Monday, January 30, 2012

My How I've Changed

Those of you who read about the debacle with my hairdresser know that I took my braids out and had my hair straightened for the first time in about nine months or so. The first day after I had it done I was like "Oh this is really nice. It looks very pretty." Day two rolled around and I was like "Okay, this isn't as straight as it was yesterday." By the time day three rolled around I was like "Ugh! This sucks! I'm not used to feeling hair on the back of my neck!" Initially I thought my issue was with the fact that my hair is long, therefore I decided that I needed to get it cut. After spending some time online looking at short haircuts, I realized that I no longer like the way my hair looks when it's straight. I feel like straight hair is very much a part of my past and the way that my life used to be. It reminds me of being with my ex and how I let myself be subjugated by that relationship. Also, ever since I took my braids out, it seems that things have been going wrong. I keep getting a later start than I would like to when leaving to go places. There was an incident here at work that was reminiscent of something that would've happened in the past when I was with my ex and cloaked in the apathy that surrounded him. I'm not a superstitious person, but I do believe that everyone and everything possesses a certain type of energy. I now feel a lot of negative energy associated with my hair being straight. Luckily I'll be going to get that taken care of on Saturday afternoon. Yes, with the same person who straightened it, but once it's done I already have someone else in the pipeline that I plan to check out.

I think a lot of what I'm realizing right now has to do with my going through the process of yoga teacher training. Yogic philosophy teaches you to detach from the things that aren't important or that don't serve to make your life peaceful. My straight hair is actually causing me stress and anxiety. I don't like the way it looks and I end up pulling it back into a ponytail, which is a waste of the $60 I paid to have it straightened. I've become very conscious of what's a necessity in my life. Straight hair is definitely not a necessity for me anymore.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Breakthrough!

Yesterday was my weigh-in day for Weight Watchers. As you may remember from last week, I didn't go to Weight Watchers because I was supposed to get my hair done. That ended up being one of the worst Thursdays I've had in a while. I'm happy to say that I bounced back this week and had a very good Thursday. Bet you're wondering what made it so good, aren't you? I'm trying to decide whether or not I should keep you in suspense for a while ;-). Just kidding! I won't torture you like that. The thing that made my Thursday good is the fact that, after continually gaining a pound or two and losing less than a pound when not gaining, I was down 3.4lbs when I stepped on the scale. That's totally not the result I was expecting. I feel like I ate a lot over the past week. I think the fact that I'm doing more yoga and more walking is what counteracted all of the food I've been eating. It was a nice surprise. I thought my pants felt looser when I put them on yesterday morning, but I wasn't sure whether or not my mind was playing tricks on me, hahaha!!! My goal is to lose again next week. I don't expect to lose another 3lbs because that's not realistic. I'd be happy with just one :-).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boston Here I Come!

During the last installment of my life story you read about how I got rejected by one college, but accepted by another. Neither of these colleges was in Georgia so it was time for me to well and truly leave the nest. The trip that my parents and I took to Boston during the fall of 1994 was the first time any of us had flown on a plane. I had never set eyes on Boston and my biggest point of reference besides the Boston Tea Party was the fact that New Edition and New Kids on the Block were from there, hahaha!!! I had no fear about living in a place that I knew so little about.

When my parents and I arrived in Boston it was starting to get chilly. Fall weather had already arrived, while back in Georgia it still felt like summer. I remember our first full day in Boston included going to the sporting goods store across the street from Berklee's main building to buy me a jacket. The next day it rained, and the day after that the sun came out. That was my first experience with how changeable the weather is in New England.

Compared to most people from Georgia I've never had much of an accent, but of course to New England ears I do. Probably because I pronounce my Rs ;-). One of the first girls I met, who ended up being one of my best friends, would constantly ask me to say certain words. Whenever we'd meet someone new, the first words out of her mouth were "Listen to that accent!" It actually annoyed me a little bit because I wasn't the only person there with an accent. Berklee has a very large international population.

My roommate my freshman year was a junior and spent all of her time in her boyfriend's room since he had a single room. Because of that fact, it was like I had a single room, too. I never had to worry about anyone having a problem with my friends coming over to hang out. The downside was that I was away from my family and all alone. At first I didn't even have a phone in my room so I had to use the payphone in the hallway of the dorm. This was before everyone had cellphones so about a month into my first semester I had a phone put in my room.

Every person that goes straight from high school to college should experience at least one year of living in the dorms. It's like living in a community of people with common interests but different experiences. For people from small towns, college may be the first time that they've had any first-hand experience with someone of another race. If someone is an only child, they get to see what's it's like to have to share a room and a bathroom with one or two other people. The experience is even better when you can live in a college town like Boston.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Protect Your Peace

As many of you know, I'm currently in training to become a yoga teacher. Every Tuesday night I go to a three-hour class where we discuss and practice poses, as well as discussing the philosophy of yoga. The philosophy is set out in what is known as the yoga sutras. One of the sutras last night included the words "protect your peace", meaning to protect your inner peace and well-being. We often let other people disturb the peacefulness that we are sometimes able to find within ourselves. For example, you're outside enjoying a gorgeous, sunny day. As you start to cross the street (at the crosswalk), a driver comes speeding by and doesn't even slow down. You jump back so as not to get run over, and your right arm automatically flies up and your middle finger makes an apprearance. That careless driver just disturbed your peace. The beauty of the day is now lost on you because of the anger you feel at someone you don't even know. You just gave that stranger a lot of power.

Another way that your peace can be disturbed is by fostering an imbalance in your relationships. You know there are things you need to do for yourself in order to maintain your own well-being, but whenever you try to do those things, your friend or mate approaches you with a request. Because selflessness may be a part of your nature, you defer your own needs in order to meet the needs of others. By doing that, you're letting your friends and loved ones disturb your peace. What's the point of you making all of those people happy or satisfying their needs when your own needs go unmet? If your needs continue to go unmet, resentment starts to build in your heart. From that resentment arises anger, apathy, depression, and a whole host of other negative emotions. This becomes the perfect set-up for the severing of ties with the ones that you care about. At the time it will make perfect sense for you to walk away from them, but when you look back on it later, you'll wonder how you let it get to that point. Protect your peace so that you can live a happy and fulfilling life. When you feel that peace being disturbed, quiet that disturbance with the knowledge that you have the power to bring yourself right back to that place of peace and that only you can determine whether or not someone else will disturb it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Did She Have to Put a Foot in Someone's Ass?

I know that's the question you've all been asking yourselves since you read about my hair salon debacle. Rest asssured that I'm not hopping around behind someone with my right foot stuck in their ass. One thing I will say though is that the infamous Maria didn't call me to confirm my appointment. Instead I got a text from my hairdresser saying that she could take me right after work. Maybe she was afraid I might cuss Maria out. Who knows?

Anyway, me and my big, bushy head of hair made it to the salon right after work. Luckily I wasn't getting braids done again or I would've been there forever. When I walked into the salon, my hairdresser and the owner both greeted me, but Maria didn't. That made me go "Hmmm..." Although there was no one at the sink having their hair washed, I sat there for a good 15 minutes before Maria called me over to the sink. Not quite sure what that was about, but whatever.

Finally she calls me over to wash my hair. Normally she's very chatty when she's washing my hair, but not this time. Once my hair was washed, it was only a few minutes before my hairdresser had me sit in her chair. There was very little conversation between the two of us. The only thing she asked me is if I wanted a part in my hair. I told her yes and because it's been so long since my hair has been straightened, I told her it didn't matter what side she put it on. This time she didn't stop in the middle and go do someone else's hair. Maybe that's because I wasn't having braids done. Anyway, I was out of there in less than three hours, which hasn't happened in a very long time.

The camaraderie that I felt with everyone there at the salon is pretty much gone. I can still joke around with them, which I did, but after being disregarded by them, there's a part of me that will remain closed off. Basically, I don't trust them not to screw me again. The issue with me finding someone else to do my hair is that there aren't many black hairdressers that work with natural hair. Guess I'll just have to see what happens.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You're Kidding, Right?!

As you know, I usually weigh in at Weight Watchers on Thursday, but I had a hair appointment after work. Since the appointment was at 6:00, I would've normally been able to weigh in and then make it to the salon on time. The one glitch in my plan was the fact that I had to take the braids out of my hair. I started taking them out on Wednesday night after workstudy at the yoga studio. It takes a lot of time and there were many small braids, so I didn't finish. I figured I could finish in the morning before I left for my 8:00am doctor's appointment. Got up at 6:15am yesterday morning to continue with braid removal. Got them all done except maybe 15, and had to take a shower. Everyone's water in my apartment building is connected so if I start to take a shower and the guy next door turns on his shower, my hot water turns cold. I did not have time to wait for him to finish his shower so I was like "Screw it. I'm not taking a shower." I was basically still clean from the day before and I sit behind a desk all day so I don't work up a sweat. With that in mind, I work on a couple more of the braids, pack my lunch, get dressed, and head out. When I left the house it was 7:45. It takes at least 20 minutes to get to the subway stop that's near the doctor's office and another 10 to walk there. By the time I get there it's 8:20. I'm there for a physical and the medical assistant is like "I don't think she'll be able to do the full physical, but I'll take you back anyway." Now you and I both know that doctors are late all the time. So she takes me in, takes my blood pressure, asks if I have allergies to any medications, and then weighs me. (On a side note, according to the digital scale she had, I lost weight this week.) A few minutes later the doctor comes in. When she asks me how I'm doing, I tell her I'm fine except for the fact that I was late for my appointment. She looks at me and says "Well the people that work for me are like that (meaning that she knew they had a problem with me being late), but I don't share those feelings. I'm always happy to see your smiling face." No, she's not a native New Englander, hahaha!!! She's a Southerner, like me.

So we got down to the business of her performing my physical and she had me out of there before 9:00. I had to go back out to the waiting area to wait to have some blood drawn. After about 10 minutes or so the tech was ready to take me. After giving away four vials of my blood, I was on my way to work. Because I hadn't finished taking my braids out, I had a lop-sided 'do and I had to buy a wide headband to hold the front of it back. I knew that as soon as my work day was over I'd need to go to the ladies room and finish taking out my braids. About five minutes before 5:00 I headed to the ladies room. I was only able to get five braids done before I needed to leave. Once again I was like "Screw it. Her assistant will have to take out the rest." I stop by 7-Eleven to grab a snack because I know I'll be at the salon for a while and of course I end up getting there late. When I get there, the lights are all off and there's no one there. I texted my hairdresser and said "I know you didn't mean 6:00am." Her response was "No." I proceeded to ask her why everything looked like it was shut down and she was suddenly all apologetic, saying that while the plumbers were there fixing the sink, they broke something else and that everyone's appointments were cancelled. Funny how no one called me. She was like "Didn't you get my text?" Of course I didn't or I wouldn't be standing outside in below freezing temperatures with one glove off texting her. She was like "Maria said she called everyone." The only call I got from Maria was on Wednesday reminding me about my appointment. She was very apologetic, and I told her it was all good.

Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but I cancelled plans with a friend that I haven't seen in years in order to get my hair done. Also, there have been many times when I've had to wait while she stops in the middle of doing my hair, so that she can do someone else's. This salon is a small operation, but I also had to wait sometimes at the old place, which was larger. I've always been really patient because I had no reason to be in a hurry, so to be totally forgotten like that was a bit of a blow. One of my friends recommended that I find someone else to do my hair. Because I wear my hair in natural styles instead of chemically relaxing it, I'm picky about who I'll let touch my hair. I'll have to do some in-depth research. The only good thing that came out of this is that I was able to finish taking the braids out.

Today I'm walking around with a big, puffy head of hair. I texted my hairdresser this morning and let her know that I had to cancel plans for her to do my hair and that I'll be seeing the person that I cancelled plans with on Monday. I told her that when I see this person I don't want to look like something out of "The Color Purple". Supposedly she can do my hair tonight as long as the sink gets fixed (which it's supposed to). The infamous Maria is supposed to call me to confirm, but it's almost 2:30 and I haven't heard anything. Stay tuned. This could get ugly...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Senior Year

Sorry to leave you hanging. Seems like I was in the 11th grade for an eternity, huh? When I left you I was contemplating college in Chicago. One of the requisite items for my application to DePaul University was an audition tape. There were two or three different types of songs I had to perform and I had to practice those songs after school with my chorus teacher. This is the man who threw the music folder and dented the poster. I was never too terribly fond of him, but my dislike of him grew when I didn't get into DePaul's music program. I feel that he didn't do enough to prep me to sing those songs. He was also working with another student on audition material, someone that I know for a fact that he liked better than me.

To say that I was devastated by being rejected for the music program was an understatement. I cried my eyes out. DePaul encouraged me to apply to another program, but I really wanted to be in their music program. I just happened to get something in the mail from Berklee College of Music in Boston the same week I got the rejection letter from DePaul. Berklee didn't require an audition until after admission, so I decided to go out on a limb and apply there. I didn't apply to any other colleges. I figured that if I didn't get in, I'd regroup and apply to other schools for the spring semester.

Well there was no need to regroup because Berklee accepted me. I had never, ever even been to Boston and only knew about it from what I had read in books. I was also a huge New Kids on the Block fan, and they're from Boston, hahaha!!! There I was, a black girl from the rural South who had only ever left the South to go to the Midwest. I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into, but I was lead by my curious nature and my adventurous spirit.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Die, Lying Bastard, Die!

Before you start trying to gather bail money, I have to tell you that I'm not going to kill my lying bastard scale; although I really should. His metaphorical death will come to pass instead of his physical one. I plan to put him away in the storage area in my apartment and forget about him. His grasp has been much too tight over the past year and I decided to pry his bony, taunting fingers from around my ankle. By doing that, I think I'll be able to make progress so that 2012 can be my year. My year to reach my weight-loss goal. My year to transition into a career. My year to treat myself better than ever before.

When I went to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday, I found that I had gained. It was no big surprise because I ate a lot of junk and got very little exercise. Yesterday's meeting dealt with the things in our life that block us from weight-loss success. Someone mentioned the fact that the reading on their scale is always different from the readings at WW. Because a person's weight can fluctuate throughout the day, WW recommends that members only weigh themselves once a week, preferably on the same day of the week around the same time. That's so that life becomes less scale-centric, drawing the focus to other things. For the first time since I started the program, I'm only going to step on the scale once a week, at my WW meeting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sharing the Liebster Love!

My girl Cathy Keisha gave me the hook-up and tagged me for a blog award. It's called Liebster and roughly translates to "sweetheart". CK is a 'hood cat with a heart of gold and I'm honored that she chose me. You should all drop by and pay her a visit. She's a laugh-riot and she don't take no mess from nobody, especially TW aka The Woman.

I'm tasked with passing this distinctive award on to other bloggers, as CK has done with me. Once you've been tagged, please do the following:
  • Link back to me because I'm the blogger who gave you the award.
  • Put the award on your blog.
  • Choose 5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers to pass it to.
  • Let those bloggers know by leaving a comment on their blog. If you just say "Tag, you're it!" I'll personally have CK send over some of her homies to rough you up. I guarantee you right now, it won't be pretty ;-).
I'm going to tag a mix of animal and human blogs that I'd like for you to read:

First up is a very cool cat Katie, who lives with Glogirly and documents her own adventures as well as giving Glogirly some screen time ;-).

Next up is Carole. She's a cat lover and kindred spirit, who's from the South, just like me :-).

For all of you supernatural book lovers out there, Amber is your girl! Check out her reviews and book suggestions.

One of my absolute favorites is Hailey's Dragonfly Garden. I've mentioned the website several times, but the site also has an accompanying blog.

Last, but not least, is my good friend Berkeley. He's an adventurous little teddy bear who travels the world and shares his experiences.

I think there's a little something for everyone on the list of bloggers that I've chosen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Don't Drink

Here we are three days into the new year and I'm sure there are some of you who are still recovering from the revelry of your holiday celebrations. No matter how people all over the world choose to celebrate, there's a common thread that weaves through them all. That common thread is alcohol. I personally don't consume alcohol for two very important reasons: the first being that I don't particularly like the taste, and the second and most important being that there's a history of alcoholism in my family that has produced devastating results. There's also a somewhat peripheral reason, which is because the medications I take don't mix well with alcohol.

Sometimes the smell of alcohol makes me sick and I know that goes back to my childhood. My father's parents were both alcoholics. There are some people, who when they get drunk love everybody. There are others who hate everybody. My paternal grandmother fell into the second category. I'm not sure if my paternal grandfather was a mean drunk or if my grandmother pushed him until he was mean to her. In a nutshell, he beat her. Not only did he do so with his hands, he also did so with belts, rubber hoses, anything he could get his hands on. This is what my father had to deal with throughout his childhood. His father only ever beat his mother. Never him, his brothers, or his sister. Prior to my parents getting married, my mother had no idea that this type of thing happened in that household, but she found out soon enough. Once she and my father were married, they lived with his parents. The first time she experienced them fighting like cats and dogs, it nearly scared her to death. She came from a household where her father never would've even considered laying a finger on her mother although my maternal grandmother could be a real pain.

After two years of living with them, my parents got their own place. Not too long after that, tragedy struck. My grandmother was on the phone with my aunt (my dad's sister) when my grandfather walked into the bedroom where she was talking on the phone, and they started to argue. I'm not quite clear on exactly how everything transpired, but the argument escalated and ended with her shooting him. Not only did she shoot him, she killed him. Because of the history of domestic violence, she didn't do any time.

This all happened before I was born, so I wasn't aware of it until later on in my life. The one thing I was aware of is that my grandmother was a woman who was constantly giving mixed messages. When she was drunk, she didn't want us anywhere near her. I remember one Easter when I was around four or five, we had gone to her house for an Easter egg hunt. We weren't there very long before she started to get angry. Of course she had been drinking and apropos of nothing I suddenly heard her say to my parents "Get those damn kids out of my house!" That is burned into my memory. No matter what she said or did after that, that day is what colors my memories and perception of her. When she was sober she was always like "Come give me a hug. I love you." How does a child reconcile an angry drunk with the person that's hugging them tight and saying "I love you"? As I got older, I refused to go to her house during holidays because I refused to take the verbal abuse. Now that I'm an adult I can see that she had a serious problem. Because she never saw it as a problem and therefore wasn't willing to get help for it, it always cast a dark cloud over her relationships with people.

As someone who is clinically depressed, it would be very easy for me to self-medicate with alcohol instead of taking my antidepressant. The family history of alcoholism (which is also on my mom's side of the family) would be the perfect excuse for me to live it up and get drunk every night. That being said, I don't condemn people that choose to drink; whether socially or otherwise. One thing I do know is that I would never allow myself to knowingly get involved romantically with someone who has more than a social relationship with alcohol. It would be too painful. Alcohol can destroy relationships in very subtle ways.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year, Full of Hope

Today is the first day of 2012. For anyone who wasn't satisfied with how 2011 turned out, it's a chance to wipe the slate clean. For those who like what they did or accomplished in 2011, it's a chance to keep the momentum going. No matter how your previous year was, this new one is filled with hope and promise. The possibilities are endless. Embrace this year and make the most of it. Happy New Year, everyone!