GIRL ISSA LOOK – JANUARY 2018

A friend told me once I was really good at getting quality items at really low prices WITHOUT going to a thrift store. She even suggested I do a “look of the week” of some sort. Here is my attempt at doing so. 

January is the BEST month of the year in my opinion & of course I am biased because it’s my birthday month. This year I turned (none if your got damn business) & decided jewel tones was what I was feeling. It turned out to be my favorite look of the month.

we highly melanted: Cousin Ashley (left) & Johna (right)

birthday outfit – total cost approximately under $50

I found the dress scrolling through a H&M sales rack one day in Florida buying shit I didn’t need as usual. After I bought this it sat in my closet for at least six months or so before I actually wore it. When I finally did it was more of an “Oh yea I haven’t worn this yet huh?” type of situation. You would think I would’ve been more excited to break it out of the closet. Intuition just said “Uh uh girl put this on” & it worked.

velvet knot front dress in sapphire blue – h&m – $10

The shoes were purchased a day or two before my birthday. I went to a Forever21 in the Galleria, saw these were on sale, then high-tailed my ass down to Memorial City because they had my size. I later went on to buy four more pairs of shoes that week. My excuse? They were on sale, it was my birthday MONTH (not the day honey the whole month) & I wanted them. Shameful, I know.

T strap velvet platform heel in burgundy – forever21 -$9

T strap velvet platform heel in burgundy – forever21 -$9

I bought the purse as an employee of Payless Shoe Source a few years ago. You better believe when I unpacked this item from shipment that day I hid it in a very safe spot deep in the back until it dropped to a price that would look real good with my discount. It was the only one we recieved. So FIRST OF ALL, so what?  SECOND OF ALL, I don’t care & THIRD OF ALL,  fight me. 😔

minnici floral clutch – payless shoe source – approximately $10

John John is a nickname that only my Tanti Dotsie calls me. When I sew or make any type of craft, ESPECIALLY if it’s for sale, I use this name because it’s fun, playful & doesn’t take itself too seriously. The crown is one if John John’s creations made years ago. She is one of several I wear when I need to be extra. I even wore it to church on Easter Sunday. I feel it’s what Jesus would have wanted. 

floral crown – custom made by john john’s

Reread the paragraph about the clutch & apply here. I still don’t care & you can still fight me. Those earrings were a dollar & they are heavy. That means well made. I won. 😊

minnici earrings – payless shoe source – $1

An ex boyfriend blessed me with some funds around the 2005 or 2006 era & I carried my ass to Banana. I found this pretty little thing & we have been together ever since. Don’t ask me how much it cost. He was paying so I didn’t care. I was really spoiled back then. Like REALLY spoiled (but that’s a story for another time)

banana republic – purchased more than 10 years ago with someone else’s money – free

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CARIBBEAN GIRL AMERICAN WORLD: “OUT OF MANY, ONE PEOPLE” -JAMAICAN NATIONAL MOTTO

In my family, on both sides, the countries represented are Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago The United States Virgin Islands. I was watching a YouTube video in which one of the questions posed was “Do Dominicans & other Africans of Caribbean decent think they are better than American blacks?” Being completely honest, some Carribbean people do turn their noses up at people of African decent in America & I was of the opinion that it is for ONE reason only. I believed it was simply cultural.

When I speak with older members of my family they always describe the hurt they have felt by being verbally abused, misunderstood, judged & essentially rejected all together by Americans of African decent when first entering this country. My mother describes being called a monkey, asked if she lived in trees & how she got her clothes so white because the assumption was that she was uncivilized & therefore less than because of where she came from. My father often talks about the way the community would come together to help a neighbor harvest his crops if he was short handed & had mouths to feed, but was then taken advantage of by his own people when he came to THIS country. I have had experiences in which I forced myself to lose my “mother tongue” because I was being severly teased & embarrassed by adults & children alike. In school a teacher even suggested I take ESL because of her judgement of the way I spoke & implied I wasn’t intelligent & even removed me from my honors classes & placed me in slower paced classes because of it. My mother had to come to my school & raise hell & explain to her that even though I spoke with an accent I didn’t think with one. I say all this to say there is some prejudice in the Carribbean community towards American blacks & it has been my experience that it is because of how we are treated when we get here.

The same was done to my Nigerian uncles, cousins, aunts & friends when they come to this country. We are not always welcomed so it absolutely pisses me off when I see others put on my culture for sport like a new pair of Js, but when my parents were growing up, even when I was growing up, we were ridiculed by people who look like us. Is there an air of superiority present in our culture? Absolutely yes, by some, but it IS present & it in my opinion was PURELY a cultural difference. Caribbean culture is one that is connected with the land & nature & the natural world in general. It is very organic & we have customs that still reflect those of our African counterparts, which is why we mesh very well, I feel, with the African community. In Houston it is not uncommon to see Caribbeans & Africans moving in the exact same circles, harmoniously & willingly. Americans of African decent we view either as not having culture or one that we do not respect & it is not their fault because colonizers” took it from them by force & gave them division instead. However, the general lack of respect for self, others & the inability to unify I feel pushes us apart.

On July 5th 2014 roughly 32 members of my family & close friends were celebrating Jouvert & unfortunately 4 people were shot. What was also unfortunate is that while it is wrong for us to do so, especially when as far as I am aware they have yet to be caught, we automatically made the assumption that the culprit was American & this is due to the heavy association of Americans of African decent with violence, with several examples of instances of violence at social events to support this. Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of many, one people” & it has been my experience that this is also the general philosophy of most West Indian & Carribbean people. There are exceptions to this of course. Americans of African decent don’t typically subscribe to this idea because of the tragic effects of slavery. So, here is present a tension that causes some of us to say I am not associating myself with THAT” and separate ourselves from the culture because it is easier. When I say I am West Indian I am distancing myself from THAT culture. Is it right? No but it is understandable how it could possibly occur. Our experience with Americans of African decent is that they do not view us as an extention of themselves & therefore perpetuate the same divisive practices with foreign blacks as is perpetrated amongst themselves. Our reaction, broken down to is simplest form, is as a result of being rejected & misunderstood by people we expected to embrace & welcome us & instead were treated like step-children.

What changed my mind about this whole thing is when I spoke to my mother about this topic before posting it & was informed that when her family migrated from St. Kitts & Nevis to the United States Virgin Islands they were met with the same hostility that she subsequently experienced from American blacks when she later attended college. With that being said I am very aware of the fact that discrimination exists amongst the West Indian & Carribbean community as well. Dr. Phil says that habits begin for one reason & continue for another. I am in no way suggesting that this is just some little bad habit that can be corrected in 21 days BUT it HAS led me to wonder if the fact that they were foreign is the cause for the rejection & hostility initially & the disharmony left over from the effects of slavery are why it continues. I am VERY open to being absolutely wrong about all of this & of course I will not take it personal if I am. The point is “out of many, one people” ONE PEOPLE. One people with diverse backgrounds & one common experience. We HAVE to do better but as Great Mother Vanzant says we can not change what we don’t acknowledge. This exists. Let’s do what is required to change it.

DO YOU WANT TO BE RIGHT OR DO YOU WANT PEACE?

​Okay so I am going to tackle this topic & for the purpose of this post I will be using the word nigger & it’s many variations & I will not be bleeping it out. I will also be using other words that are considered derogatory as they are relevant to my point. Other than that I am being as politically correct as possible to not distract from what I find to be very important. You have been warned…

On the topic of my brothers & sisters of European descent (& on other peoples not of African descent) using the word nigger in all it’s forms, I have to say this. Any person can use any word they want to at any time. You truly can… however… none of us are exempt from the outcome of using certain words.  If a person of European descent calls me a nigger that person must at least be aware of the fact that to a large percentage of us, the act of a person of European descent calling a person of African descent a nigger could potentially lead to violence. It doesn’t matter whether or not you think I shouldn’t get mad. What you THINK about how I respond to being called nigger is not relevant. Dr. Phil says that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior & I tend to agree.  If in the past the word nigger has been known to be the jumping off point to violence, discord, disharmony, etc. between the races, then one can safely assume unless things change significantly, especially in our current political climate, if one of my friends of European descent calls me a nigger the possibility of me turning violent or things turning violent in general is very great. 

Let me give you an example. I have friends & family that are members of the LGBT community. I have heard them use the words faggot & dyke many times. Have I ever called them that? No. Why? Well why would I? The LGBT community has been hurt by the words queer & queen so many times, even if Jussie Smollett came out & said “It is no big deal we don’t care about those terms anymore” I still wouldn’t say them because the possibility remains that someone might be offended & my intent is not to offend. I can say those words if I want but I know it was hurtful in the past & I do not want to even unintentionally cause harm. I love them so the words I exchange with them will be loving. If I use those words knowing it could cause them pain & they become angry with me, that is on my head not theirs, because when I chose to use those words I did so understanding that things could go left. I do not condone violence in general but I do understand how pain can lead to us expressing it through violence when the hurt gets too heavy for words. We are HUMAN BEINGS & the human side of us has limits. Being called a word that was used to demoralize & degrade us will never sound sweet out the mouths of the descendents of our oppressors. NEVER. So call me nigger or use the word nigger if you like at your own risk, but don’t tell me how I should feel about it because that is not your place. My feelings are my business. Your opinions are yours.

Is it fair? It depends on who you ask. If you were 300lbs & I walked up to you & called you a fat bitch would that be fair? No.  What if you looked in the mirror & called YOURSELF a fat bitch 100 times a day would it be fair then? No, because what you call yourself is your business not mine. If you gave me those hands because of it, even though you called yourself the same thing 100 times a day would that fair? If I came to you & said the words have no meaning any more, would that make you feel better about it? Who cares who is right about what? Doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Calling people of African descent niggers, niggahs, or niggas & expecting us not to get mad is insanity. Calling members of the LGBT community faggots, queens or dykes & expecting them not to get mad is insanity. A man calling a woman a bitch, whore, or slut & expecting us to not get upset is insanity. It’s insanity because we KNOW those words are loaded & we use them anyway & wonder why shit blew up. It’s not about what you think it should be, it’s about acknowledging what it is & operating accordingly. You could be right all day but at what cost? Is the use of certain words so important to you that you would be willing to potentially cause more divison between you & another human being? Really?

Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace? 

Pick your battles wisely.

MISERY DOESN’T LOVE COMPANY IT DEMANDS IT

I work with this young lady who once asked me if I was “going with the Aunt Jemima look?” Since that day we have not been cool obviously.

Today she said something to me in front of my supervisor thinking I wasn’t going to check her. She was wrong &I did. Respectfully, assertively &firmly. Then she began trying to bait me into an argument in front of said supervisor. I often wonder why this young lady waits until people are present to try me. I stay on the opposite side of the building when we work together & we do not speak unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Then it occurred to me: Girl, your actions demonstrate that you are attempting to maintain peace & obviously that is not what she wants. She is miserable & is demanding your attention girl! DO NOT GIVE IT TO HER!

So I didn’t. I stated my “peace” & went about my business leaving her pissed & me unbothered because I am not what I attract I am what I respond to. So… Girl bye!
When misery comes demanding your attention do not feed that monster no matter how many angles it uses to reach you because if you do it will grow. 

POST MEDITATIVE THOUGHTS: TH 030917

Deserve is such a dangerous word. If you can convince yourself that you deserve one thing, then you can convince yourself you deserve another. If I can tell myself I deserve to be happy, my mind can come up with a thousand ways to show me why I don’t. Or at least MY mind will. I don’t use the word deserve. It’s just too risky.

Eckhart Tolle says in Stillness Speaks:

The words are no more than signposts. That to which they point is not to be found within the realm of thought, but within a dimension within yourself that is deeper and infinitely vaster than thought.

Which means, the words we use can never really tell you what a thing is or what it means. They can only point you in the direction of it or it’s meaning. The thing it is pointing to can never be understood with words because to KNOW anything is to have experiential knowledge of it. 

He also says in A New Earth:

Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much…

Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in it’s depth?

The answer to that is no.

Deserve means “to be worthy of”. The word deserve implies that you must determine if you are worthy of a thing FIRST, THEN you will deserve it. But who determines our worthiness? You? Me? God? What if you don’t believe in a God? You see? The word deserve is just too tricky. It points me in a direction that I don’t want to & neither should I go.

One of the definitions of the word right is “being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper”. Determining what is right only requires that you consult your conscience. Asking myself if I have a right to be happy is so much easier than asking myself if I deserve to be happy because I am asking myself only if it is just, good, or proper for one to be happy. Yes. It is. I do not have to take into account how much work I have or have not done to earn happiness. I do not have to determine what the qualities of a person of worthiness might be beforehand. I simply have to ask myself if it is just, good, or proper. I will always get yes. The word “right” gently directs me to a peaceful place of self-love.

If words are signposts, make sure the ones you use point you in the right direction.

Namaste

STRENGTH

The intended audience for this post is myself. I’m writing this because today I need it. I need to remind myself that I’m strong. I need to be reminded about what strength is & I need to be reminded of what strength looks like. I’m sharing it only because I know sometimes you need to be reminded too.

Strength is finding a reason to get out of bed when you don’t want to get up. Strength is forcing yourself to leave your house when you feel depressed & you know that if you stay inside this dark house in this dark bedroom one more day you are going to spiral. It’s reminding yourself that even though you loved your ex at one time he no longer deserves anymore of your energy even if it’s anger. Strength is shutting people out of your life that mean you no good even if you love them. It’s also chosing love instead of hate, peace instead of war & chaos, & a full life instead of mediocrity. All of these things require a certain amount of mental strength.  It requires making a conscious choice to do something other than what you feel like doing because sometimes feelings are wrong. 

Often times we have expectations of what something is supposed to be or look like. So much so that when it shows up in our lives we miss it because we think it’s supposed to look like A & it shows up as Zed.That is the case when it comes to strength. This is an opportunity to examine yourself & really see yourself as you are & not as you think you should be. You might find there is some strength in there you overlooked because you thought it was supposed to look like  the ability to do 250lb squats & instead it was dressed up as self love. Think about it.

💋💋💋

JUST DO THE DAMN THING

I recently went on vacation for 2 weeks & came back not wanting my vacation to end. As a result I took 2 more weeks off from my daily workouts. After a month of inactivity I started exercising again. When I tell you that thing was brutal. I couldn’t even do a solid 15 minutes without stopping. It was embarrassing. So cut to yesterday which was about a week later. I did about 45 minutes or so without really noticing. That includes the “wuk up” breaks in between when one of my songs came on (that counts as cardio right?)

I made note of a few things while thinking about it that apply to life in general:

1. Don’t stop. Once you have a momentum going keep it. If you give yourself too much space in between you might develop atrophy. It also makes it difficult for you to get right when you start again.

2. If you fall off you can always get back on. If you did it once you can do it again. You remember how to do it & your body does too. Trust it.

3. Don’t over think it. Some times you spend more time thinking then you do actually doing. Some times you don’t need to know why & knowing doesn’t guarantee you will fix the problem or ever do it again.Cut that s&#* out & just do the damn thing.

Every behavior starts in the mind & eventually becomes habit through repeated behaviors. So next time you get ready to pick up an old OR new activity start there & keep those points in mind.

💋💋💋

P.S. If any of you say this isn’t one of the baddest songs to work out to YA LIE!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LVvGn0FuhcI

MOVE AROUND

In Houston where I grew up, we say “move around” when we either want someone to remove themselves from our eyesight or we are about to do the same. This phrase is very relevant now. While talking to a friend earlier last week about friendships, I said something then that should definitely be repeated here.

DON’T KEEP PEOPLE AROUND YOU THAT MAKE YOU ANGRY. PERIOD.

We can get into whether or not someone can actually MAKE you angry at a later time but for right now just follow me. I don’t keep people around me that make me angry because when you are angry you don’t think & when you don’t think you are liable to do anything. People like this are dangerous. It’s just that simple.

What if there are emotional ties? Cut them & move around. What if you need to be around them in your daily life? Figure out a way to not be around them as much as possible IF possible & move around. What if you need them? Or what if you feel like you need them? You probably don’t. As a matter of fact I know you don’t. Secretly make plans to separate yourself from them & then move the f#&* around. What if you aren’t angry around them but some other lesser behavior with potentially equal effects? These people may not  necessarily be dangerous but I would limit my interaction with them all the same because negativity is the same no matter what form it comes in. Move the hell over, get out of their way & then move! the f&#*! around!

They literally don’t need to see you, hear you, or smell you. You need to be out of their sight, though you may never be out of their minds or their mouths, because they’re going to still talk about you. You do this because we are all one moment away from jail, hell, or heaven  with one false move & the last thing any of us need is to find ourselves in one of those places because of someone else. Facts.


THE ART OF DOING NOTHING

I was supposed to write a blog post yesterday on a totally different topic but instead I did nothing. Let’s talk about that instead. 

We all know the importance of rest so there is no need to go into it here. What some of us don’t know is that there’s an art to it. I always say if you’re going to do something you might as well do it right. For example:

I once did nothing by running myself a warm bath with lavender bath salts, candles around the tub, a glass of wine & “Nina Simone’s Finest Hour” playing from beginning to end. I laid there in that tub, in my bathroom, lit only by tea lights, refusing to get out until either I was good & wrinkled, OR I heard Nina remind her now ex-lover  not to smoke in bed. I rested my head on that plush bath pillow, sipped my Moscato & did absolutely nothing for about an hour & a half. No phone calls, no contact from the outside world what so ever. It was amazing. You can’t stop the world & the world won’t stop for you, but you can get off from time to time.

You do this because to take time, care & consideration into how I prepare a bath for myself is a loving act. It is also very nurturing, kind, thoughtful, etc. You do this as an act of self love. To allow yourself to not feel obligated to do something all the time is a loving act. You are allowing yourself to rest mentally, spiritually & physically. To take care & consideration in how it is done is also loving because you are ensuring that you enjoy yourself while doing it. It’s all love.

You don’t have to be everything to everyone & you also don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time. However, you probably should try to be everything to yourself at least some of the time. So, here’s your task:

Pick one day this week where you set aside time for yourself to do absolutely nothing. Put your phone on airplane mode OR turn it off all together. I promise you you’ll love it & your mind, body & spirit will thank you.