December 5, 2015

My Big Chop Experience

Sixth grade was/is such an awkward time because you're damn sure not an adult, you're not quite a teen but you're not a child either. You don't want to wear ponytails and barrettes yet you're too young for "grown styles" as my daddy would say. When I was in 6th grade the hottest hair style was a roller wrap. It sounds simple but I was so jealous that all the cool girls had their hair sleek, straight, and cut to perfection, while I was still wearing Shirley Temple curls. I practically begged my mama to straighten my hair and give me a roller wrap. Eventually she reluctantly gave in. Now I have always had relaxed hair, but I was never allowed to have it all hanging nor flat ironed, only curls, ponytails or half up styles. My mama bought a flat iron and some products and attempted to make me look like those cool girls at school. The evening she straightened my hair an episode of the TV show 'Girlfriends' happened to be on. After about 15 minutes she pointed to the TV with a rattail comb and said, "Your hair is gonna be like Joan's [Tracee Ellis Ross], it won't get straight for nothing, never has!". Although I thought Joan was gorgeous and I loved her big poofy hair, I wanted my hair to look like Maya's, Toni's, and Lynn's. Straight and sleek with a little curl here and there, like cool girls at school. I thought I was doomed. Who knew nearly 13 years later I would give almost anything to have hair like Joan!

On November 30, 2015 I big chopped and became fully natural. My last relaxer was on June 20, 2014, just a few days shy of my 23rd birthday. My plan was to transition for two years before big chopping. I never had a doubt about transitioning for my natural hair journey. Some ladies dislike the idea of transitioning and choose to big chop asap. I've had long hair my entire life and just imagining myself with not only short hair but a tiny 'fro scared me. Transitioning was also the best for me because I needed to learn my hair. Before deciding to go natural I started a healthy hair journey regimen to get a feel for my hair. 

It's somewhat embarrassing but I'm going to be transparent. My mom took care of my hair until I was 20 years old. I know, I know most girls start doing their own hair in like middle school, but not me. As a college sophomore, I still sat on the floor and let my mom comb, straighten, and/or curl my hair. However, I did wash my own hair, I should get points for that! No? Ok. Anyway, since my mom handled all of my hair affairs, I seriously knew nothing about my hair. After my mom passed away, I was forced to tend to my own locks. The quick and easy solution was to take a weekly trip to the salon. Although the visits weren't expensive they definitely added up and it only made me avoid the inevitable task of dealing with my own hair. My visits to the salon slowly went from 2-3 times per month to once a month and finally once every few months for relaxers only. 

I started learning how to use a curling iron and ponytails/buns became my friends. I used a lot of heat in my hair to keep my hair straight and what I considered 'cute' at the time. I'm sure my hair was damaged but my hair stylist was a magician who could even make damaged hair look amazing. Also when I would go to the salon I would get protective styles, such as goddess braids so my hair really grew a lot despite my mishandling. 

Even though I started only going to the salon once every 2-3 months, I was tired of getting relaxers. I have always hated relaxers, they are truly torturing especially since I have eczema in my scalp. I have cried several times during the relaxer process, it was terrible. It was anything BUT 'relaxing'. I started going on long relaxer stretches (18 weeks was my longest stretch), which decreased my salon trips even more, but also gave my stylist a headache because I didn't know how to care for my new natural roots, it would be matted and tangled by the time my stretch was over. After my 23rd birthday and during another relaxer stretch, and after watching several Youtube videos, I decided to go all the way. How hard could it be? 

The first 3 months of my transition was a breeze, I just cared for it how I always did. Between 4-6 months I wanted to try twistouts and braidouts but my hair was still too straight to really hold them well. I decreased my heat usage a lot but still straightened my hair once a month. By February 2015, I learned how to do beautiful roller sets and since then it has been my go-to style. Between February 2015 and November 2015 I have straightened my hair twice. 

I was really trying to push for two years even though I was very tired of dealing with the two textures. The shedding was ridiculously rampant and all in all it was annoying and repetitive. A couple of my friends encouraged me to big chop a few weeks back, but I just kept saying I wasn't ready. I still had about 3 inches of relaxed hair, and I wanted to keep my length. Looking back on it, keeping those dead ends was a mistake! However, I'm glad I big chopped on my own time, when I was ready to. 

I started cutting purely on a whim and mostly out of frustration. My wash days are usually either Saturday or Sunday but I avoided my hair all weekend because every time I thought about doing something to it, I got frustrated and tired just thinking about it. I arrived home late on Sunday, it was close to midnight and I was not about to start the long draining process of washing my hair, so I just decided to cut it. I grabbed my hair shears, went into the bathroom, sat in front of the mirror and started snipping the relaxed ends at the front of my head. At first it felt like a sigh of relief, then suddenly less than half way through the chop I put the scissors down and looked at my natural hair, my 'fro. WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING?! I couldn't believe I was actually doing it. I tilted my head and did a few poses in the mirror and realized that I looked really cute. I was still in awe that I was cutting my hair, but it made me feel a little better that it didn't look bad on me at all. I kept cutting and noticed that it wasn't as short as I thought it would be and I started feeling...Happy. After all of my relaxed ends were off I could not stop smiling! I was happy and my adrenaline was going at full speed. I think the best part about going natural was actually seeing myself. I know that sounds so cliché but it truly made me realize something. People tell me all the time how much I look like my mama and sometimes I see it but a lot of the time I don't. After I cut my permed ends off I saw her, I saw my mama in me. I see now that we are practically twins and I couldn't be more proud to look like the most beautiful woman in the world.

After I calmed down, took a few pictures, and texted a couple friends, reality settled in. I had no idea how to style it, but I knew I didn't want to just wear it as it was. My hair is 90% 4C and at the back there's a small 3C patch, about 10%. I can't give length measurements since I haven't measured it but if I had to guess I would say in it's stretched state it's about 5 inches long. I did a twist and curl as I would always do on my transitioning hair and went to bed. It didn't turn out that well but that was fine. When I went to work, a couple of my co-workers said they couldn't even tell that I big chopped, I'm still not sure if that's good or bad.

Now let's be honest here, I struggle to even consider myself a 'natural', because I feel like I'm still the same. During this whole transition I thought being natural would be like jumping the broom, trading my old life for a new beginning. In a sense it is a new beginning, I feel as if I have new hair and I'm excited to play with it and experiment, but I'm still the exact same person. I know it sounds silly to think you're going to miraculously change once you cut your hair, but if you haven't transitioned maybe you can't empathize. I feel like natural haired women are wiser or something...The holders of all hair wisdom. I'm not 'hair-wise', I have NO idea what I'm doing. It's only been four days, maybe my body doesn't know it's a naturalista yet?

All in all, I am happy with my big chop. Big chopping means different things to different people. For some it's just a haircut and for others it's letting go of all the traditions and beliefs about [black] hair, embracing your own self and breaking away from those old traditions/beliefs. In my family, long hair is very much treasured but not to the extent where my family would disown me for cutting my hair. I think the hardest part for me will be styling. My twist out failed, my braid out was ok for a day, and my puffs are cute enough. I'll be watching Youtube for more inspiration...

...Oh and about the annoyance that is Youtube let me tell y'all something...No, wait, I'll save that for another blog!

:) 

November 28, 2015

Is Adele Fat...?


...And do we care? When is It OK to be fat?

Last Friday (11/20) Adele released her third album entitled 25. The album has been on shelves for only just over a week but has broken music records worldwide. I'll be 25 next year and I haven't broken any kind of record, not even a vinyl. Much like fellow popular singers, Adele has a huge following and a "stan base". We all know Adele can sing the roof off of any given building and she is a radiant beauty. In addition to all of her beauty and achievements she is also plus sized...Or is she? I saw someone mention on Twitter the fact that she has lost some weight since her last album. In response to this several people came to her defense saying "That doesn't matter! She's beautiful". Some people don't even address the fact that she is plus sized like they do with other celebrities. Some people might even say that I’m wrong for mentioning her size when she’s so much more than her weight, but I’m still typing. Just a few months ago Rihanna showed off her body in a traditional Carnival garb during Carnival season in Barbados. She seemed to be a little bigger than normal and folks were saying how fat she looked and how the weight was unbecoming. When Tyra Banks put on weight a few years back and faced heavy criticism causing her to tell everyone to "kiss her fat ass" it was a problem. Similar things have happened with Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, etc. Those are tiny examples of how weight shaming is real, even with smaller sized celebrities.This year Tess Holliday became the first super plus sized model to earn a modeling contract with a major agency. She is beautiful, outspoken and graceful, yet with one glimpse of her Instagram you'll see comments like "You're too fat, you need to lose weight for your health" or the grossest popular one, "You're not going to live long enough to see your son grow up". The last and best example is the exuberant Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe, oh the backlash she faces for merely existing is so hateful and annoying. Yet with Adele her weight doesn't matter. Why?

I believe it's because Adele exists but she's not visible. Yes, she has a new album out and her face is all over magazines, blogs, and advertisements, but her body? Not so much. I saw a picture of Adele leaving some event and the caption read, "Adele in her signature black attire" which intrigued me. Black is a wonderful color and it also has a slimming effect. I can't help but wonder why black is her signature clothing choice. Usually when any celebrity (or even regular folks) have put on some weight and want to mask it, they throw on black from head to toe hoping to hide the bulge. Is it truly Adele's choice to wear black? The difference between Adele and other plus size celebrities is visibility. Adele is heard rather than seen and I'm not sure if it's her choice or not but it's working. She has mentioned that she doesn't want to look like the women in magazines, but she never draws attention to herself by wearing bold colors or a statement piece, because her voice commands all the attention and that alone is amazing. Which leads me to my initial question, when is it ok to be fat?

Fatness is ok in [American] society if you're invisible, funny, or a man. According to society, if you're in the shadows or if you are hiding your fatness it's fine. That’s not to say that invisible fat people don’t receive backlash and are “welcomed into society” but it’s basically if I don’t see it, it doesn’t bother me. Visibility is bothersome as with any group of people who are considered to be socially deviant.


Over the past few years I’ve noticed that a lot of comedians or comedic actors are overweight. For the longest time being fat itself was funny. The “I’m always hungry/eating” or “I will sit on you” jokes have been around forever, people make fat jokes nowadays without even thinking about it because it’s so common and accepted by the general public. Again, visibility. Of course when someone is standing on a stage telling jokes you can see that he/she is fat but the jokes are at the forefront and to a lot of people the fatness is a part of the joke even if the comedian didn’t intend it to be. Growing up my least favorite comedian was DL Hughley. My parents watched ComicView and for a while he was a regular on the show. His routine always included pointing and laughing at someone in the audience, especially a fat person. I’m sure after a while fat people refused to sit in the front section of his shows because it was expected to be made fun of. My mom went to a live comedy show at this club that my uncle owned. My uncle thought it would be a great treat to give my parents the VIP section in the front. My mom did not want to sit at the front and it was too late to switch seats. After the show my mom seemed a little upset, and later I found out it was because the comedian ridiculed her as a part of the act. I think it shows a true lack of comedic talent if one has to rely on the audience for material, but I digress.


Lastly, fat men are far more acceptable in general society than fat women. On most TV shows centered around a couple, the man is usually stocky/chubby while the woman is cute, thin, and petite. Fatness isn’t feminine or pretty in TV Land, I guess. There are exceptions Mike and Molly, Roseanne...but again they’re comediennes. I have yet to see a fat woman play someone’s serious love interest.

Fatness and visibility are two of the most important things when considering when fatness is acceptable. There are some exceptions as I have listed above, but even still no one wants visible fatness. I used Adele as an example, I’m not picking on her at all but seeing the “her weight doesn’t matter” idea specifically attached to her name is interesting. It’s special because this same kind of “pass” doesn’t seem to be attached to anyone else in the spotlight even if they are very talented. There have been other celebrities who have been given a “pass” and it’s simply because they don’t address their size. If Adele decided she wanted to make fast-paced dance-pop music and wanted to do choreographed dances in the style of Beyonce, I think things would be different. If she wanted to wear a bold bright neon green crop tops with the words “Fat Fine” across her bust, things would probably be different. If she decided to ditch her modest black attire and go with sexy deep plunging necklines and bold bright prints, things would probably be different. However, her talent isn’t related to her size and she has definitely emphasized that. She doesn’t model, she isn’t a dancer, and she’s not a sex symbol. Her voice is her talent and her voice is her gift to the masses, and who doesn’t love a beautiful gift? Forget dieting I just wish I could sing well...

November 21, 2015

Why Don't You Love Me?

Years ago, there were a few guys who I liked and the feelings were mutual, but I ruined it. This is going to be a short post, I don't want to drag this out anymore than necessary. Thanks for tuning in to Nic's super short post! Anyway, both of the aforementioned guys were extremely sweet and well... I was sour. 

I think about them both when I sit back and think about my past relationships/friendships. I often wonder how things would be different had I not been such a witch. Both situations started and ended almost the exact same way. The beginning was wonderful, interesting, and just pure bliss. Overtime, they went from being sweet compositions to disjointed improvisations. The final performance commenced with me screaming "leave me the hell alone!" just before waltzing off the stage with my baton in tow.

At the time, I didn't fully understand why I became infuriated with them. The first guy was always hanging on to my every word, the second guy would always stand so close to me, I could smell his not-so-minty-fresh breath. Those things were issues but they weren't the real issue. At that point in my life I hated myself so much I lashed out on those who tried to get close me. I figured it would be a waste, they couldn't really like me, blah, blah...I was angry that I didn't like myself enough to let my guard down to let someone else like me. It's weird and confusing yet it all makes sense. 

I think a lot of us use anger and 'lashing out' as a means to keep people at bay but it's truly the worst thing you can do to someone who cares about you, sees your beauty, and is willing to maneuver through all the treacherous channels to explore the deepest parts of you. I regret doing what I did to those guys because of my self-hate and pent up anger. I'm writing this because I think it's important for people to understand how the psyche of a person with low self-value affects everyone involved. Self-love doesn't just blossom when someone likes or loves you. Much like telling a person with depression to "just get happy and look on the bright side". It may sound encouraging but it won't cure their depression nor make them feel better. If anything it can agitate the issue and make things even more difficult.  I know, I know, you want me to quit with the 'Love thyself' cliches and anecdotes, but trust me, it's important and life changing. Oprah says so, too. 

November 12, 2015

What Do You Fear? Tag

In order to keep up with the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) challenge, I'm doing this tag for today's post! This tag was created by the illustrious James Colwell on Youtube. Please visit his channel! I challenge anyone reading this to complete this tag. You don't need to make a video or even have a blog, post it on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media sites that you use. Share it with your friends and ask them about their fears. It could really lead to a fun and informative conversation. 

Do You Fear…

1. The dark

Sort of but not really...I don't like being in total darkness, but I wouldn't say I fear the dark.

2. Tunnels or bridges

Yes! The last time I drove across a bridge I was shaking. I actually don't mind crossing a bridge if someone else is driving across it. It's mostly because of my combined fear of large bodies of water and heights.

3. Large bodies of water

Yes, it makes me queasy, which is why I don't really like the beach.

4. Hospitals or doctors

Hospitals, no. Some doctors, yes. I like the optometrist and dentist!

5. Hotels or motels

Ugh, no?

6. Heights

Definitely!

7. The woods

Chile...Yes. There's bugs and animals and crazy ass people in the woods. No gawd. 

8. Airplanes, trains or buses

I have thought about flying and it just seems so scary but I've never flown. I'd rather drive or take a train. It's one of my life goals to take a train ride. 

9. Rollercoasters or other amusement rides

Yes, again heights!!!

10. Thunderstorms or lightning

Yes, thunderstorms. They're so unpredictable! You don't know where it's going to strike and it could cause so much damage and destruction.

11. Horror movies

I don't fear them but I would prefer not to watch them.

12. Public speaking

Yeah, I really hate speaking in front of groups, large or small.
 
13. Animals; and if so which ones?

Snakes and spiders. I just don't really like cats but I don't fear them.
 
14. Ghosts or apparitions

Hmm...Nope. Ghosts and spirits actually intrigue me. 

15. Death

In a sense, yes but in a sense no. I just would fear dying and not telling the people that I love how much I love them. I think I fear how I will die versus dying. 

Other things I fear: Fire, Getting Sick, and Hurricanes.

November 11, 2015

Catching and Confessing Feelings

I've never had to confess my feelings for someone who I liked. I've only truly had feelings for two people, so I don't catch feelings offen. The first one was this guy who I thought I loved. He hardly knew my name. I never wanted him to know that I liked him but watching several romantic comedies where the awkward girl confesses her love to the jock and they ride off happily ever after really encouraged me. After crushing on him for years, I asked my friend to tell him for me via Myspace. Smooth. She told him and of course he said something along the lines of "I'm interested in someone else". He even started avoiding me at school. Back then I was crushed but looking back on it, it really wasn't a terrible rejection. 

The hardest part about putting yourself out there is rejection. Then again, I guess how do you know if you don't try? Rejection is terrible but so is regret. I think the thought of dealing with regret is more appealing than the thought of dealing with rejection, at least in my mind. But regret lingers longer. After a while it starts to hurt, at least with rejection the pain is temporary, like the prick of a needle and after a period of time it's something you can laugh and/or reminisce about. The longer you hold on to your secret the harder it'll be to confess. Secrets get comfortable like a lazy Sunday afternoon in bed. Once they're tucked away in the comfort of your mind, it's difficult to wake it up and put it out there in real time. Trust me, I know. Would I ever confess my true feelings for someone that I'm into? I would choose not to if I could. Not because I think confessing feelings makes you vulnerable but honestly, it's just scary. I always envision my confession to go like this (This is totally fictional, by the way):

Monday evening, outside, dark blue skies, distant stars freckled across it as a cool December wind chills the air. 
Me: Hey wait, can I talk to you? Do you have time to stay for a little bit?
Pulls dark brown jacket tighter, crossing his arms.
Him: Yeah what's up?
Clears throat, and looks away for a moment. Suddenly both of our eyes meet. Starts speaking, pacing the words moderately quick.
Me: I think you're so amazing, you make laugh all the time and just being around you makes me happy. You make me think, you spend valuable time with me, you make me feel special, beautiful, and valued. Getting to know you has been the best thing that's ever happened to me, because through getting to know you, I learned about myself. You don't understand how much that means to me. *Speaking slows down, calmer tone* I never thought I would develop these feelings for you when we first became friends. I think about you all the time, you're even in my prayers and dreams. I realized I fell for you when I truly couldn't see anyone but you in a crowded room. World War III could've been going on outside and I would've been at peace because you were the only thing I could see and hear. You're never too much for me because I can't get enough of you. You're so not perfect and neither am I, but somehow I can see us both getting closer to perfection if we really came together. We're so different but I just really like you, I love spending time with you and I was hoping you felt the same about me.
Him: Uh...Yeah...That's very nice of you. I like you too, as my friend. You're like a sister to me. You're such a good friend, I don't want to ruin what we have.
Me: ...But you gave me signs. You spent time with me, you got to know me, we shared things, you're so nice to me...Buzzfeed videos and Google said those were "the signs"...
Him: I was being nice to you, I didn't realize that was a sign...I'm sorry, I was just being my normal friendly self. 
Me: Oh...Well...Have a nice life. *dies*


Truthfully, I don't like bottling up my feelings for someone. It eats away at you eventually, and when you see the person you either feel anxious to scream "I love you, please be with me!" or you try extremely hard to not let your feelings show. I'm an expert at the latter, but even if feelings aren't shown chemistry never lies and is more obvious especially to those around you. I never feel like it's the right moment to confess feelings, but is there really a perfect moment? 

I said all of this to say that I hope the love of my life is braver than I and will confess first. If not, I'm screwed.

November 10, 2015

True Life: I'm 24 and I've never had a boyfriend


Maybe it's because I snore, I'm not a girly girl, usually the curtains don't match the drapes (hey at least there are curtains and drapes), and I'm severely introverted. Or maybe it's because I'm fat or all of the above...Probably none of the above. 

I never expected my life to end up this way, I thought for sure I'd have at least one boyfriend by now. Nope. My dating discussions consist of slightly embellishing stories about the couple dates I've had, laughing at bad date jokes as if I can truly relate to them, and hoping to God that no one asks me about my non-existent first time. One of my friends told me that I sound inexperienced, oh the horror. I never wanted anyone to know my secret, I thought I was a pretty good actress. I guess I'm Beyoncé in The Fighting Temptations movie. No shade. 

When I do talk to my friends about guys it's never concrete and almost juvenile. I have crushes, they have flings. See? There are all these articles and blogs about how the young, modern woman is flourishing, dating,  and having lots of casual sex. Well, I'm here to tell you I'm not one of them. 

I know this sounds like a super dorky sob story but quite the contrary. In my twenties  I've experienced a lot of life, it came faster than I expected. I believe in God's proper timing, and I'm sure this is all a part of His Divine Plan for me. Since middle school, it always seemed like having a boyfriend was the most important thing a girl could have, even more important than being well-educated and respectful. Thankfully, my parents never pushed the issue about dating as some parents do. But I always felt like I was out of the loop, and I still do sometimes. A couple years ago I looked into becoming a nun, seriously. Unlike the Army they are really selective. 

Throughout my years of single-ness, I have grown in ways I didn't think I would. My twenties have definitely been a time of unexpected growth and change. A relationship during my lowest points would've been unhealthy for both parties involved. I was broken, painfully insecure, and self-loathing. Through my own method of  unprofessional counseling (aka talking to myself and/or making my brother listen to my rants), prayer, writing and self discovery I have become better. Not cured but better. Four years ago, if you had asked me to tell you about myself, I would've only been able to say a couple sentences. For a long time, I didn't even know myself and I'm still working on that.

I think one of the most difficult things about being single my entire life is simply comparing my life to other people my age. Sure I look around and I see broken, insecure, and self loathing people in a relationship or even married and I wonder why them and not me? However, their journey is not my journey and vice versa.  We're all experiencing life and our paths are leading us all to the same place but we're all getting there in a different way. I was going to quote world-renowned American poet Lil Wayne, but I think I drove home the point.

Lastly, although it seems like we should all be out looking for a partner, it doesn't have to be a priority. I'm not just saying that because I'm single. Invest time into getting to know yourself better, learn, develop, and reach your goals. If you don't have any goals, set some. Self-development/discovery is really never ending! 

All in all, I am happy at this point in my life. There are many days where I get sad and envious of people in relationships, but bad moments don't equal a bad life. I don't even have a love interest at the moment but I know regardless of my lifelong single status I'm a pretty nice (and hefty) catch. Lord knows it took me a long time to see it.  Keep in mind that relationships aren't as easy as posting cute pictures on Instagram. I'll admit, next to being able to cuddle with my future beau and talk about deep social issues after an evening of Netflix, taking an 'ussie' is one of the things I look forward to. Still, relationships take lots of time and energy, and if you're single maybe it's a sign that you should focus on other things. I'm not an expert, although I have been single forever, I'm still learning about what it means to be single. Being single forever is not a death sentence, I'm still very much alive and well! 

September 29, 2015

Tides and Waves: A Short Story

"Why are you looking at me like that?" She asked softly.
He knew why but he shook his head, "Nothing...No reason".
His dark brown eyes always connected with hers, he hoped she could read his soul. Just moments before, she had burst into laughter at his whimsical joke, throwing her head back, her mouth opened wide, and he could even see her silver fillings. Her high pitched laugh echoed against the trees as they swayed in the breeze. Only she could make a simple moment so exquisite. When she laughed, it made his heart swell, he loved her mere existence, everything else was extra.

Their chemistry was authentic and explosive, anyone who caught a glimpse of them together could see the attraction. Though they both pretended not to notice it for themselves. She thought they were just great friends with a strong bond. He thought she would never like him in such a way beyond friends. Typical.

When they went without seeing each other for a couple days, it was torture. He missed her light brown eyes, the mole above her left eye, and the way her lips curved upward when she spoke. She missed his scent, the way he made her happy, and how he looked at her like she was the most beautiful girl in the world. She wondered if he thought of her, he wondered if she missed him as much as he missed her. Texting and phone chats could never capture the magic forces between them.
The brown leaves from the dancing trees showered them as they sat in silence, both thinking. He sighed quietly picking leaves off of his favorite Army sweatshirt. She picked a couple leaves from her curly hair and placed them in a small pile.

During his transition, she was there. Before he was he, she was there. She helped him cut his hair short and taught him about menswear since she worked in retail. Taught him how to translate a woman's size 18 to a man's size 38. She hugged and encouraged him when he wasn't sure if he could live and run free.

At night she closed her eyes tight, breathed slow and thought of the ways she loved him, but the physical part scared her, if she loved him so much, why couldn't she go there? 
They sat on the rough concrete side by side looking up at the stars and the moon together and apart. 

September 8, 2015

Random Thoughts of Today

ate a cake doughnut today, and it was awesome. The man who served me looked odd in his juvenile baseball cap and receding hairline. l prayed today, talked to God and it was even better than the doughnut. I realized how much she lights up when other people are around. Today I felt jealous. I want to be the only source of light. My hair came out nice today, I tried to take a selfie to celebrate my feeling of beauty, but every picture I took turned out ugly. Who's distorting my image? I wore bright yellow today, my brother called me a highlighter.  I can't stop thinking about my heart and what I'm feeling. I feel you pulling me with you but is it real or not? I don't think the feelings are mutual, but it's easy to hide them. The hard part is feeling them.

Neil Simon said I'm just like him, well in so many words. We both observe, listen, and make up stories in our heads about people we don't know. We're pretty similar. He's a legendary screenwriter. I felt inspired.  

These guys, they offer me nothing. We discuss nothing of importance, why are discussing anything at all? I need sustainability and substance. I want to feel you...I want to FEEL you. I want us to feel and fill each other. Challenge me, make me laugh, make me think. I felt hopeless today. Love is not even on my radar... No interest in me, I suppose. I drove aimlessly around town for two hours, I felt free. It hurts to spend time with you because eventually I know we will say goodbye sooner or later. Temporarily or permanently. I keep dreaming about kissing someone. God said to be prepared because it will happen in my waking life. I'm intrigued. I told Google to define soulmate, apparently I haven't met him yet. I wonder if the kisser is my soulmate? I had a cheeseburger for dinner, it was captivating, unlike those guys it filled me. 

I was all over the place today, but overall it was a good day.  I had to tell someone. 

August 9, 2015

What Does Body Positivity Mean? (In My Opinion)


While scrolling down my Twitter timeline, I saw the question: What does body positivity even mean? and it's a very plausible question. Like most buzzy terms on social media, the meaning has been distorted over and over again. The concept of body positivity isn't new but the term itself is quite current. Someone on Twitter responded to the posed question and said that body positivity is simply an excuse to be naked on social media and that's just not completely true. So, here I want to explain what body positivity is in my terms and talk about what it means to me.

Body positivity in its simplest form is a rebellion against body shaming, especially as it relates to women. Of course we all know that women have endured body shaming since the female anatomy has been sexualized and even demonized. In developed societies women are usually viewed as temptresses who seduce and create chaos. Let me be clear, there's patriarchy is many tribal/indigenous societies as well, but a good bit of those cultures view the female anatomy differently. This is why the National Geographic will often have images of nude women from tribal/indigenous cultures, their bodies aren't sexualized in those contexts. I digress...

Most developed societies are very patriarchal so of course women are always considered to be the problem. In addition to rampant patriarchy, which has always been the case, mainstream media also plays a large role in body shaming. Skinny, blonde, and white/fair skinned was the standard for a long time. In printed media and on TV it was rare to see anything other than the prototype. Over the years the prototype has somewhat evolved but we still have a long way to go. 

The media constantly reinforces the idea that people don't want to see bodies that are not perfect. No stretch marks, rolls, dimples, scars, or discoloration allowed. It also says that women who look a certain way shouldn't wear certain types of clothing. For example, one idea is that a bigger woman should never wear a crop top or a swimsuit in public. Or a woman should never wear a dress that's too short because it makes her seem like a slut (aka slut shaming - I will discuss in another post). 

Body positivity grew out of the negativity women face for not looking a certain way and being shamed because of it. Being body posi means to accept yourself as you are and to be not afraid of being visible. Most people have a problem with body positivity, especially as it relates to nudity because of their own discomfort and because we have been brainwashed into believing that the breasts, butt, legs, etc. on a woman are sexual objects. A woman's decision to love and embrace her flaws and even show off the flaws is what body positivity means to me.

I think along the way this definition has been blurred. Much like the word 'feminism', it's starting to evolve into something a lot of women don't want to be affiliated with, because it's getting a bad rap. People see it as an excuse to be naked, but if the woman is proud of her body and not hurting you or being explicit, it shouldn't matter. Of course there are limits. Body positivity is NOT about nudity and explicitness. You can be fully clothed all the time and still be body posi. 

As I said earlier body positivity is becoming one of those things that makes people uncomfortable. If you are body posi (or even considering joining the movement) be prepared to be targeted and bullied just because of your body happiness. One of my Twitter followers has received several death wishes from people who hated her body positivity.  Shame.

I "joined" the body posi movement a while ago. I say "joined" because it isn't a club or gym that you have to apply and get accepted into, it's not exclusive. I took a full body picture of myself (clothed, of course. Nudity is not for me) for the first time about a year ago. I loved looking my body, and gained the strength/courage to post it on my social media pages. Gigantic step for me!

I was body shamed for years due to my fatness. If you know me, you know my story about being bullied/teased in middle and high school. It really affected me that my peers hated my body and the media said that that I should hate my body too. It's totally imperfect, and I could change it, but what about now? What can I do now to feel better about walking out of the house everyday? I can love myself, enjoy my body for what it is now, and the rest will fall into place. Body positivity is a journey, a tough journey. It's hard to combat negativity but we must! You might have it within your power to change your body into something more socially acceptable but even if you were a size 2 but still hated your body, you still wouldn't have happiness. 

Also keep in mind, visibility does not always necessarily equal body positive. If being visible (specifically via social media) is not your thing, then you don't have to post pictures of your body. It doesn't have to be a visible journey, the choice is yours. Many women choose to be visible with their body as an inspiration for other women and because it may help them feel better. Also note that body positivity means not body shaming other women for their body choices. 

Body positivity is a personal choice of body acceptance, your journey and happiness are your own!

August 4, 2015

What's Going On With the Milans? Part II

In case you missed my first post about the initial breakdown, check it out HERE.

Since my last post, things have been dormant in regards to the whole situation with the Milans. Everyone kept asking for an update or at least an explanation. Let me say this: When you open up your life and put it on display (even partially) for social media, your audience starts to feel like a part of the family. It's inevitable, especially with Youtube personalities. Just because the Milans have cut ties with each other means nothing to us, we weren't there. We're still sitting at the table wondering what happened? I digress. 

During these past couple weeks of dormancy, there were a couple shady posts on Stahr's Instagram, but definitely nothing noteworthy....until today. This evening, the walls came down and almost everything we were curious about came out into the light. 

Ex-Milan, Ian better known as King shared a video with the masses via Youtube addressing the burning question: What happened to the Milans? In the 23-minute long video (see it HERE), King gives us some background and insight into the Milan lifestyle, that ended up costing more than what he bargained for. He talks about how he and Stahr met, what went on during his time in the house, and why they ended up departing. I won't mention exactly what King said, it's in the video and pretty self explanatory. But in a nut shell, according to King, ALLEGEDLY Stahr was mentally, verbally, and sexually abusive. King  alleges that the reason why they were kicked out is simply because they refused to accept his sexual advances any longer. 

Although these are all allegations that are unconfirmed, the video was downright heartbreaking. There are several similar rumors across the web about Stahr ALLEGEDLY sexually abusing the younger Milans and also about his ALLEGED faulty business practices (shoutout to LipstickAlley). As I said in my first post, there are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. From the video I believed King. I could see the pain in his eyes and I could hear the pain in his voice. He has classic signs of someone who was abused: lying to protect them, not telling anyone, the feeling of obligation, the fear of retaliation/loss of love, etc. Those are things and feelings that you can't really fake. My opinion is that King is telling the truth but NO ONE knows the real truth, we will never know.

My truly heart breaks for King and Tahj especially. You guys know I love Tahj! Just imagining what possibly went on in the house makes my stomach turn. The worst part is that they are SO young. 

Small tangent: Many young LGBTQ folks are forced into bad situations because of their parents' refusal to accept their orientation or identification. King admitted that he was a rebellious child who was very troubled. Just watching the video made me even more passionate to become a counselor specifically for LGBTQ youth. Anyway, enough about me...

Stahr sorta clapped back on his Instagram and said he will be posting a response to King's video on tomorrow (8/5/15). I really wish he would've posted it tonight, so he won't change his mind about it. I really want to hear his side of the story. When/If he posts the video tomorrow, I'll come back with a full update/review. Check back here tomorrow night!

UPDATE [8/6/15 - 6:30 PM]



Ok so Stahr actually posted the response video earlier today. It has since been deleted and I can't say that I didn't see that coming. I was at work when he posted it but thank GAWD I was able to take a break and watch it before it was pulled. I even have a screenshot from the intro of the video, which is above. The video was addressed to: Tahj, King, Dope Simplicity, and Face God. In case you didn't know, Face God is another male makeup artist on Youtube. Since the video disappeared, I'll give you guys a synopsis of what was said. A good memory is such a blessing.

The video started out with a couple statements, one of which I captured. He acknowledged the sexual abuse and denied the accusation. He started out talking about Tahj and how he was very hard on Tahj because in Tahj he saw himself. He thought Tahj would be the next Stahr Milan and because he saw so much of himself in Tahj, he was super critical and protective of him. Stahr said that when Tahj would mess up he would be very upset with him and criticize him. He believes this is why Tahj stopped coming to him and being open with him. To me, it was like a strict parent situation. Usually people with strict, overbearing parents hide things from them because they're not approachable. Even when you try to approach a strict parent with some honesty, they get angry, so it makes better sense to just tell them what they want to hear instead of the truth. He apologized to Tahj because he said maybe if he weren't so strict, maybe there would have been more open and honest communication.

Next he addressed his relationship with King. He also said that he say himself in King because they are just alike. They have the same personality, attitude, and make-up savvy. He considered King to be his first child because he really took care of him. According to Stahr, the demise of their relationship started over some un-named guy. Stahr said that King did something that upset him and it all relates to this unknown guy. He said their communication was lacking because King thought Stahr turned against him because of the drama with this guy. Stahr said he would never turn against King for anyone, but they never really talked it out. He apologized to King for what was not said and for not talking to him one on one.

Lastly, he talked about Dope Simplicity and Face God. This part is probably going to be confusing, because it was confusing in the video. At this point of the video, Stahr became really irritated. He said the situation still bothers him even though he's past it. Allegedly, Face God posted something on his Instagram about 'people talking about him'. He saved a snap of the post and sent Face God a text asking if the post about him. Face God brushed him off at first, but later confirmed that the post was about him because he heard that Stahr had been 'talking about him'. Stahr said that he and Face God weren't really friends and the only link they had between each other was with Dope Simplicity since he and Face God work at the same salon.

So, Stahr asked Tahj and King if Dope Simplicity had been talking about him and both of them said yes. Dope Simplicity got word about Stahr feeling some kind of way about the alleged gossip (most likely from Tahj) and said he was going to talk to him about it, but if Stahr got out of line, he would 'whoop his ass'. Dope denied that he ever told Face God anything.A little while later (timeline isn't clear), Dope Simplicity and Red (Stahr's ex-boyfriend) were on the phone together. While they were on the phone, Stahr asked Red to put him on speakerphone. He heard Dope Simplicity vehemently denying that he told Face God that he was being talked about and he also said again that he would talk to Stahr as long as he didn't get out of hand. The talk never came, but Stahr cut ties with Face God and Dope Simplicity. Stahr also talked about someone named Micah who commented on the Instagram post by Face God saying "you knew", and this really made Stahr mad.

Whew! Drama!

Now for my opinion of ALL this! I honestly think Stahr deleted the video because he realized he was wrong and that the video was more incriminating than not. He kept mentioning that he was being an 'adult' about everything yet he also acknowledges that he has a bad temper and pretty much stopped talking to Tahj and King. I'm not sure what his definition of an adult is, but the best thing to do is to talk things out instead of just ignoring each other. Tahj and King mentioned that Stahr wouldn't even talk to them, and Stahr himself confirmed this. In regards to the Dope Simplicity thing, I honestly don't see why Stahr was so mad. It's all just so petty. Stahr is always talking about how he doesn't care what people think about him, but he screen-snapped Face God's post and asked him if he was referring to him in the post. That seems like a person that cares, in my opinion. I'm not here to antagonize Stahr AT ALL, I'm just stating my opinion. I really liked that Stahr apologized for his shortcomings. I know hindsight is always much better, but I don't see why he didn't think of communicating with the guys in the moment. He knows Tahj and King better than any of us, so I don't know, I just don't really get it. Even though we have a lot more information than we had before, it's still all quite confusing. I still felt more legitimacy in the video by King. There were lots of holes in Stahr's story which made it confusing, especially in regards to Dope Simplicity, he seemed to be reaching for something that wasn't there.

According to him, this was his last time speaking on the issue, because he's behind it and just over it. He also said that the rape allegations came because King wants to be famous and he's just trying to garner attention. I know who I believe, but no one knows the real truth. I just don't think multiple people would tell the same lie, but hey, it is what it is.

So now that we have a good chunk of the story, from two different perspectives, how are you guys feeling about everything? Who do you believe and why? Are you over it or would you like more tea?

August 2, 2015

Plus Size Tag

I was watching my new favorite Youtuber's channel and came across this tag video (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B2vwwoN6NEY) and wanted to do it myself. Enjoy! 

1.What do you classify yourself as: (example) Curvy; Fat; Thick; Plussize; Heavy; Ample? PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tempting)

I call myself fat! I used to really hate the word because of the negative connotation it carried with being teased and all but I've embraced it. However, I don't like other people calling me fat. I'd rather "big/bigger" or "heavy/heavier". 

2. What is your Body shape: (example) Hourglass; Spoon; Rectangle; Triangle; Pear; Apple?

I am definitely apple shaped.

3. Are you comfortable /happy at your current size? What is your (positive) as a plus size person?

Currently as I type this, I am happy at my current size. I have many days where I hate my body, but today I'm feeling it. I will say that 98% of the time I am not happy with my size, especially when I'm out and about and can see how much bigger I am than most people. 
I think the best part about being plus size is shutting down naysayers. Shutting down those people who think we should hate ourselves because of our fatness. It is so beautiful seeing plus size girls with so much confidence! People hate us for just existing, showing up and showing out is so much fun. 

4. Would you like to lose weight and if so how much? What is your Negative as a plus size person?

Yes, I'd love to lose weight. I'm not sure exactly how much I want to lose but I'd like to be able to fit into a 24/26 pair of jeans and a 3XL shirt. That's my goal.

The most negative thing about being plus size is being judged just based off of appearance/size. The stares, teasing, being called lazy, people giving you unwanted dieting advice, guys who won't talk to you because you're fat, etc. 

5. What is a Fat thing that you do and think is funny? Example (breathe heavy or sweat profusely)

I put my hands underneath my belly all the time to keep them warm lol.

6. What is your Plussize pet peeve?
I hate this whole division of fat girls. Such as what's curvy, thick, and fat. We're all fat. See blog: http://powerpuffcutie24.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-life-in-being-apple-shaped.html 

Also, I hate when fat girls judge other fat girls. I had a fat friend who was so downtrodden on herself and other fat people it made me really uncomfortable. 

7. GIVE US A PLUSSIZE TIP (example) deodorant in creases; angling for the camera a certain way to appear slimmer)

Look at yourself naked and invest in a full body mirror. Look at yourself naked, it really helps with self esteem. Fall in love with yourself!

Now...I tag YOU! If you do this tag, let me know in the comments. 

July 12, 2015

Toni Morrison's God Help the Child Review


On Sunday, after the 4th of July holiday, I spent most of my day lounging around and sleeping. Needless to say, I was very well rested by nightfall and could not go to sleep. I spent a lot of time on social media until it came to me that I should've been spending my valuable doing something productive. On my coffee table there's a small stack of books, all except one I'd already read so I decided to finally delve into it as I had been promising myself for months.

I checked out Toni Morrison's latest novel God Help the Child from the library shortly after it's April release date. I believe with any of Morrison's novels, you kind of have to take a breath before getting into it. Based on her prestige alone the expectations are always high and the anticipation of deep reading can sometimes feel overwhelming, which is why I think I put this novel on the back burner. Also, the fact that I am a career procrastinator may have something to do with it. Anyway, the novel is short (approx. 178 pages) and a pretty quick read. I am a slow reader and it took a little less than 4 hours for me to get through it all. In general, I enjoyed the ride that the novel took me on. It was very interesting and touched on many different topics including: colorism, family relationships, friendships, child abuse, sexuality, and grief.

Please note: If you have not read the novel and would not like to read spoilers, I suggest you read the novel first and then come back. If you don't mind spoilers, let's get into it.

The novel is set during the present-day and revolves around Lula Ann Bridewell better known as simply "Bride". She's a 20-something year old business woman and success story with some deeply rooted personal issues. There's also her mother Sweetness, who scars from Bride from birth and her former lover Booker, whose abrupt departure takes her on an adventure. Bride was born very dark skinned, so dark-skinned that it scared her light-skinned mother. Sweetness was so ashamed of her daughter's color that she was emotionally detached from her and made Bride call her 'Sweetness' instead of 'mother'. She is especially hard on Bride because she believes toughness will prepare her for the difficult life she will face as a dark-skinned black woman. She shows no emotions, does not nurture or coddle her at all which affects her quite a bit, more than Bride herself realizes I would argue. Then there's:

Booker - The man who Bride loves and goes on a journey to find. Bride doesn't speak very much about him because she doesn't know much about him. Throughout their relationship she leaned on him and opened herself up to him, while he closed himself from her. He didn't tell her much about his past and she did not ask. Later on the novel we learn more about Booker, and I would have to say learning about Booker was my favorite part of the story. The narrator tells us about his close knit family and how it all fell apart for him and his family after the death of his older brother Adam. Adam was sexually assaulted and abused almost beyond recognition when his body was found. The family tries to heal slowly and move on with their lives but Booker cannot. He wants to remember Adam and wants to keep him close. His aunt, Queen, tells him to hold on to his brother as long as he needs to and he holds on for years. The fact that he has latched on to his brother has caused detachment and commitment issues and also puts a strain on his relationship with his family.

Brooklyn - She's Bride's best friend and co-worker. She's a white woman, around the same age as Bride and has dreadlocks. Bride considers her to be a great friend and she says it repeatedly. But the reader sees a different side of Brooklyn, the real Brooklyn. She calls Bride a liar, whiny, and even attempts to sleep with Booker. Although she is pretty two-faced, I liked her and I'll tell you why later.

Rain - Rain is a little girl that Bride meets on her journey to find Booker. As she is driving to Whiskey, California (the last known address for Booker) she gets into a single car accident and is saved by Rain and her family. Rain is a unique child, and the family that she lives with is not her biological family. She and Bride form a bond to each other after they discuss Rain's troubled life. She was thrown out by her mother who made her provide sexual services to older men. After their conversation, they are confronted by a group of boys, one of which shoots at them. Bride covers Rain to protect her, taking the bullet that was meant for her. Rain is amazed by the act of protection and nurturing, something she had never experienced before.

Sofia - When Bride was a child there was a molestation scandal at her elementary school regarding teachers at her school. Bride was called upon to testify in court against one of the teachers who she said abused her. When the case went to trial Bride pointed to Sofia, and told the court that she sexually abused her. She spent 15 years in jail for the crime and once she was free, Bride met her at her hotel with $5,000 and other gifts to make amends. She had been saving the money for a very long time, which disturbed Booker. Why save money to help the woman who sexually abused her as a child? Once Bride explains who she is and why she is there at the hotel, Sofia becomes furious and beats her, almost to death. It is revealed later on in the novel that Bride lied about being abused by Sofia because she wanted to make Sweetness proud.

Now, here's what I liked about the novel:
I enjoyed the brevity of the novel very much. There were a couple spots where I wanted a little more but overall I liked that it was brief and focused.

I enjoyed the different points of view. Each character narrated a piece of the story and there was an unknown narrator as well. In real life we can't see inside of each other's heads, we don't know what people are thinking, but that's the beauty of fiction, you get to see so much more.

I thought the topics about friendship, family relationships, and grief were spot on. The relationship between Brooklyn and Bride really highlighted the relativity of friendship. Bride thought she could trust her friend and repeatedly called her a great friend. Brooklyn obviously did not like Bride, I think in part she was jealous but also she was just being opportunistic. She wanted her spot at the cosmetics company and played the role to get the part.

I liked the touch on the issue of colorism because as a dark-skinned black woman, I can empathize with Bride. However, I don't think it was explored enough and I believe white readers (or anyone who doesn't understand colorism) would not understand the point. Besides the fact that she was stared at all the time, where was the struggle? She was successful, well off, had lovers, how did it really affect her? Also on the same note, white color is an important aspect of the novel, it seems that Morrison wanted to focus on motherhood and grief more than colorism.

All of the characters in the story had an issue with their families. Bride's mother was detached and mean, Booker's family didn't try to understand him, Rain's mother sold her, and Sofia's mother was overbearing and overly strict. I loved that it showed how different families affect different people and that there aren't any perfect families. There are no perfect mothers, no matter how hard you try. Even if you are the perfect mother, sometimes outside forces can change you or your child(ren). It's unavoidable.

What I didn't like about the novel:
I did not like Bride as the main character. Towards the end, I was tired of her. I thought she was whiny, self-centered, and way too naive. She was the 'woe is me' character. I'm not sure if Morrison represented her as a stereotypical millennial on purpose, but gosh she was annoying! I liked Brooklyn because I agreed with her critiques of Bride and her behavior. Booker was my favorite character because he was truly interesting and I would've loved it if he were the main character. He was educated, smart, and had real goals and aspirations. I would've enjoyed a more developed Booker. But the characterization of Bride was a direct effect of her childhood. She didn't get attention or love at home so to make up for it she needed to whine to get attention, she always wanted the spotlight to be on her. This is such a common symptom of neglect. It's actually quite brilliant the way Morrison incorporates it without blatantly saying it, but still she was annoying.

This novel was supposed to be set during the present day, but it didn't feel as such. As a person who loves historical fiction and fiction set in past times, I enjoyed it but I'm not sure if it will appeal to the contemporary reader. I do believe that the story is realistic, but it feels as if it's set in the 1970's. It just feels dated in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend this novel to a friend who only reads contemporary novels. I was talking to a friend about the novel before it was released and we were talking about the fact that it's Morrison's first novel set in the present day. I argued that maybe Morrison had never written a novel set in the present because maybe she felt disconnected with this modern generation. I think it's a struggle for most older people to find their footing in the modern world. No offense to anyone who's older, but I think it's quite true. I think Ms. Morrison is probably a snazzy woman who is up-to-date and with the times, but it's still hard to write in a way to capture the modern reader. But I enjoyed it.

The amount of childhood sexual abuse was pretty depressing, but it's a cold hard fact that many children are sexually abused. Way more than we could ever know. It's very realistic, but difficult to think about.

Lastly, I think the novel ended too suddenly. The novel is very short, so of course it's not overly drawn out but there was a nice pace to it. I felt as if the pacing sped up in the last part (there are 4 parts) and went just a little too fast. I could sum it up in just a few words: Booker and Bride had a fight, they made up, Queen died, Bride told Booker she was pregnant. The end. I think there needed to be a little bit more there. After the accident that killed Queen, I think there should've been a few pages more about how Bride and Booker rekindled their relationship. Overall, I think the explanation of their relationship was lacking. I didn't fully understand the "fire" between them. The only thing that was well explained was their amazing sex life (go ahead Toni!). Bride even changes physically due to the fact that Booker left her...Maybe the sex was that great.

I thought the novel was really a nice read and I want to read it again, but I have to turn it in since it is a library book. Once I can afford it, it's definitely going to be a part of my collection. I think I want to write an academic critical analysis on it, there is a lot to analyze! Morrison's son Slade passed away a few years ago, and I believe this novel is personal to her. She rarely speaks about his death and the cause of death is still unknown to the public. In an interview with Charlie Rose, she talked about her son's passing, vaguely, but at least she addressed it. Grief and motherhood are major parts of the story. I can imagine Morrison feeling guilt, even if the cause of death had nothing to do with her, as a mother you feel as if it's your job to protect. Even when it's not your fault, you feel like you failed. My mother told me that once. Booker seemed to come from a good family, but the death of his brother changed him, an indirect source changed him. It was something even a good family couldn't prevent. What about children who have been sexually abused by trusted people? How could you know? How can you protect your child from something you never saw coming? A child is not only influenced by his family, there are many factors but still the mother always seems to be the blame. Motherhood is full of so many emotions, so many responsibilities, it's a feeling that I can't describe, I'm not a mother. What I do know is that there aren't any books, manuals, everyone wants to be the perfect mother, the perfect family. People with and without children have their ideas, their advice, but what do we know? I can only imagine.

What are your thoughts and opinions on God Help the Child? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?

July 9, 2015

What's Going On With the Milans?



**Read my updated [8/5/15] post: HERE
Over the past several weeks there has been some tension within the family of Milans. In case you didn't know, The Milans are an Atlanta-based alternative family who gained popularity via Youtube. At first, there were some shady subliminal messages thrown via Instagram. We could sense that something was going on but we weren't sure. As the weeks went by, things seem to become more clear: The Milans were not a happy family anymore. For me, it became solidified when Stahr started showing obvious favoritism towards Vicaya Milan and shaded everyone else. Then King erased the 'Milan' from his name and started posting about having his own Youtube channel. In the midst of all that, there were other instances too, but it all spelled out the same bleak future for the Milans.

Last week the ex-Milans Tahj, King, and Dope Simplicity branched off and created their own Youtube channel called "The Trilogy". For starters I love the name. Stahr seemed to create a proprietorship with his channel, there was no sharing or equal opportunity because it was all under his name. As a business man I suppose it's smart but as a friend it seems underhanded. Just my opinion. The Trilogy really sounds like a brand where friendship is more important than business and I love that. 

This week Tahj and King posted a picture of them both in handcuffs outside of the apartment they shared with the Milans. Fans were in the dark for a while before we knew the story and even now we still don't have the complete story. A vlog was posted and in a nutshell, the three of them were thrown out of the apartment with no fair warning. See the video HERE. From what I gathered from the vlog, allegedly Stahr called the apartment's security to have them escorted out of the building. This is pure speculation but I believe he must've told them they were trespassing or did not belong there because the police got involved and put the boys in handcuffs. The information on the video is sort of vague, which is understandable. It was recorded the same day after everything went down, they were still shaken and jittery. I can see that Tahj still respects Stahr which is why I think he held back a lot and didn't explain fully. I also think the guys were blindsided and railroaded so hard that they don't even know how or why it happened. They even said that they didn't understand how the relationship deteriorated so quickly. What I can infer is that someone in the apartment had to call security. They wouldn't just show up for no reason or without warrant. The police are far too busy to just go around handcuffing people in random apartment buildings. They were treated horribly and my heart just hurts for them, no one deserves such treatment. If Stahr did call security and have them thrown out, that's just cold and cruel. I'm trying hard to be unbiased, because in all fairness we don't know the whole story but pictures don't necessarily lie, they were handcuffed and as you can see in the video they had their bags with them.

Now there are three sides to every story...Your side, my side, and the truth. It's human nature, no one tells the same 'truth'. Some people may blatantly lie, some may distort the truth, and some people give you the true details that are important to them while ignoring the rest. The question is, who's side is closer to the whole truth? We'll never know. What we do have is logic and common sense, which can make it easier to discern between fact and fiction.

I do believe Tahj, King, and Dope Simplicity (even though Dope hasn't spoken on the situation). The reason why I have never connected with Stahr is because I'll be honest, I don't trust him. He does a lot of subliminal stuff,  is sketchy, and deletes videos and social media posts all the time. Everyone makes mistakes and bad judgement calls, just own up to them. He's never straightforward with anything and gives me a sneaky/mischievous vibe. He seems to be a nice person and is business savvy, but he's not someone I'd be friends with. 

Sidenote: I wonder if Stahr will respond to The Trilogy's video? 

To Tahj, King, and Dope Simplicity (if you ever read this) I'd like you all to know that I have love in my heart for you guys and I really hope you're successful. You are all talented, articulate, smart, and beautiful souls. In the midst of building your brand truly keep God and love first (NOT greed and fame) and the rest will follow. I believe in you guys so much and you will reap the benefits and rewards that you all so deserve! I can't wait to see you guys spread your wings and achieve greatness.

Extra Spill: How I Discovered the Milans
About 6 months ago, I was browsing Youtube and happened to stumble upon this guy named Stahr Milan. I'm not into makeup, but I love the process of it so I do enjoy makeup tutorials from time to time. I partially watched Stahr's makeup tutorial and then I started going through his channel. That's when I discovered the Milans. A bold and sassy family full of unique individuals with beat faces, I loved it. I'm not a really heavy Youtuber but I was hooked on the channel and couldn't wait for uploads. In the meantime of waiting for uploads, I quickly absorbed the videos that were already posted and I truly fell in love with one of the Milans: Tahj.

I watched his coming out story and he is just so smart, articulate, mature, and cute! I loved his story and after hearing it I wanted to just embrace him and nurture him like a little brother. I think he has so much potential and he is just a kid, so I just felt a connection to him. 

Then there was Dope Simplicity and King Milan my other favorites. Dope Simplicity is hilarious and with Tahj, they are dynamic. I love his energy, his voice, his style, and he seems super sweet. King is the spitfire of them all and I love his honesty. Surprisingly, even though it's Stahr's channel for some reason I wasn't into him like the others (I explained why above). I like Keamoney too. 

In closing, It's actually difficult to see them break up, because as a unit I think lots of people look up to them, especially LGBTQ youth. Many of the young LGBTQ folks are without a family simply because of their orientation/identification. A lot of them want to have a secure, loving and supportive family (we ALL do) which is what the Milans initially represented.  True family means unconditional love, we may fight and you may disagree with me but there's still love there. Unless my family member harms me or other family members then I just couldn't see myself kicking them out, but hey who really knows what happened?

What do you think? Will you miss The Milans? Do you support the split? Are you still here for all The Milans or have you taken a side? Which and why? Let me know! 

July 7, 2015

10 Questions Tag

I wasn't tagged by anyone to this but I saw it on another blog and wanted to do it! Who do I tag? Hmm. I tag anyone else who'd like to do this! 

Favorite TV series?

I am an old (80s-90s) sitcom chick. My faves are: Golden Girls, Martin, Amen, Married With Children and Living Single. As for a current series, I can't say that I really have one. I like The Soul Man, a sitcom on TV Land. 

Least favorite aspect of blogging?

Trying to garner an audience and consistency. I have been blogging for 5 years and it took 3 years to garner interest. For a long time I felt as if my blog was purposeless and would never generate nice stats, thankfully I was wrong. Consistency is key in any business but truthfully I'm not a consistent person. One week I may blog several times but after that it might take weeks for me to post again. Maybe it's because I'm an artist *flips hair*.

 Favorite phone app?

My Twitter app.

Your worst/most embarrassing habit?

I talk to myself a lot when I'm alone. I say my thoughts out loud because it helps me sort through them. It's a really bad habit and it's embarrassing because the general consensus is that people who talk to themselves are crazy. How ridiculous!

What’s the last song you listened to?

Let's Wait Awhile - Janet Jackson

Water or soda?

If soda wasn't diabetes in a can, I would go with it. Especially after being a non-stop soda addict for years. But water it is. 

Favorite person in the world besides yourself?

My brother, even though we aren't speaking right now *eyeroll*

Time of day that you are the most productive?

Whenever it's dark outside. Usually between 8PM-3AM. 

Which topic would you rather discuss with someone you just met — politics or religion?

Religion. I like to know what people  believe in and how it influences their lifestyle (if at all). It doesn't matter if I agree or not. 

Most-used word in your vocabulary? (Can be slang and/or Ebonics.)

Seriously. It's my response to almost everything. Seriously! 

Now, it's your turn! Thanks for your readership :) 

June 27, 2015

Is College Hard? My DETAILED experience...


Hey there! It's the summer time and I know there are lots of folks headed off to college in the fall! This is for you. I remember asking anyone in college or anyone who had graduated from college the same question: Is it hard?! I'm sure you've heard that college is different, someone may have told you it's easier than high school, someone may have told you how stressful and painful it was/can be. I'm sharing my experience for those of you who are intimidated by college and for those of you who are already in it and feel like giving up. There's nothing wrong with feeling scared or unsure, I just hope my experience will persuade you to keep pushing. I'm serving up complete truth and the cold hard facts, so come take a seat and enjoy the dish. 

This blog post will be presented as a series! Every few days I will update this post, and share another piece of my story. I have posted all of the dates below! Keep checking back each week for valuable advice and information.

Part I: Pre-College: Getting In

For me, there was no question that I was going to college. Throughout high school I looked at several colleges across the country as if I had a real chance of going to an out of state college. I had the grades but I wasn't thinking about the financial woes. I didn't realize at the time that going out of state to college meant I'd have to leave home and be away for months on end and It would also put a huge strain on my parents. When I became a senior, I delayed the application process. I figured I was smart and could get into any college I wanted to. After going out of state went out of my mind there was only one school I wanted to attend: Louisiana State University. LSU is Louisiana's "Ivy League" and at the time it seemed to carry such a prestigious stigma. I applied to LSU in around January or February and was sure that I would get in, so sure that I didn't apply to any other school. A few months went by and I heard nothing. I called admissions and they said it was normal and to give it more time. I wasn't stressed, I was just waiting on that big packet to come in the mail with purple and gold plastered all over it saying WELCOME TO LSU! Unfortunately that packet never came. It's true what they say about the size of acceptance letters. Usually if you receive a non-standard size envelope, you're in. It was early May when my mom excitedly handed me the pristine white and yellow envelope from LSU. It was standard size, but I thought nothing of it. I was so ready to be an LSU Tiger! I ripped open the envelope and there it was, my rejection letter. It started with the usual "We regret to inform you..." and soon after reading that I was in tears. I was hurt but I was also embarrassed. I was always known as the smart girl around school, but I couldn't even get into LSU, how does that work? I've never been a cocky person, but being smart was my thing! Truthfully, being smart was the only thing I thought stood out about me.

I was very depressed about it and didn't even bother going through with an appeal. I had the GPA and the ACT score required for admittance. I had the second highest ACT score out of everyone in my graduating class. I didn't understand it, I felt so low and stupid. In around mid-May I applied to Southeastern Louisiana University and by June I was accepted. SELU was my second choice, mostly because a lot of the people I knew from high school would be there. Again, I was so anxious to apply and just get in, I didn't think about the fact that I'd have to move away. Financial woes again. By the time I was accepted, University housing was full and I couldn't afford an apartment. Moving away or even being a commuter would mean I'd have to give up my job and that was not an option. I was at a stand still, I didn't know what to do. I thought applying and getting into college was easy, but it's not which why it's best to start early and think REALISTICALLY.

By June, time was definitely running out. Most schools had already stopped accepting applications for the fall semester, I was doomed. One day I decided to Google "Colleges and Universities in Baton Rouge". I knew of LSU and Southern University, but I thought maybe there was something I missed. Turns out there was: Our Lady of the Lake College, a small, private Catholic college in Baton Rouge. I had never heard of it, but decided to browse the website. I found out that they had a Biology program, which was what I wanted to major in at the time, so I applied. From my research, I heard it was a very selective school, and since I didn't get into LSU I figured they would deny me, too. After a few weeks of nervous waiting the letter came. This time it was in a large envelope and the package was heavy. I ripped it open and there was my destiny...I was in!

It was around mid-July when I found out I would be going to OLOLC. School would be starting in less than a month and I had nothing prepared. As the months went by during this pre-college phase, my dream of going to college seemed to slip out of my hands and I couldn't grasp it. After being denied admission at LSU I think I was just hurt, intimidated, and lost my confidence as a student, which took years to rebuild. At this point I was scared, how hard was college and could I really make it through? Being admitted into a university usually means that the admissions group could see you succeeding at their school. I wondered what potential did OLOLC see in me that LSU didn't? My advice is to never take an admissions decision personal. That's SO much easier said than done, but I wish someone would've told me that back then. Even if you're accepted, don't put so much stock into it. Those people don't know you personally. They don't know you from Tommy Wong. They don't accept or deny you as a person, they know nothing of you. Don't take it personal.

Now that I was officially in, how hard would it really be?! If just getting in was indicative of the difficulty level, I was screwed.

Part II: [Freshman Year] F2009-Sp2010
My visit to the school was during orientation. Orientation seems intimidating, but trust me you're going to forget 90% of what was said about 48 hours later (unless you take notes). My second visit was when I met with my academic advisor about a week before school started. He told me about what classes would be offered in the fall and what I should take based on my major. He was a very nice guy and he made me feel a little more confident about the upcoming semester. Since I was a first generation college student, I didn't go to my parents for advice about scheduling classes. I have an aunt who has a degree but that was thirty years ago, things have evolved. I trusted my advisor because he has a Ph.D and I believed with all his education and training, he knew what was best for me, but of course the only person who knows what's best for you is YOU!

He told me it would be best to take all the freshman level courses that were available and I did so. I signed up for SIX classes (16 credit hours). Coming from high school, where I took 7 classes per day, I truly thought I was getting off easy. In college it's different. Each class is much more heavily weighted than a high school course. You spend less time in class, but you're also supposed to spend more time doing out of class work. Also, unlike in high school where your classes are back-to-back, in college your schedule can be all over the place, and if you're a commuter like I was the drive time just makes it a bit more tiring. You can also have classes on different parts of the campus, if you attend a large college your 10AM class might be two miles away from your 11:30AM. These are the things advisors and orientation speakers don't tell you. When you're in high school, you're at school for a set block of time (ex. 7:30AM - 2:30PM). You don't have to think about driving time, traffic, parking, lunch, and how to work all these things into your schedule. It's a lot worse if you have a job as well, but I'll get to that la. First time college students are usually foreign to the idea of planning their schedules, it's been planned for years! I said all that to say, six classes was overload! That was the first and the last time I would take so many classes, but in the moment I thought I could handle it.

Here was my class schedule:
General Biology I - Monday 6:00PM-8:45PM
Chemistry I - Tues. & Thurs. 9:15AM-10:30AM
Chemistry I Lab - Wednesday 11:00AM-1:45PM
English I - Friday 8:00AM-10:45AM
College Algebra I - Wednesday 6:00PM-8:45PM
Intro to Baccalaureate Education (aka Freshman Seminar) Tues. 6:00-8:45

This is an example of the WORST class schedule one could ever have. I'm sure there's worse, but this is pretty bad. I had class everyday, three evening classes, and one super early class on Fridays. Thankfully my job was very flexible and I could work around my school schedule but still, my days were often very long. Another tip: If you want an ideal schedule, get your classes scheduled early! I am a huge procrastinator and It took a few years before I understood that getting the best schedule meant early planning.

Do I even need to tell y'all this? That semester went awry really quickly. I had no time to really study because I was tired all the time. It was mentally very taxing taking so many classes, having to remember everything, and maintaining a job. It was one of the most stressful semesters because I was trying so hard to keep up with everything, it just all failed. I had a 2.3 GPA that semester, which was the lowest I had ever earned academically at that point. I wanted to take all those hours because I knew of other students taking those amount of hours and being just fine...Why should I be different?

The next semester I took five classes, which was better, but still a little more stressful than I would've liked. My schedule was a little better and the classes were a little bit easier. I had great teachers during the Spring 2010 semester, I enjoyed it and my grades improved a little, not drastically, but some.

All in all, I know this is going to sound to cliche but freshman year is about finding yourself. I don't mean discovering all your hidden talents and unlocking the key to your future, it's really about finding what works for YOU. This is another piece of advice I wish someone would've told me when I was a freshman. I think if you're a first time college student you should take the least amount of hours you're comfortable with*. Even if your advisor says you should take more, you know yourself better than anyone. It's also your money funding your education, choose wisely.

I think the best part of my freshman year was just the general experience of it.  There's a different dynamic in college as far as the people and the feel. There are lots of people from all different backgrounds, ages, experiences, etc. I had my first college crush as well, which is hard in itself since a semester only lasts a few months. You don't have all school year long to fawn over your crush. His name was Taylor and he spoke Cajun French...Sighs....

*Note: If you're receiving financial aid, you're usually required to be a full-time student for some grants/loans/scholarships. Full-time is usually 12 credit hours. I'm saying 'usually' because all colleges/universities have different measures for these things. Check with your financial aid office before you make any decisions. 
Part III:[Sophomore Year] F2010-2012
Will be posted sometime in August
Part IV: [Junior & Senior Years] Spr2013-Spr2015
Will be posted sometime in August