January 31, 2015

My Life In Being Apple Shaped

When I was in high school, one of the plus size clothing stores that I frequented came up with a new system of creating jeans for plus size women. First of all, there were three categories: Triangle (yellow), Square (red), and Circle (blue). Once you determined your 'shape' then you had to figure out your size, which went from 1 to 12. The best thing about the system is that you could tell someone honestly that you wore a size 8 jeans with a straight face.

I remember when the jeans first appeared in store, I went in with my mom as usual, and the salesperson told us about the new system, which was created to give all women of varying shapes a better fitting pair of jeans. She asked if I'd like to try them and I agreed. Before we could get to the jeans she said "Oh I can already tell you're a circle". I started to imagine myself as a big blue circle waddling around the store. Was it that obvious that I was a circle? As she helped me figure out my size she said that the triangles were for pear-shaped women, the squares were for block shaped women, and the circles were for apples---like me. Again, there I was imagining myself as an apple, like the fruit of the loom character above.

I was always self conscious about my weight but my shape never fully crossed my mind. Of course I knew everyone had a shape, I just never examined my own. I went home that night and looked in the mirror, I was round, my boobs were relatively small, my hips didn't really protrude outward in an obvious way like my stomach did...Oh God, I'm an....apple!

From then on I started to look at and realize shapes.  I noticed a lot of the girls I went to school with were shapely, they had the curves along with flat stomachs, an apple amongst pears. I almost wanted to pray to the fruit gods, "please oh please make me a pear!" But I knew that wouldn't work. Great, not only am I fat but I'm a fat apple. There's always a silver lining I guess...At least I wasn't block shaped.

Over the past few years plus size women seem to be more accepted and celebrated but in reality that's not true. Plus sized PEAR shaped women are more accepted and celebrated, I would even argue that pear shaped women have never really been frowned upon. As you probably know, pear shaped women usually have a smaller stomach and waist especially in comparison to their hips , butt, and thighs. A lot of the Renaissance artwork depicts pear shaped women, Sir-Mix-Alots "Baby Got Back" wasn't about us apples, and the term BBW is a colloquial term for all the pears. Rapper Drake said in one of his songs that he likes his women "BBW". Malarkey! He likes his women "BBP" (Big, Beautiful, and Pear).There's also the argument that pears are curvy/thick (positive connotation) and apples are fat/large (negative connotation). It's ridiculous that someone is seen as more attractive because of the way their fat cells are proportioned...To each person's own, I suppose.

So where does that leave us apples (besides sitting on the shelf waiting to be selected for someone's pie)?  Even though fat acceptance has made waves, I believe us apple girls are still quite low on the totem pole. There are several social media sites that claim to show the beauty of plus size women, but they only showcase a certain type of woman. You guessed it, the coveted pears. I'm not saying all this to be divisive, but I want people to understand that apples are beautiful!I also want us apple girls to be not just the funny girls with the good personality, but the girl who's the love interest, the confident, sexy girl, and the girl that gets the guy in the end, but that's another blog for another day. I would consider the beautiful and talented Melissa McCartney and Pitch Perfect's Rebel Wilson to be apple girls. On the other hand Beyoncè and Iggy Azalea are pear girls.

Quick trivia question: In what movie does Melissa McCarthy play anyone's primary love interest?.....When you think of one, let me know. Back to the topic at hand...

Instead of praying to the fruit gods like I wanted to, women are paying to have their bodies contoured JUST to be a pear. A little nip, tuck, move some fat around, add a touch of silicone and viola! Pear girl! Apple girls can't do this. If you're an apple, adding some fat to your hips and butt will only make you look like a pear-apple and I don't think they make jeans for hybrids.

I think the plus size acceptance should be more inclusive as we are all curvy, we are all heavy, we're all fluffy, and most of all we're all beautiful no matter what fruit we look like.

January 29, 2015

I'm Against Interracial Relationships

Grabbed your attention with that title, eh? This isn't going to be some long drawn out, overly explained piece, I'll try to get straight to the point.

Over the past few years interracial relationships have been on the rise, there are more interracial couples today than ever before. Miscegenation is the proper term for it, which means the mixing of races through marriage or cohabitation. What was once viewed by society as deviant is almost socially accepted today. I say almost because of course there are still oppositions and Alabama was the last state to abolish their anti-miscegenation laws only 15 short years ago, but I digress. There are even Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and dating sites specifically featuring and catering to interracial couples. Take that Jim Crow.  I created a post several months ago (*Click here to read it*) talking about how I wanted an interracial relationship and thinking about it, now that I'm older and wiser, I really don't want an interracial relationship. I want something more.

In my opinion, interracial relationships have become more about the color than the actual person. I notice this with younger couples, especially teenagers and 20-somethings. I heard someone make the comment that they wanted 'mixed babies' because 'they always turn out cute'. That's not always the case, beautiful children come in all shades. A couple months ago I heard this black woman on the phone telling the person on the other end "Yeah, I need a white man, I'm tired of working". I've also heard/read comments from whites saying that they date people of color because they love brown skin and find it exotic. I know that's probably been the case since the beginning of interracial dating, but isn't it time that we mature from that notion?

I remember when I first realized I was attracted to non-black guys, I pretty much stopped looking at black guys completely. I know, stupid right? I was young, forgive me. I'd never approached any of them (black, white, yellow, or green), I just thought they were nice to look at. Shortly after, I came to the realization that I was being rather...prejudice and quite stupid by only paying attention to men who weren't black. What I didn't know then is that I found non-black guys interesting not because of their skin color but because they were different, they experienced life differently, listened to different music, had different customs, I was curious about their culture.

When I say I'm against interracial relationships, I say that because I feel that the term 'interracial' places primary value on the color of a person. In my opinion it says 'I like this person because she's white' I'm for inter-cultural relationships, because I'm a natrally curious person, it would be so interesting to be with a person who's from a different culture than I am. I like to explore and find out new things, I want someone who can teach me and I can teach them. I think it's beautiful when you can learn from each other, I think it can keep things fresh. Inter-cultural isn't about race, it's about culture and customs. If I met a man from Ghana I'd be swooning or perhaps a man from India, or hell even a man from New England is a nice culture change. I've always felt like a different person, I don't like sticking with the usual, I like being exposed to different things and cultures, I don't care what color you are.

I'm not against interracial marriages/relationships, but I am against the term itself. Unless you're specifically marrying someone solely on their skin color, I don't think it's accurate. I think most people would agree that they enjoy being exposed to someone from a different background, whether they are the same skin color or not.

January 22, 2015

Everyone Should Experience Poverty

First of all, I want to make this clear: I am not trying to justify being poor nor am I trying to say that poor people should be happy where they are because there are benefits of poverty. I'm saying that the world would be better if people could walk in the shoes of someone who does not have. I truly hope you read my words for what they are.

When I was young (up until I was 8 years old) my parents weren't rich at all. I would even say that we were in poverty. When people think of poverty they most likely think of the show Good Times, where there's hardly enough food to eat, insufficient public transportation, government subsidized housing, slum lords, living in a violent and drug riddled community, and not being adequately employed. While in some cases that's true, it differs for everyone. My dad worked at a factory and had that job for several years, we rented a home, and always had two vehicles. The neighborhood we lived in wasn't bad at the time, but it was full of young families trying to stay afloat. In my opinion, being in poverty doesn't necessarily mean you're starving and can't make ends meet, but it means by some average cost of living standard you aren't making enough money to sufficiently take care of your family. Think of poverty in a worldview, our idea of poverty is probably considered upper class for many in third world countries who don't even have adequate shelter or clean water to drink. For much of my childhood, we were probably below the poverty line. I think people believe that once you're below the poverty line, your life is just miserable, but don't cry for me Argentina, it was anything but miserable.

Growing up, I had the best childhood. Even though we may have been technically in poverty, we weren't unhappy and never wanted for anything. When funds are tight you have to find ways to adjust. You have to find ways to give your family the comfortable middle class life even on a lower class salary.  My mom wanted us to be healthy, happy kids who were well provided for. My mom was an extreme couponer way before it became popular, she had a coupon for everything. I remember every Sunday watching her clip coupons, and storing them in a worn out, wrinkled zip-loc that she kept in her purse. My mom was a stay at home mom, which gave her lots of time to figure out ways to cut corners. Learning how to cut corners takes creativity and intelligence, it's truly not as easy as you'd think. It takes time and proper planning, you have to think about it, which is why it's a constant reminder. When you have money, you don't have to really think about anything, you just go out and pay for it or do it. Some of my fondest moments with my family involved free stuff. My parents would bring us to the park or to the lakes to feed the ducks. Every year my mom bought us kites to fly and we'd spend hours at the park trying to make them fly. Even if they never quite got off the ground, we had fun. Some weekends, instead of going to Chuck E. Cheese's or Celebration Station, we'd go to McDonald's Playland, which was free and had much of the same amusements (ball pit, anyone?). We would play board games, card games and do jigsaw puzzles. We went to parades downtown, and even aimless drives to enjoy the scenery and to spend time together.

That's why I believe everyone should experience some aspects of poverty. First of all, you learn the value of a dollar, better than any rich person could. Growing up I saw my mom cut corners, whether it was couponing, cheap entertainment, and even working out bills, she taught me lots of things that I notice some of my friends don't know. Honestly, you never know what's going to happen in life, now you may be comfortable, but what about the future? If some people were all of a sudden in poverty, they wouldn't know what to do. Even when we were in poverty, I never saw my parents depressed or sad. That's not to say that they weren't sad, but I never saw it. They didn't cry about it nor did they look for handouts, they dealt with it the best that they could and kept pushing. Being in poverty gives you a ledge over others who have never been without, who have never experienced not having the money for the light bill, being late on car payments, etc. Another thing poverty taught me is that there is always another way. Some people are so stuck on doing things one way and once they're faced with having to do it differently, they freak out or shut down.

Have you ever heard of the term street sense? Street sense is not knowing how to be a gangster (*eyeroll*), it's about knowing how to survive with what you're given. People in poverty usually have lots of street sense and common sense because they have had to learn how to survive. Sitting around and depressed is not an option for people in poverty. It takes a lot of brain power and logic to be in poverty, much more so than being rich. Which is why a lot of rich people are smart when it comes to being formally educated but they lack the street sense and common sense that's needed to navigate the world. All in all, being in poverty should be something to put on a resume. Seriously! With being in poverty comes a lot of useful life skills, that people who have not been in poverty don't understand. When you have street sense, you're less likely to be fooled because you're logical and practical and all that comes with the territory of being in poverty.

It doesn't take a Ph.D to be smart, people spend thousands of dollars on a formal education when honestly the best education comes from being impoverished. People spend hours upon hours studying poverty, when there are people in the world who live it everyday!

I hear a lot of parents say that they want to give their children a better life than what they had. Often times they shower their kids with gifts, toys, clothes, because they (the parents) want to see them with the best of the best. Of course I'm not saying poverty is a walk in the park, it's hard, but I'm sure if some of those parents think back to it, the things that they gained while poor are irreplaceable. They knew how hard it was to come by a dollar and how hard it is to stretch a dollar. I think it's important for kids to not only understand what the word 'poverty' means but experience it to some extent. Lots of young people today have a major sense of entitlement, and I think it stems from parents spoiling them to "make their lives better". There were times when my parents told me no, and I had to accept it, but many people aren't used to hearing no...People in poverty face rejection everyday.

In conclusion, my point is to say that not having valuables is probably the most valuable thing one can experience. Poverty is stressful, it's hard, it is depressing and it's not something anyone would want to go through, but in the process you learn so much about life and living, and knowledge is something that's powerful and can never be taken away. In 1999, my parents were able to purchase their own home and we moved to a completely different part of the city. At this point, I would consider us to be middle-class, but my mom still held on to the things she did when were in poverty and we never forgot our humble beginnings.

Poverty is an experience that has a silver lining, and I think it's something everyone can benefit from. People who have had money their entire lives often are not as empathetic as someone who has had to work hard to escape poverty, because they have one way of thinking, while a person had been in poverty has been trained to think of many different options and scenarios. Lastly, not all people who are in poverty gain these abilities, but a lot of them do. I'm not saying that people in poverty are superior, but they are more logical and realistic, which is what this upcoming generation needs more than anything.

January 20, 2015

My WORST Date Ever

A couple years ago, I decided to try the online dating thing and a couple years ago is when I figured out that online dating is not for me. So, I met the guy online and after a couple exchanged emails and pictures, he asked for my number and I granted his wish. Within a few minutes we were on the phone getting to know each other better. We didn't talk for too long, 30 minutes, maybe. Before we ended the call, he asked me out and I agreed. Initially I thought, hey this is moving pretty fast. In a matter of hours we went from casual introductions online, a phone call, then to going on a date the next day. I truly thought he wanted to go out sometime during the upcoming weekend, but when he said 'tomorrow at 7' I was a bit surprised.

It was the summer and I was on break from school, so I had a lot of free time and really nothing to do so I agreed to go out with him on the following day. I remember I wore this pretty lavender colored shirt and dark blue jeans. I had recently had my hair done so it was bouncy and straightened and I put on a matching lavender colored hair bow to adorn my hair, I thought I looked pretty cute and I hoped my cuteness would hide the fact that I was nervous as hell. I'm always apprehensive about any situation where I'm being judged (e.g. first dates, interviews, first days of class). On first dates, we judge the person we're with to see if they're someone we want to have a relationship with. Some people are turned off by the smallest infraction which can lead to awkwardness. I hate awkwardness but I always promise to be myself because I am who I am. Lots of people try to conform to what their date is interested in, instead of who they really are. No doubt, I want to portray the best of me, but I don't want to portray anything false.

We decided we would go out to dinner, so we'd have a chance to talk and enjoy some good food. He said he had a good place in mind and was in the mood for sushi. I told him I had never had sushi before and that made him excited because he said he was a 'sushi connoisseur'. He recommended this placed called Geisha, and I told him that was fine as long as he helped me order something palatable. The restaurant was about a 30 minute drive from my house and in a different parish (or county). During the drive I just became increasingly nervous, several times during the trip I wanted to turn around and call him with some lame excuse. What if he sees me and isn't interested? What if my pictures look better than the real me? As I got closer I realized, if he doesn't like me so what? What if I don't like him? What if his pictures look better than the real him? I think a lot of times when we go into situations where we're being judged, we're worried about how the people 'judging' will perceive us. But in any of these situations not only are we being judged but we're supposed to be judging them as well. When going on a job interview, they're looking for the right candidate, but also you're looking for the right employer, because even if you are the right candidate, the place may not be right for you. Of course, this would be in an ideal job market where jobs were in abundance, but since jobs are few and far between we take what we can get. That same idea shouldn't be applied to dating, as the options are endless, settling will only make you miserable. Back to the date...

I arrived at Geisha and I sat in my car for 10 minutes, I looked around for his car but I didn't see it so I sent him a text asking if he was there already, and he was. I got out of the car and walked toward the door. I was parked quite a bit away from the restaurant because the parking lot was pretty packed. I noticed the guy at the door waiting and I thought it was him but I wasn't too sure. I didn't just walk to the door, I strutted, I felt good, I looked good. As I got closer I realized it was him, and boy did I feel over dressed. He had on an old t-shirt, old shorts, and some old Crocs. He was cute and seemed nice once I got to the door and shook his hand (I'm not a hugger). He looked so nervous, like almost shaking, he could barely talk. We had something in common! We went inside, got a table, and started looking over the menu. As I said previously, I told him I had never had sushi in my life so of course I had no clue what to order. Secondly, the food was a bit pricey and I figured that I would be paying for my own, so I didn't want to order something too extravagant. I asked 'sushi connoisseur' for recommendations and he couldn't really tell me anything! He said he had only been there twice and could only vouch for what he had ordered before. If you're a 'sushi connoisseur' you'd have some recommendation or some idea about what would taste palatable. I decided to order a New Orleans roll, which seemed close enough to what I knew with a bit of Asian flair.

As we were waiting for our food, we started to talk and immediately he goes off to the far left. He starts talking about how he needs a mom for his son because his son's mom is a swinger. Say what? Run that back again, please? On his online ad he did state that he had a young son and that he and his ex were sharing custody, and I suppose I was ok with that. He goes on about how his wife would bring in different couples for sex, because she was a swinger. He said he was so uncomfortable, that he would often stand outside the bedroom and wait for her to finish. At this point, I'm just sipping my water and thinking about getting my food, eating, and leaving. I was hoping he'd pay, so at least I'd get a free meal. When the food comes out, both of the rolls (his shrimp roll and my New Orleans role) are one plate. I kept looking around thinking the server would bring out another plate but he didn't. I didn't know this guy and I had no interest in sharing a plate with him after hearing about his sexual encounters. I guess the server thought we were 'together'. I should've asked for another plate but I didn't. I started to eat my roll and he kept talking, food particles flying everywhere, I could've died. I kept eating and praying that I wouldn't throw up, God is always on time.

So we finish eating just as the place is closing, it's a little after 9. We walk outside and to my surprise the once full parking lot is almost empty. I'm so anxious to leave, but he wants to linger. He talks about how he wants a girl that's not afraid to get dirty and go mud riding. He wants a girl that knows how to do her own things like changing her own tires and oil. I kept nodding just thinking that this date is going further downhill by the minute. He kept talking about what he wanted, but what about what I wanted? He asked me at the beginning of the date what I was looking for, then the rest of the night he continued on about what he wanted and needed. Thankfully he did pay so I did at least get a free meal. Thinking back on it, I should've ordered a coke instead of water. After we finished talking about what he wanted, it was close to ten and including my car and his there were about 5 cars left in the lot. I didn't feel in danger or anything but I didn't really want to be alone with him after dark in an almost empty parking lot. I told him I had a good time and that we'd have to do it again, little white lies never hurt anyone, right? As I said before, I'm not a hugger and what he did next shocked me.

I was hoping we'd depart with a handshake, just as we did when we first met but nope. He decides to grab me and hug me. Literally, he grabbed me, I'm a big girl that's not an easy feat! It was awkward, because I couldn't really move my arms so I couldn't really hug him back, even out of courtesy. It definitely caught me off guard and I was slightly grossed out as he kissed me...On the cheek. The way he grabbed me was just rough and weird and awkward it did make me feel uncomfortable. I said goodnight hoping that finally I could get to my car and go home. He told me before that he likes racing and asked me if I wanted to race him, my car against his. I rolled my eyes until I was dizzy thinking what are we 12 years old? I gracefully declined, but he persisted, I almost had to yell HELL NO I'M NOT GOING TO RACE YOU WEIRDO. Ok, I didn't say all that, but I did say no repeatedly. I got in my car and waited for him to leave, because I didn't want him to follow me or anything. As I'm sitting in my car, pretending to text someone, he pulls up beside me raising up his engine still wanting to challenge me. Finally, after the umpteenth NO, he drove off.

That date was the weirdest date ever. I guess I did have some fun, trying sushi for the first time, which wasn't bad at all and having someone else foot the bill for once was fun.I'm glad he revealed his crazy early on instead of hiding it and revealing later on. From his shyness at the beginning, then lying about being a sushi expert, to him telling me about his son needing a mom, to him partaking in swinging, to his awkward hug, and in the end wanting to have a car race, I was just slightly in awe about how the date went. I guess maybe he felt comfortable with me? I suppose that's flattering. No he didn't try to get the server's number, and was mostly respectful but this one took the cake as being the worst of the worst.

January 16, 2015

I Want Some Fat Friends...

Single black female in search of fat friends...

So, yesterday night I was watching this new reality show on Lifetime called 'Big Women: Big Love' (cast pictured above). I'm not a fan of Lifetime or reality shows but for some reason this one caught my attention as I was browsing through the channels the day after the New Year holiday. I wanted to see what it was about, because there aren't a lot of reality shows about bigger girls. Yes there are shows like 'Fat Cops' and 'Fat Guys in the Woods' (or something like that), and there's even the show 'Curvy Girls' on Nuvo (I think it's been cancelled though). 'Curvy Girls' is a show about plus size models and the other shows about fat people cater to men. It seems that fat men are more embraced than fat women, in my opinion at least. But 'Big Women: Big Love' is different. It's about everyday women my age, trying to navigate this world of love and dating.

From the title, I thought it would be a documentary type reality show about bigger girls already in relationships, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was the opposite. It's about women who are looking for relationships with the opposite sex, who will not only accept them for their weight but also their many other flaws. The women are trying to change their attitudes about themselves and about the dating world in order to find the love of their lives I think it's such a realistic show that I can definitely relate to. Everyone wants to be loved because of and in spite of their flaws. Everyone wants to meet their soulmate, and if you read my blog, you know I am sucker for love and romance.

Sidenote: I haven't been doing reviews on the show, but I have been tweeting about it, but if you truly desire reviews from me, just leave me a comment and/or shoot me an email.

On this last episode, the women of the show went out to a club for a girls night out...And it made me think: Hmm...I want some fat friends! All of my friends are small or average, when we go out I'm always the biggest person, and while I love my friends to death, I want to have fat friends to go out with and here's why...

Since I am a fat person, other fat friends will understand my problems with going out. One thing about going out with smaller people, they don't understand my issues. In order to enjoy myself, the first thing that's important is comfort. I always have to arrive early or be the first one there to reserve a 'table not a booth'. I'm not trying to be squeezed in to a limiting amount of space, I want to be comfortable. Secondly, I'm short and I'm not going to look foolish trying to throw myself up on one of the ridiculously high and un-sturdy looking bar stools. Before I go into a restaurant, I scour the place from the parking lot to make sure it's not 100% booths or high bar stools. If I'm not comfortable, I'm going to feel miserable and self-conscious, which I think fat friends can relate to. I've seen bigger people in a group with skinny friends, and they're forced to be uncomfortable because all of their friends are comfortable and I'm like that too to a certain extent.

I don't mind going out to the mall or doing things that are physical, but I have certain limitations that my friends don't. For example, I went out to the mall with a couple of my friends who are smaller than me and we were walking and browsing the shops, my friends walked really fast because 1.) they have longer legs 2.) they're smaller but for me with short stubby legs and more weight, it felt like I was playing catch up. It was not fun because I didn't feel like I was 'with' them, I felt like I was 'chasing' them and of course I didn't want to speak up, so I just dealt with it the whole time. Another friend of mine asked me to go ice skating. It's flattering that my friends don't notice that I'm a bigger person, but asking me to go out on ice putting all my weight on a skinny little blade, NO freaking WAY! If one of my skinny friends slipped and fell on the ice, it would be nothing for a couple of people to help her up, but what if I fell on the ice? A whole freaking NHL team would have to somehow help me up.

A lot of my friends think I don't like going out at all, and honestly I do like going out sometimes, maybe more than what they think, but only if the place is right and the space is comfortable. I've never told them how I felt, and unless they read this post they'll never know. I don't want to ruin an outing because I need accommodations. Going out for a smaller person is easier: find a cute outfit out of your many outfits and just go out. For a fat person, clothes are already limited so it may not be as easy as finding something in the closet, it takes proper planning and sometimes a trip to the store even. I'm the type of person that dwells on things, too. I'll start thinking 'what if this place is small and doesn't have tables?' or 'what if it's a small place with not a lot of room to move around?' or 'what if my friends get there before me and I'm forced to be uncomfortable?'. Watching that episode of 'Big Women: Big Love' made me realize that going out with a group of people who look like me and have the same issues as I do would make things much less stressful and so much more comfortable. I'd feel better to open up instead of shutting down because I'm the biggest person and I don't want to draw attention to myself. In the episode that I watched last night, the girls had so much fun being with bigger girls and being proud of themselves.

A couple weeks ago, someone asked me what I like to do. He said he knew I didn't like going out, but was there something else I'd like to do. I had a hard time coming up with something to say, because I do want to go and have good conversation and things like that but it just has to be comfortable. I even thought, if he did ask me out I would try to be there first and get a comfortable spot and wait for him to arrive or something. I was thinking way, way ahead...And he didn't even ask me out! This guy is an active person and he likes adventure and I'm the opposite because I need to be prepared before I can do anything.

All in all, this was not to say that I don't enjoy my friends, because I truly do, but I want to have that liberated fun that I saw on TV last night. It's like being a black person and always hanging out with white people, who are all great people but sometimes you just want people to relate to, you know? I want to be with a group of people who have the same qualms as I do, I want to feel like one of the group instead of an outcast, I don't want to be the only bigger girl all the time. Maybe someday soon, my wish will come true! It's on my bucket list. Bigger girls unite!

January 11, 2015

Breaking a Life Story (Part VI)

(Read parts I-V by clicking here!)

The next morning I woke up and looked around the room. I had a headache, I blamed the Atomic Wine. I thought I had woke up on my own accord but there was a knock at the door. My foot was stiff but when I removed the towel the swelling had gone down, both of my feet looked normal. When I stood up my ankle still hurt but not nearly as bad as when it first occurred.

"Who is it?" My voice was a little raspy, I blamed the Atomic Wine again.

"Room service," said a man from the other side of the door.

I still had on my clothes from last night and I'm sure I looked awful, but I was also sure that the room service guy had seen much worse. I opened the door and the room service guy held out a large breakfast tray. I knew I didn't order room service and I intended to tell him so, but it smelled amazing and was presented in such a fancy manner I couldn't resist. Working as an editor didn't pay a whole heap but it was decent enough for one person. I lived in the country all my life, so the simple things like porcelain dishes and real crystal glassware fascinated me. I took the tray and limped back towards the bed, placing it on the wrinkled sheets. I felt uncomfortable and dirty so before I could enjoy my breakfast, I decided to shower.

After my shower I put on my pajamas, because I wasn't up for going out and I figured I should rest my ankle as Croix said. As I was headed back to bed another knock sounded at the door. "Who is it?" I said slightly frustrated because I was hungry.

"Room service!"

Again? I limped to the door wearing my favorite floral pajama shorts and tank, my curly hair was damp and my face was bare, my mother would kill me if she knew I was opening the door for anyone in such a manner. She always thought a woman should always put her best face forward, which explains why my father never saw her without makeup until a couple years ago when she was in the hospital.

I open the door and nearly fell backwards, it was Bryan and Croix.

"Bryan...Croix?" was all I could say.

Bryan spoke first, "Christina? I wanted to apologize for last night, I am truly sorry. Croix talked some sense into me and I'm really sorry about what happened. I just don't like reporters, you just don't know what we have go through. It's the absolute worst part of the job. Croix ordered room service for you, I hope it was ok?"

"I haven't eaten yet, but It's ok about last night...I could not imagine what it's like to be under the public eye 24/7. Please come in." I said opening the door allowing them inside. "Thank you" I whispered to Jason as he walked past me.

The front of the room was set up like a living room with a sofa and a couple chairs as well as a TV. Jason and Bryan sat on the couch and I sat in one of the chairs across from them.

"I'm not a tabloid reporter, I don't particularly care who you're dating, what you had for dinner, or if you have a love child somewhere out there." I could hear an audible sigh of relief from Bryan.

"ZWAP is a small station in Birmingham. There are three other news stations in the city and unfortunately we are ranked lowest in terms of viewership. I have been put in charge of a new entertainment segment. I was actually hoping you would either make an appearance or co-host with me for the first day or week, if you have time. Of course you will be paid for your time and presence, but those details are not available to me just yet. Honestly, I wasn't optimistic about you appearing on the show, I never thought I would meet you, but I am grateful that you're here. I can call the office and have all that information faxed over today for you and your team to review." I tried to sound professional but considering how we met and how I looked I hoped the noticed my sincerity.

In the better lighting I could see Bryan's face better. His skin was a flawless, smooth, and perfectly tanned. His dark hazel eyes twinkled as he seemed to be in thought. I felt my heart flutter, as it did every time I saw Nick Carter on TV in the 90's. I never thought I'd be so starstruck.

"Well, honestly after what I did to you, I'd be more than willing to make up for it. I'm not sure if I'd be able to stay the entire week but at least the first day or first few days. Here's my card, have your people fax the information to my people." He took out his wallet and gave me his card with a few names and numbers on it.

"Seriously? You'll do it? Oh my God, I can't believe it!" I nearly screamed but Bryan's phone went off before I get it out.

"Excuse me, I have to take this call." He stood up and walked outside of the room, taking the call.

I smiled and laughed and nearly jumped for joy as soon as he closed the door "Croix, I don't know how to thank you, this is amazing and it means the world to me." I thought I would cry but I held back the tears.

"No problem. I know how it is to be down on your luck and just waiting for a big break. After I graduated from college, I had no job and was almost homeless until I met up with Bryan again by chance. I just like to pay it forward."

Croix and I talked for at least an hour before Bryan returned to the room. He told me his parents were from the Dominican Republic and immigrated a few years before he was born. They ended up in Louisiana where his dad worked in a sugar cane field and his mom was a maid.

"You would think my parents moved here in the 1960's by the archaic jobs they had, but no they just had to make ends meet. When I was five, we moved to Atlanta because one of my relatives had opened up a successful janitorial service and promised my parents a better life. I don't remember much in Louisiana, but I do remember having a lot more fun once we moved here to Atlanta. We went on trips to Disney World at least a couple times a year, visited family in the Dominican Republic a couple times a year too, we were just much better and happier."

I thought Croix was interesting and I felt comfortable with him, more so than I ever have with the opposite sex. I told him about my parents, how they met, and where I grew up.

"I was sheltered from a lot of things and not intentionally. In Montana, there's not a lot to do and the nearest home was about 7 miles away. My parents chose to live the simple farm life. My mom grew up on a farm and even though my dad was from the city he likes the serenity of country life, no gunshots!" We both laughed.

"What about culture? There's not a lot of diversity in the mid-west compared to the south, did you have issues?"

"Not really, there were a couple black families in our area, and there were maybe four black people total at my high school. I never had any problems but it was kind of frustrating not being able to relate to my friends on certain topics, like hair styles. I did have an identity crisis my 9th grade year. I wanted straight hair and lighter skin, I begged my mom to straighten my hair and she did, I tried to look lighter and talk different but that wasn't me."

"Yeah, I understand completely. And if I might add, I like the way you are you hair, your skin, our voice are all unique and beautiful."

I was a little surprised, especially considering that I was in my pajamas with wet hair. I thanked him as I blushed, I was flattered, and could hardly look in his direction. Thank God Bryan walked in the door before I could say anything more. He looked troubled, sad, and his eyes were reddish color.

"B, what's wrong man?" Asked Croix.

"Christina, I'm sorry I can't do your show...I have some personal issues to handle and I just can't leave the city. I hope you understand. I'm sorry again, I've gotta go. Thanks for your hospitality and I hope things go well for you."

Yet again a complete topsy turvy. Bryan left and Croix stood up to chase after him. I sat there dumbfounded wondering why I was being tortured. I looked out of the window, was life worth the torture? I couldn't decide, I closed my eyes and imagined running, running as fast as I ever have, out of the window, over the balcony, on the ground finally free and content.

January 9, 2015

Opinion: Fraternities, Sororities, and Greek Organizations

On Twitter tonight (I started this a couple days prior to posting it), I noticed many people on my timeline tweeting about VH1's newest and most controversial reality show, Sorority Sisters. I am not a fan of 99% of the reality shows out there, so the fact that I'm not into this one is a given. Some sorority/fraternity members are up in arms about the fact that such a show was even created. Greek organizations are considered sacred, and it seems that this reality show is perceived as a dive into uncharted territory. Many believe the show portrays them (the organizations) in a negative light and takes away the esteem of the Divine Nine. In case you don't know, the Divine Nine is a group of African American sororities and fraternities that fall under the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Of course, if you want to know more about it, Google it. The purpose of this post is not to discuss the organizations and their history, but it is a chance for me to express how I feel about these organizations in general.

I tweeted that I have an unpopular opinion in regards to sororities/fraternities and I would keep it to myself. Well, I can't keep it to myself, and was wondering if maybe other people agreed with me, or would care to enlighten me in an educated, respectable manner. I'll be honest and say that I had to do a bit of research (an hour or so on Google) in order to find out more about the Divine Nine and other similar non-Divine Nine organizations. Besides a few co-workers, I don't know anyone personally who is a member of any of the Divine Nine groups. The groups started out of need for Black representation during a time when Black voices weren't being heard. In addition to creating a voice, the organizations sought to be service-oriented groups that served the communities, specifically lower income black communities. I truly admire the mission of these groups, black empowerment as well as service to the community is outstanding, but as with most things I believe it has evolved.

Overtime, the Divine Nine has seemingly become more of a social club than service club. I always see people sporting the jackets, the shirts, the hats, the license plates, etc. but as I tweeted, I hardly ever see them out in the community. I worked an event last year and I did see members from Zeta Phi Beta (a Divine Nine organization) and Order of the Eastern Star (not a part of the Divine Nine) volunteering at the same event. That was the first time in a really, really long time that I saw a Divine Nine group actually volunteering. Maybe it's just because of the area I live in, maybe there are mostly inactive chapters in my area, I'm not sure. As I said, I didn't grow up knowing what the Divine Nine was, when I was younger I just thought it was a social group for women to sport their colors, but it is more than that. In high school, several of my teachers were members of Alpha Kappa Alpha. When they would wear their attire to school, you could see their whole demeanor change, they seemed to strut, the seemed more confident, and more superior than on an average day. I don't know if it was because they were proud of the organization or just proud to be wearing the colors and proud to be a part of a group.

My unpopular opinion lies here: I don't see the purpose of the Divine Nine anymore and I don't think people understand what it means to be a part of groups such as these. That's not saying that they're purposeless, but I think they've lost sight. I think there should be less colors and attire and more service. Going back to those core roots and advertising the mission, instead of the colors. Truth be told, I think a lot of the Divine Nine groups have a negative connotation. When people think about a Delta Sigma Theta member, the first thing that comes to mind isn't the amount of community service they've clocked in. I think if you're really about serving the community and empowering other women, you don't need to always flash your colors, make your noises, and do your hand signs. I think those things mean nothing if you don't stand for the mission that these groups were founded upon. As the picture above says: If the founders were in charge of choosing members, would you and/or our line sisters/brothers even be accepted?

Personally, I couldn't see myself joining a sorority, it's not that I think they're bad, but I don't like cliques. Hell I don't even like working in groups at school. I'm fine with just being me. I'm already a part of something greater and at the end of the day, being or not being a part of a Greek Organization does not make or break you. You can develop yourself and friendships without being a part of a organization. You're not better because you're a Delta, Sigma, Alpha, Zeta, or Iota. Some people join the organizations just to think/feel they're superior, some people gain nothing in the process of joining these organizations, it's human nature. Some people see gain where others don't. I think the offensive part that has people up in arms with Sorority Sisters is the fact that they hold these groups up to the almighty standard. I'm not sure if they know it or not but people will be people no matter what group they're in. When you join a group, realize that not everyone in that group is looking at it in the same way that you are. You chose to be apart of something bigger than yourself, so you are a piece of one huge organization with many different people, it's crazy to get upset because these people aren't like you or don't hold the organization to same standard that you do. If the organization is involved in some kind of scandal and tainted in anyway, your entire group bears the cross. Mostly all black reality shows are embarrassing and demeaning, and this one is not different because the ladies are members of Divine Nine organizations.

I'm not trying to downplay the significance of the Divine Nine, but aren't they all just groups of people at the end of it all?