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Archive for the tag “trying new things”

RSVP for one. Bad-Ass Scardy Cat will go to the Gala.

I said it and I refuse to take it back. 2016 is not only the self-proclaimed year of the unexpected, it’s also the year of the bad-ass scardy cat. AKA, me.
I spent a previous post talking about what that exactly means. It may also extend into my dating life or how I attack it, without letting it attack me.
One of my biggest problems is not knowing what I want, or thinking I don’t know what I want in a relationship.
The problem is I know.
The problem is I kind of don’t believe I can have it.
So while I’m doing the match.com thing, I’m going to jump out on a limb and take a risk.
Every year, Howard alumni are sent a lovely invitation to the annual Charter Day events held each March. There’s always a super swanky gala, that basically costs $350 per plate. And hell, the amazing Debbie Allen is this year’s chairwoman.
Me and my friends have joked, that we’d attend once we’ve “made it.”
This gala attracts many of Howard’s most prestigious alumni, and supporters. It’s a collection of folks you’d be proud to say you share a legacy with.
But in the same breath, its intimidating. IT’S FUCKING INTIMIDATING. I’ve been out of practice going to things like this post my journalism career, so going to this solo is daunting to say the least.
But I keep staring at the invite. It just keeps calling me.
I’m not a baller, shot-caller by any means, but I’m a self-sufficient person who is about to add some expensive-ass letters behind her name this year (from another well-respected Washington, D.C. University) and is in need of connecting to inspiring people again, if only for one night. At any event at Howard, I am reenergized. So, I know this will be worth it.
And yes, I’m going to Rent the Runway so I can shock and awe. I may even visit the brick and mortar Georgetown location to select my ensemble.
Hmm, I guess, I’ve basically said I’m going. I guess, I made the decision now. Ha!
I was going to use this blog post to kind of give myself all the reasons I should go, and I wanted to also discuss a byproduct that I wouldn’t mind happening.
…. Me snagging the man of my dreams. This is some fanciful, storybook, meet cute, starring Sanna Lathan type shit. And just when I thought I’ve been dragged to the most cynical cellars of my soul, I meet a brown unicorn who reminds me how much I like to do what I think I can’t even if I complain or doubt myself along the way. There’s a tiny ray of hope.

It’s freaking dangerous to go to this gala, thinking I’m going to drop my napkin and a chocolate dreamboat decked out in a tux is going to pick it up and we’ll lock eyes and the rest will be black history and we’ll be planning our nuptuals at historic Rankin Chapel on campus, but IT’S MY FANTASY. DEEP DOWN, in the places I want to deny that exist, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANT. Excuse me now for the rant. I do feel better saying it. More on this later…

I recently participated in an online relationship boot camp of sorts, and this month’s video was about “dating down.” I was practically in tears by the end, because it called out a number of things I’ve already addressed in this blog.
They basically strummed my pain by outlining the following: my need for control, my need to feel emotionally and intellectually superior and how dating down is actually taking the easy road, just to have someone in your life.
After killing me ever so softly (Roberta Flack went to Howard, btw) it made me think.

I had to get back to the basics.
Deep in my heart, I wanted a good, stable, sane Howard man, or a man who went to an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). This man would be able to totally understand why I love my alma mater so much and celebrate this love with me. I wouldn’t have to give him cliffs notes on my experience. Or what led to my decision, or why I felt everything Ta-Nahesi Coates describes in his epic colorful description of Howard in all it’s ebony-coated excellence in “Between the World and Me.” Even if he went to a rival school, it would be fun to take photos rocking alumni sweatshirts and talking crap to each other on gameday. Even if he disagreed with me about politics and pop culture, he’d understand my perspective.

Howard, much like my father, shaped for me an ideal of the kind of man I wanted and believed I deserved. But somehow over the years, I’ve deviated. I’ve acquiesced to dating and entertaining lesser beings to not give truth to the stereotype of the professional black woman too good to give folks a chance. I tried to temper my expectations, but it still didn’t feel right. I’ve dated men who didn’t attend HBCUs, but they were still missing something… or lacked some level of consciousness that never sat right with me, or they didn’t see themselves in the collective “we” in the black diaspora. And I don’t mean that in a dashiki-wearing, anti-white, afro-wearing, ankh-adorned, shea butter-scented way.

But there’s something about Howard that awakens your consciousness and how you walk in it, how you live it, is entirely up to you and shaped also by your own experience, but above all, it’s informed. It’s multifaceted.

So here it is. It’s the season of finding someone whose light reflects my own.

That’s been the biggest thing I’ve been afraid to ask for out loud, but the missing ingredient that I keep summing up and dumbing down as an intangible, when I reply two oactives higher than usual “I don’t know.”
So at this point, where are those kinds of men? Welp, my guess is they are doing all sorts of things. They are friends of friends. They volunteer. They may be in the clubs, but I’m over that. I will not do that.

However, friends, I’m consciously and to some degree defiantly making a $350 investment in myself (+ the cost of my rent the runway dress), my badassery and my future. Sometimes if you go to places you’ve never gone, you’ll have experiences you’ve never had. In the year of badassery, it’s time to not put a price tag on me living up to my potential. Besides, I’m nosey. I want to see how the other half lives… I do wonder if they’ll let a sister register as a student, using her George Washington id, tho… lol.

So that settles it. I’m good enough to be in the room. I AM GOOD ENOUGH TO BE IN THE ROOM.

I deserve to go to the gala because well, I was invited. That should end the argument there.

I’m an alumni. That should also end the argument.

And with a swipe of a credit card, I’ll be in there. And let’s face it, my credit card going through is probably the only thing Howard is thinking about anyway. LOL.

The only person who can say I don’t belong for whatever stupid reason, is me. So I’ll stop. I’ll start looking for a dress. The Golden Globes and Oscar season have me feigning to slay in my lane at  some event. And I’ll go. Bad-ass Scardycats unite!

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Bad-Ass Scardy Cat

I keep telling yall. 2016 will be the year of the unexpected. I mentioned in a previous blog, in 2015, I was concentrating on balance. And it served me well. Focusing on balance brought me to a good place and I think prepared me for the coming year.

I’m getting that much closer to finishing my master’s degree (hopefully in December folks!), and I’m getting much better at just saying no to things I can’t get with and taking a time out when things get a little crazy. I’m learning to listen to my inner voice and my body (which is super important as I’m getting older. 34 next month yall… and when 29tolife started, we were talking about the possibilities of what the 30s will bring! Ha!)

At any rate, I’m the kind of person who, I believe exudes a certain self-confidence (that I fight for daily). People in my life and strangers even compliment me on how I carry myself, and how I can motivate other people or make others feel good too. But at the root of it all, like I said, I fight for it. I have to pump myself up, and I’m elated when people tell me that I am beautiful or I did something well. It really helps. I think on twitter, I mentioned being what I call a “bad-ass scardy cat.”

I may try new things or things that scare the hell out of me, or make a life change that scares me, but once I’ve made up my mind, no matter how scared I am I do it. There you go, a bad-ass scardy cat.

Well on Jan 2, 2016, I may have outdone myself.

I got a tattoo. At 33 years old, I was eating breakfast with my cousin and I said I’m doing it today. She asked if I was sure, and with a piece of bacon in my mouth, I said yes. It was clear as a bell.

I knew I wanted a tattoo right then, that day, just as I knew my name. I just knew I had to do it. So after thinking about local places my friends have gone to, looking at the websites and recalling strong reputations for cleanliness, experience, ability and friendliness to newbies, I set out for the tattoo shop.

The place was pretty busy with folks also determined to get tatted or pierced, most folks adding to their collections.

I have to say my tattoo artist Jen, was the PERFECT person to do my tattoo. She was warm, kind, and had a bunch of bad-ass tattoos of her own. She made me feel completely at ease, even though my heart was beating out of my chest as the needle touched my skin for the very first time.

I asked her to please just keep talking to me, as she worked. I couldn’t bear to just let the buzzing hum of the needle and background noise of other conversations suffice.

Keep in mind, this act of badassery was going against everything my religious family believed was proper, especially for a woman. To my family, it probably would have even made more sense for me to do such a thing during college. But to be an established “professional” woman rolling into her mid-thirties, why now?

Now was the perfect time, because I am grown. I have lived enough to get a really good idea of who I am and who I’m not. I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve changed careers slightly, I’m expanding my education, I’ve changed my hair, I’ve lost weight, I’ve visited other countries. Whatever I choose to put on my body at this point wouldn’t be a whim, but a conscious decision.

That choice, was a lovely quill pen. The feather represents truth. The truth sets us free and makes us light as a feather. Birds are free and fly, they have feathers. I love the connection of it all. Whether I work in journalism or not, I’ll always be a writer. That will never change.

My truth will be ever-evolving as I continue to learn things, experience things and grow.

I think when Jen asked me why I wanted a quill, I wasn’t as eloquent as I was just now, but I mentioned being a journalist, the feather representing truth and how I really wanted this particular tattoo for YEARS, but never had the guts to do it.

By not being in a relationship, it was even easier not to be influenced by or wonder whether or not my partner thought it was a good idea or not, sexy or not, etc.

I truly believe the Belize trip was a catalyst for this. Ziplining through the jungle, getting a mud bath and being butt naked and painted and adorned in flowers and having myself photographed, it was liberating. It was an acceptance of myself that I wasn’t familiar with, but it fit. I saw myself in those pictures being adventurous and happy and comfortable with my body and my hair and just living. I loved that. This is me. This is who I am. This is who I’ve been all along.

Was it painful? Well, it wasn’t a massage, but it wasn’t waterboarding either. The best way I can describe it was a deep scratching, that became more sensitive depending on where the needle went. But it wasn’t that bad. Jen was quick and focused, while making me feel comfortable.

I went into journalist mode asking her about what it was like to do her very first tattoo, what was her own personal first tattoo, and if she doodled as a child. She went to college for fine arts, and found that tattoo artistry would be a reasonable and profitable way to make good on that education and how she enjoyed meeting so many different kinds of people. She admitted to giving a side-eye or two for people’s choices, and told me about how celebrities often send people in in droves to have identical ink.

She also mentioned how an audience can make people more dramatic while getting ink, and that women tend to appear to be in more pain if a boyfriend or group of girlfriends are around.

I thanked Jen and walked out with my cousin kind of new.

I felt a bit more edgy, but then I unpacked that confidence later as I proudly rubbed the After Ink ointment on my brand new tat. I kept looking at it and admiring it. It just felt like I was myself. I was always myself, and this was an outward manifestation of just how bad-ass I could really be, according to my own standards and there’s nothing more bad-ass or revolutionary than that.

 

 

On VACATION and Keeping It Simple

Simplicity. Simplicity.

I’ve been trying to apply this to my upcoming trip to Curacao TOMORROW!!! Yes, yes, yall.

Your girl is finally taking a relaxing 5-day getaway and I haven’t had a trip like this since 2008. So this is nuts.

Anyway, I was packing last night, determined to get everything into just one carry-on bag and one large tote.

I’ll admit it, when my friend said, “You’re only taking a carry-on? It’s an international flight we don’t get charged extra.”

I told her after being the long distance queen, I used to be able to pack a carry on like a pro and I don’t want to be bogged down with luggage. It felt cumbersome when I went to New Orleans with two bags and I was angry standing in long lines to have my bag checked and nearly missing my flight with the mass exodus leaving New Orleans after EssenceFest that Monday morning. Also, I hate standing around staring at bags circling the carousel that look just like mine and knowing it’s not mine yet and jockeying for position to grab it as quickly as possible.

Nope. I want to keep this trip simple. So much so, I added my own cornrow extensions last night. They don’t look professional, but they aren’t completely terrible. I can live with it. But I don’t have to do my hair or bring extra products to tame it.

Simple.

Simplicity. The first day of my trip I have no choice. I’m poor. My paycheck doesn’t arrive into my account until Friday so I got to make a little bit of money last.

I realized instead of lugging my awesome Coach tote that I love and live by, I would take a much larger, pink recyclable tote I got from the National Book Fair last year and carry a bunch of crap and not worry about it getting lost or stolen or sand in it.

Simple.

I’m still bringing five swimsuits. (In case I feel really fat and bloated) Oh well.

I picked up a cool pad of sheets that say “I tried It.” I think it’s a good idea to bring it along and just jot down new things I attempt to try during my trip and will encourage my travelmates to do the same. I think it will be fun. On the sheets of paper, it even has a space to check off and talk about how you felt after you tried that new thing and whether or not you’ll do it again.

I’m strongly considering trying snorkeling.

There’s this weird-looking local slimy dish, that I probably should try, but eh. I’m not so sure about that.

Either way, I’ve decided one bag. I’m keeping it simple. I should have everything I could possibly need in one bag and I’m not going to make myself nuts about shoes and bulky things like that. I don’t want to spend my time trying to decide what to wear. I want to spend time on the beach, in or by the pool, exploring the island and trying new things.

I’m beyond excited! It’s going to be an adventure!!! Can’t wait to tell you all about it upon my return. In fact, I picked up a small journal so I can jot down and share my thoughts. Super happy!!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Easy Being Green, On the Golf Course, That Is

This is the year and the summer of trying new things and no fear.

Among the fearless things I’ve been dabbling in is dating a much older man.

It’s been going well. I have nothing but positive things to say about him and I’m enjoying spending time with him more and more. I was damn near ready to run into his arms after having the most ridiculous conversation at a club Friday night. This man actually said, “Oh you’re a journalist? You check facts? I got a fact for you to check. It’s nine inches long with a vein.”

Yes, that fool actually said that to me. The game is ugly and horrible right now. I may not be so nuts to go 17 years older.

Back to the real men.

The other night after having a small meal and checking out a local casino, where we pooled our resources and decided to get out while we could with a modest haul of $58, I asked him to teach me to play golf.

He is a golf enthusiast and lights up when he talks about it. I’ve always thought golf to be a snooty, boring game, involving snooty, boring people. I only have experience with putt-putt golf, which I happen to be quite good at.

But take away the windmills, replicas of the Washington Monument, and put me on a real golf course, hmm. I think I’d suck.

My friend has decided to show me a few things first at a local driving range, which is where we’ll be going this evening.

*Sidebar. Being in three consecutive long-distance relationships over the last decade, I forgot what a boost a mid-week date can give a gal.

So anyway, I’m excited to spend time with such a great person, who isn’t trying to get in my pants immediately and excited to try golf. After dealing with the crazy club guys, and watching amateur strippers do their best routines for random men all night and not get paid, SIGN ME UP FOR SNOOTY! I want to sip mint juleps in the clubhouse. Hell yes. LOL.  There’s literally a course and country club like around the corner from my house and he plays there sometimes.

Even though we are going to practice at the driving range first (also conveniently located near my house), he said he figures I’ll be a quick study and we’ll be on the green in no time.

Being me, and having obsessions of the moment, I already have a Michelle Wie-worthy ensemble for when I hit the links for real, for real. I just need a cute visor, and I want gloves. LOL.

Not only do I want to look cute, but I’m competitive. I don’t want to suck.

I’ll keep you folks posted on the progress.

This situation totally reminds me of an episode from season one of VH1’s Single Ladies.  In an attempt to be on a man cleanse, Val is trying to learn how to play golf, well after she buys a whole lot of cute clothes and proper equipment. Val meets Jerry, a handsome, charming and rich older man.

*I tried to embed the video, but I think VH1 wants people to watch directly from their site, because it refuses to work. So please enjoy the clip via the link. Sorry!!!

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