Thursday, November 10, 2016

Elections 2016

Four years ago I sat on my couch crying because we elected President Obama for a second term; this year I sat on my couch- shocked, in disbelief, crying because we somehow elected Donald Trump to lead our country.

I'm struggling to formulate words and positive thoughts. I truly felt like I was in mourning today. I can't help but feel like once again it sucks to be a minority in this country although we did our part and voted:

I feel like racism and sexism won. This tweet pretty much summed up my night and my thoughts.

We're headed into unknown territory and it's fucking scary.

Will we be able to keep health insurance?

Should I stock up on birth control now?

Will Muslims really be forced to leave the country?

I want to say something positive like maybe it won't be that bad but I don't honestly feel that way. Maybe things will look brighter before January 20th. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What is Masculinity?

My friend and I were talking about the Odell Beckham and Lena Durham situation (which is a whole different post) and my friends comment to me was something about why should Lena care if Odell paid any attention to him because he is clearly bi or gay. I didn't really comment but later on I thought - how do we know he is bi or gay? Is it because of a few silly videos or because he is more "flamboyant" than other males? 

It made me mad. 

Why do we (as a society) limit masculinity- in particular black masculinity? Why do we expect a man to look and behave a certain way? When  that man doesn't perform as society expects him to- we start to question his masculinity. He becomes different and unacceptable in our eyes. It really bothers that we don't allow our boys and men to have that space to discover who they are without wanting to put a label on them as different or gay. 

Another friend describes it as a very narrow small box of what is perceived as masculinity. We expect all our men to operate from that box. Have we considered that men maybe want to be free from that narrow small box?

We have conditioned men and women that anything outside of the box is weird. It starts young- boys don't cry. In particular Black boys need to be strong. They need to show no weakness; no emotion. In a recent discussion with a group of women the question was posed when is it acceptable for a man to cry. The answers were unsurprisingly minimal. Women aren't attracted to men who cry. It's seen as weak, unmasculine and unattractive.  

Yet women wonder why men don't know how to express their emotions....

I had a high school student who was often confused by everyone wanting to label him something he wasn't. He was very flamboyant by today's standards. He was obsessed with fashion and clothes. He was president of the fashion club on campus and he liked girls. The other students didn't understand him and wanted him to be gay because that fit the stereotype better than a straight man being into fashion. He left the school to go find students that understood him better. 

We need to expand our very narrow ideas of what defines masculinity. This new generation  has already taken their ideas of it and ran. We need to catch up. 

I think Stephen A. Crokett Jr. at The Root says it very well, "We can’t continue holding black men to the simplest, most barbaric, most archaic form of what being a man entails. If so, we will always be limited. We will always be expressionless, grunting sloths, and aren’t we more than that?..."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Had Happened Was...

I'm not sure how summer has slipped away from me but it has.

I missed y'all! 

My computer crashed and was out of commission for over a month. I felt my whole aura crash with it. I missed writing- I hand wrote for a little bit- just like J.K. Rowling. It is wonderfully cathartic but I'm woefully out of practice. 

As soon as my computer was fixed it was time to get ready for a new school year. So I've been MIA. 

Another birthday- a big one- has come and gone. It is too easy to get sad about missed preconceived life milestones  Instead I focused on what makes me happy and being centered. It feels awesome. 

I accidentally took the summer off from the gym... but I'm getting back to it this week because it is part of the  "living my best life" theme I'm adopting this year (to borrow a line from Oprah). I want to be healthy and completely happy with the way I look on the outside.  

For the second half of 2016 I plan on charging forward and bravely reaching for my goals.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Embarrassing Teacher Moments

In honor of teacher appreciate week I thought I would share my (and my friends) most embarrassing teaching moments

Zipper down x 2 
* The first time my zipper was down in front of my student two girls in the front of class were just cracking up. They were weak with laughter. The rest of class was annoyed they interrupted my lesson. Finally one of the girls call me over and say your zipper is down. I had to act nonchalant but inside I was embarrassed. 

* The second time this happened was the other day. One of the same girls from above said,
"I have a secret" during my lecture. 
 okkkaayyyy. I say
"I have a secret." she says a little while later. Clearly this student needs my attention. 
What is the secret." I ask. I can't tell you it's a secret. 
So I finish the lecture and the student calls me over to her desk and says "The secret is your zipper is down." Yeah. Thanks.  
* That time my students made me laugh so hard I snorted. Then they started laughing at me. 

* The time(s) I tripped over my surge protector cords and almost face-planted in front of my whole class. 

*The (time(s) I mispronounce basic words (today was applicable) but nail the hard ones 

* That time I was mad because a student wasn't listening to me and it turns out I was calling him by the wrong name. 

Clothing x 2
* The time I was giving a lecture and stretched out my arm to point to something when my bra strap unhooked itself. 

*(happened to a friend) The time she ripped her pants in the thigh up to the crotch area. She had to put her sweater around her waist and go home to change. 

Farting x 3 
* I farted silently in class and blamed it on a student

* I had to fart soooo bad and as soon as the bell rang I let it go- only to have a student come in because he forgot something. I blamed one of his classmates. 

* (This happened to my friend) She farted in class and the students smelled it and demanded she open all the windows.

Have you ever had a embarrassing moment while at work?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bad News

I can't.....

 I won't.....

I'm done.....

I'm done with April 2016
I'm done with bad news

First I get news that rocked my soul. I'm still processing it all.  


Prince died....Prince! 

So for the rest of April, don't go bringing me no bad news. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Much Do You Tip?

My husband got me a massage for Christmas. I had been holding on getting it done until the right moment I needed it- as a teacher -- that time is between the President's Day and spring break.

The masseur (Michelle) did an amazing job she even got that one spot on my neck that is always tight.

At the end of the massage when I was finished getting dressed Michelle came back in and handed me a black payment book (you know the one you see in restaurants) she explained it was for the tip. Like many modern people I don't carry a lot of cash. I did happen to go to the ATM the day before but of course forgot that I spent it.  I dug in my wallet and put in $4 with the intention of going up the ATM and adding to her tip.

As I was setting down the payment book Michelle scooped it up, opened it and pulled out the $4 and said, "this is not enough. it was a 90 minutes massage. (and muttered under her breath)"  Of course I was embarrassed I explained that I needed a ATM. She told me where to go and repeated that it wasn't enough and more muttering. 

I couldn't help but wonder why did she watch me tip her? She could have continued cleaning the room but she stopped and watched me. Does she do this for every client or is it because I'm Black? 

Was I being paranoid?

I've heard from many people that they hate serving black people because we don't tip very well. I am very aware of this stereotype and try to make up for it.  I am usually a very generous tipper. I'm also overly nice for the same reason. I hate that I feel like I have to make up for my entire race. I hate that I feel like I'm being judged when I really just want to have a good time. It is a heavy burden. 

The more I thought about this massage situation, the more upset I was. How dare she tell me how much to tip? What if I was not happy with the service? The massage was a gift what if I only had limited funds to tip? Actually since is was a gift how was I supposed to know how much to tip? What is a appropriate amount? 

How does one know who and how much to tip? Who decides these tipping rules? 

I wish we were like Europe and paid people a living wage so they can afford to work without depending on tips.  Until then I'll continue tipping generously even when I leave my cash at home. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

People say the Dumbest Stuff

Alternative post title: White man said what?

My husband and I attended a Super Bowl Party at my BFFs house with a bunch of her and her husbands friends when someone found a way to make the party awkward

Scenario: We were all settling in to watch the half-time performance. When Queen Bey stomped and dazzled us with her entrance. I was trying to contain my excitement. One of the Caucasian party goers says- "I'm not attracted to Black girls but BeyoncĂ© is hot." 

As a 'conscious' Black person who typically "stays woke," I struggled to control my initial reaction. After all I was guest in my friends house, surrounded by kindergartners and a lot of white people. 

I don't have a problem with someone having a preference. I just don't think it is something you announce at a party, in mixed company, with 2.5 Black girls in attendance. 

Actually I'm not sure that is a preference you tell anyone at all. I'm not sure there is a way to say "I don't like this particular race" without you looking like a racist. Or maybe a better word is prejudiced.  

When a white man says I'm not normally attracted to black girls it somehow feels like a slap in the face. It feels like Black girls are not good enough for his highness' penis. He might as well said Beyoncé is pretty, "for a Black girl." I felt like I had to defend the attractiveness of my race to this asshole. Why are black women over sexalized or under sexualized. Why can't we just be regular beautiful women? Why is our beauty always up for debate?

Maybe I'm being too sensitive. Who the fuck cares what this guy thinks? He isn't that cute and is dating a girl who looks like a stick. #noassatall

My BFF chastised the guy. His reaction...

"What?! I can say that."

Uh no sir, you can't. 

Because I can and it's Black History Month.... Black Women are beautiful

Update: The Daily Show did a video about this topic and gave it a name

Saturday, February 6, 2016

If I could do High School Over..

As a high school teacher I get to study my students and observe how they act. I admire how seemingly comfortable they are in their own skin. For the most part my students are confident. They seem to know their status on campus and can move pretty fluidly through the different groups. They can be super smart and the star basketball player. 

While I would never want to do high school over but if I could I would be braver, comfortable in my own skin and someone who put themselves out there.  

I had absolutely no confidence in high school. I had two gorgeous best friends. One of them I am still close with and she's still drop dead pretty. She is perfectly petite, looks ethically ambiguous, stunning eyes and a genuinely nice person.

I was curvy and I had a tummy. I was awkwardly taller than everyone;  a tom-boy from way back when. I didn't know what to do with my hair. I didn't know how to embrace who I was. 

Don't get me wrong I had a great time in high school. I had a tight knit group of friends. But when I think about why I only went to one day of tryouts for the volleyball team, or why I never joined the Black Student Union, or why I didn't have a date to Junior prom (I didn't go to Senior Prom [long story]) it pisses me off.  I could have had all those things and more. 

Basically, I needed some encouragement and support and I wasn't getting it at home. Nor did I have a mentor or a source of support. I had no idea how to get one or ask for one.  

For Martin Luther King Jr. holiday my Sorority started a letter writing campaign. We were tasked with writing a letter to a younger self and writing a letter to a young girl.  Writing the letter to myself was unexpectedly emotional. 

It said "I have a dream that you will be brave and confident. That you will not let self doubt and what others say plague you. That you are smart and beautiful. Yes you! That you are loved! Yes you! That when you follow your dreams and the path God had laid before you- no obstacle will stand in your way. It won't be easy don't give up."

I am really proud that I can say that I have embodied these principles. Maybe I am a stronger person because I wasn't in high school. However, my goal is to reach out and be that encouragement to someone. They shouldn't have to wait until they are in their 20s to finally be comfortable in their own skin.  


PS. For some reason we haven't had a high school reunion but I've been dying to go back and show people how cool and successful I am now. It will probably backfire but I love the idea.