Coming off the high of seeing my Bestie Nisha Sunday night I started reflecting on how effin awesome my girlfriends are. I had actually started a blog about how blessed I am to have such wonderful sista friends in my life. My yummy hubby had invited Nisha, her soon to be hubby to be & princesses up for dinner in honor of their engagement! I hadn't seen my sista in over a year (not counting the 5 min drive thru on NYE) & true to form we picked up exactly where we left off. Been doing this for over 15 years now.
The next morning I start my day with a little Facebook action. I'm smiling at the pics that she's already posted and checking her updates of the fun she had during our visit and then I notice a few comments from other people who were upset that they didn't get an invite. No biggie I thought. It wasn't like I threw one of my legendary shindigs. In truth the only parties I've thrown in recent years involved either Thomas the Tank Engine or my Sister's pregnant belly. What I had was a simple dinner which shouldn't grind any one's gears considering I live across the Mason Dixon from my Bestie and these other commentators are all a stones throw away from her.
I update my status and reflect our good time had and urge my "friends" to relax because again...it wasn't a party & surely if it was a mass invite would have been sent.
Then I scroll a bit further and see an update from not just a recent FB friend, a random high school chum, or some family member I never knew well...No...this comment came from someone in my most inner circle. You see I begged, borrowed & came home broke being the maid of honor in her Jamaica wedding, she was the first call I made when I caught my then boyfriend cheating on me, and it was her shoulder that I cried on. She's #6 on my speed dial.
I fell in love with this sista on my bedroom floor eating my mother's fried eggplant listening to Zhane. It was 1993 and I was in my 2nd of 3 high schools. She wasn't like the other girls. Sure she was fiery, completely devoid of an edit switch when she talked, but she was also wore her heart on her forehead. We were both the oldest kids & taking care of our younger siblings bonded us at first.
Her status update read:Can't be everywhere at the same time but give your true friends a choice to support you !!!! Luv ya FBF
I ignored this for a long time. We all have a right to our opinions right? They're like assholes right? Everyone has one right? I could pretend that this wasn't directed to me. I could also question what is implied by "true friend"...true friend to me? To Nisha? The two are friends through me & because of me so I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of Kelis's divorce attorney. But then she inboxes me a message that says how she "deserves to be on the LIST!" Again what list?
I won't further tarnish my love for my sista with the back & forth FB rhetoric. But I will say this.
I was the last of my friends to join Facebook. I would much rather spend face time with everyone. However, I've grown to love the connections I am able to make with my old & new friends and more importantly my family since I'm no longer just 5 minutes away. I enjoy the pictures and the daily update that my brother is on the way to work, or that my mother has begun her coffee ritual. I relish seeing my nephew get bigger and my niece grow into her eyes.
I also don't take offense to hearing a big announcement such as a pregnancy or new job on Facebook. I get it...we're all there...why not announce it there. In fact I learned of Nisha's engagement on FB but instead of sending her a cyber heart or virtual flowers my husband called me and said let's invite them up for dinner face to face & in real time.
Which brings me to my point...Facebook should be used as just one of many tools to navigate us in our real off line lives. It should NEVER dictate who we decide to be upset at, envious with, or create baseless drama with.
If you can't handle other people's smiley vacation flicks from places in the Caribbean that you can't pronounce...stay off Facebook.
If your heart is I-95 roadkill & the thought of seeing your friends all coupled up turns you green....stay off Facebook.
If you're a career student a decade into to your AA degree hating on your middle school rival for completing his PhD....stay off Facebook.
If you got time to track how many friends your friends have & sending friend requests to those friends so you can have more friends...stay off Facebook.
If you're at your desk job wondering where so & so is because she hasn't updated her status in over a week...she's probably busy living & you need to stay off Facebook.
If you can't genuinely share in the excitement when other peoples kids take their first step, learn to go potty, win their cheerleader competition, get straight A's or make the varsity football team....you're an evil human that needs to stay off Facebook & disconnect from other all life forms all together.
I need not make a rule for the above mentioned bull ish...oh what the dickens...
If you can't help but feel left out of a dinner & swear ta beanz that there was a DJ, balloons, & a strobe light involved...(I know you speak first & think last..in truth I appreciate this about you...but you need to remember your friend loves her some you & would never EVER leave you off the list...there is no list without you)...that said...stay off Facebook.
I started a twitter after my mom joined...strange I know. Any who...I was immediately bored and started a Facebook page instead. However the novelty has worn off and for the last month I've been back to hanging out on Twitter and I've found some new and interesting tweeps!
I've noticed that some of my FB Fam are also a bit bored but reluctant to make the switch. I've compiled a few do's & don'ts that I think will not only give you the twitter push you need but will also ensure that you will have a fabulous time!
Name, Pics & Things:
DO take a moment to come up with a good twitter name. If you have a trademark name that you're already using and are comfortable lending it to the twitterverse please do.
DON'T name yourself after a celebrity. Names like @KissesKanye, @IHeartTpain, or @Wackaflackachick only last as long as that celeb's career. You'll be forced to change your name even if you're a die hard fan.
DO use a nice picture of yourself as your avatar. Until you get a good loyal following people who want to follow want to see you.
DON'T limit yourself to a head shot. A pair of lips works well if you're an anonymous exotic writer, i.e. the fabulous @down2thelow!
DO work on your background. Potential followers use the limited info they have to choose to follow you. Give them something cool to look at.
DO accept that this is not Facebook. You will not have a online bio of the person you want to follow complete with government name, pictures of their family, and who they're in a complicated relationship with.
DON'T forget to start with who you know first. Odds are you already have friends who have active or dormant twitter accounts and would love to follow you.
DO understand that making friends is not a co-signed agreement. On FB when you confirm a friendship you can both view each others posts, pics, etc. With Twitter following someone is no guarantee that they'll follow you back. Be patient. If you tweet it they will come.
DO follow people who are interested in what you do or love. I write, therefore the majority of my Tweeties are also writers, bloggers, and novelists. If you're a foodie, a sports stan, or political junkie seek like minded Twindividuals to bounce thoughts, ideas, recipes, stats, scores, and ideals off of.
DON'T be scared to follow a recommended Tweeter. @basseyworld, & @purplepeace79 were recommended on my first #FollowFriday & I've been laughing with these funny & insightful sistas since.
DO follow a few celebs, causes, websites, blogs or businesses that interests you. You'll get almost real time updates on any new happenings.
DON'T use your following power for celebs only. Most celebs don't talk back. Some use handlers to tweet for them. You will not have a very interactive time line.
DO be cautious if you reply direct to a celeb or other prominent person. I once asked Raheem Devaughn a very simple question about one of his songs and he dissed me. His answer began with, "In case you've been living under a rock..." Yeah that sucked & I admit I haven't listened to his music since and that's my choice.
DON'T fill your time line with what you're doing every 2 minutes. "I'm eating a $5 footlong y'all." "Mmmm these cookies are delish." "Back to work now." Those mundane details will get you no additional followers and unfollowed quickly. Also, stalkers love this.
DO comment. There will be times when everyone is tweeting but there's no discussion. It's a one sided tweet fest. Jump in. Find a interested tidbit and start a convo.
DON'T retweet everything @RevRunWisdom says. He has over a million followers. Chances are your followers are part of that million.
DO start or contribute to trending topics. It's just plain fun. Topics like #isupportobamabecause or #thatswhywyou'resingle bond us in the grand twitter scheme of it all.
DO understand the power of a thought within 140 characters. Micro-blogging is the haiku of the blogosphere.
So I thought I had a new theory...& it goes a lil somethin' like dis...hit it!
The odds of a man satisfying multiple women one good time are higher than that man satisfying one woman multiple times.
My logic is that a man's need to succeed in the most natural phallic way could ultimately cause him to seek new and exciting conquests. On the other side satisfying one woman for a life time could take an enormous amount of creativity, intuitiveness, invention, and patience. Who wants to be bothered with that? I'd be bored too. After a while that women may undoubtedly regard you as lazy, unimaginative, or (gasp) bad in bed.
I ran this by my dear dear man friend who in less than 30 seconds completely disagreed with me.
Men go into an intimate encounter with a woman providing the same skills he showed and/or learned by being with the last woman. In other words you take what you did with the last chick, try it on the next chick & hope it works. His wisdom indicates unless a woman tells you exactly what she needs (most don't or don't yet know) you'll spend no less than 5 attempts trying to figure her out.
So in his theory it's much harder to please a new woman the first time rather than the woman who you've learned to manipulate with a single finger several times.
This would in no way contribute to the need or fantasy of being with a new woman.
So great people of the blogosphere...the floor is open.
What makes more sense a man seeking further validation for his most precious piece from many new and different women? Or, that a man doesn't need his ego stroked. His desire to want that new new is simply...because.
So I just found out that half of my in laws think that I'm from the Caribbean. I have no idea why. Could be the jerk chicken I made that one time.
Not sure. My hubby can't quite figure it out either. We were both born & raised in Baltimore. And I can't recall one conversation ever about the islands. But my dear cousin in law thinks I'm from Trinidad. Hell, I'll take the compliment. Trini women are beautiful. So anyway she's telling me that she's thought this for years & we're having a good laugh & then she says, "With all that hair I thought you was from somewhere."
And there is was. Yet another hair remark.
I'm vertically challenged. I've had at least a cup full of ta tas since 4th grade. But nothing NOTHING has given me more of a complex in my life than my hair.
I have nice hair. It's long. It's really thick. It's permed. On a good day...a really good day... I can do the wet & curly look. And (gasp) it's all mine.
Usually when people meet me for the first time they compliment my hair, never me. In fact I strongly believe my face is the second thing that people notice about me.
My hair has lived a completely separate life from me. Always the new girl in school it used to get me noticed and it's gotten me rejected by some of the "in"crowd. Guys liked me for my hair first, some girls never tried to get to know me. Most people actually referred to me as the "girl with long hair." I have had complete baseless arguments that started with, "Oh, you think you cute." Girls have walked pass me in the school hallways tugging on my hair checking for tracks.
But my all time favorite...the 10th grade rumor that I get my wigs from the Dominican Republic.
For years I downplayed everything about me. I barely danced in public. I would only sing at home. I didn't try out for plays or sports teams. I blended. God forbid I become the girl with the long hair & talent. And because my family moved so much I became really good at blending. That is until I went to a school with only an 18% minority population. The other 82% didn't care what I looked like, how I dressed, or anything about my hair.
I did, however, have a family member introduce me with the tag line, "Ain't she pretty? And that's all her hair too."
In college there was this one guy who wanted to go half on a baby as some kind of nice hair guarantee. It was actually this guy who tried to make sense of my hair complex. His theory. There's less of a mystery when a lighter skinned sista has long hair, & a bi-racial sista is a dead give away, but being a brown sista with good hair is an enigma.
Now I'll save all the "good hair" references for Chris Rock & no I haven't seen the movie but I did see him on Oprah...tugging her hair. His reply when discovering it was all hers, "Now that's rich!"
Really? So now you have to be light skinned, multi-racial, or a billionaire to have long healthy (albeit permed) hair. Sigh.
Trust me. I love my hair. I love it the way tall awkward girls eventually embrace their height (& become kick ass models).
My sister did my hair this day. Nice work. She's a stylist in Baltimore...get at me for info.
So there are a few things I will no longer do when someone makes a comment or compliment about my hair.
I'm not going to go into my prepared speech of how hard it is to maintain (it's not), the hours spent blow drying (got it down to 30 mins), the hours spent under the dryer at the salon (I do my own hair), or how hot it is in the summer (it's awesome in the winter).
I will not entertain questions about where I'm from or if my family has hair like me. I will not listen to "Girl, if I had all that hair" commentary. Trust, if you had all this hair in July with 90% humidity you would rock a snatch back too.
I will not act like my skin and my hair are somehow mutually exclusive.
I will not entertain my "natural" sistas about cutting my hair off & growing locks. It doesn't make me any less conscious or culturally aware to have a perm. I like my hair the way it is & that's my choice.
I will not battle my older sistas and other straight hair loving divas about whether "I'm trying to grow dreads" when I wear my hair heat free in the summer.
I will not "pat my weave" to a Beyonce song.
I will not pretend to know about Yaki, & dark brown #2, & other types of hair extensions. I just don't.
What I will do is love my hair & instill a healthy appreciation of hair in my daughter so she will love her hair too.
And while I love the message in India Arie's song "I Am Not My Hair" I have to disagree. I AM my hair. It's made up of all the things that make me. It's my genetics. It's my inheritance. It's literally my roots. I'll love it for as long as it graces my crown.
This is my hair issue. What are yours if any? What comments played in your cerebral tape player about hair that shaped you? The floor is open.
I've had reoccurring dreams about the Jigga Man since he was rocking Hawaiian shirts. Call it foresight but I thought Mr Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter was that dude long before Beyonce could pronounce "No, no, no". My dreams like I've mentioned before are not the stuff of legends. We're usually in the studio or chilling at the mall. Very regular stuff. These dreams continued right up until my husband & I saw him & Mary J Blige live in March 2008. The night before the show I had a dream that we were eating pasta & I just got up to leave. He looks at me and said " I won't see you anymore huh?" I nod my head in agreement and continue walking away. The next morning it's all over the news that he & Bey filed for a marriage license. They were married on April 4th.
For the record...No, I don't think Jay is handsome or gorgeous in a traditional sense. Maybe in the right moment, in the right lighting, on a good day, when Mars is aligned with Pluto maybe just maybe when he cracks a smile he's almost kinda just ok. That's not it at all. In a word I think the dude is brilliant. He's a business MAN. That's undeniable and times that by his influence on pop culture it's hard not to think about what else he could accomplish.
He's already proven worthy in the clothing arena not just with his own label. But he has single handily gave button makers & tailors permanent employment by merely suggesting that grown men start to wear something other than jerseys & baggy jeans. He's made some younger men loosen their skinny jeans just a tad. I haven't seen a blinged out fake Jacob & Co.watch since he told dudes he rather have the right watch not the "bright watch".
When the fine people of Cristal made racist comments about how they didn't approve of the hip hop industry preferring their gold bubbly Jay denounced them & endorsed Ace of Spades Champagne instead. Hip Hop & everyone (except for Kim from the Real Housewives of Atlanta) followed suit.
When Mr. Carter went to Washington people took note, some registered to vote, some actually voted in a presidential election for the very first time.
Even his decision to marry has awaken the beast in some who might not otherwise thought of themselves as wanting to find long term companionship in someone else (Diddy I'm looking at you).
He raged war against ear aching auto tune and put T-Pain out of commission for almost a year. He has positively represented for hip hop at major rock festivals like Glastonbury , on Oprah, & SNL , he parlayed the crack game into the rap game into the soon to be J Hotel chains. Not to mention his consecutive #1 albums, clothing & fragrance ventures, 40/40 nightclub franchises, investments including Carol's Daughter & part ownership of the New Jersey Nets. What more can I say? ** Hops off nuts**
This all got me thinking. What other cultural shifts could Jay-Z make if he really wanted to?
1. What if Jigga became a vegetarian?
He could drop a hot 16 about about black bean Jigga patties, lentil loaf, & soy chedda'. Maybe do some cross promotion with Whole Foods & have dudes eating Tofurkey for Thanksgiving. He could make wearing leather & fur played out like T-Pain wearing a jersey drinking Cristal. He could do a PETA campaign high above Times Square wearing nothing but his blue Yankee fitted hat. Okay maybe this one is a stretch.
2. What if Jigga went green?
He could install solar power roofing on all of his properties and businesses. When Ty Ty & them come through he could blend them up a smoothie by harnessing the energy of his stationary bike. He could partner with Maybach to produce a hybrid version of their luxury vehicles. Rick Ross would surely approve.
3. What if Jigga mended more fences?
It's hard enough for two regular people to argue and come to some form of resolution later, let alone two people as well known & public as Jay-Z & Nas. Their wax on wax off spiff will forever remain in the top 5 of all rap battles...period. But when he brought Nas out at the end of the I Declare War show it was evident that...(wait for it)...two grown men could...disagree & then agree to disagree. Now what if he the Roc boys were really in the building? What if he deaded the issues between he & Damon Dash, Kareem "Biggs" Burke & even brought back Beanie Sigel? You think dynasty lighting could strike twice? Yeah you're probably right especially since Dash is already trying to relaunch the brand without Jay at the helm. And who wants to see his belly jiggling in another slew of videos. Well what if he after another year of karmic exile Jay Z guest featured on a Chris Brown song? Naw...that won't work either.
4. What if the Carters adopted a kid a la Sandra?
More than half of all children waiting to be adopted right here in this country are minorities. While Madonna & Brangelina have made international adoptions almost fashionable Jay & Bey could cement the growing need that American children face finding suitable homes filled with tlc into our collective conscious. I wouldn't even be opposed to them raising an underprivileged Appalachian kid. The point. There's a need & they can start a movement. The bonus. Mrs. Carter will not have to worry about the possible effects that "Hov nose" will have on her children nor will she have to resort to another Master Cleanse fast. (Yuck!)
5. What if Jigga went from street pharmacist to spokesperson against the abuse of prescription drugs?
Seriously someone needs to spearhead this. For every Lindsay Lohan or Amy "No Rehab" Whinehouse who are high off illegal drugs, there's a Heath Ledger or Anna Nicole that succumbs to doctor prescribed commercial saturated pharmaceuticals. He could start with Lil' Wayne & his codeine habit. He could give Dr. Drew a run for his celeb doctor money & open The Carter (no new jack) a rehab & treatment center for doctor over prescribed drug abuse. He could start a Streets Is Watching campaign where prescriptions are cross checked through a data base to determine if it's a duplicate, prescribed by another doctor, or will prove lethal when mixed with other medications. Hmmm....not a bad idea.
I'm sure I've neglected other uses for the H to the Izzo. What other cultural shifts could Young Hov make? The floor is open.
I wish I had a green thumb. If I did I could make life out of our front lawn. I could turn these shrubs into something a bee would suckle on.
Lord knows I try. Last year I brought home a perfectly green baby bush to root in front of my home. I dug deep, poured new soil into its new nesting place & sprinkled it with water.
Sadly my little baby bush did not survive the snowy winter and so I set out with a new plan. I would pebble that entire patch of earth, adorn it with a ceramic urn and plant lovely flowers inside of it. I would grow color and the bees would come.
This morning I walked pass my flower pot & only a few white speckles of petals remain. I wish I had a green thumb.
I think I've finally found something that I'm just not good at. This must be a patiently learned skill passed down from grandmother to mother to child. This I missed. My mother's mother fell ill around the time I was born. And my mother being a young mother herself was stuck between caring for me and her ailing mom. There were no gardens to turn over, no new soil to sew.
My Nana's stroke permanently damaged her vocal chords. I have never had a conversation with her.
My dad's mother passed years before I was born. I would never meet her.
And since I really feel like going there...I didn't meet my sperm donor or his mom until I was 15 years old. But she took me in quick like she knew about me all along. I then met her 94 year old mom at an awkward Christmas party. My great-grandmother took one look at me having never met me before & said, "Well our family sure is growing isn't it?"
I thought I'd hit the Big Momma Jackpot! But before I could absorb all that she knew my great-grandmother was called home. My grandmother was very sweet to me over the years & we kept in touch as much as two people trying to forge a connection could.
My mother told me has passed from reading about it in the newspaper. I was in the hospital after just giving birth to my son. He was born February 27th, she died on February 24th. No one bothered to call me & I am not mentioned in her eulogy.
When so many of my friends and family are raised by their grandmothers teaching them right from hell no, good from you betta not do that, the perfect dough for buttermilk biscuits, the spiciest base for crab soup, and the sweetest syrup for yams I learned from my mom or by myself. But I quietly missed the teachings of a grandma.
I miss it like the blankets I never learned to crochet.
I miss it like the cakes I never learned to bake.
I miss it like the gardens I never quite learned to tend.
I want to know how it feels to escape to grandma's house. I want to know all the things that only a grandmother could say.