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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Twenty-Something Me Vs. Thirty-Something Me

It may be too early to write this post. I’m not even six months into 30, but I’m noticing things about myself and it’s hilarious.

I’ve been declaring I’m officially old. My tastes and tolerance for certain things have been gradually changing, and this was starting to happen in my latter 20s.

I know it’s stupid.

Instead I should be saying, “I’m officially not thinking like a 20-something.”

Here are some differences I’ve been noticing.

20-something: I had McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and haven’t gained a pound.

30-something: I just bought the dollar menu fries and gained 3 pounds.

20-something: I’m going to the mall to hang out.

30-something: I’m going to the mall to get my eyebrows threaded, fix a clasp on my bracelet, find a dress for another wedding I’m attending, comfortable, cute flat shoes for work, new book, gift certificate for so and so, I’m not trying to be in here all day…

20-something: Will there be guys there?

30-something: Will there be single, legally single, employed men with no criminal record (misdemeanors prior to the age of 22 may be acceptable on a case-by-case basis) and all of their teeth?

20-something: Is he cute?

30-something: Does he have kids? A job? Is he married? No for real, he’s not married right?

20-something: Aren’t these five-inch heels sexy?

30-something: Five inch heels are for getting out of the car at valet and sitting in the restaurant only. I’m going to need my Dr. Scholl’s inserts tonight.

20-something: This dress is so tight, I just won’t wear panties. Look at my butt, it’s fine, right?

30-something: This is going to be a double spanx night. Please, don’t look at my butt…

20-something: I want to look like that girl from that music video!

30-something: I do not want to look like that girl from that music video! I want to look like that fashion editor from that magazine.

20-something: I know he’s out with his boys, but I’m going to keep texting. I won’t be able to sleep until he tells me he’s home. It doesn’t matter when, I’ll stay up. He may want me to come over.

30-something: He’s out with his boys. I’ll talk to him tomorrow. This is perfect, I wasn’t going to shave until tomorrow anyway. He better not call or knock on my door drunk later on tonight.

20-something: Yes, I’ll have a Long Island Iced tea. Keep it coming!

30-something: Vino please.  Forget the glass, the bottle makes much more sense.

20-something: It’s 1 a.m. on a Tuesday, we’re still up! We’ll sleep when we’re dead!

30-something: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

20-something: God, I’m fat. I just won’t eat today.

30-something: God, I’m fat. I had egg whites for breakfast, a salad for lunch, but damn it I’m going to have a decent dinner tonight!

20-something: It’s Friday night, we are going out! What else would we do?

30-something: It’s Friday night, take out and catching up on Hulu or DVR! Yessssss! Self mani-pedi and some vino!!! I’m too tired to go out. I’m tired of the clubs and bars. If it’s not someone’s birthday, count me out. I’m so over it, where’s my sweatpants?

20-something: I wouldn’t be caught dead going to a movie or restaurant alone.

30-something: I’m tired of waiting for you/yall to make a decision. I want to see this movie and/or try this restaurant. I’ll tell you how it was tomorrow.

20-something: It’s okay he doesn’t have a car, I’ll just pick him up. It’s cool.

30-something: What do you mean you don’t have a car? You want me to pick you up? Um, yeah, this ain’t gonna work.

20-something: I really hope he likes me. If he doesn’t, I’ll just die. I mean what’s wrong with me?

30-something: What’s not to like about me? I am what I am, he can take it or leave it. Hell, there’s something wrong with his simple self.

20-something: Boys are stupid.

30-something: Men are stupid.

20-something: It needs to be tight, short and sexy.

30-something: It needs to show off the good parts and hide and contain, smooth and lift the not so good parts.

20-something: That noise? The car turned on, so I’m sure it’s fine. Road trip!

30-something: That noise? It’s a warning sign. Let me handle this now before I’m stuck on the road and have to call triple A.

20-something: This is my jam. I love this radio station.

30-something: I hate the radio, all of this music sucks.

20-something: There were so many cute clothes at the mall today.

30-something: I couldn’t find anything at the mall today.

20-something: Mom and Dad will fix it.

30-something: Mom and Dad, it’s gonna be alright. Let me help.

20-something: Sick days are for really nice  weather or really bad weather or days you just don’t feel like going to work or days you want to just stay in the bed with your lover and spoon. All. Day.

30-something: I can’t feel my legs. Fine, I’ll call in sick. I’m going to end up on the evening news for killing an entire department if I go in today. I’m calling in sick. Damn, I can’t get sick, because these sick kids are taking up my sick days. Stay in bed and cuddle? It’s my sick day, not yours. I’ve got cramps. Go on now. Somebody got to go to work today! Can you bring home some dinner? Cough. Cough. Love you too, baby…

20-something: Life is great, I’m young, beautiful and the future is just ahead of me. Who am I going to be?

30-something: Life is good. I survived the mistakes of my 20s and thank God I’m smarter. I’m finally getting it together. I know who I am and that person is flawed and complicated, but still pretty darn great.

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Staying In the Yellow

There’s a marvelous song by India.Arie simply titled, “Yellow.”

I was first drawn to this song when I was in a relationship, and it resonated with me even more when I got engaged.

In the song, she refers to different colors that represents the ups and downs of relationships: making her see red, being green with envy. Together,  she and her love are royal and purple.

Over and over in the chorus, she asks that they stay in the yellow.

I interpret staying in the yellow as, maintaining balance in love and life. Returning to center, even when you are shaken temporarily. Coming back to home base.

That was the hope and prayer for my future marriage. That despite the ups and downs, as long as we got back to yellow and kept coming back to yellow, we’d make it.

It didn’t work out.

I see certain things coming together in my life. I’m appreciative of the real friendships and I’m appreciative of the understanding that comes with letting folks go.

I’m thankful for this renewal of creative energy that’s been happening over the last several months and a surge of passion for myself and for my life and the things that mean something to me.

I’m single now, but the song takes on a new meaning.

I want to stay in the yellow.

I don’t need things to be perfect. That would be unrealistic and scary.

But I do know what life is like when you are so down, you can’t smile and you aren’t sure you’ll ever smile again.

I understand the paralyzing grip of depression, and what it is to feel so lost, everyday is like looking into one of those infinity mirrors. You see the same thing over and over, and there is no end. It confuses you, it scares you, you hurt your brain by trying to figure out how it works and you wear yourself out in hopes of being able to see something else if you squint and look just a little  harder.

Yellow is just fine. “Daisies in a meadow.”

Some people may think daisies are simple and not the most stunning flowers, but there is something beautiful and warm, genuine and subtle in its simplicity. It’s still pretty, it still gets the job done.

I’m happy today. Not crazy, super happy, but a subtle content happy. That’s yellow to me.

I’m going at my own pace, I’m doing things for me.

Yellow.

I want to lose weight. I’m going to keep going to Zumba at least twice a week, and try to eat better. Every time I jump on the scale I’m not going to lose 4 pounds. Some days I may even gain three, but I’m going to keep going and not beat myself up.

Yellow.

I’m moving forward with the business I’m launching, step by step. I’m not going to rush, I’m going to follow my gut, my heart and my standards and not settle. Even if it takes me longer. It’s not a race.

Yellow.

I don’t know what’s going to happen for me in the love department.

Sometimes I get lonely. I know I still love my ex and I can’t shake it and I can’t help it. I often hate myself for holding out hope, still. But it’s best I’m by myself right now.

Yellow.

I’m planning wonderful trips this summer. I’m going to go to places I’ve never been and see things I’ve never seen. I’m going to take it all in.

Financially, people try to get out of the red (debts and deficits), and get into the black (free and clear with a surplus).

All of that is cool.

But emotionally, for someone like me, who had been struggling in the grey all of last year, yellow is a fine fit.

Attack of the Swap Monster and Smart (Slick) Girls Gone Wild

A few posts ago I mentioned cleaning out my closets for a charity clothing swap.

Well, I went last week with two of my friends and it was a raging success…

At least it was for the crazy woman who left the joint with probably four trash bags filled with new

ambro/freedigitalphotos.net

old clothes.

I’ve never been to a clothing swap before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I did figure I was going to find some good stuff because I was trusting in swap karma, in which I gave up really nice clothes and shoes.

Well, my friends and I were a bit late to the party, so I think we probably missed all the really desirable items, or the lady who left the joint with four trash bags of clothes took it all and intimidated the other women.

And this, my friends is how she did it.

Since me and my friends were late, the stragglers were excited about the prospect of new items to paw over. A little too excited.

Tables were set up according to size and as I tried to empty my bags, one woman in particular followed me step, for step until she became so impatient, she started taking clothes out of my hands.

She wasn’t totally rude, she actually said, “I’m stalking you.”

To which I simply flashed a smile that you give the crazy woman from “Single White Female” to make her believe you are friends so when she isn’t looking you can bludgeon her with the closest blunt object within arm’s reach.

This woman stood out from all of the others, not just because of her massive stash– which me and my friends are still puzzled about how she got all that stuff in her car. But because for her, it seemed this was beyond just finding something cute, it was an obsession.

She was trying to put on stuff that if you eyed it, you just knew it wasn’t going to fit, but she was determined to make it work.

I will admit. What outweighed the scary swap monster’s antics was the happiness other women displayed taking my clothes and shoes. One woman was so excited about a particular dress and said she’d be wearing it to a wedding she’s attending.

But there was one shirt I didn’t consider would ever be an issue.

The event was held at a high school cafeteria. While the leftover clothes were going to a local shelter, monetary donations were being collected for the high school’s debate team. Girl members of the team were there helping out and were also participating in the swap.

In addition to the grown women who snatched up my items with the quickness, the debate girls were also in the mix, grabbing items.

I laughed when other older women were trying to figure out how to wear a scandalous shirt (many cut out areas, backless and a gold chain halter tying it all together. Yes, scandalous) I retired from my college days. One woman said she couldn’t possibly wear it, have a photo taken in it and end up on Facebook, because she would surely be fired.

At first I felt like dang, did they see me put this down? Do they think I’m a stripper? I quickly said nervously, “I wore it in college! In college!”

So I still let out a self-conscious chuckle and went about my business.

While taking a break with my friend who found nothing (she was disappointed), but was observing a woman trying on one of her castaways, my eye was drawn to a tall, beautiful teenaged debater. She was organizing her finds (which also included a pair of cute boots I parted with) and then I saw a flash of turquoise fabric attached to a gold chain.

That damn minor scooped my scandalous club shirt! Hannah Montana scooped my damn club shirt!!

At first I was shocked. Then I laughed. Then I got worried.

As I started to tell my friends what I was seeing, I began to rock back and forth chanting/praying, “Please don’t let this child get beat down for having this damn shirt, please don’t let this child get beat down for having this damn shirt.”

My friends quickly reminded me as sneaky as she was about grabbing the shirt, there was no way in hell her parents were going to catch her wearing it.

We surmised the pretty young thing was going to go to a “sleepover” with a friend one night and do the ol switcheroo and hightail it to the club and  prance around like a video vixen with a fake id.

I prayed she was at least a senior and had already turned 18.

I wondered if I should have pulled her to the side and told her with scandalous shirts come great responsibility and a whole hell of a lot of attention.

Should I have told her to put it back? Or should I have given her a speech about not being half-naked to be beautiful or just told the child if she’s going to rock it right, have some boob tape on hand to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. I was so conflicted about how to handle this young woman in training; would I be a reckless irresponsible member of the swap community if I didn’t say anything? Or would I be too much in this young girl’s business if I did?

I pondered these questions with my friends, and we all kind of agreed scandalous tops are a right of passage, we did it. Now it’s her turn for better or for worse.

I still feel like an accomplice to a crime though.

I added to my prayer, “Please don’t let her get pregnant because of my old top. Please don’t let her get pregnant because of my old top.”

My friend, who is a mother, overheard me and laughed a sarcastic laugh.

“Girl please, if she was going to get pregnant, a scandalous top is not going to be the blame.”

As for what I brought home?

It was the least scandalous shirt ever. It even had shoulder pads. I convinced myself that maybe I could remix it into something fabulous since I’ve been feeling all crafty lately.

Basically, I didn’t want to leave empty-handed. I had to have something to show for the experience.

I may just save it for the next swap…

I leave you with what I should have said to the young lady, courtesy of Aretha Franklin and Lauryn Hill:

Not Exactly Steve’s Script: My Favorite First Date Questions

One of my good friends, who is an excellent blogger, inspired me today. She wrote a great post about the movie, “Think Like A Man.”

I had been thinking about writing a post inspired by “Think Like A Man” (that actually beat “Hunger Games” this weekend) after I saw it the other day. I really enjoyed it. Great cast, solid writing.

The movie is based on the best-selling book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” by comedian Steve Harvey.

Some women consider this book to be the best thing since “The Rules” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” when it comes to romantic strategy to help women land the men they want.

My friend argues in her blog that Steve Harvey wasn’t really saying anything new, but his folksy, brutally honest black Dr. Phil-style delivery seems to have resonated with gazillions of women. She said, basically your parents told you the same thing or an auntie and you didn’t listen, but you gladly ponied up $16.95 to listen to Uncle Steve.

The book discusses a 90-day rule before having sex and questions you should ask a man right out the gate (long-term goals, short-term goals). It also tells you how to distinguish if the man is a mamma’s boy or not very serious about you.

I was thinking in particular about the questions and then I thought of my favorite questions I like to ask guys when I’m out on a first date. Steve’s questions are fine, but I think some of my questions give me insight into what the guy is about and doesn’t feel as intense as, “Well what do you think about marriage and kids?”

My favorite date question is, “What was your first job?”

I like asking that question because most men are going to have a funny story about delivering pizzas in college or working in a fast food restaurant, retail store, or for a family business. It seems that going back to that time and talking about it takes down the wall of trying to impress and they relax without realizing it. It’s non-sexual, it’s not talking about our future, or his current job and what he has or doesn’t have. It’s a safe place.  

They get to open up about what they hated about it, and how they swore they’d find a way to never have to do that again.

If he never had a “first job,” and does not have a trust fund to explain not ever having a “first job,” grab your purse and go.

In most cases, successful men who had to suffer through jobs they hated prior to becoming successful all agree those jobs helped to make them better men, and made them appreciate where they are today even more. They usually have a good laugh and say they hadn’t thought about their first job in ages.

These stories show me how hard a man is willing to work to handle business even if it isn’t the greatest job in the world and if his work ethic started early. Did he stick with the job until he reached a certain goal and then quit? Or did he bounce around a lot (quit or get fired) because he couldn’t get a long with the boss? When he left those early jobs, who does he blame today? The boss? Or does he now recognize certain things about himself back then?

A male friend gave me another great question to ask and that is, “When was the last time you went home to visit your parents/family?”

This friend is big on family and loyalty and respecting his elders. He said how a woman answers this question says a lot about her and her connection to family. I thought it was a great idea and started to incorporate that into my questions now too.

For me, I try not to let three months pass without going to visit my parents. When I lived the very furthest away from them than I ever lived, the longest I went was six months to a year.

People who live far away from their folks, I think, should at least try to see them at a minimum once a year. If a person says they haven’t seen their parents in four years (and they aren’t fighting a war or the parents aren’t deceased), that raises a red flag for me. It doesn’t necessarily have to be parents, it can also be siblings or nieces or nephews. Just show me a connection to the people you love and that you aren’t some island.

So while Steve’s questions are worthwile, I like my questions too.

What do you think are key questions to ask in the early stages of dating?

Are relationship books full of bunk or is there some merit to them?

Freshly Pressed and I Ain’t Talkin’ About A Suit

pixtawan/freedigitalimages.net

Before I go back to my regularly scheduled program of random ramblings  about my life, I felt I’d be completely remiss not to mention how thrilled I am to have been Freshly Pressed last week.

Thanks to the new followers of the blog who stopped by and decided to stay awhile. Thanks to the folks who started following me early on, and who showed me love on their blogs. Hyperactive Inefficency, Kiss and Hide, Sorry I Am Not Sorry.

I do want to warn you folks that even though my Freshly Pressed blog post was about Zumba, I’m not a fitness blogger. So I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.

I write about all sorts of things that cross my mind. Things that excite me and make me happy (great shoes), being a daddy’s girl, things that make me sad (ending an engagement), and things that make me shake my fist and say “that ain’t right!” (not getting a pickle spear with my sandwich).

I talk about sometimes feeling uncomfortable and awkward situations that happen at work (including my fear of doing a number 2 at work) and the pressure people put on themselves to be a certain way or obtain a certain level of “success” by a certain time.

When I started this blog, I wanted to talk about my journey to turning 30 and take the fear and anxiety I pretended not to have out of the whole thing.

As for the Zumba post, I’m blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response. I even appreciated the people who said I was mean, and bitter and judging other people to make myself feel better.

I was moved by the people who told me how much weight they’ve lost by doing Zumba or making other changes in their lives. I was thrilled that people who were a little unsure about trying Zumba said they were willing to try it now.

I loved the folks who proudly proclaimed and embraced their clumsyness and shake what their mama’s gave em with no fear. I’m proud of the curvy women who stepped forward and said how much they love themselves and how good they feel when they are moving their bodies.

I was encouraged by actual Zumba instructors who wanted to share the blog post.

All of you reminded me of how powerful writing is and how powerful writing with honesty and a little humor can be. The human experience of wanting to be better people, wanting to be healthy and being a bit jealous of people who look the part is something we all share. Thank you for understanding, laughing and saying, “Hey, me too!”

You reached out from all over the world, and I heard you and I tried to respond to as many of you as possible to show my appreciation. If you like the blog and stick around, I thank you. If you stick with me for a couple of weeks and find I’m not your style, please know I still appreciate you taking the time to read and find at least one post that resonated with you.

Collectively, you all made my week, month, year. Even if I’m never Freshly Pressed again, I’ll still tell my grandkids about this moment. I do not take what happened last week lightly. In fact, I still have a hard time believing it. But the stats from last week are an excellent reminder. I am humbled, yet I feel quite validated as a writer.

Thank you again! I’m floating on air.

Now it’s time to get back to writing…

Zumba: The Great Equalizer

I’ve been itching to write this post since my first Zumba class two weeks ago.

Now that I’ve been going twice a week for two weeks now, I feel like I have the right to speak on this now.

I’m still a newbie, however, I didn’t give up, and now it is a part of my scheduled week, so I can say something with authority. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like going, but I did anyway and when you do that, you can officially say you are doing something and can make comments.

I get the Zumba craze. I really do.

People can go at their own pace and still sweat as long as they keep moving.

If you don’t get a step just right you can modify it and make up your own (or insert a gratuitous Beyoncé uh oh dance) and no one thinks you look crazy.

But the number one reason Zumba is great besides all of that is because anyone can do it. Elderly women, small women, large women, some men, some large men, children.

The main and only person guaranteed to do everything right and look hot doing it is the instructor, who does this multiple times a day, every day.

The rest of us are winging it.

Zumba is an equalizer.

Some of the rail thin chicks with great bodies have no rhythm.

Some of the thickest mammas in the joint can go step for step.

The old women can keep moving, when people who went too hard are winded.

There’s always a move in the course of the class that is “your move” where you know you are doing it right and you look good doing it, and that’s the one you do the hardest.

Everybody from the youngest to the eldest, the smallest to the thickest has their move. You can look around the room at any point in the class and see that moment happening. It varies from step to step and song to song. It’s a fun thing to watch. I smile at the people doing “their move,” and they smile back.

Madame Sexy Abs, you can't dance. photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

I was a bit angry when a really toned woman decided to ceremoniously take off her tee-shirt to reveal her color-coordinated sports bra and toned abs.

However, justice was served when during a few of the songs I was going step for step and she was stumbling and bumbling along.

Ah, Zumba is the great equalizer. Take that Madame Sexy Abs!

I was telling my friend my theory about Zumba being an equalizer and she was saying how uncomfortable she was with the gym and group classes because they seem competitive.

I’ve done it all, and I think Zumba is not competitive at all unless you try to compare yourself to Madame Sexy Abs, but we’ve already learned. She can’t dance!! Whoo hoo! Zap. Equalized!!!

My friend explained that she was never really athletically inclined and hated gym class all through out her education and that rope-climbing and push ups and situps were embarrassing and confidence-crushing experiences.

In today’s schools it seems physical education is getting cut from the budget anyway, but I do think it’s a good idea to incorporate Zumba to get the kids moving (they’ll think they are dancing). I would have done Zumba over square dancing any day (although it was an opportunity to touch cute boys who never talked to you under normal circumstances).

There’s no equipment to buy, and the kids who can’t ring the bell at the top of the rope (or even get past the second knot) can participate with some confidence because they can see that the big football player could use a little help with his samba too.

EQUALIZED!!!

Random: Who Doesn’t Friggin Like Zooey Deschanel?

Photo credit: Autumn Dewilde/Fox

Who doesn’t friggin like  Zooey Deschanel?

If you don’t like her, stop following my blog. I’m serious. (No, I’m playing I need you. Like no, I’m not desperate or anything… like well I don’t need, need you like that…please don’t go…)

I would be all about her and Tina Fey doing a show together where they are sisters. I don’t care about the premise, they just need to be together and they need to be related. It would be too hilarious and wonderful. I’d tune in every week and I’d probably get every season on DVD.

I love Zooey Deschanel for the same reason I love Tina Fey. They are quirky and unapologetically brilliant. They rep for awkward girls (much love to my favorite awkward girl Issa Rae!). I love the characters they play (Jess-The New Girl/ Liz Lemon-30 Rock). They are sarcastic. They sometimes care too much about people, they are ridiculously creative. They are not afraid of being silly. They poke fun at trying to be stereotypically sexy which makes them even more refreshing. Even when they make epic mistakes, it’s funny. When they attempt to fix said mistakes and make things worse before solving the problem at the half-hour’s end, it’s even more funny.

Their relationships are usually disaster-ridden.

They even take on racial faux pas with their black friends on their shows and do so with such dexterity and honesty. They manage to do it with a one-liner that’s so quick, you almost miss it because you are still howling. Their black friends may just deadpan, “Don’t ever do that again.”

Side note: Which reminds me, I’m going to have to do a post about best television black friends who keep it real (recognize race and racially awkward things, speak on it and move on) on predominately white shows. (Damon Wayans Jr. /Happy Endings, Wanda Sykes/The New Adventures of Old Christine, Dude from King of Queens, Dude from the New Girl, Skills from One Tree Hill, Tracy Morgan and his entire entourage on 30 Rock)

Tina and Zooey often break into funny, goofy dances and voices. I totally do that.

They get screwed over and have really suckie days, but they get over them and keep going. I do that too.

Embarrassing things happen to them and they take it like champs.

You are totally laughing at them, but not because you think they are losers for being the way they are, but because you recognize something familiar in yourself. It makes you feel better. You become proud of your widow’s peak, and laugh about one boob being bigger than the other.

Zooey Deschanel is infectious. If you don’t like her, you must not like ice cream, happy faces, unicorns, stickers and markers that smell like fruit.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you’ve never danced to a Spice Girls song sober or sang songs like, “I Will Survive” at Karaoke.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you don’t like cotton dresses, or vintage bicycles and you don’t like cotton candy and ponies.

*If you do feel some kind of way about cotton, I won’t hold it against you, I’m a little sensitive about the history of it in the U.S. myself…(tee hee).

Back to my rant.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you hate babies. And the smell of baby powder or clean linen turns your stomach.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you’d see a slug on your doorstep, run in your house and immediately break out the salt. You are already in the house, the worst is over. You’re just mean for going back…

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you’d probably turn down a free turkey leg at a festival.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you hate sunshine and rainbows.

If you don’t like Zooey Deschanel, you probably had a jacked up child hood, have no imagination and need professional help to work our your issues.

So why am I acting like a groupie right now over this chick?

I guess it’s because I feel like I really relate to her.

She’s pretty in a regular girl way, but not so gorgeous she doesn’t seem approachable.  She seems like someone you take A.P. English with. I feel like I could run into her at Trader Joe’s and she’d recommend some organic non-fat salad dressing and complement some piece of jewelry I have on.

*Disclaimer: I originally was going to write about the strange fad of well-dressed women on bicycles and then it morphed into this… lol. I may still revisit that topic.

Cleaning Closets and Musical Reunions: This Is Kind of an SWV Album Review

This post is kind of random, as all of my posts are really.

In preparation for a charity clothing swap this weekend, I took to my closets and attempted to purge.

I think I did a great job.

I finally let go of some stuff I swore I’d fit into if I lose like 30 pounds in the next four days.

I let go of barely worn shoes that hurt my feet too much, that were collecting precious space on my shoe rack and collecting dust.

I amassed far more than the five pieces everyone is expected to bring and that made me feel good.

It also made me feel good to pull out these old clothes and the memories and adventures attached to them (from as far back as college and high school).

I even managed to unearth a vintage USA Grant Hill Dream Team Olympic Games Jersey from the ’96 games. Gee whiz. I’m keeping that.

I also got to retire one of my most scandalous and infamous club tops.

I was laughing hysterically at some of this stuff, meanwhile I was not only giving away the tacky, but some lovely summer dresses and my first boucle suit (every classy woman must own a Chanel-inspired boucle suit).

This purge made me think of old friends, boyfriends, fun times, mischievous times and big mistakes. I wasn’t sad to see these clothes go, I actually felt great, because now I can either get new clothes at the swap or buy some without guilt. Whoo hoo!

What makes my spontaneous late night closet cleanse even more fitting, is the fact one of my favorite R&B girl groups of the 90’s, SWV dropped their new cd today. From articles I’ve read, I think their last album was 15 years ago.

I will never forget how I felt when “I’m So Into You” came out. It always made me dance and just get dizzy from the prospect of what the hell it will feel like to fall for someone and have them like me back. Then “Weak” was the super love jam of the 90s and that beat from “Anything” sent the summer parties into a frenzy. Hearing Coko belt “Anything you want me to do, I’ll do eeet” was the part everyone waited to get to. That song and Nate Dogg and Warren G’s “Regulators” were the only reason folks bought the “Above the Rim” soundtrack.

I’ve been listening and sampling and the first couple of songs from “I Miss Us” successfully took me back to Long Island summers, Hot 97, roller skating and crushing on the track star, and going to watch boys play basketball. As the cd went on, to my delight in addition to doing those songs they do so well, they were also singing the grown woman stuff I could relate to right now. I don’t foresee it being the best-selling album ever, but the die-hard fans who miss feeling butterflies and passing (paper) notes are going to put this on repeat. These ladies have been through some things, they are mature, but they still have a sugary sweetness that makes you want to round up the crew, get a karaoke machine and crash a high school talent show.

Here’s to the old, the new, the mortifying things of your youth that make you fall out with laughter now.

Here’s to SWV and their latest. Co-Sign. Well done ladies. Yall cover of Patti LaBelle’s “If Only You Knew.” Lawd. And Coko ain’t the one going in at the end. This album erre body is sanging lead. That’s what’s up, Lelee and Taj!

Breaking Up With His Family Hurts Too

I tend to regularly talk about the evils of Facebook on this blog.

One of the cardinal breakup rules, if you want to maintain closure and not lose your damn mind is to de-friend your ex.

I didn’t do it. I waited to see if he would do it, so I could go off about it.

I’m guessing he did the same.

I’d occasionally stalk his page for new developments, but my ex generally doesn’t make a whole lot of moves on Facebook, so I figured I’d be safe from going nuts that he’s living this wonderful new life without me and flaunting it.

It’s been over a year since our split, and a series of new photos he recently posted unexpectedly made me feel quite emotional.

Ironically, it wasn’t photos of him hugged up with a woman who was better looking than me (or not better looking than me).

It was a photo of him and his adorable nephew, his mother and his sister, having a ball at his nephew’s birthday party.

He’s five already. He’s getting tall and he looked so handsome.

My ex, who was just as afraid of having kids as I was (to the point of even saying he decided he didn’t want to have any at all), seemed to be a lot more comfortable with his nephew in those photos. He looked happy. He looked like he was right where he was supposed to be.

He was smiling hard in another photo where his nephew was being baptized too.

It was almost scary. Was this the same guy?

Looking at the photos, I was proud of him and happy for his family. They’ve gone through more than their fair share of difficult times and to see them all together, looking happy made me feel happy.

But then I felt a shooting pain across my heart.

I wasn’t there, I wasn’t a part of that and it dawned on me that somehow when I wasn’t looking, while I was falling in love with him, I was falling in love with them too.

Flaws, drama and all.

I realized in us building our relationship, I was also building a relationship with them. Me and his mother hit it off famously and we even had phone calls with one another without him being involved. The first time she met me, she didn’t hesitate to say how happy she was that we were together and she was beyond thrilled when we got engaged.

She was just as heartbroken when it ended. She apologized to me and she told me she loved me, and I told her I loved her too and I thanked her for always being nothing but sweet to me. She said she wanted to keep in touch if I felt comfortable enough, and even though I told her it was okay, eventually she faded away.

And then I saw her photo. She’s so sassy and fun, and she always speaks her mind. Seeing her again made me smile.

I nearly fell out one evening when she was talking about my figure and said, “I know my son. He likes big butts, well you know what I mean, she has a lovely figure.”

I was amazed at how much my would-be nephew-to-be had grown. He was like a baby when his uncle and I first got together. He would get on the phone to say hello and I’d love to hear about the latest cute things he’d say or do.

I didn’t get to personally meet his sister, but we’d say hello over the phone.

Either way, I felt just as invested in his family as I did in him and even though that’s a given when you decide to marry someone, it kind of hit me hard when I realized what else I had lost when our relationship ended.

I was going to be a proud auntie to another great child, a daughter-in-law and sister-in-law.

That was another very real loss.

All Sewed Up

foto76/freedigitalphotos.net

This may seem random, but the more I think about it, this totally makes sense.

I want to relearn how to sew.

Among business classes and classes about Flash and HTML I want to take, I want to add sewing to the mix.

We all took the home economics class in middle school that gave us the basics. But I want to step it up a notch. I want to make pencil skirts and cute shorts, or a blouse.

I’ve always had respect for people who knew how to sew and make their own clothes. There’s one particular blog/website that I dig called http://www.newdressaday.com/ where homegirl goes thrifting, and finds the most hideous of moo moos and other garish garments, and transforms them into pure hotness.

She’s become so successful at this, her faithful readers even send in monstrosities they’ve found and she transforms them. Oh, and did I mention, she does this everyday with a garment she purchased for $1?

The girl has skills. She’s making stuff that could easily sell out at H&M from products that were rejects from Dress Barn.

In today’s times of recession, this girl has got the right idea. She’s got the heart and style and innovation of Anna Wintour, but with the logic of Suzie Orman.

It always made me feel sexy when I’d fix buttons on my ex’s coat, or shirt or whatever. I think he thought it was hot too. Sometimes I hem my own pants when I step on them by accident (which shouldn’t happen if I went to get them tailored).

It also doesn’t help that my latest reality obsession is the show Fashion Star. Where talented wanna be designers compete each week to get their designs into Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue or H&M, and after the show you can go online and into the stores and purchase the winning designs! Swoon. Even if the designers don’t win the whole shebang, they still have opportunities to sell their designs to these powerhouse retailers and have their products in the stores. That’s a win-win for everyone.

When I was a kid, I knew women from church and the neighborhood who knew how to sew. They took it seriously and informally competed with one another. For previous generations, sewing was a given and it was a mandatory discipline every girl had to know.

I often like to shout out grandmothers and great grands who survived the Great Depression. They were resourceful as hell with so little. They knew how to cook, keep a clean house and they knew how to sew.

Folks could not afford to drop money on new clothes, so they had to tailor what they had, or buy fabric and make their own. I won’t be arrogant or delusional. I’m quite sure there are women all over the world who have to make their own clothes, and to them I also give them many props.

Our generation has been fortunate. We usually only sew as a hobby or because we aspire to be fashion designers and not out of necessity.

But like our foremothers, I think it’s just a good skill set to have in the arsenal.

To me there was something about family members and loved ones making baby clothes, or prom and even wedding dresses for people they cared about. It made that piece of clothing even more special and sentimental. You felt the love that went into making it and the person who wore the clothes wore them with pride, giving the person who made it the highest compliment by wearing it well.

There have been times folks made stuff for me that wasn’t so flattering, but my mother made me wear it at least once to show appreciation for the time, energy and love that went into it. It was a sobering, yet good lesson to learn. Maybe it wasn’t stylish, but someone cared enough to make it with their own hands, just for me.

Maybe that’s why I go nuts when people make things for me. It just means so much. I had a roommate in Detroit who knitted me the warmest most awesome wool scarf of all time. I was so touched by her gift, that to this day, it is hands down one of my faves.

So in addition to all of the other ambitious things I want to learn how to do in my 30’s, I want to make my own outfit from scratch.

We shall see…

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