adult adolescence.

 

I have no idea why turning 30 is such a milestone age. I  mean, it’s not nearly as significant as turning 10–double digits are a big thing. Or turning 21–yay you can legally drink! Or even turning 50—being half of one hundred is kind of major.

No, 30 is like the adolescent version of adulthood. Being 30 is the awkward point of life where you aren’t young enough to call yourself inexperienced but you aren’t old enough to call yourself seasoned. You are smack dab in the middle where people have high expectations of you but you also have a long way to go in terms of “growing up”.

I’ve simply been grappling with the fact that I’m chronologically an adult but don’t feel like one at all. Of course the bigger question is “what is an adult? what should that feel like?” For me, I’ve associated adulthood with milestones such as: owning a home, being married, having children, feeling financially secure. You know just generally having ones shit together. I associated adulthood with a sense of wholeness and a calm, peaceful settling in.

My life now? LOL. Well, I feel like I’m in a prolonged sense of adolescence, but with adult realities. I’m still renting an apartment, I attempted to buy a home once and was so anxiety ridden about it that I gave up. The experience is not like “House Hunters!”   I’m perpetually single, despite my best efforts I have not found my match and at this point I wonder if he exists. Children? Well. I have cats. Financial security? Meh.  I’m not destitute so there’s that. As far as having my shit together, I’m functional.

Instead of peacefulness and calm, I actually feel stuck. I feel stagnant.

At 30 years old, I am not where I thought I would be. And quite frankly I am no clue what direction I’m even going in. I’ve come to realize that this is okay. There is no roadmap for adulthood. My early 20’s self had a lot lofty goals and expectations. I had the mindset that age equated to  set milestones and if one did not achieve a certain goal at a certain age then they were “behind”.

Now that I’m a lady of a certain age ( I love that phrase) I realize how incredibly short sighted that mindset is. There is no “behind”. We all have different paths for different reasons. There is a particular reason (unknown to me) that I am experiencing a period of stagnation right now. If I had to guess I think its because my 20’s were a period of high tempo progression, especially when it came to career and academics. The universe is providing me with some much needed breathing room in preparation for the next adventure. At least this is what I’m telling myself.

30 may be the equivalent of an awkward brace-faced teenager in adult world but I’m embracing it. I’m working on no longer comparing myself to my friends who have attained what I formerly thought of as an “adult” existence. I’m learning to be happy for them as they reach exciting milestones in their lives while also being happy for myself as I creep along on this path I’ve been placed on.

I’m reframing my viewpoint. I may not own a home but I live in a sweet high rise apartment–with a concierge! Never in a million years did I think I’d ever live in a place like that. I’m not married, so I’m free to shamelessly flirt with that attractive man I see when I’m out and about. Emphasis on shamelessly! I don’t have children, so I can sleep in on the weekends and make spontaneous plans at the drop of a hat. I’m not financially secure…yet! At this point I have nothing hindering me from attaining financial goals I want to reach. Having my shit together? Well, I’m a work in progress. And that’s perfectly acceptable.

I’m six months into my third decade of life and since I conquered adolescence once before (when I actually was a teenager) I have no doubt I can conquer it again, especially because now I can drink wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m tired of turning my people into hashtags.

black-lives-matter

 

I’m a little upset. Well actually alot upset. And even though I haven’t written in this blog since December, I have to write this out and process it all. Bear with me.

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Yesterday Alton Sterling was brutally killed by a cop. I actively avoided seeing the video because I refuse to knowingly watch a black man die in this way. I struggle alot with this society’s voyeuristic tendencies when it comes to broadcasting tragedy.

Anyway, today I log into Twitter and see a video of Philando Castile being killed by a cop and his girlfriend filming the entire thing. That was the first thing I saw this morning.

So obviously its been in my consciousness all day.

I always sort of brace myself for whatever comments I may receive whenever me, a black woman, speaks on my feelings regarding racism. My experience is usually white people immediately playing the victim by insisting they aren’t racist and “not all white people!!!!!” and all that shit. It’s frustrating because as a black woman I can’t even adequately express myself about something I deal with personally because I have to tiptoe around white feelings. Isn’t that crazy? I can’t even talk about how I feel without worrying how I may hurt a white person’s feelings.

And I imagine many white people feel similar when discussing their feelings about black people but I’m sure that is born from the fact that they recognize racist ideology within themselves.

I love being black. I love my skin. I love my hair. I love my unique features. I love my heritage.  I love that I stand out in a sea of whiteness. I love the community I have with other black people. In a world where I am surrounded by many white people, seeing another black face means seeing family and I love the knowing glances and smiles I share with these folks.

I love being proud and happy to be black even though the world tells me there is something wrong with blackness. I have learned to embrace my culture against the odds. When society told me to be ashamed of who I am, I embraced it.

So it hurts my heart to see the slaughter of black people in my country.  I use the word “slaughter” because that’s the only way to describe it. People being executed in broad daylight usually. Sure, I don’t know these people. I didn’t know Alton Sterling or Philando Castile or any of the other countless black people who have died by those sworn to “protect and serve”.  I didn’t know them but I could have. If things continue the way they have, one of the next people who’s name will become a hashtag will be someone I know.

It could be me.

If you are white, you are safe in the fact that it most likely won’t be you. Don’t feel guilty about that either. Just understand that it could be me. It could be your black coworker, your friend, your neighbor, the friendly person at your local coffee shop. It could be any one of us. Understand this is the fear and reality we live in everyday. Emphasis on reality.

I’m tired of turning people into hashtags. I’m sick and tired of people offering “thoughts and prayers” whenever a tragedy happens. I’m tired of the fucking memes and the cliche, empty captions that accompany them.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know meme-ing, praying and hashtagging is not the answer. Something has got to change. How many people have to die?

An alligator in Florida attacked one little boy—authorities went and they rounded up all the alligators in the area without hesitation. They actively worked to protect other little boys and girls and reassure worried parents.  They went completely over the top to ensure that the public knew they were being proactive.

I’ve lost count on the number of black men and women who have been murdered by police officers.
A police officer kills a black person and we’re told to calm down, not to riot, not to react. We’re told “but think about black on black crime!”. We’re told the person had a police record! We are given excuses and reasons to justify the slaughter.

No one works to protect us. Who’s rounding up our attackers? Who is reassuring us that they are proactive?

I’m a proud supporter of black lives matter and WILL debate you until I’m blue in the face about it. Especially if you hit me with that all lives matter shit. Black lives matter was born from the idea that black people are viewed as “less than” when compared to white people. We are less than 300 years removed from the enslavement of black people, less than 70 years removed from segregation. Don’t tell me that black people aren’t thought of as less than when our entire country’s foundation was built upon the backs of slave labor.

There are white people now who have “old money” that they acquired by enslaving black people.  That mentality didn’t die with the Emancipation Proclamation, y’all. It’s uncomfortable to admit but denying it does not erase the truths.

Black lives matter exists because we have to remind white people and ourselves that we are important, we are valuable, we have meaning. We have to keep repeating this because there are so many forces out there that want us to think we are ‘less than’.

We have become accustomed to teaching our children how to act if they encounter a police officer, or are followed in a store by a manager. Black children grow up learning that our actions are scrutinized in ways that white children do not experience. We worry that our name’s are too ghetto for a job interview. We worry about wearing our natural hair for fear of people saying we look dirty or unkempt. We constantly have to erase and soften our blackness to be acceptable in white society.

And when we come to work and are upset about something affecting our community— like black men gunned down by cops within 24 hours of each other—we can only speak about it in hushed whispers with other black employees for fear of being too “political” in the work place. But when the kid got attacked by the alligator or the gorilla got shot at the zoo, it was ALL anyone could talk about.

I’m tired of my people being reduced to hashtags and memes. And you should be too.

Also, here is a gem by renown activist Jane Elliot.

 

Adrenaline straight to the soul.

Moment of silence please.

I’m turning 30 years old in less than 2 months.

giphy

And I’ll be 100% honest that I’m kind of freaking out about it all. I’ve been in this  weird funk the last few weeks where all I can think about is how ancient I am ( older people reading this blog: yes, I realize 30 is young but please let me be hysterical on my own blog. thanks). Not only am I ancient but I feel so…directionless.

My brain is torn between two vastly different mindsets right now. The rational part of me is telling me to invest in some stocks, buy a house, think about my 401K because RETIREMENT,  get married, have babies or alternatively don’t get married and just accumulate more cats.

Basically my rational self is telling me to grow up. Like I need to do more grown up things like fold my clothes and hang them up after I take them out of the dryer or meal prep! Because those seem like extremely adult things.

 

Then there is another part of me that just wants to quit my job, sell all my possessions and buy a one way ticket to Brazil, and work odd jobs while traveling  the world while accumulating a lover in every country–because in this scenario slut shaming doesn’t exist. I’d learn like 10 languages and write a book about my adventures and just explore the world. I’d also be super hot and have a very big afro because that just seems like the appropriate hair to have while living this lifestyle–easier to maintain and such. I would just be eat, pray, loving my way through the rest of the world forever.

So what does this all mean?

I think on one hand its obvious there is a part of me that wants to have a collection of cats or men. OR BOTH. So I’ll need to find away to address that. But I think more importantly I’m realizing that I’m almost 30 (IN TWO MONTHS!) and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

I just know that I don’t want to be whatever the hell I am now.

If anything I’ve mastered the adult world of working. I’m a Type A person so it was no secret I was headed to a life of workaholic-ness. But you know what sucks? Being in your 20’s and being too tired to even get off the couch after work because you are so exhausted from adulting all day long. Or realizing you’ve lost touch with people you really care about because of LIFE and shit.

When I 10 and role playing my future life using my Barbies I did not plan for a scenario where I’m standing in the kitchen in my underwear microwaving my dinner while drinking wine directly out of the bottle. I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!

As I write this, I’m thinking…

I think…I’m bored.

Like I feel hella uninspired right now.  My life feels stale and I feel like there is no movement. Yes, things are happening. Life is happening. In terms of my “needs” being met they are. I have a (really nice) roof over my head, jobs (yes that’s jobs plural),  I have (too much) food to eat, I have family and friends. I have a life…kinda. Nothing juicy really happens but maybe that’s a good thing.

But…I’m bored. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling so weird being 2 months away from a milestone birthday…deep down I’m terrified this will be my life forever.😦

Also, social media be damned because I got into the mindset of thinking everyone else was having a way more thrilling life than me so I deactivated my Facebook account to maintain my sanity but then I had to get back on there because I needed to talk to someone and I realized I didn’t have their contact information! WHY GOD WHY?!

So anyway, in the next two months I need to find a way to inject a strong dose of adrenaline to my mind, body and spirit before I hit this milestone birthday. I essentially need a way to refresh my life that doesn’t involve buying a one way ticket to Jamaica, getting box braids and falling in love with a closeted gay man  and getting my groove back….before said closeted man and I have a bitter divorce where he tries to steal all my money.

(Check out the REAL story of how Stella Got Her Groove Back, y’all!)

 

 

Oh hey.

So…what it do?

First of all, take a moment to admire my marley twists in all their glory. ^^^

So apparently I  haven’t written in this blog since February. And that explains a lot because my life took a crazy turn in late Feb until now. I stopped writing publicly because things got extremely crazy both personally and professionally. And I am literally on pins and needles wishing I could spill this tea and tell the world what has been happening to me!!!

But right now, I can’t. At least not in a really obvious way. I’ve always been a writer who got inspiration from real life. Even when I wrote fiction it came from super embellished experiences I had. If you guys remember reading some of my dating stories on here they are all real but I changed names, places etc to protect people.  Honestly, I need to get back to writing about certain aspects of my life but figure out a way to keep things vague so I won’t get sued.

Speaking of getting sued…let’s just say my job situation has taken a turn for the—dramatic. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Stay tuned.

Here’s what I can reveal.

In May, I took my very first solo vacation to Miami. I went with a travel group called Up In The Air Life. It was just a three day weekend get away but the trip was exactly what I needed. In a sense it was liberating. I’ve always been terrified to travel alone because I’m convinced I will be kidnapped and held for ransom and my parents won’t have enough money to rescue me so I’m lost forever. It’s extreme but its a fear.

I obviously didn’t get kidnapped! But I ended up having a great time just chilling on the beach and contemplating all my life decisions.

The other major thing that happened to me is that I finally started working as a counselor! Whoop! After 2.5 grueling years in Grad School and another 5 months waiting for approval to actually start working I finally started counseling real life people in April 2015!:)

Essentially I have my own mini business while under supervision at a private practice. It’s a serious commitment in terms of finances, time and energy. Not only that but people never realize all the paperwork that counselors have to do. It’s a lot of work including research–but its all worth it. I encourage everyone to chase your dream and find a way to incorporate your passion into a career.

I’ve also spent the last 6 months changing my hair whenever I felt like it. It is really liberating to decide that I want a blonde afro and then just do it. And then 6 weeks later decide I want I braids that go all the way down to my butt. And then after I get tired of that decide I want to rock my natural curls because its hot out and hair is heavy. *shrug*  I’m fully embracing the wonders of #blackgirlmagic.

Speaking of being black (which I am) the events of the last few years have been really unsettling to me. I’ve always known racism existed. I think every person of color is fully aware of racism because its ingrained in us to see the world that way since birth. Watching and reading the news has become exhausting. I’m upset because I’m watching my people be slaughtered by the very people who are supposed to be protecting us. I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m frustrated. I feel defeated. It’s gotten to the point where I avoid the news because its exhausting.

That being said, I’m proud to be apart of a generation of people who are standing up. Some people may say we are living in a world that is too politically correct. Well, I say I’m glad that people are standing up and challenging the status quo and calling out privilege.

For so long, our stories were told from the perspective of the majority. The “winners”. The privileged. So basically, history was told from a white, straight, male perspective. Case in point, why do American History courses taught in school have our history beginning when Christopher Columbus set sail? Or when pilgrims landed on the shores of the East Coast? This perspective completely ignores the fact that people had been living on this soil for MILLENIA before a white European “discovered” these lands.

I say all this to say that I have a little pet project I’ll be working on and I’ll share it with you guys here. I really want to find a way to combine my love of writing + my nerdy love of history. So stay tuned.

Ciao.❤

30 Before 30 Updates

 

HAY GUYZ.

Happy Sunday!

Remember when I said I was going to make a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turn 30? Well, I’m 1 month into being 29 and I realized that my list was a bit…ambitious. So I revised the list a bit to make it more realistic. It’s crazy when you start making a list of things and then realize that time can go by really quickly. But so far I’m good for 4 out of 30 things. Not too shabby.

Check out my updates below!

30 BEFORE 30

Have you made a bucket list before you reach a milestone birthday? Let me know!

Be sure to follow me on social media. I’m kind of fun sometimes!

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

I’ve really appreciated all the love and emails I’ve been getting lately. Please keep giving me feedback, it makes me really want to dust off my writing skills and try to be consistent. Email me at thecutelife86@gmail.com to say hi, give me blog suggestions, or to give any feedback!

xoxo

 

 

Fat Beavers With Driver’s Licenses.

I guess you guys like reading about my dating woes. It’s cool. Laugh at my misfortune!  I’m hoping that all these experiences make people grateful if they have had an easy dating experience or feel some solidarity if they have had some cringe-worthy moments. I also hope you have a laugh or two.

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May 2011.

I met a guy named Alex. On the internetz. Yes, totally scary. But its the modern age, right? Online dating is the new frontier. Everyone is doing it!  I felt an immediate attraction to him because he was handsome in his photographs and sent very respectful messages. Anyone who doesn’t ask to see my tits right away is considered respectful these days.

So Alex (totally his real name. I don’t care enough to give him any anonymity) is a 30 year old, white guy from outside Baltimore. He said he spent alot of time in DC and was even thinking of moving here. According to his profile, he enjoys cooking and plays soccer in his free time. During one of our “getting to know you” emails he said he loves running and would even help me pick out running shoes so we could run together. Cute!

I’d never really run for exercise  before (just when I was running for my life and such) so it was nice of him to want to run with me and my stubby little legs.

After about two weeks of emailing and texting back and forth we decided to meet up. I was excited and nervous. I’d never really met anyone from online  before. I had no clue what to expect.

I’ll admit that around this time I was starting to feel immense pressure from my friends who were pairing off into serious relationships and even my parents. According to my meticulously kept journal I wrote this on May 27, 2011:

My mom who never discusses my dating life called to tell me that eHarmony was free this weekend. AWKWARD.

 Maybe I should have signed up for eHarmony? I’d totally do it but I’m broke and still imagine meeting the love of my life at Popeyes or Comic-Con. I’m just a romantic like that.

We finally set up a date for a Sunday afternoon to grab a coffee at Starbucks. Coffee is neutral. It’s safe. It’s casual.  It was a public place and in broad daylight.  There would be limited opportunities for kidnapping.

Real talk, I had been drinking the night before and was pretty hungover. I did manage to put a tiny bit of effort into my looks by putting on a yellow sundress and covering my drunk face with some makeup.

I arrived at Starbucks early and ordered a hot chocolate so I would have something to hold in my hands while I waited nervously. And because I’m super self conscious I figured everyone was staring at me just waiting to see who I was waiting for!

A guy who looked like Alex walked through the door. Except…he didn’t look like Alex. Within 5 seconds of seeing him I realized the photos on his profile were old as hell.

I don’t think I’m superficial but…damn. He looked a bit scruffy  like he had been outside changing the oil in his car on the front yard on a hot summer day. I mean, we were at Starbucks and not a classy place like Red Lobster (or Red Lobby Lob as I like to call it)  but would it have killed him to throw on a shirt that wasn’t covered in whatever greasy substance it was covered in?

He greeted me with a handshake and then he bought me another coffee. He launches into a story about how he went to a bachelor party the night before. I like stories so I asked him how it was, he said he didn’t end up going out to the bars because he lost his driver’s license.  I felt like we were kindred spirits at that moment since I lose my debit card, license, car keys etc a few times a year. I ask where he thought he lost it. He says:

Oh, I haven’t had a driver’s license since November 2010.

Our date happened in May 2011.

Do the math. 30 year old man. No driver’s license. Comes to first date looking like he crawled out of a dumpster. Jesus, what have I gotten myself into?!

Then he told me that last night he didn’t stay in the hotel with his friends from the bachelor party because he didn’t want to pay so he slept in his car.

HE SLEPT IN HIS CAR. THAT HE LEGALLY CANNOT DRIVE BECAUSE HE DIDN’T HAVE A LICENSE. HE IS 30 YEARS OLD. AND WEARING A GREASE COVERED SHIRT. 

I tried turning the subject to something less…revealing and he started telling me how he didn’t want to work for a living he wanted to make music. And  he planned to go back to school later and get a bogus degree just to have one. THEN, he mentioned that being unemployed was awesome for him because he got a check every 2 weeks.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to run away. I wanted to pray. I had no idea how to react. To recap, I am on my first online date with a 30 year old man who looks nothing like his pictures, he slept in his car the night before, he shouldn’t even be driving said car because he doesn’t have a driver’s license, he wants to “make music” and he delights in the fact that he is on unemployment.

WHY ME?!

The date was over when the meter  ran out on Alex’s parking spot (I guess he could only afford to park for an hour) and he got up and ran back to Bmore.  He asked what I was doing next weekend and I mentioned a wine festival and he said maybe he could join me. Then he backtracked and said that was rather presumptuous of him.  AND HE WAS TOTALLY RIGHT.  I said “We’ll see”. Which is my way of saying., “FUCK NO”.

Let’s fast forward a little bit. I’m back home and finally napping my way through a very intense hangover with my cat. I’ll present the following text message exchange without further comment:

Alex: Hey thanks for meeting up with me yesterday. You are a cutie.:)

[A total of 20 minutes elapses before I respond because I had just woken up and was on the phone with my mom]

Alex: Cool well I can take a hint no hard feelings. Good luck.

Me: Take a hint? What are you talking about?

Alex: Nevermind. I thought you had chose not to answer,

Me: I just woke up.

Alex: Late night?

Me: Yeah, lots of wine with my friends.

Alex: Any extravagant plans for today?

[No response from me. I was on the phone with LaShamiqua <—not her real name but I wish it was.]

Alex: That sounds truly fascinating. I was stuck in traffic for 3 hrs yet you can’t admit whether you enjoyed meeting me or thanking me for the coffee. I will direct my efforts where they will go noticed. Take care.

Me: Whoa. I put my phone down for a few moments and I get all these crazy texts from you? Bye. Good luck Alex.

Alex: It is what it is….I can tell when someone isn’t interested in me. And of course you wouldn’t pick up if I called.

Me: Bye Alex. Best of luck to you.

Alex: Fat cunt.

[Wow…I was a cutie just a few minutes before. My how things change! ]

Me: Well I’m a fat cunt with a drivers license.

[I’m really proud of myself for that comeback, by the way! Go me! ]

Alex: Is that what made you lose interest? I lost my license, you fool. Its not like I didn’t take the test. I’m better being single than throwing myself at someone who couldn’t care less.

Me: Good luck. Maybe your desperation will work with someone else.

Alex: How was I desperate? Because I made it clear I was interested? I don’t play floozy hard to get games. And you are not worth the energy. Grow up and learn to communicate.

Me: Ok I’ll work on that! Bye!!!!

[The rest of the texts are him telling me to piss off and alternating between calling me an ungrateful slut, a fat beaver and bitching about being in traffic coming to see me]

Listen…I had a hearty cackle over this one for days. I can’t even be offended. After I laughed it off and screenshot the text messages for some friends to read, I blocked his number.

I never saw or heard from him again. I wonder if Alex ever got his driver’s license? I wonder how that music career is doing? Is he still on unemployment?

Inquiring minds…they want to know.

November 11, 2008: Be Still My Heart

This gif has nothing to do with my entry but I just think its really cute.:)

I’ve been writing about my personal life for over 6 years now. It’s only in recent years that I’ve chosen to write publicly. I still censor myself but I am starting to get more comfortable writing to a public audience.

I thought it might be fun to look up some of my old journal entries and publish them publicly. It’s always important to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come in life.

The following passage was written in 2008. I had just graduated from college and moved to the DC area. I was living with my parents and had just started my big girl job with the government. Overall this was a pretty rough time for me in general as I was battling depression and almost debilitating insecurity.

I edited this for clarity and obviously changed names and identifying information to keep people anonymous.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

i had lunch with corey today. i picked him up from work and i saw tyrese for the first time in a month.
my heart was beating like crazy, i was sweating and blushing like a school girl.

corey said i need to ask him out.

ugh, i cant ASK ANYONE out in my condition.
but i’m so scared of him.
he is perfection in every way. i feel like i would mess up everything that is perfect about him.

i’m sloppy and amateur.
he’s refined and professional.

he’s so sincere and so damn mature.
i’m fragile and child like.

i’d mess him up.
i’d cling to him.
i would make him so frustrated he would leave me.

i can’t really do anything right.
and he is on the path to greatness.

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Well that was…dramatic! I was hella melodramatic back in 2008 apparently.

It’s funny how life changes and how time and experience can change your entire perspective. I was 22 when I wrote that. It seems like ages ago to be honest! Real talk, I haven’t thought about Tyrese in forever. All I know is that he got married a few years ago. We never officially dated or anything but I crushed on him hard. Now I can barely remember what the dude looks like!

And I’m happy to say that I learned to ask a guy out. And now I do it with no hesitation.

I wanted to share this as a reminder that we have got to look back on our past and appreciate our progress.  What was a huge deal to me back then is now a tiny blip on the radar of my life experiences.