A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Monthly Archives: October 2015

Ten Things About Me

Interesting.

To arouse curiosity and interest or to hold and catch the attention of someone.

I hear the word interesting and think “quirky” or “unique.” Other words that come to mind are “special” (to stand out). As someone who spent the majority of her life trying to blend in for fear of being deemed too much of the wrong something, this post, something that should be a simple list, was almost hard to write.

What do I find interesting about myself? Absolutely nothing. I don’t think I’m remarkably talented and can do anything particularly special. As a matter of fact, one of the things that people like about me is that I can teach you to do things in much the same way I do them (at least that’s why my last job loved me so much).

Quiet. Meek. Silent. Invisible.

Those are words that others could use to describe me. Those are the words that I would use to describe me…because those are the things that keep me safe. What’s not safe? Sharing what makes you interesting because that opens you up to judgment. However, in the vein of growth and authenticity and whatever-the-hell-else, I’m throwing caution to the wind and sharing 10 things I find interesting about myself.

Here goes nothing.

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Number 1: I’m left-handed.

Okay, sure. One in seven people are left-handed (or something like that) so that wouldn’t be particularly interesting…except I was the only one in my house growing up that was left-handed. That means, my Mom couldn’t hold my hand while I traced my letters to write so she’d make me practice my letters until she “could read them” (which is also why my handwriting is so great today). Which brings me to number two…

Number 2: Most of the time when I write (or take notes on something), my paper is almost upside down.

Again, people marvel at the life skills I’ve developed because I am left-handed. One such time happened in the 10th grade while taking a test (that I almost failed). My teacher was passing through the aisles to check and make sure we were all being honest and stopped at my test. I was so wrapped up in the questions in front of me that I didn’t notice him there until his shadow made me look up (I thought the light blew out). I just stared for a moment before saying, “Ummm, what?” His reply? “Wow. You’re writing upside down. I thought you were cheating but I see you’re not.” This man thought I was giving the answers to a classmate to my left…who would have to turn around and copy my paper. No dice, sir. Just trying not to smear my ink.

Number 3: I almost failed Art in the 9th grade because all of my perspective drawings had accidental shadows.

That darn left hand of mine would rub against the page and make my drawings less sharp. As a result, I regularly received feedback to the effect, “Why are there shadows everywhere?” The answer – because chorus was full when I went to register for my electives. That’s why.

Number 4: I used to define myself by numbers.

7-5-1986. My birthday. 3. My favorite number. 14. The number of schools I’ve attended. 8. The number of states I’ve lived in. 2. The number of countries I’ve lived in. Gotta love the military.

Number 5: Speaking of the military, where are my fellow Military Brats at?

BOTH of my parents were in the Army and I come from a tradition of military people. This is something to laugh at because everyone who has ever gone to the military hates answering to authority. As I said, my parents were in the Army, my Paternal Grandfather was in the Air Force, my Maternal Grandfather served in somebody’s war, my oldest Brother served in the Air Force. And I almost went to the Air Force except…

Number 6: I failed the physical and couldn’t go to the Air Force.

Looking back, that might have been a small blessing in disguise. Small, as in miniscule, but as I remind myself that I’m trying to think more positively, I say that it was a HUGE thing. I might not have met the people I have developed friendships with and I might not have been pushed to write (seriously) when I was. Then again, I wouldn’t have the student loan debt that I have (over $100k if you’re feeling generous enough to donate) but again…we’re thinking positively here. 😛

Number 7: I attended Brown University for graduate school…because I’m stubborn.

I mean, the full story is that I was a McNair scholar as an undergraduate student and when I had to share the list of schools I was applying to for graduate school, I was encouraged to not set my reach schools so high. Since I took it as the person telling me I wasn’t Brown University/Ivy League material, I decided to prove them wrong because what the fuck did they know? They probably knew how expensive it was (lol). Nonetheless, I had a great time when I was not in class or studying because it meant that I was spending time with my classmates shooting the breeze. The high point of my Year in Ivy League Hell? I graduated with my eyebrows and edges. #WontHeDoIt

Number 8: The thing I’m most proud of was helping a woman who had breast cancer.

Many moons ago when I was young, newly graduated, and broke as shit, I worked at a Victoria’s Secret. I was hired as part of the holiday team (seriously the best time to get a retail job if you don’t mind not spending time with your family during the holidays) and it proved to be an interesting time. One of the things we are known for is sizing women for their bras. My second day working alone (I was done with training and they threw me to the wolves), I noticed a woman in my section. Unfortunately for me, my Manager also noticed her which means I had to “upsell” our merchandise. As I was talking to her, I noticed she had two different sizes of the same kinds of bra and asked if she’d like to be measured. “Sure but not here.” I gladly radioed on the headset to ask someone to watch my section because I didn’t like being in the front anyway. After walking her back to the dressing room, I went through the customary questions and when it got how she wanted to be measured, she hesitated. At this point, her silence scared me and I KNEW I was going to be fired (I used to go right to catastrophic when I think). She told me that she was nervous because she’d had a mastectomy. She was there because her Husband’s birthday was coming up and she wanted to buy something to look nice. At this point, I said, “Well…not to sound crass or anything but cotton doesn’t scream sexy. So we’ll get you sized and I’ll take you to the nice section.” That made her laugh which was great because it meant I wouldn’t be fired.  Two days later, I was congratulated on the headset because the woman came back to buy more sexy stuff and told my Manager about the great job that I did. I ultimately was fired just not on that day (lol).

Number 9: I eat pineapple on my pizza.

Sue me. I like it. It’s delicious. If God didn’t want me to have this, he wouldn’t have made it an option at pizza places.

Number 10: Since we’re on the topic of pizza, I once did something really stupid for Dominos.

I walked in a snowstorm to get my pizza because they refused to deliver it after realizing the snow was coming down faster than they thought. This was during graduate school. That should tell you everything about why I thought walking in the snow for food was a good idea (hint: I was poor as shit and the grocery store was already closed). BONUS: I also walked to the ONLY store that didn’t close at all during that particular snowstorm – the liquor store. Again, I was in graduate school. Wine was it’s own food group at that point.

So there it is! A list of ten interesting things from a woman who would rather blend into the background. What would you say is the most interesting thing about you?

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“She’s Black!”

Ballerina Art

Every dancer remembers her first BIG performance! You’ve put in weeks and weeks and weeks (okay…maybe just a few weeks) of rehearsal of your bumblebee routine. You’ve forced your family to “Look! Watch!” the under two-minute choreography you’d perform with friends and they know it better than you do! It’s supposed to be a moment that you’re gushed over and it makes your Mom smile. And your Dad. And your Brothers. And the other Moms cuz you’re the cutest dancer baby there.

I mean, my first big performance was that (except the cutest dancer baby part). The ending was good but the beginning? EVEN BETTER!

I was three years old. And a ballerina with a penchant for turning the wrong way and dancing enthusiastically with the wrong choreography. My limbs would do what they wanted to do during lessons so watching me provided endless entertainment. The ONLY thing I had to do that night was to turn the right way.

Seriously, that was all my teacher asked of me because I’d giggle uncontrollably if I didn’t.

So the big day arrives and my Mom drove me to the theater. I hopped out the car (without hitting a nae-nae) and started to fidget. I remember seeing a girl in my dance class pass by and I wanted to run into the building with her. My Mom said no to that. So we walked into the building like “we had good sense” and I ran into the area where we changed clothes. Another dance mom walked over to my Mom and handed her a pair of tights. I heard my Mom ask, “What are these?” and I knew from her tone that she was not pleased.

Perplexed and almost pissed.

Because I was as in tune with my Mom as the waves are with the phases of the moon, I stood to the side to watch what was sure to be a show. AND I WAS NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT DISAPPOINTED!

In a very weird way, the other mom said, “These are flesh colored tights.” Weird because at three I didn’t know what condescension was.

I looked to my Mom with an expression that said, “Don’t let me down!” and she didn’t. She did NOT.

My Mom told her that of course those were flesh toned tights. And followed with, “I’m confused as to whose flesh they are supposed to go on?” She did this without the Angry Black Woman neck roll. The woman, seeing what the issue finally was, replied to my Mom that everyone had to look the same. So she kindly (her word) picked up an extra pair “in case she needed one.”

And my Mom, being the troublemaker that she is, loudly said, “WHY WOULD MY BLACK DAUGHTER NEED PALE PINK DANCE TIGHTS? They aren’t exactly flesh toned.”

In my head, this was better than when my Mom had to explain why someone had to give me Black Barbies as a gift. The woman got so upset that she wanted my Mom removed from the area (Present Day Me would have responded with “look at this white ass privilege”). Instead, little me laughed almost maniacally that an adult was mad I wasn’t going to wear the wrong tights. Her request was met with laughter (rude from the belly laughter) from my dance teacher. After the woman asked what was so funny, my teacher (who is also white) explained that she’d have to get over it.

“You’re mad because she pointed out her daughter is black. She’s black.” At that, the woman stormed out of the room.

Annnnnnnnnnnnd theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen…….

We were on stage where I had the time of my three year old life even though I still turned the wrong way.

When Closure Sounds Like Grief (A Response to Adele’s Hello)

The internet has completely lost its mind after hearing Adele’s newest song, “Hello.” Remaining true to her style, Adele released a song that had everyone saying, “OOOOOOOOOH MY GAWD!!!!” for a host of reasons. When I listened, I felt happiness so I thought I everyone else did too.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I was on Twitter yesterday when I realized that most felt a bit sorrowful. After seeing people’s reactions, I realized exactly why the lady in Walgreens looked at me like I was a complete nutcase. On the aisle right in front of the cereal marked two for $5, a woman said, “Excuse me? Who are you listening to?” I said Adele and she replied, “I thought so. It’s a good song. You must really like it.” This lady was worried because I happily sang/hum along to the beautiful music coming through my earbuds.

Who happily sings along to an Adele song outside of people who are plotting payback for the ex that broke their heart?

People who recognize that sometimes closure sounds and feels like grief.

So back to last night!

I shared that this song wasn’t really sad. Adele just has a voice that holds depth…like deeeeeeep depth. You hear Adele sing ANYTHING and whatever you thought you got over shows up like “NAH! YOU DIDN’T!” At this point, you’re left with only one choice – you have to ride with it. While cowering in the corner of your shower. And sobbing (like a G, of course).

That is…until yesterday. Hello is the song that everyone wishes to sing to their old self. It’s the conversation we wish would desperately get a response. This is when you want to say, “I’m sorry!” but you feel like you can’t. It’s when you live with willingly live with a regret that you don’t have to because you think approaching that pain would be too much to bear.

The thing Hello reminds us is there is just one person that can give you the response you NEED when it comes to moving forward from deep pain – You. So I wrote myself a letter (by changing the lyrics).

***

Hello.

It’s me. I’m surprised that after all this time you feel grief. There’s no need to go over anything. It’s true that Time Will Heal All Wounds and you’ve done much healing.

Hello.

I hope you hear me. I know that you spend time dreaming about who we’d used to be. When we were younger and wished for peace. I still remember how we felt when our world crumbled at our feet.

But I see the difference between us…and I’m glad you smile now.

Hello from the Other Side. I must have called a thousand times to tell you I forgive you for everything that you’ve done. But when I called you never answered at all. Hello from the Inside! I know that you tried. I know you wished you never broke my heart but it doesn’t matter. It clearly doesn’t tear me apart anymore.

Hello.

How are you? It’s so typical of you to dwell on the past when there’s no need. I see that you’re well and I know you made it out of that hell and now look what has happened! It’s no reason to ever feel like we’re running out of time.

Hello from the Other Side. I must have called a thousand times to tell you I love you for everything that you’ve done. But when I call you never want to pick up. Hello from the Inside! I really see how hard you’ve tried. No need for sorry for what you think you’ve done. I love you. Please don’t let it tear you apart anymore.

***

What’s the one thing you wish you had the courage to say to yourself?

Click here to hear Adele’s new song Hello if you’ve managed to make your home under a rock and haven’t heard it yet.