Black Parade

I’ve been trying to think of just the right words to summarize my experience at the Commitment March in Washington. D.C.

(That’s why it’s been so long since my last post.)

And I do apologize, for all my delay has been for nothing. I still haven’t found the precise wording for what I saw…what I felt.

“Inspired” is truly an understatement for the fire that was lit within me.

Waiting in line next to a white woman and her tween daughter, listening to stories from a man who marched with Dr. King the first time, I felt the spark.

“Look at this,” I thought.

“We all know this is a historic moment, when we draw the line in the sand.”

Listening to speaker after another, each from different walks of life, stoked the flame.

A young lady who survived one of the most tragic events in recent history.

An older man who reminded us that the gay rights movement began with a brick and a Black woman.

Finally, and most tragically, the family members and friends of so many of our martyrs.

Ahmaud Arbery.

Breonna Taylor.

Jacob Blake.

I was on fire. Flames roared across the crowd.

We all burned.

“Black Lives Matter!”

“Black Lives Matter!”

“Black Lives Matter!”

We marched and chanted to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, a fireball.

I haven’t felt the same sense. I feel…alive.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn.

Bad Guy

Whenever I make a choice for myself, I always feel like the bad guy.

Don’t want to go to an event and say so? Bad guy.

Don’t want to be touched and move away? Bad guy.

Don’t want to do something for someone else and mention it? Reallyyyyy bad guy.

Black women in America have been seen as community property for so long that people take offense when we say no. For hundreds of years, we were expected to do everything for everyone. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much. Black women are expected to solve the world’s problems, all while little is being done to solve the problems Black women face.

I’ve known my whole life that “No,” is a complete sentence. (I got a perfect score on the English section of the ACT. #humblebrag) However, I’ve only recently started living it. Some people may be surprised or even offended by the change.

Do I care?

…No. 😉

Disappear

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I made our weekly sojourn to the grocery store. (Even Pre-COVID, we shopped weekly to save time, energy, and money.) We slowly wound our way through the store we simultaneously loved and hated—large selection and great prices, narrow aisles and never enough cashiers.

A woman’s cart stood between us and the almond milk, one of the last items on our list. Eager to get this trip over with, my boyfriend moved her cart a few inches so I could push ours past. The movement must have caught her eye, and she turned to look at me.

“You’re so beautiful!” she exclaimed.

I thanked her, secretly wondering how she could think such a thing given the cloth mask covering half my face. Without missing a beat, she continued.

“Where are you from?”

That was the first of many microaggressions to come.

I quickly replied, “Kentucky,” and pushed my cart closer to the dairy case in an effort to end the conversation. But she inched closer, maskless (!) and babbling.

“Your hair is lovely. What do you do to your hair to get it like that?”

The answer? Literally nothing. (The few sprays of water I applied before the trip didn’t count—I didn’t even put any product in it!) I shrugged and responded, “It just grows this way,” struggling mightily to keep myself from rolling my eyes. I was brought up to respect my elders, and even though the gray-haired woman in front of me was trying my patience, my mama raised me to be polite.

I tried to leave but the woman continued, following one awful comment with a string of several more.

“African women are so elegant, very regal and classy. You know, I could tell you weren’t from around here. You don’t act like the Black people in Wisconsin. I work with them and they have such an attitude. They wear their hair in the braids and it just comes out. I’m from India and I help them, boil the coconut oil and castor oil to make something to help it grow back. Your hair is beautiful and healthy, and you wear it just as it is! They should be more like you.”

Racism, wrapped in compliments. From another woman of color, at that! I wanted to disappear.

As she turned and walked away, she noticed the large ginger root in our cart.

“Healthy too! You are so good. May God bless you.”

My boyfriend, having ventured to get the almond milk himself, returned to find me standing next to our cart. Seething, I recounted the interaction. We headed toward the checkout line, watching carefully to avoid seeing her again.

Usually, I leave that grocery store anxious and frustrated because of the crowded aisles and lengthy checkout lines. Today, anxiety and frustration were replaced with anger and sadness.

You cannot uplift one Black woman and simultaneously put others down.

You cannot talk badly about Black people in Wisconsin while ignoring the fact that it is one of the worst states in America for Black people.

You cannot celebrate Black hair in its natural state while trashing the protective styles many of us (including myself) wear regularly.

You can, though, be racist and a person of color at the same damn time.

Life and Blackness #100HappyDays

Day 24: Being alive makes me happy.

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I was feeling very overwhelmed by some legal issues I’m going through with my ex-fiance.  But even with all the stress and struggle, I was happy to have woken up and drawn breath.  As the great philosopher Pitbull once surmised, “Every day above ground is a great day.

Day 25:  Black medical professionals make me happy.  

This week is the second week of my company’s customer conference, and I’ve been helping out by participating in a simulation lab.  Last week I was a “radio show host”, and this week I am a “sick patient” and medical professionals come in and conduct an “office visit” with me (so we can analyze how people use our software).  Today, I had a Black nurse practitioner participate and I was so happy to see her!  She was so kind and really worked to take care of me and make me feel better, even though it was just a simulation.  I have never in my entire life had a Black doctor–much less a Black woman doctor.  I would love to receive care from a medical professional who understands my unique issues as a Black woman.  We need more Black medical professionals!

FOTD: Minimal and Marvelous!

Now introducing my newest series: Face of the Day! I’m starting to get more into makeup and thought I’d share my experiences with different products and applications. There aren’t enough resources out there for women of color in regards to which colors and brands work best for us, so hopefully these posts will help a sister out! 

I’m heading to Chipotle to get a burrito and didn’t feel like doing my full makeup routine, so I decided to a minimal look that still looked pulled together. Below are the products and application, as well as a photo of my finished face!

  My finished Face of the Day!  

Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Browdip Pomade in Ebony. Applied with a brow brush and lightly brushed with a spoolie brush for a more natural look. 

Face: Cover FX Blotting Power in Deep. Applied with a powder brush all over the face, including over the brows to set the color. 

Lashes: Benefit Roller Lash in Black and Smashbox Full Exposure in Jet Black. One coat of each (Benefit first) on top and bottom lashes. I love the Benefit brush because it has a smaller side for applying to your tiny bottom lashes!

Lips: MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Kiss Me Quick and MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam I. Red lips instantly give you a more put-together look. 

That’s it! Just a few products and a few minutes to apply them that still give you a put-together look. Let me know what you think and tell me about your products for a minimal but marvelous look!

 Lipsyncing for my life to Luther Vandross Radio on Pandora–I love old school R&B!

New Friends!

God brings people into your life for a reason. Growing up in Kentucky, I wasn’t able to connect with many Black women outside of my immediate family. When I moved to Madison, I still struggled to do so. Luckily I met three beautiful Black women that I can call my new friends!

We came together through a mutual friend and attended a brunch/day party in Milwaukee this weekend. We laughed, talked, danced, ate, and enjoyed bottomless mimosas and poinsettias. 🙂 It was so refreshing to meet women with similar goals and life experiences. I feel so blessed to have met such beautiful, intelligent, caring women and I can’t wait to spend more time with these wonderful ladies!

  
L to R: Me, Amber, Angela, Emily, and Sabrina–The Fab Five!