Weight Loss Journey . . . .

2011, 2013 and now

From left to right: 2011, 2013 and now … all me. And, I lost weight before I put on the dress on the left!!

I’m a little proud of myself, right now.

Why You Need Fancy Lingerie, Even When You’re Single

It’s not the times when you are amped and motivated that you need a pep talk, it’s when you are wiped out, and overtaxed and feel yourself nearing the end of your rope that you need something, or someone, to revitalize you.

Have you ever noticed that when you feel like crap, you don’t feel like keeping yourself up. Your hair goes into a ponytail. You pull out your stretchy pants. Your look advertises, “Hey! I feel like crap! Don’t mess with me. Lead me straight to the Ben & Jerry’s, post haste.” (But, for the record, that peanut brittle flavor does have healing properties. I’m convinced. Keep some of that in your house, along with a bottle of ‘Tussin and a jar of  Vick’s vapor rub. It’ll come in handy, after awhile.)

But, here is where you can utilize your secret weapon . . . . fancy underpants.

That’s right. Fancy underpants. Coordinate your lingerie set to your outfit. Add a garter belt and hose. Rock the plunging balconette. Even if it’s underneath the world’s most conservative business suit. Or, khakis and a polo shirt. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else to see. But, get some underwear that makes you wink at yourself in the mirror and say, “Girl, you got it goin’ on!”

That little bit of feel good may be all you need to get through an otherwise crappy day. Heck, the next thing you know you may upgrade your other clothes. Then, you may start smiling and waving at people . . . . just because. You might stop and play with little kids. You might buy yourself some flowers. And, before you know it, you may find yourself enjoying yourself, in spite of yourself. All because one day you decided to put on some fancy underpants.

Look at you, all happy and stuff. Go ‘head.

Misogynoir, by any other name

If you follow me on other platforms, you will have seen me bandy about the term misogynoir. The term was coined by Moya Bailey, and if you want to read more about it, there is a truly helpful wikipedia article on the topic. But, to put it in my own terms, misogynoir is the articulation of the intersection of both anti-black racism and anti-woman sexism. In other words, one might understand misogynoir as hatred directed at black women.

When one reads about social justice for any length of time, you start to see common threads through that narrative. And, for the black woman engaged in discussions of social justice there is the pressure coming from two groups: white feminists, who prefer to be called mainstream feminists, that want black women to sublimate the conversation of anti-blackness; and, anti-racists that want to sublimate the conversation of misogyny and gender discrimination. But for black women, and other women of color, our lives and livelihood depend on our ability to articulate how race, gender, poverty and systemic inequity affect our day to day ability to survive.  We can’t be quiet about racial injustice, nor can we be quiet about the hegemony of patriarchy. There is simply too much at stake.

But, I want to talk about a particular type of misogynoir, in this piece. But, if you’re tracking with me so far, you understand that I’ve been talking about it for as long as I have had this blog. This type of misogynoir tells black women that they are a worthless commodity, that they undesirable, and that they should compromise their health and their safety in order to secure the good graces of whatever willing male partner they can find that will have them.

It’s based on the scarcity of “good black men”. You know: college educated, haven’t been to jail, good credit score, presently employed, healthy and heterosexual black men that are open to relationships with black women. (And, depending on who you talk to, some of those criteria are negotiable.) We have been told that since these types of black men rare, we should compromise ourselves to get into a relationship with one, and to have one.  I have even seen black community organizers (who shall remain nameless for my purposes here) argue that polygamy would best serve the needs of the black community, arguing that how it was practiced in Africa was beneficial for the women in those types of relationships. (Yeah, unless you’re the wife nobody likes, and you find yourself at the bottom of a well. Or, you have another unfortunate “accident”. Ahem . . . . I digress.)

First and foremost, let me be quite clear, somebody need to get the f*@# out of here with that . . . .

Funny how the fact that polygyny, that is one woman having multiple husbands, is also practiced in Africa, and pre-dates European colonization, is rarely discussed in these conversations, as well.

But, the argument ignores the measurable detriment that these types of arrangements have made within the community already. First and foremost, let me state the obvious: these types of mores are why, globally, black women are at higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. Whether your talking about Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Charleston or Atlanta, these types of attitudes are contributing to the spread of HIV within the black community. It is decidedly not in our best interests, as women, to accept these types of arrangements.

Moreover, it is also a poison to the spirit and the soul.  To tell black women that, because of certain immutable characteristics, they simply have to accept what love is offered to them and make do with it, whether it is the love that they want or not, destroys the self-esteem and self worth of the person settling. Loves, you always have the choice to participate in the loving, regardless of what anyone tells you.

It’s time to call this what it is. It is simply misogynoir, rearing it’s ugly head, again. Don’t believe the hype. Believe in yourself, and believe that it is entirely possible for you to have the love that you want in your life.

Walking, Talking, Miracle

This is going to be a meandering post. Consider yourself warned.

I had a business dinner with my VP, a client and a colleague. My client is a very avid and adamant K-State fan. He was going to enlighten me that Manhattan, KS was a very lovely town . . . . assuming that I have never been there before. I informed him that both my parents and a couple of my siblings were K-State alumnae. That prompted the question, “So, where did you go?” And, I outed myself as a KU alumni.

“Bad parenting,” he said. And, I still don’t know, for certain, if he was kidding or not. The man owns purple shoes. He’s kinda serious about his allegiances, in that department.

But, in that moment, I reflected. I thought of how depressed and unhappy I was as I was making the decision to go to college. As a kid, I felt that my parents just tolerated me being there. That they took me in because my mother died because they loved my mother, not because they loved me. I felt that I was being pushed out of the family that I had come to know because I was 18 and they didn’t “have” to take care of me anymore. How I didn’t want to go to college. How I almost completely failed out of undergrad. How I didn’t even believe in myself.

Then, it hit me: I’m a freakin’ miracle.

The fact that I made it, in spite of everything, is a miracle. The fact that I have a family, is a miracle. The fact that I have not only a Bachelor’s, but a Master’s degree, is a miracle. The fact that I didn’t open a vein, or pop some pills, that I’ve never done drugs, and that I’m getting healthier day by day . . . . it’s all a miracle and a gift.

Now, I truly don’t give a damn about what fanboy has to say about me, or my parents. But, I got to thank him for showing me that I am an unrepeatable, walking, talking, breathing miracle. I ought to be evidence to just about anybody watching carefully that miracles do exist. That God does exist. And, in this moment, I’m very, very grateful. My life may not be perfect, but it is a gift. And, I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to have it. I’m glad that God has brought me this far.

It has not been easy. It’s been one hell of a ride. And, I’ve made it. So, to anyone out there feeling like I did . . . . I’m okay. And, you will be, too. It’s okay. Just take one day at a time.

On Mike Brown, Urban Militarization and the Value of Life

I’m going to start this blog in a weird place. But, try and stay with me, y’all.

Okay, so I walk outside of my little apartment in BFE Kansas one Spring morning, and there are police in Kevlar armor with helmets driving an armored Hummer H3 up the sidewalk in an (apparent) drug raid on the apartments across the street. 

What the hell, man?

Now, the apartments in question had recently been purchased. The new owners were trying to clean up the building and make improvements (read: increase the value of the building before possible sale, thereby increasing the potential property taxes). And, the police had been cracking down (quite possibly harassing) the tenants that congregated on the steps and stoops of the building, often talking, fighting and generally hanging out. While most areas of the town I live in are lily white, this particular area is inhabited by mostly black and brown residents. And, this pair of buildings in particular, was known to be a place where people who had drug felonies and were ineligible for public housing could go to find affordable housing to live in. I had been a case worker, and gotten several of my clients apartments there, when previous lifestyle choices had made it difficult to secure housing. It’s not the best place in the world to live, but you could do worse, too. 

In all fairness to the police, if you’ve seen The Wire the scenes down in the projects, with the couch, would be the good mental image to get in your head. Quite possibly, the young men who created the set up had seen The Wire, too. If not, it was an uncanny coincidence. I didn’t ask, or read the paper to surmise that they were there for a drug raid, it was fairly obvious. 

But, why did they need military force to execute a warrant? And, why wasn’t the potential for civilian casualties, like me strolling out of my apartment that morning, considered before they escalated the situation that much? If the risk from executing the arrest warrant was so high that they needed the officers standing behind my trash dumpster, across the street from the target in the building, to be wearing body armor and helmets, why would they execute it, in that setting, when there have to be about 20 children in my apartment complex, walking to school through their staging process? (Not to mention those walking through the neighborhood to school.) Then, there are folks like me, just trying to get to work on time.

It’s simple, the “war” on drugs was more important than the lives, or quality of life, for any one of us that morning. They had protected themselves, and we all had to be treated as the enemy, as potential informants, as potential threats, in order for them to accomplish their job. Maybe they would execute a search in Beverly Hills, or the Upper West Side of NYC where they have “poor entrances” the same way, but I’m inclined to think that they would not. Just like a white man in a business suit carrying a briefcase is less likely to be stopped and frisked than a young black man, wearing a hoodie and carrying a backpack. 

What does that mentality, that these people marked by their cultural and racial difference, are the enemy do to a police officer, over time? 

Fast forward to Mike Brown, in Saint Louis.

By all accounts, he had purchased items from a local convenience mart and when confronted by police, offered no resistance. By all accounts, he had his hands in the air, the universal signal for surrender.

Yet, he was executed in the middle of the street. And, when the black and brown community that loved him took to the streets in peaceful protest and mourning, how do the police respond? With a show of military force. Armoured vehicles, assault rifles, dogs. 

Let’s be real. You don’t fight inanimate objects, or philosophies. They offer no resistance. You fight people. And, in this case, those people happen to be black and brown. Let that sink in. These aren’t combatants, behind battle lines, wearing distinctive uniforms. These are men, women and children. All of them have been portrayed as a potential threat. 

I shouldn’t call this war. There are rules to war. And, there would be penalties for killing a solider attempting to surrender. There are no such rules governing this. 

 

#TimeTitles

Twitter has a life of it’s own. You may remember the twitter fun that was had with Paula Deen. Well, this time it’s back, and Time Magazine is the target. You can
read all about the origins of the twitter tag,here.
But, today, I’m just sharing a few of my favorite #TimeTitles with y’all. Enjoy!

#timetitles Fix Ya Face: an in depth look at the use of plastic surgery within the African-American community. @Msfeesosweet @Trevthorne — Maisha (My-E-sha) (@Maisha_D) July 24, 2014

 

 

TEARS RT @GeorgeFoster72: Let’s Straighten It Out: The History Of The Al Sharpton Perm #TimeTitles pic.twitter.com/AL8XCxdLTI — DJ ALMA (@SydneyA) July 24, 2014

Girl Bye! : How Dismissive Behavior Towards Unpleasant Situations May Lower Stress Levels #TIMETitles — trill scott-heron (@baeElectronica) July 24, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Discussion of Political Rhetoric

They Don't Speak English, But They Understand Hate

Image from FreeSpeech TV. Full text of the article is available here: https://www.freespeech.org/video/radical-anti-immigration-protesters-show-worst-american-spirit

I’m going to say this: conservative Americans in the 1950s and 1960s understood one thing, scenes like this make great recruitment propoganda for your enemies. They weren’t right, they had some serious issues. But, they understood the power of a good visual, and a strong message. Hell, why do you think the government pilfered ad execs from companies like Coca-Cola and Proctor and Gamble for some of their political campaigns of the era? Conservatives today do NOT get this, at all.

If you really believe that America has enemies that are out actively recruiting, what do you think they do with newsreels like this? Remember this fact: all good political propoganda is 90% true. It’s verifiable through several sources, it appeals to the intellect of the intended population. If you think that America has enemies, then you have to know that they are interviewing the people on that bus, and translating it into as many languages as they can for media saturation outside of this country, and some spaces within it. If you are set on a mission to convince people that America will never accept people that look like them, that speak with an accent, that have different cultural values and the only solution is to exterminate Americans, what would you do with a reel like this? No matter who steps to the mic after this, they will not be able to refute the message, or the imagery. It’s available through too many sources. This image will be just like those water hose images of Bull Connor from the 1960s. 

I’m not conservative. I’m not a Republican. But, if they paid me to advise them, I would tell them: get this crap out of the media, as quickly as possible.