Update! And a bit of a hiatus!

I realize it seems silly to call for a sabbatical when I don’t post that much on here, anyway, but hear me out…

I’m going through a bit of a “life slump,” as I just told one of my friends. I’m sure it’s because of my depression, that and that ambivalent weather that, up until a few days ago, was going on in New York.

I have a good job, I have a solid relationship right now, it’s looking like I got all those base needs down pat on the Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid. But I just feel like garbage a lot of the time.

There’s a word for this: Weltschmerz. Basically, the idealized vision of the world you have is not jiving with the reality that is. I’ve been struggling with this for nearly two decades.

But fret not! I do have some plans over the summer. I’m putting them here for a bit of accountability.

  • Getting a business license. I may or may not actually have a “business,” but I think it’s a good start. It’s also a great way to put yourself in the business mindset. Also….fewer taxes! *fist pump*
  • Creating a podcast. Not sure if I want to do this alone (most likely not) or have a co-host. Also wondering if I want to have a male or female co-host. I’m leaning towards both. 2-4 would be great. Three would be perfect. I’m leaning towards having this done by September, which is when I plan on moving. I’m not sure what we would talk about, but I want it to be in the realm of “edutainment.” Education can be a bit boring, and entertainment is so overdone. I think I can do both! Yes, I’m that person who will share a story on how Kansas politicians are trying to restrict the poor on ATM withdrawals, and then follow up with that ridiculous #BeyonceAlwaysonBeat hashtag nonsense.
  • Speaking from the earlier point….I do want to move. As mentioned previously, the commute that I have to do every day is insane. So, planning on moving to either Brooklyn, Harlem, western Queens. I’m vetting roommates right now. Worst case scenario, I’ll just rent out a room and pray that I’m not living with 30 roommates.
  • Writing. I plan on doing a lot more writing than what I’m doing right now. Due to life slump, it’s hard to write. But since I’ll be meeting with my editor soon, maybe that will help me out.

So….I think for the next few weeks or so, I won’t be posting. Need to revamp and get life together.

xoxo

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Why I’m Not Here for Becky and Her “Natural Hair Journey”

November something ish 2010 marks my 5 year anniversary of going natural. Every year, I like to acknowledge the fact that I am natural.

I went (or “returned,” as some like to say) natural for a myriad of reasons. The most important was a dream I had where I was in Brooklyn, which was a jungle, in a golf caddy, going to a modelling audition. The woman who was auditioning me had the biggest, curliest, pinkest Afro I had ever seen. And I said “I want that!” Prior to that, I believe I hadn’t gotten a perm in about 2-3 months, and I had been toying with the idea of just never getting a relaxer again. Because I was lazy, and relaxers are expensive.

But that moment, reinforced my commitment to going natural. That and also I was trying to get into veganism and living a holistic lifestyle. It seemed, to me, hypocritical, to try to use as many natural products as possible and to eat as healthily as possible, while still slathering on vomit-inducing chemicals into my hair on a consistent basis.

So, up until I did the “big chop” (snipping off the ends of my relaxed hair) months later, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know that there was an entire community of YouTube videos, Facebook groups, forums, and websites dedicated to taking care of the hair that grows out of your hair, naturally. I mainly wore hats and scarves, because I didn’t know what to do with my ever growing hair. In a fit of “Fuck this!” and pining after some dude who eventually moved out of New York, I cut off all my relaxed hair. And I stared in the mirror for a good while. I had a LOT of hair – I was beyond the TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) stage. I texted tons of people telling them I had cut off my hair. I couldn’t stop touching my hair. I had the CUTEST little coils and curls! I mentally kicked myself for always wanting some semblance of curls, while relaxing my hair bone straight. It seemed silly.

I had overwhelming support for going natural. It’s a phase where a lot of black women are at their most vulnerable. Regardless of why a black woman decides to go natural, it sends the message to the dominant culture of “Fuck your beauty standards.” Dominant culture says beautiful hair is straight hair, or certain types of curls. Most black women don’t have that, so those internalized messages makes us go out to get those relaxers, wigs, weaves, etc (Not to say, of course, that these women didn’t choose to get these. Of course they did). I had an ex boyfriend (who was an ex at the time, mind you) who would relax his hair and he would always make these snarky remarks about my hair – that it looked “dry,” that it looked like I didn’t comb it. I told him those jabs hurt, and he would apologize, but it would continue. On a larger scale, black women have to face spouses, family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, who will subtle or not-so-subtly tell them they need to straighten their hair again. There will also be tons of support, but those negative comments sting the most, especially from those who claim they love you.

As the hair grows longer, there tends to be an insistence on “taming it,” especially for those in a corporate job. Not me. I like my hair to be wild and free, though I would like to learn how to do certain styles. I have no problem rolling out of bed, without having twisted my hair the night before, spritzing it with water, and fluffing it like it’s high as a skyscraper. I love my hair, regardless of how it turns out.

And OMG there are the little nods of affirmations of fellow sistas when we see each other. I always feel like I’m in a secret group that others aren’t aware of! Score!

So as more and more black women have foregone the relaxer, companies have taken notice. A large amount of television and magazine ads now feature black women with natural hair. There are scores of companies that have popped up that cater to women with natural hair, as well as companies that have jumped on the natural hair bandwagon. It feels good to be represented in the media (though, the curl obsession is a bit problematic, but that’s another discussion for another day).

But of course…white women don’t want to feel left out of all the natural hubbub. Especially since they are so used to the conversation revolving around them. So white women have invaded (yes, invaded) spaces that were meant for black women, where they can discuss hairstyles, swap tips and secrets, vent, rage, etc, – and made the conversation about them. And I find that highly annoying.

I was in a bit of a rage a few weeks ago when, in the only natural hair group that I was in that actually focused on hair health started allowing white women into the group. I didn’t say anything at first, but I knew it was going downhill after that. And boy, did it! Some chick decided she’d post a picture of her hair teased with the caption “White girls fro too!” And she got hundreds of likes, and comments congratulating her. Some of us, though, weren’t impressed. It seriously speaks volumes when there are black women with short or kinkier textured hair who post photos for affirmation that they’re beautiful barely getting likes, and some Becky comes in and gets tons of likes. I’m willing to bet black women go back to relaxers in some cases because that happens. I was called racist, to get over myself, and told that natural hair is not about race. The OP even said why does this have to be a race thing, when she made it a race thing with her caption!

White women were never told for centuries that their hair was ugly and undesirable and needed to be tamed in order to be accepted into society. They were the STANDARD. Black women are now bucking that standard and the Dominant Society seems uncomfortable with that. It irks my soul to hear white women talking about their “natural hair journey.” And I don’t give white women with curlier/kinkier hair textures as pass, either. Whatever “pain” you felt with having non-straight hair is mitigated by your whiteness. Besides, there are tons of spaces designed for white women to control their curls. Why must you come into black women’s spaces?

So I created a group (shame plug, here!) for black people to have a safe space to talk about natural hair, without having to worry about catering or appeasing white women. It’s here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MyHairMyHealth/. My goal is to get more followers and actually have a decent platform. I’m hoping this works!

Oh, well. I tried it.

Anyway, after reading James Clear’s book on fostering your creativity, I’m going to try to do it this time. For serious.

One of the ideas is setting up a schedule and sticking to it. For instance, he writes minimum every Monday and Thursday. It can be anything, but he keeps to it. That’s something that I want to do. However, there are some issues. I want to write three things at once:

  • Reworking the novella
  • Writing 2-3 blog posts a week
  • Writing 5 responses on Quora a day.

Decisions, decisions!

I mean, I really could do all three, but it seems exhausting. And time consuming. Also, I have a job, and the commute is zapping me of energy. I mean, I’m going to bed around 9 or 10 pm on most days! *gasp* Is this what it feels like to be a working stiff?! It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten!

I definitely want to work on MY material every day, but I think I can break down the other two things into something a bit easier. I could easily do two blog posts a week. And I could do Quora maybe a few times a week. Yeay!

Goal – move to either Brooklyn, Harlem, or Western Queens before the summer is over. Because this commute really is hell. I don’t like spending four hours per day just commuting. Taking the Long Island Railroad is a bit out of the question, as it’s only shaving off 30 minutes of my commute, and then I STILL have to take a train to get to work. And I’m just not spending $10 one-way! Or even $250ish to get a monthly pass. I just couldn’t justify it, unless i was getting paid a lot more. So, only other option is to move closer to my job. Of course, that might become pricey. SOOOO…..I’m starting my hunt early!

And that’s all, folks, until next week (I promise!)!

Back!

I keep promising that I’ll do better, and yet I never do. What is wrong with me?

Anyway…here are some lovely updates.

So after trying to do this pseudo-freelance life for the past year or so, I finally decided a few months ago that I need something more stable. I hate the word “stable,” because obviously, nothing is guaranteed. But if I know that I’m going to be making a certain amount every week, with the potential to earn more (and not less), then that’s fine. I don’t need much, just enough to pay my phone bill, eat, and get a few things whenever I need to. I remember a few summers ago when I was so broke that I would scrounge up a dollar every day just to go across the street and buy a Fantasy juice drink and Sun chips. And that was pretty much all summer. Then I realized that I had a credit card and even though I didn’t want to use it, I did. Because I was starving. I never want to go through that again!

Anyway…after a few months of wading through scam artists and perverts, I finally got a decent offer. Working at a small business that deals in accounting. The hours are great. The pay is great for what I’ve been getting paid. The location is amazing. The commute is horrible, but only because I have to travel 2 hours (I am planning on fixing that). So that’s where I am right now. I’m back in the corporate world, but I don’t feel “corporate.” Mainly because it’s a small office. No water coolers and that nonsense.

Anyway (I keep using that word, don’t I?) I’m still trying to figure out what the focus of my blog should be. I think I want to make more “content-worthy” material, like writing about my thoughts on certain events, tips on writing, blah blah blah.

But…who am I to give advice on writing? I guess I could, considering that I have written for 20 years. I think I could talk about writing realistic dialogue, showing and not telling.

Which reminds me…I still have to work on my novella and the sequel. Then there’s another book that I want to work on in the mid-late spring, early summer. I think this may be my Harry Potter moment!

Bored.

It is Friday night. My boyfriend went out with friends to watch the Nets vs Knicks game at Barclay’s. I’m kind of jealous but not really. I have never really cared for sports and I’m not the type of person to take on an interest that I’m not really interested in just to impress someone.

However…I do know who Richard Sherman is (hopefully he’s reading right now? LOL).

I made some writing goals earlier this week, and I have failed myself. *cue sad music*. My goal is to finish the sequel to my novella by the end of the month, and to write approximately 1,500 words a day for at least five or six days a week. So far, I’ve written 1,500 total this week! Le sigh. I will do better. I’m thinking about writing tonight and doing a little tomorrow.

Like, I feel like I’m channeling November. Just because. Like, she is something she would do. Writing on a late Friday night instead of partying hard with friends. Because what friends? Parties? Gross!

So let me get on that right now.

Awkward Moments

A few years ago (I’m thinking 2012), I was asked about using one of my blog posts as an article for a new website. It was created by a young woman who had just moved to New York, to pursue artistic endeavors (lol don’t we all?). The blog she specifically wanted was something I had written after I’d gotten kicked out and what “homeless” (I still have to put homeless in quotes, because I was never out on the streets, and some feel “homeless” means you’re either on the streets or in a shelter. It still sucks either way). Here’s what I had written:

I’ve made some mistakes along the way. Not just through this crazy city but just life. They say that living in the city makes you hard, and callous, because it’s required. Otherwise you’ll get sucked into every little thing that happens. So you walk around the person who’s hurt. You ignore the homeless person who’s begging for money. And so on and so forth. I didn’t move here misty-eyed and donning red-glasses, but my last shred of idealism – with a dash of naiveté – is all but gone, lost. It’s my fault, but still. Instead of sitting down, thinking things through, weighing the pros and cons, I just do things on a whim. Things that can possibly be dangerous. So for now, I’ll exercise cynicism to the fullest extent of the law. Assume everyone is trying to take something from me. I’d rather have a huge wall of armor around me and take it off bit by bit than be open and vulnerable and believe the best in people and get taken advantage of. That’s not right.

There were quite a few entries from other New Yorkers, both native and transplants. I wanted to reach out to some of these writers and maybe have some coffee or tea and bounce around ideas. Every now and then, I would look to see about any recent breakthroughs. The last post was from late 2012.

So yesterday, I decided to look at the site again. And now, it’s a porn site.

A PORN SITE!

It’s actually hilarious. The website was Fill Me Up NYC, and it kind of makes sense that it would be bought out by porn. So I reached out to the woman who had started the site, and she told me that my email made her day (yeay!).

Anyway….I want this. So get it for me. Plz.

Being a Shill: The Conundrum

After putting this off for about two months, I decided to email a socialite about how to start my media empire. Her suggestion? Work at a media startup for a year, then create a side gig, and then transition into full time. The idea is to learn by doing.

Fair enough. Now I have a more focused, targeted plan, rather than being scatterbrained and hoping for the best. I had initially been posting on Craigslist and Monster, hoping for something. Anything!

So now I know how to revise my things.

For the past month or so, after posting my resume on the internet, I have been getting plenty of job offers. But I’m not thrilled. Why? Because the bulk of them are either from insurance companies, multilevel marketing schemes, or they just don’t know how to follow directions!

Here was my week last week:

On Sunday, a woman called me around 7 pm, telling me about a job “opportunity” (red flag – you should always be cautious when a potential employer keeps using the word “opportunity.” What that really means is it’s not really a job, which means they don’t really have to pay you). Another red flag is this: what legitimate company calls you on a weekend night for a job interview? She told me that the place was called Pappas Agency, and that I would be representing unions, such as carpenters, police, teachers, etc. I thought it sounded fantastic! She gave me the address, and we scheduled an interview. She told me to call her after the interview, to let her know how it went, since she wouldn’t be the one interviewing me (yet another red flag!). And, telling me that to go to the interview with an open-mind. Now, unless the interview is for somethiing explicitly sexual, there’s no need to tell me to go into an interview with an open mind. So we have four red flags right here.

After the phone call, I checked the address, both to see how I would get there and it’s location, and also to see if I could find out some more information about this company. This is what I found out:

  • The company name she gave me wasn’t “technically” the name of the company. She conveniently left out that it was an INSURANCE COMPANY! The fact that she left out that major detail made me know that I would never go on an interview.
  • There’s a huge difference between representing unions and being an insurance salesperson. Why couldn’t she say that?
  • There is a $299 fee that you have to pay to take some course. I don’t know too much about insurance, but I did have an interview with an insurance company (one that was upfront!) a few years ago, and I was never told that I would have to pay for a course. Legitimate companies usually will eat that cost.
  • Also…their own website says it’s like having your own business. UM….NO! JUST NO! I am so tired of these sales and marketing jobs lying to (mainly) young people, telling them they have their own business. You don’t. Because if you did, you’d be able to change the price of products as needed. If you can’t, you don’t own your own business. Simple!

Of course, when I didn’t show up for the interview, I received a phone call from “Alicia.” Twice. I blocked her. I really don’t like being lied to (and yes, I do consider being super vague about what the job actually entails until I get to the interview. I don’t feel like wasting time or money, y’know?

What’s interesting to me is that these sketchy jobs will constantly call you. Why call me multiple times a week? I have a feeling that a company like Google wouldn’t do such a thing. It’s a red flag to me, because that’s signifies a high turnover. And I have to ask, why the high turnover?

I’ve gotten two more calls from a Winmore Inc, and Jeffrey Charles, Inc. Of course, both are sketchy. Winmore wants me to go door-to-door, begging people to get them to lower their energy bills. I tried that a few years ago, and lasted all of a day. Nope! I have nothing against commish only jobs, but….nah…

Jeffrey Charles is worst! The reviews were atrocious, and of course, in their emails to me, they don’t tell me what exactly it is that I would be doing. Reading the reviews, I would have to attend 6 AM meetings, pound the pavement at 7:30, regroup at 7:30 PM, and then leave at 9 PM. So basically….I’d be working for 15 hours a day. And of course, there is no pay. OH, but wait! This job consists of going door-to-door, begging people to get mobile phone plans. Um….why on earth would I do that? So, taking public transportation, I’d only have enough time to sleep four 3-5 hours a day. No thank you.

I’m getting continually bombarded with jobs about insurance and marketing, when I’m not interested at all. I also got an offer about working outside of New York. I told them I’m not interested in working outside of New York, especially since I have no car (and probably won’t get one for a while). Dude pressed me, saying there’s a travelling component, with four to six months required. I’m like, DUDE CAN YOU READ?! I’m not interested in working outside of New York. Even New Jersey is stretching it.

I swear, people are silly.

Also, a red flag is….why on earth would shills fill up a complaint board? I don’t appreciate being called stupid or lazy. They contradict themselves, though. When you go to these meetings (which are really just hype, to endure the grueling, bone crushing no’s that you’ll be getting all day), they tell you that the work is easy. Even a toddler can do it! But when you fail (and you inevitably will), they jump on the Internet, and tell you you’re lazy for not putting in the hard work. What

Honestly, if I’m going to be working those kind of hours, I’d much rather be working for myself. Which is what I plan on doing.

PS – my rant is really less about insurance and more about the “sketchier” companies. I understand that there’s a possibility of shills coming to this blog and telling me that since I didn’t work there, I can’t say anything about the experience. No buddy. Once in often enough!