Impression

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We search for acceptance from our friends, family, co workers, children, husband/boyfriends, the person walking down the street, the waiter at a restaurant, not realizing that an impression has already been made.  A person has already looked at you and assessed your actions based on their standards.  It’s not until one decides they want to know you that their initial impression ranges from dislike, content, and/or admiration.  Questions: “So why?,” “Why should you care?” and “What is the fix?”

So Why?

Why do we try to make an impression? Why do we care so much? Why? Why? Why? My five cents…we do it because we were conditioned this way.  Think of when you were a kid; before you left the house your parents would warn you not to “act a fool,”  “your actions are a reflection of this household,” they would say.  What about your first date?  The unwritten rule, “Don’t show him/her who you really are.  “Wait a few dates/months’ or the crazy one “until you are married and he’s trapped.”  You go on a job interview, wear certain clothes, you speak and conduct yourself in a manner that is so uncommon that you have to coach yourself days before the interview; then you get the job and the first few months you are on your best behavior and once you feel comfortable you become a little more relax.  Restaurants – same thing, there are even social etiquette classes on how to conduct yourself in a social setting; as we speak, there is a format on how to engage your audience when blogging – “Social Norms” we call them.

So…why should we care?

I have a coworker who wants a James Jean “Crayon Eater” tattoo, however, is hesitant because of the social stigma that blinds our creativity and individuality.  She’s not sure how she would be perceived.  In speaking with her, this is one of her favorite artist, his work describes perfectly what is in her head.  Why should she care?

My son, a young black boy growing up in a “free”  but racist, discriminant, world.  Why should I care? Especially when, as much as you try to ensure they speak /respect others, peoples hate can sometimes affect how they treat people of color.  Why should I care?

The Fix

If we were meant to be the same, we would all be the same color, height, weight, sex; we would speak a certain way, conduct ourselves as a “Collective.”  My response to my coworkers hesitancy about getting the tattoo, “Tattoos are extensions of art, an extension of you.  If this is something you luv, do it.  When you luv it, you don’t regret it.”  In her situation she should not care what others thinks.

Me, I am 7 of 9.  I was once part of a collective: I had to think, act, and dress a certain way until I realized there was a way to construct my social etiquette without losing sight of who I am.  As I mature, I realize there is a need to “instruct” others on how they conduct themselves.  Every action will have a reaction.  We as individuals choose how our first impressions to others will be and should accept the reactions given.

My son, I should care.  I want him to make an impression, his impression.  So, what do I do?  I explain to him what I have learned, show him what happens when he goes left, or goes right, I teach him to think for himself, I provide him with the good, the bad, the ugly; I explain to him my idea of life and what it’s about, and as he grows/matures I pray that his impression is a positive lasting impression.  I pray whatever path he chooses, he thought about it and accepts the journey he will take.

As long as we are aware of our actions, impressions though needed should be our own.

The Wind is My Friend

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My hair free and of natural flow wanders aimlessly in the wind.  As she whispers go left, my hair sashays left, as she whispers go right, my hair trots right.  In this environment my sight is obstructed, she has disengaged from the effort of being previously styled, she is thanking the wind because now, she is free.  The wind was her liberator, her way of saying she would not be tamed. This was how my hair was when I had a relaxer.

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.

Fast forward, to my pregnancy.  An experience forcing me to give up the creamy crack.  WHAT THE HELL!!!  We as women give up so much during pregnancy and the ease of taming the beast or learning how to style natural hair was never an easy feat.  My hair no longer blew in the wind so carelessly, it felt like no matter what I would do to my hair (when I did do something) she would battle with mother nature and mother nature would always win.  The woes of going back to a natural state of mind and body.
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In my early days of being natural, I had no idea what I was doing.  I hadn’t been natural since I was a kid and even then, it was my mother was doing my hair, not me.  If I did not keep it curled, I wore weaves.  I did not want to be bothered and when I wore my hair naturally I always felt self conscious.  This was a new life for me; it almost brought back a little insecurities of being accepted in “Corporate America?” However, breezes of wind blew in my ear and whispered that I was not alone.
I began networking in a completely new way…finding other groups of women who were having the same problems as me.  Ways to style and keep your hair healthy was becoming second nature to me however, I still did not accept nor understand the true meaning of being natural.  In all truth, most who go natural are never truthful as to why they went natural and if they are…they glamorize it to make seem like they are connecting to their roots.  I began my natural journey because I was pregnant and stayed with it because my hair began to thin ( a side affect of my munchkin being born).  Being natural and keeping my hair curled allowed me the volume I needed.  If I still had thick hair after pregnancy I would have went back to the creamy crack.  Much easier.
It wasn’t until my fourth 3rd year of being natural that I began to have a true appreciation and respect for being natural.  I began to luv it’s versatility, and in a way it made be become more healthier.  Because I use a lot of natural products in my hair (olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, Jamaican black caster, vitamin e etc) have a wonderful stylist, and began doing my research on how to grow healthy hair- pinterest and youtube became my best friend, the food I prepared also became healthier.  And now, in my fourth year, I still luv being natural and I also luv my protective styles including wearing weaves or “tracks.”  The wind and I have come to a truce.  She showed me another side to her silly yet helpful ways.  Now, when she flows through my hair, I no longer hide from her assertiveness but accept her with open arms.  She adds more volume to my hair; she gives her life.  I once thought the creamy crack was the best thing in the world…not so much.  I once thought wind was my enemy now, we are best friends.
I have become naturally me!

Daily Prompt – Nightmare

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You receive the call, you have one or two choices, show them all of your cards or play along until you gather all the information you need and TRAP them in their “web of lies.”

Wait, let’s try this again. You receive a call, your nightmare has become reality.

Strike #1:

“This is the IRS calling.” “Is this Danielle Mackin?”

“Yes this is she.”

Strike #2:

“We recently performed an audit of your tax returns and we are calling to let you know we’re filing suit against you due to fraudulent taxes.” The representative states. “Due to your incorrect filings from 2010 -2015, and your inability to pay the debts owed. You are facing criminal charges, the potential to go to jail, accounts frozen, liens against all properties, and note that because it is Friday and if you chose not to settle your account today, you could possibly be in jail all weekend. You currently owe $3802.50 worth of back taxes. You have one or two options,  continue with our current course of action and fight this through the courts or pay your balance in full today.”

Danielle replies aloofly, “I was unaware that I filed incorrectly as I have someone do my taxes for me every year.  I also set up a payment plan with the IRS to pay my debts already, can this be added to my current payment plan?”  When has anyone ever given a courtesy call stating there would be a warrant of your arrest if you don’t pay your bill? Okay, I will still play along.

“Ma’am, is your current address 7500 Gentle Shade…?”

“No. It is…Can I contact my lawyer before I make any decision?”

“Danielle, you only have an hour left before we continue with the filing of your court…” Wait are you filing a lawsuit or are you arresting me?

“Can I speak to a manager to set up a payment plan?”

Strike #3:

This conversation goes on for more than fifteen minutes.  Me explaining that I don’t have the entire amount, the manager is negotiating with me as to how much I can give as a deposit now and that it can’t be via bank accounts, credit cards and other forms that I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THE IRS takes as monetary payments.  Finally, he ask me if my i can borrow some money from a friend, I told him when he called back I would have the money.  He says, “You do understand this call is being recorded and if you do not comply to your ‘end of the bargain’ we will be forced to continue with the suit filed against you.”

“Yes sir, I understand.”

At this point, I am on the IRS’s website trying to find a way to report the SCAM and waiting for them to contact me again.  I am also realizing that I was just involved a SCAM that I thought would never happen to me.  They had a lot of my information and even though it wasn’t current, it was still a part of me.  Finally, there are many people who will actually concede to the SCAMMERS because of the conviction in their voice that you are doing something wrong (I am not going to lie, for a second they had me scared – thinking I did something wrong – my livelihood was flashing before my eyes.); luckily I knew the laws of the IRS but, there are some who are not awareand become caught up.

 

I leave you with this, IRS does NOT call you about your debt.  If you receive a call, IT IS A SCAM (IRS Website attached).  The end result of my “Foolishness Friday,” they called back…

“Can I speak with Danielle Mackin”

“This is she. I have contact the IRS, they stated my account was in good standings.  I told them that their local offices contacted me…” click

“Hello? Hello?”  They hung up.  I guess, I am okay now.

Loveee – Part II

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You’ve met someone, they make you laugh, you have some similarities, he/she accepts your “flaws and all,” your relationship starts to become a little more serious, ya’ll start doing a lot more together, you guys are taking the “test” trips to see if you can handle each other for more than 24hrs and then it gets real, the question of, should we move in together?…Oh my gosh!!! YOU ARE IN LUV or are you?

I used to think that luv did not exist and sometimes I still don’t.  I believed that people fall into lust and because they so badly want the idea of “love” they are willing to accept anything and settle for what crosses their path.
I looked up the definition for “love” and it seems so simple but, nothing is simple when you have the human factor involved.
Love (according to Webster):  an intense feeling of deep affection, a person or thing that one loves, or a feel of deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
Let’s look at the definition of “lust.”
Lust: very strong sexual desire, have a very strong sexual desire for someone
Definitions sound kind of similar don’t they?  Just stronger adjectives to make it seem as though they are not the same.
Now, back to the scenario above.  You guys chose to move in with each other.  There are quirks you don’t particularly care for but, you “let that shit go” because you know how to pick and choose your battles.  However, there are certain things that “grind your gears” and you fuss about.  That’s part of a relationship, communicating by fussing… right? Wrong.  You are beginning to find more faults that you know you did not sign up for but, you trying to make it work because all relationships take work.
Wayment!!! You didn’t tell me that you were gonna have a child.  Was that in the picture or was it a surprise?  Either way, what you are gonna do?  What are his beliefs in raising children?  How does she want to raise the child?  Were your upbringings good ones?  Will they affect what you do or don’t do with the munchkin(s)?  Questions you never thought to ask until now and probably still won’t.
The child has arrived, the right thing to do is get married so, this union can be legit.  We don’t want another broken home.  The faults that you tolerated before are intensified now.  You have a little human being constantly needing attention and your significant other being them but, because of the new variable in the complex equation called life, you are viewing things completely differently.   Those little quirks that you thought were cute before are no longer cute.  You are constantly upset.  “Here it is, I am taking care of a baby, and you want to go hang out with your friends and leave me here by ‘myself?’” “Fine, be selfish.”  “You ain’t no baby so, you need to clean up after yourself cuz, I ain’t the one.” Arguing has become a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Your relationship takes a spiraling turn (possibly for the worst)?  Did lust wear off?  The idea of being in luv finally fade away?  Where you ever truly in luv? Did you not understand when you signed up for this luv thing, that “falling in luv can be easy, staying in luv is too tricky” – Raphael Saadiq
A friend once told me;
“I believe in love, love is a selfless act, an act that does not expect anything in return because it is genuine. You would do anything for your love without strings attached…the problem is, most mess up when they become angry when they are not “loved” in return. If your love is pure, regardless of what the other person has done, their actions should not change who you are. If the love is not reciprocated, you move on and respect the situation for what it was.” That is my paraphrase but, it is so true.
For me, I take it one step further.  Luv first starts with luv’n yourself. Once you have come to learn to luv you then it is okay to safely search for a luving relationship with another.  Luv is about communication, respect, appreciation, truth, lust, independence and friendship.  If you don’t have communication you will never know what the other is thinking; arguing is not the way to communicate.  It is a whole bunch of noise yielding no results.  Respecting someone and their feelings, opinions, and their being says more about  you and who you are as a person.  Appreciating one’s individuality, independence and luv for you makes a relationship so much better.  The truth is always key.  No matter how much you don’t want to speak it at times (it’s called tact – I haven’t figured out how to be tactful yet), it needs to be said.  If it weren’t for lust, you two probably would not have been together in the first place.  Hello?!?!  Lust give spark when needed and keeps your drive for the person strong.  And friendship, if you don’t have friendship, then why are you together.  Friendship equals respect, trust, security, appreciation, and communication.  Think about the many friends you have.  There is a reason why you guys were friends for so long and now, your partner, the one you have chosen to live your life with should be your biggest friend, your confidant, your ride or die.
Do I believe in luv? There are glimpses of hope from time to time but, I still find myself straddling the fence of optimism and pessimism when it comes to “true luv.”  I believe in the idea of luv.  I believe that it could happen…believing and seeing is two different things.  I know this is not how all relationships are; this is a compilation of relationships I have went through and witnessed with others.  I have seen true love and while I know it exist the human nature in me is a little skeptical at times of its purity.  However, when luv happens to cross my path, I will be ready for the challenge.

Let’s Start with Me – Part I of Loveee

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I am a conceited emotional mother of one. I am plus size, full figured, or overweight (pick one). I have anger management issues, no patience, and somewhat of a “no holds barred” personality; some would call me rude or non empathetic. I’d like to think I am sympathetic when needed. I make sure that I put the caveat out there, if you ask me for my opinion understand, it’s my opinion and if you don’t agree with it then take it with a grain of salt. I am silly, love learning, love playing video games, and love being a black woman. I am not a woman scorned from relationships that didn’t work, I am a glass half full once I release my anger, and I am a self motivator. I am a thinker and a semi perfectionist. I am humble. And, I am an ARIES. All of these things I did not understand nor accept until my late twenties. When I was younger, all I knew was that I was an emotional kid.

So, let’s take it back before I found out all of things about me…back to childhood. A childhood, I truly don’t remember. Only bits and pieces, as if I suppressed memories (which I would luv to remember). From what I do remember, I know, I was a handful. I would sit in my window waiting for my dad to come and pick me up everyday (from Friday to Sunday), cry because he didn’t pick me up then be excited because two weekends later he finally showed and then come home and boast about how he was my “hero” when all he did was drop me off at my grandmothers house and take me out to eat on Sunday before I went back home. I remember people always telling me I had beautiful skin and that I could be a model, but for me, as I stated in a previous post; peer words when you are a child are stronger than any adults words of wisdom and truth. If a kid tells you you are ugly, you believe it. I remember always trying to fit in and no matter how hard I tried, it would only last for a little while. I remember me and my younger sister always clashing; I would want to play dress up and she would want to be by herself and go and build something, I would want to play doctor and literally stick a sewing needle in her skin to see the blood (what was I thinking). Don’t judge me. I know I did my sister dirty. I was not the best to her. smh

Let’s fast forward to my teenage years. My dad came around a lot more often then. He would pick me up, buy me things (I guess to show me he luved me) and we would actually “spend” more time with each other over the weekend. When we went out to eat on Sunday’s before I went back home, he would force me to try something different. He would order it, tell me to eat it, and after I said I liked it he would tell me what it was. That way I could not say it was nasty if I already said I liked it. Clever tricks. Clever tricks. Now, at this point in life, my life’s mission was to make sure my hair was cute all the time, my clothes were on point, and that I knew the latest song, or “club” music mix. Mannnnnnnnn! Every thursday evening at 2100hrs, I would turn my radio on put my tape recorder next to the radio and make sure I did not make a sound so I could record the club music being played on the radio station. This was my way of having something to listen to on the way to school the next week with my friends. Because I couldn’t relate to the other things they were doing, watching and wearing, this was my way of being hip. However, by the time I turned 15 and 9 months, I got a job and was able to purchase upon approval from my mother the clothes I needed to be cool. I was going to the gym because it was everything to be skinny and by the time I went to prom and graduated, I thought I finally made it. I was cool. I had friends. NOT!!! All of that faded as soon as graduation was over.

19, working as “Top Flight Security” and I have a boyfriend. Oh! and I am living on my own. I am no longer a size 6 but a size 14 and gaining; things change when you have a man. lol. I am job hopping – chasing money, drumming up a lot of debt, and doing all things I thought I was supposed to do in order to keep a man… going down the rabbit hole of Loss Identity Syndrome©. Things didn’t work out, I am now single, depressed, delving into alcohol and video games (that was so much fun), shopping for therapy, and constantly trying to find solace in what? I don’t know. At this point, I am in my mid twenties receiving negative attention because of my assets. I mistook this wrong attention and used it as crutch for my newfound “self confidence.” I began to be rude and nasty to people who didn’t deserve it and clothes were just as worse. As I type this, I can only shake my head. Then, something happened where it finally clicked, that I needed to change my life around. I think it was my grandmother passing away that made me want to do better.

I was in my mid/late twenties at this point, I found a mentor to teach me how to budget and take care of me financially. I finally accepted the fact that I was overweight and accepting the fact that you are overweight is 50% of being on your way to a healthier you. So, I began going to the gym, not to be skinny but to be healthy. I began loving the skin I was in. I began taking school more seriously and graduated with my associates degree and I even took my job more seriously. I learned how to be humble. I started outlining my negatives I needed to work on and consistently enhancing my positives. And, while I am still plus size, I know that I will always be a work in progress, I know who I am and finally luv the person I became to be.

“I am the goddess of war
I am filled with passion
I love
I lead
I am honest to a T
I am an Aries”

Loving and knowing who you are is the first step into a fruitful future. Without it, you maybe successful but, there will always be a void. A want for more. If you have a mentor, counselor or therapist they can aid in self approva. At the end of the day, it is up to you to accept and/or change the person you are. It appears the average time to “learn” you is late twenties early thirties. The reason could be because of our maturity level and hard knocks we may have went through. Or, we may not have went through any struggle but have become more aware of who we are as a being.

In the famous words of Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell do you expect somebody else to love you.”

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Unless you are not a part of my progress, Do NoT eNtEr!!!

Larger than Life

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Popular Society has a way the ideal person is to be, look and act, and if you do not fit that mold, it becomes a little more difficult for you or, can it? As a child you are your truest. You have not been jaded by what society, your parents, and peers want you to be. As you begin to develop, you begin to ingest all of what life is about; the truths, the lies, the good, the bad and the ugly. You live, and in the midst, you can sometimes begin to lose the true you as you take on the "burden" of popular society. For those of you who are wondering, I am talking about Lost Identity Syndrome© or LIS©, something that affects many Americans and if broken down, women in color in particular. Note: This is not real in the clinical sense but true all the same. And, I am quite sure we suffered or know someone who is suffering from this syndrome. The funny thing is, it cannot be quantified, because most are in denial or don't realize they have the syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome can include, not fitting in, wondering if you are good enough/doubting self worth, constantly changing your appearance, and trying to hide from your past.

One comes to luv oneself by, accepting their past, acknowledging their present, and working toward their future.
-Mackin

For a lot of us, we have multiple personalities. I don't mean schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, more like trying to fit in with the "group of the season." We see this group we think we like so, we acculturate our personality to that particular group. Some of our identity slowly chips away as we gain another personality. We change our looks and how we act; anything that will make us more accepted. This is not done on purpose. We do this because we think this is who we are and in the process, we continue to find another identity/group until we feel comfortable, hence attaching another personality. Each time we change, we go deeper and deeper into LIS. For most of us who continuously change groups, we don't realize the damage we are doing to ourselves.

I watched one lady grow up with the skills of being creative, intellectual, the ability to grasp academia without effort, and to speak with elegance, to trying to fit in with the "cool kids" - who hasn't? Now, running away from her family, her past to finding solace in a completely different culture. Idolizing their lifestyle, "repping" it as is if she was born in to it. Clearly I am not a doctor nor do I know if this has anything to do with it but, because of this new chapter and not understanding the true background of the culture, she has lost several friends. And each time someone tries to reach out to her, it's as if we push her further away. The positive side...she is still young enough to enter the "loving you for you" phase with time to fulfill her life and potential dreams.

Then there are others who luck up and find themselves early on in life. I think because they were tired of constantly being rejected, they took a step back; analyzed their life, their dislikes, experiences, lessons learned, and apply them to there new or should I say, old identity and become the more powerful and true them. In this case, that's me.

I tried to be a part of the cool kids club but, because my parents purchased functional clothes instead of the latest fashion, I couldn't fit in; from that, I learned how to create my own style. Something that a lot people don't know about me, I used to get teased about the color of my skin and for a while I had a complex about being dark skinned. Yeah, the adults said my skin was beautiful but, kids are ruthless, and some of the kids I knew were rough. What was even crazier, it was black on black discrimination which made it worse. And during that time, their opinion mattered more than the adults did. It wasn't until my late 20's and I became plus size that I began to embrace the beautiful chocolate skin God blessed me with. There was a glow that came with my confidence. And finally, I used to get teased about speaking properly so, I began to speak with slang and sound more urban. In this case that actually kind of helped, I can now speak with proper diction when need and change it up when I need you to understand my frustration.

I share all of this to say to Lost Identity Syndrome© is not a bad condition. Especially, if you learn from the paths life has taken you. In the case of the young lady, she is still trying to find her, the true her. And, when she does, she will be a force to reckon with. And, if I continually try to step in and help her, I would be doing nothing but hindering her growth. I now understand why my mother allowed me to "fall and bump my head" a few times. As for me, I survived LIS© by beginning to not give a cuss what others thought about me, to an extent. I began loving me for me, having the confidence of the gods, I have come to accept my randomness, eclectic, artistic, painfully truthful, introvert/extrovert, high off life, pessimistic, optimistic self and I would dare anyone to challenge themselves to find who they are and introduce their present self to their future more stronger self.
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Music

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Life is nothing but a walking musical.  Each moment, has a song/story to tell.  As I type this post, I am singing in my head, Eric Sermon’s , Just Like Music, in my head.  If someone is speaking to me and they say a trigger word, a song will appear and I laugh quietly.  Think about, when you are walking, talking, or doing something random, you ever notice how a song appears in the forefront of your mind?  Where do you think songs came from? Life’s experiences.

As much as I hate to admit I know the song, when I think of my best friend and how she’s doing with her new baby gurl, that dumbass song pops in my head, That’s my best friend by Young Thug.  Or, when someone is messing with my coins, I go semi – old school…”I’mma throw shade if I can’t get paid, you can slide to your girl like the army grenade, and itchy yitchy yaya with the marmalade…” Lil Kim (pre cosmetic surgery)

There are times, when I look at my son and think about how proud my grandmother would be if she were here and I start singing, Incubus, I Wish You Were Here – interpret the song how you will point being, there is a song for everything.  It makes the craziest of moments fun and a little stress free.  It can turn your anger into a mellower state (if that’s a word/phrase – if not, I am coining the phrase).

If it weren’t for music, how would those expression their emotions, no different than poetry, books, and even blogging.  Music is more of a melodic form that reaches the masses.  I was at a wedding recently, and the song the couple danced to was an expression of love shown to the crowd witnessing their union.  To me, my best friend, my mother and anyone else who knows me, writing and music is my release, I like to think I am the new, Sound of Music; I have a wide range in taste of music.  And if you try it, you might find that you like to dibble in being a walking musical as well.