so i’ve noticed

The Curse of the Creative

talent is cheaper than table salt. what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. -Stephen King

growing up, my home was an inspired one. positive, creative energy burst through windowsills and slid under door cracks. creativity was abundant in the air we breathed, the energy that kept me and my siblings full of sparkling ideas and grand thoughts. my mother fostered our brilliance through her endless stream of encouraging words and firm position as our number one fan. no matter what idea i had, it was a great one. no matter what skill i wanted to learn, she imagined the possibilities right along with me. she made it very clear that there was absolutely nothing i couldn’t do, achieve and be if i put my mind to it. and we learned not only through her words, but her actions as well. it seemed like no matter what she did, it turned out on the winning side of the coin. whatever creative pursuit she was on at that moment, she went after it with bold, fearless passion. i admired that. and what an impressive list of pursuits she has had:

-when i was five, she sang lead and played the keyboard in an all girl band called Lady Deluxe. i remember being in the basement during their rehearsals and dancing around to their cover of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody.”  probably the reason it’s still one of my favorite songs to this day. i remember shows downtown at Hart Plaza. i remember music infusing every part of my life. (more…)

poolside thoughts: swimming, drowning, and making a splash.

whether celebrating our “independence” or not, like many others on the holiday yesterday, i was thrilled to open a text inviting me to a pool party. in fact, the first pool party i’ve been to this summer. i gathered what i call my diva hat (you know, big brim, neutral tan color, slightly floppy), my glasses, and my previously unworn  Victoria’s Secret swimsuit (don’t you love it??) in full preparation for a day of toe-dipping.

see, also like many of my melanin-enhanced brethren, going swimming to me doesn’t usually involve any diving, butterfly, doggie, front, back, or freestyle strokes (sidenote: is it me, or does swimming sound a lot like the other skin-baring activity we grown folks love so much?). it means glistening skin, deep tan, cute swimsuit, and a book of some sort; near or at a body of chlorine or fish-filled water.

the day was going quite well until some immoral soul decided to invite a swim into my life unexpectedly by pushing me into the water. as my body crashed into the oddly blue water, my mind quickly ping-ponged several thoughts throughout: i am going to kill him. after being a lifeguard in high school, i’ve completely forgotten how to swim. when did i become so afraid of water? i am going to KILL him. natural hair for the WIN. i wonder if i can emerge out of the water all awesome-like and do a Halle Berry in James Bond-esque strut out of the pool. i’ll probably drown before then. dang.

i eventually emerged as gracefully as i could (missed the Halle Berry by a few dozen sexy decibels) and tried not to act as traumatized as i was by this near-death experience. this man, whom i didn’t know from a can of paint, had been pushing women in the pool all day (because we’re 17 and all O_o) and i should have been more aware i suppose. that very real fear of drowning i came face to face with though made me ruminate on a recent sad event. a former classmate and friend of mine drowned last week in what i keep telling myself had to be a freak accident on a day out at the water. i can’t even imagine the sadness, the shock his family must feel. so sudden and senseless. my heart goes out. the reaction has been virtually the same for everyone i spoke to it about: why would he jump in the water if he couldn’t swim?

i honestly don’t know if he knew how to swim or not, but my question is, why don’t black people in general know how to swim? i had to ask this even more so after witnessing a little girl around seven on the opposite side of the pool slip into the eight foot end and almost drown before being helped by the lifeguard on duty. her mom stood by screaming at the nearly empty pool, scared because she didn’t know how to swim herself. amazingly, this was not even ten minutes after a friend had pointed out a tiny little white girl literally doing cannon balls into the eight foot end, emerging, swimming on her back, disappearing, and popping up into full out laps. it made me sad because statistically, black children are three times more likely to drown than white children.

i learned this a couple of years ago when i interviewed the muy caliente Cullen Jones, a black olympic gold medalist swimmer who started a program called Make A Splash, an initiative to help minority kids in inner city environments learn to swim. i remember talking to his mother as well, and she shared how he’d nearly drowned at age five, and after that she enrolled him in the all but free lessons at the local ymca so that she’d never have to worry about it again. he loved it so much that he began swimming competitively. she told me how she was usually the only black parent at the meets, how black parents let their own fear of the water determine whether their child would learn to swim, something even infants can be taught.

i know we’re midway through the summer and fully into pool-party season, but i would encourage everyone to consider taking a swim class if you’re going to be taking a dip. sign your children up. be proactive. stats also show that black and latino children possess a much higher confidence in their ability to swim, even if they’ve never done it. even if they only taught themselves. this over-confidence is the only thing i can think of that would make a smart man jump into a lake without having mastered at least one swim stroke. it may not seem important, but unfortunate, senseless drowning deaths can be avoided, and knowing how to swim just might save your or your child’s life one day.

do you know how to swim? would you put your kids in swim class? do you think it’s an important skill to know?

skinny girls are sexy too, dangit.

“I’ll give her motivation. motivation to eat! too skinny!”

i read this tweet Sunday night while watching the BET awards with the rest of Twitter, the words aimed at Kelly Rowland.

i thought kelly looked hot. sounded good, danced well, and made me want to dance about sexily for some handsome man.

i could only sigh playfully, puzzled at the amount of skinny slander that has been in my life as of late. this week alone i’ve read/heard that skinny is un-sexy or some other synonym approximately 21971 times.

okay that’s hyperbole, but just cut it in half and there you have it. someone even told me i’m in the Euro beauty standard zone. lol. lawd.

as a former really skinny girl and now just a plain thin chick with muscle tone, i’ve heard my fair share of skinny jokes. my nickname for the longest was Slim. some folks and strangers still refer to me as that or some variety. if i had a dime for every man that has told me i’d be (insert some slang epitome of “fine”) if i only gained weight over the years … i’d have at least a dollar out of fifteen cents (a dime and a nickel). sorry. RIP my hubby Tupac. points to you if you knew the song without clicking. lol

anyhoo. my whole adult life i’ve had random folks offer me food, tell me to eat, get some meat on my bones, etc. even my best friend has endless jokes. and we won’t even start on the moms of boyfriends who thought i was starving myself and made me eat with them just so they could make sure.

my question is, what’s wrong with being thin?

sadly, ERRYBODY CAN’T HAVE A DONK. lol.

i’m a strong proponent of working with what you have. even though i don’t think i’m all that small at all, i’ve learned to embrace my thin-ness and strut what my mama didn’t give me with confidence. and i know plenty of fabulous women in every type of body, shape and size range, but each time i read about black man’s preferences, tigolbitties, big butt, and accompanying thickness usually top the list.

and that’s great for those who have that. heck, i’m often amazed myself that someone’s booty-to-waist ratio would even be able to do that. lol. but …

can i be great TOO? geesh.

funny thing is, yesterday, i randomly tweeted a pic of my thugface i do before i run (ba-by cause i’ma thug), and received more than a few messages within like ten minutes of that, asking what my fitness routine is besides running. … from women who have the very shape and assets that black men like.

i don’t understand. lol.

i suppose a fitness/nutrition post is coming soon though. 🙂

this is a silly post, but really Black Man, SKINNY GIRLS ARE SEXY TOO.

that is all.

please tell me i’m not the only that feels this way. lol

no mom, you can’t text me.

my mother has always had a youthful ‘air’ about her. she’s vibrant and fun and laughs a lot and pretty much cracks me up on a daily basis. partly because she’s well, awesome, and partly because she is the parent of a 22yo, a 23yo, and a 20last-year-old (can you believe i’m in the last year of my twenties? i can’t either. wow) who keep her quite current and youngish. lol

last year, i helped my mom create a facebook page because my old childhood friend told me his mom wanted to add her (lawd). she’s now very FB savvy and i actually look forward to reading her morning affirmation statuses that all her girlfriends and bowling buddies ‘like’ and add their “amen!” to. it’s cute.

texting though. goodness. with the christmas gift of a shiny new smartphone from her chirren (we had to, i think Cain killed Able right before saying “can you hear me now? am i my brother’s keeper?” to God on an identical one), my mom has acclimated greatly to the world of 160 characters or less. recently an exchange between my mother and i went something like this:

mommy: hey can you pick up (insert random unnecessary item) on your way out here today?

me: sure.

mommy: k. thankieees!

enter my face all chopped and screwed at seeing “k” and “thankieees” attached to the contact named “Mommy” in my phone. my insides wept. i immediately recognized where she picked up this horrid text language, and promptly texted both my mom and my little sister and informed them that they were no longer to communicate via text for any reason, as my mother’s text etiquette had devolved into that of my 22yo college-junior sister’s. lol.

after i cleared up that little mishap, everything was fine and my mother had returned to her ten dollar word, four page long texts. you know, the kind that say (1/3) when you’re receiving them and you have to rearrange them sequentially in your head and then read, because they never come in the right order. then it happened. i sent her a pic of my newly (fabulously) redecorated room and her text response was “that’s soooo dope!”

oh my.

as the main employer of the word “dope” and particularly the phrase “that’s soooo dope!” in my mother’s SMS world, i could only blame myself. i had to take it back to prohibition and deemed all text communication with me illegal. i like hearing her voice better anyway. lol.

after thinking about it though, i’ve decided to ban her from texting her children altogether, before my brother has her saying “yooooo. my bad, just got to the crib” and reciting random Lupe Fiasco lyrics.

because then, i’d die. lol