Becoming Cultured

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As a society, we can sometimes become wrapped up in what is acceptable actions, religion, music, activities, etc according to our nationality. Not realizing, what makes us different and what another culture does can sometimes unify the different races. Over the last few weekends, the togetherness I have seen amongst those I have encountered at Comicon and Renaissance Festival have been a reassuring sign that there is still awesomeness amongst us.

Fantasy Does Exist!!!

I went to Comicon and immediately became overwhelmed by the hero’s, the cosplay, the artist who cater to our need to escape reality. I met legends, saw Vader (I wanted him to say ‘Luke, I am your father.’ but jumbled my words and could only say ‘LUKE!’), purchased pieces of art that expressed me. I was amongst my people – not “black people” but, my people, those who enjoy comics and movies and fantasy. The cool thing was, there was no shaming, no judgment of the color of your skin; it was meant to be fun and fun was had.

Then, I had my first experience at the Renaissance Festival. It was full of pirates, wenches, nymphs, fairies, and pride and guess what?!?! Again, the crowd was diverse. We came to enjoy the artist and be entertained. Again, I was amongst those who luved fantasy, the era of the Renaissance, amongst culture; I was amongst my people.

Look at Me Becoming Cultured!!!

So, what does this mean? Experience is what drives perspective, gives new outlooks on life. Being cultured is not just about learning the history of your race but also, being willing to learn things from other cultures. We don’t have to stick with only “black culture” because that’s the only thing we know or that’s the color our skin. As a society, you can’t grow that way and have a full understanding of what life is through just one set of eyes. Accepting differences, interacting with other communities is what makes the human race great. And for the first time, I finally understand it completely.

My challenge to anyone who reads this: just as you would go to the museums to experience pieces of history, read the required books while in school – don’t stop there. Find local festivals to attend, don’t be afraid to try something different because it’s not apart of your comfort zone, if your children speak to you about religion or other cultures, don’t dismiss them; rather encourage their inquisitive nature. You never know, you too may find something fascinating – I know I have.

Next stop…New York Comicon

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Conviction

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Conviction: a firmly held belief or opinion.
I guess you can say growing up I was not raised to see color; instead people’s actions are what constituted how you should act towards them. In high school I knew I was discriminated against but never fully comprehended it. When I began working, segregation was created in an unconventional way but in order to get your check, you dealt with the conditions you were in unless you lucked up in your position and found a group of coworkers who treated each other as equals and gave respect. In the meantime, you do what you have to do in order to get to where you want to be. It wasn’t until a few years ago I found my conviction, my beliefs, my voice, my passion, my purpose with caveats. Now, how do I hone in? Relay my truths? Affect the masses in a positive way? Reach the youth? Keep my sanity? Keep my mind clear? Stay balanced? Support my family? And be true…to me?
I wrote a while back that being an Aries is a tough job, because we want to succeed and accept any challenge life gives us. We want to take life’s lemons and create a wonderful lemonade to share with others but, it’s a tough/daunting process. And sometimes trying to reach that zen like feeling especially, when you have dual hats – family provider and a want to be the voice of the community becomes a struggle. How do you choose? Or, do you have to?
So, before I go so far off the beaten path that I lose you, let me explain. Over the last few weeks I have asked various people  “What it meant to be black in America?”  The further I did my research, it should come to no surprise that there are others who have sought this difficult and unyielding quest. I tried anyway because again, I like the challenge.  And while the answers received were somewhat no different then other answers or views I’ve read, I still found them to be unique. I realized this is an open ended question because, answers can change from one persons experience to the next. I also listened to several interviews to give me another way of looking at the reality; giving me another perspective. For that, my eyes have widened and my plate is now the size of a Thanksgiving dinner.
With that being said, over the next few weeks, I will be posting people’s opinions, questions and truths. Conduct more research in hopes that I can condense people’s truths, make it palatable, and the work towards figuring out how we as a
whole can come together and show those who do not believe in unity that unity is as not as bad as you think it is.
Something for you to think about, “What do you think it means to be ‘Black in America’?”

What’s Your Sign

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Being an Aries is a difficult feat.  Our conviction, our ideas, our truths our need for progress are what drive us.  We are often criticized for our “Negative Traits” as if they define us and most over look our positive traits.
Traits of an Aries

Negative: Impatient, Impetuous, Selfish, Jealous, Vain, Prideful, Egotistical, Ruthless, Possessive, and Violent are often associated with us.

Positive:  Spontaneous, Brazen, Action Oriented,  Courageous, Open, and Innovative are never seen

As a Daughter (Child)
We love and respect our parents even though they see us as wild and rebellious.  We stick to our beliefs.  We have a vision and while we may not express it in a way you can understand, our respect for you is constantly at the front of our minds.  We are destined for greatness and a lot of time we try to show it but, what you see is us acting out.  We want to prove to you, we can achieve what you need from us but, let us do it our way (we are thinkers; always looking to find a better way to be successful).
As a Friend
We “feel the more the merrier” meaning it’s ideal to have more friends however, our friends find it difficult to befriend us because we do not place energy in the same ideals/places.  If we say we are going to do something, we do it.  And, we hope friends would do the same, show us the same enthusiasm we show them.  It’s funny because I always tell those whose company I enjoy, “You are my friend in training.  I’ve already accepted you as a friend, I am waiting for you to friend me.”

As a Lover
We are know for our flirtatious and proactive pursuit.  We don’t like to “beat around the bush.”  Monotony and Aries do not equal long lasting relationships; we like to be engaged, passionate, and have adventures and while it is not easy to build a relationship with us, once we are committed we are honest and loyal for life.

As a Mother
We luv to dominate and are protective to a fault.  Very strict at times because we see the potential in our children, we want them to succeed.  We want our children to be well versed and happy, however, we as mommy’s demands compliance.  lol.  I have been told I am too hard on my son, and sometimes it is true but, I am not here to be his friend, I am here to prepare him for the world.  He knows he is loved, not only from me but his family too.

Moral of the Story
We are the first sign of the Zodiac, known for our fiery passion and exuberance.  We want to be known as pioneers; we like to take the road less traveled to give us a challenge.  Charisma and leadership is an innate ability we cherish and most wish they had.  We are forward in our thinking, leading us to express our love and feeling without thought.  We try to be understanding and sympathetic to others plight and while we may not show it, we are listening to you. We are also trying to figure out how we can help you.  Yes you did not solicit advice from us and as hard as it is to not give advice when you didn’t ask – don’t judge us, we are problem solvers.  It’s what we do.

I wrote this as a generalization of the community of Aries however, this is truly about me.  Haha – Ego.

Understanding someone’s sign can sometimes help you in understanding and dealing with a person.  And, while I don’t agree that you should solely go off their Zodiac Sign, I can say that it would definitely help.  As an Aries, I hope you were able to glimpse into who are we, via me and in return have an affinity of anyone who is an Aries in your life.

 

1-Luv

D

Single Black Female

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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.”

Okay…

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).

afro

picture courtesy of Pinterest

Perfection

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Endlich and his beautiful garden

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
1-Luv

D

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!!!