Friday, July 16, 2010

Move from Blogger Blog to Word Press

I've moved! Not Like Real Life has now moved to Wordpress. Here's the link. Thank you for the few who have just discovered my blog, your comments are beyond appreciated.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Curse of Being Too "Deep"...

Sometimes I sincerely believe that I am much too "deep" for a lot of people, and in the context of "deep", I mean that serious, intellectual conversation dominates my mind more so than it's lighthearted counterpart. (Once again, does that sound narcissistic? That is a quality I never want to develop) I find myself ruminating world issues and topics rather than talking about what parties I'm going to attend at the end of the week. I would much rather discuss pertinent issues that discuss behavioral analysis or stereotypes than common gossip. I rarely have "light" conversations, and I genuinely treasure friendships with individuals who challenge my thoughts or help me clarify them. Oooh and then there's music! Don't get me started on music! My loquaciousness will cause a person's ear to flee! It's to be said though, it is not that I am not able to carry on lighthearted conversation, it's the fact that I do not ENJOY doing so. That being said, I think it will be difficult finding a romantic partner who is able to challenge me intellectually with the same eagerness as I am willing to impart. As my father likes to say, "Let me pick your brain." I want my brain to be "picked". Pick away! Maybe I'm not looking in the proper places, or it may be that I have this time to really understand myself before understanding others.

This brings me to an interesting theory one of my intellectual compatriots introduced me to, it is called "The Law of Attraction." I am not well versed in the law or how it functions, but I will get back to you once I figure it out. Otherwise, I will continue on as my "deep" self and hope that others will grow to love this aspect of my personality. It is quite a contrast from the jovial disposition I am often associated with. Wait! I have developed another title to my dictionary entry! I am the sociable, jovial, intellectual! ooooh, I like that!

P.S. One of my worst fears is giving off an impression that I am not willing to listen to what others have to say. Even though the words above express a pseudo-elitist sentiment, I believe one must listen to people from all walks of life to successfully "learn". I never want to stop learning.

Today I really like my skin. In the summer it gets darker (woah, black people can tan?!?), and I think it is absolutely beautiful, especially in the sun. My skin looks like shiny brown paint with copper-red streaks running through it. Too bad my extremely unfashionable work uniform doesn't showcase this as much as I would have liked. :P Oh yeah, and that's a photo I took at the airport recently.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I suppose all nascent photographers all start with some pictures of flowers . I am no different!

And the inspiration just won't stop...

"...We inhabit a purely relative world, in terms of belief structures, yet each of us knows and in a sense, believes in, the need to be beautiful. My work is about beauty—what it means to be beautiful and what significance the idea has in the twenty-first century in the world of art. We all know that being beautiful is as important as being rich, that being beautiful is itself a form of wealth. One must be tall, thin and white. One’s features must be diminutive and regular. We recognize deviations from this norm, but recognize that these deviations, even if appealing, are far from ideal. The need to be beautiful fuels one of the largest and most ruthless industries in our world..." - Margaret Bowland

via: kiss my black ads I see my youth in these paintings.
"Sometimes, I feel discriminated against,

but it does not make me angry.

It merely astonishes me.

How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?"

~Zora Neale Hurston

Why I Went "Natural"... Part 2

Before I continue onwards to Part 2 of "Why I Went Natural"... I want to add something to my blog posts, something called "Un-Roast". I stole the idea from the blog, Eat The Damn Cake,
interestingly enough, she herself stole the idea from another blogger! Thus continuing the awesome recycling of previous information (all the while mentioning the originator of course!). Anyway, the author of Eat The Damn Cake explains the purpose of the "Un-Roast" in greater detail:

"So, because I’m ambitious but not incredibly ambitious, I assigned myself the task of un-roasting. Of taking time to consciously identify something I like about myself every day. So far, it’s mostly been physical stuff, because the mean voice is more consistently critical of my physical appearance, but some of you have contributed un-roasts about other aspects of yourselves, and I like that idea. I think I’m going to start expanding my own un-roasts, too. It sounds so simple it’s almost pointless. So you say you like something about yourself everyday. You can do that anyway, when you look in the mirror. But the thing is, sometimes it’s just better to write it down. To have proof of it. I want to have a record of all the things I love about myself..."

I think I'm going to take up this concept of "Un-Roast", and I wholeheartedly agree with the ideas expressed above. Sometimes I believe that Western society has put so many of us in a constant state of self-criticism; to such an extent that we forget our exemplary qualities. I do not want to forget mine.

Why I Went "Natural"....

It was my junior year of high school when I decided finally to go "Natural". I was tired of damaging my hair and conforming to what others said I was supposed to be. I was changing physically, mentally, emotionally; I started formulating what my true "beliefs" were, and cutting my hair so short until there was barely any left on my head was one of the outward expressions of this change.

Of course, not everyone saw this as my personal growth. There were naysayers who found my decision "radical", possibly of the unavoidable displays of teenage angst. I was met with interesting stares from my classmates and my teachers. There were plenty of people who were shocked and who questioned my decision, but since I had developed amazing acting ability in CONFIDENCE (outside I seemed like the most outgoing, confident girl you would ever meet, inside was a different story), I would receive comments like, "You WOULD go and cut your hair all off, you're the only black girl I know who would do that" or "You've always been so bold!".

I scoffed at these comments. My actions weren't extraordinary. I was just sick and tired of the cycle. I was ready to be the person I wanted to be. What was so bold about that?

And then there were the peers who were amazed and confused at seeing black hair in it's virgin state. The comments of these peers were the ones that stung the most. Blacks and whites partook in the over-examination of my hair and I absolutely hated it. One boy in a class asked me, "Can you wash black hair, I mean it can't get wet can it? The water just beads up and falls off, right?" Others tried to stick pencils or pieces of paper in my fro. What's worse is that when I would wear head wraps, they would call them head socks and try to snatch my wraps off my head.

The most unfortunate of it all was that I played along. Instead of correcting their false assumptions and stopping their actions, I pretended not be be hurt. I took what they did as innocence and I would reciprocate with a smile, a laugh, and a shrug. In reality however, I saw my attempts at "finding myself" unraveling. Suddenly, I was an oddity, somebody who was completely different. It was tough, and writing this post makes me realize my mixed emotions. However, I am happy to have conquered and completed those years and I pleased to know that I will never go back.

My natural hair has presented me with several challenges. There are some days where I think I look absolutely atrocious, and others when I think I wonderfully represent my African beauty. I supposed we all have to face daily contradictions. But my reason for being natural came from a place set arcanely in my heart. This place told me that I was an impostor. The young woman with relaxed hair, American Eagle t-shirts, Aeropostale jeans (I know! I can't believe I wore that either), and a big smile that others viewed was not the real me. It was the complacent me. I completely understand that there are all things that we humans have to conform to, it is a necessity, but I wanted to be as comfortable as possible in the body in which I was born and grew in. To reach this goal, going "natural" was a step that seemed unquestionable.

I hope I didn't bore you. It was quite uncomfortable writing all this, and hope the over-emphasis on my personal experiences does not scream narcissism. Wait! What am I talking about? This entire blog is vainglorious. But I think I am at a point in my life where this is acceptable, after all, the process of finding yourself is continuous. Right?

That is all.

Today I love my cheek-bones! I love the way they shape my face and they way they reflect sunlight. They are identifiers of my West-African blood, and I think they are beautiful. :P

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why I Went "Natural"... Part 1

First of all, I must say that I have been enjoying a plethora of amazing conversations with amazing people. I am naturally a very garrulous person, and one of the ways in which I feel truly content is by having meaningful discussions with others. When I have a conversation that is thought-provoking, humorous, or even sobering, I am happy. Even though I mentioned in a previous post that I often find that my vocabulary lacks when I am trying to convey my thoughts; it is only through discourse with other people that I am able to develop that vocabulary. In the past few days I have spent time conversing with old friends, good neighbors, workmates, family members, and even college associates, and each of their discussions provided me with new information. I have been forced to reflect on the beliefs and opinions I have about certain subjects, a challenge I enjoy profoundly. I enjoy questioning myself, my motives, my thoughts. I believe this constant reevaluation of one's self leads to perpetual growth...and that's a good thing, right?

Okay, now that my little preface is finished, I will expound on the original topic, "Why I Went Natural ". First of all, when I refer to the word "Natural", I am referring to the state of my hair, a state that is without chemicals, extensions, or dyes.

Even since I began being preoccupied with my hair, I have had what we black people call a "relaxer" (or perm) in my hair. Essentially, it was a process that involved putting a wide array of chemicals in my hair to achieve a bone-straight look, comparable to the hair of White or Asian people. Do you notice something wrong? I am saying that since I was at least 5 or 6 years of age, my hair had been chemically treated to resemble the appearance of a race that was not mine. The chemical submission of my hair led to a vast array of personal problems for me during my youth. Once I was led to believe that this inherent feature of mine was not desirable, I began applying the same reasoning to my other physical characteristics. Soon my skin, my nose, my eyes, my body joined took part in my constant scrutiny.

It sounds dramatic doesn't it? And you know what? It was, and it still is. There were so many other details entwined with the constant "relaxing" of my hair, that it became apart of my identity. I couldn't imagine myself without my relaxed hair. However, before you continue reading, I must mention a disclaimer. Yes, it was my mother's decision to give me a relaxer, but I do not blame her directly for my problems with my identity later on. At the time, it was the best decision she could think of (relaxing your hair was and continues to be a way of life for young black girls), and I leave her to her discretion. I still love my mother unconditionally.

Essentially, when I was young I believed that relaxed hair was what made black women beautiful; and without a relaxer, a black woman was not "behaving" as she should. It became an unquestionable fact: if beauty was to be achieved, a relaxer certainly had to be applied to the scalp! When I reminisce on these thoughts, I recoil in disappointment. How foolish and ignorant I was to believe this way, but I wasn't the only one. From where I came from, this way of thinking was in the majority. Added societal pressures did not ease this mindset either.

Teenage years. Once my teenage years started creeping in, my outlook severely changed. I can't say what motivated my drastic change, but something inside my consciousness switched. I began widening out, I began witnessing and recognizing with my own eyes black women with NATURAL hair. They wore proudly the unadulterated material that grew from their scalps. They too were beautiful, possibly even more so than the women I saw continually lathering on the "creamy crack". How deceived I felt! I could be beautiful too, but without having to submit my hair to the constant burning and pain of my relaxer. At 15 I began coveting natural hair. I continually wanted to take the final decision to go natural, but my mother would talk me out of it, for fear that I would be ridiculed in school if I were to go au-naturale. A fear that unfortunately manifested itself several times.

To be continued...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Did I Just Do That?

Did I just download "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus? I think I did. I can't stand the girl, but that song brings back so many memories from freshman year, memories that I don't ever want to forget. So who cares if this song my damage my musical credibility, I'm just nodding my head like "yeah" and moving my hips like "yeah" :D

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The deed has been done...

I bought my camera!! An Olympus E-420! It looks so awesome, but I'm a little intimidated by all it's bells and whistles. There are so many new things to learn, and I have to spend a lot of learning it all...THANK YOU YOUTUBE!

.I can't wait to be posting new photographs up...oh, I have many plans up my sleeve for this CAMERA.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kal Ho Naa Ho

Har ghadi badal rahi hai roop zindagi
Life changes its beauty all the time
Chhaaon hai kabhi kabhi hai dhoop zindagi
Sometimes it's a shade, sometimes life is sunlight
Har pal yahan jeebhar jiyo
Live every moment here to your heart's content
Jo hai sama kal ho naa ho
The time that is here may not be tomorrow

In A Sentimental Mood...

performed by John Coltrane. This composition, originally composed by the great Duke Ellington is one of my favorites. I can unequivocally say that whatever I'm doing, be it reading, running, dancing, daydreaming, when I hear the unmistakable static harmony of "In A Sentimental Mood", I drop what I am doing and just...listen. Such a beautiful composition it is, and many times it puts me in a nostalgic mood rather than a sentimental one. I become transported to my first trip to New York City (a bit cliche, I know). It is warm, and I am walking with my family and friends in Brooklyn. Then the saxophone lets out a velvety "bada-bada-bada-baaaa", and I am transported back to Atlanta. I am sitting in Centennial Olympic Park, my face devouring the warmth of the sun, my eyelids kindle against my eyes.

I really, really, really love this composition. Ugh, the English language is starting to lose it's luster. I must re-write that last sentence in Spanish. Verdaderamente amo esta composicion, puedo sentirlo en todas partes de mi cuerpo, un sentimiento que mi el amor que tengo por las palabras si mismo no pueden describir.

That's better.

What was I going to write about initially? Ah yes, I have discovered that I am quite the "logophile", a lover of words. Additionally, I'm quite gregarious at that! Haha, how I treasure the value of words! But I must admit, there are vital moments in life when words are not needed nor are they welcomed. There are those moments when language fails you, when speech cannot truly begin to encapsulate one's heartfelt feelings.

I have those moments a lot. That's when I switch to another language (see example above). Connotations and denotations are lost/switched/inverted in different languages, and although others may see it as odd (granted they may lack the knowledge in the languages I choose to switch to), I find it as a medium of more lucid expression.

Take for example the word "crazy." In Yoruba, my mother tongue, that word is "We re" (i'm spelling it purely phonetically, I can't write Yoruba). However, when someone is called "we re", it is seen as a great insult. Not only does it denote someone who performs odd actions, but it implies a lack of mental health as well. The same with Spanish and the word "loca." Even though some may argue that it doesn't bear as strong of an insult, a person would get a few slaps on the head for calling a random passerby "loca."

Get my drift? Me entiendes?

What a mood "In A Sentimental Mood" puts me in!