Being me is not easy. I am supposed to speak a certain way, dress and date conservatively, wear my hair “traditionally,” and succumb to societal norms. I am not defined by my actions and character but, my outer appearance or the tone of my voice. I am told I have to work twice as hard as any other race. And no matter how much I tried to concede to the provided standard, acceptance never chose me. So…what do I do – I go back to the drawing board, the real me.
What did she say?
You go to school and taught to speak properly, annunciate your words and speak with diction and conviction. Subjected to peer pressure, you defy what authority states you do and become creative with your words.
In 1999, Aaron Peckham created the Urban Dictionary for fun but, unbeknown to him, it became more than just fun; it became life. In 2012 there were more than 6.3 million untraditional words defined – proving urban terminology carries as much weight verses the conventional way of speaking. Proving vocabulary is meant to be colorful and explored. I say “Good Morrow” or when asked how I am doing, I say, “Well” and mocked in return.
Which is it, do you want me to speak properly, speak with urban dialect, merge the two or…? I sure as hell don’t know.
What is she wearing?
I could never dress the way society would socially accept me because of the contour of my body. I learned what best fit my figure and made it work for me. However, if I wore a pencil or skater skirt, I was condemned or said as being too racy for the clothes I wore. “Oh! She’s trying to get a promotion.” The only way I could get away with appearing professional was by wearing clothing twice my size and who wants to do that. The same with the African American female teacher in Atlanta, who wears bodycons to work with sweaters and is still chastised where as others wear body cons (no sweaters), mini skirts and see through shirts and they are viewed as professional. Still confused.
Why does your hair look that way?
As I began to embrace the skin I am in, I also began to luv my hair in its natural state. The versatility it yielded. But I had to be different; it wasn’t enough to have natural hair, I also had to dye it red. How dare I? My cousin said one day, “My mom won’t allow me to dye my hair red because she said it is ratchet and ghetto.” Hmmm. I guess I am ratchet though none of my actions exemplify it.
Then, I arrive to work one day after I changed the style and color of my hair and my coworker says, “Oh! Your hair is nice. The color is more inviting/welcoming. (My current color is more of a natural “dark brown” color with burgundy/auburn highlights)” versus my fire-engine red hair.
Basically saying that I should succumb to the standards of society – blend in. However, Marc Jacobs can appropriate our culture of having all white females on the runway with locs because if “black females can appropriate their hair by straightening it then, why can’t I do the same.” Oh! Aight.
Doesn’t she want to succeed?
If she wanted to succeed, she should listen and do what is asked of her. “Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. Do you your job. No more, no less.” He said, “As long as you are providing steady income, what does it matter if you are right and they are wrong.” He exclaimed definitively. “You will not elevate your success if you keep ‘bucking’ the system.”
Well you know what? “I reject your reality.” I’ve tried fitting in and “keeping up with the Joneses.” It failed. I am not your ideal truth. I am a black female, with curvy hips, natural hair, poetic speech, determined mind, and person who does not accept no as answer. I grind, for what I want, I have conviction for right vs. wrong. I may not always make the best decisions but, I try to a fault. My hair is red, my skin is a beautiful chocolate brown, my accent has a hint of urban in it but, she speaks proper; this does not define me. What defines me is my humble personality, my luv to help others, my thirst for knowledge, the want to make a change – a positive change, the need to laugh and in doing so, make others smile. I am a single black female who is succeeding on her own terms. It may not be the traditional way but…I am doing it my way (in my Sinatra voice).
We weren’t allowed to get married
So, we jumped the broom
As a sign our union.
We weren’t allowed to read
We found other means
Our strengths and resilience is what you hate
Our innovation swept under the rug
You want us to be stripped of all sense of dignity and pride
You take our music
You enhance your shape
To reflect what we always knew was great
And yet, you chastised it once before
Why should we not be arrogant?
All that we are is what you secretly idolize
Appropriation or acculturation
You hate us for our arrogance
And wish we would tone it down
Perfectionism: Refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
Hello! My name is Danielle and I am a perfectionist. I will take on a project – do it to the best of my capability and if I don’t feel it is complete then; I ponder until “I am one” with the final product. I am like this with work, home, the arts and anything else I tap into.
When I began blogging, I read successful tips on how to write a blog; writing from the heart, have a common theme, be truthful, and own everything you publish; a code you should abide by. Again, as a perfectionist, I do write from the heart, I own what I say and still try to have a common theme. However, with everything taking place in the world today, my focus shifted. My want to be perfect, transparent, true to me, while being politically/un-apologetically correct took over. News clouded my artistic writers form. I realized, I had to take a hiatus – to self-reflect on the overall reason of my blog. I needed to make sure that it is and will be for its intended purpose. To give others a perspective they never thought of, to educate, to be a joyous read, to hopefully help others in areas they may have needed an unbiased opinion in. I took a hiatus because I needed to hone in on my purpose and not fill people’s mind with my anger.
Ta-Nahisi Coates wrote a book, Between the World and Me, in the book he writes, “The Dream is the enemy of all art, courageous thinking and honest writing.” In the sense of my life, my dream is to be perfect when it comes to art of writing and trying to convey a message that I don’t want to be interpreted negatively. I have to let that dream go but, I also have to separate some of my strong personal feelings too. While I work on this, I will continue to write the traditional way, pen and paper. And, I SHALL RETURN.
Dunh dunh dunh
For those who are often confused to the difference between relaxers, perms or being natural. Relaxers chemically alter (relax) the natural curls in your hair, perms are also chemically altering products giving volume and curls to once straight hair, and natural is a state in which nothing has been used to chemically alter the state of hair you were born with.
For so long, I was addicted to the “creamy crack” called a Relaxer. My hair was free and easy. I luved her and she luved me.