June 23, 2017

Hello Stranger: My Evolution

I am in a variety of groups on Facebook. Some for fun. Most for shared interest. A few out of sheer boredom

In one of my groups, we were challenged to describe ourselves to a total stranger. I thought long and hard and was like...... hmpf that's tough.😥 I gave a short, cursory answer. But I thought I'd expand it:

I love graphic T-shirts like a 13 year old.. comics...British comedies/dramas...hardcover books... culinary adventures...Kimonos and flats....makeup...natural hair and wigs...Trap music and All things Nina Simone....meditation.... art...a good pair of jeans...photography...crafting to a limit...t..organization and chaos simultaneously..sweet tea....and a cold shot of quality Tequila.

I love being a wife and mother but I am glad it isn't the totality of my life.I miss being my mother's daughter more.... but I am glad to be my daughter's mother. I am spiritual more than religious. I'd rather be in sweats than lingerie most days. I am still learning my body and learning to love it. I still am battling the love of my hair.

I think I'd take Tacos over Soul Food. But I'd take Soul Food over everything else.

I love black people and being black. Black movies featuring black skin. HBCUs vs Everybody. My DNA is important but it also makes me weary.

I love the sound of rain and waves crashing against beaches. But I'd prefer silence a lot of times. I can be without technology but I can't live without it. TV sometimes is more gratifying than a novel... but poetry is the only thing that really feeds me.

Vintage can be a smell and an item. I love perfume but I do not drown in it. I'd rather drown in the smell of someone else. I've fallen in love a few times and in lust more. Only now do I have both.

I'm not an animal person but I love wild things. Wild beings and wild flowers. I am a feminist but I will let a beat override the misogynoir..... but I don't let misogyny override me. Sometimes I am a bad feminist and I do not care.

I am a scholar but I am often lazy. Sometimes I know the answer and just do not feel like explaining. I am sapiosexually attracted to many people in many forms.....

I love football for its beauty and less for its brutality.

I regret a lot yet very little. Most of those regrets are out of my hands. And I give it to God.... and still obsess over it. I obsess over things I just because.

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up although others expect that I should know.

I am a giver so I have a problem receiving because no one knows how to give to me.

Random I know!

Well.. it's Friday.

June 9, 2017

The Balance: Sex, Sleep, or Spaghetti-Os

**Note: For the duration of the summer (June to August) I have dedicated myself to my writing: personal, professional and academic. Therefore, I will be blogging once a week on Sex and the Southern Belle (personal) Enjoy my  new adventures**


Sometimes, I legitimately forget to sleep. I forget to eat. I forget to kiss my husband and my baby. I forgot about myself.

Over the past few months, the word of the moment has been "balance". How can I balance all these hats on my head? All these irons in the fire? Wife. Mom. Student. Lover. Friend. Employee. So many things. Only 24 hours in the day.

The days are passing...The days when I have Spaghetti-O's all over my clothes.. and all over the baby. The days where my eyebrows go un-waxed and my skin looks dull.  The days where I can catch my newly-walking daughter in my arms and hear her laughing.. the days where my husband spins me around in the kitchen and smacks my non-existent butt.

The nights are shorter. There inst enough time to read bedtime stores. There isn't enough time for spontaneous sex where we try not to wake the baby (who finally went to sleep). Not enough nights to binge watch our favorite shows. with endless bowls of popcorn.... or date nights where we get dressed to the nines. We've had a few.. but far in between.

It's a choice. A struggle. All of these irons in the fire and not knowing what to focus on everyday. Sometimes it sinks you in a hole, that only a good therapist and prayer can get you out of. Sometimes when you feel like all the plates are spinning, one crashes, leaving you without recourse. Where do you turn? Where do you go?

Right now, I am watching my husband sleep. I always fall asleep last in this house.His chest rising and falling effortlessly under the hum of the humidifier and air conditioner. I hear my daughter rustle with the blanket her aunt made and whine a bit...... I go over to comfort her with  firm hand on her back. And she stops. She's at peace and everything is alright.

I often wonder where is that "firm hand" for me. Where is the steady comfort of knowing everything is ok? I guess as a modern woman, the uncertainty is the new normal. I am not seeking perfection.. just balance.

So this summer, I am dedicating myself to just that. Finding the balance. Making time for myself. Making time for the pursuits that make me happy. There is no rush on any of it.

But it is about balance.. and finding joy in the balance....

I think I am definitely getting there.

February 14, 2017

Love More....

*blows all the dust off of this thing*

Happy Valentine's Day 2017!

You know, I truly suck as a blogger. I told myself in 2017 I would at least write one post a MONTH... and well.. here we are in February and I am just now opening this thing. But.. I guess it's never too late to start.  Sometimes I wonder why I even pay for hosting *smh*... I look at my friends like Hilary who consistently blog.. and I am like.. boy.. I am the suckiest blogger ever.

So what have I been up to? Let's see... mothering is #1. My daughter celebrated her first birthday a couple of weeks ago. She went from a 1 lb preemie.... to an 18 lb laughing, giggle-bot who likes milk more than I could ever imagine. I am truly blessed.
(From the NICU to Now... Please visit: www.marchforbabies.org/TeamTeags )

Secondly, I've been trying to get my health on track. After having the baby, blood pressure has been high and I want to ultimately get off of these pills. I bought a gym membership at my job and I try and go 5 days a week after work. My schedule is still nuts (going in w/ my husband who has to be at work at 6 is killing me softly). Am I losing weight? Eh.. it is too soon to tell but at least my doctor is happy with my overall numbers.

As for other goals, I am still trying to figure that out. As I inch closer to 40 (eek!), I still feel like I am not sure what I am doing. Technically, I am still a PhD student but I've lost the fire for obtaining it. I am off track. Since having the baby and the constant barrage of appointments, specialists, and lack of sleep, I haven't had time to ink out my proposal. To be honest, I've written more fiction than I have work on my dissertation. *sigh*. I am not sure what that's about. My job is a safe, boring bet....but I just don't know what my passions are anymore. These days, I am more obsessed with getting my house in order and organizing via Pinterest and Youtube gurus... that seems to bring me much joy. Writing is where my heart is... but I also need to put food on the table.

My personal style blows (I need to retool StilettoBelle.com but in the meantime..visit my Instagram). I buy clothes and shoes I have no clue where or when I am going to wear them. HEck, I don't even know what size I am.  I am a mom. I live in my v-neck t-shirts, cardigans, leggings, booties and jeans. In the house, it is sweats and a tank. BORING.  I'm purging my closet and literally shaking my head at the total waste of clothing.... Hair is drab too. I am itching to cut it into one of those bad ass tapered natural cuts.. but.. my husband puts on fake tears every time I mention it.And then my daughter plays with it, and I too have second thoughts.

As for this blog, it needs retooling and refocusing (I say that each and every year). But, where do I begin? What would you all like to see? I can still talk about sex, mating and dating... I can go a more "spirtual" route. I don't think I can get deeply personal like I did before... but who knows.

I'm rambling...😐

So today is Valentine's Day. I've never made a big deal out of the day because I try and love and show love everyday. And my husband is REALLY good at the little things. I don't know how I got so lucky to get a guy who was already a graduate of Husband School... but he's awesome. In the almost 3 years married..... he never fails at the romance. But now that we have GoGo.... we don't even know what to do. Two years ago we saw Fifty Shades of Grey. Remember our epic review??? Well, we decided we would do it again this weekend.... and I'll record a review featuring HubbyDude.  Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, love more. And love everyday. Love yourself most of all.

I am still learning that last part.

October 19, 2016

Running Out Of Words

This blog has been sorely neglected. I feel like with all that is (or isn't) going on.. I just do not have much to say. What can I talk about? Sometimes I sit at the keyboard, blog template open, ready to start typing. Then the baby cries. Or my husband asks me something. Or I start pondering WTF am I doing with my life at 37.....

And then I lose all train of thought.

What can I talk about?

I can talk about being lonely yet not alone. How I do not have a network of friends close to me anymore because I am at a different point in my life :age, marital status, kids.... it's changed everything. My sorority sisters, the ones I am close with, a re busy. My best friends live out of state. It is tough.  Is there a new mommy group that isn't bourgie in Atlanta? That just likes to go out to eat at regular ass spots and walks in the park with strollers? Something like that...

I can talk about how I love my husband but we are disconnected. Just ships passing in the night because of schedules.. because of commitments.. work.. the baby.. Just drained of energy. We went out alone for the first time in MONTHS last week and didn't know how to act. I can't tell you the last time we went to the movies. We haven't held hands or kissed deeply for a long period of times. Pecks in passing. Hugs late at night before bed... just as the baby is finally sleeping. We haven't had any of the "rip the clothes off before we make it upstairs"sex in ages....I feel like I am totally settled into middle age. This could be called "Sexy-less and the Married Belle".

I can talk about my baby. But I don"t wanna be that mom.  That mom who drones on and on about their child and every mundane thing they do. I can talk about her growth and progress. How she's just changing everyday but how I am hard on myself that she isn't where she totally needs to be. How I feel like she may be hindered by not being on target and in a professional daycare with a curriculum or with a full time PT. How my MIL doesn't listen to me sometimes or questions me and it irks my nerves.... but I am still grateful for her. How she is so cute. How i am so protective. Yet how I feel like half the time I do not know what I am doing.

I can talk about how I miss my mother. Sometimes I call out for her at night. Sometimes I still dial her number expecting her to call.  That I realize my MIL can never be my mother.. she'll never do things I would think my mother would do .. not even for my baby.. and I need my mother. There is just no substitute. I need her guidance. I need to ask her how she did this with so much on her plate. I need her recipes. Her smell. Her laugh. Her slender fingers touching my hands.

I can talk about how I've zoned out. How work is mundane. How school is at a standstill because I just honestly have lost the passion for getting my PhD. I have no idea where the topic is going or what to do with it... Im almost 40 and feel like I have no direction in my life. Nothing sparks my interest. Nothing makes me excited or passionate. Not even my blogs or IG I've stared. Nothing. And I am too old to be without direction. Most of all.. I feel like I've made mistakes that are now coming back to haunt me... My ideal job would be a writer: I would write poetry.. novels.. but I can't eat off of that solely. Right now I got a mortgage...and life is passing me by.

I can talk about how spiritually I feel lost. I need a home. Somewhere. Maybe not even a Christian home.. like a church home.. but somewhere....

I can talk about how I feel like  Frumpy Mommy.. Middle aged wreck who just throws on clothes and keeps it moving during the week. I put on makeup in a rush but I don't have time to get extra cute all the time. I don't feel sexy. Or pretty. I just feel like I am existing. I haven't had my hair done in two months.. maybe three and it is in terrible shape. So much so I am ready to just shave it off. My body is this flat, mass of what it used to be. It looks deflated after child birth. I can't explain it....

I can talk about this perpetual feeling of not being satisfied. Of not knowing how to get satisfaction or even where the looming feeling arises from.

I can talk about not feeling like I want to talk at all. Like i'd rather have silence on a daily basis.

Damn. I guess I did have a lot to talk about.

September 29, 2016

All Falls Down: A Mom Of a Preemie Reflects

Last weekend, I was finally able to cash in on the spa gift certificate my husband gave me for Valentine's Day. Yes, I realize it is damn near Halloween.... but I've been quite busy with adjusting to a new baby and my job. And just trying to wrap my mind out around life.

We had an nice brunch at the Katz's -style deli here in Atlanta, laughing and talking like old times over bagles, lox  and "smear".... Old times plus a giggling little one who would coo and laugh. And had the waitresses wrapped around her finger. She is very well behaved in public and just likes to observe her new surroundings.

My massage was an hour and a half. In the time, my husband decided he'd take the baby for a little walk around the shopping center in her stroller and maybe pick up a few things from the market. As he did that, I settled into the comfy chair of the Spa. I was called back rather quickly and I received an amazing deep tissue massage and aromatherapy. It was heaven. And much needed. I felt re-energized.

After the message, my little family was waiting for me.My husband was holding my now dozing baby girl. The spa concierges had commented how sweet and quiet she was. And how beautiful she was. I smiled. Most moms think their baby is the most gorgeous thing in the world. It is only natural.

While at the spa, my husband ran into a former employee of his. She was with her partner and they too had just had a relaxing massage. I exchanged pleasantries and she had to peek her head into the stroller to see the baby. By now, my daughter was drifting off and wasn't really here for much interaction. The woman wiggled Gogo's toes... but she was over it. LOL. That's just her personality.

Fast forward to yesterday, we are on our ride home and my husband gets a call. He takes it via his Bluetooth so that he can talk hands free. The call comes through our car speakers. It is another former employee of his, who wanted to chat. The coworker goes on to say... "Yes, "Spa Girl" (for anonymity sake) told me she saw the baby. When I asked how the baby was... She goes "Oh.. not well.... I mean.. She didn't even respond to me when I touched her toes and was playing with her". I sat silent and looked over at my husband who had a look of shock and puzzlement on his face. He quickly said "She was asleep! She's fine". The coworker goes"Oh I am sure she was... Spa Girl is crazy anyway".. and continued talking about something else.

At first I was silent. And then I was furious. I was visibly shaking and my husband saw and grabbed my hand. Once he ended his call I lost it! I cried so hard.. This woman spoke about my child as if she was defective. To insinuate that she was not well..... that is how vicious rumors start...

It all came crashing down hard on me.

This stranger.. who only has seen my child in photos... she has no idea what my baby is going through. How I see her struggle to do things.  I already feel this guilt everyday regarding her progress and why she isn't meeting all her milestones. I compare her to other kids her actual age and I cry and it hurts. So for someone to make up a lie like she's gravely ill (and the girl has never even had a cold!) makes me violent! This is why I'm very hesitant to upload a pic or take her out on public. I don't need this type of agitation. People assuming she is younger because of her size. People wanting to speculate and scrutinize.  People like this bitch that had no clue....NO CLUE the extent of what I felt or went through.

I had my daughter 10 weeks early via c-section on Jay 26. It was traumatic and while I felt relieved, I mostly felt like a failure. I couldn't hold on to her inside for just a little while longer. She needed to get bigger. She needed to get stronger. She needed to know I was strong and sacrificing so much for her. I know logically it wasn't my fault but I felt that pain inside. And now a stranger bitch of a woman was seemingly pointing out that failure...because she presumed something was wrong with a sleepy baby.

The tears I felt were not only anger but also guilt. Guilt that my body failed and didn't allowed her to develop. Guilty I had some abnormal placenta that didn't feed her enough.And because of that guilt.. I often lied about her age to avoid the questions of her  being premature which isn't something to be ashamed of.  In the aftermath, it seemed I was surrounded by pregnant friends or fairly new mothers. More than 5 or 6 of them. I'd hear my pregnant friends complain endlessly about things I hadn't experienced (or had) and under my breath I wanted to just call them"ungrateful."  You're normal. Your baby is fine. Mine is not.  My baby is behind. My body failed. Your pregnancies are going rather smoothly. Mine did not. You won't spend a day in the NICU (God willing) and I have lost count of the sleep and hours I missed from either pumping around the clock or going to see baby in the early morning. I still wake up in the middle of the night to make sure she is breathing.. and sometimes I catch her with eyes open and wide, gummy smile. That's when I can relax...

The tears I cried in the car had been building up for weeks. It took that once incident to make me snap. To make me realize that postpartum depression doesn't end as quickly as some folks think. And mothers of preemies are especially prone to spells of deep depression due to the trauma we've experienced via birth. And due to the ongoing things we may have to deal with regarding our small babies.

My husband, God bless his sweet soul, asked if I wanted him to pull over. He asked if I wanted to get a drink or walk around. He asked if I was OK. After all the tears, I told him I was fine. And we proceeded home.

I opened my garage door and waiting for me was my daughter. My sister-in-law was over to visit and she was at the top of the steps holding her and enthusastically saying "There's mummy!!" And all I saw was little feet kicking, and a big gummy grin... 

And I forgot about some speculating, troll bitch.
And I forgot about my short-comings
And I forgot about my tears
And I forgot about being so hard on myself.

And I remember how perfect my daughter is....perfectly imperfect

And I forgave myself.

And all was right.

September 21, 2016

King Cotton: Musings On Our Second Anniversary

We've been married 2 years today.....

(Photo by Made you Look Photo, Atlanta)

The traditional second wedding anniversary gift is cotton.

For someone black, that may be a bit of a difficult gift to give


Something that black bodies toiled, sweated over, were beaten and bloodied over ... sold and auctioned and ripped from families over... financed universities..... all in the name of King Cotton. Black hands that picked in sweltering heat. Not measured for their humanity but by the pound. All while we wore burlap sacks and rags. This same cotton, sent up North to be made into pretty things for Missy and Massa.... to celebrate their weddings. And we couldn't celebrate ours.


Today cotton is grown here and elsewhere... sent to China, Bangladesh and etc to be made into all kinds of things. Even traditional wedding gifts. 2000 thread count sheets of Egyptian cotton. Cotton handkerchiefs that wipe tears.

King Cotton.

Often times tied in a noose around our necks as we hang as strange fruit.

So today, I give cotton to my husband. In honor of us. In honor of the ancestors whose marriages and unions paved the way for us who weren't given the common decency to wed legally. They say "cotton is the fabric of our lives". That is an understatement for someone black. Cotton is in our DNA. Under our nails. Embedded between our dermis and epidermis. Entwined in our naps and kinks. Flowing in our blood are the buds that pricked tiny hands as young as 5 in the fields.

White. Fluffy. Soft. Angry. Pain-Staking, payment-free Work. Much like Marriage.


2 Years. On our anniversary.

 Symbolically celebrated with cotton.

A sobering reminder

June 30, 2016

The Black Panther Mom

You have "tiger" moms.

Stage Moms.

Hipster, Granola Moms

Helicopter parents.

Queen Bee  PTA B*TCH Moms.

I don't really have a desire to be any of those moms.

I've decided to create a new category for myself.
(Listen,.. I know Black Panther is a dude. But he's my fav LOL).

The Black Panther Mom

It's probably not what you think it is. And honestly, I am working on the definition myself. But I am clear about what it is not. It is not any of what I listed above. And it most certainly is rooted in cultural depth. We aren't talking HOTEP-ness Erykah Badu levels of Granola crunchy. Just a rootedness (thank you Toni Morrison)  in Diasporic appreciation.

A black panther mom is vigilant about protecting her young. She wants them to be strong, nurturing and independent but also kind, compassionate and considerate. She wants them to be appreciative of people who are different. And most of all, an appreciation of self, of culture and of the value of their lives in a society that tells them otherwise.

The black panther mom sees to this by starting early with self love and awareness. From the books we read...to the food we eat... to the music we dance to in the living room., the child of a black panther mom knows that these are subtle rights of passage for any black child. But we also know that society may not value those things that we find near and dear and may use them as cultural cash crops.

The black panther mom tells her kids  to let people know.."move or you will be moved".   I want her to learn how to be a badass on her own terms without cowering to others.

I just want my Gogo to be strong. And fearless. And have a mother that shows her that being a black woman is a lot of things. Most of all it is not the stereotypes out there about us. I want to be the type of Black Panther Mom that respects my child's gifts and individuality yet raise them with a firm but loving hand. I want to break away from slave mentality and physical abuse as a way to discipline... I want to encourage achievement not only for herself but for her people. Because she not only represents the best of US (her father and I) but the best of US (black people of the Diaspora).

I could go on and on. But as I work on being a Black Panther Mom... I know it's a lot less "superhero" than it is super-human.  I want the humanity to be on full display as a mom. I want people to say "Wow, Gogo.. your mom is cool. She talks to you. She keeps it real".

... I guess in essence. ,I just want to me like my own black Panther mom.. who was all those things and more.

God knows I'd like to try

June 6, 2016

The Root of Who I Am

Roots, the landmark 1977 miniseries based on the work of Alex Haley, was remade in a modern and edgy way via the Will Packer produced 4-night series which aired starting Memorial Day. Like most African-Americans, I hold Roots near and dear to my heart. I connected with the stories of Kunta, Kizzy and Chicken George..... and I was really skeptical that a remake was going to be good.

I was so wrong.

Not only was it gut-wrenching, it was well researched and visually stunning. The team of historians integrated and interwove elements of culture, music, food and art into not only the scenes involving the Mandinka, but were also careful to show the ways in which the Middle Passage didn't destroy our cultural ties. I was moved. Some things were hard to watch but so necessary. And I totally scoffed at the idea that some black people were "tired of all these slave movies". I never hear Jewish complain about the Holocaust movies... or Vets complain about war movies..... We can never forget our history no matter how much THEY want us to. And as Silla (played beautifully by the handsome Derek Luke) reminded us... "The shame is not ours". No, we shouldn't be ashamed of slavery. And while that isn't the totality of black experience in America, it has profoundly shaped the black experience of those of African descent.

My husband and I sat there,watching, and holding our daughter with tears in our eyes... wanting to know more about our people.... and our history. We did, however, take a first step as an anniversary present to ourselves.

Last year for our first anniversary, my husband and I decided to give the traditional gift of "paper" . Our interpretation of that was an AncestryDNA kit. I was pregnant at the time and I wanted to know my history and ancestry before the baby came. My husband and I were both excited, thinking about what we would impart to our little one. She is a mix of the American South and the Caribbean. We couldn't imagine what it would say...

It took almost 10 weeks to receive the results. By that time, I had given birth to our little girl and I thought that this would be the missing piece to the puzzle.

My DNA results were as follows:

The ethnic results made all the sense in the world. I was mostly C'ote d'Ivorian/Ghanaian, a crucial slave trading area of the time. Despite what my father wanted to attest to, I was clearly NOT Native American (as are most African-Americans....) and a lot of European (that was a given due to the nature of slavery). On my face and in my DNA told the story of the Middle Passage. My big almond eyes could be attributed to the 2% Asian in my DNA as well as the West African. I was excited. I had something to tell my daughter about her matrilineal line (because as a woman, that is all my DNA could tell me) and her father (whose DNA produced more European than African results actually, with Nigerian being the main country represented) could piece together her paternal lineage. Although I was disappointed that I was not able to pinpoint the exact tribe I was from, I felt like this was a start.

As I look at my daughter who is the perfect mix of my husband and myself, I am reminded that my roots matter. OUR experience as people.. as stolen African cargo matter. The fabric and fiber of my DNA and my existence matter to her, even if it doesn't matter to a society who systematically wants to kill and destroy black people, especially black women.

I hope someday to travel to Accra with my family. To see the slave castles and to see the Kente cloth prints...eat some real jollof....to see my people..to see home.

For those who haven't seen it, the new version of Roots is available on Demand and via Amazon Prime.

AncestryDNA kits are also available via Amazon Prime at $99 each, 

For Tribal matches, visit African Ancestry's website.


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