October 30, 2014

Street Harassment, Cat Calling, and Why I Can't Take Compliments from my Husband



This week the internet was all a-buzz about a young woman whose viral video depicting a day in the life of "street harassment" for women in New York City. The video has its flaws, as Roxane Gay has so eloquently pointed out. Most of the harassers are black and Latino. Nevertheless,...it's all harassment.

Brave black women such as Feminista Jones and  artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh are telling and shouting from the rooftops that this is not OK. ESP not OK to do to black women, whose bodies are targets of ridicule, objectification, and subjugation.

Now, I am sure you are thinking:  what on earth does street harassment have to do with my husband and his compliments to me?

I think everything.

If you hear "hey beautiful" everyday as you walk the busy Metro streets, as you try to go to work or just take a jog around your neighborhood, you just brush it off as some tactic that men use to get in your pants. As a woman you think, "sure I am beautiful but dude...stop using that tired line". You start to dismiss "beautiful" as some sort of annoyance. You see that and many other things that street harassers say as "dangerous" and misleading; as something to get into your pants.  And you rarely reclaim the word as something magical for yourself. In turn, you just stop feeling beautiful. You stop believing that you are.  You become desensitized to the sincerity of those who truly love you. You really do think you are beautiful, attractive and even look good "in those jeans". And who truly want nothing more than for you to feel great about yourself.

You cant even take a "hello" at face value as a woman walking on the street. 10 times out of 9 it is an invitation for conversation. And if you do not entertain folks, it means that you are a "stuck up bitch" who was "ugly anyway" and "should be glad someone is calling you beautiful/commenting on your body/wanting to talk to you", etc. It makes you afraid to be out in the world. A "hello" or a "hey beautiful" can turn ugly really fast and escalate into violence if not reciprocated. Just the other week, a Detroit woman was KILLED for not giving a man her phone number? Now you can't even say NO. Being a woman has now become a living night mare.  So yeah.... sometimes I cannot even stomach a "hey beautiful" from a stranger. You don't know WTF to do t and you can't differentiate crazy from sane in a chance encounter. No one is that quick...

But anyway.... back to my husband and I.........

Everyday in some sort of fashion my husband tries to get me to say I'm beautiful. Everyday I rebuff him. HE will say "Good Morning, Beautiful!" and I just roll my eyes.   Just yesterday,  he runs down a list of my friends and goes "don't you think so and so is beautiful? What about her? And her?" I say "sure" (because truly I do have beautiful friends of all shades, shapes and sizes) then he quickly tried to throw in "and you? Aren't you beautiful?" I just sat silent. I swear this happens at least twice a week. I keep saying one day he'll stop but he doesn't. Once he uncomfortably held me in front of a mirror butt naked... And I just cried. I felt violated in a way. Emotionally transparent and assaulted. As if some dude off the street cornered me on the way to work.... I couldn't differentiate.

 If you tell me I'm smart, I can accept it. If you tell me I have this talent or that ability, that's great. But I do not take compliments about my looks well. I guess these are just lingering scars from childhood and even young adult hood.  What do compliments even mean? It's just empty words from creepy dudes of past.

I'm desensitized to the absolute beauty and sincerity that is in my husband's words because as a woman, I've been howled at, cat-called and harassed since I hit puberty at 9 years old. It has greatly affected my self esteem. I cannot distinguish between absolute adoration and lustful wantonness. I cannot have the luxury of just existing and walking and minding my own damn business without being harassed. I can't feel beautiful without thinking someone wants something.

I should always feel beautiful for and around my husband and I do but hardly ever for myself. No new hairstyle. No amount of makeup. No living in the gym can do it, it's sad. I often feel like just balling up in a corner and hiding because it's easier than to bring unwanted attention to myself. And as much as I love trying new makeup and getting fresh clothes, compliments to me just get brushed off. And I can't even compliment myself.


I say all this to say. If we keep normalizing the pure fuckery of patriarchy, we will not be able to see the shining, bright spots of humanity. The people who TRULY love you and just admire you. The people who treat you with respect. MY husband never approached me in a foul, rude way. Not even we first began dating. He's never said anything  with malice or ulterior motives.

We have to teach young men to stop thinking with their dicks and thinking women OWE you something for simply walking near your space. We have to unlearn this behavior for our young men so that women can freely walk the streets, no matter where they walk, what they have on, our the countenance on their faces. I shouldn't be told to "smile" and I shouldn't be told how "fine" I am or "look at those titties" on my commute to work.

...and I shouldn't rebuff my husband for just saying how beautiful his wife is.  This is what happens when we normalize street harassment and cat calling. We take way the beauty in sincerity.

October 17, 2014

Feeling/Not Feeling: New Life Chapters

(It's going to be great)

FEELING

I am incredibly childish for feeling this but...........Ms Donna Goudeau. We gonna hold you down, sis! We know you are legally blind.

How to Get Away with Murder. Viola is all that!

My wedding photos. They are so bomb (although I haven't seen the rest of the). Thanks Montoya and crew!

The Read. I listen to those fools religiously......

Honeymoons like mine. I wish I was there. Unlimited food and drink. Jacuzzis....EVERYTHING


So many weddings over the past couple of months

All these new movies coming out. Dear White People. The Equalizer.. Top Five (w/ Chris Rock)

Couple Dates. Apparently we are acceptable to hang out with as a unit again. Going to see Dear White People w/ another couple.

My new hairstylist. She's everything and like an older sister. The best.

Makeup organization. My husband thought I was nuts for obsessiing over it. But anyway...take a look at my collection over on my style blog HERE.

All the awesome black webseries that are coming out

Issa Rae's new book. I pre-ordered it.

Mindy Kaling. She's so the Indian me sometimes

Like another tattoo. I got some ideas now..........where to put it???? Hmmmmmm

My Iphone 6. It's bigger. It's better. It bends but who gives a sh*t.

Cold mornings. Curled up next to HubbyDude.....

I still love wedding videos on Vimeo.

LOoking forward to the holidays. My first Christmas married. *EEK!*

My new photography habit. Just bought a Tripod. Can you say.."Cheesy Family Christmas Cards??" YEP!!!

Sam Smith. That entire album is WHEW!

Earl Sweatshirt...........

More Vacations. The fact that my husband is from a tropical island automatically means TROPICAL vacations! YES!

Being Financial w/ my sorority! I DID IT! I wont be able to come to meetings but I at least can pay dues.

Instagram is way better than Twitter. Facebook is better than Twitter. Pinterest is the best thing ever!


NOT FEELING
I already don't like Beyonce but her new bangs look like Blue Ivy Cut them w/ plastic school scissors. LOL

People who constantly record at weddings. All in the aisle on yoru smart phone, interrupting photos from the photographer. We had a no camera rule at the ceremony (didn't care about the reception) but hey.........doesn't stop most folks. Not even family! *tsk*

Addiction the movie was so trash. Just bad all around....

My neighborhood. IT's a quiet, quaint town but...the fact that it is that way it is attractive for movie crews (Like The Walking Dead) and fun-runs and sh*t....causing us to be stuck in the house, streets cut off. Not cool, dude.

Old Ex's popping up in the pic to say "Congrats". Go choke on a d*ck............

Like I am close to my mom anymore. *sigh*. I think she's giving me "marital space" but I miss her.......

Shopping. Which is really cutting into my Style blog. I need to get back to shoes and clothes and such. *sigh* I will just have to shop my closet.

Like I have a good grip on this PhD thing. Part of me wants to stop...live a regular a** life w/o this obligation. But Part of me wants to complete this goal. I am not superwoman. *sigh*

I need to get my shopping habit under control. which is why I don't feel like shopping. Hell I got everything I want.

Hand writing thank you cards. JESUS..........

Most Music these days....

Excessive hashtag abuse..... Grow up!

My house...it needs a bit of organizing and redecorating.........I mean if I did get pregnant...Kid would have to sleep in a closet. LOL.

Scandal this season. It's sorta BLEH!

Like buying a new MacBook but looks like Imma have to. Son of a B*Tch.......

That I am so old now. Time is ticking.........

Like working out. Imma just stay fat....it's so much easier. (But Diabetes and Dialysis isn't cute so..I may wanna reevaluate that..........esp given my current health situation .)


Like I am young enough to enjoy Homecoming at my college. I feel so stuck in between. And I really wanted to take my husband (who didnt go to an HBCU but def wanted to...). Maybe next year

October 9, 2014

And So The Baby Talk Begins...


*sigh*



HubbyDude and I haven't been married a solid month. And already..folks are trying to find our baby registry at Target, plan showers, and talk to us about "you ain't getting no younger...you might as well do it"

Actually...all the baby talk started as soon as we got engaged. And continued well into that phase. Even at the wedding, his Uncle gave a speech and said  "And please....make some babies". His sister wrote in a card to use that said "I can't wait for our kids to play together".... All this pressure!

Sure we've discussed children. And yes..my age is certainly a factor (as is his quite frankly). But, I know that most fertility studies aren't accurate and most certainly are outdated. How do you explain a 45 year old Halle Berry having a kid? I don't think it's science...sometimes it's Jesus (LOL).

I am not naive. I know fertility drugs and infertility are a possibility. I have health issues that may make it a bit hard to conceive. But hard is not impossible.

Whats the rush? I don't feel that pressure to have a baby just yet. I want to enjoy my husband. I want to be able to run around the house naked and not trip over toys. I want to enjoy my sleep without being awake at 3 am for a feedings. I want to be able to make love and not hear "Mommy..I want a glass of water" just a few years more. Or worry about Daycare. Or Diapers. Or breast vs bottle.


see.. now my head is swimming.

But mortality and reality are a very real issue.  So are finances. Money will forever be tight. Parents are getting older. I am getting older. Infant mortality rates for women over 35 aren't that great/ We just don't know. It's a crap shoot.

But let me enjoy my husband first before I throw my hat into the baby making arena. The foundation of any great kid is a set of great parents. Let us be great spouses to each other first.. I'll let you know when you need to start planning for a shower. OK?

Until then....let me go love up on this really hot dude? :)

October 7, 2014

Married...Divorced.....and Married Again

(Photo courtesy of Montoya Turner and Made You Look)


Well...well...well.

I know. I had the nerve to come back to you all married...and not without a single HELLO or anything!

Well.........let me fix that.

Hello, darlings! :)

After one heck of a fun wedding (I know...says the woman who was adamant about not even having a wedding) and to one SUPER romantic honeymoon....(whew chile..if a baby was made from that I wouldn't be surprised), I realized I've neglected my blog for a minute. I wrote a rather somber piece after the whole Ray Rice incident. But enough somberness....let's celebrate.........

I think I may do a bit of a  quick and dirty "recap"..... and throw in a few pics here or there.......just a few.


The weeks leading up to the wedding were def more hectic than the wedding weekend itself.  I even had a shower in my office after I told them NOT to go through all the hassle.

It all started on Thursday when I met The Dude's extended family who had traveled from Canada and the tiny island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis to see him get married. There was much sorrel. Much ginger beer and "goat water" (which I didn't eat...........LOL). But I got to meet his Dad who hugged me warmly and I felt SO much more at ease. That same day, we dropped off these cute little "welcome to Atlanta" Boxes w/ GA Guide boxes.
(cute ,right?)



Friday 2 days before, my Mother-In-Law threw a very west Indian party to celebrate the "joining of two families" because by this time, everyone who made it was here in Atlanta to celebrate. There was so much food: rice and peas, goat, MORE Sorrel (LOL..those Kittitians love their sorrel!), jerk chicken. stew chicken, plantains...whew! I can go on and on about the food. Speeches were made. My bridal party came....and my family (Mom, Dad and Aunt K) and everyone had a great time

Saturday was the rehearsal. I got my hair done. I got my nails REdone because my stylist hated them (LOL).... And After losing my phone in a frantic rage (LOL) and being late due to that, I made it down to the hotel ballroom and we rehearsed. My planner, LB of Savvy House Events was ON IT. I highly recommend her to anyone in ATL. But I truly had made her job easy by being easy going, no fuss, and pretty much had planned all the details down to the timeline. We rehearsed, We had a buffet of Tacos to celebrate our Mexican honeymoon/First Date Meal (to which my friend Tee exclaimed that this wedding was the "best ever" because she truly had been eating since Friday night! LOL)  Later on that night....I went out w/ my girlfriends for one last Bachelorette shindig! (CENSORED). Fun was had by all..but I paid for it the next day w/ a hangover that was a beast! Oh BTW..I found my phone. It was at the Hotel front desk *smh*....

Sunday: The Big Day. I wasn't nervous. I wasn't anxious.  Even the hangover went away after brunch. I had so much peace. I had a hustle and bustle of folks coming in and out of my suite at the hotel but I loved it. Mimosa was flowing. My brother had far too many glasses. My mother looked on in her wheelchair very full of emotion.  I got my face beat and got my girls involved in the wedding beat. My Dad was every there, getting help w/ his bow tie from my brother and snapping pics. He snapped my fav pic of the ENTIRE wedding:
(My little cousins: 2 Flower Girls, Broom Bearer and a Town Crier)

I got some very special gifts from my husband to be...one of which was a Journal where he had been chronicling our relationship from the moment he decided he wanted to propose..until the wedding Day. I had to hit an ugly cry. Best gift ever. I told my cousins that this is the manifestation of being true to your word, not giving up, and just letting God handle it. They, in jest, got on their knees and started praying all hard LOL

(I just was bawling for several minutes, darn my Dude! LOL)

I was running about 10 minutes off schedule because my makeup artist, Nikki, in true perfectionist ways, had to beat my face JUST so. But it was worth it. My two aunts helped me into my dress and I was off. It was such a blur. A whirlwind. One minute I was walking off the elevator with my Brother. The next minute I was walking down the aisle to Robin Thicke's "Angel"...and then BAM... married. I said my vows. It made everyone cry. We have no ceremony pics because we asked folks to not take pics (although some violated that rule.........smh). But it was very beautiful.  We exited to September by EWF (because we got married on the "21st Night of September")  Then after that it was a big party. Lots of cake. Lots of food. Soul Train Lines. and Dancing (my Uncle, the pastor, really showed out). Lots of soca and flag waving Our DJ Tay kept it poppin'! My friend Trice said she "came in w/ straight hair and left with an afro) she was dancing so hard! LOL.  Lots of speeches. Sorority and Fraternity stuff...the Wobble. (You know, a typical black wedding LOL. ) My cousin, my Maid of Honor made me cry. It was just an awesome night. We ended it w/ sparklers.........and got back to our suite. It was so great............
(Pic courtesy of Made you Look)


Honeymoon: After taking 1 day in between to rest, pack and catch up with family who was in town.........we left that Tuesday for Mexico, My travel agent Marissa, of Inclusive Voyages, really did her thing. A Five Star, Five Diamond resort in Playa Del Carmen. IT was awesome and all inclusive. We ate. We drank. We danced. We beached. We got super tan (despite the initial 3 days of rain). We spa-ed (is that a word?) We went to the Mayan Ruins and Dude climbed it....visited a Mayan village....tried to make clay pots and ate some more. We walked around the downtown of the area and ate some more (LOL)  We took in some awesome shows. Most of all we talked. It was our first trip solo together in the almost 3 years we had been together. We just really connected.. AND I had never had a honeymoon the first time and this one, thanks to the generosity of our friend and family, was paid for all by them via an awesome site called HoneyFund (and some gift cards too). It was a truly awesome experience!
(The 6000 year old "Pyramid" In Coba where my HubbyDude climbed it! I was NOT gonna do that!)

After 6 days and 5 nights of all of that...naturally.it was hard to adjust to our life in Atlanta. Who was gonna make our bed? Get our drinks?? Make sure we ate everything?  And pour rose petals out like we were in Coming to America? *sucks teeth* LOL


The Journey to Bliss

Truthfully, the journey to bliss isn't over. It just got started. I started this blog almost 4 years ago...as a place to heal me but not sure how long I'd keep it up or where it was going. To get ME to where I could be a fully, functioning and productive divorcee.....only to have me end up being a Mrs. Again. But in that time.... I've started another degree...God job promotions...moved and bought a home....gotten healthier and wiser....lost and gained friends.. and all because I made the conscious decision to be BLISSFUL and not do it for a guy..but do it for me. The road had its ups and downs....frogs and toads on the road to distract me.........shots to my self esteem and self-worth.... but it was worth it in the end.I learned a lot. I came out the fire only to be forged better for myself...and for my husband. 


So where shall this blog go? Who knows.









All I know is that I hope you all stay along for the ride :)



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