Friday, June 28, 2013


To commemorate my 40th year on earth, I had the most awesome birthday bashcation this past December. I enjoyed 10 days of fun in the sun & wild nights with 35 of my favorite relatives & friends. With my crew of 15 (which included my mother, 2 aunts and 2 'other mothers'), I spent the first 5 days of my bashcation on a cruise from Miami to Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands. Then, fresh off the cruise, 7 of us headed to Miami Beach where we met up with 20 more of my birthday bashcationers. Now, it's a well-known fact that Miami is a sexy ass city full of sexy ass people who like to show off their sexy asses. But somebody, somewhere made it a rule that, in order to be considered a sexy woman in Miami, you can't be over a size 8; and to be considered 'premium,' it is preferred that you have light-skin with long hair (real or otherwise). Who told me that? Well, those words weren't exactly spoken but....well, just let me give you the back story.....

While my crew and I were in Miami, we took a walk on the strip near South Beach, to do some shopping, sight-seeing and people-watching. We also thought it would be in our best interest to get on a guest list so we wouldn't have to stand in a long line or worry about getting into a party that night. After speaking with a few party promoters, one guy (referred to as 'dude' going forth) presented us with an offer we liked the sound of. Dude proceeded to take us to his 'office' to meet with his boy (aka HNIC) to seal the deal. When we reached the destination, HNIC had his face all screwed up and basically told dude he 'ain't got nothing to do with that.' At first, we were confused and then, I thought, 'Oh this dude is playing games' and I walked away. A few of the ladies stood there for another minute then, they got HNIC's drift: I'm not giving them anything. They soon joined me and we continued on our walk. A few blocks up the street, dude came up on us and one of my friends told him, in no uncertain terms, 'Back off! We're not interested in anything else you have to say.' But dude stuck around and asked my friend to stop and speak with him for a minute. She did.

When she caught back up with us, I was shocked by what she said he told her: HNIC threw us shade because, he only deals with skinny, pretty girls (like the girls he was talking to when we walked up; now I'm no hater but uhhhh, those chicks weren't even cute. Skinny, tall, with long hair and light skin...yes but not a gorgeous one in the crew). In HNIC's opinion, our crew was not up to par. In other words, your crew is fat and busted. The friend who spoke with dude is of petite stature, has brown skin and is a gorgeous girl (often compared to the beautiful Gabrielle Union). There were a few others in the group of slim to 'normal' weight and a few plus-sized (me included) but all of us are attractive. With all of our various shades, body shapes and sizes, each and every one of us is sexy. as hell...and we know it. So we were shocked that anyone thought otherwise. We never entertained the thought that we didn't look good enough to party in Miami. Dude assured my homegirl that he's 'not like that, that's just how it is in Miami,' and he wanted to help us out. While she could've easily gotten her name on the list, my girl stuck up for the crew. She let dude know she appreciated him telling us 'how it is,' but we didn't want his help. We were good.

I'm not gonna lie though, my chocolate, plus-sized, beautiful, sexy ass feelings were hurt; and I was ready to cuss HNIC out. Who the f*#k did he think he was?! He wasn't all that attractive his damn self! I thought about it for the rest of my bashcation and some days, since. You might be saying, 'Girl please, don't let that mess rent space in your mind,' but it's not just about that guy or that experience. It's something I've experienced, directly and indirectly, numerous times. Being overlooked in stores, disregarded and disrespected by family & friends (people have no problem speaking ill of fat people in my presence), mistreated by men, etc. etc. While I can honesty say, I feel beautiful in my chocolate skin, I cannot lie and say I feel good about my plus-sized body. I know I have a beautiful face and a beautiful spirit but when it comes to loving my body, I have good days and bad ones. I know my shape/weight is something I can control and change but, that doesn't lessen the sting of being subjected to people/situations such as that in Miami. Despite having negative thoughts regarding my weight, overall, I'm a gorgeous woman; and on most days, you can't tell my size 16 behind nothin'! Not only do I look good, but I am desirable and, most importantly, I am worthy (of South Beach's clubs and any other place). Somebody in Miami got it twisted!

The Name Game

As we all know by now, Kim Kardashian and her now-fiancé(?) Kanye West welcomed their baby girl into the world on June 15, 2013. After hearing the news that the baby was born and healthy (yes, I think people really do care about that part), the first thing people wanted to know was, 'What is her name????' Initial reports informed us that the baby West was named Kaidence. 'Ohhhhhhhhhhhh,' I thought, 'that's cute. Not really what I was expecting but...I like it' (as if my opinion really mattered). Subsequently, a report was made that the baby's actual name was North. North West. 'Hell nawww,' I thought, 'they wouldn't do that to their baby girl. Please tell me it isn't so!' Welp. They did do that and it is very much so. WHAT THE HELL?!

TRUE, she is their baby and they can name their child what they want. But Kim.....Ye....really? I heard they have a good explanation (as if they really need to provide one) for the name; north is where they aim/hope for their relationship to go, nothing can be north of north and baby girl West 'represents a kind of north star' for the couple. Alllllrighty then. I feel y'all, but....still. I mean, I've toyed with having 'North Star' as my pen name but I don't think I would want anyone to address me as 'North.' And I don't think Lil Miss North West will want to be, either. She will have enough to deal with, having Kanye as her bigmouthdisrespectfulass-but-smartashellandIlovehimforKim father, Kim as her famousfornoreason-but-fabulousashellandIloveher mother and Kris as her crazyoverprotectiveintrusive-but-abossbitchaboutherbidnessandIloveher grandmother. Lil Miss West will have to pepper-spray the haters away, just for being fabulous by birth, being of mixed race in a crazy, mixed up world and being shouldbeagainstthelaw gorgeous (nooooo, I haven't seen her but I just know that girl is beeyooooooootahfull!). But, there's nothing she can do about that name (now). And for that, Kim and Kanye, I want you to know, you are selfish; as most parents are, when it comes to naming (amongst other things they do to/for) their children.

Think about it for a minute. If you're a parent, reflect on the reasons you had for giving your child the name you gave. Did you name him after his Daddy (and his daddy and his daddy and his..)? Is her middle name a combination of your best friends' names? Did you just make something up while watching your favorite TV show or in honor of your favorite snack or (God forbid) alcoholic beverage? How many times do parents give their child a name that is reflective of what they see in the child (you know how some people just look like a Jamel or a Catherine?) or hope for, for their child's future (do you think Barack's mother knew her son would need a strong, sexy name for his future position as a strong, sexy POTUS?)? I can't think of any that I know personally. Parents are often accused of trying to live through their children or force their beliefs and practices onto their kid.....and naming them something that has absolutely nothing to do with the child is where this mess begins. Listen, I am guilty so I am not pointing fingers. I'm simply making an observation. My daughter's name is a combination of her father's nickname and the first three letters of her 2 grandmothers' first names (both are 'Mar'). It wasn't my first choice but I will admit, it is better than what I had in (my immature 17 year-old) mind. Of course, after reppin it for almost 23 years, she has 'grown into' her name so it fits her. But, if I had to do all over, I'd put more thought into it and probably name her something sophisticated & mature, like 'Madison' or sassy and classy, like 'Chanel.'

If they wanted my opinion, I would recommend that parents-to-be think more about their child's feelings, individuality and future when deciding what to name them. We are temporary bosses over our kids' lives and sooner than later, they branch off and lead their own lives in their own way; so I think it's only right that they have a name that is more about them not their parents or anyone/thing else. But hey, that's just me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Darker The Berry.....

DISCLAIMER: I agree that the spirit of a person has an effect on their overall beauty, but for the purpose of this post, I am talking strictly about physical attractiveness.

Over the past few days, I've gone back and forth with myself over whether I wanted to blog about (my thoughts regarding) the documentary, 'DARK GIRLS.' I knew it would be covered by many bloggers and media outlets and, really, I didn't want to be 'just another blogger' talking about the latest hot topic. Yet, here I am; not as 'just another blogger' though, rehashing what was said and providing my opinion about the work itself. I'm writing about my feelings, as a dark-skinned black woman who is proud of my chocolate hue. A chocolate woman, who, in spite of being able to relate to many of the negative experiences described in the documentary, loves having this complexion and has no lingering insecurities due to it.

For me, being dark-skinned has been more of a positive thing than not. Sure, I was called 'blackie,' 'tar baby,' "black dog' and such, as a child, by other children; and yes, I did feel slighted by some boys in favor of my lighter-skinned counterparts. A man once told me I am one of the few (yeah, he said few y'all!) pretty dark-skinned women that he knows. Pretty don't usually come in dark skin, he said.....and, he challenged me with, 'If you don't agree, then go ahead, name some pretty dark-skinned women you know?!'.... and he was dead serious. He also remarked how "all his baby mammas' were hot because they are light-skinned with pretty long hair....and he was dead serious. Unfortunately, remarks such as his are nothing new to me. I can't count how many times I've heard backhanded compliments, such as, 'You are so pretty to be dark-skinned' or 'That's a fine dark-skinned man/woman.' To be fair, I don't think most people intend to be insulting. They really think they are being complimentary (ignorant asses) and, most times, they are not 'checked' on it so they continue to do it. Still, I don't feel 'scarred' by those experiences. My mind tends to reflect more on the positive things I've heard regarding my complexion (I love being referred to as 'chocolatey'), and as a result, I LOVE THE DARK BROWN SKIN I'M IN. I don't feel inferior to the light-skinned woman standing next to me nor do I believe her complexion alone will gain her any wins over me, when it comes to the attention of a man, appointment of a job, etc. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not blind to the fact that there are men who prefer light-skinned women over brown/darker skinned women and I'm well aware that there are (still!) those who believe light-skinned people inherently are/look/feel better than a brown/dark one. However, those people can't change the way I see or feel about my pretty brown skin.

Yes, beauty is subjective and, therefore, not everyone will agree with what I see. Sure, there may be some people who look at me and say, 'She's cute' or 'she's aight' or even, 'she's ugly.' Yet, that matters not because, in my (not so humble) opinion, my being beautiful is a fact that NOBODY can take away from me....chocolate skin and all.

Conversely, I've heard people say things like, 'Dammnnn, she/he's not even cute and they're light-skinned!' As if it's unbelievable or unheard of for a light-skinned person to be unattractive. Or, 'Ahhh, he/she thinks they're fine/all that/better than somebody!' just because they're light skinned. No No Nooooooooooo people!!! Reverse discrimination is not right, either. Take the saying, 'The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice' - it sounds good but really, what are we saying we sing that phrase? In essence, we're saying our lighter skinned counterparts are not (as) sweet....or good. And that is simply not true. Sweet berries, good things and beautiful people come in/from all shades & complexions. Some of the most beautiful people I know range from light bright to dark as night, as well as the ugliest. Y'all know it's please, act like you know (and stop being so damn ignorant)!

Monday, June 24, 2013

BFLY 5K plus!

I've reached and surpassed another milestone! Although the number of comments remain very low, my blog has been viewed over 6ooo times and I'm happy about that. I'm sure, as my postings become more regular, I'll gain a bigger readership and reader involvement. For now, I'll take what I'm getting and continue to work on getting more.

Thanks to all of my followers and readers for your support, thus far!

Friday, June 21, 2013

What's In A Name?

Becoming a grandparent at a young age (under 50) is very different from becoming one at a more mature age (60+). Not only physically but, your lifestyle is probably more suitable for grandparenthood at 60 than at 30- or 40-something. What about ages 50-59, you may be wondering? Well, I think that's an in-between stage where one may not expect but would welcome a little bundle of grandjoy with wide open arms. At any age, preparing for 'Grand' status includes coming up with a name you'd like to be called by your grandchildren. This process is more complex when you have to do this during a time you still consider yourself to be part of a young crowd (notice, I didn't say, 'the' young crowd). You don't want to deny your 'grand' status; at the same time, being called Grandma/Grandpa don't seem to fit and are usually out.of.the.question.

As a 37 year old (who is often thought to be a 20-something year old), with a very active social life, I knew I had to come up with something different and fly. Something that was not only grand but special to just us. It was difficult to do, but I finally came up with two names I thought were fitting:'G'va' (short for Grand Diva, pronounced Jee-va) or 'Gammi' (a remix of my nickname, which is 'Sammi'). When the grandiva (aka granddaughter) began to say Mommy, Daddy and other words, I attempted to teach her to call me 'G'va' then 'Gammi' But, for some reason, she would never say either one. Then one day, she called me 'Gida' (like Reeda with a hard 'G'). I looked at my daughter and asked, 'What did she say??' The grandiva said it again and proceeded to ask me for something (I forget exactly what else she was trying to say). Then it clicked that she was calling me 'Gida.' My daughter and I were like, 'Huh? Where in the world did she get that frommmmm???' We had no clue how she came up with that name, but, from that day on, she called me 'Gida.' So, I said, 'Hey, I'll take it (as if I really had a choice)!'

One day, I decided to look it up on the internet to see if it was really a word or name that, perhaps, means something in another language. So I googled it....and could not believe what I found. GIDA: a Zulu name for girls, meaning 'to dance & rejoice' (I'm not known for dancing but I got a few cute moves and I love to rejoice & celebrate). The definition goes on to say,GIDA’s potential involves questing a destiny along a variety of paths that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen and composers. GIDA also has the destiny to sell herself or sell just about any product that comes along. GIDA is imaginative in her presentation and may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. GIDA is an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. GIDA is friendly, loving and social. People like GIDA because she is charming and such a good conversationalist. Her ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is her role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around her.

GIDA wants to lead and direct, to work independent of supervision, by self or with subordinates. GIDA takes pride in her abilities and wants to be recognized for them. GIDA may seek opportunities to display her strength and usefulness, wanting to create and originate. In her desire to manage the big picture and the main issues, GIDA may often leave the details to others. Ambitious and determined, GIDA is a leader seeking opportunities and possesses a great deal of honesty and loyalty. GIDA is very attainment oriented and driven to success. GIDA is a loyal friend and strictly fair in her business dealings.

If you know me, you'll agree that this describes me to a 'T.' If you don't know me, just....take my word for it. GIDA is definitely me. I don't know who/what put this name in the mind & mouth of my grandiva, at the age of just 18 months old, but it is perfect....and exactly what I wanted. It's different, unique and special to just us. I love the sound of it, the meaning of it and most of all, I love that she came up with it on her own. It not only holds sentimental value but to me, it is also spiritual in nature because it speaks to the very person that I am. What's in a name? Individuality, beauty, significance and love. GIDA. Like the perfect dress, the name suits me and fits me like a glove.

Friday, June 14, 2013

BOOKS: How many of us have them.....and how many is too many?

As I prepare to check one more thing (relocation) off of my 40 in 40 List, I am faced with a dilemma - to bring or not to bring?

I've been wanting to move out-of-state for the past few years and have even set a few moving dates. But, it never seemed to be the 'right' time....until now. Baby girl has finally left the nest and Mom has moved in to care for Grandma so there is nothing to stop me from making moves. The last date I set was April 28th so I started packing my things in February. I think I did a pretty good job of weeding out the unnecessary and managed to box up everything, except for my clothing & personal use items and my books. Ahhhhhh, my book collection!

If you didn't know, I love Love LOVE to read....and I have many books and magazines to prove it. I have no idea just how many books I own (maybe I'll put 'count books' on my to-do list) but I own quite a few. I finally took them off of their shelves and put them into boxes last weekend. Then, I thought to myself, 'Do I really need to take all of these books with me?' I mean, I've read most of them; out of, say 150, I've read at least 140. Over the years, in response to various people remarking that I need to give my books away, I've said, 'I just might want to read them again.' Yet, I can't think of a time I've actually re-read any of my books. I liked the thought of having them there, though, just in case. Now, I'm rethinking that thought.

I have three boxes of heavy, already read (and truthfully, out of my head) books: small ones, large ones, thin ones, extra-thick ones, sad, happy, glad-to-be-nappy ones, paper back, hardcover and even audio-taped ones. How many of these books do I really need to keep? It's one thing to carry them, locally, from residence to residence but, do I love them that much to ship them across state lines??? I don't know about that. As much as I opposed them, when they first came out, feeling much like Amanda Talar (read her, she's awesome!), I've come to appreciate my Kindle. Not only do I love the convenience & lightness of it (just throw in purse & go), I've also come to like the feel of it in my hand....almost as much as I like the feel of an actual book. I have enough books in my Kindle 'unread' collection to keep me busy for the next month or two, so why can't I say 'bye-bye' to my hardcopies and move on with my e-copies?

I mean, as much as I'd like to believe I will, I probably won't ever go back and read any of the books I have sitting in boxes taking up space, waiting to be shipped to and stored in another state. The more I think about it, the more I think, 'Nahhhhhh....don't do it.' Not only will it save me a few dollars in shipping costs, but it will also save me time and energy that I will use to organize them in a new place. So, I think I will go through them, take out the few that I really love (my favorites, that I juuuuuuuust might peek at again...or give away) and the ones I haven't read yet and get rid of the rest. I would never just throw out a book, of course, but I will donate some and sell some at the garage sale I will be participating in, in the near future. I feel a sense of relief already, with that being said, so I can just imagaine how I'll feel when I actually do it. Yup, sounds like a plan!

See what writing down your thoughts and feelings can do for you?

P.S. Now my O Magazine collection? That's a whole 'nother story/post! ;-)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Love and Loss (at the same damn time)!

I had never given it much thought in the past, whether or not I agreed with the notion that 'It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all' but, for this post and situation, I have to say it's true....and here's why...........

Due to mental health reasons, I took a much-needed leave of absence from work, earlier this year. I had been doing my best to hold it together (mentally & emotionally), following the death of my baby brother, in addition to the stress and strains of daily life and work environment. However, being a Mom, grandmom, caretaking granddaughter and 'saint-like' supervisor (according to my coworkers who bear witness to what I endure on the job) took its toll on me and the threads that held me together for so long eventually unraveled. I had, what I believed to have been, a small-scale 'breakdown.' I say, 'breakdown' instead of simply a bad day because, I've had days where I felt upset, moody, sad, mad and plain ole fed-up but I was able to get over/through it by taking a walk, having a talk or going on an extended bathroom break. On that day, it was different.

Baby bro was on my mind (as he is every single day) and I saw a pic of him on FB that brought tears to my eyes (as usual). I felt the emotion welling up in me and before I could stand up, tears began to fall. Ok....that was fine. This happens at least once a week, since my brother passed away. I went into the bathroom, cried my eyes out (to the dismay of a coworker who was in the stall next to me), pulled myself together (or so I thought) and returned to my desk. As soon as I sat down, the tears and emotion came rushing back, up and out and I could not stop it. I let out a low scream? squeal? and I cried and cried and cried and cried. I could barely catch my breath. My supervisor and other employees came rushing to my side and eventually, I did calm down enough to finish my work day. But I knew this time, ish was serious, so I made an appointment to see my doctor ASAP. Knowing my history and family dynamic, my doctor agreed that I needed to take a break from work and family. Although I couldn't find a suitable way to break away from my family, I started my 30 day leave from work a few days after seeing my doctor.

I refer to that period of time as 'The Darkness.' In the beginning, I did little more than lay on the couch, watch TV, eat, browse internet and play a word game on my phone.  Less than 2 weeks into my leave, during one of the games I played with a male childhood friend of mine (who I will refer to, from now on, as 'Che'), I received a message from him, out of the blue; a message that sparked a change in my life. Che sent me a message, expressing his interest in me, we began having conversations (through the game's chat feature) and eventually, exchanged phone numbers. He called me immediately and, from there, it was on. We talked on the phone for hours, every day, (without seeing each other) for a few weeks. Then, Che and I began spending a lot of time together; and of course, in the beginning, things were great. We had an instant & very strong romantic connection and both remarked that we felt like teenagers again. Like Mary J. sang, 'chemistry was crazy from the get-go, neither one of us knew whyyy....' . Showering me with compliments and filling my days with laughter and good conversation, Che had shed beautiful light upon my 'darkness' and I felt like I couldn't be happier with anyone else. My family and friends remarked on how happy I seemed and how great I looked. I was often told that I was 'glowing'.....and that's exactly how I felt. Having Che in my life not only brought me happiness but my strength and resolve were replenished. I felt better, I looked better and I wanted to be better.....with him.  I really thought I (was finally) found (by) 'The One.' I returned to work, a renewed and refreshed woman....mentally/emotionally and physically (I had also lost about 10lbs. during my 'break.'). I was on Cloud Nine.

But, things between me and Che changed....(seemingly) suddenly and pretty drastically. Without going into detail, I started to see and experience things that were not good (and that I knew I couldn't tolerate for long)). When I saw the first red flag, I ignored it with the justification that there was no way God would bring someone into my life who made me feel so wonderful then take him away from me, justlikethat. But, more red flags popped up....a small one here.....a big one there....a peek of one back laying on its side over there....yet, I continued to play blind. Until an incident occured where I could no longer deny the obvious and had to face the fact that Che was not 'the one' for me. It took another month for me to turn my denial and disappointment into acceptance. I could no longer ignore the fact that Che's time in my life was coming to an end and that I really needed to move on. I also needed to forgive myself for going against my instincts and making choices I shouldn't have made. Even so, I have no regrets nor hard feelings. Today, I am stronger, wiser, better and (still) happy and I'm not so sure I'd be in this space if not for my experience with Che. As the saying goes, some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I realize what Che's reason was and I'm good with that. Lesson learned. I can still see the sunshine through the rain and I do believe it was better for me to have (been) loved and lost (by) Che than to have never (been)loved (by) him at all.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'm Baaacccckkkk (again)!

It has been 10 months since my last post....WOW. I've had plenty to write about since August 8, 2012....and I thought about posting many times....but, for some reason, I just haven't been able (willing?) to collect my thoughts, feelings & opinions and share them. As I type, I have no idea what I will talk about in this post. Really, I just wanted to take a peek at the blog and refresh my memory of what I had last written. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop at just one post. I kept reading and slowly but surely, an energy rose up in me that made me realize....THIS is what makes me feel (good, sad, refreshed, renewed, redundant, alive...and much more)....this is what I need to do more often.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me. Depending on my mood & experience, spontaneously, a poem will flow through me or I'll get bursts of short stories, whispers of book titles, streams of novel ideas (as in book, not new....well, new too but, you get what I mean)...and I feel relief....a  release. Just like the flow of energy.....ideas come to me and almost as quickly, they go. I need to devote more time to documenting these things as often as they occur. I know I've missed out on the next, Oprah's Book Club pick great american novel simply because I felt too busy....lazy....tired....defeated to put pen to paper (or finger to tablet). However, when I do jot down my poetry, stories, thoughts, etc, I find that I am 'in my zone.' I feel more like 'me.'

I've been doing that a great deal lately, too.....feeling (more like) myself. Alot has happened in my life, since my last post: I helped send my nephew (who I refer to as my sonneph) to college, I turned 40 and celebrated in a big way with some of the most special people in my life, I fell into (and victoriously got up out of) a deep depression, I let go of an old (depressing) 'love' and (was) found (by) a new love....then lost that love (*huge sigh*), began then quickly quit (but still had to pay for) a great semi-personal training program (*wtf Bfly?!*), dropped a size (but not really that much more weight....go figure), moved (well, directed the move....haha) my daughter and grandiva into their own place.....and so much more. Most importantly, during the past 10 months....especially, within the past 4 months....I found peace within. I am more loving towards myself, I smile more and I can say that I am genuinely generally a happy person.

I am ready to get busy in what I refer to as my 'second act' or 'showtime phase' of life. Ready to make (more) significant life changes and experience more joy, love and fulfillment than ever before. And I am ready to share more of me and my journey (with you, my readership), on a regular basis. Please check back soon....or better yet, subscribe to get automatic update notifications....for love, laughter and life inspiring posts.  Thanks for stopping by!

Much Love,