Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“the only way to master love is to practice love. you don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love; you just need to practice your love. practice creates the master.”

- don miguel ruiz
Reblogged from come correct

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things that make me squeal with joy:

Gay military couples and their being able to celebrate their love openly. Maybe it's a little objectifying, but they make me so happy. 

Exhibit A:

Reblogged from Smile and Nod
 
Reblogged from

La Bella Vita


Black people are limited in time travel options.

Choosing Pancakes, JB, and I were discussing this last night. Whenever I get asked what time period I wish I'd been born in or whatever, I consistently say my own. And while I don't think that's incorrect, I will admit that if I could go back in time, it would probably be to be among this man's contemporaries:
“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such extent that you bleach to get like the white man? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? Before you come asking Mr. Mohammed does he teach hate, you should ask to yourself who taught you to hate being what God gave you?”

 --Malcom X

reblogged from orange&black in brazil

Replace "God" with "your mama" and I'm right there with him.

Words to live by:

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Monday, February 27, 2012

My boobs have become a meme at my eating club.

In this fun with my friends, constant attention to their size is welcome and enjoyable. In every other context, in which I am not an active participant, I'ma need people to stfd and stfu.

Reblogged from Choosing Pancakes

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to tell if you are a "real woman":

Step One: Do you identify as a woman? (Yes/No)


If you picked yes, then congratulations, you're a real woman.

(Reblogged from come correct)
 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Tunage:

   

Reblogged from learning my whole life

Questions Raised at the Black Solidarity Conference

(by myself and others)

  1. What does it mean to be a Black sexual being? 
  2. How are people given the opportunity to be engaged in their sexuality?
  3. Do people engage in sexuality differently according to access to various resources?
  4. Why are today's young people, especially young women, being so miseducated about their own bodies?
  5. Why is abortion what we leap to when talking about sexuality? Why single-motherhood? Why monogamy and marriage? What narratives are being ignored when our conversation centers itself around these topics? How can we refrain from institutionalizing sexuality?  
  6. What is the difference between talking about sexual practices and talking about sexuality?
  7. What are the everyday ethics of Blackness that determine who can or can not be in the community?
  8. What is the impact of geographic region on gender presentation?
  9. How do we work against the sociohistorical pathologization of Black bodies?
  10. If Black women have never really fit into the definition of womanhood presented by dominant (White) society, what are our goals in the redefining of gender roles? What does that redefinition mean for us?
  11. Why can't Brothers see themselves in women the way Sisters can see themselves in men?
  12. How do we disaggregate criticism from "haterism"?
  13. Why is the "walk of shame" a female-specific term?
  14. Why are Black communities so obsessed with "presentability"? Why is who we are not enough? What are we overcompensating for?
  15. How much experimentation with gender presentation is internal, having fun, and expressing ourselves, and how much is in response to our expectations of others' reactions to our presented selves?
  16. How do we get rid of the idea that to participate in Blackness, we have to debase ourselves?
  17. How do we reconcile promoting cultural criticism with promoting solidarity and/or the presentation of a unified front?
  18. How does harkening back to our African past influence, isolate, and/or negate the experiences of people living in Africa today or who came to America from Africa recently? 
  19. What does the phrase "I see you" signify in Black communities?
  20. When can we, as Black peoples, OWN our sexuality?
 Despite all the "rachetness" and the existence of Travis Porter in my personal space and the heteronormativity I had to deal with and the freshwomen crashing in my room and not letting an old person like me sleep and all the other minor annoyances, this is why I go to the Black Solidarity Conference every year. Questions like this. The conference makes me think. The things I don't like about the conference make me think even harder. 

...New Haven also has some great places to shop. I'm not gonna lie. 

Reading bell hooks's Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center for class.

Prepare to be inundated with quotes via twitter/blog:
"Frequently, white feminists act as if black women did not know sexist oppression existed until they voiced feminist sentiment. They believe they are providing black women with 'the' analysis and 'the' program for liberation. They do not understand, cannot even imagine, that black women, as well as other groups of women who live daily in oppressive situations, often acquire an awareness of patriarchal politics from their lived experience, just as they develop strategies of resistance (even though they may not resist on a sustained or organized basis. These black women observed white feminist focus on male tyranny and women's oppression as if it were a 'new' revelation, and felt such a focus had little impact on their lives. To them it was just another indication of the privileged living conditions of middle- and upper-class women that they would need a theory to 'inform them that they were oppressed.' The implication being that people who are truly oppressed know it even though they may not be engaged in organized resistance or are unable to articulate in written form the nature of their oppression...Neither the fact that black women have not organized collectively in huge numbers around the issues of 'feminism' (many of us do not know or use the term) nor the fact that we have not had access to the machinery of power that would allow us to share our analyses or theories about gender with the American public negates its presence in our lives or places us in a position of dependency in relationship to those white and non-white feminists who address a larger audience." (11-12)
"Often the white women who are busy publishing papers and books on 'unlearning racism' remain patronizing and condescending when they relate to black women. This is not surprising given that frequently their discourse is aimed solely in the direction of a white audience and the focus solely on changing attitudes rather than addressing racism in a historical and political context. They make us the 'objects' of their privileged discourse on race. As 'objects,' we remain unequals, inferiors. Even though they may be sincerely concerned about racism, their methodology suggests they are not yet free of the type of paternalism endemic to white supremacist ideology. Some of these women place themselves in the position of 'authorities' who must mediate communication between racist white women (naturally they see themselves as having come to terms with their racism) and angry black women whom they believe are incapable of rational discourse." (13)
"Racist stereotypes of the strong, superhuman black women are operative myths in the minds of many white women, allowing them to ignore the extent to which black women are likely to be victimized in this society, and the role white women play in the maintenance and perpetuation of that victimization...By projecting onto black women a mythical power and strength, white women both promote a false image of themselves as powerless, passive victims and deflect attention away from their aggressiveness, their power (however limited in a white supremacist, male-dominated state), their willingness to dominate and control others." (15)
"...neither a feminism that focuses on woman as an autonomous human being worthy of personal freedom nor one that focuses on the attainment of equality of opportunity with men can rid society of sexism and male domination. Feminism is a struggle to end sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels, as well as a commitment to reorganizing society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires." (26)
"A phrase like 'I advocate' does not imply the kind of absolutism that is suggested by 'I am.' It does not engage us in the either/or dualistic thinking that is the central ideological component of all systems of domination in Western society. It implies that a choice has been made, that commitment to feminism is an act of will. It does not suggest that by commitment to feminism, the possibility of supporting other political movements is negated." (31) [I really really like this. Saying that I advocate feminism elicits none of the uncomfortableness saying "I am a feminist" elicits.]
"Since we live in a society that promotes fads and temporary superficial adaptation of different values, we are easily convinced that changes have occurred in arenas where there has been little or no change." (49)
"Women must learn to accept responsibility for fighting oppressions that may not directly affect us as individuals. Feminist movement, like other radical movements in our solemnity, suffers when individual concerns and priorities are the only reason for participation. When we show our concern for the collective, we strengthen our solidarity." (64) 
"...women active in feminist movement were simply inverting the dominant ideology of the culture--they were not attacking it. They were not presenting practical alternatives to the status quo. In fact, even the statement 'men are the enemy' was basically an inversion of the male supremacist doctrine that 'women are the enemy'--the old Adam and Eve version of reality." (78)
"Radical feminism, and this by no means includes all positions within the Women's Liberation Movement, postulates that the domination of one human being by another is the basic evil in society. Dominance in human relationships is the target of their opposition." (Cellestine Ware, Woman Power, as cited on page 84)
"Before women can work to reconstruct society, we must reject the notion that obtaining power in the existing social structure will necessarily advance feminist struggle to end sexist oppression. It may allow numbers of women to gain greater material privilege, control over their destiny and the destiny of others, all of which are important goals. It will not end male domination as a system. The suggestion that women must obtain power before they can effectively resist sexism is rooted in the false assumption that women have no power. Women, even the most oppressed among us, do exercise some power. These powers can be used to advance feminist struggle...Women need to know that they can reject the powerful's definition of their reality--that they can do so even if they are poor, exploited, or trapped in oppressive circumstances. They need to know that the exercise of this basic personal power is an act of resistance and strength. Many poor and exploited women, especially non-white women, would have been unable to develop positive self-concepts if they had not exercised their power to reject the powerful's definitions of their reality." (92)
"As long as the United States is an imperialist, capitalist, patriarchal society, no large female majority can enter the existing ranks of the powerful. Feminist movement is not advanced if women who can never be among those who rule and exercise domination and control are encouraged to focus on these forms of power and see themselves as victims. The forms of power that these women should exercise are those that will enable them to resist exploitation and oppression and free them to work at transforming society so that political and economic structures will exist that benefit women and men equally." (94)
"Feminist ideology should not encourage (as sexism has done) women to believe they are powerless. It should clarify for women the powers they exercise daily and show them ways these powers can be used to resist sexist domination and exploitation. Sexism has never rendered women powerless. It has either suppressed their strength or exploited it. Recognition of that strength, that power, is a step women together can take towards liberation." (95)
 "When teaching feminist theory, one must counter such attitudes and find ways to encourage women to think systematically about the world. Our society (and indeed all societies today) trains only a few people to think in this manner, mostly those from the classes it expects to control the social order. Certainly most women are note expected to take control, and, in consequence, are not encouraged to think analytically. In fact, critical thinking is the antithesis of woman's traditional role. Women are supposed to worry about mundane survival problems, to brood about fate, and to fantasize in a personal manner. We are not meant to think analytically about society, to question the ways things are, or to consider how things could be different. Such thinking involves an active, not a passive, relationship to the world. It requires confidence that your thoughts are worth pursuing and that you can make a difference... My goal in teaching feminist theory is to provoke women to think about their lives and society in this way." (Charlotte Bunch, as cited on page 116)
"While it in no way diminishes the severity of the problem of male violence against women to emphasize that women are likely to use coercive authority when they are in power positions, recognizing this reminds us that women, like men, must work to unlearn socialization that teaches us it is acceptable to maintain power by coercion or force. By concentrating solely on ending male violence against women, feminist activists may overlook the severity of the problem. They may encourage women to resist male coercive domination without encouraging them to oppose all forms of coercive domination." (119)
"From a radical standpoint, then, sexual liberation involves not only the abolition of restrictions but the positive presence of social and psychological conditions that foster satisfying sexual relations. And from that standpoint, this culture is still deeply repressive. Most obviously, sexual inequality and the resulting antagonism between men and women constitute a devastating barrier to sexual happiness. I will argue in addition that, sexual liberalism notwithstanding, most children's upbringing produces adults with profoundly negative attitudes towards sex. Under these conditions, the relaxation of sexual restrictions leads people to try desperately to overcome the obstacles to satisfaction through compulsive sexual activity and preoccupation with sex. The emphasis on sex that currently permeates our public life--especially the enormous demands for sexual advice and therapy--attest not to our sexual freedom but to our continuing sexual frustration." (Ellen Willis, "Toward a Feminist Sexual Revolution," as cited on page 150)
  "Sexual freedom can exist only when individuals are no longer oppressed by a socially constructed sexuality based on biologically determined definitions of sexuality: repression, guilt, shame, dominance, conquest, and exploitation. To set the stage for the development of that sexual freedom, feminist movement must continue to focus on ending female sexual oppression...Sexual norms as they are currently socially constructed have always privileged active sexual expression over sexual desire. To act sexually is deemed natural, normal; to not act, unnatural, abnormal. Such thinking corresponds with sexist role patterning. Men are socialized to act sexually, women not to act (or to simply react to male sexual advances). Women's liberationists' insistence that women should be sexually active as a gesture of liberation helped free female sexuality from the restraints imposed upon it by repressive double standards, but it did not remove the stigma attached to sexual inactivity. Until that stigma is remove, women and men will not feel free to participate in sexual activity when they desire." (151)
"It is often forgotten that we are all in the process of developing radical political consciousness, that it is a 'process,' and that it defeats efforts to build solidarity to condemn or judge women politically incorrect when they do not immediately support all the issues we deem relevant." (153) [I actually don't know how I feel about this one, but that uncomfortableness is probably important.]
"Sexual desire has varied and multiple dimensions and is rarely as 'exclusive' as any norm would suggest. A liberatory sexuality would not teach women to see their bodies as accessible to all men, or to all women, for that matter. It would favor instead a sexuality that is open or closed based on the nature of individual interaction. Implicit in the idea of sexual preference is the assumption that anyone of the preferred sex can seek access to one's body. This is a concept that promotes objectification... Sexuality would be transformed if the codes and labels that strip sexual desire of its specificity and particularity were abandoned." (156-7)
 Take-away point: bell hooks is actually the shit, and I'm soooooo glad a strange series of circumstances led me to take this class.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A real live band? I'm so excited

by the Robert Glasper Experiment on a conceptual level. Clutch Magazine describes them as "more of a band than a group: Robert Glasper is on the keys, Casey Benjamin on the sax and vocoder, Derrick Hodge on the bass, and Chris Dave on drums. This is real instrumentation made even better by a line-up of featured vocalists and emcees that reads like a who’s who in black music." Their new album features greats like Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michelle, Erykah Badu, Stokley Williams, Mos Def, Lupe, Bilal, Ledisi, and Lalah Hathaway. I...almost want to spend money to actually purchase it, and right now I've only heard one song:

 
“Take control now. Forget about the negative thoughts which others have told you – that you are too old or too young. Stop letting the thoughts of others rule your life; stop being weak and cowardly, blaming your lack of progress on those negative programs. If you begin now and become a do-er, you will have earned your right to remain here.”
- Thomas D. Willhite
via Clutch Magazine  

Tyrese is back!

And he doesn't actually look or sound that much different than he did ten years ago, imho:

Monday, February 20, 2012

I don't like Nicki Minaj, but I will recognize when she says something awesome:

“When I started making those weird voices, a lot of people told me how whack it was,” she says, “‘What the fuck are you doing?’ they’d say. ‘Why do you sound like that? That doesn’t sound sexy to me.’ And then I started saying, Oh, that’s not sexy to you? Good. I’m going to do it more. Maybe I don’t want to be sexy for you today.
- Nicki Minaj (BlackBook Magazine)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

“Racism is still a really big issue in this country especially around immigration right now. The way Mexicans are treated in this country is absolutely miserable. I mean let’s think about the major stereotypes of Mexican people. Mexicans are lazy. The other one, Mexicans take all the jobs. How the hell do those two things work together? Exactly. How can you be lazy and still manage to take all the jobs? Well you see, some Mexicans are lazy and some Mexicans work really hard. You mean like all people? You mean like all human beings? If your argument is that Mexicans are like all human beings, well, than you’re just a really bad racist. That’s some poor racism. You should just get out of the racism game.”

Hari Kondabolu - Mexican Stereotypes

“I swear to god I will lose my mind if I hear the “sex sells” fallacy one more time. Sex does not sell. If sex sold, we would see penises where we see boobs. Naked men would be on everything that naked women are on. Sex isn’t what they’re selling you. They’re selling you an impossible, pornographically fueled misogynistic idea of the perfect woman.”
--Tumblr won't tell me. Sadface.

"You are born of sex. Your every body cell is a sex cell, all your energy is sex energy. So if religions teach that sex is bad, sex is sin, they have condemned you completely. And not only have they condemned you, now you will condemn yourself. Now you cannot go beyond it and you cannot leave it, and now it is a sin. You are divided; you start fighting with yourself. And the more this guilt can be created in you--over the concept that sex is unholy--the more neurotic you will become."
--Osho

 

The most amazing acting experience of my life.


I really don't even have words for how phenomenal an experience being in The Vagina Monologues was. Seeing it last year was...revolutionary towards my overall lifestyle and most likely played a non-trivial role in my extended deep exploring of my sexuality and sensuality. Fact: I actually went home after that performance last year, took all my clothes off, grabbed a mirror, laid down on my bed, and looked at my vagina, because I hadn't actually seen it since I was a little kid bending over in the full-length mirror in my aunt's room because I was curious. I thought it was beautiful and I understood why people have historically compared it to a flower. And a few weeks later when my ex wanted to turn on the light and look at me, really see my vagina and have a better understanding of its anatomy and the ways in which he could please me, I was a little freaked out, but I wasn't ashamed to let it happen. It wasn't the most comfortable thing ever, but I had learned to resent the idea that my body should embarrass me with people that I'm comfortable enough to be intimate with. The Vagina Monologues started that in me. I have to agree that I didn't actively think of my vagina as "something attached to me," or really think about it at all, before seeing the show last year. And as I laughed, cried, gasped, and smiled during the performance, I knew that I had to be involved this year.

So despite not being where I wanted to be thesis-wise, I auditioned. I wanted to perform "He Liked to Look at It," which is arguably my favorite of the monologues, but I got selected to perform "I Was There In The Room," which is about witnessing someone give birth. Oh, the irony. I wasn't really a fan of this monologue, because birth freaks me the fuck out beyond like, nearly anything else that involves vaginas (besides that video RC made me watch), but I recognized its power and its message. I may not have truly identified with that character the way I could see myself in some of the other monologues, but I learned her and felt her and channeled her. After every show, people came up to me, both friends and complete strangers, to tell me how powerful my voice was and how commanding a presence I held. We sold out two shows, including one for which we had to bring in extra chairs from the dining hall because we were legitimately out of seating. 

My favorite lines from my monologue:
"We forget the vagina. All of us. What else could explain our lack of awe? Our lack of reverence?"
Awe. Reverence. These are feelings I want every woman to have about her body, every person to have about hir own self. But I don't think they're things I've fully internalized about my own body and my own self, and especially not about my "down there." 

Being in the show has made me realize that I really don't have a word I feel comfortable referring to my vagina as...which translates into me actually never referring to it at all, which I think makes it easier to not think about it often (or as something that is a part of me, because what other parts of my body do I not give names to? Perhaps my nipples. I'm unsure that I ever directly refer to them either. I should work on that. Or that space behind my knee that doesn't actually have a name because who ever needs to refer to it? I don't want my vagina and my nipples to be in the same category as the useless space behind my knee.) There is a power in naming things. I don't want to sacrifice that power. But "vagina" is so...clinical and just un-sexy. I don't really like "pussy" or "cunt". Things like
"va-jay-jay" are just...no. There are other words, I'm sure, but I am positive that this disinclination towards referencing my vagina is intricately linked to my general disinclination towards talking during sex, which I know I'm not comfortable with. So maybe I need to spend more time figuring out why I don't like particular words for the vagina and discovering one I do like, because I want to be able to employ the ownership enabled by having terms for things. 


We have a student-written monologue about...basically when sex doesn't feel good. She talks about not enjoying sex with her ex-boyfriend, and she describes it as "mechanical". That word floored me the first time she used it, because I think it would be inaccurate to say that I've never been bored during sex. I have a distinct memory of being with someone, being on top and just going up and down, up and down and not being particularly into it...but it was just for a little while and then I got out of my head and more into the moment. I didn't regret the experience overall. But her monologue has made me wonder a) whether I should have, and b) if I've been having bad sex, or worse sex than I'd previously thought I've been having. I've turned down sex recently and I doubt that my experiences listening to this monologue and that fact are unrelated. She and her vagina deserve better than mechanical sex, and so do me and mine. 


We were supposed to have a transgender woman perform a monologue about what it means to be a vagina-less woman, and though she didn't actually perform with us due to unfortunate circumstances (the details of which I do not know), her story is making me think more about what it means to be a woman. (I'm also interested in whether transgendered individuals do more to fight or support gender normativity, but that's another thought train for another time.)


But even apart from the specifics of various monologues, there was something profound about being in this show, and especially about staging the show the way we did it, with the cast members "hiding" in the audience. The cast members got the audience to participate very heavily, from reading intros for various pieces to grabbing hold of a performer's breasts during an orgasm scene. The energy in that room was palpable, and it was all revolving not only around sex and sexuality, which is not terribly uncommon, but around VAGINAS. We were celebrating them, and helping to create a space in which they could be openly and comfortably celebrated was...transformative. 


Moral of this story: If you've never seen The Vagina Monologues, go buy the book. And/or find a local performance to go to next February.


To commemorate this experience, I purchased this necklace on from LipsLikeCherry's etsy store. (You can find ANYTHING on etsy.) 


Yes, that is a vulva.
The front reminds me of the rose from Beauty and the Beast.
 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“Fat people who love themselves scare the shit out of people who don’t love themselves. Even fat people who are TRYING to love themselves scare the shit out of people who can’t do the same. We force people to have to look at why they hate their bodies because we are “supposed” to hate ours and we don’t. And sometimes they have no idea what to do with that, so they act like assholes.”

- Tigress Osborn
Reblogged from come correct

Should I try re-positioning my hair flowers?

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W
I always wear mine near my temple on either side. This is real cute though; maybe I should try different locations? How does she keep it in place down there? Hmmmm...

Art I Need in My Life Vol. Next

Reblogged from 18° 15' N, 77° 30' W

Style crush...minus that bag:

Reblogged from Treasured Tresses

I've never thought of myself as "lucky."

The birthday card my dad sent me said in big letters on the front, "This is your year!" And it had a picture of a 20-something Black woman spreading her arms and smiling, like she'd just won life. 

Normally, I think these things are a little cheesy, but this card was so perfectly time for this junction of my life that I wanted to cry. Normally, I think these things are a little cheesy, but this just felt...spot on.

I opened it a day after I had three interviews over four days, and a week before I got offered the position I really really wanted in DC. In the time since, a version of my independent work has been selected for publication in an undergraduate journal the University of Texas puts out and I've won three blog giveaways. I even joked about how I missed having goldfish in my eating club's kitchen for late night snacking, and the very next damn morning I walked downstairs to find a bowl of goldfish. 

In the words of my mother, "Damn it's a good time to be Maya." 

(I'm actually terrified that something is about to go horribly wrong because so many things are going right, but I'm trying not to speak that into existence.)   

Anyway, I'm a little bit shocked, and kind of confused that my life is suddenly awesome, and incredibly grateful, and maybe even a little bit skeptical...but the one thing I don't feel is "lucky". 

I've been thinking for a while about how I think I'm becoming disenchanted with the concept of luck. Not in the sense that I don't think it plays or has ever played any role in my life or in getting me to where I am, because I will always count it among the mysterious forces that brought me to Princeton and the ridiculous wealth of opportunities that attending and *knocks on wood* graduating from this place has given and will give me, but...even in that momentous case, I would only allocate a small percentage of whatever forces brought me here to "luck." (Among other things, I would attribute more of them to a mother who'd felt cheated by her own life and was determined to not let me feel the same way, a few good teachers, the circumstances of my childhood that taught me to look for an escape in books/school, an irrational fear of failure combined with a thorough resourcefulness that led to my having put together an impressive application package, and a little bit to the checking of a particular box, because while I don't think the color of my skin was a making- or -breaking-point for me, it is something they look at...) The truth is, I kind of applied to Princeton on a bit of a whim. I barely got my application in on time, and I was only really applying because my family demanded that I apply to Harvard and it seemed silly to apply to one and not the other. After I sent all my applications in, I actually had panic attacks over a period of months because I thought the admissions committees were going to laugh my application out of every meeting. 

But they didn't. Maybe a couple people laughed at Harvard to get me on the waitlist, but fuck Harvard. I got to tell them I was sick of waiting around for them TWICE! (They wanted me to come up there for an interview for a Research Associate position in like a month, and I was like, uhhhhh, I'ma go to D.C.) Was I lucky? Undoubtedly a little bit. But no amount of luck in the world could have saved me if I hadn't put myself out there.

I used to think I was, like, a particularly unlucky person. I felt like entering giveaways and raffles or prize drawings or whatever was a waste of time because there was no way I was going to win. When I won my first giveaway in March of 2010, I was floored. I had legitimately never won anything in my life. I hadn't quite changed my mind about giveaways yet, though, and only entered very sporadically. I didn't win another one until September of 2011. Over the summer, I started reading more blogs and being aware of more giveaways, and I realized that I have infinitely greater chances of winning something if I enter myself into the drawing rather than if I just let the opportunity go by. And so I resolved to start entering damn near every giveaway I saw. (It was even part of why I finally joined Twitter, because there were so many that I couldn't partake in because they involved tweeting.) Since then, I've won six giveaways: a skincare set, an $88 dress, two t-shirts, an entire line of hair products, an individual hair product, and a bottle of Rihanna's perfume.

Am I lucky? You could say that, I guess, but really my chances were no better than anyone else's...unless those people didn't enter the giveaway. I didn't do anything special. All I did was say, "Why not?" Why not enter the giveaway? Why not apply for the job? Why not run for the position? Why not reach out to the interesting person on the dating site? Why not submit a paper to the undergraduate journal's call for papers? Why not?

Self-promotion. I'm tryna make it a new way of life. It seems to be working for me already.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Best birthday week ever:

So I turned 22 at the end of January, on Sunday the 29th. We started celebrating on Saturday, though, because some friends were going out of town on a ski trip, which means my week of birthday celebrations is coming to a close. 

It has, without a doubt, been the absolute best birthday week of my short life. 

Saturday the 28th, I got a text message from JA telling me not to make dinner plans. She and JC came to meet KS and I at the library where we'd been working and asked me where I wanted to dinner. I wanted to trek to a good Chinese place that was a little ways away and pick up a bottle of wine on the way, so after we met up with MM, that's exactly what we did. When we stopped at the liquor store on the way to the Chinese food place--it's BYOB--MM bought me a bottle of Ciroc as a birthday gift, and I picked up a good Moscato to have with dinner. MJP met us there. Dinner was great and we had ridiculous conversation as I always have with my good friends (even if there was an awkward moment when I blurted out that my mom has cancer...there's never a good time to tell people that, but that was probably one of the worst times). They treated me to my meal, and I was glad that that whole group could get together again to celebrate me. 

Sunday the 29th was my actual birthday. My mom and my Nana drove up to campus to bring me one of Nana's famous homemade Great-Aunt-Mabel's-secret-family-recipe birthday cakes and homemade pecan brittle, along with a giant bag of pecans straight from Georgia. They stayed and chatted for about an hour, then made excuses when I asked them to have lunch with me and headed home. I laid around for a little while in my bed doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING til that got boring and I headed to the house, where I read blogs and chilled for a few hours while my friend CB put together a dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant for me. A bunch of my Quad friends got together and took me to dinner, where ChoosingPancakes told the waitress it was my birthday and they brought me tiramisu with a candle in it. It was cute, and no one has ever really done that for me before--once we let it slip that it was my birthday when I was at home with my family and SH, but that we had cakes waiting at home, and the waiter brought me a tiny container of whipped cream with a candle in it, which was cute, but no one had ever intentionally notified the wait-staff that it was my birthday in order to surprise me with a birthday treat before. After dinner, we went back to the house and played Apples to Apples, which I am evidently terrible at because I didn't get any cards, haha. Then some of my other (pre-Quad friends) started to show up. We had, of course, turned Apples to Apples into a drinking game, and when more people started to show up, we devolved into just drinking. Then BC wanted to go sleep, so we had cake before he left and more people started to show up, and RC surprised me with a bottle of Disaronno, an incredibly delicious Italian amaretto, while MH and KG gave me a collection of hair products that hadn't worked for them but might for me. We were all sitting on the floor, talking and drinking, when ChoosingPancakes did the absolute cutest thing anyone has ever done for me on my birthday: she made everyone in the room share their favorite memory of me. Some of my friends were silly, but some of them (her included) were incredibly poignant, and I started to tear up a little. (Had I been sober, I would probably have started crying. +1 for alcohol's ability to dull my senses.) A bunch of people were doing a thesis boot camp in the morning, so shortly after said sharing and caring, half of my party contingent left, and the rest of us moved downstairs for some beirut. I played two games of three-on-three, and won both games. It was all in all a fabulous night, slightly tainted only by the fact that someone who shall not be named tried to go home with me (I blogged about that already). 

Monday passed fairly uneventfully, if I recall. On Tuesday, I got an email from the Package Room saying I had a package to pick up, and I knew I hadn't purchased anything recently, so I was intrigued as to what it might be. I went to pick it up, and it was the entire line of Twisted Sista products, that I had won on a Brown Girl Gumbo giveaway! What a great birthday present! 

On Wednesday, I got another mysterious email from the Package Room. I still hadn't bought anything, so I excitedly went to the Student Center, wondering what this might be. Surprise, surprise--it was a present from my friend RG! He sent me three good CDs (Erykah Badu, Rafael Saadiq, and Marvin Gaye) and a picture of us from my birthday party last year. I had been surprised by RC's gift, but this garnered genuine shock. I'm a simple girl; making me feel recognized is like, the highest honor anyone can bestow on me. Call me cheesy, but I was touched. It was like, the icing on this huge multi-tiered cake of love and appreciation my friends gave me this week—I can’t remember the last time I felt so deeply cared about. 

On Thursday, TN came down from Rutgers to take me out to dinner, since she couldn’t make it down over the weekend. We went to Alchemist and Barrister, another restaurant in town that I’d never been to, and I had hot apple cider with butterscotch schnapps (omg) and a delicious chicken pot pie. I caught up on her life and she caught up on mine and it was weird how much we didn’t know about what was going on with each other. She’s another example of how I need to do better at maintaining my friendships. (Side note, I feel like she’s hardcore judging me for no-longer-recent exploits, but whatever.) When we got back to her car, she gave me my second present (besides dinner): an awesome framed piece of art with a bird outside of a birdcage, and it’s drawn or painted on a page from a dictionary. I’m not doing it justice—maybe I’ll upload a picture when I get back to campus—but it’s SO ME. So I guess she’s an example of how even when my deep friendships change on the surface, the degree to which my friends know or understand me doesn’t change even as we grow and develop and mature.

By Friday, I was like, okay, this week has to slow down. It has just been too awesome. I was wrong. So, so very wrong. There I was, chilling at work, pretending to write my thesis, when I get a phone call. It’s from a number I don’t know, and I was contemplating whether or not to pick it up when some part of my brain was like, wait, isn’t 202 the area code for D.C.? *picks up the phone immediately* It was the woman from Human Resources at Mathematica, calling to tell me that the interview team thought that I’d be a really great fit, and she’d like to offer me the position!

I wish I had a video of me jumping up and down in the basement lobby of Fine Hall.

Like, WHAT?! This much awesomeness can happen to me in one week? I’ve been told it’s important not to seem to eager, so I thanked her profusely and agreed to get back to her by the end of the following week about whether I’d like to accept. I then called my momma and my daddy and texted some important people and tweeted and Facebooked and couldn’t wait to get out of work and celebrate…

…which actually basically waited until the next night, when KS, JB, and I drove up to New Brunswick to go to Delta’s, this soul food place I discovered but failed to actually eat at over the summer, and which we’ve been telling ourselves we’ll explore for months. When we made our reservations—because they close to people without reservations on the weekends, as KS, TN, and I learned once in the Fall—they asked us if we were aware of their dress code: “casual chic,” meaning no baggy jeans, no workboots, etc. Toto, I don’t think we’re in the dining hall anymore, lol. I wore a dress from Shabby Apple that I’d won on a Naturally Beautiful Hair giveaway towards the end of last year and hadn’t found an occasion for yet, while KS wore a nice button up shirt and khakis and dress shoes, and I do say we looked pretty shnazzy (though he did still get carded, while our waitress like, turned down seeing JB’s and my IDs, bahaha).  We started off with fried calamari and seafood gumbo as appetizers, with a pitcher of peach sangria to share between the three of us. The breading on the calamari was DIVINE, and my gumbo was spicy but rich enough that it just went down smoothly and deliciously. Then after lamenting about how we actually wanted to eat everything. on. the. menu., we finally settled on the following: for me, smothered pork chops with sides of mac and cheese and candied yams; for KS, ox tail with sides of black eyed peas and rice and collard greens; and for JB, a fried seafood medley including shrimp and catfish, with hush puppies and yams. Our plates were so full, and sweet Jesus the food was indescribably amazing. There was live jazz/R&B happening behind us and I wanted to die of satisfaction with every bite…I truly don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed an eating experience as much as I enjoyed Delta’s. We made the decision right then and there that the three of us are eating there at reunions indefinitely into the future, and that KS and I might bring our families there for graduation dinner. 





…What is my life?
     

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reblogged from el odio por amor

Fact: No significant percentage of Americans goes without social welfare of any kind:

Reblogged from Choosing Pancakes

Adding to my feel-good playlist right now:


Okay I'm taking baby steps back

with pictures and videos. I promise there are like 6 legitimate posts I've started that will be finished over the course of the week/weekend. 

In the meantime, while my eyes are hurting from doing reading for class for hours while all of my friends are at a Valentine's Day party, I give you this:

Reblogged from Treasured Tresses
 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

My life got uncharacteristically hectic for a week or so. I had two thesis chapters due and I was in a play and there were some other things going on too, and basically, something had to give. It was my multiple-times-daily connection to the internet, haha.

Anyway, thesis will do that to me from time to time over the next 61 days. I ask you to bear with me. After April 13th you will have my undivided attention because there will be little to distract me from the internet, wheee!

And there are lots of things I've been wanting to talk about, so be excited!