Friday, September 30, 2011

Sometimes the government recognizes when they're being problematic

and actually changes things. Sometimes it takes a ridiculously long time, and you've all but given up hope, but the persistent activists among us keep raising a quiet form of hell until something actually gets done. That's what I was always taught to believe, anyway. I love when I can actually see evidence of this happening IRL:

I love a man with neat dreds

As such, I legit started breathing more heavily when I stumbled upon this:

Reblogged from Naturally Beautiful Hair
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Words to live by:

"It’s crucial to take a sense of humility into the world. By the time you make it to a top graduate school, almost all your learning has come from people who are smarter and more experienced than you: parents, teachers, bosses. But once you’ve finished at Harvard Business School or any other top academic institution, the vast majority of people you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too."-- Clayton M. Christensen, liberette Magazine

Brother West at #OccupyWallSt

I had class with this man on my very first day at Princeton. I went to class half an hour early on Mondays and Wednesdays so that I could sit in the front row and be near to him. I'm fairly positive I've gone to every speaking engagement he's been at in my time here, and though I've only taken that one class with him, his influence on my intellectual mindset has been incredible. No other professor has ever matched his ability to make me literally stumble out of lecture, trying to reorient myself as a physical being within the new way I view the world because of what he just said. I don't always agree with his viewpoints, but that is one of the most powerful orators I've ever met. (Dr. Michael Eric Dyson rivals him.) My journey from being an American who happened to be black to being a Black American was critically influenced by this man, who calls me Sister Reid whenever we see each other, and I'm not sure I'll ever have the opportunity to truly thank him for that.

Anyway, enough of my gushing. I will leave you with an image, because it says more than I'll ever be able to:

 

My stomach is in KNOTS right now

because I just scheduled my Senior Portrait appointment for less than a week from now. 4pm next Wednesday. My SENIOR. PORTRAITS. Because I'm a senior and my life as I know it is racing to an end. My appointment was confirmed by an email that began, "Congratulations on your upcoming graduation." 

If that wasn't enough to stress me out (guess what? It is.), I don't like that we're given a "drape" there. Can't we all just wear a black shirt or something? How will I coordinate jewelry, makeup, and hair to go with my outfit if I don't know what I'm wearing in the picture? 

And hair. This sitting involves pictures in my cap and gown. A) I don't want to THINK about a cap and gown, let alone be photographed in one. B) FROS AND CAPS DON'T MIX. At all. And I could put all sorts of effort into restraining at least the top part of my hair with clips and pins so that the cap could fit over it, but then my hair would be restrained and down in my cap-less pictures too, and as a woman who wears a huge kinky-curly fro every day, I want to look like myself in my graduation pictures! My hair isn't manipulable enough when it's dry to take the cap-less pictures in full fro first and then pin it back and put it haphazardly under the cap somehow for the capped pics. But I feel like my mother will kill me if I don't have a picture with my cap on. 

I'm getting a zit right between my eyebrows as we speak. I really hope it'll be gone by next week. My skin has generally been freaking out since I've been back on campus, and I'm scared that if I double my efforts to clear it up this week, it will just retaliate by breaking out even further.

I have a really bad history with school pictures. And I don't mean just like, ah we were all so awkward in middle school bad history. I mean like, my mother wouldn't even buy any of my high school senior portraits because they were that bad. Portraits make me nervous. I have this tendency to smile really wide when I'm nervous. And when I smile really wide, a few unfortunate things happen. These are arranged in order from least to most problematic: 1) The gap between my two front teeth, which I find endearing most (but not all) of the time, is showcased. 2) My cheeks scrunch up like a chubby little baby's, and sometimes my dimples even appear. 3) Depending upon the angle of the photograph, I appear to have a double chin. These three things occasionally all happen at once, which evidently creates a face even my mother can't love.

Long story short: this next week is going to be an exercise in seeing how acne-and-stray-hair-free I can make my face. It will perhaps involve practicing manipulating my dry hair into some sort of pulled back form that would allow for the placing of a cap on my head. It will undoubtedly be quite stressful for me, which is going to work directly against the acne-freeing-goal.

I really want to have a senior portrait. When I go to friends' houses and see theirs from high school, I sometimes get really sad and jealous. If these go well, my family will blow ridiculous amounts of money ordering lots of prints, and this will find its way into practically every living room of a person who is related to me. If they don't go well, it will just be one more in a long line of photographic disappointments I have brought my family. My last portrait, for my eating club's faceboard last year, went so well that I spent my own money to buy copies for my family; I'm hoping to repeat that stroke of good luck with this, but the chances seem slim. I'm so worried already. This matters. And that means my body will probably work against me to mess it up.        

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

Sometimes we all need to remember

Reblogged from Sister Outsider

Few things have ever made me feel like a "bad" child.

Selfish, yeah sometimes. Occasionally even ungrateful. Stubborn. I told little lies from tiem to time. But there is generally an understanding within my household that I am "the good child." 95% of the time, I was a straight-A student. Doing my homework was always top priority, even if my friends and I would get distracted as we struggled through calculus together on the phone. I maintained a job during the school year and bought my own school clothes, supplies, lunch, etc. and paid for all my own fun. I didn't even kiss a boy until I was 18, and waited until the unheard of age of 21 to let go of my virginity. [I don't like the phrase "lose;" it was a conscious decision.] My friends used to tease me about how innocent I was, and were shocked that I never talked back to my mother and was concerned about being dishonest. I was a good kid.

The only time I've ever really felt "bad" was during the two months I snuck around with my first boyfriend, whom my entire family disapproved of (for very good reason--I myself disapprove of him in retrospect). It's probably slightly problematic that he was my first experience with physical/sexual pleasure at hands that were not my own, so being bad was (temporarily?) conflated with feeling oh so incredibly good. I intentionally misled my mother about where I was to engage in actions she would not have approved of in any manner, but dammit I was 18, had just graduated high school, my whole life was changing, and it was nice to rebel a little! 

I'm getting off topic here. Basically, the point here is that I have always thought I was a good kid. 

And then I found out yesterday that a very close friend of mine didn't start to masturbate until high school. And I was FLOORED. And I know you all of the internet are going to think I'm joking, but this person would not front with me about this. We don't play that. This person even told me hir [haha third-gender pronoun; I'm not giving away any hints] best friend doesn't know this. Part of hir explanation was having been "such a good child." And I was still like Sebastian in The Little Mermaid with his jaw on the ground.

Because I'm almost positive I started to experiment with self-pleasure around the age of 8. I might have been 9, but I'm positive it was in the house that we lived in when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade, which means first half of being 9 at the absolute oldest. When my cousin and I played Barbies, our Barbies had sex. I discovered porn accidentally in the 6th grade, with that same cousin, but we were both intrigued rather than disgusted, and made a ritual out of sneaking down to the living room to see what was on HBO and Cinemax late at night when she slept over.

Does having a sexual appetite (and having had one from an early age) make me a "bad" child? I know that there are some people, even some people I'm very good friends with, who have never masturbated, either for religious reasons or because our patriarchal misogynistic society has socialized them into believing that women are not sexual beings and that our bodies are disgusting and should not be touched/probed unnecessarily. I am sad for these people. I am also sad for my friend. But maybe I should be sad for me? 

[On second thought, fuck that. Who equated "sheltered" with "good," and why do they deserve my time/attention? I turned out just fine, if I do say so myself.]  

I actually just gasped at this beautiful creature

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah Curls Curls Curls

Sometimes them crazy-ass Republicans make me wanna be a crazy-ass liberal...

So, to protest affirmative action (because that's obviously still cute, right), the Campus Republicans at UCBerkeley had a bake sale yesterday, where a baked good cost a White man $2.00, an Asian man $1.50, a Latino man $1.00, a Black man $0.75, and a Native American man $0.25. Women received 25 cents off of whatever price for the men of their respective race had to pay. 




^Note that, according to this formula, Native American women are worthless.

All this, to somehow say that it's a bad, crazy, terrible, unfair idea for the admissions officers at UC schools to be able to take into consideration whether race has unfairly disadvantaged applicants in terms of resources they had available to them [like, oh I don't know, having textbooks in their classrooms, teachers who care, Honors and/or AP classes being offered at their schools, guidance counselors who are trained in the college admissions process, you know, a decent education...]. Obviously racial segregation that begets concentrated areas of poverty play no role in any of this. Or at least, not a role that anyone should give a shit about. Because those people obviously don't want to be educated. They could go to libraries if they wanted books. They could use this nifty thing called the internet. Oh wait, they can't afford transportation or computers either? Well, that's their own fault, they should be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps instead of holding their hands out to the government. Oh, they can't afford boots? Well...

[end sarcasm]

I very much want to propose that we (we being racial/ethnic groups on campus, the College Democrats, random feminists, Sustained Dialogue, the Women's Center, and social scientists galore) hold a counter-bake sale. [What a ridiculously entertaining notion, the bake sale as a political tool.] I wouldn't really even be changing much; I would probably keep almost the exact same pricing structure, with a few minor tweaks here and there. The only difference is, we would say ours is to demonstrate the differences in pay grade between members of each group. Based on the wages we give members of each race-and-gender-based-group, we've adjusted the price to reflect what, respectively, they can each afford to pay. When we start valuing people equally for the work they do, everyone can pay the same price. 


This has been an Oh so you think you're cute rant.

-------------
Interesting points raised by my friends when I posted this on Facebook:


What do they do for people of mixed racial backgrounds? [To this I add transgendered individuals or others who don't fit neatly into the gender binary.] And the rationale for making Asians less highly ranked than Whites (on either their pay scale or my hypothetical one) is shaky at best.

In my next life, remind me that I want dreds so freaking bad

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

I just cannot betray my curls in this one. But damn. Hair jewelry would bring me to a whole nother level.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A big role to fill:

"Intellectuals are the vanguard or ideological proponents of both well-entrenched and nascent social orders. It is their task to explain what has been, to justify or to overturn what now exists, and to chart what must become tomorrow." -- Manning Marable, How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (pg. 18-19)

Despite my previous post,

I wonder which side of this line I fall on. I go to the number one University in the world, and there is less than $200 in my bank account, and even that is already promised away. I have a job, but also a giant bill coming my way in November, and as much of the money I make as possible has to be saved in light of that.  I suppose I fall into an ambiguous middle category called "privileged".

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.
 

I hate worrying about money all the fucking time.

I hate feeling like I've abandoned my officer duties for the job I have only so I can stay a member of my eating club and continue to serve as an officer. I hate knowing that I'm not going to keep up with my promise to see my non-Quad friends this year, because any free time I once had is now consumed by a minimum of 17.5 hours of work a week (and I usually try to pick up an extra shift or two to bring me to that 20-hour limit). I hate that I got the reminder text from AT&T about my family's cell phone bill being due a few days ago, and then on Saturday my mom called me to ask if I had any extra cash she could borrow, and for the first time since establishing my semi-independent adult life, I had to tell her no. I hate knowing that what I spent the money I had and nearly all the money I'll get anytime in the near future on is arguably something that is unnecessary because family should come first. I hate feeling selfish, and I hate feeling spoiled. 

I hate that the University charged me $810 to enroll me in a student health plan I don't need because I neglected to fill out either the Waive or Enroll forms. Evidently they told me they were going to do this...in the ATTACHMENT entitled PLAN BENEFITS sent in one email, that I was obviously not going to read if I didn't plan on enrolling in the plan! And if I can't find a way to talk myself out of this, next semester is going to see another $810 charge! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I COULD DO WITH $1,620?! Pay my family's damn cell phone bill, that's one thing. Not have to jump on as many hours/week at work as possible and as many paid psychology experiments as I qualify for. Be able to do fun things like go to the movies or buy a dress for the surprise semi-formal bar night we have coming up. Not be so fucking stressed out about how I'm going to continue to do the best thing I have ever done at Princeton, while smiling and pretending that everything is fucking okay. 

There is nothing less okay than money wasted. And there may not be any way to fix this. And sometimes I just wanna throw in the towel and walk away from this thing I love because it would be easier, but dammit, can't I be allowed to be happy?! Don't I deserve that?! 

And now I'm fucking crying in the middle of the fucking library and people are going to ask what's wrong and I don't want to tell them. The circumstances of my life embarrass me.

This almost makes me wanna pick my fro out.

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...
That will never actually happen, though.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Laughter, we must remember, is often nothing more than that fleeting and reflective moment when one lays aside pretension and peers into the shadowy corners of one's own self-image." -- John Russell Rickford and Russell John Rickford, Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English

I am beyond the hype.

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah Curls Curls Curls

"Beauty is that glow that comes from within, which can only be ignited by being connected in the now. That is meeting all with openness to the potential of co-creating greatness. You can only shine it when you work on the most important relationship you’ll ever have: that with yourself." -- The Bandit Queen, of blackgirl on mars

Reblogged from On the Bright Side

PostSecret is my favorite thing about Sundays.

Reblogged from PostSecret
I'm not just thinking about this in terms of male/female/fuck binary gender systems, but also in terms of all the weird kinds of trivial 'requirements' some people have about their prospective partners. You know, "he has to be taller than me with this kind of job and make this much money and dress this way and want to do more on Sundays that just watch football," or "she has to cook and clean and take care of the kids and maintain her figure after having said kids and always look put together and..." Eventually we'll all wake up and realize that the only truly necessary criterium is "this person needs to make me feel happy, safe, and secure, even when times are rough." 

I think that's your only chance to find ever after, if it exists.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Someone remind me of this the next TWLOHA Day

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
And if you don't know what To Write Love on Her Arms Day is, you should.

Someday I'm going to find a field of wildflowers

not a metaphorical field of flowers, but an actual field bursting with glorious color, along the side of a random road somewhere, and make whoever's driving me pull over and run with me into the hues. I have wanted pictures of my hair amongst the flowers for a long time, but this photograph has reawakened the desire.

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
This also makes me want to start experimenting with scarves...
"There is such power in vulnerability; in wearing your heart on its sleeve; in being beautifully honest.
When you do these things, a window of your soul opens up & exposes itself to the world.
Nothing else on earth can do this quite like vulnerability can." -- Ev'Yan, of Sex Love & Liberation.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My first ever product review!!!

Bee Mine Bee U Ti Ful Natural and Organic Deep Conditioner
Ingredients: Distilled water, Cetearyl Alcohol, BTMS (mild emulsifier), 100% Unrefined Shea Butter , 100% Organic Coconut Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Calendula Extract, Chamomile Extract, Organic Raw Honey, Paraben Free Preservative, Fragrance (Phthalate Free)

Silicone - Free / SLS - Free / Paraben - Free / Protein Free 

In a stroke of good luck, I won this product in a BGLH giveaway last week! As I don't have class until the evening on Wednesdays, I decided to give it a go yesterday morning, and as soon as I opened the container, I knew I was in for a treat. 
Creme de la creme
It's a much creamier consistency than the deep conditioner I'd been using previously, and has a light fresh coconut scent that is pleasant without being overbearing. I wet my hair in the shower and then began to apply the deep conditioner, scrunching it into sections of my wet hair, and my hair just ATE IT RIGHT UP. I never realized the degree to which my old deep conditioner sort of sits on top of my hair until this melted right into it! The instructions say to leave it in for ten minutes under a plastic cap, but I like to combine deep conditioning and detangling into one convenient treat-my-hair-right process, so I probably left it in for closer to half an hour as my Denman Brush and I worked our way through my now no longer knotty/tangled and more clearly defined curls! (Denman brushes, women. I highly recommend.) 
With the conditioner in, somewhere in the middle of detangling

Look, Ma, I can comb my hair! My hand looks like an alien life-form in this picture.

Happily quenched curls after I rinsed the deep conditioner out.
Seriously though, I don't think my curls have ever been as thoroughly quenched as they were yesterday, and even when I woke up this morning it wasn't as dried out and in need of immediate moisture as my hair normally is. I contemplated wearing second day curls! But then my outfit called for a fedora, which called for a ponytail, which called for water. Oh well. Point is, this deep conditioner is awesome and I highly recommend it. Like, oh my word.

"There ain't no justice, there's just us..."

the above lyric is a line from the chorus of The City High Anthem, and though they're singing with regard to a particular generation of underprivileged Black urban youth, I think people worldwide, and particularly Black peoples in the United States, find these words resonate with even more intensity in them tonight. 

Let me preface this by saying that I try, whenever possible, to be a proud American. I've had inter/transnational roommates chide me for being patriotic to a fault. Though this is no longer the case, I once regarded myself as "American" before "Black". Under normal circumstances, I will refuse to say "under God," but otherwise will pledge my allegiance to our flag and feel only positivity swell in my heart. Tonight, though, I will avert my eyes from wherever I might see this flag on my cross-campus walk. Tonight, I wear my American identity with shame, for I have been reminded that we do not always practice what we preach. I have been reminded of hypocrisy. I have been reminded of dishonor. I have been reminded of the harshest forms of prejudice. I have been reminded of systemic racism. I have been reminded of ideals that are only upheld for those deemed "ideal."

At 11:08 pm, an event transpired in the state of Georgia that can be properly referred to solely as a legalized lynching. 

Before I was born, Troy Davis, a 20 year old Black man, was found guilty of the murder of an off-duty White police officer, despite the fact that no physical evidence could be found linking him to the crime. The murder weapon was never located. At the time of his trial, nine witnesses swore before God, a judge, a jury, and a nation to various details cementing Davis's guilt. He was convicted and sentenced to death. 

In the 22 years since, seven of those nine witnesses have either fully or partially recanted their testimonies, saying they felt pressured by the police to implicate Davis. The gun has still never been recovered. Rumors have been circulating for years that one of the witnesses in Davis's trial, Sylvester "Redd" Coles, actually committed the murder, but no formal investigation has ever been launched against Coles. Each time Davis has filed for an appeal, he has been denied, with the courts citing a lack of "substantive claims" of his innocence, and dismissing the recants as "unpersuasive." 

From Wikipedia:
In August 17, 2009, the Supreme Court of the United States, over the dissenting votes of two justices, ordered a federal district court in Georgia to consider whether new evidence "that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis'] innocence". The evidentiary hearing was held in June 2010, during which affidavits from several prosecution witnesses from the trial changing or recanting their previous testimony were presented; some affiants asserted they had been coerced by police. The State presented witnesses, including the police investigators and original prosecutors, denying any coercion. Other witnesses who had not testified at trial asserted that Coles had confessed to the killing, but this evidence was excluded as hearsay as Coles was not subpoenaed by the defense to rebut it. In an August 2010 decision, the conviction was upheld by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, which described defense efforts to upset the conviction as "largely smoke and mirrors".
 At this time, I would like to examine the legal definition of the phrase "reasonable doubt," as coined in the Fourteenth Amendment to our United States Constitution:
"The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty."
Please note that that says innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. The prosecution's case against Troy Davis was grounded entirely on circumstantial evidence, coerced and recanted witness testimony, and a dismissal of sworn witness testimony that SOMEONE ELSE HAD CONFESSED TO THE CRIME. How does any of that leave us within the boundaries of reasonable doubt? 

A hundred years ago (and more recently), in the state of Georgia (and elsewhere), when a Black man was accused of committing an offense against a White, his Constitutional right to a fair trial by a jury of his peers was conveniently overlooked. He saw no jury, no judge, no courthouse. If he were lucky, he saw torches, heard the mob coming. If he were lucky, he could get away. Thousands of Black men, women, and children were not lucky. They were not tried. Declared guilty by default, as a fact of the color of their skin and the nature that presumably accompanied it, they were kidnapped, tortured, hanged, riddled with bullets, burned [though not necessarily in that order]. Their images were printed on front pages and postcards, their body parts were auctioned off to the highest bidders, community members who wanted a souvenir.

Though they have varied their methods with time--substituting a fixed trial with incapable public defenders and coerced witnesses for the previously non-existent trial, the emotional torture of caging a boy for the entirety of his manhood for kidnapping and physical torture, and a lethal injection for the satisfaction of hearing a neck snap--you cannot tell me they do not still lynch Black men in the state of Georgia. The only difference is the entire process is entirely legal, rather than extralegal now. You cannot tell me Troy Davis's rights were upheld. You cannot call this justice. I see only predeterminism and vengeance, and when these things are idolized in the place of justice, America has failed itself. These cannot be equated. I am neither comfortable in my own skin or with my own patriotism in the face of a system that does not know the difference, with checks and balances that are meant to help allowing states to get away with murder.

I am not a religious woman, but with everything in me, I hope that Troy Davis finally knows freedom. I also hope that we remember that the irony of the "I am Troy Davis" campaign launched this week to protest his impending execution is that there many Troy Davises spread around the country (Mumia Abu-Jamal, anyone?), probably thousands around the world. Even in cases where guilt is unequivocal, is retribution ever truly just? My friend Brittney's family did not call for it, even when the grief and rage seemed overwhelming. I will admit that there are some crimes so heinous that my first reaction is you, offender, do not need to live any longer. This is primarily reserved for people who rape and murder 27 women and make suits out of their skin, etc. But taking a life should never make one sleep easier at night. Inflicting more of the seemingly unbearable and insurmountable pain one person's loved ones had to go through when they were taken onto another person's loved ones...why is this something to pay forward?

I will never get a Twitter because this rant is almost 1400 words long and that's the way I like it, but so that I may stand in solidarity, I would re-tweet this all night:

#toomuchdoubt

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An ideal future eccentric professor Maya will aspire to:

Reblogged from addicted 2 etsy

An open letter to consulting firms:

Dear Mr. YouObviouslyDon'tKnowWhoYou'veJustEmailed, 

I know that I'm supposed to thank you for considering me as a potential candidate for this opening at your firm, but I actually find it a bit insulting, and don't have the patience, energy, or even desire to pretend otherwise. You've sent me a lot of emails and even had the nerve to leave a folder full of information about yourself in front of my door [side note: you looked up where I live? Does that entitle me to file a restraining order?], and I think this whole gig is just getting out of hand. My previous strategy of ignoring you in hopes that you'll go away is failing miserably, and so I have resorted to being up front and direct with you. Consulting firms are supposed to like aggressive tactics, right?

I'm going to say this slowly and clearly so that there is no way you may possibly misinterpret this next bit: I am never going to work for you. Never. Ever. No matter how many emails you send me or information sessions you invite me to. It's not going to happen. 

No, I won't even consider it. Why? You really have the nerve to ask me why? Oh, I don't know, maybe because everything being a lower-middle-class Black female afro-wearing sociologist has made me is fundamentally against working for you. In case you are unaware, you are "The Man," and not in a high-five inducing way.

I am writing this letter to you today to ask you, with all the politeness I can muster, to please do us both a favor and stop wasting your time and, more importantly, mine. It's just plain rude that I have to go through and systematically delete half the emails in my inbox every morning. We can both be more productive than that, can't we? (I'm going to start by getting more familiar with Gmail's filter-by-word-and-send-straight-to-trash feature.)

Thank you, and have an enlightening day! 

Maya 

Reblogged from Treasured Tresses
 
"Contrary to what fairy tales and rom-coms want us to believe, love is not enough to sustain a relationship. It’s just a good place to start—and a great reason to try." -- Jackie Summers, of The Good Men Project Magazine

Excuse my classism and stereotyping (actually, don't, I'm about to be hella rude)

I saw the most "ghetto" thing I had ever encountered in my entire life at the football game on Saturday. I tried very hard to take a photograph of it, but my cell phone camera isn't that powerful and it isn't like I could slide right up next to boo's ear without attracting all kinds of attention. I'm sad, though, because you people of the internet are not going to believe what I'm about to tell you without photographic evidence. Chick sitting in front of me was wearing door knocker earrings, 

which would not have prompted much of a reaction from me under normal circumstances. They even had her name (presumably) in them, which is slightly worse but still not going to ruffle my feathers much, even given the fact that her name was "Starr." I would have been willing to let all of this slide, but--and this is the part you're not going to believe--her name wasn't written out in the [faux] gold of the earrings, like respectable hoodrats. (And I think my little sister, ugh.) No. Her name was spelled out IN ALPHABET LETTER BEADS on some sort of golden rod spanning the diameter of the hoops. 
Yes, I do, in fact, mean letters just like these like our 7 year old selves made BFF bracelets out of.
I just...never in my life had I seen anything like this. Being gaudy and extravagant is one thing. This may have been a more economical solution, and I understand times are tough, but just, boo...sometimes you should just wait to do it right.

On writing:

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another website that makes me smile:


Although my elementary--high school years were mostly filled with mediocre or even some downright lackluster teachers, the standouts, the ones I'll never forget, deserve commendation. These are the teachers who told me to dream higher, who opened my eyes to a world of possibilities beyond my middle-of-the-road imagination. These teachers said, "Write," or "Try," or "Create," or "Find another way." These teachers said, "You can do it. You can do that and more." These teachers' doors were always open. These teachers made sacrifices for me and my classmates. These teachers fixed previous teachers' mistakes and included their omissions. Frankly, these teachers did it right, and I want to write a note for each and every one of them.

You have teachers that you wouldn't have made it without. I know you do. You should thank them, too.  

Things I Wish I'd Learned in Sex Ed

This post was inspired by one on Met Another Frog.

  • That my own pleasure is valuable and important. 
  • That heteronormativity is not the path to enlightenment.
  • That labels are played out (as is the term "played out") and that sexuality can be fluid.
  • That women should not be condemned for recognizing their nature as sexual beings with sexual desires and needs. I like porn and erotic literature. I masturbate. I like sex. I like to suck dick. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to suck on titties that aren't my own. And guess what?! All of those things are perfectly okay and normal and I'm not ashamed of any of them. But I wish I'd learned that I don't have to be earlier.
  • That, while you should never do something you're not comfortable with sexually, you also shouldn't be afraid to try new things or experiment if you want to. That if you're always self-conscious about what you look like naked or what you do or don't know how to do or what you second-guess your ability at, you won't ever lose yourself in the moment and just enjoy it. That an awkward moment or two doesn't necessarily kill the mood. That thinking about how x or y thing makes you look in bed unnecessarily intellectualizes the physical process.
  • That sex isn't scary, and it doesn't have to be a big fucking deal. That as long as you're being safe, there's not really anything to worry about. It's a decision that has risks and benefits, much like...anything else. That it doesn't have to change things.
  • That it's okay to talk about sex in an open forum, rather than just behind a closed door that everyone is embarrassed to walk though.
  • That having sex outside of a relationship does not mean one is a slut. And perhaps sex with someone who doesn't mean the world to you lets you lose your inhibitions more easily than does sex with a particularly significant other. Or perhaps this being more open thing just comes with experience.
  • How to talk in bed. I've realized it's a social situation in which I'm uncharacteristically quiet, and I'm not sure I approve.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smh

So when I was checking FOX's website to see when Bones comes back (NOT TIL NOVEMBER WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!), I noticed that they have a new show coming out called I Hate My Teenage Daughter. And then I saw today that MTV is producing a new show called Dumb Girls which for all intents and purposes seems to be about a group of normal 20-somethings. I'm pretty sure I'm disgusted with the image of femininity being marketed by production companies right now; not that that should surprise me in any way.

Le cuteness

Reblogged from Treasured Tresses

Additional Reasons My Weekend was Awesome

(Besides most likely doing well enough on the GRE that I won't need to retake it, getting a ride back to campus instead of having to catch the bus, and celebrating with sex, drugs alcohol, and rock-n-roll theater...)

This is members of my eating club with members of the Far East Movement
The fro makes me easily identifiable, although today I had one side pinned up to counteract the asymmetry of my dress, so it was only a half-fro (hafro?). This picture was taken mere minutes after, upon realizing that the President of my club was going around collecting all the alcohol to take us off tap, I grabbed the nearest bottle of Andre and began to chug like my life early-afternoon-drunkenness depended on it, and many of these same members of the Far East Movement noticed my chugging and cheered me on! 

Yes, that's right, fucking celebrities cheered "Chug! Chug! Chug!" as I downed the remnants of a bottle of champagne, and then gave me thumbs up/applause when I finished the bottle. My life is so fucking hardcore.

Thursday was our first day of classes

and, as all 4 of my classes are Tuesday/Thursday (four day weekend every week, #fuckyeahI'masenior), I had my first Diversity in Black America seminar on Thursday, and I'm even more excited about this class now than I was previously, which I'm not sure I thought was possible. It's going to be up there with class with Brother West my freshman fall, and no class has come close to that since.

Anyway, we watched and discussed this in class, and besides just being a phenomenal TED talk, I'm fairly positive I'm going to refer to this in my senior thesis. The "single story" that we unwittingly construct about peoples--even peoples supposedly like ourselves, groups we belong to--is what I think gets changed in college with regard to our racial categories. She's talking about the same concept I'm trying to name with terms like "boundaries" and "meaning." 


Anyway, if you have 15 minutes to listen to a really great mini-lecture, you should check this out. Just have it playing in the background while you surf; you'll thank me later.












Saturday, September 17, 2011

I want to call this "stately."

Reblogged from Currently Obsessed with...

The compliment you never quite believe...

but which makes you feel simultaneously slutty and proud, like you've mastered a ridiculously important life skill that only a privileged few should ever know about

"that was like, the best blowjob ever." (Y'all don't need to know who said it.)
And that's all I'm going to say about that.

PS: Scratch-resistant lenses prove to be a good investment when you lose your glasses in the heat of the moment, legit can't find them for half an hour after, and eventually discover they're halfway under the minifridge with a smudge or two, but not a scratch on them. #winning  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hmm, I love writing scandalous blog posts.

I saw The Vagina Monologues for the first time this past February, and almost every performance resonated with me on a deep and self-loving level. All but one monologue, in fact. And that monologue was about something that is regarded as a rather hush-hush topic (well, okay, they ALL are; that's the point)--this particular monologue was on vaginas and hair. Basically, the woman telling this story had never shaved her snatch until her husband begged and pleaded, and when she gave in she thought it looked weird and unnatural and having sex suddenly became painful and the take away message is that "You can't love vaginas unless you love hair!" or something to that effect. 

And I was sitting there like
uhhhhhhh...Excuse me!?
Because, as you all know, I love hair. And it's probably unsurprising that I like to show my nani a lot of love. I just...am very specific about the way in which these two things are allowed to meet. Sure, sometimes I get lazy and embrace the natural look all over, but I have to whip that shit into shape on the regular. And by whip, I mean shave. 
And I would now like to make the counterargument that shaving is just another way to show your ladyflower some love. First off, there is no other activity in which I spend so much time/attention on its external features, getting to re-know the surface and all its intricacies where stray hairs might be hiding. When I'm done, all that's left is a narrow-ish strip in the middle and I love the way it looks, bold and demanding your attention, reminding you/me that I'm a grown-ass woman while the rest of it feels so smooth and new. Like a snake shedding its skin, shaving unearths a hidden beauty, a newness I just can't keep my hands off of. Another thing The Vagina Monologues taught me to do is to really see myself (with the help of a small mirror), and I love the way it looks with no obstructions. Then, all day long, while the delta of my body gets re-acquainted with its bare self and I walk around feeling skin touching skin, I get more and more turned on. That first night is perfection, mostly because I've been thinking about it all day. I agree with the woman from the monologue about one thing, that it sucks when it grows back, but hey...then I just get to enjoy this again. 
And let's consider the alternatives. Using any kind of hair removal lotion on my sensitive bits sounds like it's just asking for an infection. Ew. I could get it waxed, but having some stranger's hands all up and through my business and then providing no pleasure, only pain like I've never felt in my life? Uh, no. Not going to happen. The getting covered in warm sticky goo part sounds enjoyable, but I've heard people tell me they sobbed during their first Brazilian. No thank you. Pretending I'm fabulously wealthy for a moment, I could get laser hair removal surgery, but I feel like I would stop appreciating the blissfully nude feeling pretty fast. Like, if you live somewhere where it never rains, do you love the sunshine as much as someone who goes through a long hard winter? 

Long story short, I don't see nothing wrongggggg with a little trim and shaveeee...   

Choices.

Reblogged from Indie. Radiant.

Problem:

Reblogged from Street Etiquette
I have a tendency to find images like this incredibly attractive. There's something about men who love kids. The problem, though, is that I don't want kids. They can be cute and fun sometimes, but are generally way more work and responsibility and commitment and time and money and dependence than I ever want to insert into my life. Le sigh.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I must learn where this is!

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...
*remembers that Google has a new search-by-image feature*

*drags image to Google Images search page*

*learns that its artist is England-based and goes by the name Bansky*

*finds more gorgeous street art on his personal website*


*wonders how people did ANYTHING before the internet*


"We colored inside the lines until the lines began to imprison us."

Reblogged from As far as i'm concerned...
#doyourownthing

Style crush

Reblogged from For the Fabulous and Frugal
Though I would probably exchange that scarf thing for a chunky necklace of some sort.

My GBF asked me a very serious question tonight.

He was completely shitfaced, and we were grinding about as intensely as a gay man and a woman can grind, per usual when he is quite drunk, and all of a sudden he backed up and asked permission to ask me a serious question: does my dancing with him limit my potential with other guys? 

*crickets*

I hadn't really ever considered this before. I mean, it's not like I was beating guys off with a stick even before I met him. On the one hand, dancing with someone I'm comfortable with like I'm comfortable with him highlights my dancing abilities much more than dancing by myself in a Circle of Death in which I always feel a bit awkward. I can't see why it would really automatically engender any detrimental effects: one person once asked me to clarify what exactly what was going on between us, as our obvious incompatibility is sort of overshadowed by our odd couple sort of chemistry; but that was just one person. 

So I guess the answer is, "I hope not. ...And it's not really going to stop me if it does." 

One of the unfortunate consequences of this drunken grinding and groping is that I always end up back in my room horny and ALONE. Lulz at my life.

I like the music, music.




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

" I wish that someone, somewhere had explained to me that understanding who I am is a long process and that it’s okay to take the pressure off (figuratively, and sometimes literally) and just enjoy the ride." -- JULIA, on Met Another Frog
"Today, stop missing your fulfillment walking down someone else’s path. Take your own journey, even if the first steps are hard and know you’ll be rewarded down the road." -- Leslie Pitterson, of Clutch Magazine
Now is the time for big questions about the path I will walk in both the immediate and distant futures. We should all take some time to reflect on whether what we're working towards is what we really want, before we start telling ourselves it's too late to jump ship. [Fun fact: it's never too late to jump ship. Happiness has no expiration date.] 

Sheer Elegance

Reblogged from Afro.Art.Chick

"Playing friends well"

That's what K said after he observed our interaction, that my ex and I are "playing friends well." It was a couple hours ago, but I keep turning that little phrase over and over in my head. I guess he just meant we're playing nice, being quite cordial--friendly is probably a better word, actually--to one another. When everything first went down, we said we were going to do this. I wanted to do this. 

But then suddenly I didn't anymore. Suddenly the thought of him made me uncomfortable and I wished I didn't have to see him and if I knew anything, I knew that I didn't want to try to be friends. When K and I were on our way to party Saturday night, I knew I was going to see him, and this made me anxious enough to want to make sure liquid courage could get me through the night. 


But it wasn't terrible. "It's nice to see you" wasn't exactly the truth, but it was neither particularly awkward or painful in the least, and was a more socially acceptable statement than "I'm pleasantly surprised by how anticlimactic it is to see you." 


When he came to the Black Student Union event I was at this afternoon, I was surprised that he was there for entirely separate reasons, but generally planned to ignore his presence. Then he came up to say hey to K and I, and we had a very brief (probably only about a minute long) but altogether pleasant conversation. This is when K made his point, and I came to the startling realization that I didn't really feel like I was playing. There was no internal monologue being rude/snarky while I was being nice. I wasn't looking for an excuse to get out of there or wishing I could be anywhere else. My lack of negativity even internally surprises me. 


This might not be as bad as previously projected. Stay tuned.

I am learning to appreciate music in other languages.

I have always been a lyrics girl. I love the artistry involved in the production of an instrumental, and will never pass up an opportunity to see live jazz or blues or even a symphony orchestra, but when I listen to music on my computer/MP3 player for my own personal enjoyment, I generally like to have lyrics and be able to understand them. But lately, I've been starting to enjoy music from other cultures. I think this is growth and musical maturity.

Anyway, this song is cool:


 

Monday, September 12, 2011

It is not uncommon for Joshua Bennett to stop me in my tracks

or, the internet version of this, to make me click pause while I recollect myself, reassembling the looser pieces to incorporate the gem he just gave me that I never want to let go of. He often makes me feel like I'm breathing from my diaphragm like my middle school choir teacher used to make us practice laying on the floor with our textbooks on our tummies, but that fullness in my midsection isn't air, but soul. He overwhelms me in a delicious kind of way. There are parties going on tonight, but I am laying in my bed being simultaneously soothed and stimulated by Joshua Bennett and wanting to give myself permanently to someone who has that kind of relationship with words. It's just these recently redecorated walls and me in here, but I'm still clapping, clutching the skin in the hollow of my neck when he says something particularly noteworthy, and occasionally letting out one of those involuntary "Mmmm"s like imaginary dude just got an especially good stroke in.

This video got two pauses and inspired me to write this post. Watch it. (And see if you can guess where I had to stop to recollect.) 


Also, I have realized that he may be subconsciously behind my fascination with Black hipsters. And I have no problem with that. 

The next time you think, "I'm such a failure at life,"

imagine Kat George (whom I may or may not have an e-crush on) is whispering this in your ear:
"Look at your mistakes like battle scars and love each one dearly—failing at life is also about adoring your failures because they are etching you out as some sort of person. And even if you’re not entirely sure who that giant failure of a person might be, you’re pretty sure you like them, and besides, it’s been a whole lot of fun becoming them, which is the most perfect way to fail." --Reblogged from Thought Catalog

Maybe tee ball coaches have it right when they say everyone's a winner.

Reblogged from Rewriting Herstory:
“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” - Marian Wright Edelman
Most people are taught that winning is everything. If you are not the best, didn’t get the highest grade, or came in 2nd or 3rd in some competition, people will entertain the idea that you did your best, but it often comes with some tone of disappointment. We often feel some kind of way about falling short of our goal, which is fine. Although it’s important to want the best for ourselves, we do ourselves a disservice if wanting the best comes at the expense of not recognizing and appreciating the preparation, dedication, and skill it took to even attempt our goal.
Doing our best is all we can ask of ourselves. Sometimes we win as a result, sometimes we fall short. I’ve been known to beat myself over things that I can no longer change. I’m learning to take a step back, assess the situation, and ask myself if I did all I could do. If the answer is yes, disappointment may linger, but it doesn’t weigh me down as much. If you put in the necessary time and energy toward the task, you’ve probably done all there was to be done. Be proud of that. Winning is nice, but it isn’t everything. Plus, there are lots of lessons to be learned from falling short.
This right here is why I shouldn't be afraid of new or difficult things, or of things that I don't believe "come naturally" to me. This right here is why I shouldn't be afraid to try. To try takes all kinds of courage, you know? And courage is some good shit.

In case you forgot,

Discovered at http://leilanavab.blogspot.com/

My favorite rap song:

I don't think it's possible for any song to ever beat this for me. First off, Hova and Em? Perfection. Secondly, it's just a way of life that I am striving to achieve, which is typical of about .001% of hip-hop for me. 


"Never been afraid to say what's on my mind 
at any given time of day
Cuz I'm a renegade
Never been afraid to holler about anything 
(Anything?) Anything!" 

I co-sign all of this so hard.

"I wear my heart on my sleeve. Hell, who am I kidding? Truth is, I wear my heart all over my entire body. It’s there for all of you to see and touch. Available for you to appreciate or to harm. Choose your poison.
I give my all to my friends, even when it’s not asked for. I love too much, give too much, expect too much and leave myself open to be hurt. Not everyone wants or needs my brand of love. Not everyone has it in them to give back to me what I find so easy to give to them.

That’s okay, you know? I accept that and in most cases I expect it. Though, there are a select few that I let inside my soul that are dangerous..." --ToxicEuphoria by Lidia-Anain
I really hope I can one day develop the peace she has made with this aspect of herself. It hurts me, but I imagine that keeping me to myself would be even more painful.

Things I Love about the First Week of School:

Everyone still has TIME for each other. I think I had forgotten what it was like to have a whole group of girls gathered in a circle around my room eating snacks and having hours-long conversation about boys/relationships/love/sex, fears, being a woman, the future, ways we think we'd raise our hypothetical children, insert-anything-else-under-the-sun-here until damn near 4 o clock in the morning. This is bonding. This is how friendships are made and cemented. This is part of what I want to always remember about college. I used to have roommates (three of the four girls in my room tonight used to be my roommates), and this kind of thing happened often, but since we all moved into singles, my girl-talk has been mostly one-on-one or (don't call me a traitor) with guys. (Guys can girl-talk surprisingly well. Many of my closest male friends are incredibly insightful, oftentimes in very different ways than my closest female friends, and I value that more than they may realize.) I am so tempted to say that nights like these somehow ARE college. They're the quintessential experience I'm not sure it's possible to have under other circumstances. Even when you feel like the conversation keeps circling back to earlier points/roadblocks and going nowhere. Even when you feel like it's the entire room against one or two of you. Even when shots are fired at a member of your group and everyone else falls all over themselves laughing. Even when inside jokes/knowledge are exchanged between certain members of the group, leaving others out. I was in a philosophy class for 25 minutes once. I couldn't do it. I prefer my philosophy to be of the 4-am-exchanged-between-friends variety.

How do we ever lose time for this? Why do classes and homework and things with deadlines take precedence? When does this time for each other and stimulating conversation become a waste? It didn't always when we were roommates. What do these walls (read: buildings) between us do to us? How do we make it stop?