Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cultivating Friendships

My grandmother has a daily ritual of laying down in her bed, pulling out her address book, and dialing up the number of a loved one she wanted to speak with. She does this everyday, calls someone she hasn't heard from in a while or she calls someone she spoke with just recently. The length of time never really mattered to her. See my grandmother in her old age values and cherishes her friendships simply because she has valued them in her youth. She sees the value of wonderful healthy friendships, so she has actively cultivated them in her younger years. Tending to them with love, and attention, growing the friendship with time and devotion and patience throughout the years. I unfortunately cannot the same thing for myself. I have, and have had wonderful girlfriends but somewhere along the line the phone calls become less frequent, the lunch dates began to dwindle, and the friendship ends short. So I'm at this point in my life wondering where did I go wrong and how can go forward and do better? The other day I was recently listening to a television show in where the judge said a very important line that caught my attention: "Some people are so self-involved, that they don't have room for anybody else." That particular line tugged at my heart because I saw myself in what she said. Sometimes I become so self involved with myself and my own life I forget to check in with others and touch base. I essentially become a ghost to the people that were originally close to me. When your by yourself so long constantly consumed by your own thoughts and feelings its difficult to jump out of your self indulged world and into reality. One of the reasons I'm writing this blog post is to be more intentional about cultivating and maintaining my friendships. The habit of not keeping in touch with others is a poor and an inadequate way of navigating life. In fact it's a terrible character flaw I need to work on immensely. Having lasting friendships is about being committed and being supportive of someone other than myself.  This is one of those beneath the surface issues that I tend to ignore and not face reality about. However, it's something I can no longer ignore. So in going forward and doing better I will intentionally work on cultivating and continuously nurturing my friendships. These are some of the ways in which I am intentionally going about cultivating lasting friendships:

  • Open your phone book at least twice a week and pick a friend to call
  • Check in with a local friend and schedule a lunch date for the month
  • Take the time to think and reflect and write a personal touching letter to a dear friend
  • Make a care package for an out of state friend
  • Be more flexible and less flaky on scheduling time together
  • Be thoughtful and offer help in any way needed gas money, studying together, a listening ear, babysitting days
  • Write down a friend's accomplishment in my agenda and find a way to celebrate it. Perhaps bake their favorite sweets, offer dinner, buy a bouquet of their favorite flowers
If you have any ways of cultivating and maintaining lasting friendship please share below in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What's On my Bookshelf

Lately these past few months my head has been swirling with the concepts and topics of: mobility, class, manipulation, and power tactics. Below is a few books that have grabbed my attention and provided good reading material and learning lessons. A fictional book about a character named Eileen who marries Ed Leary and hopes to claim a stake in the American Dream. The book really delves into the daily aspects of marriage, education, social mobility, on one's values, and growing old. I identified with the lead character Eileen on her staunch values, hopes and aspirations of moving up from working class, and her conviction on staying married. 
There were so many good tidbits in the book with such passionate writing that I will mention here:

  • She wore neat shoes, but they covered a sprawling account of an overtaxed life, and there was no hiding the truth when she took them off.
  • Money was not a guarantor of dignity.
  • In that regard he was more prepared for the loneliness of senescence than she was, He'd been a stranger in the world for most of his life.
  • Every move he made had the imprimatur of purposefulness.
  • This was his final gift to her: to silence her regrets about the paths she hadn't taken.
  • "There's a reason he can't accept nice things" he said. "His family's been in this country a hundred years, they never owned a house. That's a sin. If you're not in a house by the time I'm dead, I'll haunt you from my grave."
  • She resented the way Connell walked around oblivious of how carefree his existence was, how little responsibility he had.

Everyone has an agenda and everything is fair game. That is something to always keep in mind and remember when reading this book. Accepting that everyone has different personalities and different pulls of attraction is a good start in understanding the rules of attraction. This book does not center on being attractive to all but rather details the tactics to become seductive and use that to your advantage. One of the key points I've noticed this book mention is to always have good timing, and to always work on mastering your skills and seductive traits. It's about being a beacon of seductive and pulling energy. Being seductive requires thinking before you talk, feeling the other person's energy and feeding their ego, being less self absorbed, and possessing a charismatic personality.

  • Seduction is all about focusing on the other person, good seducers pay great attention to detail, the other persons facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • Seduction should not be rushed at all, because all great seduction takes time.
  • There is no better word than a rightly timed pause.
  • Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without having had asked a clear question.
  • Noticing a persons weakness and playing it to your advantage, by making a person more reliant on you. 

Money, religion, and politics are three topics that are touchy sensitive areas at the dinner table among peers. It would be a lie to say class does not exist here in the United States, an even bigger lie to say class differences one day will cease to exists.. Classes are apart of all human societies but the traits, characteristics, values, and commonalities differ across cultures. This book is as witty as it is informative. The author's detailed observations are extremely on point and accurate even 30 years later after this was published. It's very interesting how even values are different across class lines in America. For example having a housewife in considered respectable in the middle class but with the lower and upper classes working women are the praised norm. I find myself rereading this book with new sentences to highlight every year since I've bought it.

  • The this life are esteem and admiration of others - the punishment are neglect and contempt.
  • Because he is essentially a salesman, the middle class man develops a salesman style. Hence his optimism and his belief in the likelihood of self improvement if you'll just hurl yourself into it.
  • The degree to which your work is overseen by a supervisor suggests your real class more accurately than the amount you take home from it.
  • the upper class'es inattention to ideas is why Arnold call them Barbarian, and he imputes their serenity specifically to they're "never having had any ideas to trouble them."
  • Another way to estimate a city's undesirability is to measure the degree to which religious fundamentalism is identifies with it. 
  • Because 62% of Americans are overweight, a cheap way to achieve a sort of distinction is to be thin.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Natural Hair Talk

I have natural hair texture privilege.

Please let that statement sink in for a moment. To further explain, my hair when soaking wet and dry is naturally curly without any product. It morphs into a curly afro that always elicits compliments. My hair is afro textured but falls under the curly end of the spectrum in which it's labeled the "good grade" of hair. I don't ever recall in my childhood having been mocked for my hair, teased, or ridiculed. In fact, all my life my hair was praised and admired by everyone, especially the Black women in my family. All the same while, cursing their own hair and considering it unruly. Now this is not to say I never had my own hair problems. I do remember at one point begging for a relaxer in the 6th grade because I wanted long straight hair like all the other girls in my class. I am thankful to this day that a good friend dissuaded me from doing, so I was never initiated into the relaxed hair circle as the other Black girls my age were. However, this did not stop me years later from severely damaging my hair due to my increasing addiction to my newly fangled flat iron. So yes, even with all the adoration and compliments from everyone around me, growing up for years I still had daily battles with my hair.

However, even with my own hair battles, I have always known, even more so now, that I have hair texture privilege in the natural hair community. I hear comments from other Black women complimenting my hair not for it's hairstyle, but its defined curls. Usually in the same sentence lamenting their own kinky hair. This observation is important to mention because of the increasingly prominent position curly hair has as the face of the natural hair movement. While Black women with napps, kinks, and poofs are pushed further back as secondary or non existent. Black women with kinky hair are not glorified and exalted in the same manner as curly hair is in advertisements and online communities such as YouTube, pinterest, and Tumblr. The same can be said in real life surrounding conversations on natural hair. I watch the way some YouTube beauty gurus lament over not having defined curls or hair resembling the actress Tracee Elliss Ross. I understand it, I really do, but I am here to say natural Black hair, the curls AND the kinks are lovely and divine. I used to be offended when my hair was not seen as Black enough because it was that "good grade of hair." Someone was always commenting on how I must have Indian somewhere in my family. I'm no longer offended, but deeply saddened on such comments but more understanding of where that line of thinking originates from.

Natural Black hair in its afro textured state is not a curse or a flaw. Rather, it is a gift and it is beautiful, period, point blank! The whole point of the natural hair movement was to learn to love, embrace, celebrate, grow, and have pride in an honest and positive manner, specifically for kinky textured natural hair. Now that I am more aware, I make it a point to always compliment Black women on their hairstyles, never emphasizing curl texture. I always talk with little Black girls about their hair on how wonderful, lovely, and unique it is. I share tips that I've gathered from books and internet sites to family, friends, and strangers on properly caring for and growing natural hair. However, most importantly, I monetarily support quality Black women owned hair care lines and businesses that use healthy and non-curl obsessed ads that exalt both kinky and curly natural hair as beautiful and lovely. So here is my tribute to lovely Black women in their natural tresses curls AND kinks.

Image result for natural hair afros
Image result for natural hair bantu knots
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 Image result for natural hair afros

Image result for natural hair styles   Image result for micro braids

Image result for locs  dark skin

   Image result for natural hair dark women

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pleasing Sights and Pleasing Sounds:

I am both a lover of music and a lover of film. Three things I pay most attention to in a film, besides the plot and the actors, are the directors, the cinematography and the soundtrack. Films with marvelous soundtracks are golden to me. So here are a few of my favorite film soundtracks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I'm Not Apologizing for Feminism

Since the democratization, transparency, and easy access of the internet, online communities, movements, ideologies, and so forth have sprung forth from the virtual world into reality. Just like the pages in a book, pages on the internet have ideas that are incredibly contagious. One of the more contagious ideas is the dismal of feminism especially a backlash to the third wave feminism. Third wave feminism which is much more recent and comes from generation X and continued on with millennials. Various online communities such as mens rights activists, traditionalist (Betty homemakers), staunch political conservatives, hotepers and the like have their spat with feminism in general. They and others despise the third wave which focuses on micro-politics, rape culture, gender politics, the wage gap, counterculture, and more. While I may not agree with a good portion of the objectives of what's in third wave feminism, I however will not throw the baby out with the bath water.

I want to say on the record for the internet community to hear: I will NOT apologize for feminism. I will NOT reject the advent and movement of women's rights because a certain wave of feminist thought veered off from the original branch. Is that not how all movements start and continue? A point in history: from Martin Luther's indirect movement of causing others to reject the Catholic church's domineering power and and veer off dividing the church of Rome. From Luther's reformation we have Protestantism. Of course from there two christian sects: Lutherism, Calvinism, and Angelicalism. The veering goes even further but I will stop here. My point should be clear, every movement that gains speed and many followers eventually splits into sects and various strains of differing thoughts and ideals. For some reason the third wave of feminism is the most ridiculed and slammed as if we cannot go back in history and see the same hate for second and first wave of feminism. I can disagree vehemently with feminism today and its over reaching hands in pop culture, advertising, and political thought. I can bang my pretty little head against a wall at how tone deaf many White feminists are about intersectionality with Black women. I can also say the same for every other movement. What I will not agree with is doing away with feminism altogether. Doing away with feminism will not bring the traditional family back together the way many people think it will. Doing away with feminism will not make some men stop hating women, which is just wishful thinking.

While accepting feminism and its many different sects I still have my own thoughts and viewpoints. I am all for women saving their virginity for marriage or a special day when they are ready. I am all for women who wish and plan to be a home maker, business owner, apart of a power couple or become a nun in a covenant. I am all for women having the right to have a safe abortion in an abortion clinic. I agree with feminism in women having the option to exercise their choices in life. I can accept the whole of feminism as a movement I align with and still distance myself from certain sects or stay with the orthodox vision. What I do wish to state is my viewpoint based on world history and my own understanding of people and power dynamics. Patriarchy will always be there no matter what we tell ourselves or how we feel things should be. Men will always have greater power in society to a certain extant. Whether this is a natural or conventional order that I can not be sure of. Womens hard earned rights and freedom are due to women's fight for and mens allowance of such. I don't believe the sexes are equal as in the same therefore I don't believe in the ideology of sex equality. We are two different sexes with great differences but we both are necessary and made for each other. We both bring our own attributes to greater society and neither one is above the other. I do however believe both sexes men and women are of the same worth and value. That is the feminism I believe in. I do not believe patriarchy can be abolished, but you can influence the men in your circle to uplift and secure women's rights. I have all these viewpoints and still I am extremely grateful for feminism and I will not apologize for it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On Building Confidence

Where Does One Gain Confidence?

I am a self professed introvert with a bit of extrovert tendencies. What does that mean exactly? It means I crave solitude and I'm revitalized by my own energy, as in not the energy of others. In fact, I delight in my own solitude for days on end by diving into the world of books, surfing the internet, writing in my notebook, or just baking in the kitchen by myself. However, that alone time tends to distort my frame of mind so I have to actively push myself to socialize with others. When I do this,  I find myself  amongst others. I'm electrified by the energies of family and friends and by the engaging and nourishing conversations I have with them. However I do best with small groups of people, perhaps a group number of no more than five or six; if it is any larger I tend to feel anxious, jittery, and full of nerves. My personality by nature is reserved and observant until I can find common interest with someone. It did take a long time for me to become comfortable around strangers and people I'm not familiar with. Especially given that I genuinely prefer my own solitude. So how did I actually get to that place of comfort meets confidence.

Knowing Who You Are

One of the biggest confidence builders I find is knowing who you are as a person. It took me quite some years to come to a place of being at ease with my own personhood. My high school experience was mentally draining and extremely taxing on my emotions, with the first few years of college following a similar pattern. It was not until I recently found my footing, that I can say I am in love with my own personhood. I have come a long way from my teenage self and now have become more refined, observant, and more in control of my emotional state. With that being said, I have come to the realization that when you know yourself the confidence just exudes from within and you fashion an aura of a woman just content in being. Knowing who you are is knowing where you stand in the world, what you contribute, and why you matter. Well what if you do not know yourself as of yet? What if you are still wandering in search of her? I say "fake it till you make it!' If you are unsure of yourself spend time alone and just practice self-love and becoming a better version of yourself. Practicing self-love can be a daily habit of journaling, exercising, tending to a garden, reading for knowledge and nourishment, and taking up a new hobby such as baking. I also think being self critical and taking note of  your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to knowing who you are as a person.

Smiling is Not a Sign of weakness but Rather a Sign of Strength

On building confidence. In an earlier blog post I raved about the Smile of a Carefree Black Girl. A smile on a woman is like seeing a lovely flower blossom. Smiling is one of the ways to building confidence and is an invitation which lets others know how open you are. No not the fake unauthentic smiling like some people do in pictures but rather the lit from within smile. So I smile when I see someone nearby. I smile when I make small small talkI smile when I greet strangersI smile when it rains. I smile when I'm thinking to myself and I smile at the end of the day knowing I can just shush the worries of the day away with a snuggle in the comfort of my own bed. I'm not suggesting to smile when there are other emotions you are legitimately wanting to express. However, smiling really does ease you into a better mood. If smiling daily does not come naturally I would suggest thinking of the last compliment a stranger expressed to you. Consistently remind yourself of how that one compliment made you feel inside.

Songs that help with Confidence Building:

  • Whatever Lola Wants by Nina Simone
  • Winner by the Noisettes  
  • I'm Madonna by Madonna
  • You Want This by Janet Jackson 
  • Champion by Buju Banton 
  • Milkshake by Kelis

Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Questions

1. If you could only own 10 items, what would you choose?
1. smartphone
2. a Moleskin notebook
3. my Grandmother's pearl earrings
4. my childhood photo album
5. my laptop
6. my first copy of the first Harry Potter book given to me by my third grade teacher
7. my Mother's ring
8. my childhood stuffed lion - Simba
9. Lancome foundation
10. a large bottle of coconut oil

2. Would you rather be rich, famous or influential?
I would rather be influential. Being influential allows me to a better people person and work diplomacy quite well. Being influential allows me to network fluidly and build from there. Plus influential people generally have their name ......

3. If you were only allowed to eat five foods and drinks from here on out, what would they be?
1. Fried plantains
2. Boiled flour dumplings
3. Water
4. Mangoes
5. Vanilla ice cream

4. If you won $1 million, what would you do with it?
I think about this question a lot. I think the best way to answer this is divide this into three parts. One is what my own self interests and selfish wants would be: start a small business, buy a few investment wardrobe pieces, buy a few stocks, and put money towards my travel plans. My second part would go to my family especially my Dad since he invests so much in me. Hopefully buy my Mother a house with a paid off mortgage. The third par would go towards a charity or organization I'm keen on. I seriously want to further write about this because while a $1 million dollars is a lot more than I have, how far could I spread it!

5. Could you live life without technology?

No I most certainly could not. In fact one the first ten items I listed above is my smartphone and laptop! Technology is here to stay.

6. Where is the ultimate place you’d like to travel to? Since high school I've had my list made. In choosing just one country is hard, so I will pick one country per continent. 
Africa: Nigeria,
Asia: China,
Europe: Sweden, 
South America: Argentina, 
Caribbean: Jamaica. 
I care nothing for Antartica or Australia.

7. Choose five people from today or in history that you would invite over to have an intimate conversation with.
1. Tina Dickow
2. Harriet Tubman
3. Thomas Sankara
4. Magatte Wade
5. Machiavelli

8. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I want to say a cute bunny rabbit but they are so far down on the food chain. Perhaps a gazelle as they are lovely creatures but like rabbits so vulnerable as prey. So I would just say a hefty smart elephant.

9. What would you do if you had the power to turn invisible?
My goodness the possibilities are endless.

10. If your house caught fire, what would you attempt to grab?
Outside of my phone and my private papers, my jewelry while everything else is replaceable.

To my readers: The questions you answer can be fun, somewhat serious or thought-provoking. Try to think up your own answers down below.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Five Dating Principles to Think About

I have been contemplating making a relationship post for a few reasons. Well for one I am not a relationship or love guru. Although I've received quite a few requests for dating posts I was not exactly sure how to go about doing such a post. It's taken some time but I think this post should be a good start. This post is a few dating principles I personally believe in. I think they can serve any woman well in the dating game. You don't have to agree with everything I've written and perhaps you only agree with one or two principles because the rest are off putting to you. However I will say "just chew the meat and spit out of the bones".

You should be strategic in dating
Being strategic means knowing that your beauty, youth, and time as a woman are extremely valuable in the dating market. While all three are valuable I believe time is one of the most vital for a woman because once time is lost it cannot be made up for. I watch a lot of Ted Talks religiously and one of my favorite Ted Talks is by a psychologist Meg Jay, titled why 30 is not the new 20. She also has a small book the Defining Decade is based on the talk but I don't believe it to be as good. Meg Jay in her talk is realistic about biology and says your 20s is a developmental and trans formative sweet spot. The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one and that means being as intentional with love as you are with work. Being intentional is setting out a clear plan and goal based strategy when dating. I would suggest to make a list on what your most critical needs and wants are, what is actually available and what you have to offer. Then on that list plan out the time frames and what your end goal should be. 

No romance without finance 
Now this dating principle may be a bit vexing to some modernists or those how abhor all traditional dating rules. I myself like a blend of the traditional and the modern when it comes to dating. So with that said, I don't do dutch. No way am I agreeing to splitting the bill for a date. A man in a relationship (or potential) should be helping not hurting you, therefore he should be graciously paying for the date. This is setting a basic financial tone of expectations in the potential relationship. Now not everyone agrees some say this it's the modern times so fair is fair, and rah rah rah something equality rah rah rah something feminism. Well I will just say this there is no such thing as equality in sexual politics of the genders (But that's for another post). Expecting the man to pay for the date is not gold digging. Any man who likens paying for a date being similar to gold digging is not worth dating point blank period.

Never place all your eggs in one basket

By not putting all your eggs in one basket is just equivalent saying do not date one man with an automatic expectation of the end goal being to enter an exclusive relationship. Dating one man can cause a case of pinning after him, lowering your standards if loneliness sets in. There is also the possibility of giving the man the upper hand. I do want to state before any confusion starts to settle in, dating more than one man is not in any way equivalent to having sexual relations with multiple men.  Dating more than one man at a time, just means you are assessing various men for a potential relationship. Naturally as the dating continues you may see that one guy isn't your cup of tea or the other guy gives glaring red flags. Eventually you come to the end of dating game and have the choice to remain single or settle down with one man if there is an offer of an exclusive relationship on the table.

Always Trust Your Intuition

A woman's intuition is there to guide her and it's extremely critical to listen to it intently. That's why the saying always trust your gut is a timeless saying. If you feel suspicions about a guy there is bound to be a red flag popping up shortly in the dating phase. Listening to your intuition can you save time, heartache, and energy. Ignoring your intuition can lead to frustration, dead ends, an wasted energy. Your intuition as a woman is that inner feeling when something is off balance or not quite right. Accept what that gut feeling is telling you and do not attempt to rationalize it away.

Tamara Johnson-George and her husband Eddie
A man should love you a little more than you love him

Very rarely do most relationships consist of a 50/50 balance where both the guy and gal are head over heels love with each other. Usually one admonishes the other more a little more. This position gives the woman a slight advantage and reassurance in the relationship. This advice does not equate to dating men you do not like in hopes of eventually liking him, nor does this equate to settling for what's left in hopes of not being lonely. For a man to love you a little more than you love him, you have to start with loving him as well. Naturally this balance of power doesn't always last, it eventually shifts itself especially in long term relationships and long marriages. Love itself fluctuates and has it's highs and lows like everything else. Its the initial phase of the dating & relationship that you gauge whether the man loves a little more. Now I'm sure someone may think or even say "isn't that selfish on the woman's part?" This may be the case and that's okay. I am fine for advocating women being a little selfish in this in this manner when looking out for her best interest.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Pleasing Sights and Pleasing Sounds: Comfort Songs

The only thing that comes as possibly close to the wonderful delights of comfort food is comfort music. Comfort music is similar to comfort food in a sense of being the therapy needed for the heart and mind. The soul being soothed and when you hear the music you find yourself at a gradual ease. One of the main characteristics of comfort music is the positive feeling of belonging. Every time I listen to any of these songs I immediately feel at ease and in my own inner sanctuary. At times I even cry a little but I think that's just the music fiend in me. So please enjoy my little playlist of comfort music.


Monday, February 1, 2016

22 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

I'm just now coming into myself and adjusting from my teenage frame of mind to an adult frame of mind. In fact I'm still trying figure out the steps to proper adulting. Every so often I reflect on my life and think, man I wish I knew this earlier, or I wish I would have done this better. So now looking back here are twenty-two things I would tell my younger self if I could acquire a time machine and transport back to the age of... 16


   1. It's not your business what people think of you
   2. Wasted potential is one of the saddest things to witness
   3. If you keep saying tomorrow it may never come
   4. Being an introvert is okay
   5. Don't burn your bridges and always keep contacts refreshed

     6. Journaling daily is one the best ways to become a better writer and a better you
     7. Own your decisions completely
     8. Never forget that feeling is always temporary
     9. Document everything, the good the bad and the ugly
    10.Procrastination will become your worst habit to break if you are not careful

    11. Saving money is a habit you want to obsessively stick with 
    12. Other people cannot make you happy only you can
    13. You have twenty-four hours in a day like everyone else, make the best of it
    14. Always write down your ideas and thoughts no matter how silly
    15. Driving is not as scary as it seems

    16. You have to nurture your friendships
    17. If a boy doesn't like you it's not the end of the world, I promise
    18. Prepare to be sad... alot but what you do with that pool of sadness is where your creativity    
    breaks through
    19. Art is a skill you must continuously foster if not your skills set will always remain amateurish
    20. Research skincare and haircare, your future self will thank you

   21. Take a few tech classes and pick up some coding skills
   22. Explore the library more and read up on as many books as you can
   23. Beware of charming men
   24. Always be prepared for that possible opportunity
   25. Loving someone and loving the idea of someone are two different things

Please comment below and tell me 5 things of what you would tell your younger self.