bright Side
Like, for real though. When I'm cruising along on that dating site I still haven't gotten any actual dates from [whatever, I know I'm fabulous] and I see a guy whose Favorite Books section includes legitimate LITERATURE instead of just graphic novels and Harry Potter (or worse: "I don't read much"), major cool points are added.


So my good friend L big chopped. And she looks GORGEOUS. And she said what I've heard so many other women say: that she feels so free! And anyway, every time someone I actually know [either in real life or on a blog I follow] big chops, I'm a little bit...*struggles to find an appropriate word*. Somewhere between remorseful and jealous. I got my first relaxer before second grade, courtesy of my mom not wanting to "deal with" my hair for school pictures while she had two babies to take care of. Part of me wishes I hadn't learned that the ingredients in chemical relaxers can eat through soda cans at such an early age--13--and declared myself relaxer-free then [with one small slip back to relaxer-hood when I was 14 in Detroit with my father. Hair was a struggle with no women in the house to help me...]. I guess it would be appropriate to say I was a ridiculously long-term transitioner. I wore my hair heat pressed from that very last "diet" relaxer at 14 until I was 19, with some small periods of wearing my hair out in its naturally curly state in between [read: in the summer or when I was feeling lazy]. Starting the summer after my junior year of high school, I had the world's most amazing hairdresser, who worked miracles on my hair without using any sort of chemical relaxer. She told me that I had so much hair and such good hair that if I ever put chemicals in it again, she would never speak to me again. With her, I got regular trims with my straightened hair, because my split ends were RIDICULOUS, and my senior year of high school, I even got layers, which got rid of more and more of the hair that had been relaxed. 
Then towards the end of my freshman year at Princeton, I washed my hair one afternoon and then didn't want to begin the HOURSSSS long process of straightening, and decided to go lay outside in the sun on the beautiful day for a little while before I got started. Then I fell asleep and my friend A came over and woke me up to compliment me on my hair, and I remembered that I was outside in public with my hair in its natural texture and freaked out. I gathered my stuff up and rushed back inside, where my roommates similarly marveled at my hair (and the two White ones asked lots of awkward questions...). I realized I would miss dinner if I started the straightening process then, so I had to go to dinner with my hair curly. More compliments. I was intrigued by people liking it, and decided the straightening process could be foregone for a little while...which turned into about 8 months, until my mom demanded that I straighten it before meeting her new boyfriend, and I caved and wore it straight again for another 3 months or so, before I realized that I wasn't straightening it for myself, and that wasn't cool. So I made a resolution last January to never put heat on my hair again. And I love it. And everyone knows that story, I know, but sometimes I wish it had all been more INTENTIONAL, you know? I'm such a natural-hair advocate, but I feel kind of like I wasn't as brave with the whole thing because I had technically BEEN natural for sooooooo long before I decided to GO natural. 
I'm pretty sure that all my hair that had ever experienced relaxer was gone before I ever embraced my natural texture as something to be desired. I never had to go through the dual texture/lack-of-length combo shocker. I never awkwardly had two different textures to deal with as I was transitioning--my relaxers never "took" like other people's did; even with a relaxer in, if my hair came within inches of a drop of water it was back to poofing and curling. So I can commiserate about heat damage, or finding the right oil, or the benefits of co-washing and when shampoo is absolutely necessary. I can talk about styling and what products are healthy and what ingredients to avoid. I could write a BOOK about tangles/knots. But I can't talk about curl definition, because my hair is just curly [thank you years of racial integration and the fact that I don't really know wtf I am that produced this hair] and I don't have to work very hard to define my curls. And I can't speak to the particular challenges of big-chopping, but sometimes I really wish I could. I really wish I could have felt as intensely revolutionary as that must feel. Although people still saw my choice to stop straightening as revolutionary... Idk. Maybe this doesn't make any sense. I have so much love and respect and admiration for my fellow naturalistas who rock TWAs. If I had known what big-chopping was when I was 13, I would have joined you. Now, I will just close my eyes and nod in deference when I see you, because my stumbled-upon fro and I don't feel worthy.  


It has come to my attention that some people don't know what big-chopping it. It's the act of cutting off all of one's relaxed--chemically straightened--hair and leaving a very small amount of natural hair, commonly referred to as a TWA or teeny weeny afro. Here is an example:
Some random internet woman.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What does one wear a denim shirt with?

This is also obviously a hairgasm:

Reblogged from Pretty is Something You're Born With

"Living my life like it's golden" and other six-word biographies

An exercise inspired by Miss Jenkins of Rewriting Herstory:

  • Loving myself and paying it forward.
  • Learning to love me for me.
  • Searching for home, enjoying the journey.
  • Laughing, loving, losing, lingering, loving still.
  • Reaching, dreaming, defining my own success.
  • En route to finding my happy.
  • Making peace with my own reflection.
  • Being open so wide it hurts.
  • Being afraid to fall, trying anyway. 

These are fun. Try it!

I approve wholeheartedly of this message:

Originally featured in T Magazine, reblogged from Natural Belle:

Solange Knowles
Les Nubians
Corrine Bailey Rae

Friday, August 19, 2011


Reblogged from Treasured Tresses
Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

‘Forgetting does not mean we are forgotten. Forgetting is an active fading, a process that says we are losing, but we are also fighting back.’

Reblogged from The Good Men Project


Status update from Nivea for Men USA last night:
Thank you for caring enough to give us your feedback about the recent "Re-civilized" NIVEA FOR MEN ad. This ad was inappropriate and offensive. It was never our intention to offend anyone, and for this we are deeply sorry. This ad will never be used again. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of our company. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Add to my list of hair things I wanna try:

I want to experiment with parting my fro. Probably a side part, like I used to do when I straightened it. This would probably have to involve second day hair and clips in overnight to stretch my hair in opposite directions so the part would be defined. It would also probably require that I own a comb to make the part... [I do detangle, fyi, just using a Denman brush because it works better for me.] Something a little like this would be fairly awesome.

Flyness. Reblogged from On the Bright Side 

I Co-Sign this with the biggest pen I can find:

"I am past the point where I have any patience for people telling me how I should feel about how black women are presented in the media. Especially people who have never walked a moment, much less a mile in the shoes of black women in America. And before someone decides to break out the face paint & do a documentary? Let me tell you right now that a day or a week or even a month in makeup won’t touch what it’s like to hear from birth that you are worth less than every body else because of you hair, your skin, your culture, your history, & your gender. You know, all those things that make you human? Yeah, the message we get is that we’re not really human. We’re beasts, we’re Mammy, we’re bedwarmers, we’re everything under the Sun but people who are valued & valuable. Well, we’re valuable when we can be exploited by someone else, but pearl clutching ensues when we want to profit from our own labor.
Black women have a reputation for being strong that is sometimes helpful & sometimes harmful. We do our best to survive everything that gets thrown at us. We fight the messages, we teach our kids to fight the messages, but it is 2011 & I am still seeing books, movies, TV shows, & articles lauded for explaining exactly how much less we are worth than everyone else. We can’t even tell our own stories without having to argue over whether or not we’re qualified to speak. If we’re silent others speak at top volume until we are rendered down to Mammy, Jezebel, or Sapphire with no room for reality. When we do speak up suddenly we are too loud, too angry, too confrontational, simply too much. Even when we whisper, we are doing it wrong, but trust & believe we will be heard whether anyone else likes it or not. We are women. We are black. We will not stop speaking for ourselves. Get used to it or get the fuck out of our way."
A PSA From A Loud Angry Black Woman -- Originally posted at The Angry Black Woman

I can't argue with any of this.

Reblogged from come correct

I may officially remember this as the summer I rediscovered R&B/Soul

Not that I had ever really lost it, but I'm finding so many awesome artists this summer! Shoutout to Clutch Magazine for making this introduction: 

I'm sure I'm supposed to find something wrong with this

or at least I would be supposed to if I was a hardcore enough feminist, but mannnn...I think this shit is hilarious. Mad props to B for sharing it with me.

Why do people liken being bisexual to being "on the down-low"?

Just because a man or a woman is attracted to members of both any sexual category doesn't mean they cannot happily be in a relationship with one person in one of those categories. Bisexuality does not preclude the ability to be monogamous or committed. And I don't think it's something that has to be addressed at the forefront of a relationship or a "talking," either. I don't sit down to have a conversation with my partners about the fact that I'm straight for the most part*, nor do I expect them to have that kind of a conversation with me, so why should that expectation change based on orientation? I hate double standards. I hate people who pigeon-hole LGB sexualities into little boxes of stereotypical behavior and then get mad when the world doesn't work that way. Yes there are gay men who are stereotypically masculine. Yes there are lesbian women who wear makeup and dresses and heels. Yes there are people who fall in love with a person based on their personhood, not their sex or their gender. There are even people who aren't sexually attracted to anyone. The are only two sexualities that I think warrant up-front discussion like that: asexuality, because sex/intimacy is generally expected at some point in a relationship, and polyamorous-ness, because I think people have a right to expect monogamy. But if your boo wants to be with you right now, does it really matter what other categories of people he/she is also attracted to? This seems like me not wanting to date a guy who has been with a woman of a difference race than me, or who is less educated than me, or any other social difference that might be a big deal. In other words, it would be ridiculous. 

*I am straight-identified. I want relationships with men. And while I love me some dick, I wouldn't run away screaming from the prospect of relations with a woman. End of story.  

Taboo Subject Number Next

Disclaimer: I am going to talk about porn. If this offends you, there is non-sexual social commentary in the previous post; keep scrolling.

I am talking about porn for two reasons. 1) Because one of my favorite bloggers, Ev'Yan over at Sex, Love, and Liberation, asked me to, and 2) because I think it's stupid that society treats it as something that shouldn't be openly talked about, especially by a woman. And we all know I don't stand for stupid. 

So, Ev'Yan, followers, people of the internet: I have a declaration to make. I, too, am a woman who enjoys watching porn! I also like reading erotic literature [the real stuff, though I'll settle for a "romance novel" if I'm feeling particularly sappy], but the visuals get me off faster. When I have a nice extended period of time to devote to self-pleasure, I like to read naughty stories with real porn playing on a separate tab so I can hear it--the combo of words and sounds drives me crazy. 
She asked what my first experience with porn was like. I'm not sure I've told anyone this story in full, so yay secrets time! I was twelve. This may seem shockingly young to most of you, but it should be noted that getting my period at the age of 9 meant learning about my body very early, including how to make it feel good. I had been masturbating for quite some time already, but I discovered porn when I was twelve. I discovered it by accident, with my female cousin (age 11 at the time). We had been watching some movie on Cinemax earlier in the day [small things I miss about living in a two-parent household: we could once afford movie channels] and then we put a DVD in to watch with my little brother and sister. The movie finished after whatever time Cinemax becomes "Skinemax," and when we switched back to TV mode from Video mode, two White couples were just starting to get busy in the middle of a campsite. There were children present (my brother and sister, who were 7 and 8 at the time), so we switched the channel as soon as we recognized that there were boobies on the screen--they barely had enough time to say "Ewww." Then, since it was late, my cousin and I sent the kids upstairs to bed, then settled back down in front of the TV. I don't remember how we came to the agreement that we were going to turn back to Cinemax, but we turned the volume nearly all the way down [the better to potentially hear people coming down the stairs] and got under the blankets we were laying on on the floor and pushed the last button on the remote. It should be noted that this cousin and I talked about sex a lot--whenever one of us would hear something from a friend or catch a glimpse of something we shouldn't have seen in a movie, we would dutifully report it to the other the next time we hung out. Our Barbies had sexytime. So this didn't seem weird at all. We were laying on our stomachs, eyes glued to screen, and sometime during the movie I realized that I was more turned on than I had ever been in my entire [short] life, and my hand began to drift downward. I tried to not be that into it, lest she notice, but eventually I could tell she was paying attention and so I stopped and slowly brought my hand back up. When it was back outside the covers, she grabbed my wrist, pulled my hand towards her face, and inhaled, then said, "You nasty." I gave her an I-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about look, but remember feeling relieved that if she recognized the actions and the scent, that meant she did it too.
We began to seek out porn late at night whenever she was sleeping over at my house, which was pretty often back then. Eventually my family cancelled its subscription to Cinemax, though, and my days of watching porn with another person were dead until I was with J the summer after my senior year of high school. He noticed that watching people give blowjobs turns me on. (It still does, as long as there's no spitting.) Oh that's right, Ev'Yan also wanted to know what kind of porn I like.
I'm pretty open: I have gotten off to M-F, M-M, F-F, M-M-F, M-F-F, MtoF-M, all kinds of crazy orgies...I think that's about it. I watch two-person straight porn the most frequently by far, though. I can't fuck with old people, very overweight people, BDSM, or gang-banging though. Or anything illegal. 
"My porn preference says nothing about who I am as a person; yours most likely doesn’t either.People like what they like because they like it, & to have our identities wrapped around the kind of erotic images we gaze upon is dangerous. I believe that the porn we view has little to do with the inner workings of our personalities & more to do with raw, instinctual carnality.
We fuck, therefore we enjoy images of fucking." --Ev'Yan
In light of that, I feel comfortable revealing to you all that my go-to kind of porn is pretty degrading, the kind that feminists and really just women everywhere are/should probably be against. I really really love public-drunk-party-girl sex. Like, in the middle of the kind of wild crazy house party one associates with "college" but I will never actually see the likes of, when people just start getting it on on the couch in the living room with a crowd watching/cheering/recording. The person-who-cares-deeply-about-the-state-of-humanity and was-she-really-in-a-state-to-consent in me is shut up entirely by the wannabe-exhibitionist who is entirely enthralled. I'm also a big fan of threesomes, particularly if they feature an MMF train. Nuru massage porn is the shit too--I actually wanna try that shit. I tend to watch more White porn than Black porn, just because it's harder to find Black porn that isn't audibly degrading to the woman involved, imho. Visually, I'm a big fan of amateur porn and will turn it off if there is music in the background distracting me from the sounds of sex, but when it comes to erotica I like there to be a story and can get pretty caught up in like, series. There is also one genre of erotica that I love to read but would never watch porn of because it would be disturbing, harmful to the people involved, and illegal. I'm not telling any more than that.

Your blog is so amazing/interesting and I get you, you put into words what runs through my mind and I just want to say you are awesome. This really isn't a question, but I just wanted to let ya know :)

You, kind friend? stranger? reader! have just made my morning. It's rainy and gross outside but now there's a smile on my face. Thank you. It's always so refreshing to know I'm not the only person who cares about what I care about. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Let me show you just how many damns I give.

Dear Nivea,

The recent Summer's Eve ads made me uncomfortable, because they were [one of] the most stereotypical thing[s] I'd seen in advertising in a long time. They tried to cop-out and call blatant racial profiling "appealing to wider audiences" or some bullshit, but the internet saw through that in a heartbeat. I thought that was going to be our big advertising what-the-fuck-were-they-thinking scandal of 2011, but you have snatched that infamous prize right out of their pigeon-holing fingers.

Because my choice not to try my hardest to look like you means I don't give a damn? [If you mean about your standards of beauty, you damn straight, but I'm pretty sure you're not that righteous.] Because my choice not to try my hardest to look like you means I don't "look good" (fine print)? Because a black man is an ANIMAL if he has an afro and a beard? Because that which does not mimic White culture is to be demonized? I have heard my hair texture be deemed unprofessional. I have heard it be called ugly, heard the word "nappy" spat as an insult. I have heard this from Black people as well as people of other races--even Patti Labelle went off about how a little biracial girl's hair needed "taming" just the other day.  When I went natural I even had a not-so-close [Asian] friend ask me incredulously, "You did that on purpose?!" (He has since fallen to the level of acquaintance.) But never, and I mean NEVER, has someone implied that wearing my hair the way it grows out of head puts me on equal footing with a BARBARIAN. Never has anyone told me I don't belong in civil society because of what is on my head. [Well, my mom once told me I wasn't fit to be seen in public with her, but that is neither here nor there.]
Before I get into the HOW FUCKING DARE YOU, there is someone I would like you to meet. He is a man I am honored to know and be recognized by, as he never fails to call me "Sister Reid" when I see him in public. Very probably the most widely-recognized blackademic in the world, he has authored 21 published books, appeared on countless television news series, had a cameo in The Matrix, and even released a few spoken word/hip-hop CDs. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University at age 20, went on to get a PhD from [my very own] Princeton University, and has received over 20 honorary degrees from other institutions. I have never seen him in anything but a 3-piece suit. I remember MS Word filling my notes from his class with squiggly red underlines because the concepts upon which he elaborates need heavier terms than most people can handle. Briefly, this man epitomizes the concept of civility.
It's ridiculous that I have to provide you with this example right now. It's ridiculous that we're even having this conversation right now. It is ridiculous that ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, we still need to defend our humanity to the majority. 
It is so hard to cultivate a love for ourselves as a people in the face of the media/world at large telling us we're doing it wrong every single day. Ads that feature anorexically-skinny-no-hips-no-ass-bitches or some blonde White woman whipping her hair back and forth in the shower are one level of social exclusion. On a good day I can step back and say hey, those people deserve being celebrated too even though these are the people we see portrayed positively all over the damn television/billboards/movies/world on a regular basis. But you are blatantly, no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall telling me that that which is inherent in my humanness and personhood is the opposite of a good look. Where the hell do you get off telling me that I'm not good enough? Nobody puts Baby in a corner my humanity on the line! What the fuck makes you think it's appropriate to portray my natural state of being as something to be stripped off like a mask and tossed away? 
What if we went around saying that eyes that weren't brown were uncivilized? Or hair that was naturally straight? Or skin lighter than a paper bag? No, that would be ridiculous, right? THEN CHECK YOURSELF.  Better yet, go get a lesson in civility and learn to give a damn about peoples who are unlike yourselves, rather than demeaning and de-humanizing them. "Projecting confidence and sophistication is simple" when you own your body and work with what was given to you naturally, when you don't let someone else's standards of beauty make you feel like something is wrong with you. Loving yourself, that's the epitome of confidence. Being deep enough to trust in your natural beauty, that's sophisticated. 
I haven't done fake hashtags in a while, but this deserves them: